Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Grumpy's shopping trip

Time for a trip to the shops! And being environmentally aware, Grumpy the colonist, his missus and their friend have decided to take the bus. (OK, actually it's because his survivalist motor-caravan isn't yet finished so he hasn't got any other transport - one more reason to look grumpy...)

This bus is from French manufacturer Majorette - hence the Parisian route information & advertising on the side. As always, disassembly followed by paint stripping (metal parts only!) and re-painting will provide the colony world with another useful item of scenery. It could even form part of a scenario - rescue the helpless colonists from the evil alien invasion.

I'm thinking that with a couple of magnets concealed in the roof, I could also build a clip-on armoured shell for more post-apocalyptic adventures.

Robotech wreckage

"Look Sarge, a big robot... but I think it's broken!"

This Robotech VF-1J Veritech fighter in Battloid mode (AKA Macross Valkyrie) has been in the loft for several years, and got rather too hot! Much of the plastic has discoloured from white to a stained yellow colour. The arms and legs are attached by moulded-on plastic pegs which push into PVC bushes, giving articulated joints at the shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, feet and head. As you can see, the styrene pegs haven't survived very well!

Luckily I still have all the bits, and plan to rebuild it in a fixed pose - this will also enable me to remodel the hands and get it to hold the GU-11 gun pod properly.

This particular model is an Imai kit, and I think it was actually produced as a 1:100 scale, so should be spot-on for use with my 15mm games.

I'll probably paint it in the standard brown/grey/green camo I've been using on most of my vehicles to date, which will also mean that it will match some of my 1:300 scale Stinger and Wasp BattleMechs - time to start re-creating BattleTech in 15mm!


The future is a dangerous place - which is why efficient medical aid is essential.

Enter the colony ambulance...

This being a grotty colony world, they're stuck with a low-tech wheeled ambulance rather than an expensive grav vehicle. Yes, I know it's a little over-scale, but hopefully that won't be quite so noticeable in the midst of a battle (especially if it's only background scenery). I have a couple of these old Matchbox ambulances, one more battered than the other. When I get the chance, they will be stripped & re-painted in a different colour scheme, possibly white and a pale surgical green. I have a couple of civilians who will be painted as med-techs in pale surgical green jumpsuits, so that should tie them together neatly.

As a bonus, this ambulance has opening rear doors, which... Hey, that doesn't look like a medical droid! Better hope no colonists require first aid until we get a proper doctor!

Old Crow Models - Sabre Heavy Tank

The Sabre heavy tank was another lovely model to paint, with plenty of raised detail on the hull and turret to reward careful drybrushing.

I really must get around to gluing the gun barrel on!

Photographs of the Old Crow vehicles in action to follow in the next couple of weeks...

Old Crow Models - Glaive APC

Next up we have the Glaive APC...

As you can see, it's a nice simple design with lots of nice moulded-in detail. A real pleasure to paint, enough features to make it interesting to work on, but not so much that gets cluttered - although with all those flat spaces, there is plenty of scope to add your own stowage as desired.

The only thing which would have been a nice addition would have been a separate hatch, so there was the option of showing it open - but that would have involved lost of scratch-building of the interior, and I don't expect many people would require that anyway.

Old Crow Models - Gladius Medium Tank

Work continues on my Old Crow vehicles - first we have the Gladius medium tank.

This is painted in Humbrol enamels - matt 33 black undercoat followed by rough base coat of matt 29 dark earth (heavy drybrush so that the black shadows still show through round the hatches, panels, grilles etc.) with blotchy 86 light olive green and 27 sea grey camouflage. The driver's vision panel and turret targeting optics are painted with Humbrol acrylics, 104 oxford blue base with a 25 blue highlight along the top half.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Transport vehicle

A matchbox transport vehicle. I have another one in NASA colours which originally had some sort of rocket on the back. I don't know what this rescue vehicle had on the back, possibly a small 'plane?

This is one of the few Matchbox toys that I've seen which actually has a scale noted underneath. This one is 1:150 scale, but I think it looks OK with the 15mm figures (in this case GZG light vacc-suits).

Security van

This matchbox Wells Fargo bank security truck will be stripped down and re-painted in dark blue/grey as a security van for my colonial security officers. I had one already from when I were a lad, and found another for 25p in a junk shop (the one pictured here - my own childhood one is in far better condition!), so the security forces should have plenty of transport once they're both done.

Grumpy's caravan

Following my holiday, Grumpy now has a motor caravan (25p from a junk shop) to park outside his grotty colonist's shack. I'm planning to strip it down, and rebuild & repaint it as some sort of survivalist's vehicle, with mesh protecting the windows, bullbars and so on.


I haven't posted anything on my blog for a while because I've been away on my hols. Lots to do now that I'm back - including cleaning up another Matchbox Badger which I found for 10p in a charity shop on holiday. You can see the comparison between this one and the one which I have already stripped, cleaned up and re-painted! NAC Marine included for scale.

This one looks as if it has had a hard life outdoors, being muddy, scratched and also rather corroded, but hopefully it will clean up as well as my old one did.

Old Crow Models

A couple of photographs of some current items on the painting bench, in this case 15mm grav vehicles from Old Crow Models.

The Old Crow vehicles are very good value - at the time of writing, they are £5 for a main battle tank and £4 for APCs or medium tanks.

The kits are cast in a very nice resin, and are virtually bubble-free (I just had to pop a blob of epoxy in a few on the corners of the grav plates, but only 2 or 3 on each kit). They are sanded smooth on the base, and have presumably been given a quick wash during production - they don't feel sticky like some resin kits I've bought, and the moulds are obviously well-filled when casting, as there were no sunken areas where the hull sections fit together. On the majority of the kits there was no flash to clean up, and including a quick scrub with a toothbrush, they were all ready for assembly in less than half an hour. I stuck them using araldite epoxy resin - I'm sure superglue/cyanoacrylate would have worked just as well, but I prefer epoxy resin for most kits, just because the thicker mix helps smooth over uneven surfaces, giving a better bond.

Assembly is simple - the Glaive APC (seen above with a section of GZG NAC Marine deploying from the rear hatch) consists of a lower hull section and a main body, with 3 optional white metal fixtures for the top; a simple hatch, a 4-round missile launcher ot a remote gun turret. I've left mine off for now, and will attach one when most of the painting is complete.

The Gladius medium tank has several turret options which are chosen when ordering. I opted for the missile turret, but as turrets can also be ordered separately, I can always get a couple of different versions another day. The missile turret arrived with two different types of missile pod, either rectangular or angled. The rectangular pods come as 8 and 4-round units which attach to either side of the main turret mount. The angled pods (which I chose to use) come as 6 and 3-round units which attach to the turret mount in the same way. These angled pods have covers over the mouths of the launch tubes (or perhaps it's the noses of the warheads poking out), while the rectangular pods just have open launch tubes. The hull of the Gladius comes in two parts, upper hull and the grav lower hull (the same as the Glaive in fact).

The Sabre heavy tank has a one-piece hull, and the turret comes as 2 resin pieces (turret and a wide, inverted truncated cone mounting post) and a choice of 2 metal gun barrels - a single cannon or twin lighter cannon mount. The more observant among you may have noticed that the tank lacks a gun barrel at present - I dropped it while preparing the models, and only managed to find it after I'd done my gluing session!

I also have a turret base (only £1!) which will serve as a static defence turret. The Gladius tank turrets fit this turret base, and the same turret size is also used on several other heavy APCs in the Old Crow range. With extra turrets costing only £1-£2, it would be easy to create a static defence line for very little cost. The turret I have used here is a multi-missile turret, but I will be adding the 2 sets of white metal paired 4-round missile pods after the main painting is completed. The quality of the fit is so good that they simply pop into place and stay at whatever angle you put them.

Overall, I'd place the quality of these kits equal or above that of the DLD vehicles - far less cleaning up to do, and less assembly too, and much cheaper (though the exchange rate may have something to do with that).

These vehicles will be finished with a camo scheme of green and grey patches over the brown base coat, with a few final details such as ID numbers etc. Somewhere I have a box of 1/72 scale stowage, some of which will no doubt make its way onto these and other 15mm vehicles in my collection, but that's something for another day...

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Detailing the Eagle

Now that the model is stripped & clean, I want to add some extra detail before re-assembling it. I'm not aiming to replicate the actual TV models precisely - I just want to give a general impression, and make some of the blank areas of the model a little more interesting.

I have used an assortment of old electronics bits from a dead radio circuit board, plus innumerable plasticard scraps of various thicknesses, and the odd bit of wire or guitar string. All have been stuck in place using superglue (cyanoacrylate).

The spine receives a pair of resistors (?) which look suitably like cryogenic tanks, and an array of plasticard pieces.

The port stern walkway side receives a small shelf with an assortment of plasticard scraps. The TV Eagles all had these small shelves inside the surrounding framework. I could have added a lot more detail here, but as they will be partially hidden inside the surrounding framework, I decided that this will do.

Forward port walkway side - plasticard and bits of wire.

Forward starboard walkway side - plasticard, guitar string. The semicircular piece was one of several hole-punched from a sheet of thin plasticard. Some were used whole, others were cut in half.

Stern starboard walkway side - plasticard, wire.

The detailing complete. Now for painting...

The Eagle progresses...

Paint stripping on the metal parts of my Eagle is now complete - here are all the bits cleaned up and laid out ready for the next stage. Mould lines have been filed away, and any rough bits smoothed with some fine grade wet & dry. After the paint stripping, the whole model (including all plastic parts) has been scrubbed in warm water with washing up liquid and an old toothbrush to make sure that it is thoroughly de-greased and all traces of paint stripper have been removed.

Here is the beaky command module. The fitting was slightly loose, so some superglue has been run around the back to fix it more firmly to the walkway connecting section.

Trial assembly to make sure that all the bits fit together cleanly.

Next... on to superdetailing the model!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

DLD Kamodo AFVs

A pair of very nice Kamodo Armoured Fighting Vehicles from DLD (plus GZG NAC marine for scale). Both have been assembled with superglue, apart from the wheels. These were attached using araldite epoxy resin, so that they could be adjusted slightly to ensure they are all level and the vehicle doesn't wobble. Small cardboard spacers were inserted above each wheel while the glue set, and removed afterwards so that the tyre isn't resting directly against the top of the wheel arch.

These are almost finished - they just need some stowage added, plus a commander figure in the hatch of the IFV (left unpainted at present to provide better purchase for the glue).

They are being painted in a standard UK temperate camo scheme - Humbrol matt75 bronze green, over which black stripes will be added.