Wow... seems like life has sort of spun out of control since the last time I posted anything here. My wife's mother had a bad fall and broke her back and four ribs. She's 91 years old, so it was pretty touch and go for a while. A week in the hospital, two weeks in Physical Therapy and we had to get her moved out of a independent living situation and into assisted living. In the middle of all that, family descended upon us to "help" and I had to have a root canal and have a broken tooth pulled. Somewhere along the line, this last month, things have sort of stabilized and I started thinking about the hobby again. My last post was back on September 10th and Phil and I had just finished up the Half-track project. I can't believe that much time has passed. But about a week before the November SSCC Ohio meeting, I dug my Dragon Sherman kit out of the storeroom and started working on it. Amazingly enough I was able to get it built in time to take it to the meeting as a work in progress.
These top three shots were of the tank as I had just finished the basic build and was just starting to add some of the detail to it. I wish I had good things to say about this model, but I thought the build was a pain. If you have one of these in a box, or are thinking about buying one, be forewarned, it is not an easy build. The instructions are terrible. They show you where most of the parts go, but do not adequately explain sub assemblies, nor is there really a logical sequence to the steps. It is my experience that if you start adding detail parts before you complete the basic assembly, you are going to break things....especially if your lower hull turns out to be as warped as mine was.
I had to go out and buy some screws to fasten the lower and upper hull together, I would never have been able to us glue alone to straighten the fit up. Other issue included the fit of some parts, the fact that locator pins on detail parts didn't match up to locator holes, or there were no holes at all. Probably the worst thing on mine was the fact that the space between the sprockets on the driver wheels were too tight to allow my track to seat properly. I had to put them back apart and add a spacer ring. Phil, who is working on his own Sherman at the same time has encountered many of the same issues.
Here's my Sherman with crew, prior to adding a 50 caliber MG on the turret.
Here's my tank on meeting night, pretty much ready to be painted. You can see Phil's tank in the background of the second shot. I had just added those armor plates on his and he was going to take it home and start working on his detail.
We are supposed to have several days this next week where the temperature is going to climb back up into the 50's. I am hoping to not only get my Sherman painted, but get my M2A1 Halftrack weathered as well. That's about it for now. PM
Well... now that the Half-track project is "finished", it is time to look down the road at some of the other outstanding projects that I have been ignoring forever. And I say that tongue in cheek, because the half-tracks are far from done. They still need to be weathered and detailed, but I only have one on my plate at this point because Gray Ghost will detail his own as suits him. Mine will get a light dusting of a variety of colors to simulate road dirt and you can see in the picture above, I have already been collecting items to detail with. I have a few crates to make and some soft details for the interior, but this is most of what will go on it. It's about a two session job when I get around to getting around to it.
So.... what's next? Well, there are a couple of projects that are perhaps more immediate than others. The first is the Daimler Dingo. I did the initial build last summer and it has been pretty much sitting around for a year, waiting for me to take it up again. (below - project no 01)
I have been getting ready to start again. I have actually created the mold for the correct wheels, but have not poured one yet. I have also printed out a set of photographs to help me prepare detail parts for interior and exterior. I am pretty much ready to go, I just need to start. What's stopping me, well... there is quite a bit of sanding to do and I hate sanding. Yes, it all comes down to that... I hate sanding. I know I shall have to do it and I was prepared to do it this week. My wife and I had planned a camping trip this week in our RV and I was going to work on the Dingo while she did her scrapbooking. It did not come to pass though, her mother fell in the wee hours of Friday morning and was severely hurt, causing everyone's plans to go out the window. So I keep promising myself that the sanding will happen before this week is out... keep your fingers crossed.
(above - project no 2) "What is that?", you say. It looks kind of like a Dodge command car, only smashed. And that's what it would be. The above belongs to Gray Ghost and is another one of my projects. This is a Command Car that was converted to a weapons carrier by CK2 some years ago. It made it's way to the collection of Gray Ghost where it tumbled off a shelf and destroyed it's self. I am going to do my best to restore it to it's former glory (and it better stay away from high shelves if it knows what's good for it).
(above - project no 03) Well... this one has been sitting in my basement storeroom for a year and a half. I bought this Dragon Sherman kit from Cory Lord at the 2017 SSCC Figurecon. It is my goal that it is completed before the 2019 Figurecon in March. I'm not planning to take it to the show, but it would be nice to have it completed and that deadline is better than the 2020 show. I am hoping to get to this by December of this year. I would need a warm, dry day to paint it when the assembly is done and you can usually get one of those in Central Ohio even that late in the year (I usually do my last grass cutting the first week of December if you can believe that). I intend to finish this one similarly to my first Sherman and it will have markings for the same unit. I will use the 75mm gun and mantle, rather than the 105mm.
Okay, well those three things are definites. What comes after that. Gray Ghost has two vehicles he really wants us to build and I have one that I want to build (so we'll start with that).
PROJECT no. 4 - GMC 2-1/2 Ton Cargo Truck
Above, is exactly the model that I want to build. I have eight of the ten wheels required and Gray Ghost says he has the other two. The only part of the project that I am concerned about is the rounded hood and I am pretty sure I can figure that out. I have been collecting pictures of the GMC and this is the one that grabbed me. I really like the soft top, open door look of the later two and half ton truck and what appeals about this picture is the way the tarp has been rolled up on the sides. It is a little ridiculous to fill it up with troops if you are going to hide them under a tarp. This is sort of the best of both worlds set up in my mind. Other than the hood, I think this is a fairly straightforward project.
PROJECT no. 5 - Panhard Armoured Car
I created some plans for one of these years ago and build a 1/12th scale cardboard one just to make sure the templates worked. At the time, I thought about building a 1/6th scale one and finishing it as a German captured vehicle. But I lost interest and the project never went any further. Gray Ghost has some French Tanker figures and is very interested in building a French version of the vehicle. It is not a hard build, so I will help him do it (as long as we are only building one - I never want to build three of the same vehicle again at the same time... I still have bad dreams). Anyway, that is project number five
PROJECT no. 6 - HUMBER MK II Armoured Car
Okay, when I first started working on the Dingo, I thought this might be a cool companion piece because it has a turret and all kinds of cool lines, etc. and I've got some additional British Tanker figures that would be perfect for the crew. Then as I scaled it out, I realized that we are talking about a vehicle that is somewhere between the size of a Stuart and a Sherman and I don't have room for it. Gray Ghost wants to build it, but I am less enthused about it than I was at one time. We'll have to see on this one, but if it gets built, it is not residing here.
So... that is all the building projects that I know about at this time. Mind you there are photography and comic projects galore on my list and I don't seem to have time for any of them. Who knows when I will fit all that in. Anyway, that concludes our project update. - PM out!
I like to go camping and usually take projects with me to work on. Mind you when I say "camping", I don't mean in a tent; I have an RV (which means I can take projects with me and have a place to work on them). Camping to me is more like a modeling retreat. Anyway, we went camping this week and I had the opportunity to work on a couple of projects. Now that the Humvee is mostly done, I can thinking about adding details to the MRAP. With that in mind, I printed up a bunch of paper details the day before we left so that I could cut them out and assemble them at the campground.
Above, a war photographer takes a quick picture of a trooper attempting to climb up into the MRAP while a Special Forces Operator looks on.
Above, one of two Special Forces figures that I took on my retreat to "complete". Actually, I don't really know if he is complete or not. I keep finding things here and there that I change out on these guys.
Here's my photographer from another angle taking that picture of the trooper climbing into the vehicle.
Here is the stuff I made while at the campground. Coca Cola boxes, Dasani water cases, MRE cases, cigarette cartons and packages and last but not least, candy bars.
Here's a couple of closeups of the cigarettes and candy bars. We've got Reeses. Butterfingers, Baby Ruths and Crunch Bars. My troopers will not go hungry.
Here's a close up of my other Special Forces gut that I worked on. I still have a little more to do to him to consider him complete. And below, one more shot of the trooper getting into the MRAP. I've been collecting a bunch of gear as well as the packages that I have been making to detail the vehicle, but I have a little more to go before I will be ready. There is a certain amount of radio gear that goes in this thing and I haven't really locked that part down yet.
The other project that I worked on was a five man figure bash that has been a long time coming (two years). These are my Korean War era American Infantry Soldiers. One thing that has been missing in our SSCC Figurecons each year is a significant display of Korean War soldiers. Both Gray Ghost and I are both trying to address this situation by modeling enough guys for a serious diorama. I was able to find the Coats, fur hats, boots and cold weather gloves at War Toys to make my guys, but all of my webbing is World War Two stuff that had to be repainted. That actually took quite a while to do and was the biggest part of the project.
The top picture is of my team with a Photoshop background. The rest of the pictures show that the figures were actually positioned on a couple of rocks by my patio. The figures are not nearly as detailed as the original Korean War Soldier, which I think was offered by Soldier Story, but they came out pretty good and definitely represent the look of wintertime soldiers during the Korean War.
I took some pictures of my MRAP and my HUMVEE at the last (6/6) SSCC Meeting down in Cincinnati. Thought I would share them here since there were actually more than what I posted in the club meeting report. The image above is one of those shots, but clipped and a Afghanistan street scene thrown in as a background.
The Humvee is about 98% done. I have a couple more Gas/Water cans to complete and I want to make a couple more ammo cans for the grenade launcher. Also both vehicles could stand a little road dirt type weathering. The MRAP needs to be detailed with all the soft details I like to throw in for that lived in look. I will get around to that eventually. Thanks for looking - PM
Well... Here are my Humvee and my MRAP (part of it anyway) all crewed up for this Wednesday's SSCC meeting down in Cincinnati. Last time I was there was the April meeting and I had not started on the Humvee at that time.
The last two components for my Humvee were the Water/Gas Cans and the Ammo Cans for the grenade launcher. I haven't started on the ammo cans yet, but the gas cans are well under way as you can see.
Here's a close up of the cans I have done thus far. There are four water cans and two gas cans. I still have two more to make; one of each.
Like other folks with an interest in modern vehicles. I waited around forever for the gas/water can set that is in the photo on the desk in the picture below. The set would include two really nice cans for about $30. These have been on pre-order forever. I decided to make my own can. I started with a 21st Century Toys can (from the White Scout Car I think) and did a little surgery on it. From that I made a mold and then began casting my own cans. I use Alumilite to cast pieces and it is about $40 for a starter set with a coupon at Hobby Lobby. The resin included in the set yielded eight cans. My cans are not as nice as the ones that GO TRUCK will eventually release, but are definitely cheaper (do the math). I'm quite happy with the way they turned out. - PM
And then... just like that, it was painted. The painting actually took place in two stages. Early on Tuesday morning. I set up my spraying area and did the interior with Testor's Dark Green. The seats were still loose so that I could paint the "cushions". Once that had sufficient time to dry, I installed the radios and added all of the paper artwork that goes on the dash. Then I let it sit while I did my chores (and there were plenty of those on Tuesday).
I already had the windshield and the tires masked off with tape, so after dinner, I filled the interior up with tissue (so that it would remain Dark Green) and sprayed the exterior. For the outside I used Testor's Modern Desert Tan (3 cans) and a partial can of African Mustard. These pictures represent how the vehicle looked on Wednesday morning when I took of the masking tape and started detailing the interior.
My favorite little interior detail is below. I had seen a picture of a Humvee with a carton of cigarettes on the dash, shoved between the radio mount and the windshield frame. I decided that I wanted to have that detail in mine, so you can see the carton of Marlboro up in the window.
Here it is from the back. The bed already has a collection of items in it, with more to come. I like to call all the extras - SOFT DETAIL. It is all the stuff that makes a vehicle look like it's crew is living in and around the vehicle while it is in the field. I place a few, let it sit, then I place some more, repeat, repeat...
You can sort of see some of the interior detail in the following photos. Since these pictures were taken, even more has been added, filling it up even more. It is all the little stuff that makes it interesting though, in a way... as it makes it come to life, it sort of turns the vehicle into a diorama in and of its self.
Okay... so that was Wednesday. Today is Friday. Thursday I added even more details to the vehicle and then I started on the crew. I added patches and additional details to kit them out. Then, today (Friday)... I worked on the crew for the MRAP. You can see both, with the crews in the following photos.
Here's a side shot of the Humvee from the passenger side. One of the reference photos that I found showed gear hanging on the outside as well as the inside. So I added some packs and a couple of assault vests (one on each side). AT-4 Rocket Launchers were another feature that showed up in the photos. The ones I used were the 21st Century Toys AT-4. I added the operating instructions, making the art on the computer.
The crew of my Humvee are special forces and they have a little more of individual look with their clothing and gear. The troops for my MRAP are regular infantry guys and they are pretty uniform looking. Yeah... my special forces guys have helmets too... but they don't actually have to wear them (they're glued down in the vehicle).
Here's the shot of the Marlboro carton again. Also notice the American flag patch, the Nestle Crunch Bar and between the two, a box of ear plugs. You can't actually see them in this photo, but I also added sun visors for the driver and front seat passenger. I noticed them in a reference photo and thought it was a nice detail.
Here's a couple of my guys up close. The patches were fairly simple; American Flag and blood type patches for each sleeve pocket and on their caps, a moral patch that says "Infidel". The guy on the left is a "Pre-Detective" Cincinnati Jones. You will find out (when I continue the Bar at the Edge of the Universe series) that Cinci's backstory contains time in Afghanistan. It will be a shameless excuse for me to do a photoshoot on this stuff and include it into a story. By the way, the next issue of that series is in the can and will be making it to the website pretty soon.
Here's a closeup of one of that AT-4's with the added labels.
Here is my MRAP crew. These guys were done on the cheap. The uniforms are the Power Team digital camouflage. Added to that were Dragon vests, weapons and boots. I removed the elastic helmet chinstraps and made one with OD ribbon that was in the parts box. These guys also got patches. I love the Power Team uniform, they did a pretty good job on it I think.
Believe it or not. both of these vehicles are scale. The Humvee looks tiny compared to the MRAP, but I've got a photo of the actual vehicles sitting next to each other and the MRAP just dwarfs the Humvee. It truly is a Monster Truck.
So... this project is just about wrapped up, but there are a couple of more things that will happen with the Humvee before I am willing to call it finished. There is a storage shelf on the back of the vehicle and that is normally filled with water and gas cans. Unfortunately there are not really any modern water and gas cans out there. Oh... the manufacturer GO TRUCK has announced a thirty dollar set (of two cans), but it has been on pre-order forever. I am making my own. I had a really awful 21st Century can that was about the right size and I am modifying it into a modern can, then I am going to make a mold and make as many cans as I need. I also need a couple more ammo cans for my grenade launcher. I am going to have to make those too I'm afraid. Once that is done, well... I will think about detailing the MRAP ( I will probably do a lot of thinking and work on something else for a while). That's all for this update - PM
Well... I've continued to work on the Humvee. I am real close to being able to begin painting. Here are the latest changes...
(ABOVE) The machine gun ring was just way too thick using the Hasbro molded piece as a base for customizing. I finally decided I couldn't live with it, and I cut the depth by a little more than half. It was about an hour's worth of anxiety with my Dremel tool and a very large rotary saw blade. It looks much better though; a lot closer to scale. I also drilled holes in the ammo rack, which made it look a lot more prototypical. Also note the side railings along the sides of the roof. Since they are styrene, they are more ornamental than functional.
(ABOVE) Next, finished side machine gun mount. It doesn't really look all that impressive, but I think will start to look a lot more interesting once it is painted and holding machine gun.
(ABOVE) Added rear machine gun mount. This one is not functional, just for looks. I have a really nice modern M60 with a canvas ammo bag and linked rounds that I am going to use here.
(ABOVE) Radios are just temporarily placed, but I have added wiring and handsets to them. I will have a little tweaking to do to them once they are glued in place, but at least 90% of that operation is completed. I plan to paint the interior with Testors Dark U.S. Green. Once it is painted, I will glue the radios into position and add all the dash artwork before permanently placing the roof panel. Then the outside of the vehicle will be painted in Modern Desert Tan. I want the effect of a vehicle that was originally Olive Drab, repainted to the Desert scheme.
(ABOVE) Here is the changes that I made to the back end of my vehicle. I added a cargo shelf and a rear bumper with shackles. Eventually, this will be filled with water and gas cans... well, that's the plan anyway. Stay Tuned - PM
Well, here's another update on the Humvee progress. You will see a progression as you scroll down. Here it is with the bed railings installed and the roof panels placed in position. I don't plan to attach the roof until the interior is painted. You can sort of see my radio rack with the radios placed and some of what I am doing to the dashboard.
Here's a closeup of that dashboard. the large box and the white channel that runs behind the radio rack are part of the ventilation system. I still have some tubing to add down below before that is completed. There will be a heck of a lot more detailing to the radios before they are installed... got to add wiring and handsets, etc. I am also looking at adding a laptop fixture with a laptop like I have seen in a lot of the reference photos, just need to figure out how that is going to work.
Here we are from the front with the reworked wench panel and shackle detail and the brush guard above. The guard is attached to the hood, so it moves with the hood when you open it.
Here we are a day later. An access hole has been cut in the roof panels and you can see my reworked Hasbro machine gun ring placed on the roof. I am sporting a grenade launcher rather than a machine gun. I just thought the 21st Century Toys piece would look real sharp there. I have a few more details to add to the ring, including a shield in front of the weapon
Here it is from a slightly different angle. I am going to have to make a couple more of the ammo boxes before I am done, thrilled about that.
On the passenger side you can see that I added a swinging arm for a light machine gun mount. I made an initial piece out of styrene and then used resin and clay to make a second piece. Molding in clay is a great way to get the parts you need when you only need one or two and the design is fairly simple.
Here we are from the back, you can see my two whip antenna mounts and third antenna mount forward of that on the passenger side. I want to add a storage shelf on the back for carrying gas and water containers as I have seen in many of the reference photos.
Here is a slightly different angle on that machine gun ring.
And a close up of the ring from above. You can see most of the added parts. The ring is a little thick, but I wanted to be able to use the Hasbro piece as a base for a modification rather than scratchbuilding an all new ring. I plan to add a lot of detail here and there that will hopefully distract from that 'glaring error".
Here we are at home again with the Humvee sitting next to my newest piece, a Taowan MRAP. Notice how the MRAP dwarfs the humvee as it would in real life. It is one big monster truck. I didn't get everything done on the humvee that I wanted to while I was on my camping trip. But I got a lot of it done and I don't really have too much more to go before I can start thinking about painting. I'm hoping to have it done before the next SSCC meeting in Cincinnati in June. I would like to be able to show off both vehicles (if I can lift the MRAP into the car).
And that's about it for the moment. I am hoping that the next update will see us ready to paint. Later - PM
Well... I've finally gotten a start on the Humvee project. I'm camping (or "Glamping" in my case) and I brought the vehicle to the campground to work on while I'm here. I'm about two days into the project and it is going better than I thought it might.
Here it is after the first day's session. I started the project by reworking the chassis to increase the height of the vehicle by 1/2". A half inch doesn't sound like a lot, but it is huge when you are talking about the distance between the top of the tire and the bottom of the fender. I used SAWGUNNER'S excellent online pictorial to make the conversion and was actually pleased that it wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be. It certainly wasn't as difficult as it would have been if I had to figure it out on my own. Anyway, here is a shot of the vehicle with doors removed, body heightened, and that awful molded gun ring removed from the roll cage. Also notice that I cut out the oval behind the rear passenger opening. This is where the gas cap is. Hasbro just molded the gas cap on a flat surface, but this oval is supposed to be recessed.
Here's what I did the second day. The panel below the grill was rather plain and featured some more of that great Hasbro molded detail. I decided that I wanted real shackles and I wanted it to look like the model had a working wench. So I took the Dremel to that panel and removed all of the detail. I just needed a flat surface that I could glue a thin styrene panel over. Then I went to work on some detail.
Looking at photos, I created the wench that is in the center of the panel. I had found some working shackles online and built new mounts for them out of styrene. I don't know what the other hooks on the outside edges of the panel are called, but I formed them by running some heavy brass wire through some styrene tubing, and then bent them to shape. The hook on the end of the "cable" was formed out of styrene with the Dremel.
I wanted a brush guard on the front of my vehicle, but because of the way the Hasbro engine hood is hinged, it needed to be mounted to the front of the grill panel, so that it could move with the hood. The "mounts" were then sort of faked, so that it looks like there is more there than there really is. I taped up the headlights before attaching it to the vehicle. It will save me some headache when I go to paint.
And that's where I am at the end of two days. If you scroll down the page, you can see where I am hoping to get with my Humvee, I've included some prototype pictures that I am using for the project. There is a lot to do, but I feel like I am making good progress and I am hoping to be able to start painting when the camping trip is over. We'll see how I do - P.M.
POINT MAN'S PROJECT