by Terry Moore
Well at least my models, paints and airbrushes were Y2K compliant. One of my heirs apparent read parts of my Christmas list (the bottom part-with the less expensive stuff-they do have college books to pay for) and blessed me with a kit I didn't have (!) I had some time to work on a few current projects over the holidays and I actually finished my four ongoing projects that have been at the last few meetings - Buffaloes, Wildcat, and Kingfisher, plus I built and finished a Star Wars Trade Federation tank of all things. I got to push around quite a bit of putty and paint. Hope you did too. The spring meet is coming up in a few months and I would like to challenge everyone in the group to see if you can complete one or more models and bring them to the spring show. More than one would be better! You don't even need to enter them in the contest. We will have a large area set aside for display only. Show off your work. Let other people see what you build. Here's a chance for everyone to see what you've been doing all winter whilst watching the Seahawks, Sonics, or Judge Judy. Just bring your models. It does not matter what you perceive your skill level to be. Just the fact you enjoy this hobby as much as everyone else should be enough for you to display your works. My philosophy is to show all the models I've done, whether at a display or a contest; good, bad, or ehhh. I derive a great satisfaction just showing off what I'm working on. If a model of mine happens to place at a contest, that's just icing on the cake. I'm even becoming interested in planning shows that are display only - no serious contest involved, especially those that attract a large segment of the general public. Definitely a good way to show off your hobby. Oh yes, if you ARE building for the contest, don't forget your pentathlon entry: one each car boat, tank, airplane, figure. There is still time. What an ideal opportunity to learn what a glacis plate is or what Modelmaster color is best to replicate teak decks!
A final note about contests. This will be the last year our head judges, Jim Schubert and Ted Holowchuk will be serving in that capacity. They have both decided to step away from judging for a while so they can actually see more of the models (and build more) than they currently are able to. I would like to sincerely thank them for their years of sterling service on behalf of IPMS Seattle for the magnificent job they have done to make our show one of the most organized, judging-wise, anywhere. The judging system they created is a model that has been followed by numerous other chapters in the region and country, to the benefit of everyone concerned. Thank you Jim and Ted. Help wanted: Head contest judges. No experience necessary. Judging system in place. four shoes to fill. Call today.
OPTIVISORS MAY BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH! Recently, I had left my Optivisor on the dining room table. It was a sunny day and sometime in the afternoon, when the sun was low in the sky, it must have been at just the right angle and the Optivisor was just at the right distance from my jacket that was hanging over the dining room chair...well, I now have two parallel holes burned into my jacket, about two inches long. Fortunately the youngest heir apparent smelled something burning and was able to prevent any more damage. Like to Jill's dining room chair! I'd be modeling with a limp, or worse, if I had burned the chair. So, consider this a warning where you place your optivisor on those rare sunny days we have around here.
A bit long-winded this time. It's amazing how much pain one can endure from being shoehorned into an overbooked MD-80 from San Francisco to Seattle with no room for legs or feet because the overheads were filled and there is no room anywhere else to put your carry-on but under the seat where my size 12's usually go! It's been quite therapeutic to write. It takes my mind off the fact that my left leg is totally numb. I didn't even react when the drink cart banged into my knee. The guy next to me is snoring. Loudly. At this time I think I could write a review of every Airfix kit I've ever built. I am so uncomfortable that I could start venting on those resin aftermarket guys that do interiors and other parts for models THAT DON'T NEED THEM! WHERE IS THAT DETAIL SET FOR MY FROG WHITLEY? GET ME THE HELL OUTTA HERE! Anyway, the plane landed on time, only 35 minutes behind schedule, and I have written one Preznotes column and a 'few' Airfix kit reviews. Watch for the 87-part series in forthcoming issues of the newsletter....
Oh yes. I've received a few questions regarding comments on future kit releases I talked about in my last Preznotes column that we may see in the next century, specifically, about a possible model of the Capelis XC-12. The primary question is, what is a Capelis XC-12? Well, next time John Wayne's Flying Tigers is on the tube watch it and you'll know what it is. It just screams to be kitted. Anyway, I'd build a model of it.
See you at the meeting,
We Need Your Help: Looking for a Few Good Kits
by Andrew Birkbeck
We are out "beating the bushes" with local model shops, as well as various sources around the country and around the world for prizes. However, in an effort to collect as wide a variety as possible, we would like to solicit additional door prize donations from IPMS Seattle members. We ask that you look through your collections, and pick out one or two quality kits that you feel you can part with. If possible, we are looking for Tamiya, Hasegawa etc., rather than 1950s Airfix or 1960s Monogram. Some of these donations will go to junior modelers, and the older kits are simply too difficult for them to assemble, whereas the more modern toolings have better quality parts, as well as better instructions. Look for donations that you yourself would enjoy receiving if you won a prize.
Do not worry whether or not your donated kits are still shrink-wrapped. All we ask is that the kits be complete, and preferably have the parts still on the sprues. Emil Minerich of Skyway Model Shop has generously agreed to allow us to use his firm's shrink-wrapping machine to shrink wrap these kits. Please bring your donations to the February 12 Chapter meeting. I will be collecting your kits so that they can be logged into our master listings to assure you receive credit for your generous donations.
Thanks in advance for your strong support of this door prize drive.
Guest Editorial - A Word of Thanks
by Andrew Birkbeck
Firstly, I would like to thank Robert Allen, our hard working newsletter editor, for all his efforts in producing one of IPMS/USA's finest monthly chapter newsletters. Each and every month in 1999, my newsletter arrived on time, and was a great pleasure to read. And thanks to all those IPMS Seattle members who contributed articles for Robert to publish. Whether a simple kit review, or a detailed historical treatise, Robert's job is made much easier if he receives quality input from others.
Thanks also to the three IPMS Seattle Executive members, Terry Moore, Keith Laird, and Norm Filer. These are the gentlemen who make our lives easier, by insuring that the chapter functions like a well-oiled machine. They insure we have a place to meet, and that the room is set up nicely and cleaned up at the end of each gathering. And to John Chilenski, who provides us with updates on what's happening in the region so that we can enjoy those events put on by other chapters and clubs in the area.
And a special thanks to all those modelers who brought models to the chapter meetings, either under construction or completed. This is the highlight for me each meeting, looking at the work of others, talking to the builders about their various techniques. I go away inspired to complete my own modeling projects, armed with new ideas on how to better improve my own work.
John McCarty Auction In February - Reminder
by Jim Schubert
The Beauties or the Beasts
by Bill Osborn
OK, I've given it a try. With most of the kits I've turned out this year, I haven't had high hopes for something that would be a worthy effort. If you screw up a bad kit, you don't expect it to look like a silk purse anyway!
In the past month I have built, or have a real good start, on two models that should be good kits to begin with. One is from Hasegawa, and the other is from Revell. The Hasegawa kit is a newer release. The Revell kit is touted as a "new' release.
We have come to expect perfection from the leading Japanese manufacturer. It doesn't always happen. With this Hasegawa kit, the forward fuselage halves are spread so you must fair in the nose cone and lose all the surface detail. This is also somewhat of a problem at the aft body. These are not big things, but they are irritating. Next, the canopy is too narrow for the body. Again, not a big problem, but with a quality kit you tend to expect parts to match. The main wheels are so wide that they would look right at home on a dragster.
The Revell kit proclaims itself to be the latest variant of the type. They give you some new parts, and new markings, which are on the intended version. However, this "new" model is the same as the old mark, with no mention of the modifications needed to make it into the advertised variant.
To be fair, this is a good kit. The parts are clean and crisp. The panel lines are a little heavy, but they're not bad. Parts fit well, and there is a wide variety of stores. The problem is the difference between variants. I did not have a good reference, so I relied on the reputation of the kit manufacturer to get things right. I should know better by now.
The model was painted and ready for decals when the needed reference came to hand. Again, the differences are not large, and are easily fixed. But the thing is, if the errors are so obvious to me, why did Revell miss them, or at least fail to mention the modifications on the instruction sheet?
See, just because they are big name kits, it doesn't mean that they are perfect. I know, I know, they are much better than what I normally build, but with the ugly ones, I don't expect too much!
Tips and Techniques: Flocking
by Jon Fincher
Prepping it means putting some sort of adhesive on the parts you want the flocking on. You can use thinned white glue, thick paint of the same or similar color as the flocking and interior, clear gloss or flat, or any number of special adhesives for this sort of thing. Whatever you do, put it on quickly but carefully - you don't want it all over everything, but you don't want it to dry before you get the flocking on. Before you put flocking on, make sure you are wearing a) latex gloves and b) a respirator of some sort. Flocking is extremely fine cloth, lot like lint, and you don't want it in your lungs if you can help it. The latex gloves keep it off your fingers - you'll see why later.
Now that the piece is ready for the flocking, dump some of it into your sifter. Sprinkle the flocking over the piece - don't worry if gets on the whole piece. The adhesive will make sure it only sticks where you want it. Sprinkle a good amount on, so it looks like a bowl of pudding left in the fridge too long - nice and fuzzy. Now, with your gloved finger, press the flocking down into the adhesive. This makes sure it adheres well, and makes it look more like scale carpeting. When you've adhered it well, let the adhesive dry - time depends on the adhesive, but an hour or so should be OK. When the adhesive is dry, turn the piece over the paper plate you're working on and lightly tap the underside of the piece to knock off the excess. Turn it over and Viola! It's done.
Emhar 1/72nd Scale British Mk. IV Male Tank
by Jim Schubert
To save time and be done with the stupid tank my intent was to build out-of-the-box, with no references. Fortunately, however, when Andrew Birkbeck learned I was building this model, he virtually forced many good references upon me. Good thing he did; I would really have screwed up without them.
Some British reviewers noted poor parts fit so I was not surprised to find that the run of the tracks at the top rear was really bad. Not until I'd carved away over a 1/16th of an inch (about six scale inches!) atop the inner track guide panels did I realize I'd installed these panels upside down and backwards. No wonder the tracks didn't fit! Well, I did say I don't build armor. I split the defaced panels off the hull with a butcher knife, turned them the right way round and re-glued them in place properly. A lot of shimming, filling and filing later I was back to square-one. So much for saving time. Apart from this screw up, the basic construction was simple and straightforward with decent parts fit.
The kit fails in regards to details. I had to add several hundred rivets, especially on the sponsons. I used a draftsman's dividers to mark the spacing along penciled straight lines. The rivets themselves are Elmer's white glue applied with a sharpened round toothpick. Several applications are required to tease and coax the Elmer's into the right height and diameter. The kit's de-ditching beam rails are not even close to accurate. Replacements were made from the smallest available Evergreen brand styrene angle stock sanded to the cross section dimensions of the kit's rails. The angled end brackets were sawn off the Emhar rails and attached to the new rails. The exhaust system was completely replaced. The tricky bit here was getting a smoothly bent tail pipe with scale wall thickness at the end. After collapsing several pieces of both aluminum and brass tubing, I finally used brass rod bent into the required "S" and fitted at the end with a short length of straight brass tubing reduced to scale wall thickness. As the kit's water-cooled Lewis machine guns looked like tree stumps, I chose to replace them with Hotchkiss guns made of three different diameters of Monel stainless steel tubing. These were fitted to the "eyeball" swivels cut from the kit's Lewis guns. The de-ditching beam is made of bass wood and is secured to the rails with N-Gauge (1/160th scale) railroad brake chain. The chains used to attach the beam to the tracks during de-ditching are HO-Gauge (1/87th scale) railroad brake chain. The shackles at each end of each chain are made of lead wire and brass rod with bolt heads made of Elmer's white glue. Grandt Line brand nut/bolt/washer castings were used on the beam and elsewhere as appropriate for added detail. The tow fitting on the bow was removed and replaced with a more accurate fitting with a shackle and drop bolt. The kit's "rubber-band" style vinyl tracks are only fair. As I did not want to spend the time to make individual link replacement tracks I made angled cuts into the edges of the tracks to suggest the plates were individual. Where the tracks run round the sharp radii at the front and rear of the tank I cut laterally across the tracks for still more apparent plate separation. The photos here show these effects.
Humbrol HM-7 Khaki Drab is the basic color. This was washed, dry brushed and pastelled as required, Tony Greenwood style, to get a believably grubby look. Floquil Dust and Testor's Dullcoat topped it all off. There are no markings on this particular tank, so I didn't have to fool with decals.
Believing the presentation of a model to be extremely important, I put a lot of thought and effort into the base and ground work. I wanted to do at least as well as last year's tank, an Italeri Crusader. The Crusader and its presentation are shown in Paul Bowyer's photo on page 70 of FineScale Modeler's Great Scale Modeling - 1999. I actually designed the Mk.IV's presentation, with the aid of a small clay model, before building the tank. The "floating" base, pedestal and base plaque are oak. The base was gouged out a bit to get the ground surface below the plane of the base in places and built up with balsa wood in other places. The ground contours were blended with drywall joint compound and heavily brush painted with Floquil Mud. Three shades of Woodland Scenics ground cover were sprinkled heavily on top of the wet Floquil. The excess ground cover was shaken off after the paint had dried for awhile. The ground was shaded by lightly airbrushing several Floquil greens, browns and grays, more or less randomly over it. The tank was offered up to the base and cuts made in the terrain to let the weight of the tank settle convincingly into the earth. Track footprints were cut into the ground behind the tank and clumps of mud/grass were applied liberally along the tracks and the top of the tank where the clumps would have fallen off the moving tracks. To finish off the presentation with a professional look, a polished brass name plate and a small lacquered Union Jack were affixed to a solid black plastic plate at the front of the base plaque.
It now remains to be seen how the model will do in the 2000 Pentathlon.
a. Armour in Profile - Number 1, Tank Mark IV by J. Foley, Profile Pubs., Ltd., Surrey, UK, 1967.
b. AFV-3, Tanks Marks I to V by C. Ellis & P. Chamberlain, Profile Pubs., Ltd., Surrey, UK
c. Shire Album - 172, First World War Tanks by E. Bartholomew, Shire Pubs., Ltd., Aylesbury, UK, 1986, ISBN 0-85263-799-3
d. Landships - British Tanks in the First World War by D. Fletcher, HM Stationery Office, London, 1984, ISBN 0-11-290409-2
e. A Pictorial History - Royal Tank Regiment by G. Forty, Spellmont, Ltd., Tunbridge Wells, 1988, ISBN 0-9946771-14-6
f. Scale Models International Magazine, June & October 1993
g. Museum Ordinance Magazine, July 1993
h. Military in Scale Magazine, January 1995
* All courtesy of Andrew Birkbeck; my indispensible armor guru.
[Note: This article was originally written for the proposed Squadron magazine, and may yet show up on its website - ED]
Airfix: Celebrating 50 Years of the Greatest Plastic Kits in the World by Arthur Ward
review by Andrew Birkbeck
It was with great interest, then, that I opened one of my Christmas presents this year from my wife, the above-mentioned "history" of the Airfix line of hobby kits. Having quickly read much of this book, I do recommend it to anyone interested in the history of Airfix. This said, the book is quite disappointing in many ways.
Firstly, the author, Arthur Ward, seems to be quite impressed with his own self importance. He describes his previous book, The Model World of Airfix, published in 1984, as "an epic". Given that this was a rather slim tome, one wonders what he thinks of this new, larger, work? The new book consists of just over 190 pages filled with color pictures of many aspects of the Airfix model product line: box art, built up models, old Airfix magazine covers etc. To me, this makes the book worth having. The pictures are well reproduced, on decent quality paper.
The written history also offers up some very interesting historical information on the history of Airfix, but unfortunately getting to the gems requires the reader to sift through tons of dirt. The written sections are filled with typographical errors, and often consist of quotes from former and current employees that seem designed to meet a need to fill pages, rather than inform. And all done in a "they are all my friends" form of story telling. Mr. Ward is no writer of quality historical prose. He clearly loves Airfix kits, and his "history" is very much what one might call an "authorized" version; all good news, nothing approaching "hard nosed reporting." And the author jumps all over the place, historically, and in some cases repeats himself. Again, Mr. Ward is not a writer. He is a collector of Airfix kits who has decided to write a book.
This said, as I say, you do find out some very interesting tidbits of history on the British kit industry in general, and Airfix in particular, and the book is lavishly illustrated. If you are interested in such history, and are trying to decide whether or not to fork over $30 for another kit you will never build, you might think instead about getting hold of this book. It will provide hours of pleasure as you reminisce about days gone by.
My book came from Amazon.com, although I am reliably informed that Skyway Models recently had copies available.
Small Air Forces Observer
by Robert Allen
I can't recommend this publication highly enough. I've been a subscriber for years, and there is always something in every issue that I've never seen before, whether a Brazilian J4F Widgeon, or 1/48th Scale profiles of ambulance Shavrov Sh-2s. The following info is taken from the magazine:
Subscription to the current volume of the SAFO is US $12 for four issues per year in the USA and elsewhere via surface mail. For the cost of air mail delivery, contact the editorial office, or send $22 and any surplus will be credited to your account. Payment should be made in cash, by International Money Order, or by a check drawn on a US bank made payable to "Jim Sanders". New subscriptions begin with the next issue published after payment is received; if you desire otherwise, please specify which issues are desired. Send remittance to Jim Sanders, 27965 Berwick Dr., Carmel, CA 93923 USA.
|Northwest Scale Modelers' Show|
In addition, a selection of historic models from The Boeing Company's archives, along with several rare examples from the Museum of Flight's collection, will be on display. There will also be an area for modelers to work on their projects during the show, and a section for junior modelers to build kits.
Two presentations will take place on Saturday in the adjoining William M. Allen Theater. At 1 pm, senior Boeing model makers will provide insight on the profession of model building. At 2 pm, IPMS Seattle member John Alcorn will discuss research as it applies to scratchbuilding models. John will also be autographing copies of his book, The Master Scratchbuilders.
For more information, contact Will Perry at (206) 781-2615 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
[Some of this information was taken from the Museum of Flight News - ED]
Rome to Tokyo Followup: Two Photos of Arturo Ferrarin
by Greg Reynolds
Lt. Arturo Ferrarin was on the Italian race team of the 1926 Schnieder Cup Race at Hampton Roads. He flew Macchi M.39 #3 for three record-breaking laps before retiring with a broken oil line. Now a Captain, Ferrarin was back at the 1927 Venice Schnieder and flew M.52 #7, but this time only completed one lap before engine failure. In 1928 he set both a closed circuit record and a record 4464-mile flight from Italy to Brazil. At the 1970 Osaka World Exposition, the Italian pavilion included a full-scale model of the SVA-9 in honor of the 50th anniversary of his historic flight.
Photo 2; Ferrarin welcomed by a crowd in Tokyo.
Zlinek 1/72nd Scale Avia S-99/Messerschmitt Bf109G-10 (Part One)
by Jacob Russell
The kit consists of 46 parts, 40 of which are molded in a medium grey plastic and there are six clear parts including canopy, instrument panel, gun sight reflector and wingtip lights. As is typical of limited run kits one encounters sprues with very thick gates. Zlinek were quite candid - and accurate - about the problems with their Russian mold maker. There are prominent sink marks on the exterior, a fair amount of flash and some mold shrinkage along the wing trailing edges. Builders of old Airfix kits would feel quite at home with the heavy rivet detail on the fuselage and wings, which is just on the edge of overdone. The enthusiasm and detailing of the mold designer was somewhat defeated by the limitations of the molding process. An acknowledgement of these limitations makes some of the inherent flaws and problems understandable, but frustration increases when the mold designer has overreached in so many areas of the kit.
Nothing in modeling is more frustrating than a poor or otherwise inadequate representation of one's favorite subject - unless of course no model is available at all. This is unfortunate because in the aggregate the details of this kit are better than the Monogram kit, and if the molds were of the same quality as Monogram's the kit would be superior. There is very good sidewall detail on the fuselage halves, better than one encounters on the majority of 1/72nd scale kits. The spinner has a separate backing plate unlike the Monogram kit, which is important because the backing plate was often a different color than the spinner. The supercharger intake is molded in two halves unlike the solid intake on the Monogram G-10 which must be drilled out. There is a separate rudder, trim wheel, under wing radiators, radiator fronts, and oil cooler. The detail on the landing gear covers and wheel wells is excellent. The prominent oil return line fairings under the nose are accurately depicted and integrally molded unlike the Monogram kit. This is not necessarily a bonus, because by using the Monogram kit the ambitious modeler can build the G-10/AS variant by deleting these fairings, making the oil cooler shallower, shaving down the supercharger intake and straightening the rear line of the port side fairing aft of the cowling. The AS variant used the Daimler-Benz DB 605AS inverted V-12 engine which had a smaller supercharger and did not need either the larger engine bearers or asymmetrical cowling required with the DB 605D installation in other G-10s.
On the other hand, the canopy is thick and useless; to paraphrase the review from SAMI it's better suited for Rammjager operations! The wheels are equally useless and should be replaced by either the Monogram wheels or aftermarket wheels from True Details or Hawkeye.
The instructions are excellent and have a brief history of the plane, a numbered parts layout, a clear and logical build sequence and painting instructions with RLM reference numbers.
Laying the fuselage halves and wings over the Zlinek plans the kit appears to be spot on, with none of the "Stuka nose" problems cited by Military Model Preview (volume 4.1) in their review of the Monogram G-10.
Painting and Decal Options
There are two. One can build either an S-99 of the Czechoslovakian Air Force circa 1946 or a G-10 in the markings of the 101st Regiment of the Hungarian Air Force in Austria circa 1945. The S-99 is overall Natural Metal on the upper surfaces with a darker version of the same color on the lower surfaces. The spinner, cowling and wing leading edges are Scarlet. The original fuselage codes are overpainted with light grey and new codes were applied with black paint and the use of a stencil. The G-10 is RLM 83/75/76 with a yellow ID band on the cowl aft of the spinner with the spinner itself two-thirds RLM 70 and one-third white. A profile of this plane accompanies the Zlinek article. A photograph of this plane minus its cowling is on page 77 of the Aero Detail G-series book.
All in all, two very attractive planes and for this review I opted for the Hungarian G-10. The decals are printed by Extratech, are thin and of good quality. No stenciling is supplied and there's an errata sheet containing Czech insignia for the rudder to replace the oversized ones on the main sheet. Reviewing the decals for the Hungarian option reveal that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is up to, because the decals don't agree with the Zlinek profile. The decals have a white cross on a black background and the profile shows the crosses with a clear center so that the fuselage and underside colors show through. The decal sheet also provides a grey 12 for the plane's number whereas the magazine profile depicts a red 12. Interestingly, the Squadron book on the Hungarian Air Force has a profile of this book depicting it as blue 12. Hmmm...
End of Part One
Tamiya 1/35th Scale U.S. 2-1/2Ton 6x6 Cargo Truck
by Terry Ashley, IPMS Perth Military Modeling Society
On opening the box, the initial impressions are very good. The quality of the molding and detail is all we have come to expect from Tamiya today. Consisting of 179 parts on five sprues in olive drab plastic, four parts in clear for the windscreen and headlights, plus poly caps for the wheels and a length of string for the front winch cable.
Construction begins with the chassis, drive train and wheels, a logical place to start with a truck. The chassis is molded in one piece as is the drive train, initially this looks over simplified but it makes assembly very easy and precise. Everything fitted perfectly and by following the instructions alignment of axles and springs is no problem at all, as it can be with other truck kits where you build up the chassis from numerous pieces. A complete engine block is provided, which is very detailed and an excellent basis for extra detailing, I added a couple of the larger pieces of plumbing , but you could go to town if you wanted. I found it easier to finish the engine completely, painting and all before fitting it to the chassis along with your choice of front winch or standard bumper bar. The wheels are well detailed with separate brake drums which trap the poly caps used to attach the wheels, this actually works very well allowing the wheels to be left off until all painting is finished. I detailed the wheels by adding air valves from thin wire.
Separate brake drum assemblies are also provided for the rear axles if you choose to show the truck undergoing maintenance, a nice touch. You must make a choice of wheels or brake drums as these are permanently attached, unlike the wheels. The cabin interior is next and is well detailed with all gearlevers provided, a well-detailed dash is finished off with fine painting and stencil decals provided. The seats have good texture molded in and come up well with a little drybrushing. The only additions in the cabin were foot pedals added from thin sprue and card
The rest of the front cab is then added around this assembly (it's best to finish painting the interior before proceeding). The two side panels trap the dash and radiator between them, again everything fitted brilliantly. The fenders are then attached as well as the headlights and bonnet top, again no fit problems. I did spend some time on the front grill, firstly thinning down the grill bars using a sharp X-Acto knife to carefully reduce them in thickness. The guards in front of the headlights were replaced with thin sprue for a more realistic appearance.
I left the grill off until painting was finished to allow masking of the radiator and headlight lenses. The side panels can be left off the engine compartment to allow the engine to be seen, many drivers did leave these off for better engine cooling during hot weather. Lastly the windscreen is added, I again left the clear parts off until painting was completed, the open cab made it easy to fit these afterwards.
Assembly of the rear cargo area was so precise that it literally fell together. The rear gate is trapped between the two side panels and can be lowered or raised. The design of the hinges is very well done and is virtually unnoticeable. I added small attachment points along the sides with thin wire and thinned down the mudguards quite a bit by sanding with wet and dry paper on a flat surface, and finally added the retaining strap between the side panels at the rear from masking tape.
This strap is fitted to all trucks and is most noticeable when the top cover is not fitted, it is also removable, so may not be on all vehicles. The five bows for supporting the canvas cover can be fitted either stowed or in place, the choice is up to you. The completed rear cargo tray and front cab assembly are then fitted to the chassis, although I left the front cab off until all painting was finished for ease of handling and to allow the engine to be masked while airbrushing. The fit of both these assemblies to the chassis is like the rest of the kit, excellent. In fact the top of my filler tube remained firmly attached during the whole building process, such is the excellent fit of this kit. Also in the kit is a nice driver figure with good animation to his face (a change from the bland figures usually provided) although I did not use the figure.
After masking off the engine and cab interior the whole vehicle was airbrushed using the new Humbrol Super Enamel Olive Drab (155), which gave an excellent smooth finish. The markings are a combination of kit decals for the serial and unit markings and rub-on stars.
When dry I gave it an overall coat of clear Matt. (I use Wattyl Estapol Matt, this is designed for flooring and to be walked on, give it at least two days to dry and it's rock hard). Next I added a wash using black artist oils thinned with Humbrol thinner and when dry, finished off by dry brushing with various earth colors for the desired effect. The finished kit was photographed on an old diorama base for a more realistic appearance. The kit was a joy to build and as mentioned fitted together like a dream (as we have come to expect from Tamiya). I would recommend this kit to anyone who wants something different from the standard tank kit or just to build it for what it is, a model of a very important vehicle from WWII and beyond. It should now be available from all good hobby shops.
The three figures in the cab are Warrior's #35178 "U.S.2 1/2 Ton GMC Crew". These are excellent figures, well detailed and posed, they fit snugly into the seats. Care should be taken with the angle of the arms on the fender rider as it will affect the fit. The passenger figures are from Tamiya kit #35080 "U.S.Combat Group"; this set is no longer available. The figures are fairly basic, but are useful in that there aren't many seated figures around. With careful painting they can be made respectable. All figures were painted with Oils for the skin tones and Humbrol Enamels for the uniforms. The equipment and gear in the truck is from various Verlinden and Tamiya kits.
The base is a piece of board with Verlinden's Trophy Series #T20046 "Bridge System" added (being slightly modified to fit). It is painted with Humbrol Enamels, finished with various washes and drybrushing. The water is airbrushed with a number of coats of gloss varnish over the top to give the effect of dirty water.