Saturday, 26 May 2012

Matchbox M16 (2)

Tonight was the Eurovision Song contest.  Surely a great excuse to do something else, so I got down to work on the M16.

Assembly was pretty straightforward, with everything fitting together pretty well.  First job was assembling the chassis.  The only 'challenging' bit was the vinyl tracks, which of course won't stick together for anything! Fortunately they were sized well, and hold in place pretty much under their own tension.

Next up was the Quad .50 mount.  Bit tricky as pretty much all the parts need to go together at once! This was one of those jobs where tentacles might have been more useful: at one point I think I was trying to hold five different pieces in place to glue them, all of which wanted to point in different (but wrong) directions.

The hull was then pretty straightforward and has some nice details, like all the spare ammo cans in the rear.  I added a driver, one of the spare crew from the Hasegawa Jeep (poor lad had to be chopped off at the knees to fit though), before putting the front screen on.

Next up, adding details like stowage, followed by decals and painting.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Matchbox M16 (1)

Generally I've been posting completed models recently.  As a bit of a change I thought I'd do some posts following a single project through.

Next up for attention is an old Matchbox kit, and M16 Half Track.  As I've mentioned before, I have a particular soft spot for this kit, as I made one whilst still at school.  At  a time when I was mostly building model aeroplanes (and mostly getting bored and not finishing them), this was one of the few ground vehicles I made (the other being a Leopard 1), and one of the first I completed without help from either my Dad or Grandad (the other two prolific model botherers in the family!).  It later go repainted and converted to be used in GW's Dark Future road wars game and after that, who knows?  I picked up this kit from ebay, the box is a bit tattered, but otherwise everything is in perfect order.

First up, the box art...

I like how matchbox boxed their kits.  You could see a bit of it, there was a nice clear drawing of how it should look assembled, and the box artwork was always top notch.

First job, after clearing away any flash (absolutely minimal with these kits, despite their age), was a quick spray with Flames of War, US Armour.  This gives me a good base to work from, as well as getting the main colour on and making sure it gets into the nooks and crannies I wouldn't be able to paint with a brush once assembled.  Small details get picked out as required, in this case the tyres (vallejo grey-black), small metal parts (MG's, winch), seats (FoW Khaki) and the gunner (FoW russian uniform for fatigues, Brown Violet for helmet, and GW Tallarn Flesh, all washed with Devlan Mud)

Assembly comes next. I am not looking forward to sorting out those vinyl tracks...

I'm going to take a bit more care and attention with this one, compared to some of my recent builds, So expect it to end up with some extra details like added stowage and crew (those spares from the Hasegawa Jeep are likely to find a use here).

Until next time...

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Jeepers (scale) Creepers

First off, apologies for the awful pun in the title of this post, I couldn't help myself.

Having just finished one jeep from the matchbox/revell 17 pounder kit, I couldn't resist trying another one.  This time the Hasegawa Jeep and 37mm gun (which I haven't built yet).  It's a fairly basic kit, not strong on detail, but it was very quick to assemble (one evening, not including spray painting the base coat on the sprues) and gives a nice result, ideal for wargaming, it feels pretty robust.

The kit also comes with the 37mm anti-tank gun that was used by US forces early in the war (but quickly replaced with a version of the British 6 pounder) and a trailer with lots of spare jerry cans etc.  Another nice feature of the kit is it comes with 8 'crew'.  There are only 3 poses (drivers, an officer/NCO with binoculars and someone either signaling or waving in a somewhat camp manner...) and they're pretty simple sculpts.  However they paint up OK (as the driver in the above photo attests) and will be useful for all those kits that don't include drivers, crew etc.  I added a passenger to this one from the HaT US Tank Riders set as well, just for completeness.

Which leads me on to questions of scale.  The trouble with using '20mm' kits for gaming is the weird split in standards between 1:72 and 1:76 (made even worse by certain companies that describe one as the other).  The two jeeps I've just completed are a great example of the issue, with the the Revell one clearly being 1:76 (and apparently driven by a midget, even if allowance is made for rationing in the UK!), and the Hasegawa 1:72.  Here are some comparison shots to show what I mean.

At least it won't be a problem with these two, as they're unlikely to be put on the table at the same time, but it means that units of the same vehicle need to be carefully planned out.  It will be interesting to see how the matchbox M16 I'll probably build next compares with its Italeri M3 cousins.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

17 pounder (and chips)

The QF 17 pounder anti-tank gun that goes with the Morris Truck is now complete.

This was a (now out of production) Revell kit, but originally from Matchbox, so it goes back a few years.  That said, it's still an excellent kit, well cast, easy to assemble, but still surprisingly detailed.  In particular there's an impressive amount of detail around the breach, including aiming wheels and cocking handle (if that's the right term).

I only have two criticisms.  One is that the spades on the ends of the trail are designed in such a way that you can only assemble them in the 'travel' position, on top of the trail, although as the kit is intended to be built as towed, this is understandable.  The other is that the peg on the underside of the gun, which allows the gun to traverse on the carriage, is a bit weak (I've broken it twice since assembling it last night).  If you don't mind not being able to traverse the gun, I'd suggest gluing it firmly in place on the carriage, it'll look absolutely fine and should be solid as a rock.

When put next to something for scale, like the jeep that also came with the kit, you can see it was a bit of a beast of a gun!  I'd meant to take a photo of it next to the Airfix 6 pounder for comparison, maybe later...

Like many Matchbox kits of the era, this also came with a scenic base, in this case the front of a destroyed boulangerie.  With a bit of work I hope to turn it into a scenery piece.  A project for another day...

Saturday, 12 May 2012

More Brits and Unlucky Stars

Just a quick update.  I've pretty much finished a Jeep and Morris Tractor for the Brits.  Both from a Revell (formerly matchbox) kit.  As the Morris Tractor was used to pull the QF 17lb AT Gun, I'll give you only one guess as to what I'm working on now...

These were a joy to build, light years better than the awful Airfix Bren Carrier and 6lb gun.  These two went together really well, parts fitted with minimal trimming, instructions were clear, and they're nicely detailed.  The Morris kit includes Lee Enfields and a Bren for the gun crew, stashed in the trailer.  The gun crew are a bit disappointing though, there aren't any...

The other major annoyance with these models has been the decals, and in particular the allied stars.  The rings around them mean they come with a lot of spare decal space, and generally they seem to be pretty big (I guess they'd be rather useless for air recognition otherwise).  The resulting problem is that they often want to sit right across bits of raised detail, particularly on tank roof and bonnets and never settle neatly around them, so you end up with shiny and unsightly bulges of decal instead of nice, crisp, highlighted details.  If anyone can suggest a way around this I'm listening, especially as I have an M16 half track to do soon, which features a socking great big star right across the bonnet.