How many half-built kits do you have? What’s the oldest of your shelf queens? And why do you have to confront yourself with such inconvenient questions?
Maybe the last one is the easiest to answer. I like to have a clear view on things. I like to know what lies ahead of me, and I somehow even like to plan my next steps. Do I hear shouts of “OCD!”? Anyone? Go ahead, I don’t mind. Fact is, I don’t like to leave things unfinished.
Sooo… I decided to introduce a new segment to this blog of mine. And thou shalt call it “WIP, interrupted”. Plan is (of course, I have a plan. Silly me.) to dig up my dearest shelf queens, blow the dust off and achieve some progress on them – maybe even finish them! Who knows…
To start things off, here’s where I am with Minimanfactory’s M916 Light Equipment Tractor. Beautiful kit, has been stashed away for almost two years now.
And by the way: The answers to the other questions are of course “don’t ask” and “no idea, but I’m sure I payed for it in a currency that no longer exists”.
Having been out of production for quite some time, I was happy when last year I found that kit in my LHS (of course, two weeks after I finished the build, Revell re-released it…). It is a lovely kit, nice level of detail, especially the cockpit is really good, even the seats are okay. Ish. Of course there is always room for improvement, so I added some oxygen hoses and scratchbuilt the ejection seat rails. The seats themselves are Quick Boost.
The only thing missing out of the box is a proper weapons load. As the E version’s sole purpose is to haul ridiculous amounts of ordnance through the sky, it needs a good heavy load to look the part. I went for GBU-12s and CBUs, courtesy of Hasegawa’s weapons sets.
Way too late I noticed that the decals provided are basically for a trainer aircraft of the 57th Wing from Nellis AFB – so no Desert Storm bird this time, I guess. Anyway, I think it is safe to assume that these planes are maintained to a very high standard, weathering was therefore kept to a minimum. To spice the Gunship Grey monotony up a bit, I scratchbuilt some protective covers and used Eduard’s RBF tags.
What I love about this hobby? That every day is a school day. Or at least it can be if you are so inclined. This time it was post-shading using Tamiya Smoke that was on the TLL (To-Learn List. Yes, I am a lists guy). Not having had too much success with pre-shading NMF paint jobs, I wanted to see if I could pull off a subtle type of weathering without that “contest table”-look of which I am not a huge fan. What I did learn is to be very careful, thin the Smoke well and always adjust your light source so that you can actually see when the coat starts to get that wet, reflectant sheen – which will happen just before the paint start to run…
Apart from that it was a relaxing quick build, something I really needed as a distraction from my ongoing struggle with an Italeri chopper and Eduard’s P-38. NMF, as usual, was airbrushed using Tesors buffing Metalizers, Gunze Yellow and Olive Drab. The decals are for the most part Tamiya’s, nose art and aircraft IDs are from the lovely Kagero book “P-47 Thunderbolt with the USAAF – European Theatre of Operations”. Speaking of decals: Why on earth does Tamiya still produce their own decals? They produce wonderful kits, detailed, easy to build, accurate – but their decals still suck. Would it really be such a loss of face to them to stop their own production and go Cartograph instead?
Anyway, here it is. Oh, another thing I learnt: It is a good idea to always have some Tamiya kits in your stash – just in case you need a quick success to keep the mojo on track.
I always liked the M60A1 and A3 series of tanks – bulky, mean and somewhat agricultural looking. Slap on some MERDC cammo and you get the epitome of a Cold War tank.
Esci’s M60 series are still the best Pattons you can get – at least until AFV Club releases theirs, which will be miles ahead of anything, no doubt about that. Esci has gone out of business long ago, and only some Patton variants (M60A1 and the Israeli version of it) have been re-released by Revell and Italeri. Luckily I was able to track down an original Esci boxing on ebay which was collecting dust in a basement in Germany.
The first time I built that kit must have been some 20 years ago. Back then I wasn’t too concerned with small details and weathered finishes, so it was a straight OOB build with a very lose interpration of Gray Desert MERDC camouflage.This time, however, I wanted to build a classic Reforger tank, maneuver markings, cammo netting and all. Apart from that I wanted to try some heavier weathering, something I never had the guts to do when I was still building armor on a regular basis.
I added some small details, like nuts’n’bolts to the suspension and air cleaners, scratchbuilt a new infantry phone, added some details from Tamiya’s modern armor set and used AFV Club’s excellent tracks. The cammo netting was created by soaking gauze in white glue and sprinkling dried marjoram on it. For painting I used acrylics from Tamiya, Gunze and Lifecolor, weathered with oils and Mig Pastels. The markings are a mixture of Verlinden Reforger stickers and Echelon bumper numbers.