Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Salvador Dali's Tank

Salvador Dali was famous for, among other things, painting melted clocks, as in The Persistence of Memory. But it turns out I may have discovered evidence that he dabbled in 1/76th scale armor models too. To wit:

Oh, I can't blame this on Salvador; I did it all myself. This is the ancient Matchbox 1/76th scale Char B1, a French heavy tank from the early days of World War Two. The kit is from the era when Matchbox used to mold their kits in various colors - I think this one was dark green and dark brown. But it isn't the kit or the model that interest me, it's the way the model warped and deformed. Somehow, by some process I never figured out, it ended up spending a few weeks in the back of my pickup truck when we were moving from one house to another. Because of slow contractors, a lack of framers and general bad luck, the new house wasn't ready so we had to live in a hotel room for a month or two, and the poor Char B1 sat in the back of the truck the whole time. Whenever anyone here says "Hot enough for ya?" I always think about my poor Char B. Merde! That's hot!

But curiously, here's it's stablemate, the FT-17. Same kit, same conditions, but a different fate entirely. Other than the tracks, this is actually a pretty nice kit, and obviously it's more heat-resistant than its bigger brother. RPM in Poland makes a much better 1/72nd scale FT-17, but the parts count is daunting; 200 parts, give or take, in a model that isn't even half the size of a White Castle hamburger.

The FT-17 looks pretty anachronistic these days, but it's really the first tank in the modern sense of the word, with a fully-rotating turret on a tracked hull. The bigger British "rhomboid" tanks were probably better suited for the conditions that prevailed in the cratered moonscapes of World War One, but the TOG 1 showed the limits of that approach.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Warriors Viking

Warriors 90mm Viking. Every now and then I get stuck or bored with a model I'm working on and when that happens, I often start a figure kit, because they're such a radically different experience from building a model they're refreshing. But that means I tend to end up with a lot of half-finished figures here and there, and this weekend I decided to finish three of them.

This is a nice figure. I generally prefer white metal to resin, and like most resin figures, I found some pinholes, and the pour stubs were sizable. But the figure is pretty nice; the beard detail and the chain mail texture are particularly good. It amuses me that there's a large and obvious thumb print in the resin; it's on the right side of the base in the second picture. I could submit it to Interpol and find out exactly who sculpted the base. But also, like most resin figures, it's very light and easy to handle, and less expensive than an equivalent white metal figure.

I left off the helmet visor. I wanted the base to resemble moss and mossy rocks; it's mostly painted Testors RLM-70 and RLM-02, of all things, with a few washes over the top (but to balance it out, his trousers were painted Testors RAF Dark Green, and his shoes and leggings were RAF Dark Earth before the washes and drybrushing set in). All the metalwork was painted black and then extensively drybrushed with silver and steel.

Pegaso 80mm Dancer

Pegaso 80mm dancer, complete with cat. Another nice figure, but painting all that gold will eventually drive one mad. I suspect she's supposed to be Moroccan, but I decided to use a lighter skin tone and reddish hair, just for the heck of it, and didn't really do any shading or anything on her skin.

Andreas Miniatures "No Mercy"

This is an Andreas Miniatures 54mm Western figure called "No Mercy", and it isn't supposed to resemble Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven in any way at all, I'm sure. It's a nice figure. I question the folds on the upper right arm, and the spurs were so tiny I lost them almost immediately. Figures with wide-brimmed hats are hard to photograph, but maybe that adds to their cachet.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Detroit Diesel green? Nope - RAF Sky

A GMC tractor of some sort. I don't remember who made the kit, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't AMT. It's pretty much stock, except for the pin-up decals, which came from the second Italeri "Truck Accessory" set. I don't build many trucks, and even when I do, I tend to build more specialized things like logging trucks or dump trucks. This is my only real long-haul tractor, and it's likely to remain my only long-haul tractor for some time to come.

Barely visible on the left-side door is a small decal that was originally intended as nose art for a Beaufighter on an Italeri decal sheet.

Opel GT

Another one of my older models, an AMT Opel GT. The kit is pretty basic, but it still builds up into a nice model. It comes with all sorts of customizing parts, including some manner of Buick engine. I used a custom exhaust and wheels, but settled on the original Opel four-banger engine.

The paint is Tamiya metallic blue. I just love that color; I'd spray paint the bedroom that color if my wife wouldn't vapor-lock at the idea. You can't see it from here, but there's a fairly large and very dead spider inside the car, poised on the shifter as though it expired right in the act of downshifting for a corner. De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

AMT Slave-1

AMT's Slave-1. The colors are Testors acrylic hull red, Testors acrylic RLM-02, and Tamiya NATO black, with an awful lot of black and grey washes over the top - my garage smelled like a paint thinner factory for a week. Instead of doing all the chipping with silver paint, I used a silver pencil. I'm not sure it's very realistic, but it's at least clean and easy. It looks better from a distance; up close I think the marks are too obviously pencil scribbles.

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Camera

I finally broke down and ordered a new camera. It's a dinky little thing, hardly top of any line at all, but it already seems better than my old one. At least it's USB and I no longer have to mess around with floppy disks.

This is the first picture I took, a Romulan "bivalve" cruiser shown hovering over the cat's food dish, which will make the cat surly. Surlier.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Academy Super Sherman

Academy 1/35th scale Israeli Sherman M51, or "Super Sherman", shown in the hostile, arid expanses of the Sinai. Or is it my side yard? Either way, I have a fondness for strange Sherman variations, and this one in particular - the enormity of the French-made 105mm gun and its egadly huge muzzle brake appeal to me.

Keen-eyed observers may note a subtle homage to the movie Night of the Lepus, in that some of what appear to be pebbles are actually enormously large rabbit droppings. This is the general area where we throw watermelon rinds and such to the native rabbits, and they repay our kindness by pooping. I could have picked a better spot to take the picture, but it's some sort of fundamental law that I only notice things like that after I'm back indoors and viewing the photograph on my computer.

Whatever the case, it's a nice kit, and mirabile dictu, is has vinyl tracks! I'm SO excited.