Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Klingon Bird of Prey

Klingon Bird of Prey, painted almost entirely with craft store acrylic paint except for an overall coat of Krylon "Army Green". This model felt like more of an armor kit than a spaceship to me, which is good, because I haven't built any armor in a while and was getting out of practice.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Revell Junkers G.38

These are pictures of Revell's 1/144th scale Junkers G.38 airliner. I enjoyed this model considerably. The G.38 is decidedly unusual, with a combination of an elegantly swept wing, a square-section fuselage that is about as graceful as a box girder bridge, and landing gear that somehow reminds me of a steam locomotive. But it has an odd appeal for me. Maybe its greatest appeal is that it isn't a Panther or an F-16.

The kit itself is very nicely done and fun to build. The corrugations are particularly well-done, and the kit even has a modest interior, though I question the accuracy of the control yokes on the flight deck, which look more like something you'd see on the Cutty Sark than an airplane. I didn't use the clear plastic parts for the fuselage windows and used Micro Klear instead, but the other transparencies worked pretty well, and didn't even need glue (the "skylights" over the engines simply pressed in, while the glass in the wing roots, nose and flight deck needed only a little Future to hold them in place).

The corrugations make it hard to clean up the seam at the leading edge of the wing, but at the same time, they made it easier to paint the black stripes on the wings. The parts layout of the fuselage leave one with no seams to clean up at all.

On the whole, I very much enjoyed this kit, and I personally think it would be a riot to get a seat inside the wings of a G.38 - the view forward must have been quite striking indeed, though the roar of the inboard engines might make it hard to enjoy the airline version of "603 Squadron".

PS: Something drastic has happened to the Blogger editor. Either they changed something, or I changed something, but either way, I am NOT impressed with how it's working right now.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Eagles Were Coming

There's a scene in the movie The Return of the King that amuses me. It's near the end, where Aragorn has led the Army of the West to the very gates of Mordor to distract Sauron long enough for Frodo to slam-dunk the Ring. At one point, one of the hobbits cries "Here come the eagles!" as Gwaihir and his folk come in to dogfight with the Nazgul aboard their great winged beasts (clearly Junkers designs, if you ask me - what's the difference between a Ju 52 and a flying Nazgul beast? Not much).

Anyway, whenever that scene comes up, I think about how cool it would be if they were F-15C Eagles coming in. How would an AMRAAM work against a Nazgul beast? Or would the Lord of the Nazgul be able to deploy some dark ECM to spoof the missiles? Does the Nazgul's segmented armor have some kind of inherent stealth property? Would a Sidewinder be able to guide on a winged beast's (presumably warmish) breath? Or would it turn into a knife fight at close range, where guns and swords become the primary weapons? And if an Eagle pilot shot down a winged Nazgul, does he get credit for one kill, or two? But since the Nazgul are neither living nor dead and can only be undone by swords made in Gondolin and imbued with special Elvish anti-Nazgul spells, does the Eagle pilot get credit for any kill at all?

It takes me ten or fifteen minutes to get my head back into the movie once such digressions set in.

All of this becomes relevant when you remember that yesterday was Black Friday. My preferred on-line hobby shop (Squadron) was having a Black Friday sale, and I decided that the time had come to finally buy a model I've wanted for a long time, the Tamiya 1/32nd scale F-15C. They run about $130, and that's just a bit more than I can see myself paying for one model. I'm game to buy just about anything up to the $100 point, but once a model crosses that threshold, a certain ouch-factor sets in and I find myself saying things like "Do you realize how many 1/144th scale airplanes I could buy for that sort of jing?"

To say nothing of the fact that I really don't have anywhere to put a 1/32nd scale F-15C once I finish it. But to an extent, the finished model isn't the point. Building it is the fun; having it just means I have to dust it and figure out where to put it and how to keep the cat from wrecking it. It's the difference between carving off a huge piece of pie and sitting down to eat it, and all the moaning and groaning that sets in later when you mumble "I shouldn't have eaten so much pie..."

So I got my cup of coffee and went to Squadron's website and commenced to buying stuff. But I went about it in the wrong order. Rather than putting what I most wanted in the shopping basket first (namely, the F-15C) I bought a whole bunch of other stuff, so that when I got around to looking at my shopping cart just prior to selecting the F-15, I swallowed my tongue. Cripes, $300 in models already, and I haven't even bought the F-15???

Clearly I had to get rid of a bunch of stuff in my cart. But I couldn't. I wanted it all. I wanted the Williams Brothers radial engine. I wanted the set of ICM figures. I wanted the Lindberg velociraptor. I wanted the Trumpeter M26 Pershing. I wanted the Minicraft EC-121. I began to panic. Finally, if only to prevent myself from having a complete nervous breakdown, I clicked on the Check Out button, just to have an end to the madness.

So - the Eagle was coming, but due to gross lack of discipline on my part, it isn't coming. I have nobody to blame but myself, but draw some solace from the fact that I can always go back tonight and order it anyway.

I'm wary of saying things like "Such-and-such an airplane was the best fighter ever built!" Such statements are usually pretty subjective, and in any event I'm not a fighter pilot and am not really qualified to have an opinion. But I will say that I really like the F-15's shape, and if I had to pick an airplane to be on my side in an air battle, it would be hard for me to bet against the F-15's undefeated record (there is some debate about what its actual record is, but I've seen 110:0 and have no reason to argue with those numbers).

Revell Do X

Revell's 1/144th scale Dornier Do X flying boat. It was a fun kit. I like the contraction between the rakishly pointed nose and the slabby wing that looks like it was carved out of a railroad tie, and the great profusion of engines and propellers gives it the appearance of improbably ornate Victorian machinery. The kit is pretty easy to build, and features really nicely detailed corrugations on the top of the wing and the leading edge, though those same corrugations are a nightmare to clean up - I just left them be, preferring the slightly visible seam over a much more visible smooth patch. The only real disappointment in the kit are the propellers - the blades seem kind of ill-formed to me, and the propeller hubs have heavy parting lines and flash. But they're hard to fix, because the blades are so thin they snap off if you look at them sideways. And that's bad, because there's a ton of propellers (stupidly, the only part of the kit that had any flash at all were the propellers - it figures).

The "biplane" elevators and ailerons are no picnic either. The mounts for one of the elevators was broken beyond repair when I opened the kit, and I elected to just leave it off entirely. If I hadn't mentioned it, you might not have noticed. Sources seem to differ on exactly what color it was. I settled for overall Tamiya aluminum, but I am prepared to be proven wrong. Not that I'll actually fix it; I'll just accept that I was wrong and move on.

But on the whole, it's a pretty nice kit of an airplane you don't see every day. The only really hard parts are the propellers and the biplane elevators. A few nips of Jim Beam to calm your nerves before starting the propellers might not be a bad idea - at least you won't care so much when you break one.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tamiya Stegasauri

So THAT'S why my lantana bush looks scraggly and unkempt - dinosaurs have been eating it! It's one thing after another. The squirrels go into hibernation, I finally fix the gates so the rabbits can't get through, and now it's dinosaurs eating the landscaping...

These are Tamiya's stegosaurus kits, of course. Curiously for a Tamiya kit, the fit wasn't especially good in places, especially the fit of the spinal plates to the bodies, and the seams are awkward and hard to fix. I concealed them by flowing multiple layers of Testor's liquid cement (the stuff in the little black bottles) around the seams, which eventually filled them in. But for a while the fumes were so thick I expected an intervention from friends and family urging me to seek professional help.

Clearly I need to build more predatory dinosaurs lest the ecosystem in my back yard go completely out of balance.

Chaos Howdah

I suspect that most modelers, if asked, could give you a list of modelers who inspired them, or in some way changed the way they think about their hobby. I know I can. Like a lot of modelers of my vintage, I was deeply influenced by the Shep Paine diorama inserts that Monogram shipped with their kits in the 1970s. Those were a masterstroke of marketing, if you ask me - I know I bought Monogram kits simply to get my trembling hands on the diorama inserts even if I didn't really give a wet slap for the kit itself. And here is perhaps the most inspiring one of the bunch:

This is, of course, Shep Paine's diorama of a downed US Navy TBD Devastator that shipped with the old-but-impressive 1/48th scale Monogram TBD kit. I found this diorama deeply inspirational, though on the surface, it doesn't appeal to me at all. I find the TBD uninteresting and, well, oogly. Downed airplane dioramas don't appeal to me in general. And since all of my experiments with making water with polyester resin have failed spectacularly, I generally forget that I ever tried.

But there's something about the ethic of this diorama that I found very inspirational. I didn't want to duplicate it, even when I was a wee lad who wasn't yet shaving. But something about Paine's skill and taste spoke powerfully to me. Maybe I didn't want to duplicate this diorama, and maybe I'd never be as good as Paine, but at least he showed me what was possible, and convinced me that there was more to modeling that just hastily gluing parts together and then just as hastily blowing them up again with firecrackers. Viewing this diorama insert seemed to tell me that modeling could be more than just stringy masses of Testors cement, vast gaps between parts, and shooting holes in vintage M48 tank kits with my trusty Remington .22 rifle (my old "Nylon 66" probably destroyed more enemy tanks than Michael Wittmann, and certainly more battleships than Mitsuo Fuchida could have dreamed of).

Another inspiration was actually a single picture submitted to the Reader's Gallery of FineScale Modeler magazine (henceforth referred to as "FSM", because the bicapitalization in "FineScale" just irks the hell out of me). It was a "chaos howdah" built by Fraser Gray. Fraser Gray is perhaps more famous for his AFV modeling, but the chaos howdah he built was just absolutely flabbergasting. It was a fighting platform mounted on two Airfix dinosaurs and manned (if that's the right word) by various 25mm figures that have all the characteristics of Citadel Miniatures. It was a delirium of dark wood, moss, chains and weird artwork. The banner surmounting the whole thing, a graveyard scene with a bloated moon hanging in a blood-red sky and shining through the gaunt black limbs of a tree... Words fail me. It was simultaneously creepy and cool, and it's one of the few models that I've ever deliberately intended to recreate on my own.

I wish I had a picture of it, but the only known photograph of it is in a copy of FSM that probably now occupies some fairly deep layer in an Arizona landfill. The media may be decomposing, but the memory of his fabulous howdah has remained with me over the years. I've always wanted to build my own rendition of it, and can finally report that I've at least started. I finally found a crucial missing element - 1/72nd scale "skeleton warriors" - and with a crew finally assembled and dinosaurs rounded up (Lindberg anklyosaurs), it was time to finally start cutting wood.

My version of the infamous Chaos Howdah, with the major pieces plopped atop one another, with a couple of skeleton warriors for scale. I may rebuild the upper deck, which seems a little beefy and might weigh the dinosaurs down. But then again, it's a chaos howdah and they're chaos dinosaurs; who's to say that they aren't really strong?

Saturday, October 29, 2011


This is what happens when I watch a western on TV, specifically Tombstone, the one with Kurt Russell, Michael Biehn, and Val Kilmer - I root around in my closet and find a bunch of Western figures.

A Bad Guy's view of the Andreas 54mm Wyatt Earp.

'Tother Wyatt Earp out on the street in front of the saloon, with a couple of locals hanging out on the porch watching him shoot. The guy in the chair is supposed to be the marshal (he's wearing a badge, anyway) but he seems remarkably casual about the whole thing. Never mind the enormous thumbnail on the left. We can edit that out in post-production. His hat, being composed entirely of super glue, is harder than titanium.

The marshal and his deputy hanging around in front of the saloon. The marshal is a 54mm Andreas figure, while the deputy is a 54mm Streets of Laredo figure. They're both excellent figures too, but the chair was a bitch to assemble, and I never did get all the leg spreaders installed. The deputy (he's really the "No Mercy" gunfighter figure) was the motivation for the scratchbuilt building facade; he's sculpted leaning against a wall, and thus I had to build him a wall to lean against. I intentionally built the building facade a little out of square and a little non-uniform, and was deliberately messy with the painting. This is Jericho we're talking about, dag nabbit, not New York City.

I find it immensely amusing that I painted the marshal's shirt with RAF dark green, and his pants with RAF light earth.

Shootout at the Schizophrenic Stable

Two men in a gunfight both claim to be Wyatt Earp. At least one of them is lying. Worse, they're both wearing the same hat!

Here we have two 54mm takes on Wyatt Earp. The one on the left (double-wielding) is white metal from Miniaturas Andreas; the one on the right is resin from Warriors. They're both excellent figures with nice dynamic poses and big, easy-to-paint mustaches. I lost the right-hand Wyatt's hat somewhere along the line and made a replacement using the old modeling clay and super glue plunge mold method using the left-hand Wyatt's hat as a master. Perhaps the business of having to share one hat made them cranky and led to the showdown; who knows?

They're posed in front of an Old West photo backdrop I made out of random scraps of wood. I still haven't gotten around to making a knob for the door. Doh.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Long Johns

Fig 1: Long John of the genus Monogrammus Nostalgicus Ressiue

Fig 2: Another view of the Long John

Fig 3: A Long John of the genus Pastrius Yummius Chocolatum

Dragster kits don't get much simpler than the Monogram reissue of the vintage Long John slingshot. It's all quite basic - the entire kit has fewer parts than just the blower on most modern Top Fuel dragsters. But it's still fun, and recalls those heady days of the late 1960s when models could sometimes be assembled with a hammer and nails. The main point of interest, probably, is the inclusion of really nice resin tires with press-in white sidewalls. They fit perfectly on the kit wheels and are much easier to sand flat than vinyl tires. A little Bare Metal Foil on the hub cabs (or are they "wheel covers" these days") is all they need.

As for the other Long John... I'm on a diet and can only gaze upon it longingly.

Stop The Panthers

Everyone has a favorite modeling genre, I'm sure. I have many; I've never developed any kind of modeling discipline and tend to build pretty much everything, meaning that I never get really good at anything. And I'm sure that everyone has a specific subject that they've always wanted to see in kit form, or maybe in the form of a new kit. I would, for example, pay heavily for a 1/25th scale kit of a Euclid 1LLD mining dump truck, or a 1/72nd scale M42 Duster, or a large-scale motocross motorcycle, preferably a works Suzuki as ridden by Roger DeCoster or a works Husqvarna as ridden by Heikki Mikkola, or even just a plain old Yamaha YZ-360B.

I'm also sure that everyone has at least one subject in mind that they think is wildly over-produced, to the point that they say "I need another hole in my head more than I need another kit of X." It's our least favorite subject, the one that causes us to groan with disbelief every time some new Chinese company announces another new kit of it.

There are a lot of candidates. Spitfires are dangerously close to that point for me, but I can still understand their appeal. Early Spitfires are graceful and aesthetically pleasing, and later Spitfires seem to exude a kind of barely-controlled power. And it's hard to argue with the Spitfire's role in history. The same is true of P-51 Mustangs. I could build a new driveway out of all the P-51s that are on the market right now, and I just really don't need any more, thanks, even though I recognize the importance of the Mustang (to say nothing of the fact that there are people alive today whose fathers took P-51s all the day downtown to the heart of the Third Reich, and I do respect such men).

I grow very weary of the Bismarck. Actually, I don't have strong feelings about Bismarck models one way or the other; I just get tired of all that gooey "It was the most powerful battleship ever made" palaver. It wasn't. I'm not even sure that it was all that much better than the much earlier British Queen Elizabeth class. Faster, maybe, but with a goofy three-screw design that gave it a weak stern, and I wouldn't fancy the Bismarck's chances against a ship like the USS Washington, to say nothing at all of the New Jersey or Yamato. Considering that the Bismarck was for all practical purposes sunk by a single fabric-covered biplane Swordfish torpedo bomber, I'm not sure the "most powerful" label really applies. And for that matter, I think there are plenty of New Jerseys in kit form already; why not do something wild and make, say, a Brooklyn-class light cruiser, or HMS Onslow, or a German disguised raider like the Atlantis?

Bf 109s! Can I not have more Bf 109s? Surely we've made more models of Bf 109s than there were real Bf 109s, and the prospect of a new 109 just doesn't thrill me.

And I can't go into a hobby shop without having great piles of F-16s and F-18s fall on me. Okay, I can sort of understand that. They're still in use, they are used by many different countries, and they exist in many forms, and they play into a sense of post-9/11 patriotism. But gee whiz. The only F-16 I could imagine myself building for the foreseeable future is a Tiger Meet version, and that just for the wild paint job.

But the one that I think is wildly overdone is the Panther. How many Panthers do we need? How many Panther variants do we need? I don't need any, frankly, and reading about a new Panther kit fills me with a sense of regret for what might have been. We could have had something new and interesting. Some weird, obscure early cold war iron like a Conqueror, or an M103, or a T-10M. But no. Another Panther. We could have had some interesting World War Two subject - a Matilda I, a decent Crusader, an A10, an armored Cat D8, a T-26S - but no, it's another damned Panther. We could have had some interesting interwar thing, like a Medium Mark II or a Medium-D or even one of those weird Soviet things like the "Tank Grote", but no, it's another Panther, and more Zimmerit, and God save us all, a retooled Notek light. It's enough to make a man weep.

How about a reasonably inexpensive injected plastic Discovery from 2001? A VentureStar from Avatar? A decent plastic Federation dreadnought so we don't have to keep carving up our Enterprise kits? A Klingon C8 battlecruiser? A decent Shuttlecraft? A redone Enterprise bridge?

How about a Bomarc? Or a Navajo cruise missile? Or two-stage Black Brant rocket, or a four-stage Scout?

NO! You'll take your new Panther and you'll like it!

Okay. I'll take it. But I don't have to like it.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Pegasus 1/144th scale War of the Worlds diorama. It comes complete with two manta-style war machines, two M4A3E8 Shermans, and a blobby clear plastic piece for the Martian heat ray. The green portions of the war machines are also clear plastic, but I painted them - they're too thick to do the old paint-the-inside-of-them business, but Testors old-school "Sublime Green" goes on nice and smooth even with a brush.

This was actually a lot of fun to build, though it takes only a few minutes to build and you spent most of your time painting. It's made of ABS plastic, I believe, rather that styrene, but the ABS parts for the war machines are commendably smooth and polished. They're so smooth, in fact, that the war machines are difficult to hold on to; they kept shooting out of my fingers like watermelon seeds. I handed one to my wife, and she couldn't hold on to it either. Unfortunately, my first choice of paint, Krylon metallic copper, crazed the plastic considerably, and though I wet-sanded and polished it all smooth, I never got it as smooth as it was when it came out of the box. I ended up painting about six coats of Future floor wax on the completed war machines to try to make them look smooth and alien.

At first, the heat ray seems entirely unconvincing, but I kind of like it now. It has a seam that is impossible to remove, but after I painted it Testors "Mango" (a model car paint) and feathered in some Krylon fluorescent yellow and red, I came to rather like it.

The Shermans aren't half-bad for models that contain exactly four parts each. They could probably benefit from extra details, especially .50-caliber machine guns, but I find that I'm fresh out of 1/144th scale armor accessories. I added some white stars that I found in my decal box, but they turned out to be too small (they're white "kill markings" scavenged from old decals for, I believe, a Soviet La-5FN fighter).

The base is a one-piece ABS casting. The instructions say to paint the three supine guys on the base "white", and that puzzled me for a while. What, since when do Imperial Stormtroopers appear in War of the Worlds? Then I realized they're supposed to be victims of the heat ray, so it seemed logical that they should be surrounded by a charred spot. The script on the nameplate is very slightly raised. I painted the whole area Testors "Sublime Green" and then overcoated it with fragile craft store black flat acrylic, then rubbed the black off the high spots with a damp paper towel. It worked better than I had any right to expect.

Good fun all the way around! Ullah!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Romans and Romulans, Oh My

54mm Aquilifer (eagle-bearer). I think the figure is by Soldiers, but I threw away the box ages ago, so I can't really verify that. I actually started painting this figure several years ago but found the pteruges too demanding. I set it aside pending better ideas, and eventually got back around to it. You can't really tell from this angle, but the face kind of resembles Tony Curtis. Don't let my ham-fisted painting dissuade you; this is an excellent figure. (Just for fun, I painted the vast majority of this figure using old-school Testors paints in the square glass bottles. Vallejo acrylics are apparently the choice of masters these days, and I guess the fact that I didn't choose them means that I'm not a master. I may also be a tightwad, since I happen to have lots of old-school Testors paints on hand and tend to adhere to the "use what I have" school of thought.)

AMT Romulan warbird, seen from the angle of greatest interest. It's an easy kit to build (I built most of it while watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and it's even easier to paint. The decals aren't bad, considering their size. Mine cracked in a few places and I patched them with orange paint that doesn't quite match the decal, but that's life.

I'm greatly heartened that Round 2 is re-releasing many old (and not so old) Star Trek kits. I think the next one will be the Klingon bird of prey.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Been A While

It's been a while since I really finished anything. It's just been too fearfully hot. My workbench is out in the garage, and during the high months of summer, working on a model just isn't a lot of fun. And sometimes it's nice to take a brief break and do something else for a change, like float in the swimming pool and drink altogether too much Newcastle brown ale.

But recently (meaning last week) the weather finally broke. It's still hot, but it's just hot, if you know what I mean, not fearfully, brutally hot. I can go outside without feeling like I've inserted my head in a pizza oven. So this weekend I started cleaning up my workbench, which gets a tad dusty when I'm not there every day, and finished a couple of projects I'd started before it got hot and which waited patiently for me to run out of Newcastle.

The top one is the Enterprise-E. I don't remember the scale, since I threw the box away ages ago. And since I also threw the instructions away ages ago, I wasn't entirely sure what colors were called out. So I simply spray-painted it with Tamiya Japanese Navy grey and added a few other shades of mostly acrylic paint. The decals had become damaged. There was some sort of brownish goo on half of the decal sheet. Spilled iced tea? Spilled Diet Coke? Spilled Newscastle brown ale? Ectoplasm? I have no idea. It took me a while to clean up the decal sheet, and I lost a few, mostly some of the escape pod hatch covers on the underside. It isn't my best work by any means, but as they say, any Star Trek model is better than no Star Trek model.

The dinosaur is the "new" Atlantis Tyrannosaurus Rex. I say "new" because it's really a reissue of an old Revell kit; some of the parts still bear the Revell trademark. I don't think it's particularly correct by the lights of modern research, and it isn't all that easy to assemble either. It absorbed titanic quantities of MEK and super glue, and even my largest wood clamps were unable to close up all the joints. It wasn't easy to paint either. Atlantis says it's molded in a color they call "reptile red". It's more like pumpkin orange. And I live in a desert that fairly teems with reptiles, and none of them were ever pumpkin orange (though there are "scorpion lizards" here with upcurved tails that are almost lemon yellow). Anyway, pumpkin orange is a bitch to cover. I ended up using spray cans for the sake of speed and convenience, and sort of feathered three colors for the undersides, flanks and top. I meant to go back and airbrush more detail, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked the spray can feathering.

So I left the airbrush alone. My compressor is set up right now for air tools anyway, and connecting my aging Model Master airbrush to 90 PSI air would probably not be a good idea. So I just detail-painted it and drew in the "panel lines" with a fine brown felt marker.

A while back I bought a new book about dinosaurs, thinking I'd use it for reference material, but I don't think I care for the paintings in the book. I'm sure they're accurate, or at least plausible, but I just have a hard time dealing with the interpretations of various theropods that make them look like big, pissed-off-looking chickens. So I went for something more green and minimalist. The model is far too large to handle during painting anyway, and I decided that a disruptive camouflage scheme would be harder to pull off than it was worth. And whatever the case, I still think it looks better than pumpkin orange. And I like green dinosaurs. Sue me already.

Next up: I bought the reissue of the classic Star Trek Romulan warbird. That sounds like a winner to me.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Zombie Truck

Sometimes I get stuck on various projects. They're either too hard, or they don't interest me, or I don't have the right paint, or the planets aren't aligned properly. Who knows why, but sometimes I get myself in a position where I simply never finish anything. I've been in that sort of rut lately - building a fair amount, but not finishing anything.

To try to get things moving again, I decided to set myself a mild challenge. I'd just written a 160,000-word novel that was my own take on the ever-popular (and very cliche) zombie apocalypse. One of the "characters" in that novel was a gun truck hastily assembled out of whatever came to hand. I decided to build a model version of the truck that appeared in my novel, building it in the same way that the characters in the novel built it - quickly, roughly, and with whatever came to hand.

The basis was Revell's "Tactical Truck" kit, a rough and fairly crude rendition of what I believe is an M34 six-by truck of roughly 1960s vintage. To supplement the truck, I allowed myself to use whatever I could find in one of my Tupperware junk bins, which included some 1/35th scale armor accessories and a bunch of scrap plastic and wood.

So what have we got? Plastic rod roughly welded across the windows and windshield. Pieces of plastic sheet scabbed onto the doors and roof as applique armor. A crude framework "welded" together to support a plywood roof. Heavy wood planks "bolted" to the sides to keep the evil undead from getting handholds and easily climbing into the truck (I ran out of Grandt Line nut-bolt-washers so you'll have to imagine there are enough bolts). An angled "zombie-catcher" made out of scrap plastic sheet and rod that's intended to keep roadkill zombies from getting into the radiator. Extra lights. A CB radio and a US Army radio that I believe came from a Tamiya Humvee kit.

Not seen in the back of the truck are a 55-gallon drum of fuel, about forty gallons of fuel in jerry cans, forty gallons of water in plastic jerry cans, some MREs, and all the ammunition cans I could find. There's junk on the roof, including a ladder, rope, scrap lumber, and a sand channel I made out of sheet plastic.

There's a .30-caliber Browning machine gun for the shotgun passenger. There's an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon at each "broadside" position. And to deter pursuit, there is a pair of .50-caliber M2 heavy machine guns at the rear corners. There are also various M16s and pistols here and there, and a couple of M60 machine guns thrown onto the roof just in case.

It looks pretty crude, but it was meant to look crude, and it was built in three days. But best of all, it's done. And it made a significant dent in my supply of junk, which isn't a bad thing either.

I think it needs shovels and more spare tires, but I couldn't find any in my junk bin. Life's tough when zombies attack.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

And now, Even More Old Stuff

And still more old stuff. At this rate, I'll run out of things to photograph sometime in the year 2045.

This is a 25mm white metal figure of a "mounted wraith". It's probably by Ral Partha, but I don't remember. Oh, come on, who are we fooling, it's a Nazgul, just going by a different name. I thought the skinned, partially skeletal horse was a fun touch, and I liked the idea of mounting this hideous bloody thing on a pastoral base with trees and grass, sort of a "Extreme Cage-Fighting invades the Shire" kind of effect.

A GHQ 1/24ooth scale wargaming model of the Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku, as it appeared on the morning of December 7th, 1941. Except that the real Zuikaku probably wasn't mounted on a slab of balsa wood...

A tiny ship model intended for wargaming use. This was made by GHQ, and I think it's 1/1200th scale USS Constitution. Funny how it can sail without any crew or rigging at all... But since it's a wargaming model, it's intended to be moved by a wargamer's thick, clumsy fingers, not wind, so who needs a crew, huh? It used to have itty-bitty flags and pennants, but alas, it turns out that 1/1200th scale flags and pennants have a shorter half-life than atoms of Einsteinium.

More wargaming models. These are 1/2400th scale "Micro-Nauts" sold by GHQ. They're fabulously detailed considering their size, though they'll drive you half-mad in assembly, and fully mad in painting. The ship in the foreground is the light cruiser USS Phoenix, CL-46. It survived World War Two and was subsequently sold to Argentina, where it was renamed General Belgrano and eventually sent to Davy Jones's Locker courtesy of the nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror. The ship in the background is the USS Montana, BB-70, a proposed "super-Iowa" battleship with an additional triple 16-inch turret aft. Though some metal was cut and welded, none of the super-Iowas were ever finished, though if memory serves the bow of one was grafted onto one of the Iowas after it was damaged.

Delta Schwarz! I think this was a Dragon or DML 1/16th scale "Delta Force" figure. I built it pretty much out of the box, but decided that I wanted to experiment with a "night urban" camouflage uniform of light grey, intermediate blue and black, with gunship grey webbing.

Friday, June 10, 2011

More Older Stuff

More of my older stuff, posted mostly because I don't currently have anything new worth putting up.

The Ray Harryhausen homage. I had 25mm white metal skeletons. I had a plaster casting of a rock that I picked up during a camping trip in northern Montana. I combined them. The rock casting was going to be a rock face in my oft-contemplated but rarely-worked N-scale railroad layout. Yes, Virginia, there was a time when I thought I'd turn into a model railroader, despite the fact that the only thing I know about trains is that they snarl morning traffic something awful. But in the end, I realized that I liked building the vehicles and structures and didn't particularly enjoy the actual railroad part of the model railroad. Besides, you can't put 25mm skeleton warriors on a model railroad layout. Oh, I suppose you could, but you wouldn't have much credibility with the trainspotters afterwards.

And now, a scene from the movie The Land Before Common Sense. It's a 25mm vignette of a mostly-naked warrior woman type with three "hunting velociraptors", as they were described on the package. Well, why not, I guess. Once you've crossed the line and started making dioramas using Dungeons & Dragons figures, you might as well stop quibbling about things not making a lot of sense.

More 25mm figures, mostly because I like the one in the middle. Women, futuristic motorcycles, and automatic rifles - it's like a "guy movie" all by itself. The one on the left is supposed to be a witch, I think, but mostly she looks annoyed, as though she's tired of having to sweep up after the others all the time.

This is the oldest figure in my collection. It was called "The Ultimate ATV", but that's all I remember. It's top-heavy and it falls over a lot, and every time it does, another piece flies off and vanishes.

The oldest "serious" historical miniature in my collection. It's from Post Militaire, and it purports to be a Japanese general somewhere in Korea, which I imagine makes him unpopular with the Koreans. It's so old it was painted mostly with old Polly-S paints - remember those? I copied the Japanese characters on the banner from a book about the samurai. It supposedly reads "The Men of High Purpose Stand for Such-and-Such A Thing" but my inexpert copying probably turned it into "Onionskin Underpants Make Terrible Umbrellas".

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Older Stuff

I don't have anything new to post, so I thought I'd post some pictures of some of my older work.

Countess Karnstein. I think the manufacturer was Soldat, alas, long since out of business. This was in a brief phase where I thought I might specialize in largish-scale resin fantasy figures. The main downsides of these sorts of figures are that they're fairly expensive, and they're somewhat hard to explain to friends who don't actually go in for this sort of thing.

A German 120mm mountain soldier, manufacturer unknown (but it might have been Verlinden). Yes, he's missing the barrel of his MP-40, which one might say ausgeschnappened off. This was in a phase where I thought I might specialize in largish-scale resin historical miniatures (or "toy soldiers", as some in my family insist). As a matter of personal choice I don't often do models of SS soldiers or equipment, but this is one of my exceptions.

Another one of my quirks - I like to make small dioramas out of small models that are normally intended for tabletop wargaming. Here we have a European Combine Cyber-Tank (foreground) bypassing a disabled and burning Ogre. The Ogre has a couple of shot holes through the glacis, and the smoke is steel wool. I modified the Cyber-Tank by hacking off the two blunt and unimpressive main guns and equipping it with a new main gun made out of brass tubing. I don't remember who made these white-metal models, but they're intended for use with the classic wargames from Metagaming called Ogre and GEV.

Say it isn't so! A small sampling of my extensive collection of 25mm white-metal figures intended for games like Dungeons & Dragons and Shadowrun. Yes, I have played a fair amount of D&D in my day, but I never actually played Shadowrun because I could never figure out the rules. But they had great figures, like the greenish Mohawked ogre who's carrying the Vickers machine gun as his primary weapon.

More of my 25mm figures. I think most of these are from Ravenloft and Shadowrun. I don't paint many of these figures any more since my local game store did my budget a huge favor and went out of business. I bought a boxful of their old stock for pennies on the dollar when they were closing up and I still have a few I haven't painted, but for the most part 25mm figures are a taste I rarely indulge these days.