Saturday, September 29, 2012

AMT Boss Nova

AMT's Boss Nova drag car kit.  I've always liked this kit and I've been meaning to build it for a long time.  I stripped the chrome parts with oven cleaner a few years ago, but other than that it's been sitting in its box for ages.

It's a mixed bag, really.  Most of the chassis is simplified to the point of being toylike, and the tires really deserve to be replaced.  But the engine has nice detail, and I really liked the "Chrysler Firepower" engraving on the hemi's valve covers.  It also comes with a variety of induction schemes, including a blower and crossed fuel injection, but I selected the eight-carburetor setup because I like that "forest of carburetors" effect (and the carbs aren't bad - all I did was drill out their throats).

I wired the distributor, but routing spark plug wires in a realistic manner isn't my strong suit.  I added a few other details - some entirely bogus fuel tank plumbing, a coil, and a tank of some sort I found and glued to the back of the firewall.  It could have used better seat belts and cans/wiring on the back of the instrument panel, at least, but I didn't get that far.  Most of the decals are what came with the kit, the only exception being the Goodyear tire markings that I got from a Slixx sheet.  I also drilled out the headers, but otherwise they're as they were supplied by the kit.

The paint is mostly Testors two-part lacquer spray paint, with various metallic paints on the engine (burn iron metalizer on the headers and Humbrol bronze on the carburetors), brass metalizer on the wheels, and Bare-Metal Foil for the window trim and rocker panels.  I tried to save the chrome plating on the grill and bumper parts, but I ended up having to strip, sand and repaint the grill insert.

The best part of the kit is the Chrysler hemi engine; the rest is downhill from there.  But it was still fun.

Mirage T26S

This is the Mirage 1/72nd scale Russian T26S tank - probably a medium tank in its day, but more like a light tank by the outbreak of World War Two.  It's quite a kit, comprising just about a million parts and incorporating a lot of detail for such a small model (64 parts in the running gear alone).  

It isn't fun to build.  The plastic is very soft and easily damaged with solvent cement, and the profusion of small parts makes patience not just a virtue but an actual necessity.  I needed extra light, reading glasses, and better tweezers to finish this kit.  And there are fit problems - in particular, a gap where the upper glacis meets the front of the hull, and another wide gap between the halves of the driver's hatch.  But these fit problems may have been self-inflicted; there aren't a lot of positive location pins or tabs and it's entirely possible I misaligned something while I was building it.  The tracks are also hard to work with.  I'm used to vinyl tracks, and actually prefer them over link-and-length styrene tracks, but these seemed especially slippery and disinclined to hold paint.

But while it isn't exactly fun to build, it's pretty satisfying to build.  There's nothing simplified about it and when one finishes it, one has a sense of actually having struggled and overcome.

I was going to paint it green and then give it a winter whitewash, but I liked the green (I used Model Master "Soviet Armor Green") so I killed the gloss with Dullcote and brushed on some ground-up pastels and called it good.  The kit contained no decals and I chose not to try to paint any patriotic Cyrillic slogans, mostly because my eyes still hurt from assembling the suspension.  (I really wanted to paint it as though it were a Republican T26 in the Spanish Civil War, but I don't think they used any T26Ss.)

Viewing my unbuilt kits, it seems that I must have had a thing for Vickers Six-Tonners at some point.  I have four Mirage Six-Tonners, a 7TP (a Polish derivative of the Six-Tonner) and this T26S (a Russian derivative of the Six-Tonner).  

The brief summary:  tricky and kind of difficult to build, but I'm glad I built it.

Those Horse Guys

I've always liked painting 25mm figures.  Back when I played Dungeons & Dragons, back in the late 1970s and 1980s, 25mm figures were not especially common - at least in my neck of the woods - and I hadn't really discovered tabletop wargaming (I was still playing Tobruk and PanzerBlitz with cardboard counters, and liked it that way).  But since, I've found that I like itty-bitty 25mm figures, even though I don't really play D&D any more and haven't done any tabletop wargaming since I got out of the hospital.

(Explanation:  While I was in the hospital waiting for my transplanted bone marrow to start making blood cells again, I made some trireme and bireme ships out of pieces of paper, and drew rulers and dice on other pieces of paper and amused myself for several days refighting the battle of Actium.)

Anyway - I have no idea where these figures came from.  I just painted them, glued them to a piece of wood, and made landscape with model railroad stuff.  I don't even cut off the bases; I just build up the ground with putty or drywall compound until the bases are hidden.  All I really know about them is that they're 25mm figures, and they were fun to paint.