29 October 2014

Captain Rogers Stealth Suit - Prepwork (V)

While the rework spotlighted in the last posting is still very much underway (~80% done, give or take), there are other items on the to-do list remaining to be finished and prepped. And now there is one less: the left arm has been permanently attached to the torso! I am now definitely on the homestretch!

Stay tuned!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

27 October 2014

Captain Rogers Stealth Suit - Prepwork (IV)

Regrettably, I am now behind schedule on this piece. As I indicated in the last posting, the time had come where surface work would be the order of the day, and a necessary corrective measure has bogged me down.

There is a padded area on the back of the lower thighs, right above the bend of the knee. This area is rather involved, as you can see:


In my sample, the detail-in-relief was virtually non-existent, the product of a 'soft cast'. I will hasten to add that even if I had noticed this when first inspecting the kit, I probably would not have returned it for a replacement as soft casts are pretty much a fact of life with PV kits. BUT, the fact remains that the area must be resculpted to restore the original pattern. Hence, the dearth of any updates.

The good news is that I should be back on track by the end of the weekend, so hopefully updates will be much more frequent going forward. . . 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

25 October 2014

Notable Acquisitions October 2014

KITS  
Aurora Man from U.N.C.L.E.: Napoleon Solo (1/12th? scale, ???)
Dark World Creations Citi-Def Trooper (70mm, Fabricio Torres)
Master Box Ltd. Zombie Hunter: "Road to Freedom" (Zombieland series; 1/35th scale, A. Gagarin)

Master Box Ltd.'s Zombie Hunter: Road to Freedom

Master Box Ltd. (hereafter MBL), a Ukrainian manufacturer of some of the more unique and inno- vative plastic scale model kits in the marketplace with, until recently, a focus on WWII subjects, has the distinct honour of being the first to offer a plastic diorama kit of a non-historical, ‘fantasy’ nature:  Zombie Hunter: Road to Freedom. This is the premier release in their proposed Zombieland series set in a post-apocalyptic world. 



The kit, executed in 1/35th scale, is comprised of 5 figures sculpted/designed? by A. Gagarin: the Zombie Hunter (huntress, more accurately) and four of the prey (or vice versa?). MBL is very candid about the fact that, curiously, the kit does not provide a critical and integral element of the diorama, namely the motorcycle. By not including the motorcycle, MBL is allowing the modeller to choose for him/herself the motorcycle of his/her choice. A selection of suggested kits from various manufacturers (seven!—including one from MBL) is provided below the kit breakdown on the bottom of the box.

A few thoughts on this at-first-glance glaring omission, if I may. MBL currently has but one motor- cycle in their catalog: a WWII-vintage German BMW R75. This, in fact, is the m/c our belea- guered huntress is depicted riding on the boxart. BUT. . . what is a WWII-era German m/c doing in the Zombie Apocalypse? Granted, even if this were not a fantasy scenario, any number of backstories can be had with little if any effort; but the fact remains—if we allow reality to rear its head for a moment—that this would hardly be a first-choice for any number of reasons.

Another incontrovertible fact is that, afaik, there are but two modern m/c in production in 1/35th scale: Dragon’s Kawasaki KLR250 and Tamiya’s Honda XLR250. The former can be made but passable with A LOT(!) of work, which leaves us with basically one choice if we want to avoid the obvious, albeit explainable, anachronism: Tamiya’s Honda. Having said that, if you know your way around a m/c, enjoy modelling in this scale, and despise whiny off-roaders, any of the cur- rently available H-D WLA’s (MiniArt, Tamiya, Italeri) would make a nice base for a tricked-out, post-war conversion.


Enough of what isn’t in the kit! The figures, especially that of the Huntress, are quite nice: cleanly molded with sharp detail/s. Those who are familiar with the genre will immediately identify her with Milla Jovovich’s Alice, from the Resident Evil franchise—specifically, as she appeared in the third installment, Extinction. In fact, one could build a vignette from a scene in that movie—IF there were a 1/35th scale BMW K1200R in the marketplace!

The zombies aren’t bad, but they aren’t great either—nature of the beast, actually. It will be up to the painter to sell what they are. Curiously, there is another nod to the RE franchise, this time the fourth installment, Afterlife: the split and extendable maxillae and mandibles (part #7) of the zombie repairman/mechanic. This little extra, thankfully provided as a separate piece and essen- tially optional, is not shown on the boxart (Valery Petelin, 2014): it appears to have been included as an afterthought.

Though 1/35th is an annoyingly small scale (that’s the disgruntled lament of age, folks!), some of the best Modern resin accessories (and full kits!) on the market today are being made in this scale thanks to the efforts of Live Resin. If there is such a thing as perfection in our corner of the world, this is it! Which brings us to my supply inventory for this project to date:

MANUFACTURER
Stock #
Item Description
Master Box Ltd.
35175
Zombie Hunter: Road to Freedom (Zombieland series)
Tamiya
35245
JGSDF Motorcycle Reconnaissance Set
Lion Roar
LE35081
XLR250 PE Detail Set
Tamiya
35266
Modern US Military Equipment Set
Live Resin
LR35031
M9 Pistols

LR35036
Empty BlackHawk CQC SERPA Pistol Holster

LR35104
ESS Crossbow goggles/Ballistic Eyeshields

LR35155
US Army Scepter Fuel Canisters

And that about wraps it up. If the subject matter appeals to you, then by all means get this kit: you will not be disappointed! I, for one, am very much looking forward to the next release—if only to get a better idea of where MBL is heading with their laudable initiative. 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

23 October 2014

Solo -- Pre-Prep

Squeezing-in what little time I can at the bench, Napoleon Solo is now pre-assembled; i.e., all the sub-assemblies have been completed and filled: all but the head with PUR; the head with MS. And I have modeled the core of what will be Napoleon's neck in MS, and have drilled out the neck opening in the now-filled torso. Just a few hours of relaxed modeling. . .

FOLLOW-UP . . . The left leg has been fitted--but not attached--to the torso, shimmed with MS to adjust the drapery of the jacket. UPDATE 25.10.2014 - The left leg has been now permanently attached.

UPDATE 24.10.2014 - The head is now pegged and provisionally attached to the torso, awaiting the neck build-out. I have narrowed the shoulders somewhat to create a more linear cut to the jacket. 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

22 October 2014

GRAIL KIT!

Almost fifty years ago, around 1966, Aurora (Plastics Corp.) secured The Man from U.N.C.L.E. license from MGM. As much of a fan of the show as I was, I never built either of the two figure kits associated with the franchise--though my friend across the street had them both. I guess I must have spent my hard-earned US 98 cents (plus tax!) on the Forgotten Prisoner of Castel- Maré released that same year (nb: this was the only new horror kit released in 1966; it was the last of the long-box releases; and it was created and copyrighted by 'Famous Monsters of Film- land'!), though it was also about that time that my interests began to turn to AFVs and A/C. . . 

Nostalgia being what it is, I was bitten by the U.N.C.L.E. bug a few years back: seeing David McCallum as a regular on NCIS with allusions to his Illya days certainly didn't help matters. Thus was the game afoot once again! I'll save you the boring details of the seemingly endless quest (read: never managed to close the deal); but last week perseverance finally paid off, and I am now the delighted owner of an original 1966 kit of Napoleon Solo. Admittedly, it is a somewhat incom- plete kit as the left hand (part #22) and the single-piece plant (part #20) are missing, but it is otherwise complete--and pristine.

Thinking back on why I never built these back-in-the day, the introductory quip notwithstanding, I frankly never liked them. The composition and staging were awkward--at best! Talk about over- basing!! Illya was literally hidden [from view] behind a lamppost; and the likenesses were horrible! Now. . . how bad must they have been for an 8-year old (almost 9) to pass on models of two of the coolest characters on TV!! 

So why get them now? Nostalgia--and the fact that I intend to spend a lot of time getting this kit 'up to speed' while conserving the Aurora 'feel'. Hence, why the two missing pieces were not an issue. With episodes from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. playing in the background, there are some guaranteed good times ahead. . .    

"Open Channel D. . . "

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

14 October 2014

DWC's 70mm Citi-Def Trooper

A week ago, I posted a teasingly cryptic announcement of an as-yet-to-be-announced kit that had found its way to my workbench thanks to the bountiful generosity of an overseas manufac- turer. And today, I received the all-clear to not only identify the mysterious figure; but more importantly, recognize the purveyor of the same.

Before me is the latest creation from Aaron Ishmael (bka as Rin) and Dark World Creations: a 70mm Citi-Def Trooper from their 2000AD series, sculpted by Fabricio Torres (Judge Anderson). The Citi-Def's were the Mega-cities' Citizen's Defense units. . . think of Civil Defense and National Guard rolled into one at the "block" level--but with a minimalist's approach when it comes to professionalism and common sense. "The typical view of the Citi-Def soldier is of a man who barely knows one end of a spit gun from the other and, pumped up on action vids on the Tri-D, attempts to live out his fantasies by joining the only military option open to citizens." This less- than-stellar characterization places them a step removed from the gangs.

I will be the first to admit that a Citi-Def figure was not very high on my want list. Though an integral part of the Mega-Cities and their component blocks, they have rarely been at the prota- gonist level of any story or arc. . . more at background filler. This leads to the second 'problem'--depending on your pov: there is no colour-scheme per se! If you want to do the Citi-Def of a particular block, you can pretty much make-up your own colour scheme!!

As I understand it, this figure will not be a 2014 release. As of this writing, there are but 5 in existence: the other four went to some very lucky patrons at Euro. I have been cleared by Rin to treat this figure as if it were TBR'd, and he in turn has been given like clearance by 2000AD. So this is all above board. And as such, here is your first preview of this gem of a kit!


Please note that I have omitted the standard logo'd (2000AD) circular plinth, and the right arm has already been permanently attached. I have also modified the knife (NOTE: NOT included in the production kit!), filling in the clip-point to a make a spear-point; and pegged the left hand.

As I said, a gem of a kit--in all respects!!!--that begs to be painted! I will be doing mine as a Citi-Def trooper; that being said, it undoubtedly lends itself to any number of near-futuristic combatants. This figure is on the board to be completed for the Atlanta Show in February.

Stay tuned!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

12 October 2014

Captain Rogers Stealth Suit - Prepwork (III)

It is now down to the nitty-gritty, where mods to the PV itself will be involved. As noted earlier, this is not recommended unless you have the right tools and the confidence and skills to see your mods through to a satisfactory conclusion.

First up were the patch pockets on the combat trousers. These were provided as simple patch pockets, with no accordion folds; however, Cap's trousers had a distinctive, muted red accordion fold. First, an initial slash/"trench" should be cut into the pocket itself. The accordion panels are then built-up on either side of the cut, and finished accordingly.

Today's session was concluded by cleaning the ventral surface of the right arm: the arm is now ready to be permanently attached to the torso. UPDATE 14.10.2014 - DONE!!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

07 October 2014

???????

Yes, the onslaught at work continues. And yes, any major strides at the bench have hit a brick wall. That being said, it does not mean that a significant amount of activity has not been under- way since the weekend. The question is. . . on what?!

And, regrettably, at this time I am not free to elaborate, much less reveal. Let me just say that a most generous bit of 'lagniappe' made it's way across the Pond after this year's Euro, and I have before me an OEM casting of a yet-to-be-announced release!

The casting is as perfect as I have seen this year! Every one of the 10 pieces comprising this kit (including the logo'd base) is virtually good to go. This does not mean there are no seam lines: they're there, but you HAVE to look for them.

This is as good as it gets! And the icing on the cake is that it's a very attractive figure to boot! Let me put this way. . . it's an experienced painter's dream, but it is a figure that I would not hesitate to recommend to a beginner--or use in a painting class!

As soon as I get the "all clear" from the manufacturer, I will post more; but for now, I hope I have piqued your interest!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

01 October 2014

Captain Rogers Stealth Suit - Prepwork (II-2)

While inspecting my cured, yet-to-be finished neck, I noticed that there was no "seam" indicating the "crew neck" border of the opening of the stand-up collar; i.e., the combat suit flowed seam- lessly into the mock-turtle of the undergarment. UNACCEPTABLE!

So the molded mock-turtle is now history. All that remains of the original neck area is the man- 
darin/stand-up collar. If the medium were resin, one might be able to scribe a line at the base of the mock-turtle, and call it day; however, being that it is vinyl, one is much better off eliminating the mock-turtle altogether. I have already resculpted the mock-turtle directly onto the neck, and will finish accordingly by the end of the weekend. DONE!! The head/neck will then be an indepen- dent stand-alone item that can be painted separately and simply plugged into place once the in- side of the collar is painted.

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003