Saturday, May 29, 2010

US Marine 75mm GMC half track

This a fairly well known photo of what at first glance appears to be an M3 75mm GMC. In fact, it's been captioned in books as such and even built that way in model form. When the photo is studied a bit more carefully, one finds the tell tale stowage doors on the sides of the body giving away instantly, that this is the smaller, M2 chassis. Whats left of the windshield frame is still attached to a cut up skate rail, seen just through the drivers open door top. There are quite a few 'custom' mounted machine guns as well as the antenna mount.

Considering the gun shield makes passing between the cab and the crew compartment virtually impossible, the rear compartment of the M2 would make a horrible choice for this configuration as unlike the larger M3 chassis, it lacks any rear door. The M4/M4A1 half track however, a variant based on the M2 chassis did have a rear door, making this a possible base vehicle to build this odd conversion. With that in mind I grabbed two kits and decided to cut them up and make one.

The biggest hurdle is right off the bat, cutting these two crew compartments up and joining them seamlessly. They need to be straight and true if this is to come out right. After many test fits until I was satisfied, it was all placed dry fit to the chassis and tacked in place with a little glue. Once that set up enough to remove, I added a new rear floor and finished gluing the rear body assembly and set it aside to dry.

While the rear body dried, I assembled the cab without the windshield. The model part is cast completely in clear, which after masking off the glass panels, gets painted. Cutting this part up was out of the question, so I scratch built the remanining frame in place and attached it to the skate rail. To match the photo, I cut the skate rail and the top of the windshiled frame away to clear room for the gun barrel. There is still much work to go into the gun as it was just dry fit for these photos but it gives a sense of where this is heading.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A little update on the Dodge

...and I do mean little.

Here are just some quick photos, experimenting with a white backdrop, just to prove I am still plugging away. I've also started on another odd half track variant but I'll wait for a bit more progress before showing any of that. As a teaser I will mention that is a fairly well known photo of a Marine 75mm GMC based on the smaller M2/M4 chassis, instead of the longer M3 and that it will require cutting up two kits and merging them into one but I digress.

Although these last posts here haven't been my usual step by step postings, documenting the steps in intervals, the complete build and subsequent painting parts of the Dodge can be seen on my youtube channel here: as well as other videos as well. Shooting, editing and all of that takes a bit of my time so this blog has suffered a bit. I am still trying to find balance but sometimes deadlines can have an effect on that. As I think I mentioned in an earlier post, this is an entry to an online contest that ends late in June, at which point I may have more time to spend here with some more detailed builds. Until then, I will also be posting videos of the weathering of the Dodge in the near future and it's final mounting on a base.

Here is where it stands, in a protective gloss coat, all ready to get weathered. It's actually here in the build process where the model takes on a very 'toy-like' appearance, which is mainly due to the gloss coat. Once weathered and flat coated, this will all change quite drastically.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Too busy modeling to post updates...


and I apologize for that but I am modeling.

Aside from four commissioned builds through repeat customers on Ebay (which wont be posted here) I have been very busy at the bench. Most recently my time has been spent on four different projects I have been working on with Woody Vondracek of Archer Fine Transfers. I have recently had four separate transfer sheets released for the Allied half track, two for M3 75mm GMC tank destroyers, one for a Darby's Rangers vehicle in Italy, HERE the other the 3rd Marine division in Bougainville HERE. Prior to that there were two other releases, two M3A1 half tracks, one from the 62nd field artillery batt. HERE and another from the 12th armored division HERE. For the Allied half track builder these may come in handy for creating vehicles not offered in the kit box and let it be known there are more sets in the works.

Now, lets talk plastic.

One project that I have been slowly plugging away on in the back ground is my Ambush scene, which will show a buttoned up M3A3 light tank in British markings being tracked by a couple of German soldiers. It has been a while since I have painted Oak Leaf and/or Plain Tree German camouflage patterns and I am looking forward to it. This is the tank as it sits today, decals applied and a gloss coat ready for weathering.

I still have many things to do but this might give you a feel for where the scene is heading. The figures have only begun to get assembled, the groundwork is a mere start to what it will eventually look like and the tank itself still needs a lot of work. The toothpicks represent the placement of the future fence posts and there may also be some things leaning against the fence, with ivy and such growing throughout it, to help hide the soldiers position from the front. This will really lend itself to the title 'Ambush' as the only way I want to figures visible, is when the scene is viewed from the back.

Then there is my XX Corps M2A1 in Belgium, another long time side project I have been working on here and there. It is a very interesting vehicle when one studies the photos carefully, although at a quick glance it appears to be a run of the mill M2A1, but it is not and I have done what I could to represent those features that make it stand out which are not called out in the kits instructions. I may actually feature a more detailed build later either here, or for another site. Whatever I decide to do the final, finished pictures will get posted here as this isn't the first time I have mentioned this build and it wouldn't be fair to leave those of you following in the dark. If it does get written up as an article for another site, I will of course, include a link.

I still have a ton of work to do here as well, as all of the separate sub assemblies are merely dry fit together for this update. You can see various stages of weathering taking place as some of the white wash is brighter than other areas. When all is said and done, it will represent what the vehicle might have looked like long after those photos were taken. I have also used a bit of artistic license by placing some scratch built stowage on the fenders not seen in the pictures...

but stowage is sort of my 'thing' and I just couldn't help my self.

I have also started a brand new project for an online competition and I'm keeping it rather small, due to the two month time frame allotted for the build. This will feature a 3/4 ton Dodge command car with a soldier lounging in the back seat with a bottle and a smoke, under the shade of a tree. I may use the 82 Airborne markings that come with the kit in which case I will need to add some sculpted pockets to the soldiers pants. We'll see what happens after I start slinging the paint.

Last but certainly not least is another side project that I may have mentioned here at one time or another. This isn't really armor per say, nor is it really aircraft. I suppose in a galaxy far, far away, it might be considered a combination of both? I still need to give the whole model a dull coat, finish the R2 unit and seat the pilot but it's nearing completion. I took a little liberty with the paint scheme as I didn't want to portray any particular vehicle from any of the movies, so the yellow on the wings is artistic license. I'm not worried about someone digging up photos of these in action though to call me out on my improper paint scheme. We're talking about science fiction after all.

As I have mentioned before, clicking on the pictures should greatly increase their size, allowing you to nit pick the details. You can either right click and 'open in new window' and then close that window when done, or left click and use the back button to return here to the blog. Thanks for looking in and as always, comments, questions, critiques and anything else is always welcome