Monday, November 9, 2020

These aren't the droids you're looking for...


The term "droid" is a registered trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd, and is the Star Wars universe equivalent of the word "robot". Star Wars droids come in a wide variety of forms, but most if not all, seem to be installed with some degree of artificial intelligence and personality.

I personally use the term loosely to refer to all cute, quirky, or comic relief robots from popular media. The majority of the various miniature versions of such robots that I've collected are droids from the Star Wars line of MicroMachines made by Galoob.

The first group of figures include four R-series astromech droids – one standalone, and three others on a single base. The fourth droid on the group base is a mining droid, followed by a gonk power droid (a couple of 1/72 resin kit from RetrokiT and Green Strawberry Models are available, but I don't know how they compare in size to the MicroMachines version). The last two figures are a LE-series repair droid and a ASP-series general-purpose labor droid.

R2-D2, R1-G4, R2-D2, R5-D4, LIN-V8K, GNK, LE-BO2D9, ASP-7

The next image has three 3PO humanoid protocol droids and an assassin droid. The 3PO droids are tiny, and seem to be 1/87 scale. I think the E-3PO droid is a custom repaint or factory error of C-3PO since I don't think that there was an actual MicroMachines version of E-3PO.

C-3PO, C-3PO (god mode), E-3PO, IG-88

The droids that I like the most from the MicroMachines line are the B1 battle droids.


The duplicate poses are from the various playsets, and are distinguished from the standard figures by having a small hole through the middle of the base.


The battle droids are most likely 1/76 scale, so may appear somewhat under height, but overall, they still look fine with 1/72 figures.


Larger scale battle droids were made for the Star Wars Action Fleet line, but they don't have the spindly look of the droids from the films. I think that the S.T.A.P. (Single Trooper Aerial Platform) looks okay with the smaller figure riding it, so I'm fine with calling it 1/72 scale.


I have two other Action Fleet droids from the Pod Racer Hangar Bay set. Both are DUM-series pit droids. The tan colored droid has the pivoting hips of the typical Action Fleet figure, while the brown droid is a fixed pose figure.


At 21mm in height, they are about 1 scale foot taller than they should be, but I'm willing to let that pass.

In metal, Ground Zero Games makes a WorkBot pack (SG15-V13), with three small robots who are expys of R2D2, WALL•E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class), and Dewey (or Louie) from Silent Running.

I misplaced the other miniatures, but had WALL•E on the workbench for quite some time awaiting modifications.


The front and rear of the model are not really close to the Pixar design, but it's not a big deal to me.


I wanted a little better detail on the models, so I added some eyes and upgraded the arms.


Then I carved out some rudimentary hands from plastic sprue and glued them to the arms, but had to widen them with plastic strip because I went overboard with my file.

I glued some plastic scraps littering the workbench into a rough square as a load of waste for my second robot to carry.


Some plastic strip that I marked with a Sharpie was added to the arms, and an unmarked strip was added to the rear.


The figure on the left fell on the floor, and the head ended up tilted, but it actually looks pretty good that way.



Not as good as the 1:1 version created by Mike McMaster, but close enough for me.




Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Those Meddling Kids


Scooby Doo is a cartoon that has been around for the last 50 years, with the latest installment just released earlier last month. 

Elhiem makes a set of 1970's Style Teen/twentys Pesky Kids and Great Dane (HIP04) based on the characters, but name them after their incarnations as the Mysteries Five (from left to right) Kelly, Geoff, Linda, W.W., and Too Much.


Too Much has an elongated muzzle as in the cartoon. The character designer Iwao Takamoto intentionally gave Scooby a look that was almost the antithesis of an actual Great Dane. The flanks were a bit flat with angular edges, so I smoothed the lines down a bit before painting. The only thing that was missing was his collar. I would have added one, but I already primed the figure before I noticed it was missing.

I chose a darker color palette for painting because I wanted to replicate the saturated look from an old CRT television. Most pictures on the web show a much brighter palette, but that didn't seem to fit for a show with elements of mystery and the supernatural.


I think I was pretty faithful to the original look except with Daphne where I swapped the colors of her stockings and dress trim because I thought it looked better that way.

The Mystery Machine that the kids drive around in is a van of indeterminate type.


Matchbox has a 1/74 4X4 Chevy Van that is decked out as the Mystery Machine. The model is based on their '75 Chevy Van, which I wrote about in a previous post.


The first thing I wanted to do was to replace the oversized wheels and undercarriage with the ones from a regular van.

I took apart both vans using the standard technique of diecast car customizers.


These vans only have a single post in front, and are held by a pair of hooks in the back. The normal van comes with a nice interior, whereas the 4X4 only has the undercarriage.


I think the hooks are slightly different for the two models because I couldn't get the normal van body to fit on the 4X4 undercarriage.


I'm still trying to find a spare tire to mount on the front of the model.




Sunday, October 25, 2020

Chenillette de ravitaillement de l'infanterie

The Renault UE Chenillette was an interwar period light tractor used by the French military.


The upgraded modèle 1937 R was licensed by Romania, while an armed version was exported to China.


I've seen several sources describe the machine gun on the armed version as being a 7.7mm MAC model 1936, but I can find no evidence that such a gun exists (though I don't claim to have much knowledge of French machine guns).

On the other hand, Tankomaster (issue 5, 2004), and some Chinese language sources identify the gun as the 7.5mm MAC mitrailleuse modèle 1931.

Make of that what you will, but all kinds of mistakes are propagated on the Interwebz because people only look at information from one source and pass it on at face value.

S-Model makes a very nice quick build version of this vehicle in 1/72 scale, but identifies the machine gun as the 7.92mm Hotchkiss modèle MH5.


The kit contains two identical models of two sprues each. The larger sprue is probably the same as the one for their regular Chenillette UE, except the part for the upper hull has been removed.


The smaller sprue contains a modified upper hull with casemate, and the MH5 heavy barrel which looks pretty much like what is shown in photos of the actual vehicle. Of the 21 parts, 18 are used in the model.

Nationalist Chinese markings are also included.


I needed to do some sanding and filling to remove ejection marks on parts A4 and A7. I filled in the hollow portions of parts A10 and A11 that would be visible after assembly.


I also had to file down the attachment points for parts A10 and A12 so that they would fit easier, but you could also just make the corresponding sockets larger.



The built up model is tiny, and unfortunately the machine gun on my model was lost to the carpet monster. 




I'm currently trying to decide on how to paint this model. The two-color scheme on the box art has been widely used by modelers, but I've also found a color scheme in the Illustrated Guide to Chinese Tanks of the Sino-Japanese War (抗日战争中国军队坦克装甲车辆图鉴) that is similar to a four-color Solomon pattern camouflage scheme.


I'm personally leaning toward a three-color pattern, but I'll have to make the final decision after I create a new machine gun for the model.