Saturday, September 29, 2018

Hot Wheels M12 Warthog

The Hot Wheels Warthog was first produced in 2017 as part of the premium Replica Entertainment Series, along with a version for the more budget conscious HW Screen Time Series.

There are two versions of the Replica Entertainment Warthog. One is a standard olive vehicle with tinted windscreen, while the other is an Urban Warthog with tan and brown camouflage. These models have a metal chassis and a metal body, making them much heavier than the Screen Time versions. They also have larger rubber wheels which give them more ground clearance.

There are also two versions of the Screen Time Warthogs. One comes in olive with a clear windscreen, and the other is a black Oni Warthog. These models have a metal body on a plastic chassis, and plastic wheels.

The Hot Wheels vehicle is smaller and less detailed than the Micro Ops Warthog. The M41 machine gun mounted on the Hot Wheels Warthog is particularly disappointing.

However, given that the Micro Ops Warthog is no longer in production and selling for crazy prices on eBay, the Hot Wheels vehicle is really the only option for an affordable Warthog.

The Hot Wheels Warthog is as big as a 1/72 Matchbox Hummer (although the wheelbase is shorter), making the size similar to that of the real life Warthog commissioned by 343i back in 2012.

In any event, I prefer the Warthog to be scaled for normal sized humans as opposed to 7' Übermensch, since I'm repurposing them for my own games as opposed to using them for some recreation of Halo.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

4D Assembly Models

Yet another company is producing models using the 4D model name. I don't think it is the same company (Hehexing, 合和兴) that made the S-300PMU that I wrote about in 2015, but it's often difficult to figure out the brand names of these type of products from China.

The packaging says 4D 拼装模型 (4D Pinzhuang Moxing; 4D Assembly Model), but I've seen the brand indicated elsewhere as DIY or 拼装 (Pinzhuang).

The models produced by the company include a Kfz. 305 Opel Blitz and a HMMWV M1046. Each model is available in either dark green or tan plastic.

16 pieces

15 pieces

There is also a HMMWV utility vehicle in the series, though I've only seen it available on Taobao so far.

Assembly is quick, and can be completed in a couple of minutes. The models include a couple of small steel weights to add some heft.

I believe that the plastic is ABS, but the parts fit very tightly so no glue is required for assembly.

The models are very toy-like due to the simplified details and shiny plastic.

The M1046 is rather unique because I don't think I've ever seen a model of a HMMWV with the Red Dot air conditioning unit on the back.

As far as scale goes, the 4D Kfz. 305 seems to be undersized when compared to the Hobby Master Opel Blitz.

The cab of the 4D model is a bit smaller than the one for the Hobby Master model, but it is the bed of the truck that really makes their difference in size apparent.

The 4D models M1046 seems to be a bit larger than the Dragon HMMWV.

However, the M1046 sits ~1mm closer to the ground because the suspension is not as high as on the Dragon model.

The tan model does not seem to have the tube of the TOW missile launcher hollowed out like the green model.

The 4D Kfz. 305 and M1046 are pretty much toys, and of limited use to modelers since there are plenty of better models of both subjects in 1/72 scale. They seem well suited for wargaming though, being easy to assemble and quite sturdy. I'm sure they would look quite good with a little paint and weathering.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Kumonga (クモンガ) is a kaiju from the Godzilla franchise known to English-speaking audiences as Spiga, and inspiration for the Arduin creature of that later name.


All The World's Monsters, Volume 2

The original spider is described as being 45m in height and 45m in length.

Kumonga 1967

The more recent version is described as 35m in height and 60m in length.

Kumonga 2004

Hargrave is said to have envisioned the spiga as having a body almost 50' long, but since there is a range of HD for these spiders, I imagine that there are others that are a lot smaller.

SPIGA: HD: 5+1 to 24+1; AC: 2 to 2+5; Speed: 16" to 36"; Dext: 18 to 24; Numbers: 1 to 4; % Liar: 95%; Attacks: 2 leg hits for 1-4 to 3-36, 1 bite for 1-6 to 4-48, plus a paralyzing venom that is 1/2 of the Spiga's HD or 1 web (a 25' to 90' long by 15' to 45' wide cone). The web will hold anything caught in it equal to its own HD plus 50%. Looks: Metallic silver, gold, or blue giant armored spiders. Notes: They are 50% magik resistant, 100% lightning, fire, poison/venom, and paralysis proof. Cold does 50% more damage. They are cruel and intelligent and hate humans.

The Arduin Grimoire, Volume 1

I chose plastic Warhammer Giant Spiders from the Forest Goblin Spider Rider set to represent my spiga (which I guess might fall in the 5-8 HD category). There are a total of eight spiders in the kit.

The eight spiders can be sorted into four varieties based primarily on differences between their abdominal carapaces.

Three of the four varieties look like proper giant spiders, but I felt the fourth with the skull pattern on the back was a bit hokey (says the person painting garish metallic colored spiders).

The models are single piece, so no assembly is required, but I modified some of them so that their forelegs were in different positions. I might modify the rear legs on some of the spiders later as well.

Spiga poised to attack or cast spells.

Overall, I like the spiders. The legs do not look overly thick like with many spider models, though having all the legs touching the ground for stability would have been nice. The underside of the models are poorly represented, with a blocky sternum and hollow abdomen, but most people won't view them from that angle anyway.

I'm not sure if the metallic colors can be made to look more "realistic" given how unnatural they are in the first place, but I suppose an option could have been to use iridescent colors. Still, I am fine with being literal and taking Hargrave's description at face value.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


The Caesar 21cm Nebelwerfer 42 kit comes with an interesting little model of the 8.8cm Raketenwerfer 43 (which is not shown on the box art).

I could not find any real life pictures of a Raketenwerfer with skis like in the kit, but there are many toys and models of this specific type of rocket launcher.

Raketenwerfer without wheels (or skis).

This anti-tank weapon fired an 8.8cm fin stabilized rocket propelled HEAT grenade, and supposedly had such excellent performance that the OKH disallowed awarding a Tank Destruction Badge if it was used to successfully knock out a tank.

Raketen Panzer Granat 4312

The model has just seven pieces, and could be considered a very easy build except for one small issue – the model is made from polyethylene which is almost impossible to glue together.

There are a couple of methods for gluing polyethylene parts together. One method involves heat treating the plastic with a blowtorch, which I don't think will work for plastic models. The other is to treat the parts with a primer which will create a surface that CA glue will bond with.

The most commonly available glue for polyethylene is the Loctite Plastics Bonding System, which uses the priming method. The problem with this product however, is that the activator is applied with a pen-like applicator, which does not work well with small parts.

The activator can be purchased separately in liquid form as Loctite 770, but it costs about $10 an oz. From what I can tell however, it seems to just be n-Heptane which costs around $2 an oz. for the analytical grade stuff. You can also buy Bestine Solvent and Thinner which I believe is also n-Heptane for $1 an oz. (the route I went with).

I dipped the parts in Bestine, shook off the excess onto a disposable paper towel, and allowed the parts to dry for a minimum of 1 minute. After that, I just applied glue, and assembled the parts in the usual manner.

A test bond that I did with some pieces of the sprue from the model held with Bestine treatment, but the bond didn't have much strength. The control with no Bestine treatment didn't bond at all.

I wanted to make the test with the glue from the Plastics Bonding System, but my glue was all dried up, so I had to make do with Loctite Professional Liquid instead. I'm not sure if this made a difference, so maybe I'll do some more tests in the future.

The model itself seems to be holding up okay with normal handling, though I'm not sure how well it would fare with being used for gaming.

Important: If you plan on using Bestine or n-Heptane, Read the MSDS, be sure to work in a well ventilated area, and follow all safety procedures for handling dangerous chemicals. Heptane is flammable, a skin irritant, and potentially toxic if inhaled or ingested.

Monday, August 27, 2018

155mm De Bange mle. 1877

The Canon de 155 Long was a fortress gun developed in the period after the Franco-Prussian War by the aptly named Charles de Bange. The gun saw use in WWI with the French, and later in WWII with the Finns.

I picked up the Wespe (ex-Retrokit?) model because I liked the look of the gun, particularly with the cingoli tracks on the wheels. The model is made of a decent resin that is not as brittle as the type that is typically favored by a lot of European manufacturers.

The parts were largely free of flash and had few bubbles, however, several of the track links for the cingoli were either not fully cast or broken.

Part 15 was mislabeled in the original instructions. It is correctly identified in my version of the parts breakdown. The former part 15 is now labeled part 28, but the kit only provides one piece instead of the required two pieces. The original instructions do not even indicate how this piece(s) is supposed to be used.

There are additional errors in the instructions, and the assembly guidelines definitely need to be fleshed out a little better. I recommend breaking the build into three separate steps: cannon, wheels, and carriage.

Cannon assembly is pretty straight forward. Part 22 is a lift ring for the 1916 version barrel, so the original lift ring must be removed if you want to use this one.

Part 28 fits onto the trunnion, and should not be glued. Wespe put their display model together using part 22 instead of part 28, or maybe they had part 22 on one side, and part 28 on the other.

Since I only had one piece, I made do with some scratch built parts. The ends of the trunnions were made flush with the carriage, but not all guns appeared this way. Many had the ends of the trunnions protruding from the sides.

It's probably a good idea to delaying the gluing of parts 18 and 21 until you are ready to attach the barrel to the carriage. I'm thinking some modification of part 18 may be necessary if you want to display the barrel in elevated position.

I'm not sure how exactly the lower ends of part 21 are supposed to be affixed to part 18. The instructions are unclear, but I did the best I could based on limited photographic references.

I added the rivet holding the reinforcing ring together to my model, but it does not seem to be present on most guns.

The most time consuming part of the build was with the cingoli. When I assembled the kit, I made the mistake of just gluing the track links to the wheels without first doing a test fit. I ended up having to shorten several of the tracks to make all the links fit.

The correct way to assemble the links requires that they be arranged loosely, instead of fitting tightly around the wheels.

Another issue is that many models of the 155 mle. 1877 (including the picture of the built model on the Wespe box) show the cingoli with 11 track shoes. I ended up fitting 11 shoes as well, but I think that there should actually be 12 track shoes. The kit supplies enough pieces for adding 12 shoes, but I'm not really sure if this is possible to do without making the cingoli overly loose.

The carriage goes together in a straightforward manner, though there is a mystery part 16 which looks like some sort of rod. The actual part 16 is a cannon shell without the fuse, so I just ignored this particular step.

The carriage has a square port on the front which I have not seen in any pictures of the actual gun, although I have to admit there are not many pictures showing the front of the gun.

I couldn't find any pictures of cannons with anything like part 23 on the carriage trail, but I attached it anyway. Leaving it off is probably okay though.

I used part 11 on my carriage since part 27 was damaged. I've also seen pictures of guns with two platforms mounted on the trail.

First Legion 1/30 155mm 1877/1914 L de Bange Cannon

For part 13, I glued them at the more forward position, but the majority of pictures seem to show these brackets in the more rearward position.

I'm not particularly happy with the model I built, but I guess it looks fine if you don't know too much about the actual cannon.