Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Bobkit Commandos

During the 1980s, Heller started a line of models under the Bobkit/Bobcat brand that was aimed at novice modellers, as well as the Cliclac brand for children.

Mingling also occurred between these brands, with some Cliclac models being sold under the Bobkit name.

The Bobkit Commando set is pretty hard to find, as are most of the individual Cliclac vehicles it includes. However, everything in the kit except the Hughes Cayuse is included in the seemingly more common Bobkit C-160 TransAll kit.

The vehicle models come out of the box packed in a clear plastic bag, along with two sprues of French commandos.

The Hotchkiss M210 is a simple 8 piece model in green plastic.

The Renault TRM-2000 consists of a black sprue with 7 pieces, a green sprue with 6 pieces, and a clear sprue with one piece.

At least two civilian tanker versions (Shell and Elf) of the TRM-2000 were produced under the Cliclac brand.

The Renault VAB is made up of just 6 pieces in green plastic.

The green figures are from the TransAll kit, while the tan figures are from the Heller UN Force set (which I think was also boxed as the Opération Pamir set).

A review of these soldiers can be found at PSR.

The canvas top of the M201 had a solid back, so I cut a window in the rear using a Hasegawa Trytool Template (TP-1).

I drew a centering mark for the template, and used a scribing tool to etch the templated shape (45 x 65). When I could see the outline of the window on the other side of the plastic, I used a hobby knife to pierce the remaining plastic and pop out the oval panel.

Clear UV curing resin was used to add glass to the front windshield and newly created rear window.

Other than adding windows, I only painted the tires of the M201 and VAB black. The models were otherwise unmodified.

The fronts of the vehicles are pretty much devoid of detail, and decals would have been used to give the appearance of having grilles and headlights, but unfortunately my kit was missing the decals.

I actually want to preserve the toy-like appearance of these kits, but I may try to fashion some details to make them look a little better in the future (cupola, machine gun, and armored shutters for the VAB; front grille and headlights for the M201 and TRM-2000).

Friday, March 1, 2024

Lion Dance

The Lion Dance is one the first things that come to mind when speaking of Chinese New Year. However, Lion Dances are not just performed during New Year celebrations, but also for various auspicious events, such as weddings, birthdays, and business openings.

The Beginner's Guide to Chinese Lion Dance
by Tumblr user irenydraws

Lion imagery entered China during the Han dynasty through gifts of actual animals brought to the imperial court by emissaries from Persian and Central Asian states, and images of Manjushri Bodhisattva riding a lion which came with the spread of Buddhism.

Manjushri Bodhisattva
The Met 15.95.154

19th C. New Year's print (年画图片)

At some point (perhaps around the Three Kingdoms period), lions were introduced into Nuo Dance (傩戏) which were performed to exorcise evil influences.

The earliest image I could find comes from a Song dynasty painting of the popular Hundred Children Playing motif.

One Hundred Children Playing in Spring (百子嬉春图页)
– Su Hanchen (苏汉臣)

The theme was used for many types of media, including decorative ceramics.

Children at Play (婴戏图)

Similar dances spread throughout Asia with the spread of Chinese culture and diaspora. Lion Dances can be found in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, and Japan.

Children Performing a Lion Dance at a Festival
– Suzuki Harunobu, 1760

There are no 1/72 lion dancers, but some limited edition 1/64 figures were released by M&J Toys as MiJo Exclusives from American Diorama.

I think the sets were released around the time of the actual Chinese New Year last month, but I didn't get my sets until today.

Set 1 includes a drummer, a drum, a lion head/mask, and a lion.

Set 2 includes a dancer/Big Head Buddha (大頭佛), a Buddha/clown mask, a lion head/mask, and a rearing lion.

The two lions are both of the southern style and adequately painted. The figures are definitely tall for 1/72 scale figures, but I think they can still fit in without too much notice.

The Buddha mask can be placed on the dancer to become a Dai Tou Fut. However, what really surprised me was that all the pieces are made of metal.

Each set also came with a sheet of small round white stickers, but I'm not really clear on what they are for.