Wednesday, 29 July 2020

"Never get out of the boat."

If there was a plan to this somewhat frivolous diversion of mine then it was to have posted some work in progress shots of a terrain piece that I had been working on as part of Dave Stone's, 'Summer of Scenery Challenge'.  Unfortunately I have been diverted from my diversion by this, quite wonderful, 'Empress Miniatures' PBR, which has rather taken over proceedings.  I had seen that this was in the pipeline and decided that it was going to be an end of academic year treat to myself, so as soon as it was available, I ordered up the full kit along with the crew, sculpted by Paul Hicks, all wonderful likenesses for the characters from Apocalypse Now.
I had shown a couple of teaser photographs in earlier posts, but it is probably worth mentioning again here that this is an amazing body of parts, but took an age to assemble.  With no instructions you really are left to make your own decisions, which can be quite daunting, but I was keen to base mine on the boat from the film and so was fortunate that there were plenty of stock images to work with.  This meant dispensing with the 40mm Mk. 18 Grenade Launcher, for example, normally situated on the amidships engine compartment shield.  
Just preparing and siting the eight tiny cleats saw me scrabbling around on hands and needs, muttering the occasional strong word, as I tried to locate the latest escapee that fled for the apparent safety of the carpet pile! Other noteworthy incidents involved me snapping off the 'cast' rope that was to hold one of the tires to the side of the boat. This turned out to be somewhat fortuitous as I realised that the metal rope was too thick to wrap around the aforementioned cleat and so snipped it away from all the other tires and replaced it with some thin wire, which could be affixed as intended.
The kit comes with some wonderful extras such as Lance's surfboard, purloined from the Air Cavalry, even Mr. Clean's boombox.  To these I added some stowage and fuel drums, even a aerial fashioned from the Saintly Mrs. Awdry's dustpan and brush set, the fact that I had to ask where she kept it wasn't lost on her. 
As fiddly as the kit of parts was, I stuck with it and as soon as it received an undercoat of paint was delighted that I had.  Instantly brought together with the green and grey primer, the piece really started to look the part and I couldn't wait to paint it, all previous plans abandoned in a heartbeat.
Given that Lance, the forward gunner, needed to be sited before fixing the guns in place, I decided to paint the crew first.  Again, Paul Hicks has done a superb job with the miniatures, wonderful likenesses and some great touches, like Chef's cigarettes tucked into his T-shirt sleeve.  Captain Willard initially held a greater likeness to the chiselled features of Martin Sheen, but it would appear that in my haste to prepare them, I had run my file across his face, reducing his nose to one any heavyweight boxer would be happy to sport!  With regards to colour it was simply more green, but items like Willard's tiger stripe trousers and the shoulder patches of some of the crew offered a little more variety to the palette.
On to the boat itself and I followed, pretty much, the same process that I used for the WWII Sherman tanks earlier in the year.  A pin wash of Vallejo Cavalry Brown around the metalwork was followed up by a number of washes and dry brushed highlights.  Picking out a few details with the brush helped to lift the overall effect, with some gloss varnish applied to the lamps to hint at the reflective glass.  The lettering looked a lot tidier in real life than it does in these photographs, a sad symptom of my failing eyesight, but it still helps to complete the look.  The crew are pinned, but not glued in place, allowing them to be repositioned or swivelled and similarly, I couldn't bring myself to glue down the canopy, which remains precariously balanced as I write this.
I really couldn't be happier with the finished piece and instantly decided that I needed to set up some terrain to take some photographs, much to the annoyance of the Saintly Mrs. Awdry, whose dining table became an uncharted river for the the craft to patrol.  I stopped short of releasing a smoke grenade, not that I had one to hand you understand,  deciding instead that some subtle use photo editing was the way to go...
Purple Haze?




50 comments:

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    1. Thank you so much Eric, really enjoyed this one.

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  2. A lovely job on this project, very nice indeed.

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    1. Thank you so much Phil, a fiddly kit of parts but definitely worth the effort.

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  3. Excellent work Michael, you've really captured the PBR from the movie and crew.
    Not to worry on the scenery as you still have a whole other month to go

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    1. Thank yo Dave, such a great kit. Scenery on it's way - promise.

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  4. Just lovely, and the photis 'in country' show it off to perfection, a great piece of work all round.

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    1. Thank you John, I can just imagine Willard and Chef trying to work their way through you latest terrain board, I must try that.

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  5. Superb stuff, Michael, simply superb. The final pics could be from the film itself :-)

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    1. You are so kind Simon thank you. This was one of those pieces that just captured my imagination and I wanted to do the best job I could on it.

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  6. A truly beautiful piece of work Michael, honestly you could enter that in a model show and have a good chance of taking home a prize!

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. Now stop it Roger, you make me blush. In all seriousness, thank you so much. Really chuffed with how this turned out.

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  7. Outstanding, Red Team, outstanding. Get you a case of beer for that one.

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  8. Bloody hell you got that done quickly! And it looks amazing Michael.

    Those pics with terrain look spot on - just need some tracer rounds flying about!

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    1. Thank you Dai, once I started I just couldn't stop. Took a day to assemble and then another to paint. Now wanting to edit more photographs with tracer rounds.🤣

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  9. Excellent work! Very realistically looking boat.

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  10. Absolutely brilliant Michael! Love the boombox and surfboard 😀

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    1. Thank you Ivor, the little details are inspired and just help to lift the whole kit.

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    1. Thank you so much Michal, such a great piece to work on.

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  12. Oh, that's just marvellous! And I get the impression you had a fair bit of fun working on it.

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  13. A most excellent finish to another fantastic project & post! Well done Mr. Awdry!

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    1. Thank you so much Terry, proving to be a productive summer.

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  14. Brilliant! The film is one of my top ten.

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    1. Thank you Paul, would certainly be near mine, seems to get better with every watch.

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  15. Splendid bit of kit! It might have been fiddly but it looks ace!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thank you so much Iain, well worth the effort in the end.

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  16. Great looking model and a very iconic piece for Vietnam, not just Apocalypse now, though it does look a bit too clean for my liking!

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    1. Thank you Joe and you are absolutely right, such an iconic boat. I thought I had dirtied it, clearly not enough.🤣

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  17. That looks fantastic Michael!

    Christopher

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  18. Splendid work Michael purple haze and everything 👍

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    1. Thank you Matt, it seemed to warrant a little extra love this one.

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  19. Lovely paintjobs and very evocative photos at the end. :)

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    1. Thank you Tamsin, loved doing the photographs at the end, shame I had to pack everything away at the end.🙁

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  20. I love that film and I love this project!! Very, very beautifully done. Congrats!

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    1. Thank you so much Mr. Mouse, rather enjoying this, it has to be said.

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  21. Wow. Absolutely fantastic. I saw this model online when it was first released not that long ago and thought I should get one to make as a birthday present for my son, who will turn 24 in February, and is a big fan of the movie. Seeing your version... I may give up the plan, since I know mine will pale in comparison! Just kidding -- about the "give up the plan" part at least! Thank you for reminding me I need to get moving on this, Michael. All of your figure painting and model building is exceptional, but I rate this one a standout among standouts.

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    1. Thank you so very much and do get the kit, it is a wonderful thing. I have no doubt that you have the skills and patience required to make a wonderful success of it.

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  22. Brilliant in every way! Now I want to go back and watch the movie.

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    1. Thank you so much Monty, enjoy the film.😉

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  23. Fabulous "PBR Streetgang", Michael! Lovely additions to this awesome tribute project. BTW, thanks for the tip about reverting back to the original Blogger postings - didn't even see the msg about it last night when I posted. Kindest regards, Dean

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    1. Thank you so much Dean. Happy to have helped with the blog, but I am not sure how long we are going to be allowed to continue with the legacy workaround?

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