About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

V is for ‘Vyper’…or; it was!

For reasons beyond my control which I will digress in the fullness of time, I’ve been rather kicking my heels for a while now and in a moment of supreme boredom this weekend I took out an old kit by ‘mine nemesis’ the GW franchise. A kit a bought some time ago and almost immediately regretted as it cost about as much as three Esci/Airfix AFV kits and contained almost nothing, surrounded by a lot of sprue!

Turning the bits over in my mitts I was struck by two things, firstly there’s nothing there to power it! Some cooling vanes (?) under the seat and four straight-through engine tubes/venturii, but nothing substantially capable of calling itself a power system or motive force, call me a pedant, but I like my sci-fi grounded in the laws of physics!

Bringing me to the second obviously pointless design element; a guy mounted behind the pilot waving a ten-foot off-centre weapon of some weight. Now I’m guessing most of the visitors to this blog haven’t been called upon to carry a .50 Cal Browning, but if you had you’d know it’s about half the size/bulk of the weapons in this kit, and takes two men to carry a few yards!

In other words, this tiny vehicle would be almost impossible to fly and totally incapable of hitting a barn door in a strait dive, as it is supposed to be built (and woe betide anyone turning up at the local store’s evening game with the wrong configuration!), even if it had ‘magic’ thought-fed power-systems and a complete BAE Systems/Segway self-righting/leveling suite! – Oh how modern technology is dating some sci-fi faster than it can be re-written…give the crew of the Starship Enterprise some iPads and a Kindle – for god’s sake!

Deciding on a colour scheme before I’d got the glue out, I then rather tore into the ‘project’. There were - on the weapons sprue - two pieces of cowling or bodywork, which were of no consequence, so presumably it was designed for other kits or taken from another kit? Something which should bring the price down, not leave it three times the cost of a similar kit elsewhere!

Anyway; this allowed me - with a short piece of cocktail stick – to dispense with the stupid gunner-cradle and turn my ‘Vyper’ into the patented Waltii Industries TC Gunship (© Waltii Industries* 2830NS) you see developing before you with – if I say so myself – some high degree of accuracy, it being (as I’m sure you’ve already noted); the Mk. IIIB model much favored in the rim-worlds!

The cradle (© GW 1996), now looked remarkably like the anti-gravity ‘Speeder-bike’ of Darth Maul in the film - Star Wars I of IV ‘A Franchise is Reborn’ (© Lucasfilms 1994?), not that GW would copy other people would they, I mean; it’s not like the new ‘Prince Apophas’ (© GW 2010?) from Citadel Finecast is a straight lift from the living Scarab-pillar in the comic ‘The Exterminators’ (© Vertigo 2006?)…is it? So I decided to make it up as just that, a light, floating ‘wing-man’ with a heavy punch. The thing is; they then both ‘looked’ better than the GW ‘whole’.

I went with a ‘Panzer-farb’ ambush scheme on desert pink for the speeder, and field-grey for the pilots, (they haven’t been issued their Tropische uniforms yet!) although I allowed them a brighter green for their web equipment, belts and helmets. I used the sight/power-source from one of the other weapons in the box to balance the great big whatever (interplanetary ray-blaster? It could be an underwater riveter for all I know – or care!), that he now gets to wave about like a Bankers sports car (you know what I mean!) without poking it in the TC Gunship pilot’s ear!

Those who have followed this blog for a while will by now have realised that the cynic in me won’t allow myself to take this stuff remotely seriously!

The TC Gunship ready to roll, or wobble like a Segway with a newbie! Keeping the WWII theme going I went with the contrasting double-outlined boundaries seen on some of the early M4 Shermans in the Western Desert and tried to make the ammo-feed belt look like the slightly-green tinted, gold anodized links you get on the 30mm rounds for automatic cannon or belt-fed grenade launchers.

I didn’t paint all the little blobs like jewel’s, that’s just too GW for me! They’re only fairing for little bits of under-skin equipment, sensors and the like! One of the weird things about the GW universe is that people think a unit in electric blue with florescent pink vehicles covered in lights & jewels and flying 18-foot banners can ever have the element of surprise or creep-up on anything!

The ‘Speeder bike’ given the same 4-view treatment, of course it’s not a Speeder-bike, which would create issues with Mr. Lucas who’s as happy to sue as Carter Ruck! If the other platform is a ‘Gunship’, this must be a Cannon-canoe, yeah, of course it is -it’s a Nebillian Boat-works* PS Mk12! How silly of me not to mention that earlier…

Note to self - don’t play rugby with Eldar (©, TM, (R) etc...), those pointy-heads are going to do your chances of future progeny no favours!


The two together, waiting for the ‘Off’, if I had to do this again, I’d bin the bloody PVA’s and use enamel, it was like working with wet sand, I don’t know if it’s the weather, or just age, but my Humbrol is starting to get as granular as the old Airfix matt enamels used to be? Try copying the third image to your desktop and then enlarge by 50% you’ll see what I mean; great lumps and streaks of paint! I also rushed it, and would take more time next time. I didn’t think about markings, and now they’re ‘finished’ I doubt I’ll go back to them.

Also the canopy spars are too clean, but to try and weather them down to the same state as the rest of the vehicle would have risked mucking it up even more, so I guess the ground crews have kept the spars clean as they polish the Plexiglas…but why - in the year 2830NS - have they gone back to multi-panel canopies? Even we’ve evolved beyond that and we’ve retired Concord and the Shuttle! The ‘heads-up’ canopy display was just OHP pens, while other controls were marker pen on white paint.

I’d also fill the gap behind the seat and under the gun with stuff from the spares box, in order to have something looking like a propulsion system, roughly where you’d expect one!

But…they look OK for what was less than a day’s work, and apart from a piece of toothpick and an old hex-base; they used nothing from the spares box, and gave me two vehicles for the price of one, something to consider if you do play the GW way? I was going to give them both some old GW dogs heads I have somewhere, but the need to end the exercise was greater than the desire to go digging in the spares!

* Sole proprietor of Waltii Industries and the Nebillian Boat-works; H. Walter esq.

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