Monday, May 13, 2019

Diecast Car Conversion for 20mm or 1/72 Scale Wargaming

Here is another contribution from our resident modeling talent, Evil Von Scary!

Welcome gentle reader to another post from "It's 500 Miles to the German border". 

I started modifying die-cast and cheap dollar store plastic toys as stand ins for my own Twilight: 2000 campaign. We use 1/72 (20mm) models, terrain and figures sometimes to resolve combats in the rpg as a sort of rpg/table top hybrid.

Some 1/72 is either difficult to get or next to impossible or if available cost prohibitive. Die-cast is very cheap. I found out about a game called "Gaslands" that uses die-cast cars modified to look post Apocalypse in a sort of death race game versus other vehicles. I won't get into that game in this article but I do recommend that readers look into it to see if it offers anything that might be of use to your own campaigns or war-games.

I learned from a local hobby shop in discussion about using diecast is that they call it "box scale" in comparison to other model scales. Meaning being that it is whatever fits into the box. Most peg die-cast (hotwheels, maisto, etc) as being 1/64 ish scale. So I usually carry a 1/72 figure around for when I happen to look through die casts to get one that's about the right size. I will have links throughout the article to highlight or go into greater detail various aspects.

Todays project is a Hotwheels 1970 Roadrunner. 

Disassembly: drill out posts and pry it apart, lay out parts left to right.

Be sure to take pictures (especially if doing multiple vehicles), so you remember what parts go where.


Next, strip the paint from main body: I used pine-sol in a lock-tight container and dropped parts into it. I was trying to find a more "enviro" way of stripping paint. It worked but took the better part of a week to erode the paint enough.

Modifying: I made use of various parts from my parts box. I've also seen online (from Gaslands Hobbyists) people using jewelers saws, etc. to chop out parts of the die cast body. (As always, please take your time and be careful).

For this car, I added a driver, mesh for front windscreen, created extra fenders, back window armor, and added .30cal MG and pintel mount as well as some "bolt on armor" made from polystyrene and drilled (for the bolts). I then used some rigged rebar for protecting the headlights, etc.






Painting:   Where to start on the subject of painting? I have found trial and error and/or whatever works well for you is best. 

I started this project with standard flat black primer then did a dry brush white to highlight details. Then I began to think about rust, weathering and what was this cars original paint job. Most of the car and its metal parts should be rusty and NOT the same color as the cars original paint. I rusted and weather the car then splashed/blotted/dry brushed on a lighter shade of "original color" then "re-rusted" and weathered the model. 

I then went back and added ink for highlights and then finally used the original color, dry brushing ir on mostly with a few thicker strokes to give the impression of rust from underneath the paint.  I then painted the interior and the driver.

Reassembly:  I then put the model together again without the windows. It all pretty well snapped together without much trouble and voila!! I will say that looks a little more bad assed than the sissy paint job from Hot-Wheels, lol.

I hope you enjoyed the article and pics and that it inspires you to try it out for yourself. Thanks for tuning in. - Evil von Scary

The completed model-various angles







Wednesday, May 8, 2019

News All Around, and a Question to the Readership?

Well, there's much to discuss. First, the Battlefront Team Yankee line is just going strong as usual, and what I am seeing is interesting, namely, Oil War!

OIL WAR - TEAM YANKEE - BATTLEFRONT - IN STOCK - NOW
Taken from Battlefront Website

It's not just the book which is interesting, it's the product line. Not only do we get Israelis, Iranians, Iraqis, and a host of other stuff (US 9th Division everyone!) but we're getting M1A1's finally! So yes, 15mm players rejoice, no more scratchbuilding required.  We'll stay on this news but I have attached Episode 38 of "No Dice, No Glory" for further details on this release. Thanks to contributor and reader Jorge Del Rio for this big heads up!

Now, let's discuss the big news for the Twilight: 2000 fans in the room. Marc Miller has told us that a V4 is being worked on and a formal announcement about the new version will be made in the fall. 

I am cautiously optimistic regarding a V4. But considering what happened with Twilight: 2013, that caution is akin to Charlie Brown seeing Lucy with that damn football again! 

So here's what I am going to say to Mr. Miller. Please, you have hard core fans who love that game enough to write about it, blog about it and just plain spend their time with it 35 years on! Give it the treatment (and especially the timeline) it deserves. Ask us! Many of us have spilled so many electrons for this game, we'd be willing to do more. And most of us would probably do it for little if any remuneration other than our name in a book or two. 

I know this might very well fall on deaf ears, but it's worth making an appeal. We'd certainly like the old girl given the justice she deserves.

We'll keep you posted, gang!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Had a productive weekend!

I've been painting this mess of Soviet vehicles for a long, long time. And well, I finally finished them. Lord knows, it took a while. I used a method I found on the old Guild website, that I've slightly modified, but it works well, and gives the vehicles a nice "worn" look.

As soon as I find a copy of the method, I will post it here, but I wanted to show off the vehicles in their glory. Lemme know what you think gang!

Overall, am I as good a modeler as some of what I've seen on the net, nope. But am I happy? Yep.

3 Butler Printer Models T-64s. they're fairly rough on the detail and l/76th as opposed to 1/72. But I do look them for what they are, decent looking Russian tanks. 
2 S-Model BMD-2. I liked the ease of construction. Didn't like the fragility of some of the parts, such as the treads, and the brass parts seemed a bit unnecessary. 
The Trumpeter T-55 to me is a great kit. It was a bit unexpected to screw together the halves of the hull, but I liked the kit overall, assembled it in an afternoon! 

3 BMP-2 from Butler's Printed Models. They're 1/76th as opposed to most of my collection being 1/72nd, but they look decent painted up. The detail is rough, as most folks have said, but for a wargaming piece, they're serviceable, and paint up well.

2 Revell T-80s, I built one with no reactive armor, and a Liberation Minis crewman in the hatch. He turned out pretty decent, and a Model Collect T-72, which looks awesome. The Model Collect was a joy to put together for some a complicated kit.

A S &S ZSU-23-4. She looks awesome painted up. Yeah, the details can be a bit rough, but I was pretty impressed overall with the ease of the assembly, except for the radar mast. All in all, I was pretty happy with the kit.

A pair of PSC T-55s. Detail was a bit meh, but I liked the options out of the box. They assembled quickly enough and I was darn happy with the kits as a whole.





Wednesday, April 3, 2019

GPS Survey, Round 3

Hey gang,
 It's nice to have loyal readers, and I do love writing for you guys. It's nice to be part of the Twilight: 2000 blogosphere, with such sites as The Savant's Rants out there. I do like getting the pulse of the readership from time to time, so hence, this GPS Survey!

 I promise, it will be mostly painless.

Or at least less painful than the poor guy on the ground got...


Please answer this thread in the comments, as it will allow me to track answers.

So, here's the questions?

1. Do you think the focus of the blog is too wide, too narrow, or just right?

2. If you answered too wide or too narrow, what can I do to improve that?

3. Any miniatures/rules we're overlooking that we shouldn't?

4. Any other kinds of articles you'd like to see?

5. We're thinking of doing interviews with whomever we can track down from say, GDW or Grenadier or even just prominent modelers/wargamers who have an interest in the milleu. Anyone you think we ought to talk to?

6. Finally, any other articles/ideas YOU'D like to see?

PS: The sci-fi anthology with my short story is now out. Please if you haven't already? Pick up a copy, the other stories are damn good too, and for $2.99, you cannot go wrong! 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Kit bash Airfix 1/76 RAF Recovery Set (03305): PART 1

Our kit in it's natural form
Welcome gentle reader to another installment of "It's 500 Miles to the German Border". As our local Twilight:2000 campaign takes place in the US, I've been focusing my model making more to reflect that.

This time around I'll be sharing my (mis)adventures in kit bashing/converting the Airfix 1/76 RAF Recovery Set (03305). This one from what I have read is a reproduction of the 1970s kit (of a WW2 subject).. Now currently, Airfix has let this kit go OOP. I was able to get it pretty cheap considering all of the goodies it came with: The kit has a few figures, as well as 2 motorcycles, 1 crane/truck and a tractor-trailer, plenty of Post-Apocalyptic conversion fodder goodness!

Normally I wouldn't have bought this as its a WW2 kit. But as my son and others have pointed out that it will still run in a post-EMP world.  That's good enough for me! My apologies to the WW2 sticklers out there.

The kit itself is worth the price I paid, as it was cheaper than I would have spent on a regular Trumpeter or Revell kit with just a single model in it. And, as my full intention was to "Mad Max" this kit, I am not too upset in case something goes wrong, as I might be with a more expensive kit. I also bought a bunch of die cast cars that I'll be modding in another article.



Outside of the usual modelling tools, I also wanted to use a wire mesh (to make windows look mean and really "Mad Max"). Normally an innocuous purchase for whatever reason, the stars really misaligned and nobody in my immediate area carried that stuff. So, I had to improvise and bought a plumbing supply part. Adapt and overcome!

I did pick up some snips which I thought would work well for the mesh but they turned out to be crap and the old standard side cutters (for models, sprue, etc.) actually did a better job cutting the wire mesh! Not so sure I'd want to use em all the time as I'm sure they're dulling out.

And thus, there went the first phase with the tractor-trailer:

The kit itself had pretty simple and well sculpted parts, the instructions were a bit wonky with circled numbers referring to the part numbers and other numbers representing paint shades. It was all a bit of information overload and at times, got quite confusing.

The sprues were easy to to cut and the parts needed minimal filing for very small amounts of flash as well as to assist in fitting.

This time I followed my own advice and dry fitted all the parts before assembly and priming (It was a painful lesson to learn, I assure you). I raided the spare parts bin on this build which is good for getting that post-apocalypse "junk yard" look.

I then finished the assembly and primed the kit in black. I personally like to do a "white wash" over the model, really just a dry brush in white to highlight all of the details then start adding color, by building up layers on the paints. I use washes to highlight different features and this time I used some chalk to help in making rusty effects.

I've added the remaining photos below for your consideration. Thanks for tuning in, till next time!

-Evil von Scary













Monday, March 4, 2019

Some Random Thoughts and Ideas

Some of this might be a bit OT, but I do need to get it off my chest somewhere I suppose.

First, I am being published as a sci-fi author! Granted, it's a short story in an anthology, but I am being published for a work of fiction!

Taken from Canon Publishing

Yeah, I know, not at all on-topic, but please forgive the indulgence. It's a big deal and I do hope many of you go out and grab a copy come April 1. No, it's not a joke.

Also, I wanted to pass this bit of news to local folks:

https://thegamestavern.com/blogs/news/important-announcement-we-are-closing-shop-to-reconfigure-the-business?fbclid=IwAR1KqhYbk06NOGImpUC7M7BjiZ9oYHhhtQvQJGS9AQ-oK4km225Pqm8eoBI


Important Announcement: We are closing shop to reconfigure the business.


by John Denton

 


Today the team at The Games Tavern has made the challenging decision to close the doors to the shop to reconfigure the business in a way to continue to support you all – the most amazing gamer patrons in the world!


Without you none of this adventure would have been possible, and with your continued support we hope to provide continued content and service. We care about all of you and want to see the community grow and flourish.


If you have miniatures/models in the cases, or personal items in the shop please stop by to retrieve them. We want to make sure everyone gets a chance to pick their things up before we start the work over here moving things around. Please call over the shop to schedule and we will gladly help you secure your items.


If you have special orders we have contacted you about please come pick them up this week! We have some items which we have called, emailed, or more to put them into your hands for at least a week now. Those items want to go home with you.


For any special orders we were unable to acquire because our suppliers were out of stock, which were pre-paid we will be issuing refunds shortly because we will be unable to make the orders while we reconfigure and do not want you to have to wait to receive your items.


I want to thank the amazing team and staff at The Games Tavern for the amazing job they do every day.


Keylon’s management of the shop has been outstanding and I cannot think of a better person to continue to work with in the future as we chart a new path. Thanks to Keylon we have grown far better than we expected. His ability to help each and every customer has been wonderful.


Ed’s general management and straight talk is legendary, and his ability to step in and offer the right guidance to the The Games Tavern as we grow continues to astound me, and I thank him for our chats.


To all staff past and present I am thankful because each of you add something to the mix, and continue to enrich our knowledge of the hobby.


For specific requests related to picking up your items or reserved orders which arrived, refunds of pre-orders mentioned above email: john@thegamestavern.com


Sincerely,


-John


I am really unsure as to what it means for the ultimate fate of The Games Tavern. I know I appreciated having them around and they were a quality shop. Let's hope this is temporary and they come back bigger and better than ever! Not much else to report, but we'll see where this goes!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

A Couple of Rules Reviews - A View of the Disunited Kingdom and The Zone

The Zone
Taken from the Miniatures Page

Skirmish Wargaming in the Late C20th Century
Written by Wayne Bollands
ISBN: 978-1-85818-758-7
56 pages
Paperback
$29.00 from On Military Matters

A new "Cold War Gone Hot" rules set has hit the market, and I've gotten an chance to take a look at it. The only reference to the novel series is that shares the name, and something of the premise, but no hovercraft or hard as nails snipers to be found here! It's a shame, because that series was very, very gameable, both from a RPG and wargaming perspective. The production quality was fairly good, and I was pretty chuffed with it when I first got it, but there were some issues. 

First, I wasn't too happy that some of the gear mentioned in the squad organizations was not stated out in the game. Granted, an M113 is probably very much like an FV-432 in game terms, but it's really kind of phoned in IMO, or one size fits all ATGM?!

You can tell it's descended from "Living on the Frontline", which is a plus, (with some minor but needed changes to activation) and the game's system is very, very similar, if not identical, especially when the game mentions you can even resolve thrown bricks! (Something tells me the Soviet and East German views on suppressing rioting West Germans would be very different from, oh , say, the British in Northern Ireland). Again, my issues are more with what is missing, than what is present.

All in all, I got the feeling they took "Living on the Frontline", ported some elements over to make it more "Cold War Gone Hot" and then printed it. Like that recipe you taste and say, "it's good, but it just needs something." That said, the production values are nice, with gorgeous photos and readable text throughout. The system is solid, and very easy in execution, one wishes there was a bit more here.

Sorry gang, but I have to give this one 3 out of 5 Mushroom clouds. It's not bad, but it could be a lot better.

Authors Note: Wayne Bollands reached out on Facebook and pointed out some cogent points that I may not have elucidated enough on in my initial review. His comparison to Force On Force and derived rules is fair, and I would certainly take that under advisement. As a point being made that there are future supplements coming. I do look forward to seeing those.

We do try to be fair in our reviews at "500 Miles.." and we hope this note of clarification helps better explain the rating "The Zone" got.

Taken from the Miniatures Page

Living on the Frontline – Winter of 79: A View of the Disunited Kingdom
Wayne Bollands
ISBN: 978-1-85818-715-0
48 pages
Paperback
$29.00 from On Military Matters

This is a supplement for "Living on the Frontline" that thrashes out a potential scenario for a "Winter of '79" style "British Civil War". I really liked this book. For a Twilight: 2000 head like me, this is a really good alternate campaign idea and you can use this for a variety of ideas to set a campaign in a post-apocalyptic UK. It's certainly better than SGUK turned out to be, eh?

The book is in full color, and it's got a lot of nice one paragraph writeups of all of the various factions, including flags (which I suppose you could make flags for the various factions if you were so inclined?). I thought the product was solid, and it comes with additional rules for cavalry (riot cops on horseback anyone, or perhaps something more...basic, armed TA on horseback?)

It's also got nine scenarios, and I was very, very happy to see the variety of scenarios available, all of them easily adapted to the Twilight: 2000 milieu. The production values were solid, and I was happy with the ideas behind the scenario laid out in the book as a means to further putting troops on the table, or even role playing? All in all, this is a good purchase, and I would recommend it. 4 out of 5 mushroom clouds here. 

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