EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Altered state

It was a terrifying sight, off balance, awkward, legs all over the place and a little loose in the joints, but tall and menancing none the less as it strode over young trees and houses alike.
1/72nd Martians invade Russia
I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm not a modeller. I lack the precision, planning and above all else PATIENCE!  Still, now that I had opened the bag after 10 or so years, I figured it was best to build quickly before I lost any vital bits. Why were there so many bits!!? 

For a non-modeller, this Reviresco Martian was a frightening sight!
http://www.tin-soldier.com/martiantripod.html
The instructions were a bit brief and cryptic, full of references to things like "hydro cylinder" rather than Part G, but from the couple of chats I've had with John McEwen  I got the impression that he likes to do things right and he likes intelligent, imaginative customers. Well, in this case all he had was me but eventually by sorting the various bits  and comparing them to the photographs it all began to make sense. Its actually a cleverly designed kit and actually pretty simple. The extra bits are mostly because the 3 telescoping legs are 6 aluminum tubes. That means all the joints, rings and hydraulics have to be cast separately and assembled. This does add strength and lots of flexibility for posing the tripod. 

 I set to with sub assemblies.

That's when I hit the next two snags. To get a nice tidy model takes some planning, foresight, a touch of visualization and some engineering skills to get the angles right, none of which things were available. This minor complexity largely exists because the model is designed to be flexible so you can put it together and pose it the way you want, You can very the height and positioning of the articulated legs almost infinitely. This is where a decision to either fit  this 28mm model to my 40mm troops or my 1/72nd troops would have been handy. I decided to go for adaptable or at worst decide later. 1/2 way through I remembered that I also wanted to fit it into a 4" hex footprint. If I went for shortest configuration and static pose with narrow foot position, I could have done it if I was careful but it might have been a bit unstable unless fixed to a heavy base, in any case I discovered that that bird had already flown.  



Meanwhile 40mm Martians have landed in England.
When it comes to me building models,my ability to improvise around my other shortcomings is what usually makes or breaks things. In this case it was my impatience and the drying time of 3 minute epoxy that caused a little grief. (If I had ever learned to get super glue to adhere to non-flesh items there are places where it might have been useful in tandem if the bottle hadn't been empty.) In other words, the plan had been to be patient and hold everything exactly in place until it was well set but I had trouble determining correct final angles and so had to undo some stuff (not easy with epoxy and soft metal)  while in either cases, long after I thought the epxoy had set, the weight of the metal caused things propped up in a corner while I got the next bit ready had a tendency to shift and droop.


In the end it didn't matter so much because I realized  I had been working towards a very static pose with all legs even and everything lined up, at rest. So, part way through I started aiming for an active pose with the head swiveling around and the articulated legs all at different angles as it lurches across the countryside. I left the lowered legs loose though as I was unsure about the best final height. For 1/72nd the lowest position is high enough for me but with the 40mm lads I wasn't sure and I wasn't sure if my experiments at allowing the model to have dynamic height would hold up once completed. A field test was needed.

The conclusion, regardless of the scale height, the lowered level is just fine for me especially since the fully assembled model is too heavy to stay in the upper position without pins or glue.
Thanks to telescoping aluminium legs it could actually be this high.

That left painting. The reference material is vague at best but I decided to either do it a dull monochrome metal or go all sexy with brass trim. OK wasn't much of a struggle.

HG variously describes the Martians as yellowy grey or brown and worm like with some mention of pink and with piercing dark eyes. Now WE all know Martians are green so I compromised and did the pilot a sort of  greenish brown fading to greeny flesh on the tentacles and with nice glistening dark brown eyes with vertical black iris and lighter highlights but you'll have to take my word for it since once I glued the  pilot into the cockpit and then glued the windshield on, you can't really see him any more! Oh well. He's still there.
I suppose I should have taken a picture of the dark eyed, many tentacled, pilot before gluing the windshield in place. 
What next? Will he see battle? Probably, possible against Ron's 25mm Colonials if he's not tooo BIG to go next to his plastic ones, possibly in Atlantic or maybe he'll just watch. But putting him together was more fun than I would care to admit.


9 comments:

  1. Does seem like a lot of parts for the kit, especially in soft metal.. but you´ve done a fine Job on it

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    1. Thanks. I finally figured out that the extra parts are because the telescoping legs are aluminum tubes so all the joints, rings and hydraulics have to be cast separately. The result is a stronger model with more flexibility wrt options.

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  2. You certainly have done well to assemble all these tricky looking bits. The model is well suited to 40mm.KEV.

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    1. Thanks Kev. Its meant for 28mm but I think it will work well with the 40's

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  3. It certainly has that "dangerous" look to it, doesn't it? Well done, Ross.


    -- Jeff

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  4. given the general POWER of the Martian landing crafts, you may only ever need the one.

    BRAVO!

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  5. I think the Martian pilot looks even more sinister for the fact that you cant see him properly. The hint of tentacles behind the opaque screen scares the bejaysus out of me.

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