Saturday, September 30, 2023

Police Car

Hot Wheels Track Pursuit.
It's a Dodge Charger.
Big push bumper.
A rather common police car.
Vehicles with special air effects are not uncommon for some types of police patrol car.
Many state highway patrol units have high speed cars to help catch sports cars on the interstate.
This is a pretty good car, even though it is mostly plastic, apart from the upper body.
The colors and markings are not too authentic for most police agencies.
Here with a 1/72nd scale police officer.
Traffic stop.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Metal Machines

Metal Machines.
Sort of a low budget Hot Wheels.
Still the graphics are nice.
The push bumper is better than Matchbox and Hot Wheels have been doing recently.
This will likely get repainted or maybe just an update to the decals.
I am doing two sets of police.
One for Southern California.
And one for NYC, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
The SoCal cars will be mostly HO scale, and the East Coast mostly 1/64th. 

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Reconnaissance Unit

 In the 1960s Roco Minitanks made a catalog of all their vehicles.  It came in several versions but the first one I got was about 4x6 inches and in all black and white.  At the beginning of the catalog was a series of unit organizational charts of American, German and other military units.  


One thing that ruined me for life is they misspelled reconnaissance, it should have two "n"s not just one according to about five online places I checked to write this article.

I always liked this one because it is a well rounded task force.  It has a medium tank to handle enemy tanks, four scout vehicles to perform the actual reconnaissance duties, an armored personnel carrier for troops who can scout dismounted, two light tanks for fast scouting and support, and finally a mortar carrier.  The mortar carrier can clear enemy infantry away so the reconnaissance can continue forward, or so they can drop smoke quickly and retreat if they find more than they bargained for!


I decided to do this unit in about 1968 and now in 2023 I am actually working on it.  My plan is to make several versions, starting at about 1955 until about 1984, using the M47, M48, and M60 series tanks as the main battle tank.  The tank in the photo I believe is an M48 medium tank.  I think this because the turret looks round, the tank is larger than that obvious M41 tanks at the bottom, and the gun seems to have a muzzle break.  That rules out M60 (no muzzle break), and the M47, which looks like a big M41 light tank.  Also the chart is dated 1967 when the M48 was common in US Army service.


So my first version will be:

Platoon commander:     1 x M47 tank

Scout Platoon:               4 x M38 Jeeps

APC:                             1 x M59

Tank Platoon:                2 x M41

Mortar Platoon:            1 x M84


It will all be Roco Minitanks except for the M59 which will be Roskopf, and the M84 which will be a conversion of the Roskopf M59 into the mortar carrier.  Except I will be using an 81mm mortar rather than the 4.2 inch standardized in the M84.  There was a proposal to use the 81mm mortar but it was decided an M59 was large enough that would be a waste to carry such a small mortar in such a large vehicle.  I think an 81mm mortar would be perfect in this role since it would deliver a higher volume of fire in a shorter period of time and for a reconnaissance unit that is more important than heavy fire, delivered slowly.  I have extra Roco Minitanks 81mm mortars from the Roco M3 halftrack.

I also plan to do two identical reconnaissance units like this one in olive drab.  The other one in all white Arctic camouflage as published in TC5-200 Camouflage.  Although TC5-200 did not come out until after the M47 was out of service I suspect it simply codified a white paint job already in service or from a previous manual.

Other iterations as they develop.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Mostly Perfect Replicas, Mostly

Working on the M41 continues as I wait for the hatch to dry.
This tank has had the corner knocked off, the plastic may be a little brittle.
New fender corner made out of sheet plastic scraps.  Always save all the plastic sheet plastic bits for just such a project.
It turned out pretty well, and a bit of ultrathin sheet plastic glued underneath for extra strength.
Edges filed down once the glue was dry and it's perfect.
Original hatch and perfect replicas.  Okay there is some flash and they need the clay cleaned off.  But other than that, nearly perfect replicas.  Mostly

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Roco Walker Bulldog Hatch

Roco M41 Walker Bulldog light tank, US Army.
Several of mine are missing hatches.
5 minute epoxy to the rescue.
I store it with the lid on but upside down inside a glass jar.  That way the glue is at the opening of the container not at the bottom so I don't have to wait while it oozes out slowly.  Being a glass jar if any leaks the epoxy will be contained the the jar can be wiped out or tossed out.
Use soft clay to make a press mold, and use epoxy to cast the parts.
It says dry in 5 minutes and for gluing purposes that's true but it really takes a few hours to fully harden.  So I often give it overnight before I demold the part.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Filming the Panzers

Movie crew, trailer for changing rooms for the cast, and for makeup too.  Bus to transport everyone to the remote location.
Stop and fuel up the tanks.
And....Action!  I read reviews of the Battle of the Bulge movie and people complain that they used American made M47 tanks as the Tiger II.  Considering they used about 20 tanks in the movie and their were no operational Tiger tanks in the world in the 1960s that does not seem a fair complaint to me.  The M47 is about the same general size and shape of a Tiger II.  And the paint jobs were authentic.  I think that's about all you can expect for a movie made in the 1960s.
It can take a lot of people to film a movie, sometimes hundreds of crew members.
It can be disruptive to the locals as well who may not want tanks in their neighborhood, although I liked watching them film movies.
Cue the tanks.
Speed, sound, Action!

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Tank Movie

The movie crew films the mock panzers in the attack.
Filming on location can take a small army of staff.
Trucks to carry small gear, cables, batteries, and other stuff.
A big truck to carry big gear.
Everyone has to eat and the medic in which in case of injury.
Script girl to make sure they are following the movie scrip.
After eating everyone needs a portapotty.