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Willys MB

Wasp Flamethrower

Meng 1/35

 

 

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I've been waiting for this one to turn up for quite a while, having ordered it back in August, but it finally found it's way from China to my doorstep today. I get the impression that Meng may be having some supply or production issues, as a lot of their recent releases seem to be taking a long time to hit the shelves. Anyway, I digress. Back to the kit.

 

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This is Meng's first entry into the Jeep market, coming hot on the heels of Takom's new tool release. Unlike their rival, who's first release was a standard issue Jeep with trailer, Meng have gone for a more obscure version in the form of the Wasp flamethrower, which was a one off prototype tested by No. 1 Demolition Squadron, aka Popski's Private Army, while they were operating in Italy. It was never used in action due to the fairly obvious health and safety concerns about spewing burning oil a few inches in front of the drivers head. Makes an intersting model subject though, and there'll no doubt be be more Jeep versions from Meng in the future.

 

I'll do a quick run through of the sprues before I start cutting plastic.

 

Only two sprues (well, three counting the clear one), the first of which looks like a common sprue for any future versions. The second looks to be specific to the Wasp.

 

Sprue A

One piece chassis, wheels (split into front and back halves), seats, Full engine and other assorted bits and bobs.

 

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Sprue C (no 'B', so that will presumably come in a future release)

As I said above, this one look to be just for the Wasp. There are a few common parts on here, such as the dashboard and bonnet, but they're modified for this version.

 

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Sprue Y

The clear sprue holds just the windscreen and the headlight lenses.

 

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The main body comes as a single moulding with the front grill in place, but a separate rear door and bonnet.

 

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The wheels/tyres have got nice detailing, including the, ahem, Tirestone branding, which will clearly fox Firestone's lawyers.

 

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The seats have got some subtle wrinkles and a bit of fabric texture for good measure.

 

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The rear door has nice moulded detail on both sides. The ejector pin marks on the rear side should be hidden by the wheel arches

 

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Radiator insert which also holds the headlights. This has a separate radiator piece which attaches to the back

 

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The engine look nice. There's about ten parts to it in total

 

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The dashboard is modified for this version

 

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Likewise the bonnet, which has cutouts for the pipework

 

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No photo etch with this release, but you do get a length of rubbery hose for the flamethrower feed. The decal sheet's quite small, with just the instrument dials and the marking for the bonnet

 

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Interestingly, it looks like Meng have changed the graphic style for their instruction manuals, going with a bold outlined, partial colour style. It looks a bit overworked to my eye, but it's easy enough to follow

 

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Predictably only one marking option, given that this was a single prototype vehicle

 

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Okay, that's what you get. More to come as I get the build underway. Have to rush now, as my tea's in the oven, and is rapidly getting burnt  :eat:

 

Andy:cat:

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Just a small update - I've got the main engine block together. Non of this will be seen on the finished model, but it's included so I may as well paint it up and install it. I've not added any extra detailing but that's certainly possible if you're going to leave the bonnet open. What's included is pretty nice though.

 

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Andy:cat:

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looks like a good bit of detail/ kit.

 

"...it looks like Meng have changed the graphic style for their instruction manuals, going with a bold outlined, partial colour style. It looks a bit overworked to my eye,

but it's easy enough to follow ."

 

I remember when instructions labeled the parts, so if you were adding a generator (for example), you learned what part of the engine it was. I wish manufacturers would go back to that format; I enjoy learning!

Edited by s.e.charles

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On 27/11/2019 at 09:22, s.e.charles said:

I remember when instructions labeled the parts, so if you were adding a generator (for example), you learned what part of the engine it was. I wish manufacturers would go back to that format; I enjoy learning!

 

I agree. Actaully, Meng were one of the few to continue doing that, at least in a limited fashion, but they seem to have cut back on it of late. The instructions label the major components like engine, axle etc. but not much more.

 

A little more progress today. The rear axle has been built up. It's a fairly simple assembly with the leaf springs and shocks moulded as single pieces which glue directly to the axle. The mounting brackets on the end of the springs are quite delicate and easy to bend, especially when you're trying to clean up the mould line which runs all the way around the springs. The prop shaft is then attached, and the whole assembly is ready to mount to the chassis.

 

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The chassis does need a little attention before hand though, mainly to clean up some mould lines and burrs. There's also a modification that's required for this version - the two spare wheel support brackets need to be removed from the back. Quite a lot of hacking and sanding is needed to remove all traces of them. It's a shame Meng didn't mould them as separate pieces, or better still provide them in photo etch, as the way they've been moulded as part of the chassis makes them much too thick. As an aside, Takom also mould the brackets integrally with the chassis on their new Jeep. There are a few other areas where it looks like the Takom Jeep is slightly superior to the Meng one though.

 

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The rear suspension then drops into place on the underside of the chassis. At this point, the ends of the shocks don't attach to anything, but they later slot into recesses under the wheel arches.

 

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The front axle is built up in a similar way, but Meng have kind of incorprated working steering. I say 'kind of', as it's hard to tell if it's actually intentional or not. The wheel hubs come in two halves which clamp over the pins moulded on the ends of the axle. The instructions tell you not to get any glue near the pins so, presumably they're meant to remain moveable.

 

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The track rod though is a fixed piece, and won't move with the hubs. The ends simply float over the top of the hubs but don't connect to them. As a result, the wheels can turn, but there's nothing to keep them pointing in the same direction. I suppose the idea is to choose what direction you want them in and fix them there (that's what I'm going to do anyway).

 

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While we're dealing with steering related things, I've also added the steering column to the body. I was going to chastise Meng for not including any foot pedals until I realised they've moulded them directly to the bottom of the column. The pedals are a bit chunky but at least they're there. On a related note, the accelerator pedal has been moulded directly to the floor. Not a huge deal, but Takom provide the pedal as a separate piece so, again, their kit looks a little more refined.

 

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There are also a couple of small details that Meng have missed in the foot well. There should be a round foot rest to the right of the accelerator, and to the right of that you should find the starter button (Jeeps had a foot operated starter). I've added them with a punched disc of styrene and a short length of stretched sprue. Again, the Takom Jeep includes both these details.

 

Before...

 

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After...

 

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Okay, we'll leave it there for tonigh. More build updates (and Takom comparisons) tomorrow.

 

Andy:cat:

 

 

 

 

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Great progress, Andy! I always meant to ask: Do you have a description of your photo setup and post-processing workflow? The images are some of the best you see around, no matter the subject!

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An interesting and different subject Andy. That's probably the most detailed Jeep that I've seen in this scale.

 

John.

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Hi Andy, great subject, I will follow with interest :popcorn:

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Hi Andy, a very rare model, I didn't even know it existed, and as always, I see that you are getting the best out of the kit, which seems very good ...:popcorn:

Cheers Andy 👍

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Thanks everyone,

 

On 30/11/2019 at 06:13, armored76 said:

Do you have a description of your photo setup and post-processing workflow?

 

There's some info about my photo setup in the post below (scroll down a bit)

 

For post processing, it's a fairly simple workflow. The RAW images are developed in Lightroom. Not that many adjustments, mainly some sharpening and some tweaking of contrast and exposure if needed. I normally use the Adobe Standard profile. I save the images as full resolution Jpegs at Lightroom's highest quality setting (12 I think?).

The images are then opened in Photoshop where they get some additional sharpening using a high pass filter layer on a soft light blend mode. The backgrounds are then whitened using the white eye dropper tool in the levels window. Depending on the image, that may mean duplicating the layer and masking out the main subject as it might get brightened too much by the whitening. I then do any final contrast adjusments to give the image some punch.

Reading this back now, I've probably made it sound more complicated than it really is. It's actually a fairly fast and simple process.

 

On 01/12/2019 at 09:40, Bullbasket said:

An interesting and different subject Andy. That's probably the most detailed Jeep that I've seen in this scale

 

Thanks John. It's a very good kit, certainly better than all the previous Jeep kits. I think the Takom release just has it beaten on fine detail and accuracy though.

 

 

Okay, back to the chassis. The completed front and rear axle/suspension assemblies drop into place easily and fit very well, as does the engine which needs to be installed first so the prop shafts can line up with it.

 

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With the wheels temporarily fitted, you can see how the independant front hubs could potentially create some steering issues

 

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With the hubs glued at the same angle, the steering is looking much better. While it would have been nice to see fully poseable steering, the parts would probably have been quite delicate. At least this way you can fix the wheels at the angle you want, which is better than having to have them perfectly straight. Just remember to check the angle with the body in place before pemanently fixing the hubs or you could end up with the wheels hitting the insides of the arches.

 

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The chassis and suspension seem pretty accurate for the most part, but there is one fairly visible detail that's missing, that being the linkage for the clutch pedal which is mounted on the outside of the main frame

 

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I've made a rough repesentation of it from styrene sheet, and also added a few missing bolt heads with thin slices of plastic rod. This is another of those little details that Takom have included on their release.

 

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You can just about see it from the side with the body fitted, although I wouldn't say it was an essential addition.

 

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While we're talking about things missing from the chassis, there's one other absent detail that, in truth, isn't particularly important, but I'll point it out any since, again, Takom have included it. There's a circular plate bolted to the top of the cross member just ahead of the rear wheels

 

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Meng don't include the plate, although you can see where it would go via the cutout for it on the underside of the body

 

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As I said, it's not really vital as you wouldn't see it unless you were modelling a bare chassis. Since Takom do include it though, I thought I'd mention it.

 

Okay, more later folks

 

Andy:cat:

 

 

 

 

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Looks rather nice, I think it's quite clever that they've gone for the wacky version as a first release.

 

The mouldings (and your assembly) look really clean - rather Tamiya-like, with crisp detail but not too much, and relatively large parts.

 

Will

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It seems strange that they didn't include the clutch linkage when they've included the bracket that housed the return spring. Must have been a Friday afternoon job!

 

John.

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or monday morning.... looks nice though and an interesting subject. I can imagine this not being used in wartime... not only because it is close to the driver, but, one lost bullet hitting that tank... then they talk about pilots in he Me-163 closed in by the fueltanks...

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this looks like a great kit. some random thoughts/ observations:

 

the overall detail appears complete and well done.

 

I like the tan styrene. dark green gets tiresome to work on; similar to sewing on black fabric - takes way too much focus to see the little nuances.

 

MENG is not bashful getting their name on the body pan. would be a bit of a chore to remove along with numbers but it looks like those would offer a fighting chance. 

 

any chance you could share the link to the real rolling chassis photo? looks very helpful for all the tiny details/ parts.

 

does the kit have a dedicated aftermarket photo etch or too new? I know sometimes the aftermarket companies jump on these things pretty quick. 

 

if not, is there a specific kit which would be applicable? or are they all going to offer the same basic details?

 

thanks; following along!

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Too cool. Love me a good Jeep......especially with flamethrower !! :lol:

 

Can't wait to see how this baby turns out Andy.

 

A pity there's no driver figure, reckon you could have given him a singed/blackened cap ! 

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Thanks everyone

 

On 02/12/2019 at 11:15, Will Vale said:

rather Tamiya-like, with crisp detail but not too much, and relatively large parts.

 

On 02/12/2019 at 11:23, Bullbasket said:

It seems strange that they didn't include the clutch linkage when they've included the bracket that housed the return spring. Must have been a Friday afternoon job!

 

Yes, Meng are quite reminscent of Tamiya at times, especially with the Velociraptor range (their version of series 1), which probably explains the lack of some smaller details like the pedal linkage. The kits in that range seem less detailed and generally don't include stuff like photo etch. The RR armoured car was from the same range, and that had a few simplifed aspects too. I think they reserve the fancy mouldings and supedetailing for the Tyrannosaur range.

 

On 03/12/2019 at 10:08, s.e.charles said:

any chance you could share the link to the real rolling chassis photo? looks very helpful for all the tiny details/ parts.

 

The images are from a google search - I just typed in 'Willys Jeep chassis'. You can find a lot of images from rebuilds and restorations that are very useful for detailing. The two images I've posted here are also on my Flickr page

 

On 03/12/2019 at 10:08, s.e.charles said:

does the kit have a dedicated aftermarket photo etch or too new? I know sometimes the aftermarket companies jump on these things pretty quick.

 

I don't know of one specifically for this kit yet, but I imagine Voyager and/or Eduard will have one before long. For general details, any Jeep etch set would probably be usable.

 

14 hours ago, Portaler said:

A pity there's no driver figure, reckon you could have given him a singed/blackened cap ! 

 

Yes, a driver would have been nice. Wish more manufactureres would include figures as standard.

 

 

Moving back to the interior, the dash is nicely done, the cutout at the end being specific to the Wasp

 

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The most obvious simplification is the hand brake lever moulded directly to the face of the dash. I sliced it off and reattached it on a short length of rod.

Notice the very rough front edge on the fuel tank. Not sure what happened with the moulding there. It doesn't look like it's short shot - more like it's been nibbled by mice :hmmm:

 

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I've also started building up the tanks for the back. These have had some of the moulded bolt heads removed and replaced with sharper versions form a Meng accessory set

 

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The thing that's buggin me with these are the valve taps. They should be the open, cog-style design, but Meng have moulded them as solid discs. Ideally I'd like to replace them, but I don't know of anything like that available in 1/35. Otherwise, I've just file some indentations around the perimeter of the taps to make them look knurled (the bonnet tank already comes with a knurled tap, so that's one less to do)

 

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I've also got a bit of paint on the wheels and chassis using Gunze olive drab. This still needs another coat as you can still see hints of the sand-coloured plastic in places.

 

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Andy:cat:

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An absolutely beautiful looking kit. Interesting subject topic to, I look forward to seeing the rest of this coming together.

 

Cheers,

Steven

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I find it amusing there are so many jerry cans. Don't know if they are full of water to put out the flames, or extra fuel for the flamethrower 🙂 

 

Extra fuel for the flamethrower sounds more exciting !!  Especially if hit by a stray bullet :lol:

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"The thing that's buggin me with these are the valve taps. They should be the open, cog-style design, but Meng have moulded them as solid discs. Ideally I'd like to replace them, but I don't know of anything like that available in 1/35. Otherwise, I've just file some indentations around the perimeter of the taps to make them look knurled (the bonnet tank already comes with a knurled tap, so that's one less to do) "

 

maybe some HO or N scale brake wheels? or even watchmaker parts (craft stores by the vial)

 

https://www.bowser-trains.com/history/hocalscalefreightcar.html

 

https://www.amazon.com/YIYATOO-Vintage-Steampunk-Wheels-Crafting/dp/B016JSLT9M

 

thanks for the search suggestion, too!

 

 

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On 05/12/2019 at 00:32, s.e.charles said:

 

maybe some HO or N scale brake wheels? or even watchmaker parts (craft stores by the vial)

 

Thanks for the links. Something along those lines would have worked very well. As it is, I ended up using something from the spares box.

 

After rummaging through some old photo etch frets, I found this set, which originally came with an old Verlinden 1/72 printed flight deck base. They're tie down points, but the circular grills are the perfect size for the valve taps.

 

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They're a bit 2 dimensional, but much better than the solid moulded kit parts. I've added a small domed rivet to the centre of each tap, although looking at the close-up photo, they're both misaligned so I'll have to remove and reattach, and probably up the magnification on my optivisors🧐

 

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I've also added some missing bolts around the filler cap on the main fuel tank and scratch built a new connector pipe on the back of the tank.

I probably should have replaced the two bar handles on the ends of the tank with wire since the kit parts are a little too thick. I don't want to try now, with everything together, as the assembly is quite delicate so I'll just leave them as they are.

 

Andy:cat:

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Surprisingly detailed, it looks fantastic (although you have to use "optivisor" ...:lol:

 

Cheers Andy 👍

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