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Hi All,

 

I haven't lurked in this part of the forum for ages...good to be back! Due to a recent house move, I have a much-reduced modelling space, with no room for an airbrushing station. Therefore I decided dabble again in figure painting with brushes. I had an idea a while back about converting one of the Tamiya 1/16 figures to represent a modern US Navy carrier deck crewman, as US Naval aviation is a strong interest of mine. I liked the look of the brown-shirted 'chock and chain/plane captain' crewmen:

 

navy_brown_shirt_chain_and_chocks

 

 

So I bought the Tamiya Bundeswehr Tank Crewman figure set below, as they wear a similar-style helmet to the US Navy crewman. They also come with goggles, and as a bonus, there is a second figure in the box (though he has no legs!)

 

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The photo below shows the figure head with the tank crewman's helmet detail sanded down, and the other moulded details on the helmet removed. My plan is to convert the head and torso and sculpt new arms. I have not tried this before so it's a step into the unknown. Any help from experienced sculptors would be appreciated!

 

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Hi All,

 

A little bit of progress below. I added an uneven layer of Alteco epoxy putty/Green Stuff mix to the head of the figure, and also made two rounded headphones which I have stuck on to the side of the figure with superglue. I used the tank crewman headphones as a rough size guide and I think they look OK. I used my new sculpting and smoothing tools to put some folds into the fabric 'under-helmet', not the best job in the world but it will be mostly hidden by other helmet details. I have assembled the kit figure torso and I will be removing the moulded detail, before adding on the elements of the flight deck crew's 'float coats' with my putty mix.

 

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The 'under-helmet that I refer to above is the khaki-coloured bit in the image below (one of the many useful reference pics I have found from the net). Next steps are to add the fabric trim around the earphones and flattened putty 'plates' that will raise the green-coloured sections of the helmet up a bit.

 

helmet detail

 

 

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1 hour ago, junglierating said:

If you need any extra phots ...my flight helmet can be made available I always used/use american ones rather than the crap British made items

Great, thanks for the offer. I only have one shot of the top of the helmet, so if you have any like that it would be helpful. 

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@junglierating super, thanks very much. Those will really help, especially with the top part of the helmet.

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Hi All,

 

Small update for you. I have added the cloth coverings for the earphones, and sculpted a pocket and part of the lining for the 'float coat' on the figure's torso. I will thin the lining quite a bit, and probably fill in the areas in between with more of my green putty mix. I removed all the moulded detail from the torso and started to fill in all the longitudinal creases that are present in the Bundeswehr tanker's uniform, as I don't think that they would look natural on the USN crewman's uniform. Next step is to add the outer coloured shells to the helmet with thin plasticard (the small white piece in the photos),  along with some small details. I'm really enjoying this build so far!

 

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Hi all, here is another update. I am calling the head done! I added both of the 'cranial' plates to the helmet, the front one from plasticard and the rear one from putty. The plasticard had to be 'persuaded' to conform to the curve of the figure's head with superglue, and settled down OK apart from at the top, which had to infilled with putty to smooth everything off. The rear cranial was a challenge...I tried very thin plasticard but it failed dismally to conform to the curves, even when boiling water was used. Not much better was wine bottle foil, which was too delicate and easily folded. I eventually decided to flatten some putty, and cut out the cranial plate shape using a paper template that I had checked for the correct size and shape. This was tricky to apply, even with liberal use of hand cream to stop the putty sticking. But I got it on there eventually, and smoothed it off with more hand cream and my silicon shapers (what a revelation these are!). Any minor imperfections will be filled in with Mr. Surfacer after the priming stage.

The headphones and chin strap were made from wine bottle foil with small details added from Plastruct hex rod and wire. The studs that fix on the cranial plates are Plastruct rod, initially they stood far too high off the surface, so I sanded them down quite a bit to resemble the real studs. The patches on the front cranial plates are the number patch and the velcro patch seen in reference pictures, and are made from ordinary aluminium foil. In the background is the figure's torso, I am slowly building up pockets and folds on the float coat with putty, a small piece at a time. Hope you like the progress.

 

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'Adventures in Green Stuff' continues....! I have attached the figure's head to the torso using the connecting plastic part from the kit (shorn of the high collar which was for the tank crewman). I thought that this would give me the right height and 'sit' of the head on the torso, which it does, and also the figure is looking slightly to his right which I think is more interesting than straight on. I then sculpted the turtleneck undershirt for the crewman and re-did some of the seams on the float coat. I also started building up the putty on the figure's back...going quite quickly with this, I may be at the arm-sculpting stage fairly soon 😬

 

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Thanks for your comments @Model Mate and @brodiebear. Here is a little more, I have added the figure's legs and turned the tanker overalls into camo trousers! I also added a belt from foil but this is mostly covered by the bottom of his float coat. I re-did the texture of the material on his back, with several large, smoother folds; having looked at reference photos.

Overall the trouser texture is not too bad, but I now intend to coat all the green stuff areas with a layer of thinned Mr. Surfacer 500 to even out the 'joins' between separate layers occur and some seam lines, etc. are too deep. It will then be a case of evening all the textures out and making all the folds look natural.

After I've done that it will be on with the primer. I have also drilled out holes for the copper wire armatures for his arms. I will sculpt and paint those separately, as I will need to add the tie down chains and hooks as painted items first, and make sure the arms 'hold' them right on the final figure. Looking forward to getting on with the painting!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all. Last update before paint, I smoothed out a lot of the small folds and imperfections with sandpaper and Perfect Plastic Putty (PPP), hence the spotty appearance of the trousers. I also re-did the rear pocket flaps, make side leg pockets and a waist bag and signalling wand from green stuff and plastic rod. I had seen these features in a reference photo and they looked interesting.

Last pic shows the figure under a primer coat of GW Chaos Black from a can. There are one or two little bits to iron out with some more PPP and I might build up a couple more folds with my green stuff mix as the right pocket area of the trousers now looks a little too smooth! I plan to start painting the face next, will update when that is done.

 

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