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Every Vally Shall Be Exalted - The Valentine Tank Family Build Continues With The AEC Mk.1 Armoured Car - What the...!


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2 hours ago, opus999 said:

I was re-reading through the thread and I'm wondering how you got the exhaust pipe to look realistically and slightly weathered?  Did I miss it?  My biggest struggle as of late is getting exhaust stacks on my aircraft to look decent.  I've tried a variety of things, but all of them are fake-looking.

 

It's not there is it? I show the building of the round pipe on on page and a few days later it's painted, glued down and shrouded - what a rip-off!

 

I tender my humble apologies :sorry: and here is my belated attempt to describe the Psmith Method for exhausts

 

I looked at car and lorry exhausts in the showrooms and in the street. Brand new ones are sometimes shiny, but after they have been brought to operating temp a few times, the zinc coating on the steel turns a pale grey. It's a blotchy finish because the zinc is in the form of big flat irregular crystals and depending on their random orientation they appear to be different colours. After a few more heat cycles the weakest parts of the coating will start to go a bit purple/brown as the steel underneath starts to rust.

 

So what I do is to get a few similar shades of different greys on my wet palette. I might have a medium blue/grey and a medium green/grey etc, all Vallejo acrylics. I thin them with water with some flow improver in it. I choose one and paint the whole (grey primed) exhaust with it and while it's still wet, I pick up a small brushload of one of the others and touch it in a few random places, repeating with with the others. I let this mix into the wet base layer in a wet-on-wet method. This is very thin paint, that's important, and it's semi transparent. I let that dry and then do it again adjusting it so it 'looks good'. Maybe I'll drybrush a mix of some of the colours too, or perhaps a bit of wet stippling, or dry stippling, or flicking the paint on with a toothbrush and a toothpick. Then I'll pick up a little brown/yellow/orange and dab that into a wet layer of paint or maybe just water. Then it looks like I did the drybrushing thing again with the rust tones. Sometimes I finger-paint a little bit by accident when I touch the wet paint!

 

If I want it rusty, I do exactly the same but I use Lifecolor rust paints too because they contain rust (you can smell it), lots of pigments, and dry really flat. I still work it into wet grey paint though. Or perhaps not. (I'm pretty sure that in this instance I didn't use Lifecolors.) This may not be very helpful if you were looking for a recipe, I realise.

 

Basically, I play with four or five colours and as many ways as I can think of to apply them. I could never duplicate it because the whole process is sort of random and that's what gives me a slightly different finish to each model. If I had two pipes to do, I'd have to do them simultaneously to make them match, but then again, I'd never want them to match. Sometimes the results are awful and I wipe most of the mess away with IPA and start over. I really enjoy the process except when I get it looking perfect and then go one step beyond and banjax it completely. But each time I do this I get a better idea of how to relax and enjoy it and very slowly I'm learning to control it. 

 

And that's why I didn't take any photos - I was having too much fun to think about it. I will try to capture the process next time.

 

 

 

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42 minutes ago, Hamden said:

 

A stunning result well worth your time and trouble. I agree with you that it would not steer with both sides half tracked.

Are you planning on doing the DD version, if so there is a running example in private hands which I think is in the Kidderminster area and is the one I posted at the beginning of your thread.

 

   Stay safe          Roger
 

 

On the matter of time spent. I've never done an entire tank in under three weeks before. I missed several days due to illness too. This is a good sign for the busy year to come.

 

There are TWO DD versions. There's a post war Archer DD too. I would like to have a bash at both of them, yes.

 

The running one isn't a swimming one (who would be mad enough to try?) but it's a very good reproduction by all accounts. You can't get the waterproof canvas these days, I suppose.

 

1 hour ago, ColonelKrypton said:

 

Indeed. The Devil is in the details and there details a plenty on AFV's. The challenge is finding that delicate balance between too much and too few and I think you have done a fine job finding that balance in your half tracked vally prototype.

 

cheers, Graham

 

 

 

 

That's why I've switched from aircraft, there are few flat boring areas on AFVs, none of that boring acreage of wing. That and the fact that I've done all the aircraft I was ever interested in.

 

1 hour ago, Lazy Modeller said:

Marvelous!

Cheers

LM

 

Cheers, Lazy

 

2 hours ago, opus999 said:

I finally got to the end and I have to say that you've done a tremendous job making a very realistic looking model!  Terrific!  I love the Vickers showroom floor backdrop.  ;) 

 

Thanks very much. I'm pleased with it too. It isn't perfect but it's a lot better than I expected when things were getting a little sticky!

 

2 hours ago, opus999 said:

Not trying to violate the off-topic rule, but I also found that these cheap brushes (if made with a transparent handle) when they've reached the end of their useful life (which is, what, a month?), can be turned down and polished rather quickly to make replacement lightsabers for the kids' Star Wars action figures after they've lost the originals! :D 

 

 

Good for nav lights too I suspect. It's modelling tips, that's allowed!

 

 

5 hours ago, echen said:

A wonderful science! We could have told 'em couldn't we?

 

We certainly could, but then we'd have changed history and lost all of our hindsight. Sigh.

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11 hours ago, Bertie Psmith said:

The running one isn't a swimming one (who would be mad enough to try?) but it's a very good reproduction by all accounts. You can't get the waterproof canvas these days, I suppose.

 

The running DD is an original not a replica and was found in a factory under a pile of rubble before restoration. It was restored to a swimmable condition but as far as I know has only waded in off a landing craft to Studland Beach (Dorset). The Bovington Tank Museum may be able to put you in touch with the owner if your interested as he was Chairman of the Museum Friends at one time and the DD has appeared at Tankfest on several occasions. I have met the owner on a couple of occasions and he is usually only to pleased to talk about the vehicle.

Didn't know about an Archer DD though should make an interesting vehicle to model.

Looking forward to watching your Valentine fleet grow

 

    Stay safe          Roger

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30 minutes ago, Hamden said:

 

The running DD is an original not a replica and was found in a factory under a pile of rubble before restoration. It was restored to a swimmable condition but as far as I know has only waded in off a landing craft to Studland Beach (Dorset). The Bovington Tank Museum may be able to put you in touch with the owner if your interested as he was Chairman of the Museum Friends at one time and the DD has appeared at Tankfest on several occasions. I have met the owner on a couple of occasions and he is usually only to pleased to talk about the vehicle.

Didn't know about an Archer DD though should make an interesting vehicle to model.

Looking forward to watching your Valentine fleet grow

 

    Stay safe          Roger


That’s interesting. I mean only that the canvas screen was a modern replacement. I think It’s mentioned in ITV as a very good colour match for the original but I’m away from the book atm so I may be misremembering. 
 

the swimming Archer was only an experiment but those things interest me most. 
 

I don’t think I’ll be surveying the extant DD in person.  I like modelling to limited reference materials, just a photo is fine, because then I can extemporise in a relaxed way rather that fretting over ALL of the details. I have an ‘open relationship’ with accuracy 😁

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@Hamden Is the guy with the DD to whom you refer, John Pearson? If so his tank T82527DD gets a chapter of its own in ITV with colour photos too including coming down a landing craft ramp but only splashing into a couple of feet of seawater. I assume it's the same one because its claimed as the only driveable DD in the world. In a caption to a photo of the raised screen he writes, "The screen is made from the right shade of Mountbatten Pink but is not designed for swimming."

 

The story of the restoration is amazing. It took over 20 years to the point of publication and is presumably ongoing, so that's 30+ years!

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Yes the DD is owned by John Pearson, I just could not remember his surname! Old age syndrome 

 

     Stay safe          Roger

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  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to Every Vally Shall Be Exalted - The Valentine Tank Family - Tamiya Archer Starting February
31 minutes ago, Hamden said:

The following link shows both DD Valentine and a Valentine during a Tank Museum Tankfest display around the 4min: mark

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LA8x7hzoo0

 

Hope this is of interest

 

Stay safe     Roger

 

Thanks. I hadn't seen this one before. Very interesting to see them moving around a bit.

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This has turned out rather well in the end. A very interesting thread as well which is all to the better.

With the brakes and the drive at the rear the half-track both sides would work and steer IRL. You'd have to take it slow as the track tension may be off but a lot better than walking or being captured by the dastardly hun. Tank gearboxes are also a very smart differential.

The handles and other tiny bits are the other issue to trouble AFV modellers, my method is to remove from the sprues one at a time and clean the part up before dropping it into a milk carton top off to one side. If you establish this habit it makes life a lot simpler and I like simpler. You may too ;)

 

If the flying bogie really irks you then it should be easy to remove the wheels and axles and reattach a little off-centre to level everything out. The large one, being more visible, may need the arm moving which is easy enough to do with a saw cut from the bottom until you can bend it down then make good. 

Alfie may be able to help as kids are smaller and better for tight spaces...

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8 hours ago, SleeperService said:

This has turned out rather well in the end. A very interesting thread as well which is all to the better.

 

Thank you very much and I'm glad you enjoyed the thread. The writing is half the fun for me and it's nice when it's appreciated.

 

8 hours ago, SleeperService said:

With the brakes and the drive at the rear the half-track both sides would work and steer IRL. You'd have to take it slow as the track tension may be off but a lot better than walking or being captured by the dastardly hun. Tank gearboxes are also a very smart differential.

 

The short track version with only the idler omitted shouldn't be a problem but I think the layout missing the front bogies would plant the roadwheels onto the ground with their natural propensity to dig in and go straight on. I believe this is why steering might be tricky.

 

8 hours ago, SleeperService said:

The handles and other tiny bits are the other issue to trouble AFV modellers, my method is to remove from the sprues one at a time and clean the part up before dropping it into a milk carton top off to one side. If you establish this habit it makes life a lot simpler and I like simpler. You may too ;)

 

To be honest I think they look better glued to the tank rather than in a milk carton top off to one side. 😂

 

I had planned to wipe the sprue gate marks off with wet'n'dry once the glue had dried but it just slipped my mind this time. Nobody's perfect! 

 

8 hours ago, SleeperService said:

 

If the flying bogie really irks you

 

 

Not a bit, I'm glad to say. I seldom return to the scene of the crime once the job is done. There are too many new 'adventures in plastic' awaiting my attention.

 

8 hours ago, SleeperService said:

Alfie may be able to help as kids are smaller and better for tight spaces...

 

It would be so handy to have a three-quarter inch assistant! 

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Coming soon (see above) is, of course the Tamiya Archer. It's an interesting self-propelled anti-tank gun that I'll describe in detail when I start building it. At the moment, I'm deciding what I want to do with it. 

 

I quite like the figures, as shown on the box art. They are quite dynamic and show how cramped the fighting compartment was with the commander actually standing outside the armour. Apparently the Royal Artillery didn't mind this because they had been working their guns in the open for centuries and accepted being shot as a part of the job! For them the Archer was a great leap forward in having any armoured protection at all and even more so for relieving them of the heavy work of dragging the big 17 pounder gun around manually. It was the difficulty of manhandling the gun and its ammunition that actually started the development of the Archer in 1942. But I digress.

 

So, nice dynamic figures. That seems to call for a diorama. I'm not very skilled at those and that seems to call for a diorama too. "Practice what you can't do, not what you can" says my guitar tutor. With the guitar, that means I have to practice everything and in this case I'll have a bash at a simple dio. It would be too simple to just do what Tamiya intended and put the lads into battle though. I propose a training scene on Salisbury Plain in May of 1944, when the first production Archers were being delivered. I'll have the crew going through its firing drills with a few officers and umpires in attendance with their personal weapons - their clipboards!

 

As well as the officer figures, I'll also need a driver. Tamiya don't include one. This is probably because some sources such as ITV say that the driver had to get out of the vehicle when firing was in progress. Presumably this legend arose because of the recoil of the gun, directly behind the man. David Fletcher doesn't mention this in BBT but in his YouTube Tank Chat on the Archer, which I link to below, says that it was not only safe but essential that the driver remained in his seat both for making gross changes to the gun's traverse, and for making a sharp exit when the enemy located them. Shoot and scoot indeed! I'm going with Mr Fletcher on this point. It's only a five minute video but if you aren't already familiar with the Archer, it's well worth watching.

 

Seven or eight figures, a pre-prepared firing position in the Wiltshire chalk, a few flags and notices, perhaps a chair and table for the paperwork and some short grass. That sounds like something I might be able to handle. The Archer itself would be brand new, and require little weathering apart from a bit of dust. 

 

 

At the same time as this build, I'll be doing a slow build of what seems likely to be my final aeroplane model, The Tamiya F-4B, with a bit of extra detailing and some battle damage, also on a simple scenic base with figures. I'm hoping that the two projects will give me a nice balanced work hobby-load for the remaining weeks of the winter.

 

My reading so far has revealed some interesting Archer variants, such as the 25 pounder howitzer version, a deep wader (not a DD, as I'd first thought.), and a couple of experiments with overhead armour. Maybe later...

 

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1 hour ago, Model Mate said:

ooh nice - gotta love a diorama!


all suggestions appreciated. 
 

I thought a bus shelter type structure for the instructors would be nice. And shift the date to late November 44 so I can use my winter clothed figures maybe. 

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25 minutes ago, Bertie Psmith said:


all suggestions appreciated. 
 

I thought a bus shelter type structure for the instructors would be nice. And shift the date to late November 44 so I can use my winter clothed figures maybe. 

good call - coffee stirrers make great timber boards and many diorama experts/cmmentators suggest that a strong vertical element (lamp-post, telegraph pole etc.) really help tie a scene together, so a hut/shelter could really help with that.

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1 hour ago, Model Mate said:

good call - coffee stirrers make great timber boards and many diorama experts/cmmentators suggest that a strong vertical element (lamp-post, telegraph pole etc.) really help tie a scene together, so a hut/shelter could really help with that.

 

I'm imagining a firing range where the crews would be assessed on driving, shooting, range-finding etc pre-deployment to the Continent.

 

But first, catch your hare, or in this case, build the Archer. I am starting now.

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  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to Every Vally Shall Be Exalted - The Valentine Tank Family - Tamiya Archer Starts Today (21 Jan)

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In the usual fashion, I'll introduce you to the kit, starting with the box art in full. I think the SPG (mustn't call it a tank, though I surely will sooner or later) looks great in this painting but set on a white background, It looks daft, when you think about it. Maybe all tanks need a diorama, a vignette or at least a base, to rest their weary tracks upon. (What's the diff? I think a dio tells a story without words, a vig has a single figure for scale, and a base is just a patch of ground.) I don't know what the story will be yet, it will depend on how the figures come out, but I'm sure something will turn up.

 

The Archer is a strange creature. The gun points backwards over the engine deck. The front of the vehicle is on the right of that box art. They tried it the other way round but the gun barrel is so long that the SPG wouldn't fit on railway waggons and wouldn't go round sharp bends. A backwards firing gun has a few advantages though. It's ready for a quick getaway for one thing, as already mentioned. For another, with most of the weight over the rear bogies, the Archer became really good at racing around cross country. I imagine like a speedboat with its prow in the air. Not so good on the roads though, only 20 MPH. The Valentine suspension was able to manage the weight and the speed with no problems so it stayed as reliable as ever. More on the bogies in a minute.

 

Archer was a stop gap idea. It would have been nice to put the 17 pounder into a proper tank turret but in 1942, when the idea was first suggested, we hadn't a tank big enough. A three inch gun is a big machine, the kind of gun that had only been fitted in ships' turrets before, and needed a big turret with a big strong ring. In fact even in the Archer, the size of the gun caused problems. If the tank was on a sideways slope of more than 10 degrees, it was impossible to train the gun as its weight dragged it to the downhill side. 

 

Archer seems to have been a stop gap name for it as well. Officially it was called the 17 Pounder SP Mounting... Or the SP Valentine... Or the Valentine 17 Pounder Mk. I... Or the Valentine 22... Or the Valentine XXII. As with the name Valentine, no-one knows where the name Archer came from, though there were other anti-tank 'SP Mountings' beginning with an A - the Achilles for example, based on the Sherman tank.

 

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Coming back to the model, there's a lot in the box. Surprisingly, only the two A sprues are common to the Valentine Mk. II/IV that I built last. Even the roadwheels are a different pattern.

 

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I think that the Archer mouldings are a bit finer than the Vally ones.

 

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And a few more ejectors were required to get the plastic out of the mould! I bet most of them are in places where they won't be visible. I certainly hope so.

 

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One of the two marking options fits my scenario exactly, I will claim. If they were in NW Europe in "Early '45" then they were in England getting ready in late '44. All the Archers were made in England by Vickers so the Canadians would have had to train on them here. That's all the history I need to make my dio plausible.

 

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It's hard to remember which is the front and which the rear, it's just like a French Bulldog, and about as pretty.

 

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I decided to start in the middle with the suspension because I had an idea :idea:. (First though, look at the quality of that spring unit moulding. It's pretty good eh? Wait until you see the Bronco equivalent!) Right then, the idea. When I did the Vally last time, I nearly misaligned the roadwheels because I forgot that they are two different sizes and I forced the bogies together tightly against their alignment stops. BUT, what if I removed those stops? Then the bogies with their weird arrangement of wheels and sub-bogies and more small wheels might be able to articulate just like the real thing. Ok, not actually like the real thing but I might be ably to assemble them in other than the boring straight line as shown on the box art. 

 

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With that little pip and that little key removed the bogies do work as designed.

 

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With an awesome range of movement resulting. 

 

This will let me make a realistically uneven dug out firing position and then have the tank conform to the ground. I won't need to misalign the wheels by more than a few mm, but you will be surprised how much better it will be. The feeling of weight will be so much better. Oh, but wait a mo. The tracks are link and length with a dead flat bottom section.

 

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True, but it's very bendy and with a little heat will surely be able to conform to wheels and ground? If I melt it or it is too short to go around the curves, I have a complete spare set from the last one which used aftermarket tracks. So I stopped working on the suspension because I need the base built first.

 

 

 

I went back to the beginning of the 41-step instructions and built the driver's compartment at the back front. I need to find out whether I have a driver who will fit in there. (Look at the gearshift gate - brilliant!)

 

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My driver must fit in there with the minimum amount of body parts removed.

 

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Private sorry, Gunner Walker (the spiv) might do it in his warm overalls. He's from Bronco.

 

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Or this Miniart driver might enjoy camping on Salisbury Plain with the lads. Either one will give me lots of variation. The gunner and loader are lightly dressed because they are working up a sweat, the driver is dozing waiting to take them home, and the commander is still in his traditional leather jerkin, dancing around the outside trying to look busy for the officers.

 

Already, this is brilliant fun!

 

 

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2 hours ago, Bertie Psmith said:

it's just like a French Bulldog, and about as pretty

 

Quite apt, or maybe a pug.

 

Admittedly, I was only a bit aware of the Archer and always thought that front end was in the direction gun was pointing. Now I know and every time I look at an Archer I am going to see that bulldog or pug.

 

cheers, Graham

 

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1 minute ago, ColonelKrypton said:

 

Quite apt, or maybe a pug.

 

Admittedly, I was only a bit aware of the Archer and always thought that front end was in the direction gun was pointing. Now I know and every time I look at an Archer I am going to see that bulldog or pug.

 

cheers, Graham

 

 

And every time I see the back end of a pug I'll think that big dark hole is a gun barrel! 🤣

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35 minutes ago, ColonelKrypton said:

 

Quite apt, or maybe a pug.

 

Admittedly, I was only a bit aware of the Archer and always thought that front end was in the direction gun was pointing. Now I know and every time I look at an Archer I am going to see that bulldog or pug.

 

cheers, Graham

 

 

Did you know that the Swedish S-Tank 103, the wedge shaped thing also had a driver who faces in the opposite direction to the gun? Admittedly only a second driver while the main guy faced the front, but you see the logic.

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  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to Every Vally Shall Be Exalted - The Valentine Tank Family - Tamiya Archer in Progress

Tonight I've been trying to figure out the driver.

 

y4mVX9TM1qLXSGO2dKg9DSvHo6BMUTJuEAYI-16Y

 

I really wanted this bloke because I could imagine him twisting round to watch the other three crewmen working like crazy while he just sat there looking bored. 

 

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His legs looked the part. Obviously, I'd have to compress his fur lined overalls a bit to get him in position but he seemed to have potential. Alas, it was not to be. He has really long legs and is reclining as though in a dentist's chair. He's not the man for the Archer where, if he lay back like that, he'd get his head bashed in by the gun.

 

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The Archer driving position is a real 'sit-up-and-beg' arrangement so I went for Gunner Walker instead.

 

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He had long legs too but I held his feet in the fire until his toes curled up a bit.

 

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He also had the baggy overalls but I ground these down, bit by bit until he fit tightly between the sidewalls, as though he'd squeezed in and compressed the trousers. It looks quite natural, believe it or not.

 

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Though not from underneath. This is where that gearshift unit goes. From above all you will see is the shift lever poking up between his legs, ahich had suffered another slight shortening. He's actually two feet shorter than when I began.

 

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His torso was quite bulbous so that had to be squeezed too. This is supposed to look like a padded jacket, bulging out over the back of the seat.

 

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And I think it more or less works. By this stage there were fragments of plastic all over everything, from the grinding and filing.

 

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Funnily enough, It doesn't brush off. Static cling, I think. 

 

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This is my weapon of choice for modifying figures. It's a slow speed version of a Dremel which doesn't melt the plastic but slowly chips it away.

 

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It's tipped with that. I have no idea what that is called or where I got it from, but it's getting blunt now so If you know, please let me know, and I'll buy some more.

 

 

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This was the point at which I had to stop. I've managed to get one elbow resting on the top of the locker but the underneath of it will need grinding when it's set hard, at least overnight. That's what's lifting him up out of the seat. When he's comfy from the neck down I plan to stick his head on as though he's listening to what's happening behind him but can't quite turn his head enough to see.

 

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I've been working on the driver for three hours to get this far. One of the reasons it's taken so long is that the compartment walls aren't glued in yet because I want to paint them separately, every time I dis a dry fit of the driver, the rest of the model would fall to bits. It's been a bit frustrating but I'm getting the job done. Eventually. Who's silly idea was it to have a driver in the first place?

 

Silly me.

 

 

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That's an interesting configuration, with the driver facing that way. I think your dio idea is great, I've never done a dio as I'm still busy practicing all that other stuff I can't do...

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Just now, JeroenS said:

That's an interesting configuration, with the driver facing that way. I think your dio idea is great, I've never done a dio as I'm still busy practicing all that other stuff I can't do...

 

I've never done a good one. 🤔

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9 hours ago, Bertie Psmith said:

 

I've never done a good one. 🤔

Well, this is your chance 🙂

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12 hours ago, Bertie Psmith said:

I really wanted this bloke because I could imagine him twisting round to watch the other three crewmen working like crazy while he just sat there looking bored. 

He's got to be a 2nd Louie then. The figures are very nice Bertie. I've got the same set.

 

John.

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  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to Every Vally Shall Be Exalted - The Valentine Tank Family Build Continues With The AEC Mk.1 Armoured Car - What the...!

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