Model building can sometimes get mundane. WHAT!? Vile blasphemy you say! Please please wait, don’t hang me yet. Let me explain. There comes a time when you have to make a change, to refresh ones creativity. What better way than to change up on scale. “Go big Padawan or go Home”.
Dragons 1/6th Scale line is by no means a wide selection, containing twenty nine kits in total. It varies from small machine gun kits to the massive M3A1 Sherman Tank. The latter made my pulse race and for more than one long minute Don was preparing CPR, to revive me from model builders overload.
I finally decided to hit that sweet spot and build the jeep. Dragon offers two versions of the SAS jeep – one Desert and one European theater. I wanted to go with a faded sand colored desert raider. So come along with me to North Africa and lets get cracking. ” Ummm no really, we are not going to build in the desert. You guys are so literal sometimes.
Modelers and collectors were delighted when Dragon released a large-scale 1/6 model of the famous 1/4-Ton 4×4 Truck (Item No. 75020). The kit bedazzled all with its intricate detail and pleasurable assembly, providing modelers with the ideal vehicle to accompany their 1/6 scale figures. Now Dragon is proud to announce a follow-up kit, this time featuring the iconic American 4×4 as a British Desert Raider vehicle. The Special Air Service (SAS) and Long-Range Desert Group (LRDG) widely used this kind of vehicle in North Africa. The SAS, formed in July 1941 by David Stirling, was a commando force designed to operate deep behind enemy lines – something it did very successfully.
The 1/6 model kit shows a vehicle heavily modified for desert operations by the SAS. It is heavily loaded with jerry cans containing spare fuel and water to allow reconnaissance missions deep behind the frontlines. For operations in the hot climate, the grill has been removed and a water condenser fitted. The SAS vehicle is also heavily armed with fast-firing Vickers K machine guns. Both a single Vickers K weapon and a twin-mount machine-gun are fitted ready for use against ground or aerial targets. This exciting kit is accurate in every detail, and it’s ready to range widely across the sandy desert terrain of North Africa.
I started as a typical out of box build, with the idea of using the kit as a platform to showcase various painting and weather techniques. I also wanted to test our new acrylic line of Life Color model paints.
Assembly was straight forward with the use of Tamiya super thin glue. Kit plastic was thick but spruce clean up was easy with the aid of Squadrons tapered sanding stick set. I can’t say enough about the quality of these sanding sticks and the longevity that they have, with the ability to be cleaned with a wipe on a cloth. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Although the kit has excellent detail, i was a bit disappointed in the fact that the jeep doesn’t come with a complete engine. With a bit of work you would be able to scratch build one to add to it. i wanted to have the hood closed so no big deal for me. I really liked the fact that the tires are made of vinyl and comes mounted to the kit wheels.
Assembly started with the frame. Since this jeep was used in the desert it allowed a bit of liberty to go insane on the weathering effect I wanted to apply to it. Using the salt technique I weathered the frame.
When performing this paint weathering you have to have a plan of attack. I knew this frame was going to be beaten to death by desert sands and rocks. Paint would naturally be chipping and painted surfaces worn. As you can see in the picture the effect is stunning.
So, how do we accomplish this great looking effect? I primed the frame in a good acrylic black primer. I used black so that when I paint the final top coat color onto the model, it will lend to varying shades of light and shadow. Just remember to go light in areas of coverage to achieve the desired effect. You can really see the effect in the picture of the Jerry cans.
Start with blocking in the under color. This will be the shade you want to see as the top sand color chips away. I wanted a black rusty color. Let this coat dry thoroughly as you will be wetting this coat in selected areas for your chipping. The next step is to add the salt. For this scale I want to use a course ground sea salt. Wet the area and apply the salt in a random sprinkling. Remember you must allow this salt layer to dry – don’t worry about the salt messing up the under paint. It can stay on there for days and still be fine. I allowed it to dry for a few hours.
Next step is to apply the top coat of sand color paint. Allow the paint to dry completely then remove the salt with an old brush or tooth brush. Go ahead and use your significant others Tooth brush they won’t mind at all. The chipping will look stark in comparison. Don’t worry, we’ll tone this down and pull it altogether when we apply a filter wash.
Washing or applying a wash is nothing more than painting. When painting I’ll use an acrylic based water solvable paint. Since this paint is water based, the paint that I wash with will be oil or enamel based. This allows for the difference of paint mediums to not destroy the paint layer that the wash is applied to.
You can purchase a tube of artist oil paint in any color you wish to wash with and thin this with mineral spirits. I’ll use mineral spirits for the reason that it will not stain like a normal thinner will.
Two common ways of washing is to apply a clear gloss coat to the model, this allows the wash to flow through the panel lines and details. The other is not to apply the clear gloss, in armor modelling this allows the wash to create more of a staining effect.
Notice how the wash on the axle hub of the jeep looks like seals that have leaked.
Washes will always be super thin almost like a tinted thinner, build up your wash in layers for the desired effect. On the axle hub cover you can see that i wanted the look of long term leakage, to achieve this i used multiple layers of different colored washes. I also wanted that wet look, add a small amount of clear gloss to the final coat of wash.
Two ways to use a wash are pin washes and filter washes. Pin washes are the application of the wash in only selected areas. Pin washing is normally used to highlight the shadows of panel lines and corners, typically used on aircraft. Filter washes are used to pull down a base coat and to blend colors together, filter washes will be applied to the whole of the model and then allowed to dry. Filter washes will act as a tint to the base coat.
I applied a filter wash to the wheels to darken them more than the body of the Jeep. This adds contrast and realism to the model. Try to replicate the real item that you are working on, i try to use as much reference material as i can find.
Applying weathering streaks, for this I’ll use artist pastel chalk sticks shave them with an razor knife into a powder. You can mix various shades into the color of your choice. To apply this select a fine bristled brush, remember to go light and build up the effect. You can see how it highlights the rivet detail of the model.
Building up mud and dirt effects. Pigment powders are a great way to create that dust dirt and mud on a model kit, I’ll mix these powders into a slurry and apply them with a sponge or brush. I like to load up the slurry on my brush hold it close and flick it, creating that splatter effect.
Experiment with these weathering techniques, you will be amazed at the realism added to any model you are working on. When you are out and about step back and really take a good look at how nature weathers metal, vehicles, or any other items that you work on.
For me there will always be a need to add these weathering steps to any model. Not all the kits you work on need such severe weathering added. Lighter touches will highlight your detail and accent your kit with that much more reality.
Have fun and remember practice makes perfect, you’ll be amazed at how much better your models look in the end.