I spent most of December and January working on the house in preparation for a baby we’ve got coming in April. When I could spare a little time I worked on a mega-size Zaku for Roy at Robot4Less. It’s all painted and awaiting clearcoats and decals/weathering but in the last few days my focus is on the Bluefin Unicorn. I’m excited to get it done, the shading came out pretty nice.
As if I needed to divide my attention further, I started another project. A couple weeks ago one of my built models sold at Robot4Less and I had some money burning a hole in my pocket. So, I went on a detail parts shopping spree. I bought photoetch parts for 3 Valkyries, 2 Sherman tanks, a truck, a jeep and a Quad Gun Tractor, as well as gun barrels for the Shermans and a resin cockpit set for my Tamiya F-16.
Then last week I got sick and was home two days from work. I hate painting when I’ve got a cold (because of runny nose and sneezing not working out under a respirator mask, yuck) so I didn’t want to work on the Mega Zaku and I had just got the PE parts for the Quad Gun Tractor so I pulled that kit out and went to work on it. I’m doing a bunch of kitbashing/scratchbuilding on it to turn it into a remote-control command vehicle for my Jin-Roh Patlabor (JRP).
The first thing I did was make room for a rear-facing pilot. I cut a rectangle out of the roof and built a box on top of it to give the pilot some headroom and space for a TV monitor so he can see where the JRP is going. Next I built a little TV screen that will have a camera-eye-view decal on it.
I had to swap parts for the pilot, using the arms and legs of the Canadian driver figure that comes with the kit with a Nazi torso and head so he looks right. I’ll have to use some sanding and putty to turn his shorts-and-scrunch-socks-wearing legs into pants-and-jackboots-wearing legs.
I installed some rails across the two center rear seat bases to provide a seat mount for the pilot since he’s backwards and off center. Next I went to town with another new tool, my punch and die set. It makes hole, discs, and if you line them up right, rings from holes in discs.
I used these to make some low-tech-looking electronics for the cockpit. I also installed a base and a mount for a large antenna mast (think news van).
Next I built a little control column using plastic bits, more punched discs and the handles from a 1/35 scale .50 caliber machine gun.
Here’s how the cockpit looks put together:
In this last picture I moved the box on the left that sat on the wheel well to the floor because it got lost behind the antenna mast.
I’ll still add some wiring and maybe a few more bits. It occurred to me that the real Gun tractor has a bunch of hatches/tool boxes that open into the rear and I’ve just made disappear. I’ll probably build something to represent that some of them are still there and maybe make the others look welded shut.
On the outside of the Gun Tractor I sealed off the normally tarp-covered “sunroof” and I’m planning to “up armor” the Gun Tractor in the way that modern Humvees serving in Iraq/Afghanistan are with some plastic plate. I’m also thinking of putting in the windows backwards and framing them to look like thick ballistic glass.