Put the finishing touches on the Whippet yesterday. In general, this was a mostly fun build, interleaved with a few small episodes of problems. Some of these were my own doing, not reading and contemplating the instructions well. I think the sprocket issue, which I discuss in the previous post, could have been prevented by better planning on my part as to how to best lay the track on the model.
|Meng’s 1:35 British Whippet, “Firefly.”|
Here is a short list of things that you may wish to pay attention to:
The sprocket and track alignment, as previously mentioned.
Being careful with the small, perfectly formed hooks that adorn the side plates. Removing the sprue attachment points is an exercise in Optivisor meditation. A very sharp scalpel blade is essential. Fortunately, Meng includes extras. Also important – be very aware that these will break off the tank easily, so practice picking the model up from the front, back or at first by the engine hood vents. Making an assembly cradle would have been a good idea, which I didn’t think of until too late.
Think about gluing the tracks to their frames.
Leave the top hatch unglued, or temporarily attached, until after the machine guns have been mounted and secured firmly in place. I failed to adequately glue one gun to its ball mount, so naturally I pushed it and it fell inside the closed turret structure… Off came the hatch. Gun retrieved. Hatch left off until all were securely in place.
Doing this again, I would subdue the track spuds’ wood color even more. Of course if you choose to heavily weather and mud-up yours, then it shouldn’t matter too much.
Get a bit more mud and dirt on the inside rear of the track frames. I can add this a bit later, but it was one of those “smack-the-forehead” moments when I realized they were not compatible with the outsides.
Painting and finishing.
Researching the colors of WWI tanks is even more mysterious than colors of WWI aircraft. But, from what I could tell, the general opinion at the time was that the British colors, as they left the factories, was very close to standard khaki. So, mine’s covered with a base coat of Tamiya Khaki acrylic paint. I varied the tone (or hue, or color?) with thin washes of oil in burnt umber and burnt sienna. I also applied the light dirt and dark mud Tamiya weathering gunk, which was left over from an IPMS review I did long ago. Neat stuff, lasts an exceptionally long time, can be used wet or dry and I believe not as expensive as the wild range of Mig potions.
I’m not a fan of contrasting “pin” washes around every rivet, bolt and protrusion. Makes them “pop” out all right, like a pimple on an otherwise normal face. I chose to very lightly dry brush most of these items with some white oil paint. I think it makes them noticeable, but not like they are screaming to be seen at the expense of the model as a whole.
I’d recommend the kit especially if you are interested in the early development of the tank. Meng kits are on a par with the best. Close to Tamiya for design, fit and instructions. Certainly better than Dragon with their hieroglyphic, crowded fold-out monstrosities of instructions. I don’t buy Dragon armor primarily because their instructions are too archaic and often confusing along with their absurdly high parts count.
The Whippet is unique and will be a good addition to any armor collection. I have Meng’s Renault FT-17 riveted turret kit and I expect the same level of quality as shown by this one. And, I get to attempt some really funky French camo patterns.
As the anniversary of WWI continues, I plan to build these two along with, at least for vehicles, the Meng British Mark V Male, with full interior, the German land ship A7V, which could grab the award as the absolute most funky tank of all time. That one too has a full interior.
Somewhere in this, I’ll have to complete my ww1aircraftforum.com’s diorama group build, so one or more dioramas are in the offing.
If you like the early days of armor, these Meng kits are about the best thing going. Get some.