This is yet another one of my "spur of the moment" purchases from an on-line model shop. This one however was not something that jumped out of the page at me, it was one of those " you can spend x amount with the postage allowance included with the kits already in your basket" moments. A short look around Jadar models website revealed this kit whose price was in that bracket. When it arrived I was actually impressed with the detail of this rather small and compact kit and made a mental note to add this to my "to do list".
The first concept
After a quick look around the internet to see what other modellers had done with this kit, I quickly realised that I had 2 simplistic choices for a pleasing end result; build it out of the box as per the box art or get rid of the figures and make a civilian version of the kayak belting down some rapids. In the end I decided to do both versions with this kit being as per the box art and the second one "when it arrives after ordering another" being made in the other version at a later date.
Building the Kayak
As almost every kit I seem to get now, I noticed a few areas that I could improve upon. The first being the interior of the kayak. The kit provides two seats and that's it. Even though there is not a lot of interior on view once its assembled, you can still look through the seats and see the lack of detail. I kept things simplistic and added some plastic card to represent the floor boards and some stretched sprue to represent the internal framework
For the upper section of the Kayak I decided to remove some of the original detail and add some of my own to replace it. I removed the rope, front and rear tie straps and oar pouches with incorporated oars. The tie straps for the rope edging around the hull were not included with the kit so I added some tie straps made from some thin wire to the hull. I used some black thread from the sewing box to replace the moulded rope, the pouches were replaced with some made from thin aluminium foil which was also used to replace the front and rear fabric strengthening straps. The rudder for the boat was also missing the control bar. I cannot fathom why Dragon omitted such a simplistic item like this from their kit. The bar was manufactured from some plastic card and two tie ends were made from thin wire and added to the bar. Some more black thread was added to complete the rudder control system. In all honesty these were simple modifications that didn't take very long to complete. They do however make a huge difference to the over-all look of the Kayak.
As per the Kayak I opted to use these as supplied. Thankfully the figures are really well rendered and won't need any additional modifications. Unfortunately one of the figures did have a huge sink hole in one of the arms so this had to be filled with squadron white putty and filed back to its intended shape. A few of the other joints on the figures had the same treatment and once dried these were quickly filed to shape and primed.
The figures as expected assembled almost seamlessly and they were primed in my favorite Halfords grey acrylic primer. Once dried I painted the base coats for the uniform in Humbrol colours and allowed to dry.
I wasn't really happy with the figures at this stage as I felt that they were missing something. The packs that were provided with the Kayak were OK but again seemed a little out of place on the Kayak and possibly a little too large for the kit. While they are probably an accurate representation of the real thing, they just didn't look right to me. A quick root around the spares box and I cam up with some ruck sacks from a modern bags and packs for vehicles set. A quick comparison to the figures revealed that with minimal work I could fit these for the figures. The following shots show the packs being adjusted fro the figures and then fitted to them.
For this dio I decided almost at the start of the project that I would stick with what has been supplied with the kit. Essentially this is four large packs and the oars. The packs were cleaned of any flash marks, primered and then painted the same colour as the webbing. The oars were glued together to form complete sections rather than split sections as provided with the kit. I also had to make the paddle sections from plastic card as these were originally depicted in a stowed position on the kayak
The base started life as a cut price picture frame from a Dunelm store near my home. For the very cheap price of 60p I picked it up despite its very chunky edges. This was remedied quite easily with the use of a band saw and belt sander at work.
Once the glue had dried I the coated the whole of the base with some artists paste and allowed it to dry overnight. This will form the base of what I hope will be a very unforgiving and rough section of coastline.
To give some height and add a little more back drop to the piece by adding some more florists foam the rear quarter of the base to which I added some tree bark pieces to resemble a rocky section of coast line. Once dried the whole base was coated in grey primer and then various shades of grey enamel paints were applied to give the "rocks" some depth.
At this point the Kayak was glued to the base as the water will have to be added around the body of craft for it to look realistic.
For the water part of the dio, I decided to use Vallejo Still Water purely because I have some already. The hints I would give you about this product if you decide to use it is to ensure that whatever base you intend on using it on, to ensure that it is completely water tight and a good coating of a gloss acrylic varnish is used or in my case an acrylic gloss medium. The other thing about this product is that it suffers from a huge amount of shrinkage once dry and it needs to be poured in thin layers for it to give an effective finish. If you want quick results then this is definitely not the product for you! In my opinion the thin layers and long curing time are an advantage for me as this allowed me to add swirls of white vallejo paint in between layers to provide movement in the water. I also added strands of Spangam moss in between layers of the water to simulate sea weed.
Some more of the moss was inserted in various crack in the rocks to add some colour other than grey to the coastline. I also decided to add a small breaking wave against a section of the rear rock face for some more movement. This was achieved by gluing a small piece of clear acetate sheet in the shape of the wave and once dry painting it with a thick layer of gloss medium mixed with a drop of vallejo white. Once the medium became tacky to touch I then agitated the surface with a tooth pick.
The next stage is to add depth and character to the Kayak. As always this will be achieved with various washes of oils until the desired effect is obtained.The figures also had the same treatment and were fixed to the base. At this point I called this one complete. The finished shots are below:
I'm really happy with this little dio and as always I would love to hear your comments. More projects soon.