Monday 18 May 2015

Austin Tilly


This is another Christmas present of mine, only this time its from my daughter instead of my wife. Its a relatively new model on the market and in all honesty not a subject that I would normally buy. After a brief search online it became immediately obvious that the standard military finish for this particular model had been "done to death" although I could not find any other interpretation of the vehicle in scale form. Being as this year, my new years resolutions were to :

Drastically reduce my "stash"
Think outside the box for model subjects

I decided to use a little imagination and transport this vehicle past WWII and into the late 1950's where it has been restored and used as a company workhorse as so many military vehicles ended up after the war. A quick rummage around the "stash" also tuned up a resin bath and a semi-naked female figure. I immediately thought that I could do something with this!!

The concept

I will construct the Tilly out of the box as the model is itself is excellent quality. There are a number of aftermarket part sets available for this particular kit, however I don't think that my idea will warrant the use of these. The Tilly will be painted in a typical Austin car colour of the time; a baby blue and will be displayed open backed without its canvas roof. In the load bed, the bath will be placed and inside the bath will go my semi-naked figure although I will put a full bathing suit on her (it is the 50's after all). To tie this whole concept together I will then pace a plumbing company logo onto the doors and then a large "sale" banner on the sides of the truck. The title of this little diorama will be "Sex Sells". If I can find another female figure in my spares box I may even depict a wife about to hit her husband who has become very exited about the "bathroom sale" that the company is advertising!!

The Tilly build.

The kit as I have already said is fantastic quality. Very few flash marks and even less sink holes or mold defects. After a little clean up the parts were given a coat of grey primer and then the top colour. I had a little dilemma about the colour and even opted to paint some plastic sheet in the various options that I had available to me before making my final choice.

The parts fit on this kit is absolutely fantastic as is the detail for such a small model. I did decide to "bling" it a little by chroming the bumpers and grill to give it an "American" look that is so common of their cars of the 1950's. The wooden bed was given the same treatment as well through depicting it as being completely rubbed back to the bare wood and varnished as opposed to being re-painted in its body colour as the original vehicles. This served in my opinion to give the Tilly a more restored look and also to break up the bright baby blue colour that I opted for.

The one problem that I realised I had was the roof mounts for the shovel. If this was indeed going to represent a re-purposed and re-furbished army vehicle then the new owners would not go to all the trouble of such a "high end" finish only to leave the shovel on the roof!! This problem was quickly remedied by gluing in some stretched sprue from the kit and once cured it was rubbed down to match the shape of the roof and re-painted:

The Tilly itself is now at a completed stage save for the weathering, touch-ups and final assembly. I have also added the "company logo to the doors of the truck and hopefully the decals should be less pronounced once some gloss varnish has been applied to the vehicle:

The Figures

I have decided upon four main figures for the dio; the driver, the bathing lady, a husband and wife walking the dog. The premise for the dio is the vehicle is being driven around as a marketing tool to advertise a sale that the company is having. The bathing lady will be positioned in a waving position in the bath. The husband who will be walking a dog with his wife, will be shown waving back. The wife who has seen this, is not impressed at her husband waving to a pretty, half naked girl and has elected to show her displeasure by hitting him over the head with her hand bag. How much of this I will manage to achieve will be revealed below!!

The bath that the figure will be sitting in was fantastically cast and required very little work at all, the figure however is a different story. It is supplied as a standing figure holding a rather large jug. I want to display her sitting and waving. A lot of chopping, gluing and filling was required to achieve a natural pose:

The husband and wife figures have been taken from another one of my works in progress. They started life as members of the Master-box French resistance set. A little amount of cutting and filling should give me two very well posed figures:

The driver of the Tilly is the easiest figure that I have to modify. He was supplied with the kit and after a little scraping of the body to remove detail that identifies the military uniform rather than civilian clothes, I decided upon using a resin head from Hornet rather than trying to remove the beret and sculpt hair on the supplied item. The pose didn't need altering in any way:

The Base

For the base I decided to use one of my rare shop sale frames that I pick up when I can. If memory serves, this particular frame was bought in Tesco for 99p. The glass was removed along with the hangers and stand. The holes left were covered in some thin plastic card and the backing plate was glued into the frame to make a permanent base. On top of that a small amount of florist foam was glued and shaped to represent the raised curb and path. Once the glue had dried I applied a thin coat of Poly filler to the whole base. The flag stones were carefully marked with a pencil and then scribed into place. To ensure that everything would look realistic once painted I masked off the wood surround and then coated the base in grey primer.

For the tarmac road I use Javis tarmac held in place by PVA glue. Once dry I then apply a few more coats of PVA onto the tarmac to provide a more stable and realistic finish. The pavement itself was given a few coats of Humbrol brown followed by dry brushing of various Humbrol brown shades with a final wash of Lamp black oil paint. For a little more interest I added a solid band of yellow around the gutter area to represent some UK road markings. I'm debating on the value of adding a man hole cover in the road section, a drain in the gutter and something like a street lamp or a bin to add interest to the pavement. This may be added at some point in the final stages of this dio.

Finishing the scene

For this particular model scene its simple in its appearance but there are many small, complicated parts that will make it complete. The first stages in finishing the scene are adding the driver to the cab and gluing it into place on  the chassis. Next is the bathing girl in the bath and the bath on the back of the tilly. I then fixed the husband and wife on the pavement. You will also notice from the photos below that I have added the handbag in mid swing, headed towards her unsuspecting husband:

Looking over this almost completed scene, I realised that even though there is a dog left to add to it; there is definitely something missing. In the end I decided on a good old fashioned British post box. I did have a brief glace around the web but only managed to find a 3D printed post box that really wasn't up to much in terms of detail and finish. I then decided on having a go at scratch building one myself:

I'm really happy with how the postbox turned out, especially as it was an afterthought and no real planning was put into the piece. There are a couple of things that I am not happy with but this will always be the case with any model. The main faults for me are the thickness of the decals that I made. This is something that I will attempt to remedy for my next model by finding a supplier that has a thinner film to print out the decals. The other is the leg of the bathing girl which cracked once the figure was fixed to the bath. This is something which I will re-visit one the oil paints have fully dried. Finished shots of the piece are below and as always your comments are always appreciated:

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