Sunday 6 September 2015



I've had this boat for a number of years and have held off making it due to both its size and that I like to place my models in a diorama of some description. Usually I take on smaller models and build them into small "snapshot" dioramas or vignettes. I will be the first to admit that I don't usually go for a water based dio because of the expense of the water products and the difficulty in using them. I do however like to take on a bigger summer project while I am on my annual leave from my job. After a lot of thought I realised that I could use the boat itself as a diorama base and use the figures on board the boat to create the diorama. This will cut down the expense and size of the diorama, but still provide me with a pleasing model at the end of it.

The build

The build and quality is as you would expect from Tamiya; excellent and very easy without problems. The parts had very little flash on them, cleaned up easily and there were only a few injection marks that would be visible once built that would need filling. I have taken a few construction shots for you:

Once the hull of the boat was complete and coated with some grey acrylic primer, I opted to use Tamiya NATO green for the over all colour. I did try to look for an accurate colour match, however after a little research it soon became apparent the the only thing common on these boats colour wise was that they were supplied green! There are so many colour variations that as long as you choose a military colour, then your basically OK. The bottom half of the boat was then sprayed in a hull red:

Once the main colours had dried I then concentrated on the limited interior components of the boat. While there are not many, I wanted to get it as real to the original as possible:

Once I was happy with the overall look of the interior I moved onto the weathering of the model which was a series of washes in oil. The first a black pin wash, the second an overall white wash to "age" the olive green paintwork and finally a selected wash of burnt umber in various spots across the boats hull and other exterior fixings. I was very careful not to give the impression of rust on any of the boats parts as this type of boat was almost exclusively manufactured from fibreglass; therefore no rust. As a final touch washed the boat in powdered earth suspended in a very dilute mixture of PVA and water to represent the mud that would accumulate across the entire deck area of the boat from the crew.

The crew

The "theme" of the diorama is one which depicts the PBR in action. I (hopefully) want to show the crew in a firefight with the enemy on the riverbank following one of the crew being mortally wounded on the boat. The crew is a combination of a dragon figure set that I had in the "stash", some of the supplied crew and Legend resin heads on some of them. I only needed to alter the pose of one of the figures; the crewman I was going to depict being shot while dropping off a small special forces team in a hostile part of the country.

As far as mounting the boat was concerned, I had become increasingly unhappy with the supplied stand as a final way to display the boat. Fortunately I remembered salvaging a display base from the skip in work. It had been used to display an aircraft part that was no longer required. A quick rummage around and I found what was to turn out to be a perfect size base to display the PBR. I drilled the base in two locations, mounted some plastic tube and then cut some brass tube to sit over the original tube and provide a neat "stop" for the boat to sit on.

Finishing the diorama

This is always my favourite part of any build as I get to see my ideas become a reality. To add some more drama and realism to the piece I added some additional extras to those supplied with the kit, to name a few I added a period playboy pin-up poster to one of the bulkheads, a playboy magazine, copy of stars and stripes, etc. My favourite addition was the extra fuel drum which was drilled to depict being hit by gunfire at the same time as the unfortunate crewman. I then added some stretched clear sprue to show the fuel still leaking out of the holes following the hail of bullets. A final touch was swapping out the supplied American flag with a Confederate flag in its pace. The remainder of the crew along with every available weapon on the boat was directed towards the riverbank where the gunfire originated:

Final Photos:

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