This project started life in 2013. I had visited a hobby shop in Weymouth UK while on holiday and spotted this Italeri Humvee on sale for £12.50 and as usual I couldn't leave it there for that price (well that's what I told my wife anyway!). On my return home I decided that a simple Humvee truck was far too boring a build so elected to convert it to a drone control vehicle. The issue that I faced was that no conversion set for this was available and had to build the rear cab from scratch. The basic rear cab was built using the limited reference photographs that I could find online and using plastic card I was able to create what I think was a good representation of the vehicle. At this point I must admit I lost interest in it being as I had used the drone I purchased for the diorama in another project here. Like so many of my other projects; this one was placed in a box and stored in my attic where it remained until now (December 2020). I, like many of you I am sure watch youtube videos made by other model makers. One such youtuber I am a huge fan of is Laser creation world (LCW). One particular video of his that I enjoyed was the conversion of a Humvee into a post apocalyptic vehicle here. While watching the video I remembered that I had the Humvee truck in the attic gathering dust and I thought to myself that this could be a really interesting project to make a fresh re-start to my model making (I had to use my model desk as a temporary online classroom during COVID-19 for almost 9 months). Below is the result of my project re-start:
The Truck Re-work
As you can see in the images below; I had built the truck and the body to an almost complete state and gone as far as priming and an initial coat of humbrol enamel. I decided that the first steps for the project re-start would be to rub down the rear cab and remove some of the details that I didn't think would be useful. I also like the idea of a boat to go along with this build but rather than make a canoe like LCW; I opted to use a rubber dingy that has been in my "stash" for over 10 years from I think a Tamiya kit but can't be sure.
Additions & Modifications
As far as the additions were concerned, it was a case of trying to imagine what I would do with a truck if I was in a situation like this and had to try and survive on my own in a decimated world (not that I am comparing our current situation with COVID-19 or that I felt that my world was ending when my wife, daughter and I contracted COVID-19 from an idiot co-worker of my wife). Some of the considerations that I included are some windows either side and a rear platform for additional storage. The roof hole was "welded" closed as were the rear door apertures. (full credit for some of these ideas to LCW). The front doors had steel plates welded to them instead of leaving them fabric covered as supplied/depicted in the original model. The front seats were changed from the originals to a pair of Land rover seats from the spares box left over from a previous build. The cab roof was manufactured from plastic card as the original version was depicted as fabric. I also added roof bars for stowage tie downs and some welded ladder steps. I imagined that one of the priorities that I would have would be cooking/heating facilities of some kind so I also added an external chimney from a generic wood stove. The final addition I decided upon (I added more of course) was the creation of an extended side exhaust and air filer. This was not supplied in the original kit but I have seen quite a lot of images of Hummers with this type of modification. For the interior I decided to scratch build a simplistic one; essentially a stove; a bed and some storage cupboards. In a post apocalyptic world I would imagine form and function over anything else would be a priority! As in so many of my builds I kept adding things as I went along. In the interior I added an American flag to one of the walls (from the Tamiya PBR kit that I had previously built). I also created a pillow and blanket from some Tamiya putty and added a "slop" bucket and wooden chair from the spares box. I would also add that the original interior that I had started to build a very long time ago was stripped out to leave an empty box as a starting point. On the exterior I added some sand panels left over from the same Hobby Boss Land Rover kit that I used the seats from (link above). I also dug a little further into the spares box and pulled out a pair of rifles and some gas canisters and military weapons crate to add a little interest to the rear panel. I also found a pair of wooden boxes to add to the roof storage areas. I also decided to use some blue foam "boxes" to partially fill the boat on the roof with the intention of draping them in a tissue tarpaulin. An old trick that I have done on a few occasions and was also used in LCW's dio as well.
For the painting I opted to go for a contrasting colour. I figure that if I was surviving at the end of the world as we know it; I wouldn't be too particular about the colour choices that I had! I loaded the airbrush and set about using a very nice blue from Vallejo. On top of this I used a Vallejo grey to add interest to the model as if I had used some rattle can primer to protect the welding that I had carried out as the truck "grew" in its usefulness. The whole body of the truck was then liberally washed in raw umber, burnt umber and black panel line wash. There will be rust streaks etc added once the whole model has been put together for its last time. I also saw this as an opportunity to use some photo etch paint masks that I purchased a while ago from Lexan models on Ali Express. A rather nice skull and crossbones was chosen for the doors and an "atomic death" sign for either side of the rear cab. These were sprayed in a green from the Vallejo game air range so it would "pop" out to the eye when viewed. To add to the make do ethos of the truck I deliberately under masked one of the skull and crossbones on the door so that some over spray of the green would be seen. This will hopefully try and convince the observer of the rough and ready appearance of the truck. The boxes were painted in wood brown and washed in a darker colour to accentuate the wood grain but at the end of the day they are just boxes. I wanted to keep adding interest to the model with each addition. Fortunately I found some decals that I had personally made and not used that have a rather nice "bio-hazard" design printed on them (don't ask why I made these. I really can't remember!). The decals were added to the boxes and now in my humble opinion they are no longer boring and hopefully add to the trucks story.
I would also add that whilst in the process of de-masking the truck following the skull paint mask I accidentally tore some of the blue paint from body of the truck. Normally I would have found something like this a very "stressful" experience. In this instance though I didn't mind so much as I could always paint over the damaged parts and simulate more damage.
The display base/diorama
This I will keep as simplistic as possible as I really want the truck to be front and centre of attention. Conversely I didn't want to go for a simplistic country scene with dead grass and branches as this seemed too predicable. I decided to opt for an urban decay look and feel to the base. A simple tarmac road will be laid at the front from some painted and weathered filler and I decided to try my hand at creating a long destroyed building in the background using blue foam and foam board for the construction. Again the decision of the type of building was an easy one for me when I considered some of the reasons why I would consider leaving the safety of my truck; supplies and food. With this in mind I opted to portray a dilapidated warehouse that would hopefully contain some food, medicines, etc to continue on with my lonely existence in this post-apocalyptic world. I also saw this as the perfect opportunity to use some graffiti decals that again I had made and could no longer remember the reason why. To tie in the background and truck and really sell my idea I searched my favourite auction sites for a suitable figure. I managed to find one on Ali-express that suited my "vision" perfectly. I ordered the figure and hoped that even though it was from China and considering the current global situation where postage and shipping is concerned, it would arrive when needed. I am relieved to say that it arrived much sooner than expected.
The doors to the warehouse I must say I most proud of. These were constructed from plastic card and once painted and weathered really looked the part. In total with the reduced picture frame from Ikea, scrap blue foam from a skip, foam board from packaging and a tube of cheap home DIY filler; the base cost an estimated £3-£4 which is good going in my book for the effectiveness of the total "look and feel" I ended up with.
The figureThe figure as previously stated was purchased from Ali-express. The maker of the figure I am not sure of as it was removed from the original packaging to save postage costs. What I can say about it is that the resin casting was nothing short of perfect and it required very little clean up on the joints to get an excellent fit. I had a choice of a hand with an axe or a hand with a sub machine gun. I know what I would personally choose as a weapon so the axe hand will be placed in the spares box for a future project. The police riot shield was also a nice addition to the model and I chose to stay on the skull customisation as previously airbrushed on the vehicle. I also saw this as an ideal opportunity to try out the AK interactive wet palette that I had spoiled myself with back in August of 2020 and not yet used. I have to say that if you use acrylic paint and have not yet used a wet palette; you should definitely try. I know that I won't be using acrylics anymore without the use of this palette. The colour choices were kept simple with a leather jacket over a maroon hoodie and denim jeans. The trainers/sneakers an off white and of course black/grey for the gas mask. The eyes of the mask I chose to remain black and will apply some gloss coat to differentiate between rubber and darkened glass.
Final assembly & Finishing.
Again the final assembly was kept minimal as per the rest of the build ethos for this diorama. I figure that in the decayed state of the building there would be plenty of concrete dust floating around so I opted for some railway models ballast stones in the corners and then liberally coated everything in a fine light brown powder which is again a waste product courtesy of the University concrete testing laboratory. The Hummer was also coated in the same dust and then treated to a misting of diluted matt mod podge to seal everything in. Considering this model was inspired in part from another model maker ( I hope that he is flattered that I find him an inspiring artist); in part of my desire to utilise some of the many spare parts I have accumulated over the years, including a cut-price model that I had no idea what to do with and finally a dystopian image of a future that feels quite real if we are to believe the media of late; I am extremely happy with the result. This is quite possibly one of the cheapest dioramas that I have ever built and although many of you I am sure do not consider this as a major factor in your model making (no judgement; each to their own). I am happy that I could show just how effective a model can look with very simple materials and a good idea!