I have a confession; I have thing for jeeps. I would love to own an actual Willis Jeep some day but until then I love making the various adaptations of the jeep used in WWII. So far I have made the SAS version used in the desert; a medical evacuation version used in Normandy and an airfield marshal jeep used in UK in WWII. I'll include the links to each of these at the end of this introduction. When Meng announced that they were going to sell an obscure adaptation of the jeep in the form a "Hobarts funny" flamethrower version; I just had to get it! As I am writing this I have a few ideas on how to display it but I'm not yet finalised on the finished dio. I've also decided to write this in a more detailed format to include the tools and methods of construction that I use as I realise this isn't something that I don't very often in these write ups and it may be a welcome change of pace.
The model build
The quality of the model is nothing short of excellent. This I think is the third Meng kit that I have built and I have nothing but good things to say about the quality. The instructions however are something that I really do want to talk about; they are excellent in terms of illustration and colour. It will feel like such a shame to throw them away once I've finished building the jeep. There is as always work to be done in terms of ease of understanding but I suppose this is industry wide at this point and half the fun of building a kit!
When I build a vehicle I prefer to build in sub assemblies first, prime and then assemble/paint in roughly the order that the instructions call for. This way does have some inherent problems such as missing parts or assembling out of order resulting in parts not being able to be fitted. To avoid this I dry assemble the sub assemblies quite a few times and mark off each completed section on the instruction sheet so I know exactly what parts need completing. I have also decided to opt for Vallejo's coloured primer rather than my usual car primer rattle can. I must say the quality of this primer is great and sprayed beautifully right out of the bottle. If the paint adherence is good as I progress the build I may switch to this full time. Below are some images of the sub assemblies being built along with some of the tools that I use for clean up prior to priming/painting:
There are quite a few alterations required right from the sprues such as the removal of the standard rear steps and filling of some of the holes. There is also a need to drill out several mounting holes on the body. When it comes to drilling small diameter holes I usually prefer using a small Archimedes drill rather than my electric drill. I find I can achieve far greater accuracy and control using this drill. I can assume from these required alterations that Meng intend on releasing some more (possibly obscure) versions of the Willis jeep in the near future.
The rest of the assembly in terms building up the chassis and addition of parts was more than easy in terms of model building and as such I refrained from taking lots of photographs as the internet is awash with jeep model builds so the addition of one more chassis and body build up is redundant at this point. Here are a few shots of the assembly process. I did add some missing body strengthening panels and a foot rest (seen in white). It is a crying shame that the beautifully detailed engine won't be seen after assembly as the bonnet along with its cut-outs are intended on being glued shut. This isn't to say that it could be displayed open and I am sure that an enterprising model maker at some point will do this. Some of the parts you will notice have already had their first coat of primer:
With the figures decided upon and now happily hardening for 24 hrs, I can turn my attention back to the jeep. I have a few more small parts to add and then its on to the detail work such as brass and steel connections to be painted, red handles, etc. I also have to cut and fit the excellent PVC hoses that have been supplied for the wasp gun/cannon/flamethrower? I have also noted from the plethora of available images of the actual Jeep and an exact copy of the jeep that's around today; that there are a lot more pipes on the jeep that are supplied by Meng. The additional pipes were added using some thin, back insulated wire and some plain copper wire painted black. These were routed around the jeep into the various tanks/pipes from the reference images.
To continue with this build diary to show how I make the complete diorama or vignette in this instance; I then applied the general base coat colours to the figures after mounting them on some 3D printed bases that have been uploaded to Thingiverse. These bases are then fixed to my figure holders (also 3D printed from Thingiverse).
- 5 minute epoxy adhesive
- UHU general purpose adhesive
- blue insulation foam
- ready mixed wall filer