Misc ReviewsMisc. Review: Fine Scale Models

Misc. Review: Fine Scale Models

(updated 04-09-2020)
From doll house furniture, to Dungeons & Dragons figurines, to wooden sailing ships to military aircraft and armor, all my life I have been interested in miniatures. If I could have found a way to make a living building models, I may never have become a professional gunsmith. Building plastic models taught me many skills that have been useful in gunsmithing, as well as an attention to detail that has been valuable in all aspects of my life.

I was recently digging through some old boxes and found some photos of my models. Most of these were built between 1980 and 1990. Unfortunately, my photography skills were primitive, but most came out okay. I am using this page to share with others one of my passions.

As more than 20 years has passed in some cases, I may remember incorrectly the manufacturers of the various kits and accessories, so If I get it wrong, I apologize in advance

Israeli Merkeva Tank in Lebanon, 1982
I took detailed photographs of Merkeva tanks while I was in Israel. I also visited a tank base on the Syrian border to observe a live-fire exercise, and learned about their equipment. These tankers were using Panturions, not Merkevas, and were highly resentful of that fact.

The tank is a 1:35 Tamiya kit, the figurines and many of the accessories from Verlinden. Verlinden seemed to share my interest in Israeli armor and I consider him my primary modeling influence. Also shown is the Verlinden diorama I used for a guide.

The most difficult part of this kit was the nylon tank treads. Modelers today have greater access to photo-etched and resin parts, that were in their infancy 25 years ago (and the really good stuff was more than my allowance could afford). Getting soft rubber to conform to the road wheels in rough terrain proved the most challenging for me.

Israeli Isherman and M3 Halftrack
1:35 Israeli M3 Halftrack and Isherman tank. I believe the details are correct for the 1967 Six Day War or the 1973 Yom Kippur War, although some of the equipment was relegated to reserve units. It was reserve units from the Valley of Tears that took the Golan heights in the closing days of the war. Halftracks were also used by paratroops crossing the Suez on the Egyptian front. Both the tank and the halftrack are Tamiya kits. I used Osprey Men At Arms books as well as my own collection of Israeli war books for photos so I could get the details right. Today the Tamiya half-track kit appears to be out of production, but the Sherman is still listed on their website. I believe the Sherman to Super-Sherman or Isherman was a Verlinden kit that appears now to be out of production. The figurines are a mix of brands.
Israeli M1009, Lebanon, 1982
1:35 Israeli M1009 Self Propelled 155mm Howitzer. The Israelis had trouble with PLO bringing anti-armor weapons up the service elevators to the roofs of buildings as the Merkavas could not elevate their guns high enough to return fire. The self-propelled howitzer could. I suspect this is the time I either got a new camera or better learned how to use lighting, as the pictures are a little better.
Israeli M113 “Zelda” APC, 1982
I have always admired the Israeli style of function over appearance. It irritated me to no end while I was in the military that it was more important for our vehicles to look neat and unifom than to have effective means of storing equipment. I liked the storage racks that the IDF installed on their APCs. This is an engineer vehicle. Having armored repair teams enabled the IDF to get damaged vehicles back into service much quicker than if they had to transport the damaged vehicles back to a base.

I also resented the US Army for not installing a simple exhaust pipe as can be seen on this Zelda. Standing in the crew compartment, one had the pleasure of inhaling the pipe located on tiop, in front of the crew compartment.

The 1:35 scale kit is Tamiya, the accessories and figure Verlinden, with a few scratch-built add-ons

Israeli Soldiers
Here are some close-ups of some of the Verlinden figures I used, as well as some pictures of how the master, Francois Velinden, painted them.
Fantasy Figures
I have been building models all my life, but when I got into Dungeons and Dragons back in the late 1970s, my modeling switched to the fantasy genre. The lead figurines held more detail at the time than the plastics that were available. I even tried my hand at casting my own lead/tin figures from rubber moulds, but that didn’t go so well. Scale is 1:72, making the figures approximately 1″ tall, and I did them between ages 11 and 14. Unfortunately, my photography skills were poor.
Aircraft Models
Aircraft Models Unfortunately, my photography skills were poor.

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