Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pilots & Pin-ups

Recently I've been trying to find pilots for some airplane models that I plan on building in wheels up configuration. The older Airfix and Monogram kits almost always used to come with pilots, but the problem with model planes nowadays is that they never come with pilots. I tried looking around for some pilot figures, but the pickings were pretty slim.

The first pilot is a WWII American Pilot (200MSC01) from Eureka. It is 20mm and seems to scale out close to 1/76. Next in line is a Hobby Master WWII US Pilot (HP0001). It comes in a set of five identical pre-painted figures in soft vinyl. The upper torso seems to match well with the Eureka pilot, but the legs are really short. The next three figures come from the Hobby Master WWII Pilots Set (HP0003), which contains two RAF pilots, two Luftwaffe pilots, and one VVS pilot in soft vinyl. The RAF pilot comes in a particularly wooden pose, but is not to bad as far as scale is concerned. The German and Soviet pilots however, are noticeably smaller than the other pilots, and are probably no more than 1/87 scale. The German pilot has a large head relative to his body, so would probably not look too out of place once he is placed in a cockpit, but the Soviet pilot is particularly poor, with a hollowed out back and a tiny 1/87 head to go with his puny 1/87 body.

Typical of model pilot figures, all of the figures are sculpted in the typical staring-straight-ahead-hands-in-the-lap pose. But really... someone needs to make a decent seated pilot figure. Maybe with his head turned to scan the sky, or giving hand signals to a wingman.

I'm not going to complain too much about the short legs, since this allows figures to fit more easily into a wider variety of cockpits, but using 1/87 figures for 1/72 planes just looks wrong. The only other pilots that I know about are from the Revell Pilots and Ground Crew: German Airforce WWII set, and those come with tiny 1/87 scale pilots as well.

And now, I shift gears and present Pin-Up Gals (PIN1) from Sgt Major Miniatures.

The pin-ups come languorously posed in typical pin-up fashion, but are much larger than the typical 20mm miniature. I would say that at least a couple of them are larger than 1/72, though their size is not so obvious because they are not standing up. The figures are decently sculpted, though I believe that the size of the head is out of proportion to the body. The first gal has the most promise. She looks about the right size, and could be used seated on the wing of a plane, or maybe on the deck of a boat.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Armored Klan Klang

This is probably old news to Macross fans, but MegaHouse is releasing a PVC Klan Klang figure in what is purportedly 1/72 scale. I say purportedly because when I originally saw the announcement for this release, it was listed as a non-scale figure. However, several sources are now calling the figure 1/72 scale (notably HLJ). I'm guessing that this is based in part on the size of the Super Pack equipment included with the figure, and in part on the dimensions of the figure, which would have Klan scale out to 13 meters in height. For some, this is accurate for 1/72, but I'm not one of the people who subscribe to Klan being the size of a VF-25 in battroid mode.

Anyway, this post not really a review, since I don't actually have one of these figures on hand to make any real judgements. The pose is based on Episode 21 of Macross Frontier. The pictures that I've seen on other sites show that the figure looks very nice. MegaHouse did a nice job on the face, which I thought captured the look of the character better than the Banpresto figure. There are seven Super Pack elements that are fully removable, and one GU-17A Gun Pod. The figure is in a mid-flight pose, with a support under each foot, and one support that plugs into the back.

I'll keep an eye peeled for any comparisons between this figure and 1/72 VF-25s to see if the Super Packs match up in size, but I don't plan on buying one myself for a number of reasons - first and foremost being the size issue, and second being the price of the figure. As much as I like Klan Klang, she loses out to the Hobby Boss 80cm K(E) railway gun that's also supposed to be coming out next month.

For more information on the Zentradi height controversy, refer to the Macross Mecha Manual.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

WWII German Helmet Markings

Many of you have probably seen these German helmet decals on eBay, and wondered as I did, if they could be used for 1/72 scale figures.

The sheet contains 130 decals including helmet markings for Heer, SS, and Luftwaffe. There are also some decals for what look like Heer breast patches as well.

There are three different sizes for the German helmet sheet, putatively listed as 15mm, 20mm, and 25mm. However from the image used in the eBay listing, the 15mm markings looked oversized when used on 15mm figures to my eye.

Still, I decided to buy a set of the 15mm decals to see how they would look on 1/72 miniatures, since they were definitely too big for 15mm figures.

When I received the decals, I took a look at them under the magnifying glass. The blacks and whites are decently printed for the size, but the red coverage for the Nazi Party decals and National Tricolor decals is not complete, and can be seen as alternating red and white spots.

I didn't do a very good job on the decal application for this post, because someone gave my thumb a good bashing during kendo practice, so my hands were not really good for detail work today. So take note that the decals can look much better than in these pictures. I botched the trimming when I was cutting out the decals and tore the SS Runic Shield. There's probably some extra transparent film that was stuck on the decals as well.

What I did notice though, was that the white for the Nazi Party decals looked out of register on one side, and more importantly, the markings are definitely too large for 1/72 scale figures. The actual size of the decals relative to the helmet can be seen at

To try and fix these problems, I painted out the white areas with black paint. In fact, I used the paint to reduce the area of the decals as well. Looks better, no?

The next time I apply these decals, I will cut them out using my dissecting microscope, and use decal setting solution to make sure they are nice and flat.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


The Lernaean Hydra of Greek mythology was a poisonous serpent-like monster with nine heads, that took its name from the lake near which it lived. The creature became famous as the second boss in the Twelve Labors of Herakles.

In later times, the image of the hydra became conflated with the Beast of Revelation so that nine heads were reduced to seven, and the body turned from serpent-like to dragon-like.

"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy".

– Revelation 13

Other seven-headed hydras include Ray Harryhausen's hydra from Jason and the Argonauts...

And the Babylonian Tiamat.

Anyway, enough background, and onto the miniatures. Of the nine-headed hydra miniatures that I am aware of, only the Dennis Mize Hydra (Ral Partha 01-192) is still in production (available from IWM). The other nine-headed hydras include the Minot hydra from the Olympians, Heroes & Horrors range, and the Starcast hydra from their Fantasia Myth line (which I have never seen). The Mize Hydra is a four piece model, with the heads cast in groups of three. There is an unfortunate design flaw in this particular miniature because after you attach the heads, the miniature becomes front heavy, and always tips forward. It is managing to stay upright in the picture with the help of some UHU Tac.

The Tom Meier Hydra (Ral Partha 10-417) is the large Revelation-type hydra with seven heads and a dragon-like body. The model comes in five pieces, with three parts for the heads, and two for the body. I reposed the heads for this particular hydra, since many of them were pointing in all kind of weird directions. I also cut out the middle of the base for the front legs to make it look less obtrusive.

The last two hydras are sculpts by Julie Guthrie. On the left is a plastic Mage Knight Hydra, which is identical to the Hydra from the All Things Dark and Dangerous line (Ral Partha 02-901). This particular hydra has seven heads, and the metal version is still available as a multi-piece model from IWM. On the right is a five-headed Dwarf Hydra (Grenadier Fantasy Classics 318/Fantasy Lords 124). The heads of this particular hydra bear a close resemblance to that of the Harryhausen hydra.

There are a couple of other hydras that I will probably get in the future, including the Alternative Armies Giant Hydra, and a three-headed hydra from M.Y. Miniatures. What to do with all these beasties though?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Armored Lunar Rover

It's probably nothing to crow about, but I've finally actually come close to finishing a model this weekend. The kit is a limited release resin model by TENBOWKISSA of a Zerstover. The Zerstover (I think that the name is actually supposed to be Zerstörer...) comes from the Maschinen Kreiger universe, and is essentially an armored lunar rover.

This kit is a release from the 2007 Tokyo Wonder Festival according to the box top. It comes with 9 resin parts, two clear plastic parts, a length of wire, a small decal sheet, instructions, and a camo card.

The model is a decent representation of the Zerstover, though the shape of the hull doors is not quite correct. In the actual Ma.K. build, the forward part of the doors are raised (and in fact, the instructions for this kit shows this). There are a couple of areas where the features are a little overscale as well. I did some minor fixes, but left the kit as is for the most part.

The casting for the kit is quite nice. There were some minor bubbles around the pour tab of one of the wheels, but other than that, there was only a little bit of flash, some light seams, and the pour tabs to clean up.

Oh, did I mention that this is the first resin kit that I've attempted? Anyway, this is probably standard practice, but I did a lot of pinning for the kit, particularly the rear wheels, since the body was relatively heavy, and the parts where the axles join the undercarriage did not seem particularly robust.

Now all that's left is to finish up painting, putting the plastic light lenses in, sealing, and applying some decals.