Tuesday, October 10, 2017


The paravane (aka water kite, sweep, tadpole) was developed during WWI as a countermeasure against underwater mines.

It had a secondary usage against submarines that was probably infrequently used, and even less often likely to be successful.

I became aware of this obscure piece of equipment because they were shown in the Haifuri anime from last year, so when I came across some 1/72 scale models while browsing through Shapeways, I decided to buy a couple of the more inexpensive models from the 3D Boats store.

Three sentence review of Haifuri from Himeuta Channel

The models I bought were described as early RN paravanes, but they also looked like certain types of USN and IJN paravanes as well. Unfortunately, I couldn't really find any references on the appearance and classification of WWII paravanes to verify any of this.

The models were printed with the Frosted Ultra Detail material, and require the addition of some bent wire to complete.

I believe this is a Type B Mk. IV paravane

The resin used for the print allows a good level of detail. but is still unable to achieve the perfectly smooth surfaces of traditional models. FUD seems to be somewhat brittle, so care is needed when handling models made with the material (particularly with very thin parts).

The translucent properties of the material looks like it might have potential applications as well.

The models are covered with a sticky layer of support wax, and dust will stick to the wax and form a gooey mess on the surface if they are left on the desktop for any period of time.

To remove the wax, I washed the models with dishwasher detergent, then swabbed them down with 95% isopropanol.

I sprayed one of the models with a couple of coats of gray primer, hoping that the paint was sufficient to hide the layer lines of the print.

The top of the model didn't look too bad, but the lines on the underside of the model became a lot more apparent after the primer (I think they were a lot deeper to begin with, but it was difficult to tell until the model was painted).

I guess I need to add some smoothing epoxy to my shopping list for next month in order to finish these models.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Iron Dome

Models of vehicles that make up Israel's Iron Dome air defense system have been produced by Panzerkampf which is ostensibly a Chinese company, but seems to be based out of Spain.

I've seen references to these models announced as far back as 2015, but it's possible that they may have only been available in Israel until this month. Some background on how the models came into being can be found at ISRAEL21c.

I wasn't sure what to expect of the models, since I've seen some pictures where the entire models were fully painted, while others looked more toy-like because it looked like only the metal parts were painted.

In any event, the models I received seem to be of the fully painted type. The truck cab and some of the body are made of metal, the tires are made of vinyl, and the mounted units and remaining parts are made of different types of plastic.

The radar unit, control unit, and missile launcher are all mounted on identical RMMV trucks of some type. Translucent plastic is used for the colored dome lights on the trucks, but I think that they should actually be amber colored instead of red.

The radar unit is attached to the body of the truck, but is capable of elevating and rotating.

I'm not sure if the color of the radar unit is accurate though, since from what I've seen in pictures, it seems to usually be the same color as the trucks.

The control unit is fairly unremarkable. It has the Rafael logo on the side, which I'm guessing only appeared on demonstration units.

The launcher is of course the centerpiece of the set. The unit can elevate, but is firmly attached to the body of the truck.

The lights on the launcher are painted red, but should probably be one amber, and one red.

The launchers are sometimes described as having fixed or mobile capabilities, but it's not clear if mobile means that the launchers can be fired from the back of the truck. I have only seen video of the rockets being fired from a fixed position at any rate.

It would have been nice if the launchers were available separately or at least removable so that a battery of 3–4 units could be put together.

The following promotional video from Rafael shows how the system is deployed.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Dungeon Meshi & Walktapodes

I don't remember food (or lack thereof) ever being a particular issue when playing tabletop RPGs, but it was often a mechanic used in computer RPGs (e.g., Rogue, NetHack, Ultima).

One of the methods of preventing death by starvation in the dungeon in rogue-like games was to eat the corpses of monsters that you had killed in the dungeon.

The manga Dungeon Meshi by Ryōko Kui is a humorous take on this concept.

The English language version of the manga is published by Yen Press, and I believe that two volumes have been released so far.

The translated version uses the original subtitle of the manga, "Delicious in Dungeon" as the title, but I would have personally used something like "Dungeons and Dining" as a play off of D&D, or "Dungeon Eats" which is closer to what "Dungeon Meshi" would translate as.

Some of the monsters cooked up by the adventurers include giant bats, giant scorpions, myconids, slimes, living armor, carnivorous plants, and basilisks.

In one episode, they kill a kraken, but unfortunately it didn't taste as good as Marcille envisioned.

The episode reminded me of an article by Bill Johnson printed in the Wyrm's Footnotes about cooking walktapus.

Walktapus is also an ingredient of the Everlast biscuits used as rations by the troops of the Broo King of Dorastor.

The walktapus of course, is a tainted chaos creature from Glorantha with a head like a giant octopus, and a man-like body. It has the ability to regenerate, and can release poison gas in the manner that a normal octopus would release ink.

I recently was able to complete my collection of walktapodes when I picked up an Archive Giant Octopus (Fantasy 5038) which was originally used as the head of the Archive Walktapus (RuneQuest 819).

I've had the body (which is the same as that of the Arduin Shadow Golem) for years, but was missing the head.

The following image is of the Archive Walktapus, the Martian Metals Walktapus (RuneQuest 7002), and the Ral Partha Walktapus (RuneQuest 18-402).

The Martian Metals miniature comes in two pieces like the Archive miniature, but the Ral Partha miniature is a single piece casting.

Lance & Laser also made a walktapus, but at ~2.5" in height it would have towered over my other octopodes, so I had no use for it. The Lance & Laser walktapus suffered the fate of the Archive walktapus, and now only exists as a [giant] octopus from Armorcast.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

HIQ Parts

HIQ Parts is a company that sells tools, decals, and aftermarket accessories primarily for Gundam kits. I became familiar with their products while searching for pastel colored number decals to use for marking ita-tanks.

TR Decal

They also make two styles of caution markings which I thought would be useful for sci-fi kits. I picked up some of the 1/144 scale decals, but 1/100 versions are also available.

RB01 Caution Decal

RB01 Caution Decal

RB02 Caution Decal

RB02 Caution Decal

I was originally going to just put numbers on the sides of my Miku Jagdtiger, but when I placed the smaller numbers from the decal sheet on to the tank, they didn't look very good. Luckily the decal film was very sturdy, so before they dried, I floated them off of the model and put them back into water to figure out to do next.

My solution was to create some race number tags out of some old decals, and apply the numbers on top.

I placed some of the caution decals on the tank as well. They go on very easily, and also hold up nicely to handling. I didn't use any decal setting or softening solution on them, so I'm not sure how the decal film reacts to chemical treatment.

I have no issues with the HIQ decals. I believe they are all silk screen printed, and come in a variety of pastel colors that are ideal for my purposes.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


The similarity between the dwarf minions from Phantasm, and the Jawas from Star Wars was entirely coincidence, but it should be noted that both Don Coscarelli and George Lucas drew inspiration from Frank Herbert's Dune for their respective films.

Coscarelli makes several references to Dune in Phantasm, while early iterations of Star Wars were more noticeably influenced by Dune than the final version.

One of the references to Dune that remained in Star Wars was the Sandcrawler. However, the design by Ralph McQuarrie is completely different from the similarly named vehicle from Dune, and was modeled in part after NASA's Crawler-transporter vehicles.

Kenner made a radio-controlled version of the Sandcrawler to go along with its 3¾" action figures, which sells for a fortune nowadays. A subsequent Hasbro version without the radio-control features was given an exclusive re-release around 2004, and sells for a smaller fortune.

I have one of these later versions, which measures 16" long, and 8" high. It scales out to about 1/100 scale if we go by the commonly given dimensions for the Sandcrawler.

However, the Hasbro Sandcrawler doesn't look far off of 1/72 scale when compared to the appearance of the full-scale model that was used for filming.

One of the projects that I hope to accomplish someday is to build an interior, add an opening front ramp, and install lighting in this model.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Thierry la Fronde

Thierry la Fronde was a popular French TV show from the early 60s which I am only aware of due to the existence of a rare set of 1/72 figures representing characters from the show. The set was produced by an unknown manufacturer, and rumor has it that the figures were commissioned by collectors who were fans of the series.

English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms,
you sons of a silly person!

I was able to obtain a small lot of these figures recently, but unfortunately it did not include a figure of the Black Prince.

The poses are not particularly exciting, but these toys are pretty difficult to find in my experience.

If anyone has a Black Prince figure they can trade or sell, please contact me.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Arts of War: Artistry in Weapons across Cultures

I visited Harvard University over Spring Break and found an interesting display of weapons and armor at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, which runs through 2017.

Armor from Kiribati in Micronesia with a porcupinefish helmet.



Tlingit armor from the Pacific Northwest.

Ring mail fashioned with Chinese coins

War helmet representing totemic killer whale

Pictures of other pieces of armor in the collection.

Spanish breastplate

Moro armor from Mindanao

Yi armor from Western China

Ifugao shield from Luzon (left)
Papuan shield (right)

Shields from Papua New Guinea

Spanish shield (Adaga) from Mexico (top left)
Pueblo shield from New Mexico (lower left)
Kayan shield (Kliau) from Borneo (right)

Indian shield (top)
Persian shield (middle)
Ethiopian shield (bottom)

African shields

Pictures of various weapons in the collection.




More clubs

Spear throwers

Axes and daggers

Swords and daggers

More bladed weapons

There is also an online exhibition which features some of the weapons and armor on display and additional items in the collection.

The final picture is of a small scale model (not quite 1/72) of the main temple at Tenayuca that is on display with the museum's collection of Mesoamerican artifacts.