Sunday, 9 May 2021

Booth Bunny Girls - Hasegawa 1/24 scale Companion Girls Figure Collection No.5 [Unboxing and Pre-Assembly Review]

 With so many ongoing projects requiring either a prolonged assembly or a complicated airbrushing process, I decided start something 'simple and uncomplicated'. That brings us to a quick unboxing and pre-assembly review of the 1/24 scale Hasegawa Companion Girls Figure Collection No.5 aka the Booth Bunny Girls. In the grand scheme of things, I intend to use such female figurines in future vignettes involving similarly scaled car model kits like the Volkswagen Beetle

Hasegawa 1/24 scale Companion Girls Figure Collection No.5 plastic model kit

Side view of the box art showcasing completed figurines and the seal of Master Craftsman Takumi

Closeup view of how the figurines could look like after being assembled and painted

 'Simple and uncomplicated' means different things to different scale modelers and miniature painters. To me it means just two things. Firstly, the figurine/model kit is easy to assemble. And secondly, the painting process does not require pieces to be painted separately before being put back together. So in terms of these two conditions, I believe the Hasegawa plastic figurine kit fits the bill perfectly. While the actual painting process itself won't be easy, it's a figurine after all, it at least won't be complicated. 

Hasegawa Companion Girls Figure Collection No.5; first glance inside

Hasegawa's Companion Girls Figure instruction booklet comes with an English translation

In addition to assembly instructions, there is also a color guide for use with Mr.Hobby paints

All parts are found in a single model sprue

Water decals are provided for the figurine's eyes as well as markings for their clothing

 One key characteristic of this plastic model kit that attracted me to it was that it provides eye decals for the use on the painted figurines. At a stage in my 'hobby-career' where I might be getting 'too-old-for-this-shit', any help with a small figurine's eyes is always welcome. However, it'll be interesting to see if I'm able to handle and position the tiny eye decals without destroying them.

Close up view of the facial features of Booth Bunny Girl No.1

Close up view of all the parts that make up Booth Bunny Girl No.1

 Meanwhile, the figurines parts look cleanly moulded with excellent details at this scale (see above and below). They all come in only one model sprue and seem to have minimal mould lines (if any) that needs removing. The parts themselves aren't numerous. Assembly looks to be fairly straightforward, at least based on the instructions given in the mini-booklet provided. 

Close up view of the facial features of Booth Bunny Girl No.2

Close up view of all the parts that make up Booth Bunny Girl No.2

 And with that, another figurine model kit joins the project pipeline. In truth though, I found it difficult to get motivated to do any sort of hobbying at all during this past two weeks. I suppose you could call it 'pandemic depression' as the COVID-19 situation get progressively worse in my country. Apart from having all the deadly variants penetrate the nation's borders, the vaccination process has been extremely slow. All frontliners have been vaccinated (rightly so) as well as politicians and special interest groups selected by said politicians. Sadly majority of ordinary folks have yet to even get an appointment for their jabs. It's getting harder to stay safe. Hopefully, that's not the case for you dear reader. May you and your loved ones be safe and well in these trying times. Au revoir.

Friday, 23 April 2021

Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142 [WIP - Assembly of the Towing Hooks, Bulkhead of Fighting Compartment, and Upper Hull; sans Tracks]

 Moving on from the wheels, Steps 6 through 10 of the Sturmgeschütz's assembly process was next and it involved putting together the towing hooks, fighting compartment bulkhead, and upper hull; sans the tracks, which I'll explain later. Up to this point, things are still pretty straightforward. Any complication  so far has been self-imposed i.e. determining which parts to glue and which parts not to, with an eye to the painting stage that will commence after assembly is done.

Sturmgeschütz III work-in-progress: Assembly Steps 6 through 10; sans tracks

Tamiya Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142 assembly instructions; Steps 5 through 10

 For example, parts of both tow hooks were completely glued together while a piece of the Fighting Compartment Bulkhead that holds the gun ammo was just snap-fitted onto the bulkhead (see below). The latter was not glued on because I believe it will be easier to paint the ammo if it isn't attached to the bulkhead. This is the case for other parts as well as you'll see later.

Sturmgeschütz III tow hooks (left) and bulkhead of fighting compartment (right)

Other parts of the fighting compartment i.e. structure accommodating the main gun (left) and floor (right)

Parts of the fighting compartment, prior to being attached to the lower hull

 Other unglued (or snap-fitted) parts include various parts of the fighting compartment as well as the drive sprockets, road wheels, and idler wheels; when attached onto the lower hull (see below).  

Fighting compartment and wheels attached to the lower hull

 Next was the initial phase of the upper hull assembly. What you see below is just the beginning as many more parts will be added to the upper hull in later steps. For now, minimal detail was added onto the upper hull e.g. hatches, heat vents, etc. (see below)

Initial assembly phase of the Sturmgeschütz III upper hull ...

... in which hatches, heat vents, etc. were glued on

 Of all the steps in this hobby session, I skipped one i.e. Step 9, which involves gluing the tracks into a closed loop. This I didn't do as it'll be much easier for me to paint and weather both the said tracks in their unassembled form. Only after then will I glue them together into a closed loop. Because of this, Step 10 remains partially completed i.e. the tracks weren't attached to the wheels/lower hull.

Sturmgeschütz III tracks still remain in their sprues; unworked

 Last in this series of steps was the placing of the upper hull onto the lower hull. This I did in the form of a dry-fit only. The reason I didn't want to glue them together was the same as for the wheels. In addition, I feel that with the upper hull attached permanently, it will be that much harder to paint and weather the armored fighting vehicle's interior namely its fighting compartment (and bulkhead).

Sturmgeschütz III lower hull up until Step 7 of the assembly process

Sturmgeschütz III lower hull with the upper hull attached; after Step 10 sans tracks

 Because my painting style generally involves airbrushing parts separately before assembly, most of the parts you see assembled above have not been glued permanently. I know I've said this before but it bears repeating as subsequent posts (especially during the painting process) might seem confusing when the parts come apart again. However, all thoughts of airbrushing the Sturmgeschütz III is still far from my mind as a lot of assembly remains to be done. Incidentally, to get inspired for this project, I have been reading Warhammer 40K novels on the Astra Militarum. It's not that weird if you think about it as there are similarities between the Imperial Guard and the Wehrmacht. Anyways I've babbled on long enough. As always, until we meet again - stay safe, be well and be happy.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142 [WIP - Assembly of the Drive Sprockets, Road Wheels, and Idler Wheels]

 On the surface, it doesn't seem like I got much done on the Tamiya 1/35 scale Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142 this past two weeks. Who am I kidding? I didn't. All I managed to do was Step 5 i.e. the assembly of the armored fighting vehicle's drive sprockets, road wheels, and idler wheels. In my defense, there was a lot wheels. And there was a lot of mould lines to remove from said wheels. 

Sturmgeschütz III work-in-progress: Assembly Step 5

Tamiya Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142 assembly instructions, Step 5

 For parts located in an area that'll likely see significant weathering effects, they are incredibly detailed. The wheels sport amazing little details such as the rims, nuts and bolts, metal surface texture, and weld lines. So much so that I still made the effort to remove mould lines from the road wheels, all 12 pairs of them, even if they'll likely be covered with mud effects.    

Sturmgeschütz III idler wheels assembled and prepped for paint

Sturmgeschütz III drive sprockets assembled and prepped for paint

Sturmgeschütz III road wheels assembled and prepped for paint

 Mould lines. A scale modeler's worst nightmare. If there's a task more tedious when prepping a part for paint, I do not know it. A caveat: as I've never had the opportunity to get up close to a real-life Sturmgeschütz III, I am assuming those are mould lines. I stand corrected if they are not.

If that is a weld line, then it's an excellent piece of detail on the road wheels

Except for the occasional oversight, the mould lines on the road wheels were completely removed

Mould lines (and the absence of) on the roads wheels as seen from a different angle

 One would think the never-ending pandemic lock down, in one form or the other, would provide me with more time to work on hobby-related stuff. Surprisingly the opposite has happened. Ah well, at least I haven't hit another period of the dreaded hobby malaise, so I'm grateful for small mercies. The heart is still willing so if all goes well, I'll see you again in two weeks time. Cheers and be well.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142 [WIP - Assembly of the Lower Hull, Suspension Springs/Arms, Return Rollers, and Rear Panel/Grille]

 Assembly of the Tamiya 1/35 scale Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142 began, for me at least, with steps one through four as per the instructions. This series of initial steps focuses on the lower hull and its exterior parts including the suspension arms/springs, return rollers, and rear panel/grille. For a sense of what is involved in putting together the lower hull, other exterior parts yet to be worked on for this section comprise the idler wheels, drive sprockets, road wheels, towing hooks, and tracks. Below is an account of the progress so far at this early stage in the assembly process.

Sturmgeschütz III work-in-progress: Assembly steps 1 through 4 (top/front isometric view)

Sturmgeschütz III work-in-progress: Assembly steps 1 through 4 (top/back isometric view)

Tamiya Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142 assembly instructions, Steps 1 through 4

Having had some experience building World War Two (WW2) tanks, I was appreciative of a simple design that ensured the suspension arms did not fall out from the lower hull. Rather than creating a tight fit for the suspension arms into the lower hull, Tamiya had designed an elongated piece of plastic (see below; top half of first photo) which is glued on over the spring arms, on the interior side. This design helps secure the arms and prevent them from falling out of the lower hull, at least not easily.  

Interior view of the piece of elongated plastic that is glued over the suspension arms

Side view (from left) of the work-in-progress lower hull, showing the attached suspension arms

 Another interesting design concept by Tamiya was to include suspension springs that are attached to the suspension arms located at the four farthest corners of the lower hull (see below). These springs provide a rudimentary suspension system. As to how effective this system is, I'll only be able to tell when the drive sprockets, idler/road wheels and track has been installed to the lower hull. 

'Front-left' section of lower hull; note the suspension arm farthest to the left ...

... which on its reverse side (interior) is attached to a suspension spring ...

.. which then allows the said suspension arm the ability to absorb some tension ...

... when the said arm is depressed upwards towards the upper hull

 Details on the lower hull are pretty good, especially towards the back end of the lower hull (see below). That is to be expected because the front end of the Sturmgeschütz III's lower hull would've been plain as it's function was dedicated solely to being a lower glacis armor. 

'Back-left' section of the lower hull has incredible details ...

... which continues on to the rear section of the lower hull ...

... and on to the 'back-right' section whose details mirror the opposite side of the lower hull

 As for both sides the lower hull so far, details are mainly in the form of return rollers, suspension arms and the surface texture of the front protrusions (into which the drive sprockets will eventually be attached). Things will look much busier once the idler/road wheels, drive sprockets, and tracks are attached to the lower hull. These latter parts will likely be painted separately from the lower hull.

Side view (from right) of the work-in-progress lower hull

'Front-right' section; note the surface texture on far right protrusion (example of good detail)

Front view of the Sturmgeschütz III's work-in-progress lower hull

 Below are photos showcasing the progress so far as seen from the bottom of the lower hull.

Sturmgeschütz III work-in-progress: Assembly steps 1 through 4 (bottom/front isometric view)

Sturmgeschütz III work-in-progress: Assembly steps 1 through 4 (bottom/back isometric view)

 Apart from the tedium of having to meticulously remove mold lines from the suspension arms, the build has been pretty straightforward so far. As unique as the suspension spring system was, the process of putting them in place was also easy with minor difficulty arising from having to handle the tiny caps that secure the spring in place (see instructions above). So all in all, there has been no major issues or problems thus far. Assembly on the Sturmgeschütz III should continue soon, if I can pry myself from my latest time-sink of reading books, lots of them. So until next time, it's time for me to curl up with a good book or three to read. For now, stay safe dear reader and see you soon.

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