Friday, June 12, 2015

Time out: Tamiya M151A2 Ford Mutt

A kit that took 32 years to build..

I bought a simple model kit from Hobby Jaya, one of Kuala Lumpur's most renowned model kit store which was located in Sungai Wang Plaza.
It was a Tamiya M151A2 Ford Mutt and it costs around RM16.90.
I was 14-years of age then and it was a real big deal forking out 20 Ringgit for a model kit.
This was one of my many craft projects as a teenager and barely into building it's undercarriage, I abandoned the idea of completing the miniature vehicle.
I tried using a brush and Tamiya acrylic paint, but the results were just too horrible even to show to a six-year-old. 
So, I boxed it up and kept it at my Aunt Lorraine's house in Setapak and left it there after relocating to Subang Jaya.
Since I patched up with my aunt, I went back to her house to rustle up all my old kits. And the Ford Mutt was still in it's box, with parts in the sprues still in "pristine" condition.

The Tamiya kit recovered after 32 years
Model kit building, a form of relaxation...

So, I had a situation at the workplace. Things are getting tough and the only way for release to me, is to build something. I use my brains to think of something constructive and some creativity to put things together and in perspective, broaden my horizon by acquiring a new skillset.
For starters, I am never good at building models and painting them.
The only success I had, was with a Tamiya Panzerkampfwagen kit sometime in the early 80s.
Recently, I bought a Tamiya single-action airbrush which is powered by a can of propellant. Since I had some really bad experience with propellant airbrushes, I was rather skeptical.

Airbrush: A game-changer

I have little experience when it comes to handling an airbrush. 
The only time I got to play with a handpiece was in art school. I sprayed twice. That was all. What I bought, was a Tamiya High Grade single-action airbrush. I believe it was manufactured by another company called Iwata.
Being skeptical at first, I tried spraying some acrylic paint on the Ford Mutt kit. I started with the tires on the sprue and found that the coating of paint was pretty event.
To spray, expert modelers suggested a mix of 2:1, that is two part pain and one part thinner. 
This is tricky, but if you have a plastic pipet (these can be bought from Daiso), you can measure the ratio by how many drops of paint you put in the handpiece cup.

Spraying the wheels in a circular motion..

Before I began painting and assembling the kit, I sprayed the parts which is still on the sprue with a can of grey paint primer.
This gives the parts an even coat before the acrylic is sprayed over it.

The painted kit, before assembly

Building not according to specs

I wanted the Ford Mutt to have a minimalistic look.
So, I ditched the TOW missile launcher and other parts that fills up the vehicle.
After painting the undercarriage, exhaust and suspension system, I was pretty pleased with the finish.
To get a solid base colour, I used the Tamiya Dark Iron acrylic paint. When applied with weathering, the results were awesome.
I wanted my Ford Mutt to be  a two-seater and there were options on the kit to build it as I like it.
There are no engine on the kit, so detailing it's interior wasn't an option given. Tamiya had produced this kit with the option of having the US Army's colour and markings or simply a US Marine workhorse. I chose none.
My Ford Mutt is as simple as it is..

The finished kit, with some weathering rendered

Another view of the Ford Mutt
Achieving the desired "look"

With the airbrush, I was able to touch-up the kit.

Some unsightly "blemishes" can be removed by spraying a light mist over it.
On the whole, I am pretty happy with the way the kit had turned out.

A pictured of the Ford Mutt with it's box..
I used two cans of propellant to complete the kit.
An airbrush compressor would be even more practical in the long run.
Building this kit was not difficult and having an airbrush is a big advantage if you want your kit to stand out.
The only part that is pretty tough to fit was the windshield. It's just a flimsy piece of plastic that needs to be glued to the windshield's frame.
Since I am not good at painting figures, I gave the Ford Mutt's driver a miss..
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