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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Bolt Action - Review: Minairons Chevy truck

I recently picked up a 1:56 scale resin Chevy truck for my French desert forces. It was released earlier this year by a company called Minairons, I haven't heard of these guys before so thought I would give you BARbarians a quick review of the kit and talk a little about how I painted it.

The kit

It's a very thin and light box, but the parts for the kit were wrapped carefully. Most of the truck parts are resin, with some of the smaller parts being cast in metal. I like this, as it makes the model easier to assemble and more durable. 

You can see the parts for the kit below, showing what parts are metal and what is Resin. 

The Good

The Resin casting is top quality in terms of sculpt and cleanness. Almost no clean up is required on the resin pieces before assembly. The sculpt really is beautiful. The Resin hull is detailed and smooth, while the canvas cover for the tray has a nice material texture to it. You have the option of leaving the canvas cover off if you prefer an open tray.

The very fact that Minairons chose to sculpt a Chevy 1.5 T is a good thing. This truck was mass produced in the 1930's and saw service in many armies of World War 2. I was really happy to find a manufacturer as my French forces had many in the desert colonies.
Some French Foreign Legionnaires enjoying not walking across the desert

The Bad

The Resin casting is clean and crisp, but some of the main parts were very warped. While dry fitting the vehicle before gluing I noticed the back tray was very twisted and the base pf the truck (under the tray) was curved. I couldn't assemble the truck without fixing this.

To rescue the kit I resorted to immersing the two warped parts in hot water and making them soft. Then, gently bending them into the correct shape. This is the first time I have ever re-shaped warped resin with hot water and it wasn't easy. There is a fine line between melting the resin piece and warming it enough to bend. I found the water needed to be very hot, not just warm. If you find yourself having to do this at home, just experiment with the water temperature first, too hot or too long in the hot water and you'll melt your piece.

After a few attempts with the hot water I eventually got the pieces into shape and assembled my Chevy. It wasn't fun, but the sculpting and the subject of the vehicle itself made it worth it, almost.

I am giving the Minairons Chevy kit 3 out of 5 hubcaps.

Painting it up

Now you can see below my Chevy with some basic colours applied. You'll notice I have based my truck, I always base my vehicles for the look I want, but with wheeled vehicles it also adds durability.

My Chevy is going to be transport for my French Foreign Legion as this kind of truck was used by them in North Africa and the Levent in the middle east. I kept the model partially un-assembled to speed up the painting process.

The Canvas roof and base were kept separate and simply sprayed with 'Skeleton Bone' by Army Painter. The truck itself was given a spray of black primer, then a coat of PSC 'British Armour' spray.

With most of the base colours done using sprays, all I had to paint with a brush were the tires, re-painted in black.

With the base colours are down, I applied some French transfers from Warlord Games decal set. The whole model was then given a coat of gloss varnish. I did this to protect the acrylic paint from all the oil washes and enamel pigments, which I applied next.

This shot above shows the truck after the series of weathering effects I used on top of the basic colours. It really is the same model I promise! This weathering is also very quick to do, I think the whole model (not including drying time) only took about 1.5 hours to paint.

The way I achieved the weathering is like this:

1. Use artists oil paints to wash the entire vehicle. It is a 9:1 mix of Burnt umber and black, thinned down with artists white spirit.

2. I left the oil wash to dry for about 40mins, not enough to fully dry but the wash wasn't wet to touch. I then took a cloth and dampened it in white spirit and gave the model a gently wipe over, removing the wash from the raised areas. I then used a make up removal stick and some more white spirit to remove wash from more hard to reach areas.

3. After the wash was 'cleaned up; I used some sponge foam, the type you get in blister packs, and some Vallejo German Grey to dab on some paint to resemble paint chips. This dark grey random chipping pattern was then highlighted with Vallejo Russian Uniform and a very fine detail brush. Keep your paint nicely watered down and thin so the paint goes on smooth in one stroke.

4. Lastly, I used AK interactive's 'Dust' effects. This is an enamel product that simulates dust and can be used straight out of the bottle. I simply painted this onto the areas I thought dust would accumulate naturally...around the wheel guards and tires, up the sides of the back tray and up over the front engine cab. Leave the Dust effects to dry and then again use the white spirit and a make up stick to 'smooth' the blending of it around the 'edges' of where you want it. This will soften up the effect and looks more realistic.

Adding some grass tufts in a variety of arid desert type colours and the Chevy is ready to race across the desert and bring my Legionnaires into battle. In summary the Minairons Chevy is a very nice miniature of a useful truck that can be used in many armies, but suffers due to some warped pieces. Experienced or patient modelers only need apply...

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