Monday 8 October 2012

Those Magnificent Men...

Hi, All!

Mk I Hydrothermicopter... Airborne at last!

Well, here we go again - another day, another post...

The crew, having been disarmed...

I am happy to announce that the first Hydrothermicopter is finished! As predicted, the cockpit detailing and crew were a little fiddly, but I'm happy with the results.

The painted pilot and his seat are added to the cockpit and a 'desk' is constructed around him.

The first stage was to attach the bodies and heads of the crewmen to the upholstered chairs I made from greenstuff and plastic, and to paint them. Arms could not be added at this stage, as I intended to build controls around the pilot and his arms would get in the way. They would have to be added later. I find it helpful during such work not to think of man and machine as separate, but rather as all part of one model.

Control panel tops the desk, then arms are added. I also put a steering column in the pilot's hand.

The steering column the pilot is holding was something of an improvisation. The cramped nature of the cockpit, due to my wanting a gunner in the front made it very hard to get the pilot's hands to look like they were manipulating the controls that were very close to his chest. As a result, he is leaning forward in something of an 'action' pose, gripping a long control rod and steadying himself with his other hand.

Gunner is added. A plain flat panel hides his incomplete body from view.

The gunner was much simpler. All I had to do was add upper arms and obscure most of him beneath a flat panel, as if he is hunkered down, right in the nose of the vehicle. His chair fits comfortably beside the pilot's control rod.

From above...

...and the side...

Final Rivet Count... 254! 

 Now I just have to do the other one...

Meanwhile, as work continues on the second Hydrothermicopter, the Flunks, Scagworms, Lord Blandford-Fly's Lancers and plans for a BIG project, I thought I'd also get cracking on the Eternally Lost Tribe of Wutha-F'Kahwi...

Wutha-F'Kahwi warriors in the making...

My models of choice for these notorious warriors are plastic Mahdists from Perry Miniatures. I didn't want to do the Zulu-thing and these seemed just perfect as an alternative. I have two boxes - which will make around eighty warriors, depending on how many I mutilate for other purposes - and I suspect I may need many more.

A tribesman of note leads the warband...

I thought I'd start with a ten-man warband, armed with rifles. Clearly, some nefarious character has been arming the natives with European weaponry...

Rifles?! By what devious devices did these savage killers come by such things...?

I also dug out of my Big Box O' Bits a plastic T-Rex I had previously converted to be ridden by a 1:72 scale plastic knight many years ago. It wasn't a very good job at the time, but now I have a more noble purpose in mind...

Customised Chieftain and somewhat battered T-Rex...

So began the construction of a Chieftain, mounted on his terrifying steed.

Left: straps and barding are added. Right: bits of plastic rod and strip provide the framework for the saddle.

I had to cut a large amount of gunk and glue from the T-Rex to begin, as well as remodelling the rider's legs and abdomen. Next, cloth barding, straps, blanket and an elaborate saddle were gradually added.

The saddle is sculpted from greenstuff.

Once the rider was in place (I intend to paint this as one whole model, rather than paint the mount and rider separately) I thought about extra details. A shield, quiver of spears and scabbarded sword were added. I still have to add reins.

The almost completed model. Spears are plastic rod with spear tips from the Mahdist warriors sprues. Pennant on the lance and jewel on the quiver are from GW High Elves.

A shield hangs from straps attached under the saddle.

I quite like the orange colour of the T-Rex, although I didn't do a good job of the tiger stripes. I'm not sure what colour I will go for in the end. I also intend to produce Wutha-F'Kahwi archers, spearmen and of course the crews for the Flunks. This may take some time...

Oh well. that's it for this post...

A Hydrothermicopter rushes to aid Lord Blandford-Fly, suddenly beset by a bad case of Scagworms...

All the Best!


  1. Fantastic models! Some the best and most imaginative scratchbuilding and modifications I've seen in a long while.


    1. Thanks, Matt. Very glad you like my work!

      All the best!

  2. Right now you are "The Man", Colonel! Wonderful conversion work welded tightly to an imagination that's on the boil!! Entertaining and inspiring, Sir.

    1. Kind words, Jay! I believe I may be 'A Man' but I'm pretty sure I spotted one or two others lurking about today...

      As for being "on the boil," you may have just discovered the reason my monocle keeps steaming up! My gratitude, Sir!

  3. Lovely work as always, Colonel. I would have the word with the Quartermaster about issuing the pilots with goggles, though. Dashed awkward, bearing down upon a likely target, only to miss because a piece of grit got in a feller's eye. ;)

    Once the Mem'sahib and I have left the House of Dung behind us, and normal service is restored, I'll see about converting my own dinosaurs.

    1. A J! A pleasure to hear from you as always!

      I thought about giving the chaps goggles but then forgot and then remembered again, by which time the blasted thing was buzzing about me ears, trying to fry me bally moustache! Confound it all, Sir! If they ever land again, I may just be tempted to stick greenstuff in their eyes with my favourite pointy stick!

      My regards to the Mem'sahib. Chin up, Old Chap! One man's dung is another man's pet beetle fodder, after all!

  4. Brilliant!

    I love that final photo. It looks like it should be the cover of a 20's magazine.

    1. Thank you, Monkeylite! And you're quite right - it looks great as a magazine cover. I'll be posting your picture in my next blog post. Thanks for sending it to me!

  5. Always inspiring! Awesome work :)

    1. Always good to hear from you, O Ferret of Laughter!

      Thanks very much!

  6. Fabulous, fabulous work! Just brilliant.

    1. Much appreciated, Michael. Glad you like!

      Sadly, I couldn't bring myself to model a face onto the front of the Hydrothermicopter...

  7. Very good Joe... nice work all round.

    I did spot those toy helicopters in the $2 shop, but nothing else really caught my eye...

    Nice T-rex too. I was pondering smaller raptors as mounts for my Prussian cavalry if I ever get round to doing them...

    Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks, Scott.

      Yep - not a lot of inspriation in our local crap shop. We may have to send scouts into unknown territory...

      The T-Rex is actually a baby one from the Jurassic Park toy range. In JP2, the bad guys injure a baby T-Rex and use it as bait for the mother - hence the bandages around its leg. Obviously, these will become a rather stylish fabric thingy...

  8. My nephew is humbled by the hydrothermicopter. He doesn't understand how such an un-high-tech and retrograde contraption can look so "cool".
    I think it's all the detailing that impresses us both! I really wondered how you were going to transform such an unattractive and plasticky thing into anything interesting, but all the "engineering" detail is there in its glory. And I love the wonderfully voguish deep-buttoned Chesterfield-style chair! It's just that kind of little addition that makes it all so believable. Felix is now eyeing all his aviation vehicles rather dangerously. We may have some interesting projects on our hands, ourselves. Not sure how I'll explain that to his parents who have spent a pretty penny on expensive model aeroplanes, I can tell you!

    The flunks are really growing on me, especially now a cute little calf has been added to their number!

    Plus, what a brilliant use of the trunks! Hee hee, those Scagworms (where do you get these names?) are truly and realistically disgusting aren't they?

    Well done, once again, Colonel. You are a true expert and entertainer!

    1. Hello again, Miss Bentley!

      Perhaps Felix should consider taking a leaf out of my book and finding something cheap and nasty to mutilate... I wouldn't want to receive a barrage of complaints from hard working parents.

      Cute as the calf may be, would you really want a flunk to grow on you? They weigh at least a hundred pounds at birth!

      As for the scagworms, well, what can one say? I thought they looked a little scaggy... Wouldn't want to be Lord Blandford Fly's horse, that's for sure!

      Thank you for your comments. Only too happy to entertain!