Saturday, 30 August 2014

Building a Technical

As requested, here is a bit more information about the technical that my Taliban force had for Call to Arms.

To cut a long story short, a technical is:
a type of improvised fighting vehicle, typically a civilian or military non-combat vehicle, modified to provide an offensive capability similar to a military gun truck. It is usually an open-backed civilian pickup truck or four-wheel drive vehicle mounting a machine gun, light anti-aircraft gun, anti-tank weapon, or other support weapon. (Wikipedia)

Like this:

There are some good technical models out there- Empress do a nice resin one with a variety of armaments. So one could assume that I had one lying around ready to go?

Well, no. I didn't actually.

What I did have, was this kit from Airfix:

I bought this kit to go with my Irish force actually, the Snatch Landrover is 3/4 finished in a stunning shade of white for UN duties(which one day I will finish, honest!). Which leaves the WMIK, which I had always planned to turn into a technical.

I thought I would share some of the ideas and tricks I found while converting the Landrover WMIK into a Taliban Technical.

The first few steps are to simply build the chassis of the WMIK, making sure to not include the V underarmour, and removing any upper superstructure for the vehicle. With my technical was loosely based on the one above, I wanted to keep the whole vehicle structure low.

The first challenge comes in the back tray of the landrover. The back of the vehicle has next to no detailing, it is all covered by the upper superstructure of the WMIK. To correct this, I used some plasticard which had striations on one side. I think it was designed to be used to make roofing tiles, but it works perfectly as the grooved rear tray. I chose to also build up the sides as well, to make it look like a more interesting ute (pick-up) back.

Once you are happy with the plasticard, the next step is to use Greenstuff to smooth out the joins, making it look like it was always meant to be there! While the green stuff is drying it it time to make some crew.

Craig and I have always been in agreement that vehicles look cooler when they have crew. Especially when it is going to be an open-topped technical!

Luckily for me, I had a couple of spare Taliban lying around. The gunner comes from Eureka Miniatures, from the 14.5mm DsHK gun team, but had sadly lost his gun (he donated it to the ANP technical). The driver is a bit more complex. I started with an Empress Miniatures Taliban, who was last seen fleeing from Jose the Military Working Dog in Despatches 1 (page 62). Unfortunatly through the course of gaming, or maybe because of Jose (either the real one, or the model one), he broke at the ankle. So instead of trying to rebuild his ankle, I made him into my driver.

Step 1 is to remove the paint from the two of them. So into the Simple Green to soak, then cleaned up with a scalpel and an old toothbrush.

The gunner is the easier of the two conversions. The basic Eureka model is great, but I don't like how he has the gun pointed at the sky. To change the angle of his arms, using a scalpel I carefully removed his arms, keeping them as intact as possible. At this point I would recommend to remove his base, you will need to remove it for him to fit nicely on the back of the landrover.

Then it is a simple matter of using greenstuff to reattach the arms, in the lower position. You may find it useful to remove some cloth from the arms, to make it a more natural pose. It is up to you, it's just to make you happy with it. I also tended to test fit them on the bed of the vehicle too, to make sure that I wasn't pointing the 50cal at the ground, or at the driver or something odd like that.

The 50cal is the one from the WMIK kit, with a few of the optics removed (based on my dice rolling, this Taliban doesn't aim). I used a spare metal pike (I use these a lot) to form the strut to attach the gun to the landy. I deliberatly cut it longer than I needed, that way I could check it off against the gunner, and to the height of the vehicle. Once I was happy with the location, it was a simple case to drill a hole in the landy. The hole was wider than I needed, so that I could use Greenstuff to make sure I had a nice join. I glued the gunner on at the same time.

So while the gunner is easy, the driver is a bit more involved. First thing to do is to cut the poor guy in half. I used a hacksaw to do it, while I held it in place with pliers.

Brutal but effective.

The Empress Taliban that I am using as a base had his left arm moulded on at his side, and the right arm as a seperate piece. This was perfect for me, so I left the left one on, and put the right arm into the bits box for the future.

The lower half and the right arm for my driver both come from the Academy MH-6 kit. One of the more odd things about that kit is that it contains 4 pilot figures, for a two pilot aircraft. It is even more odd when you think of all the number of 1:48 helicopters which come with no pilots (I'm looking at you Italieri). Crew rants aside, the spare pilot figures are great to make the seated drivers. Simply cut the pilot in half. You will need to lop the feet of the model, it just makes him sit better in the vehicle. The driver's right arm will also come from this kit.

While it may seem a simple case of a+b+c= driver, getting him to fit nicely into the technical, as well as looking right. Green stuff is your friend here again, I added a dishdash to cover up a few of my sins in the waist join, and did need to do some sculpting around his right shoulder.

Remember to keep test fitting him in the vehicle. I attached the steering wheel to the driver, and made a length of wire (from a spare pike) to connect it to the dash. It just helped to make the whole process easier, it was one less thing which I needed to make align nicely! I found that the driver sat much too high to use the steering wheel as moulded by Airfix, so creating my own attachment really helped me out in this process.

My first test fit of the two crew, without any green stuff.

One you are happy with the driver, I chose to add doors to the landy. Now the WMIK kit doesn't have doors, but the Snatch does, and it conveniently comes with two sets, open and closed. Getting them to fit is a bit trickier- you need to remove the top of the door (the bit that has the window) and also to remove a 2mm (ish) strip of the back of the door. It seems finicky, and to be fair it is a little bit, but not having the doors to me looks a bit odd. It is important to do that after the crewman, as it is a lot easier to test fit him without the door. Although, make sure you don't put his arm in the way of the door.

The fully assembled land-rover looks like this:

Note that the driver is not glued in, but the gunner is glued.

I chose to paint up the technical in a lovely pastel blue, which I then attacked with a whole lot of weathering.

This is the finished product:

The technical will hopefully be the first of a few of these models, I have a couple more vehicle kits which I plan to convert into Taliban vehicles.

But for now, more Auzzies!