It’s been awhile since my last entry but with good reason. First, we’ve been having one hell of a summer here in Michigan. Temps in the 90’s and low 100’s are not conducive to building and painting plastic model kits. It’s not so much the glue that’s effected by the heat but the acrylic paint. When airbrushing acrylics, the temps and humidity tend to make the paint dry before it even hits the model. I have drying retardant but that only does so much. I also have a/c but that’s only adequate enough to keep the house comfortable, not to mention the amount of electricity that the house would use with fans, 2 a/c units, lights and an air compressor all going at the same time. The heat also takes a toll on me. While I’m not outside in the weather all day, I’m out in it enough to have it wear me down. Unloading deliveries from my truck and pushing my delivery cart any distance runs me down. By the time I get home I’m pretty trashed and don’t even go to the gym, if I’m too crapped out to workout, I’m too crapped out to build.
The most notable reason for the lack of updates has been my drive, or lack there of. You see, the hero I built the Medics jeep for passed away. I wish I could give names but as I said in my first posting, I’m obliged to confidentiality. He was really a very nice man and one of my favorites in the group. He was very generous, caring about his fellow man and a true inspiration to others who also wished to give of themselves. He had a neat sense of humor and whenever he was asked if there was anything he needed, he’d answer; “Yes, cash.” He grew frail and weak so quickly. His dialysis was stopped when cancer was found. He spent only a very short time in hospice but I guess that’s a blessing as he passed away rather quickly. Personally, the thing I’ll remember most is his eyes lighting up when he saw the model jeep. Thirty nine straight hours of building and painting was more then worth it to see his smile and hear him say; “How about that! How about that!” At least I have the knowing he got to see his tribute model before he left us.
I miss the ole guy.
Back to the subject at hand; the Deuce and a Half. The only thing lacking is the driver figure and all the cargo that will festoon the cargo bed. There will be fuel drums, ammo crates, gasoline jerry cans, bed rolls and maybe even some extra tank parts. From what I’ve gathered, the Navy Sea Bees had ‘US NAVY’ stenciled on their vehicles later on in the war. In the early stages, they just used hand me downs or what they could beg,borrow and steal from the Army. All the same, I’m sure the recipient will like it.
Here’s some pictures. Feel free to leave a comment!
This is what we have after 10 hours of work:
The engine. Not much detail but very little if any will be visible once inside the engine compartment.
The chassis and suspension consists of nearly 40 parts. The fit and engineering of this kit is great!
This entire assembly will be painted separately to ensure good coverage. The same will hold true for the underbody.
Moving on steadily with the Project, I’ve decided to build the truck for the next Veteran who was in the US Navy Seabees based in the Aleutians. The Seabees got their moniker from C B or construction battalion. The leaders of the unit wanted a logo to use and one of the animators from Walt Disney came up with this:
It depicts a bumble bee wearing the traditional ‘dixie cup’ sailors cap firing a machine gun (to represent the fighting spirit of the Navy) and holding a number of tools. Their mantra was ‘Can Do’. Our Veteran built many structures in the Aleutian Islands as the US fought with Japanese forces who occupied some of the Alaskan islands. It’s believed the Japanese had no real aspirations for the islands, but instead landed troops there as a diversion to the attack on the strategic island of Midway.
Our Veteran is the oldest in the group at 92 and his health is in question as well, hence my haste to get this built. The B-17 will be the most time consuming and trying build and that Veteran is in relatively good health save for a sour attitude and short temper as a result of his dementia. Here are the sprues:
An over view of the kit:
The cargo area:
The drive train, engine and suspension:
This is the cab and interior:
And what good is a cargo truck without cargo?:
Here’s a photo of the same truck I built for a Red Ball Express driver. Rusty Huebner received his last year:
The truck I’ll be building next will vary a bit as I’ll be adding the front winch and the frame work for the canvas tarp that goes over the cargo bed. I’ll follow the same build and paint plan as I did with the medics jeep to insure everything gets painted properly with no over spray onto the engine. I estimate this build to take 2 weeks.
I gave the model to the Veteran Thursday. He was in a different room being he’s now in the care of hospice. He looked truly awful and it was a shock at the decline over the last 3 weeks. He was in his bed being evaluated by a nurses aid when I walked in. He recognized me and I told him I have something for him. I bent down and showed him his model jeep and his eyes lit up! “How about that!? How about that!?” he said. He smiled as best as he could and said thank you, then added; “You did good.” I patted him on the shoulder and told him I’d see him later and set the model up on his TV shelf. I didn’t ask to take his picture with the model as I knew he wouldn’t allow it being he is in such frail health. I have the image of his smile and twinkling eyes in my mind where it will stay for ever.
Well, the B-17 will need to wait for a while. Sadly, one of the men who are in the Veterans group I spoke of earlier is in very poor health and has been placed in hospice. This is one of, if not the worse parts of doing what I do. These men are in their 80’s and 90’s and 90% of them are in very bad health. When I first met this group (I will refer to them as The Group) I cried like a baby at their situation. These men, hero’s in my eyes who drove tanks, fought for their country in the most noble way, endured hardships few of us could imagine, flew aircraft at several hundred miles per hour, fought other aircraft while dropping bombs on the enemy from 5 miles up and had to deal with the prospect of death at every moment were now mere shells of their former selves. Their bodies ravaged by time, disease and decay and their minds hollowed out by dementia, it was heartbreaking. There have been 2 Veterans I’ve lost since beginning this project. The first was Robert Paffumi who was the sole survivor of his Sherman tank crew. Being his was the first, it upset me more then I would have expected. I never even met the man, but just knowing WHO he was and WHAT he did just really got to me.
I did get to meet Floyd LaLone. He was a BAR gunner who was pinned down by advancing German forces. Some contacted a group of P-47s who strafed the approaching forces saving Floyd from capture…or worse. He wanted, and received, a model of one of the P-47s that came to his rescue.
Back to the original post. The model for this member of the Group represents the jeep his drove for the medical corps. Being no kit exists that truly exemplifies that type of jeep, I built the model rather simply and will add some red cross decals and medical parcels to detail it. These are pictures of the sub assemblies with corresponding text:
This is the body minus the seats and steering wheel.
The chassis and drive train are comprised of nearly 30 parts. The assembly of this portion was very easy and all the parts fit extremely well.
The engine is made up of 2 dozen parts. The only thing that would enhance the detail here is by using thin, black thread as spark plug wires…yep, I’m thinking about it.
And here’s the parts waiting for painting and final assembly. The next post will show the painting process and final assembly.
First, let me say that I’m obligated to confidentiality and cannot divulge names, histories or the facility involved with this portion of the The Veterans Project. I will give a brief over view. After hearing the interview that aired on NPR, I was contacted by a member of the retirement facility asking if I’d be interested in building a display for the residents who served during the war. After the display is complete, other residents from other facilities will be invited to see the display. I was introduced to about a dozen men, all Veterans who served in one capacity or another. These men are now in their late 80’s and early 90’s and their health is less then good. Many of them suffer from some form of dementia. It was decided the men would determine what models they would like in the display, so basically each man asked for a certain model to be built.
I have completed one of the models already and have shown it to the group. Due to the confidentiality I spoke of, I won’t post pictures of the men or names until I receive permission to do so as some of these men’s family names are rather prominent in the community. I can show you the model.
It was so very satisfying to see his face light up when he saw his model. I knew I did well and could feel his joy in receiving it. That’s what this Project is all about. The next model is going to be the ‘Whopper’ of the Project. It’s being built for 2 men and is something I’ve never done before. The model will have one side visible so you can see the interior. Instead of the entire side being clear, I’m going to paint the model in such a way that it will look like it’s been cut open in certain areas. Here’s what I’ll be working with:
Here’s the box art:
And my reference material. The B-17 Flying Fortress is my all time favorite aircraft. I will literally drop EVERYTHING to run outside to see the Yankee Lady fly over on one of her flights from Willow Ruin. My references:
I’ll be posting photos of this build as I progress. There’s going to be a very large amount of photo etch additions which will greatly enhance to detail. My major concerns for this build are: 1) a seam line showing and proving difficult to eliminate between the solid and clear fuselage halves. 2) making sure the flight deck and floor is level and finally 3) getting all the interior colors correct.
The next posting will have the beginning of the build!