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Modelling on the Run


by Shane Abdoo







As a soldier in the Australian Army I was deployed on the first day of the INTERFET operation in East Timor.

The pace of operations was demanding throughout this period and allowed for little rest and recreation.

After approximately three months, things started to slow down. I wished that I had a kit to build! 

So the request went out to 'The Blackwell Gang' a notorious bunch of reprobates in the Newcastle area, who responded in fantastic form with an Academy M113A1 Vietnam kit and all the necessary tools.





The model was attacked feverishly between the operational tasks that dominated too much of my precious modeling time.

Whilst quickly assembling the interior I made the following observations, which have no doubt been noted before and were not rectified due to my lack of local facilities:

  • The fuel cell is approx. 8mm too long. 

  • Passenger seating is approx. 2mm too high; legs need to be trimmed. 

  • The alignment of the drivers seat and the laterals (AKA: sticks) is incorrect. 

  • The seat is too far to the right. The steering laterals should be at least 5mm longer. 

  • Inside the engine bay, the cooling fan and radiator are on the opposite sides. The radiator should be under the exhaust outlet.


The interior was painted using Tamiya XF-1 Flat White mixed with Tamiya XF-5 Flat Green, to obtain the correct shade of light green. 

With minimal detail painting, the interior was weathered using a light Grey wash and set aside to dry for 24hrs. Prior to sealing the lid on, I highlighted the floor and various crew areas with a 2B pencil.

With this completed, I finished assembling the outside. Construction of the exterior was straightforward with no difficulties experienced. I can't pick any faults with this aspect of this kit. It is streets ahead of the now decrepit Tamiya effort. 

The only improvements to the Vietnam era kit would be the deletion of the M113A2 modifications, namely; the shock absorber on the second support arm and the second heater exhaust behind the engine deck. Once again, as this was a sanity saver, these were not removed!



Painting and Weathering


The exterior was given two coats of Humbrol 150 by finger(!)

A very thin Grey wash was applied and left to dry for 24hrs. Three lightened base colours were used for drybrushing. 

Weapons were painted Flat Black and hit with a heavy dose of 2B pencil. I was very happy with the effect, as it closely replicates the "bluing" of the real item.

A map-marking China-Graph pencil was used to create the grimy hullside effect. This was also used all over to generally make it look 'manky'! 

Once again the 2B pencil was used to good effect all over the exterior.





Although the overall finish is what I would regard as novice-ish, I was happy to just get the feel of plastic in my hands and the mind-altering smell of glue in my nostrils.

Just completing the model is a reminder of the normal life back in Australia, which is indeed a sanity saver over here at the moment! But as with every kit finished, it only makes you lust for your next!

A massive thanks must go to James Blackwell for the effort taken to put the "Modeller's Care Package" together. Maybe he's not so bad after all…



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Model, Images and Article Copyright © 2000 by Shane Abdoo
Page Created 29 January 2000
Last updated 26 July 2007

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