In Progress » MG AV-98 Ingram SWAT Diorama

10.28.03 » Foo City
Police Department

Next up is my most ambitious project to date. A 1/35
scale diorama consisting of an AV-98 Ingram MG, Tamiya Ford Quad
Tractor, Dragon Navy Seal Team and some kind of tank. I haven’t
completely decided yet which one, there are sever 1/35 scal Tamiya
Tanks I am considering.

The premise will be an in-progress or thwarted bank
robbery where the criminals decided to use a tank to rob the Foo
City Bank. This is still pretty early in the planning stages, but
I think the base of the dio will be 24″ x 15″. It’s going
to be pretty large. Plus it will be on a city street so that means
lots of little details to make this project complete.

As I come up with ideas for this project, I will post
them to this page. I have a lot of little touches that I’d like
to add, but I’ll list them as I build them. What I have completed
so far is the decal sheet, and the color schemes for the SWAT team.

Seeing as this will be my second diorama project,
a lot of research will be done. I’ll need to research tank damage
to buildings and pavement, SWAT team tactics, and a lot about how
to go about building this project in general.

FCPD SWAT Color Schemes and Decals »

Ideas and Little Touches»

    • The diorama needs trees.
    • Light posts with posters

11.16.03 » Change
of Scenery

I decided to go with a beach scene instead for this
diorama. Building a bank from scratch plus finding all the little
extras to make the city look real just seemed to daunting a task
for me rignt now. Plus the beach is always more fun than the city!

This new set up will also allow for more action and
still keep an equal amount of destruction as the city. Heh heh!

11.25.03 » Griffon

I recieved my MG Griffon the other day. I am using
that instead of a tank now. Here is the color scheme I am going
with. It will be a metallic red candy coat in a high gloss. Yum!
I haven’t decided on decals yet.

It’s a civilian sports model that has been stolen
and taken on a dangerous joy-ride. Only to be taken down by the
Foo City PD SWAT Team.

11.30.03 » Cut it

The Ingram is all cut out, sanded, and ready for paint.
See my Griffon page for what I think of the vinyl joint covers.

12.03.2003 » Lenses
and Antenna

So far on the Ingram, aside from cutting everything
out, I have the lenses painted and the antenna replaced.

For the lenses, I used a mixture of Tamiya Clear Yellow
and Clear Green for the Green Eyepieces and View Screen and for
the lights, I used a few layers of Clear Yellow, then a layer of
Clear Orange to really get that amber look. The yellow alone didn’t
cut it.

Now the main antenna on the Ingrams head is perfectly
fine as is. I figured that the large tubes are holding sensors and

The one on the neck however looked like crap. I was
going to replace it with wire, but the thing about wire is that
it is straight with no taper. I’ve seen it done on other Ingrams
and it didn’t look all that great to me.

I wanted the antenna to get narrower as it got to
the tip. For this I used a piece of sprue heated ever a candle then
stretched thin. I had enough to get a really long antenna for the
Quad Car as well.

The other neck antenna was replaces with tube styrene
to give it a sensor look. The line around the sensor was grooved
out with a scribe while spinning the tube in a drill.

The springs around the antenna are copper wire ripped
out from some speaker wire and wrapped around the plastic, then
glued into place.

12.09.2003 » Wet

The Ingram is almost done with it’s paint job. I just
have to do little touch-ups here and there. Afterwards, it’s on
to weathering, decals, and panel lines.

11.30.03 » Poorly
Placed Seams on Legs and Arms

First, I gotta give Bandai credit for making a kit
with minimal seams. Unfortunately though, the few seams that need
glued and puttied are in very obvious places and require some modifications
to deal with.

Right on the front of the Griffons calves is a big
seam. Worse yet, you’re supposed to build the internals and then
snap on the two halves afterwards. What made this easy to deal with
was the fact that the front armor only had to hook onto 4 pegs.
I cut down the pegs and the glued together calf armor slid snugly
on. Honestly, I’m not sure why this part couldn’t have been connected
via a polycap or two, but at least it was easy to fix.

The inner forearms were the same way, but I could
glue them and sand them easily since I didn’t have to worry about
painting the internals due to their vinyl covers.

11.30.03 » Vinyl Joint
Covers (for both Ingram and Griffon)

What I like about the joint covers:

  • Less painting of internals since they
    cover them completely
  • Neat-O concept and looks somewhat cool

What I hate about the joint covers:

  • They hinder joint movement
  • They have nasty seams that required the
    use of a solder iron to remove
  • I need to buy a special flexible paint
    to paint them
  • Can’t sand vinylish material

No images yet, but I’ll get some eventually.

11.30.03 » Candy

I had a brainstorm this morning. Normally I use Tamiya
chrome silver and cover it with Tamiya Clear Red for a candy coat.
You know… that sports car look… red with metal underneath. I
used this technique on my God Gundam.

Anyway, I was wondering what it would look like if
I used Tamiya Copper instead of Chrome Silver. The only difference
that I see is that the color is a little warmer, there’s more of
a fleckie metal look and if you use a flash, you get this cool effect
where you see the copper underneath. It looks like fire! I’m not
sure if I’ll be doing this or not. I want to try the silver again
and a semi-gloss clearcoat. I don’t like the uber-gloss that it
has now.

« with flash

« without flash

11.30.03 » Damaged

I want the Ingram to go “old-school” on
the Griffon with a blunt object. However, I want to be able to display
the Mechs without the diorama since shelf space is at a premium.
So I’m not displaying a beat-up sports car mech, I made another
front hatch. The original I’ll keep for displaying the mech alone.

Okay, follow along because this is weird and painful.
(Yes painful… I gashed my thumb open with a wayward exacto) I
saw in a magazine scan how someone had scratchbuilt parts by laying
warm sheet styrene over a sculpted part to get a plastic version
of that part. I emulated that somewhat.

Luckily the hatch is supposed to be beat on so it
doesn’t matter if it looks perfect. I’ll be gashing it up later

The first thing I did was to make a mold of the inside
of the hatch with some sculpy. Afterward, I trimmed off the excess
and baked the sculpy.

Next I cut holes into two scrap pieces of wood and
screwed them together. This is my sheet styrene holder. It has two
functions. 1: keeps fingers from being burnt. 2: holds plastic on
all sides. I also put the baked sculpy piece in a big screw and
into my vice to hold it in place.

I put the sheet of styrene into the holder and moved
it over a candle to get it melty. You’ll see the plastic begin to
droop when it is ready to be put over the mold. When it was ready,
I pulled the hot plastic over the sculpy mold. When cool, I removed
it. I didn’t need any release material such as petroleum jelly which
was nice. The plastic came right off.

Next up I have puttied the hatch with Tamiya Basic
Putty to fill in the little panel lines. I’ll scribe new ones after
I smooth it out.

« ouch!

12.09.03 » Hub Caps

With the Griffon internals (at least the visible ones)
I used a mix of gray and silver parts to give is that customized
look. One example is on the feet where you can see the discs on
the sides. I gave them a hub cap look by painting them silver.

01.12.04 » Final Update

Well, the Griffon is basically done. I’m just waiting
for a good day to take pictures outside. Pittsburgh winters aren’t
too forgiving. I’m also still building a base for the kit. This
is almost a necessity as the kit is too back-heavy to stand nicely
on its own.

« not done yet…

The base is a finished wood plaque with baking soda/corn
starch clay making the sand dunes. The dunes were painted with a
custom mixed dark-sand color then sand-colored ballast cement was
applied to give it a lightening and a sandy texture. The fense was
made from balsa wood stained with acrylic paint and thread. I’m
in the process of adding tall grass to the dunes.

The figure turned out pretty cool considering this
is the last I’ll see of it once the hatches are closed. This gave
me a good opportunity to experiment with white ink though. I used
white ink on the lines of the suit.

Here is the scratch-built damaged hatch that I’ll
be using for the final diorama.

I loved the shape of the torso on its own so snapped
a few pics.

Here’s a final teaser shot before I take the final
photography for it. The styrofoan blocks are keeping if from touching/rubbing
the shelf. Als to keep it from rolling off accidentily. I LOVE those

11.16.03 » Tamiya
Quad Tractor

The Quad Tractor is coming along nicely. I have 75%
of the parts ready to be painted. The undercarriage and motor has
been built and given an initial coat of Tamiya Metallic Gray. I’ll
be weathering it later.

No pictures yet, but check back later.

12.01.03 » Undercarriage

The undercarriage now has it’s first layer of weathering.
I used a pastel wash over the whole piece, then when it dried I
took damp paper towels and wiped off the excess leaving behind a
grimey looking motor and frame.

12.01.03 » Lights

I started the scratchbuilding of the police lights
for the top of the Quad Tractor. I had an extra set of lights and
shoulders from a 1/60 Ingram Special kit. I cut off the light holders
from the shoulders, reshaped them with a file and glued them together.
After the glue dries, it’ll be a putty and sand job.

12.09.03 » Body Work

Since the Quad Tractor and the Ingram are the same
colors, I’ve been painting them at the same time. Here is what I’ve
done with the body of the truck so far. It’s hard to see the two
tones of blue due to the direction of the light, but the roof is

11.16.03 » Dragon
Navy Seal Team

For my SWAT team I decided to use the Dragon Navy
Seal team figure set since I could not find a SWAT team figure set
to save my life. At least not a reasonably priced one.

They’re pretty much done. I just need to gloss them
up for some decals. I have a nifty Foo City PD patch for their shoulders.
Then I’ll flat-coat them. I’m going to wait until I gloss coat the
Ingram and Quad Tractor to continue with these guys to save some

I didn’t do a major step-by-step for thee guys, but
here are some pictures.

10.29.03 » Wooden
base construction

First up is the base for the diorama. I had some extra
1 x 4 wood pieces and some extra particle board and decided to turn
this scrap into my base. First up I measured the outside frame making
it roughly 15 x 24 inches. Then I made squares from scrap 2 x 4
to hold the frame together and give the base for the diorama a place
to sit upon. I screwed everything together and gave it a coat of
Colonial Maple stain. Tomorrow I will give it a second coat to make
it darker and richer. Then this weekend I’ll coat it with some Polyacrylic

The reason for the separate base is so that I can
construct the diorama (which I’m sure will be messy) without screwing
up the stained/finished wood. Then when I’m done, I can just set
the base into the frame and secure it with some wood glue.

11.16.03 » Beach wall and boardwalk.

Here is some shots of my beach wall and boarkwalk.
I’m modeling my beach loosely on Virginia Beach where my wife and
I spent out honeymoon and several vacations. They have a concrete
“boardwalk” and that’s where my SWAT figures will be positioned.
The Ingram battle will take place on the sand.

Here’s a shot of my base right now. The clamp is holding
the wood glue together until it dries. I’ll have to stain the bare
spots in those 2 corners where the sand or water won’t be covering.

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