In Progress » E.F.G.F. Type 74 Hovertruck Diorama

06.08.2007 » Concepts/Initial

can’t describe how glad I am that Bandai started
doing a 1/35 scale Gundam line of support vehicles
and ground troops under the Universal Century
Hardgraph (UCHG) name. Really fantastic releases
so far and lets me do Gundam and 1/35 armor at
the same time which just rocks. Best of both worlds!
I’ve had my UCHG releases on my shelf for a little
while now while working on other projects and
planning for this one. This project will be a
diorama of the Type 74 Hovertruck and the Zaku

All of my recent projects have allowed
me to test certain elements of the terrain and
building that I’ve been planning for this amd
now I get to put them all together. The terrain
will consist of a dirt road, a grassy slope and
a rocky stream. The hovertruck will be sitting
on the road while the severed Zaku head will be
resting half in the stream. This will give me
the chance to do some nice rusty effects to the
head. The figures will be resting and taking a
break while on the road delivering supplies or
maybe just making camp for a few days while out
on maneuvers. Below is a diagram I did to map
out what I’m planning. As usual the actual terrain
will probably be modified and shifted as I adjust
to fit the elements into place. Each square is
1 inch so as you can see, this will be a rather
large piece.

I started on the hovertruck first
as I think that’ll take the longest to complete.
I decided to add an interior to this since the
kit does not have one. Pretty surprising since
there’s so many openable hatches and doors. I
found some reference pics of the interior from
the anime and source books thanks to some helpful
folks on the forum. I’m using these mostly as
rough guides and am not going to kill myself making
it anime-accurate. There’s really no need since
the hatches in which you can view the interior
are actually not that big. I guttet out a wall
that had been placed between the driver/nav area
and the rear communications/gunner areas of the
interior as it wasn’t there in the refs and would
allow more visibility of all the work I’m doing.
Here’s some images of where I’m at. Mostly I’ve
got rough parts and areas installed and will detail
them up more later. I had to order some diamond-plate
textured styrene sheet from the LHS since they
were out so much of my next steps are waiting
on me installing the flooring. The chairs in the
front are leftovers from my 1/35 Cobra since I
got resin updates for them.

Lastly is the stowage I’ll be adding
to the rear bed of the truck. I only had 1 of
each of the 2 gas cylinder sizes you see below
so I ended up making molds so I could cast a bunch.
While I was at it I made molds for some other
resin stowage bits and radio equipment from armor
kits to use on the truck.

06.14.2007 » Base

I finished most of the part removal
and nub-sanding for the hovertruck and zaku head.
Still some seams to sand down however on the HT.
For now though I’ve been focusing on the base
as I need it partially ready before I can start
the damage mods to the Zaku head. I started with
some scrap plywood for the base and added some
other scraps to build up the base for the roadway.
Leftover sprue and citrus netting was used to
make a frame for the hillsides and then paper
mache towels were added. Rocks are temporarily
in place until I add the rest of the celluclay.
I used Balsa sheet for the sides of the base and
stained them. I’m in the process of adding the
successive coats of polycrylic to seal them. Once
that’s done I can add the rest of the celluclay.
You can also see how I’m using some wood molding
glue to partially seal the inside of the balsa
from the future wetness of the additional celluclay
which may warp it.

While for now it just looks like
a boring HT and Zaku head, I think it’ll be the
modified figures and their actions that will make
this very interesting. That and the rocky stream.
That’ll be VERY fun and challenging to create.
Here’s some pics:

06.17.2007 » Base
and Stowage

I’ve been making some simple one-piece
molds to create additional stowage for this project.
There’s a lot of room in the truck bed for stuff,
but most stowage sets available for armor don’t
really have what I want, enough of what I want,
or just plain don’t fit right. The Italeri Modern
Battle Accessories set had 2 different sizes of
gas cylinders, but only one of each. Growing up
I lived near a Corning Glass Plant and saw many
trucks carrying loads of gas cylinders. They always
intriqued me so I wanted to recreate that here.
I first made a mold and cast 4 cylinders. Then
I took those 4 (of each) and made another mold
so that I could cast a bunch at one time. I added
a barrel and some small canisters too to fill
up the space. The hovertruck also came with 2
large ammo boxes. They have openable lids, but
for my needs that wasn’t necessary. I took one
and glued it shut and filled in any gaps. I made
a mold of it (and a beer and water bottle) and
made a bunch to use here and for later projects
as well. These are large enough to look good on
1/20 MaK projects too. The beer and water bottles
will be cast in clear resin, having made a new
mold to cast a bunch at once. Then I can paint
them with clear green or brown and the water bottles
will have just a clear blue lid. The resin I’ve
been using mixes clear and dries white. What’s
great is that you can see any air bubbles in these
simple molds and tease them out with some wire
before it sets. Below you can see my truck bed

Also I finished applying the celluclay
to my base. Now I can start on the damage to the
Zaku head!

06.19.2007 » Figs
and Damage

Next up for this in-progress report
is the Zaku head damage and the figures. I’ve
used figures from a few different sets for this
project. I’ve used the squatting figure from the
Hovertruck (unaltered) and the “relaxed”
figure who will have a new head (gotta sculpt
a new neck) who is laying on a rock. I used two
figures from the Dragon Afrika Korps set as well.
As far as modifying them, they both have caps
that match the Hovertruck figure (included in
the Afrika Korps set, but for the other 2 figs)
and the one who is fishing has a new right hand
that will hold the pole better. The fishing poles
will be scratchbuilt. The tan figure from the
Tamiya German Tank Loading Crew set will be carrying
bags of ice and has had his hair removed. The
box below him will have a tarp inside, and bottles
of beer, bottled water, and ice.

The Zaku head is almost done now
too. I just need to clean up the “d-rings”
and add a rough cast texture. I might dent up
the “nose” too. To make the damage I
used a Dremmel, candle (to bend the plastic out),
and pliars. I made a dent on the top left of the
head by heating that part with a candle and pressing
it in with the handle of my pliars.

Painting and Weathering the
Zaku Head

06.21.2007 » Head

After the primer on the head had
cured I began the painting and weathering process.
The process of weathering and painting the head
to look rusty and damaged will be a little more
complex than what I do for normal vehicle weathering.
First the parts were primed/textured with a dark
gray Krylon primer. After that cured I sprayed
it unevenly with a rust colored mix of Tamiya

When that dried enough (a few hours)
I applied mapping and drybrushing with Tamiya
XF-12 J.N. Grey. What is mapping? It’s creating
larger areas of paint and stains to give a multi-dimensional
look to the weathering. Imagine that you’re basically
painting small islands on a map. Below you can
see wone of these spots/islands. Later when I
apply more effects, washes, discoloration/fading,
etc… they won’t be so pronounced. You begin
blending these in by drybrushing around and on
them with the same color.

After the XF-12 mapping I applied
another coat of mapping, but this time with Tamiya
XF-71 Cockpit Green (IJN). This has a great Zaku-esque
color to it and contrasts the rust nicely. This
time the mapping and drybrushing was applied with
bits of sponge where the prior coat was applied
with a few different brushes. After the XF-71
green had dried I drybrushed some more XF-12 over
it to dull the look and help blend it in. Then
small brighter spots of XF 12 were applied much
like negative paint chips here and there. These
greens will basically be whatever paint is left
on the Zaku after the initial damage and sitting
in the rising/falling water for a few years.

And lastly for this update I applied
a gloss then satin coat of Future to seal it,
an earth colored wash, and a flat coat of Future.
Next up is more washes and staining to bring out
the rusty effects and blend in the leftover green

07.02.2007 » Head

The head is pretty much done. After
applying some oil paint rust streaking, a wash
or 2, and a flat coat, I applied the pigment powders.
I still think it needs some more, but I wanted
to get it affixed to the base first. Here’s some

07.04.2007 » Busted
and Rusted

The head rusting is pretty much
done. I tweaked it a bit and added more light
rust streaks. I also added some waterline dirt-marks.
They’re not showing up well in the pics however.
Next up is the scary part… pouring the water
and potentially ruining the head. Scary scary

Painting and Weathering the
Hovertruck and Stowage

06.21.2007 » Primed

Here’s some shots of the primed
interior of the hovertruck. When the primer is
cured I’ll be painting this in Tamiya Deck Tan
and weathering it up. I’m using the light deck
tan so that once it’s all closed up you’ll have
a better view since it’ll be a lighter color.
That’s the hope anyway! Plus a lot of real armor
have very light colored interiors. Here’s the

06.25.2007 » Such

What a shame… what a shame. The
interior of my Hovertruck is all painted and weathered.
It looks great! The shame is that now I’ll be
closing it up and you’ll only be able to view
it through some little windows. I airbrushed the
entire interior with Tamiya Deck Tan. Then I hand-painted
all of the little details, consoles and such with
various colors. After a gloss coat of FFA, decals
and a satin coat of Future, I applied the paint
chips and then gave it all a light earth colored
wash. Then I gave it a flat coat and added some
stowage, water bottles, maps, modeling mags, and
the Mig FAQ. Here’s a bunch of pics.

I also painted and weathered all
of the stowage since I needed to add some inside
before closing it up. I think all of my recasted
gas cylinders, barrels, and ammo boxes turned
out great. The large wooden box was scratchbuilt,
while the others were from a Tamiya set. Those
were also fun to paint and weather. Overall I’m
very happy with the results. The various colors
and tones of the stowage will add a nice bit of
visual interest to the piece.

07.02.2007 » Fish
and Chips

The hovertruck has been painted
using Tamiya Khaki Drab as a base then lightening
the panels with a lighter mixture of the khaki
drab + khaki + white. After that was done, a gloss
coat and decals were applied. Then a light green
filter followed by the paint chips. I still have
some paint chips to do yet then onto the fading/discoloration.
Since this is a truck/utility type vehicle I want
it to look somewhat “broken in” and

07.03.2007 » More

The chips are all done. The scraping
on the front part of the HT was done first with
a brush, then with a sponge. The longer thinner
scrapes are done by drybrushing with the same

07.03.2007 » More

The fading and wash is done for
the hovertruck. The first pic shows just the fading.
The second two show the hull after the wash. The
wash is a dirt color and not real heavy. The dusting
effects with pigments will show off the dirt and
dust later.

07.07.2007 » Weathering
with pigments

Now that the wash has cured, a final
flat coat has been applied and weathering with
mud and pigments has begun. First I did a pre-dusting
using a mixture of Tamiya Flat Earth and Buff.
Then I mixed some my my sifted dirt that I used
for the base with some water and used a thick
old brush to spatter it all over the underside
andwhere else that the turbines might blow mud
and water. And finally I’m in the process of adding
dusting here and there with pigment powders. To
do the crew footprints I made a mold of one of
the Hovertruck crew’s feet which have treads molded
in. I then poured more silicone in that mold and
made a “foot stamp”. What’s cool is
that it “erases” or places pigments
depending on where you use it. It erased from
the bed and the collected pigments from that it
released when placed on the roof.

07.08.2007 » Pretty
Much Done

The truck is pretty muc done except
for a few minor things like painting the rest
of the lesnes and applying the mirrors. I think
I’m going to use some chrome window tint for the
mirrors. It’s thin sheets and thinner once the
film is peeled from the clear backing. The stowage
is all added and the weathering is all done. The
stowage adds a fantastic and much needed splash
of color and visual interests to the monochromatic
scheme. Here’s pics:

Display Base, Figures, and
Final Touches

06.25.2007 » River

I finally, after much searching
and testing found the perfect cheap and nicely
scaled river rock for my creek/river bed. I had
first tried dyed cat litter and it looked okay,
but not perfect. Talus and ballast was too uniform.
But then my neighbor had his driveway paved. The
pavers had poured construction sand all over the
asphault which at first I paid no mind to. However,
after a good rain, all the littlest sand particles
had washed away and what was left was what you
see below. I went to Home Depot and for under
$3.00 got a 50 pound bag of the stuff. After some
sifting through fine mesh to remove the sand,
all that was loeft was the rocks. About 5 cups
of sand yeilded 1 cup of rocks. Below is a pic
of some in a Crystal Light cup which I save tons
of and use for mixing washes/resins.

07.02.2007 » Figs,
Ducks, and More Rocks

First up is the base progress. I
applied the dirt using my dirt tutorial to the
base. I sorted the riverocks via a strainer into
a small and large sized rock piles. Then I started
adhering the river rocks by first pouring on the
larger rocks and then over them the smaller ones
filling in the gaps and such. I wanted larger
ricks near the shore and the smaller ones out
in the actual water so that under the water they
look smaller and deeper. I didn’t go all the way
up the slope with them since that’ll be grass
and such. The Zaku bullet casings were also added
on the shore as if they were washed up by waves/floods.
The weathered Zaku head was attached to the base
using 5-min epoxy then more rocks were applied
around it to make it look more sunken in. The
rocks were then given drops of “prepared
matte medium” from I applied
it using an eyedropper and applied it liberally.
Now the rocks are set and are not going anywhere
without some effort.

I’ve also been painting the figures
using oil paints over an acrylic base coat. They’re
just about done. They need a little of the fading/discoloration
technique, a little bit of a wash here and there
just to pop certain things, and a flat coat. The
eyes also need done. Also, a few days ago I was
thinking about the guy squatting at the shore
and why he’s right on the waters edge looking
in. I decided that he needs to be looking at some
ducks swimming in the water. Maybe he’s wearing
the gloves to try and catch one for dinner. Who
knows? So I started sculpting some small ducks
today. Here’s the progress so far.

07.03.2007 » Duck,
Duck, Duck, Duck…

No geese. Ducks are about finished.
Just need to clean up the males beak a bit.

07.04.2007 » Water

Here’s my tests of the resin over
the past few months. Basically any time I knew
I’d be pouring clear resin I had a test ready
for the leftovers. The first tests were to see
how different glues would work to hold down the
rocks which in the beginning were going to be
colored cat litter. Later I tested colors mixed
in the resin to check for reactions. And finally
I checked my final glue and water color mix. Lastle
is the ducks sitting on my final test. The ducks
will be sat into the resin a bit in the end. THe
resin I’m using is called Castin’ Craft.

07.06.2007 » Tests
can’t account for everything.

Well, just when I thought that I
knew just about everything that could go wrong
with the water pour, took measures against such
disasters, and believed all went well… of course
there was a problem this morning. Let’s start
from the beginning on the pour process…

First I followed the advice in the
Mig FAQ and used clear tape to make a wall to
hold in the resin. This worked well when pouring
the first layer of resin as seen below:

The tape wasn’t tall enough so I
added more and poured the second layer. This also
went well, but the tape started to warp a little.
No biggie as It wasn’t a look I was against as
it looked liquidy.

I poured the final layer and waited
for it to firm up some so I could to the ripples.
I had practiced the ripples on the previous 2
layers so I knew that part would go fine which
it did. After the resin began to firm up I added
the ducks. Again, all was good at this point.
A few hours later the resin felt hard enough to
remove the tape which I did. I had noticed a small
fissure between the resin and the base in the
front and didn’t think too much of it. I covered
the water/base with a box to keep out dust untim
it was no longer the slightest bit tacky which
can take a few days sometimes. This was all yesterday.
This afteroon I checked on it and noticed the
fissure had spread and that the side of the water
opposite the head had come up. I can only assume
this is due to shrinking of the resin during curing.
At the front corner it’s raised about 1/8″
or so. Grrrr. The side of the head didn’t raise
up and I can only assume that the head which was
anchored to the base VERY securely held the resin
in place. Next time I’ll add a few small d-rings/staples
under the water to keep it down all over. Lesson
learned and passed on. Enjoy! Also if I ever have
the need for water like this again (which I certainly
will) I’ll try the Andreas Miniatures water instead
of the Castin’ Craft as I hear it’s supurb.

Now, I could sit around and be pissed
off about it, but I have an easy fix. I was contemplating
adding another wood boarder around the base as
a decorative feature, but decided not to. Well…
now I have to. I bought some thin basswood and
just finished staining it. When that’s finished
I’ll glue the strips around the outside edge.
This will add some nice edging to the base and
cover up the gaps. Whew. Glad it’s not a round
base! Here’s the pics. Next I’ll add some ripples
on the sure and around the head using gloss gel
medium and FFA.

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