Sunday 13 December 2015

Of Ersatz and 3D-Printed NZLAVs

A while back I made a post about the S&S models NZLAV (click here to see that post). While a very nice kit, it has a major disadvantages of price and postage costs. This means that to represent a typical squadron of LAVs on a one to one basis I would require a minimum of 16 NZLAVs.

Left to Right: S&S NZLAV, Ersatz NZLAV, and a Maisto LAV-25.

To do this with the excellent S&S Models kit would work out at around over NZ$450, not including postage for them from the UK to NZ. Given this I needed to find another solution. The most logical and immediate solution was to get 3D printed vehicles.

This option was pursued but would ultimately take significantly longer than expected to produce results due to a number of false starts.

Left to Right: 2x  Maisto LAV-25s, (the middle one is starting the conversion process towards becoming a Ersatz NZLAV), and  a Bravo Team  Stryker.
So I started to see if I could produce the required vehicles by converting diecast Maisto L-25s into NZLAVs. The first challenge was trying to source enough vehicles to do this. My source of vehicles was The Warehouse ( A large nationwide chain of big box stores in NZ that sold them for around NZ$8-$10 each), but each branch only carried a very small number of the LAV-25s. Fortunately I was ably assisted by family and friends in tracking these down, in particular by Will who tracked down a large number in various stores throughout Auckland and then mailed them down to me.

The large plastic gun barrel is replaced by a metal pin.
The process of getting all these diecasts together for conversion took time, so I had to find an immediate substitute, which I found in the form of 1/72 Strykers, a number of which were provided by Kirk. I am going to continue work on the conversions, as this will mean that I will have another squadron of LAVs available.

From Left to Right: Freshly printed NZLAV, assembled and unpainted, and final painted model.
Despite the problems with making ersatz NZLAVs, and having the  Strykers available, I continued to pursue getting 3D printed NZLAVs, and finally I managed to get some produced.

3D Printed NZLAVs and the S&S model NZLAV
The biggest hurdle with the printed models is to remove them from the cocoon of plastic that they are printed in. This is a very time consuming process, but certainly less than the 4 hours it takes to print a NZLAV hull. 

S&S NZLAV is flanked by two 3D printed models.
The plastic used is the same type as used in Lego, so it will put up with a great deal for handling. It also takes paint well.

3D printed NZLAVs and a Javelin team from Wartime Miniatures.
I have added some extra details, such as coils of wire and jerry cans to the models, and am going to add spare wheels to some of them as well. I might even add a light obstacle blade, and I am toying with the idea of painted one up in a MERDEC scheme - such Paul at Plastic Warriors has done here.

Monday 7 December 2015

Offensive Support

This weekend I finished off some projects that had been on the back burner for the last couple of months. The first project was finishing off a pair of scratch-built US 4.2" mortars for Mr K. I used some mortar parts from a Battlefront M-113 sprue and some Esci sand bags to quickly bodge up something that roughly looks the part. I then neglected to paint them for around three months!

Foreground: US 4.2" Mortars. Background: 81mm Mortars.

The same as the picture above.
 The three 81mm Mortar teams are to go with the support weapons in my previous post. They are Pegasus WW2 Germans that has been crudely modified using a scalpel and liquid green stuff, and then given a rough paint conversion.

Crude but possibly effective.
Since there has been a trend towards having heavier mortars, I also converted some of the Pegasus WW2 German  120mm mortars and crew using the same methods.

120mm Mortars. A useful piece of indirect fire support.
The last piece of offensive support I finished off were four more 105mm Light Guns. Three of these are intended to replace the scratch built guns I made here. The forth gun will also replace one that had the barrel at a high angle and has been broken and repaired a couple of times this year.

105mm guns, made from the Airfix/JB Models kit.

A different view of the above.
 So all in all, a rather nice collection of offensive support elements!

A collection of mortars.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Support Weapons

It has been a while since I've made a post in the blog, but I haven't been idle! Here are some pictures of some figures I have recently finished painting.

The whole bunch.

GPMGs. Mix of Revell Modern British and Esci Modern Americans.

The .50cal is a Caesar Modern American, while the HMG and crew are Elhiem Modern Americans. 

 GMG and crew are Elhiem Modern Americans.

Javelin teams are Modern Australians from Wartime Miniatures.
In painting these I have made the deliberate decision not to attempt the multicam of the current NZ Army uniform, as previous efforts have once a wash has been applied become rather indistinct at at distance. The figures seem to pass muster without the extra detail so I am rather happy with the overall result.