Whereas I expected to not paint anything this month (in which case the title would have been NOvember), I’ve managed to surprise myself and get some vehicles finished (but not too many, hence the title Slowvember)!
Last month I bought my first vehicles from Butlers Printed Models here in the UK. In the past I’d read some mixed reviews about these models on the internet but, given that BPM produce an extensive range of vehicles, I found a couple that I couldn’t get anywhere else so I went ahead and bought them. I’m really pleased that I did! This post is also a bit different for me since I’ve chosen to go through the complete modelling/painting process with these models rather than just show the finished items.
The models I bought (all 20mm scale) were a Japanese Type 93 armoured car and two Bantam Blitz Buggies (which I’d describe as early pre-production jeeps), the latter for my 1942 Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL) troops. I’m sure I’ve seen a resin model of the Type 93 before in this scale, but never the Blitz Buggies. KNIL forces did use jeeps in early 1942 and I was pretty certain I’d seen photos of them using the very early versions, so that was good enough for me! The Type 93 had solid-rubber-tyred wheels that could also be fitted with steel rims to allow it to run on railways and it was fitted with screw jacks at the front and rear to enable the wheels to be changed and the transition from road to rail to be made (BPM produce versions with both road and rail wheels fitted and I chose the road version).
The photo above shows them as they came out of the box. The Type 93 has a separate small turret. The models usually come with the support structures needed to facilitate the printing process still in place, but BPM had kindly cleaned these bits off one of the jeeps for me. They have a link to a video on their site which shows you how to remove and clean up the supports using pliers and files – I was a bit unsure about this, but in fact it was easy to remove them and the strength and toughness of the material makes it quite resilient (I was concerned I might snap off wheels and axles but these cleaned up without any problems).
The picture above shows the Type 93 with its supports removed and piled up next to it!
The picture above shows the same for the jeep that still needed cleaning up. I used a scalpel and fine files to clean up any little rough bits after removing the supports, but there wasn’t much to clean up at all! The picture below shows them after cleaning up – the only item I added was some plastic rod to make the machine gun in the Type 93’s turret a bit more noticeable.
Overall the finish of the models was good, with print lines being barely visible (and even then only very close up). Since the models are printed in 0.1mm horizontal layers, surfaces that aren’t purely horizontal or vertical can have a “staircase” appearance, but this is only more noticeable on surfaces at very shallow angles to the horizontal – the jeeps show none of this and the Type 93 displays it on the rear sloped roof and parts of the bonnet only. Overall I was quite impressed with the finish!
Next phase was to get them all primed (shown above) and I always use Humbrol enamel for this, usually in a colour close to the final finished colour. I assumed the jeeps were delivered to the East Indies with an olive drab finish and not repainted by the KNIL, whereas the Type 93 got a (slightly shiny) khaki undercoat since I didn’t have any of the brown I’d normally use in enamel. The jeeps come with solid windscreens and I debated replacing these with plasticard frames but in the end left the solid windscreens in place, mainly because I didn’t have any KNIL driver figures that I could use.
The next phase (above) was to get the basic paint schemes done and the Type 93 required a different approach to the jeeps. To match my other Japanese WW2 vehicles I painted the basic three-tone camouflage pattern on the Type 93 in the light brown/dark brown/dark green scheme carried by these vehicles (I’d got about four colour plates in a book I could use for guidance). Tyres were painted black and the machine gun painted gunmetal, while the chassis was painted in a dark brown that would be matched by the colour of the wash that I’d use to shade/weather the vehicle. With the exception of the brown for the chassis, all of these colours were acrylic.
Since the jeeps were going to be overall olive drab I used a different approach. The chassis and wheels were painted in a black brown shade, since they’d be drybrushed later with dark earth and a sand shade to weather and highlight them. The interior of the jeeps’ bodies were painted in an olive drab/black mix, since I find it easier to apply the shade colour first in these areas and then finish off with the olive drab top layer. The outside of the jeeps’ bodies were painted in olive drab and the windscreens in Luftwaffe uniform blue (I frequently use grey for solid windows, but it didn’t look right in this case so I went with this blue-grey shade).
After that it was just a case of applying the final colours (shown above). The Type 93 got a black/brown enamel wash to shade/mucky it, with some shading lines getting touched up where required. It then got a sandy coloured drybrush to pick out the detail (mainly rivets). The wash has darkened it quite a lot, but it fits in with my other Japanese vehicles well. The jeeps either had an olive drab highlight or olive/black shading, depending on whether it was the interior or exterior getting painted. Wheels were drybrushed with dark earth and then an earth/white highlight added over the top. Seats were painted in Vallejo leather brown. I changed the way I painted the windscreens, adding three progressively lighter blue-grey shades in a diagonal band across the screen – normally I’d just paint a lighter patch towards the bottom and left- or right-hand edge of a glass panel for an enclosed vehicle. I was quite happy with how the windscreens turned out this time though!
With the days getting shorter in the UK, I ended up taking most of the in-progress pictures in the evening. Once I’d got them varnished though I had a go at getting a couple of pictures with some figures and scenery in daylight. The Type 93 is shown with some Japanese infantry and a Type 89 medium tank in support (above).
The two jeeps (above) are shown with some Early War Miniatures KNIL infantry, an M3 scout car and a Marmon Herrington armoured car (both types used in small numbers by KNIL forces in 1941/42).
So, how would I rate the BPM models? I think they’re very nice models, easy to tidy up and they paint up well. They’ve got a really good range of models in scales from 6mm up to 28mm and ranging from WW1 to modern periods. Order turn around was pretty quick and I had the models about a week after I ordered them (and remember that includes the time to print them). Would I order some more? Already done, one Christmas present sorted! I just hope my wife’s as pleased with them as I’ve been!