In my unending quest for cheap, easily paintable tat, I discovered, via theminiaturespage.com, that matchbox makes a fine 15mm scale APC.
It’s called the Matchbox “Armoured Response Vehicle”, and naturally it was completely unavailable in any toy store in the area.
Luckily, I picked up 5 of them on Ebay. I debated not painting the ones I received, as they were already so well painted. Scooby Doo and the Superfriends really could fit it into any near future situation.
The major problem with these APCs was the very prominent windows. There are some APCs that have bullet resistant windows, but my tiny Canadians would prefer something more robust, so I covered them up with panels made of the ubiquitous white styrene.
They’re also notable because “armoured” doesn’t connote “armed”. To make them a little more likely to be in the front line, I scratchbuilt some autocannon type weapons and mounted them on the roof.
Even though they were painted already, I decided to make them more of a cohesive team, so I decided on a camo scheme. The Superfriends and Scooby Doo regions were decals, so I assumed that soaking the (removable) plastic bits in oven cleaner would make them dissolve in an instant.
I was utterly wrong. 48 hours after soaking, they looked like they were brand new. There was one tiny area where the decal had loosened, but I suspect it was like that before immersion.
Each APC was broken down into it’s two major components before priming. The back portion can be retracted to expose the interior, which is a nice touch. I primed them white, then I thought about what to do.
I wanted to make them somewhat weathered, so I used the hairspray weathering technique I outlined previously, except this time I didn’t use any salt. I painted the areas I was planning to be chipped with a dark grey/blackish colour (I suppose I could have used black primer, but that would have meant going out and buying some. I let it dry overnight. If you skip this step, the alcohol in the hairspray will dissolve the paint, assuming you’re using acrylics.
Afterwards, I covered the works with two coats of hairspray and let it dry overnight again.
Then, the normal paint sequence began:
- Airbrush khaki
- Drybrush a lighter shade
- Mostly cover with bluetak/poster tak/that sticky stuff you use to hang things
- Airbrush green
- Drybrush lighter green
- Airbrush a corner of the green with benzene blue
- Drybrush lighter colour
Afterwards, I gave them a wash of thinned sepia ink and future, and did a little extra highlighting where required, plus I painted all the details.
The fun part was next; the chipping. Using a stiff brush, I moistened it in warm water. Then, letting the paint become damp, I chipped way at the paint, which came off quite easily to show the black undercoat. I focused primarily on areas which would show heavy wear, as you would expect.
Lastly, the whole works was weathered by airbrushing in different colours, some pastels, etc. They turned out looking like this:
Here you can see the main drawback of making realistic chipped paint. It looks just like actual chipped paint, which, of course, it is. Arguably, you could create the same effect by treating your model very poorly for the duration of its life.
The other drawback of painting toys is that by having a few layers of paint on the removable back portion causes it to no longer slide without ripping sheets of paint off. That means that my painstakingly painted interiors will remain forever hidden.
Despite their flaws, they still make good 15mm scale miniatures for near-future operations. Certainly you can’t beat the price, which ranges from less than a dollar to a whopping 5 bucks or so.