In the future of war, mobility is all. Naturally, my well equipped forces couldn’t do without some sort of interface transport, so their vehicle of choice was the Old Crow VTOL, known officially as the Crow VTOL Lander.
Like all Old Crow models, it arrived quickly and securely packed. Of course, it was also beautifully cast with next to no flash and most of the sanding done at the factory.
It does have a bit of a peculiarity, though. In common with almost all 15mm (or larger) wargaming models, it doesn’t come with any assembly instructions. All I had to go on were pictures from the intertubes, and presumably the one on the Old Crow website is the canonical one.
The model comes in a few pieces; the top, the cockpit, wings, the legs at the end of the wings, and a few minor details. It also has the major portion, what looks to be a removable box, cast separately.
None of these things is particularly difficult to intuit. What is a little odd is that according to all the pictures on the internet and on the Old Crow site itself, the box has the little tabs on the bottom.
This is peculiar because the top of this box is well detailed, and the bottom of the box, well, isn’t. It’s just flat from a one sided mould. Logically, I thought that the unfinished side should stick to the similar unfinished underside from the top. It didn’t look at all bad this way, but ultimately I finished it the way all the pictures had it. This was mostly so I wouldn’t have some random anal wargamer whinging about me assembling the model incorrectly. It does bother me that there is sculpted detail glued to the underside of the tail. Oh well.
As far as assembly went, it was pretty straightforward. A mix of 5 minute epoxy and superglue held the model securely. Irritatingly, though, the superglue took forever to dry. In fact, much longer than the 5 minute epoxy. This made my construction time very annoying as I had to hold the parts together by had as I couldn’t really figure out how to clamp them.
As for the painting, I was somewhat inspired by WWII desert airplanes, so the scheme is sort of Italian/German. So either it looks great and runs efficiently, or it’s utterly utilitarian and prone to breakdowns.
The camouflaged tops were painted with a sort of yellowed sand colour, made from yellow, burnt umber and white (if I recall correctly). The green camo was painted freehand with an airbrush. I debated internally whether or not to do this. As a general rule, this looks like shit. However, if you have ever approached an actual size aircraft with camo painted on it, it usually does, in fact, look like shit. The beautiful feathered lines and nice blends of scale models generally don’t exist on the real thing, and that’s what I was going for. Verisimilitude over art.
The bottom and sides got a coat of Payne’s Grey and white mix (with a hint of blue), in a distant echo of WWII German airplane bottoms. The canopy got a painstaking blend between black and dark grey to simulate windows, and were intentionally dark for contrast. The blend is perhaps too subtle, not exactly showing up in the photos.
After a coat of Future (undiluted) on the appropriate sections, I added some home-made decals printed on MicroMark paper. For whatever reason, this particular band of inkjet compatible papers has a tendency to have the ink bead up on the paper, which is not really all that great. However, it was reasonable enough, and the slightly damaged letters and roundels looked quite good. If you ever go this route, make sure to add a layer of Testor’s Dullcote to your decals, unless you want to see them float away as you soak the decal in water.
Digression: also, don’t bother to use LaserTran decal paper. It has many problems.
- It isn’t transparent. For whatever stupid reason, it has an eggshell finish. This makes it completely unsuitable for modelling.
- It has no adhesive. It’s supposed to, but it doesn’t. That makes it kind of useless. This is especially the case when mixed with . . .
- It curls. Not just a little. Any decal you apply will, after about 10 minutes, roll into a tube. Even if you apply a decal setter to hold it in place. Or Future. Or glue.
The roundels, along with some other markings, are available for download should you not feel like making them yourself.
The camo sections were then weathered with lighter coats of dust, and the blue with lighter blue leading to nearly white.
Military planes are generally quite chipped, especially those seeing hard use. I added chips by hand (instead of the usual undercoat/chip off method), as I wanted it somewhat more subtle than an AFV. Some Future washes supplied panel lines, grease and streaks. A final coat of airbrush dust added some general weathering.
Finally, the subtle bits got stuck on with a paintbrush and some finely ground pastels.
All of that was fine and dandy, but a dropship should really be in the air. I explored a few different avenues for stands, and my in-depth analysis led me to CorSec Engineering.
CorSec stands are expensive as these things go, but unlike most stand systems, they work very well. I decided to go with the telescoping pole, because it’s thrusting height accentuated my maleness. Also because I wanted to see if it would work.
The base is a fairly large clear piece of plexiglas. It’s rather larger than I thought it would be, but this is for the best, because the manly pole which screws into it is also longer than I originally envisioned, so a large base gives stability.
The ship perches on this masterpiece with a very well designed socket which requires gluing into the model. CorSec, being engineers and thus prepared for this sort of thing, give the dimensions of the hole required, and everything went together without any issues. Besides my own inner issues of taking a power drill to my freshly painted airplane.
Once the works were assembled, the dropship perches majestically, rising to the call when required. And by rising, I mean it can hang alarmingly high above the table, yet be quite stable. If anything, the supplied pole is too long, as it can’t depress as low as I’d like. Of course, it’s all modular, so this can be remedied by using another pole or simply taking the ship off it’s base.
If you’ve skipped to this part, here’s the conclusion:
- Old Crow models are fantastic
- LaserTran decals are shit
- CorSec Engineering makes quality products