10 January 2000

Esci Opel Blitz Ambulance

Esci Opel Blitz Ambulance - Diorama by Stephen Brezinski

By Stephen Brezinski, Maine USA (10/01/2000) (original article formerly on the miniaturezone.co.uk website)

The vehicle is a 1/72 ESCI Opel Blitz truck, painted in dunkelgelb with a green camoflage pattern. This vehicle was one of the most common German 3-ton trucks, produced in either a 4x4 or 4x2 version. Besides fuel and cargo versions, the van variant was common and used for ambulances, command,and communications vehicles. The van could even be seen on the tracked Maultier (Mule) version of the truck.

I opened up the rear doors and added four bunks using the stretchers from two ESCI SdKfz 251 ambulance kits, a desk/operating table, seat, and various boxes and bedrools. Windows were also opened up and clear sheet styrene glued in with Kristal Clear. Inside I also scribed in the door panels to match those on the outside walls of the van. Wood steps were created from a model RR kit.

The markings and license plates are decals from the kit, set down with Solveset. Clear windows and windshield was also cut and added to the cab. There were fit problems with the cab which required careful fit and putty. Also added to the cab was a rearview mirror, wipers, and width indicators on the fenders.

The grass was created with model RR flocking. The figures sitting, table, and chairs are from Preiser's 1/72 tank repair personnel (in hard, polystyrene plastic)

Most all the paint used were acrylics, though the flesh tones are enamel which can be blended a bit with a brush dampened with thinner. Overall the kit can be challenging but looks great when the fit is corrected. The figures are superb and I hope more are released.


© Stephen Brezinski, Maine USA


09 January 2000

Individual Basing of 1/72 Miniatures with Circular Plastic Gaming Chips

Depending upon the types of games you play (and of course your preferences) you'll want to base your figures either on common bases or individual ones. Basing gives much greater stability, as generally the small bases that plastic figures possess are not really suitable for wargaming purposes because your troops will inevitably fall over in the heat of battle (or when someone accidentally bangs the table !) Furthermore, basing will certainly lessen the amount of wear and tear on your painted figures due to the fact that you can pick them up by these bases and thus avoid touching the actual figure too often.

There are a number of basing techniques and of course each wargamer will have his or her preferences and the basing medium is a personal choice of course. The technique described below is one that I like to use for individual figures using circular styrene bases as follows....

Styrene gaming "chip"

These are small round plastic counters or "chips" as they are also known and are the ones that you use in board games. They have a diameter of approximately 1.7mm , are lightweight, and are really cheap and you can obtain a box of 100 (depending on where you live), for about 1.00 - 2.00 US / Euro Dollars ..... or maybe even less.

Once the figures are fixed to these styrene circular bases they will not fall over no matter how hard you bang the table. Also, due to the fact that the counters are lightweight, if you happen to drop the figure on the floor it will not shed its base, as could happen with a plastic figure based using much heavier pennies / cents or metal washers.

Note : By basing the figures before painting them, you'll then be able to get good grip on the circular base of the figure, allowing you to easily paint it. Furthermore, when you put the recently painted figure down it will not fall over and spoil your paint job.

This step in not entirely necessary although it is a procedure I follow because it takes very little time and assures correct adhesion of the figure to the base. First start by roughing up the figure's polythene base and also one side of the counter (both the surface of the counter and the figure's base are very smooth). In the picture you can see a heavy duty sharpening stone here - five or six strokes back and forth are sufficient. Alternatively you could use a hand file laid flat on a bench instead.

Usually most of the figures' polythene bases won't overlap the sides of the counter, but if they do just trim them down a little before proceeding to the next step.

To fix the figures to their bases use thick white glue, or alternatively tile adhesive (which sets like concrete !) .I prefer white glue however and I've had no problems whatsoever, and I find tile adhesive to be a bit messy. Besides, with white glue you can rectify mistakes easily but tile adhesive goes rock hard once it's dry. White glue will also allow you to rebase your figures without too many problems at some future date if you wish.

Put a big heavy blob of glue onto the polythene base of the actual figure as you can see here, and then press him down on to his new circular base. You can rub off any excess glue that overspills the side of the base. Once you've finished fixing all your troops to their bases leave them to dry for at least 24 hours

24 hours later next day, you'll find the figures nicely and firmly fixed to their bases. 

Leave this until you have all the troops painted and varnished. Detailing of the bases should be the very last thing you do after having finally varnished your figures to protect their paint jobs.

Detailing is quite easy and just requires some slightly diluted white glue, fine stones or sand and some scatter material. Obviously the choice of scenic material is up to you and will be in accordance your preferences.

All you need to do is apply the diluted white glue all over the base, taking particular attention to avoiding the figure's boots, and sprinkle liberally with the fine sand and scatter material ( I usually choose a mid-green colour ). Now shake off the excess and leave to dry for a few hours Once dry, I go over the sand and scatter material on the base with matt varnish to finally seal in everything and that way the scatter material won't crumble off with handling.

The only thing left is to start wargaming with your figures !

Created: 09/01/2000