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About FJCook

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  • Birthday 06/08/1975

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    Virginia Beach
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    VA Beach
  • Interests
    Scale Modeling
  1. Hobby time too limited for lousy kits--but they're fun, aren't they?

  2. Painting the pilot figure in Hasegawa's 1/32 J2M3 Raiden.

  3. FJCook

    Painting ACU Pattern

    Calvin Tan, who sculpts and paints figures, including many available from Alpine Miniatures, has a little tutorial on his blog: Representing ACU in 1/35 by Calvin Tan
  4. The camo scheme is well done. I like it. I especially like that this is the ESCI T-55 and your results defy the prevailing attitude that this kit is just a dog and not worth the effort.
  5. FJCook

    M3 Stuart

    Yours definitely looks sharp with those AFV tracks and the barrel. I like your vignette. I used Tamiya Olive Drab (XF-62), lightening the center of panels by mixing either Desert Yellow (XF-59) for areas closer to the tracks or mixing in Deck Tan (XF-55) for higher areas of the tank. I used Sin Industries (available from MIG Productions) filter Brown for Dark Green (3837), which darkened the paint considerably, a result I didn't like as the olive drab paint was essentially darkened too much, almost as if I mixed in black or gave it a filter using black paint. Semper Fi.
  6. FJCook

    LAV-R in Afghanistan

    The Australian ASLAV is an LAV-25 (also known as an LAV-II to the Canadian manufacturer), manufactured by the same Canadian company that makes the USMC LAV-A2 and LAV-III serving with Canadian Forces. The major visual differences include camouflage paint pattern and markings, no guard around the marine drive (used for fording; they're not fully amphibious), and an elongated exhaust with no cover. Many upgrades used by the Australian Army are mostly internal such as a new motor for the turret, a/c for the crew compartment, although some laser targeting stuff on the turret's exterior might need to be modeled. I imagine the paint and markings would a matter of Internet research. Australian ASLAVs saw/see service in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan as well in the flood-ravaged areas of Australia recently. The Trumpeter 1/72 LAV-25 is a good start.
  7. FJCook

    LAV-R in Afghanistan

    And here are ASLAV-25s in service with the Australian Army wearing "BAR armour."
  8. FJCook

    LAV-R in Afghanistan

    Chuck, Check out individual USMC LAR BN unit websites and look at their galleries. Also, go to Marines.mil and use their photo search. 1st LAR BN. Deployed in Afganistan. You see photos of their foot patrols and at least a couple variants of their LAVs as well as use of the MRAP. The vehicles are often used by different units as they rotate in; it's cheaper to just sign the equipment over to the incoming unit. The LAVs retain their NATO tri-color schemes with a heavy layer of dust and dirt. The MRAPs are painted in a desert scheme. Due to the mission of Marine LAR units, you won't see many heavily up-armored or wearing slat armor. The Marines won't use the LAV in a manner similar to the Army's Stryker or Canadian Forces LAV-III. When I was in, I was always with the main body. We were accompanied by Abrams tanks, HMMWVs variously armed used for flank security, rotary aircraft and artillery. We never saw LAVs because their mission required them to be way out in front of us, probing for the enemy and calling us in when they made contact. The only time I ever saw LAVs was in the "tango" training area at Camp Pendleton, at their ramp, and once at 29 Palms when one was broken down and in a rear area. They're required to graduate from the Marines' School of Infantry first before entering the LAV crewman course. The rest of us attended Marine Combat Training (infantry-lite school) before moving on to our MOS schools. The LAV's use in Afghanistan in USMC units is limited. A recent National Geographic special has some Marine commanders indicating they're not used often due to their mission and their light armor, which is nothing against IEDs and the typical man-portable weapons (RPGs) used by enemy combatants. They can serve in convoy duty or in the defensive, safely in a hull defilade position. You'll note the use of ballistic glass and armor "walls" around the top of the turret, used to protect the Marines riding at half-mast in the turret. The Canadians opted to bring in Leopard tanks and we're deploying Marine Abrams tanks to Afghanistan soon. Iraq and Afghanistan: Operation Desert Storm: An LAV-L (logistic) tows an LAV-R. It's not uncommon to see the mixture of paint schemes in USMC units, regardless of time, conflict, active or reserve. An AAVP-7A1 towing a MICLIC is in the background.
  9. Working on Trumpeter's stuff. Not bad. Not bad at all.

  10. FJCook

    M3 Stuart

    Not trying to hog the Armor forum here. These re-issues are often complained about, but I really enjoy seeing them on the shelf and checking out the box art as well as the original year of release. They're old, inaccurate, but stand the test of time because they're fun to build and lend themselves to improvements and honing your modeling skills without breaking the bank. This is Tamiya's 1/35 M3 Stuart light tank (Item 35042) I finished in 2010. It has motorization holes in the hull, open sponsons, clunky vinyl tracks, funny tabs that are supposed to be handles, inaccurate shape, soft details, thick Tamiya decals. But it was so much fun to build! I replaced the funny tabs with wire so the handles look like handles; filled in the motorization holes; did some sculpting on the sergeant in the cupola so his helmet looks more like a WW2 tanker's helmet instead of some weird lump on his head; and experienced the joys and beauty of Archer Transfers. The sergeant's chevrons and the big white stars are Archer while the rest of the decals are the kit's (and I regret using them because they are thick and need some work to blend into the paint job). The .30 cal behind the SGT is from Academy's nice little U.S. Machine Gun Set (kit no. 1384). I added a charging handle and drilled out the muzzle (as well as all the muzzles of the other guns on this tank). I accidentally broke that mounting rod for the machine gun so scratch-built a new one. The weathering is lightly done after a rather smelly Sin Industries filter. MIG Pigments all over, and graphite from a pencil rubbed on the guns, track assemblies, and edges of places the crew would scramble around. There's some light fuel spillage around the fuel caps. The antenna is stretched sprue. The tracks are the kit's and the first time I lavished attention on vinyl tracks, thinking I could handle the pressure. "What's the big deal?" Nope. I primed them, painted them reddish dark brown, painstakingly painted every rubber track block, highlighted gently with some steel paint and graphite shavings, then had all kinds of trouble trying to get them on the tank without cracking the paint. Didn't work, so there are portions where the paint was stretched and cracked off, revealing the vinyl beneath. It was a fun build, though. I notice Tamiya just re-issued a couple more US subjects...
  11. FJCook

    Panzer II Ausf. G

    Thanks, guys! @Chris: nice work on yours. I actually saw it and thought about picking up another one to paint up in DAK livery, maybe even add a figure or two! I agree it's one of those kits that's just fun to build, not slog through like the more recent giant boxes of 30 sprues, photoetch, etc. Those have their particular brand of fun and historical interest, but I think this little panzer II kit is a definite "oldie but goodie," and easily lends itself to honing your modeling skills, whether it's scratchbuilding or working with photoetch or painting. You're not afraid to make errors with it.
  12. Enjoying a 1/72 Bf 109 G-14 from Academy! Lots of fun, good fit.

  13. FJCook

    Panzer II Ausf. G

    This is Tamiya's old Panzer Kampfwagen II Ausf. F/G (Item 35009). It costs $13.50 off the shelf, cheaper online. The hull tub indicates this kit was originally released in 1971 but I read somewhere it actually dates back to 1969. Comes with a DAK crewman for the turret hatch (holding binoculars) and four DAK infantryman advancing. You get several marking options. The decals are thick and took a little work to settle on the kit, even its flat surfaces covered with a smooth gloss coat! I weathered it with a couple of oil paint filters and MIG Pigments. Some soft details, the vinyl tracks are really thick and not too accurate, and it takes more than adding a toolbox to the back of the turret to make an ausf. G. There are many inaccuracies, yes, but the kit went together well. I filled in the motorization holes, replaced an amorphous shape on the engine deck so it resembles a grab handle, drilled out the muzzles of the guns, and filled in the sponsons with plastic card. The paint scheme chosen is that of a panzer II kinda sorta on the east front during Operation Barbarossa, but the kit's painting and decal guide is entirely in Japanese and I lack good panzer II references. Most online stuff is sparse because the panzer II isn't as sexy as the Tiger . At any rate, I enjoyed this one, intentionally overdoing the chipping and adding rust streaks. Not realistic but fun to do regardless.
  14. Renewed IPMS membership! Working on a golden oldie from Tamiya!

  15. Calvin Tan's "polymino technique" produces convincing results. No doubt you can use the same technique to paint US Marine MARPAT as well as modern Canadian Forces. (Image courtesy Calvin Tan and Alpine Miniatures)
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