Ok, didn’t assemble vehicles today. I decided I’d have a stab at fitting the new Airfix vehicle crew into the Jackal. Straight forward enough task I thought, after all, they’re made specifically for them right?
Well …… the day turned into a battle of Queeg vrs Airfix. It was a nasty battle, full of cunning tricks and surprising traps that the Airfix design team had hidden in the crew box disguised as being suitable for ages 14 and above.
I suppose I made things more difficult for myself by doing some improvements to the figures by scribing undercuts around the web gear and cuffs, basically anywhere that would improve the sharpness of the mouldings. I also pinned the heads.
After scribing I assembled the driver and placed him in his seat, the seat that was faithfully glued into position following the instructions and using the thoughtfully provided location tab and slot. Good one Airfix – you got me. First blood to them as I fell for their trap. The driver doesn’t fit. His feet won’t touch the pedals, his hands won’t touch the steering wheel, not even close.
Score : Airfix 1 – Queeg 0
Drivers position as supplied …..
Now I’m used to problems fitting crew figures into vehicles but these things were designed by the same company to work together. They’re not some brand-x aftermarket set. Bad Airfix – shame on you.
The fix, rip out the seat using needle-nose pliers. I glued the driver to the seat so I had a fixed datum point and and temporarily fitted the front bumper and steering wheel. I put a piece of bluetack under the seat and simultaneously juggled his position, the angle of the steering wheel and the angle of his arms. Tricky, but the good news is that you can get him to fit. I’ll paint the driver in his seat out of the Jackal and when I do the final fitting I’ll use a greenstuff block under the seat so that I can fine tune it and when happy with it just leave it to set. You won’t be able to see it so it’s a good option for allowing fine tuning.
Score : Airfix 1 – Queeg 1
A close fought battle but I got a result in the end. Looking at reference pictures of the Jackal The seats look much lower. I suspect that like all car seats, there’s an amount of vertical and horizontal adjustment in them to allow for different sized drivers. Airfix may have used drawings with the seats im max back “stored” or the factory assembled position.
Here’s the new drivers position ……
Next up was the gunner. Ripping out the seat was the first step. I assembled the gunner and fitted his machine gun and swinging arm mount to the bumper so I could test the fit. He’s posed with his right arm resting draped over the stock of the mg. Fine in theory but the heights dont work. To get the MG butt under his arm you have to angle the gun up. The mount only allows horizontal adjustment though, if you glue it level it’s way too high. So I bent the mount down a little. Now the butt goes under his arm but there’s a huge air gap under the gunners armpit. It looks unnatural and uncomfortable.
Score : Airfix 2 – Queeg 1
So I loosened everthing up and twisted and juggled. The mount came off, the gun came off, I got steadily more pissed off. The problem is that you can’t really fix the gun until you’re sure of the position. And then it sags when you move it because it’s not glued properly. Basically trial fit, rinse and repeat until you’re close. Even now there’s still some tuning to do which I’m hoping I can do using the greenstuff block when the gunner gets his final fitting after painting. It’s not perfect but it is a wargaming vehicle and not a static display model. If it was I’d have to up my game a little more.
Score : Airfix 2 – Queeg 2
Final (more or less) driver and gunner positions ….
Lastly I tackled the top turret gunner. A quick test fit showed a few issues, he’s either a little short for the weapon mount or the weapon mount is too high. Also the gun but is right in his face and I mean right in there, touching. There’s a couple of possible fixes. The gunners legs a quite splayed, narrowing his stance would raise him a little or you could lower the weapon mount a fraction. I did the latter and it’s barely noticable. I also cut off the rear optical gun sight and moved it forward giving him some breathing space. Not major issues granted but still a little annoying. I’ll change both gunners arms next time as I’m not really happy with either pose ….. and for a little needed variety.
So final score? A draw in the end ….. more work than I’d like or there should be but they look quite good in place.
Score : Airfix 3 – Queeg 3