Wednesday, August 26

Build Review Pt II: 35th scale MB Military Vehicle (Jeep) Wasp Flamethrower from Meng

When we last saw Andy Moore's version of Meng's 35th scale Wasp Flamethrower jeep he was about halfway in. That would leave this article with a lot of painting, weathering, finishing (as well as some scratchbuilding) to cover. As you can see by the cover picture the model looks pretty good once finished, see how he achieved this in part II of his story...

MB Military Vehicle (Jeep) Wasp Flamethrower
Manufacturer – Meng Models
Kit Number - VS-012
1/35th scale
Price - £28, ¥3,739, US$38, €32 from Hobby Link Japan

Today: Build Review Pt II: 35th scale MB Military Vehicle (Jeep) Wasp Flamethrower from Meng
Last time out we finished off the chassis and upper body of Meng's new tooled Wasp Jeep. Today we'll complete the flamethrower gear, adding some extra hoses along the way, and get everything painted and weathered. Starting with the flamethrower, I build up the head unit, replacing the moulded nozzle with some metal tubing. You could simply drill out the end of the moulded nozzle, but the metal tube is more in scale and already has a realistic metal finish. The shroud that sits over the nozzle was modified slightly by removing the locating tabs that connect it with the nozzle. Doing so allowed me to keep the shroud separate to make clean up of the seams easier.
At this point the flamethrower, as supplied in the kit, is essentially finished. One thing I'd noticed though, while looking at photos of the replica Wasp Jeep I was using as reference, was that the real thing featured a lot of hoses. Meng do supply a length of vinyl tube to represent the main fuel connections between the rear tank and flame head, but the other smaller hoses, which are quite prominent on the real Wasp, aren't included. I felt it was worth adding these, as they do make a nice detail on the finished model. To start with I looked at the bonnet-mounted tank. In the photo below you can see the the large pipe with the 90° bend, and two smaller smaller pipes above it. The large pipe is the end of the boom hose that we reworked earlier with insulated wire. The two smaller hoses will need to be added from scratch though.
I drilled two holes for the hoses in the end of the bonnet tank, and added short lengths of aluminium tube to act as connectors. The hoses will be added later using thin plastic-coated wire. You can also see here that I've started the initial painting in the cabin area. This was done before the dashboard was fitted to allow better access to the footwell area. The separate dash was painted at the same time before being glued into place.😏😜
Looking at the reference photo again, you can see that one of the thin hoses appears to run through a small connector sitting between the bonnet tank and the support frame for the flamethrower head. To represent this, I made a very simple styrene block, drilled to allow the hose to pass through, and mounted it in the corresponding position on the bonnet. Here I've temporarily added the thin hose to check that it all fitted correctly. You can also see that the insulated wire on the boom hose has been test fitted although it's shape still needs some tweaking – an easy job with the flexible wire.
One issue that needs to be dealt with when adding these extra hoses is figuring out where they all lead to. In the reference image below I've colour coded the hoses to help identify their positions. The red and blue hoses are the two leading from the bonnet tank. These two, together with the green hose connected to the flame head, all lead down into the footwell area. The two pink hoses lead from the flame head into the shroud over the nozzle.
In this second image, you can see the short yellow hose that leads from the top of the tall gas cylinder to the valve tap, and the red hose that leads from the valve and down between the seats. All these hoses running from the various tanks down to the floor led me to believe that there must be some other tank or valve assembly between the seats. This is purely guesswork on my part, but all those hoses have to go somewhere.
With that in mind, I built a very simple tank and valve assembly from styrene tube and a few spares box bits. This had connection points added for all the hoses that run down to the floor area. Again I'll stress that this is very much a hypothetical answer to the problem of routing the hoses, but it seemed like a reasonable enough solution.
I'd kept the chassis separate up to this point as I wanted to get  most of the painting and weathering done before it was attached to the body. The base colour was AK's Real Color RC023 Olive Drab, and that was followed by grimy enamel washes around the suspension and drive train. The engine bock was painted too, although it's not really visible on the finished model.
With the hose conundrum dealt with, and the chassis attached to the body, the main build was essentially finished and I could make a start on the rest of the painting. Most of the additional parts such as the rear tank, wheels, and the various jerry cans and stowage boxes were painted separately, allowing me to get maximum access to the main body. The principal colour, again, was RC023 Olive Drab, but on the upper body I followed this with some panel highlighting using RC024 Faded Olive Drab. Since the flamethrower gear on the real Wasp had been taken from a different vehicle (a Canadian Universal Carrier), I chose to paint the bonnet tank in a slightly greener tone (RC037 SCC 15) to highlight the different origins of this part. I also kick started the weathering steps by spraying some dark staining where the flame nozzle and the fuel tank would be situated.
The scratch-built floor tank and the support for the flame head were also painted in AK RC037, then glued into place on the body. More weathering was added at this stage, particularly in the back of the Jeep since this area would be inaccessible once the large rear tank was added. Various enamel washes were used for this process.
The rear tank was also painted up in SCC 15 and received similar enamel wash weathering to the body. The valve taps were picked out in red to add a focal point to the build. It's impossible to say if this is historically accurate, since any period photos of the Wasp Jeep are black and white, although the modern replica does have them painted like this.
Once the tank was installed, I could start to connect up the various hoses. The two large fuel feed pipes that run from the bottom of the main tank are the ones that come supplied with the kit. These are simply cut to length then glued to the connectors on the bottom of the tank. The opposite ends with attach to the flame head once it's installed. For the smaller hoses I used 0.5mm plastic coated wire from Tamiya (part no. 12675) as it's very easy to bend and shape. All these hoses need to be kept quite tightly bunched together since they need to run under the passenger seat.
The remainder of the smaller details were then added. The tall gas cylinder was painted black with a few chips added in silver before being slid into place and connected up with more Tamiya wire. Meng supply both US and British pattern jerry cans, and these were painted in different shades to add  a little more visual interest to the finished build. To dirty up the chassis and wheel arches I mixed up a muddy wash from enamels and pigments and splattered this around the lower body.
The flame head just drops down onto the support fame and, if you're building the kit straight from the box, the only extra thing you need to do is connect up the two feed hoses which is very easy. In my case this step was a little trickier since I needed to also connect up the additional hoses I'd added during the build, but a steady hand and a good pair of tweezers got the job done. The only decals used on the build were the dials and placards on the dash and flame head, but I have to say the quality wasn't great. The dial on the flame head in particular refused to bed down properly and ended up looking more like a sticker than a water slide decal.
The seats were painted up and dropped into place to complete the interior. These are very nice mouldings featuring some delicate wrinkles and fabric textures that look great with a few washes and a little dry brushing. A couple of late additions to the build were the tow rope coiled around the front bumper, and the small stowage box on the front fender. The box isn't included with the kit, but this style of box is often seen on images of wartime Jeeps and is also fitted to the replica Wasp I'd used for reference. It was a simple scratch build using short lengths of styrene strip.
All that remained now was to fit the wheels. These are simple two-part mouldings but have some very nice detailing with full sidewall markings including the Firestone logos (actually spelt 'Tirestone' to avoid licence issues, but you won't spot that without a magnifying glass). These were sprayed in olive drab, then the tyres were brush painted with Tenebrous Grey (AK11026) from the new AK Gen3 acrylics range which is a perfect shade for dark rubber. A little weathering with a pigment wash finished them and they were glued into place on the axles to complete the build.
Meng have created a very nice rendition of the Jeep with their new tooling. It's a relatively simple kit and, as such, maybe lacks a few finer details, but that does result in a straight forward and relaxing build that will produce a great looking model, and something you can add extra detail to as you see fit. 

A walk around the Jeep in detail from all angles...
The Wasp variant certainly makes a dramatic starting point for this new Jeep line from Meng, with more versions already hitting model store shelves and, presumably, even more to come in the future, so there's bound to be one that suits your preferences. Give one a go – I think you'll enjoy it.
Highly Recommended.

Andy Moore

You can find out more about the rest of Meng's products on their website