I popped down to the South East of England over the past weekend, to visit a very good friend of mine who had just had a (successful) major operation in Brighton. As it's such a long way to go, I always tend to make a short holiday of such journeys, and this time was no exception. I spent a few relaxing days with my sister, and apart from a nightmare trip through the blizzard to visit my friend Nicky in the Sussex Nuffield Hospital, I also managed to get in a visit to the large Modelzone shop in Holborn. This is on the site of the old Beatties store (not the old, old Beatties store, which was in a tiny shop just across from the Underground). They had a fair-ish selection of stuff I wanted for my Battle! project. I picked up a box of the new Italeri US Infantry, as the old re-issued ESCI set has no radio operators, and the mortars in the new set are much better.
And after a twenty minute hunt through the rather badly organised shelves of kits, I did eventually find several of the fast-build Italeri M3 Halftracks, and bought three boxes, six vehicles in total. I also checked out the Sale shelves and found two very useful Revell 1/76 Wespes SPG's. These are the old Matchbox kits, re-issued under the Revell label. They are nice little models and easy to build, and as the sale price was £2.99 I bought two of them, which covers my Vulgarian Artillery contingent nicely.
Today I found some spare time between getting the little one into school, the usual housework, shopping, and picking up the kid from school. So I cracked on with slinging a couple of the M3's together. The fit of parts is mostly good, but the one-piece front bulkhead/instrument panel/windscreen needed a little carving to get it to fit inside the front hull. Failure to do so on the first one I built resulted in a small gap 'twixt bonnet and screen. I failed to notice this until the glue had dried, so I left it alone. But the next one was carefully checked for fit and the piece had some plastic trimmed away from the sides to make it sit better against the bonnet top.
I then tried to prime the thing. Now lately I have found this to be a frustrating process. I do wash the sprues before construction, to get rid of any mould release agent that might still be on then. But lately this has not been working. Is there a new agent being widely used? Who knows, but none of the plastic kits I have made so far on this project have liked being undercoated with my usual matt black acrylic. The plastic just seems to repel the paint, as can be seen in this photo of the back door on one of the M3's.
I eventually resorted to an undercoat of black enamel, which worked OK. Most odd.
Anyway, aside from that brief annoyance the project is rolling along nicely. The first three M3's will be painted as Moldovian vehicles, and the second three as Vulgarian, just to keep the forces balanced whilst the project continues.