jueves, 28 de abril de 2016

Gate diecast Jeep 1/32 (The Rat Patrol)

From the start of the Plastic Commandos project I was determined to build my own Rat Patrol, british commando style. I wanted it to be diecast, with good articulation for live and stop motion as well. I did not want some plastic fragile model, I wanted to remain loyal to my 1/32 scale. The problem is that at first sight the offer in this scale is segmented between the expensive Forces of Valor jeep, not very suitable for live motion, and the cheap crap by New Ray (other brands sell the exact same shit from New Ray with different label, like Testors or Classic Armour).

There is a third option, that I only discovered when I resorted to ebay. The Gate diecast jeep 1/32, which sadly dissapeared in 2001, but there is a good quantity on sale on ebay, brand new as well as used in good condition, the price range is wide, but you could catch a $10-$15 for a brand new if you are patient. There are several versions of this jeep, I only use the one shown below.

This Gate jeep is solid, fast (no friction motor), rolls smoothly and straight, very articulated: windshield moves, hood opens, detailed engine, detailed chasis, instrument panel, rubber tires, well scaled 1/32 with enough cabin space (unlike New Ray). You can use a Forces of Valor driver without problem (see pics below).

When compared to Forces of Valor jeep, it is a bit longer, and less wider than FOV's unit:

Gate's rubber tires look a bit modern for a WW2 jeep, but those from FOV could be used instead, they look almost the same size.

My first customization was after I failed building a vintage and expensive Bandai 1/32 motorized jeep (it looks in fact bigger than 1/32). A failure as it was, I ended with several interesting remains to add to my custom Gate Rat Patrol, I also had the unique 37mm antitank gun from Monogram's 1/35 Jeep (a bit bigger than 1/35), a piece that looks to be 1/32, and is unique in this scale. So I created my first monster, a Jeep with an armored antitank gun, from Bandai I used their tires, really great WW2 rubber tires, also the trailer hook, and a beautiful and articulated trailer, then added accessories from Italeri (1/35) and others, and the weathering (this was the first step), the chains are 1/35 from ebay, a very nice set that can only be bought from a particular seller, this was the result:

The 2nd unit was the most difficult to achieve, and it is the classic Rat Patrol, with the .50 cal on pedestal. There is only one kit to achieve this, MasterBox 1/35 "Charlie on the left", which is a Vietnam era kit, but I decided to disguise the gunner as a Commando, creating with polymeric clay a commando cap, this kit also includes the machine gun and the pedestal, which is articulated. Both jeep drivers come from Italeri and are 1/35. from the Italeri Commando Jeep kit, which also supplied many accessories. There are no good drivers in 1/32, the only british one that I know of is the driver from Montgomery's staff car (Airfix kit), the other solution was to use (and maybe convert) drivers from Forces of Valor, but these are expensive to get.

I took the very nice antenna from the Forces of Valor jeep, the fit was nice enough.

Some accessories are from Airfix 1/32 kits, like multipose and infrantry support, which include many accessories, inexpensive 1/35 kits from Italeri like their Commando jeep are a good source of accessories too.

I am very happy with the results, I think that I achieved what I wanted and more, there is no such diecast kits like this, not even from Forces of Valor, and what they have is for display more than play, in the case of their jeeps. I consider these to be unique pieces of the Plastic Commando collection, I am glad I discovered this Gate's model.

I took inspiration from the weathered editions of Forces of Valor as well as some builds I saw from different editions of Italeri jeeps, which are fragile as any static plastic model, but have superior detail, these diecasts don't have such fine detail, but some intermediate quality can be achieved with a bit of customization, and they compensate with sturdiness, great articulation and decent detail these lack of refinement.

They played so well their part in both episodes, and there was a particular live motion scene in episode 2 of the 37mm gun unit jumping in slow motion, which I am very proud of.

This unit even has a bit of "suspension" on the rear axis, but you got to see episode 2 or its trailer (on the sidebar of this blog) to appreciate it.

These are some of the kits I used to create these customization, some were used by accident, because I failed building them and resorted to use what I could rescue as spare parts, an expen$ive but joyful experience.

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