Tuesday, 7 June 2011
Combat Wombat LAVs
The 8x8 LAV from Combat Wombat is one of those models that gets released without a great deal of fanfare, and then sits in a catalogue, cruising along just under the radar.
I remember Scotty posting the first WIPs of the vehicles he wanted to make a few years back on The Miniatures Page. As I recall, he was cooking up resin on his stove and casting figures in his kitchen while his lady was out of town – sure hope he remembered to scrub the pots out before she got back! Amongst his first releases was a stumpy little 6x6 ATV, later known as the Pitbull. The design was simple – two piece hull and a set of wheels to stick on, and then paint. I had never assembled a resin kit
before, but these vehicles went together very easily, with just a little sanding.
When I came to consider vehicles again, Scotty had brought out the 8x8 LAV. I really liked the look of the LAV as there was something Traveller Book 4: Mercenary about it. As I was ordering a troop of these, I kept seeing pictures of vehicle-riding troops – including in the masthead of the Crisis in Alcovia blog – and these pictures set off a chain reaction of thoughts.
Like the Pitbulls, the LAVs are a two-piece model with separate wheels. The four I received were clean castings, though there was a little bit of resin pitting around the edges of the upper and lower hull sections. This pitting was either hidden when the hull sections were glued together, or easily filled with a bit of polyfilla and sanded smooth.
As can be seen from the profile picture, the LAV originally had quite an aerodynamic profile. Then, one assumes, soon after the first RPG brewed up the first LAV, someone bolted some extra armour plates on the outside as an ugly, but effective, answer to that problem. This gives the vehicle a slightly rough-and-ready feel about it – a work in progress as it evolves and adapts to the changing battlefield. Even the placement of the spare wheel became a part of this exercise. The roof and rear both have access hatches moulded in them and, it seemed to me, a spare on the side of the vehicle would make a perfect aiming point. So, under the bow the spare went, where it was less likely to be shot up, could act as a buffer when parallel parking, and provide a bit of extra protection for the driver’s feet.
As part of my Alcovia-inspired vehicle dressing ideas, I picked up some SSO181 Soviet DSHK AA MGs, some GSO183 2.8cm Anti-tank rifles and some German Halftrack stowage from Battlefront, a pack of seated NAC infantrymen and Generic Vehicle Crewmen from Ground Zero Games, as well as the stowage included with the vehicles from Combat Wombat. The end result was a troop of armed, mid-tech rides for a mercenary unit serving on a low-to-mid-tech world – probably with an F-type star given that the vehicle camouflage has a decidedly blue base colour. And I am very pleased with the final result.
To base or not to base a vehicle was a debate I had with myself for a while.
Initially, I was against basing, more from a traditionalist point of view than anything, but this viewpoint had storage and transport issues. Then I noticed that Robin at 15mm SciFi Wargames based his vehicles and that they looked quite good. It also occurred to me that I could quite easily use magnetic sheets to hold vehicles in place for transport by either attaching a thin piece of metal, or by attaching fender washers, to the underside of the base. I decided to use plastic card for the vehicle bases, as it’s stronger than cardboard, and textured it with polyfilla. I used a small rubber paper-feed wheel from a photocopier to indent wheel ruts into the polyfilla and then painted and flocked.