First up is something utterly non-military, but absolutely iconic: the classic London Routemaster.
I actually don’t have any real interest in transport – this military history nonsense is more than enough to be getting on with. Dad, however, is a lifelong bus enthusiast and preservationist. Amongst the preserved vehicles owned by his fellow enthusiasts and he is RML 2575. In 2005, this original Routemaster made the unlikely transition from a working life spent chugging through the streets of Chelsea and Putney on the 22 route to a peaceful retirement in rural County Dublin.
I couldn’t resist the chance to have a go at modelling the bus, and so, armed with reference photos taken by the man himself, I’ve set about trying to recreate it in scale. My skills being what they are, the finished product certainly won’t be award-winning, but it should make for an original gift.
For an inexperienced kit modeller, assembly was far from user-friendly or intuitive. Lots of fiddly, niggly parts afforded me ample opportunity to practice my swearing. In particular, I couldn’t seem to get the main components of the bodywork to fit flush together, so a session of determined sanding and filling with Games Workshop Liquid Green Stuff was called for. There are still some fairly obvious gaps in the assembled model, but I can live with them.
To be fair, I’ve used the spray paints from Army Painter before and have been more than happy, so I’ll chalk that particular watery can up to a bad batch or to having sat on the shelf in the shop that bit too long.
There was nothing for it but to brush apply the first of what will be a number of very thinned down coats of Vallejo AV957 Flat Red. This is how my mini Routemaster is starting to look now, with its big brother framed behind.
As you can see, I’ve baulked at the prospect of masking each individual plastic glass section (as well, indeed, as painting and detailing the interior of the bus). Instead, I intend to finish it up ‘wargame’ style, with the glass detail painted in later.