I joined Big Art Buzz, an artist’s collective for people across Ontario, in 2015. Besides having my work posted on the core website and its social media affiliates, I also enjoy the opportunity to display pieces in person at various events and to conduct demos. Here are some pictures from events that took place in recent years. The first images include pictures of the art work. The last two have me at my table with Keith Moreau, creator and organizer of Big Art Buzz, speaking with visitors. (I can say there’s somewhat less of me now than when those pictures were taken.) You can visit the site at www.bigartbuzz.com. Visit also the Big Art Buzz channel on YouTube. There is also the work of Keith Moreau on YouTube, which if you click on his name in this article you can see.
BUILDING THE MODELS FOR PROJECTS RELATED TO THE WAR- Part One
We have all heard about the crazy cat lady. I suppose I might be that crazy kit guy, except for the fact that like that crazy cat lady, I am not alone in my mania for collecting. Others share these passions and some of us are very particular about what comes into our homes.
For me, I see the collection as a kind of bucket list in some areas and a ‘must have for this story or ones I may write in the future’ in others. Very few ‘want’ models. Mostly ‘need’ models. A couple of the ‘need’ models will be featured in this article and before we go any further, I am an enthusiastic amateur and not the kind of builder you read about in modeling magazines, on the web or see in YouTube videos. My stuff is far from perfect and is meant only as reference for the works I am currently creating. As I get back into plastic modeling, I am learning as I go. That means, put nicely, I am making a huge number of mistakes. The first model I will cover in this article is a grand example of that.
The Austin K2Y ambulance- ‘KATY’
This tiny kit took many years to build. It shouldn’t have, but it did. Work, art courses and so many other distractions kept putting it on the back burner. However, I finally got it done after six or seven years and now that frustrating little piece is one of my favourites, even featuring in a new story I am co-developing with a friend right now.
The Austin K2Y model came with a fire engine as part of an Airfix kit of RAF rescue vehicles- an old release that I’d like to see back on the shelves again or better yet, the KATY being released in 1/35 scale instead of 1/76, as it was when first produced. Here is a picture I downloaded of the box art from the kit.
AIRFIX 1/76 scale RAF Emergency Set box art, reproduced from the Airfix site. A vintage but still wonderful model with some good instructions and decent decals. The numerous problems I had with building the KATY were based solely on my own incompetence, and had nothing to do with the model itself. You can find more information about the model online. Check out the Airfix website itself. It’s worth it.
I had not built a model in years and never a wheeled vehicle before. It should have been something bigger to start with. I never imagined how complex the build would be until it was too late. Truly, I cannot count the number of times parts would go together and then have to be pulled apart because I misread the instruction sheet. Eventually, I got through it, though, and then had to paint the piece.
This is the Austin K2Y set on a floppy cushion that eventually may become the dunes of Dunkirk, where many were abandoned by the BEF in 1940 and, where possible, placed in service with the Wehrmacht. It enjoyed much popularity with the many soldiers and airmen in the various Allied and German forces throughout the war.
Here are more images of it, taken after painting, weathering and decals were applied. I will note here that the decals reflect the markings used later in the war. You may notice also that the vehicle serial number is missing from one part of the bonnet on the truck. The official reason is a repaint took place in the field and no one bothered to add the serial number as it was already on the other side. The real reason is that try as I may with decal solvents, adherents and glosscoat sprays to make the decals stick better, that one was sucked away one night into an inter-spatial vortex to join millions of other tiny decals and model parts abducted from the studios of model makers everywhere!
This model can fit in the palm of an adult’s hand. Its size made it a tempting object to toss on more than one occasion while I learned how wheeled vehicles are put together. My experiences with KATY are an important part of why I chose to build in 1/35 scale any armour or vehicles I got whenever possible. The KATY was a first in another aspect as well: first time I used an airbrush for painting a model. The lumpy bits come from holding it a little too close. However, it did make weathering it a little easier later. The wheels look muddy and gunky because- THEY ARE! I added a wet texture to some of the surfaces and mud to the wheels to make it fit with the conditions often encountered in Europe after D-Day.