Last September I posted here about my first experience of 3D-printed models (SKOT APCs from Butlers’ Printed Models). Since then on the Cold War front, I’ve been working my way through the stack of unmade plastic kits and unpainted lead and resin in my ‘to do’ mountain, so hadn’t bought anything more from BPM. However, as my US Cold War battlegroup was growing, I had a need for some M48 Chaparral SAM vehicles to provide a little close air defence for my Yanks. Team Yankee produce a pack of four resin & metal Chaparral models, but I only needed an absolute maximum of two vehicles, so decided to give BPM another punt.
I’m pleased to say that I absolutely was not disappointed! The BPM Chaparral is if anything, even better than the SKOT. In the photo above, the cleaned-up model is on the left and the ‘unclean’ model with all its supporting printing-structure is on the right (plus three separate pieces at the front). Behind are a Team Yankee M113 and Leopard 1 for scale – the M48 Chaparral was based on the same chassis as the M113, so should have exactly the same ‘footprint’, which I’m pleased to report that it does.
Note that one missile-rail section has a sighting/tracker unit box situated between the two missiles. This should always go on the left-hand side of the turret, as shown in the assembled model above. I of course, completely failed to notice this and glued one of them the wrong way around…
I’m also pleased to report that the model is almost completely absent of ‘stepping’, which is a fairly common criticism of 3D-printed models. There is a some stepping on the curved rail-things at the front of the vehicle that obscures the divisions between the rail-things (what are they? Stowed tarpaulin-supports perhaps?), so I used some black lines to create the impression of rails.
Note also that the kit is modelled in the ‘buttoned up’ configuration, ready to fire. In order to drive the vehicle, the crew would have to open the hatches on top of the cab – it isn’t possible to model the kit in this configuration without some serious conversion-work.
My Cold War collection is painted and organised for 1984 (ish), so the standard paint scheme for all US Army in Europe (USAREUR) was the US Mobility Equipment Research & Design Command (MERDC) camouflage scheme in ‘Winter Verdant’ colours of Forest Green, Field Drab, Sand and Black.
MERDC camouflage was designed to be of a standard pattern on all vehicles of the same type and the colours would (theoretically) be changed, depending on the terrain and season. In practice however, USAREUR tended to stick with Winter Verdant colours all year-round and the Summer Verdant scheme (replacing the Field Drab with Light Green) was only seen on reinforcement vehicles from the USA during REFORGER exercises. That said, vehicles were usually adapted during snowy conditions to the ‘Snow, Temperate with Trees’ MERDC scheme, by painting over the Field Drab with whitewash or some other water-soluble white paint that could be washed off again when the snow melted.
All US military vehicle types had standard MERDC painting-patterns produced for them, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find the pattern for the M48 Chaparral, so I had to assemble the pattern from as many photos as I could find. That said, many of the actual vehicles were painted differently/wrongly in any case, probably due to bored soldiers failing to follow the instructions, or local orders removing some of the colours (the Sand element was commonly deleted for some reason).
You will find various paint-guides for MERDC camouflage on the web, but my own preferred colours are:
Forest Green – Humbrol Enamel 116 US Green (highlighted with a touch of white mixed in)
Field Drab – Humbrol Enamel 29 Dark Earth (highlighted with a touch of white mixed in)
Sand – Humbrol Enamel 72 Khaki Drill (highlighted with quite a lot of white mixed in)
Black – Humbrol Enamel 33 Black
Light Green – Humbrol Enamel 80 Grass Green
To finish off, I painted the MIM-72 missiles in US Olive Drab (Humbrol Enamel 155) and the gunner’s canopy and track-guards in black. The track-guards were then highlighted Humbrol 67 Tank Grey and the whole model was lightly dry-brushed with Humbrol 72 Khaki Drill before being sprayed with matt varnish. Last of all, the gunner’s canopy was given a coat of Humbrol Gloss-Cote.
All in all, this is an excellent model – highly recommended!
Just pay attention and stick it together correctly… 🙁