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M107 Final Reveal, the Bien Hoa Proud American

Hello all,

I found the time to finalize this build. I reported on it before, in all this has been an on-and-off build for 18 months or so. I added extra detail like hydraulic piping, sharpened the detail based on the field manual for an M110 mechanized howitzer I found on the internet.

Tamiya 175 mm M107 Mechanized Howitzer in 1:35 (#37021), with diorama

Last addition were the figures. Literally the first time I sculpted myself… I painted the figurines in one batch, together with those for the Tiger and Opel Kasserine GB of David A. Thomas revealed yesterday.

The model depics an M107-175mm howitzer of 2nd battalion 32 field artillery regiment (Proud Americans) in South Vietnam 1969. This unit was based near Bien Hoa airfield, Saigon (Xuan Loc). The figurines are posed to correspond to the exact moment where the piece is fired, the Chief Section shouting FIRE!

Here is what I learned:
– Figurines with metal 0.5 mm wire skeleton first covered in sticky green stuff, clothing is added with Staedtler FIMO oven-harded polymer putty, heads and hands are Hornet throughout
– After primering the figures, I used enamels for the paintjob based on a book by Osprey but I prefer my acrylics so that was a lesson for me! I have the feeling I can better control the color shading using acrylics and – of course – they are odorless.
– The SEA red dust is modeled using chalks as pigment, which worked out fine!
– Special details: Section Chiefs’ intercom wire, arrest brake on the gun mount, drivers’ compartment interior, adjusted seats and chains
I hope you like it!

Happy modeling!

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.


27 responses to M107 Final Reveal, the Bien Hoa Proud American

  1. Nice work Michel. Figures look very good. Great dio all round.

  2. Outstanding Michel, Glad to see you finished, really like the way you added the red dust on everything. And those self sculpting figures ; what’s not to like about them. Well done.

  3. Brilliant, Michel, great finish to this project, I like how you captured the exact moment of firing the gun.

  4. An amazing build!

  5. Yeas, Michel….what they said ! πŸ™‚

  6. Great build, Michel ! That Viet Nam red dust is famous to those of us former Army types. Your figures are well done – congratulations.

    That is one long-barreled beast of a gun !!!

  7. Incredible modeling.

  8. Excellent – love the creativity and realism of the entire effort. Great job!

  9. Thanks my friends!
    @Jeff, I’d love to hear you saying:

    “That is one long-barreled beast of a gun”

    With that splendid Oklahoma accent, mother tongue of the 2/32 Artillery in the early sixties (Ft. Sill)! πŸ™‚

  10. That figure work is really interesting – the results look good. Nice work on the machinery too.

  11. Those figurines are a lesson, Michel. The body shapes are perfect – thanks for those photographs! And of course the armour is up to your usual incredible standard. Brilliant! There is a gritty realistic feel to this that (helped by those lifelike figurines) really makes this wonderfully dynamic!

    I wouldn’t dream of suggesting any way to improve the modelling. I can make one small suggestion about the photography. I’m guessing you shot these near a skylight in your home. When you use this light source you could hold a weaker light source at an angle of your choice to open out some of the shadows and reveal your fine detail a little more. If you use the outer edges of the ‘beam’ of your light source you can ‘feather’ the lighting to make it suitably soft. An LED is probably better than a warm (yellow) light source. You could even use a small (white or silver) reflector to achieve this outcome. You probably know all of this – I have done it below with some ‘digital fill flash’ below, I hope you don’t mind (delete this if you are unhappy with the outcomes).

    You could of course take it outside to photograph it in natural light like you did with your brilliant Tiger Dio over at KP, where the natural reflection of light from surfaces opens out some shadows and where focussing on shaded areas has forced your camera’s metering system to capture the shadow detail and overexpose the sky a little (which is a way better outcome)!

  12. Thanks for your suggestions Paul. I wanted to take some shots outside but today was raining… I’ll try and take some better pictures based on your kind suggestions soon! Cheers.

  13. I had guessed it was a weather issue, Michel! I miss that type of weather!

  14. Well… welcome in Belgium anytime fellow modeler!

  15. Amazing, Michel. Creative, skillful, and beautifully done. You know, with no hint of irony here (well, maybe a little) you could take a lead from of some of our South East Aisan brothers here on iModeler and make a cotton ballistic explosion with LED lights inside to really set this off…

    Great stuff, maestro!

  16. Thanks David, yes maybe I’ll drop our Asian friends a line for the next dio. The breech is closed I’m afraid the round just left the barrel so too late for adding the wiring!

  17. This is amazing !!!! The attention to detail is what really sets this apart from the others. You even have the chord for the hand mike curling up as it should !!!!!! The work on the figures is something that I don’t think I would ever attempt. It’s way out of my league ……..

    Well done my friend !!!!

  18. Louis, you’re still one of my great example modelers my friend, so thanks to you… Reading your threads makes me realize my learning curve won’t stop any time soon!

    BTW I was very pleased to see the next screen on scalemates lately! Your entry on imodeler on Tamiya’s new 109, how cool is that! Congrats!

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

    • Wow !! I never thought I’d see this !!!!! Now this is cool 😎………
      Thanks my friend for letting me know that.

      As far as your comment with the learning curve, each time I see one of your latest builds, (and your work in progress articles) I am reminded that we have some seriously talented builders here on this website. Your figure building from scratch is outstanding……..

      Thanks again for taking the time to compile a list for me with your latest Tiger build, and for letting me know that the review I wrote for the new Tamiya 109 was the front page.

  19. Hello Michel,
    Diorama that sets the highest standard in modelling. Referring her especially to the making of the figurines. Overall, very impressive.
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

  20. Dankjewel Dirk! Groetjes, Michel.

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