If you are building a 1/32 diorama of a modern USAF aircraft, these two Crew Chiefs would be a perfect addition. Having one or both of these figures would make the diorama “come alive”.
In the package, you get two figures, molded in resin, consisting of five parts. One figure is in the “Parade Rest” position, which is usually the pose that Crew Chiefs take when a jet is ready to taxi out. This figure comes as one piece on a runner. The runner is at the bottom of his boots. I found the resin to be very easy to cut with an X-acto style saw. One word of caution here – cut off slightly below the soles of the boots, and then sand the bottoms of the boots using sandpaper mounted on a flat surface. By doing this, he will stand upright without using any glue.
The second figure consists of four pieces – a main body, two arms, and a screwdriver. I was impressed with the way the arms and screwdriver were molded – the sprue going to each arm requires very little sanding in the areas they attach to. The screwdriver’s “plastic” end serves as the sprue, and is easily cut off. Be careful with this small part – mine got ate by the infamous “carpet monster”, and I will need to scratch build a new one. When sanding the arm attach points, go slow and constantly check the fit – if you sand/file this joint right, the arms will seamlessly go onto the main body, without the use of filler. A word of caution regarding positioning these arms – use the screwdriver to align both arms correctly. I didn’t use the screwdriver to completely align his arms, and one is ever so slightly off.
Once assembled, the mold lines were easy to get to, as the mold lines are on the sides of the body below the neck. I filed these lines, and I wound up with seams that looked like wrinkles in the clothing. One mold line goes directly down the middle of the face, and I unfortunately did not catch it until after painting both figures.
These figures can also easily be backdated to about 1990 for the uniforms. The instructions show you the modern “digitized tiger stripe” pattern, but remove some of the pockets and you can have the BDU uniform and both desert pattern uniforms.
One note about Crew Chiefs: Their uniforms may not be super clean, and we seldom spit – shined our boots. Our boots took a beating, and usually looked beat up with “scars” in the leather of the boot.
I painted both figures to represent myself during my C-130 Crew Chief and maintenance days. I started my career wearing Fatigues, and ended wearing BDUs as my uniform.
Painting the figures was fairly typical – give both figures a good wash to remove any residue, and let dry. All of the colors I used were from Testors’ line of enamel paints, and I did not keep track of the greens I used. I started by painting the uniforms with one of the greens – this served as both a primer and the uniform base coat. I dug out an old picture of me during my Crew Chief days, and I came fairly close to matching both the pattern and colors of my uniform. I painted the boots semi-gloss black to represent the wear and the once-a-month (or so) that I shined my boots. The figure using the screwdriver’s shirt could be the greenish color I used, black, or a brown color. Sometimes they let us buy and wear squadron T-shirts out on the flightline. The ones that I wore were black with the squadron patch in the upper right area.
Finally, I painted the heads on the figures. I started by using Testor’s Skin Tone Base, and when that way good and dry, I used Skin Tone Warm Tint, and that is when I discovered the seam line down the middle of the face. I didn’t clean the mold line on one of the figures. The headsets that both figures have was painted black for the band across the hair, black around each headphone base, and a Russian blue (I think) for the actual headphone. They came out looking exactly like the headphones we used. The sunglasses that one figure is wearing are fairly close to what I used – I painted the lenses gloss black, and the frames were flat black. Finally, I did the hair – the regulation may have changed since I retired, but we were supposed to keep our hair short, cut around the ears, and trimmed in a certain manner. As a reference, the current regulation is AFI 36-2903, which replaced AFR 35-10, both of which not only covered grooming, but the placement of name tapes, squadron patches, and similar items.
A special thanks goes out to videoaviation.com for supplying this kit for review.
These two USAF Crew Chief figures would make an excellent addition to any diorama. I highly recommend this kit!