Saturday, 15 August 2015

Captain Scarlet Vehicles - in card!

Introduction

Any long-term followers of this blog may remember that I like to take a card modelling kit with me when I go on my summer holidays.  It's light and self-contained, requires only a few tools and no paints at all - and I can afford to bin the results if anything goes wrong!

This year, I added several sheets printed out from Dave's "Cut and Fold" Card Creations site.  These are all free-to-download kits and there are a great many interesting subjects; I'd encourage anyone with even a passing interest in paper modelling to browse this site!  Anyway, I chose to build several of the iconic Spectrum vehicles from the Captain Scarlet TV show, to go along with my 28mm figures from Crooked Dice.

The SPC

The Spectrum Patrol Car is a basic light transport automobile.  It's fast (insanely so, compared to the roads and motorways that we know now!) and can carry 4 people.  A simple sports saloon from the future, as envisaged in the 1960s!


  • Size: This paper model is 10.2cm long.  By my reckoning, that works out at 1:53 scale (the TV original was nominally 5.4m long), which is a touch oversize for 28mm figures.  Still, it's pretty close to my preferred 1:56.
  • Issues: most of this kit is fairly straightforward and fitted well, though the central spine and fin is made from 3 very narrow parts that have to be laminated together.  That's definitely the most tricky part!
    The separate underbody does allow the wheels to be recessed, but makes it difficult to get them at the correct height.  My model looks as if the suspension has broken and the body has sunken down!
    Also note that as designed, the wheels in this kit are just a card disk,  I've added treads to them from another model, thus making the construction greatly more robust and able to withstand handling.
  • Overall: 4/5.  An excellent model, with a few minor quibbles that can be worked around by an experienced modeller.


The MSV

 In the Captain Scarlet show, the Spectrum organisation occasionally calls on the services of a Maximum Security Vehicle.  These are typically used as ultra-safe VIP transports; an MSV is supposedly proof against most weapons (up to and including a small nuclear bomb!)  Again, the vehicle can carry 4 people and travel at up to 200mph.


  • Size: In the TV show, an MSV is supposedly 7.3m long.  My model is 11.3cm, thus making it 1:64th scale.  That's really a touch small for 28mm figures.  If I make another of these then I would scale it up by 15% or so.
  • Issues: The central "cabin" has straight sides and a curved front: this proved quite tricky to glue flat to the lower bodywork.  In addition, the other parts of the superstructure then needed some slight adjustment to make them fit correctly.
    Again, the wheels were just card disks; I've added treads to them from another model.
    Finally, the front "bumpers" were rather small and fiddly.
  • Overall: 3.5/5.  The subject matter is excellent, but the kit didn't go together quite as smoothly as I had hoped.  It's still a pretty good kit, for all that!


The SPV

Every schoolboy's favourite was the Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle!  These large armoured cars were stored in hideouts all over the world for use whenever a Spectrum agent required; they could be magicked out of a disused mine entrance, an old barn or similar location on demand.

The SPV had 10 wheels, alternating between large and small along each side.  It also had an auxiliary track unit at the read which could be deployed on rough ground.  It was armed, armoured - and the crew faced backwards and drove it via a TV screen.  It's a SciFi geek dream!


  • Size: this model is 11.5cm long.  The original measures 7.6m, so the model's scale is 1:66th.  Like the MSV, this is really a bit small for 28mm figures and I would recommend that it is scaled up by around 15%.
  • Issues: for the most part, this kit fitted together really well.  The white nose bumper was slightly awkward, though not as difficult as I had feared it might be.  The only other parts worthy of comment are the side skirts, which have an awkward curve along the length of them.  I think that if I make another of these models then I might add formers of balsa wood or similar to help the side skirts to keep their shape
  • Overall: 4/5.  Another iconic vehicle, most of which is a very easy build with just a couple of tricky areas.

Conclusion


It is possible to buy plastic or metal versions of all of these vehicles; there have been a number of versions over the years.  However, you are then limited to the sizes produced by the manufacturers and I suspect that the collector's market has pushed the prices way beyond all but the most dedicated wargamers.

Card models aren't to everyone's taste, but if you have the time and the ability then you can build as many of these excellent vehicles as you like, to any reasonable scale, for very little cost.  If only Dave produced some Spectrum aircraft as well!

Now please excuse me: I have to go and finish building a 6-wheeled pink Rolls Royce...

17 comments:

  1. Terrific stuff C6, absolutely cracking. I don't do card vehicles myself but these are very tempting and look great. There's clearly a bit of a "Captain Scarlet" push going on at the moment, and what between you and Vampifan's recent postings, I'm definitely close to gluing together a load of my "Crooked Dice" Time Lift Security minis and jumping into the battle against the Mysterons. SIG ;-)

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    1. Thanks! My only difficulty in gaming Captain Scarlet is in finding a fitting scenario and opposition. After all, most episodes revolve around the good guys not knowing who the bad guys are.

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  2. SIG. They do look very good indeed. I just know that some of my club players are .... shall we say slightly heavy handed and things tend to get broken so probably not for me! But I have enjoyed seeing them and will check to see what else he does. Thank you.

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    1. Hmm, if your fellows are heavy-handed with card models then doesn't that apply equally to plastic, resin or metal items :-) ?

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  3. I had never seen these card models before, Hugh, so thanks for highlighting them. As you know, I love making card models, but in this case I'm going to stick with my die-cast versions of these three Spectrum vehicles. A review of them on my blog is due very soon.

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    1. Bryan, I'm surprised at you! I thought that you knew *all* the sources of useful card models :-) .

      I was aware that you intended to review some Spectrum vehicles of your own soon, but my plans for this article stretch back many weeks. I hope you don't think that I've stolen your thunder!

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    2. I certainly don't think you've stolen my thunder, Hugh. On the contrary, your post couldn't have been better timed. My own post on the three die-cast Spectrum vehicles is now live and you'll find a link to your own post on it.

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  4. That's a fine selection of card vehicles C6! I'm attempting some myself and finding it enjoyable if sometimes trying. Thanks for the link.

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    1. Glad you like them, Bob! Will we see your own card models some time soon, then?

      There are indeed a number of very interesting models on the Cut-and-fold site.

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  5. They are wonderful! Very impressive stuff.

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    1. Thanks, Michael. I know that I've said this before (and not many people seem to believe me!), but these models really aren't that difficult to build :-) .

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  6. I'm always surprised to see what is available in the card-building world and I'm beginning to suspect that there'll be a model of whatever it is you're looking fo, somewhere!
    Whilst I never did get into the whole Captain Scarlet genre I do remember watching some of the series but like many (I suspect) can't remeber the SPC vehcle - the best of three imo. Good models though all told.

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    1. Thanks, Joe. There's a whole lot more than just Gerry Anderson stuff on the "cut and fold" website; I was quite surprised at the wide range. It really set my imagination going for possible scenarios!

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  7. Wow these are impressive card kits. A touch to small like you mention but they look the part and beats trying to buy the rarer diecast ones off fleabay.

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    1. Thanks, Simon. Of course, the beauty of card/paper kits is that if they're too small then you can just scale them up!

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  8. I must admit I would never think to use card vehicles. But you did a good job, especially on the first one that made it look as realistic as can be for a card vehicle.

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    1. Thanks! I agree that the patrol car came out very well, though I wish that I hadn't got the suspension so low.

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