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So, I'm building a plastic model of a Humvee similar to the one used by the Hunters in The Last Of Us. It's not the exact same, as the Hunter Humvee is a mix of real-life variants. It's based off of this, a 1/35 scale plastic kit by Academy. In this scale, a person would be about 1.5 inches tall.

The build

This model is fairly easy to build, but it's not for a beginner. There are ejector marks (how the parts trees are removed from the mold) all over the place, that's why you see green dots (auto body filler) on most parts. The fit of some parts is not great, so it's hard to tell exactly where some of them go. The fit of the hood to the body is especially bad, and I had to do a lot of filing to make it fit right. The detail on the shock absorbers is rather soft, so I removed them and built my own using brass rod and wire.

Painting

With all of the parts together and the small stuff painted, I moved on to the vehicle itself. First, I airbrushed the whole model dark green; this color will stay in the recesses and shadows of the model, and add depth to the finish. Then, I airbrushed the chassis and body panels NATO green. After that, I painted the canvas top olive green, then went back and faded it with some lightened olive. I then sprayed the few spots of NATO brown on the vehicle--there would have been more, but the add-on armor covered up a lot of the bodywork. Next I added the NATO black areas. I should have probably painted black first, then brown, considering how much the areas overlap. Later, I went and hand-painted the rocker panels and windshield armor light tan. Next up is painting all of the small details, like lights, radio, instrument panel, etc.

Decals and Weathering

After all of the details were painted, I painted Future floor polish as a gloss coat for decals. Waterslide decals can be a bit tricky to apply; you have to soak each image in warm water for a few seconds to activate the adhesive. Most of the decals went on ok, but the ones on the tailgate refused to settle over the tailight detail. Once they were on the model, I noticed that the bumper codes were the wrong color, yellow instead of light tan. Academy decals can be hard to work with, as they are prone to silvering (when air bubbles get stuck under the clear decal film and show up later when it's dry), even over a gloss coat. Because of that, I used a metal ruler and a new hobby knife blade to cut away as much of the clear film as I could.

After everything dried for a few days, I overcoated the decals with Future and started to make the vehicle look like it had been in the field a while. I used artists oil paints to do a black wash around the engine and a dark brown wash overall. Then I ground some tan sidewalk chalk on sandpaper, mixing some water with it to make mud that I applied to the wheels; this looks like the caked-on dust and dirt that you see in photos of the real thing. Then I dusted the entire model with the same dry chalk dust, pushing it into corners and recesses to make the model look dusty and faded.

Finishing

I finished the model a few days ago, but I lost one of the windshield wipers in the process. Overall, it turned out pretty well. I'm not completely happy with some stuff, but I tend to be my own worst critic. I probably should have lowered the suspension a bit to reflect the added weight of all that extra armor (700-1500 lbs.), but that would have been a lot of work. And the tread pattern on the tires is completely wrong for Humvees that were used in Operation Iraqi Freedom...

While the build wasn't easy, I think it turned out ok. In the end, not bad for a kit that cost about $18 U.S.

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