This is a Step by Step article of the Bukit Kepong vignette by CPTan which was featured in our National Daily during the Merdeka 2007 MGB07 event.
The original idea is to scratchbuild the whole vignette in 1/16 scale ; Then I was just plain "malas" (lazy) and looked for the old Tamiya 1/20 racing pit crew from my old stash. I decided to use these kit as figure conversion rather than scratchbuild... shrinking down the vignette to 1/20 scale (odd scale: figure stands about 85mm).
There're altogether 7 figures each with separate bodies, arms and legs. Looking at this, I notice they've the potentail like the old Airfix 54mm multi-pose... Note that these figures are wearing short... which is suitable for my project.
The kit's from some more than 20 years old mold and the detail is not sharp. All 7 figures have thick gorilla necks and are brothers from the same family (they all look quite the same).
The first task is to conduct the face-off operation changing from europeon to asian. Here's one of the face change transition. Idrill a small whole on the mouth and covered it with putty. I "Opened up" the mouth with my home-made butter-knife tool and sculpt it into the proper shape. The teeth was added on last (small rolls of putty) after the mouth was completely cured.
Oh I nearly forgot, this is my draft of the vignette which include 3 Polis Melayu at their "last-stand". The polis melayu will be wearing their unique "bakul" type hat covering most of the hair. I will only need to take these guys to "my barber shop" to have their hair cut short, and according to the Polis regulations.
Head and Hat
As mentioned earlier, almost all the original kit is with gorilla neck. I cut off the head with a saw and inserted a stick at the bottom for better handling. I'll build up the necks with 2 part epoxy putty later. Notice that I've "shaved" them bald (hahaha), cause the hair style was against regulation. Then I notice the head was somehow too large (bulged at the back) which needed to be filed off (red lines) into proper shape.
The hair was added-on with mixed putty, and hair lines were scribed with a needle. Strips of 0.3mm Tamiya pla-plate and glue was used to construct the hat. Additional thin strip of masking tape for the detail... and a small ball shaped mixed putty was softly "pressed" on top of the hat with Super glue pre-applied.
Drilled hole between the collar (for the separated head to be inserted later). I didn't like the original detail of the collar and the single row of buttons, so I sanded them off....
With mixed putty, I reshaped the collar and build the 2 breast pockets with flaps, plus the 2 shoulder straps and the center line of the shirt where buttons will be added on later. Note that the unique 2 headed snake (or dragon?) belt buckle was made from 0.3mm brass.
The kit is molded with modern sport shorts. To convert this to a baggy pants, I cut strips of aluminium sheet (0.2mm) and made a loop on top of the knees... Glued with Super glue. see picture for the results.
I applied mixed putty covering the gaps to reproduce the beggy shape. After everything dried, I made a few thin rolls of mixed putty and applied then on the pants as folds. I spreaded (or feather out... whatever U call it) the edge of the rolls with my home-made mini butter knife for fine detail to simulate folds on the pants.
This describes the conversion of the original flat base sport shoes to leather boots. According to references, the Polis Melayu legging were wool stocking with leather gaiters and black ankle boots, similar to those WW2 British desert soldier.
First, I sanded off the partial detail on the sport shoes front. I cut 0.3mm pla-plate and glued them on the soles, trimmed them with needle file to represent the high heel and base of the leather boots.
Secondly, I filed off the original shoe lace detail, drilled some holes, and inserted and glued brass wire to represent the shoe lace.
Using mixed putty to build up the stocking, I scribed vertical lines on the surface with a razor to make them look like wool stocking. Once harden, using epoxy putty again,I molded the gaiters covering the ankle portion.