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Bukit Kepong: The Malayan Alamo


I've chosen the commercial kit from Tamiya pit crew (Fig 01) as basic mannequin. This must be an old kit since the detail are not sharp and there is some evidence of the figures being slightly out of proportion, which is not up to the new Tamiya standard. These figures stand close to 90mm although the kit is stated as 1/20. There are altogether 7 figures each with separates body, arms and legs. Looking at this, I notice they've the potential like the old Airfix 54mm multi-pose... and they're wearing short which is suitable for the uniform conversion project.


Almost all the original figures were moulded with “gorilla necks”. I cut off the heads with a saw and inserted a stick at the bottom for better handling. After shaving them bald, I noticed the heads were somehow too large (bulge at the back) which need to file off (red lines) into proper shape (Fig 02). The hair was added on with mixed putty. The hat was constructed by cutting strips of 0.3mm plastic card.


I did no like the original detail of the collar and the shirt detail, so I sanded them off. Using putty, I reshaped the collar and build the 2 breast pockets with flaps, plus the 2 shoulder straps and the centre line of the shirt where buttons will be add on later (Fig 03).

Note the unique 2 headed snake (or dragon?) belt buckle was made from 0.3mm brass.

Baggy Pants:

The kit is moulded with modern sport shorts. To convert this to baggy pants, I cut strips of 0.2mm aluminium sheet and make a loop on top of the knees and stuck it down with Super glue (Fig 04). Putty was applied covering the gaps to reproduce the baggy shape. After everything dried, make a few thin rolls of mixed putty and apply on the pant as folds. The edges of the rolls were spread (or feathered) out with my home-made mini butter knife for fine detail to simulate folds on the pants (Fig 05).


Conversion of the original flat base sport shoes to leather boots. According to research, the Police had wool stocking with leather gaiters and black ankle boots. Quite similar to those WW2 British desert soldier.

I started sand off the partial detail on the sport shoes front. Cut 0.3mm pla-plate and glue on the shoes bottom, trim with needle file to represent the high heel and base of the leather boots. Then file off the original shoe lace detail. Drill some holes, insert and glue brass wire to represent the shoe lace.

Using putty to build up the stockings, I scribed vertical lines on the surface with a razor to make them look like wool stocking. Once harden, using epoxy putty again to mould the gaiters covering the ankle portion (Fig 06).

  • Fig01
  • Fig02
  • Fig03
  • Fig04
  • Fig05
  • Fig06

About the Author

About CPTan (cptan)

Hey, I'm CPTan from Malaysia. Like most of you guys, I started plastic modelling when I was a kid with Matchbox and Airfix. Didn't care much about painting and detail then as they were more towards 'play and destroy'. Stop this hobby for about twenty years or so for more "serious adult stuff"... and...


A masterpiece, mon ami! Very very good. One of the best vignettes I've seen in a while, CK. Your conversion of the figures is outstanding, especially the faces. Though I must say you could have made the woman a tad more beautiful than you have (yes, we have Malays over here in SL, and some of them are hot stuff!). I love the whole setting, and the poses are very realistic. The bullet damaage too is perfect. Very authentic. Good photography too.
OCT 18, 2007 - 06:27 PM
I followed before the SBS threat of this vignette and now having it as a feature is really nice. Thanks CPTan for sharing and thanks Rudi for arranging this.
OCT 18, 2007 - 06:52 PM
My warmest congratulations to CPTan, i really really like his vignette JB
OCT 18, 2007 - 07:48 PM
Turned out excellent CP. And thanks for a little bit of Malaysian history.
OCT 19, 2007 - 11:29 AM