What we have here is the first Whirlwind model released by Games-Workshop. Sure there was the template for making your own multi-launcher way back in White Dwarf 117, but this is the first one that came in a box with the words Whirlwind on it. Released back in the spring of 1995. Back then when GW did a big army launch the new stuff would appear in the UK first before being released to the rest of the world. I think it was almost two months before these hit the shelves in the USA. Our parents were on a vacation to England at the time and my brother gave them a list of models and miniatures that he wanted for his birthday. The way the dollar to Pound Sterling rate conversion worked it was cheaper to go* to the UK to buy these things and ship them home than it was to just get them here. (Hint, it still is!) .  So he got almost all of the Ultramarines for 2nd edition before most folks here in the States did. 

Also, this is really the point here, is that GW in the UK was still producing their metal miniatures in lead while here in the States GWUS had already switched to pewter. The lead was definitely better at catching details in my opinion and the flash was easier to clean up. And the weight difference was also quite substantial as well. The lead was definitely heavier! 

My brother was eager to paint this thing, and after painting a few Marines for practice he dove into painting this thing. And you know, it holds up a lot better than either of us felt at the time. Really, for the first vehicle he ever painted this isn't bad at all. The only issues with it were some of the decals. Particularly on the side door where the decal disintegrated while he was trying to position it. I have been trying to track down one of the the old Whirlwind decal sheets so I could correct this, but it has proven to be terribly scarce. 

As far as the painting goes, I think it holds up. The only exception are the winged skulls that adorn the Multilauncher tubes and the hatch next to the radar dish. So in order to update this thing to conform to my current Ultramarines scheme, I want to re-paint the winged skulls, paint the rocket tips, and give the whole tank a Fenrisian Grey edge highlight. The temptation to paint all the rivets a silver color was abandoned as I have always felt that this wouldn't make sense. In reality these things ate typical painted over to protect from rust and decay so to me it makes sense to give the impression that these would be painted over. 

And I did everything I just said I would to this, but this damaged decal needed a bit more attention...

Some light battle damage / wear and tear was the logical choice in lieu of not having a replacement decal. A few swipes of Stormhost Silver...

And a few low-lights of Abaddon Black and Macrage Blue and I think I got the result I wanted. 

But it didn't make sense to have this be the only wear on this thing right? So I grabbed a sponge and lightly dabbed Stormhost Silver on areas that I thought would most likely acrue wear on the paint. 

Mostly this scouring  would be applied to the fromt corners of the tank and the running boards since I think I these areas are most likely to be weathered. 

Also the rear of the tank where the ramp would drop was worthy of the sponge also. 

But there was one more area that now earned my attentuon: the gunner. I find his lack of should iconography...disturbing. and foresee that fixing it will challenging.  I painted one of these models for my Space Wolves about 20 years ago and I was able to convincingly free-hand that iconography, but the Ultramarines icons are wickedly tough to do. 

No decals on the gunner.

I cur down the decals to get them to fit and after a bit of work got them on. 

Decals on the gunner.. 

Amusingly I think I got the shoulder pad icons on the wrong sides. Oops. HAHA... I can't be bothered to fix it. 

Well, this old Whirlwind is sufficiently updated to my satisfaction and after I spray it with some sealant it will be ready to see the tabletop again. 

*Assuming one doesn't factor in the travel and lodging expenses. Also assuming of course that this isn't your only reason to go to the UK, in which case one must re-evaluate the priorities in life.  I'm specifically talking about the  cost of the items.