The work on the interior is commencing. It has been a couple of years since I touched this model. (Somewhat disheartening to have all-plastic models come out with full interiors – pnz IV by Miniart, Tiger I by RFM, Tiger II by Takom…) In fact this post was first written before I even built my Takom and RFM Panthers…
The Tank Workshop parts designed for the Tamiya kit fit quite well into the Zvezda model; I did use the plastic parts of the base model wherever I could. (The turret basket, gun breach, etc.)
Note to self: I got carried away at the assembly steps: it’s much more difficult to paint and weather the transmission and the instrument panel once you installed them. Oh well.
I cut a hole where one of the inspection hatches were, and I also cut away part of the hull over the driver; I wanted to expose the driver’s compartment a bit better than the driver’s hatch would have allowed it. I do not plan similarly cutting up the turret, since it has two large doors on the sides. I think I overdid the cuts- I will have to find some way out of this hole I dug myself into.
I’m a bit disappointed with TW’s ammo racks; they are just featureless boxes with no ammunition provided. (This just demonstrates how much more detail newer kits provide by default… see Takom’s and RFM’s new Panther with full interior with the DML Panther I’ve built -but not yet finished- with TW’s interior.)
The Zvezda kit was clearly not designed with interior in mind; the mudguards are given as a single part with the two mudguards connected by plastic rods. The front one had to be removed since it was quite out of place with the driver’s compartment exposed. (And the transmission was in the way.)
The other problem I ran in was a serious fit issue: the mudguards/top hull/bottom hull parts do not fit well together. The fit of the top of the hull and the left mudguard is not good: if you position the mudguard so that its surface texture corresponds to the top of the hull (there is a groove for the hull on the mudguard), the front part will be about 2mm to the right. (There is a hole on the front armor plate for the headlight’s cable, and the cable is molded onto the mudguard. They just do not fit; the cable is directly over the inspection hatch instead of over the hole by the inspection hatch.) Apart from that, there’s a 2mm gap between the upper hull and lower hull on the front.
So that’s a big screwup. As I modified the model a bit I’m not entirely sure if these issues exist with the model, or these are the results of my meddling, but honestly I think they are not my doing. This really held up the build – I lost quite a lot of my enthusiasm.
I finished the front of the turret with the main gun and the coaxial machine gun; will have to check a few reference books on what else is missing from the turret interior. TW’s set comes with a lot of water canteens and ammunition pouches, but there are other details, such as cables, extra viewing blocks, etc., that will need to be added.
Since the interior is finished -well, details are still missing- I’ve primed everything with Vallejo’s German grey primer, and then sprayed a few light coats of Tamiya white followed by Hannant’s German tank interior color. (I quite liked the paint, by the way. It went on reasonably well, and was easy to use.)
Once it was done I painted the floor of the fighting compartment and the turret basket in a steel color (reference was a youtube video), and painted the transmission in a grey-blue color. I’m not sure if there was one correct color; I’ve seen photos with dark grey, blue-grey, green (!), and the cream color the rest of the interior was painted with. Since it gives the model some visual interest I’ve decided to go with the blueish one. After some weathering (washes, chips painted on and some pigments) I’ve added the front plate and the mudguard to the model. This is where it stands now. I will need to add the hull machine gun, vision blocks, ammunition, cables and other small details to the interior, and then I can finally move onto the exterior of the tank. I just realized I misplaced the gun barrel, so I will have to order a metal replacement. It’s a shame, really, because the kit part is perfectly suitable. (This build is looking like a cursed one… not one of those models you feel joy tackling.)