Category Archives: plastic

MiniArt 1/35 M3 Grant MkI. with interior part 5.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Interior is finally done. All the small details painted, finished; everything wrapped up. Turret is closed ( was considering cutting a hole on the side to allow a better view into it, but I decided against it -you can see the details quite nicely through the hatch, and looking in from the turret basket.)

Yeah, there are some fit issues with the top of the hull

The engine deck is a dilemma as I want to leave the engine visible. Perhaps leaving it off, or cutting a hole in it – but then it would look strange as it would be the only place with a cutaway.

Onto the exterior, then. I am so not looking forward to adding all the tiny little bits.

MiniArt 1/35 M3 Grant MkI. with interior part 4.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Well, the hull interior is finished, the exterior is mostly done. (The rest will be added once the tracks are installed, but there is some painting and weathering to be done beforehand.)

The issue with this model is the fit – I am sure if you do 100% correctly, it fits like a glove, however, the tiny mismatches will amplify into half-millimeter gaps by the time you get to the end of the build. It would not be a problem if the model was constructed as a “shake the box” model, where all the parts fall into place with extreme precision. Here the attachment points are small, the alignment of parts is not always simple (or even clear where exactly they go), so by the end you will have issues with fitting. There are some gaps where the hull’s sides attach to the vertical parts, and some more gaps on the top of the engine compartment. More annoyingly, the back plate of the engine compartment is slightly bulging outside, because the engine is pushing it. (We are talking about less than a millimeter. I should have shaved some plastic off the engine but did not see the bulge only after I glued the part in place.)

I bought a Mig oilbrusher (dust) to try and used it inside the interior. I have to say I am impressed. You just dabble it on the surface, then use your solvent of choice (ZestIt for me) to adjust. It looks very dusty with a little effort. (Some more adjustments will be needed after looking at the photo…) Overall, not a bad thing to have, but similar results can easily be achieved in other ways. I bought a grime colored one as well – we will see how it performs. (I tried it on the bottom of the turret basket- it really “pulled together” the paint chips and rust.

Oilbrushers are not much different from “regular” oils. What sets them apart are the color choices and the matte surface/ease of use (these two are related somewhat). On the other hand, they are not as flexible, so it is something you need to decide.

But all-in-all, the interior looks great. Perhaps a bit too dirty on the photos, but I can assure you it does not look as filthy in real life. Now onto the turret interior…

The issue with assembling a complex kit like this is that building, and painting are not easy to plan. It also does not help that the instruction manual does the hull interior first, then finishes the exterior, goes on to the turret interior, and finishes with the turret exterior. It makes planning to paint even more of a nightmare if you decide to follow the suggested order. (Which I did not.)

I tried to paint everything before assembly (tried to judge what I need to paint well ahead), but several parts were left out. So once everything is dry, I am going to get my brush and start painting white manually. Not fun.

There are a lot of small pieces that need to be painted before installing them -the PE grid protecting the radio, ammo box in the turret basket, and lots of other tiny, tiny things. Checking the instruction manual, I have to say the woes do not stop once you are done with the interior -the exterior is full of PE…

Photos are great to check where to correct the paintwork.

MiniArt 1/35 M3 Grant MkI. with interior part 3.

Part 1.

Part 2.

The hull interior is almost ready, with weathering and small details all but added. The engine compartment is a huge sub-assembly on its own; it would be a model by itself, really. The very thin plastic parts are a bane of the modeler here – the same as with any MiniArt models, really.

Well, time to push this build. This is truly a marathon, and it is very easy to become fatigued with the model or losing interest. It is important to keep motivating yourself; a source of motivation for me is to see it coming together. For the longest time I only had some disjointed jumble of plastic, but now I have something that resembles an actual vehicle. Now the trick is not to rush it because, honestly, I am getting a bit tired with it, and getting very keen on starting a new project. Now that I have a Grant-shaped thing, I am going systematically through the building instructions and finishing off smaller steps I skipped. (When building and painting it is often necessary to re-order the suggested building order.) So once the engine is installed I added a bunch of tubing and whatnot -to be painted later.

Once the engine compartment is done, I add the few missing details to the fighting compartment, and start working on the turret…

MiniArt 1/35 M3 Grant MkI. with interior part 2.

Part 1.

I used Mig’s interior wash as a pin-wash for the model. It has a strange, greyish color, but once applied, it actually works very nicely. (You can also use washes made from oil paints, honestly. Use some dark-brownish color, and you will be fine.)

Part one was really a post to show that I was actually doing something. I kept going with painting stuff white (painful process), and building the interior. I was tempted to go by the “halved tank” build, but eventually I settled on being more conventional. There are so many large openings, it would be reasonably simple to show the interior without any major surgery.

I applied the wash to the details (rivets, small parts, etc), then waited a day and used a moistened Q tip (ZestIt), to remove most of it. I managed to completely clean it off some areas, which necessitates the re-application of the wash, and also created some streaks/filters in this process. I used a fine brush and a little piece of sponge to apply chips with Vallejo’s black brown.

The ammunition was painted with AK Interactive’s gold.

The interior still needs a lot of work: further weathering (some rust, some brownish filters, oil patches, some dirt and dust), and a lot of details that are still missing. Yes, I know tanks were not as weathered, rusty and dirty in real life, however I think heavy(ish) weathering helps telling a story and it creates visually interesting stories. The instructions are quite disjointed as far as the different steps go, so right now I am also painting some panels white, to repeat all the process described above… Lots of planning is needed, that is for sure.

So, somewhat better images:

1/35 Zvezda Panzer IV (Sd.Kf.z 161/2) ausf H. part 2

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.)

MiniArt 1/35 M3 Grant MkI. with interior part 1.

There are some interesting pages to check out for reference. There is a great walkaround with some interior photos, and an amazing blog building a sister of this model here. I also took a couple of photos of the tank in Bovingdon; you can see them in this link.

You can see the model itself on MiniArt’s page– useful photos of the parts and the instructions are also published there. (Unfortunately Armorama stopped publishing build reviews of MiniArt kits, and the photos are not exactly useful.)

The build is a typical Miniart one- you have to glue together hundreds and hundreds of tiny parts. I quite like these kits -mileage may vary.  The only advice I can give is to consider it as a marathon, not a sprint.

The only thing I take an issue with is the tracks. The tracks took more time to build than the rest of the model. I have no idea why you could not have link-and-length option as well.

dlb81lu

 

So. First part: interior. Due to the necessity of painting it is difficult to know how much you should be building in one go. I tried to get as much ready as possible before the painting step. This year was not kind to me as far as modelling goes – due to the eye operation and the renovation of our place I had no time to do much work. I mainly fiddled with the tracks during boring meetings (blessings of home office).

Then the countless layers of white. This time I did not use my usual method; I tried AK’s third generation white. Well, the coverage is not adequate.

The photo is not very good – took it under a single light at night as I was pressed for time. And right now it makes no difference, really – just a little visualization of this year’s progress. (Christ…)

So next steps: painting the details, weathering the interior, assembly, and then getting on with the rest of the build. Timewise I think if you are finished the tracks, you are at halfway of the build… I will have to figure out how to display the interior -although the tank has huge doors, so it may be not necessary to cut anything.

Armory/S-models: 1/72 152mm T49 gun tank

I promised I will post finished models as well… so here is number one. (There are others lined up, I promise.)

Well, this is the actual reason for building the Armory Walker Bulldog and the S-models Sheridan… the 152mm T49 gun tank. I always wanted to build one, but did not feel like making the investment to buy two 1/35 scale models; so when Armory came out with their Bulldog, I knew I finally had the opportunity to build one in Braille.

I did not even know this tank existed until it was introduced to World of Tanks. It provided a very interesting gameplay of speed coupled with an inaccurate 152mm derp gun, so it became one of my favorite tank. The hull is the Walker Bulldog‘s, the turret was used later on the Sheridan -so putting the two together will yield you this oddity.

The conversion was quite simple: I had to cut off the turret ring from the S-model turret, and installed rare earth magnets into the models to make the switch easier. (The other option was gluing the turret to the hull.) This way I can use the same hull for two different models.

There are not many photos available of this experimental tank, so I used Citadell’s airbrush ready olive drab -a pretty good looking olive drab color, and easy to spray. I did not want to repaint the Bulldog and the Sheridan in a WoT scheme, because then I would have two tank with the same fake camo pattern (even though I do like the look of these camos). I decided to depict a battered, older Walker Bulldog hull being used as a test-bed for the prototype. This way we would expect a more pristine turret painted sitting on a relatively run-down hull. (I am sure they will repaint the prototype once the trials are over, before presenting it to the top brass, don’t worry.)

I wanted to give a shot to the AK Interactive weathering pencils for this build -dust has always been a weak point for me. These pencils are essentially the same as the aquarell pencils you can get in art stores, but the colors are developed for the modeller.

I will do a review of it, but in general, the first impressions are, well, they are OK. The best way to apply it I found was to pre-wet the surface, and then smear the pencil onto the wet surface. To see a noticable effect, you have to add a LOT – lot more than you would expect. Because of the water, the pigments tend to gravitate towards the edges (see the commander’s cupola on the photo), forming a thin, bright line, but this can be adjusted using a darker wash later on. It allows you to make mistakes, since it is very easy to re-adjust it, or just remove it (just wash it off with water), but this also means you can’t layer the effects using the same method -unless you seal everything with varnish first, which will alter the effect. I think this will be used as a last step adjustment of the overall effect. All in all, they are fine products.

And basically, that is it. Now I just have to pray for a 1/72 Object 416 and a BT-SV…

ACE Model 1/72 AMX-13/75 part 2.

 

Part 1. 

Well, the painting stage was long, protracted and not very well documented; I apologize for that.

 

Regardless: as usual, the model was primed with Vallejo’s acrylic primer, and then I chose a green color that was the closest to the Bolivian scheme I chose from the instructions. (The temptation was high to use a fictional, World of Tanks camo, but this model was for review, so I stuck with a historical one.)

The top of the model got the same green with some yellow added to lighten it up, and form a sort of zenithal lightning.

The canvas was painted with bestial brown by Citadell, and highlighted with buff and bestial brown. The handles were painted in a light green color (the filters lessened the contrast later on). Using sponge and a 00 brush I added some faint paint chips using Vallejo’s German black brown mixed with green on areas where I thought the heavy wear would damage the paint (the thin metal of the tool boxes, around hatches, on the edges, etc.).

After that it was dark brown washes, some highlights added with a fine brush, and then I used a couple of green and brown filters made from oil paints and ZestIt. The dust on the top surfaces and mud on the lower chassis (I did not want to have an overly muddy vehicle) was done using Vallejo’s dust washes and pigments. Again: once applied, you wait a bit, and remove, blend and adjust for a realistic look. Once done I sealed the paint with a flat varnish, and used a silver pencil on the edges to give the model a metallic look.

 

All-in-all, this was a really nice little model with good detail; no complaints at all.

S-models 1/72 M551 Sheridan part 1

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Since I want to build a 152mm gun tank T49 I needed a Walker Bulldog and a Sheridan. The Sheridan was never an issue since S-models had one; I just did not know what to expect. After all, cheap, Chinese model, basic cover art, two models per box… it does not suggest high tech, high detail model to me.

Boy was I wrong. The model is simple, builds up in an hour or so, but the detail is crisp and fine. All in all, a neat little kit with some PE added. It is missing a few details, but since this is a short project I am not fussed about it,

I only needed one Sheridan model for the T49 (the turret is fixed with rare earth magnets, so I can switch it between the Bulldog and the Sheridan), however since I had another model, I decided to build it, too. There are two 152mm gun tubes provided, so I built this with the shorter one. (I have no idea about the difference between the two.)

Now I just need to figure out what camo I want to paint it, so on it goes to the unfinished project pile… (I am working on these half-done models I promise. Apart from the Markgraf most everything is done, just need to do the photos and whatnot.)