OK, after the Mig Ammo filter chipping, I was a bit more careful applying green filter to the model. These filters can be created from oil paints, but it is nice to have pre-mixed colors, and not just the ones you get from the tube. This particular filter is for green vehicles, but you can actually use them for other colors without the modeling police showing up at your door. The previous layers were light brownish colors- closer to the Dunkelgelb, and this layer is a green color -close to the olive green, hence tying the colors of the camo together somewhat, lessening the contrast. (It did work as intended; the model does not look as artificial as before already.)
This is followed by the oil-dot method, which is also a type of filter. This time I do use oil paints and ZestIt to wash most of it down. I am using yellows and greens, which are close to the camo colors -darker on the bottom, lighter on the top. I apply the dots to the surface, then with a moistened, clean wash, I start removing the paint using downward strokes, while constantly cleaning the brush.
The next oil-based step was to apply the paint straight. I used burned umber mostly, and applied it into the darker areas to form a sort of shadow/accumulated, thin mud. The paint was gently spread with a dry brush, to “massage” and feather it; you can create a really nice transition with this method. (Just use a very little amount of paint.)
On the top of the vehicle I used a yellowish hue to achieve fading. I used some dark wash on the weld seams and corners.
Well, this is the end of the oil weathering phase.
OK, so I am pressing ahead with the back of the bus, and had faced some serious issues with the front…
As the manual has you put the bonnet, the radiator, the front of the cab together at very different steps, there will be misalignements. Small problems snowball into larger ones, ending up like this: the front of the cab is pushed back by the back of the engine compartment, the radiator will be pushed front, and the side panels of the engine compartment will not fit.
So I took the whole bloody thing away, and put it back together again, this time as one unit. I also had to shave off about 3mm of the back of the engine compartment (the unit built in step 28) so that it does not put H8 (the front part of the cab) back. This way I managed to fit the side panels of the engine compartment. Victory.
Back to the back.
I built and painted the workbenches. They got a coat of light grey, then a coat of worn effects fluid, followed by dunkelgelb, worn down, applied varnish, applied worn effect fluid, applied Nato black, worn down again. I painted a couple of drawers in red and blue, and then using AK’s old wood I painted chips, scratches, and the wood panels that are visible under the worn paint.
From here on it was the matter of adding some dripping paint (stole the idea), dust, some more paint, and some oil and whatnot which you would expect on a workbench. I kinda like the achieved result.
I also started to fill up the interior; I have to say it is actually a fun thing to do, despite of my earlier reservations.
I realized a sprue was missing from my box, contacted MiniArt, and they sent me a replacement. Great customer service I have to say.
I have a couple of smaller wrenches, etc. left, and then I can close the bus, and start working on the outside. I have to say this build is much more fun than I expected, and I had already had high expectations…
Well, the Ferdinand was almost finished -the tracks were not installed as it made more sense to do after having painted the base color.
I finally bought out the airbrush, and applied Dunkelgelb from Mig Ammo (they have to shades: one until ’44, and a much lighter after ’44 -I used them mixed to give some tonal differences, focusing on the darker shades on the lower part, and putting the lightened layers on top.
While the paint cured, I painted the tracks dark grey, and applied AK’s True Metal Gun Metal on the parts that were subject to constant friction (where the road wheels and drive wheels touch the track links). The rest is treated with a couple of rust washes and a generous amount of dirt and mud.
I also applied mud to the sides of the lower chassis with layers of dust washes from Vallejo and also using Vallejo Thick mud (industrial dust) to give it volume. Once dried I stained some of it with a couple of thin, brownish washes.
This is a pale, greyish colored thick paste, which can be used to give texture to mud. It can also be mixed with different colors (acrylic paints, washes, pigments, etc.) to create darker shades as well. Diluted with water it can be used as a “splashing” mud -a lot of ways to use it. (Cost effective modelling.)
Once all this was dry, I glued the tracks on. The running gear is movable, but I did not have the patience and mindfulness to make the tracks themselves workable -they were fiddly to assemble as it is.
The tracks installed I added the mudgards, and now the model was ready to progress with the camoflage.
I applied silly putty on the top to cover the transparent parts in patches, and then proceeded to paint the green. I wanted to do the green intersecting lines style camo, and for that I should have really started with the green, and used putty to make the lines… but I started with a sand primer (on the top), so went the other way around. It took me about three hours to up the mask up (god bless teams conferences…).
I used a somewhat lightened Model Master olivegrun for the green in several thin layers (to avoid it sweeping under the mask). It was somewhat a stressful moment to take the mask off, but it worked out just well. I quite like the results.
I brush painted the details on top, which were covered by the mask (hatches, etc.) with both Dunkelgelb and Olivegrun, corrected some parts where the mask did not work perfectly, and the first part of the painting was done.
The last step at this stage was to use a dark brown filter by Mig Ammo.
Which led to an interesting discovery: the enamel-based filter dissolves the acrylic paint produced by the same company, leading to an instant chipping/worn paint effect.
I did not plan to do a lot of chipping, but I think I just discovered a new technique for chipping. (Or, alternatively, almost ruined my model. I prefer the former version.)
Next step: weathering this somewhat artificial-looking beast. (By the way, my wife said she liked the way it looked. Out of the blue. Nice…)
Well, I have heard of the “MiniArt brittle plastic” and I think now I found it. The plastic is not very good; the extremely thin parts snap like nobody’s business. (While building the streering mechanism I had to swap a part to an evergreen rod; and sometimes I feel it is easier to fashion a replacement part than trying to shave off the remaining sprue gates from the parts.) There is also quite a lot of flash on the delicate little pieces, which is kind of a throw-back to the older MiniArt kits. Quite a big change from the state-of-the-art models I build lately from them. Add to this the tendency of MiniArt to solve every issue with hair-thin and microscopic parts, and you definitely do not have a perfectly smooth ride. The lower chassis is full of delicate, tiny, thin parts which will not be visible anyhow. (It is tempting to leave them out…) In fact sometimes facing the 1-2mm parts that could have been just molded onto the surface I felt the company was just trying to troll the builder.
The other big issue is, well, the design of the truck itself. Normally you would expect a high degree of precision and some help from the designers to make it as easy as possible to align everything perfectly.
Well, no. First of all, the wheels only attach through a 1 mm thick stub to the wheel hubs. OK, that is not a big issue per se, although it is definitely not a robust way to do things. The main issue is, however, aligning the different parts of the running gear: the axles, the bumper, making sure the actual wheels are paralell and do not tilt… it is just flimsy. You have to work very carefully not to have gross misalignments, and it is really hard to judge how everything will align while you build (see below).
The front wheel attachment points are especially bad: you do not even have a stub to attach anything to the axles. The wheel hub attaches using the mentioned square little pegs to the wheels themselves (you can see it on part A23 below), but the whole setup has hardly any attachment points to the front axle. First, while building the axle you literally have to position the whole steering mechanism in the air when you assemble the axle -the orientation of the parts is only guestimated. After that is finished these tiny, fiddly parts should hold the front wheels. A nice, solid piece of rod going through the wheel assembly would be a bit more reassuring when it comes to robustness and alignment. (See step 14 in the instructions you can download from MiniArt’s page.)
I mean, seriously, MiniArt?
Those curved, horn-like things on the front are going to hold the bumper (which in itself is too thin and delicate, so snaps like a charm when trying to remove it from the sprue), which is fine. However, as I said, orienting these parts is difficult, as there are only shallow indentations where they should be going (just as with everything else), so I ended up with a bit of a misalignement when I finally attached everything. One of the front wheels almost touches the bumper, not to mention only three wheels touched the ground… So I had to take it apart and re-gluing, re-orienting everything, because I did not want to make a lowrider.
Same issue with the engine: the cooling fan, for example, just hangs in the air attached to the engine block through a pipe. Where exactly it should be only becomes clear when the whole thing is installed -not to mention the pipe leading to the radiator does not reach it… These parts should be installed AFTER the bigger subassemblies are in place, so you can actually put them in place in situ, instead of worrying if they fit until you try several steps later.
My advice is to first glue the subassemblies together (front axle with wheels, bumper with holder, etc.), and once they are finished, THEN glue them to the chassis- this way you can do the alignment by eye easily while the glue is setting.
Ideally the model should be designed so that such visual alignment is not necessary (Takom’s Panther comes to mind, or even MiniArt’s T-54/55 series), but this model apparently was not designed with this in mind. It feels like they bit a bit more than they could chew, honestly. I do understand that the designers have to balance detail and buildability, but in this case I feel the balance is a bit off. It is not a deal-breaker, but it is certainly not a pleasant challenge like their D7 dozer was.
One great thing is that the wheels are not given with rubber tires… they are assembled instead from thin disks, resulting in a pretty good representation of the real thing.
The model is quite a smart mix-and-match of MiniArt’s smaller kits: a Russian bus plus a ton of accessory sets make up for a tiny little workshop teeming with detail…
…Which has to be assembled and painted. Individually. Every single little wrench, bag of potato and all.
This will be tedious and time consuming. The results will be worth it for sure, but the work itself… well, I guess I signed up for it.
The periscopes do not fit into their slots -neither on the driver’s hatch, nor on the top of the vehicle. Bummer.
The mantlet (part number A8) of the gun barrel did not fit into place, either; I trimmed about a mm off from the end to be able to slot it into place.
Because the gun is set off-set, and not centered (I had the bright idea to display it off-centered… talk about self-goals), I can’t fit the roof of the fighting compartment into place. The gunsight gets in the way, unfortunately. I strongly suggest centering the gun, or leave the hatches open so that the gunsight can stick out of the tank. I will have to figure something out; maybe display it lifted.
The tank is essentially done apart from the tow cables and a few minor parts. I will glue the fenders in place once I installed the tracks, and call it a day. I am still unsure about what tracks to use as I am not happy with either options, but I would like to stress something. None of these issues are deal-breaking – the model went together rather well. It is quite a spectacular-looking model, and considering that it comes with a full interior it was not a tour de force to build it. I do confess my love to the MiniArt kits with interior, but a T-54 was a much, much more involved process. This model went together surprisingly quickly. The ease of building obviously does come with some compromise with regards to detail. The question obviously is how much detail you can live without. I am happy to say that this level I am fine with -milage may vary. I am sure there will be a 1kg Voyager update set with PE and resin for the people who wish for more. Perhaps an aftermarket set of tracks would be useful but otherwise I am fine with this model out of the box.
The interior was a surprisingly short affair, compared to RFM’s or Takom’s Panthers‘ (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your point of view… right now I am happy it did not take years).
I cut the floor of the fighting compartment to show off half of the electric motor, and the assorted parts; I also did a cut on the panel holding the gun, but still very little can be seen of the engines. I actually took one of them out to display it separately.
The superstructure was finished (a few bits and pieces are missing still) and weathered with AK’s interior wash, oils, chipping done with brush and sponge, and some AK rust pencils.
One issue with the decals: there are no stencils for the interior or the ammunition. It is important in this case since you can see the bottom of the rounds from above. I used RFM’s decals for the Panther ammo to depict the primer. It does improve the overall look of the model.
Based on the few photos available on the driver’s compartment it does not seem to be completely accurate, but it is easy to work with if you want to.
I also ran into the first fit issues…
The horizontal cover of the driving comparment, D2, (where the extra tracklinks are stored is too long. It needs to be filed down so it actually fits inside the hull. I did not remove enough so now it is bent… I think I will install the spare tracklinks after all to hide this shameful fact. (It was not clear when I glued it in place. The frontal part is straight as I had it pressed flat in its place – the back part, however, stayed bent.
At step 33 the assembly of the air filters (those strange flower-like things on both sides of the gun) should not be done in the suggested order. The instructions would have you put the whole filter assembly together, and then install them in place. You should first glue the individual holding legs into place, and then add the top of the filters with the canisters installed.
E18, the panel that holds the gun, and the top of the engines do not have enough clearance… The engines are a mm or so too high, and will not let the panel settle into its place.
The superstructure has a very tight fit… I had to remove the gun, in order to be able to glue the top of the superstructure on -which obviously created fit issues with the gun later on. The gun was heavily modified: I cut off the pin that would keep it in place because once the superstructure is on, it cannot be inserted into the hole on the floor, and the gun shield was thinned somewhat. This allowed me to squeze the gun into place. Since I did not want it to be boring, I made it a slight off-center as if it was aiming at something.
Part D5 (some sort of engine hatch) is too wide to fit between the superstructure and the engine deck. I had to sand it a bit off.
Part J35 should be labelled B35…
I am seriously considering using the flexible, rubber band tracks…
Building and painting as I go. I used AK’s French blue for the greyish/blueish parts, and a black thread for the V belt on the engine. (And lots of rust on the exhausts…)
Touching it up here and there: some red is added to to some fine details to make them pop; it will be a shame to cover it up. I think I will cut the crew compartment’s floor in half to show off what is underneath.
Well, keep going with the interior of the lower hull. The assembly was a joy; most parts are simply dry fitted during painting as they fit really well, and slot into their respective places. Part one went well, part two continues this trend.
I gave a few, subsequently lightening coats of AK’s dunkelgelb to the bottom, and started with the ivory interior color (also AK, then misted over with MRP’s paint to lighten it on the top), using the bottom of the crew compartment as a mask (also some masking tape for the other areas not covered by it.
The gun needs some filler. Which is a bummer.
The suspension is an unique torsion bar system, which is reproduced by Amusing Hobby -at least now I know how it is supposed to work.
Does it work? Kind of.
It is very well designed, but the metal springs/torsion bars are not very strong. The metal springs have a slot on the hull which produces the tension; it is not very difficult to install them. (First I thought the metal wire hanging out of the suspension units are leftovers, but no; they do have a role.) Some of the units do have a “spring” to it, but most are quite flaccid. It does move, though.
Onto painting details – that is the topic of the next post.
I never really liked the way the Ferdinand looked- the JagdPanther had a much sleeker outline. However, it was a very intruiging vehicle due to Ferdinand Porche’s unique solution for powering this monster, which in itself made it a must to have a model with an interior.
There are only a few illustrations available of the interior of the tank online:
There is, however, a book available if you fancy buying one (and understand German -although the photos alone would be enough I suspect).
Until now there was only one option for interior: Jaguar’s set, which only consisted of the fighting and the driving compartments -not the interesting (for me at least) bits.
It is well-worth watching the Tank Museum’s Tank Chat of this tank destroyer -although regrettably they did not climb into it.
Here are some photos I took of this vehicle.
Anyhow. I decided to start this model out of the stash. The model, in general, looks simple and easy to build, despite of the complex interior – a great news indeed after the previous tribulations. The part number is suprisingly low for a kit like this, which, after the RFM Panther, is definitely welcome news… There are some annoying ejector pin marks, however. (See photos below.)
Things to keep in mind: painting and building are very interconnected. The instructions will not take into consideration the fact that several parts will be needed to be painted together, or just the opposite, need to be painted separately… I already made a couple of mistakes of gluing parts into place without thinking about how to paint them later on. This is a normal thing with all the complex models; it is up to the modeller to modify the sequence as they see fit.
The decals leave something to desire: there are no decals for the interior or the ammunition. I suspect I will just use Verlinden’s interior set, and the leftovers from the RFM/Takom Panthers for the ammunition -whomever can read the stencils can complain they are not correct for 88mm.
The engines do not have V-belts; they can be added with very little effort. If you want to do so, here is a good page for reference.
I really like that Amusing Hobby offered an alternative for tracks: either individual track links, or if you can’t be bothered with the tedium of assembly, a flexible rubber-band-like option. There is a jig provided for assembly but it is not that easy to make the tracks workable. The point of contact between the track links is really tiny, and it is very easy to get glue where it should not be,
Interior overall has a good fit, and it is well designed; so far I am really happy with the model. The fit is so good some parts are held in place firmly without glue. A lot of the parts on the photos are only dry-fit, not glued -except for those two cylinders behind the driving compartment, which I unfortunately glued in. They will need to be painted with a brush in situ.