I finished most of the assembly. The design of the digger part is, well, sub-optimal. The main issue is with the frame holding the wheel (a horizontal part going across the diameter of the wheel on the first photo). It is supposed to be assembled from three different sections per side (four parts altogether), and the gluing surface is tiny. You essentially have to lay out the plastic parts next to each other and glue them together where they touch. While keeping the whole thing steady and also straight in three dimensions with a gigantic wheel in the middle of it all (steps 32-36).
I built a rig using blue tac and books to do so. Applied glue to one side only first, waited until the glue has somewhat set and the parts were reasonably firmly attached to each other (but remained still flexible somewhat). I positioned the whole thing on the rig, set it up correctly, and waited overnight for the glue to set completely. Then I attached the parts for the other side. Frustrating.
Painting at last. I decided to do the lower chassis separately – the first time, really. (I know people do that: finish the two halves separately, add the mud and whatnot, and then mate the two together once done.)
I primed the whole thing with a light grey primer, and then added black on the lower parts, and where shadows should be. Then I misted AK’s third generation Russian green in three thin layers, allowing the black to show through. Again, this is also a first: I normally use a dark primer base so pre-shading is going the other direction: from dark to light.
I also worked on the tracks and the lower chassis; it took a while, but this is the problem with individual link tracks… one of the least enjoyable part of model building.
I also lost a wheel, the genius I am. I swapped two wheels with the MiniArt T-54-based APC, and realized I lost one of them. This kit gives the rubber rims separately, and I wanted to depict the MiniArt APC as a wreck. Now I have one wheel less…