Tag Archives: medium tank

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:

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.

 

The tracks are horrid; check out the instructions:

Click to access 35217_instr.pdf

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.

Sharkit’s AMX CDC -AMX Chasseur de Char 1/72

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I had not known about this vehicle before it was introduced into the World of Tanks online arcade game. In the game it is a medium tank, but in reality (as much as we can discuss reality about a vehicle only existing on paper) it was planned to be a tank destroyer. The AMX CDC is a unique looking vehicle, so I was pretty excited to see it being issued in 1/72. From now on I’ll refer to the vehicle as CDC (or “tank”)…

A little background

The French armament industry was the second largest producer of tanks before WWII broke out. After the war the industry was in ruins, and the French army had no real modern tank in its inventory. Some clandestine tank development was pursued during German occupation, so it was not surprising that immediately after the liberation of France tank design started in earnest. Wisely decision makers realized that it was important to pursue development in order to retain the talent and expertise, and also to experiment with new ideas; the less-than-stellar designs of this period were only “placeholders” until “real tank design” could start. The immediate post war designs were built on pre-war French experience (the ARL-44 is a good example), and also borrowed a lot from the German heavy tank designs.

In 1945 the AMX company produced the AMX M4 armed with a 90mm gun. This tank was essentially a French Tiger II, and not a very good one at that: the vehicle was huge, lightly armored (so that the weight could be kept low), and had overlapping road wheels which were quite impractical. The power plant was a French variant of the Maybach HL295. Two prototypes were built for testing but they were deemed unsuccessful.

The AMX Chasseur de Char was designed on the basis of the AMX M4 chassis using a redesigned turret and non-overlapping road wheels. The tank not only existed only on paper, but the armor was essentially paper as well: 30mm frontal armor, 20mm all around armor, which explains why it was only 34 tonnes. Since there’s not much information available on this vehicle, let’s move on to the model itself.

In-game the tank is not a very good one. On paper it looks like a fast sniper, but the gun is rubbish; save your money, and only get the model. Or buy a Liberte 🙂


The kit comes in a sturdy cardboard box with a painting of the vehicle on the front. The instruction manual is a sheet of paper with the parts numbered, and a computer-generated rudimentary assembly diagram; it’s perfectly sufficient for the purpose. (Many resin kits don’t even come with instructions, so that’s always a plus.)

It has relatively few parts; the suspension arms and the road wheels take up most of your time assembling this model. The tracks come in sections which need to be warmed up before shaping them onto the idlers and the drive wheels. One issue with the model is, however, the texture of the resin. The model was obviously designed by computer and printed out using a 3D printer; the faint printing lines are still visible on the model. It’s quite a choir to sand them off.

The hull comes in two parts: a bottom and a top part. The fit is not very good, so some dry fitting and filling will be necessary. The detail is sparse, but it is a paper-panzer (or paper-char?) after all; there’s not much available on how it would have looked like. One thing that is prominent is the engine deck: it does resemble the Tiger II’s. Compared to the available drawing, the engine deck on the model is shallower. The drawing shows a much steeper angle towards the back.

The turret is also a simple assembly: the base fits into the turret shell comfortably. The gun is straight (not always the case with resin models), and, interestingly, the muzzle brake is mounted vertically, instead of the “traditional” horizontal position. I’m not sure why the designers felt they needed to put the muzzle break on this way: gun would have kicked up way more dust when fired, making the tank more visible and blinding the gunner even more, (Probably). I’m not an engineer or an expert, so take this with a grain of salt.)

The drive wheels have good detail, but they are very thin; it’s quite easy to break the resin while fitting the tracks. Since the teeth do not fit into the holes on the tracks without enlarging those, I simply elected to shave off the teeth that are in contact with the tracks. The road wheels are quite nicely detailed with all the bolt heads and ridges; the holes for the suspension will need to be enlarged, though, with a drill.

The position of road wheels is not marked on the hull; you will have to decide how low or high these wheels should sit before you glue the suspension to the hull. The positions of the return rollers are not marked, either. Looking at the drawing available they should be directly above the second, third and fourth road wheels.

The assembly stage took me about 3 hours -that with all the cleaning, filling and sanding necessary. You will need a fine saw in order to cut off the pouring blocks (and, as always, make sure resin dust is not dispersed in the process- use wet sanding/sawing methods). I have used green stuff to fill in the gaps between the hull halves; it served both as filler and an additional method of fixing the main parts together.

The tracks went on surprisingly easy (I find installing resin tracks a stressful exercise).


Painting
The model was primed with black, and then I used my best attempt at the French bluish-green color from World of Tanks, mixing Tamiya light see grey, medium blue and Caliban green by Citadel. The color was modulated with a bluish filter.

Once the paint dried I mixed up a 3% ammonia solution, and wore away some of the paint using the Windex chipping method. It’s a very simple method of creating worn away paint: wet the surface of the model with this solution, and using a stiff brush wear off some of the paint. Important to note that it only works with Tamiya paints. This method creates much more subtle abrasions and chafing than most of the other methods I know.

Once I was satisfied with the results, I sealed everything with varnish, and added some leftover decals from the Trumpeter B1 kit. The decals were sealed with another layer of varnish. I wanted to recreate the striped winter camo pattern from World of Tanks. Since the whitewash is pretty faded on that tank, I used Tamiya’s weathering master (the one that looks like a make-up set) to add white pigments onto the surface.

I’ve used Tamiya’s weathering stick (mud and sand) to make the lower chassis a bit dirtier. I bought these on a sale at Hobbycraft a couple of months ago, but had not really experimented with them yet. I did not apply the product directly; I dabbed them gently using a wet brush, and then dabbed this brush onto the surface of the model. Before it dried it was quite easy to adjust the effect with a wet brush.

I also added some tools I found to the front (my spares box is running low on 1/72 tools…), and added some Jerry cans to the back. The edges of the turret and hull were treated with metallic pigment using the same Tamiya make-up set.

Overall the tank is not a challenging build. It is not very detailed, and it’s a simple assembly; even for beginners. The price is somewhat high, but this is always the case with limited run resin kits; the question is if the uniqueness of the model is worth it for the you. For me it definitely did.