Monday, September 18, 2006

A little progress

Here are a couple of shots of my current progress on the M4A3. Originally I was going to do Cool Studs #4, but I discovered that you can't build it out of the box with DML's parts. So, I've decided to just build an M4A3 from lat 1944, "bulge" vintage. I used the Zaloga method and tried to vary the monotone od paint job normally worn on US Shermans, using several shades of a mixture of Tamiya OD and Dark Yellow. The lower hull got a coat of Tamiya JSDF Brown. Then gave the model a coat of Tamiya clear with a drop or two of Dark Yellow. I then gave the tracks a coat of Vallejo Dark Grey, painted the base of the gun barrell Tamiya Flat Silver, and then put some stars decals on using some suerscale decals I had laying around. Finally the model got another coat of Tamiya clear with a little Dark Yellow. Next up filters and pin washes!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

DML M4A3 Sherman

I've been delinquent again with the blog. As usual there are other things occupying my time. Fortunately I have been able to squeeze in a little model building.

Here are a couple of pictures of my latest project, DML's M4A3 VVSS (76). It's a beautiful kit, and a pleasure to build. I’m building it as “Cool Suds”, an M4A3 operated by the 761st Tank Battalion in Europe. I'm trying to build it out of the box. However, I might add a few after market stowage items. I also corrected the VVSS units. I read on the braille scale message board about the problem, after Al Boone the resident Shermanaholic pointed out a few correctable problems with DML's new M4A1 Normandy kit. The fixed portion of the VVSS units are just a little to short, showing too much of the roller arms. I glued a piece of evergreen on, added a few bolts, and the problem was fixed.

I did add a little cast texture to the turret and transmission housing using Mr. Surfacer 1000, and I’ve hollowed out the headlights for some MV lenses. I haven’t added the photo-etch yet, but that comes in the box.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The figures are done....

...almost. I still have a little touch up painting to do, and I need to give a few more light coats of Dullcoat.

The figures are from CP-Models,from their TQD line, TQD018 Heer 1936-43 marching summer infantry. I broke the barrel off one of the machine guns, and have to fabricate a new one. The figures are painted with Vallejo Acrylics, with highlights and shadows. Then I used some diluted Gamesworkshop Black and Brown inks.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Ok...It's been a while

I just haven't had the time or the inclination to blog lately (four months)! Well I have taken a little time to devote to modeling...but not much!

I felt my T-34 was looking far too dark, so I lightened it with successively lighter mixes of Tamiya German Grey and Buff. Once I got it good and light I started on the weathering. One of the member of WAC mentioned a weathering technique were you mix pastel powder in water and paint it on. Once it's dry you brush the excess off, leaving the dust settled in the cracks. I decided to give it a try...I used some weathering powders that I got at a train shop. I really wish I had taken a picture after the pastel dried, because I thought I ruined the model. It looked terrible. Worst yet the powders stuck like glue and wouldn't brush off. I pulled out tooth brush, and still it wouldn't budge. Finally I resorted to a little water on the tooth brush, and viola, the powder started to come off. Overall it looks pretty good. I still have a little more work to do, but I'm pretty satisfied with the results.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Let the painting begin.

I was able to get a little painting done today. This is just the base coat. I gave the tank an overall coat of straight Tamiya Field Grey XF65, then sprayed JSDF Brown on the lower half of the tank. Finally I finished off with a light coat of Buff XF57. I'm basically copying Steve Zaloga's BT-7A paint job from his Barbarosa 1941 diorama. I'm following his article in Military Modelling Vol 35, No 13 like it was a recipe.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Early Birthday present

The other weeks CP-Models was kind enough to sponsor a contest on the Missing-lynx Braille Scale discussion group. I was lucky enough to win the contest and got to choose 2 sets of figures from their 1/72 scale line. The figures are beautifully sculpted by Tony Boustead [I think Tony did both sets] and have incredible detail. I plan to use the Summer marching infantry with the T-34, so stay tuned for more details.

TQDo12 Med. theatre FJ jäger marching half squad inc. MG34

TQD017 Heer 1936-43 marching summer infantry w MG34

The tracks

As I mentioned previously, I'm using the tracks from the model 1941 kit. They are made of Dragon's DS glueable styrene. I'm using Tamiya extra thin cement to glue the tracks. They are a tight fit on the tank, resulting in slightly bowed tracks around the return and drive rollers. I tried stretching them, but you have to be careful because they do not stretch evenly. Still you can get the tracks to settle down nicely on the wheels.

Here I'm using toothpicks to increase the amount of sag between the road wheels. It just takes a small application of glue where the tracks meet the wheels, and the sag remains.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ready for paint!

Ok I think I've got everything done assembly wise. I've added the lift hooks to the turret; I used .02 x .04 evergreen strip to make them. I also added a little subtle [hopefully] texture to the weld beads. I just hit them with a little liquid cement, then added texture to the softened plastic using a tiny screw driver. I also noticed that I had somehow broken off the optical sight from the turret roof. Not to worry though, as the model 1941 kit I borrowed the tracks from also donated the optical sight...and as an added bonus the sight has the cover removed. Next comes the painting.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Dragon T-34 Model 1940

I've decided to just go a head and build this model "out of the box." Well at least as out of the box as I can stand to build it. I haven't seen too many people actually build this kit, but I've seen a lot of posts as to it's fit and finish. Over all I'm very happy with the kit. While it's far from perfect, there is a real "diamond in the rough" here. There is a lot of detail, some of it simplified or slightly out of scale, but the detail is there.

I've attached nearly all of the kit parts prior to starting painting. The only thing I left off is the bow machine gun, and head lights, both would likely be broken off during painting. I've drilled out the the lightening holes in the return rollers, and drive rollers.

Dragon made a minor mistake on the spare fuel cells on the side of the tank. All four fuel cells are molded identically, rather than making two sets of mirror imaged fuel cells. You can tell buy the straps that would attach the fuel cells to the side of the tank. Dragon would have you put right side on upside down, but that makes the straps look wrong to my eye. Anyway, I didn't catch it till too late, and ended up installing the right side straps too far forward. I doubt anyone will really notice anyway, but I would have prefered to sand the the straps off and put more delicate ones.

Here you can see I had to add rivet detail to the back of the turret. The detail was originally there, but I sanded it off trying to get a better fit to the rear turret armor plate. I also added small pieces of evergreen styrene (.02 x .04) to fill in a gap by the rear fenders and upper hull glacis. I used the glacis from the T-34 model 1941 rather than scribing the engine acess hatch into the glacis from the one included in the kit. Sure it was easy to scribe the hatch myself, but I was going to steal the DS tracks from the model 1941 kit anyway. I was planning on ordering some ACE or OKB photo etch tracks, butit turns out that it's a lot cheeper to buy another T-34 model 1941! I tried going the Dragon cares route, they care, they just sent me another set of theblack vinyl tracks to replace the twisted unuseable ones included in the kit. I'll jut use them on the UM T-34 1940 L-11 cast turret.

Here you can see the weld bead detail that I added to the turret. The real welded turret of a T-34 model 1940 has a nice neat raised weld bead visible where the side plates are welded to the front armor plate. Dragon has molded the turret accurately, but doesn't give you the weld bead. Dragon also includes a nice tow cable. The included metal cable just needs to be twisted a little tighter between you fingers to give it a good look.

I also added the two louvers, made from some evergreen strip, to the engine intake. You need something there, otherwise you'll be looking into a big hole if you use the photoetched screen.

...and speaking of that screen, here is proof that it actually fits. I'm not sure how Dragon wants you to install it. They've molded a nice lip on the underside of the plastic part which the screen fits into nicely. Unfortunately, it looks terrible that way because Dragon included a raised lip on the top of the plastic part, making the screen look too recessed. On the other hand, if you install the screen on to of the plastic part you still have to deal with the raised lip molded on the top of the kit part. My solution was relatively simple. Sand off the raised lip on the top of the plastic part, and trim the lip off the underside of the plastic part. Viola the screen fits perfectly!

Sorry again

It's been a while since I posted anything, but I don't have any excuses. I just haven't felt like blogging lately. I haven't done much work on Tiger 100, but the books that I ordered from Avia Press have finally arrived. I've been pouring over the photos, and have found a few things that I have to change, but more on that later.

I've also been working on a few aircraft for this years IPMS DC contests. We're only doing 4 contests again this year. So hopefully I can finish a few things. In the mean time I've been accumulating quite a few kits lately (don't tell the wife I promised her I would keep buying without a little purging also), and decided that I should post some in box previews.

So.....First up is Dragons T-34/76 model 1940. It's a pretty nice kit, but has a few flaws. The box has a nice painting of the T-34 in combat. What's in the box builds into T-34 model 1940 produced by Factory 183, during the winter of 1940-41, at least according to what I can tell using Model Fan Encyclopedia No5 "T-34 Stalin's War-Horse." What makes it a model 1940? As near as I can tell
an early style welded turret, L-11 gun, a single large hatch, with commanders sight, riveted hull bow, lateral box type fuel cells, early engine deck, rectangular engine hatch (missing), solid rubber rimmed road wheels, and 1940 plate type tracks.

The lower hull looks pretty good, but the front armor looks a little wavy. Nothing a little Mr Surfacer 500 won't fix though.

Next the upper hull, also nicely molded. The front fenders have reinforcing straps, which according to my references, will have to go.

The next tree has the turret and upper hull details. Nice detail, and a minimum of flash. The made a pretty big goof by not scribing the engine access panel into the back glaciss. The funny thing is the remembered the hinges for the access door!

Then comes the turret details. The turret hatch is huge you'll easily be able to see into the turret if you leave it open. Fortunately Dragon has included the gun breach and a seat, but more detail will have to be added.

The wheels use Dragon's new "slide mold" technology that is suppose to allow for greater detail, and ease assembly. It works good for early T-34, there aren't so many holes that have to be drilled out, but it will be a major headache on their T-34/76 model 1942 with all those holes in the main wheels.

The tracks are my least favorite part of the kit. They are nicely detailed soft vinyl, but extremely wavy along their the point that they are unusable. I haven't decided yet whether to steal the "DS" tracks from the T-34 model 1941, or get some of the new OKB photo-etch initial production tracks.

Dragon also provides the option of using a photo-etch intake screens, and metal cables. I've heard that the screen doesn't fit, which would be a shame, but it might only be a problem on their T-34 model 1942 kits.

Finally you get a very nice decal sheet. I think it's of dubious value for this kit, since I have yet to find a picture of a T-34 model 1940 with any marking on it, but will be useful with later model T-34's.

That's it, but there will be many more to follow.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I told you I've been busy buying.

Dragon has been pretty prolific, pumping out one kit after another. So next up is another Dragon kit; this time the Jagdpanzer IV L/70. It's one of many kits based on the Panzer IV chassis. Hasegawa released several Jagdpanzer IV's the last few years. Dragon's are far more complex.

The lower hull is nicely molded, with the exception of some annoying holes that will need to be filled.

Tools that aren't molded to the fenders! Now that's something I like to see.

The running gear is highly detailed, with lots of parts.

Dragon includes spoked and solid road wheels, just like on the reel tank. The road wheels are molded using Dragon's slide mold technology, saving the builder from having to glue the road wheels together. The faces of the spoked wheels are separate pieces, which makes painting the rubber rims much easier.

The tracks are Dragon's DS styrere, which are glueable and paintable. Detail is pretty good, but I might replace them with some link and length tracks from Revell's Panzer IV.

A nice surprise is the turned metal barrel. I hope Dragon has these in more kits.

Decals are by Cartograph. There are markings for 5 Jagdpanzer IV's