Saturday, 30 December 2017

E-75 tank destroyer and stuff I've finished this year

This will be my final post for the year and the Hurricane, Leopard, E-75 tank destroyer and ZiL-131 all are still on the bench as although I was hoping to finish at least one of them, the illness I had earlier this month came back and I've spent the Xmas holiday recovering.
Anyway this weekend I'll be concentrating on the E-75 as construction is nearly finished...or it was until I test fitted the track and wheel assemblies.
I like to keep them as separate assemblies as it makes painting easier however for some reason they seem to have shrunk and just would not fit even though I left them to set on the hull. I tried to stretch them a bit by dunking the assemblies in very hot water but all it did was loosen a couple of links so I broke them again and fitted an extra track link in each side. Some of the wheels had come loose but because of the extra link it's thrown out the spacing for the ones still attached so I removed them all and cleaned off the superglue that was used to hold them in place.
I must say this area has been problematical since I did the tracks as the VERY short axle stubs on the kit, coupled with the loose-fitting resin wheels have proved troublesome all along so I'll fit the wheels after everything has been painted;

Some you win, some you lose....

As for 2017 I surprised myself by actually finishing six models although admittedly the S-3 Viking WAS started a few years earlier;

So there it is, the end of another year! Again I've bought more kits than I'll ever need but I really don't care, I enjoy getting them. 
I haven't a CLUE what will be on the bench next year (apart from what's on it now) as I don't really make plans and generally go with the flow with whatever grabs my attention.
Happy new year people and thanks as always for taking an interest in what I do. See you next year!

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

E-75 tank destroyer

I've been away from the bench for a week or so due to illness but because I'm feeling better I decided to make some progress on the E-75 tank destroyer. Like the E-50 Heimdall I built earlier this year I've decided to add the armour plating over the engine grills that were found on late-war panzers, Then I thought of the Panthers found in Italy that had additional spaced armour welded to the top of the turrets so using paper templates I marked out where it would fit on the roof of the E-75....of course it would have been so much easier if I had thought of it BEFORE sticking everything on the roof but never mind.
I made the templates and transferred the shapes to 0.20 thou styrene sheet then cut them out, .75mm rods cut to 2mm lengths were glued in various places underneath and left to set.
The engine grill plates were just rectangles and circles again cut from .020 thou styrene sheet (or plastic card for the purists out there) however the .75mm rods were inserted into pre-drilled holes, this way it makes painting easier as they will be all added last;

One thing that I didn't feel looked right was the raised detail on top of the gun mantlet so this was removed and Mr Surfacer applied to re-texture it. I'll probably need to put a couple of coats on as when I last looked you could still see the remains of the raised detail;

Another thing I'll be adding (although you'll probably won't be able to see it) is the lower part of the periscope sight in the commanders cupola and yes I'm basing it on a submarine periscope just for the hell of it :o)

The aim is to actually get it to turn when I've somehow managed to fit it into the roof of the superstructure.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Airfix 1/48 Hurricane Mk I

After putting the decals on I had a slight problem with the upper wing roundels in that a raised detail on the wing prevented the decals bedding down and I had to slice them with a scalpel. This left noticeable marks on the decals so after a think I ordered some masking film and when it arrived I used the measurements taken previously and cut out the roundels with a compass cutter.
The next problem was actually matching the paint to the decals so after some experimenting I mixed Tamiya XF-17 Sea Blue with XF-8 Blue and XF-1 Black until it matched (to my eye at least) the roundels. The areas were sprayed and it looked a very near match but then I sprayed some Alclad Aqua Gloss to seal the paint and the rest of the decals and it looked perfect!

I'm very pleased with that! The next job is to paint the fin leading edge red then I can start weathering the model and hopefully I'll have it finished by Christmas...although I'm not saying WHICH Christmas. :o)

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

E-75 Tank Destroyer

The Hobbyboss tracks finally arrived the other day so I spent a few hours removing the links from the sprues and cleaning them up before fitting them to the model. This was trickier that normal as the axles are very short on the kit and the Paper Panzer Productions resin wheels are a loose fit as well as the sprockets and idlers so fun times all around. 
The Hobbyboss tracks are not that bad although purists might dismiss them but for my purposes (and substantially cheaper than Fruil, Spade Ace and Modelkasten) they will do.
The links are actually handed although no mention is made about this plus on every sprue there are two triangular parts of which I have absolutely no idea what they are for.
After cleaning up the links I glued a load together (one side at a time) and left them to set for about 30-40 minutes, the track was then wrapped around the drive sprocket and rear idler. There were a few more links needed to join the track and using super glue and in some cases wire to hold a couple of links together the right side was left to set while I proceeded to stick all the links together for the opposite side. Again after being left to set the process described above was repeated and left to set.

Looking at it now I may have set the height of the axles too low so the model is sitting a bit high but fuck it, it's a what-if so who cares? The wheels and tracks are now off the model and set aside as sub-assemblies which makes painting easier.
 To update a couple of other models I have on the go, the Hurricane needs the upper wing roundels spraying as I needed to cut the decals to get them to bed down around a raised detail on each wing. This will be done using masking film and in hindsight it would have been easier to have painted them in the first place; the Leopard needs the on-vehicle equipment painting before moving onto the weathering and the ZiL-131 needs spraying in the base colour.
Also I managed to cut my finger quite badly when removing some detail on the back of the E-75 while using a chisel blade;

 I was thinking at the time that I should really move my finger while cutting the part off but left it a micro-second too late and ended up running the blade up my finger. Idiot!
Don't try this at home kidz! 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

E-75 'Eber' tank destroyer

Some more progress has been made on the model as I've added the kit-supplied etched grenade screens, tools and engine compartment cover. Also to add some interest to the engine deck I cut off the breather pipes that were moulded on and replaced them with styrene rod with the etch bits coming from the Voyager detail set, I also added a couple at the front of the deck.
One problem I had with the resin superstructure was that on one side there was quite a noticeable 'indent' on the edge and even trying to pack it out when gluing the superstructure to the hull didn't make much difference. Although it's a moulding fault I should have inspected the part better before I bought the conversion set as I could have swapped it there and then. Anyway looking at the model it was bugging me;

To hide it I came up with the idea of making a tube for the gun cleaning rods as found on Panthers and Jagdpanthers so I cut some 5mm diameter tube to a length of 58mm, made some end caps and added a handle either end from sheet brass bent to shape;

That hides the defect quite nicely! Here are some more progress shots, I'm waiting on the Hobbyboss King Tiger tracks to arrive so in the meantime I'm doing what I can to the model;

I've added grab handles to the engine bay doors and hatches on the superstructure, the brass tool clamps are from the kit as I couldn't face using the Voyager ones LOL. On my days off I'll make a start on the rear hull.

Friday, 17 November 2017

E-75 'Eber' tank destroyer

Some good progress has been made on this so far but rather boringly I have to stop as I'm working this weekend. The wheels are just fitted for show as the tracks will be glue onto them and when set the whole lot will be taken off as sub assemblies.
I masked off the engine deck and roof today and sprayed the interior black, which is something I really should have done BEFORE I glued the superstructure to the hull.

It's worth pointing out on the Trumpeter kit the slight sink mark either side of the rear hull that needs filling, I did this after filling all the location holes for the tools;

This is where I am so far;

I do like these 'what-ifs' as they give you freedom from historical accuracy which I need from time to time as I can get bogged down in research.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

E-75 'Eber' tank destroyer

I was at Scale Model World recently and one of my purchases was the Paper Panzer Productions E-50/E-75 'Eber' conversion. This is a TOTAL 'what-if' so if this genre doesn't appeal to you then look away now.....for the rest of you who are still interested this depicts a tank destroyer with a superstructure bolted to the hull in a similar fashion to the Sturmtiger. The conversion set has a new superstructure, gun mantlet, commanders cupola, aluminium barrel, various vision devices including periscopes, a brass aerial and copper wire. No instructions are included but it's simple enough to work out where the parts go.
I got the Trumpeter E-75 kit out of the stash just to see how the superstructure fits to the hull;

Then I started to clean up a couple of parts (just for a look you understand) but then after a couple of hours I seem to have glued the hull together.....oops!

I s'pose you can safely say this is my next project then! I'll be putting aftermarket tracks on this as the kit ones are crap (and too short) but after looking at the prices of Fruil, Spade Ace, Modelkasten etc I'll use the Hobbyboss ones for a King Tiger that I put on my E-50 with the radar turret as they are good and very cheap. I'll use Paper Panzer Productions roadwheels and exhausts as I already have them in stock. I also have an etch set somewhere but I'm buggered if I can find it at the moment.
Anyway back to the conversion and the superstructure needed a minimal clean up, mainly around the front where it sits on top of the Trumpeter hull. The hole for the commanders cupola was opened up but already I've made a boob as I should have really sprayed the interior black first before gluing it all together. I've had to pack the mantlet underneath with filler as there was a gap between it and the Trumpeter hull, also I'll coat the whole thing with Mr Surfacer to add texture to it.
I'm a bit naughty really as I have other things on the go but when you feel the need to build something you have to go with the flow.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Airfix 1/48 Hurricane Mk I

YAY I got the stickers on tonight;

I need to sort out a couple of areas where the decals haven't sat down properly and paint the fin leading edge red, trying to match the decal. Speaking of which I *was* going to actually paint the red segment completely but instead I cut the white strip out of the decal.
This will not be any masterpiece to say the least but I'll be happy just to get it done and off the bench.
By the way try calling decals *stickers* at a model show and see how long it is before you get thrown out :o)

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Airfix 1/48 Hurricane Mk I

The masking tape finally came off the model today and although it needs touching up in a couple of places I'm quite pleased with it;

I photocopied the painting instructions and adjusted the size (it was 88% I think) to match the models dimensions. Masking tape was laid onto a sheet of styrene and the print out laid out on top then using a scalpel I cut around the camouflage pattern, making sure I had cut through the tape.
This worked more or less for the wings but near-as-dammit worked for the fuselage. After touching up the areas needed I'll get a coat of gloss varnish on it ready for the decalling.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Getting things done!

I had a productive couple of hours at the bench tonight as the ICM 1/35 ZiL-131 had the final parts glued on and washed down prior to painting, I made masks for the national insignia on the Airfix 1/48 Hurricane so that's ready for painting plus I've finally decided what to do with my Takom 1/35 Leopard and added just two maple leaf decals on the turret sides;

The Leopard needs to be finished soon otherwise it will become another shelf-queen. Since the Takom kit decals proved inaccurate and had that 'milky' look to the carrier film, I've been searching the photographs I have for an alternative Leopard to match what I had on the bench. This being the case and wanting to get the model finished I've decided on one which just has the maple leaf insignia on each side of the turret, Canadian Leopards don't seem to have many markings from what I can see anyway.
The Hurricane masks were done by measuring the kit decals with a vernier/caliper gauge and noting the diameter measurements on the instructions. Using a calculator (because I am useless at maths) I halved the measurements to find the radius and set the vernier to them then adjusted my compass cutter to those measurements.
The compass cutter was then used to cut out the masks for the roundels and these were placed into position on the model, the fin was masked off using strips of masking tape too.
The ICM ZiL-131 was quite an enjoyable build and full marks to them for the really good fit of parts. You could go to town on this model but detailing the fuel tanks, adding some pipework to the radiator and replacing the arms for the drivers mirrors was enough for me, the latter was only done because one of the kit items broke.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

ICM 1/35 ZiL-131

I've made pretty good progress (for me anyway) and the chassis is now built. I wanted to turn the wheels to add a bit of interest however the steering is fixed straight ahead only, so some surgery was required;

The steering knuckles were removed as shown in the bottom picture then drilled at the back using a 3.5mm bit. Two sewing pins with the round plastic ends were cut down in length and holes were drilled either end of the axle for these to go in;

The insides of the steering knuckles were packed out with two small pieces of 0.20" styrene as the depth is too much. The knuckles were then glued into place and the steering rack and angled arm on the chassis side were modified to suit the turned axle;

I'm quite happy with that as turned front wheels add to the look of a vehicle.
A couple of points to note so far in the build and that is part A48 actually fits HERE;

Not where it says on the instructions. Also I've found the plastic is pretty fragile in this kit which makes cutting smaller or thin parts off the sprues tricky as a couple of them have broke.
Bearing this in mind and noting the cab windscreen frame was attached in three places I used a razor saw to remove it from the sprue and the excess was removed with wet and dry paper.
The completed chassis;

Wheels are by Def Model. Detail-wise this is as far as I'm going with the chassis as I don't want to spend any longer on it, I just felt that the fuel tanks are pretty prominent and needed some TLC.

Friday, 27 October 2017

ICM 1/35 ZiL-131 truck

I was up in the loft the other day sorting out stuff when I found a Def Model set for the ICM ZiL-131 so in between the Leopard and Hurricane I decided to build this for shits and giggles. The intention was to build it straight out of the box.....aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand then I found some piccies online via Prime Portal (I know I just had to look) so I've added some detail because I can't help myself;

The chassis is made up of multiple parts so the top picture shows the weight I put on it to keep it flat and straight. This is essential with multi-part chassis's otherwise it leads to fit problems later on and of course wonky wheels.
Generally the kit is OK so far with a good fit of parts however there are pin marks and sink marks here and there which need attention, flash is minimal with just seam lines needing to be removed on parts.
This will be another ongoing project so there is no time frame in mind, it just keeps my mind occupied.