Saturday 31 August 2019

Belgian Leo Turret Complete

That's the turret all finished after adding the search light & new cable from thick lead wire. The turret grab handles have all now been fixed in place and braces added from plastic card. Finally some leopard club bungs and chain were used on the mantlet openings.  The rear lights have also been added to the rear hull so it's onto the tracks now.

Friday 30 August 2019

Belgian Leo Turret Details

Today has been full on working on the turret especially the turret basket. This needs an awful lot of clean up and the bars are very thick. I could have made a new one from plastic rod but life's far too short for that! 
I did add and improve the details though replacing the plastic storage tubes with ones from aluminium tubing, plastic card and spare etch from the stash. Likewise better latches were made up using spare etch parts. Just a little bit of putty and clean up is needed on the basket join surfaces once cured.

The wind and pressure sensors have also been fitted to the front of the turret, these are not called out in the instructions but are present on sprue "I" in the kit. A cover will be made up for the round wind sensor as in real life this is an open cage like feature not a solid lump as depicted in the kit part. 
I've also knocked up better turret grab handles using plastic rod, they are loose at the moment and I still need to make up the stiffening brackets for these. 

Thursday 29 August 2019

Belgian Leo Turret

I've now moved onto the turret and first up was a coating of Mr surfacer which once cured was lightly sanded to even any texture out. The mantlet was also treated the same way and the result is 100% better than the heavily textured original finish. The canvas cover also fits very well although the gun is therefore fixed in one position. However it should not be too difficult to adjust the angle of the mantlet and gun if you so wished.

The kit smoke dischargers look way over scale to me so after a rummage through the spares box I found some resin ones that look much better. The kit mounting rail was cleaned up and adapted and the dischargers fitted. Again a vast improvement on a very noticeable feature of the turret. 

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Belgian Leo Rear End

Last night & this afternoon I've blitzed the rear hull on the model. Starting with the field telephone box I removed the molded handle and details then made up a new lid and fittings from plastic card. It's 100% better than the original now. Likewise the toolbox received some better details using plastic card & stretched sprue. 

The barrel clamp had some weird brackets on the hull so new ones were made up and a new rod fitted, again much better. The convoy light unfortunately is the kit item as I don't have any spare etched ones available. However under some dust & mud it should be OK I think. 
The hull is now pretty much finished with just the tow hooks, bungs and chains to add. I'll do that once I've sorted out the tracks, saves a lot of tears later when things ping off! 

So it's onto the turret and here I've already added the armoured covers for the gunners sight system and blended them in. I've also slightly sanded down the cast texture which should make adding Mr surfacer later to even it all out slightly less fraught.

Tuesday 27 August 2019

Belgian Leopard Progress

It's now starting to come together nicely with a mixture of leopard club parts and scratch details. The front mud guards and light areas can do with a bit of work, mostly adding bolts and some brackets using plastic card. I've also added the weld line using Mr dissolved putty again. 

The engine deck has now had handles added from lead wire and some tools fitted. Also the rear hull is starting to take shape, you can also see the weld lines for the exhausts. 

And finally lots of work has been needed on the stowage bins. I removed the protection plates from each end of the bins as per my references and then had to add a lid lip to the two shorter bins. For some reason this is evident on the long bin but missing on the short ones. Again another case of very poor Revell quality control during the mold making stages I suspect.

The crew heater cover was stippled lightly with Mr surfacer and the two bin protector plates made from plastic card.

Sunday 25 August 2019

Belgian Leopard Adding The Details

I've now fixed the leopard club exhaust grills in place & blended in with mr surfacer. Some weld lines have also been added using Mr dissolved putty and tamiya tape which helps get a nice straight line. The Leopard club improvement set is now also being utilised with the hooks for the tow ropes and end mounts going on the hull.  

The side stowage bins need lots of clean up and missing details added but once fitted look very good and change the look of the tank considerably. Of note is that the bins and front lifting eyes are included in the kit but the bins are only called out for the Dutch version and the eyes not at all which is odd as batch 3 leopards had the front lifting eyes fitted as standard. 

Friday 23 August 2019

Belgian Leopard Progress

It's going rather well at the moment with the wheels & suspension made up and a start made on adding details to the hull. The wheels all have very nice bolt detail and should really look good under some paint. Likewise the suspension parts are good although they all suffer from excessive seam lines especially the bump stops. However some file work soon sorts that out and very little will be seen on the finished model anyway.

The splash armoured protection fillets on the hull are very poor suffering from the dreaded Revell sink mark issue and really thick seam lines. A shame this as the inner faces have mesh cast in which is totally eliminated due to sink marks. Lucky it's not that noticeable with the turret in place. They also need some blending in along the hull sides as there's a massive gap. 

The front track guards also need some work to bring that area up to spec and I've started by adding some panel lines using a fine saw to separate the various parts including the rubber mud flaps. The tread detail on this is pretty smart too. 

I've also quickly test fitted the turret, I always do this early on in the build so I can get a feel for the look of the model and check for any problems in fit. The turret looks good dimensionally but that cast texture! It's far too rough for a leopard turret which are in fact quite smooth. The texture here wouldn't look out of place on some Russian armour.
A quick blast with the sanding stick confirms it would take ages to sand smooth so I'll use Mr surfacer to level out the texture whilst leaving just a little variation in the surface of the turret.

And finally the tracks are waiting to be built. This set comes with a few links which are slightly angled for a better fit around the sprockets & idlers. The details on the links are excellent as ever from Friulmodel and should be a doddle to build.

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Belgian Leopard 1

With the IPMS Belgium plastic & steel show fast approaching it's time to delve back into the world of Belgian armour and this year I've chosen a Leopard 1. The base kit is revell's newish kit plus some leopard club goodies and friul white metal tracks. I have references a plenty thanks to my mate Marc Mercier and the latest trackpad book on the Belgian leopard, Oh and of course the leopard trilogy books by Michael Shackleton kindly lent to me by Brian.

So I've dived straight in and built up the hull so I could get the leopard club cast exhaust grills fitted. As you can see I've also removed the kit lights from the rear hull as their positions are wrong. New ones are provided in the improvement set so no worries there. Some solid handles have also been removed on the engine deck & holes drilled for wire handles later on.

The exhausts are pretty straight forward to fit, just follow the instructions provided for the revell kit which gives all the measurements and advice you need for a good fit. This is the single biggest improvement as the kit exhausts are far too shallow. Everything else that I will add is just an enhancement or a better replacement of kit parts.  

Monday 19 August 2019

Rutscher Commander

I've now finished the figure painting marathon with the commander for the Rutscher. He came out OK but I'm not a fan of the dragon heads, they all look like the bloody joker! Next time I'll use hornet heads instead. With the figures done I can now crack on with the base for this & the 432. 

Sunday 18 August 2019

432 & Rutscher Figure Painting

A very pleasant day at the bench yesterday where I concentrated on getting the figures painted. First up the British squaddie which was relatively easy to paint thanks to the great detail on the figure. For me the hornet head really lifts this one too.

The Rutscher figure was slightly more complicated as I had to work out the pattern composition for the Leibermuster camo and sort out colours. Once that was done it was just a case of going for it. I think it turned out rather well for a first attempt. 

I still need to paint his machine gun and the commander figure but that's a job for today!