Thursday 30 April 2020

Abrams Nearly There

The model is now almost ready for primer after working on the side skirts. I managed to build each side up into two sections that will fit together nicely once painting and weathering are complete. A bit of extra detail went onto them in the form of some plastic strip & bolt heads. 

So now I'm going to look at stowage and await the arrival of new antenna bases before washing & priming. I'll also look through the stash for a couple of figures as well. Overall the kit is rather good with the exception of large sprue attachment points and annoying ejector marks it actually built up rather well. The plastic is easy to work with and the overall detail is sharp.  

Wednesday 29 April 2020

M1 Abrams Even More Turret Work

The turret is now essentially done apart from antenna mounts, I'm waiting on some to arrive, and a spot of stowage which I'll sort out later. Lots of time was spent on the commander's cupola especially the .50 cal mount which needed some adjustments to get it level and solid. I changed the kit gun for a miniart offering as it had much better detail. The inside of the cupola hatch needed some tricky sanding due to another stupid ejector pin mark.  Finally the main gun barrel was glued into place and the coax machine gun went on as well. 

It's back to the hull now for the last few parts and a look at the side skirts. These are made up of six parts per side so I want to see if I can assemble them as one and then remove for painting. 

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Abrams More Turret Work

The fun continues with some more improvements and alterations on the turret after fitting the other turret rack & smoke discharger. The fuel can rack is from the small etched fret in the kit and the fuel can is from the spares box. Panda supply you with a scepter or plastic type fuel can which I believe was introduced in the 1980's. However I'm unsure on the exact year they were issued so used my refs and decided on an old style metal can instead.

The gunners main sight was next and here I adapted the clear part so I could add this after painting and also added some weld beads using stretched sprue. The commander's cupola needs a fair bit of clean up and three lifting rings added which are not provided in the kit. I just wrapped lead wire around a pin and then drilled out a small depression at each eyes location before fixing with CA.

Finally I replaced the poor crosswind sensor on the rear of the turret with some brass tubing for better detail. The mount also needs a big sink mark sorting out. It's not 100% accurate but way better than the kit part. 

Sunday 26 April 2020

Abrams Turret

I've turned my attention to the turret now and have used some mr surfacer to add a slight bit of texture to it. My idea was to add a small amount of surface variation to simulate rolled steel or steel plate. By stippling on the surfacer then once dry sanding it back slightly it should leave some variations in surface level. I'll only do the turret as the hulls horizontal surfaces will get enough texture when I weather and add pigments. 

Th 105mm gun barrel has also been glued and sanded and again a sloppy fit is evident in the mantlet. The side stowage cage needs a hell of a lot of clean up and it's quite fragile but I managed to do it without breaking it. The smoke dischargers are OK but have an annoying sink mark right on the top which needs filling. I've also used some spare track to show you how they would have mounted spare tracks, this is very noticable in my reference pictures and alters the look of an essentially clean tank quite a lot.


Saturday 25 April 2020

M1 Abrams, Tracks Done, Now Some Fun

That's the second run of track done now thank goodness, you can see the amount of sink marks that needed to be filled and sanded on it. Now I can get on with the fun stuff and start adding parts to the hull & turret. On the hull some punched out plastic discs have been used to add some bolt detail to the many hinges on the engine deck & the etched screens have been fitted.

There is not that much more to add to the hull so I'll have a look at the sides skirts later and see how they look and fit, they are separate pieces by the way. The turret has been glued together and the gun mantlet is a very loose fit. Once I've cleaned up the turret I'll glue it in a suitable position. The turret fits onto the hull via three clip type fixings on the turret ring, this means once in place it would be a bugger to remove so I just snipped them off.

Friday 24 April 2020

M1 Abrams Tackling The Tracks

With the road wheels done the suspension arms went on next, these are a very sloppy fit onto the hull so some time was needed to get them all aligned and level. Then on to the tracks and there is a lot of clean up needed here. The track pads are a mixed bag with some needing filler for sink marks on the inner faces and some molded perfectly. Each one needs sprue attachment points sanded smooth as well. The guild horns and end connectors also need some clean up due to flash and attachment points but here I did that once they were assembled into track runs.

The tracks click together and the end connectors just slide on the ends, to be sure they don't fall apart later I used glue to fix everything in place then once dry a fine file to clean up any flash & attachment points. Luckily the side skirts hide most of the lower hull so half a run of tracks is all that's needed here. One thing to note is the instructions show the tracks on the model the wrong way round so just reverse the orientation of them for the correct direction. 

Thursday 23 April 2020

Panda Models M1 Abrams 105mm

Time for a new project so I've chosen panda model's M1 Abrams with the early 105mm main gun. The build has started with the upper and lower hull parts glued together as I found a bit of warping on the lower section at the rear. Some gentle persuasion and quick setting glue sorted it out though. Looking from the rear of the model to the front, the left side rear fuel filler cap needs to be altered to match the right hand one as the orientation is wrong. Some careful carving and plastic card fixes this issue without much effort.

Moving on now I've made a start on the wheels and sprockets. The sprockets are made up of four parts and once assembled the guilde teeth don't line up very well at all. I simply removed the locating lug from part C24 then adjusted the sprockets using a couple of track links to get them lined up properly. 

Also the front sprocket is made up of two parts so you need to sand or disguise the join as this should be one piece. I used some mr surfacer here. Part C21 needs the front bolts sanded flush with the surface of the sprocket so that the retaining ring C23 fits correctly. This part has small lugs on the inside which give it the correct stand off from the sprocket so don't sand them off!  

The wheels are next and again these are made up of five parts each. This includes separate outer rims and rubbers. I'm not a huge fan of this method but the bolt detail on the front wheels is very good. The outer rims, D13 have a cross section of sprue that needs to be removed from the inside of each one. There is also a seam line on the inside which needs to be removed as well. 

As there are 16 wheels to make up this can be tedious so I'm only removing the outer rims seams and leaving the inner ones alone. You won't see them on the finished model anyway. A quick check also shows that the fit of the wheels on the swinging arms is very tight so using a round file I enlarged the locating holes in the wheels for a better fit.

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Tamiya M3A1 Scout Car Finished

The scout car is all finished after knocking up a small simple base for it. I really enjoyed building & painting this model and apart from some spare stowage, brass shell casings and three bits of lead wire for cables it's all out of the box. The fit and details on the kit are superb and the figures are excellent.

Monday 20 April 2020

Scout Car & Pigments

The model has now received the final weathering using a selection of VMS pigments. I've kept it subtle on the outside with just a light dusting. On the interior I had fun adding different colours and blending with VMS universal weathering carrier to get a well used look. 

I then fitted the driver and added some empty shell cases. I used master model 1/35 .50 & .30 cal casings fixed in place with tiny drops of VMS matt varnish. Being brass they really add that extra touch to the model and look superb. 


Sunday 19 April 2020

Scout Car & AK Weathering Pencils

Last night I began adding some more effects to the model with AK weathering pencils. I started on the guns and ammo boxes as a small test. Using them dry I found that they left a slight sheen to the parts and the colour difference was very slight.

 Next I tried a brush moistened in water to blend and found the pigments from the pencils almost disappeared. Dipping the pencil tip in water and applying left more colour on the parts but again it needed blending which removed most of it. The final results here were very mediocre. 

Moving onto the vehicle now and I used rain marks and chipping colour pencils. Drawing them onto the matt surface left a very grainy finish so blending with a moist brush was needed which again removed almost all of the effect. I found that I had to go over the model multiple times to achieve a decent result which got very tedious very quickly. The result is almost invisible to the naked eye as well. 

At this point I stopped and came to the conclusion that the pencils just don't work for me. I can get much better results with oils and acrylics and get them done far quicker. They also don't suit my painting & weathering style and I found them much less controllable with more chance of buggering up a model than my prefered methods.

Obviously this is my opinion and I know many modellers have had good results using them. I just can't see the point of having to continually go over a model to add the same effects it takes me one pass to achieve with oils and acrylics.