Thursday, June 21, 2012

T-34: Lighten up!

I mixed a lighter green from Vallejo Model Air Russian Green (71.017) and Vallejo Model Air White (71.001), approximately 60:40, green to white. This was sprayed over the entire upper hull and turret trying not to get it into areas where there would be natural shadows. The road wheels were also lightly misted.

I then added more white to this mix and sprayed those areas that would receive the most natural light, such as the turret roof, hull and fuel tank tops, and the upper sides of the turret and hull.

I'm not sure if I mentioned before that I drilled out the lightening holes on both the drive and idler wheels. Even at this scale, I think it enhances the look. Here's a shot, before and after, of one of the drive wheels:

T-34: Primer Coat

I used Vallejo Surface Primer Russian Green (73609) for the primer coat. The end result looks fine but getting there was touch-and-go.

I sprayed the primer straight from my airbrush with no dilution. Now, I've used other colors of the Vallejo surface primers on other models with no problems, so it came as a surprise when this primer beaded-up horribly on the flat parts of the hull. I know that the beading is a sure sign of a "dirty" surface (mold release agents, oily fingerprints, etc.) but I had washed this model, as usual, with a solution of water with a little added dish washing detergent. At this point I thought, "What the heck" (or worse!) and just continued spraying until the surfaces were covered. I let the model dry, paint pools and all, overnight. Much to my surprise the next day, the paint had totally snugged down to all surfaces with no obliteration of detail. Quite a testament to the Vallejo Surface Primers.

The resulting color is a bit dark for my taste, but it will serve as shadowing and I will follow it with a lighter base and then highlighting.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

T-34: Pre-Paint

I finally finished constructing my T-34. Someone remind me to never again complain about the "fiddly bits" on a 1/35 scale model!

Everything has been added to the model at this point. I'm going with the theory of "If you can see it you can paint it." We'll see how that all works out.

The tracks were the one-piece DS that Dragon includes with most of their armor kits now. They were tacked down to each road wheel with a tiny amount of Model Master Liquid Cement. This was also used for the track join on each side and I experienced no track deformation anywhere.

All the other pieces are stock from the kit. Stowage was included on a separate sprue and I chose what I wanted and added it where I thought it would go and where it would add some interest (read color) to the overall green paint scheme. I did add a section of track to the front of the hull, securing it with four bolt heads punched from thin styrene sheet. (Thanks, Ashley!)

Next up is the base coat.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

T-34: Upper Hull Construction

The hull top was a single, crisply-molded piece to which I added the front and rear plates, exhaust pipes and covers, left-side rail, two tool boxes, engine fan screen, driver's hatch, machine gun, and various hooks and handles. Still to be added are the antenna mount, headlight, and the two rear small fuel tanks. Assembly went smoothly but two issues merit mentioning.

First, the instructions illustrate two holes that need to be opened for the attachment of the rail that runs along the left side. These holes are indicated by detents on the inside of the hull; however, the distance between the detents is incorrect for the mounting pins on the rail. I opened the front mounting hole, glued in the front rail support, and then measured the correct distance for the rear hole and drilled it there.

Secondly, Dragon includes two engine fan screens: the first has a molded screen and supports and is extremely well detailed; the second has a PE screen which is to be mounted in a molded frame. However, the PE screen lacks the detailed supports. Since the screen as molded is not badly reproduced, I opted for the molded piece with the detailed supports. Much more tank-like to me.

I've been working on the turret in tandem with the hull and will post more pictures later.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

T-34: A "Small" Diversion

At last month's AMPS Central Virginia meeting, Bob Walls mentioned that there was a 1/72 scale T-34 build getting started on the AMPS website. So, thinking that this would be a nice diversion from all the PE and resin assemblage on my Steyr, of course I decided to jump right in!

I've never previously built nor painted any Russian armor and have no related reference material of any kind. My knowledge is limited to knowing that World War II Russian armor was big, green, and ugly . . . at least in my opinion.

The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958 and is considered by many to be the most important weapon fielded by the Red Army in World War II. When first produced in 1940, it was called one of the finest tank designs in the world. Its sloping armor increased protection, the Model V-2 diesel engine (actually a V-12; V-2 was simply the model number) used a less flammable fuel, the Christie suspension was fast over rough terrain, and its wide tracks gave it low ground pressure for good mobility in mud and snow. [Wikipedia]

The 1/72 scale is much smaller than that of my Steyr (about half the size) and is the same as my Krupp Protze which, by the way, is still languishing in the paint shop.

The following photo shows the upside-down hull with a dime for comparison: