Monday, August 27, 2012

Kfz.13 - Back to the "Tub"

While I'm waiting for my squarish fuel tanks to arrive from Mig USA for my T-34, I thought I'd spend some time on the Kfz.13 armored car I began several months ago. I've added the front and rear body sections to the floor and have constructed the support system and seat for the MG-42. I'm leaving off the machine gun, shield, and doors at this point to facilitate painting the interior.

The photo below illustrates why this car was termed a "bathtub on wheels."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

72nd Scale T-34: Finished!

I've messed around with the finish on the tank and with the ground work about all that I can, so here are photos of my completed T-34/76 Model 1941, 1st Tank Brigade, Poland, 1945.

While not totally happy with it, I've learned some valuable lessons to apply to future builds. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 17, 2012

72nd Scale T-34: The Base, Part 2

I next painted the surface of the ground work flat brown. Once dry, I applied scenic cement and sprinkled on some Woodland Scenics Fine Turf Burnt Grass. I wanted to keep the grass more or less in scale--hence the use of the fine turf and not static grass as I would use with a larger scale. Although hard to see here due to the lighting, I then added several tufts of miniNatur Short Buffalo Grass Spring Tufts from Scenic Express.

Once all this was allowed to dry thoroughly, I used a combination of airbrushing and dry brushing to apply various shades of brown, green, and grey to the grass, dirt, and rocks. I also painted the sides of the foam a flat black using a generic craft paint. My progress to date is shown below.

Next I will epoxy the T-34 to the base, add some additional ground work around the treads, and tidy up the build.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

35th Scale T-34: Engine Fan Screening Assembly

I've opted to use the PE screening and louvres on the rear of the hull although, as usual, very little of the assembly will be easily seen once the housing is attached to the hull. I removed the molded-on bolt heads from the hull, sanded them smooth, and then attached the PE plate on the rear deck as shown below:

The louvres were then attached. Since there is no engine included I'll leave them in the closed position:

The screening and supports were then glued to the housing. Note that the tabs on the supports have not yet been bent:

Here's a photo of the housing in position (tabs STILL not bent) showing just how much of the assembly will be visible through the screen:

I will airbrush the area inside the housing in the appropriate Russian green color prior to permanently attaching it. Then it's back to general construction.

72nd Scale T-34: The Base(ics)

Before I applied the final weathering, I wanted to construct the base to allow me to integrate the tank with its environment. I dove into my stash of bases I'd collected over the years for various figures and found one that would fit the scene I had in mind. I first scored the top surface with a box knife so that the glue would better adhere to it.

I then carved a piece of florist foam to the basic shape, masked off the sides of the wooden base, and glued the foam to the base with scenic cement (which I suspect is nothing more than a higher-priced white glue with a matte agent added).

I mixed a batch of Aves ClayShay and applied it with a spatula to the top surface of the foam. This is some of the best ground material I've found. Depending on how you mix it, you can use it either as a clay (thick) or as a mache (thin). When it was partially dried I pressed the tank into the surface so that it would appear sunken into the ground and added a few scale rocks to the surface.

Next up will be painting and adding additional ground work.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ivan and Boris: Assembly and Priming

I assembled the two Russian tanker figures, officer and crewman, and attached them to plastic bottle caps with CA adhesive for ease of handling during painting. As a fan of all things Vallejo, I filled the seams with Vallejo Plastic Putty (70400) and then set both aside to dry.

I used the point of a #11 blade to clean up the seams and then gave each figure several light coats of Tamiya White Fine Surface Primer from the ol' rattle can.

In addition to highlighting any areas that need further cleaning, the white primer brings out the details in the figures and gives a nice base for the application of the finish colors.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Needing a crew for my 35th scale T-34, I dove into my "parts and figures" box and found the Tank figure set, "Russian AFV Crew, 1941." I also have a couple of Alpine sets but I think I'll save them for future builds, unless the Tank set doesn't work out. Given the pose of the figure in the hatch, I'll do some initial construction on the turret to see how he will work.

Here's a photo of the figures themselves prior to clean-up, construction, and painting:

35th Scale T-34: Upper Hull & Front Plate

Next up was the upper hull. I first attached the engine access hatch and then carefully sanded the openings to ensure a proper fit of the molded radiator and air intake grills. The rectangular opening at the rear is for the engine fan screen assembly which I plan on constructing from the included PE rather than using the one-piece molded plastic as I did on the 72nd scale model. At this scale you WILL notice the difference!

The front plate offered a bit more in the way of assembly. I fitted and glued the driver's hatch cover along with the three periscopes. I then attached the machine gun and its armored hood and the two front towing shackles.

Two special notes here. First, Dragon has included the protective collar bridging the gap between the driver's hatch and the front hull plate. These armored strips were attached to protect the crew when the tank came under machine gun fire. Second, the front towing shackles included in the kit are of the design seen on experimental and early production versions of the T-34/76. The front shackles usually seen in photos of the T-34 are of the "rams horn" variety (and are the ones used on my 72nd scale model).

For reference, I highly recommend the softcover book, T-34 Medium Tank (1939-1943), by Mikhail Baryatinskiy. It is Volume 4 in the Russian Armour series by Ian Allan Publishing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Scale Comparison

For anyone not familiar with the scale difference between 1/35th and 1/72nd scales, the photo above shows my "almost completed" 72nd scale T-34 sitting on top of the over-turned hull of my "just started" 35th scale T-34.

35th Scale T-34: Hull Bottom

While trying to decide how to base my smaller T-34, I thought I'd begin construction on the larger one. I skipped the first step of constructing the road wheels, idlers, and drive sprockets as they will be painted off the model and attached much later with the tracks.

I began with the lower hull. After some very slight clean-up on the bottom, I removed one of the bump stops on each side for the most forward suspension arms (per the instructions). I'm assuming that the front double bump stops were features of other T-34 variants. The coil spring suspension is nicely reproduced through the use of ten rectangular boxes (actually parallelograms!) added to the inner hull on which the springs are molded. These are visible through slots in the hull as shown in the photo below.

I then added the suspension arms and pieces of the transmission housing. I did not attach the idler wheel arms as they can be rotated to tighten or loosen the tracks and I want to be able to make that adjustment later if necessary.

To complete these initial steps I then attached the front and rear hull sections and the hatches on the hull bottom.