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Dragon Skdfz 251/9 Ausf D

 
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:15 pm    Post subject: Dragon Skdfz 251/9 Ausf D Reply with quote

Build log for Dragon kit #6233 "3-in-1" for the Sdkfz 251/9 Ausf D Kanonenwagen variant with Eduard PE detail set.



Last edited by Bill Plunk on Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:27 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-02-09 Reply with quote

I've been wanting to get back to the world of half-tracks for a while now but things kept getting in the way. No more excuses! I started in today on the 251/9 option included in DML's "3-in-1" kit and work began first with the lower hull and suspension.

Step 1 calls for the installation of the transmission, fuel tank, battery, etc. but all of this gets hidden away once the fighting compartment floor plate is installed, so I skipped it. The only portion of Step 1 that I did do was the installation of the shock absorber for the rear-most swing arm on both sides. That led me straight into Step 2 which adds the 12 swing arms to the hull along with the idler mount and the armored cover for the front hull bottom. The swing arms have a little bit of play to them so I glued them in one at a time and checked each one to be sure they all lined up properly and were level. Tests with some of the road wheels showed satisfactory results, so should be good to go in that department.



Step 3 adds the extension of the hull front that houses the front wheels and suspension. The suspension itself is a multi-part assembly which, if care is taken during construction, can be left fully workable and allow the wheels to not only turn but also flex up and down. The trick to achieving this is to not use any glue on parts C30 and C35. While this does make the assembly a little trickier to manage, it's worth it in the end.



The rest of the step adds the bump stops to the lower hull. These are nicely detailed and will, naturally, be completely hidden away once the wheels are installed but it's a nice detail all the same. I also added the final drive housings for the sprockets to both sides even though that's called for in Step 4. While the step calls for the installation of the front wheels and the inner-most wheels on the tracked portion, I skipped that and will come back to it much later after painting.



Step 4 assembles the sprockets and also calls for the assembly and installation of the rest of the road wheels. I removed all the wheel halves from the sprues and cleaned them up, removing the fine seam on the rubber portions with a sanding twig. The front wheels were also joined together and their seam carefully sanded down and the pattern given some light wear as well. The intermediate wheels in the interleaved system were assembled but all the other halves were left separate to facilitate painting when the time comes.



This is the end of the "common" steps regardless of which of the 3 variants will be built. Step 5 onward will deal with the specifics for the /9 variant and I can already see a couple of areas that will need special attention to be truly accurate.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:35 am    Post subject: WIP 07-03-09 Reply with quote

I've had some inquiries on exactly how to make the front wheels fully workable, so a more in-depth explanation is provided below. The fix is actually very straightforward and is a matter of how you assemble the parts in Step 3 for the suspension. Here's the Step diagram:



The key here is what you do, and don't, apply glue to in order for the suspension to be solid into the hull floor but still remain fully workable. Parts C30 and C35 are trapped between the curved ends of C20 and C25...do not apply glue there. You need to glue C20 and C25 together, but do it in such a way that C30 and C35 can freely move. The next critical part is C15, this part snaps onto the tops of C30 and C35 and again, no glue is needed here.

You've now achieved full side-to-side workability in the suspension but that only addresses one axis, the other axis involves how you attach C10 and C11 together. You want to glue C10 to C11 but NOT to the previously assembled C20 and C25. C10 and C11 have small pins that go into the top and bottom to hold onto the assembly but if you don't glue them, it will now retain full movement in the other axis. Last but not least, when you install C8, do not glue the end into the lower hull but only apply glue to the front branches of the "Y" to the suspension.



The result is a fully workable front-end suspension that will not "float" regardless of what you do to the rear end with the installation of the tracks and road wheels.



For example, if you test fit the front wheels, you will see that the suspension allows for the rear hull of the body to rest all the way at an angle without pulling up the wheels.



And the reverse is also true...the rear end can be elevated at a steep angle and the wheels remain firmly grounded.



Hope this helps everyone visualize the result and how to achieve it!
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:02 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-06-09 Reply with quote

More progress was made today picking up from Friday. I started in on the interior with Step 5 under the /9 specific steps. This step deals with the fighting compartment floor plate. The instructions incorrectly tell you to install the radio operator's seat, this was deleted in its entirety from the /9 so the first order of business was to remove the hump present as the lower seat mount. This was carefully done by carving away the hump and then sanding down the edges level with the rest of the floor.



As you can see, the area in the floor is molded hollow below the hump, so this had to be plated over to restore the floor. I used a rectangular piece roughly 9mm x 10mm of Lion Roar PE generic tread plate to cover the gap and a thin section of sheet styrene to cover the slight gap with the transmission hump.



Step 6 calls for the assembly and installation of the dashboard and fire wall so I went ahead and added all the details to it first. The Eduard PE items were used for the over-sized gas mask container, the mount holes for which were filled with putty and sanded down before gluing the PE holder into position. I removed the bumps that were supposed to represent foot pedals and installed the Eduard item in their place. I left the steering wheel off for now but installed the column to round things out.



Progressing to the rear area, I installed the solitary crew seat bench and opted for the later-style wooden seat. The instructions don't indicate this but you need to open up 2 holes on either side of the floor to accept the mount pins for the seat base and the ammunition bin. The ammo bin was also assembled and installed and I decided to install the lid in the open position for a little variety and show off the included ammo detail insert.



Next came Step 7 which deals with the lower side walls of the fighting compartment. I started with the right side and attached the seat back/storage bin using the provided locator marks. All of the other marks were sanded down and the large ejector marks puttied and sanded. I replaced the ready ammo rack with the Eduard provided item and added the 6 separate ammo clip holders with CA glue. The actual rounds will get installed later along with the retaining bar after painting. I also used the Eduard spare glass block holder in place of the kit item. The Eduard set incorrectly calls for an MP40 and ammo pouch to go on this side as a legacy from a standard 251/1, so I skipped that portion.



The left side had more components to it so this took a little bit more work. The left side bin was added but had to have the cushion mounts removed and sanded down to fit properly with the ammo bin on that side. The locator marks were also removed from this side and the ejector marks puttied and sanded down. The Eduard PE details were used for the MP40 holders and the MP40 repositioned to the correct position vs. the kit suggested mount point. The Eduard parts were also used for the armored glass block holders in place of the kit parts.



Test fits with all the different components show that everything is playing nice with each other, I just need to get the rear hull plate detailed and the same for the fighting compartment roof and the interior parts will be ready for painting before it's all assembled.

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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:43 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-11-09 Reply with quote

Today was a productive day picking up from where I left off last time, I continued with the efforts in getting things ready to paint the interior. Out of necessity I had to skip around between different steps so it definitely wasn't a linear process. The first order of business was to take care of the elements with the upper hull. For this, I moved to Step 10 and worked on the superstructure front plate. The driver's visor was added in the closed position while the radio operator's visor needed some work since it's supposed to just be a blanked-off plate. I carefully trimmed down the clear outer visor portion and then sanded it smooth...this was particularly tricky since it was a clear part, so I worked under the magnifier to be sure I got the surface level. I used putty to fill the interior mount recess for the armored glass block since that wasn't going to be fitted. With that taken care of, I moved ahead to Step 11 and installed the plate to the upper hull along with the base plate for the gun mount. The fit at the base was good while the sides required a little bit of putty and sanding to get the flush look needed.



After much deliberation, I decided that it was best if I went ahead and fitted the raised armor extensions and the gun mount to avoid possible over spray into the lower hull if I waited to install it later. This meant skipping ahead to Step 14 and making some modifications along the way. The bottom plate for the mount was installed along with the locking nut that allows it to fully rotate, a very important feature that allows access to the nooks and crannies as I discovered later on. I used the Eduard PE armor extensions as the kit supplied parts were over-scale in thickness and installed them with Gator Grip glue to insure I had some flexibility and work time to get them into the correct alignment. The bolt heads were carefully shaved off the kit parts and attached with liquid glue.

The instructions also call, incorrectly, for the installation of the grab rail on either side of the fighting compartment interior. The Eduard instructions also repeat this error, these were found on the standard 251 but not the /9 going by the reference photos I have showing the interior of surviving examples in Nuts & Bolts #21. The diagrams in PT 15-3 also don't show these fitted which makes sense as they would just be in the way in relation to the add-on raised armor plates. I dutifully filled the molded in locator holes with putty and sanded them down as a result.



At first I wasn't going to actually fit the gun, so I returned to Step 9 and assembled the rear hull plate and doors. The Eduard PE items were used to give the twin fire extinguishers a full-blown makeover. Their molded on details were fully removed and sanded down, retaining only the cylinder and the top nozzle portion in the process.



After studying the parts and diagrams for the main gun in Steps 12 and 13, I decided that it was going to be impossible to not install the gun prior to painting if I wanted to leave the gun able to elevate. Because of the tight quarters, I decided this was an essential element for the detail work to come so I proceeded to assemble and install the gun.

The first order of business was dealing with the huge ejector mark at the bottom of the spent shell basket. I had to get a little innovative here, first smearing putty in the bottom with the end of a paint brush handle because of the tight quarters and then sanding it down by cutting a small section from a sanding twig and then using tweezers to move it back and forth to smooth out the putty. Ejector marks were also present on both sides of the recoil guards and those were dealt with in the usual way.



The gun itself was assembled in Step 12 and I elected to fit the kit-supplied turned aluminum barrel instead of the styrene barrel also available as a choice. The barrel doesn't have any rifling but that's a small detail I can live without. The barrel fit perfectly into the outer mantlet and was glued in place with CA gel. The rest of the gun assembled smoothly with only some slight sanding required on the breech block to get a seamless look. The gun sight was molded solid so I used a pin vise to drill out both the top lens face as well as the eyepiece for the gunner.



Step 13 deals with the attachment of the trunnions and this was a tricky enterprise due to the way I chose to go about this. In hindsight, I think I would've waited to add the base plate to the upper hull to have a little more room to work but I was able to get around the tight spaces with some patience. The slots that the side armor baffles, parts R9 and R10, fit into weren't large enough so I just removed the little tabs on their bottom sides and glued them directly in place. The front plate, G4, has little rectangular raised points that are supposed to mate up with the trunnion points but they aren't wide enough so I just cut them off and sanded the back of the plate smooth to get a flush fit and then glued it in place with liquid glue. The gun was then installed and is able to rotate and elevate within the full range just like the actual vehicle.



I added a couple of other details like the rear MG swivel post and locking latch for the stock and all of the major components were now ready for painting.



I applied a primer coat of Italian Dark Brown first to insure I didn't have any bare plastic areas and to check some of the putty work in various spots. A base coat of 50/50 Light Gray/Dunkelgelb was then applied.



Now it's a matter of working on the detail painting and once that's done, the hull will be assembled and then the remaining exterior components will be dealt with in turn.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:02 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-12-09 Reply with quote

The devil was definitely in the details today and that's where I spent the bulk of my time. The interior details needed a lot of individual attention so I shifted around quite a bit as I painted various items to allow them to dry but not be stuck idle at the same time. The right side had its six kit supplied styrene rounds painted up so that it holds 4 HE rounds and 2 AP rounds and then the locking bar put in place and painted. I used non-buffing metalizer Brass for the casings and carefully positioned each round with just a touch of glue to the base and the PE clips bent to shape with tweezers to hold them in. The stowage bin also received it's leather cushion and, since the bin looked a little bare, I added a couple of helmets, a water flask, a ration bag, and a couple of cans of ammunition for the MG42 from the spares bin to add a little detail. Some burnt umber enamel was stippled to produce some scuffing/wear on the side panel to complete its look.



The left side details included the driver's MP40 and ammunition satchel and of course the radio gear. I hand detailed the radio and then used a #76 hand drill to drill holes for 0.5mm diameter solder which was glued in place with CA gel to add some detail. The gunner/commander/radio operator (this vehicle only had a crew of 3 so he was a busy guy!) wooden seat was detailed and the same scuffing/weathering added to this side as well. I left this side's bin empty due to the simple fact that the open ammo box lid totally obscures it and anything inside can't be seen once the upper hull is added.



The floor also received some detailing attention. The wooden bench seat was detailed using a base coat of a light brown/tan "wood" color I have mixed up followed by a light wash of Leather. Once the wash dried, I applied some black and burnt umber artist pastels to create some depth to the color and then lightly dry brushed the same "wood" color over the top surfaces. I used this same recipe on the gunner's seat as well. The ammo box rounds had their ends painted with non-buffing metalizer Brass...a task that was made much easier by the fact that I didn't glue the ammo part into the box but took advantage of its friction fit for the airbrush painting part. With a pair of tweezers, I removed it, hand painted it under the magnifier, then glued it back into place. The driver's station and dash board were detailed, although most of this won't be very easily seen after assembly. I used the kit decals for the instrument faces and weathered the high traffic areas with burnt umber.



With all the details done, I installed the floor and then added the sides. I used regular glue for this phase because of the large surface areas involved and the need for precision to get a good fit both front and back. The rear plate was added after the sides had set up for about 30 minutes.



A little touch up was required here and there but overall things went together smoothly. Before adding the top, I weathered the floor areas with Mig Europe Dust applied as a dry powder and then worked it into the various corners using a combination of wet and dry q-tips.



The moment of truth finally arrived and I added the upper hull to the sides, again using regular glue on all surfaces. A couple of rubber bands were needed at the front as well as some finger pressure at the rear to get things to settle down evenly. Once the glue had set, I added the nose armor along with the engine access hatches.



Now work shifted to the remaining exterior details with the addition of the side stowage boxes and front fenders. I installed the left side first and had to use some putty to fill a slight gap at the angle of the stowage boxes since it wouldn't quite fit as tightly as it needed to. I removed the molded on lifting eyes with a #11 blade and replaced them with the Eduard PE items. The kit-supplied brass width indicators were glued in place with CA gel and the Eduard mirror added to it. I filled the mount holes on the fender for the axe and used the Eduard parts for the holder, installing the axe into position since it isn't possible to remove it for painting and have everything line up and work properly. The pot muffler exhaust will get added later after painting.

For some reason, this kit doesn't include any kind of antenna mount for either the /1 or the /9 version and only provides an antenna for the "Nachtjager" variant. Since the /9 had an armored mount on the hull side due to the repositioned radio, I scrounged around in my spares bin and found one on Sprue C from a previous DML half track build...I mention this only because the Sprue C that is in the D 3-in-1 kit is exactly the same sprue...except for the parts needed for the antenna itself and its mount. Go figure!



The process was repeated for the right side, installing the stowage boxes and adding the fender along with the Eduard parts for the pick axe holders.



Last but not least, the details for the rear hull were added in the form of the tow hitch, rear door handle, electrical plug for a towed trailer, and the rear Notek light. The Notek light is inaccurate in that it has 5, not 4, lenses, so the middle one was carefully filled with putty to get the right number.



Next up will be painting the rest of the exterior and getting ready to mount the road wheels and tracks.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:13 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-17-09 Reply with quote

While watching TV in the evenings I managed to get the tracks built. I opted for the "early" style that are the non-Magic type tracks with the three lightening holes on either side of the guide horn. This meant that they of course had to be removed from the sprues and the 3 attachment points cleaned up per link as well as the 2 points per track pad block. In terms of effort it was the same as if I'd used the Magic variety really since those had two ejector marks on each link that needed to be sanded or scraped off so definitely a case of pick your poison!

I assembled the links so that they would remain fully workable. My assembly method is straight forward, I use the pins to link a pair together then carefully glue the cap block on top so that it traps the pins but still allows them to move freely. Since I haven't added the road wheels yet, I only assembled 52 links per side and will add the more if needed depending.



Once the pairs were together then it was a case of just "daisy chain" assembly from there. The pairs were added to make 4s, then the 4s added to make 8s, etc.



The 8s were then all assembled together and, voila!, two fully workable track runs ready to be test fit once the wheels are on.

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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:40 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-18-09 Reply with quote

Today was a very productive day. Weather outside was perfect for painting in the garage in the morning although by the afternoon it had pretty much driven me back inside when it climbed to near 100!

The first order of business was to get the rest of the exterior painted. I didn't have enough paint left from when I did the interior to complete the outside and have the colors match so I carefully masked off the interior portions with painter's tape and then primered the exterior with Italian Dark Brown. The 50/50 Light Gray/Dunkelgelb fresh batch was then airbrushed on the exterior and allowed to dry.



While that was drying, I also painted up all the road wheels, sprockets, and front steering wheels. The wheels had been primered at the same time I did the exterior and then the rubber portions painted with enamel Gunmetal. The hubs were then painted using a draftsman's circle template using the same dunkelgelb mix as well.



Coming back to the hull, I started in on the camo pattern using a color plate in Nuts & Bolts #21 as inspiration. While that vehicle depicted is actually an "early" type, it's not unreasonable to assume that it could've had a "late" type cousin with a similar pattern in the same unit...so I ran with it. I applied the rotbraun pattern first using a 50/50 mix of Leather/Military Brown by air brush freehand and then overlaid the olivegrun pattern using Khaki also by air brush freehand. A little adjustment for over-spray was needed in a couple of places to round things out.



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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:01 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-19-09 Reply with quote

Today's efforts were all about the details but before I could get to them, I needed to finish off the work from yesterday by applying an overall mist coat of the lightened dunkelgelb mix to tie the camo scheme together. I sprayed the mist coat from about 12" away from the model surface in quick light passes and then it was on to the details!

The first order of business was to paint and install the two MG42s, one coaxial with the main gun and the other in the AA mount at the rear. Both had their muzzles drilled out with a #76 finger drill prior to paint and installation. The instructions call for both to receive the bi-pod extensions but if you do that, neither will fit in their assigned locations so these were left off.

The fender details were added by painting and installing the muffler and then carefully painting the pioneer tools inside their clamps. I used the usual method of a light "wood" color for the wood handles followed by a light wash of Leather. Once the Leather wash had dried, I lightly dry brushed some of the "wood" color over the top of it to add some subtle variations. The antenna rubber base was added by cutting down a left-over antenna from a previous 251 build and drilling out the top with a pin vise to take an Armorscale 2m brass antenna later on. The width indicator balls were painted as well to round things out.





Next up where the road wheels and front steering wheels. In order to provide as much strength as possible for the join, I positioned the innermost wheels with their d-shaped taps at the top and then added the middle wheels. This was done on both sides and allowed to set up for about 15 minutes before I added the outermost wheels and the front steering wheels. The track runs constructed earlier were used to insure the wheels all set up level and that the front wheels didn't "float".



I've started in on painting the tracks but didn't quite get that done so that's essentially the last remaining step. Test fits showed that I needed 54 links on the left side and 56 on the right in order for everything to fit together and have the right amount of sag. Once the tracks are painted and installed, it will be on to the markings and then the weathering stage will begin.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:21 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-23-09 Reply with quote

The beauty of where this project is at allows for sneaking in a little bit of time here and there to wrap up the remaining odds and ends. The first of which was the tracks which were base coated with Non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal, dry brushed with Steel, then given an overall wash of Raw Umber. The track pads were hand painted with enamel Gunmetal for their rubber portions and then were installed on either side. The drive sprockets were glued into position as well during the installation and once the appropriate sag was achieved, I used liquid glue to carefully glue down the tracks around the surfaces of the idler, the sprocket and the bottom portions to the road wheels but left the tops unglued to better be able to deal with them when the pigments are added.







With that out of the way, I added a little bit of weathering to the road wheels by stippling some enamel Burnt Umber with an old raggedy brush and then sealed everything with a coat of Future. This was allowed to sit for an hour or two and then the decal markings added. I used the "number jungle" numerals provided in the DML sheet but they didn't provide enough 4s so I had to scrounge in the spares bin from previous 251 builds and borrow some extras to get the number I wanted. The 251/9s were usually organized in either the 4th or 8th companies of the PzGr units, so I opted for a vehicle number of 443 since I didn't like the way the 1s or 2s looked in terms of size and orientation. The decals were treated with Solvaset to insure they snugged down tight to the surface and once dry, a 2nd sealing coat of Future applied by air brush.







Reference photos show that sometimes these vehicles had license plates on the nose and rear and sometimes not...so I chose to leave them off as I felt they detracted from the overall camo pattern and only went with some simple tactical markings on the nose instead. Some pics even show that the crews painted the camo pattern over the license plate on the nose...can't say as I blame them considering!

Next up will be the weathering process, that's slated for this weekend.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:08 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-26-09 Reply with quote

Made a lot of progress this weekend and completed the build but there was a lot that had to be done before I could call this one "done".

The first order of business was to apply an overall wash of enamel Raw Umber to the entire vehicle. This serves as the foundation for the filter steps and gets it out of the way now instead of trying to add it later.



Next up were the application of the dot filters. Since this is a three-tone scheme, I used Testors Model Master enamel Panzer Olivgrun, Panzer Dunkelgelb, Flat White, and Raw Sienna as my colors. The Olivegrun and Raw Sienna were applied only to the Khaki and Leather/Military Brown patches respectively while the Flat White and Panzer Dunkelgelb were applied to all three colors. The dots were blended together using a flat tipped #2 shader brush and clean thinner. I worked in small sections at a time to avoid the dots drying and staining the under coat and wore a breather mask the entire time due to the heavy use of thinner. The pic below is kind of a before/after, you can see on the left side of the hood where the filters have been applied while the right side is yet to be addressed.



Applying this treatment to the entire vehicle took most of the day on Saturday but was well worth the effort in the end. The vehicle sat overnight before moving on the next step.



That next step was the application of a pin wash using enamel Burnt Umber. The pin wash was applied with a pointed 10/0 brush and then fine-tuned using the same brush and clean thinner to remove excess wash and blooming where necessary.



I also decided to add a little detail in the form of a spent shell casing in the catcher basket. The kit had supplied an extra round for the 7.5cm gun so I clipped off the round head with sprue cutters and then sanded it down. I even went so far as to drill out the neck but you can't really see that in the end. The casing was painted with non-buffing metalizer Brass and then carefully glued into position.



The entire vehicle was then given a coat of Testors Model Master Lusterless Flat in the spray can and allowed to dry thoroughly for an hour. I mixed up a combination of roughly 50/50 Mig Dark Mud and Europe Dust pigments as a dry powder. This was converted to a wet mixture by adding tap water with a touch of dish soap to break the surface tension and then applied with a round sable brush to the desired surfaces. The mixture was allowed to air dry for about an hour or so to get it to this stage.



Wearing a dust mask, I used a series of stiff bristled brushes to remove the excess pigment. The pigment was then further adjusted using a combination of wet and dry q-tip ends to remove and position the pigments as needed.



Last but not least, I installed the brass Armorscale 2m antenna using CA gel and let that set up. Once it had dried, it was painted with non-buffing metalizer Gunmetal and the build was finished!



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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:12 pm    Post subject: Completion 07-26-09 Reply with quote















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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This project has also been published in Kagero Super Model No. 24. in their Oct 2009 issue.

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