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Dragon Sdkfz 164 Nashorn Premium
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1744

PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:58 pm    Post subject: Dragon Sdkfz 164 Nashorn Premium Reply with quote

Build log for Dragon kit #6314 Sdkfz Nashorn "Premium" kit with MK SK-18 tracks and AFV Club brass ammo rounds.



Last edited by Bill Plunk on Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:13 pm    Post subject: WIP 01-17-10 Reply with quote

Another weekend means the start of a new build and I decided to tackle an open-topped project that has been sitting and waiting for a while, DML's Premium kit of the Sdkfz 164 Nashorn Panzerjager. Since this weekend also coincided with NFL Divisional level playoff games, I didn't get in as much build time as I might have otherwise but still made the most of it. I'm not adding a whole lot to this kit aside from the workable tracks and some brass ammo from AFV Club and am using Nuts & Bolts Vol 14 as my guide throughout the build.

As mentioned, the NFL playoff games provided ample opportunity to take care of some of the tedious/routine tasks while watching TV and the first order of business in Step 1 was the cleanup of the many road wheel halves, assembly of the return rollers, idlers, and sprockets. The Premium kit provides the choice of either early or later style Pz III sprockets since the Nashorn used a grab-bag of readily available Pz III and IV components. N&B 14 has quite a few photos of the sPzJgAbt 525 in Italy and while there's a consensus of "early" vs. "standard" features, it's not uncommon to see vehicles sporting a motley combination of both early and standard features. With that in mind, I decided to use the earlier style Pz III sprockets after checking their fit with the 40cm MK SK-18 links. All of the road wheel halves had their molded on seam sanded down and left unassembled to allow for better detail painting in later stages. I mistakenly cleaned up all 20 of the road wheel halves provided even though only 18 will be used...the other 2 are extras but are cleaned up for when/if I ever need them in the future.



The kit instructions are the color photograph type where photos of the actual model parts in various stages of assembly are used vs. the more familiar b&w line drawing type...and as such, I have to remind myself to examine all the photos carefully in each step as many parts are shown already installed and the call-outs not so obvious. For example, I overlooked part C18 whenever I took the shot below and had to go back and install it when I noticed that later on. Step 2 deals with the lower hull tub and adds the front tow point extensions along with the final drive housings and suspension elements. There were several shallow ejector marks in various spots around the lower hull, some raised and others sunken, that had to be dealt with before I added the suspension bogies. The suspension elements have to be carefully added to the hull side since there's a bit of play in their mount points so I test fit some of the road wheels on both sides to make sure they all sat level before the glue had set up. I left off the sprockets and idlers and the rest of the wheels for now and will install those much later on in the build.



That's as far with the construction as I wanted to go while sitting in the living room so I spent the rest of the time working on the MK tracks. The SK-18 set includes 208 links and the DML instructions call for 104 links per side since the Nashorn/Hummel hulls were stretched Pz IV hulls so the set may just barely provide enough links with no spares depending. The idler arm is adjustable somewhat so I think I'll be able to play with that when the time comes to insure the set will work. If not, I have extras left over from previous builds that can be called on if needed. I got about 2/3 of one track side done before calling it quits.

This one's on it's way and more progress to come next weekend!
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:21 pm    Post subject: WIP 01-23-10 Reply with quote

I made some more progress today and since tomorrow is the AFC and NFC Championship playoff games I'm going to continue working on tracks so figured I should go ahead and post the progress from today and get it out of the way.

Continuing on with the lower hull, I completed Step 3 which is a very simple step as it just adds the lower hatch insert for the radio operator's position to the underside of the glacis plate. While I had the plate loose, I decided to go ahead and address the molded on locator marks that are included there, some of which aren't used at all but the instructions don't indicate that you should remove any. You have to look ahead to Step 21 to see what would be used and what needed to be removed. I don't like leaving locator marks in place so I removed all of them due to their size as a matter of course with a micro chisel and then carefully sanded down the surfaces. The marks on the side of the driver's armored hood were the toughest to remove as they were thick and in a tight space due to the angles of the hood and the weld seams. For those I used the back of a #11 blade to carefully scrape them down and then sanded using an angled cut end of the sanding twig I normally use for tight spaces.



Step 4 preps the fenders by calling for some holes to be opened up on both fenders and the jack block installed on the right fender. I opened the holes with a #68 finger drill but left the block off for now. On the left side the holes don't need to be opened for the mount of the Bosch light as they are already molded open. It was only after I took this pic that I realized I opened up the wrong holes in the left fender...the holes I opened up were for the twin Bosch light seen on the Hornisse but deleted on the Nashorn so I'm going to have to fill those and open up the right holes for the jack block farther back on the fender. Chalk that one up to carelessness on my part and I don't even have the excuse of watching a game on TV to fall back on this time!

Step 5 then attaches the fenders and glacis to the lower hull. I added the glacis first and the fit was mostly ok with just a little bit of putty work required around the triangular corners that are welded to the hull vs. bolted like the rest of the plate. The fenders were next and I used the angled fighting compartment panels C14/C15 to insure I had a good fit and match into their grooves so that when they are installed later on the fenders aren't drooping or causing gaps in that area.

This step also installs the rear hull plate and it had some very deep ejector marks that needed to be filled with putty. These will likely be hidden by the large stowage box that occupies the rear floor area but I didn't want to take any chances so some quick work with Squadron White and the sanding twig fixed it up right. Some additional putty on the exterior joins with the hull sides was also needed in places. The floor was installed and this step also has the infamous M14/M15 inserts that are used to align the lifting eyes properly on the interior sides of the fighting compartment. The instructions now have a blue text that says "for positioning L4 only" and the "do not glue" icon but you don't actually install L4 if following the instruction order until Step 18 so I made a note on the instructions and will do that then instead of now.



Step 6 rounds out the lower hull by adding the tow pintle mount, the exhausts, the rear tow hooks, the crew step, and the spare road wheel mounts as well as other miscellaneous details. I left off the mounts for now and will add them later on but everything else got installed at this step. The top side of the tow pintle mount had large and deep ejector marks that had to be puttied and sanded down before installation. There are some unused mount pins on the hull side that have to be removed on both sides, easily done with the #11 blade, in order for the tow hook and track pin nudge plate to install correctly.



Since there's 2 games tomorrow I should be able to get the tracks together and assembled but I guess that all depends on how good (or not) the games are!
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:05 pm    Post subject: WIP 01-30-10 Reply with quote

As promised, I managed to get the MK tracks built for both sides between the last update and this one. I assembled 102 links per side and will wait until it's time for the installation to see exactly how many links I will need and add the extras then.



Returning today to the instructions, I picked up at Step 7 which starts work on the 8.8cm gun. Even though the Premium kit includes an aluminum barrel, the breech and first half of the gun are styrene and are a two-part assembly. I glued the two halves together with regular glue and then very carefully sanded the seam on either side with a sanding twig. The block itself required sanding as well to get a seamless look in several places and the semi-auto breech cylinder was added. I also assembled the breech and test fit it but didn't glue it into place since it will be easier to paint separately later on.



Step 8 assembles the recoil sled and tray I went ahead and attached the rear half of the gun to the sled before I added the barrel itself. This was to help insure that when I installed the barrel, I had the brake lined up properly. Most of the tray is hidden by the sled but the rear-most portion is exposed so I sanded that area to remove the join seam from the two tray halves. The undersides of the tray that are visible on the exterior of the vehicle as well as the interior fighting compartment were puttied and sanded smooth. A small amount of putty was needed at the front where the attachment point from the tray to the barrel meets up with the sled since DML designed this as a separate part vs. it being integrated with the sled on the real deal.



With all that taken care of, I assembled the slide-molded multi-part muzzle brake and sanded the join line at the top and bottom smooth with a sanding twig. The muzzle brake was installed to the aluminum barrel with CA gel and then the barrel itself installed to the rear half also with CA gel. The clamp for the travel lock was added after everything was set up with liquid glue and carefully adjusted so it lined up straight with the underside.



That led to Step 9 which added the two halves of the recoil cylinder. The join at the top of the cylinder was carefully sanded down with a sanding twig to create a seamless surface.



Step 10 assembles the equilibrator pistons and attaches them to the gun but there is a little bit of a head scratcher here since the lower arms of the pistons aren't supposed to be glued into position to allow the gun to properly elevate. The head scratcher is that the unglued lower portions don't have anything to hold on to until the side plates of the gun mount are added in the next step! I assembled the cylinders and added them but left the pistons off for the moment. The small curved portion of the splinter shield is also added to the top of the gun in this step however mine had a slight sink hole in the face that required some putty work and sanding to correct before it could be installed.



Step 11 adds the base and side plates for the gun mount. While the instructions don't indicate this, if you don't apply glue at the top points where it attaches to the swivel pins, the gun can be freely elevated instead of fixed in position. The lower portions of the equilibrator pistons were added as well now that they had a place to attach to.



Step 12 starts to add the details to the mount itself, dealing with the left side first. The front support plate for the curved splinter shield is installed along with the recoil guard for the gunner, the elevation and traverse wheels, and the gunner's seat and its mount. Many of these parts are delicate and I had to think through exactly how I wanted to install them since the photo shows many of them already in place. I opted to install the wheel mounts first, then add the wheels, then add the gunner's seat and mount to avoid running out of room to maneuver in the process.



Step 13 adds the details for the right side of the mount. The side plate for the splinter shield is added here also along with the auxiliary traverse wheel for the loader.



Step 14 is a delicate step in that it adds the supports for the curved splinter shield to the sides of the gun mount. I say delicate because the attachment points for the top and bottom supports on either side are small so until the glue sets they want to sag a bit under their own weight. I left the shield itself off for now to make it easier to get in and paint all the nooks and crannies.



Rounding out the gun construction was Step 15. This added the top crash bar to prevent the gun from being elevated too high as well as the gunner's sight. It took me a little while to figure out exactly how to assemble the 3 parts that make up the sight mount and base since the photo shows them already assembled but eventually I got it sorted out. I drilled out the top face of the sight with a drill bit and pin vise and also drilled out the eyepiece on the bottom with a #68 finger drill before adding the leather head pad.



Next up will start work on the fighting compartment!
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:56 pm    Post subject: WIP 01-31-10 Reply with quote

Work continued today on the interior and the fighting compartment. The first item of business was to return to Step 4 and add the plate which covers the engine compartment and provides the base for the gun mount. This is part C2 and it's a large part that fit well except for the front where it joined the angled glacis plate. I had to use some putty and careful sanding there to fill gaps while not destroying the bolt detail in the area in the process.



Returning to the instruction order, I skipped Step 16 since this involves the installation of the tracks and I'm not quite ready to do that at this time. Steps 17 and 18 deal with the side panels of the fighting compartment and I studied the diagrams carefully in these steps and the remaining steps to determine which molded on locator marks weren't needed. The instructions don't indicate which should be removed and there are many provided that are obviously intended for the Hummel and not the Nashorn, so once I figured out which had to go, it was a matter of sanding them down along with some faint ejector marks to get them ready for further assembly.

I elected not to use the kit-provided PE option for the side air intakes due to the large amount of surgery required to use them vs. minimal detail gain IMHO but did opt to use the PE version of the MG34 ammo rack for the right side. The rack was bent to shape and installed with Gator Grip glue and will get populated later on with ammo cans and other goodies. I also installed the MG34 mount and will add the MG34 itself later as well. The instructions want you to install the triangular braces, parts C13/B22, directly to the lower hull but I opted to install them to the sides first to allow for a truer fit and also to facilitate painting.



For the left side, I added the large vehicle tool box as well as the smaller box for the top. This box has molded on hinge detail but the backside is hollow, so to prevent it from being visible after installation, I added a strip of sheet styrene to simulate the rest of the box and blank it off. I also added some 0.5mm solder conduit wire for the intercom box and glued this in place with liquid glue. The mount for the "rabbit ears" periscope was also installed and I assembled it carefully so that the swivel would remain workable but will add the scope itself later after painting.



This step also involves the rear plate of the fighting compartment but only deals with the exterior details. I skipped ahead to Step 19 and added the grab handles and MP40 mounts and also removed the unneeded molded on locator marks and raised ejector marks as well. In a reversal I left off all the exterior details and will add those later after the plate is installed.



Step 19 deals primarily with the installation of the left side ammo bin and has all the diagrams for the possible use of the PE options if the bins are shown open. Since I'm only tentatively planning to show the loader's side bin open, I installed the gunner's side bin using the styrene options and in the closed position. The lifting eyes were fitted in place using the locator jigs from Step 4 and I added missing conduit detail for this side as well using 0.5mm diameter solder. The long conduit above the floor had some brackets added using scrap PE 'fingers' from an Eduard fret bent to shape and glued in place.


In preparation for painting I also went ahead and installed the remaining interior details featured in Steps 23 and 24 in the form of lifting eyes, the heater air pipe for the crew, and the remote travel lock release lever and cable conduit. In order to insure that the conduit was placed correctly, I also installed the curved base plate on the splinter shield from Step 25. The heater air pipe was molded solid so I drilled out the end with a large drill bit and pin vise to give it the proper scale thickness for sheet metal before installing it.



Rather than try to jam in the effort on the loader's side ammo bin, I'm going to tackle that one when I'm fresh since it's got a lot of little bitty PE to work with. Once that's done and installed, I can start the paint and detail work for the fighting compartment.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:05 pm    Post subject: WIP 02-01-10 Reply with quote

Breaking with tradition, I have a little mini-update tonight due to the fact that the DML PE provided for the ammo bins proved to be virtually worthless for what I wanted to do. I'm glad I didn't start out by removing the molded on detail on the inside of the ammo bin otherwise I would've been forced to go with both bins closed. A test fit of the small retaining brackets showed that they were too small to accurately fit the AFV brass rounds at their base. They were fine for the neck of the rounds but it turned out they are too wide to allow for side-by-side fitting of the rounds, so you can't fit the full 8 rounds that should be in the bin either. To complicate things the height of the retaining brackets was too tall to fit the space provided...so it turned into an all-around bust in terms of using the PE. To top it all off, the PE is very, very fragile and easily bent while removing it from the fret and trying to install it in the tight spaces of the bin. Long story short, I ended up going with the styrene parts to allow me to load the bin properly and display it open and fully stocked.



One thing the PE was good for however was the folding door to the bin. This has a nice scale thickness and accordion folds nicely but you have to be very careful and bend it right the first time otherwise the etch lines are so deep it will snap in half if you make a mistake. I know this because I made that mistake on the first set of doors but fortunately there's 2 in the set and I only needed one! The doors were checked to make sure they were folded down tight enough to not interfere with the fit to the hull side on the loader's side and then were glued in place with Gator Grip glue to allow it to be properly centered. The little overhang on either side is supposed to be there but isn't very wide so it has to be just so to look right.

I test fitted the rounds into the bin to see how it would look fully stocked. The beauty of the AFV brass rounds are that all the actual rounds are separate so it will be very easy to paint and detail them prior to installation. The set includes different types of rounds to provide a nice variety of 3 rounds each of 4 different types for a total of 12 rounds, not enough to stock both bins of course but still a nice bunch.

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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:11 pm    Post subject: WIP 02-03-10 Reply with quote

I've been working on some of the additional details in preparation for painting the interior this weekend and after studying some of the photos in Nuts & Bolts 14 I decided to configure mine as a command vehicle. This meant adding the missing radio transmitter and receiver sets which I scrounged from an older Skdfz 251/23 build that had gotten damaged and was now a source for parts which is why they look partially painted/detailed. They had the added bonus in the form of a headset that I had already wired into them so that saved me some work this time around.

The radios were originally molded together in a rack so I had to cut them apart and patch the top and bottom with sheet styrene since they were hollow on the inside. Due to the way the space on the loader's ammo bin is designed, the two sets don't sit perfectly in parallel with each other but instead are slightly staggered to accommodate the angled side wall. The DML PE fret included a single standard radio rack holder but it was too small so I scratchbuilt some frames using strips of left over brass from an old PE fret bent to shape and glued in place with CA gel. I used small amounts of poster blue-tack putty to test fit their configuration.

I also added the DML provided PE rain guard and the instruction diagram isn't as clear as it should be on how it needs to be installed. It actually has to be inserted under the folded-up doors on the ammo bin in order to be the right length and not just glued to the side of the bin like the diagram suggests. The top part also shouldn't be straight, it needs a slight angle to it in order to meet up properly with the rear compartment plate.



In test fitting this with the side and rear plate I realized that I had the stowed antenna rack in the incorrect position. This error came about due to the picture in the instructions showing it lower than it actually needs to be, so I popped it off and repositioned it at the correct height and angle. I also added the mount for the power transformer that goes under the radio sets, this was also salvaged from the previous build and the transformer itself is still loose so I won't have to repaint it after the interior is painted. I had to move the lower half of the set up just a bit for it to clear but everything still plays nice together in the end.



Since the rack has the command antenna set stowed, I decided to leave it that way but still needed to add the base of the antenna itself onto the rain guard. The kit doesn't provide these parts so I scrounged in the spares bin and found an unused antenna rubber base and mount, assembled them, and then installed it to the rain guard with Gator Grip glue so I could get it in the right position. A test fit with the rear plate shows everything is working well together. The ammo bin is also just dry fit and will be painted separately to facilitate loading the ammo and adding the remaining details to the holders before it gets permanently added to the fighting compartment.



The last remaining piece of the fighting compartment interior were the small angled portions at the front. These are called out in the final step of the instructions in Step 25 and they need to receive the curved inner splash guards before they are ready for install. The instruction diagrams contain an error though in that the parts that need to be added to the plates have their numbers reversed...so parts C7 and C17 need to actually go on part C15 and not C14.

I also decided to add the small optics container to the inside of the main curved splinter shield. Some Nashorns had it while others didn't based on the two surviving vehicles in Kubinka and Aberdeen and the parts are available on the D sprue but marked as not for use. Since the Kubinka vehicle only has one and not two fitted, I only fitted the one to the gunner's side and left the other off.



Everything is now ready to paint this weekend as these were the last things I needed to square away before firing up the compressor.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:43 pm    Post subject: WIP 02-06-10 Reply with quote

Weather was absolutely gorgeous today so I made the most of it. All of the different components were assembled and made ready for painting. Here's how it looked pre-paint...and before I attached several of the pieces to strips of masking tape to make it easier to handle them during painting. The open ammo bin is just posed in place for the photo and is still separate to facilitate the loading of the ammo later. You can also see that I added the PE welded on patch to the splinter shield that covers the unused direct gun-sight opening. To fit that patch, I had to anneal the PE over an open flame and use the slight curve of the shield to get it to conform properly, otherwise it would've stuck out at the edges vs. look truly welded in place.



Everything received a primer coat of MM enamel Italian Dark Brown applied by airbrush followed by a base coat of a 50-50 mix of MM enamel Panzer Dunkelgelb/Light Gray also by airbrush. Originally I was only going to paint the internal surface areas but decided that now was the best time to paint the gun barrel and splinter shield external surfaces since I won't have nearly the same flexibility later on once they are installed. This will need some time to cure up before I go at the weathering so will sit for a while. Tomorrow I'll work on getting more of the details painted up, particularly on the main gun, and ready to go prior to the Super Bowl.

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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:02 pm    Post subject: WIP 02-07-10 Reply with quote

Superbowl Sunday notwithstanding, I did manage to get some detail work done today before everything shut down at 4 pm MST. First order of business involved the radios, the styrene patches and sides were painted a field gray using a custom mix of 50-50 Russian Armor Green and Panzer Schwarzgrau to restore their look and the support frames painted hull color. I attached them to the side of the loader's ammo bin with CA gel and then added the necessary wiring using 0.5mm solder to connect them up together and to provide connections to the transformer/power supply as well as the radio antenna. The rubber base of the antenna mount was also detailed and I positioned the headphones on top of the top set so that it wouldn't interfere with the ammo doors. I also repositioned the head phone wiring and touched it up here and there with Flat Red where some of the paint had flaked off due to handling.



I separate the warhead portion of the ammo from the brass casings and detailed them by hand for the different types of ammo. The HE rounds were painted with Deep Yellow and Steel for their fuse caps, the AP rounds were painted with non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal and the caps painted with Flat Light Gray, and the special tungsten core rounds with Panzer Schwarzgrau for a little variety.



The rounds were then loaded into the bin one at a time using small amounts of CA gel at the base to secure them in place. Once each round had set solid, it's partner was added next to it until the bin was fully loaded with 8 rounds. I still need to add the little PE retaining ends to the front supports and will do that before the bin is installed in place in the compartment.



I also got some of the details on the gun finished in the form of the gunner's sight and elevation/traverse wheels. The leather head pad was painted with a base coat of Italian Dark brown and then lightly dry brushed with enamel Gunmetal and the 50-50 mix of Dunkelgelb/Light Gray. I then counter-dry brushed the Italian Dark Brown to blend it back together and provide some subtle variation. The breech was also detailed using enamel Silver to round things out for now.





Still need to do some more weathering work on the gun before it's ready to be joined up with the splinter shield and installed into the fighting compartment but it's getting closer.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:00 pm    Post subject: WIP 02-14-10 Reply with quote

One of the great things about having a spouse that supports the hobby is that even when it's Valentine's Day weekend I'm still able to get some time in at the bench. A box of Godiva chocolates and a promise for dinner later this evening goes a very long way indeed.

Since the last update all of the efforts have been focused on the interior details and getting things squared away before assembling the panels of the fighting compartment. The loader's side got the majority of the attention. Using the pics in N&B 14, I decided to add the missing gas mask containers and holders for this side of the fighting compartment. I used a left over Eduard fire extinguisher bracket to rig up a holder with straps by cutting it down and using only the strap portion and combined that with a spare gas mask container from a Gen2 infantry gear sprue in the spares bin. The kit also didn't provide an MG34 so I scrounged one again from the spares bin and added it along with, you guessed, scrounged spares ammo cans to go in the bracket. I had to fold down the sight in order for i to fit in the space provided but otherwise it fit perfectly into the holders.

The panel was weathered first with an overall wash of Raw Umber. Since the paint had a full week to cure, I didn't seal it with Future but instead just applied the wash directly to the paint. The key here was to insure I didn't flood the surface to avoid it lifting the paint and letting it air dry. The photos show it a little darker than it actually came out and some of the areas are of course hidden by the ammo boxes so I didn't do much more to that space. For those areas that remained visible, I used a round 0 sable brush and prepped the brush as if I were going to dry brush but instead stippled the brush and applied some fine scratches/scuffs of Burnt Umber. This was followed up by stippling and dry brushing some of the original base color back over it to provide some depth and variation while still retaining the "grungy" factor.



I applied the same weathering approach to the gunner's side but left off the rabbit ears scope for now as I want to paint and detail that later after the exterior has been painted. Same thing with the MG34 swivel mounts, those will be added at a later step. I'm leaving them off now so I can have a clean masking surface to work with to protect the interior when the exterior is painted.



The rear plate was weathered as well and received the two crew MP40 weapons. The kit instructions have the wrong part numbers for these, you should use WB9 and not WB1 as called for. WB1 is designed with a separate folding stock and is meant for use if you were showing the gun in actual use vs. stowed in the holders. The instructions also don't tell you that you need to add parts WB5 to complete the full gun so watch out for that as well. I removed the clip magazine with sprue cutters as instructed and hollowed out the receiver using a #70 finger drill and very carefully squaring the opening with the tip of a #11 blade to add a little more detail here.



That just left the floor of the compartment to work on. I added the 2nd gas mask container and holder here as well and decided to add some crew helmets for the empty space at the rear. These were provided courtesy of the same gear sprue as the gas mask containers and glued in place after a quick check with the rear plate to be sure there wouldn't be any interference. I also added the cable for the remote release on the travel lock using a short length of 0.008" diameter waxed ship-rigging thread cut to size and glued in place with regular glue. Once the glue dried, I painted the cable with non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal.

For the floor itself, I added the weathering using the same process as the side panels but added some dirt/mud accumulation in the form of stippled Raw Sienna. I added some of this to the angled plate under the gun as well where the gunner's feet would likely rest or make contact for a little extra "lived in" feel.



This cleared the way for me to begin installing all the components into the fighting compartment and get the compartment itself assembled. Prior to installing the gun, I had given it the same weathering treatment as the rest of the compartment but with a lighter touch since the crew would've kept it well maintained for obvious reasons. The gun and splinter shield were installed and I permanently placed the loader's ammo bin as well while I still had plenty of room to work with.



The fighting compartment panels were then installed, starting at the front and adding the sides with the rear plate added last. The fit was ok for the most part but there were some areas where the angled front plates needed some putty work to fill small gaps that couldn't be addressed any other way. These gaps were filled and the joins lightly sanded with a sanding twig to round things out.





That clears the way for the rest of the exterior details to be added which means the exterior will likely get paint and camo next weekend!
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:31 pm    Post subject: WIP 02-20-10 Reply with quote

I had hoped to get to the painting stage today but two things tripped me up. The first was simply an underestimation of just how many parts I still needed to clean-up and add to the vehicle and the second was the realization that I didn't have all the paint supplies I needed on hand in sufficient quantities! So that means painting the exterior will be delayed until tomorrow but will still get done this weekend.

Speaking of all those parts to add, I went back through the different steps and conducted a survey to be sure I didn't miss anything. I test fit the kit-provided Magic links with the spare track holder on the hull nose and the links can slide in and out without problem so I went ahead and installed B3 from way back in Step 4. I also returned to Step 18 and added the lifting eyes, parts A4, to the rear exterior but left off the cleaning rods until after paint. All of the details in Step 21 were also installed, this covered the crew hatches, all the various lifting eyes on the hull glacis, and also the lifting eyes for the fighting compartment side panels. The mount holes for the A20 eyes was larger then the eye itself so a little but of putty was needed to fill those gaps.

After checking references, I realized that the three lower eyes called for in the instructions aren't seen on the actual vehicles...both the surviving examples in Kubinka/Aberdeen and numerous in-action photos don't show these as being there so I filled their small mount holes with putty and left them off.

I also completed the details in Step 22 which deals with the Bosch light and the jack. I assembled the jack but left it off for now to make it easier to paint that area of the fender and the hull. The instructions have an error here in that they call for the base of the Bosch light as part B40 but you actually need to use B39 or the actual Bosch light will install backwards. I drilled out the armored connection point on the glacis as well as the port on the Bosch base with a #72 finger drill and added the connecting wire conduit with 0.5mm diameter solder.

Step 24 was the last one I needed to work on and it deals with the gun travel lock. The instruction show this already assembled which makes things a bit tricky as there are no less than 8 parts that go into the assembly and some of them are very small. I used a #78 finger drill to carefully drill out the small pulley that is part M23 to allow me to add the missing tension cable that allowed the gun travel lock to be disengaged by the gunner from the relative safety of the fighting compartment vs. crawling out onto the glacis to do it. I drilled this hole while M23 was still on the sprue since it is a very tiny part. The travel lock was assembled and I was careful with the base parts to allow the lock to remain workable. This will help not only in the painting process but also provides options in the final display between the gun being secured or not.

The tension cable was added using waxed 0.008" diameter ship rigging thread which I glued in place on the glacis with small amounts of liquid glue and used regular glue to glue it into the base of the travel lock. The thread has sufficient flexibility that the lock can be moved freely without causing the thread to break free.







Now I'm off to the LHS to rectify my paint supply problem and tomorrow this one's got a date with the spray booth!
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1744

PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:39 pm    Post subject: WIP 02-21-10 Reply with quote

The much-anticipated time for paint had arrived so to get ready for it today I prepped the fighting compartment by masking it off with several strips of blue painter's tape. Some of the strips were cut in half and positioned in various degrees of overlap to maximize protection, especially around the gun.



The road wheels and other items for the suspension were also made ready by mounting them on wooden toothpicks. I used small amounts of blue poster tack putty to secure them in place along with my trusty styrofoam box. Since there are 36 road wheel halves, it's a crowded place!



The painting session began with the application of a primer coat of MM enamel Italian Dark Brown applied by airbrush. This allowed me to check all the putty and sanding work I'd done earlier and I made a few corrections in various spots and then touched up the primer before committing to the base coat.



The base coat was applied by airbrush using multiple thin coat passes to build it up sufficiently over the primer coat. I used a custom mix of MM enamel Light Gray and Panzer Dunkelgelb in a 50-50 mixture.



Next up was the camo pattern. I decided to apply a three tone pattern for a vehicle with the sHPzJgAbt 525 in Italy 1944 and used the kit provided finishing guide as a rough outline for the overall pattern. I applied the Rotbraun first by airbrush freehand using a 50-50 mix of MM enamel Military Brown and Leather. Then I added the Olivegrun freehand by airbrush using MM enamel Khaki. I went back over the pattern and cleaned up some over spray here and there with the original base coat color. Once I was happy with that, I heavily thinned down the base coat mix and sprayed it as a mist coat from about 12 inches distance to tie everything together. The masking was removed and it did its job well with only some very minor touch ups needed.





I also got the road wheels and other suspension items all done. They were primed just like the vehicle with Italian Dark Brown and then the rubber portions painted by airbrush using MM enamel Gunmetal. I used a draftsman's circle template to paint the hubs with the base coat mix used on the hull.



All told I spent about 5 hours working with the airbrush today and even though it was still a little windy and cold, it needed to be done so that I could move on. I didn't get the MK tracks painted, that's something I can tackle during the week since it can be done in short bursts and with a full week for the paint to cure, things are getting very close to the finish line.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1744

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:04 pm    Post subject: WIP 02-27-10 Reply with quote

The old saying that the devil's in the details really holds true on this particular build. Today's efforts continued to focus on the remaining details and the time it took to address them turned out to be more than I had anticipated. The goal was to get to the weathering stages this weekend but that's not likely to happen given the cure times needed for the Future and decal stages.

Despite that, a lot did get done today. I assembled all of the road wheels and installed them to both sides of the hull, checking for a level fit, and let that set up. Then the lower hull was pre-weathered by stippling some enamel Burnt Umber with a round 0 sable brush to simulate random scratches and dings due to rocks, dirt, etc. being kicked up by the tracks. I also painted and detailed the vehicle exhausts on either side before installing the return rollers in order to have some room to work with. They were base coated with MM Non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal and then given a light wash of Rust to create their look.



The jack block was painted and detailed by hand with the wood portions getting a base coat of a tan "wood" mixture I created a long time ago followed by a wash of thinned MM enamel Leather. Both Black and Burnt Umber artist pastels were added for some variation. I also installed the vehicle's standard antenna mount but modified it by removing the stub post with sprue cutters and drilling out the base with a #72 finger drill to allow for a brass 2m antenna to be installed later. I also detailed the release catch cable for the travel lock with non-buffing metalizer Gunmetal and lightly dry brushed the pulley wheel with Steel.



The rear hull also got some attention with the two spare road wheels added along with their mounts. The gun cleaning rods were detailed the same as the jack block with the threaded end caps detailed using MM enamel Steel. The rear blackout light was painted with Flat Sea Blue as well.



The remaining details for the fighting compartment that I'd left off for easier painting/access were added at this point as well. The instructions tell you to install 3 of the swinging MG mounts but I decided to leave the one they wanted at the rear off. I couldn't find any photographic references that supported a 3rd mount and the surviving vehicle at Aberdeen only has the two on the sides so that's what I went with. The bases are PE and I hadn't realized just how large they were otherwise I would've added them earlier in the build since it was a very tight fit to get them installed properly above the ammo bins due to the height and angle of the side walls. I added the swivel mounts and glued them in place with CA gel.

The two side wall periscopes were also detailed and installed. Since these were Bakelite and held in place with small metal frames, I painted them first with MM enamel Italian Dark Brown and then detailed the frames using the same DY mix as the vehicle base coat. For the plexiglass faces, I used enamel Steel followed by Tamiya acrylic Clear Smoke.

Last but not least, the commander's rabbit-ears scope was added. This is a tricky multi-part assembly that has two parts for the base and another 3 parts for the scope itself, so it had to be assembled in stages to allow the delicate parts to set up properly. The scope was base coated with non-buffing metalizer Gunmetal and lightly dry brushed with Steel and then given a very light black artist pastel treatment. The lens faces were treated the same as the periscopes to complete its look.



I assembled the multi-part jack and painted it a slightly different shade of DY in order to provide some visual variance relative to the rest of the vehicle. Instead of a 50-50 mix of Panzer DY/Light Gray, I used an 80/20 mix.



The hull front also received some details in the form of the spare track run. I used the kit-supplied Magic links for this and selected 14 from the baggie. Each one needed some slight cleanup to remove a small sprue nub on the guide horn and some sanding to remove two small raised ejector marks on the exposed face of each link. The links were glued together with regular glue, base coated with non-buffing metalizer Gunmetal, dry brushed with Steel, and then given a wash of Rust. Once the wash had dried, I dry brushed MM enamel Burnt Umber to round out the look and installed the run in place in the holder.



The final task of the day involved the tracks. I pre-weathered the sprockets and idlers with the same stippling approach used on the lower hull and also added some dry brushed Steel for the sprocket teeth and the contact surfaces on the idler. I added the base of the idler to the actual idler wheels and did a test fit with the MK tracks to see how many links and what position the idler could support. The track runs were extended to the recommended 104 links and the idler is capable of properly tensioning them with anywhere from no sag at all to full sag (if there is such a thing!), so I was happy with that outcome.



Tomorrow the tracks will get painted and installed and then the Future coats will be added along with the markings. At least that's the plan!
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:25 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-02-10 Reply with quote

I managed to get quite a bit of work done on Sunday but held off posting until I had the markings on and everything was set for the weathering process. The MK track runs were given an airbrushed primer coat of MM enamel Flat Black to protect the bare plastic from the lacquer-based base coat of Non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal. The tracks were then dry brushed with MM enamel Steel and given an overall wash of enamel Raw Umber to round out their look.



The tracks were installed to both sides along with the sprockets and idlers. The vehicle was then set off to the side to allow everything to set up nice and solid.



The entire vehicle was sealed with a coat of Future applied by air brush. Ordinarily I would allow this to dry for about an hour or so before moving on to the decals but I ran out of time on Sunday so the coat got to sit longer than normal as a result. The decals were applied for the Italy 1944 sPzJgAbt 525 vehicle but instead of using the finishing guide for #131, I used the guide for #112 which is also included. These vehicles belonged to the same unit and would have the same insignia/markings but for some reason the finishing guide for #131 doesn't follow the same standards as that provided for #112 in terms of the numbers placement and the use of the unit insignia. Go figure. The decals were applied individually and treated with Walther's Solvaset to insure they snugged down tight. Once dry, a 2nd sealing coat of Future was applied to protect the decals during the weathering process.



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Bill Plunk



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Posts: 1744

PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:24 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-07-10 Reply with quote

I wasn't feeling too motivated yesterday so skipped working on the build for the day. I've found that when I get to the weathering stages if I try to force things I usually end up with a less than desirable result and today was a much better day so some progress was made although not quite as much as I'd planned for.

The first order of business was the overall application of a wash of MM enamel Raw Umber to the exterior of the vehicle. I use about a 90/10 thinner/paint ratio and apply the wash with a round 0 sable brush.



The wash dries pretty quickly but good ventilation is key due to the large amount of thinner involved. Next was the application of dot filters using MM enamel Flat White, Panzer Dunkelgelb, Deep Yellow, Raw Sienna, and Panzer Olivgrun. I applied small dots using spotter brushes and then used a square tip brush dampened with clean thinner and repeated downward strokes to work the dots until they virtually disappear. To remove thinner from the brush, I use an ordinary paper towel and touch the brush to it several times to avoid flooding the surface I'm working on and ruining the effect.



This process was repeated in small sections over the entire vehicle and took about 3-4 hours to complete. I worked in stages, all the while wearing a paint breather mask due to the large amount of time spent with thinner.



More weathering is yet to come in the form of a pin wash of Burnt Umber to pick out the details and also some pigment treatment to the lower hull and running gear.
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