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Tamiya SU-76M Self-Propelled Gun
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1770

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:27 pm    Post subject: Tamiya SU-76M Self-Propelled Gun Reply with quote

Build log for the 1/35 Tamiya kit #35348 SU-76M Russian Self-Propelled Gun. This will be done as an OOB build.

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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 4:07 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-18-16 Reply with quote

Kicked this one off today and duly started in on Step 1. This is a simple step, it just assembles the base of the gun mount complete with a polycap and gets the hull nose plate ready for install later on in Step 3. I deliberately left off the hook details for now as I prefer to avoid adding details to plates until after they are in place to prevent damage, loss, etc.



Step 2 builds up the front plate of the fighting compartment. This part does double duty as the main hull support bulkhead, so it plays an important role. First order of business was dealing with the many small ejector marks on the interior face. They aren't deep but some of them are in hard to reach spots. I used some custom cut sanding sticks that keep on hand for just this type of thing and sanded them down. It was only after I sanded smooth the large square area on the right side that I realized it gets covered up completely with additional parts later, but I was in full-on EPM removal mode. Smile



With those taken care of, I completed the assembly as called for in the step.



Step 3 deals with the multi-panel hull assembly. I know some have reservations about this type of approach vs. a one-piece tub, but Tamiya did a great job with the fit and engineering here. First up though, you guessed it, more little ejector marks to deal with. Most of these are around the suspension arm mounts and would most likely be covered by the road wheels but I didn't want to take any chances. Others were in highly visible areas and had to go, so more delicate sanding/trimming with a sharp #11 blade did the trick.



The instructions clearly direct you to assemble the hull in a specific sequence of events to avoid any problems. The nose plate goes on first, then the sides are attached to the floor pan, then the superstructure plate slides in between them to lock it all together. I used liquid glue to attach everything and encountered zero problems in the process.



Just to be sure I wouldn't have any problems later on, I skipped ahead to Step 15 and added in the glacis and engine deck plates. There's no real good reason I could see in the instruction order to wait to attach them and it has the added bonus of ensuring the hull would set up square. For good measure, I did a test fit with the compartment back plate, part B8, and held it in place with masking tape. Everything fit like a glove.



So far so good! Once the hull is fully set, I'll circle back and add the details called for to the nose plate and also work on the suspension components. Steps 4-13 deal with the fighting compartment interior and will be skipped for a while until I'm ready to tackle that area given all the detail work it involves.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 4:31 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-19-16 Reply with quote

More progress to report! I went back to Step 1 and duly added in the tow hook arrangments to the nose plate so I wouldn't forget about it later on. Easily done, you just have to be sure to add the small triangular parts, A6, first and then the main hooks to avoid any issues.



Rather than move on to the suspension as I originally planned, I instead started in on the interior modules to complete what I could there so that it would make painting and assembly easier when I get to that stage. First up, I assembled the main parts of the two right-hand side shell racks as called out in Step 4. The bases have small tabs that extend beyond the rack wall and are used to install them into the fighting compartment, so I wanted to see how easy that would be if the compartment wall itself was already installed.

The right side of the compartment is assembled in Step 5 out of two separate large pieces. I used the main hull to help ensure they were lined up properly in relation to each other and the angled front part of the compartment, then carefully applied liquid glue to the join and let it set inside the compartment before popping it out so it would behave as a single piece going forward. A quick test with the shell racks showed that the recommended order in the instructions of installing them to the compartment side first is a good one...it's a pretty tight fit, so I will deal with them separately in the painting and detailing department.

It's also worth noting here that Tamiya did something a little funny with the shell rack components. The retaining clips for each round are molded onto the rounds themselves, so there are no clips present for the empty round places in the racks. Tamiya deliberately left several round places empty in all three racks, so that leaves something for the aftermarket boys or the adventurous scratch-builders to address. Smile



Skipping over to Step 11, I worked on the compartment rear plate. Some ejector marks that would be visible were removed and I installed the bench seat and supports so I could work with this as another interior module for painting.



A quick mock-up with some masking tape and poster putty shows just how cramped/tight the interior is with all this stuff. I deliberately left off the little commander's jump seat on the right wall as it will be easier to detail it separately and then install it due to how closely it fits against the rear shell rack.



I also noticed that there was a small gap/opening on the right side between the engine deck and the angled superstructure front. As near as I could tell after consulting available reference photos of the actual vehicle, there is supposed to be a small gap here but not one that would extend all the way down into the hull itself. To address that, I added a small length of white styrene rod and applied liquid glue to soften it then shaped it with a wooden toothpick to fill in the base hull area while still leaving the superficial gap between the superstructure and the engine deck area. Not sure if that's 100% accurate, but it looks better to my eye vs. having this small crack down into the interior. Smile



Next up will be spending some time on the fighting compartment upper sides to get them ready for paint.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:33 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-20-16 Reply with quote

Continuing on with the fighting compartment stuff, I assembled the three sub-machine ammo racks and the radio equipment as called for in Step 7. These will get installed separately after I've had a chance to paint them, two of the racks go on the right side along with the radio and the third one goes on the left side.



Step 8 addresses the right side of the compartment and I removed the ejector marks that would be visible and left the others alone. All of the little details that would be the same hull color were installed to get it squared away.



Step 9 installs the radio and ammo racks, so this was temporarily skipped. Step 10 gives the detail treatment to the left side. Same drill regarding ejector marks here too! Smile



The back plate received some more attention as I decided to go ahead and install its door in the closed position. This isn't called out until the very final step 37 that also addresses the figures...I'm not sure if you need to have the door open in order for one of the crewmen to fit correctly, it's hard to be sure. The instruction diagram's top-down view of how they sit doesn't seem to indicate this would be a problem, but I'm not planning on placing the figures myself so it's not a big deal for me but could be for others. I also added the tow hook components from Step 16 as I wanted to see how much of the opening there would be filled by the hook. Turns out it doesn't completely fill up the space, so I puttied over it to make it seamless with the rest of the interior plate.

For good measure, I also got the triangular plates that attach to the tops of the fighting compartment ready for paint. These are covered in Step 34. I drilled out the eyepiece face and also drilled an actual hole in the top portion of the pipe periscope. The part has a molded dimple here, I used a #78 micro drill bit to up the detail a touch.



So here's where all the interior parts of the fighting compartment are at before I start in on getting them painted and detailed.

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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:22 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-21-16 Reply with quote

Managed to get some airbrush work in on the interior. I started with a base coat of Testors Model Master enamel Russian Armor Green. This did double-duty as a primer coat and let me check all my sanding to see if everything was going in the right direction.



I've never been quite happy with this particular color right out of the bottle, it's got a kind of 'minty' green hint to it, so I tried something a little different. I mixed up a custom color using a 50/50 ratio of the MM enamel Russian Armor Green and Olive Drab FS34087. This was sprayed at low pressure over the previous coat to build up the finish. As an unintended side effect, I think I might have come up with a pretty close match to the kit's original plastic color. Very Happy It's also hard to photograph it accurately, but in hand it came out along the lines I was after.



Now to let that cure a little bit and then start in on the actual detailing and weathering of the interior so I can get it all together.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 4:31 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-22-16 Reply with quote

First important detail for the interior is the ammo racks, so today's efforts were split between Steps 4 and 12 in the instructions. The kit provides 10 AP rounds and 10 HE rounds that are designed to go in the racks proper and an additional 4 AP and 4 HE 'whole' rounds that don't have the clips molded on them and have the full casing base. At first, I thought this was kind of strange as the racks have 11 empty spaces leaving one space totally unaccounted for. Why so many empty spaces? After studying the layout of the crew figures in the Step 37 diagram, I think I know why. If the racks were fully loaded up, the loader figure doesn't have enough room for sure and there might also be a conflict with the commander figure on the other side. It's a cramped space and figures aren't flexible, so I suppose it was a necessary compromise on Tamiya's part. It also explains the missing clips as the figures would fill up that space. If you don't use the figures, that's a different story!

Anyhow, I cleaned up all 20 of the rounds I needed to go into the racks and then hand painted them. I used MM Non-buffing metalizer Brass for the casings, non-buffing metalizer Gunmetal for the AP rounds, enamel Italian Olive Green for the HE rounds, and non-buffing metalizer Steel for the HE fuse caps.



The back row of rounds went into the racks first, then the support rack for the front row added and painted to match the rest of the rack. Last but not least, the partial front row loads were added to get the racks together.



Still plenty left to do with the interior!
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:27 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-24-16 Reply with quote

More fun with the interior over the past couple of days. Next up I spent some time on the rear plate. The color call-out in the instructions is for Tamiya's XF-49 Khaki, so I set about replicating that as best I could using a combination of a base color of 50/50 MM enamel Light Gray/Afrika Grunbraun followed by a wash of Ammo's Interior's Wash (because it has a kind of greenish tint to it) and dry-brushing some of the 50/50 Russian Armor Green/Olive Drab combo. Then a pin wash of Ammo's Africa Korps Wash to add some depth and it was about where I wanted it. Given the whole reason for the upholstered padding as a way to keep the crew from banging their elbows/knees, etc. on the armor plating in the tight space, I doubt it stayed 'new car' looking for long. Smile



Side panels got some attention next, starting on the right side. On all of the panels and compartment areas, I added some scuffing/wear in the form of some dry-brushed MM enamel Deep Yellow followed by a 2nd round of dry-brushed 80/20 Olive Drab/Russian Armor Green to vary the tones a bit. The radio was detailed by hand along with the PPSH submachine gun. The gun's barrel is molded solid, so I drilled it out with a #76 micro drill. The drum magazines were picked out with MM non-buffing Metalizer gunmetal. Last but not least, I picked out the compartment's night light with Tamiya Clear Red.



Rinse and repeat for the left side! Smile



For the compartment's floor, I detailed the rubber kneeling mat for the gunner with MM enamel Gunmetal. I went heavier in the wear here for obvious reasons and used multiple layers. First some Deep Yellow was stippled and dry-brushed, followed by stippled and dry-brushed enamel Burnt Umber. Then the 50/50 OD/Russian Green was dry-brushed and a final overall wash of Ammo Interior Wash to round it out.



The right side lower wall got some attention as well with the installation of the commander's jump seat and the two ammo racks. I still need to detail and add in the rest of the radio's power supply equipment, I ran out of time today before I could get to it. Smile The left side of the compartment got the large rack installed as well to call it a day.





Still a few small things to do in the compartment but it's just about ready to get it all together.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:35 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-25-16 Reply with quote

Achieved a major milestone in the build today in terms of getting the fighting compartment all together. First order of business, I decided it would be easier to paint the exterior of the compartment plates before installation. This meant adding some of the exterior details like the crew step called out in Step 18 and the radio antenna and pot called out in Step 21. Both of those parts have recessed mount points and a little bit of putty help was needed in some spots to fill those in completely before painting.



The plates and the front of the compartment were airbrushed first with Russian Armor Green and followed up with the 50/50 OD/Russian Armor Green treatment that I used on the interior.



I installed the rest of the communications equipment on the right side and added the large wall component into the compartment proper. While I still had the compartment open, I added some pigment weathering in the form of Mig Rubble Dust applied to the floor.



Right side upper plate was added next along with the large top plate that includes the commander's periscopes. It has the added advantage of a larger attachment area due to the radiator box that attaches to the outside, so it was the easiest to get lined up with the front of the compartment.



For the left side, I used regular glue along the base edge since it has the most contact surface and liquid glue at the front once it had grabbed a bit. As you can see in the photos, the greens don't all match up perfectly just yet, that will change once it's all set and I have the opportunity to go back over the join areas with the airbrush. My main concern at this point was avoiding having to do a lot of work with the full compartment masked off.



Last but not least, the rear plate was added to complete the full compartment. Overall the fit was excellent. One small minor area on the left rear plate join needed just a touch of putty and sanding, otherwise it all went together perfectly.





Next up will be spending some time on the suspension components and various other external details.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 4:24 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-26-16 Reply with quote

As promised, today's efforts focused on getting the suspension components installed and ready for painting. To do this, I had to go back to Step 3 and add the final drive housings along with their polycaps. I also cleaned up the 6 return rollers since they are called out in the same step, more on them later. Continuing on, Steps 13 and 15 have the 4 bump stops, two per side. That brings us to the main attraction, Step 16, which installs all swing arms and the idler mounts. Tamiya designed the swing arms to be fixed and level with each other using a small mount pin that the arms attach to. This, of course, is also designed to support their link-and-length track arrangement covered in Steps 19-20.

While I was poking around in the steps, I went ahead and added in the driver's hatch and periscope in the closed position. The kit parts have detail on the lower part of the periscope but nothing on the inside face of the hatch or the driver's area.



Road wheels were next under Step 17. There are 14 wheels (6 road, 1 idler per side) that have to be removed from the sprue along with a matching 14 rear hub inserts to make the full wheels. I used a sanding stick to remove the mold seam on the rubber portion of the wheels. Each of the hub inserts has 2 sprue attachment points that have to be carefully removed to keep their round shape intact, easily done with a sharp #11 blade and a little patience.



A touch of liquid glue around the rim edges got the wheels together and I also assembled the sprockets as called for in the same step. The steel return rollers from Step 3 also had a small mold seam that was sanded down to get them cleaned up.



After the glue had dried on the sprockets and wheels, I did a quick test fit to make sure everything sits level and plays nice with each other. As you can see, the road wheels cover almost the whole lower hull area below the fenders. These will be painted separately to allow for easier detailing and weathering before the tracks and fenders have to go on.



Next up will be dealing with some more of the hull details and getting the fenders together so I can maximize the airbrush time for the next round of painting.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 4:34 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-27-16 Reply with quote

Hope everyone had a Happy Easter (for those that it applies...otherwise, Happy Sunday!) Smile

With the focus on getting the hull ready for painting, I bounced around in the instructions quite a bit hunting for stuff that I could install now vs. later. In Step 20, I added the base parts for the gun travel lock while the lock itself is added in Step 24. The lock remains movable, so that's a plus. I also added the small rectangular hood for the exhausts after a test fit showed it's possible to still add the exhaust pipe after it's in place. Step 25 had the 5 retaining hooks for the tow cable, so those were added as well.



Over on the hull's right side, I added the large radiator/air exhaust box that's called for in Step 21. I found it easier to add the top part, B11, to the hull first since it has a large mount tab to support and align it and then add the rest of the box around it vs. assembling the box off the vehicle and installing it as a single part as the instructions call for. The top doesn't have any solid alignment guides for the 'finned' side portion and getting it lined up right is critical, hence my 'alternative' method to ensure that happened. Smile I added the small canister from Step 23 and the second exhaust cover from Step 24 after again testing the exhaust pipe fit to be sure I could still install it with the cover in place.



Now came the fenders. In order to fit the tracks onto the suspension, the fenders need to remain loose. In theory, since all of the top links are individual links, you could add them after the fenders are in place but that's an iffy proposition at best IMHO. Step 22 assembles the two fenders along with the front portions of the mud guards.



The next trick with the fenders is getting the braces added. Instead of providing the triangular brackets as single pieces, Tamiya molded parts of the bracket on the fenders, part on the hull, and has the angled top part as a single piece that's added to complete the whole bracket. These are added in Steps 24 and 25 and this arrangement actually works out ok if you're careful. I used tape to hold the fenders in place and added the brace tops one at a time and only glued their bottom ends to the fenders themselves. the tops were adjusted so they would fit into the openings in the hull but still allow me to remove the fenders for painting and the track install.





Once I was sure the braces would behave, I added the two storage boxes to the left fender as called out in Step 36. These boxes don't attach to the hull side and the instructions show a nice little sub-diagram that emphasizes this to avoid any mistake. I also cleaned up the headlight and siren horn as mentioned in Step 35 and installed them as directed in Step 36.



That should put me in good shape to get the hull painted before I move on to the gun.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:43 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-28-16 Reply with quote

Spent some time on the hull with the airbrush today. First order of business involved masking off the fighting compartment so I could touch up things a bit and blend stuff together. I applied a base coat of MM enamel Russian Armor Green to the hull. I used some blue tack poster putty to hold the fenders in place and get an idea of where the shadowed areas would be.



Road wheels, idlers, and sprockets got some attention as well. I airbrushed MM enamel Gunmetal for the rubber portions then used a circle template to mask the hubs. The Russian Armor Green base coat was airbrushed first followed by a 50/50 mix of OD/Russian Armor Green to get it to the desired color to go with the rest of the hull.



Speaking of which, I used the 50/50 OD/Russian Armor Green mix to shift the color tone of the base coat and provide some variation in the overall look. This was applied at low pressure, approximately 10 psi, and working section by section up close. The fenders were popped off and worked on separately, one nice advantage to having them remain loose until after the tracks are on.



I dry fitted the fenders and removed the masking tape from the compartment to be sure that everything was looking like it all belonged on the same vehicle. I made a couple of small adjustments in a couple spots. Here's where things stand before I start on the gun.



Still plenty to do!
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:31 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-29-16 Reply with quote

It was finally time to tackle the main event, ZiS-3 76.2mm gun. There are 6 steps in the instructions devoted to getting it together. Starting in Step 26, the three-part breech is assembled and added to the main gun barrel. The step also adds the breech block but I left it off, for now, to make it easier to paint and detail it later. The parts go together nicely with just a little bit of sanding necessary to get the joins to disappear.



Step 27 adds the recoil mechanisms and slide tray. A polycap goes in between the recoil portions and is what allows the gun to hold its position and remain elevatable. The recoil guard had some small ejector marks that needed to be removed on its inside face and I also added the block activation lever mechanism as called for. This can only be positioned one way, with the block closed, due to the use of 2 locating pins to get it in the right spot.



Step 28 continues the assembly with the addition of the side supports for the gun mount and the mount post that supports the gun in the hull. It also adds the part of the gun under the recoil tray that includes the rear part of the travel lock.



Step 29 is a fairly simple one, it adds the small support tabs for the mantlet sides as well as the elevation and traverse mechanisms along with their hand wheels. I left the wheels off for the time being to make it easier to paint the gun and its details and will add them later. It's also important to note here that the smaller wheel, C77, has to be positioned just so in order for the gunner's hand to match up with it if you plan to use the kit-supplied figures. The instructions include a little 'note direction' callout to help with this but it's not an exact thing to try to eyeball without the gunner already built to help you out. Smile I also left off the gunner's sight but will add that later on.



Step 30 adds the sides and top of the armored mantlet for the gun. I used a little bit of finger pressure to flex the sides in just a touch to mate up properly with the top and applied liquid glue so it would grab and create a solid join.



Step 31 assembles the external armored covers for the recoil mechanism and the front plate for the mantlet. I assembled the two halves of the cover first, then added the front plate, then added it all to the mantlet front plate. Just a tiny amount of putty was needed at the top to close up a small gap with the weld seam that's molded on the mantlet front plate.



The step also calls for the assembly of the muzzle brake. This is a split-half arrangement, but careful use of liquid glue and some light sanding took care of the small join seam. The recoil cover and mantlet front aren't meant to be glued onto the gun and instead rely on a tight friction fit to keep it in place while still allowing the gun to elevate. The instructions give you a heads-up on this by clearly telling you NOT to glue the curved plate to the rest of the mantlet structure.



Step 33 has you install the gun into place using the polycap and that also allows you to pull the gun in and out for test fitting before committing to the final installation. Step 35 assembles the mantlet top armor that locks the gun into place out of 3 different pieces that all fit together to create the spaced plate arrangement. A quick check with the gun shows everything lining up like it should. It also showed me that I had missed one of the lifting eyes on the engine access hatch on the front hull, so that got checked off while I was at it.



That meant it was time for paint! I airbrushed the gun assembly using the same process on the hull.



Since this was the last time I had planned to have the airbrush set up with the hull colors, I placed the gun and mantlet cover and checked for consistency. After some minor changes and adjustments, it all looks like it belongs to the same vehicle! Smile



Next up will be dealing with all the hull equipment that needs to go on the main deck and other spots.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:59 pm    Post subject: WIP 03-31-16 Reply with quote

I spent the day working mostly on the gun's details so I could get it installed permanently into the compartment. That involved working on several different areas including the gunner's sight. The kit part has solid faces all around, so I used a micro-drill to open up both the eyepiece portion and the top sight opening itself. I also used the same approach as with the fighting compartment to weather the rear parts of the gun and mount to get them to match up.



Detail work also included getting the breech block painted and installed and the bare metal surfaces on the recoil sled picked out.



With the gun now detailed, I installed it permanently into position. I made sure to firmly press the gun all the way down into the polycap's mount since it needs to be down far enough not to cause any interference with the top mantlet piece that locks it all in place. A little bit of liquid glue around the triangle portions of the mantlet piece and some careful gentle finger pressure got it all joined together.

Once I had that done, I also worked on detailing the 3 periscopes that go into the fighting compartment. The kit parts are molded in one piece in the green styrene, not clear, and had an ejector mark on one side that had to be dealt with. To simulate the clear faces, I applied some enamel Steel followed by a dose of Tamiya Clear Smoke. Tamiya does include a clear sprue in the kit (oddly enough, only 1 of the 8 parts on that sprue actually gets used, the headlight lens) but I don't think it's really designed for this kit per se. The clue is that the sprue includes 4 sets of goggles that have no possible use on this vehicle or its figures, so perhaps they just repurposed it from another kit or set? Either way, it wouldn't have been hard to have clear periscopes for a little more detail potential since they are so prominent in the fighting compartment.




I also started on the hull details by working on the side air intake. This is molded solid with a grill pattern so I used a thinned wash of MM enamel Gunmetal to darken up the spaces in the mesh pattern. A careful drybrushing of the 50/50 OD/Russian Armor Green with a small square tip blender brush brought the mesh pattern back out so it would have some depth (or the best possible simulation of it at any rate) to its look.



Tools and the exhausts are next!
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:18 pm    Post subject: WIP 04-01-16 Reply with quote

The details were the featured item on the menu today with the bulk of the focus on getting the tools detailed and ready for installation. Most of these install on the flat deck in front of the fighting compartment while the gun cleaning rods go under the left side overhang and behind the fender storage boxes. That's why those rods are called out in Step 15 before the fender installation, there's no real easy way to get them in place unless you leave the fenders removable like I've done. The rest of the tools are scattered around in the instructions in Steps 23-25. They were removed from the sprue, cleaned up, and detailed by hand. The only minor annoyance was Tamiya's decision to integrate the two spare links and the jack block into a single piece. It definitely made detailing those two very different elements an exercise in patience!

I used MM Non-Buffing Metalizer Gunmetal as the base for all the metal parts, lightly dry brushed some enamel Steel, then dusted them with some black artist pastels to blend it all together. For the wood areas, I applied a base coat of 50/50 Afrika Grunbraun/Light Gray since it has a nice 'wood' tone, then applied a light wash of enamel Leather followed by some burnt umber artist pastels to get the look I wanted. With all that done, the tools were installed in place.



I did make some minor modifications to the shovel by sanding down its edges to get them more in-scale and also drilled out the exposed end of the gun cleaning rod for a little more detail.





Next up were the exhausts. The two halves were assembled as directed in Step 21 and their join seam sanded down after the glue had set. I applied a base coat of MM non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal to the bare plastic and then followed that up with multiple applications of a thinned Leather wash to build up some tonal variations. Some burnt orange artist pastels helped here as well and black artist pastels were added to the exhaust tips for some soot accumulation. The exhaust tips themselves were molded solid, so some quick work with a micro drill opened them up. I had to sacrifice one of the t-shaped retaining clamps for the exhausts to the carpet monster, but a quick bit of scratch building using strip styrene and rod gave me an adequate replacement.

I had kept the two different exhaust pipes separate throughout the painting process and only joined them up once I was ready to install them in place. The key is to place the pipes in position first, then feed their long d-shaped tabs into the exhaust cylinders so that everything lines up correctly. Only then did I apply some liquid glue inside the small armored housing on the side of the hull, the connection points to the cylinders, and the small cutout support on the front of the fighting compartment. It sounds complicated but the Tamiya engineering allows you to pull it off with just a little patience.



Always a fun step to get out of the way!
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:18 pm    Post subject: WIP 04-02-16 Reply with quote

The latest effort was aimed at the lower hull and getting ready for the track installation. First order of business was beating up the lower hull a little bit. I added some wear by stippling and dry brushing a combination of Deep Yellow, Burnt Umber, and some of the OD/Russian Armor Green mix. I also weathered up the sprockets and added some bare metal wear to the drive teeth.



Road wheels also got some wear and attention.



I installed the 6 road wheels per side but left off the idlers for now. I used liquid glue on the arms and cleaned up the long bottom run of the tracks so it could help serve as a guide to ensure all the wheels lined up together while the glue set.



While the road wheels were setting up, I turned my attention to the individual track links. At the start of the instructions they indicate that 6 of the A33 links are 'not for use', so I removed all but 6 links from the sprue and cleaned them up. They have 2 small attachment points that have to be cleaned up but that's not a big deal. I used a small ziplock baggie to hold the links until needed. The links aren't very big and I used the Optivisor during the clean-up as they don't have a large contact surface with each other and I wanted to be sure I kept as much of that intact as possible.



I counted out 34 links as directed in Step 19 and glued them together one at a time into a single straight run using regular glue and tweezers to fit them together. Once the run was together, I used the kit-supplied sag jig to shape the run into the necessary shape. The jig is also plastic, so care is needed in the gluing process so that the run can be safely removed after the glue has set.

The jigs also have an 'F' mark that is supposed to be the front of the run. I noticed after I took the pic that I had the run ends reversed relative to the F, so I swapped it around before the glue had set. I'm not sure that it really matters all that much but better to be safe than sorry! I also double checked the 'hump' in the sag with three of the return rollers on the left side and everything lined up perfectly there too.



I'll let the two sagged top runs set up overnight before addressing the curved runs that connect the top and bottom runs together. All told, the instructions call for a combined 63 individual links to create the tracks runs so that's a total of 126 links between the two sides not including the straight length run already provided.
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