Very interesting announcement came yesterday from Miniart – it will bring us: Tram. Given its huge diorama potential, it is more than surprising that it took so long for a model company to figure it out… But here it is finally, looks good on the pictures. I believe this will be definitely one of the models I will not miss.
This KV-2 is one of my really old pieces. Build years ago, this is of course the Trumpeter kit. The kit is quite nice one, though compared to the other models of this era a bit simple, but it just reflects the complexity (or rather lack of it) of the original machine. Being few year old, you can of course find few small scratches it has suffered since…
I was of course attracted by the unmistakable look of the tank, reflecting the brute force of its design, which did not have any peer at the time it saw action. It’s no wonder German soldiers must have been in for a shock once they have encountered this beast, as Russkie were not expected to have anything like this. At the end, the tank was far from perfect – in some cases, it must have been abandoned once it slid on a slope, because the weight of the gun was so large that the turret could not have been traversed to its original position… On the other hand, there is very interesting story in the memoirs of General Erhard Raus, where he describes an encounter with a KV-1 in the early stages of the Operation Barbarossa - the tank was parked on a road between the front-line and echelon troops of his unit and it took them few days (!!!) to destroy it. At that time Wehrmacht simply did not have the firepower to deal with it.
I have built this model at a time, when my weathering skills were in its infancy, though I must admit the model looks quite good on these pictures. There were few areas which needed a touch of “metal” – of course the Friul tracks, which are the bes to depict the typical track sag of the russian vehicles. I have also used metal barrel and photoetch grills but cannot recall whether these were included in the kit or aftermarket. Overall, model went together nicely, I don’t recall any issues. To enhance the details a bit, I have added the handles on the stowage boxes on the fenders made of thin wire.
Weathering was done using chipping, which is clearly bit heavy-handed and pigments, applied heavily on the wheels and tracks. The paint job is bit dull, without a lot of colour variation, so I was actually thinking about removing the paint job and giving it another try. We’ll see. Vertical surfaces of the turret offer huge potential to apply all the modern weathering techniques, so if you want to give it a try, I can only recommend this kit.
It’s been few days from my latest post on the Ford build and most of the time I have been playing with the pigments, adding mud and dust. Before I have actually started, I have added more chipping and streaking using the methods described before, as I have felt that the truck is not weathered enough yet.
As for the application of the pigments, I have again learned something new – I replicated process from the new TankArt book by Mike Rinaldi, specifically the method of application that is described in the chapter about the Tiger I build (see page 87). I am quite impressed with the effect you can achieve using this simple method and I am definitely going to add it to my repertoire of techniques to be used in the future.
After painting the scratches and chips, the next step to add was streaking. For this I became a fan of AK’s product – streaking grime for grey vehicles (AK 069) was the one I have used for this vehicle. I prepared the surface during the application of the wash, which was adjusted/removed using vertical brush strokes, thus creating soft streaking effect.
When adding streaking, the golden rule is again less is more. You can always add more of the effect later, if you feel the look is not as expressive as you want it to be. Usually the effect right after the application is stronger and more visible, it becomes more muted once dry.
AK’s products are oil/enamel based and I use their odorless thinner, which is quite helpful if you’re spending your evening in your modelling den weathering a model. I still have Mig’s pigment thinner and I can tell the difference.
So, having survived yesterday my first Krav Maga training after 6 months break, here comes another post…
After the light chips are done comes the second part of chipping – dark ones, imitating damage, where the paint chipped to reveal the metal underneath. For this I have used for the first time Vallejo acrylic paint. I have used the German Camo Black Brown (822). Because acrylic paints are drying very fast and I wanted to have a chance to correct any mistakes, I have mixed in Vallejo’s Slow Dry, which does exactly what its name say – slows drying of the paint.
Here comes one of the most entertaining parts of the weathering – chipping. With this model I wanted to try something new – chipping in both light and dark colors and using multiple paint types.
First I have started with the light chips. I have used oil paints and mixed and light shade from Payne’s Grey and white. Payne’s Grey is quite interesting shade of grey, with strong blueish tone, so it fits the grey base color of the vehicle perfectly.
The advantage of doing the chipping with the oil paints is that if you don’t like the effect, you have quite long time to fix it easily. The downside is that you have to wait ling time for the oils to dry – I usually give it at least 24 hours.
I have applied chips using two methods – some of them were hand painted using very fine brush (18/0) and the larger ones were applied using a small piece of sponge. My idea was that for larger chips I would first put in the light spot and then in the next step I would paint it partially over with the dark chipping paint.
I tried to avoid putting light chips at the lower part of the vehicle, where the underlying color is darker, as the contrast with the chips would be excessive and look unnatural. Using the sponge I created also a lot scruff marks on the top planks of the cargo bed walls, from both inner and outer sides.
In general one has to keep in mind, where the chips would occur and more importantly – where not. I know this was already said thousand times, so I will try to be more specific – In one of the recent issues of a modelling magazine I have seen very nicely done model of a truck, with only one error – there where chips along all the edges of the doors – including along the edge with the hinges, i.e. the one, which does not move and would rarely suffer any damage…
So on the cab I have focused on the usual areas where a damage would occur – outer edges of the overall shape, corners and edges of the doors along the swinging side, bumper, front edges of the engine hood, edges of the fenders, edges of the raised surface details, etc.
There was one particular step in the construction process of which I was afraid as I wasn’t sure on how to do it – installation of the window panes. In the past I had troubles when after I have attached them into their place, the cement has created silvering effect along the edges of the windows, which of course this can be seen from outside.
So for some time I was contemplating on what would be the best, and “safest” method of their installation. My first idea came from the Flightlines modelling clinic with Tony Bell, who painted the edges of the clear parts with decanted Black paint (if I recall correctly it was Citadel’s Chaos Black), put them into their place and the used the superglue to fix them by using a capillary action of the glue.
I tried to replicate this method, but when I attempted to paint the edges of the clear parts with the Alclad’s black lacquer primer, as this was the closest paint I had to decanted black paint, I found out that the paint’s consistency is not right for hand painting. Not good.
Having all the components ready, I proceeded to the next crucial step – base coat painting. Remembering to keep the finish lighter I have selected the paints to use – for the base coat on the upper parts I have used Tamiya German Grey. At first sight this seemed bit lighter than I have expected, but at the end it was about as dark as I wanted it to have.
This was followed by the next layer of Tamiya Light Grey. I have tried few colours from the Tamiya range on an evergreen sheet just to see their exact shade. Light Grey looked to me about the right brightness as well as temperature – bit more toward the blue, rather than having a tint of brown. I airbrushed the Light grey along the upper part of the vehicle, progressively building more and more opaque coat toward the top edges. At the very top, I have added a bit of white to the mix to make it even lighter.
As I have mentioned before, one of the small issues with this kit is the gap on the outer face of the rear wheels, that needs to be filled. There are many ways to do this, I guess almost every modeler may have his favorite one…
One trick I have learned from my friend is following method: Fill the gap with Mr. Surfacer or similar product – I am using mix of Tamiya putty (the grey one) with Tamiya extra thin cement. You may need to apply multiple layers to build enough volume to fill the gap. Of course you will end up with something as you can see on the first photo.
Now let the putty sit for about 15 minutes. Afterwards take a Q-tip and dip it into Alcohol or Lacquer thinner and rub the surface to remove the excess putty around the gap. I usually dab the Q-tip on a piece of kitchen napkin to remove excess alcohol/thinner, so that is not flooding the surface. After a while you should achieve something as you can see on the other photo:
One problem in this case is that the gap is actually on a raised edge, so I wasn’t able to remove the gap completely, but at least it’s not as visible as before.
Few words on the next step – primer. I have used Vallejo grey primer again. I am getting to like this product as the application is simple and straightforward. Using can primer is not practical as yet, as the temperature outside is still below zero and doing it inside is usually not a good idea.
To airbrush the primer I use it without thinning straight from the bottle and increase the air pressure to between 20 – 25 PSI. The primer still clogs my airbrush more than the Tamiya acrylics, which are relatively easy to clean. For cleaning I am now using the new Tamiya airbrush cleaner (see here) which usually does a good job getting the airbrush back into shape.
On the picture you can see the components I have kept separate for ease of painting. As you might have noticed, missing are rear wheels, which will need some attention to fill the gaps.
As I have recently mentioned in one of my posts, during my recent trip to a hobby store I have picked up one recently released kit – ICM’s G917T. The vehicle has Ford logo, but I guess because of the trademarks, ICM could not market it as a Ford vehicle on the box.
In picking up this kit I was inspired by a fellow modeller’s blog (see here) who has built and painted this model in very authentic way in my opinion. I have never built anything from ICM, so I wanted to give it a try as the project had a prospect of not very complicated build and attractive look.
So first, just few words on my impression of the kit. The kit is actually quite good. Individual parts fit together very well in general and I haven’ encountered any significant misalignment or gaps. There are few cases when there is a locating pin on one part, but the corresponding hole for it is missing, but it is not much of a problem as the positioning is quite clear. Few parts in the instructions are mislabeled, but again, given that parts count is not that high, figuring out the correct part is rather easy. the instructions are rather simple and straightforward, the paper on which they are printed is perhaps the thinnest one I have encountered so far, but again not an issue for me. Separate black and white sheet is provided for color schemes, these comprise few schemes in grey from the eastern front as well as one dark yellow over grey from North Africa.
I am not sure why but I was looking forward to the release of this kit perhaps more than the others in the current flurry of new models and this was in spite of my disappointment with previous Kinetic releases. With those the problem might have been that Kinetic has chosen subject which was also released by other companies, so the comparison with competition was inevitable and unfortunately not very favourable for Kinetic.
Now RG-31 is different. Though this vehicle was used in recent conflicts quite a bit, there was no one showing an interest in releasing this vehicle in 1/35 scale. Until now. It might not be the coolest looking armored/protected car out there – I would dare to say this title would go to the MaxxPro (hey Riich models, where is the promised kit…), but still quite outstanding though. One of the reasons of my interest was of course the fact that the vehicle is also used by the Canadian army.
So when I saw the kit on the vendor table at the HeritageCon the other weekend I did not hesitate and picked one. After having inspected the contents I must say that Kinetic improved the quality visibly and the model is in my opinion much better than their M109. It does not reach the levels of Dragon in molding quality or level of detail, but it still does look very nice. Details around the fenders and rear doors seem to be well done as well as wheels. Sprue attachments are bit heavier, but not worse than with many other producers on the market. Molding is fine with just minimum of flash around the edges of the parts. Some of the details are bit heavy, so I would wait for photoetch sets for this kit to replace some of those, such as the gunners shield on the roof.
Looking at the instructions, suspension seems to be quite detailed, but not overly complicated to build. Interior details provided are bit spartan and will definitely benefit from either scratchbuilding or aftermarket parts. Small photoetch sheet is provided for some of the finer parts (e.g. lighs protective mesh). .50 cal provided in the kit is also little lacking in terms of surface detail and I would rather replace it with resin replacement.
Markings provided are only for the US units in Iraq and one for a UN vehicle in Lebanon.
Again, I cannot comment on the fit of the parts as I have not tried to build this kit yet.
For me important factor will be how easy (or difficult) it will be to convert this into Canadian version. One will most likely need the AFV’s M151 remote weapon station set (kit 35157) which is used instead on Canadian vehicles instead of the gunner’s post on the roof. Even this set will need some conversion as the smoke dischargers are of different style. I will be looking for advice from experts on the web, but the good news is that Miloslav Hraban from Real Model is apparently already working on the conversion set. Hope he will not let us wait too long.
I would also expect that some aftermarket company will sooner or later come out with the photoetch slat armour for this vehicle.
So, to make your own judgement, see below few shots of the details of the parts. I must say I like this kit and am looking forward to building it, though I am not sure when will that happen…
I believe this kit should not be missing on the shelf of any modeller interested in modern armor.