One never knows Joel! I don't know when I will be able to finish it, we start school registration next week and just found out that our school's counselor resigned, so we will be shorthanded for that and the first couple of weeks of school...then one of our assistant principals will be out for 8 weeks on maternity leave...so this one may get put on hold for a little while until all the dust settles back down a bit!
3-Day weekends are both blessing and curse when the school year is in effect. Blessing in that you get a day off to catch up on things, curse in that so do the teachers/staff and I'm the "go to" guy for answers at the start of the year. Combine the fielding of questions with having my start-of-year germ exposure reactions, and I'm not in a position to get any work done on the model. <sigh> Hopefully things will calm down in a bit in the next couple of weeks and I can get back to this, it's been calling to me quietly every night when I come home.
It's hard to believe just how long it's been since I was able to put in any meaningful time on this project! It's sat idle for nearly a year as every time I thought I "might" get a chance to work on it, something else inevitably got in the way. I was able to work on the 2nd run of tracks a little bit over the Christmas holiday and when a spare moment presented itself after that. I probably set a record for the "slowest assembly ever" in that regard, but the net result is two fully assembled 90-link track runs.
With that taken care of, I was also able to work on the spare runs that were common for DAK Pz IIIs and which my particular photo example sports on the front hull. I used up all the available extra workable links in the MK set after setting aside 6 links to complete the full main runs. 15 links went into the long run between the towing pintles, 6 for the run between the hull MG and driver's visor, and the lone single link on the opposite side of the visor. For the run on the glacis plate, 8 of the kit-supplied Magic track links were called on to do the job. I used some white styrene to create the welded bar to hold them in place since the kit doesn't provide that. The front hull links are just dry-fit with blue tack poster putty for now to check their arrangement.
Now, at long last, I think I can get it ready for the first round of painting on the hull.
Tojo, it's been quite the whirlwind of a year, no doubt about that, and now things are looking like they will be even crazier as no one truly knows what education is going to look like when we return to the next school year. Not only have they moved up the start of the year by nearly a full month, they are talking about all kinds of options on what instruction will actually look like but haven't yet settled on just what that will be. I hope you are staying safe as well! I serve my campus as an Instructional Coach/Specialist and since mid-March, the classes have been 100% online. It's been quite an adventure getting teachers comfortable in that space on very short notice, definitely a case of "building the plane while it's already in the air!".
Last Edit: Jun 18, 2020 15:58:17 GMT -5 by wbill76
The painting process has begun! Spread out over multiple sessions and days, the main paintwork is nearly done. I started out with a primer coat of Model Master enamel Italian Dark Brown.
Once that had dried, I detailed the wheels and return rollers by airbrushing MM enamel Gunmetal for the rubber portions.
Using a draftsman's circle template, I airbrushed the wheel hubs and return rollers with MM enamel Afrikabraun for the RAL 8000 main color for a DAK scheme. Sprockets and idlers got their finish at the same time.
That led to the main event, getting the basecoat on the hull.
Once that has a chance to thoroughly dry, I'll apply the camo portion to complete the DAK finish and start in on the detail work.
Thanks Joe! I've basically got from July 2nd to July 12th to make any progress on this project before things will likely become too hectic to do much with it, so trying to make the most of it! Glad to hear you're still making room for your work to continue.
More progress on the painting front to report! I added the second color for the DAK "Tropen" scheme appropriate for the Tobruk, 1942, timeframe for this vehicle and unit. I used MM enamel Afrika Khakibraun for the RAL 7008 portion of the scheme and airbrushed it free-hand. After some adjustments, I sprayed a highly thinned mist coat of the basecoat Afrika Grunbraun over it to tie it all together.
That's the heavy-lifting done in the paint department, now things will shift into all the remaining details.
Working on the details always takes time but has the advantage of allowing it to be done in smaller pieces, always a plus!
I started off by attaching the roadwheels and return rollers to the hull and conducted a test fit with the track runs to see what the total number of links would be needed to complete the tracks. 93 links per side did the trick with just the right amount of sag.
That left the remaining details to be handled for the hull. The 6 water cans were airbrushed with MM enamel Schwarzgrau and Light Gray for the crosses using ordinary masking tape to create the crosses. The spare track runs were airbrushed with MM enamel Burnt Umber as their basecoat followed by some light dry-brushed enamel Steel, a wash of enamel Rust, and some raw umber artist pastels to create their look. All of the onboard tools were hand detailed and installed in their various locations along with the "double-stack" spare wheels. I also picked out the coaxial and hull MGs with MM non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal and gave them a light dry-brushing to round it all out.
For the rear hull, the kit-supplied tow cables were used and hand detailed with a base of MM non-buffing Metalizer followed by light dry-brushing of Steel and hand-painting of all the little clamps to match the camo pattern on the rear deck. For the taillights, I used Tamiya Clear Green for the Notek convoy light Clear Red for the brake light. The muffler exhausts were detailed with a base of Non-Buffing Metalizer Gunmetal followed by a wash of enamel Rust and some artist pastels added to deepen the look and add some variation.
The last photo shows a couple of spots that need to be tweaked a bit with the tow cables and a couple of other spots. After that, the next item will be getting the tracks painted/detailed and installed.
Tracks are always a key part of any tank build and this one's no exception! I've always liked using workable tracks for the flexibility they allow and the time required to assemble them always pays off at this stage in my opinion. I started off by airbrushing the runs with a basecoat of MM enamel Burnt Umber and followed that by dry-brushing MM enamel Steel. I applied a wash of thinned enamel Raw Umber to blend it together to create the final look.
The sprockets and idlers also got some weathering goodness. I handpainted some MM non-buffing Metalizer Steel on the contact surfaces and guide teeth and followed that up with a heavy dry-brushing of enamel Burnt Umber to get them ready for installation.
The lower hull also got some Burnt Umber attention, I used a round sable brush and stippled it around the running gear to create some scuffing/wear from the inevitable sand/dirt/rocks that would get thrown up by the tracks and wheels.
The installation of the tracks is pretty straightforward. Since the sprockets and idlers are meant to be fixed in place and not rotatable, I fed the track runs into place to make the process easier. The sprocket was installed first to get the teeth positioned correctly for sag considerations and the idler last to allow for adjustments before connecting up the end links into a single run.
I left it on a level surface for an hour to allow it all to set up properly, next up will be sealing it and adding the markings!
Joe, thanks my friend! Tracks are always one of the areas I enjoy working on even if they do take a lot of time to pull together.
Leon, indeed it has! I fear it will be another long spell given the way things are going. Here in El Paso, we are now up to more than 400 new cases of Coronavirus a day and hospitals are nearing capacity. Mayor has said no schools can open for in-person classes until after Labor Day weekend, so that means 100% remote for the first month for all of our students. My life is going to get very interesting starting tomorrow afternoon I think after my principal meets with the District staff and gets our marching orders for how to begin the year.
I spent the last couple of days working on the decals not because there are a lot of them but just because it's the "hurry up and wait" phase when it comes to sealing things up and applying them.
The first order of business involved airbrushing a coat of Future over the entire model with the turret separate from the hull. My old trusty bottle (originally purchased in 2005!) had sat unused for 2 years and had started to thicken up noticeably in the bottom since not much was left inside, so I had to add some water to thin it back down to the right consistency. That left some doubt in mind as to how it would behave, so I tested it out on an old scrap model first before committing to the current build. That took some time, hence the 2 days required to be sure. Once I was confident it wouldn't do something odd, I applied the first coat to the vehicle and let it set up overnight. Then the decals (all 6 of them) were placed using the kit-supplied markings for Red 5 (couldn't resist with the Star Wars connection!) of PzRgt 8, 15 PzDiv in North Africa. I used Solvaset to make sure the decals snugged down tight to the hull and let them thoroughly dry before applying the 2nd sealing coat of Future to lock them all in for the weathering process to come.