Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's all in the details...

Despite a busy work schedule- and I do mean busy, fourteen hour working days having been the norm recently- I've been able to unwind a bit by working here and there on the tanks.  With the weekend upon me I can now spend an afternoon and evening chugging away at the Soviet armour.

I received the Aber turned aluminum gun barrels within days of getting Cove Model's email reporting them as being dispatched.  Here is one of them which I just epoxied on to the KV-1s. They look good, especially the muzzle opening.

In a moment of madness, and inspired by someone's work on a hobby forum, I also thought it would be cool to add some cast turret numbers that were a feature of the KV-1s turret, as you can see here.
I used a new hobby knife to carefully carve off some of the  raised part numbers from the UM OT-34 kit sprues, and carefully laid them in place on the turret, settling them in with some liquid cement.  This was a lot easier to do than you may think. 
They are somewhat over scale, but the effect is good.  And it is the effect I'm going after here, rather than trying to create a 100% accurately scaled-down replica.  

After painting, I'll lightly dry brush the digits so that they stand out slightly from the turret surface.  But no so much as to detract from the unit markings.  

And that's the first KV-1s all done, bar the painting.  "Only" three more to do, not to mention the three SU-152's that are waiting in the wings.

I was also able to put together another couple of the Zvezda T-34's.  Again, I can't stress enough just how impressed I am with this kit.  And now that I knew how to assemble those fantastic tracks, the models went together quickly and without any problems.  

I decided to take the opportunity to make one of them a commander's vehicle.  The Zvezda kit is of the early cast-turret version with the two "Micky Mouse ear" hatches, but I wanted the commander in a later version, with a cupola.  Not only would it provide another interesting variation on the T-34 theme within my battalion, but it also has a visibility advantage in the BKC II rules.  

Fortunately, the UM OT-34 model- while a real pig to put together with all the myriad of small parts- comes with a lot of options, resulting in plenty of extras for the spare parts box.  These include parts for either a flamethrower tank or normal version, rear-box or cylindrical style external fuel containers, and finally a choice of modelling either the earlier turret top, or the later one with cupola.  So it was an easy matter to take a spare cupola and add it to the Zvezda kit. 
More challenging was modelling the cupola split hatch in open position, but some patient work with a sharp knife did the job easily.  

I then added to cupola to a disc of plastic card to give it the required height to fit the Zvezda model, and drilled out holes for brass wire to give the hatches stronger support.
I may well end up adding brass wire handles to the turret sides as well.  All that was left was to plop an old Wargames Foundry 20mm tank commander into the hatch and there you have it. Onwards to Victory, Comrades! 


The Il-2m Sturmovik has not been forgotten, but there have been many problems encountered along the way, and progress is slow.  The story on that will have to wait for a while.  Suffice to say for now that armour kits are much easier to work with!  But I have succeeded in making a good, strong stand for it, so that I can have it on the battlefield poised menacingly over the Fascist armour ready to do them some GBH.  It does involve some major surgery on the model, though.  WIP pictures  soon, I hope.


Finally, never mind the Party, Comrade Stalin,  Exporting the Revolution & International Communism, or the success of the latest Five Year PlanThis was what the Soviet Soldier was really fighting for... *sigh*


Iannickm said...

Great blog you got there Robert, quite productive, too! You are actually interesting me in an era I had no interest into just a few months ago. Well done! Just don't tempt me too much, please...

btw, do they make her in 1/72? ;-)

Robert said...

Thanks, Iannick

It's always been a fascinating period for me, and gaming helps to maintain project discipline! It is actually a nice antidote to Napoleonics, although I haven't lost interest in them either.

In fact, after getting these tanks done, I may start on a few sprues of French Infantry.

Why would you want her in 28mm, man? 1:1 is the way to go. Collect all three- in heroic scale!