Starting The Finish

Sunday, I managed to get a lot done on the ol’ Heinrich. This is in no small way due to the fact that my biggest "household chore" for the day was to get two loads of laundry done. Aside from the folding, it’s really not a labor-intensive task. Where was I? Back to the Heinrich.
The build itself is complete at this point. He’s been fully assembled, painted, and decaled. I may, however, opt to pop out his "side windows", as they don’t line up very well and I don’t like the way my scratches came out on them. We’ll see. The decaling was a little tricky, with the bumpy-paint texture I gave it, but it came out good overall. And what didn’t come out good can easily be fixed during the weathering stage–which is what is coming next. For the weathering, I’m going to try to go a little lighter than normal. This guy looks like a scout, doesn’t he? Not quite "in the thick of things". Probably an officer. I’ll be using bhop’s great looking Heinrich as a reference. Of course, I’m in no hurry, for the reasons you’ll read about below.
A couple things you might notice, from the two new pictures I uploaded… I ended up going with the "original" pilot head. That would be the one I had previously wrecked with bad washes. I stripped most of the paint off and tried again, and am much happier with the new results. Plus, his eyes are covered up and I just didn’t feel confident trying to get those to look right on the other pilot. I’ll probably finish the other pilot, just as a painting exercise, but don’t know if I have anything else I can use him on. Also, I made my only real "modification" to the kit over the weekend: On the back of the suit, I added two small sections of 7/32" styrene pipe to function as the bracket/mount/holder for the second panzerfaust. Because of the fact I’d already completely glued the ‘faust together, I needed to cut the upper piece, pry it open with pliers, and carefully move the ‘faust into it. This was after painting it, of course. Once the ‘faust was in there, I glued the pipe shut, painted over it, and it’s covered. Just that easy.
Also worth noting is that I’ve given him the number 116. As is usually the case with me, the number has some personal significance to me. Nothing I’ll go into detail on here, but suffice it to say that it’s a number I won’t forget–in a good way. Finally, the heart decals… Well, they were one of four available unit insignias. One of which I just didn’t like, the other was a penguin–which would’ve been interesting–but weird–in a desert setting. The other one I did like and actually applied to the front skirt, but I wrecked it by (accidentally) touching it before the decal setting solution had dried–thus, ripping most of it off the skirt. So… Hearts it was.
I also got quite a bit on the base done, but haven’t uploaded any pictures of that yet. I revised the road sign, based on some online references to German WWII-era road signs that FichtenFoo quickly located. And, I sculpted the basic shape of the base using Celluclay. If you’re not familiar with Celluclay, it’s a mixed blessing. It’s "instant paper maché" (just add water), and really just not a lot of fun to mix up in a Ziploc freezer bag–they recommend using a mixing bowl, but I didn’t feel like trashing one. I also didn’t feel like getting that garbage all over my hands, either, so latex gloves to the rescue. Once I had it all mixed together, it had the consistency of tuna salad with not quite enough mayo. Imagine trying to sculpt a small, round patch of desert ground with that. It was tricky, but the key was to have a small bowl of water nearby. Once I had an approximate shape, I began using my fingertips to smooth it out. If it started getting rough under my finger-brush, I just dipped my fingers (still wearing the latex gloves–why not?) in the water, shook off the excess, and the water helped smooth the surface.
Also, since I knew I’d be putting that road sign in there, I took a small plastic mixing cup, covered the top with tin foil, and completely enclosed that in the tuna sal–err–Celluclay. Once I had the shape roughed out, I just poked the road sign through the clay, through the foil, and into the cup. I’m sure I’ll need to glue it in there once all the other steps are done with the base, but that’ll be probably a week from now. Why so long? Because Celluclay has at least a three-day drying period. You can accelerate that by baking it in the oven at 200 degrees, but past experience (and the words of others) has taught me that the stuff is prone to cracking. Hopefully, I put it on thick enough where that won’t be a problem. I also have enough left over where I can go in and smooth out any cracks that do pop up. And that’s why I have a week to finish up the Heinrich before I worry about final placement of anything. In the meantime, I need to locate a small amount of silica sand to put on the base. It looks like I’ll be making a trip to the local hardware store.
So that’s where the Heinrich is at. It’s all finished up, except for the weathering. The base has been sculpted. The road sign has been re-done (resulting in a new title for the piece overall), and I can look ahead at the next project (also a Ma.K build) with a little more definition. I’m betting that I’ll end up shooting off onto another project during the next build–as stress-relief, depending on how hard this new kit is–and, with my recent acquisitions, it’ll probably be an aircraft of some sort. Oh, and I found out that the aircraft contest that I thought was in March is actually in June–which is a huge relief.

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