New Project: M109A6 Paladin

That’s right. I’m on to something new–something to try to get ready for the contest in March. And, as a total change of pace, it’s going to be two firsts for me. The first "first" (?) is the fact that I’m going to complete an armored fighting vehicle (a.k.a. "AFV"). The second "first" is the fact that it uses brass photo-etch parts. Brass photo-etch allows much finer details on a much smaller scale in model-building. Examples include railings on scale models of ships, seat harnesses in airplane model seats, and brake calipers on motorcycle and car models. Fine, thin details that can’t be produced in plastic. In this case, they’re being used as the vent covers on the top of the main chassis of the vehicle.
 
The subject is a 1:144 scale M109. Specifically, it’s the M109A6 "Paladin". The M109 is a self-propelled howitzer originally brought online in the U.S. Army in the 1960’s. The A6 variant is the most modernized version. Since its introduction, the M109 has served across the world, with more than a dozen armed forces. It has a long history of distinguished service, both with the United States and its allies (past and current allies). Click here for more detailed information on the history of the M109 howitzer. The one I will be working on will be based on an M109A6 that served with the 3-16 Field Artillery in Baqubah, Iraq. It will have a simple display base (using Celluclay… again), and will hopefully look reasonably decent when it’s done. And, as you can see, the whole thing just about fits on a quarter. Not quite, but just about. As such, the display base will be pretty darned small. It should make for a fun change of pace over the usual "giant robots" I’ve been doing for years and years.
 
Wednesday, I didn’t spend much time on it. I examined the parts, figured out how they went together, and attempted to attach the photo-etch pieces. I also attached the 155mm barrel and a piece that makes up the underside of the back of the turret. As you can see, there’s not many parts. That makes this perfect as a hand-painting project. And unlike the Heinrich, I’ll be doing the base before final assembly of the model itself. In fact, I plan on starting the base tomorrow. It’ll be straightforward, but I’m going to try making it a slightly different look than that of the Heinrich base. Actually, click here to see a picture of how I envision it to hopefully turn out.
 
Speaking of the Heinrich, I know I haven’t done any final photos of it. I probably won’t be doing them for a week or so. I need to purchase some better lighting before attempting to photograph it–or the Sopwith Camel that preceded it. Expect that to happen soon–like, after I get paid for my real job.
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