M109A6 Paladin: Done?

Well… the Paladin project MIGHT be finished. To tell the truth, it has some very serious flaws, but I could put it in the shelf right now and call it "done". Before I get into that, I’d better sum up how I got to that point.
The picture you see to the right is one I should have posted with the last entry. It’s a shot of the added-on antenna, made of styrene rod. It’s a simple trick. All you do is take styrene rod (in this case, very thin styrene rod), heat it–using a simple cigarette lighter–until you see it start to bend. At that point, you stretch it as far as you can without breaking it, and hold it straight as you can while it cools/hardens. Once that’s done, you just cut the antenna segment from the rod and you’re done. And yes, stretching it to just-before it breaks is tricky. I had a nice little scrap pile of "irregular" and broken stretched styrene by the time I got the three antenna that I was going to use. Once I had the antenna, I used CA glue to mount them to what I estimated to be their proper location on the Paladin turret. I had to guess because in all the reference photos I found, I never once saw an view from above of the thing. So this is all just based on my best estimates. After that, it was just a matter of painting the antenna black after the glue cured. And once I had that done–along with the very over-done washes–I glued all the parts of the Paladin together to assemble the complete beast. And it all very nearly fits on a quarter.
After that, I spray-painted the Celluclay base in Tamiya "Light Sand". Perfect color for… well… sand. I tried applying the same dabbing technique I used on the Heinrich, but it didn’t work quite as well–which is okay. It would’ve been tough to get right in-scale, anyways. While the paint was drying, I stained the wooden portion of the base using some lighter color. I think it was "honey oak" or something. In retrospect, maybe it should’ve been darker. After that, I used quick-set two-part epoxy to affix the Celluclay to the wood. And that’s where I ran into a problem. The Celluclay didn’t lie flat. I tried using clamps to hold it down while epoxy (and then CA glue) cured. I tried just holding it with my thumbs. No luck–it just didn’t lie right. From any viewing angle above 15 degrees or so, it looks fine. If you get closer than that, however, you can see a gap between the Celluclay and the wood. A nasty, ugly little gap. I’m not sure how serious it is, but I feel like I should fix it. Saturday is the local IPMS meeting, so I think I’m going to drag this thing along and ask for harsh criticism. I know a few of the club members will be judges at the regional contest next weekend, so hopefully they can give me some judge’s perspective on it. At the very least, it should please them to know that I’m trying to build something besides sci-fi.
So the Paladin, itself, is done–but I may be coming up with a new base for it. Fortunately, that should only be two evenings worth of work (not counting the three days it takes the celluclay to dry). Unfortunately, I’m now left with barely a week to put together the biplane entry I’v’e been wanting to work on, but haven’t even started yet: a 1:72 SPAD XII. I’ve got several possible (and accurate) paint schemes picked out, and even a 1:72 pilot ready to be painted like a French WWI aviator. The question is just sitting down at the workbench to do it. And time has been a precious commodity lately. I might not get it done. And if not, that’s no big deal. But I think I can do it in time for the contest.
And after that, it’s on to the Russian T-34.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: