Teeny Tiny Tank!

So… no updates for a while. Work has been busy, and “Minecraft” was released for the Xbox 360. Between those two things, I haven’t had much time for modeling. Fortunately, I took a few minutes out of my hectic schedule and tackled a 1/144 M1 Abrams tank kit by Dragon.

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Daddy/Daughter Modeling: Tank Session # 3

As has been the custom for the last three weeks now, my 4 year old daughter and I spent an hour or so on Sunday morning working on our tanks. I finally added a little non-red color to mine, and she continues to amaze me with how well she applies paint…

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Daddy/Daughter Tanks, Session 2

Last Sunday, my daughter and I took some more time to work on the tanks–this was especially important to her as we’d just acquired the Tamiya acrylic “Pink”–which she deftly spotted in the local HobbyTown. Painting ensued. Here’s the results (still in-progress):

Mine’s on the left, her’s is on the right. Again, I’ve gotta say that–despite her “rainbow vomit” camo approach, her painting technique is really good. She holds the brush right, and applies the right amount of paint. She doesn’t just glob it on. I don’t care what color it is, I’m proud of my daughter’s technique.

Sunday Morning Daddy/Daughter Model Project

Once again, my daughter and I took to the workbench on Sunday and tackled a pair of Italeri 1/72 “fast assembly” Pz. Kpfw. V Panther Ausf. G tanks. Each tank has a total of twelve parts, so assembly was a breeze–which gave her more time to pick out her colors. We opted to go with color schemese that–to the best of my knowledge–the Germans never actually used on their tanks. And we didn’t get them finished yet, but we’re working on it.

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IS-2 Times Two

Although I was busy with a lot of other things this weekend, I did manage to sit down with the IS-2 last night and get a little bit of work done. Actually, I went a long ways towards finishing the other IS-2 in the box, and didn’t get a lot of work done on the "good one".
The second IS-2 kit that comes in the same box, is apparently a quick-build kit intended for war gamers–as I’ve seen that you can buy two quick-build kits in one box online. Total parts count on this kit is probably less than ten. And I’d used the barrel on another project, so I was forced to stretch some styrene pipe (which took a few tries to get right) in order to have a barrel for this tank. It’s obviously not an IS-2 barrel, but you have to figure that–at some point–they tried a different gun configuration on that platform. It reminds me of both the T34 and KV-1 cannon, so I’ll do a little research and see if I can’t actually figure out what type of gun it’s close to. For right now, it’s a "hypothetical configuration".
For the color scheme, I wanted to test out what I’ll be doing on the "good" IS-2, so I painted the entire thing (minus the treads) in Russian armor green, let that dry, and then painted over the top portion of the hull and all of the turret with overly thinned flat white. The result is that the green shows through in a lot of spots. This, as I understand it, is very typical of anything the Russians dressed up in winter camo. I don’t know if it’s a result of poor materials or plain wear-and-tear, but the green was usually showing through by mid to late winter.
And the painting process (extra-thinned white over green) achieved exactly what I was hoping it would, so now I can confidentally apply it to my "good tank" without worrying about how it’s going to turn out. Speaking of which, while paint was drying, I did manage to prep the seams on the external fuel tanks and get them glued on. So once I’m done puttering around with the cheap IS-2, I can get back into the good one and move towards finishing it.

NOTE: I’ve been forced to disable comments again, due to the fact that someone’s managed to figure out how to have a bot automatically post comments advertising websites–which were of the "cash for gold" variety. Till Microsoft figures out some better controls for comment posting, I’m going to have to leave this disabled (not like it was getting a ton of action, anyways).

Tornado Warnings = Tank Progress

Stormy nights equal time at work equal a little bit o’ time to put plastic to plastic… And that was the case on Tuesday night. While in the proecess of watching radar, monitoring weather warnings, and making calls to local jurisdictions to see if there were any damage reports, I managed to glue a few more pieces of the tank together. Really not as much as it looks like from that picture, though.
I already had the wheels assembled and and attached to a side-plate. Last night, I simply took those side-plates and glued them on to the lower hull. I also did some work on the turret. First, the main part of the turret itself needed some work along the seam. Fortunately the actual tanks have such a rough texture and bulging seams that it shouldn’t take too much work to duplicate that appearance along the seam of these plastic pieces. For this, I simply took some sanding sticks of various grades and worked them along the seams–trying to be careful not to extend the sanding over to other "textured" parts of the turret. After that, it was simply a matter of properly aligning and attaching the main cannon. I also added some small pieces to the side of the turret, but there’s a lot more of those to add yet.
Contrary to appearances, the upper hull isn’t glued to the lower hull, and I’m certainly not ready to leave the turret on the hull. There’s a lot of work yet to be done, but I’m pleased with the progress I’m making. Based on the parts breakdown, I think I’ll end up mounting this to a base, simply because it’s going to be difficult to address some of the seams on the underside–which are the only real serious seam issues with the entire tank. I’ve already got some ideas for that, as well. Another snag is that I have no idea where the decals that are supposed to go with this are. I’ve got some T34 decals, but I’m a little wary of using them without first confirming that they’d be accurate to an IS-2. Everything will get taken care of in time, and progress is steady at this point.

If You Can’t Bring Yourself To The Models…

… Bring The Models To You.
I’ve run into a bit of a snag with modeling lately… The fact that I haven’t been able to get away from work to do anything but sleep, for starters. Since I can’t do much about not seeing my family while I’m down here, I figured I’d try to do something about the fundamental lack of modeling. So… I pulled the unstarted 1/72 Italeri JS-2 Stalin tank (more commonly known as the "IS-2" tank), and threw it in my desk drawer. Sunday night, while I was babysitting a Tornado Watch, I decided to start it. Believe me, there’s not much to do, other than watch a weather radar, wait till the whole thing is over, make some phone calls, and go home. I figured this was more productive than watching television, at any rate.
I should also mention that, earlier this week, I built up some other supplies in my desk. Just to make it interesting (and so that I feel no loss should my office completely go underwater), I’m doing this entire build with Testors modeling products. The glue, the brushes, the paints… Everything Testors. I’m not switching loyalties from Tamiya for paints, but I thought I’d give this a shot to see how well it turns out. And Testors paints usually require less thinning for hand-painting. That should help around here, too.
The kit itself is interesting. I’ll briefly mention that this is a "bonus two-in-one" kit (or something like that). It comes with an extremely simplified IS-2 (consisting of maybe ten pieces or less), and a ridiculously complicated kit that makes up one of the best 1/72 tank kits I’ve looked at. The "simple" tank is in my spares bin somewhere, as I used the barrel on another project. And this tank has a few small pieces missing, as well. I’d originally bought it to replace missing parts on a Dragon 1/72 T34 tank, but that’s now fallen off the radar (lost it two moves ago).
I think that, with this tank, they’ve pushed the limits of styrene modeling as far as they’ll go. Pieces that you’d think would be too small to have molded individually are actually there–like the handles, properly thick/thin hatches, and (what I assume is) the brakes for the front drive wheels. I don’t have much done so far, but the parts fit seems reasonably decent.
Because of the nature of this build, it may be finished in a week, a month, or a year. I suspect at some point I’ll transfer this kit home to work on it properly. And I’ve already got some ideas of how to display it. Until I get everything worked out, I’ll just keep plugging away on it as time allows. In short, don’t expect to see frequent progress reports on this one.