Being an armour modeller for since I can remember, for a long time I didn’t even considered building anything out of this ‘serious warfare’ category. Cars, trains, motorcycles? I didn’t understand why people would like to get involved in such trivial and casual subjects. Why would you want to recreate a vehicle that you pass everyday on your parking lot? The machines of war always seemed much more exciting, because they were much more distant, both in time and space.
But well, recently I decided to pick an easy and quick project to test some new techniques. I was thinking about a small tank, Pzkfw. I or something, but I wasn’t really looking forward to assembling tracks, painting everything in German gray for a thousand time and so on… Why not try something fresh?
Then I accidentally run into this beauty:
Can you imagine anything less combat-ready than an agricultural tractor? But I was really up to try a new subject. ‘I can paint it whatever colour I like and I can weather the shit out of it too’- I figured.
Heller’s model is a pretty simple and straight forward kit. No PE parts, no expensive add-ons- just you and some plastic sprues. Oh, and rubber tyres, which I really hate because it’s pretty hard to work with this material. But still, the details and overall design of the kit is pretty good. You’ll encounter some fragile parts along the way, so make sure to be careful (I wasn’t…).
I should mention one problem in the manual though. Look at the step 34. There is no way that these parts can fit. NO WAY. I’m not sure what they were thinking, but to me it’s an obvious mistake. To make it work you need to cut off the tips of part 33 and part 34. Or somehow make some more space behind the radiator. I went for the first option. It looks pretty ugly at first but after the final assembly it will be unnoticeable.
Other than that the construction is fast and easy. I wanted it to be a a quick project so I didn’t mess around to much. I’ve added some aftermarket chains in the back of the vehicle and I reconstructed the toolbox lid with some scavenged PE parts. The original spring in the back looked particulary ugly, so I replaced the whole part with thin plastic cards and copper wire.
I also replaced one of the headlights with a part borrowed from another kit. As I wanted to present it as broken, I created some inside details from leftover PE parts. Oh, and I’ve added some wires running from the engine to the battery and the gear box. If you ever want to add some life to a out of the box model, wires are always a good idea, really easy as well.
As you can also see, I took some time removing ejection marks on the fenders. It later turned out it to be a rather lousy job, but the fenders are going to be almost totally covered by the wheels.
I wanted to make the exhaust pipe very rusty, so I added some texture to the plastic. It is a simple mixture of Mr. Hobby’s Surfacer 500 and microballons. Dab it on the part with an old brush and polish with sandpaper if the effect is too strong. I also drilled a hole on the top. Easy peasy.
As I’ve already mention the rubber parts are a real pain in the ass to work with. Forget about sanding them, just use a very sharp knife with a fresh blade to clean up. I wasn’t satisfied with the result on my tyres, but I decided I would hide the remains of the ugly seam line under some weathering. The seam line itself isn’t a bad thing. The real tyres have it as well. Look at the picture below. But I don’t like it and I can’t help it.
Finally, I drilled a hole at the bottom of the model. I’d put a barbecue stick in it to be able to hold the miniature comfortably while painting. Always look for solutions like that. You do NOT want to touch the surface of your model once the construction is done and especially don’t touch it while paint is still semi-wet.
Then I proceeded with cleaning the model with IPA alcohol. The easiest way is to spray it from the airbrush. You can also use a soft, wide brush to clean places that are difficult to access. Alcohol will dissolve grease that you transmitted on the model during the construction. It will hopefully take care of dust and dirt as well.
At the very last, I primed the model and all the separate parts with Ammo MIG grey surface primer. It’s a decent paint, but I have some complaints about it. I’m very eager to find out if MIG’s new One Shot Primer will be an improvement. More thoughts on this matter later. One more thing: it may happen that during the priming some little pieces of dust will sick to the model. Take a look at the picture below.
If this happens, don’t panic. Wait 24 hours until the paint is dry, polish it with sanding paper and re-paint. Make sure the surface is clean and even before you proceed.
So there it is. I’ve had a lot of fun building this little fellow. I can’t wait to paint it. More info on this soon. Take care!