Finally, Assembly

Posted on October 06, 2017 by Niek Nijsen

Damn, it’s a good thing I wasn’t in charge of construction during the war, nothing would get done… Despite being back full-time working on the King Tiger, something has changed in my personal life which has taken priority. Planning a wedding. But despite that, I’m still making progress and I’ve got another big update to tell you all about it. As mentioned in the previous update, most of the parts were ready for paint by now, all I had to put together were a few small items and the remaining ammo-racks.

Like with the first racks I build, the resin parts for the rest of them were also warped. By using a few shells, I was able to “force” the parts into shape before gluing them onto the styrene strips. The bolts were then punched from styrene and added in the correct places. In order to make them fit flush with the lower hull, I had to sand some of the weld details, but they won’t be seen anymore once the racks are in position.

Now that all 6 ammo-racks were ready, it was time to bring out the airbrush and start priming it all. It took my almost an hour to get it done, there was so much of it. Sadly, the camera stopped halfway through (without me realising) so there’s a bit missing in the time-lapse (about 4 hrs of it in total). As per usual, I used Mr. Surfacer as my primer. Being a lacquer-based paint, it dried very quickly and by the time the last part was done, I could start with the actual paint on the first. To my surprise Mr. Paint doesn’t have an “ivory” colour, so I had to mix this by combining white (MRP-004) with RAF marking yellow (MRP-122). It looked very promising when mixed in the bottle, but after spraying all the parts (which took me another 2 hours), I discovered that the colour was too white compared to the paint used on the lower hull. This left me with two options, either I remix the paint and start again, or I spray a coat of the paint I used before. I opted for the latter, and out came the trusty Humbrol glossy Ivory enamel paint. The downside to using this paint is the long drying time, as well as the glossy look it results in. But it was the easiest way of achieving the correct colour, so off I went. Once all parts were sprayed (yet again), a thin coat of matt varnish went on and the parts were left to dry for about 48 hours. If I did it correctly, all the items that are to be painted in the ivory colour are now done, aside from the lower-hull roof, which at this point I had completely forgotten about. It wasn’t until I had cleaned my airbrush and packed everything away that I noticed the roof without any colour. After the typical “Ah for **** sake”, the paint was brought out and sprayed on. After the first 12 hours of drying, I masked the white and sprayed the lower half in the hull red colour, also enamel (but this time by Revell). I reverted my attention to the smaller parts, which weren’t painted white. These included the radio’s, MG’s, and fire extinguishers. They were painted with MRP in either NATO black or RAF marking red (only red I had laying around). Everything was left to dry for the next day or two before I hand-brushed all the details using acrylic paints (good thing I kept all of them after changing to MRP).

By now I’d spend to best part of 5 hrs to get it all painted and ready for weathering. The first step consisted of dry-brushing parts of the gun and turret with silvers, greys, and hull red to reproduce scratches and general paint wear. Special attention was given to the gun, with heavy wear on the handles and handholds, as well as the framework that “catches” the empty shells when they’re expelled from the gun after firing. I think the photos explain it a lot better than my words, so be sure to have a look in the photo gallery. The next step was the application of the usual Flory wash “dark dirt”, which was brushed on. The black parts received the grey wash instead to give it more contrast. Once dry, I used cotton-buds and paper towels to clean it off.
Although happy at the time, I think I’ll have to go back and touch up a few parts as the wash is too heavy with everything put together. More on that next time.

An estimated 40 parts were laying around on my desk and screamed to finally be put together. But first I stared at it for almost half an hour, going over all the different ways of assembling the gun and turret. Eventually I ended up by putting the hull roof in place, the turret floor in the correct position and the turret basket slowly being lowered into position. Somehow it didn’t line up, the basket floor didn’t fit in the circular gap down in the lower hull. In order to make it work, I brought out the sanders and reshaped the floor. It only required a small adjustment, so the slight misalignment can’t be seen in the final model. The turret basket was glued onto the turret floor once I was happy and clamps held it in place until dry. I wasn’t able to get the side support to sit in the correct position, so I had to modify the side cover a bit to make it all work. This was achieved by simply cutting out the opening (see photos). Next up was the actual gun. I assembled the MG that sits on the right side of it, and glued it into position. The gun was then dry-fitted into place and the turret cover was put on in order to align the openings with the gun and MG. A fiddly job which required a little persuasion to make it all work, but eventually slotted into place. Additional glue was applied to make sure it wouldn’t move once the upper hull was removed. Since the barrel is made of solid aluminium and very heavy, I had to make sure the attachments for the gun were solid enough to support it all. This was achieved by large amounts of Tamiya glues, thus “welding” it all together into one solid lump of plastic. Extra strength was added using super glue on top of that. With the extra weight inside the gun itself, it should be balanced out nicely and prevent the whole turret from tipping over. The barrel was added and the whole assembly left to harden-out for roughly 24 hours.
In the meantime, I added the MG and periscope to the hull roof and glued the fire extinguisher in place. Decals were added to the radio-rack and gun as well.Wiring from the gun and turret were bend to shape and glued into position on the side of the turret basket. The commander’s seat and back support were added, and the MG ammo attached to the gun itself, thereby completing the work on the turret for now.
A few details will be added in the near future, including some personal items from the crew, as well as weapons and ammo shells.

And that brings us to the actual ammo shells, which will form the last bit of this update. As expected, sanding these is a laborious and boring task, so for now I only did the shells that go in the turret. The lower hull ones will be done next time.
Before I left for work again, I was able to paint the first 10 shells in brass. When I get back I hope to finish these and the remaining shells, making the racks ready for assembly into the lower hull. This then allows me to glue the roof in place and complete the bottom section of this massive model. More on that next time.

For now, this is it. Thank you all for being patient and following this build. By now I’ve reached another 30 hours, so expect part 4 of the time-lapse series with the next update as well. See you then!

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