Friday 31 July 2020

Challenger - Cut it

From the beginning, the plan was to cut the Challenger in half, to be used as book-ends. I tried first with a dremel (Proxxon actually), but the angle was too awkward to successfully cut straight. Besides, I've never been able to cut straight anyway.

One way to cut perfectly straight is with a hacksaw, which made short work of the hull.

More clamps required to force the top and half together.

I used 1mm styrene sheet to close the halves.

Filled the interior with Chinchilla sand, which I had lying around since my experiments with anti-slip surfaces on the Merkava's. Added diluted white glue to keep the sand in place. Also had to create a small styrene box around the gun breech.

Once finished, the weight of the model went from 120g to 550g. I hope it's enough to keep the books in place.
Primed in black, it's now ready to receive the first layer of paint, which will be the first time I'm trying out MRP.

Thursday 30 July 2020

Challenger - Challenging construction

Well, I think Trumpeter really took this tank's name to heart and was considerate enough to make building it an actual challenge.

Ejector marks are EVERYWHERE. I haven't seen it this bad EVER. It must be related to quality of the plastic, or timing of the ejection or ... I dunno, but it's terrible. Many are on the inside, which is fine, if they need to be anywhere, but why would you place 5 ejector pins on such small pieces? 
It must have been an engineering challenge just to put so many ejector pins in one mould.

Luckily I starting using my own sprue goo recently, so at least we can try to work with this.

Sprue attachment points are very thick right up close to the part, so removing them is an exercise in patience and skill.

Locator tabs weren't a big priority in this kit. The boxes all around the turret simply do not fit, tabs or not. Most important thing to look out for is that at least the top and visible side fits somewhat nicely. The inside/underside can have a 2 mm gap for all I care, as long as it's not visible.

At multiple points during the build, I really couldn't see why some tiny parts are separate. It feels like most of them are only there to increase the part count.
The 16 hinges for the engine covers really needn't be separate. At least the 16 grab handles would require slide moulding, so I understand them being separate, but they sure are TINY and combined with the huge attachment points, hard to clean up and easy to break. 

Hull halves also do not fit very nicely together, but with these big parts, the flex on the plastic will allow you to force them in place, and let the glue do it's magic.
Clamps and vices to the rescue!

The rearview-mirrors are a disaster. When installed, the turret can only turn with  the main gun fully elevated. I'm assuming they are retractable on the real tank?
The thingies holding up the mirror are very thin and broke off when breathing in their vicinity. I tried re-inforcing with sprue goo, which worked fine, but I forgot to account for my clumsiness. I've removed both now. I may (or may not) add them back later with steel wire, but they'll probably bend or break later when used in the book closet anyway.

Sunday 26 July 2020

BSG - Painting

Finishing assembly of the Galactica was easy and fast. There aren't too many pieces and they fit together very well.

I've left the model in separate sub-assemblies, as that makes painting a little easier. The assemblies fit together well and, more importantly, well hidden. The locator tabs are big, sturdy and sandwiched deep between the parts, by which I mean it'll be easy to apply ample glue and not see it being squished out from in between. 

I'm not a huge fan of the decals so far. They become brittle very fast and were a pain to position somewhat correctly. The most visible part of them is at  both ends, where you want the strips to be perfectly center on the bay entrance. Doing so, moves other parts of the decal over the gap where the top half of the pylon will be glued.

I primed the model black, then sprayed all armour panelling white, added dark-grey highlights on them and light grey highlights on more of the black parts.

The idea was to go over it with a fine mist of grey until the build up was to my satisfaction. It was only a partial success, as the trick to successfully airbrushing highly thinned grey still eludes me most of the time.

Painting the base gold/black was an exercise in patience as well.

Saturday 25 July 2020

PL-01 - As good as done

I'm going to call this one done, for now.

What I mean by that is that I want to do some post-treatment with oils to give it a slightly more faded or dusty look. I'm hesitant to start this process and distracted by other builds and lack of time and motivation. Just a short hiatus.

The lighting effect is ... ok, but not 100% as I had envisioned it. From certain angles it's fine, from other angles it appears overdone. But I guess that's the whole idea of artificially adding a light effect? I dunno ...