Sunday 25 April 2021

Update to email subscriptions

Hello loyal fans and followers,

Google has kindly informed me that the Feedburner-subscriptions will be phased out in a few months. This means that email notifications to those of you who have chosen that option will cease to be sent.

If you still would like to receive the occasional mail with my updates and ramblings, you will need to re-enter your email for the implementation, which replaces Feedburner.

Admit it, you will want to see the final photos of the Battlestar Galactica, the rust-effects I'm doing on the T-55, what the final look will be of the T-34 on top of his pedestal and wether or not the cut-in-half Challenger will be able to support my ever-growing tank-book collection.

To subscribe to the new service, you can scroll down a little in the right-hand column to the section that says "Get new posts by email", or you can use the form below.

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After that, you will still receive the old Feedburner notifications. You can choose to unsubscribe from that in the footer of each email or you can just ignore them until it stops sending somewhere in june.


Saturday 24 April 2021

T-34/85 - scratchbuilding the base

The base for the T-34 would need to be scratch built. I had some thick styrene sheet leftover from the (as yet unfinished) Challenger project, that I now used for building a few (oddly shaped) boxes.

I reinforced everything with scrap sprue to make it sturdier. After all, this is a ~30 ton tank!
The tendency to build things too sturdy is a genetic trait I inherited from my maternal grandfather, who tended to build anything (pigeon loft, garden shed, ...) on concrete slabs where a few wooden poles might also have sufficed.

The stone texture paper is a convenience product by Tamiya, called "Stone paving B" (link), found online in many webshops.

If you've been around for my previous projects (especially the 2 Merkava's), you know I've experimented with sand texture before (here and more successfully here and here).

This time I tried it with Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda). I mixed it with Vallejo Grey primer (since I don't use the bottle for anything else anymore) and thinned with water to varying degrees. It did not like being applied with a brush on the extremely smooth styrene.
The best result (left on the picture) is the heavily thinned variety. The water evaporates, the primer keeps it together and to the plastic.

The resulting look is okay-ish for simulated concrete, but on the grainy side, especially compared to the original thing. It's almost good for concrete on a 1/1 scale, less so for 1/35.
However, I've decided against starting over.

Time to put some paint on the tank.

Update (1 day later):

I ended up unhappy with the courseness of the concrete after all and decided to try sanding it. Careful at first, because I didn't want to end up with bare plastic again, but the concrete is really sturdy and it turned out to require some serious elbow grease.

But the result is much more to my liking. #fixthatshit

Friday 23 April 2021

T-34/85 - assembly

Assembly of this kit is a breeze. It went so fast, I forgot to take intermediary pictures.

Note the battery symbols on the inside bottom. Many Tamiya kits have provisions for motorization, but I have yet to see a motor kit, nor do I trust they would be very durable.

This kit even comes with a track-tensioning system (Chieftain reference, if this means nothing to you). I improvised a cover for the nut, so it wouldn't fall off when accidentally screwed too far loose once it's closed up. (loosening the nut actually helps when trying to put on the rubber tracks after painting)

There are a number of parts that do not appear on the kit that DO appear on the tank I'm portraying.
Things of note:
  • (photo 1) added protective housing around the hole in the engine cover. I think it houses a convoy light, or at least I think I saw this in episode 3 of the tank-men and their dog.
  • (photo 2) added covered electrical leads for the (absent) smoke generators
  • (photo 2) added brackets to the back of the turret. These were used for strapping down stowage.
    They turned out a little out of scale, but I'm hoping this effect will be lessened once painted.
  • (photo 3) added what I can only think are lifting or towing eyes to the front (as per reference photo on the actual tank)
  • (photo 4) closed the gaping holes under the fenders. Since the model will be raised and has no side skirts, the (lack of) interior would be visible. You could actually see through to the other side.

Now that construction is almost finished, I noticed the kit has the wrong kind of wheels for the tank I'm portraying. It has the wheels with 12 holes for evacuating mud or snow, the kit has the old-style closed wheels. 
As I'm not usually inclined to pay more for a replacement set for a few parts than I paid for the entire kit to begin with, I'll probably just go ahead with the "wrong" wheels. Everyone who notices, I'll just bribe with a beer.

Thursday 22 April 2021

T-34/85 war memorial in Skierniewice

In September last year, I went for my first (and only) trip for 2020 to Skierniewice (PL), which is my SO's hometown. Imagine my (pleasant) surprise to be shown around town and stumble upon a T-34.

This is a T-34/85 (the version with the bigger gun) and serves as a memorial to the liberation by the Red Army on january 28, 1945. The plaque used to contain the names of the Russian crewmembers, but was removed a few years ago after some controverse.

Sometime in March, I suddenly decided to build this model, as it appears on the picture today. I found a 1/35 version by Tamiya which looked the part. The rest would be built from scratch.

In preparing to expand my knowledge about the T-34, I purchased the Haynes manual and at the same time just happened to stumble upon the documentary "Tanks : Evolution of a legend" which touches on the subject.

The T-34 in Skierniewice is locally referred to as "Rudy", which is a reference to the name of the T-34  in the 1966 Polish black-and-white tv-series "Czterej pancerni i pies" (Four Tank-Men and a Dog).

I have since started watching this series (can be found on Youtube) and it's very enjoyable (with subtitles). Some seriousness, some slapstick moments and enough tank-footage for the tank-afficionado.

The model kit itself is of good quality and I was happy to find the turret already had a cast texture, so I wouldn't have to try and mimic this myself.