Sunday, 19 November 2017

T28 Super Heavy Tank "The Beast"

When I first got this kit, I thought that it was a Russian tank, but then looking at the box artwork, I got to thinking to myself "What is that American car doing there and why are they wearing American uniforms?". Then after a little research into this tank, I discovered that it was actually an American tank developed towards the end of the second world war. They had built two of these beasts and were developing them to destroy the German defences after the D Day invasion. But alas, these large tanks never saw action and only one is left at a museum in America.

So, lets have a quick run through of building this thing. The basic tank is fairly simple, with there not being any interior to build so just the main hull to be assembled. The time consuming parts of construction was the assembly of all the working suspension, with two springs in each unit. Why Dragon did this, is unknown as you will not really see them operating. These are also handed depending on which side of the hull or outer track units they get mounted to. Other things that took time were all of the wheels which need making up. Remember, this tank has four sets of tracks instead of the normal two, plus the track also need the all of the guide teeth glued onto them to, so mind numbing.

Once all of the suspension, tracks and wheels have been dealt with and assembled, you have to decide how you are going to display the tank. The kit offers two options, firt is to have the outer track unit mounted in position on the hull like in the photo above. Or the second is in their towing position as in the photo below. I made the choice to be able to have the ability to display the model in both set ups as when required. So I did some modifications which would allow this to happen, just by drilling out the pin positions on the locking brackets and use plastic rod to hold the units in place on the hull. A new removable rear brace was also made for when I was displaying the model in the towed set up. So now that this was sorted out, I could continue with building the tank. Dragon did the wise thing and supplied an aluminium gun barrel with the kit. A two piece plastic one would have not done the job, especially with the length of this one, you could not guarantee getting it straight.

A few etch parts were included with the kit to make up the storage boxes, jack brackets, suspension arms and spare track holder. And yes, those tiny squares that you see on the model are little boxes which had to be folded up. There is an aftermarket etched detail available for this model, but I wanted to keep this as a quick build.

From my research photos, I discovered that Dragon had missed out a few areas of the tank. The first was the boxed off areas in the outer track units. This was something that could not be ignored and I quickly made them up out of plasticard and glued them in place. A couple more things missing were the two hooks used to hook the cables over when towing the outer track units. This again was made from plasticard and glued into position on the rear panel of the hull. The final bit of scratch-building that I had done was the lower pulleys for the outer track unit lifting cranes. Looking at various photos, I manage to work out what they kind of looked like and made them up again from the old faithful plasticard. 

Now that all of the main construction was done, it was time to start painting the model. After priming everything, I pre-shaded areas of the hull, wheels and barrel. From some old colour photos of the tank, I saw that the inner surfaces where the tracks were, it was painted in a faded light greenish grey colour. So I mixed up some paint to try and match this shade as I thought it might when newly painted and airbrushed the inner surfaces and wheels to match.

For the hull colour, I used Vallejo's US Olive Drab and airbrushed this in light coats. Some of the road wheels were also painted in this colour, but only the ones in the outer facing positions on the outer track units. The next task was painting all of the tyres on the road wheels before assembling them all onto the model.

Final assembly, detail painting and weathering now started on the model, with the push to complete it for the Nationals at Telford. I used a selection of weathering washes, pigments and streaking washes to weather the T28. But I made sure not to do too much as this tank had only been used on a proving ground base, so it would have not got that dirty.

Below you can see the scratch-built hooks what the towing cable hook over. I believe this is what they looked like as the photos I found were old 1940's military ones from the development days. They would have the cables either crossed over like this or have all of the cable eyes in the shackles and loop the cables over the hooks.

Now the finished model, with the two track lifting cranes in their stored positions for transporting. I will be keeping this model in a storage box for safety reasons, as you see it  here, the model is about 27 inches long in this set-up. I do not have the shelf space to display her on at the minute, so in the box she will stay for now until she the call to be displayed.

It is a nice model to build overall, not fiddly interior to worry about, mainly because you would not be able to see it when built. It is something different compared to the normal armour models you see displayed on stands at shows. This model has only been to two shows so far, Southwell Show when it was still being built and Telford last weekend. At both shows, she drew a lot of interest from visitors who had never seen or heard of this tank before. But here is a couple of facts about it. The T.28 weighed 95 tonnes, had 12 inch armour plating on it, the gun was 105 mm T5E1, it had a top speed of 8 MPH and was to be transported over distances by rail, hence the detachable outer track units to allow this. Have a look on the internet for this special tank, just put "T28 Super Heavy Tank" in Google and look through the results. There is even a short video on YouTube of the tank being driven along.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Why Do We Have To Be So Busy?

This is one of he problems with modern life, trying to find time to do everything. It has just been like that for the past few months, not enough time to do everything that I want to do. One thing that has suffered is this blog, how I wanted to be able to update it on a regular basis but was unable to. Now I am going to change how I organise my time.

Firstly, the blog is going to have a face lift,  change how it looks and what content is on here. One thing that has beentaking my time up is the club that I formed with a couple of other modellers. This is now thriving and expanding, so I might include some of the club's activities into the blogs content. Another thing is that I have been thinking abiut giving up my website, another thing that has been suffering from lack of time. So I might try and incorporate some of it into this blog, or at least look into it for the future. 

So this is just going to be a quick post for now, mainly just to let you know that I am still around and modelling. Once the refreshing work is done, I will update you all on the projects that have been finished or being worked on. 

Happy modelling 


Thursday, 31 August 2017

I'm Back

Sorry that it has been a while since I posted on here. Well, about six months to be truthful, but it has been a busy time for me. The upkeep of this blog has had to take a back seat for the last few months due to, well, basically lack of time. It has been the same situation with my website, that I have even been thinking about giving that up as it must be getting on to two years behind. So this is a decision I will have to make before the hosting is up for renewal next year.

Now let me bring you up to date with the events that have happened over the last five months. Well, the club I had joined when we moved up here, called it a day in February due to there only being three/four members attending meetings. Meanwhile, I had been in contact with a fellow model builder nearby and we got onto the conversation about clubs. Over the next couple of weeks, myself, Mark and Alastair set up a new club called SESKU & Hemsworth Scale Model Club. We decided to hold the meetings on two Saturday mornings a month in all places, a public library. This has been one of the main things taking up my time, but the progress of the clubs development and growth has been rewarding. Since that first meeting back at the beginning of February, the club has grown to at present, 32 members including 3 juniors. You can see some of the clubs activities on its Facebook group.

SESKU & Hemsworth Scale Model Club Facebook Group

So, lets get onto the modelling side of things. 

E.E.Lightning F.6

I will start with the Lightning as that was the last "WIP" back in March. I am glad to say, she is finished. After a long time spent on it, adding all of the aftermarket resin sets, it has produced a beautiful finished model. Now all that is needed to do is finish writing up the magazine article on the model and take the photographs to go with it. Another thing that I need to set some time aside for. But here are some photos of the finished Lightning to see how these aftermarket set can change a model.

McLaren F1 

This is another "WIP" project from last year, put on-hold for not being able to decide on what colour to paint it. Well, I had finally decided to take the plunge and paint it with Alclad 2's Indigo Blue Candy. This was going okay until I noticed some ejector pin marks appearing through the paint on the doors, plus some marks on the front boot lid. So after stripping these parts, re-prime, base silver and then re-apply the candy. But I could not get the shade to match the bodyshell. So I could either strip everything and repaint from scratch, or go with a completely different colour. So I chose this path and went with Tamiya's Racing Green out of the rattlecan. It's not a perfect finish, but it had got to the stage of either finishing it then and there, or giving the model a permanent position on the "Shelf Of Doom"!  


This is one of the 1/24th female figures from Master Box that I have acquired over the last year and the first one to be built. Alice is from the 1940's Pin-up range, available in both 1/24th and 1/35th scales. The others are from the 1950's and current day, with some new ones being released covering the 1980's/90's. Now I am still not an expert in figure painting, still have a lot to learn about this. It is getting the skin tones right, with the highlights and shading. I think I will have to get my mate Blas up for a weekend to give me a lesson on this. well, here she is, in all of her glory.

Spitfire Mk.Vb "Scramble"

A quick project, originally started by my grandson's friend who lost interest in it after a hour. So after having it sit on the shelf for a year, I decided to finish it off myself. This is an old Airfix kit from 1970's, raised panel line, etc. So I thought it was not really worth doing a fancy job on this one. My plan was to mount it on a base, just after taking off from a scramble. I made a few little cuts to allow me to re-position all of the control surfaces, then alter the undercarriage to have them in the retracting motion. The model when finished was mounted on a length of acrylic rod on a MDF base.

Well, that is the finished models so far this year, as well as the 1/48th scale Spitfire I did at the beginning of the year. So what is on the cards now? I am going to try and clear a couple more of the part build projects on the shelf of doom. One is the 1/48th scale F-14A Tomcat, that one where the decals started to break up on me. After a long time thinking about it, I decided to give the kit decals another go. The remaining ones on the sheet were given a couple of coats of Liquid decal film and the tails were then stripped, re-painted along with the red sections masked and airbrushed onto them. So far, it has worked without any problems, except for just one decal that decided not to follow the rules. I am not going to rush with the Tomcat and will keep going back to do it bit by bit.

Other projects on the go is the 1/16th scale Ferrari F40 Blackstar, which after a reaction between the clear and basecoat, it was put back in the box for another day. Well, I have finally stripped the paint from the bodyshell and other body parts. This took some time as it all had to be done using car brake fluid. Nothing else would touch the paint. The body just needs to have a couple of repair jobs done on it and then we start the painting process again. This time I am going to use the trusty Tamiya rattle can to paint her. Also on the conveyor belt called my workbench, is a P-51C Mustang from Academy, a Gloster Meteor T.7, part of my RAF 229OCU project and whatever else I decide to resurrect from the shelf of doom.

That is basically how things are at the present time in the mad world of plastic that surrounds me. Soon I am going to have to make a decision on what major project to start. This would be one that I will be building to enter into competitions at shows that I visit through the year. There are several on the shortlist, including the 1/24th scale Mosquito and Typhoon kits, the Zoukie Mura P-51D Mustang, or one of the other kits that I keep thinking about starting. It is a hard hobby to be in at times, the trials and tribulations that we have to endure in the name of relaxation!

So, now that things are hopefully starting to settle down on the club side and my wife does not find me too many jobs to do around the house (that was another source of time diversion), I can start to get back to some serious time at my workbench and get some more models built. This year has been a slow one so far and I need to get back on track.

If any of you happen to visit any models shows here in the UK and at one I am at, try to track me down and say hello. I will be at the East Riding Of Yorkshire Model Show this weekend at Driffield with the club stand. Also the IPMS(UK) Nationals at Telford in November on the Milton Keynes SMC stand. I am also planning to be at the Southwell Show near Newark in October, hopefully with the club stand to. So if you happen to be at one of these shows, pop along and say hello.

Also feel free to leave some comments on here to.