Status Update: the Tiger and the Whippet

Hello one and all! Its been busy over here as I’ve been trying to squeeze in some good build time after my epic finish of the Dragon Easy Eight Sherman. I had to take a little break to refresh myself and to spend some quality time with the new grand strategy game: Hearts of Iron IV. But, now I am back at it and have made some fair progress on my current projects. In this post I’ll be going over the current status on the Dragon Tiger I and the Takom Whippet tank I am working on. I will also be revealing my next build(s) after I finish the Whippet.

Takom MK. A Whippet 1/35

Let’s start with the Whippet, as I haven’t discussed this project yet. On my anniversary, I was returning home from a trip to the USS Hornet and happened upon probably the best hobby store in the Bay Area: Hobbies Unlimited. This is seriously an epic store for a dying hobby in this area. What a tremendous selection! Seeing as this store actually had a ton of modern production model kits I decided to give the Takom Whippet a shot. This would be my first World War I kit and it was a refreshing change from the World War 2 German armor I have spent so much time creating.

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I like the box art quite a bit on this one.

The Good:

The kit features excellent molding and details without being overly complex. The snap together tracks are one of the main reasons I purchased this kit, as I have been a bit demoralized by the usual rubber band tracks and individual glue-together links (god damn you Dragon Magic Tracks!). Seriously, why IN THE NAME OF *INSERT YOUR DEITY HERE* are companies not adopting this as the norm. With all of this technology we have today, you are telling me you can’t product a kit where the track links are separate and just snap together and are workable? Why, Trumpeter, do you insist I cut out 220 GUIDE HORNS and then glue them to 180 tracks which I had to cut and clean up. It is sickening! Needless to say, the tracks were a joy to assemble! Big thumbs up to Takom. The instructions are awesome and composed of very legible AutoCad renders. The painting guide is superb, with a ton of different examples provided.

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Model kit companies really need to get their shit together with modernizing their products! Takom is on the right path.

The Bad:

Well, lets talk about road wheels and drive systems, as usually these are a real pain in the ass to contend with. The wheel structure on the Whippet is immense with a TON of parts. Now, you are probably saying, “Why are you bitching about this? GET USED TO IT.” This would usually be valid criticism, except the whole god damn thing is hidden from view by the sponsons and the tracks. Needless to say, don’t be ultra careful/spend a great deal of time cleaning these up, as no one will ever see them.

Secondly, the kit suffers from some very flimsy weak photo-etch parts. I know you are supposed to be gentle with photo-etch parts and typically I am a careful chap, but the little brackets and hooks provided are extremely prone to getting destroyed. Needless to say, they were removed from this build, but with no real aesthetic detriment.

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My typical experience with Takom’s photo-etch parts.

Finally, the instructions, although clear, suffer from some bad angles chosen to represent parts. I would have liked to seen a different approach to ensuring the instructions were fully legible. Overall, the instructions are miles ahead of Dragon’s. It’s almost as if were designed to read by actual people who were going to put together a complex and expensive model. Hear that Dragon? Your kits maybe be awesome, but your instructions are DOG SHIT.

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My constant criticism of Dragon Models will ensure I never get sample kits to review. I’m okay with this!

The Build so far:

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Look at all of those damn wheels. Never to be seen again.

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The roof panels needed some putty work due to some fiddly fit issues (probably my fault)

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Note the thread wrapped around this exhausted. I used sewing thread to simulate the asbestos wrapping of the exhaust pipes used in that era. L-angle photo-etch on the right of the tank are still intact, but not for much longer.

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A costly lesson learned: never prime your models in high heat. The paint was partially drying before it hit the model and created a very rough texture. This is the second time this has happened to me, so I have learned my lesson. Whole model was sanded down and re-primed. Note: one of the L-angle photo-etch brackets is now missing.

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I chose this paint scheme because I found it quite unique/interesting and because it was the most complex scheme. I really wanted to leave my comfort zone and take on masking the identification stripes, as masking is a weakness of mine.

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White applied.

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Masked for the red. Note, masking armored vehicles is a bit tedious and challenging due to the uneven surfaces (bolt heads, rivets, grab handles, blah blah blah).

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After many coats, the red is down.

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Applied the base coat of green in limited amounts to see the contrast of the red and white to the base color. I am digging it. Color modulation will follow.

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Overall, I think it came out pretty good. Although I do have some minor touch ups to do on the red and white areas.

The Whippet is well under way and I am happy with the progress so far. I am definitely trying to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. I’ll be using mainly a mix of Tamiya and Ammo of Mig paints for this build. I plan on making this tank extremely weathered and beat up.  That is for the Whippet, more to come as the weather cools down.

Dragon Tiger I Early Production 1/35

Last time we left off, I had barely started this build and was working on road wheels. Since then I have made a fair amount of progress. As of now, all of the suspension is complete and ready to be painted. The lower hull is almost complete and the tracks (wait till you see those) are half way done. This is shaping out to be a really enjoyable build, which is so refreshing from my last Dragon build. That being said, I feel some of the part counts for certain aspects of this build are absurd. I could easily see Dragon casting many of these parts and one or two pieces instead of 4 to 6 pieces and still having things look great. Once the overall paint job on the Whippet is complete, I plan on really focusing down on this Tiger I. I have a feeling its going to build into a really awesome model that my buddy will love.

The Build so far:

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Everything sanded, clean, and assembled. It was a lot of work but overall, not too bad!

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The internal suspension and wheel attachment points are cleaned up and ready.

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These are lightly glued in place to allow movement of the road wheels to simulate a working suspension. Small raised points had to be removed behind each arm and sand accordingly. Tedious to say the least. Not sure why Dragon had those there from the get go.

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A test fit of the road wheels. I will be painting these all individually before permanently installing them.

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One of the photo-etch pieces installed. I started using Gator Grip hobby glue and it changed my modeling experience immensely. No more messy, disfiguring, fragile bonds as with super glue. Truly happy to have found this stuff!

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We also had an arrival from abroad: Friulmodel metal tank tracks from Hungary. A big thanks to my buddy for splurging on these. This was my first time working with these and they are just awesome.

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My set-up for cleaning and assembling the links. This endeavor required me to drive all over the countryside looking for a 0.5mm drill bit for drilling out the holes on the links. Once you get your rhythm the process goes quickly. Clean the track link, drill out the holes, cut the wire to length, piece to together using the wire as a track pin.

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The assembled links look awesome. The excess pins will be cut flush and super glue added to the end of each opening once I am satisfied with the length.

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The sag and movement of the tracks can not be beat. The added weight really adds to the realism.

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Looks awesome wrapped around the drive sprocket.

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One side complete. I will probably need to add a few more links in when I get the road wheels permanently installed.

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Quite a bit of parts in the rear of the tank, but the effort is worth it. I just need to add a couple of photo-etch straps to the tool box on the far left. Excellent detail.

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Another example of the incredible detail of this kit. Air-intake system looks killer.

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Installed in the vehicle. Working on the left side currently. Note the exhaust hatch covers down in the exhaust stacks. This attention to detail makes all of the pain worth it.

That is my progress right now on the Tiger. Its coming together nicely with pretty much zero headaches. The instructions are a royal shit storm of call outs and parts everywhere, so I am going extra slow to make sure I don’t mess anything up (too badly). This should really start to take off once I get the Whippet more squared away.

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Kiss my ass, society! I don’t do drugs or watch reality television: I make models! Fight the power!

The Future:

As aforementioned, I will now reveal my upcoming projects pending the completion of the Whippet (I try to only juggle two projects at once and the Tiger I has a ways to go). They are: Tamiya Cromwell MK. IV 1/35 and Tamiya Kubelwagen Type 82 Afrika Korps 1/35.

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Tamiya: my old friend, I have missed you.

I’m taking a break from the super-hardcore kits to get in some fun easy builds, where I can focus more on painting and weathering techniques than the model building itself. I may get some additional accessories/photo-etch to spruce these up, but overall, they look good to go out of the box. I am thinking about potentially attempting my first diorama with the Kubel, as I have completed Panzer II  Afrika Korps standing by. I am intimidated by the prospect, but I must keep pushing on for excellence and self-improvement.

Well friends, thank you all for reading this monster of a post. Although quite a bit has been completed lately, I still feel like I am never quite productive enough. Sure hope I have more time to model once I win the lottery.

Thanks and take care!

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Re-reading how highly opinionated my post are makes me feel sorry for my readers. I DIDN’T ASK TO BE BORN THIS WAY!

 

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