Hello esteemed readers! For those of you located in the United States, a very happy belated Fourth of July. I did intend to deploy a post yesterday, but hey, a man must enjoy a holiday once and a while! That isn’t to say I didn’t spend part of my Fourth working on the modeling pursuits.
It was a long holiday weekend, so I took some time to do some detail painting, gloss coating, and decal-ing of the Whippet. I probably could have spent my time more wisely and accomplished a bit more, but, sometimes this hobby can feel like a second job, so I decided to get some gaming under my belt. I’ve most recently been playing a great deal of War Thunder and Red Orchestra 2. I recommend both games highly if you are into tanks (War Thunder) and hardcore realistic squad-based first person shooters dealing with the Eastern Front (Red Orchestra). Admittedly, I am taking a break from Hearts of Iron IV as the AI is really lackluster at this time. Hopefully some balancing patches or some user mods will beef up this aspect of the game. Quite disappointing really.
Also, I’ve been trying to dedicate more time to reading, as I have found that I do not read very often anymore. I think work/life balance and the proliferation of electronics into daily life has really sapped my desire to read. I would look at the books on my desk and wonder if that was a good allocation of my time when I could be getting things done that I have had to delay due to work. Such is the rat race of life (plenty more platitudes where that came from). As of now, I’m powering through Combat: Barbarossa 1941 German Infantryman versus Soviet Rifleman by Osprey Publishing. It has been a very interesting read and I really love how Osprey adds a great deal of life to the text with various diagrams, combat maps, historical pictures, firsthand accounts, and a dedication to providing concise accounts that do not become laborious with dull unit operation details (those of you who read military history books know exactly what I am talking about). If you have never read anything by Osprey and have an interest in military technology, tanks, combat, battles, generals, airplanes, ships, etc. you really should check them out. Highly highly recommend. Upon finishing my current read, I will moving on to Where the Iron Crosses Grow: The Crimea 1941-44, which looks to be a fascinating account of the conflict in the Crimea during the Eastern Front campaign.
Well, I suppose that’s enough of that! Let’s get down to brass tacks: what do I have to bitch about this week.
The next step in my Whippet build was assembling the tracks onto the tank and then painting details. Allow me to reiterate again that I love the tracks on this tank. Snap together workable tracks should be the industry standard on ALL modern kits. There really should not be any excuse at this time for this not being the case. This feature alone saved me many headaches and has made an already easy-to-build kit that much more enjoyable. Once the tracks were officially on the tank, the look and feel of the model really changed. I am quite pleased with the results.
Next up, I painted details that I had not gotten to on my first pass with the airbrush. The machine guns, exhaust pipes, asbestos wrapping, and track spuds all received their initial base coats of paint. I must admit, I think the track spuds and asbestos wrapping look like complete trash currently as they lack any definition or visual appeal. But, naturally this will soon change as oils, washes, as other techniques are applied to add depth and variation to these parts. I also found that applying a little bit of paint thinner to my paints when hand painting greatly allowed for a smoother, less detail hiding, paint job. That may be a rather obvious trick, but it really is a game changer for me. I used to loathe hand painting things because I felt the paint job was rather thick and not as smooth as the airbrush. While, not as preferable as an airbrush finish, I am pleased with the new results.
That being said, it wouldn’t be a Doc Brick modelling adventure without a screw up. Prepare yourself for my rant of the post: Vallejo varnishes. My experience with Vallejo varnishes has been very hit and miss. Sometimes they works great and sometimes there is an abysmal mishap. Which is weird, because I conduct nearly the same process every time I varnish. Needless to say, my results are inconsistent and that is troubling. Why should I put all of my hard work at risk because a varnish doesn’t spray right? This time I sprayed down some Vallejo Gloss and I was really unable to achieve a truly gloss finish. On top of that I got some frosting. I’m just not all that pleased with this part of their product line (I love their paints though). A varnish should be consistent and predicable. I should not need to do some special ritual, song and dance, or sacrifice every time I want to clear coat something. And I know, there’s a huge part of the community that says “KLEAR” or “FUTURE” for all your varnishing needs. I am not going to use some god damn floor polish on my models. I initially tried that with “Quick Shine” floor polish. It sprayed well, but it did not stand up well to washes, decals or weathering, in my experience. You think that they would have something better than some god damn floor polish for a gloss coat on a model. Well, I have been doing some research and it seems that the Winsor and Newton Acrylic varnishes are highly regarded. Presently, I have the matte varnish (have yet to use it) and have the gloss coming in the mail. I am very interested to see how these perform. You would think that they would be a bit better considering their pedigree. I shall have a full review coming shortly.
After I let the gloss coat cure for 24 hours I preceded to apply the decals to the vehicle. Now, as you have read, I love this kit from Takom. In fact, I love Takom. They are doing subjects that are interesting, new and unique. They offer a great product for a great value. Their kits are just good. Could they be the modern Tamiya? Perhaps. But, if I had to give this get a big negative, it would be the decals. Now, the decals aren’t shitty in terms of clarity or looks. No, in fact, they are quite good. But, they suffer from thick, visible carrier film and do not snuggle down well at all. It was a real struggle to not only get these to conform on the model, but also to not look like a pile of dog shit. Usually, I am a Microset and Microsol kind of guy. Microsol couldn’t do a damn thing to these decals. I had to whip out my jar of Walthers Solvaset (thankfully I had this product) which after many applications I was able to remedy (mostly) this mess. I really would have lost my shit if I did not have the Solvaset. So, if you intend to build this kit from Takom, please be mindful of the decals. Now, I can’t say for sure if this is true of other Takom kits (a quick google search revealed nada), but exercise caution. It should also be noted that the decals did not want to leave the backing paper either. It was a real chore to get them to loosen up enough to come off the paper. Maybe I got a bad batch: who knows!
Anyway, the build is coming along nicely. I am happy(ish) with how it is progressing. Next step is to apply the new Winsor and Newton gloss varnish and then begin weathering. I’m really shooting for a very weathered rendition of this tank so it should be an interesting and fun adventure. I also ordered up some of the new Vallejo Weathering Effects for the occasion. Review of those will be forthcoming as well. I am really looking forward to completing this build.
Here is the progress thus far:
Every since the mishap with the warped parts, giant gap, and pending photo-etch work, I have not worked on this kit. I have been focusing on knocking out the Whippet so I can apply all my mental energy to this project. It’s just so demoralizing when a kit turns sour. Dragon Models are a fickle and cruel mistress. They steal my heart and my wallet. I am sure when I grow some stones here and begin the toil again, the kit will come together nicely. In short, nothing new to report at this time.
So Hobby Lobby, (which for those of you who are not familiar with it, is the Walmart of hobby stores) discontinued some of its Tamiya kits last week. This is not tragic in the sense that good kits are being taken off the shelf, but rather, some classic kits are finally biting the dust. Their selection mainly consists of Tamiya kits from the 1970s, that Tamiya still sells for some reason (seriously, retool these). Needless to say, I could smell the blood in the water and I headed over to my local Hobby Lobby. I snagged the old timey PAK 40 and Sdkfz 251 Hanomag for a few bucks and called it a day. I figured that these would be nice, cheap practice kits to work on.
I began work on the PAK 40, thinking it would be an easy win. While the kit is not too many parts and relatively simple, it suffers greatly from poor instructions and even worse injection moulding. Terrible flash, bad kit engineering, and lop sided moulding plague this kit. I nearly gave up on it (granted I wasn’t taking my sweet time as usual) and was thinking of using it for debris in a diorama. However, I reexamined the instructions and was able to divine what Tamiya was trying to tell me. Needless to say, I plan on practicing some chipping effects on this anti-tank gun and using it as a prop in a diorama (hopefully my first is forthcoming). The Hanomag looks a little better and I am curious to see how it will turn out. Needless to say, the kits are cheap and go grab them in you need any practice material.
Well that about sums it up for now. I hope to have some more progress on the Whippet soon (its contingent on several factors presently) and hopefully finish that project in the next two weeks. Work is about to pick up and I am due for a week long vacation come August, so we shall see how much productivity I am able to muster in the forthcoming weeks.
I must take a moment to toot my own horn or rather give a blog status update. The blog is gaining quite a bit of views now and almost has 100 unique viewers. Not to mention those of you who are subscribing/following. People from all over the world are reading me bitch and spout out my highly opinionated statements. That is amazing. I literally started this as a way for a friend and a coworker (you know who you are!) to more easily keep track of my model builds. The internet is an amazing tool and I feel blessed to live in this age (or do I?). Thank you all for reading and continuing to show interest in this angst filled Canuck’s work.
Till next time, friends! Thanks again!