What's on my desk? Part 14.

Hi! Happy Easter and hopefully you have a nice holiday. The weather won't be very good, but that just gives us more modelling time!

The San Francisco is sitting in my shop window now and it's getting a nice amount of attention. Always good to see people stopping and looking. :-)

There's been quite some progress this week.

Let's start with the Mercedes. I've gone ahead and polished the body. I first used the Albion Alloys sanding sponges to sand down the small irregularities ('orange peel') in the paint, then polished with all three of Tamiya's polishing Compound. The final effect is a good, even shine. It's not as mirror-y as I'd wanted, but it's close enough. The main advantage of polishing is that the shiny finish is nice and even all over the vehicle (It unfortunately also brings out the dust motes trapped under the varnish...).

Once all was polished, I finished any interior painting still needing fixing and glued the windows in. I used Micro Kristal Klear for this. Not much was needed; Tamiya made sure the windows fit nicely into the doors and body. The grille mesh in the nose was also cut and glued with superglue.

Next up is a final polish, then the chrome parts, chrome stickers and lights need to be added. Final assemby will be easy; again Tamiya's engineering and fit is near-perfect.


I've also done a little more work on the ARL-44. I forgot to mention it's the Amusing Hobby offering in 1/35 (35A025). Nice kit from a relatively new manufacturer. I also have their FV4005 half-built somewhere in the stash.

I thought I'd give you a step-by-step of how I'm weathering the tracks. These are plastic individual links, molded in brown plastic, that click together without need for cement. I'm basically using the Ammo Dry Earth Tracks set to paint them. First off: primer, then a base coat of A.Mig 0034 Rust Tracks. This gives a nice reddish-brown base colour. The next step is A.Mig 1002 Tracks Wash, applied randomly. You can already see the tracks getting a more irregular appearance.

After this wash is dry, we continue with A.Mig 1751 Dry Steppe. This is one of the Splashes Effects colours. The exact colour doesn't really matter much, as long as it's a sort of light brown. As you've undoubtedly seen on real-life cars and trucks, mud and dust quickly shades into a very pale brown when dry. This again is applied quite randomly, not entirely covering the track links.
Now the next step I do immediately, while the Splashes are still wet. I take some A.Mig 3004 Europe Earth pigment and sprinkle it over the previous layers. Lightly rubbing the pigments into the still-wet Splashes with an old brush acts both as a pigment fixer and enhances the depth and colour of the Splashes effect.
Quick tip when using pigments: I use a food container with a closable lid to catch any pigments falling off the model. This pigment box of mine has accumulated a large amount of colours over time, from black to all sorts of brown to rust, providing a nice ready-made mix for such projects where you just need a general dirty/rusty pigment colour.
Back to the tracks: the last step, after the Splashes/pigments have dried, is to lightly sand the tracks to smoothen the protruding parts, which then receive a light drybrush of A.Mig 0192 Polished Metal. This represents the tracks getting scratched/polished through contact with the ground.
That's basically it for the tracks. Next up is mud & dust runoff on the sides of the tank. For this it's important to use the same colours as on the tracks. I again used the Dry Steppe Splashes effect. I loaded a flat no.4 brush with the paint, and then using a toothpick flicked drops onto the side of the tank, creating actual splashes. This first layer is then drawn down and blended using a finer, round paintbrush, creating streaking marks. The same Splashes were then very diluted with thinner and applied to the lower side, creating a 'mist' of mud/dirt. The final step is to again use a toothpick to splash some extra drops onto the previous layer, building it up into a 3D effect.

I think I'll try to clean up the streaks a bit more, making them a bit thinner. Some extra pigments will then tie the whole thing together.

Shop news: on Saturday (April 6) Modelist will host a party of wargamers. They'll be playing some American Civil War games. Feel free to drop by and check it out! So Saturday, 6th April, from 1 to 5 pm.

Have a good one and see you next week!

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