Sleeve-ranks and more assembling

Adding the rank bars on the coverall sleeves

Yet again I ducked for the rank markings of the Luftwaffe for these ranks I pulled out of my sleeve. For simplicity I decided that the first guy'd have a single set of moustaches on his sleeves while the other one had a moustache underlined by a horizontal bar. Both'd be white as I really didn't feel like making a mess or multiple passes with yellow, if I really didn't need to. The white paint would also stand out a bit better, I thought, as the coveralls and the bibs were already yellowish and yellow, respectively.

Pictured: some flying colonel, who's being blinded by a misleadingly bright future
As a foundation I painted grey-black rectangular blotches on the sleeves and later I attempted to paint the tiny, tiny white  blobs on them. The radio operator got the single moustache so he was an Unteroffizier (which translated to a sergeant? Weird shapecount, considering that the other armies and branches usually have used three somethings for sarges, but who am I to complain?). The pilot then got the underlined moustache, becoming a Herr Leutnant, a lieutenant. Nothing too fancy but maybe even believable, I hoped.

No, you couldn't recognize anything there, but they are there and that mattered the most.

Employing some factory workers

At this point the instructions told me I had two options. Open dive brakes or closed ones, wingtip hardpoints loaded with either a pair of small bombs each or single external fuel tanks. Rather surprisingly and shockingly the Project Mumblings took the divebombing option in a divebomber project.

From under the masking tapes a pair of almost good-looking landing gear pods emerged. One of them was going to need a tiny bit of puttying, but they were quite an improvement from the last time I had seen them.

Next I glued the tail stabilizers with their diagonal support bars. Those settled into the airframe beautifully! Afterwards I tried to rererecheck that the damn wings were set straight, but that's what I've always done and always there's been some criticism afterwards :p

Under the aiframe I installed a couple of antennas and other things. Those identical hook-like things were to be glued on, with a glue specifically sold by Zvezda, so there's another case of "no glue needed", again.

Moving on, I assembled and painted the radio operator's MG and attached it to the rear glass piece. At this exact moment I realized I was just about done with the whole assembly part of this project. Before getting to that I thought I'd make my canopy masking subprocess a tiny bit easier by painting the frames from the inside. But nope, the plastic practically refosed to take and hold any paint on its surface. Gnaah.


Building session 2

Bit by bit

As the paint had dried I continued with the building itself, conciously ignoring the little dudes' sleeves bare at this point. My program consisted of installing a curious square-shaped window piece in front of the bottom of the airframe, between the wings. This looked like some sort of a "do we still have the bomb in there, Hans?" window or something. I had never encountered this detail in my previous Stuka models, so I was a bit uncertain of its purpose.

The cockpit

The next step was the traditional mashing together of the airframe and the wings. I was quite concerned of the fate of the poor little guys' shoulders but with some wiggling and a couple of reaimings everything settled together amicably and there weren't any huge gashes anywhere, either. The few gaps were sorted out with a drop of liquid glue and a bit of pressure over a short period of time.

Behind the first part of the engine's radiator (or oil cooler) a new neatly shaped arc was installed. Behind that I attached the main bomb on its amazingly swinging rack. A smarter modeler would've painted those separately, but as we've maybe realized over the years, yours truly is always not quite that smart.

As you could tell by the image 2, I still had space to paint the rank insignia to the arms of the coveralls. Maybe I would have to come up with some kind of ranks for them, but I didn't know anything about these things, what kind of chaps were paired and how they were typically ranked. I guess I could make the radio operator a general and the pilot a summer trainee replacement for an auxiliary loader's assistant. That'd keep us on the track, considering the quality of jokes in this blog.

Landing gear

I was very pleasantly surprised by the four-piece landing gear. In theory the wheels would be spinnable and there were even separate propellers for the jericho sirens!

Generally speaking these bits were really good but after assembly the fronts of the cupolas were grimacing more uglily than myself when the alarm goes off in the mornings. So I applied some glue, pressed them together for a good long while and then tied them together with masking tape. In case my first assault wasn't providing me an end-all solution, I'd use pegs for the second one.


First paint drops

Judging by my calendar it's been quite a few months since the last time I got to paint anything. At least I've had some variety in my doings and some of it has been good, too.


At this point in the project I took the bare minimum surface area to work on, that being the dudes in their seats and the cockpit itself. Then again, as German as a language is full of exceptions and exceptions to those, I also primed the propeller and the spinner already. I just love contradicting myself in one single thought and sentence.

The cockpit area

To keep things pretty simple I airbrushed the cockpit floors, walls and the dashboard with dark grey (VMA 71055 (Black Grey RLM 66)) carefully. Had I bothered masking off the wings, I could have saved maybe a few minutes later on. I was somehow expecting to end up filling and sanding the joint of the airframe and wings so I didn't really mind that much. I also painted the cockpit's part on the airframe that is visible outside but under the canopy.

Finishing this step I airbrushed the guys yellowish (VMA 71246 Yellow Brown) as that seemed like a pretty decent choice for a desertish DAK coverall and would be distinct from the dark cockpit. Unless I made an utter mess of the canopy in the later stages.

Some manual work

Without any great illusions of anyone ever noticing the dashboard I still dabbed a black (VMA 71057) blobs on just about each of the lumps on the indicator board and then on a bunch of them I added some white (VMA 71001) smudges for better diallikeness. It did look like a dashboard. From a certain point of view. Finally I poked a few bits on the cockpit inner walls with yellow (VMA 71002 Medium Yellow) to mark some random lever ends and whatever they marked that way. Of course I had forgotten to fetch any of my red paints so all those I had to leave this time.

While messing around with black I painted the handle of the joystick, the radio devices (2) and the crew's boots (which with these sculpts looked like either walking shoes or that they had their coverall legs over the boots instead of tucked in). Then I prepped their goggles by painting them black as well. Maybe I'd apply something metallic to make them look more like old goggles instead of modern scifi helmet visors. In any case I wouldn't be able to make them look authentic so anything would pretty much be ok for me.

Later I applied some white highlights on the FunkGeräts to make them look a bit more like something else than black cubes in an almost black environment. I didn't go for any special authenticity or anything, just a hightlight for potential visibility.

After I was done with the crew's shoes I painted their bibs (I assume they were lifejackets in real life) with the same yellow I used before. The sculpts were whatever so I just painted instead of worrying too much, as I had made my mind already. You know, being stubborn.

Last but definitely not the least I painted the leathery flying helmets and gloves brown (VMA 71041 Tank Brown). Then I fixed some of their pant legs that hadn't gotten proper airbrush coverage with the yellowish brown.

When I was done with the dudes at this point I painted their seats with the same cockpit colour I used before (RLM 66) and plugged the seats with their owners onto the floor. If I remembered to do the red bits the next time, good, but if I missed the plane wouldn't crash and burn for it. Maybe I could take a look at the seatbelts while I could. Otherwise the next round would (hopefully) be just pure building again.


Reference hunting

Target locked

Ages ago I had decided that this'd be a yet another different plane. More clearly put, I had never painted a flying Deutsche Afrikakorps device (not that I had made many going on the ground, either), so why wouldn't I send my Stuka to scream over the skies of North Africa?

The plane

Somehow I remembered seeing a set of Luftflotte 2 camouflage patterns. Most of those had a splintery or splotchy pattern. Of course, in my mind's eye a simple, plain Dunkelgelb (RLM 79) with white Operational Theatre markings just looked the absolute best in this case. Based on my quick image searches I wasn't the only one, even though I was admittely in a small minority.

The Stukka [sic] would have a plain light blue (RLM 65/78) belly, as RLM has decreed without any nonsense at all.

The crew

That being said, the plane's camo pattern - or in this case the lack thereof - wasn't going to be a problem of any sort, but the tiny figures that were a surprise to me had the potential of becoming a tiny problem. Basically any sort of a Luftwaffe pilot reference would've been just ok, I guess, but I was looking for a more location-accurate sources. After a good amount of very obscure ddg'ing I had found myself on weird forums and who knows what else, but the main idea seemed to be that either they had a blue-grey coverall with a yellow vest or a dark yellow (could also have been faded olive as well) coverall with a brighter yellow vest.

A screenshot from an Afrika Korps -forum (!?)
I really wasn't sure what the original colour of the helmet had been and what time has done to it. I guess I could use these pics, depending on how well or badly the details were on the tiny dudes.

Maybe they'd be all right in the end. The helmet was pretty clear, but the coverall's colour I'd have to ponder a bit, as I wasn't sure what made the most sense. Generally it looked like that the coverall was dark (which wouldn't stand out of the dark cockpit interior) or a light one (that would stand out of the cockpit but would look awfully close to the airframe). Just by this set of thoughts I'd most likely go for a light coverall because it'd also sit better with the sandy North Africa scenario. I just didn't feel too happy about having the plane and the clothes in the (almost) same colour, for reference see the halftrack linked earlier. In this case the skin tones I had used were also awfully close to the outfit colours, so I'd need to pay attention to that while painting.

An absolute must would be the Luftwaffe rank markings on the shouldersleeves of these chaps (and before that I'd need to come up with what rank each had to begin with) and on their chests (if there was space) some sort of flying eagles and other sillinesses, figures allowing. And that's always been awesome fun! Not that anyone was ever going to see them in the completed model, but that has never, ever been a meaningful argument in my books.

The cockpit

Had I been smart (or stopped to think), I'd painted the insides of the airframe halves before joining them together. But as I wasn't, I didn't. Now I'd paint them at this point instead. Then again, I'd had to apply glue on paint, which usually fails on many levels - and I'd still had to fight the instrument panel separately. And again glue it after painting. Dunno, maybe I just have no idea of how to optimize airplane build/paint order.

On top of the basecoat I'd apply a black-grey (RLM 66) layer or two and then drybrush for some details, that one could maybe, perhaps, potentially see through the canopy. Most likely this would not be the case. While typing this post up I couldn't check the pieces, if the radio equipment &co were modeled so that they could be told apart from the rest.

I could always highlight some cables and the sides should have some levers with red and yellow ends just where the pilot would reach handily. Maybe there were some lumps on the model, but with a closed airframe poking those details with even a tiny airbrush was so-so, if it made any sense at all anymore.

Anyway, this has been the traditional 'Mumblings thinking out loud as always. Don't be confused if by (or in the middle of) the next post I've changed my mind completely, again. These things have always been pretty dynamic, I think.


Building a bit

Following the instructions for a sec

After unboxing and observing the contents I spent that evening's remaining hobby time by assembling the important first pieces. The bits required some cleanup, but not that much at this point.

Just a couple of tiny pieces got installed into the wings in addition to a clear piece for the landing light, that I may remember to mask up later on. But what's the point of that, since the piece covers just some unpainted plastic... pah. After the surprisingly pleasant and well-fitting wing assembly I added a couple of cockpit floor pieces and the separator between the pilot and the machinegunner. I also assembled the tiny dudes (these miniluftwaffians consisted of three pieces: torso, arms and the lower body) and started pondering on how would I paint this whole setup even half-sanely.

My second evening

After the crew I got to build the airframe itself. The tail end worked like a charm, just like the wings before, but the nose was a bit more of a complication. That piece that had the front radiator texture got some heavy damage to its pegs because I had to use a surprising amount of pressure to get the nose pressed together. Luckily a gentle amount of glue saved my cooling system.

In case you haven't noticed, it's been bothersomely difficult to take these WIP photos with a cell phone with one finger while the other hand is occupied with holding the model at a barely tolerable angle. Sorry!
The important thing was that the legendary nose shape of this model was already forming nicely. As I have been saying for many, many years, in its uglyiness this is a damn pretty plane.

Somewhat surprisingly the instrument panel settled in beautifully. Now we had actually already reached the point where the assembling had to be put on hold and the airbrush-compressor combo was to be dug out. Otherwise I would never get to paint the insides at all. Or any sort of detailing, that is, I could, of course just blast some dark grey and leave it at that, but I wasn't going to!


Project IV/18

Junkers Ju-87 B-2

At long, long last I started the small-scale dive bomber that I received almost two full years ago. We were talking of, as the box nicely told us, a Zvezda's snapfix kit that supposedly didn't need any glue. I wasn't going to trust that claim this time, either.

Box, the

As the photo showed, the box had gotten kicked around a bit during its trip up north, but who cared about the cardboard as long as the contents were alive? Someone had also forgotten to proofread the not-cyrillic strings, as there were certain funnies in them.


More or less a standard approach, the bits came in two sprues and there were a couple of transparent pieces for fanciness. As far as I could tell the decals looked fine, but as usual, I really didn't know if I was going to throw them on the model or into the biowaste container. I was sincerely hoping that this set was going to require somewhat less of cleaning than the T-35's pieces, but with this few pieces even that wouldn't get to become bothersome.


All the instructions fit in a pretty small area, didn't look complicated. Of course the reality would show how the quality of the instructions was.


The queue lives again

Helping a friend out

The always as notorious Lasse was moving and to make this story quite a lot shorter: I gave three models a new home. The largest was a 1:32 scale Atomic Annie (ducking Upshot-Knothole Grable may be an educative experience for those who haven't seen it yet (are there people like that?)), then the other of my Soviet favourites, a Su-27 and the final kit was a surprise to me. A Tiger Ausf E with little people. At my current rate these'll take a couple of years or more!


Finished: Project III/18

SdKfz 181

A sixty-ton ultrastylish machine, Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf H or Ausf E Tiger (I), whichever way you referred to it, was Germany's questionable gift to the world, and it was the size of a small sauna cabin and for some obscure reason it's always been an extremely popular modeling subject. It definitely was a pretty thing, regardless of scale and material, right? According to Wikipedia they built something like 1347 of these legendary monstrosities.

Unit 4

As you're most likely used to, I took the basic posing pics from the cardinal and ordinal directions, but also directly from above and even below, as the kitty's belly had been modeled so nicely. I just couldn't not show it. I couldn't tell if it was because of the misaligned subcomponents or what, but especially towards the end of the set, those three images showing the left side of the tank managed to make the tank look like it was really accelerating towards its target, pedal to the metal.

Odd angles again

I didn't go and gimpify the reflections off the backgrounds. Maybe I would have to try that too, to judge wheter or not it brings something else than a pixelated mess and a bad experience.