Trial and error

I finally got the tracks done (my good friend "I'm not used to doing this anymore" was bothering me again), the left side was done in almost one go. When I had the last track links in their places and the glue had set overnight, I started fooling around with my paints.

Just in case I decided to start my painting project with the outside of the armour skirts. I got the awesome idea of using the track sprue as a support for the skirt pieces, because my experiences with the through-sweated painter's tape that I had used in the summer weren't too good: that damn tape left some annoying glue marks in the skirt pieces while I was basecoating them. My main point was to see that the airbrush didn't spit around or misbehave in other ways either. After that I could move on to the Sturmpanzer itself with a bit easier mindset.

That was easier said than done. A couple of times I had to turn off the airflow from the air can because the paint stopped flowing completely. I admit, I'm at a complete loss with that thing sometimes, in my previous attempts I managed to make that thing shoot extremely cold air instead of paint - just because I had opened the air valve a bit too much (how could I have known?). This can be marked as another lesson learned. Maybe my today's failures were because I hadn't cleaned the airbrush too well after my brief and unsuccesful painting attempt yesterday. That's yet another thing I have to learn with these things.

Now my Brummbär is happily green, next I'll use more brown and yellow to get some kind of a form-breaking camouflage applied. My biggest problem will be how to paint the Schürtzen reasonably. Maybe it's enough that the "insides" are just plain green while the outsides have the camo pattern? I mean, no one's really supposed to see the insides anyway because they're so low and close to the hull of the tank. As long as the insides of the armoured skirts aren't painted with plain Panzergrau or any bright colour, this should be fine.

The last photo shows pretty weel how the front of the hull is bad. Of course I noticed that way too late because of my apparently silly order of building. I decided to cheat and cover the hole with extra track links. As you can see in the photo, the leftmost one wasn't glued well enough (as I had suspected) and the airflow of the airbrush just blew it away. Obviously I reglued it after I had taken the photos.
There's still a small gaping hole on the right side, I have to come up with something for that, too.

I'll paint the tracks last, for at this point it'd make no sense at all. Either I'd try to mask them (and notice that some paint leaked anyway) or I'd try to avoid painting on them with the camouflage colours. Fat chance it'd work as I want. So I'll paint as usual and work on the tracks last, just before I start applying some weathering to them. Before I start with weathering I'll have to remember to paint a bunch of modified Balkenkreuz on the hull and the Schürtzen..

Maybe this'll end up being something...



This seems to be such a busy week that my progress has been minimal.  At the moment the right track is missing a couple of links, which can't be attached because the latest pieces are still setting. Just a couple of pieces, maybe dozen. It's not the first (or the last) time I misjudge those damn tracks...

Maybe I'll get more done on the weekend or next week?


Small steps

All kinds of random things have delayed my progress lately. The armored skirts managed to take a bunch of painting layers and joining the upper and lower parts of the hull were problematic. I shouldn't have followed the construction manual too closely. Bah. I should just and build these things the way that feels the best.
Live and learn.

Luckily the skirts were easy and handy to cut in pieces. Now I can customize the setup however I feel like (I can drop the badly fucked up ones away and no one will now). So maybe the project is still salvageable:

Both the front and the rear parts have, as you can see in the photos, some stupid holes. The forward part can be nicely fixed with a piece of tracks but the rear part? Who knows? Maybe painting the whole hull distracts people's eyes enough. Otherwise I have to come up with another way to cheat everyone... Damn.

I also started working on the tracks, the right side is about 2/3 done but I didn't get to finish because a migraine tried to ruin my day. So I'll finish that a bit later. When the right side is done, I'll know how many pieces the left side needs - more or less - and how it goes in general. I haven't built these in years so my skills are a bit rusty...
Anyway, when the tracks are done and dry, I'll start painting the hull. While I'm painting I can play some time to come up with a way to hide the fuckups in the construction. Oh, and I need to paint the Balkenkreuz in four or five places at least: three in the hull and two in the skirts.

There won't be any Zimmerit because I totally forgot it, so this is a really late model of Sturmpanzer IV, after OKH decided that it can't be used because of the false fear of the Zimmerit coating catching fire. Maybe it's not a problem. And if I had wanted to set up the Zimmerit coating, I'd needed more tools and materials.

It'll be all right 8)



There has been some progress even though it doesn't always sound like it.

As my next goal I ended up working on the top hull, which ended up being less of a hassle than what I was expecting. Most of the whole crap was two huge pieces and a buch of smaller details. Surprisingly I decided to glue the gun to its place, without the possibility to move it around for posing. Usually I want to be able to adjust all the pieces that I can adjust, so I get my photos as I want them to be.

There wasn't anything special about this phase of the build, just attach the pieces and put the next ones on the line. I painted the insides of the fighting compartment just in case you can see inside from a crack in the hull. Such as the opening for the periscope. At least there's something that looks like it should, without the real interior.

In the following photos the top hull is more or less finished:

Shockingly the light had its electric cable already in the cast piece so I didn't need to go for my thin metal wire and try to make one up. For a change.
The tail isn't much worse than the front:

At that point all the small details - like the jack -  weren't attached to their places. With all the busyness of the end of the week I didn't get to post about this phase so I continued my work and tell about it here. The last missing pieces are the supports for the Schürtzen and some random gadgets on the deck.
The rails where the armor skirts will be attached were a problem because I didn't realize that I shoudl've measured the anchors with the rail pieces to avoid any corrections later. 
I had to pay for my stupidity and ended up bending some already glued and dried pieces off their places to get them attached to the rails. The only real problem was the last piece on the left side, for the toolbox was slightly on the way (in addition to the supports on the superstructure being a bit off) and I couldn't attach it at all at this point. Maybe it'll be fine today as the glue has set and I have to fight with only one piece anymore...

This third photo was taken in a hurry and in suboptimal lighting conditions (it was a rainy day and apparently the worklight I have isn't enough). So not enough light for the camera of my N900 :|

There's not that much left, the armored skirts need a bunch of holders and then I could basecoat the whole thing and start slaving with the tracks themselves.

Of course I could and maybe even should cut the armor plates off so my Sturmpanzer would have a bunch of individual plates hanging on the sides instead of two huge plates with just a small recess to show where the different parts are supposed to go. I believe it'd look slightly more realistic, even.

We'll see that later today!


It ain't easy

So my first attempt at painting went how it went... The paint I used was of third grade and despite my attempts at thinning it it went blobby. The results were really weird and either too thick or too thin - without me adjusting the paint at all! It didn't get stuck to the model even accidentally. Sigh. We're off to a good start. So the next day I marched to a shop to get some more stuff.

I decided to modify an old Ju-88 A4 kit box (project Lemmy) to make a painting studio (or whatever those are called) to contain the mess in a certain area. Besides, what can't you macgyverize with some tape and cardboard? The paint that you can see in the photo is just some ultra-thin paint that I used to test how the damn airbrush works.

My trip to my royal provider of toys ended with 4 small Vallejo paint pots and a spraycan of basecoat paint. I mean, those 17ml things would run out several times if I used those for basecoating... The main idea was to get the panzer colours (green, brown, yellow) in the Vallejo Model Air format, for all the details and weirdnesses I'd still paint with a paintbrush or something. But just in case I got a small potful of that basecoat-gray, just in case I had to fix something small, quickly.

All in all, the week was surprisingly busy so I didn't get to paint that much. The base of the tank is now slightly green. I'm pondering on what to do next for real. Maybe I'll try to paint the camo pattern and then continue building the pieces.
In any case I'm facing the danger of running out of compressed air already, especially if my lack of skills is going to end up in results that can be seen in the next photo that may require plenty of fixing...

But more about that next time.