Session IX

The fascinating world of wheels

I was going to admit it openly, when building tracked vehicles, the road wheels with their cousins had always been the most !motivated phase. Not that they've ever taken that long or been that slow-progressing, but some how assembling dozens of rollers, wheels, sprockets and such have just been kind of boring and, yes, repetitive phase. Just like the description said.

Nothing was missing next to the idler wheels, but like I mentioned the last time, the boxes next to the drive sprockets were missing some rollers and I fixed that as soon as I noticed my mistake. I did that by applying a bit of liquid cement to the joints of the box, then applied some firm but gentle pressure to crack one edge ajar. Then I glued and installed the missing bits and resealed the boxes. Nothing broke and I was on the map again.

The monster of a tank wanted as many as twelve return rollers to support the track on its way back. Because they were resting on pretty flimsy axles, I had to be quick yet careful while installing them.

After the return rollers I got to install those weird outwards-poking plates. Maybe I was looking at this vehicle with the wrong kind of glasses on, but considering the servicing, especially on the field, those sounded like one of the most stupid ideas. I could just imagine the amount of crap those'd collect while the tank was rolling in mud and who knows what else. But then again, how many tanks have I designed? And how many of those have gone into production, not to mention active use?


Then I got to glue a pretty amusing-looking setup to hold all the previous bits in place. Had this been a Kraut wagon, it'd been used to hang some Schürzen, but as this was a Soviet crawler...

I tried to take a couple of photos with something for scale, but my angles were somewhat suboptimal. The coin photo was a bit silly, as I didn't feel like going for a search for a one euro coin. Oh well, at least I got to play around a bit.


Session VIII

More weird bits

The same theme of weird and plenty of preparation -requiring bits kept going strong. How heavily mushroom-based was the diet of the designer(s)?

The structure that was assembled behind (or to be exact, in front of) the drive sprocket looked mostly like that dissidents were fed into it. Or maybe they should be called the Enemies of the People, like they said back in the day.

Anyone better informed than me about these monstrosities might laugh while looking at the following pics, unlike me when I returned back to my workstation. Those boxes indeed were meant to contain rollers, but did I do that or did I just roll around blindly? Yeah, one could guess.


Session VII

In the powered end

There wasn't much to say about this session. I built stuff for the drive sprockets and those V-shaped whatchamacallems, most of the time disappeared while cleaning the bits, dry-fittings and such fun activities.

Well, I did build some subassemblies for the next session, but I decided to omit them from this post. It was about all those logical chunks, see?


Session VI

Working on the lower hull

These funny winglets, that got installed with all their appendages into the front of the hull looked like they would be used to somehow adjust the tension of the tracks, maybe. At this point of the construction process I really couldn't tell whether or not this was the end where the return roller went or was it for the drive sprocket. Based on my "the Soviets always had the drive sprockets in the back"-kind of gut feeling I would've put my money on the first option.

Either I was going too fast or those bits that were installed at ~45° were mismarked either in the instructions or the sprues. Not that it was a big issue as I noticed it while dry-fitting, but it made me wonder. At least I thought that I had been careful with the numbers and the pieces.

While dry-fitting the upper front glacis plate and especially while gluing it on I got very iffy with the way it all looked. As if the whole front had been pressed in way too deep into the tub. Weird Soviet design, that wasn't for mere mortals to understand.

Then the rear upper glacis plate got a couple of small-looking hatches whose nature I wasn't 100% certain of. For any sort of maintenance they looked damn unergonomic, for escape hatches way too small and inconvenient. But just like I said a moment before, you couldn't always understand all these grand ideas.


Session V

On the sun deck

Rather obviously I continued building and installing the boxes that belonged by the foot of the main turret. Only one of them (bottom in the photo below), curiously, got an additional rod for something mysterious.

After that I got to finish up the Emma turrets, which meant that I just glued on the roof plates with the lifting rings. The annoyingly downwards-bending front bits would've given me grey hairs if I wasn't already well along the way... Thanks to the shapes it was close that I didn't get to make a "congrats, your mg ammo just cooked off" scene in the finest BattleTech spirit.

Engineering tools

It may very well be that I'm going to rue this moment in the future. I glued all the deck decorations on already, weeks or most likely months before the first drop of paint touches this model.

Well, I had to try that approach at some point, anyway, right? Maybe it wouldn't be as awful as I remember / think. Speaking of awful, that spare track piece holder you can see in the center-top? It required a surprising amount of violence to settle in, I was somewhat concerned while pressing it in place. But still it survived, amazing as it may be.

Otherwise there was a calm amount of crap to be installed. Two shovels, an axe, a couple of confusingly short tow cables and a weird metallic piece for something even weirder. Somehow I would've thought that this kind of a monstrous tank (and keeping the Soviet mentality in mind) they'd thrown in a blacksmithful of junk. There'd been more than enough space at least.


Session IV


As soon as all the juice straws were all built, I got to assemble the turrets and then install the guns into them. Either I had been cleaning the pieces a bit too enthusiastically, or their fitting was less tight than I had expected. For a moment I was afraid that I couldn't get them hold together without a fight!

Ultimately they did fit. On the tops of the gun turrets I added a few hoops for lifting the thing on and off the tank itself, some cellar door -like hatches and the cover for the air vent. I don't think I have commented on the quality of the pieces so far in this series of posts, but they've been pretty damn nice.

Of course I just had to try the four turrets out as soon as possible. I'd loved to have them all pointing at the same direction (broadsiding would've looked so very cool), but of course it wasn't possible. At this point I started pondering on the painting and I decided that I wouldn't install them anytime soon - at least the MG turrets should be traversable thanks to some locking pieces, even though I doubted that a bit - because otherwise I'd just shoot myself figuratively in the foot.

As my last-last act of the evening's session I glued together one of the weird boxes that was destined to be installed to the side of the main turret's riser. Those triangular supports you could see in the instructions just didn't have the time to be included this time.


Session III

The turret production proceeded

The very same stuff kept me in its clutches: I was assembling turrets with their equipment. I started by quickly building the second MG turret up to the same point with the first one and then progressed to the 40mm K-20 guns. Those guns had a nice amount of details, but who'd ever be excited about the elevation-controlling gears, locks and such, if they'd end up being sealed inside this tomb on caterpillar tracks?

The rear bits (I really couldn't remember, after over a decade, what were the actual names for each bit) were indeed cool. I wasn't going to work on their paintjobs but instead take the "lazy" approach of only painting the visibles.

Maybe :p


Session II

Extra hatches and LMGs

I started by gluing some small railing bits behind where the rear turrets would end up living, and apparently some kind of exhaust pipe -covering strange structures. Right after that I had to spend some good time searching for my pointy-tipped tweezers, as I realized that my fingers were a bit too large for the accurate installation tiniest of pieces. The on-deck tools were also installed at this point already, or some of them at least: a saw, a pickaxe and some sort of a metal bar (lower front in the last image).

The rest of my session time was spent on the Emma production line, the kit was going to have as many as five pan-type drum-magazine DT light machine guns. Emma is the name that these things were known here in Finland back in the day (I'm not going to bother you with the history of the name). Two of these weapons were installed into the front armour plates of the MG turrets and out of those one I got to glue into the turret itself.


Session I

About the Project reportings

I decided to take a different approach to the reporting this time. I'd typo up a post per each session (building, painting, whatever I did). At the moment each post was going to describe the happenings of a maximum of 45 minutes of something, including every and each unpredictable interruption and whatever happens in a house with kids.

So far I've always done something almost like this but kept some kind of an editorial "let's try to make some sense". In blog post sense that translated into "some posts contained only a part of what I actually did while some aggregated a pile of tiny things".

Most likely I wasn't going to repeat this version of my process, but I felt like trying out this as it had occurred to me.

The glorious first commit

My first constructional session was a pretty low-yield one. I mostly got some hatches done on the rear deck, some tiny details and the main turret's riser. Or whatever you'd call the weirdly shaped coffin, with those vertically bullet-straight thin walls. At this point the whole tank seemed like a figment of some lunatic's imagination.


School age (FI)

A neutral 7

If this silly blog was a human being (and a Finnish one), it'd started school last week. But as it's not, it didn't, and these weird what-ifs about time don't have any better function except to provide "oh my, how time flies" kind of mutterings in us older people.

What kind of silly nonsense could I combine with number seven and what kind of ha-ha-ha-so-funny almost-jokes I could've conjured up? Well, our good friend Wikipedia contained a load of stuff, like the seven colours of the rainbow, the layers of the OSI model, the Snow White's dwarves and so on. Maybe this latest year has been, fittinly, quite Sundayish in its laziness, especially the last part of it. I can already tell that the next one won't start too hecticly, thanks to us moving to a new apartment/house in about a month. I guess it was time, as the last move was over five and half years ago...

This year I decided to spare you the stats and related mumblings, mostly because I realized that the birthday of the blog was tomorrow and had to type up something. Let's take a look at the numbers next year, because those aren't fun after the date anymore.

Tänä vuonna päätin jättää statsit tarkistamatta ja tilastohenkiset mutinat mutisematta, lähinnä sen takia, että tajusin merkkipäivän vasta edellisiltana. Katseltakoon niitä ensi vuonna sitten uudelleen, koska jälkikäteenhän se ei olisi enää hauskaa.


Project VII/17

A Soviet heavy tank T-35

At long, long last I got my endless "one of these days I'll start building a tank" yammering moved to the "ongoing" pile. It didn't take that many months, but these things apparently happen.

Still, I decided to begin calmly with the unboxing. I took a quick look at the instructions, which looked pleasantly simple to me. Again I wasn't really sure if I'd use any of the decals, but I'd definitely utilize the cable. The piece count was astonishing, which has never been a bad thing - so far.

Just to show the scale of the bottom tub of the tank I took this photo here, where my left hand was there for the scale. But again, it wasn't going to help anyone who doesn't have a clue of my hand size. Oops.