Monday 26 February 2018

East German Tractor Finished (1/35)

My kit of a Soviet built DT-74 tractor belonging to the East German company 'Baustoffe und Klinker Kombinat VEB Klinker- und Ziegelwerke "Ernst Wollweber" Betrieb Grobzka' is finished. In the last post on the tractor I had more or less finished construction and had begun painting. I kept the tractor in 5-6 main parts to make painting and weathering easier. Had I assembled the model completly before painting it would have been close to impossible for me to achieve a believable weathering.
Cab test fitted. Engine painted and weathered. Tracks and chassis have weathering in progress.

Rear view with the cab removed. The dials are Archer Transfers with a layer of gloss varnish
Dozer blade glued in place. Cab and sliding doors ready for installing.

The DT-74 isn't a large tractor. Here seen with a 1:35 figure for size comparison.Weathering is a multi-layer thing consisting of a base of acrylic colours, oil and acrylic paint washes, mud made from plastic putty, several passes with thin acrylic paint through the air brush for dust. Worn metal is made with a soft pencil rubbed against the selected surface.

A rather battered workhorse from the brick works' clay depot.

Decals are custom designed by my usual supplier 'Skilteskoven'. They supply decals in any language!

Perhaps some day my little foray into DDR-modelling will result in another model from the other side of the iron curtain. But for now it's back to Denmark in the early 1950's. Two new projects are on their way. One on four wheels of two different sizes and the other with four flanged steel wheels of equal size.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

DT-74 Painting Begun (1/35)

Despite my somewhat disappointing mixing up of suspension parts, I have carried on working on the DT-74 tractor.

The usually tedious work of cleaning up individual track links were over faster than anticipated due to good moulding and very little flash. Fitting tracks made from individual links can be a little tricky. The bottom run is the easy part, whereas the upper run, particularly with the track sagging, is more difficult. I kept the upper track run in one piece with a length of masking tape. The masking tape allowed me to position the track links more or less as I wanted them, without them falling apart. The tracks were glued with CA glue. 
Track fitted. Engine and dozer blade test fitted to check fit and clearances to other parts.
Engine and drive train consists of only a few parts. Assembly is easy, but make sure everything lines up correctly. As only one side of the engine will be visible I didn't attatch details to the hidden side of the engine. I don't bother spending time and energy with detail that can't be viewed on a model. I feed the unused parts to my spares box.

Assembly of the dozer blade and its mounting didn't present any challenges except for the repair of a broken beam on the bracket holding the hydraulic cylinder controlling the blade height. In order to assemble the cab in a sequence allowing easy painting and weathering, I decided to finish the cab floor assembly first and paint it. I will then glue the pre-painted cab front to the floor. The rest of the cab is only fitted when finishing the kit.
As I separated the seat from its moulding block I damaged the front. I had to repair the damage with plasticcard and filler. I added a little wear to the seat now I was working on the part anyway. For the pedals I exhanged some of the etched parts with brass wire.

Current status is that I have primed chassis and tracks, cab floor, and engine parts. Several of the parts are also now covered with their main colour. Next up is detail painting and weathering. I'm painting the model in 5-6 sub assemblies to make it easier to fit and paint interior detail and to apply a prototypical weathering of all the 'hard to get to places' there is on the model. I expect some touch ups of both paint and weathering after I have brought all assemblies together.
First paint on the tractor. All of it put on with air brush.

Basic weathering applied to the inside of the chassis and on the cab's and engine's underside. The three parts are now ready to be glued together.
Engine, cab floor and radiator fitted to the chassis. The dark grey piece of solder wire is the hydraulic hose supplying oil to the dozer blade lifting mechanism. As this side of the engine will be hidden there is no detail fitted.

Sunday 4 February 2018

Soldiers Painted (1/35)

During some quiet evenings I have been painting my two sitting conscripts. They are now ready to take their place among the army personel stationed at the barracks near Nystrup.
Three soldiers enjoying a relaxing chat in front of their CMP. The CMP is the old and cheap Italeri kit rebuilt with a generator unit. Newer and more detailed 1:35 CMP-kits have been released since I built my model.
The figures are painted in my usual fashion which I consider a sensible compromise between the ultra realistic (and time consuming) and a simple swipe with the brush. I have neither the talent nor the patience for ultra realism and I have never considered just slapping paint on figures costing a small fortune. I'm investing a few hours per figure and although it's limited what results that brings, I'm happy to live with that. Basically I start with putting all the main colours on the figure after I have primed it - usually in black primer. I use Vallejo acrylics. Once the major colours are on (the main pieces of clothing and skin), I paint shadows and highlights with darkened/lightened versions of the main colours. A fold in a pair of trousers gets the dark mix in the recess and the light mix on the top of the fold. I try to keep the tonal difference limited, but it's easy to overdo. On hands I highlight knuckles and on the face nose, forehead, cheeks and chin. Usually I don't paint eyes. Instead I flow thinned brown oil paint into recesses in the face - eg around the eyes. When all is dry I wash skin areas in a very thin mix of rust oil paint and terpentine. That blends the skin colours together. I paint details when all other things are done - shoes, hats, ties atc. Sometimes I add a little weathering on shoes and on work clothing.

Their mate gone, the two sitting soldiers continue debating if the regiment's cooks can serve a decent hot meal in the evening. They will continue for as long as allowed.