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Operation Tractable

I added some additional details to hold the exhaust deflector / grating (part E39). These appear as angled shelves on the insides of parts E29 and 36 and on part E24. I made these with Evergreen strip and Grant Line nut and bolt castings. I also opened up the ends of the exhaust "fish tails" by carving out one side on each and then adding pieces of .005 plastic card to create the rectangular openings. These plastic card pieces were added overly large and trimmed to fit after the glue dried.

In Step 11, I added "pads" under the lifting eyes (parts D1 and 2) on the front and rear. These were made from plastic card, with cast texture added using thinned putty, and weld beads from Milliput two-part epoxy putty. These welds were textured with a toothpick (cocktail stick) trimmed to wedge shaped end and wetted with ordinary water. Milliput putty was also use to "thicken" up the fronts of the driver's and co-driver's hoods. Reference photos show these bulging outward to the front creating slight undercuts at their bottoms. After the epoxy set, I added cast texture to them using the thinned Squadron Green Stuff. The kit also needs drain holes drilled under the bullet splash guards (parts E27 and E28), as well as on the outboard bottoms of the curved splash guards for the fuel filler caps (parts D 4 and D7 in Step 17). The ventilation fan covers on the upper front corners of the hull should also have drain holes in their outside bottom edges. (I missed these!)

I ground away the hinged periscope cover on the top of the hood in front of the driver's hatch. I then opened up a rectangular hole for one of the extra kit periscopes (the co-driver's scope is not used). A new hinged cover was made from beveled styrene strip and this periscope was installed before connecting the upper and lower hulls.

Before closing up the upper and lower hulls, Step 12, I painted the interiors flat black. I also painted and weathered the inside of the exhaust sub-assembly from Step 10.

I started Step 13 by cleaning up all of the kit's periscopes. These are very nice clear parts, and if finished carefully, they will replicate the prototypes very well. Once I cleaned up the attachment points and mold seams, I washed the periscopes, and once they were dry, I cut masks for their faces. I made these masks from common blue painter's tape, cut with an X-acto knife on glass. Once the masks are in place, I airbrushed all of the periscopes with Citadel Miniatures Mitral Silver. When the silver had dried, I then airbrushed the 'scopes with flat black. After that dried, they were ready to mount in the model (while leaving the masks in place until after the final finish and assembly).

Since both front hatches were to be closed, I didn't add the head pads (parts G6). I also didn’t use the counter-balance springs (parts G11) and instead used the parts from the Voyager set with Grant Line bolt castings for the tension adjusters.

The rear upper hull, Step 14, needs some minor additions. I added the lifting handles to part E10 using bent brass wire. Note that the real handles slid up and down in holes drilled in the hatch, so that when not actually in use, they lay flat on the hatch (i.e. no tripping hazard). I used the mounting location for the gun travel lock on the hatch E10. I added the ends of the various hinge pins on the travel lock using disks punched from plastic card. The travel lock also needs a retention latch. I made mine from styrene strip, brass wire, and a spring formed from copper fuse wire wound around a drill bit. The radiator filler armored cover (part E18) got hinge pin ends from the same punched disks. Finally, I left off the sledge hammer (part C24) until later when I fashioned all of the tool mounts.

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