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Armor/AFV: Axis - WWII
Armor and ground forces of the Axis forces during World War II.
Hosted by Darren Baker
DML Pz. IV Ausf G
wbill76
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Texas, United States
Joined: May 02, 2006
KitMaker: 5,425 posts
Armorama: 4,659 posts
Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2008 - 11:21 PM GMT+7


I actually started work on this one last week while watching the NFL playoffs due to the fact that the first step deals with the many road-wheels that are common to the Pz IV family. This step calls for the assembly of the sprockets, idlers, road wheels, and return rollers. You do need to be sure that you use the correct parts and not include A6 by accident since that's the earlier style of sprocket face. All of the 36 road wheels (32 for the suspension, 4 for the spares) require their mold seam to be removed and this is why it was perfectly suited for working on while watching TV...it's a slow, tedious, repetitive process, but one that I wanted to get out of the way early. The return rollers also had a small seam to clean up and when you assemble them together, care is needed due to the small mating surface to insure they are even top and bottom. This step also asks you to construct 4 lifting eyes but these aren't used until much later in the instructions, so I skipped that for later.

Once done, I set them off to the side in a plastic drawer from my spares bin to avoid any going "missing". This is something I do as a matter of course with all "loose" parts that are assembled or partially assembled but left off the vehicle until after painting.





Step 2 moves on to the lower hull. There are two sub-assemblies to this step, the first deals with the rear plate. An option is presented to use either the early style plate, E26, or the later style plate with the round coolant access hatch, E27. I opted for E27 and installed the square access hatch E29 before attaching to E13 and creating the full plate.



The second sub-assembly deals with the nose plate. An option is presented here as well to go with the standard 50mm nose plate or add an extra 30mm welded plate. To add the extra 30mm plate, 4 holes need to be opened up to accommodate it. All but 1 of the vehicles, Red 215 LAH 1943, are shown in the finishing guide with the extra plate installed, so install it depending on your choice. I went ahead and added it before installing the towing pintles to have room to work with to insure all the surfaces mated well since it has molded on weld beads included.

The towing pintles are a complex 5 part assembly for each side and after some study, decided the best way was to fit the pintles, A31, into the eyes first then use some liquid glue to secure them to the base.



The rear plate was then installed along with the base extension plate, E11. The tendency at this point might be to think that Dragon made an error and there's a large gap between the molded on idler mount braces and the rear plate, but this gap should be there as it will be filled in with parts E31 and E32 in Step 4.



The nose plate was then installed along with the front halves of the final drive mounts on either side to complete the step.



Step 3 is a busy step dealing with adding more details to the lower hull sides. A sub-assembly is called for to create each of the armored final drive housings and the instructions can be a little confusing here if not careful. The arrangement of A9, A10, and A8 depends on which side you're dealing with and the arrow from the sub-assembly points to the right side when it should point to the left.

The suspension mounts were installed, 4 to a side. Be careful when removing them from the sprues not get them mixed up as there are 4 per sprue, but 2 are for the left (A38) and 2 for the right (A39). The two-part bump-stops were also assembled and installed, 5 per side, and the two armored circular ports on the left side installed.



Step 4 deals with the details for the rear hull plate. A sub-assembly step for constructing the muffler is provided. The muffler has 7 parts for itself plus 2 more for the holders/mounts to the hull. 2 of those parts consist of the feed pipes from the engine deck and, while a nice detail, are totally hidden from view once the semi-circular trays are mounted. These 2 pipes play a critical role though in that they are integral to mounting to the hull plate and need to be perfectly straight to avoid complications, so I test fit them multiple times while the glue set to be sure. The slight mold seam was sanded down with a sanding twig. Installation of the muffler is a tight fit, almost a snap fit, and very little glue was required to secure it in place.

The rear idler mounts were also constructed as a sub-assembly and then installed along with parts E31/32 to close the gaps mentioned previously. The crank-start port and cover were also installed along with the auxiliary turret motor muffler which has two choices, one with the exhaust pointing up (B28) or down (E17), and I chose the one pointing down. Last but not least, the rear towing pintle was assembled and installed. You've got three choices here and I chose the heavy-duty option of parts H23/H26/H13/H27.

Plasticat
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Idaho, United States
Joined: September 03, 2003
KitMaker: 443 posts
Armorama: 244 posts
Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 12:45 PM GMT+7
I got this kit for Christmas from my wife(benefits of a detailed want list).
Looking good so far.....I will be following along with great interest!!


wbill76
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Texas, United States
Joined: May 02, 2006
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Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 11:31 PM GMT+7
Thanks for the interest Plasticat, hope you enjoy the ride.
wbill76
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Texas, United States
Joined: May 02, 2006
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Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 11:31 PM GMT+7
Picking up from yesterday, work continued on with Step 5. This step deals with the construction of the glacis plate and, while the instructions don't tell you this, you actually need to choose the correct glacis plate depending on whether or not you will fit the added 30mm plates to the hull front and driver's areas. If you do, then you need to use part E19 as called for in the instructions, if you don't then you need to use part E15. I used E19 and also opted for the spare track run that installs here, so the 5 holes on the underside were opened up with a pin vise to allow for that to be installed later.



Step 6 deals with the installation of the suspension bogies and these are not designed to be workable. The suspension elements are one-piece with a separate end cap that traps the element in place. This step also directs for the installation of the idler mounts but I left those off to allow for positioning when the tracks are fitted. This step also directs the installation of the glacis plate to the hull.





Step 7 deals with the fenders and tracks installation. I will install the tracks later so my focus was on the fenders. The hull tub has 3 nubs on each side that need to be removed, something the instructions don't indicate, but is obvious when you try to fit the fenders that they have to go. The instructions also indicate that you should attach the front and rear mud-flaps before installing the fenders to the hull, but I found the attachment points for the rear flaps to be too delicate and left them off until after the fenders were installed. The fenders fit very snugly against the hull and the mating surface, except in the middle, is very narrow. I used some liquid glue along those surfaces to help insure a good tight fit along with the installation of the bulkhead part B24 to keep the fenders from bowing slightly towards the rear.





Steps 8 and 9 deal with the upper hull sides and the installation of the side vision ports for the driver and radio-operator/machine-gunner. I decided to install the full port assembly for the driver and, if you're careful, it can remain workable. I will pose this one in the open position so the full gear was installed. The instructions also tell you to open up a hole in E7 and I did this as directed but looking further in the instructions I discovered that nothing is actually mounted here...and the hole shouldn't be there, so I will have to fill that later on with some putty.



Step 10 deals with several sub-assemblies in preparation for the upper hull to be constructed. The rear engine decks get some details and the option is there to install the PE shutters under the intakes if you want to display them closed, otherwise they don't add any detail. The side intakes also contain an option of either raised bolts or recessed bolts for their mounts to the hull...it's nice to have the choice but they are so far back it's hard to see once you install them and I went with the H44/H48 raised bolt option as a flip-of-the-coin choice. The tow rope hangers are also added to the rear plate at this point and while the instructions indicate installation of the ropes at this point, I held off for two reasons: 1) to allow for easier installation of the plate and 2) the ropes will be detailed and painted separately.



This step also has the sub-assembly of the bow MG34 and the assembly of the front hull superstructure plate. Since I added the nose armor I also added the welded on plates for this area as well. The posed the driver's hood visor in the open position and installed the armored glass block, giving it a very light coat of Tamiya Clear Green on the back surface for added effect.



Step 11 is a big step, it calls for the assembly of the upper hull from all the different sub-assemblies constructed previously and then attachment to the lower hull. I started by attaching the side air intakes, then the front and rear plates, then the side plates last.



Then the upper hull was joined to the lower hull. The fit here is very good, just a little finger pressure required at the rear plate to get things settled. Some additional liquid glue and finger pressure to get the side fenders to mate up cleanly as well was all that was needed.



Step 12 deals with the side details for the left side. I assembled the Bosch light and went to install it only to discover that you need to open up 2 holes on the underside of the fender to mount these...something the instructions never indicate as necessary. Fortunately I could still reach the holes cleanly with a pin vise so it wasn't too difficult to open them up. Other details were added in the form of the fire extinguisher and the rear Notek light and reflector. The side spare-wheel bin was also installed although I found it necessary to trim off the locater pins in order to get it to sit level as the locater holes in the fender don't go all the way through and are too shallow. I also opted for the styrene intake screens instead of the PE options for convenience sake. If I'd decided to show the screens in the closed position, then the PE items would've been a better option. The pioneer tools for this side were left off for later installation after painting.



Step 13 deals with the right side details. The Bosch light was added here as well and the multi-part jack assembled and installed. The antenna trough was attached to the hull side and the antenna installed in the stored position to round out things here. As with the left side, the pioneer tools and spare track links for this side were left off for later installation after painting.



Next up will be the turret.
SGTJKJ
#041
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Kobenhavn, Denmark
Joined: July 20, 2006
KitMaker: 9,349 posts
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Posted: Monday, January 21, 2008 - 02:29 AM GMT+7
I saw this kit in the LHS the other day and considered buying it. It will be interesting to follow your build and decide if this kit is worth adding to the stash.

Thanks for the effort
whittman181
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Massachusetts, United States
Joined: December 30, 2006
KitMaker: 646 posts
Armorama: 473 posts
Posted: Monday, January 21, 2008 - 03:27 AM GMT+7
I've gotten to step 6 and stalled but watching you lit a fire under me,thanks for the tip on the headlights. Keep up the good work>
Plasticbattle
#003
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Donegal, Ireland
Joined: May 14, 2002
KitMaker: 9,759 posts
Armorama: 7,440 posts
Posted: Monday, January 21, 2008 - 03:36 AM GMT+7
Another fine build Bill. It shows the importance of reading ahead .... asking for a hole to be drilled and then not needing it, is another blooper that Dragon will get hounded for ... Im sure many will be very glad for the heads-up. Will be watching!
wbill76
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Texas, United States
Joined: May 02, 2006
KitMaker: 5,425 posts
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Posted: Monday, January 21, 2008 - 08:47 AM GMT+7
Jesper,

If the subject is one that interests you, I'd say go for it. It's been smooth sailing with the build so far.

Bob,

Appreciate the comments, glad to see the thread has helped rekindle the spirit!

Frank,

Opening the hole is a head-scratcher...I can only assume it was something needed with the F(2) or F(1) perhaps that got carried over into the instructions? It's in the neighborhood of where the crew step would go on earlier variants so it could be a legacy item from that. Can't have a set of DML instructions without at least one thing to keep you on your toes or it would remove the whole challenge, right?
Ellevenbravo
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Massachusetts, United States
Joined: April 08, 2007
KitMaker: 269 posts
Armorama: 261 posts
Posted: Monday, January 21, 2008 - 08:47 AM GMT+7
Nice job and a nice kit in general. However, I am anxiously awaiting the IV-H with zimmerit and full schurzen armor.

THAT will be my next PZ IV kit.

John
sgtreef
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Oklahoma, United States
Joined: March 01, 2002
KitMaker: 5,602 posts
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Posted: Monday, January 21, 2008 - 07:58 PM GMT+7
I have it also.
And looks like I will keep both eyes on it Bill.
So go at it.
Any other hangs?
wbill76
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Texas, United States
Joined: May 02, 2006
KitMaker: 5,425 posts
Armorama: 4,659 posts
Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 01:06 AM GMT+7
John,

That kit would be a hot-seller IMHO...one can only hope it's in the works.

Jeff,

So far so good, will see what happens with the turret and and gun interior.
sgtreef
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Oklahoma, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 06:29 AM GMT+7
And of cause a save for a latter build looks darn good so far.

So little time so many models.
Ellevenbravo
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Massachusetts, United States
Joined: April 08, 2007
KitMaker: 269 posts
Armorama: 261 posts
Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 08:15 PM GMT+7
[quote]John,

That kit would be a hot-seller IMHO...one can only hope it's in the works.

I'm sure it will be out, it is just a question of when. Dragon always seems to milk every last variant from their products and given their new-found ability to mold in zimmerit, it should not be a major task for them to develop this kit. I'm sure it will cost a few extra $ due to the schurzen but I think it will be worth every penny.

Hopefully they will also provide some extra T-34 track links. I've seen many pics of east front panzers using these as extra front / side armor. Always thought that was a cool look.

Regards,

John
wbill76
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Texas, United States
Joined: May 02, 2006
KitMaker: 5,425 posts
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Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 08:05 PM GMT+7
Picking up where I left off last week, work turned to the main gun and turret. Step 14 calls for the construction of the recoil sleeve and mantle and the choice is given to have the sleeve either with the bolts on top or on the side...I chose the top due to the fact that the weld seam molded on the sleeve base was more complete at the top vs. the bottom.

Step 15 adds the one-piece barrel, the recoil cylinders, the muzzle brake, and the rear half of the gun mount. It's important to insure that you passe the barrel through the recoil sleeve first before attaching the muzzle brake, otherwise the barrel won't fit properly. The muzzle brake is a three-part assembly and just required a tiny bit of sanding to eliminate the join seam. The brake attaches directly to the end of the barrel via a "D" shaped pin to help insure the brake's properly aligned with the barrel. A word of caution here, if you want the gun to remain movable, DO NOT glue parts B11 and B12 as directed, they fit tightly on the pins of B34 and if left unglued, the gun can elevate. The instructions don't indicate this, only the standard black arrows are present for their attachment.



Step 16 continues the work on the gun mount with the turret face plate and breech details added. The turret face plate is correctly labeled B3 on the call-out box but reverts to D7 in the main step diagram...but there's no D7 part provided, it's just a transcription error. In the call-out box, the gunner's view port and armored glass block are installed and it's possible to position this in either the open or closed position but, again, the instructions don't indicate this. Fitting A24, the port hinge, through the space provided is a tight fit and you have to be careful to avoid damaging the part but it is possible to do. The clear part got a very light coat of Tamiya Clear Green for the armored glass before I installed the cover.



The breech assembly is straight-forward with a choice presented of two different types of breech block. The guard rails were also installed without any real issue but the absence of a spent shell basket is telling. The gun assembly was first attached to the turret face plate, then the breech added, followed by the guard rails. The hinge parts I mentioned above were very carefully glued to the face plate to secure them and still leave the gun movable.



Step 17 deals with several sub-assemblies in preparation for assembling the turret. The first deals with the top half of the turret, two holes are opened up to allow for the installation of the signal port later on. The fume extractor fan is also installed in this step, but it needs to be integrated with parts B26 and B27 in Step 18, so I cheated a bit and installed all three together at the same time. The detail on the fan is really impressive...even has fan blades on the external surface although of course this is totally invisible once the outer covers are in place...but it is there. The rear turret lifting eyes and pistol port covers were also installed. It is possible to install the port covers in the open position if desired, the slots for the ports are there and go all the way through the turret.



Next up was the assembly of the rear turret bin. The 2-piece top was installed in the closed position although it could be posed open if desired, the top part of the bin includes details on the inner surface.



Also getting attention was the turret bottom half. This has many large half-moon posts that need to be removed and sanded down and the commander's seat and frame are also installed. I toyed with the idea, briefly, of having the commander's hatch open but ultimately decided against it. The seat is very nicely detailed but the attachment points for the seat to the frame are very delicate. I found it best to attach the frame to the turret half first, then mount the seat.



Last but not least, the commander's cupola. I closed the hatches but left all the view ports open. The fit of the view-ports into their cupola mounts needs to be precise to allow the cupola top to fit properly and since there are 5 of them, it's a delicate assembly at first until the glue sets up. I masked each clear glass block with blue-tack to protect it during painting.



The big Step 18 was next, this step essentially builds the turret and adds its final details. It's not possible to join the top and bottom due to the size of the gun breech parts, so the first thing I did was attach the turret face plate to the turret top to insure a solid join. This was followed by the turret bottom, then the cupola, then the rear stowage box. After all that was complete, the side hatches were installed. The little call-out box is confusing as it has the parts actually reversed...the G30/G29 doors belong on the right side while the G27/G28 doors belong on the left. The arrow on the call-out box points to the right side and is the source of confusion. In addition, the side hinge mounts for the doors are meant to attach directly to the doors themselves and then into the turret side, so you have to be sure these are aligned properly for the hatches to fit correctly. Since I've decided to build Red 205, the forward lifting eyes were installed in place of the smoke grenade launchers.



And the final, final Step 19 fits the turret to the hull. The fit here is a little loose, so the turret depends on gravity alone to hold it in place. I will be painting these separate to avoid problems with handling and keep the turret off to the side until every-thing's done to avoid problems.

c5flies
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California, United States
Joined: October 21, 2007
KitMaker: 3,684 posts
Armorama: 2,938 posts
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 08:18 PM GMT+7
This is moving along at a brisk pace, Bill. Great idea with the blue tack on the vision blocks. I can not find blue tack in my area, California must have banned it for one reason or other Picked up some generic stuff from office depot, hopefully will work the same.

Anyway, looks like a nice kit and the build is coming along great
DAK66
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Tennessee, United States
Joined: April 28, 2006
KitMaker: 286 posts
Armorama: 120 posts
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 09:49 PM GMT+7
It's lookin good bill can't wait to see more .
wbill76
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Texas, United States
Joined: May 02, 2006
KitMaker: 5,425 posts
Armorama: 4,659 posts
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 11:11 PM GMT+7
James,

It's poster-putty and happens to be blue, but it also comes in yellow, white, etc. 3M makes the best type IMHO. It's impervious to paint and is easy to remove and doesn't leave a residue behind. I've had the same pack for several years now and just roll the used stuff back into the lump and it's good as new for the next round.

The "Smart Kit" angle has made this one a fast build for sure, tomorrow will start the paint work. I'm looking forward to the whitewash-over-dunkelgelb approach, will be a first for me.

Doug,

Appreciate the comments!

f1matt
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Manitoba, Canada
Joined: August 13, 2006
KitMaker: 1,021 posts
Armorama: 805 posts
Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2008 - 03:24 AM GMT+7
Since you're doing a white wash are you gonna give the hairspray method a try? Just a thought.

This is such a sharp looking kit. Can't help but smile when I see kits of this quality. Another great build / review as always Bill.

-Matt
sgtreef
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Oklahoma, United States
Joined: March 01, 2002
KitMaker: 5,602 posts
Armorama: 4,006 posts
Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2008 - 08:45 AM GMT+7
Have to agree with Matt.
Looks like a great kit and a great build.
Nice to get a good kit and not have to spend another $50.00 on add-ons.
Will want to see that White wash as I have never done one neither.
Again nice clean Build.
I await to see the finish on it.
Thanks for the run thru.
james84
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Roma, Italy
Joined: January 28, 2006
KitMaker: 1,366 posts
Armorama: 950 posts
Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2008 - 09:20 AM GMT+7
I love the Pz.IV series by DML!
They are challenging and precise as well as funny!
Nice job!
wbill76
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Texas, United States
Joined: May 02, 2006
KitMaker: 5,425 posts
Armorama: 4,659 posts
Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2008 - 09:49 PM GMT+7
Matt,

Unfortunately, the hairspray method doesn't work for me since I use enamels and not acrylics. I've got a few other things though that I will try with this one though.

Jeff,

Appreciate the comments. Hit a small snag today (more on that below) but able to recover.

Giacomo,

Have to agree with you there, I've built the "Super Kits" as well and they're nice in the extra detail department but now that I've tried out one of the "Smart Kits" in the same line, I lean more towards the Smart Kit as the right way to go. I'm hoping they'll do an H soon, that's the one that I really want to see available.
wbill76
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Texas, United States
Joined: May 02, 2006
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Armorama: 4,659 posts
Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2008 - 09:52 PM GMT+7
Today's efforts focused on painting and before I go into that, I need to preface that sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...I looked up the time frame for the Battle of Kharkov since I was looking to do the LAH red 205 vehicle and noted that it was Feb.-March 1943...and knowing that the order for Dunkelgelb didn't go into effect until Feb. 1943, I deduced that the base-coat should be Panzer Gray under the white-wash. It was only after I painted it that I learned that the LAH Pz IVs were brand-new and are documented as having the Dunkelgelb base-coat under their whitewash. It's ironic in that I intended to do this originally due to the portrayal of the box-art but switched at the last moment due to my spot research. This meant that I had to switch to Plan B and live with a finished model that will not be 100% accurate as a result. More on Plan B in a moment.

First up of course was the Panzer Gray base coat. It serves a dual purpose of being both a primer and pre-shade coat since the white wash will be applied over it.



This was followed by several very light coats of Light Gray to slowly build up the white wash finish. The finish deliberately allows the Panzer Gray to show through to varying degrees over the hull and is by no means finished. This is just the foundation for later work to build on.



It was also at this point that I realized the crew grab handle was missing from the left side...looking back over the instructions, I noticed that it magically appears on the vehicle in Step 12 but doesn't have a parts call-out or indicator for its installation. It is in fact part B22 and was duly installed.



Now came the implementation of Plan B...the finishing guide includes markings for a Panzer Gray vehicle, white 332, at Kharkov in 1943...but since I had finished this in a white wash, having white vehicle numbers wouldn't mean much, so I went back and used a 15 mm x 8 mm template (after measuring the dimensions of the decal on the sheet) cut from sheet styrene to put the Panzer Gray back on the turret sides, the turret bin rear, and then sprayed circular spots on the hull front and rear for the Totenkopf emblem. The sharp lines of the squares were softened freehand, the over-spray will get worked back into the overall finish later on. Granted this vehicle sports the smoke grenade launchers but this, to my mind, was mitigated by the Panzer Gray finish. It's a compromise and saves me from having to strip and repaint...which would've erased an entire day's worth of effort in the process.





Then, to round out the day's activities, the road wheels and return rollers were installed on both sides.



Due to the white wash finish, the process of weathering and detailing will be shifted around a bit from the "normal" process to allow access to the surfaces before too much stuff gets in the way.
imagoodsniper
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: December 26, 2006
KitMaker: 123 posts
Armorama: 111 posts
Posted: Monday, January 28, 2008 - 08:56 AM GMT+7
looks great so far i cant wait to see it finished. I have always liked watching your build logs.
good luck.
wbill76
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Texas, United States
Joined: May 02, 2006
KitMaker: 5,425 posts
Armorama: 4,659 posts
Posted: Monday, January 28, 2008 - 09:39 AM GMT+7
Thanks Ethan, appreciate the comments.
CaptainA
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Indiana, United States
Joined: May 14, 2007
KitMaker: 3,096 posts
Armorama: 564 posts
Posted: Monday, January 28, 2008 - 05:54 PM GMT+7
Looking really good so far. I think I will order one of these myself.

Hey Jesper, should we do a IV campaign?