I know this is an old thread, and in fact, I've written directly to Phil to ask similar questions, but perhaps he is indisposed or busy, as I've not heard back from him (though I have previously heard back on other questions), so perhaps you other armor experts can answer a very basic set of questions for me.
I know that there are various philosophies of painting tools/cables/etc. that are attached to a vehicle's hull, some folks prefering to paint them while attached to the hull, others do it separately. However, in this thread, I noted a few things. On page 13 or so of this thread (my computer is set up such that I am now replying on page 26 of the thread), Phil had created a wonderful 'wood block' out of balsa. This item looked great 'as is'. However, I noted that the block had been attached to the hull, was sprayed with primer, and then the final color coats, and then, magically, appears on later pages, to look exactly like it had before it had been oversprayed. I see that Phil had devoted a posting or two about the painting of cables after the main color had been sprayed, by positioning paper under the cables to paint them without getting the 'cable colors' onto the hull, but there was no discussion about painting the pioneer tools, or that 'wood block'. I presume the wood block must have been repainted at some point, but how that was done, I have no idea, especially since that item can't have been done the same was as the cables (i.e., there is no way to lift the block and put a paper 'barrier' under it to prevent getting paint on the tank body itself).
I am building a Tiger as well, and will be getting to the point of needing to decide whether to attach tools to the hull for the main color coat, or try to paint them separately, and attach them later. I must admit that, being a newbie, I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out the best way to accomplish this. Not to mention, also fretting over how best to paint those tools, to get the most realistic metal parts and wooded handles. Can anyone help a very stupid person figure out these details? Thanks in advance!!