Monday, July 4, 2016

9P117M Elbrus "SCUD B"

Just in time for the 4th of July, here's one big firecracker: Trumpeter's SCUD in 1/35th scale!

First things first, a big thank you to Trumpeter for supplying the kit and to my David the Elder (aka "Dad") for tackling most of the construction. I wouldn't have had the drive to get it finished without the extra help!

The base kit is by Trumpeter (kit #01019), and I also used their figure/detail set to add some extra bits to the already-complex kit. The detail set includes the cold weather and window covers, a length of flexible tubing for the rocket fuel lines, the fuel line attachment nozzles, several photo-etched detail parts, and two new options for the R-17 missile warhead.

The kit includes a complete engine and a full interior for the drivers and radio operators compartments, as well as a fully detailed launch cabin. The decals for the instrument bezels in the interior didn't match the raised detail on the parts, but they provided a good guide for painting and ultimately the interior is mostly invisible once completed. (When will I learn?)

The only thing really missing from the kit is the mess of fuel lines and plumbing used to fuel the rocket, which hang off the rear of the vehicle like a wedding train of spaghetti. The detail set includes the parts to complete this, but no instructions are provided. Thankfully there are enough good walk-around photos online to show how most of the plumbing is arranged, but I'm still not confident that I got it 100% correct. It is rocket science, after all: I didn't expect it to be easy!

I found some photos of East German SCUD launchers decked out in a cool tricolor winter camouflage, and after finding a few photos of Soviet vehicles painted in a similar scheme I took some artistic liberty and finished my model in the same winter scheme while using the Soviet markings supplied in the kit. Most of the decal work was reserved for the missile itself, which has a sheet of markings all to its own and took quite a few hours to complete. The decals went down fine and didn't silver, but the white stripe decals on the missile's conical warhead don't match the curve of the surface. I'm not going to sweat it though, because when this thing reaches mach 5 nobody will have time to notice... right?

I weathered the whole model with oil paints for the washes and filters/glazes, and used pigments and lots of dust-colored paint splatters from a paint brush to get the "well used" look I usually prefer. I intentionally left the missile, and especially the warhead, looking cleaner since it's bound to stay cleaner than the rest of the vehicle while it's being transported.

If you like tubes, hoses, wiring or tedious exercises in untangling headphone wires, then you'll love the rear of the SS-1c "SCUD-B". 

Thanks for looking! All feedback is appreciated!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

D-20 152mm Gun-Howitzer

My first model of 2016: Trumpeter's 1/35th scale D-20 152mm Gun-Howitzer!

This kit shows what Trumpeter is capable of when they put their "A Team" on a project. This is by far the best-detailed model I have ever built by this manufacturer and I am thoroughly impressed!

The D-20 was designed by the Petrov Design Bureau at the end of the 1940s and has remained in service in armies around the world. It has been copied and modified to a variety of different calibers and purposes over the years, most notably as the Type 66 (People's Republic of China).

I used a mixture of Tamiya paints for the overall green finish. It's hard for me to remember what exactly I used, but I know I used lots of Nato Green and both Flat Yellow/Flat White and IJA Green to lighten and darken the base color respectively.

I opted to limit the wear and tear, because I want to keep my options open in case I decide to place the model behind a prime mover at some point. It's tricky trying to match shades of dust between two models: this way, I can always come back and add weathering to it later to match whatever is towing it.

I used the kit tires, which are the black vinyl-rubber material many armor modelers seem to revile so passionately. They worked fine for me!

The large rotating stability plate is stowed with the bottom facing upwards underneath the barrel and received the most attention as far as weathering is concerned: A few dabs of dark brown and gray from a sponge helped create a mottled, worn appearance. Graphite from a pencil was rubbed sparingly onto the highest corners and edges to mimic exposed metal.

I managed to leave a pretty nasty seam running down the side of the barrel, and it's painfully evident in some of the last shots. I'd rather move on to the next model than lose sleep over yesterday's model, and besides, once it's on the shelf, it gets lost in the sea of green anyways!

I love the squat, stubby appearance and proportions of this gun. It looks like a bulldog, in some stretch of the imagination. Maybe it's just me. (Definitely just me.)

I can't wait to see how this thing looks behind a URAL-375D! Luckily, Trumpeter has already announced that kit as well.

Thanks for looking! All feedback is greatly appreciated!