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spejic

1/72 Tiger I mid-production

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I'm really close to finishing the first shelf queen, so I'm starting the next one. It's the Dragon 1/72 Sd.Kfz.181 Ausf.E Tiger I mid-production with Zimmerit. I started it in 2006 and have been working on it on and off (mostly off) since then. The last thing I did was the attachment bar for the side skirts last spring.

The problem that made me put the model away was with the tank treads. It turns out that sunlight turns the flexible Dragon tracks into hard, brittle, unglueable, useless things. The tracks that came with my 1/72 Hummel are a total loss (and the kit is out of production and Dragon has no replacements, so all the work I did on that was wasted). Only an inch of both of the Tiger tracks are this way, but it already broke twice and it will be a trick to make it work.

7ejb6gt.jpg

I did major surgery to the gunner's door at the top of the turret because it was molded on backwards and far too tall. I added grab handles, scratchbuilt some details on the hull, and did a lot of work on the commander's copula. The fit between the top and bottom hulls is unimaginably bad - it's like they are parts for different kits. It took a lot of cutting to make them fit. I believe the current Dragon 1/72 Tigers are a lot better.

The gun barrel is a metal replacement from Aber. I have the KMY photoetch set, but I didn't use any of it except to measure my scratchbuilt constructs.

This will be done in a single color tan scheme.

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That's a really nice little kit. Too bad about the tracks. Have you tried soaking them in warm (not hot) water to see if they can be shaped? It works for the older TAMIYA 1/35 rubber band type tracks that get stiff and somewhat brittle. But they are much thinner. To my knowledge there is no aftermarket 1/72 Tiger tracks. I thought there was a company in Europe (Poland?) that made aftermarket 1/72 materials like tracks, but I couldn't find anything when doing a search.

Good luck with your build and keep us posted please.

Regards,

Don.

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A desert tiger! Nice choice. Hope the tracks can be worked out. Maybe you can find a cheap revell or trump kit and borrow those tracks?

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I think the photoetch set was sized for the Revell kit because the skirt pieces were about half a centimeter too short for this kit. I wanted to use them because the thin metal allows you to bend and deform them, as often happened in actual service. I decided to strip off the white bar you see in the picture above and install the kit skirt parts. They are very thick and look terrible if you hold the model upside down, but they have the advantage of having rivet detail and they are the right size.

The white you see on the turret is because I originally installed the gun mantle upside down. I had to tear it off and reglue it, and it caused a lot of damage in that gap. While I was fixing that in the last few days, I screwed up the yellow band on the gun. That's repainted now.

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Ok, I've been staring at those kit skirts for days now and I hate them more every time I see them. When you look at them from the sides they just look thick and dull and don't match the rest of the kit. I'm going to rip them off.

You may notice that the wheels were painted tan before. I tried to hand-paint the rubber on the road wheels and I screwed it all up. So I stripped the paint and sprayed them black and then painted the hubs tan (on one side currently) using a circle template. The lesson to take from this is: when building a Tiger tank, build the late model version with the all-steel wheels.

yvDVcmE.jpg

You may notice a structure inside the hull. I build the boxes for the air intakes. Of course, you can't see them at all through the photoetch mesh.

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Yeah the side skirts look too new and prestine. Perhaps cutting one or two out and denting the others would be an option? Good call on the road wheels. I spray all of mine NATO Black then make my own masks out of pop/soda box cardboard followed by the Camo color(s). Takes a minute or two to make them but they make painting the road wheels fast and easy...and it saves about $9-$12 per-kit on buying AM ones (in 1/35 of course).

Well done! I look forward to seeing your progress.

Regards,

Don.

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Yeah, the new skirt looks a lot better. I'll add a bit of damage, but not much. I'm not sure if I can add the rivet detail.

CSMGMRa.jpg

Wheels are fully painted and touched up now. I think I need to weather them before installing because they are a tight fit when they are all put on. I'll start painting the tracks soon as well.

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The kit wants you to glue the metal cable under the plastic cable in the structure that holds the cable down. That looks terrible. I instead cut off the eye parts of the cable and hollowed them out and will glue the cable in there.

2M1Khtc.jpg

The wheels are a major pain to install. You basically have to install everything at once because everything is interleaved. The pins that go in the wheels are oversize, and needed repeat sanding to get them to the right size. It would be better to check the fit before painting and adding all the details, but I didn't think it would be so bad. The weathering on the road wheels was all rubbed off in the repeated effort to get them on.

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Tanks have so much more detail then the aircraft I am used to! Assembling the wheels seems to be a frustrating job, but with as much eye for detail as you show with them cables, I sure you'll manage to get it nicely done!

Cheers!

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I'm working on the tracks, and they are a pain. It's impossible to install the tracks and the wheels as a unit, but it's really hard to install them after. I did not glue in the sprocket drive wheel, and good thing because it needs to rotate or else there is no way the track slides in. But even when they go in, they need to do a sharp bend at the rear, and the uninstalled track in the picture is hard at both ends so no go. I will need to cut the track in two pieces to install it.

Also, the sprockets don't go into the track because the track doesn't have the right holes. Anyone building this should cut off the tines of the drive wheel that touch the track.

VJxkTiE.jpg

Notice that the weathering dirt did not dry on the ends of the uninstalled track. Those ends are exactly where the track went crispy. Somehow that affects the dirt through Tamiya primer and two coats of paint. I don't get it. This kit is really, really pretty but it is torturing every moment of my modelling life.

Edited by spejic

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I followed my advice and cut off the teeth of the sprocket where the tread touches it. It looks a lot better. The big pieces of each track are glued in, but I'm having trouble with the little pieces fitting. And the track is sized to have slack on the top, which is realistic but trouble. I'm still now sure how to glue it down for that.

I gloss coated the turret and installed the decals. In all the pictures I have of Pz Abt. 503 tanks, the number on the barrel is biased towards the top so I did that with the decal. The knight decal was doused in setting solution, allowed to dry, doused in Future, allowed to dry, and then pressed with a wet toothpick to get it in the surface detail.

2tvkTkq.jpg

I did a very light wash on the sides with umber oil paint. I didn't want to darken it - just make a little shadow. It's hard to tell in the photo, but it looks good in real life, especially compared to untreated sections. The turret looks so nice, with that metal gun and all the work I did on the copulas - that's why I'm willing to keep working on the bad bits.

I need to repaint some sections of the hull - the constant handling while installing the running gear has rubbed off the paint on the sides. And I added that unpainted thing on the rear.

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I'm back. I finally got the tracks glued on and it took a lot of work. That last seam I tried to glue kept falling apart or set in the wrong position, so this time I held it by hand in the correct place for two and a half episodes of Attack on Titan while the supposedly 15 minute epoxy set. My hand is still cramped. Unfortunately, because of the way I installed the port track, I had to put the ugly connection part of the track in the open area aft of the last road wheel. Maybe if I put enough mud on it it will be ok. I still need to glue down the top of the track.

shdhv8b.jpg

I painted the tools on the top of the tank. I need some kind of wash to even out the edges and make them stand out. I think the umber oil paint I used on the zimmerit is too light for that. I guess I'll mix something up from my pastels. Unless you guys have a better idea.

I won't do anything more with the side skirts. In almost all of the photos I have of mid-production Tiger I's the skirts are not dented (although sometimes slightly askew, as I depicted them). Likely the tanks just didn't last long enough to look run down.

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Looking good :thumbsup: . Even in 1/72 the Tiger still looks scary.

Regards,

Don

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I did a wash made out of pastel dust, water, and soap around the tools and major details on the top. It really helped a lot - it's almost impossible to paint those molded on tools perfectly and this hides all the imperfections at the edges.

KBqMM0A.jpg

I cleaned up the wash around the black tool with a wet toothpick after seeing this picture.

Now I need to work on the cable and whatever it is that fits in the holes in the back of the tank.

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Coming along nicely.

Regards,

Don.

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The stupid cable is killing me. Since the last time, the only thing I had to do was glue down the upper part of the tracks and install the cable. I have the photo etch from the first post that gave me cable tie downs. This shouldn't take two months. But the cable is a tremendous pain. It is very very stiff and doesn't take a bend well and it doesn't go where it needs to and it keeps popping out the photo etch and gluing those things is a really slow process.

pMWCFlQ.jpg

I ruined one of the cable ends during the 5 attempt to glue it to the cable. I have to build a new one.

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That would be annoying. Not sure how to help you except maybe you can drill in some small diameter brass rod and make grab irons to hold the cable?

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That would be annoying. Not sure how to help you except maybe you can drill in some small diameter brass rod and make grab irons to hold the cable?

What I should have done is look for a cable made of different material. I have a Michaels within walking distance - I'm sure $1.50 spent there would have saved me a month of aggravation and glue stains all over the deck of the kit.

But it's almost done. And dull coat hides many sins.

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I'm done! Before I bring it to a show I'll put a lot more mud on the tracks to hide the defects, but that's the only thing. I tried to put the tow rings on the correct locations, but the tracks are too close to the front ring holders and they don't fit. It's not uncommon to see Tigers missing some anyway.

Since last time I finished the tow cables, added some photoetch holders on the axe and hammer, and weathered the top of the turret with pastels to match what I did on the deck.

BE4eK0w.jpg

9zsWXW0.jpg

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