Tuesday, November 27, 2012

King Tiger Build Proper-Zimmerits with or without

This is the continuation of my King Tiger build proper (see related posts below) which was my very first scale model kit build EVER. The build is presented chronologically guided by questions I had in mind as I progressed with the build with some representative (amateurish) digital pictures.

2. Zimmerits- with or without

Zimmerit was a non-magnetic coating produced for German armored fighting vehicles during World War II for the purpose of combating magnetically attached anti-tank mines like the British "Clam" experimental ordnance. 
Close view of Zimmerit on the glacis of a Tiger II
It was developed by the German company Chemische Werke Zimmer AG.The coating was a barrier that prevented direct contact of magnetic mines with metal surfaces of vehicles. It was normally ridged to increase overall thickness. The magnetostatic field decreases very rapidly, with the cube of distance; the non-magnetic coating holds the magnet of the mine too far from the steel of of the vehicle for it to adhere.

My earlier post on the Captured King Tiger Project (see My King Tiger (KT) Build Proper: Kit Inventory and General Planning) shows a KT with Zimmerits which I planned to do. When I bought the KT kit, I never had an idea that the word Zimmerit in model building causes much fear for modelers of WW2 German armour! I was actually discouraged by some members of my local IPMS forum to make the zimmerits myself considering that I was a newbie and that the KT will be my very first kit ever. I was told that there were kits with already preformed zimmerits in them which would facilitate the build but unfortunately the kit series I bought were the more "challenging" ones where the modeler will be the one to create the zimmerit itself. Since the KT kit was already bought, I decided to go on with the build after much research especially on the added zimmerit challenge. 

My main Zimmerit guide is Mikey's Modeling Pages on Applying Zimmerit by Paul A. Owen. I will make a separate blog post on the application of the zimmerit proper to save space in this post. Enough to say that I tried to follow the 'Putty Texturing" and the "Putty Raking -The Tamiya Method" techniques mentioned in the  literature. For both techniques, Model putty is  applied on the tank surface and the difference is on how the the zimmerit pattern is applied: for Putty Texturing method the pattern is stamped with a trowel; for the Putty Raking  it is made by dragging a serrated tool across its' surface. 
Using a trowel perpendicular to the surface to gently press in the zimmerit ridge

Here is a brief description on how I did it:

Materials:   Tamiya Epoxy Putty Basic Type

                zim pattern  using a small pinion gear
 pinion gear zim pattern; not actual photo but similar to what I used
from zimmerit-it.blogspot.com
Repeating zimmerit application instructions per tank surface:
1. Smear a thin layer of Tamiya grey putty on a patch of hull (turret or whatever), let it set up for a few seconds.
2. Start pressing the zim pattern small pinion gear. Start from the top and work down making a vertical column, then move to the right for the next column etc. 
 pinion gear zim pattern application; not actual photo but similar to what I did
from zimmerit-it.blogspot.com
3. Do one side of a piece then set it aside to dry. 
4. Once dry, sand the zim a bit to knock off any putty chunks and to take the edge off the ridges.

Actual work done below: Not that pretty but I had lots of fun doing it!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

King Tiger Build: Build Proper- As a whole or by sections?

Finally..here is the build proper of my King Tiger after much preparation (see related posts below). As I mentioned before, this is my very first scale model kit build EVER so I tried to learn how to do it properly as I went along. I constantly refer to my previous post on Scale Modeling Guide: Main Battle Tank Parts which was of great help to my general orientation to the build process. I will present the build chronologically guided by questions I had in mind as I progressed with the build with some representative (amateurish) digital pictures just to illustrate my skill- or the lack of it.:

Build as a whole or by sections?

Looking at the kit parts and the instructional literature, the first thing that came to mind is should I build the kit as a whole then paint it fully built OR build sections of the kit (hull and parts, turret parts and main gun, road wheels, sprockets, etc.), paint separately per section and assemble the whole kit ?

Based from research and consultations with my friends in my local IPMS forums, I went with the latter (build by sections). I believe this will give me the opportunity to paint thoroughly all the sections and parts before full assembly. This was a personal choice from a newbie based from preference alone as others prefer to build the whole kit before painting.

After building big  sections separately, below shows the result of the initial phase with the built sections  temporarily assembled with sticky tapes just to see what it will look like. Note the straight sections made also for the magic tracks beside the tank proper. The curved sections of the tracks were assembled separately to be connected to the the other portions during final assembly.
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Take note of the temporarily assembled portions of the tracks below connected using sticky tapes. This was done also to approximate the actual curvature of the tracks around the wheel sprocket and the road wheels making the tracks adapt to the actual curvature as the glue dries. Notice also the binder clips I placed above the tracks just under the armored skirts. I was attempting to create track sag through this pressure from above the tracks as the glue dries. Sagging of the tracks would present more realistic tank track placements avoiding the appearance of  unrealistic "floating track" commonly seen in built kits. 

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These are the KT road wheels built separately and individually mounted on "toothpicks" on
modeling clay for easy handling for painting. Note that the picture shows road wheels already
painted which is getting ahead of this post (I was not able to find pictures of unpainted wheels)

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Scale Modeling Guide: Main Battle Tank Parts

When I started building Armor Scale Model kits for the first time, one difficulty I initially had was relating to battle tank part terminologies in my research and in reading through scale modeling fora as I was totally unfamiliar with it having no exposure at all to the military. As I was a stickler for details, I needed to know what the parts of the tank I am building which was of great help also to my general orientation to the build process.

M1A1 Abrams (USA)

Below is an overview of a Battle Tank design in general with labelled parts for your guidance. This may be a diagram of a more modern battle tank (M1 Abrams) but it is a good representative of a battle tank in general in terms of the major parts which can be a good reference material for Armor Scale modelers.

M1 Abrams

1. Periscope; 2. Gun mantlet;  3. Coaxial gun;  4. Bore evacuator;  5. Main gun;  6. Driver's optics; 7. Driver's hatch 8. Glacis plate;  9. Continuous track;  10. Machine gun ammunition;   11. Commander's machine gun;  12. Hatch or cupola;  13. Gun turret;  14. Turret ring;  15. Hull; 16. Engine air intake;  17. Engine compartment;  18. Armored skirt;  19. Drive sprocket 20. Link;  21. Road wheel.



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Thursday, November 8, 2012

My King Tiger (KT) Build Proper: Kit Inventory and General Planning

Kit: 1/35Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger (Henschel Turret) Dragon - Nr. 6208.

Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger (Henschel Turret) Dragon - Nr. 6208. 

  1.  Inventory.

a.      A total of 525 parts on 12 sprues plus tray, moldings: 22   and one 420 mm long twisted steel cable rope to represent the tow ropes.  Zimmerit is not available and have to be applied. Parts photos from The Wettringer Model Forum:

a.      One decal sheet with markings for 2 versions:
                                                             i.      sPzAbt 505, Russia 1944
                                                           ii.      sPzAbt 501, Ardennes1944
b.     1 photo-etched PE board with 8 PE parts for the fan grill/guards.

               c. Instruction sheet or booklet.    

2.         General Planning.

A Kingtiger, captured by Americans, riding for battle. Notice the U.S. markings on the tank....

a.      Above is my model for the King Tiger I planned to build. I initially wanted to build the German tank as is but I was more partial to building the Allied forces. As a compromise, I decided to build the KT- captured by allied American soldiers! Below are the historical references for the plan: 
                                                             i.      King Tiger is from s.Pz.Abt. 506.
                                                           ii.      Tank is painted in a three colour camos.
                                                        iii.      The numbers on the side of the turret look like the original German ones. It's 2+11
                                                         iv.      The markings look like US stars on flags. The color of the flag is not clear but the star is white.
                                                           v.      There's a slogan on the mantle which reads "Dang mined” repeated on the right fender and loaders hatch.
                                                         vi.      It has zimmeritt all around. 
                                                      vii.      The US unit which used the tank is the US 129th Ordnance Battalion. Captured near Geronsweiller on Dec 15, 1944.

b.     Thinking ahead, my plan was to place the finished kit in a diorama which would require model figures to complete and complement. I eventually chose also to build the Dragon  Military Figure Model Kit below after much consultation with the more experienced modelers at the IPMS forums considering and consulting them on:
                                                             i.      the right figure scale for the KT tank- 1/35 (same as the KT)
                                                           ii.      the  propriety of the figures apt to the captured KT scene in terms of the U.S. Armored Infantry's uniform at that time, etc.

U.S. Armored Infantry

1:35 Scale Dragon Models Military Model Kit: 6366


My King Tiger (KT) Build Proper