Category Archives: Build articles

Articles describing the process of building a scale model. Include discussion of techniques and materials used, issues encountered during the build, and workarounds.

Small scale T-90, build part 1

Admittedly I couldn’t wait to start building the kit, so here’s a bit of progress.

Detailed add-on armor for the upper glacis with wave deflector and towing hooks added.

On the second image notice the edge that aligns the add-on armor with the upper glacis (parts reversed to showedges).

Exhaust (3 part assembly) glued in place. Another 2-part assembly (fuel tank for laying smoke screen) covers the exhaust on top.

The bulldozer blade added to the lower glacis. The sprue gates are mounted between the actuating arms, so I broke one of them trying to clean the part up…

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Trumpeter 1/35 BM-21 multiple rocket launcher

Step 1 – assembling the chassis. You will notice that the radiator group is integrated with one of the spars and is glued here. Almost right behind it is part E41 – the notch in its middle should point to the rear and up. It’s one of the attachment points for the engine block. My advice: align and glue all the spars to one of the girders first, then attach the second one.

The small subassembly in the lower right of step 1’s diagram is the engine alternator, used in the next step.

In Step 2 you will assemble the engine and gearbox. They are both very inaccurate in terms of shape and detail, and the fit is less than good. Ridiculously there is a driveshaft between the engine block and the gearbox – the designer is obviously no a driver.

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Academy 1/144 F-15A

Academy 1/144 F-15A
Academy 1/144 F-15A

It’s been some time since an aircraft has been featured on this site, so here’s one completed last year. It’s LS’s ancient 1/144 F-15A, later packed by Academy/Minicraft (and perhaps a few other companies. Inside you will discover a rather schematic scaled-down version of the famous aircraft. Panel lines are engraved, but are deep and wide, especially so in the vertical stabilizers.

There are no pylons whatsoever. Armament is limited to 4xAIM-7 Sparrows, there is no centerline hardpoint/wetpoint with fuel tank, and no trace of Sidewinders at all. No cockpit is provided, there is a transparent canopy that covers the nothing underneath. No probes or antennae whatsoever, and you can forger about the dropped flaps on the boxart.

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Building Bronco’s early SU-152 in 1/35

Looking for references for the SU-152 brought about the conclusion that this SPG was indeed a rare beast, and is even harder to find today. While there’s a lot of ISU-152 that were remanufactured to the M and K standards, the KV-based subject was not as lucky: there are very few survivors, even fewer are in presentable condition, and none appear to be able to move on its own.

Books on the “Beast killer” are also few and far between. I was able to find Wydawnictwo Militaria’s “SU-152” (332). Beside the examples pictured in the book (pretty devoid of any fittings, really) there’s another survivor in Kubinka, but since it cannot be photographed from all sides you’d need to rely on a very few images with scarce detail that keep repeating in all books on the subject.

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UM’s 1940 T-34 with L-11 gun and some aftermarket help

OK, after showing what’s in the box let’s see how to build this beast of a kit.

First, I glued together the hull halves and added the main fenders. They are way too thick for the scale and after being measured were chopped off.

Next step – fill the trenches where the former fenders join the upper hull, and sand the sides down until they are smooth.

Hull filled and sanded
Hull filled and sanded

Details will have to be restored…

Fabricate the new fenders from scrap metal – here 0,1mm brass sheet cut to size and bent. The bend is sort of uneven, which is fine considering this is a tank.

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Building Revell’s Tiger E in 1/72

First thing to do is to get rid of the molded-on tools. Considering the absurd ideas to make the hammer our of 3 layers of PE and the jack out of 9 layers – some tools were replaced with items from the Attack’s set “Implements and tools”, and I kept the jack almost stock. For the time being I glued on the retaining PE clasps and straps for them and the tow cables.

Stripped from the tools - PE added
Stripped from the tools – PE added

Aside from the molded-on tools and the symmetric turret there are few other issues with the Revell kit:

– directly sticking the spare tracks to the turret walls – there are brackets for this on the actual machine – I used PE items form the Part set.
– the gun that is very crudely molded in one piece together with the muzzle brake – replaced it with RB Models item 72B26 turned aluminum barrel with bronze muzzle brake. Since the barrel is turned there are visible traces from the lathe on its surface – I sanded down with 800 and 2000-grit sandpaper.

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Building Dragon’s early SdKfz 10/4

Since I actually did build the thing about a year ago, I’ll post my thoughts about the construction sequence, and especially about the instructions and some peculiarities of the kit.

There are 23 construction steps and though they are logical I built my example in a bit different way. Also, I noted some errors I am discussing below.

Step 1: wheels – lots of them. Assembling the front wheels is no problem. The drive sprockets are handed (different) on the actual machine, but not in the kit. Dragon has issued you with 2 identical assemblies.

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Zvezda’s Braille Panther D completed

This build is special for me. The kit was purchased, started and completed in just one month, which is a first for the past 20 years or so. I wanted to postpone the clash with it, but I could not resist.

The first thing you should know is that you need to forget most of the modelling stuff you’ve learned over the years. Since the model is a fast build/snap kit:

– DO NOT DRY FIT PARTS, or keep it to a minimum. Fit’s so tight on some parts you won’t be able to disassemble what you put together.

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Building Dragon’s Late StuG IV in 35th

Earlier on I’ve shown you both the contents of the box and the ready model. Now let’s get a look “behind the scenes”, or how the model was actually built about 6 months ago.

Some simple statistics. There are over 1200 parts in the box, yet in the 14 constructions steps only about 600 are used.I’ll just go over the tricky moments in each step.

Steps 1 and 2 is about assembling the wheels and the rear hull plate and adding a bunch of details to the latter.

– build the exhausts, but set them aside to paint and weather them later. They will fit if you keep the attachment points clean;

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1/72 Mi-24P kitbash, WIP part 2

While the Squadron putty was drying I cut the nose of an ESCI FFAR pod:

Mi-24P ESCI: FFAR pod nose cone cut
FFAR pod nose cone cut

and inserted the base into the inlet of the APU to give it some detail.

Mi-24P ESCI: Stock engine/APU intakes
Stock engine/APU intakes

Here’s how the outcome looks before paint:

Mi-24P ESCI: New detail added to the APU intake
New detail added to the APU intake

The amount of putty required and the sanding is obvious on the series of pictures above, but let me tell you – this is a great stress-relief technique.

I also created a new gun mount to replace the missing part, using brass barrels of a design closest to the original GSh-30. These are fixed into a block of laminated styrene. The white brackets are scrap styrene sheet.

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