Wednesday, 1 February 2012

T-34 track mod - Part 5

Well, I have reached a conclusion to this project and at the same time completed the work I was doing on my SU-85 weathering experiment. The two items seem to complement each other nicely (the SU-85 was a specially designed hull based on the T-34).

I finished off this very enjoyable build with a photo session and here are the results...

The principal goal of this project - as the title of this post indicates - was to try and improve on the stock Armoutfast T-34 single-piece tracks. These tracks, as they come out the box, have a very unrealistic tank tread on them and so my task was to come up with a way to make them look more like the real thing. The Armourfast company forum is running a competition to see who could come up with the best track improvements, so this model is also my very first competition build!

As I said, this has been enormous fun and that was my main goal in any modelling project - I don't model for gaming or competitions, it was just a happy coincidence that Armourfast was running their competition while I was doing this. Having said that, building to a set time limit (entries had to be in last night) did give me the incentive to get on and finish this model in a reasonable short time (for me).

The most satisfying parts of this build were, of course, the tracks. Of course they aren't perfect - I am already working on a design for a Mk. II version of my T-34 track improvement technique. But as a first effort I don't think they are all that bad and those that have seen them seem to think they do the job.

Weathering the SU-85 part of this build was very interesting and relaxing. I seem to be starting to develop a style of painting that suits my own aesthetic sense. It's a bit gritty, dirty and grungy and different to the smoother airbrushed jobs that I've seen and been impressed with. Of course that is because I don't have an airbrush, but that said I do approach my painting based on my traditional painting experience and view the model as a canvas in 3D. So in some ways I include some techniques that are less realistic but are exaggerated and aimed at producing a impressionistic effect - my highlighting and shading are not subtle!

Other parts I am especially pleased with are the external fuel tanks - which I had to partially rebuild - and the pin-washing of the engine deck, the tiny head-lamp (which I drilled out and filled with PVA glue to great the 'glass' lens) and, of course, the mud!

The mud, which was created using a Tamiya Light Earth Weather Stick, is admittedly a little two-dimentional, and could do with a subtle wash to add depth. But I like the colour and the texture and am very pleased with the nice clumps I got using this product.

Well, that's it. Experimental model number 2 complete.

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