Thursday, 28 January 2016

Altaya 1/72 T-50 - Part 3

My little T-50 plods on. Working with metal is not fun - not for me anyway - so it's taken me some time to modify the front fenders to my liking. In the end, I resorted to adding some styrene strips to get the look I was after...

I'm beginning to realise that I have a habit of putting off jobs I don't enjoy (which is why I have a special draw I keep for jobs that are 'on ice'). Prevarication isn't good, but it becomes a little war of wills with myself and I do feel good when I finally overcome my irrational anxiety about certain jobs. Tiny though it may be, I was disproportionally pleased when I finished this modification.

The task was completed with the creation of the headlamp covers - a feature of early Soviet tanks that the Finns seemed to like. These hinged 'domes' of metal enclosed a headlamp and could be flipped up and down when needed, the Finnish army retrofitted these to many of it's 'newer' Soviet trophy tanks. (They seemed to have a good supply of them from the large quantity of scraped T-26 tanks the Finns took from the Soviets during the Winter War.)

Worth showing again, this wonderful photo of the Finn's sole T-50 shows it 'late
war' (early 1944, I think). By this time it has been re-fitted to the post-1943
'standard' for Finnish armour, with the cowled headlamps and the three-colour
camouflage scheme. Source: SA Kuca archive.
Just for reference, here's an artist's impression of the T-50 with the headlamp covers up. I *think* they were only put up when travelling at night in safety - having them up like this when in actual battle seems a bit risky...

1/35 HobbyBoss 'Finnish T-50' box artwork. A couple of things wrong here,
they haven't included the Finnish cross emblems and the fenders are 'unclipped.
And don't get me started on the camo colours (not again)!
Making the covers was a fiddly little job which had me sanding some rectangular styrene strips into the correct shape...

My headlamp covers still need some shaping and detailing but I'm please with
the basic shape.
Who'd have thought that such small jobs would take me so long (I tried hiding my T-50 behind some pots of paint on my little workbench, but I knew it was still there)!

The rest of the work on this conversion should - in theory - be plain sailing. It's just a case of painting the little blighter (...I say 'just')!

Postscript: Note that, I am making a post-1943 version of the Finn's T-50. This tank was captured from the Soviets in 1941, and between its capture and 1943 (when Finnish armour received new guidelines for outfitting and paint schemes) it is thought to have retained it's Red Army plain green scheme or have been painted Finnish dark green and given Finnish crosses. Here's a nice example of a model of this earlier period (the clipped' fenders don't seem to have been applied at this point, or have Mirage boobed?)...

Model by Danny Van Beneden. 1/35 scale kit by Mirage.
Historical note on the Finn's T-50: 'The popular nickname was "Pikku-Sotka" (Small Pochard), which referred to its physical resemblance with larger T-34 medium tank, which Finnish soldiers had already earlier nick-named as "Sotka" (Pochard) after a tugboat of that name.' Source:

The Finn's T-50 was in service with them from 1942 until June of 1944, when it suffered serious mechanical problems and was designated 'non-operational'. Bear this in mind if you are wargaming the later 'Lapland War', the Finn's T-50 was not available during this campaign. This tank remained on Finland's military inventory until 1955, though it seems not to have been used again.

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