Trumpeter 1/16 King Tiger
Advantages: Huge, detailed to the
max and Big.
Disadvantages: HUGE! Detail discrepancies, inner hull ammo rack so incorrect as to be unusable. P.S. AFV Club inner hull ammo rack correction set used. P.S.S. Verlinden 1/16 scale (120mm) Panther/Tiger German crews figures used.
There is already a lot been said about this tank so to make a long story short, this tank was actually already in development in 1936, with a competitor product being given to Porsche in 1937. The biggest differences are the turret, suspension, drive units etc. The armor was eventually set at 25-185mm. Main armament is the famous “88”, in this case, KWK-43 L/71, which features a longer barrel than the 88 in the Tiger I with two MG-34 machine guns, one co-axle, the other mounted in the bow. It was powered by a V-12 Maybach HL 230 P30 gasoline engine producing 690 HP though a Maybach OLVAR EG 40 12 16 B transmission with 8 forward and 4 reverse speeds. Top speed was 25 MPH on smooth road although it never ever topped that speed in real life.
The biggest interesting thing about the Tiger II, or King Tiger as it was known (Konigstiger in German) was its two different turret design. Mistakenly called the “Porsche” turret (as denoted in the kit itself), this turret was actually a Krupp designed prototype except Dr. Ferdinand Porsche was so sure it will enter production, that he produced 50 of them right off the bat (hence why it was so associated with him). This was eventually turned down for the Henschel “production” variant because the “Porsche” version featured a round face like the Panther, which featured a deadly shot trap beneath the curve and a hard to produce side “Bulge” to accommodate the commander’s cupola. The Henschel “production” version had a smooth flat face slightly tilted and a less slanted side, eliminating the “cupola bulge”. Still, the 50 produced “Porsche” turrets were added to Henschel’s hull, producing 50 so called “Porsche” King Tigers.
The first combat experience for the new tank was July 11th 1944 during Battle of the Normandy. The most famous operation conducted by this tank was during Battle of the Bulge. Pictures of these tanks, with Fallschimerjagers on top storming past burned American vehicle became synonymous with that operation.
Overall, the King Tiger was an imposing and deadly weapon. It’s massive, long barreled “88” could and at will, penetrate any known Allied tanks from ranges as far as 1.6 KM or around 16,000 yards away while it’s frontal armor, as thick as 185mm from up front and sloped, could defeat any known Allied weapon except the legendary 122mm Soviet gun in the JS-2/3, the British 76.2mm firing the APDS (Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot) round and the American 90mm firing the HVAP (High Velocity Armor Piercing, a tungsten carbide round).
However, despite its power, the King Tiger had some really teething problems that caused its crews some real serious headaches. The biggest problem, shared with the Tiger and Panther, were its engine and transmission, which were designed to power smaller and less weighty tanks. With a full up loaded weight of as much as 76 tons, 6 more than the M1A2 Abram SEP, It’s horsepower was anemic at 690HP (in comparison, all versions of the M1 had a turbine engine developing 1500HP). Even though the top speed was around 25MPH on smooth roads, in reality it never achieved that speed due to the fact the crew will risk serious engine and transmission breakdown and/or fires. And even if treated carefully, mechanical problems plagued the tank throughout its career, especially the early versions, where some of them spent more time in the fixer yards than in the field. During the Battle of the Bulge, only a few King Tigers were actually knocked out, usually by air power. Those that were not abandoned due to fuel starvation were either destroyed by its own crew or abandoned due to one mechanical problem or another. Overall, the tank came too late to have any meaningful effect on the war. Production total varies due to the state of affairs Germany was under at that time, various figures put total production anywhere from 330 to 490.
Check my preview of this kit at this link. Safe to say, everything I said in the preview still applies except for one critical thing: As it turned out, Trumpeter did fix one major issue with this kit, and that’s the fact they decided to throw in an extra photo-etch fret containing more shell bottom caps, this ensure you will have enough caps for all of your shells. However, other than that, the rest they did not fix. Whether they bother you depends on you. Here is a major run down of the detail faults:
They may have thrown in an extra set of photo-etch for the end caps, but the decals are still at least 12 shells short. This isn’t really that bothersome. In fact, I used very very few decals for the shells since most, especially the ones on the bottom row will be hardly seen after completion.
Engine bay details are sometimes copied from the Panther. Especially the cooling bays with the radiator cooling fins. King Tigers usually have these bays empty. However, I put them in for some interests. You can track them down and correct the bays if you want but again, laymen will not even notice this.
The radio is a…ehh…………Yeah. You can get the AFV Club correction set if this really bother you but the radio set is a real, “EHH?” That second radio on the top of the first one is indeed upside down…Yes, you heard me right…It is upside down! And also, the driver instrument bezels are completely missing. Absolutely unforgivable at this scale. I’m planning to get the AFV Club correction set once I get enough extra money.
All extra machine gun ammo pouches are missing. The KT had at least 2000 rounds of 7.92mm ammo for its two MG-34 machine guns. These are usually held in ammo pouches located in strategic places throughout the tank. These usually contain around 200 rounds of ammo so at least 10 are needed. Again, AFV Club makes extra sets but you need at least several sets and the ammo rack holder for the radio operator/hull machine gunner in order to do this right. This is why I left these details out.
Plenty of other details missing such as driver and radio operator’s periscopes. Spare machine gun barrels, MP-40 submachine gun and the ammo for the mortar. Now the mortar rounds are not missed since most crews hated that mortar and used the empty ammo holder for personal stuff but the rest, if it bothers you, can be again, sourced from AFV Club.
However, the worst detail goof up is the inner hull ammo rack. This is why I have to laugh at Trumpeter sometimes. Their brain gas can be….”Weird”…This is because they got the shape of the turret ammo rack correct. Namely, the front are smaller than the rear ones so that the ammo can be angled towards the turret sides, leaving a tunnel so the crew can effectively load the rounds or escape in an emergency. But with the hull, they goofed by making the front end the same size as the rear! The end result is that the ammo are not angled towards the hull sides. The last row of ammo juts into the turret space, causing the turret not able to turn if you do it this way. Of all the AFV Club correction sets, this you must get if you want to do an effective looking King Tiger!
It sounds like I’m trying to put this kit down, I’m not. Again, if this really bother you, just get the AFV Club correction sets. I didn’t do most of it. The only one set I got was the inner hull ammo rack correction set cause again, it’s not an effective model without those. The rest you can either forgo or get them slowly down the line as an impressive model will result if you just keep on plugging away at it. The BIG problem is that plugging part just because this is such a BIG project!
Before We Begin
Yeah, before we begin, there are A LOT of preparatory work. The least of which, is to decide which KT to build. Again, the “Porsche” turret and the Henschel turrets are included (Denoted King Tiger-P and King Tiger-H in the instructions). Again, if you choose one, you can build a facsimile of the other. Study the instructions carefully. Everything is logical and everything flows but when you got something this big, you need to read that BOOK and mark down all the subassemblies and how everything connects together or else you will run into problems later on. Next get gallons after gallons of paint so you will have enough to paint this monster. I quickly decided to build a Battle of the Bulge tank so it will be a three tone cammo of Dark Yellow, Dark Green, and Red Brown, all in Tamiya colors. Over 150 King Tigers, or nearly 1/3 of the total production runs were dedicated to this operation. In fact, from August to November of 1944, nearly 2 out of 3 King Tigers rolling off the production line were driven to Belgium! And to add some interests, I also decided to get Verlinden’s 1/16 scale German Panther/Tiger crew. So yes, prepare yourself as this will be a huge long review! It is required when you got this type of HHUUUGGGEE project, not unless you divide it into two parts (Which I thought about doing, the inner details and then the exterior) but I really don’t want to!
And because of all the details and parts and size involved. I will be doing things a little differently. Any interior paint call out will be done in the Construction parts. The Painting and Marking section will cover painting for the exterior only.
Main Construction is divided into interior and exterior. Despite the instructions. It’s best to finish all interior parts before moving onto the exterior or else you will be knocking exterior stuff loose while manhandling the model. Just a bit of warning, the end model will be HEEEAAAVY!!!! So keep that in mind while working.
The instructions will have you start with the hull, with the movable torsion bar suspension. But I skipped all of that to the turret section instead. I will be building the Henschel “production” turret so started there. The assembly were quickly divided into several subassemblies. The biggest and the most obvious is of course, the 88. The breech alone contain around 200 parts and it goes together well. Now, a large spring is included to model the recoil but I just cemented that shut. So is a small spring to hold the cannon down. But it’s too tight and it permanently holds the barrel in the up position so I skipped that too. There are a lot of parts but everything fits so take it slow and you should be fine. Now come the colors.
At first, for the interior colors, I wanted to use straight white plus rust. As it turned out, these are not exactly correct. German tanks and armored vehicle interiors used a reddish, brown, almost rusty red oxide paint as a primer. In fact, some Stugs used only that paint for interior and received many complains from the crews, who can’t see a thing inside their vehicles as a result. So for modulation, it was sprayed with a light grey/white color. This plus the red oxide, made the interior into a very light yellowish green color to start. The white paint quickly fades away under combat stress and eventually, the interior became a sort of “salmonie red”. Took me a hell of time to find the correct color but a guy at a local Hobbytown step in and gave me the pointers and I bought two bottles of the Poly Scale “Scale Hopper Beige” for the off-white and Pacemaker Red for the red oxidize color. These are off the Poly Scale train color line…Which now do not exist anymore after Testors killed the entire Poly Scale line off! I sprayed painted the Scale Hopper Beige onto the 88 breech and set that aside.
Now it’s time to build up the turret interior. The entire turret is a single piece casting…Which means some annoying ejector pin marks to fill. Most are hidden to the rear and side so they will be covered up by the shell racks but there are some really annoying ones up the middle where you can see them. I spent two days stomping these down. The commander hatch again features a small spring but again, I tossed it for easy opening and closing cause of the commander figure. The rear ammo/escape hatch, if you are judicious with the glue and know where to cement it, it can operate to give some light to the turret once assembled. I skipped the exterior because I don’t want to knock out any of the spare track links hooks. The next major subassemblies will be the turret basket.
The turret basket main subassembly is the main engine that turn the whole entire thing. The assembly instructions begin with this. Take your time, like everything else, everything fits and fits nicely. The only time you will make mistake is if you rush it. After the main engine and its side protector is built, a lot of attachments like gunner and loader seats, gunner’s wheels and firing stud are all present. Take your time and make sure you strengthen the pins that will attach to the bottom of the turret and their supports with super glue. You do not want these attachments to detach when it’s time to attach the basket to the bottom of the turret. After assembly, the whole entire thing was sprayed with Pacemaker Red per research photos except what looks like an exhaust pipe, which was painted flat black.
The bottom of the turret basket contains the commander’s seat, his controls and ammo racks for the mortar and co-axial machine guns. Again, these are empty, especially the machine gun ammo racks. Get the AFV club extras if it really bothers you. However, I left these unassembled for now cause the next part was kind of hairy and I was afraid I’ll knock these off.
The next major assembly for the turret is the turret ammo rack. The big problem is the racks are assembled onto a side wall first, and then the wall and the racks are mounted onto the bottom of the turret…On to two very small, very measly attachment points! Yeah, there is no way those two small points will hold during assembly so I went and assembled ALL, as in all 60 some ammo rounds. You can guess what I’m about to do.
I first attached all the racks onto the side wall, making sure they are reinforced with super glue. Waited until all assembly were dry. The ammo rounds can be pushed onto the racks so I don’t have to assemble them after the side walls were attached…Which would’ve been a PITA since they slant inward. After spraying them with scale hopper beige, I took eight rounds, four on each side and superglued them onto the racks, waited until they are dry, and then attached the entire assembly onto the bottom of the turret, using the shells as extra attachment points to further strengthen the completed assembly. Since the side walls will be covered by the turret, I smothered the rear of the wall with super glue to further strengthen the entire assembly. Waited a whole day before inserting the bottom onto the top after building all the details to the bottom of the turret. With this methods, nothing fell out despite the ultra-tight fit between the ammo rack side walls and the turret! Also, as stated in the preview, after several catastrophic turret losses in which the turret ammo blew, orders came down not to load the turret racks with ammo, a very unpopular order with crews since as may surmised, these are the quick, ready to use rounds for the sometimes overworked loader. Most crews disobeyed this, like this crew, who filled the rack at least half full!
After the turret was allowed a day to dry (once again, strengthened at the bottom with super glue), the outside details were added. The first was the famous pig snout, the commander ring, the loader’s hatch, various air hole hatches and the spare track links hooks. Finally, the 88mm barrel. This was added last since it is so long. They are divided in half…Yes, I know some people hate half barrels but no choice here. If there is a metal barrel, and I don’t know of any 1/16th scale metal barrels, then forget it if it cost $85 due to the length of this thing. Actually, as it turned out, they assemble tight and very little filler was needed to make them round.
It took two long months of slog to get to this point and I reckon the turret ate up at least 600 or so parts….That’s more parts than most 1/35th scale tanks and most 1/32 scale aircraft….If you thought that was a slog, then the hull comes next.
The Upper Hull
You really need to keep in mind what parts of the hull goes where and where to jump to make the assembly a little easier. Again, I did not start with the drive wheels, but skipped to the upper hull and finish that up first since most of the instructions dealt with the bottom hull details. But first, I spent a week just to decide how to paint the interior of the hull.
The problem was all the research pictures showed all sorts of things. The fact of the matter is, the Germans were pretty all over the place in painting the interior. Stugs one time had the interior in that red oxide primer only. Later on, they added the white paint but it was haphazard. Some had all the interior in white, others had the bottom hull in red oxide while the upper hull in white….Finally, with my mind in a jumble, I simply decided to paint only the bottom and the floor boards in red oxide. The side wall all the way to the upper hull will be in the off white color.
So, after finishing the upper hull except those things that would be hard to paint if assembled, such as the tow cables and the pioneer tools, I sprayed the interior with the scale hopper beige to denote the off white color. When assembling the outside rear engine maintenance hatch, just becareful and read the instructions carefully. If you do it just right and use minimum cement, that hatch can be made to open and close. The rest went on without a problem except the photo-etch dust screens in the rear. The big problem were again, all the pesky ejector pin marks. In fact, these are all over the place on the bottom hull since that is a one piece molding. Most of the pins are to the rear, where they will be covered up by the engine. But some are quite prominent, including the 12 or so located alongside the sponsons, where they can be clearly seen. This is another reason why I did the upper hull first. Not just because it is easy, but also to kill time in between the ejector pin mark stomping.
So with the upper hull done. Time to take a deep breath for the long haul as the bottom hull assembly begin.
NOTE: Just to mention though, if you are wondering with all the wonderful interior details, how will you display them once assembled? Previously, people had cut up the upper hull, slice it half etc….The thing is, Trumpeter had thought this and as you are about to see, displaying that wonderful interior is easy peesy! This is because a big slab, “G42”, representing the entire upper hull glacis armor plate is there. The tipping point is the sides contains two small trenches…..That’s my first clue that Trumpeter made the upper hull removable!
And yes, looking at that piece, you get a huge idea just why these tanks are so invulnerable to the pesky Shermans. That piece is around half an inch at least! Multiply that by 16…..And then plus the angle of the slope armor….Shermans meanwhile, had an effective armor of around 80 inches at the turret front, or 3.2 inches while the hull only 90.2mm of effective armor….Meanwhile that massive 88mm could penetrate over 90mm from more than 2000 yards away! **Shakes Head**…Ok, time to get back to business!
The bottom hull
The assembly starts at page 1 with all the road wheels. I kept the wheels in two separate small boxes since like all German “KittieKat” tanks, they come in inside and outside wheels. Yeah, put them into two separate boxes to avoid confusion. These along with the drive sprockets and idler wheels were assembled and put aside.
The interior begin with some strengthening ribs and some electrical wiring coverings before going onto the side walls. I left the disc brake drums off until later since those will be painted metallic grey. It’s good that Trumpeter thought this through and put the side walls separate. Make the painting section a lot easier. After all of that is assembled, I sprayed the bottom Pacemaker red to denote the red oxide and the side walls sans the disc brake drums scale hopper beige. The side walls also contains some other details I painted black and red brown. I then went through the sprues and sprayed anything that looks like will belong on the bottom in the correct colors also.
The next steps added the two torsion bar stiffener/holders. I made sure part of it has super glue to hold everything down tight.
The torsion bar assembly are next. Read the instruction carefully since again, some of them will contain the arms that holds the inside wheels, while others the outside. Each arms contain three pieces, the bar itself, the suspension arm, and the oil cap. You don’t need to cement these pieces in, they are operable. At first I was quite leery since these things rarely work. However, these arms are thick and there are a lot to spread the weight and once they snap into their holding slot, works quite well. I painted the bars themselves gun metal since these are usually naked metal.
All sorts of details are next, including the driver’s emergency control levers, foot pedals (the petal faces are in photo-etch), the two massive ammo boxes that run the length of the floor, tool boxes, the rear bulkhead that separate the fighting compartment, the driver seat and the engine bay. And then the engine bays are made with two extra pieces.
The next few steps will have you attach the road wheels, the sprockets and the idlers. Just make sure which road wheels are the correct ones. Careful reading of instructions will do you good here. Also, the wheel caps. Just remember the long ones are for the inner and the flat ones are for the outside. The attachment of the sprockets are a bit loose. But as it turn out, there is a reason for that. The bottom escape hatch was attached next, then we come to parts L4 and L5, which are the two front tow ring catchers. What’s special about them is that they contain two slots. Remembering the upper hull armor plate has two narrow trenches, I slid the upper hull and yep, they are a perfect catch for these two slots! So yes, you can indeed remove the upper hull! Several electric lines are needed next. These are represented by vinyl…Unfortunately, they are hard as hell to attach and need to skip under the torsion bars…….After receiving headaches just attaching one of them, I decided to skip them. In the end you will never notice cause once the floor boards go in there, they are all covered up.
The next part will have you assemble the transmission. I skipped that since it will collect dust for the next part, the engine and rear bay assembly and boy is this a long haul!
Ho lord did a lot go into that engine! I reckon some 250 parts were needed. Steps 15 to 18 cover the major assemblies and each step contain at least 9 steps! All the major details are there, including a bunch of soft vinyl piping and even the motor oil dipstick is there! The engine is so detailed that I had a huge problem debating the next two days about displaying it outside and leave the engine bay empty but eventually, with a little bit of sadness, I put the engine into its bay…As it turn out, the most difficult part was getting it into its bay. The two torsion bars underneath interfered and I had to cut them off in order to get the engine to sit on its mount properly! The entire engine was painted in Gun Metal with Testor Metallizer Burnt Metal as highlight. The air filters were painted flat white with light weathering.
Even with the engine in its bay, it’s not over. Cooling pipes, gas pipes are now inserted in. Then the bay is further divided before the rear gas tank, the water cooling tank are made and put in place. Several pipes though, if you check the next few steps, can be skipped since they will be fully covered up by the fuel tanks etc.
The radiators and their cooling fins are made next. Again, some KT’s never had those cooling fins so you can can them. The choice is up to you. I built them in since they do add a bit to the whole assembly. The only problem was the color. These are all supposed to be in the red oxide color but I decided to paint them flat white like other German tanks to break up what otherwise would be a much too dark engine bay. The final piece that completes the entire thing are the two massive side fuel cells. These are painted Pacemaker Red and then the entire thing was weathered with artistic cream color for dust and the sooty Tamiya Flat Black.
Boy is this the centerpiece of the entire thing! That bay, when completed, will swallow up to 600 pieces and it is crammed! It took me three months to complete this and for any superdetailer, they will have a field day and could spend up to a year just to detail this bay to the max! After taking a week worth of breather, I skipped forward to the transmission.
The transmission is another kit in itself. It’s not nearly part intense as the engine but still came out looking really nice. The only problem were parts C19 and C20. These, when assembled, are the connector points to the drive/brake drums. As it turned out, they are too long and I had a really nice time sanding them down so they can fit but eventually they did. This is put into the front where it will complete the driver station with the seat and everything else.
The next few steps are all sorts of accessories that will finish the middle of the hull. These include the drive connector rods, which also contain the middle turret driver connection point, the batteries, the capacitator, the turret floor boards with a spare jerry can worth of gas, the radio set for the radio operator…With its funky upside down upper radio…Again, get the AFV correction set if that really bothers you. The interior is now mostly complete.
The rear plate is now assembled and put onto the tank. I left anything that look like it might break or will be a different color. Just a note, you can leave the exhaust pipes off and put on their holders. They will fit down their holders later. Also, notice the rear tow ring catcher. They are a lot smaller than the catchers on the rear of the upper hull. These insert into the upper hull ones and then they are locked down by the tow rings so both the front and the rear of the upper hull will be locked down tight onto the lower hull! So yes, don’t cut up or saw off what otherwise is a perfect model!!!
Track assembly is next. I’ll save it until they are painted.
Then the hull ammo rack walls and the main support are added…And…And the project went into limbo for the next eight months while I tried to collect my AFV inner hull ammo rack correction set….The project finally restarted three months ago when I finally got my sets!
These sets are not in great condition! This is because all the sets are made when the original KT kit came out in 2007 or so…After years collecting dust, they sagged. The upper and middle racks folded in on the lower ones. However, the problem isn’t as bad as it sound as they are flexible enough that you can unfold them, again, adapting the trick from the turret ammo racks, you can use the ammo themselves as a connection point to seat these racks right.
These sets only contain the front and rear pieces. The middle support racks, you have to use the kit pieces. So keep that in mind. No instructions are given since the pieces are denoted in the original Trumpeter call out. AKA, AA-1 is equivalent to the AA-1 in the instruction etc.
Starting with CC-1, the right front rack, I carefully super glued the pieces onto the correct placement on the sponson, after they were sprayed with Scale Hopper Beige. Everything were eyeballed since these pieces did not have any location holes (Forcing me to cut off the locating studs on the hull off). After the glue was dry, I pried the bottom most rack up just so I can insert the first round of ammo in, followed by the rest. Then super glued the rack down onto the ammo themselves. This was followed by the middle rack, and the upper racks. It took me a week of careful work to get everything in place, and I did break off a few and had to use the ammo as connection points to get them back on and use putty to cure the damage. But eventually, they were all set and the interior was finally complete, allowing me a week break! Time to put the upper hull and turret on and get the exterior painting started!!!!!!!
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
The overall scheme would be the three tone camo carried by nearly all German tanks during the last stages of the war with an “ambush” pattern of small dots on the camo. To start off, the model was washed with flat black paint and then covered from head to toe with Tamiya’s Dark Yellow. Next, dark green was sprayed on in a pattern similar to the instructions. German tanks were usually painted in the field so the camo patterns can be various. This was followed by dark brown. These colors are also sprayed onto the wheels and drive sprocket, doing best for best coverage. When all the paint were dry, I took a small pointed brush and started doing the ambush pattern by putting various dots. Dark yellow onto the brown and green. Green onto the brown and yellow etc. These patterns cover the entire tank except the gun tube.
Before weathering can be applied, I decided to tackle the tracks so they can be weathered together. Trumpeter this time will have you assemble the tracks yourself. Like all German KittieKat tanks, the tracks are divided into a flat female link and a male link with the guide teeth and holes for the sprocket. A total of 46 links are needed for each set of tracks so it was 92 total for a single track length. The worst problem with these tracks is the fact all of them have four ejector pin marks on each. Since I’m not gonna tackle ALL of them, I decided to hide them with weathering. And most of them do get covered up by the road wheels. Also, as I found out, total of 92 tracks for each set was too long and I was forced to remove two sets from each track. The problem I guess were the idlers. I probably set them into a position where they are too close to the road wheels, thus causing the tracks to be too long. There are no position plugs on the model so you have to set your own track distance and I guess I goofed. Also, removing the tracks proved to be a huge PITA! This is because the way the track was assembled. Each of the links are held together with two short metal axels, inserted at each end, not unlike what they do with real tank treads. This may sound problematic but works well…A little too well as when the second axel goes in…That’s it, the tracks are assembled and good luck trying to pry them loose! This is because the axel fits really tight in the holes and I needed my son’s toy hammer to hammer them in! In the end, I had to use my dremel cutter to get the offending tracks off. The track was painted with a spray of Gun Metal. You don’t need to completely cover the tracks as they are in a very dark greyish metal color themselves. After dry, weathering can begin.
Since I’m building a Battle of the Bulge tank, weathering was kept to a minimum. Again, some of these tanks are less than 2 months old when the operation begin. However, just remember tanks are dirty things. The instant they go off road, is the instant they WILL get dirty, sometimes very dirty so no matter what, with any armored vehicle, weathering are needed. If you just look at some KT just before Battle of the Bulge, they are already dirty. Not as dirty as a war weary vehicle, but still dirty enough. Some even have their mud guards missing already (Although with any German tanks, their mud guards are not put on tight. And any sort of hard jostle will shake them off)
To begin, I took my artistic black and thin it down with water. This was applied to the entire tank in streaks and several coats. This not only makes the tank, especially the road wheels dirty, but also tone down and shadow the camo pattern. Without it, the camo colors look too bright and the edges are “too sharp”. After that was dry, I took my artistic cream color, again, heavily diluted with water and applied in streaks onto the tank to represent dirt, especially heavily to the drive section, the mud guards, front of the tank, rear, top of the maintenance hatch (where the crew did a lot of maintenance to these maintenance heavy vehicles), and the crew boarding hatches. This was also applied to the tracks although I may also have to apply it more since the track it seems, seems to dilute the effect. The last is a tannish beige color to represent mud. Again, I’ll need to apply it more to the tracks since they don’t seem to want to catch the paint. Finally, silver was dry brushed on the outer edge of the tracks since these area gets pounded on by the ground and usually gets grounded into their silvery natural metal colors. Again, no rust on operational tracks as they simply gets grounded away by the dust and dirt although, if left alone to the elements, they get rusted fairly quickly. This is why I used “Brown Oxide” artistic paint to replicate the rust on the spare tracks. Same with the wheel rims. These are painted with metallic grey since any paint will quickly wear off due to them contacting the tracks. Now for the final assembly
Final construction begin with the tracks. After dry, the tracks were finally put on the tank. This is why the sprocket is so loose since the only way to get the tracks onto the tank with Trumpeter’s track construction method is to link them together, put them onto the running wheels, insert the sprocket into the tracks before putting them onto the tank itself. If you try to join the tracks while on the running gear. Good luck, there is no way you can pound the two metal axels into the track, not without damaging and knocking something inside loose!
After that was done, time to paint all the accessories such as the pioneer tools and the tow cables. The tow cables are all in copper metal. I followed the instructions and the main ones were short! Just cut them in half and be done with it. The thinner, longer cable was left alone…As it turn out, cut about an inch and a half from it since it proved to be too long. Other than that, everything proceeded smoothly although there are A LOT still left! The hammer, shovel etc were painted gun metal with tan/wood handles. The tow cables were sprayed with gun metal and all were weathered. Then the final dust screen were put on. The last final piece were the two exhaust pipes. These were painted with silver first, then heavily weathered with burnt metal, black and then brown oxide artistic paints to replicate rust. Then these were carefully inserted into their holders in the back with super glue.
Now, the markings. I chose tank 224 on the decal sheet except I cut them to make 242 instead. Don’t know if accurate and don’t care (so don’t email me about this). The decals went on fine and is the usual too thin Trumpeter decals that you need to soak through completely before sliding them off of the backing paper and react very well with Mr. Mark Softener.
WHEW! After nearly 2 years of on and off slogging and waiting, tank complete and no, not over yet!
Now, the Verlinden figures. These contains 1 full body, and three upper body figures with various uniforms. The bodies are all separated from the heads and arms, with accessories such as pistols, earphones and radio connectors. Two very thin cooper wires are also included to replicate the headphone wires. Instructions are only for the attachment of the headphones and their associated wires. Overall, these are well casted and the facial features are very detailed.
The first step is to cut the body and heads from the casting blocks. These are small and makes it a cinch.
Attachment of arms are next. No instructions are provided but they are not hard to figure out. If the arm does not fit or have something juts out from the mounting point, find a different body. I put the lower body onto the commander figure. Again, not hard to figure out. He’s the one holding the binoculars. The heads were left off to ease painting. After curing the seams with my red spot glazing putty and sanding, the figures are ready to paint.
Just a note, this is my third time EVER doing any figure painting…So yes, if I goofed, then forgive me! No painting guide were provided but its easy checking the picture on the box and googling everything.
The commander figure was sprayed with Tamiya’s Semi-Gloss black and then tone down with NATO black and rubber black as highlights.
The loader was painted in dark green with red brown and dark yellow camo pattern. The driver was painted with Testor’s Military Brown, and highlighted with NATO black and dark yellow. Finally, the radio operator was painted in Dark Yellow with dark green.
For details, all buttons, and needed areas were highlighted with silver. The iron crosses were painted with Testor’s flat black with silver edges (doing my best). Gloves were Rubber Black, with inner shirts either black or white.
Now the faces. I started with Flat Flesh, then washed the faces with sequential tan, beige, and artistic cream. Finally, I added brown beige as highlight. The eyes and lips were painted next. I know I may have goofed on some of the eyes (A process I’m still learning). But overall, although may not measure up to par with what an expert will do, but I’m happy with it!
Finally, to complete everything, I added all the accessories. The longer pistols (maybe Lugers?) I painted Red Brown. The shorter ones are painted flat black (Walther P38?). You get one extra just in case you mess up. The commander and driver got the lugers. The radio operator and the loader will remain happy with the P38.
The headphones are a bit more complicated. The ear covers are provided. But you need to use some spare photo-etch metal to replicate the cover connector bands. I simply grabbed the used up dust screen photo-etch sheet, cut off the required length of metal from fret, and then bent them to shape before attaching to the headphone ear covers. Next, the two thin copper wires are cut into the correct length and attached to the headphones before the central chest control device was attached. After painting all of them flat black, I attach them to the figures. The commander has the phones off, others in various state of attachment.
As a final detail, I used gun metal and burnt metal to highlight the signal pistol in the driver’s hand.
Finally, the figures were put into their positions, all except the radio operator. As it turned out, his uniform sides were too “bulgy” and will not slide down the hatch. I simply took out my dremel and sanded them down and he fit perfectly.
With the figures in place, the tank suddenly look very different. The figures not only add a sense of scale, but also give the tank a more personal “Personality” feel that otherwise it will never covey. This is why I wish all armor manufactures could include some figures in their kits. It really brings the vehicle in question to life.
Well, after nearly two years of on and off slog, and no small amount of headaches fighting to get that inner hull ammo rack correction set, this long haul of a project is finally done and boy, am I happy with it! The only big tripping point again, is its size. It’s now on my defunct and broken printer in my office and discounting the 88mm barrel, it’s almost the exact same dimension as the printer, perhaps a bit bigger and weight just as much! To say it’s an eye catcher is to say the least! I will not be surprised if one day, while my kids are learning about WW II in school, I will take this piece to their history class as a showpiece….Yeah, this is a WW II tank, it looks like this, and the inside look like this. This is the driver station….etc, etc, etc...
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