Sunday, 16 March 2008

M10s & Achilles - Simple Updetailing

A Simple Project
The basic resin kit is 1/60 and from S and S models. The same hull and turret suffices for both the M10 and the Achilles, with substitute breech and barrels dependant on the version you get. I have been informed the kit represents a late variant without the armour attachment points ( circles on hull and turret) and rear stowage racks. I have made several of these in this configuration and they've came out fine, however they are distinctive elements of the vehicles so i decided on some simple up detailing for a commission Achilles and two M10s. I will add this is not a scale conversion, but simple modifications that most of us can do with a little effort. If i was doing a single top notch kit i would approach things differently.

The Hull
I first started with the racking on the rear sides, this is a simple affair using plastic strips from my spares box. I obtained extra Sherman tracks from Shaun and the only point of note is to make the spaces between vertical racking correct to fit track links. Next came the armour securing points these were slithers of plastic rod. I found getting square edges on the cut surfaces difficult so i super glued these in place by eye and filed flat once dry. Its adequate but I'm sure there's better methods out there. As with most things i then looked at my references and thought there's something missing..... the hull headlamps and what are presumably Turret and Hull slinging points. The slinging points where made from brass rod bent around the edge of some snipe nosed pliers. Once snipped to size the edges were dremeled flat and simply glued in the appropriate positions. These leaves the lamps, again the trusty wire was bent and dremeled and appropriate headlamps were found.
Note: I would now approach either BAM or Brent at Company B for either the M3 headlamps or the excellent set for the Company B hellcat and HMC. I'm not sure they are available separately but you can only ask :o)
Finally, all the barrels were replaced with brass tubing, unfortunatley the original barrels have poor definition.

Now the hard bits were done i added the stowage. This was a rummage through my spares box which has been recharged with bits from the following ranges:

Chieftain Models, Bolt Action, Company B, S and S Models, Skytrex ( 20mm but a tarpaulin is a tarpaulin...), Hovels ( boxes)

I recommend picking up stowage whenever you can, I'm forever running out and mixing and matching produces the best results. Besides the gun barrel and breech the only things that separate the three models are the BAM helmets, British for the Achilles and you can guess the rest. A point on scale here, the kit is 1/60, i've used spares and parts from 1/56 ranges and stowage from 1/72 ranges, its all good. The .50 cals are BAM and are the best i've seen.

The sandbags were simple milliput rolls, roll a sausage and cut into equal segments. the action of the blade creates as suitable edge for the sandbag. These were then positioned around the vehicles and stitch lines added with a sculpting tool.

Not the intention of this update but the kits were then primed fully using spray black and touched up with Humbrol Black to create a solid coat. It is important to have a solid base coat ( whatever colour you choose) as a base for further painting. The kits were then airbrushed using Tamiya olive green and furthered detailed with lighter shadings. Once happy with your basic tones, cover with Johnsons Klear ( Future). This produces a sheen but dont worry, it gives a solid coat for further washing techniques. Various pin washes were added (concentrating on the detail recesses) stains and scratching etc.
At this stage i then paint the details, tracks, wheel rims, stowage and .50 cals. The weathering process for the vehicle is always seperate to the stowage. Pigments were applied at various stages and fixed with white spirit. Once happy the model was sprayed with Testors ( RIP - what am i going to use now!).
note: don't start burnishing the tracks and 50 cals until after the testors, understandably it dulls the burnish!

And finally additional pigments are used to "pull" the model together. I'm quiet happy with the results. The Achilles is off to a happy customer in Australia, the M10s are up for grabs, contact me for details. Both the finished kits and Work in Progress (WIP) shots can be found below.

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1/56 Weasel
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