I picked up one of these models to participate in the WoT contest coming up, and figured I’d keep a build log as I went along – so if you like building models or just want to see some of the basics of how it’s accomplished, read on :).
Alright – I won’t bore you with the individual parts step-by-step of assembly, but I will give you a broad overview and a tools list for it.
Sprues – generally the parts sprues were pretty clean, very little flash, and fit was very good. The model from which this one was drawn has obviously gone through a few generations, and we’re seeing the benefits of that.
One thing I didn’t notice at first: there are TWO “D” sprues. One with the original zimmerit Tiger parts, and one with the clean-sides WoT parts. They have a lot of overlap in parts, but the original zimmerit sprue contains some elements that are not duplicated. Italeri fortunately calls out the WoT-specific stuff with red highlighting in the instructions, but I didn’t really understand that until I was a good way in. Didn’t cause me any problems, just a little anxiety when thinking that I had some missing bits.
Decals – some good memorable WoT items there, which I’ll use on my build. No decals from the original Tiger model are here, so if you’re looking to use this kit as an authentic-style WW2 model, prepare for that.
Tools – in the build process, I kept my tool set pretty limited, since most people playing WoT won’t have a full bench like I do. Here’s all I used during assembly:
- Wire cutters (for snipping pieces off of sprues)
- One set standard tweezers
- One set spring-shut tweezers
- One triangular-section file
- One hobby razor knife
- One pin-vice (the hand-held drill – I actually grabbed two when I started, but in the end only used the smaller bit, so one is all you need)
- Glue from the kit (very thin with a brush applicator – particularly useful when putting tracks together, and for areas where the glue will “wick” up a seam while you hold it together with the other hand)
- Humbrol poly cement (any brand will do, this one has a long metal tip for reaching tough spots, and I find this thicker form of cement is a little stronger than most brush-on varieties)
- Two sheets white A4 printer paper (these sat under the model and under sprues – helps to keep an eye on tiny parts, makes cleanup of extra gunk easy, and keeps the wife from yelling at me if I spill glue)
Although there are many parts, most go together without any trouble at all. The tracks will be the primary challenge of assembly (some sections need to be put together one link at a time, then formed to the wheels while the glue is still moldable – see the Italeri website, they have a good video demonstrating how to handle these). If you put them together on a hard, flat surface, you can string 6-10 of them together before sliding them into position over the wheels. The second-hardest assembly task is installing handles – these tiny little bits are really hard for me, because my hands aren’t as steady as they used to be.
Still and all, I got it done in four sessions of about 2-3 hours each while watching TV with my wife. You can probably move faster than me. I would have done it quicker, but two of those sessions were assembling tracks, and I didn’t want to turn the hull over onto a track that was still drying. Safer to let it cure for a few hours or overnight, then do the other side.
I originally wanted to go with a “blown-up” vehicle, since that’s what Tigers are best at in WoT, but after completing it I decided it was just a little too pretty for that. So instead it’ll get a camo job and a decent basing done before finishing. I’ll still give it some battle-damage (some gashes, maybe a hole or two from a pesky E25 or Sherman), but the overall tank will remain intact.
One thing to note: the instructions include a cupola machine-gun as part of the install. This isn’t part of the in-game tank, if that’s what you’re really after. I put it on because it looks cool. Your mileage may vary.
After assembly, I primed it up with matte black all over. (For reference, I use an acetone-thinned primer here, but I don’t have much preference.) This helps to create shade effects as the black tends to give more depth beneath the surface paint job. It’ll also make scratches look a bit more real and provide some good interior shadow. The objective here is to look good for a camera, and for an observer approximately 1 meter away.
A quick update here – after the primer is completely dry (I leave it for 24 hours, probably not necessary to wait quite that long), I stole some of my wife’s hairspray and gave the model a good coat all over. You can probably use el-cheapo stuff from the drugstore if you don’t have any handy in the house. Really, any kind of hairspray will do the trick just fine. Apply it and let it dry completely. If you’re doing it on your workbench, make sure to stick a sheet of paper or something in between where your model is and any sensitive surfaces like magnifiers, electrical equipment, etc., or that stuff will get a coat of it on it as well.
The objective here is to give me a water-soluble base on top of my primer (which is *not* water-soluble), which will wait under my hull coat for when I’m almost done painting. At that point, I’ll get a q-tip (you brits call them ear buds or something), soak it in water, and wet down edges and spots where crew would walk, then use the dry end or a toothpick (cocktail stick) to scrape away tiny little chips of the hull paint to give it some wear-and-tear look. I’ll let this dry tonight, and tomorrow I’ll slap on the base hull color of a dark sandy yellow (not taxicab yellow, but more of a summer wood kind – WW2 fans will recognize it, it’s often referred to as “dunkelgelb” or “German yellow” among modelers). Once that gets dry, I’ll mask off some sections and start developing the camo pattern.