Construction Notes, Modeling project

T-34/76 mod. 1943

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So this is Tamiya’s old (1975 to be exact) T-34/76 model 1943. Although not a bad kit per say, it does show its age. It was a shelf queen of over 5 years, and since this is my no-kit-left-behind season, I went about completing it.

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Construction

Aside from the kit itself, there are a number of accuracy issues with this build. The most obvious is the non-standard starboard tow cable attachment point which I scratched out of nowhere. The port spotlight is from the kit and isn’t a clear lens, it’s painted. (Now you understand what’s curious about it 🙂 ). As for the kit, readers will be interested in reading Paul Gibson’s observation on this Track-Link thread.

Also, vinyl hub caps. Ugh.

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Aftermarket

I’ve used quite a bit of aftermarket stuff on this one, and some will say an old kit like this doesn’t really warrant such lavish expenses. But I wanted to try a number of new products and this was as good a subject as any to do just that. What I used (see at the bottom of this post for ref numbers):

  • Bitskrieg tool boxes. Neat little addition. Crisp molding, simple to use.
  • RB Model barrel. Not entirely necessary, but I had it, so there.
  • Masterclub tracks. These deserve an article on their own. Many things to say about those, stay tuned.
  • An old Eduard set, of which I only used the top rear grille and gun mantlet cover.
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So this one was destined to be somewhat of a practice mule for a heavily chipped winter whitewash, but after failing at this (not enough hairspray, too thick top layer), I went for a rather simple summer scheme.

Since I live in Québec (we have two seasons – winter and July), spraying a decent primer outside isn’t an option. So my current priming solution is NATO black diluted at about 50% with Tamiya Lacquer Thinner. It’s not perfect but it does have some more tooth than an acrylic primer like Vallejo, for instance, which doesn’t really hold well.

For the base coat, I shaded a mix of Tamiya paint inspired from the base coat Michael Rinaldi demonstrates on his Russian Churchill in Tank Art 2, namely:

  • XF-13 J.A. Green
  • XF-21 Sky
  • XF-3 Flat Yellow
  • and a tad of XF-1 Flat White for the very last lighting stage.
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Weathering was made first with a dark pin wash, then some pigments on the lower hull, upper hull, then went on with oil paint rendering.

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Honest Assessment

Things I’m happy with:

  • Modulation. Just the right amount of modulation. I’m really not a fan of super heavy modulation technique on each and every panel, I think it looks odd, but I do like very much a subtle zenithal shading, and on this particular project, I got close to what I had in mind.
  • Good pigment work on the tracks and suspension. Lots of improvement to be made there still, but I’m reasonably happy with the trackwork’s end state. The outer side could be dustier I think. And mud on the wheels could probably be a little more directional and better imply the wheels’ motion.
  • Fixedthatshit. I did. Failed a winter whitewash and did not accept to move on with an ugly paint job. Took the time to address a number of smaller issues as well. The fixthatshit mentality is growing on me. And that is thanks to The Scale Model Critique Group.

Things I’m okay with:

  • Overall construction. Clean. Admittedly, it is not a very complex affair but there aren’t huge blunders to speak of. Plus there are a number of scratch items, like the tie downs, infantry ramps, and turret hoops. The only thing that isn’t so clean is the rear top PE  which doesn’t sit perfectly along the ventilation cover’s angled rear side.
  • Exhaust pipes. Feels like I did an okay job with the rust and fume stain there.

Things that suck

  • No story. This tank has no story to tell. It really is something I need to focus more on. It may have something to do with the fact that I changed my mind at the last minute about the color scheme, and I didn’t really have a story in my mind.
  • Weathering. I feel there is a lot more I could do, and looking at the build I really feel I’m constrained within a limited set of techniques. OPR, in particular, is mostly looking the same from one build to another. Dry pigments application was made too hastily and I need to focus on smaller areas with smaller applications.
  • More weathering. Lots of specific techniques were performed too quickly, without the necessary precision (case in point: rain marks on the turret are too broad and heavy-handed).
  • And then, weathering some more. On almost every project, I realize after the fact that I completely missed some parts. I know that this is because my mind in on the next project and I rush things ever so slightly. It’s getting better with every project, but I still come out with missing spots.
  • Failed whitewash. Not shown on the pics is the fact that I failed a heavily distressed whitewash application. It’s a fixthatshit win but an overall fail nonetheless.
  • No-clear-lense Spotlight. Seriously, nice try painting it, but no.
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Lesson learned

  • Some pigment application, especially upped hull dry ones, need to be more focused and deliberate. I’m still stuck in a bit of a bulk/wholesale technique application mentality.
  • Masterclub tracks are a strange beast. On the one hand, they truly look good, but they assemble pretty inconsistently, and they really challenged my motivation. Especially since the whole build was over and I only had these left to assemble. Yuck.
  • REFS REFS REFS. There is a gazillion of heavily weathered T-34s out there. I need to focus more on trying to replicate actual effects rather than eyeballing everything.
  • On the same vein: I have a pretty sizable references library, and yet I have next to nothing on the T-34. Thanks to Facebook’s T-34 interest Group I learned a few things and got hold of some excellent references, but I really need to get that going. It’s only one of the most important tank of World War Two, after all.
  • Practice. Yeah, no shit. Micheal Rinaldi has been repeating that to me every time I sought some wisdom from him. In no particular order: hairspray technique, dry pigment application, OPR.
  • Paint finish. I’ve yet to figure a way to not only spray smooth (I’m mostly there) but KEEP my paint job clean. As much as I try, I always end up with some ugly bumps and dust that spoil that smoothness.
  • Generally, when I hit the painting phase, I follow through until the end. There will be no half-painted shelf queen.
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So what do you think about this one? Feel free to offer any constructive comment in the comment section.


Project Specs

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Tamiya T-34/76 (MM159)
Masterclub Tracks Early Pattern (MTL35023)
Bitskrieg Tool Boxes (BK-066)
RB Model F34 Metal Barrel (35B18)
Eduard exterior detail set (35069)

Started: a long time ago, I’d say around 2012.
Finished: Today (March 23rd, 2019).

Overall enjoyment of this project: a solid 7.5 out of 10.

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3 thoughts on “T-34/76 mod. 1943

  1. I think it looked is great. Looks keep me, you tend to be harsh on yourself. Colour looks great and the weathering too. Nice job, I’d say. Not a show winner but a nice , clean build. I’d be proud of it. Don’t be too harsh on yourself.

    Like

    • Haha, yeah, maybe I sound depressed, but I really ain’t. I’m just a harsh critic of my own things, as we often are I guess, that’s all, But overall I’m happy with the project. Learned a lot and moving forward. Thank you for your comment Stevie!

      Like

  2. Pingback: Editing Photographies in Photoshop, a Step by Step guide by Michael Rinaldi | The Other Means

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