Once upon the time around 2010, a colleague, knowing I was into scale modeling, asked me if I would be interested to paint a Tiger tank he had assembled a while ago.
I immediately said “Sure, why not?” I figured it would be some cool and quick paint practice.
And so it was that one morning, he came up to me with this in hand:
Impressive eh? All these neat glue joints, this sharp and comprehensive parts cleanup, the overall spirit of precision!
I quickly dropped the idea of a quick paint run. After some soul searching, I decided to try and salvage this build to make it at least acceptable. So I started to remove, clean and replace.
Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the pictures of the actual cleanup process, which involved ripping pretty much everything I could and replace that with parts from the spare box, cleaning absurd amounts of glue (which were quite literally puddles) in the process. I decided on a sPzAbt. 501 ride in Tunisia, taking my cue from the old Panzer Color volume III and keeping it to the kit’s decal sheet.
Regardless of the initial state of that build, it was, and remains, a pretty entertaining journey. It was quite satisfying to slowly witness the emergence of something that resembled a Tiger tank, at least in its basic shapes.
The primed and semi-restored Tiger:
Base coat, decals and some sort of shading.
Final shots of the build.
Now, looking back, I see a millions things that aren’t quite right with my work on this model. Gaps, ghost seams, actual seams, very rough and uninspired weathering, etc. Hey, it was a while ago, after all. But no matter how basic this restoration ended up, it remains one of the most satisfying project I did to this day. Not sure why.
Maybe that’s because I felt confident I could only make it better no matter what. Or perhaps it’s because I simply took my kick out of the simple pleasure of cleaning things up, making sure it was overall better than it was, and completing the project in a timely fashion and giving the model back to Mathieu in a much better state than he had left it to me.
I don’t know, but what I do know is that thanks to this particular build, I’ve managed to appreciate what scale modeling has to offer in its simplest form, and that feeling has remained with me ever since.
Kit: Italeri Tiger I Ausf. E/H1 #286 built by a colleague from work.
Parts: Various replacements from the spare box.
Antenna: Some RB Model aerial.