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DML Grille H Smart Kit WIP *COMPLETE Pics p.9* 05-03-09

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  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Sunday, April 12, 2009 9:07 PM

Today was a very productive Easter Sunday although I will admit that some of the work in this update was actually accomplished yesterday!

In looking into the problem with the gun mount and the equilibrators, I came across a detail that Gary Edmundson had included in his build in the Osprey "Modelling the German 15cm Bison and Grille". That detail is the inclusion of two additional round racks in the floor area ahead of the rifle racks. This item doesn't show up in any of the interior photos in MBI and Spielberger because of angles but Gary mentions he used photos of a Grille recovered in Austria from the river Enns so I'm guessing that's where he got it from. It's not something mentioned in the DML instructions but additional ammo racks are available on the sprues, so I painted 2 up and stuck them into position. It makes sense to me that this space would be used for this since there's no radio operator and it's just dead space otherwise.

Returning to the left side, I installed the missing MP40 after test fits with the lower hull to get it in the correct position. The gunner's seat was also added and I scrounged a firing table decal from an unused set from the Bronco Marder I that I trimmed down to size and applied with Solvaset. Some weathering was added in the form of some Burnt Umber stippled in place for some scuff marks and then counter-stippled with the base coat color to break it up and provide some randomness. A pin wash of Raw Umber was also applied and then the base coat dry brushed over that to blend it back in where needed. A spray coat of Testors Lusterless Flat was applied to seal it all in prior to installation.

The same process was also applied to the right side.

I also assembled and installed the radio operator's chair and began the assembly of the fighting compartment. First up was the installation of the front plate. In order to achieve that, the gun travel lock needed to be installed and mated up with the latch on the interior through the little key-hole opening in the front plate. Once that had dried, I glued the front plate down with liquid glue and let it set up. I finally figured out what the pre-bent piece of steel wire that was provided as part MC-2 was for...it's supposed to represent the wiring conduit for the Notek light. I wrestled with it for a while trying to get it to fit into the proper position and finally gave up. Reference photos show it's supposed to hug the joint between the glacis and the superstructure front plate but the wire's too big for that to actually happen, so I left it off.

Now came the moment of truth, time to add the superstructure sides and the rear doors and central panel to create the fighting compartment. After much thought, I decided to mount the tools later as I'm worried that there's not enough clearance at the front for example to mount the wire cutters and sledge hammer as called for in the instructions. Rather than have them possibly interfere with the compartment sides, it was more important that they fit properly first and I'll worry about the tools later. Due to the way the end curved brace has to fit under the engine access hatches, it has to be slid into position first since it fits sort of like in a groove and then the sides slid into position. Can't do that if the tools or gear on the rear portions of the fenders are installed, so that too will come later. I added the left hand side first with regular glue for the joins along the sides and once that had started to set I used liquid glue and finger pressure for the joint with the front plate. The same process was then repeated with the right side and when both sides were solid, I added the hinge points and installed the rear doors and center panel. A very small amount of putty was needed at the join on the front right side near the base but otherwise everything went together smoothly.

Completing the effort for today, I detailed the gun breech using enamel Silver for the interior of the breech and the sliding block. The activation handle was painted with non-buffing metalizer Gunmetal and then dry brushed with steel as were the elevation wheels. The gun sight was also detailed and the eye piece drilled out with a pin vise. The interior portions of the gun were given a wash of Raw Umber and then dry brushed with the base coat. The contact rails for the recoil sled were painted with Steel for their bare metal look to round things out. The rest of the gun will be weathered along with the exterior when the time comes after it's been installed.

Total Session Time: 7.25 hours

Total Time to Date: 45.5 hours

  • Member since
    January 2007
Posted by the doog on Sunday, April 12, 2009 9:11 PM

Excellent, Bill!

That interior is looking pretty spiffy, and that's a GREAT piece of "inside information" about those two extra ammo racks there! The rest of it--all the wiring on the radios and all--looks great.

Don't you love adding firing table details? I put one in my Hummel, and it's just the coolest little detail! Big Smile [:D]

  • Member since
    May 2005
  • From: Dublin Rep Of Ireland
Posted by terry35 on Sunday, April 12, 2009 9:21 PM

Well Bill it's obvious that you had a good session at the bench. Everything so far looks good. I'm interested in what you said about the Osprey by Gary Edmundson, think I'll order a copy in the morning.

As for the vehicle found in the river, I think I seen it on a Polish website called Deketorweb, a site dedicated to stuff found with metal detectors. The site has a large section on WWII stuff found including the now famous German T34.

Keep up the good work.

Terry.

  • Member since
    May 2005
  • From: Dublin Rep Of Ireland
Posted by terry35 on Sunday, April 12, 2009 9:35 PM

  • Member since
    January 2012
Posted by I make stuff on Monday, April 13, 2009 11:50 AM

Wow, Bill, that interior is really amazing, very lifelike  Edit: lived in, but not abused.  I guess it can't be lifelike) .  Nice save, or improvisation, or whatever to call it, with the ammo racks!

I like this one, too.

Bill 

 

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Monday, April 13, 2009 12:50 PM

Karl, thanks for the comments, I had a lot of fun working with the interior details, one of the advantages (or disadvantages depending on your outlook!) of working with an open-topped vehicle I suppose! I was puzzled as to why DML didn't include a decal for the firing table...usually they are pretty good about that sort of thing.

Terry, the Osprey book is pretty helpful in terms of showing the photos of what Gary did for his build. He produced a hybrid using a lot of different sources in styrene, PE, resin, etc. to produce his but it's still a great reference for details. Since it covers the Bison I, Bison II, the Pz III based sIG 33B, the Grille H, and Grille M it's a handy item to have around. Thanks for posting the detektorweb link, that's pretty cool!

Bill, thanks for the comments as well...lived in but not abused was what I was after. This one's going to be finished in a Kursk '43 scheme so wouldn't have been around too long at that point in time unlike, say, a Normandy vehicle. Wink [;)]

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Monday, April 13, 2009 6:46 PM

I had the day off today as part of an extended Easter weekend so decided to make the most of it. I added the missing details to the superstructure in the form of the antenna mount and base as well as the lower PE loops for the foul weather gear. The PE fret includes almost 2 full sets of loops so there's plenty of extras in case you lose some along the way. I added the loops using the reference photos in MBI since the kit instructions are somewhat vague on their actual placement. The loops were installed using a combination of CA gel applied to the PE parts as well as a small amount of liquid glue to the superstructure panel to insure a good solid join and also provide some flexibility/work-time although not much. I opted to leave the molded on top rectangular loops though as the PE items were too fragile and easily damaged when trying to remove them from the fret.

With that out of the way, I masked off the interior with blue painter's tape and it was off to the garage for some time with the airbrush.

I repeated the previous painting process for the interior, laying down a primer coat of Italian Dark Brown followed by a 50-50 base coat of Dunkelgelb/Light Gray. I decided to apply the camo pattern for a LAH vehicle at Kursk '43 and used Khaki for the olivegrun pattern. I sprayed the cross-hatched/web pattern free hand, starting on the left hand side and working my way around the superstructure, deliberately leaving the fenders out of the pattern. A light mist coat of the base coat mix was then sprayed back over it to tie everything together and provide a foundation for the weathering process.

The road wheels and return rollers were also detailed, their rubber portions were sprayed using Gunmetal and the hubs sprayed with the base coat mix using a circle template.

Total Session Time: 4.5 hours

Total Time to Date: 50.0 hours

  • Member since
    January 2007
Posted by the doog on Monday, April 13, 2009 9:20 PM

WOW!---WAAAAAAAAAAY COOL paint, Bill!

I love it!

It's like a fishnet stocking...Kisses [:X]...on a tank.....Tongue [:P].....

My blood pressure just shot through the roof! Laugh [(-D]

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Monday, April 13, 2009 10:25 PM
 the doog wrote:

WOW!---WAAAAAAAAAAY COOL paint, Bill!

I love it!

It's like a fishnet stocking...Kisses [:X]...on a tank.....Tongue [:P].....

My blood pressure just shot through the roof! Laugh [(-D]

Down doog! Down boy! Laugh [(-D] Thanks for the comments...as soon as I saw this one in the finishing guide options I knew it was going to be the "one". Big Smile [:D] Just about got carpal tunnel though because of all the trigger action required to get it on...helps that it's a nice square surface for the most part.

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • From: Schroon Lake, NY
Posted by SMJmodeler on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 9:52 AM
 wbill76 wrote:

Steve, appreciate the comments...but really, I have to ask, did you read my previous posts? I know you're on dial-up so may have skipped over some things, but sheesh you guys are hounding me needlessly (said with tongue firmly in cheek!)! Wink [;)] Laugh [(-D] I said twice now and will say it a third time <sigh> because it's a Saturday...the interior isn't done and I'm going to weather it before installation...

Bill: I'm not on dial-up, but I don't have the internet at home (and probably never will be able to get a signal).  I use my local library and the signal is great!  My time is limited though because it's only open during business hours.  Therefore, it hard to read threads such as yours that get such huge responses in their entirety, like I would at night if I was at home.  My apologies for you having to repeat yourself.

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 1:19 PM
Sorry Steve, must have confused you with someone else about the dial-up. No need for an apology and I meant my previous comments as friendly poking only. Can definitely understand the limitations of library time as your only viewing opportunity...that's how I often feel when travelling, always sneaking in as much as I can when in the airports or hotel rooms. Big Smile [:D]  
  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Piscataway, NJ!
Posted by wing_nut on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 6:17 AM
Looks great Bill.  It almost has a 3d look ins spots like a topographic grid.  And I am glad to hear I am not the only one that has problems after a long spray session.  My hand cramps up somethin' fierce.

Marc  

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 9:31 AM
Thanks Marc! Because I spray in the garage instead of at the workbench, I try to get as much done as I can in a single session providing the weather cooperates. This is our windy/dusty time of year so it can be a gamble depending. Even with taking breaks it can easily turn into a marathon session! Smile [:)]
  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Saturday, April 18, 2009 10:35 PM

Getting much closer to the finish line now and the latest round of effort focused in on the details for the exterior. The astute observer from the previous post will have noticed that I only painted 7 of the 8 road wheels...a fact I discovered when I went to test fit them in today's efforts and came up 1 short. Fortunately I found the wheel out in the garage where I do my painting and disaster was averted. I painted the wheel and also went back over the camo pattern and removed the green over spray to make the dunkelgelb color a little more dominant than it was before.

I also stated in on the tools and other equipment for the fenders. Starting on the left side, I already knew that the kit suggested positioning of the shovel and pick axe weren't going to work. The diagram wants you to install the shovel flat against the vertical side of the engine access hatch but you can't do that due to the interference from the curved rear brace of the fighting compartment side. The diagram suggestion is how these were configured on the 38t gun-tank and is a hold-over from their 38t G instruction diagrams. The solution is to position the shovel flat on the fender and have the pick axe sit on top of it. In order to be able to handle this as one piece instead of two, I used some liquid glue and glued the handles of the shovel and pick together in position and let it dry. I also test fit the location of the long pry bar to be sure it too would go in the right spot.

With that out of the way, I painted up all the tools for installation with the exception of the wire cutters, more on them in a bit. All of the wood portions were painted with an 80/20 mix of Afrika Grunbraun and Light Gray and then given a light wash of Leather. The metallic portions were painted with non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal and then lightly dry-brushed with Steel. I added the PE retaining straps to the axe and pick/shovel as well as the pry bar but left it off the sledge hammer since it won't be visible once installed and would've caused clearance problems with the superstructure when sliding it into place.

I'm not too impressed with the DML PE in this department...all of the straps provided are the same and fairly plain and lacking in detail. They also don't have any bend lines to help guide you in sizing them so you have to do it all by trial and error and even then they are too short for some of the things the instructions call for them to do. For example, they are too short to tie the shovel and pick together and also too short to adequately go around the wire cutters. This means you have to cheat a bit and position the gaps so that they are on the inside and away from view.

I installed the tools on the left hand side once they had dried and the wire cutters required special attention. The clearance at the front of the superstructure is insufficient to allow the inside handle to clear it properly. Since it's hidden from view anyway, I carefully trimmed it down to only that portion that would be visible and still allow it to fit. The road wheels and return rollers were also installed in anticipation of the tracks getting fitted tomorrow.

I also worked on the rear hull details. The muffler was base coated with non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal and given a wash of Rust and the spare track run added to the rear superstructure plate. The lenses of the Notek were picked out with Tamiya Clear Green and the four small leather straps added to the rear crew doors. I also added the 3 retaining PE straps for the tow cable and noticed on sprue A that two cable ends were included in the kit as parts A27. These aren't called out anywhere in the instructions and the front diagrams don't have them marked as not for use so they are a sort of "Easter egg" for you to find if you're vigilant I guess. I created the cable using a 10cm length of crochet rope that I first dipped into Future and hung to air dry. This accomplishes two things...it insures the rope won't fray and get "hairy" when painted and also stiffens it up a bit but not too much that it still can't be shaped into the proper position. The cable was painted up with the same metalizer Gunmetal and then installed into position and the leather straps glued into place to hold it down. In hindsight I could have benefited from having the thread just a few mm longer but had to kind of wing it in terms of overall length since no guidance is provided in the instructions.

The right side received its share of attention as well. The jack block was installed along with the two spare track runs at the front and rear of the fender. The sledge was glued into place and the head can be seen poking out towards the rear but that's it, the rest is hidden from view. The axe does a similar disappearing act at the front of the fender.

Last but not least, the spare track run of 7 links was added to the glacis and its retainer bar glued into place. I didn't notice until this pic that I hadn't painted the leather straps on the jack, will take care of that with tomorrow's activity.

Next up will be weathering the lower hull and getting the tracks on!

Total Session Time: 6.5 hours

Total Time to Date: 56.5 hours

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: League City, Texas
Posted by sfcmac on Saturday, April 18, 2009 11:15 PM
wbill just incredible as always! Bow [bow]
  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: On my kitchen counter top somewhere in North Carolina.
Posted by disastermaster on Saturday, April 18, 2009 11:54 PM

Looking real good Bill. Those tools are just outta sight and the camo is sure to be a winner....

Oh yeah, I'm a Steve too.

Lotta Steves here. 

http://www.innovationbyinstinct.com/services/hosting/clients/accountyp/status/DisasterMaster/%23t1-4.jpg

 

 

 

 

 
  • Member since
    May 2005
  • From: Dublin Rep Of Ireland
Posted by terry35 on Sunday, April 19, 2009 10:50 AM

Bill the camo is looking brilliant at the moment. the  pioneer tools look great, the whole thing is comming together really nicely right now.

Terry.

P.s the 38t stable must be getting pretty crowded right now. I sent offf for the book on thhe Sig33 but it has not arrived yet.

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:26 AM

Aaron, thanks for the comments! Thumbs Up [tup]

DM-Steve, thanks as well, you're right in that there are quite a few Steves running around. It's a conspiracy! I tried something a little bit different this time around in terms of my base "wood" color...instead of using my normal mystery-mix (which has started to get thick with age), I played around with similar colors I alread had available and was happy with the outcome.

Terry, appreciate you stopping by and yes the 38t stable is definitely well populated. To date I've completed 5 (this one will be #6) kits in the family and have another 6 in the stash, so this one's the tipping point so-to-speak. Laugh [(-D] Hope your reference arrives soon so you can get to work on yours.

  • Member since
    January 2012
Posted by I make stuff on Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:37 AM

Looking great, Bill.  I second the comment about the tools, they just look real to me.  I was just painting the Princes Jagdtiger tools, using tips frmo your build logs, and let me tell you, your detail work is amazing.

Bill 

  • Member since
    August 2008
  • From: S.W. Missouri
Posted by Pvt Mutt on Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:58 AM

Big Smile [:D]

Well DMLs kits seem to have many major and minor flaws that would have been just as easy to get right when designed as to get them wrong. Is it because builders are becoming more knowlegeable of their subjects or is it that the model companies are just getting by with thinking they can pull the wool down over our eyes?

Bills Grille still looks really nice to me and i'm sure to many other average modellers like myself.     We being the core group of sales are the bread and butter to these companies and I guess they figure the hard cases will fix the mistakes that are intentional or otherwise.

Thanks Bill for taking the time                                                                                          Tony the Mutt

Shoot Low Boys They're Ridin Ponys

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Sunday, April 19, 2009 1:30 PM

Bill, thanks for the kind words. Glad to hear the techniques are proving useful on your Princess build, I'm following that one with great interest. Wink [;)]

 Pvt Mutt wrote:

Big Smile [:D]

Well DMLs kits seem to have many major and minor flaws that would have been just as easy to get right when designed as to get them wrong. Is it because builders are becoming more knowlegeable of their subjects or is it that the model companies are just getting by with thinking they can pull the wool down over our eyes?

Bills Grille still looks really nice to me and i'm sure to many other average modellers like myself.     We being the core group of sales are the bread and butter to these companies and I guess they figure the hard cases will fix the mistakes that are intentional or otherwise.

Thanks Bill for taking the time                                                                                          Tony the Mutt

Tony,

Thanks for commenting and dropping in! My philosophy is a simple one. We are model builders and not just model assemblers, so there's always going to be some work to be done to overcome various things in every kit. I've yet to come across a "perfect" kit even though some have come very close, they all still have something small that has to be dealt with in one way or another. 

Sure DML could do some things that would make it easier to build their kits but at the end of the day their goofs in the instructions aren't anything that can't be overcome...you just have to be vigilant. As for the accuracy errors that creep in, I chalk that up to being about economy of scale in terms of reusing parts/molds from previous kits more so than deliberate inclusion of errors thinking they can skate by. They do that to cut costs and get the most out of their investment vs. creating all new sprues for just that vehicle. That doesn't excuse the errors and sometimes the errors that get introduced as a result of that choice can be pretty big and DML has been known to produce some real accuracy dog kits as a result. The AM guys will normally step in and fill these kinds of vacuums depending and the major kit manufacturers know that.

Even with the vast proliferation of reference material and forums on the Internet, there's still a very large portion of the model building world out there that's not online or doesn't particularly care if the kit is 100% accurate or not and will buy it anyway. The majors also know this...so sometimes the question comes down to being "good enough"...and when you consider the competition (none) in regards to a Grille H kit in styrene, they probably have a little more leeway in what constitutes "good enough" on this particular kit. Even with its flaws it is still a big improvement over the previous kits that are long OOP by Kirin, Alan, or even DML themselves.

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Sunday, April 19, 2009 10:27 PM

Today's efforts turned out to more of an endurance challenge than I first anticipated. Things got off to an easy enough start with the final installation of the sIG 33 and mount into the hull. I added the hinged armored piece as well to round things out in that department. In anticipation of adding the tracks I also added some light scuffing/weathering to the lower hull and road wheels by stippling some Burnt Umber with a round sable brush.

Next up were the magic tracks. The kit instructions call for 96 per side but that's way too many. Normally the 38t family need about 92 links per side so I cleaned up 184 links, removing the small ejector marks and the small scar in the middle from where they were once attached to a sprue. Some of the links also had some minor flash on the guide horns, so that was also removed as required. My assembly process for indy links is pretty simple...I assemble them 5 at a time as that seems to be about what works until the glue has a chance to set. I use regular Testors Model Master glue in the black bottle and will daisy-chain the groups of 5 together once I've got three built with the first and second getting added together while the third sets up a bit and I assemble the fourth. Once the fourth is assembled, the third gets added to the run and so on. As each group of 5 gets added, I use a pair of metal rulers to press down on the run using the guide horns to keep everything straight.  I assembled two runs, one of 23 links for the lower and one of 70 for the upper to give a total of 93.

My next step is a little unorthodox but is a method that works well for my needs...I paint the runs while the glue is still setting up. The runs were brush painted with non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal which dries very quickly since it's lacquer-based. I wear a paint breather mask as the fumes can be pretty strong even with good circulation. The runs are then dry brushed with Steel and given a quick wash of enamel Raw Umber to blend the Steel in and give it a used look. As soon as the wash dries, the runs get installed. I built and installed the right hand side first using a pair of toothpicks to help produce the right amount of sag. Turned out that in order to have the idler sit properly level with the last road wheel, only 90 links were required.

In order to insure a nice level set while the track is drying, I built the left hand side of 23 links and placed it under the left side while I worked on the rest of the links for that side.

The process was then repeated, installing the left hand side also with 90 links.

The tracks will set up overnight and then the toothpicks will be removed. There are a few odds and ends in the detail department for me to take care of and then it will be on to the decals and weathering stage.

Total Session Time: 7.5 hours

Total Time to Date: 64.0 hours

  • Member since
    August 2008
  • From: S.W. Missouri
Posted by Pvt Mutt on Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:10 PM

Very Good Bill, the 33 gave her some dignity.Big Smile [:D]

Idlers even with the top of the last road wheel huh? Didn't know just how they should sit. I see the light.

You're a good man Charlie Brown                                                                                     Tony the Mutt

Shoot Low Boys They're Ridin Ponys

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Monday, April 20, 2009 9:15 AM
Thanks Tony! The gun-buggy definitely needs to be armed in order to be taken seriously. Wink [;)] The idlers were adjustable so you'll see a variety of positions depending on the vehicles in question, but the common position was level with the last wheel since there's only 2 return rollers and the angled nature of the suspension vs. the fender for example.
  • Member since
    June 2005
  • From: Indiana U.S.A.
Posted by Panther F on Monday, April 20, 2009 10:17 AM
Wow!  I really like it!  The camo is fantastic. Bow [bow]
  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Las Vegas, Nevada
Posted by model maniac 96 on Monday, April 20, 2009 10:21 AM
 Panther F wrote:
Wow!  I really like it!  The camo is fantastic. Bow [bow]


Jim
"Veni, Vidi, Vici" Julius Caesar: I came, I saw, I conquered.
  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Monday, April 20, 2009 1:20 PM
Thanks Jeff and Jim, appreciate the comments.
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: New Jersey
Posted by redleg12 on Monday, April 20, 2009 3:38 PM

Bill - I apologize for not getting back but this week was a zoo with AMPS.

Nice gun buggy!!! Love the wizz green camo. Great shot of the toothpicks for tracks!

Rounds Complete!!

"The Moral High Ground....A Great Place to Emplace Artillery."

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Texas
Posted by wbill76 on Monday, April 20, 2009 5:15 PM
No worries Mike, thanks for dropping in. The humble toothpick is the unsung hero of the workbench...literally has 1001+ uses and I keep a box of them handy and go through several on each build project. Wink [;)]
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 6:00 PM
Camo has turned out very nice...I also like your shade of ochre---what is it?
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