Monday 25 September 2017

Academy 1/72 2.5 Ton Truck

The second of the two US military models Teresa treated me to at a recent '40s show, this 2.5 ton truck is another nice model from the ever reliable Academy. The pics that accompany this post aren't strictly chronological; I totally lost track of the build, somehow! I started it whilst we were away on our recent holiday in Suffolk. And now, back home and back at work, it's nearing completion.

The major sub-assemblies; sanding the wheels.

As with the Dodge ambulance, I went with the principle of building several major sub assemblies. These could then be painted to a certain basic level, before assembly. Thus process giving one the opportunity to paint certain parts - wheels, cabin interior - before final assembly makes them awkward or impossible to access.

Ready for a dry fit.

Dry fitting the various elements of the sub-assemblies is great fun, and especially so with a kit as well manufactured as this. I'm still well off perfectionist levels re perfect alignment. But plonking the parts together to get a sneak preview of how the vehicle will look is highly satisfying. 

The dry-fit, or temporary assembly.

The circular opening in the cab roof is an optional thing, as the kit allows for the building of several variants (with or without the cable-reel at the front, and with or without the MG mount over the cabin, etc.). And cutting it out was tricky. I got the smooth circular hole by wrapping sandpaper round a paintbrush handle.

Dismantled. Starting on window masks.

A YouTube video on aeroplane canopy masking has helped me improve my window masking on ground vehicles. The technique involves tracing the masks out in situ, on the model, with a nice sharp pencil, and then removing them and cutting them on a board, before re-applying the accurately (one hopes!?) trimmed masks. I'm no ninja with this technique, yet. But it has improved my working with 'glass'. I've included that video in this post, down the bottom somewhere.

Windows masked. Willys Jeep joins the party.

It was at about this point that I spied my old and neglected Academy Willys Jeep, which has sat unloved whilst the accompanying Kubelwagen and Kettenkrad were completed ages back. Adding the Jeep to my current workload seemed a no-brainer at this point. So I determined that I would replace the missing MG - one of the reasons I'd abandoned it - with one from the 2.5 ton truck set, which includes all sorts of useful extra stuff.

Grey primer, then Olive Drab.

After undercoating the truck with grey primer, both vehicles got their coat of Olive Drab. Then engine, tires, and sundry other bits (seats, steering wheels, gear knobs, etc.) were painted. The sub assemblies are still separate at this juncture. I rather like the pristine simplicity of the block-colour finish at this stage.

Tires in black, seats khaki.

Finally the sub assemblies are glued together, and the two models start to look quite nice. They're ready for a gloss coat at this stage, and then decals.

Ready for the pre-decal gloss varnish coat.

With the decals in place, it's time for another gloss coat, to seal them in, and some hand-painted detailing. By now the models are looking, though I say it myself, quite handsome.

Decals in place.

Okay, so after a few days off this model, working on some others, I got back to it today, and sealed it all in with a coat of matt varnish. I ought to do a bit more: some pin-wash detailing, highlights, and the reel of cable on the front fender. 

But for the time being, here she is in her current state. I'm quite pleased. Particularly with how the windows came out. So many of my other models end up with cack all over the windows, despite careful masking. These aren't perfect, by any means. But they're better than most of my other efforts!

Okay, not 100% finished... but they'll do for now!

And the jeep's come out alright as well. I had to snip off the old gun-mount, and then drill a tiny hole for the new MG, from the 2.5 ton truck collection. The glass on the Jeep is good, by my standard, as well. Very gratifying. Bit late to add a driver to the truck. But I might populate the Jeep...

Here's the canopy masking tutorial that I found very helpful:

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