I'm detailing the whitewashed Dragon remote controlled Tiger I.
The Micro X Tech series of Tiger models was released around 2002, and were the precursors to the Dragon Armor line. Rubber but well detailed tracks; movable wheels that retain their fine model quality; these are excellent models.
This my the 4th Micro X Tech Tiger and with the collection complete, I'm interested in detailing this one.
My model was bought used, and I discovered the commander's hatch was missing. I checked the original ebay listing and sure enough, the hatch isn't present in the photos. I did the due diligence search, looking for the hatch part inside the tank, inside the packaging, etc. Sometimes when parts break off, people place them within the model for safekeeping (guilty of this).
Here are the areas of improvement of which I've worked on.
1. Cutting antenna off. 2. Replacing lift-und-slide hatch with kit part. (Funny story on this! Coming up). 3. Refinish the thoughtless Dragon weathering (was the base tank dunkelgelb or dunkelgrau? You don't know and neither did Dragon). 4. Paint the tracks. 5. Fix the commander figure mounting (he's clearly and uncomfortably mounted to a 2x4). 6. Add stowage and Jerry cans (a favorite thing for me to do!) 7. Touch up some fine painting (wood tool handles, tow cables, jack block, etc). 8. Add a track replacement cable (missing from the model, hangs on left side of Tiger. Sourced from a kit).
OK! Much of this work is done. No photos to show yet. I'll get into the gritty details soon.
Just sprayed dullcote and the model is drying. Tonight I'll give her a good look and see what final touches need to be done. I know I'll be giving another white drybrush treatment. Also, light dirt and dust pasteling. Then the tracks need to be weathered, attached and glued for sag. Looking great!
Going through 17 in-process photos to show some of the work.
I found as many period photos as I could, for the 506th in this late '43- early '44 timeframe. Not a lot exists, at least, on the web. I'm guessing much of the unit history was destroyed. If anyone has Tigers In Combat I, check and see if they cover the 506th. TIC II, which I have, does not.
I've kept the front spare track on the model, even though the actual photo of the tank doesn't have it. A detail like this, I guess we could say the track holder was installed sometime after the photo was taken. If I were to model this from scratch, I'd have left it off. It's fastened so securely I'd have to destroy it and probably the glacis would have been damaged as well. It's all fixable but for something like spare track, I didn't want to rework to that degree.
I took note of a fellow collector's observation of no crosses on the 506th Tigers at this point in time. From my examination of photos, I agree. Also, when whitewash is field applied, a nice neat cross isn't a priority-- even if it existed in the battalion. So I used acetone to remove the decal, which removed some paint and marred the finish. This is normal with acetone. I then duplicated the work in the field by applying dunkelgelb over the marred area, (basically, it's bare smooth plastic), then mixed white and grey paints to match the side hull shade. Then I applied medium grey pastels to mimic Dragon's stylistic line weathering / cammo. The results came out very well. Mind you, one side is basically covered with the Revell track cable, but you can't count on a part like that to cover surface marring. You have to finish both tank sides to get the paint to look as stock and natural as possible. Then you add the cable over the hull.
Removing the headlight. It took me about 10 minutes to make up my mind to do this. First of all, a friend was kind enough to mention it in a review thread. The actual tank was a very interesting blend of old and newer Tiger technology. Old: rubber wheels. New: sliding commander's hatch. There are other details that discern, including no zimmerit, grey and dunkelgelb base colors, cannon sights, air filtration, and so on. One glaring mistake Dragon made was the centered headlight, which was wrong for three reasons. First, it's a later Tiger feature. Second, the photo of the real tank "Yellow 5" doesn't show it. Third, it seems none, or very few, of the 506th's Tigers in this period had any headlights. So I refrained from adding a pair.
Once I decided to remove the headlight, I faced a problem because my basic weathering, refinishing and black wash were all done. To remove an entrenched piece of plastic in such an open and obvious space was going to leave a mark, and two holes.
My first instinct was to cover this area with gear. I had done this very thing to cover the rear deck where the R/C antenna emerges from the grill. It's an ugly opening and I covered it with a bedroll.
For the glacis, I considered a jerry can. It fit the height and width well. One thing I couldn't get past is the driver not being too keen on having gas so near his aperture. I'm sure the jerry can was stowed like this in practice somewhere, but I didn't want to do it here.
I considered a box, and then a satchel. Finally I figured, sod it, just fill the holes and refinish the plate. I filled the holes using runny CA glue, applying it with a pointed Q Tip and smearing it away with my finger. I primed the area by drybrushing grey, refilled the dimple one more time, and the surface was restored. Then I used the same paint method described in a previous post, when I repainted the side hull where the decal had been removed with acetone. I applied dunkelgelb, then mixed the proper grey color, and used pastels to weather the entire front plate as a single project.
Here's the workbench with all the materials at hand, yesterday.
At this point, with the material you see here, I can do my work without leaving the table. All my trusty tools are here, the curved tweezers, metal pick, Solvaset (I use the cap to deposit CA glue and use the metal pick to transfer the glue to the model). On some paint bottle caps you can see where I mixed white and dark grey to match the hull color. Purple box holds my paints, grey box holds crushed pastel powder, nail polish remover is acetone which quickly cleans brushes with the napkin, kits for parts, resin stowage items, Granola of which I was told by my wife to not eat a lot of, reading glasses for essential magnification, odorless thinner for black washes, pointed Q Tips to precisely remove paint or black wash deposits, razor saw to cut some resin off the pour plugs, flat file, hobby knife and Lindstrom cutters, and flat and round paint brushes. The nail polish bottle makes it very easy to quickly use and clean a brush; you can make a minor painting effort and be cleaned up within seconds.
When I looked at historical photos of early and mid Tigers, I noticed crews would stow buckets between the exhaust covers. I found a suitable resin bucket, but I anticipated a problem if I were to try sawing it off the pour plug. I was afraid I'd lose the bottom of my bucket.
So a few days before sawing, I filled the bottom of the bucket with CA glue. This would create a thicker floor. The process worked and the bucket was weathered and installed on the model.
Drybrushed with dunkelgelb and white tonight. Giving her a final inspection and just sitting with her for a bit. One of the problems with the Dragon finishing is they used a bright yellow for some highlights. I can't completely conquer that, but I can mitigate with the dark yellow.
Drybrushed the tracks tonight. Found a great Preiser figure for the turret hatch, will be a loose drop in. Thanks Silverbreak for bringing the stock commander into question--it did look too small, and didn't have great detail.
Tracks need to dry for awhile.
Tomorrow I'm installing 4 tow shackles, will be glued. Did a lot of drybrushing tonight, white and dark yellow. Applied brown pastel powder to sponsons.