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Old 03-03-2009, 02:37 AM
Emre Efli Emre Efli is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Istanbul
Posts: 107
M-109A6 Paladin (Italeri)

Greetings all,

I'm new to here and this is exciting. You might know me from other websites as well. If you do not, I am a Turkish modeler from Istanbul and I have been seriously modelling since 2002 (I took a break in 2005-2006 when I started to work as an auditor). Before that I would -very amateurishly- build airplanes, but when I got my airbrush, I suddenly had an urge to switch to armor. Since then, I couldn't complete an airplane yet

I am trying to improve my skills and the Turkish modeling society is very small and not very keen on armor (it's planes planes planes and the occasional helicopter). As a result, there are few modelers who I could look up to, so compared to many models I see here I'm still an infant. Please do not get mad if I ruin something.

That's enough about myself. Onto the model.

Many of you might be familiar with this kit. It's a rather recent offering from Italeri and it's based on their previous M-109 kit. Not too complex and has vinyl tracks which I greatly dislike.

To get rid of the vinyls, I decided to get support from AFV Club.

I will also be using a metal barrel from Barreldepot.

Before I started, I tried to find information about this kit on the net. A few places warned me about warps of the lower and upper hull. Cautiously, I put together the lower hull. No problems there, fit was good.

Things got more complex when I took out the top of the hull from the box. Uh huh... Talk about warping.

The entire part was "V" shaped. I tried to bend it back into shape but it started cracking in places in response. Since I'm an impatient modeler (trying to get that under control), I decided I will use force to put this unruly hull part into its place and show it who was the boss. It took me the "Battle of the Workbench" and 45 minutes to get it in place using both Revell's thin cement and Tamiya's ultra thin cement, but it was done. Of course, the part was also a little small for its place and there were gaps left. Most notable was at the front.

I decided to let it cure for some time before challenging the gaps. During that time, I challenged the road wheels. Strangely enough, the wheels did not have the usual Italeri molding seams in the middle. Stranger though, they didn't also have the line that separates the rubber part of the wheels from the rims! I assembled the road wheels anyway.

Then came the tedious part of filling all those gaps. You gotta love Italeri!

Assembly of rear hull. I couldn't find out what that roller like thing does. In all photos I could find, it looks empty. Is that a cable roller or what?

I also had to hollow out the exhaust. You think with an exhaust this size, they would give you a hollow one. Of course not! (it's not a 2000s kit after all)

The roadwheels were assembled. The drive sprocket is still workable to easily assemble the tracks.

With the hull nearly complete, I turned my attention to the turret.
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:46 AM
Emre Efli Emre Efli is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Istanbul
Posts: 107
It took some convincing to get the turret parts altogether. I reminded them what I did to the upper hull part, then they compiled to fit together.

Then I lost track of time trying to fit all those fiddly bits together, so no photos there. You can choose where you will place the baskets on the turrets, I decided they looked better on the sides (you can also place them at the rear of the turret if you like). Lastly I fitted the Barreldepot metal barrel which required some heavy sanding action. When I put it into place, I discovered that the barrel was too heavy for the turret and it was breaking the mantlet apart! I had to support the mantlet and fix the barrel into place.

More detail:

It probably would be better if I replaced some detail on the turret, but I was in a hurry to complete the kit.

Overall assembly is complete.

There's one small problem. The large window like thingie on the turret (most possibly target acquisition, periscopes or something similar, I haven't done my homework) should be like this, tinted glass (photo from Primeportal.net):

As you can see, the Italeri is completely plastic. I considered drilling the part, but the plastic behind the frame is too thick. I am not capable of scratchbuilding, so let it be. I'll try to work out something with transparent paint.
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:58 AM
Emre Efli Emre Efli is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Istanbul
Posts: 107
Onto the painting stage. I decided to use Tamiya's Nato colors of XF-67 (Green) XF-68 (Brown) and XF-69 (Black). I started to paint the hull with XF-67 when my paint ran out. So I opened a new bottle of XF-67 and look what happened...

They are visibly different. I will later on post a comparison photo with the other model I painted with the paint bottle that ran out. I had to paint over the previously painted areas... Wasted time!

After that, it was the turret's turn. I was worried about paint not adhering to the metal barrel, so I decided to use Mr White Primer or whatever it was. Ordinarily it was for metal priming. After I primed the barrel, I was worried that the tone of paint on the barrel and the turret would be different so I decided nothing should matter if I quickly sprayed the turret. Boy, was I wrong! The metal primer did not adhere to the plastic and it started running in a lot of places. It's called "metal" primer for a reason, eh? Tell that to my impatience... Have to experience the hard way.

After that, everything turned green:

Then green and brown and black. I just love these colors.

Then it was time for the fiddly assembly of the AFV Club workable tracks. You can not believe how those smaller parts that hold the tracks together "piiing" across the room, into eternity...

Tracks done and Tamiya's X-22 Clear Cote sprayed on the vehicle. The small amount of decals were applied and then X-22 was sprayed over those. It is surprising how Tamiya colors come around when you apply X-22.

I was talking about paint difference. Here's Paladin (new paint bottle) versus my Panzerhaubitze 2000 (painted with the previous bottle of Nato green). Not the same, are they?

More will follow, I have to rush to my lecture now.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:14 AM
James Tainton's Avatar
James Tainton James Tainton is offline
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Great post- thanks!

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Old 03-03-2009, 11:55 AM
Emre Efli Emre Efli is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Istanbul
Posts: 107
Thanks James!

Ok, let me go on. I have completed the tracks, but that wasn't without problems. Initially, I tried to make a long thread of track, roll it around the sprocket then pull it backwards, to be connected with itself once I made a complete loop. What I did not consider was the weaker links. The small pieces that hold together the tracks are not very sturdy and they tend to break (or worse, fly) off, breaking apart the track.

To tackle this problem, I used another tactic. I used Tamiya's ultra thin cement on one side of the track on those pieces, I figures even if they would look crooked they would be on the side facing the hull. What you can't see can't hurt, eh? This idea seemed to work well and the tracks held this time. What I couldn't accomplish in 3 hours took me only 30 seconds by this method.

I was rushing for the finish when I had to make a pit stop for repairs. I fixed the barrel to the travel lock previously, so that its weight would be balanced and it wouldn't accidentally break the turret apart. Guess CA was not strong enough to counter the weight and the barrel broke free anyway. Doing so, it damaged the paint as well.

I spent two days to repaint, recoat with gloss cote and for it to dry. Didn't matter, as soon as it came into contact with the travel lock, there was more chipping. When I was able to find "used and abused" Paladin photos, I saw that the same problem occured with the real vehicle as well. So this time, I left it as it is.

Now comes the fun part and I will need your suggestions... Weathering. I want this model to look as if it's been driven through mud on a rainy day. However, local modelers often tell me I'm not very good at weathering, possibly because I am afraid of overdoing it so much that I tend to do very little.

This is what I attempted so far:

I used Mig Pigments (or Migments?), diluted with turpentine. The color I chose was "Dark Mud". For the tracks, I tried mixing three different colors but when they dried they were lighter colored than I intended.

Any suggestions how I can improve the look?
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:16 PM
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skeletondude skeletondude is offline
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No suggestions, but I think you nailed that weathered look quite nicely, Emre!

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Old 03-03-2009, 02:33 PM
Babel Babel is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Warrington, UK
Posts: 34
Hello, i love modern stuff, there should be more of them over here. Anyway two things in my opinion:
1 headlights, at least paint glass with some silver color, or drill the holes and use vallejo water effects to create "glass".
2. Weathering, if you want to make it look wet and mudy, you can mix pigments with gloss varnish, another technic is apply pigments with brush (without turpentine or any other media) into the model and then gently (from distance) spray using airbrush some varnish. Pigments change color then (usually getting darker) and you can create some mudy patches with that. Once is dry use another color and apply with brush but in smaller portions and areas.
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:16 PM
Emre Efli Emre Efli is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Istanbul
Posts: 107
Thanks for the comments guys.

The headlights and other rather sensitive material will be done last. Pigments have a tendency to get into places you don't want it seems.

OK, I am trying some new things on this model. I decided to get braver with Mig-ments. I tried to reproduce patches of dried mud and I tried to do some splattered mud at the back, relying on a photo of a M-109 in a similar condition.

Here's front and back. I might have overdone the front. The rear it seems is forever lost in the shadow of the turret that portrudes backwards... I had to lift it up so that it will receive some light at least for the photo.

Ok, now here's the thing. When I first apply the pigments, they are in the darker color I would like them to be. When they dry, however, they look even lighter than the dry pigment in the bottle. Should I apply gloss cote as you suggested Babel? Won't it destroy the pigments and scatter them around? I tried using gloss cote on my previous model, only to see all of the pigments disappear...

The lower hull is about to be done. After that, I will spread that dusty look to the turret and lastly complete small details like the head lights, antennas, shovels, picks and other pioneer tools. I removed the .50 cal, I might replace it with a JB models metal .50 Browning, I don't know. The Italeri one just doesn't look the part, it is almost elliptical instead of round!
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Old 03-03-2009, 07:01 PM
Babel Babel is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Warrington, UK
Posts: 34
If you are not sure, take a peace (sheet) of clean plastic and try to apply pigments(1 color) with differrent media (gloss varnish, matt varnish, turpentine or white spirit) then you will be able to see how they react without worrying about the model. In General pigments should be applied to the model at the end of whole wheatering, never on gloss surface, surface should be treated with matt varnish first. If you cover everything at the end with any varnish they will dissapear.
Mixing pigment powder with a bit of gloss varnish should give you a wet mud look, try to add dry pigments at the edges of mud patch (mud always drys first at the edges), that difference in color and texture should look very natural. This is how i tried to make drying mud:

p.s. have you tried "wash" on your models.
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:01 PM
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serpico serpico is offline
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Shows what can be done when you persevere....nice job! The box art's a little different on mine.

I started this kit several years ago then I lost the inspiration when I encountered the same upper/lower hull problems...

Excellent painting and photos...

Cheers, Paul

PS I like the mud as is...

Last edited by serpico; 03-03-2009 at 08:14 PM.
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