If you’re a sad act like me, then you scour the interwebs on a near daily basis sniffing for news of new toys. I had little or no desire to field Ferdinands but when word came out that the Russian heavyweights were releasing one, well, that all changed. What can I say, I’m weak.
I don’t quite get Zevzda; not the spelling of their name nor their approach to kit-making. Some are fiddly wee buggers with a morass of parts, others, remarkably simple. The Ferdie is in the latter category: remarkably few components, just ten, making assembly really swift.
In truth, I’m not sure how I feel about that. For me, I think, the exercise of assembling a kit is a Zen-like thing, a distraction from the hassles of being a soi disant, grown-up, and all that that entails. Which is to say, I like a little bit of a challenge and don’t want to blink and realise I’ve just made a model and must find something else to do before bedtime. Mind, sticking together five of the same kits in a row, à la PSC or Battlefront, can drain enthusiasm. Certainly by the time the fifth turret is being glued up, it can.
Since the components are so few the instructions are merely an exploded diagram on the back o’ the box, so, in the hope of giving a word to the wise, I’ll just point out where I nearly went wrong.
Firstly, that was with the suspension pieces and tracks. Offering the components up to one another I fretted that I’d not got the right side on the right side and, although the suspension carriers are angled to prevent cock-ups, there seemed to be extra locating holes and it sure looked like, if you were an eejit, and I am, you could get this wrong. So I slowed things down and made sure I didn’t.
Secondly, there was no secondly. It’s that simple a kit. Blink, and it’s built.
I had some spare Tiger tracks from a PSC box and so they went on the back of one Ferdie and the front guards of t’other. Which still left me with some spare Tiger track from a PSC box, so that went on the front of t’other t’other and was all gone. Nice.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing and I do wish I’d duffed up the front guards a little. I like that look.
I did remember to drill out the barrels before assembly; which is kinda a first.
And that’s it. Hey, presto, a finished kit. I rinsed, repeated and primed with Halfords primer.
Painting the fiddly spider’s web camo was, well, fiddly. I did contemplate hand-painting the Tamiya XF-61 on the PSC Tank Warspray Mid-Late War German Dunkelgelb but made myself use the airbrush because, well, I have to learn. Damn it. I have to. But, alas, I’m clearly still lost somewhere on the rising slopes of the learning curve. Two things. Firstly, it took forever. Secondly, and this time there is a secondly; it got really frustrating when the fifty-fifty paint ‘n’ X-20A thinners just splattered. God, I hate that. And I had cranked the pressure on my faithful eBay-sourced cheap Chinese compressor down to an indicated 12psi or so – God knows what that really means it was; I don’t trust that gauge. Uh, uh.
Maybe my paint mix was off. Dunno.
Eventually, though, I managed a reasonably thin line and I kept telling myself, ‘If it does prove really dire, I’ll weather the Hell out of it.’ But I was pleasantly surprised with the final result.
Tracks were painted in Vallejo 70822 German Camo Black Brown and then washed with some AK Interactive Track Wash. The superstructure got a careful – no varnish applied, see? – douse with either AK Interactive’s AK300 or AK066 enamel washes, I forget which. I use those two interchangeably and rarely see much of a difference, if I’m honest. There’s also some powder on the wheels but don’t ask me what shades. That’s another learning curve – weathering powders. They don’t fix the same colour they start, do they? Meh.
Yes, one of ’em sports a right old hash of a ‘fix’ to a bit o’ splatter that screams to me every time I look at it, and no amount of weathering will stop that niggling voice from rising in my mind when I clock it. True, I didn’t take enough time bedding them into their bases, and they are going to have to pretend to be Elefants, but, overall, I’m really happy with the way these two turned out.
Reckon Stigger’s face will make me happier still when I reveal that AT16 loveliness on the table sometime. Nice.