Tuesday, February 27

Painting & Weathering Guide: 1/35th scale M1 Abrams MBT from Pana Models

The mighty Abrams tank – still top of the heap on the battlefield and the modern warfare modelling benches. Paul has painted & weathered his 35th scale Panda Hobby M1 Abrams up very nicely in today's third part of his article.See how he went in today's story...

Painting & Weathering Guide: M1 Abrams MBT
From Pana Models
1/35th scale
Price: ¥5,040/ $47.67 USD/ €38.90
Product Link on the Hobbylink Japan site
With the construction finally out of the way, I turned my attention to the schemes that came in the box and found them to be not the most inspiring I’ve come across with three green and one MERDC scheme. 
For some reason, I just don’t find the MERDC scheme attractive so I went hunting on the internet and found this image which I thought was quite interesting. 
This was an M1 from the Delta Company, 1st Batallion, 64th Armor, 3rd Infantry Division, Germany, in a singular winter livery.
So off we go with a pre-shade in black on all the details on the upper surfaces of the hull and turret but I didn’t bother with the lower surfaces since they would be largely hidden and also painted in a darker shade. The lower surfaces of both the hull and turret were sprayed with Tamiya XF-58, and then Tamiya XF-67 Nato Green on side and upper surfaces of the tank. The tracks were sprayed in XF-1 Flat Black, but then lightened with a few drops of white and sprayed on the rubber blocks of the tracks. 
The tracks were then installed, which I found the whole 80 links to be a bit loose so I took off two links on each side which resulted in a very tight fit so you could probably get rid of one link or none at all if you want to leave parts of the side skirts opened. I also received some information from a helpful reader on Facebook who advised that the clear hubs provided were supposed to be clear, but unfortunately by this stage, I had already painted the hubs.
Like the tracks, I lightened the XF-67 Nato Green with a few drops of white and sprayed it onto the upper surfaces as a highlight, and lightly misted it over the sides to break up the monotone colour. With the tracks on, I could finally attach the side skirts and mask them off with Blu-Tak in preparation for the white pattern on the sides and front of the turret.

I began spraying the appropriate surfaces with Tamiya XF-2 Flat White, but this is where the problems started. The individual side skirts while handy if you wanted to pose them open, are not very strong with only a small amount of gluing surface along a rim so they’re not very well attached to the side of the hull and most of them ended falling off. As the old adage goes, strength in numbers, I stuck on a strip of styrene to the back of the panels that had fallen off to reinforce them resulting in much greater strength when attached to the side of the hull.
I had also been experimenting with trying to add some frost to the vehicle but just couldn’t get a result that I was happy with. Admittedly, living in Sydney which sees very little frost and no snow at all, it was quite difficult to figure out how frost acts on a vehicle. 

Unfortunately, it was at his point that the model had just gone over that taken too long phase and I was just wanting to get it done and over with, so I made the decision to go with an all green scheme, and resprayed the side skirts and turret sections in Nato Green. Deciding on the scheme with the wolf’s head on the side skirt, I had to insert a decal under the fence(?) on the sides of the turret which would have been easier before the fences had been installed, but I wouldn’t want to add the fences after painting either so it was more of an inconvenience.
With such a long struggle with this kit, it was refreshing to finally see the finishing line. I added the final details which were the two machine guns on top of the turret and the tow cables on the lower sides of the turret. The ammunition belt for the M240 machine gun is very fragile but adds a nice bit of detail. The ammunition belt for the M2 is moulded to the feeder which isn’t as convincing as the separate belt of the M240. Attaching the ammunition boxes was also quite a challenge with a small gluing area. 
A black pin wash was applied to bring out the details although it is a fairly smooth and plain vehicle. I used a brown wash to add some streaking to the sides of the vehicle, and the fairly prominent front upper hull. I dusted the vehicle and the tracks with Abteilung’s Basic Earth and then finally finished it off with AK Ultra Matte. 
This was a project that took a lot longer than I had originally planned. While part of it was due to the summer heat and me wanting to stay out of the garage, there were aspects of the kit that was a real killer. And this is what I find sums up Panda kits. While they generally go together fairly well, there is always something, and in this particular case, it is the tracks that really sucked the life out of me. 
I will say that the instructions do not say that the tracks are workable and it was my interpretation so maybe gluing the from the start would have been easier, but I can say for certain that they are definitely not workable out of the box. It’s not a complete loss for Panda and the kit can be built, but it just needs a bit of effort. Definitely not one for beginners. 

Paul Lee

Thanks to panda hobby for sending this to paul to build and review
More of this kit in a forthcoming painting and weathering guide...For more on Kittyhawk's kits check out their FB Page (which is the also the Kittyhawk page)