Tuesday, October 30

Build Guide Pt II: Meng Models 35th scale M911 C-HET & M747 Semi-Trailer (Trailer.)

Andy Moore has completed the trailer part of the build of Meng's 35th scale M1911 C-HET Tractor / M747 Heavy Equipment Semi-Trailer. We have seen how it goes together, but how do you beat it up to look like a well-weathered tool of the US Army, then in private use? Let's have a look in his guide...

Build Guide: M911 C-HET & M747 Semi-Trailer
Manufacturer – Meng Models
Product Number – Stegosaurus Series SS-013
Scale - 1/35th 
Product Link & Distributors on the Meng Website
Price -  ¥20,000 - US$196 - £147 - €160 from Hobby Link Japan
Today - Build Guide Pt II: Meng Models M911 C-HET & M747 Semi-Trailer (Trailer.)
 Last time we left the M747 trailer from Meng's new M911 C-HET kit built up and ready for painting. There are two colour options in the kit; one in desert sand and one in NATO tri-colour camo. However, both the truck and trailer could often be seen in an all-over NATO green and that's what I'll be going with here, at least for the trailer. That may not seem like a very interesting choice, but my plan here is to do something a little different with it. Many of these truck and trailer combos were sold on to private haulage companies after they'd been retired from military service and can often be seen in a pretty dilapidated state with faded paint and rusty panels. The plan here is to show a trailer that's seen heavy use in private hands, and is now definitely looking a little worse for wear.
I'd previously pre-painted the inner sections of the chassis during the build, as these areas would be hard to access with everything together. The first step then was to finish off the main base coat. I'm using AK's Real Color paints here as they cover really well, don't require a primer and form a very resilient base layer for the weathering that will follow. The main shade, of course, was NATO Green (RC080), but as I wanted a faded look to the finish, I lightened this with RC028 Light Green. The main deck of the trailer was then sprayed with a rust brown colour, as this area will be getting some heavy chipping.
For the paint chipping on the deck, I could have gone with the regular hairspray/chipping fluid method, but I wanted the effect to be quite intense. To that end, I decided to use the salt technique but with hairspray acting as a fixer for the salt. I first sprayed a heavy coat of hairspray over the deck sections (the centre of the chassis was masked off while doing this) then, while the hairspray was still wet, sprinkled different grades of salt granules over the surface. I tried to keep the build-up of salt fairly random, but with the heaviest accumulations along the centre of the deck sections. Once the initial coat of hairspray had dried, I gave the deck a second coat to further fix the salt in place.
I left the hairspray and salt to dry for about 30 minutes, then over-sprayed the deck with the same lightened NATO Green mix I'd used on the rest of the trailer. That was left to dry for a few minutes before I started to remove the salt with a stiff brush and some warm water. This is a pretty messy process so it's a good idea to cover your work area with newspaper or something similar. The result was a very heavily chipped deck that looked like it had seen years of use and abuse.
In addition to the stiff brush, I also used a scouring pad to help remove the salt. This had the side benefit of creating scratches along the deck thanks to the use of hairspray rather than water as a fixative for the salt.
At this point, I re-evaluated the paint finish and decided I wanted an even more faded look to the paint. I mixed up another batch of green, this time adding RC002 Cream White into the NATO Green and sprayed this in a mottled fashion over the top and sides of the trailer, leaving the previous darker green on the less exposed lower areas.
I now needed to balance out the faded paint with the heavily chipped deck by adding paint chips to the rest of the trailer. This was done with a dark rust tone mixed from AK acrylics and applied by brush and sponge. It's important to apply chipping like this logically, concentrating on areas that would naturally get more wear and abrasion.
In places, such as the rear of the deck seen here, I used a scouring pad again, dipped in the rust paint, then lightly drawn across the surface to add to the scratches created during the hairspray/salt chipping.
The trailer's hitch point was also given some heavy chipping, mainly with a sponge, even though this area is hard to see on the finished model.
The two balsa wood planks I'd added during the build had been masked off during the painting stages. With the masking removed, they were stained with a dark brown acrylic wash to give them a weathered look.
With the main painting done, I could start on the weathering stages, firstly using a selection of AK rust washes to enhance the previous chipping effects. These were used more like filters to add stains to the paintwork surrounding the chips, as well as to reduce the intensity of the chips themselves. Neutral Grey wash was also used as a general pin wash to enhance the raised details on the trailer.
You can see in the shot below how the rust washes help to integrate the paint chipping and leave a more natural weathered finish.
Some streaking effects were added to the side panels of the trailer's goose neck. This was done with a combination of the Rust Streaks wash used previously and a selection of Abteilung oil paints.
I wanted to add some encrusted oily deposits to the centre of the chassis to represent oil that had dripped from vehicles and equipment carried on the trailer and mixed with dirt and dust. This was done by scattering black pigment into the crevices of the chassis then applying thinned Abteilung Engine Grease oil paint and allowing it to seep through the pigment.
The same Engine Grease oil paint was used to add additional dribbles and splashes to other areas of the trailer. You want to add this effect fairly sparingly, using it to create visual highlights on the model.
Time to get the wheels together now. The wheels themselves were painted, using hairspray chipping to add the worn rusty effects, before being glued to the vinyl tyres. The fit here isn't perfect, especially on the back, but luckily this side isn't seen once the doubled up wheels are glued together. A poly cap is added between the two wheels which will slide onto the metal rods in the trailer's axles.
For weathering, the tyres were sprayed with a dusty earth tone, mainly around the inner edge, although a light misting was applied around the tread too.
After that, I made a pale mud mix from acrylic paint and pigment and painted this around the rims of the tyres. Straight away, after applying the mix, I wiped off the excess leaving it just in the recesses.
Although the previous weathering steps with the rust washes and oil and dirt build-ups had created a nice finish, it had left the model looking a little dark. To introduce some lighter tones I applied patches of AK Africa Dust Effects onto the deck area, blending the wash with a clean brush, dampened with enamel thinner.
While the wash was still wet, I stippled on Abteilung Dry Mud pigment to add some texture and tonal variety.
That pretty much finished the build, but I did want to add some general clutter to help bring the model to life. The box top artwork shows a tarp draped across the spare wheel, and I thought this would make a good addition. I cut a piece of tissue paper to the size required and placed it roughly in position over the spare wheel.
To fix the tissue in place and give it the correct drape, I watered down some PVA and applied this to the tissue, allowing it to soak in while carefully manipulating the folds and wrinkles. Once wet, the tissue becomes very delicate, so you do have to take great care not to tear it.
Once the tissue was fully dry, I brush painted it with a light green acrylic, then gave it a few dusty washes to blend it in with the general look of the trailer.
For a final touch, I borrowed an idea from Rick Lawler to make in-scale refuse sacks using dog-poop bags. Just to clarify, that's using unused dog-poop bags. The material these bags are made from is very thin and works perfectly for recreating a scale looking bin bag. To start with, I cut a rough circle, about 3 inches across. This doesn't need to be neat, as the rough edges will be tidied up at the end (1). Next, you need something to fill the bag, in this case, I used tea leaves. A small quantity was placed in the middle of the circle (2). The sides of the circle are then carefully gathered up to form a small pouch (3). Finally, a length of thin thread is tied around the neck of the pouch, after which the excess bag material can be trimmed, along with the ends of the thread (4).
With the bags in place, they definitely add to the semi-abandoned feel of the trailer. I may even add a few more later on, and perhaps have one or two ripped open with the contents spilling out.
So that wraps up the first half of the Meng M911 and M747 build. It's been a great project so far, and hopefully, that will continue when we get on to the main subject; the C-HET truck itself. The start of that build will be coming up soon, but in the meantime, I'll leave you with some shots of the finished trailer.
Andy Moore

Thanks to MENG for supplying this trailer and truck for Andy to review and to build for you - with more of this as it is completed in the next few weeks...