Wednesday, May 19

Twin-build review Pt IV: Miniart's 35th scale Austin Armoured Car 3rd Series + 1918 Pattern kits

Andy Moore has completed both of MiniArt's new 3rd Series & 1918 Pattern Armoured Car kits in 35th scale. One with a full interior and the other without. Today he shows us the final of his build process he finishes them both off very nicely...

Twin build review: Austin Armoured Car 3rd Series & 1918 Pattern
Manufacturer – MiniArt
Kit Numbers – #39005 & #39009
Scale - 1/35th
Price - £36 – US$48 - €41 from Hobbylink Japan
Product Link on the MiniArt Website
Previous parts of this story:

Today: Pt IV: Twin-build review: Miniart's 35th scale Austin Armoured Car 3rd Series & 1918 Pattern kits
In the previous instalment of this dual build of MiniArt's new Austin Armoured Cars, we finished off the bodywork and the wheels, leaving just the twin turrets to complete the builds. These are supplied in front and rear halves but don't feature any pins or tabs to align the parts. You'll also need to ensure the resulting seam is invisible as there was no joint in the sides of the rear turrets. To attach the halves, I used liquid styrene (sprue chunks dissolved in Tamiya Extra Thin cement) as this bonds very well and also fills any small gaps between the parts.
Once set, the excess cement can be filed and sanded flush with the turret leaving a seamless joint. Like the turret sponsons earlier in the build, the turrets themselves also need some additional bolts adding from the extras moulded to the sprue runners. The positions for the bolts are lightly marked on the kit parts, but I reinforced the marks with a needle to ensure they didn't disappear while sanding the joint line.
The turret roof plates also feature a row of bolts around their perimeter, and these are already moulded in place. Unfortunately, there's also a slight mould line that also runs around the perimeter and across the bolt heads. Rather than try to remove the line without damaging the bolts, I found it easier to slice the bolts off, having first marked their locations with a needle. The seam line was then be sanded away, and the bolt heads replaced, There aren't enough extras on the kit sprues to do this, so I sourced the replacement bolts from an aftermarket set.
The completed turrets are very nicely detailed, with photo-etched enhancements for the hatches and machine-gun guards. The open hatches are fitted with large searchlights, although I only fitted the brackets at this stage. The light housing itself was left off to be painted separately. The turrets simply drop over raised rims on the roof of the main body and aren't very secure, although once the machine guns and their support frames and seats are added, the turrets do stay in place fairly well.
With the build now finished, it was time to move on to the best part – painting and weathering. I tackled the Series 3 first and began by applying a black lacquer coat to act as a primer coat and provide a uniform base layer. Over this, I sprayed a mottled layer of white which will provide some subtle highlighting under the main paint finish.
The main colour for these vehicles is speculative at best, and MiniArt list Green Moss as the base colour for all the painting options with the Series 3. I went with a fairly generic dark muted green shade mixed from Gunze lacquers, keeping the paint layers quite thin to allow some of the pre-shading to show through. The interior surfaces had been sprayed with a satin white and masked off beforehand.
The decals were added, which settled down very well, and were sealed in with a light coat of satin varnish, after which I started the weathering stages with an enamel pin wash to accentuate the surface detail. At the same time, I weathered the interior, adding some chipping effects around the hatches and more washes to dirty up the white paint.
Before any additional weathering was applied, I mounted the body to the chassis and added the rest of the hatches. I only left the side and rear door off at this stage as they would be susceptible to being knocked off while I was still working on the kit. The rest of the weathering was then done using both acrylics, oils and enamels to add more dirt, shading and texture to the model.
Moving on to the 1918 Pattern, I chose a scheme with the upper surfaces and turrets painted in blue and featuring a painted band around the mid-section of the body. The painting guide shows that band as being a sand colour, although the same scheme is shown on the side of the box with the band in blue. The general consensus is that the band was indeed blue, and a period photo of the vehicle in question certainly seems to show that the turrets and the band were the same shade. The remainder of the bodywork is shown in the painting guide as being Green Moss, but in reality, these British Army operated Austins would have been painted in standard Service Brown. One interesting detail that can be seen on the period photo is the area of presumably blue paint that can be seen where the rear driver's hatch has been raised, indicating that the entire upper body may have previously been painted blue.
I elected to paint the blue first, and gave the whole body a fairly solid coat over a black base layer, not bothering with any pre-shading this time. The most likely shade for the blue used on the original would have been French Horizon Blue, and I mixed an approximation of this using AMMO French Blue lightened slightly with Tamiya Light Blue.
I then added a little more of the Tamiya Blue into the mix, and sprayed some highlighting over the previous coat. I also added some gloss varnish to the paint for this layer to leave a smoother and more resilient finish to help with the subsequent masking and weathering.
After masking off the areas to remain blue, the Service Brown was applied using a mix of Tamiya flat Earth and Khaki. As with the Series 3, the interior had already been painted in satin white, although with most of the hatches closed, little of this can be seen.
As I pointed out in the previous instalment of the build, the rear fenders are very delicate parts of the model, being held in place with only a small tab of styrene and a couple of thin photo-etch strips. I'd been very careful when handling the body not to accidentally knock these parts, but while removing the masking after spraying the brown, a piece of tape caught the top of the right-hand fender, and the adhesive on the tape was enough to rip the fender clean off, twisting the PE brackets in the process. I did consider trying to repair the damage, but in the end decided to leave the fender off and simply call it battle damage, which in a way it was since parts of this kit had been battling me from the start.
The cab roof had its red and white ident panel masked painted, after which the decals were applied and sealed with a satin coat. For the weathering, I used a similar selection of acrylics, enamels and oils to those I used on the Series 3.
To finish off the weathering, I mixed up some earth tones from pigments and enamel washes and splattered these around the chassis and lower body. The wheels, which I'd attached at this point, were weathered with the same earth washes, and I also added an arc of dirt to mark where the fender would have been, before it had been... ahem, lost in action.
So that wraps up this dual build and, overall it's been a fun one. I have to be honest and say there are some areas of the build of these Austins that can be a little tricky due to the fragility of some parts, and the sheer level of detail that MiniArt has incorporated into the kits which, while a good thing in general, can be something of a double-edged sword at times. 

Photos of the completed 3rd series armoured car variant with full interior...
That said, with a little patience you can create a very well detailed model straight from the box, without resorting to any aftermarket additions. They are, however, kits that probably aren't best suited to beginners, but as long as you've got a few builds under your belt, you shouldn't struggle too much.

A walk around of the completed 1918 Pattern kit completed without internals...
If you can supply a little time and patience for the build, both kits come highly recommended.

Andy Moore

Thanks to MiniArt for sending Andy these two kits to review - and to build for you. You can find out more about these and their other excellent kits on the MiniArt Website