Saturday, January 1

Build review: 1/35th scale Austin Armoured Car Indian Pattern. British Service from MiniArt

As the best possible start to 2022, TJ Haller gives us his full build of Miniart's 35th scale Austin Armoured Car in the "India" pattern. See how he built, painted & weathered the kit in his excellent article...

Build review: Austin Armoured Car Indian Pattern. British Service. Interior Kit
Full Interior Kit
From MiniArt
Kit No #39021
1:35th scale
Four marking choices in the box.
Price: $45.66 USD from Hobbylink Japan
The Subject: British Austin Armoured Car - 1918 Pattern
Some of produced Austin model 1918 armoured cars were issued to the British Tank Corps. 16 of them were sent to France around May 1918 as the 17th (Armoured Car) Battalion, Tank Corps. They were armed with 8mm Hotchkiss Mle.14 machine guns. Their first battle was on 11 June 1918 in support of the French troops. One of their most significant battles was the Battle of Amiens, on 8 August. 

A tan Austin used by the British Raj in the 1920's
Tanks were used to tow them over the trenches and then they broke loose and operated miles behind the German lines. They attacked the German-occupied village of Farmerville, chasing out the Germans (and nailing an Australian flag to the front door of the German command headquarters). At least 3 cars were destroyed during the campaign. In 1919, the Austins were used by the British in a civil war in Ireland, possibly until 1921.

The cover art version here in service in India in 1920
Service in India
At least sixteen cars were sent to India, probably in 1919. In 1921 they were used in the 8th Armoured Car Company of the Tank Corps, at least until 1923. These cars used different wheels and vickers water cooled heavy machine guns amongst other changes.

An "India Pattern" armoured car, also featured in this boxing's marking choices in Lahore in 1923. This is the very vehicle that is the marking and colour choice of this build.
The Kit: 
A top opening box, the kit comes with decal for four versions, plastic and photo-etch parts. A full interior is offered, but it is up tot he modeller to paint it or not depending on the depth of their project...
Building the kit: 
I started the build with the engine, which is superbly detailed with some quite fiddly photo etch parts; a number of which wenting pinging across my bench and into the ether! The fit on these parts is overall very nice and it builds up into quite a nice representation of the Austin 4-cylinder engine that powered these machines.
This was followed up by building out the rest of the frame of the car. Since I was unsure of what would be visible, I added just about all of the parts shown in the instructions, save for a couple that I broke when snipping them off the sprue.
I spend the next handful of steps adding more and more parts to the interior of the model. If the modeler wants to display the car buttoned up, a vast majority of the interior could be left out. I wasn’t sure if I was going to display any of the many doors open, so I went ahead and added all of the parts.
I now turned my attention to the exterior armor. A few of these pieces require the modeler to add rivets. I marked the location of the rivets with a small PCB drill bit before slicing them off the sprue frame and carefully applying them with a tiny bit of cement. It’s a good thing that Miniart provides a lot of extras since my tweezers once again sent a number of them rocketing into oblivion.
Overall, the parts that make up the armor plates fit pretty well with thankfully no joints needing any filler. The most difficult part of the build was the fenders, especially the rear ones. There is only one attachment point to cement them to the hull and one of those pieces had broken on the sprue in my kit. I added a new piece with a piece of square stock styrene which was able to form a decent enough bond, but I had to be careful when handling the model afterwards. The front fenders are secured by two small styrene parts, one of which I snapped at least twice while painting and weathering the kit. It was easy enough to fix, but modelers should be extra careful when handling the model after they’re attached.
I also made the decision to model the car when all of the hatches and doors closed. I felt guilty about leaving all of that wonderful interior detail unpainted, but also relieved that it makes painting so much easier!

The painting process...
The colour choice of this kit is the 8th Armoured Car Company, No 4 Section, Royal Tank Corps, British Raj, Lahore in January 1923, nearly one hundred years ago...
I left the wheels and turrets off for ease of painting and loaded some black Stynylrez primer into my Badger Krome with a .5mm needle and went to town. Spraying Stynylrez is really a treat; just crank up the air pressure (I like to be around 30psi) and just hose it on.
After I let the primer dry overnight, I sprayed a cloudy coat of Tamiya Flat White to serve as a base for the highlights of the upcoming paint layers.
The base color was made of a roughly 1-to-1 mix of the Tamiya Dark Grey (X-24) and AK Real Color Light Ghost Grey (AK252)
I added more and more Light Ghost Grey to mix over subsequent layers to brighten the color, mainly keeping to upper surfaces.
I gave the model a coat of Tamiya Clear (X-22) in preparation for the decals and washes. While it’s true that gloss before decals is unnecessary, I still prefer to place decals on a gloss surface and I prefer it for pin washes, so I’m able to kill two birds with one stone. The decals were very thin and went on easily with the aid of MicroSet and MicroSol.
I mixed a light grey from a few Vallejo colors and used a piece of torn packing foam to apply chipping around the model, focusing on areas of heavy traffic. After that was complete, I used Vallejo German Camo Black Brown (70.822) to add dark steel chipping on some of the previously applied light grey chips. I also used the same light grey color I mixed earlier with a fine tipped sable brush to highlight each rivet. This is a time consuming process, but the results are worth it.
I mixed some Abteilung 502 Starship Filth oil paints with odorless thinners to form a pin wash that I used to add depth and bring out the details across the model. After this dried, I gave the model a couple of coats of Vallejo matte varnish in preparation for the upcoming weathering.
I added a handful of oil paints to a cardboard palette to help remove the linseed oil before applying them to the model using the oil paint rendering (OPR) technique. I didn’t end up using all of these oils, but I’d rather have them ready than not.
After the OPR stage, I used thinned Tamiya Deck Tan (XF-55) to “predust” the areas that I planned to add dust and earth effects on later. I used a couple of Ammo by Mig enamel earth effects to add built up dust and dirt and then worked it into the surface with a clean brush damped with odorless thinners. As a final step, I attached the wheels and then I used those same enamel effects from earlier to speckle the lower areas to build up the tones.
And she is finished! I have a gallery of pictures for the walk around for you to study...
TJ Haller.

Thanks to Miniart for sending this kit to TJ to build, paint, weather & show to you. See more about all of MiniArt's kits on their website...

See more of TJ's work on his excellent website Orion Paintworks.
Hear's TJ (& a bunch of other great modellers on the "Plastic Posse Podcast"