From the beginning of the project I wanted to build my model as a command vehicle. To do this I had to fabricate two additional antenna bases and mounts. One of these is on the rear portion of the tank’s turret, the other in the standard antenna location, mounted in a well located behind the rear engine hatch. In addition to the extra antenna base mounts, an antenna storage tube and a retracting antenna clamp were also added as required for a command vehicle. These antenna details weren’t part of the kit and so were all scratch built, my references for them coming from images of the Kubinka King Tiger. I fabricated the Sternantenna entirely out of soldered brass. The reason for constructing this part so sturdily was because when it was installed and connected up to the R/C receiver, it actually improved the radio control range, while simultaneously eliminating the need to have an unsightly and inauthentic R/C antenna emerging from the vehicle.
Along with the external detailing I also had to fabricate the detailing of the hatch interiors: all the latch and locking mechanism details were added to the bow hatches, the rear escape hatch, and to the commander’s copula and were made to function correctly. The kit supplied loader’s hatch was replaced with a white metal aftermarket item by Armorpax, a 1/6th scale part supplier, which needed no alteration.
To control the model I use a 6-channel radio, and I connected many of the extra auxiliary functions so as to piggyback off some of the main functions. By doing this it is possible to use one channel to control more than one function.
The kit doesn’t include an anti-aircraft machine gun, nor the AA machine gun mount. For the gun I used the 2nd generation 21st Century Toys MG34, and improved it by removing the seams, then giving the gun a fresh repaint and some dry brush weathering. For the mount I used the Armorpax white metal MG34 Panzer gun mount. The mount itself was a nicely detailed piece, but I modified it so that the gun can pivot and spin freely.
The kit does provide a set of white metal pioneer tools from Armorpax, which are a nice addition, but to enhance them further I replaced the cast metal tool handles with scratch built wooden ones.
For the paint scheme I used a simple three tone ambush type camouflage pattern, while all of the markings were painted using homemade stencils. The paints were a combination of both latex and acrylic, and all of the application, including the ageing effects, was performed with an airbrush. Drybrushing was the used on the detail edges and the tools. Since the tank is fully R/C and made from metal I decided not to drybrush any worn look on to the tracks, rather the tracks weather themselves naturally from driving around.
tearing it up
This build from start to finish took me seven months to complete, and required many extra skills from metal fabrication to electrical work in order to assemble it. It is one build that, now completed, I can enjoy and appreciate both when it is standing still, and when I am tearing up clumps of grass as I turn it evasively on the lawn.