When I was a new to armored fighting vehicle (AFV) scale model kits, I would often get excited about 1/35 scale models that came with lots of photo-etched (PE) parts. Look at all the detail that would make for a more realistic looking model, I had thought back then. But this was just plain naivety as I have come to loathe working with extremely small PE parts. It wasn't so bad for the Tamiya 1/35 scale Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142, because only two PE parts can be considered tiny.
|Photo-etched parts for the Tamiya 1/35 scale Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142|
What are PE parts anyway? Unless you are completely new to vehicle-based scale model kits, you would have worked with such metal parts at one time or another. But in case you haven't had the chance to work with PE parts yet, just know that they are metal components that have been 'etched' out of sheet metal using a controlled chemical process (see image above).
Use of PE parts for the Sturmgeschütz began in Step 13, which also included general instructions on how to work with PE parts (see image below). In Steps 13 and 14, PE parts used comprised two tiny strips that form part of the vehicle's antenna holder (parts 3 and 4, see above) as well as its headlight covers (parts 5 and 6, see above). The rest of the PE parts will be used in a later step.
|Steps 13 and 14 of the Tamiya Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142 assembly process|
Upper Hull assembly for the Sturmgeschütz began at the vehicle's rear section. The parts for this section comprised mainly plastic parts with the exception of what seems like a support structure for the antenna holder. These were the PE parts that gave me the most problem due to their minuscule size. I could barely hold on to the tiny strips and had to use tweezers to manipulate the PE parts.
|Plastic and metal parts for the rear section of the Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142 |
|Parts of Upper Hull Assembly laid out next to the rear section of the Sturmgeschütz|
|It was easier to attach the said parts separately to the Upper and Lower Hull respectively |
|Both the Upper and Lower Hull were dry-fitted together for a better view of the rear section |
After patiently putting together the rear end of the Sturmgeschütz, it was time to continued the Upper Hull assembly process on the vehicle's front end. Here, two more PE parts i.e. the headlight covers were used in addition to the other plastic parts. This time around the PE parts were large enough to be easily manageable. However it was the turn of the plastic parts to be the thorn in my side. My frustration was exacerbated by situations in which after a time consuming period of getting those tiny plastic parts in the right orientation, they then chose at that very moment to stick onto my nitrile gloves like magnet. Static electricity had caused the parts to stick more to my gloves than the AFV itself!
|Plastic and metal parts for the front end of the Sturmgeschütz III Ausf.B Sd.Kfz.142|
|Unlike its rear end, the parts for the front end all attach to the vehicle's Upper Hull|
|Here is the Upper Hull with most of its parts attached, but not all as a few will come in Part 02|
|As with the rear section earlier, the Upper and Lower Hull were dry-fitted together to see how it all fits|
At this stage, only 67% of the photo-etched parts have been used. The metal air intake grilles for the rear section of the Sturmgeschütz will be glued on in later steps. Slowly but steadily, the vehicle is getting build. The thought of painting Panzer Grey Color Modulation of the hull as well as painting the tiny details of the vehicle's interior is actually filling me with dread. But if I were to dwell on that fear too long then the Sturmgeschütz will never get build. So I'm taking it one step at a time, and focusing on getting the vehicle build first before worrying about the painting. More assembly photos to come in future posts, so stay tuned for that. Until next time, thanks so much for taking the time to check this blog post. And as always, be well and happy!