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Army_Air_Force

My Daughter's Airfix D-Day Battlefront Diorama - with Additions

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My daughter and I won one of the Airfix Christmas competitions in 2017 and the prize was the D-Day Battlefront set. Due to other modelling projects, it's taken until now to get it on the bench. A few days ago, we were thinking about the layout and considered it unrealistic to have a Sherman and Tiger that close together, without one being blown into a thousand pieces! So we decided to save the Tiger for another diorama and replace it with a Willys MB, which were being sold cheap at Aldi.

 

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Here's the contents of the basic D-Day set. The two tanks, house kit, vac-formed base and those horrible rubbery plastic figures. Still, she's made a good job on all her previous models, with a lot of guidance, so I have high hopes for this one.

 

d_day002.jpg

Edited by Army_Air_Force

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Yesterday afternoon, after school, we made a start on the Sherman. Wheels and suspension first. Assembling the suspension units was a bit fiddly. All the wheels needed their centre holes enlarging or centering as the moulding wasn't great, so my daughter did that with a needle file while I looked at the suspension arms. The rear arms wouldn't fit over the axles and the shallow hole in them was quite close to the edge of the moulding, leaving little plastic to drill out. So each axle had to be tapered slightly so that it would fit the shallow hole in the rear arms.

 

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The kit instructions call for them to be assembled and fitted to the hull, but I think we'll leave them off at least until the wheels and chassis area have been painted.

 

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While those were drying, we turned out attention to the hull.

 

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Sometimes I have to assist with the parts cutting, as on some of the thicker sprues, my daughter just doesn't have the strength to cut through them, and often the part size, shape and position on the sprue wont allow cutters to fit the space.

 

d_day006.jpg

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The beaming smile on her face is worth a fortune. Enjoy the build together.

 

John.

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Once the bits were cleaned up, the lower hull was assembled.

 

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The turret parts were cut out while the hull dried for a bit and then the upper hull was attached to the lower hull and that was the end of the first day.

 

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At my daughter's request, we had another modelling session after school today. We had discussed fitting the small support wheels at the top of the track first, then painting the area behind where the wheels would fit, followed by fitting the main suspension units. After looking at how closely the two parts fit, there was a good chance the small support wheels would stop the main units from fitting if slightly mis-aligned. A trial fit showed a reasonable amount of room to get a paint brush in and around the suspension units, so the drive sprocket and rear idler wheel would be left off, but the rest of the wheels and suspension units would be glued.

 

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The first side was done and left to dry for a few minutes while we cut and trimmed the drive sprocket parts.

 

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The second side was done next

 

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After a few minutes for the solvent to stiffen the joints, the tank was turned and weighted slightly to ensure all the wheels lay flat. Two steel rulers, held in place by weights, prevented the wheels from spreading outwards under the weight.

 

d_day012.jpg

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Everything was then left to dry. A few of the photos I'd taken were blurred as the camera wasn't on macro, so I went back out to the workshop and took a few more with the tank out of the jig.

 

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Finally, a feel good picture with the aid of a bit of Blu-Tac to hold the barrel and mantlet in place.

 

d_day014.jpg

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looking good

 

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Further progress this morning. As an afterthought, we thought it would be nice to have a couple of crew in the tank. A search through my spares box found a few GI's, a couple of which would do. The driver was trimmed a bit to fit in next to the hull, and he was also mounted on a block of acrylic to lift him up to hatch height.

 

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We wanted to add him after the tank was painted, so needed a way to get him inside the assembled hull. To do this, I chain drilled a hole under the turret which would hopefully be big enough to get him in. It took a few goes with some tweezers and a piece of wire to poke him into the correct location,. While it was difficult, it was possible. Both hatches were opened up a bit and also carved out on the inside to give a little more shoulder room. It's a tight fit on both the model and 1/1 scale Sherman, with the edge of the hatch, just at nose height, so you have to be careful if the driver steps on the brakes a bit hard!! Only one hatch has been opened up at this point.

 

d_day016.jpg

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The barrel was the last job of the morning, which was then supported and left to set.

 

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Later this afternoon, once the glue had time to harden, I popped "Kevin" and "Dave" ( as they have come to be known ) into the tank for a picture. Dave needs a tiny packing piece to lift him a little further up, but I may need to either trim his shoulders or the inside of the hatch to do this.

 

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Finally, for a bit of inspiration, a Sherman ride I had a few years ago.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I've had a nice Christmas cold, starting on Christmas day, which has knocked me out for ten days so far, so have managed no modelling over the holiday. I started to feel a little more human today, so took my daughter out to the workshop to do some more of the Sherman. So the next job was to get some olive drab on the tank in preparation for the decals and final assembly. We decided to used the kit acrylics, which up until now, I've hardly ever used except for canopy frames and small touch ups.

 

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All round the wheels and suspension units were first to be painted, getting all the small fiddly areas done.

 

d_day022.jpg

Edited by Army_Air_Force

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As well as the suspension, the two separate sprockets were painted.

 

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While the suspension was left to dry for a while, we moved on to the turret.

 

d_day024.jpg

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The turret was completed and then we moved back to the hull.

 

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While the wheels were still a little tacky, they were dry enough to hold to allow the painting of the rest of the hull.

 

d_day025.jpg

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The hull almost done.

 

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The hull is now done with one coat. It may need another coat, but will have a check once it is fully dry. By the time it has been decalled, some additional tree trunk armour added on the side it could be ok. I also want my daughter to have a go at some weathering, perhaps with some washes and some mud added to the wheels and tracks.

 

d_day028.jpg

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Your daughter gets better results with the brush than I can.  Does she accept subcontract work?

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nice to see a youngster Modeling, my eldest tried but lost interest my youngest (6) got a model for Christmas, hope she gets into it!

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I started my daughter off just before the age of four, but even before then, she enjoyed making things from Sellotape and cardboard. I think she's got a "Making Gene" in her, as my wife and I often find art installations in her bedroom before school time in the morning.

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I was 6 when I started making models too. Her work looks better than mine did back then. Wait till she gets a boyfriend and her first date will be to a model shop.

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Nice progress and really good to see you've interested your daughter in the hobby. My eldest daughter dabbled when she was younger, but she's now 14 and has no interest at all! 

 

Great tip on surrounding the paint tin with blutak to lock it to the table. I'll be using that!

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Yesterday, I gave the Sherman a few thin sprayed coats of clear gloss so that it would be dry for today. Today after school, my daughter and I did the decalling. She started by applying the division badge on the front.

 

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The hull was then put to one side to allow that to dry a little while and moved to the first star on the side of the turret. It took her a little while of sliding it around until we were happy about its location. I try not to interfere too much, asking "does that look parallel", "is that the same height as the other side" until she pushes the decal into the correct position. Sometimes she's still a little heavy handed and I give it a micro nudge into place, but generally, she's quite accurate.

 

d_day030.jpg

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The turret was then put to one side to dry and the hull brought back to add the registration on the side. I told her to look at the plans and see where the letters lined up with on the tank, such as the last letter directly over the last wheel. That helped with deciding the correct location.

 

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That was left to dry and the turret came back out for the star on the second side.

 

d_day031.jpg

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Once both turret stars and both registrations were added, the star on the top of the turret was applied. It was a little more tricky being partially under the commander's hatch.

 

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A little Microsol was added to the decals to help them sit down and after that dried, Kevin the Commander and Dave the Driver came to check on the progress. Both were pleased with their new ride!

 

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