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MENG 1/35 Char 2C - so big you could do a diorama on the roof?

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Morning all, I thought you might enjoy this WIP. I saw someone post one of these on twitter and couldn't really resist.


The first job is the 2 and a half million wheels (well, 74 I think). Individually these are pretty easy to put together and clean up, I found it best to actually build them and then clean up any sprue that was left. Being Meng there was no flash to worry about, if you're doing this kit I'd suggest you cut the parts for each wheel type and put them in separate tubs, then sit and watch a film with a file and a scalpel blade to hand.




The wheels are held in place by rails that sit over the top (well, bottom when the kit is built but you get the point). I found the easiest thing to do here was to put a drop of extra-thin quick setting at the end of each bar. Obviously some of this seeped through so a few of the wheels don't spin, whenever I find myself in this situation I agonise about whether that's ok and then remember that it's not like I'm going to be driving this around on my bench going 'brum brum' (well not much anyway) so who cares if the wheels work.


There are lots of details to attach to the hull and sponsons, these are mostly simple and fit well although throughout this kit I find the grab handles to be a bit fragile. I think I snapped most of them and, whilst they were easy enough to repair it was still irritating. I think if you wanted to you could cut the brackets for them out of styrene sheet, drill holes and put wire through for the bars, I don't think that would save any effort but it might be less irritating. When you assemble the hull the top section holds the drive wheels in place, then the bottom slots in. At this point I had a little bit of a fight to get it into place and to get the fittings at the ends to line up, nothing to worry about but I did manage to knock off one of the PE grilles, next time I think I'd leave the PE off until the end. I also found when I added the towing eyes some of them fit over the seam and are pretty good at pulling the two hull parts together and closing any gaps that remain.


51037831033_795580bf64_b.jpgChar 2C


The eagle eyed amongst you may notice I've left off the MGs, there is no need to fit them until right at the end of the build so I didn't to avoid breaking them.


51037831008_a4339041bc_b.jpgChar 2C


I am really taken with the size of this beast, the 1/35 figure is for scale, it's so bit I struggled to get a photo on my bench. I've got a vague idea about setting up some sort of simple 'diorama' with some figures on the roof of the tank, maybe you'll get to see that later.


51037831318_4ffc0f157a_k.jpgChar 2C


Finally the sub assemblies, the turrets are lovely and simple to build (although I draw your attention to the Stroboscopic Cupolas which are a wonderful concept - http://www.landships.info/landships/tank_articles/stroboscopic_cupolas.html). The gun barrel is in 2 parts and doesn't have any visible rifling which is a shame given the size but clean-up wasn't an issue. The top of the engine was a great sub assembly, almost a kit in its own right. It has numerous tiny pipes which, I must admit, I approached with some trepidation. In the end they required minimal clean-up and though fiddley they slotted into place fine. These are the only parts that would make me hesitate before recommending this kit to a real beginner, although I think if you did break one it would be easy to replace it with bent wire (I'm sure some folks are already doing this as standard anyway). As you can see, I managed to mess up the PE here as the grille came away from the rim when I tried to take it off the fret which was a bit frustrating, it was my mistake and hopefully with a little fenageling it should look ok.


51038660567_3449f8f39f_k.jpgChar 2C by Stefan Bridle, on Flickr


That's where I'm at for now, I think I'll probably prime the hull etc over the next couple of days and worry about the tracks later. I'm thinking of using one of the monotone paint jobs from the box (probably Normandie) using Tamiya XF-58 as the base colour. The instructions suggest Vallejo 'olive-brown' but their illustrations are dark green. I want to build this as it might have been in 1939 before war broke out, I think that means it should be in 'vert-olive' although I can't find any colour references for the precise shade so I might use a bit of imagination.


One last thing to add is that these vehicles were mostly used for propaganda and moral building films. One of the cool things about this build is that you don't often get to build an individual vehicle that we have this amount of reference photography and footage of. This video is worth a watch: 



Thanks all and hope you enjoy the thread.

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Thanks for the interest everyone. I managed to get some work done on the paint job last night, I'm always amazed by how little time I end up spending on the actual build and base painting compared to everything else.


The huge panels on this vehicle were screaming for some modulation, I thought I'd have a bash at a trick I used on a Whippet I built a while back (the trick is pinched from Uncle Nightshift, of course) which is effectively modulation but upside down with the lighter areas focused around the bottom of the vehicle. I felt that this gave a real sense of the size of the vehicle and actually imitates the effect you get on an overcast day when the reflected off the ground bounces off the sides of a vehicle more than the sky. I wanted to go for the French Olive Green shade used before war broke out, or at least an approximation if it as I couldn't find a paint chip. After looking at various options I decided to go for Tamiya XF-58 which I lightened with XF-88. I took the following pictures which show the build-up of paint layers, although it's quite hard to light this vehicle well as it's too big for my bench setup.






This is the biggest kit I've built so far and it is a bit of a beast, big enough that this process took almost a full pot of Tamiya paint. I also decided not to use a primer because I've seen lots of people not bother when using Tamiya paints and thought I'd give it a go.


My next job will be to assemble the tracks, highlight the details of the main vehicle and then paint the exhaust system which is pretty huge as well as the tracks. I'm looking forward to adding the decals, there is a large red crest on the turret which I reckon will 'pop' beautifully with the green. After that I need to decide what sort of finish I'm after overall. I think I want this to look like the pristine propaganda vehicles we see in photos like the one below, although by that point they were almost 20 years old and had spent a lot of time outside so the challenge will be to add wear and signs of the weather whilst also looking like it has been well maintained. The paint job is also a bit cold so I might use an ochre filter to try to lend a slightly warmer tone to it.


I can't find the provenance of the photo below but it is the vehicle I'm building, I love the oval plaque on the front but I'm not sure my brass paint is up to it so if anyone has any recommendations for decent paints to brush paint bare brass please let me know.




I hope you're enjoying the build almost as much as I am.

Edited by WarhammerAdjacent
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2 hours ago, Model Mate said:

Lovely paint job, and a fascinating vehicle. Why not use brass for the brass? A bit of PE sprue with a touch of varnish to stop it tarnishing.



Now that's a great idea! cutting it to shape might be a challenge but it's worth a try. Thanks.


Although I could still do with recommendations for brass paint for shell cases etc.

Edited by WarhammerAdjacent
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7 hours ago, alanbeeb said:

What a monster. What are the spinning things on top of the turrets?  


They are stroboscopic cupolas, there's a great article here: http://www.landships.info/landships/tank_articles/stroboscopic_cupolas.html



In other news I got some work done on the exhausts, I roughly followed a method used by nightshift in one of his videos but cut a few corners and got the whole thing done in an hour or so. The first step was to base the exhausts in grey, add a layer of hairspray and then overpaint it with camo black brown focusing on the recesses. I also aimed for streaks going up and down as I've seen similar patterns on photos of the original vehicles. I then chipped the brown to create some 'texture'.




The next step was to add some rust tones using a sponge to add some variation in colour, the outcome is a bit underwhelming at this stage and I was worried it wasn't going to work.




Wash time. I'm always nervous about washes, applying them is always a bit of a leap of faith particularly when it starts out like this:




I then wiped off the excess wash with a clean brush, it had stained the paint nicely in places but took several applications to get good coverage:




I'm pretty pleased with the finish overall. The rest of the engine housing needs a little touching up and there are more details to paint but I think one of the really great things about this kit is the interest created by the different colours and tones in this sub assembly.


Anyway, that's all for tonight.

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Small disaster!


I had finished most of the detail painting and wanted to put on a coat of varnish, a great dollop sloshed from the airbrush cup and did this to the side of the hull:




Very frustrating, the thinner stripped the paint back to the plastic in places. As a result rather than spending my evening starting my Panzer III while the varnish dried I had to redo the side, hopefully the damage isn't too obvious, I'm hoping I can clean up the grille:



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Good job!

I don’t think the disaster is so terrible. It seems to me that this can be turned into an advantage. These tanks have been in use for a very long time, and of course have been repainted more than once, and it is possible that not all surfaces were repainted, but only separate areas, so the color of the paint could have varied slightly. I think such random irregularities can just make the paintwork more interesting, especially since the area of the model is huge.
To me, the damaged areas of that first photo look pretty nice. But that's just my opinion, I generally like dirt, rust, and everything else messy and disgust things...



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I second to vytautas - the damage doesn't seem too bad and it could be successfully used as a part of the weathering.

The beast itself is impressive by its size and the progress so far looks great.

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Thanks all, I see what you mean, it could well pass for a real world painting hiccough. Unfortunately I've sort of got my mind fixed on a fairly 'pristine' finish during its time as a propaganda vehicle so I needed to clean it up. I'll get some pics soon, it's now varnished and decaled so its on to the pin wash I think.

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Pinwash has been complete and hopefully I'll do the dot filter tonight. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos last night but I did get a couple of snaps of these which which will hopefully be use to augment the final build so I hope you'll forgive me for going a little OT.





I'm not great at figures but I'm forcing myself to do more in the hope that I make some improvement. These have been based in acrylics, highlighted in oils and received a wash. I'll do another layer of highlights and that'll be the uniforms done. I'm particularly pleased with the leather coat, now I need to work out how to get a matt finish on the uniform etc without losing the satin on the coat.

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Dot filter added and I've even got a picture this time. I'm usually not sure about dot filters but this time I think it adds a nice variation in tone and I like the streaks. The aesthetic I'm going for is a well maintained vehicle that's spending a lot of time out in the weather so I'll probably add some rain streaks and light dusting and leave it at that.



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Weathering time!


As I may have said earlier I am shooting for a relatively clean look as this is intended to be a vehicle that travelled around in 1939 doing propaganda displays in towns and villages. Looking at pictures it's interesting how dirty the hull of the Char 2C got, although from what I've seen it tends to be dust rather than mud with build-up around the riveted areas and overall quite streaky. I thought I'd have a go at this using Mig African Dust effects applied over hairspray, allowed to dry and then chipped with a soft brush. I tried to film part of the process to give an impression of how it works which you can see by following the link below the picture:


51073845653_970f3a988b_z.jpgUntitled by Stefan Bridle


I'm quite pleased with the effect, now it's dry I think I'll try using a little thinners to enhance the streaks. I think I'll also add some slightly darker earth tones to add a little depth and then it'll be on to the final touches.





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Tracks on and a little weathering, some finishing touches left up add but I’m nearly there. Not sure what I can do about that damn silvering at this stage. I’m going to need to photograph this monster outside as it’s far too big for my bench setup.













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Imposing monster! Looks really good

I try to imagine the effect such a tank would have had on your little town or village! In those days, people did not see a simple car every day. It had to be something unimaginable.



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