Jump to content

How are the mighty fallen! - British Mk. V Tank - FINISHED, COMPLETED AND DONE!

Recommended Posts

My One Drive photo hosting has gone nuts. It’s been perfect for five months but since yesterday, it’s hopeless. There was a windows update yesterday, I suspect that is the problem. 

Don’t be surprised if I can’t post photos for a while and if the worst happens, I may lose all my pictures from BM. I’m sorry but I won’t be re-uploading and reposting more than a thousand photos to old threads. Not that I bothered backing them up anyway.


Fingers crossed, all will be well in a few days. 


Edit; All fine now. It was finger trouble on my part. D'oh!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm finding diorama building rather tedious. So much so that I can hardly make myself do it! However, its the 7th December already. How did that happen? Aren't the days supposed to pass slowly when you are retired? Apparently not - last time I looked it was October! I hope that the update isn't as tedious for you as readers as the 'carpentry' and 'gardening' have been for me.




First, having taken due note of suggestions received following my Whippet project earlier in the year, I am trying to tidy up the sides of the base and make it look a bit more professional. I boxed the styrofoam sheets in with basswood. Mistake. I should have gone with balsa. The basswood, which looked neater than balsa, is hard to cut and brittle. Lesson learned.




I did one side at a time. The first one was wedged between kitchen appliances as I lacked long clamps. The others I pinned, pulling out the pins after the glue set. This has left holes but I have a cunning plan to take care of that which I'll show you later...




Despite all the glue drips on the carpet, the splinters, the eons spent waiting for woodglue to dry - I'm starting to think it's looking ok.




I've been messing with the placing of the figures. I won't be providing a script for the conversation and I think this is nicely ambiguous. The viewers have plenty of opportunity to write their own story.




I separated the dimwitted one from the three serious and mature soldiers and the officer, and I think this is an improvement.




It's just occurred to me that I might have some interaction between 'Pikey' and the peasant?




At the moment, I just have the Belgian guy trudging up the road. It's a possibility, or I might not use him at all in this one.




This will be my next layer of ground. 12.5kg! I believe I was expecting one and a quarter kilos. 




I've also acquired this texture roller which does large cobblestones. I haven't used it yet.




The clingfilm was to keep the tank free from clinging clay but it wasn't really needed. The clay, though quite sticky, isn't as much of a problem at this stage as the plaster mixes that I've used in the past.




In fact the second time I put the tank down I didn't bother with the film and the small clay residue was easily removed. But then I noticed how good it looked on the belly plates. I may have found another weathering medium here.




The cobblestone roller didn't work well at first. It pulled the clay off the base and clogged itself. After I washed it off, I decided to try again with the roller wet and that was lots better. I only did a few little patches, as it's a farm track and I want it looking as shabby as the peasant.


I'm also making a tree for behind the tank, to make the composition a bit more dynamic. I'll tell you about that next time.



  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites



Track painting time. Bizarrely, given that I've painted around ten sets of tracks in the last two years, I couldn't remember how to do them. My first thought was enamels but fortunately I checked with Uncle Nightshift and was reminded that spirit based paints on delicate track hinges aren't always a sound idea. Then I remembered that I'd bought these Lifecolour paints on his recommendation. If you smell these, you will know how realistic the colours are, because they all reek of real rusty metal. They are heavily pigmented, slightly textured and dry dead flat.




I wash, splatter and stipple the four shades, going back and forth and sometimes blending the shades for extra variation. I know that tracks don't really rust but they do contain molybdenum, which has a red/purple hue and anyway, some rust looks interesting and suits the mood of the smashed tank, and interest trumps reality, remember? They certainly look like they are made of metal now. I work on a square platter which I originally bought for use as a palette with oil paints. It keeps the desk clean and is easily washed off.




Next step was to wash on some dust, from the same paint range. This diorama is set on chalky soil so this is the kind of light ivory mud/slurry that I think the tracks would have picked up. I'm thinking of Salisbury Plain here. I also applied some of this treatment to the tank itself. The figures will be getting some of this a little later.




Since the tank is a recent casualty, I wanted the bearing surfaces of the tracks to be bright metal. This is Humbrol steel, drybrushed on and polished after drying with a cotton bud. I'm very pleased with this work.




Meanwhile the clay on the base was shrinking as it dried and cracking! I'm not quite so pleased with this.




On the road surface, I'll be filling the cracks because they are a little overscale. I don't think they will matter on the field and ditch areas because that will all be grass covered just as soon as I find out how to do that.




And while I had the Lifecolours out, I matched the rest of the exhaust pipes to the muffler. 






  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, JeroenS said:

Those are really nice tracks Bertie, a fine job. Shame about the clay but... you have enough to fill some gaps don't you 😉 


I only have maybe 11.9kg left!




(Good to see someone was paying attention. 😆)

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Lazy Modeller said:

Nice work! The tracks are Also dead good.




1 hour ago, vytautas said:

Hi, Bertie
All looks great and very natural!





11 minutes ago, JeroenS said:

Those are really nice tracks Bertie, a fine job. Shame about the clay but... you have enough to fill some gaps don't you 😉 


Thank you all. ☺️

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites



I fitted most of the tracks tonight.




The left side is intact but the right side will be broken above the sponson.




The front part, which I haven't glued on yet, is shown slipping forward. When glued, the upper portion will be resting on the top of the tank. It looks odd attached to the tank half way up the overhanging slope but that's actually correct, the tracks were held in place by flanges which stopped them sagging away from the roadwheels when weight came off them, for example crossing a trench. I think I'll have to explain that as many times as I find people to look at it!




I may even need a reference to prove my point. Fortunately, I have one.




David Fletcher, British Battle Tanks Vol 1. 


(It's actually a Mk.1 but the track system was identical.)




And here's my tree. It's not finished yet, as you might notice.




It's made from several branching twigs bound with florists wire and then glued with wood glue. I plan to putty the trunk with Milliput and add twigs as smaller branches with some willow catkins (?) as foliage. It's all stuff I've collected while walking the dog. I have no idea how I'm 'supposed' to make a tree but it's fun trying. 


My enthusiasm for this project is back up to max now that the end is in sight; hence two updates in a single day!


  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Bertie McBoatface changed the title to How are the mighty fallen! - British Mk. V Tank - Tracks painted and (mostly) attached.

I've had a brilliant day today and moved this project at least ten days nearer to completion. This is the penultimate update!




First I found the right tool for cutting curves safely in basswood. A pull knife is controllable. The narrowness of the blade in the wood enables curves to be cut with ease. And because you are cutting toward yourself, you have control and can't cut yourself (just like any knife really).




See the smoothness and relative accuracy of the cut. See also how crappy the air-drying clay is performing! It's not just cracking, it's flaking off in big lumps. 




Desperate to stabilise this thing I blew my nose all over it.


Nah, not really. That's actually PVA glue. Guess what happened when that dried? It started falling off the clay like sunburned skin peeling away from your nose on the flight home from your holidays. The clay sticks to nothing and nothing sticks to it. It cracks when it's thin and it cracks wider when it's thick. I bought twenty-five pounds of instability, didn't I?


I forgot to take any photos but the tree was almost as bad. Milliput is horrible stuff and I couldn't make it look like a tree trunk if it had a working time of 21 years! That's partly because at my age, as those wonderful dotgovdotuk people tell me, I only have an average of 20 years of breathing left.


I was on the point of despair when the oft mis-quoted words of Robert the Bruce came into my mind. You know, when he was watching the spider climbing up its web and falling off and climbing again and falling again and climbing... What the Bruce actually said, because he was no fool, was "If at first you dinna succeed, try agin, an then gi' up. There's nae use bein' a damned fool aboot it!"


So, being unwilling to waste the rest of the year unhappily fighting to make a realistic diorama, when I'd much rather be having fun with my hobby on the next project, I chucked the pitiful tree and the clay bedaubed ruin of a base into the bin and came up with an alternative plan. I've built 'dioramas' before, desert or mud usually, and even those simple themes have left me very disappointed - every single time. Hell, it seems that even I can't be good at everything. So the new plan here is to have a pretty good tank, with a lot of creative mods, some reasonable figures, and a much simpler, even abstract base. 


I often imagine that my display cabinet is my own private military museum. I'll ask you to imagine the tank, housed at Bovingdon or somewhere, with some manikins to liven up the scene, on a simple, elegant and non-distracting stage.


I've already done the work of cutting another slab of polystyrene foam to fit a picture frame. Sometime this weekend, I'll finish those last little painted details on the tank and figures. Early next week the postman will bring me a landscape mat as used by the trainset guys and then Bob's your uncle (and Fanny's your granny) - it will be over at last. Life is too short, and uncertain, not to be building some of the other marvellous models in my wardrobe.


The next update will be the final one!


  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Bertie McBoatface changed the title to How are the mighty fallen! - British Mk. V Tank - One more update to go before it's completed!!!
On 09/12/2021 at 21:57, Bertie Psmith said:

I have no idea how I'm 'supposed' to make a tree but it's fun trying. 

Our diorama 'guru' is @Badder   He's done a few threads on making bases, trees and buildings,  with many experiments detailed, failures dissected, and techniques described.  

see here

I know, 57 pages, but worth a read just for the sheer range in one place.


for bases,  instead of polystyrene


if you are doing base work,  a type of plaster called bonding might be worth investigating,  it's odd stuff, it's meant to be used to even out gaps,  sort of like mixing pumice into plaster,  if you know any plasterers you might get a bit leftover, as you don't really want a 20 Kg bag,  though I had some leftovers I kept for years in a jar and it mixed up alright.




On 09/12/2021 at 17:27, Bertie Psmith said:

Since the tank is a recent casualty, I wanted the bearing surfaces of the tracks to be bright metal. This is Humbrol steel,

you may find this an interesting read on track colour.


The Mk.V looks great. :goodjob:






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here we go then, the FINAL UPDATE. I've taken a bunch of pictures and I'm just going to dump them here in the order that they come off the camera. There are far more than would hold my attention but you all have that page down option...




Here's your caption competition. What is the Captain saying?





The back door blown off its hinges. I liked this detail and think the MG came out well. The exhaust pipe ends here so this area would have been sooty before the catastrophe.




It's hard to read this photo because of the chaotic destruction to the roof. I guess that's a good thing?




The commander's cab, bulged. I'm not really convinced by this effect. I do like the steely glint on the unditching beam rails.




I'm very happy with the track painting. 




That loop of broken track was far to difficult to do for the effect it achieved. I think it looks silly now.




It's certainly seen better days.




The gormless one is my favourite figure, though in the end I liked all of them. (Least favourite was the one I painted twice.)




The relatively undamaged side. I like the gun muzzle. The splashing I think was overdone.




Front end. I'm still happy with the battle damage technique. Simple, old school method but effective in this context, I think.




I spent days on those charred duckboards. There should have been more ash and small pieces of rubbish in the bottom of the tank.




If all the rivets are gone from that triangular piece of armour, what's holding it on? Oops!




I'm sad that the diorama was a failure. Abandoning it was the right thing to do though, before I became disenchanted enough to bin the whole thing. 




I lit the inside with a little torch, dimmed with layers of Tamiya tape. The effect is ghostly perhaps. See the wrecked engine cover plates in there.




Two shots from the rear.




I wish I'd stuck to the plan to leave the roof removeable. It simplified things when I was struggling but both stopped further work on the inside and made what I had managed to do very hard to see.




Through the exploded sponson




And the other side. I like this photo a lot.




Back onto the roof. 10/10 for Lifecolor Rust paints.




I was beginning to run out of things to photograph and to repeat myself. Sorry.




The gang. I was very careful to remove all traces of shine from the cloth. I left the leather a little sheen but not much.




Private Pike, a danger to himself with that bayonet. The mess inside is pleasing. Pikey is contemplating the bloodstains.




You can see how much I identify with this guy by the number of photos!




I could have made more of the abraded leather jerkins. And I should have either painted or removed the badges on the lads' arms. 




"And that, gentlemen, concludes my briefing. Dismiss!"



  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Bertie McBoatface changed the title to How are the mighty fallen! - British Mk. V Tank - FINISHED, COMPLETED AND DONE!

Fantastic! Love all the bits. And nice description of the photos.

Too bad you gave up the diorama. I'm not a fan, but in this case I think its mandatory! So build one that matches the build! You have be warned! 😆👏



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quite good, mate. A bit of thought gone into quite a nice diorama.


(Actually folks I think this is a superlative piece of work. The damaged tank is excellently detailed, the figures are fabulous and the story behind it has been fascinating to watch. But don't tell Bertie I said it.)

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, echen said:

(Actually folks I think this is a superlative piece of work. The damaged tank is excellently detailed, the figures are fabulous and the story behind it has been fascinating to watch. But don't tell Bertie I said it.)


I couldn't agree more and all the better for the great build log for all to read, see, enjoy, and learn from.


cheers, Graham




  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent! Really nice Bertie. I like that shot of the inside from Pike's viewpoint, well done. He does look a bit pale, Pike does, but that fits rather well with the view he's having!


I'm sure the captain is saying something about him. Like "Look here fellas, I have no bloody idea who this character is but he's been standing there for half an hour. Just take him back with you would you, chop chop". 

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...