Monday, April 22, 2013

The Victors (1)

First project of 2013 finished - on to the next, shall we?

This new project was in the back of my mind for quite some time now (end of March), since I came across this image on the Facebook page of HobbyShopLebanon, which has some excellent research photos - especially on the war in Syria (I can highly recommend them, if you're interested in wear and tear and weathering).
According to "Military in the Middle East" it depicts a Yemenite T-62 returning from a successful operation.
I'm not really sure what exactly strikes me in this image, but I knew I had to build a diorama from it.
While still working on the "Dr. Nork" diorama I spent considerable "brain time" on this new project, which I named "The Victors".
My version shall depict the return of a Dencaran tank from a successful operation against the Stachelnschweinz Orks, maybe even with a captured Ork, walking behind the tank? They will be on a victory parade through the streets of Xanthium (I won't add any bystanders, but hopefully the poses will show them waving and greeting at the populace....)

So I looked at my available tank designs and stumbled onto an old project of mine from January 2008 - the Actros.
 The Actros was to be a family of 3 vehicle types based on the same chassis. One was a standard tank, one a recovery vehicle and one a tank destroyer. I still had the 3 hulls in my cabinet and when examining them I realized the tank design no longer fits the Dencaran style.
But the TD!
The basic shape is very Jagdpanther inspired, and I hope my model will look just as cool :)

Instead of casting customized stuff, I decided to use more existing WH40K pieces than usual. So I'm using the GW roadwheels mounted in pairs.
Once I had the wheels mounted I positioned it on the chassis....
lol - Zero ground clearance.
Apparently I didn't spent enough brain time.

So I reworked the wheel configuration
and now the AKTROS has some ground clearance.
Together with the GW tracks it looks rather decent.
And with the superstructure I can see the "shape of things to come" - and I'm rather pleased.
To keep the vehicle within the 40K and Dencara environment, I added track skirts.

While these cured, I started to add details. These two Sherman roadwheels will work as vents for the engine deck.
Even though no one will ever see it :P
I also created some details for the actual engine part...
and mounted it.
Next I combined the superstructure with the hull and sealed all gaps with Squadron putty.
After sanding the base work for the AKTROS is done.
Here you can see the forward track covers I added (stolen from a Tamiya Sherman kit)
To complete the basic layout, I had to create a gun.
As a potent tank destroyer it needs a big gun :)
For the detailing of the gun I cut several strips of thin 0.25mm plasticard, which I wrap around the basic gun tube.
With this one can easily create wonderful main guns :)
This baby is very similar to the guns used on the HERCULES.
With rivets, compared to a standard Guardsman.
In another step I added four exhausts to the rear - a powerful engine :)
At this stage the AKTROS looked like this.
Please bear in mind that all this was done over the course of 4 days - and my wife is on a short trip, so I was able to constantly work on this baby :)
No magic at all.

The next morning I add more details.
Since I want to call this TD the "Nachtmahr" (Nightmare), it will be a special night fighting version of the AKTROS. For the night sight equipment I looked at the old German UHU and FALKE infra-red equipment.
The gun also received an IR spotlight.
More details for the deck.
Here you can see the two IR sets for the commander and the bow gunner in the foreground.
 Ah, there is no better sound than that of a rivet gun in the morning *chuckle*
As proud member of the "League of Extraordinary Riveters" my vehicle needs a good amount of rivets.
Together with the other details such as these spare road wheels
or extra track sections.
A close-up of the IR spotlight
and another walk around:
But this scene needs soldiers!
So here are my IG trooper bits aligned, together with a Commissar, fresh out of the Simple Green bath....
I always loved this one pose found in many WWII images of the tank commander in his hatch.
One of the guys will be sitting on the bow gunners hatch, one leg dangling down.
Another will be standing on the rear deck - he will be holding a large standard (flag).
Another soldier on foot will accompany the vehicle through the streets (or the victory parade)
Speaking of the standard.
I have prepared this flag already a week ago from thin 0.25mm plasticard.
And I designed the flag already, so it was rather easy to add the design to the plasticard.
Remember the Commissar that just had a stripping bath?
Well, I thing he will lead the parade, goose stepping in front of the Nachtmahr - lol.
I love the idea :)

So the metal Commissar had to say farewell to his lower body via the means of a mean saw.
Checking through my bits box, I realized that Dencaran Guardsmen seem to live very dangerously, as I had many individual legs or lower bodies with just one leg.
Hmm, many amputations on Dencara, I guess.
The first rough assembly of the parts seem to capture the pose rather well :)
While these pieces cured I finished the Guardsman sitting on the side of the AKTROS,
and pinned the other two Guardsmen standing on the rear deck.
Well, this is as far as I got.
So, what do you think of this new project?
I look forward to your feedback, comments and suggestions.