14 May 2017

Making tracks

Look at this.
That's right, it's the bottom half of a tank.

As it happens, a Hobby Boss 'Finnish T-50', which will be the centrepiece of a scene I'm making for an art competition, which is in turn part of some local celebrations of 100 Years of Finnish Independence. The Finnish connection is a little thin to be honest, because the T-50 was a Russian tank, and the Finns captured just the one example and used it. It still exists, in a museum, hence it was available for the necessary research. I'm adding some figures which will boost the Finnish angle - including a reindeer, in case anyone needs a statement of the obvious.

I hadn't thought 1:35 would ever feature as one of my 'labels' in this blog, but here we are. 1:35 has become the standard scale for serious armour modelling, and this is highly irritating to me and probably any other modeller interested in vignettes and dioramas, because it means a lack of vehicles and figures in 1:32 scale. Does it really matter? Well, up to a point, no; figures can vary greatly in height. But with many elements of a scene, in particular if you're mixing vehicles in 1:35 and planes in 1:32, the scale difference may jar. I'll find out myself when I get round to a planned scene including a Sopwith Triplane and a Rolls Royce Armoured Car. I hope that putting the plane in the foreground and the vehicle in the background will solve the visual problem.

Anyway, to the point. I had thought that in rigging biplanes I had discovered the direst sort of job a modeller can be faced with, but as time went on I found my method and became used to it, and the pay-off once it's done is very satisfying. But I think I have now discovered the most tedious task in modelling, and I can't see it getting any better. It's assembling tracks in 1:35 scale.

I've never been faced with this before (and I hope I won't again), because in former modelling times I only built tanks in 1:72 scale, in which you simply join together a flimsy length of flexible grey plastic. However, in 1:35 it is apparently normal to assemble tracks from individual links. Not only that, but in this kit and probably many others, each link had to be assembled from two parts, one being the tiny little running guide. I invite you to click on the picture to embiggen it, and look closer at the tracks. Nearly 200 on each side. Painting to be done in several stages. Painstaking and messy gluing together. The end result is okay, but visually it's just going to be taken for granted. What you see above took me over two weeks, on and off. I suppose I could have avoided distractions - some of them, not all - but then I'd be even crazier than I am now. Is there really no easier way to go about this particular business??

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