It has been quite a while since I last put my fingers to the keyboard and drummed up some words of wisdom regarding this fantastic hobby of mine and this has been for numerous reasons, life of course gets in the way and keeps me away from the workbench and my keyboard whether that is work, the need to get stuff done around the house and garden, the weather, I don’t know about anybody else modelling in a boiling hot workroom with a fan moving around the already hot air blowing cat fur and dust about and ever so often turning the instruction sheet page is not something I get particular joy from. So I took a bit of a modelling hiatus over the summer and concentrated on the ever increasing list of jobs that need doing around the house and the garden, work and doing some reading to while away the summer holidays. Once we saw the back of August and with the approaching Autumn/Winter model shows it was time to once again return to the bench and especially with one eye on Telford get my finger out get some models finished and once more break out the airbrush and see if for the second year running avoid breaking one. With our yearly trip to Shropshire on the horizon and as mid September approached we packed up our models and headed for the IPMS Farnborough model show which is a huge favourite of mine for several reasons, it was the first show I met some of my fellow club members at, the first show I ever displayed at plus it has a great atmosphere and the host club always make you fell welcome and this year was no exception, when we arrived we had not been allocated a space however they rallied around found us a lovely spot and although it was in a corridor we had a steady flow of visitors to the stand who stopped by for a look a photo opportunity and lots of chats.
With Farnborough sadly over it was once again time to get some serious modelling done and decide on what I wanted to get finished in time for Telford. After great deliberation, well it took me all of about 20 minutes of sorting through various boxes to decide what part built half painted and unbuilt models I was going to get ready, now one of the part built kits that I had started earlier in the year with an eye on Scale Model World is the very lovely Tamiya 1/48 Elefant, I have debated about building this a couple of times since the better half and ever smiling Kerry bought it for me, the build went fine, after all it is a Tamiya kit and in all honesty where they may make shortcuts in finer details they soon make up for in ease of build. Now I am not one that goes in for huge amounts of research and feels the need to be 100 percent accurate although having said that if a Tank requires camouflage or in the case of German mid/late war tanks, Zimmerit I have tended to give them a huge wide birth. However after flicking through a couple of books magazine articles and the internet I noticed that the Elefant all had Zimmerit so after looking through a drawer or 2 I found the Tamiya adhesive Zim sheet that I had bought after I got the Elefant and set about adding it, simple eh?.
Tamiya must have released the Zimmerit sheet after the kit had been released and the instructions printed as there is no reference to it at all, so I set about adding it once the kit was three quarters built, not a great start….. the Zim sheet is one big sticky sheet and the Elefant has all these lovely bolt heads sticking up all over the place which means you need to cut holes in it, I tried drilling them out however this just caused the holes to look jagged so after cocking up the very first piece it was back to the drawing board and time to order a new sheet. Now I am not someone who moans and berates model companies about choice of kits they release or how bad the instructions are where they decide to put injector pin marks and I am not about to start that negative trip now or ever to think of it, I just think that somebody at Tamiya is most definitely a sadist. Adding Zimmerit to a tank that requires it is a task in itself, you can use putty to replicate it however I have tried that and it was a bit of a nightmare to be honest and ended up a right mess, there are etched brass sets, resin sheets and even embossed paper to replicate it or you can even use a heated needle (a pyrogravure) and etch the plastic yourself, and now Tamiya have bought out this self adhesive sheet that you need to cut out and punch/cut yourself, sadism at it’s finest.
So last week, starting Sunday whilst I waited for the second sheet to arrive I slowly and meticulously went about adding this sticky sheet to my Elefant, I cannot say that it was an easy task, you need to be able to cut out just about every shape known to man out of the sheet and then get it into the smallest areas that even a contortionist would struggle to get into, couple this with the need in some areas to fold the stickiness around corners it just does not want to go round let alone stick to you have a battle well and truly on your hands. I am a patient kind of guy and I do like a bit of a challenge and getting this stuff to stick to the plastic to look how it should was most definitely a challenge, also what would have been helpful is the fact that you need to read the Zimmerit instructions before you commence your build threw another spanner in the works so the need for some initiative came into play as I had already assembled nearly all of the kit and had Zimmerit to stick to areas that were already occupied by bits of plastic. So after spending a couple of hours a day cutting fitting cutting some more to get this stuff in the right place I finally had it all completed and all I needed was to add the final pieces of the kit and then sit back and admire the fruits of my labour, well of course that’s how it all ends in modelling fairytale land, not in my world, having completed adding the Zimmerit and the final pieces of the puzzle I decided to clear the bench of all the tools I had used, then as my celebrated triumph was close I picked the glue pot up to pop it back to its home at the back of the bench and……. yep you guessed it the lid was not on properly and it decided to fall the small distance to the workbench and deposited its contents all over the cutting mat. Luckily it only ran onto the running gear of the Elefant and complete disaster was averted and it lives to fight another day, the moral to this story could be always do the lid up on your glue pot, for now maybe it should be do not bask in the glory before your work is done.
The Average Modeller.