Construction part 2
Time to paint the interior, so all the separate bits were mounted up (64), and the internals sprayed with something like NATO green, I think Mr Hobby Aqueous Hobby Color H422. The roof and rear door (65) feature ejector circles, those on the door in particular would need to be eliminated if posing it open; the same goes for the underside of the hood (66). Notice that all of those parts do at least include decent levels of detail despite the blemishes. No such marks appear on the doors however due to the two part construction; masking fluid was applied to the edges to make them easier to cement in place (67). The vehicle interior received some highlighting of a lighter green (68), Mr Hobby H312, on the basis that it might make some of it a bit more visible through the windows and roof hatch, instead of being just dark, followed by a little detail painting and some other weathering / shading (69, 70).
With the interior painted, the turret ring was masked off with tape and the roof cemented on. Now the problem with the old side panels finally dawned on me, and after a few (ahem) ďoh dearsĒ, I managed to carefully prise them away from the rest of the bodywork (71). In (72) and (73) the new panels are in place. Apart from the external appearance of the new panels, a slight change has been made in that they now include the reinforced front windshield pillar, whereas in the first kit, this was only provided for by the windshield element itself.
The doors are added (74, 75) as well as the mirrors, which is a risk, but I wanted them on before the main paint. As this is an OOB build, I left the mirrors as they came, but I think a big improvement would be to replace the brackets with wire to achieve a more scale appearance and also allow the mirrors to be angled in a little more. The vertical plate that mounts on top of the rear hatch was also attached; this plate looks simple, but turned out to be quite troublesome for me. The difficulty is that it has no definite means of attachment, other than using CA glue to bond the very thin edge on to the plastic surface, added to which it needs to sit between the rear hatch latch and the small pairs of studs that edge the hatch. If it was perfectly vertical, I think it would fit in place fine, but as it tilts forward slightly, it seemed to me that the edge didnít make perfect contact with the plastic, the line of studs being in the way. Then there is trying not to mess up the appearance with too much glue, but still getting it to remain attached properly. I dont know how it attaches on the real thing, but either a bent over bracket, or perhaps a small pin extension on the PE components to locate into a hole drilled into the hatch, might be an improvement.
Also visible in photo (75) is the rear left antenna bracket PE component (75A), the applique armour plate that fits just behind the rear passenger door (added after the door itself, 75B), and the double layered PE plate over the fuel filler cap recess (75C). Something that really needs attention is the elimination of the joins between the rear roof pillars and the rear side panels (75D). On the real thing this appears to be a single pressed piece of steel, so is a perfectly smooth curve, while here we have a join, and in fact particular attention is needed on the side with the a/c louvre, as the join is in the narrow gap between the roof and side ventilation slots.
In photos (77, 78) is the top of the hood with the right inner lamp being added, there being two optional parts here, either clear or painted body colour, so Iíve gone for body colour, hence it is added now, and thatís the sprue tag still attached being used to position it until the cement is set. Also here the lifting rings have been added, using round wire instead of the flat hoops provided on the sheet, this being my only departure from an OOB build, but being both easier and looking better.
The various subassemblies (78-84) were primed with Mr Surfacing Finisher 1500 mixed with cellulose thinners. This primer is excellent, the only downside being the toxic fumes, so vapour mask, gloves, goggles, garage door open even in sub-zero temperatures, are all necessary, and I still need to find some gloves that it doesnít react with.
The lenses of the clear front side lights were masked with a dab of masking fluid, then sprayed orange on the insides, and primed on the outside (85). Now the main colour starts to go on (86), this being Mr Color 313, which although described as semi-gloss, is more like quarter-gloss, and was also thinned with cellulose thinners, with the same safety precautions followed. I think it is true to say that putting the toxicity to one side, this is the best paint mix Iíve used through an airbrush, it just mists on very finely, with no drying or blocking on the tip, no grainy finish, no droplet formation, no spattering, just easy all the way.
I didnít bother masking the tyres, roughly spraying the wheels in, the edges to be touched up later, while the chassis was given a very thin coat of the sand colour (87). The main headlamps were also covered with masking fluid, then the whole thing painted with sand; then I decided I liked the look of some M1114s that have this in the original green (no idea if this might be authentic with the FRAG5 doors) so the top grille was taken off, and the hood sprayed with a blend of the same two greens used for the interior (88).
Having painted the turret hatch, two ejector marks that I had previously ignored became very obvious (90) so the hatch was removed, they were eliminated, and then repainted (91). The windshield wipers were mounted on cocktail sticks to be primed (92). The box top art and the painting guide show them as being painted the body colour, but I think in every photo Iíve seen they appear to be black or some very dark colour, so the primer is how they stayed. More evidence of my disorderly build was forgetting about the lower front plate, and this was hurriedly primed with a Halfords spray can, a pity as you can see it has covered some of the detail (93).