Tamiya 1/48 Tiger 1
If you’re familiar with my previous articles, you'll know about my affinity for Tamiya 1/48th scale military model kits. Despite their low parts counts they have just about all the detail of 1/35 scale armor kits. There are no flash or sink marks to clean up. This all makes for a nice straight forward build and invites you to pay more attention to painting and making modifications. For several of these I've tried to emulate the weathering and detailing I've seen on outstanding 1/35 masterpieces. With inspiration from great modelers like Luskasa Orczyc-Musial at COLDMONSpl (Youtube)—a major contributor to AMMO Mig detailing books—and from Martin at Night Shift (Youtube), I applied many weathering techniques to one of the earliest Tamiya 1/48th military model kits; the Tiger 1 Early.
Originally issued in 2004, this is one of the earlier kits in this range. As such it has a metal chassis tub. Tamiya later switched to plastic tubs, I think in response to complaints that the metal tub with fixed axles made modifications to the running gear very difficult to pull off.
Question: Why DID Tigers have so many road wheels? Answer: So scale modelers would have something to sand.
It comes with a nice jig built into the spue to assemble the length and link tracks with the right sag.
I scuffed up the outside road wheels to simulate wear and tear.
I added texture with Mr. Hobby Dissolved Putty to the hull front and sides to simulate cast steel.
I wanted to depict an early Panzer Gray Tiger 1 that initially fought in Russia in 1942, made it through the first winter with a coat of white and then received a Dunkelgelb camouflage pattern. The base is faded Panzer Gray from a mix of AK German Gray, Ocean Blue and White. I painted white over a coat of MIG chipping fluid and scrubbed most of off.
This technique used by COLDMONSpl turned out to be a great way to hold the hull during the extensive painting and weathering process.
I used some of the unattached tools from the kit, some Value Gear items and some things from the spare parts box to add some stowage to the rear deck.
The most time-consuming modification was to replace the molded cables with custom cables to depict a well-used tank. I clipped off the end loops and drilled out the center of the collars. I created the brackets for the side cable by flattening and bending lead wire.
I weathered the underside and wheels with three shades of AK and Mig dirt effects.
For rusty bits I have a fondness for LifeColor rust tones.
The chipping was done with layers of Ammo Chipping acrylic and Tamiya Buff.
Rusty streaks were liberally added with 502 Abteilung oils.
The final steps were to add fuel and grease stains to the rear deck and some smutch to the top of the turret.