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DocRob

T-90A Meng

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Hello Friends of delicate plastic (and metal),

I started a new summer (easy going) project with the thought in mind "and now to something completely different". After browsing my stash I decieded to give Mengs T-90A a try, using some aftermarket stuff to enhance detail. I will go into detail about that later, now the kit is halfway finished.

Today was one of those more painful days being a modeller. Having bought a Voyager barrel, I was skipping through the manual and got a little afraid. Lots of stuff to bend, some brass parts I couldn't even see with my bare eye and turned barrel parts made from brass and aluminum. This is defenetly not made for the beginner and for the owners of carpets under their workbenches. As you have to bend a lot and due to the volume of the barrel I decieded against soldering, which I normally prefer to CA-glue.

So this is the result of one full day with magnifying glasses and the use of many unprintable swearwords and an aching back. On some of these warm summer days you should go surfing instead of sitting at the bench, but that's for tomorrow. :) All looks to be a little twisted and bended, but that's not really visible with the bare eye. More than once I thought about using the supplied plastic barrel, but did not even try to, to not get tempted.

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More on the kit and further used AM-stuff later, when I hopefully receive my photo tent for better quality pictures.

Cheers Rob

 

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Thanks guys,

more or less 50 parts for one barrel is no fun ride, next time I will choose some WW2 stuff like a Sherman :D. Thank god the tracks are finished, that was simila painful to do, but that I will show later, so now it's time to cash in the fun parts of the build.

@Jeroen: I hope it will turn out cool, because this will end up as a snow and ice covered caucasian beast.

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Hola Senhores,

now, as my phototent arrived I will introduce you a little to my T-90 project. 

Some AM was sourced some time ago, like Friul Tracks, a Voyager Barrel, Tetra Works Sideskirts, SKP Lenses and some J's Work masksfor the camo.P1130448.thumb.JPG.1b6efb9ef37ecb6984f9b497d55f7d57.JPG

I started with the tracks and decieded to make a little shootout between the Friul ones and the provided ones. I chose the Meng tracks for my kit, because I liked the clever engineering, the flexibility and the durability with that cement free construction (except you opt for the rubber pads). You put everything together in a jig and it's a hell lot of work, because every link is made out of four parts. If you go for weathered tracks there is no need for cleanup.

Detail on the Friuls might be a little bit better, but I didn't like the short connector wires (there are no holes through the whole link, as there are on other Friuls) and there are specially bended links provided for getting them around the sprockets. There is always the posiibility that you can't fiddle them in after mounting the sideskirts.

But deciede for yourself Meng is black and Friul is grey

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And that's how they fit, perfectly, the sag is ok (81 links as mentioned in the manual) and they sit well on the sprocket.
The wheels are sligthly movable for uneven turf

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The engine is a nice addition, but mine will have to wait for a job in the spare part box

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The Voyager barrel is really frigthening. I never saw a barrel made up from 40plus parts, but thats because of the thermal jacket.

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Outside it is pretty hot and sunny, so it is hart to imagine, that in the end this will be a snow and ice covered beast, preying through heavy mud. Time will tell.

Cheers Rob

 

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Only little progress for today. I spent a lot of thinking on the skirts of the beast and prepared the first parts.
I cutted the plastic parts and substituted them with the rubber skirts of the Tetra works set. To get the right shape, there is a strip of PE glued on the inside of the rubber.
I plan to leave some of the rubber parts away and rub the camo-paint off the left ones two show their dirty rubberish material. What looks most like rubber, rubber indeed.
It's a lot of extra work, but I hope it will show in the end.

Cheers Rob

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The beast is two thirds completed, a good time for a little conclusion.

What you get is a huge part count and a great attention to detail. I have seen sharper details on other kits, but the T-90 is clearly above average. The fit is good on most parts and there are some realy clever constructed subassemblies. The tracks are among the best I have seen molded in plastic, but a time consuming pain to build.
The kit seems over engineered in parts, which raises the parts count and makes it somewhat fiddly in certain sections, for example, it is possible to mount the engine cover openable (good), but you have to rely on tiny multy part hinges that may break at the first try (bad).

One thing I really dislike about Meng Kits (I saw it on the Doobie too) are the big and numerous connection points from the parts to the sprues. You will need a really sharp cutter to minimize damage. Some of the connectors are not only on the sides of parts, they are (hard to explain) connecting the parts in two dimensions (Meng style) and there is a lot of cleanup necessary. 
The manual is ok, sometimes it is not easy to see how and where the parts belong, so a lot of test fitting is needed.

All in all a nice kit with a lot of pros and just some minor letdowns. It is not for the beginner or the impatient.

Cheers Rob

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Long time no see on this one, other projects kept me sidetracked, but finally I have some small steps to show for the T-90.
I finished the rubber side skirts, using rubber ones from Tetra Works, because it looks more rubberish, than these provided in plastic. I plan to chip lots of paint away on them to show the black rubber. The parts left out are lost due to the harsh conditions this tank will be shown in.
You need some patience to assemble these side skirts and there is no real need to do so, as the kit ones look good, but for me it was easier to show wear and loss of parts this way.

Cheers Rob

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If you, like me, thought of russian tanks as a rather simplistic affair, I altered my opinion while assembling this one. The turret only took me four days to (more or less) finish it. Of the 1500 parts :wacko: of the tank, seemingly 500 went into the turret. There are sensors everywere and lots of ERA tiles are to mount, often with multi part substructures. There is a lot of cleanup to do, but in the end you get tons of detail. The brass smoke dischargers were included with the Voyager barrel and look way better than the plastic ones.

I more or less abandoned the idea of using precut masks for the camo, because of the huge amount of parts and details, it seems like my freehand airbrush skills will be tested.

The clear parts for the sensors will be added with SKP coloured lenses or reflective foil after painting.

Cheers Rob

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Hi Folks,

bad weather leads to more benchtime, so the assembly of the T-90 is finished. I left out the antennas and AA-gun and some tiny handles and the sensor lenses. These will be added after painting. Wow, nearly 1.500 parts, no kit I built had more, but mainly putting everything together was without struggles, the kit is well designed, albeit some parts could have been a little bit more refined or sections not broken down in too many single parts. The finished kit is hard to handle, some parts fell victim to my clumsy paws.

The good thing is that you can add and remove almost every wheel with the mud-skirts mounted, with the exeption of the back toothed drive wheels. I broke an axle while trying, the other was easier added with detaching the sideskirt a little. The tracks are just fiddled in for optical and practical test. 

The beast got company by a hooded Russian soilder, who will be up to his knees in mud and snow beside the tank. The figure is casted by Corsar Rex and detail is excellent, but there are some tiny bubbles and the barrel of the not shown Kalashnikov was broken. 

Cheers Rob

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Thanx Jeroen, it might be not enough brass for your liking :D, but in this case it is really not neccesary. Level of detail is very high and you are right, these tracks are among the best I have seen in plastic, that good that I decieded against the Friuls. the only neccesary AM is the barrel, because the kit one is a halved multi part affair.

heers Rob 

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The beast got some Tamiya rattlecan primer applied and after drying the tracks, wheels and rubber sideskirts were airbrushed with Tamiya Nato Black. With the remaining colour I gave the tank and turret a very rough preshading, but I doubt that can be seen in the end whe i'm finished with all the planned painting and weathering steps.
The rubber sideskirts were brushed with Heavy chipping fluid, because after painting I will rub (:)) lots of the paint off the rubber.

And now begins the fun part, painting and weeeaaaattthheeerrrriiinggg!

Cheers Rob

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Hola Senhoras e Senhores,
the beast went Hulk. It got it's first camo colour not without problems. The planned Vallejo Russian Green was like oil on tin and was not usable and I don't know why. In the end I used Tamiya Olive Green which went on well, but looked a bit greenish to me. I did some lighteneing of the tone in parts to create a little volume.

The preshading, as I suspected, was completely worthless. Because of the complicated multi-angled shapes and details of the TA-90 you had to do a lot of spraying from different angles. I couldn't go so thin with the colour to keep the preshading, but no problem here, because of the three tone camo and the planned mud and ice, that will not hinder. For the wheels I used Quick Wheel masks, which are perfect to the rim and they hold six wheels, so it's just four passes with the airbrush for the inner and outer side of the wheels. Anyway, I like that Meng added a PE-Mask for the wheel painting an idea which coul be taken over by other companies.

Cheers Rob 

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After a short break i got back to the bench and masked the beast for the second camo colour. I used a mix of Kabuki masks for the hull (not that many details protuding) and Panzer Putty for the turret. Applying the masks was not that easy and will have to be redone for the ERA Armour which I will add later above the sideskirts. I used Vallejo Duck Egg Green which looks very pale, but if I have to tone it down, I will use a filter and oils. This time I had no problems with that Vallejo Model Air Colour. Next will be the complicated masking of the small dots of black as the third camo colour.

Looks a bit messy at the moment, but i hope it will look good after removing everything, masking a Panther is a piece of cake with all the big plates and sharp angles compared to this one :).

Cheers Rob

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Today I did some more masking for the Nato Black (for a Russian tank :D) using tape and liquid mask and got the beast as ugly as possible.

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After drying of the black dots I removed the tape (easy), the black Panzer Putty (medium to hard) and the liquid mask (very hard). The difficulties arose because of the complicated shapes of the tank and the putty and liquid mask's tendency to flow in every tiny corner and gap. To remove I needed a steady hand, toothpicks, adhesive sticks and tweezers. The best method for removing small residues of the liquid mask is to use a rubber or some rests of dryed mask to rub off carefully.

After doing so I got that for a result. There have to be made some corrections, but first I masked the ERA-tiles with the same pattern like the rubber mudskirts.
Generally spoken, given the complex shape of the tank, the combination of the three different masking materials were the right choice. As a base for further steps I'm satisfied and if you look from above the fit of the camo-pattern of the turret fits to the camo of the tank body, phew.

Cheers Rob

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Thanks Gus, but there are lots of things to do before the beast earns it's right to get dirty :D. Some detail painting, decaling, filtering and chipping will be done before it gets messy. And then there will be mud and snow and ice.

Cheers Rob

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It's time now for the many little things that have to be done to put some live in a kit. First I filterd the camo with a reddish brown MiG filter, which was an important step, because the camo colorus blend more and loose the too seperated look. Then the tank got a treatment of light scratching with knifes and toothpicks, some detail painting by hand with lightened or darkened versions of the original colours and some work with crayons. I wetted the rubber skirts for chipping and liked the look after the removal of the camo, because it looked like rubber, which in this case it is :). Except the rubber skirts, chipping is not excessive, because the tank will be shown as relatively new, but completely covered in mud, snow and ice.

Then I added the fabulous SKP lights and sensors, which enhance the look of the beast and are highly recommended by the way. Later I will add some reflective coating on the smaller optics.

Cheers Rob

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