Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mirage T26S

This is the Mirage 1/72nd scale Russian T26S tank - probably a medium tank in its day, but more like a light tank by the outbreak of World War Two.  It's quite a kit, comprising just about a million parts and incorporating a lot of detail for such a small model (64 parts in the running gear alone).  

It isn't fun to build.  The plastic is very soft and easily damaged with solvent cement, and the profusion of small parts makes patience not just a virtue but an actual necessity.  I needed extra light, reading glasses, and better tweezers to finish this kit.  And there are fit problems - in particular, a gap where the upper glacis meets the front of the hull, and another wide gap between the halves of the driver's hatch.  But these fit problems may have been self-inflicted; there aren't a lot of positive location pins or tabs and it's entirely possible I misaligned something while I was building it.  The tracks are also hard to work with.  I'm used to vinyl tracks, and actually prefer them over link-and-length styrene tracks, but these seemed especially slippery and disinclined to hold paint.

But while it isn't exactly fun to build, it's pretty satisfying to build.  There's nothing simplified about it and when one finishes it, one has a sense of actually having struggled and overcome.

I was going to paint it green and then give it a winter whitewash, but I liked the green (I used Model Master "Soviet Armor Green") so I killed the gloss with Dullcote and brushed on some ground-up pastels and called it good.  The kit contained no decals and I chose not to try to paint any patriotic Cyrillic slogans, mostly because my eyes still hurt from assembling the suspension.  (I really wanted to paint it as though it were a Republican T26 in the Spanish Civil War, but I don't think they used any T26Ss.)

Viewing my unbuilt kits, it seems that I must have had a thing for Vickers Six-Tonners at some point.  I have four Mirage Six-Tonners, a 7TP (a Polish derivative of the Six-Tonner) and this T26S (a Russian derivative of the Six-Tonner).  

The brief summary:  tricky and kind of difficult to build, but I'm glad I built it.

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