Once I got back into town from my trip and got some rest, it was back to the action.
Day 13 is actually more like two days worth of time, but most of it was spent waiting around for my final flat coats to dry. I also had some problems getting the exact finish I wanted. I'm always jealous of people who say they've used a dullcoat for years and never had any problem because I have nothing BUT problems. I almost feel like they must be lying...
I'd been recently using some flat spray from the fine people of Model Master by way of Testors. It was pretty much perfect until I hit the end of this project. Then, all of a sudden, I couldn't get it to do anything besides various levels if satin. I tried other models and still no improvement. This, literally, happens to me all the time and as much as I'd like to blame fickle humidity, my experience overall doesn't bear this out.
I got it worked out in the end, so no worries there. And I also go an opportunity to do some testing of a new (to me) product as a part of this whole side track. It didn't go well. All I can say is stay the hell away from the Model Master Acryl Clear flat. Unless you like ruining your paint job. Thankfully, I always test new top coats on scraps.
Once all that was over with it was on to the final weathering. I finished all the silver chipping (again, after the flat seal) and then gave the smoke stacks a touch more soot.
Then it was on to final assembly. Which also turned out to be full of problems. The dozer blade didn't fit right on the struts and some creative cutting and gluing had to be employed. I'll make sure to do some better test fitting the next two times around. Though this may only be of limited help if the kit isn't made that well or my precious assembly was even more poor than I thought (most likely).
It also turned out that I had been painting the struts upside down! FML. It's not real noticeable (if anything it helps break up the shapes of the model) but the gradient is decidedly upside down in two places. Again, something to remember the next time around.
Once I had bumbled through final assembly, I was done. The payoff was pretty great despite some hiccups, and I think the scheme is ready to be employed on an army wide basis.
Here are the final shots (in various degrees of color correctness):
|Best shot - a little dark but almost right on, color-wise|