This whole process began because of all the development of new and improved kits that have hit the market in recent years. The kits are more accurate, have greater detail, and have better injection molding. These developments have left me and I assume a lot of others with a surplus of not so bad kits from the past. Staring at my collection of 75+ kits, I wanted to come up with a project to free up some shelf space.
What to build?
I have always been impressed with the streamlined shape of the T-55 Russian tank. I liked its wide, low to the ground appearance and its rounded aerodynamic turret. My original thought was to strip down all the detail and start kit bashing it into a streamlined futuristic tank. I looked into combining it with Revell/Monogram’s Futura because of its sleek fins and quarter panels. This model was a depiction of a 1960’s concept car for Ford that was scrapped and later used as the basis for the Batmobile for the TV series. What I found better to my liking was the bubble top to the passenger compartment. The final clincher was when I tried the piece on top of the hull; it almost matched the front slope of the armor exactly. Image 1.
What I finally ended up using was:
The Build – Lower Hull
The first thing I did to try to improve the streamlined look was to take about ¼” off the top of the bottom hull in order for the fenders to be closer to the wheels. Image 2.
The front guide wheels and rear drive wheels are typically higher than the other road wheels. By simply making a downward cut in the hull and rotating it downward, I was able to keep the hull in one piece and get the wheels even. This did leave a wedge shaped hole that I filled with squadron putty. Image 3
For the rear wheels I simply rotated the kit part lower and let it stick out in the back. In order to balance how much it stuck out, I added a piece of 3/8” styrene tubing to add the impression of an axle. Image 4 and 5.
The Build – Upper Hull
The next step was to make the cut out in the top to fit the shape of the bubble. I traced the outline of the bubble onto the hull and cut it out with a dremel. I screwed up the original cut and went a little crooked. Image 6
I applied about a 3/8” bead of apoxie sculpt all the way around to the rim of the cut out. I re-cut the new marking with a dremel. The apoxie sculpt was much easier to cut through. It had a smoother cut and was much easier to sand any rough edges. Image 7