Cougar part 4 – completed kit

The Meng kit built together nicely with few issues, none of which were serious.  If I build this kit again (which I will) I’d like to do it with a full compliment of infantry.  I think that without the infantry its really hard to appreciate the massive scale of this vehicle.  It is taller and meaner looking than an M1 Abrams, but without a person for scale some of this impressive presence is lost.

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Cougar part 3 – painting and weathering

With the interior done I needed to mate the upper and lower chassis halves – and this was more difficult than it needed to be.  I had to be very careful when pulling it over the photoetch mesh behind the cabin seats, and then found it was still difficult to make the halves line up.  This is mostly due to the lack of guide tabs towards the back, but with lots of dry fitting you can make it work.  I ended up just gluing a small section at a time and slowly working my way around the body.

Once that was done, the rear door frame could be attached.  This wasn’t a problem, but easily could have been had there been any issues from the previous step.

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Everything else went together easily and it didn’t take long to have the kit ready to paint. Masking the windows was tedious, but nowhere near as tedious as masking aircraft canopies, so I won’t complain.  Its worth noting that unless I did something wrong, the roof machine gun with its ammo can attached doesn’t fit well – the basket that holds the ammo can gets in the way of the left armour panel, meaning that if you look at the finished model from the top, the gun has to be slightly turned to the right.

Painting started with the usual black basing – using Tamiya NATO black.  Not only does this help show any imperfections that need fixing, but the model never looks cooler than when it is all black.

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This was followed by a marble coat then top coat of Vallejo Model Air sand yellow.  I really liked the look of the marble coat – I think it would make a fantastic camo scheme. Unfortunately it had to go.

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When I applied the top coat I knocked back a bit too much of the marble – the lighting in the next photo doesn’t help and makes it look even more washed out than it was – but still, I wasn’t happy.

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Following this I did some post shading and a panel line wash which brought the model back to where I originally wanted it. You can see that in the next picture, right before I started the weathering process.20170427_001211_001.jpg

Pigments were mostly used just to tone down (or emphasise) colours where I needed it.  Most of the weathering was done with coloured pencils.  I like using pencils was they react well to water/rubbing, mistakes can easily be fixed and the hard long side of the ledge can provide a realistic ‘distressed’ look on rough metal surfaces.

A note on the weathering – it was really hard to find any photographic evidence that these vehicles get heavily beaten up.  Almost every photo I found showed them in pretty reasonable shape and surprisingly clean.  In the few I did find where they looked like they had just come through a battle, the resolution wasn’t good enough for me to really get a good idea of realistic weathering.  A nice follower on instagram warned me to stay away from rust on the hood as the materials used don’t rust.  With that in mind, I didn’t rust anywhere, focusing mostly on chipping and dirt stains.20170430_002929.jpg

As I’m a terrible photographer, there is a tonal/lighting difference between a lot of my photos.  I’m working on it!

Cougar part 2 – The interior

When I first looked at the interior of this kit I was quite surprised at how sparse it seemed – especially the seats.  However after having a look online all of the interior shots I could find showed a rather simple, uncluttered interior.20170416_215923.jpg

I first placed the interior floor into the chassis and noted any injector pin marks that were going to remain visible.  There were a few in the front cabin so I filled them in and sanded them flat.  I then base coated everything in Tamiya NATO black.20170417_000229.jpg

This was followed by a gradual build up of Vallejo Model Air sand yellow.The few interior components were painted and installed and then everything was weathered with some dry brushing and pigments.  Again, I wanted to weather it pretty heavily, but I couldn’t find any supporting reference photos.  These things seem to be kept pretty clean.

20170417_234922.jpgThe cabin dash has some nice details, easily bought out with some simple dry brushing.  The dials are decals which I had some problems applying.  They’re each slightly larger than the ‘holes’ they are supposed to fit in, so they were unnecessarily fiddly.  Once in place (or as close as to in place as I could get them) I used Micro Sol to help them conform.  If you look carefully you’ll probably notice some of them aren’t quite placed perfectly.

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Next I started working on all the seats.  I painted them dark grey with a black wash to try and give them some depth. The seatbelts are provided in the kit on rubber sprues. The rubber is softer and more flexible than standard polycaps and as I quickly found out, doesn’t respond well to superglue (CA glue).  There are left and right belts for each seat and they were applied using normal Tamiya extra thin glue and a toothpick to press them into the melted plastic.  I then used a fine paintbrush and some aluminium paint to pick out the belt buckle details.  Overall the belts were a tedious task, but worth the effort as they really hep sell the otherwise plain seats.20170420_000026.jpg20170420_000008.jpg

I dirtied them up with some pigments but otherwise I left them alone.  All that was left was the simple process of painting and weathering the walls and roof, then attaching the lights. The turret ring is designed so that it securely attaches to the hull chassis but can still rotate freely.  In practice once a few layers of paint are applied to the top surface the turret becomes too hard to move, so its worth putting it on the angle you want and leaving it alone.

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Finally I painted the interior of the window frames and installed all the windows with a few drops of Tamiya extra thin.  With the vehicle’s interior painted I could now move onto finalising the build before exterior painting.

Meng’s Cougar 6×6 MRAP – Part 1

c1.jpgMeng’s 1/35 Cougar – impressive and imposing.  At $95 AUD its going to have to offer a lot to live up to that sort of price.  But one look in the huge box indicates that at first glance, the value is there.

As usual, Meng’s box art is fantastic, and the sturdy construction of the box itself is appreciated.

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Construction starts with the undercarriage and its immediately obvious there is an impressive amount of detail in the kit. A lot of small parts really bring it to life and i’m looking forward to getting it to the weathering stage.

On the whole the instructions are mostly clear – and I do like the effort Meng put into their instructions in general.  The booklet style is much easier to deal with than the foldout spreadsheet style.c5.jpg

Rubber wheels on – the detail on them is nice – not sure if I like the way they sit yet though.  I guess I’ll see once there is actual weight sitting on them.c6.jpg

Time to paint up the interior before I can continue…