INTRODUCTION: A RETURN TO BUILDING
This will be my first build since 2000. Much has changed in the modeling world since I last finished a model, so I have a lot of rust to knock off my tracks. This is especially true when it comes to the current trend toward heavily weathered models. When I left the world of actually building, Model Masters enamels, oil washes and dry brushing were about all there was. Today, we are blessed (if not overrun) with a bewildering number of finishing products. Many of these are acrylic, a medium with which I have very little experience. So, along with the knocking off the rust, I expect there will be a steep learning curve involved with this build. I beg you to forgive what may well turn out to be little more than the work of what might be called a modeling ‘boot’ or ‘cherry.’ And even then, this is all assuming I actually finish this first kit.
PICKING A KIT FOR MY FIRST BUILD
My first challenge was deciding what to build. There are w-a-y too many choices in my shop, and I get easily distracted by squirrels and shiny objects. That means I needed to narrow things down a bit by deciding what– exactly — I wanted to accomplish with my first build in nearly 20 years. Fortunately, this part was easy. I have never used acrylic paints, and the idea of having to learn how to use them has been a bit intimidating. Therefore, this first build should be aimed at helping me learn how to use these new acrylic products: specifically, how to use them to achieve realistically weathered finishes.
Now that I knew what I wanted to try to achieve with this first build, I needed to decide on a kit. Being afflicted with AMS (advanced modeling syndrome), I have a natural tendency to research everything to death. Therefore, it would help if I could find a subject I already knew, and knew ell. The idea here was to help me keep from getting lost in my ‘references weeds.’ Finally, I wanted this to be a fairly easy build. My primary goal here was to start learning how to use these new products and weathering techniques, so I did not want to get lost in assembling the kit.
Ultimately, I decided to build one of TAKOM’s M60A1 kits. Having been a Marine M60A1 mechanic for 9 years, I know the subject about as well as any modeller can know any subject. After looking over the TAMIYA, AFV CLUB and TAKOM kits in the shop, I settled on the new TAKOM M60A1 kit. From what I have seen in the box, the kit is accurate enough, detailed enough and looks fairly easy to assemble. Now the only thing left for me to decide was, “What ‘Tiger’ am I going to build?’