Tiger I Afrika.

Have you ever seen a kit from your past and felt regret that you didn’t do a good job?

Well, that’s what happened to me one day when I was surfing the web doing research on Tiger tanks and I saw a fantastic build of Tamiya’s 1/35 Tiger I AFRIKA. The whole look of the model I was looking at was simply inspiring and I thought back to my own efforts on that same mode years before.

The truth is I was never really happy with my previous attempt at this kit and I always intended to visit it again. Seeing a beautifully painted and weathered example before me fired my imagination and before I had finished my afternoon cup of tea a Tiger I had been ordered and it was on its way!

While I awaited the arrival of my Tiger I, my attention turned to research again and I studied photographs of Tiger tanks in Tunisia and weathering techniques for desert armour builds. One book I found very helpful was AK Interactive’s DAK vehicles book:

I also had some photos from Tigers in Tunisia in 1942:

As you can see, Tigers in the desert campaign were operating in harsh conditions and weathered easily.

The trick with this project was to not over-do the weathering , so a lot of trail and error was involved in this build. Luckily I was able to take my time with this project and try new techniques.

The Kit:

Tamiya’s Tiger I needs no introduction. It’s a solid, easy to build model kit flawlessly engineered for crisp detail and ease of assembly.

I made short work of building the tank and once assembled, I set about adding texture to the tanks armour. For this I used Tamiya putty thinned with Tamiya liquid cement and I stippled it on with an old paint brush. Once it had cured, I sanded off any high spots with a sanding sponge.

Time to paint!

Now we were ready to paint I thought I would experiment with a little pre-shade work :

The “hot” yellow/ orange acrylics were sprayed onto the high weather areas of the tank to darken the main colour, in this case Tamiya Dark Yellow 2-XF-88:

This new shade works really well for German desert armour subjects and I can heartily recommend it. Below you can see the model after painting was completed. I also painted and the road wheels and attached the kits rubber band tracks.

After a clear gloss coat had been applied and left to fully cure, I added the kit decals with some help from Microset solution. To protect all the work done this far I sprayed the entire model with another coat of acrylic clear gloss varnish.

Let weathering commence!

To weather this model I used a combination of Mig Ammo DAK Brown enamel wash, AK Interactive weathering pencils and Tamiya acrylic metallic shades to add paint chipping by hand…

Hand chipping takes time and a lot of patience!

As well as improving on my armour painting and weathering techniques, I also wanted to improve on my figure painting. Putting the extra effort into the kit figure provided by Tamiya was a challenge for me, but with a lot of reading up on figure painting techniques I managed to struggle through and produce a finished figure that I can be happy with.

Here’s how the figure looked during and after painting:

My next task was to ponder how I might present this model? I went a simple idea of a desert terrain base on top of a wooden plinth. As always, I turned to my good friend Paul Thompson who crafted a superb plinth to display my model on!

My work was complete and ready for display……

I really enjoyed this one and it is now a firm favourite armour build!

I hope you have enjoyed seeing my revisiting an old kit and and bringing out the best of it with experienced eyes and modern techniques.

Take care and Harry Modelling!


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