PKA Ketzer

This model is a combination of a couple of SDR MaK designs, the PKA Ausf K-4 Ketzer and the  PKA Ausf G-4/R1 with revised engine cover which appeared in Model Graphix.


Build

The build was pretty straightforward. The base kit was a Gustav with the necessary Konrad and Gucker parts from the spares bin and some scratch building for the engine cover. The stick grenade was made from styrene tube, strip, and a few Wave Option Parts. I scribed a frame for the canopy with a pair of dividers and a sharp scribe point. The resin hand had to be modified to hold the grenade properly, but I didn't do this until after the model was painted so the hand and grenade ended up being painted twice.

Paint

The fun part about this model was the camo. I could not decide on a paint scheme and had set this aside for many months. While at a local hobby shop, I was looking through a model aircraft magazine.  I saw a very impressive WWI German Albatross DV with Green and Purple camo and large Black and White markings. I immediately bought some Tamiya Purple and sped home. The model is airbrushed with custom mixed Tamiya Acrylics thinned with their lacquer thinner. Once painted, I knew it needed something else. The colors looked fine but needed more pop.
Over the base colors I hand painted custom mixed Vallejo Acrylics. By using multiple thin layers I added some variety and depth to the otherwise uniform base colors. I applied brighter colors to the upper surfaces and darker, deeper colors on the undersides and areas that would be in shadow.


Weathering

After painting, I applied a clear coat of Future floor polish. This prepared a smooth surface for decals and a tough surface for the weathering to follow. Decals are a mixture from a couple of different sheets, but the main markings and cat unit marking are from an aftermarket sheet for WWII Italian Bombers.
After the decals had dried I airbrushed a coat of  Polly Scale Satin. I then applied a couple of MIG Productions Filters to tone down the contrast between the colors and subdue the brushed effects. I wanted a finish that had variety, I didn't necessarily need to see the brush strokes. After the filters had dried for a couple of days, I applied a few washes to accent the panel lines and add depth to inside corners and shadow areas. Paint chips were then applied with custom mixed Vallejo Acrylics. The chips on the purple were nearly pink in some areas; that was a surreal experience. Chips down to the bare metal were next and a few of these were then accented with 502 Abteilung Light Rust Brown and Dark Rust.

Figure

The resin replacement  bust is from a Japanese Wonder Festival event. The face sculpt wasn't that great so I was glad it included a visor. I drilled out the visor optic holes and substituted tiny MV Lenses. The figure was painted entirely with Vallejo Acrylics. I did a pretty good job but didn't need to since the tinted canopy almost hides the fact there is a figure in there.
After the figure was inserted, I fixed the canopy with Matte Gel Medium and super glue as needed. I had decided early on that I did not want the dreaded dirty model with clean clear parts that many models suffer. I had to force my self through it too because like many modelers, I was aware there may be only one chance to get it right. Rain streaks were created with Tamiya Buff highly thinned 95/5 with water. This was applied with a #0 pointed brush and drawn down the sides of the torso and even the front of the canopy. This was gradually built up with successive layers until I was happy with the result.
Over this I airbrushed a gentle mist of Tamiya Buff to cut down the contrast and dull down the Satin clear coat. I then used this same mix to build up dust around the feet and lower legs and on the canopy, especially across the front and top. After the Tamiya had dried to the touch, I erased some of the Buff from the canopy with a soft brush with just a hint of Tamiya Lacquer thinner. By drawing this down on the canopy, I was able to create realistic looking rain marks on the "glass".

Display

A couple of years ago, an early snow storm broke some branches out of the Silver Maples in the front yard. I cut up one of the branches with a chop saw thinking that it would one day make a nice base. The ground work is Acrylic Matte Gel Medium mixed with sand and applied to the top of the stump. Before the gel had set, I pressed in some rocks and pieces of root to help blend in with the natural base. This was airbrushed with PollyScale Dirt and the rocks were hand painted gray. The naturally brown roots were painted with Vallejo Acrylics to match the Silver Maple. The vegetation is a mixture of Woodland Scenics Field Grass and natural seaweed fibers airbrushed a brighter green with Tamiya Acrylics.. Ground litter is a mixture of root debris and dried herbs.

Finishing

Before final weathering, I glued the model to the base to make it easier to handle and less likely to leave fingerprints. I dusted the model with MIG Productions Pigments. Dry Mud, Light Dust, Beach Sand, and European Dust were mixed and applied both wet and dry and set with Turpeoid. The dried pigments were dusted or brushed away as necessary. I then applied selected washes to simulate fluid leaks. After these dried, I  then applied Vallejo Wash Black Shade and Sepia Shade to imply more recent fluid leaks around the power pipe connections.  The final touch was to apply a wash of pigments over the optics and rub then off once dry.