Building Your Own Frozen-Effect Zvezda Model Truck
Bits and pieces needed
- Zvezda Z3529 Zis-5 Truck model kit (1:35 scale)
- Model pliers
- Modeling knife
- Polystyrene cement (plastic glue)
- Modeling weathering effect powders (or chalks/old makeup)
- PVA glue
- Model paints
- Model paint brushes
- Oil paints
With all the bits and pieces in hand, it is time to get on with the build.
Step 1: Assemble the model
The first step is to unbox the model and remove the main pieces from their sprues. Use modeling pliers or a modeling knife to make short work of this stage.
With the kit above, all parts are injection molded plastic, so be sure to trim off any or file down any mold lines.
Alternatively, depending on how you prefer to assemble and paint models, you could paint the parts on the sprues and remain (and touch up) later.
With the pieces removed from the sprues, begin to assemble the truck model using plastic glue to adhere the pieces together.
Always allow the glue to cure before adding any newer pieces to partially assembled sections. You can also make use of modeling clamps, or elastic bands, to hold larger sections together to provide a nice tight fit.
For smaller, more fiddly, pieces, use tweezers to help you maneuver and place them onto the model. Follow any instructions provided to complete the model, as required.
You may want to leave the main chassis, cabin, and wheels detached, for now, to make the painting process easier. But this is completely up to you.
Step 2: Prime the model
With the main model assembly effectively completed, it is time to prime the model. The color of the primer/basecoat will depend on the final aesthetic of the model, but in this case, a light grey primer has been chosen as the final paint scheme will be frozen/winter effect.
You can complete this by hand, or using an airbrush. If the former, be sure to water down the primer a little to ensure it flows smoothly and doesn't obscure any of the model's fine detail. For darker parts of the model, like metal parts, undercoat/prime in black.
This will likely take a few coats to provide a nice, even coverage over the entire model. Be sure to let any primer dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Paint the model
With the undercoat complete (and dry) it is now time to paint the main model. The colors used will depend on the final look of the model, but in this case, a base camouflage of green will be covered with layers of ice and snow.
Let's start with the green elements. Paint the cabin and other parts of the model that will be camouflaged in green. Like the primer before, water down the paint a little to ensure a nice smooth coverage without losing the model's detail below.
As before, this will likely take a few coats for a nice even, and solid, paint coverage. Where needed, you can now begin to add some fine detail to areas like the cabin.
As the interior will remain the same uniform color as the external green, you can add transfer details like posters, etc.
For the upholstery seat, paint by hand, or use a small section of sponge, to apply a mottled grey effect.
At this point, you can also add any glazing elements to the main cabin. If the glazing pieces have any frames molded into them, you can paint these prior to affixing them to the model.
As we will be frosting the glass later, you don't need to be too careful here -- you won't be able to easily see inside the cabin once complete.
With that complete, you can now complete the model by attaching the cabin to the chassis and the wheels to their axles.
Step 4: Add the external fine details
With that complete, you can now begin to assemble and attach fine details elements to the model -- like headlights, etc.
Assemble as instructed, using tweezers for smaller parts, and attach them to the model, as needed.
Once complete, you can also begin to add other details to the truck like identification markings. You can either use transfers provided, or hand-painted using a fine detail brush.
If hand painting, water down the paint so that it flows akin to writing ink. Roughly sketch out the markings on the first run, and then make them bigger, ad bolder with each additional layer.
Don't worry too much about making mistakes, you can always paint over them later and try again. If the paint is still wet, you can also "wash" off using a stiff brush and water.
Step 5: Camouflage the model
With that complete, you can now move on to camouflaging the model. Take a thick broad brush, and white paint, to apply a mottled effect all over the area to be camouflaged.
Take your time, and be sure to avoid painting over the markings you previously completed. You can always consider covering them with masking tape to protect them during this stage.
Once complete, and while the paint is still a little tacky, use a mixture of dry brushing, and wiping with tissue paper, to level and streak the paint. This will prevent the model from having raised stippled painted areas and help give it a frosted appearance.
Now, go back over the camouflage surfaces with a dry brush and fine detail brush to apply another layer of mottled green patches. This will take some practice, but be sure to use a reference image for the camouflage effect you are attempting to imitate.
If you want to add icicles to the model, you can use clear plastic sprues for this purpose. Grab a lighter, melt, and draw the molten plastic into thin strings.
Let it set and cut off small sections that can then be glued to the model.
Step 6: Add weathering and environmental effects
Next, turn the model over, and sprinkle over a layer of mud/dust modeling dust to the underside of the chassis. You can use commercial over-the-counter products, or create your own using old colored chalk or old powdered makeup.
Use a flat, non-glossy, varnish to fix the powder to the model once applied. Rinse and repeat to all areas you want to be weathered on the model.
Take your time with this stage, and enjoy it. It is fun!
For the snow, mix a combination of snow effect powder, or very fine white modeling sand, apply PVA to where you want the snow to adhere, and sprinkle your snow mix over the areas in question.
For added realism, add in some grass flock, or cut very short lengths of old paintbrush bristles into the snow mix.
Rinse and repeat for all areas of the model you want the snow effect to appear on.
Take the time to also make the window sections of the cabin look frosted.
Step 7: Paint and add any luggage to the truck's bed
With that complete, paint, if not already complete, any luggage that is to be stowed in the truck's bed. Glue into place as desired.
For fabric materials, like sandbags, allow the glue to set, and then "wash" them with a darker pigment to give them some depth. You can use either acrylic paints or for best results, thinner oils.
Once complete, paint some areas of the luggage with PVA glue and sprinkle over your snow mix once again.
With that, your model truck is now complete. Now all you need to do is find a place to display it!
Alternatively, you could consider making a diorama for it too? So many choices, so little time.
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