Leman Russ Pt. III

Okay, let’s add on all that detail and make this pop.

First up is the little sighting hatch on the front of the hull.  I’m sure somebody knows the real name for this—feel free to educate me in the comments.  I started with the sighting window itself and added two tabs onto it (at the top and bottom of the template). I glued it and just held it for a few minutes.  Once it was solid I glued it to the outer panel and held that for a few minutes.  Finally, I clamped all of that to the outer panel and let it dry while I worked on other things.  Once it was good, I put it on the front of the hull.

Next up, the tread wall has lots of round detail pieces representing rollers-axles-wheels-something (again, feel free to put the correct term below).  The easy choice is to use my hole punches to make various sizes and work with those.  The catch is... none of the hole punch sizes really match up with the size of the detail pieces.  I went back and forth on this for a bit, debating pieces that looked a little small or a little big instead of cutting out all the pieces and having them be mostly round vs. the perfect discs I’d get from the punches.

In the end, I went with the hole punches.  This is detail work, and I think more people will skim over things that look really good vs. focusing on things that look okay.  The off things draw the eye, in other words.  So I played around with sizes and put some discs down on the tread wall.  As I mentioned above, some are a bit small, some a hair large, but I think it’s pretty unquestionably a Leman Russ setup.

Helpful Hint—That top front wheel/roller/axle piece. There’s a small problem here.  On the template, it goes down right on the seam between two of the panels.  But if you check an actual Leman Russ model, it sits in front of the seam.  On this model the seam is just a little too far forward for a clean placement, but it’ll by passable if you play with it a bit.

Next up is the second big part of the project.  If those tread walls were half of the work, this is about another third. Seriously, between the layers and the links, about 4/5 of the time on this project so far has been these tread elements.  They’re not difficult, they look fantastic, but just keep in mind they’re going to be the big time suck. Plan accordingly.  Have background entertainment prepared.

The first layer of tread links took about an hour.  I cut them all at once and then peeled off the template-paper where I could.  There are ten extras for each side, so there’s some room to pick and choose.  Also worth remembering that sixteen of them are going to be on the bottom, so there’s even more leeway.  I set the glue on the tread element section by section and then set the pieces down, making sure all the best, matching ones were on the front parts of each tread element.

Helpful Hint—I printed out a spare page of the template to help with placement.  It let me see how many to a section and gave me a nice sense of spacing.

The second layer is a little trickier.  This is the one that makes the treads really pop, though, so it’s worth it.  A small tread link goes between each of the larger ones.  I put a drop of glue, spread it a bit between the two sides, and placed accordingly.  The tricky part is on the corners.  A drop of glue will still hold one, but you need to keep an eye on it until it dries or gravity can pull them out of line.  Once set, they do a great job of “rounding” out the treads.

Once all this was done, it was time for the big moment.  Gluing the tread elements to the hull and hoping it looked like a Leman Russ.  I used a couple photos for reference, glued, and held the whole thing for about ten minutes to make sure it held.

Helpful Hint—Be extra careful when lining up the tread elements and the hull.  Because of that odd, uneven piece on top—plus the unusual shape overall—it can be tricky to make everything match in every direction.  Check how far forward and back the treads sit.  Make sure they sit flat.  Check it all.

Now... it was cool getting two posts in one week, right?  Well, funny story...

This weekend is both Memorial Day here in the states and also my birthday weekend. This means I’m going to be playing, not building, all weekend. So I won’t have anything new to show off next week. 

But after that... we’re going to turn this Leman Russ body into a Destroyer.


  1. This scratchbuild is really impressive so far. I've made a Rhino and Land Raider before but they weren't quite as detailed as this - fully painted, I'm confident the cardboard origins of this would be a fairly well-kept secret. :-D

    1. Thanks. I've done Rhinos and a Land Raider here in the past. They weren't super-detailed, either--to be honest, neither is this compared to some templates--but I think the real trick is to get the right details.

      We'll see how it all looks once it's finished and painted up.