I think armoured cars are my favourite vehicles to build. Or maybe trucks. No armoured cars are….. I dont know but I love armoured cars. The Staghound is a great looking vehicle, and surprisingly hard to find plastic kits that recreate it. This one is from a company called RPM who do a range of Staghound variants. I found this one on eBay as usual, and did not have to look too far.
The kit was really nice to build, it reminded me of an IBG kit, with the excellent detail, a decent challenge, and not with really annoying tiny parts. I would have to say this model kit was one of my favourites up there with the IBG Otter that I built not too long ago. Turret hatches can be left open, which I did to maximise the use of an AB figures commander in the top. I added my own aerial and a little bit of stowage on the back. Overall olive drab paint job as normal. The decals are excellent and I think a choice of two different markings from what I remember. The big chunky wheels are a highlight, and there is no problem getting them aligned and level. The turret interior, and even the engines, are detailed if you can be bothered. I wasnt bothered as you will never get to see them anyway, but someone doing some kind of display might. You could also leave the side doors open and see the interior if you wanted to.
If you want to build a Staghound then go and get one of these. I loved it.
Another kit that screams my childhood at me. I spent a while hunting for this on eBay, and finally found one with a cheap freight all the way from Canada, which is a little bizarre. This version comes without the plastic base, even though the plastic base is very visible on the front of the box. The box smelt of old cardboard, which i love.
The kit has not changed. You get a small ruined house and a heap of extras. I decided to build my own base in the same style as the original. So out came a sheet of MDF on top of which i did a cobblestone pattern into clay for a road. I also made a pavement section with Metcalfe paving stones glued onto foamboard and sealed with plaster. I switched out the supplied sandbags and used my own sections from Value Gear which are much better. I added heaps of home made bricks and rubble, and created the same kind of lean-to with the corrugated iron sheets as you can see in the box art. Oh I had an old resin car that was added too round the back, plus i made some balsa wood shutters to add some depth. Painting was done with a black and grey undercoat and then various acrylics. I used loads of powders and dirt to weather the whole thing, plus some charcoal for the blast holes. I so enjoyed making this kit again after 40 years, the first time it was unpainted and manhandled around my ping pong table in every game i played. This time i will be more careful with it!
I keep building more German tanks that I do not really need. First one of 2021 and its another big cat the Jagdpanther. Zvezda make great little kits and this one is just as good as any of them. By nature this tank is a simple build as there is no turret and a lot of hull. I ignore the snap together potential of these kits and use glue as normal. The first one i built (a Tiger) the snapping mainly occurred involving bits that were not meant to snap. The axles and sprocket wheels mainly. So this must be my fifth or sixth Zvezda kit so I am getting very comfortable with their tracks, which are cleverly designed, but you do need to be careful with their construction as the connections onto the road wheels can be tight.
The side skirts are a bit thick and clunky with this kit so I replaced some bits of skirts with PE cast offs from another kit. I had to make a rail along the side out of plastic to support them. Only the lack of opening hatches is a disappointment, and if I was braver I would have a go at opening them up. This kit is up there with the Trumpeter Jadgpanther in quality and detail.
I gave him a hand painted camo scheme with a nice bright German camo green and the usual dirt and dust.
I keep on buying more British infantry for my forces. I do not really need to, but when has that been a logical reason to stop buying cool figures. CP Models produce a huge range of figures, and their World War Two ranges are my second favourite behind AB Figures. Great details and easy to paint. They pretty much paint themselves. These guys are a five man squad of British tommies and a four man vehicle crew. I used my usual colours for British Army and tank crew. I do not like the slot plastic bases provided so I snip off most of the metal and glue them into modelling clay on a 10 cent piece. So here is another squad wandering through a quiet paddock and an armoured car crew stretching their legs. I think a Daimler crew is actually only three men, but let’s not make a big deal out of that……
From Australia these Hasegawa kits only cost 810 yen which i think is about 7-8 USD, and postage for three kits is about the same. So a pretty good deal and way better value than buying these kits from any other retailer. I really liked the Humber Armoured Car kit they make, and needed a couple of Daimlers for sure. This kit is in the usual grey plastic which is really easy to work with. Not too many pieces either which always makes these Hasegawa kits perfect for an evening of easy model making. Most importantly for me is that everything fits together and instructions are clear and easy to follow. Plenty of good detail in this scale and easily enough for my purpose of putting them on my table top.
My Daimler had a couple of additions, including an aerial, a pickaxe on the front and a hatchet on the back. Also some stowage items added on the back and sides. He received an olive drab paint job as usual, but I don’t think I bothered with a brown wash this time. I do a gloss varnish coat where I am placing my decals and also use a decal softener which does help with blending the decals into the paint work. As with all my wheeled vehicles I like to base them on MDF bases to prevent any damage. Some European earth weathering powder makes Mr Daimler look well used. I still do not bother with any chipping or other effects on green vehicles as i am not sure it really adds much. I really enjoyed making this kit and next up have a Staghound Armoured Car from a company called RPM which is new to me. Hopefully it’s just as good!
I picked up another bargain Panther kit on eBay, I think this one came from France for a few Euros. Not that I needed another Panther, it is just hard for me to resist a bargain. Especially a big cat bargain. So now I have nine completed Panthers (4 Plastic Soldier Company, 2 Zvezda, 1 Esci, 1 Dragon, 1 Revell). Which is more than enough for any battle. Although I have almost finished a Hasagewa Panther too – so that will make ten. So no more Panthers. At least I can say I have a good grasp of Panther tank kits in 1/72 scale.
Revell always make good kits. This one is also good, except for the weird looking turret. The size and shape of the turret is a bit too tall compared to other kits. Not that it is very noticeable. The hatches can be left open which is nice for those of us who will place a commander in the hatch. I added an aerial and left off the schurtzen. The tracks are great link and length and not crappy vinyl. The decals are excellent and they give you enough for a couple of vehicles, so I used the others on my previous Zvezda Panther. The tank commander is an AB figure as usual as they are the best!
Really enjoyed building this kit, and its only the slightly weird turret that is a negative. If you can find a good deal on eBay it is well worth it. One day I will line up all the Panthers together so we compare and contrast.
I wanted to create some wrecked vehicle markers, both as nice looking scenery and bits of cover, as well as potentially actual wrecked tanks to replace vehicles destroyed during proceedings. I thought that having a few actual wrecked models would add to the variety rather than the usual plumes of cotton wool smoke.
These two are a Plastic Soldier Soldier Company Sherman and an Armourfast Jagdpanther. Neither model I was particularly impressed with. The Sherman was very big and chunky and I found many better offerings from Trumpeter, Esci, Dragon etc. Same for the Jagdpanther who was since replaced with much finer model kits from Zvezda and Trumpeter again. SO i got to it ripping off bits, hatches, tracks and punching holes in the hulls with pins and drills. I placed them on bases at funny angles which helps with the drunken wrecked look. I added lots of homemade rubble and stuff and other bits and pieces of debris. Always good to have an old oil drum kicking around. I used a heavy brown wash followed by lots of dust and dirt powders and some charcoal to show the burnt out bits. They look good just as extra scenery cover near some blown out buildings. I am looking forward to Christmas and hope to get some more work finished so I can post more pictures!
I am so close to finishing up my British Infantry battalion it is not funny. The trouble is i keep finding more awesome figures to buy and paint. This platoon from my favourite AB figures was no exception. I think they are meant for the Far East by the equipment and the presence of a Thompson sub machine gun, but I have painted them up to join my Northumbrian Light Infantry in Normandy. Nothing much to add, they took me ages to paint as usual.
I was asked about the new grassy mat I have photographed them on. This was made using a faux fur blanket I found at Spotlight (an Australian craft store). The material is available at this link – i have no idea if the same stuff is available in other countries:
The trick is that this particular fabric has a fur length exactly the height of grass at 1/72 scale so you do not have to cut it or shave it or mess with it at all. You could easily shave roads and paths into it if you like, but i tend to place all my terrain on top, or hills can be anything placed underneath. Other fur fabrics are a pain as they are generally quite long and need a lot of cutting to get them to look like anything else except fake fur…..
Painting is simple. I just laid my 3m x 150cm fabric out on the lawn and sprayed it lightly with a lime green and bright yellow cheap spray like the below. $3.50 per can, and i probably used 2 green and one yellow. You could throw in some brown or beige or cream depending on the effect you want.
The trick is to take it slowly and spray lightly and repeatedly so you retain the texture of the fabric and do not get it swamped or claggy. When you are happy with the colour mix leave it to dry. If you get spray paint on the lawn dont worry it will go away next time you mow.
I have been struggling to make roads and town squares for a while using various different methods. Hand scribing cobble stones onto a thin layer of plaster on MDF looks great, but it is wildly time consuming. Textured card glued to MDF or wood also works, but looks a bit flat and a bit fake for my liking. The best method I have now settled on is a textured rolling pin from a company called Greenstuff World at www.greenstuffworld.com
They produce a big range of interesting things for the modeler. I picked up some of their textured rolling pins. I found the 28mm scale one of cobblestones which is about 25cm long works really well for 1/72 scale cobbled town squares and roads. The detail stands out better than the smaller roller means for 15mm scale. I decided that I wanted to just make larger cobbled squares and put them together to make a large town area. Then the buildings would stand on top of the town area and the cobbled roads would be formed in between the buildings. Using MDF i cut a roughly 25 x 25cm square and then rolled out DAS clay nice and thin to the same size with a bit of an overlap. You then carefully and firmly roll the textured rolling pin over the clay in one direction making an imprint. I left this to dry, glued it to the MDF and then trimmed the edges.
I gave it a base in a grey spray primer and then used some brown and black washes and a whole heap of dry brushing lighter shades of grey. Check them out. When I have made a few I will set up a town scene to show the effect.
I still needed a couple more panthers to get up to three troops of three tanks, so I picked up a Zvezda Panther on eBay. I have made one of these before and also a few of the Panzer IVs and also a Tiger so I know what I am in for. These kits are advertised as snap together which really only means some of it is snap together, but if you are like me you are going to be gluing it all together anyway. Zvezda kits are generally really good. The detail is excellent and parts go together very nicely. Also they are great value for money, especially if you buy them from Eastern Europe where they are made. I don’t think this cost me much more than $10–12AUD.
My only criticisms would be as follows. The hatches are all moulded shut, so if you like placing extra figures in the tank, like I do, you cannot, unless you are brave and feel like doing some surgery.
Due to the snap fit design some bits are tricky to get together, like the rear of the top hull fitting into the bottom. I had to cut off a couple of small lugs that were just bending rather than fitting. Also there was a gap at the front where the hulls meet and i had to do some filling and sanding with my magic putty.
The track design is great, you wrap around the flexible tracks and then fit them onto pegs in between the wheels. This can also get tricky as its a tight fit, and you need to be very careful not to apply too much force and break any of the sprocket wheels. I made this mistake before on the Tiger so I was extra cautious this time.
My paint job was a patchy camouflage scheme and some dark washes, plus plenty of dirt and dust to finish him off. I added an aerial and half destroyed the side skirts for some interest. I used some excellent decals from the Revell panther i finished next which gave more options than this kit.