I have been working on a box of Plastic Soldier Company Bren carriers for a while, along with another carrier from IBG models. The four of them are to create a carrier platoon for my British units. AB figures make a fantastic set of twelve figures, including three drivers, for these vehicles. Plus with the PSC kit you get three vehicles in a box and twelve crewman. These are just three sets of four duplicates, so i only wanted to use set of four, to keep things unique. So sixteen men to paint up first and get ready for their little tracked boxes.
The PSC kits are excellent and just so easy to put together. In such a small vehicle these kits really shine. The tiny tracks are all one piece including the running gear. You can build early or late model carriers with the supplied parts, I wanted spare wheels on the front and two headlights so I am not sure which version that is. I needed to leave the front section off until I had painted the interior and the driver/passenger to make sure it all fitted in ok. The stowage supplied is repeated three times so i added lots of my own stuff to keep it varied. Added a PIAT and SMG plus picks, shovels and fuel cans for some variety. These were super speedy to build and can be dressed up nicely to create individual looking vehicles. The AB figures fit perfectly and make a big improvement over the supplied crew figures. If you are happy having the same crew repeated in each carrier than no need to replace them. No decals are supplied but my IBG kit supplied six different versions of decals so I just pinched three of them. So they are all from different units but it doesn’t bother me….
The IBG version is a different story! If you are not looking for a challenge then I would suggest sticking to the PSC versions. They have made the tiny tracks a bit tricky by having them link and length rather than one piece. If you have carpet at home just forget it. I nearly lost my cool with this endlessly dropping teeny parts and gluing my fingers together. Also the instructions suggest building the whole track in two parts and then attaching it to the wheels. I found it easier (for easier I mean not impossible) to glue the tracks around the sprocket wheel first and build them up. The rest of the kit is excellent, and matches perfectly in size with the PSC kits. Like I said comes with lots of decal options. I have one more of these in my stash somewhere so i will need to take a deep breath before attempting these tracks again…….
Here are the carriers all finished and driving around Normandy somewhere looking to get ambushed by some sneaky Stugs……
Another German softskin vehicle to add to my growing armada. I was going to make this just as a regular truck but then seeing the cool red cross decals that come with it I decided to make the ambulance version.
This is the first kit from Fujimi I have ever made and it was a good experience. Easy to build and plenty of detail. The only issues I had were with the back body of the truck sitting at a very wonky angle on the chassis. It needed some surgery and fiddling around to get it close to horizontal. So OK not so easy to build. Maybe i stuffed up which is highly likely but the tilty angle was way off.
Like I mentioned the red cross decals were excellent but I did need to use plenty of decal softener to get the back ones to sink into the truck panelling. The only other thing I did change was the windshield which is a really thick piece of plastic. So I changed it to a thin piece of plastic.
Lots of dusty dirt on this guy and here is next to the Opel Blitz with Flak Gun both ready for some grassy bits and tufts.
To finish off my Panzer IV units i needed one more of them to give me three troops of three tanks. My go to kit is the Zvezda model which is just excellent. It is the best kit in this scale except for the hatches being modelled closed. I have read some people complain about the thickness of the side skirts but it doesn’t bother me.
i added an aerial and also cut out one of the side panels for some interest. Particular nice are the tracks on these models but be careful when attaching to be gentle. That is it for me and the Panzer IV. No more Panzer IV. Panzer IV no more.
i do have three Tigers from Dragon Models which look like a lot of fun. This German armour is never ending!
As soon as i had seen that this new Airfix version of the Firefly had been released i was all over it. Well i did check its relative size to my other armour and it works out to be matching size to Armourfast PSC and Unimodel Fireflies that i have. You never know with Airfix 1/72 or 1/76 and exactly what you are getting.
its a great little kit. The tracks are a nice one piece moulding that you place onto the running gear just like their Cromwell. Its a great design and much easier than all that link and length mullarkey. They also provide complete running gear and tracks in one piece which you can alternatively use. They have gone in my spares box to be used no doubt to replace some dodgy vinyl bollocks i am bound to find.
Other great touches are the lift rings that you glue up into the hull on larger fittings through a hole. Great design again rather than chasing tiny lift rings around in the carpet.
My additions were just some stowage and an aerial. Nice decals provided too. Building Airfix kits is always nostalgic but it was a nice surprise to find a new one on the market. Instant nostalgia!!! Here is my new Firefly hunting through some ruins you have seen before.
Another great vintage kit I found on eBay for a few pennies. Nicely worn cardboard smelt twenty years old, and the decals had long since passed into browny, crispy bits. As i have found with some of these older kits they really stand up even being twenty years old or more. This one was good fun to build and quite straight forward.
i made some adjustments mainly adding my own clear plastic windshield and also a driver who you cannot see anyway. I did manage to make a pigs ear of attaching the bonnet and had to cover my error with an extra shovel. Looks OK for a cover up. I decided the crew were setting up ready for action so i only dropped one side of the back. The decals came from my pile of spares. The crew are the excellent AB figures who i gave field grey jackets and pea dot camo pants. I did have to remove the back seat of the flak gun as the seated AB dude had his seat welded to his backside. I added a box or two, a panzerfaust and an SMG for some extra protection.
It’s my first bit of anti aircraft equipment for the Germans, but not the last as i have a heap of MACO kits i am saving up for a rainy day!
I am slowly building up some US forces and I really like building trucks. Especially these super cool US GMC trucks. I cannot help myself as far as trucks and armoured cars go. These guys come from Heller (Airfix) and Hasegawa. The Heller kit has finer detail and is more delicate. It comes with an excellent gun ring on the roof, and its dimensions are longer and thinner than the Hasegawa kits. The Japanese kits are very solid and chunky and very quick to build. You can get them super cheap direct from Japan. They do have weird metal axels which need super gluing otherwise the wheels rotate. I added windshields with plastic and also added some thin chains on the front fender as i had seen photos of this somewhere. My drivers are all AB Figures as usual. They are such cool trucks. I have an IBG Diamond Cargo Truck just arrived in tbe post which I am now itching to make!
I have had my eye on some of these buildings from hovels for a while. Finally succumbed to picking up two ruins, a cool bridge with a toll booth and a nice little church. Here are the two ruins to start with. They are both one piece light resin type material which is really easy to paint. I primed them in black and grey and then used acrylics for the terracotta red brick look. They do not have removable first floors so i made them their own bases to sit on which will let me lift up the buildings and place men underneath. The bases are made from MDF and covered in a plastic sheet with paving stones textured like pavement. These look the part and make a quick addition to any table. For quality, however, i think Sentry/Raventhorpe produce the best resin buildings out there!
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.