Another excellent publication from Pen And Sword’s Tank Craft series arrived for me before Christmas and it has taken me a while to sit down properly and give it my full attention.
The Churchill tank is another iconic armoured vehicle from World War Two. Its unique boxy shape and tracks make it one of the more unusual looking tanks from the war. It was also developed into various different engineering models, including a bridge layer and flamethrower version.
Dennis Oliver covers every aspect of the Churchill in great detail and this is a good book for anyone with a historical, modelling or wargaming interest in the tank. He goes through the use of the vehicle in all of its units at the back end of the war. I particularly like the details on individual tank names that were used and that’s something I plan to adopt when i am building my next Churchills. The historical details are accompanied by numerous excellent illustrations and photographs, more great inspiration for whatever you want to do.
There is also a comprehensive guide to the various choices modellers have to build their own Churchill kit in most scales. This is aimed more at 1/35 scale modellers but inspiring none the less for everyone. There are more great pictures of completed kits by highly skilful modellers. I love reading about and looking at tanks, so if you are like me you will like this book!
Dragon Models in the USA had a 40% off sale back on Superbowl Sunday and I could not resist picking up some more kits with such a big discount! Some German big cats that came out at USD 6 a kit with such a decent discount. If you buy four kits from the USA the shipping is still only USD 18 total to Australia so it ended up being a great shopping deal. Now Dragon kits are usually a treat for me as you can pay more for them but it’s worth it as the complexity and detail can be considerably better than other model producers. This particular kit Dragon have aimed at simplifying everything, and its a bit of a disappointment to be honest.
They have started doing the wheels and tracks as one piece parts that you just add onto the lower hull onto the drive and sprocket wheels. The number of parts has been drastically reduced so the model can be built in really quick time. So they are definitely aiming for more of a wargamers’ market I think. The detail is nice but its all moulded on. The Panzer IV is a simple tank anyway, so I found this build a bit easy and the tank came out really plain. As a direct comparison I had just finished my Hasegawa Jagdpanzer kit which was much more of a challenge and had far better detail.
You can see I have put my Dragon Panzer next to my other Panzer IVs to complete the troop. The other kits are two Armourfast and one Esci. There is no difference between the Dragon Kit and the Armourfast ones, except perhaps the track and wheel detail is better on the Dragon one. The Esci kit is a real pain to build (for pain read challenge), but in hindsight comes out the best, with its cool side skirts and extra armour. Pricewise I would only be buying this Dragon kit if you can find a super deal at USD 6-8 per kit, otherwise you may as well just buy cheaper quick build kits from Armourfast or Plastic Soldier Company.
Photos follow with the Dragon kit on its own, plus hanging out with his troop buddies. The other Panzer IV kits are detailed in other posts on my blog. I think I will try a Hasegawa Panzer IV next and maybe get another Esci/Italeri one just for the hell of it!
I wanted to create some extra foliage branches to cover up my German armour. It was a common practice where tank crews would cut branches and drape them and tie them onto their armoured vehicles. Using small bits of lichen I just dipped them into some PVA and then flocked using various different greens. A spray with some varnish kept the whole thing together. Rather than glue these onto my vehicle (in this case my latest Jagdpanzer) I just rested them on there so I can choose to camo up or not! I think they came out quite well and will definitely keep the assault gun under cover behind some tasty bocage. I made plenty of these extra foliage branches so I can use them on whole units. My troop of Panzer IVs were just completed and will be blogged next up with and without extra camo.
Continuing my German armour building plans i got my hands on this Jagdpanzer kit from Hasegawa. Again the best Japanese on line hobby shop have this at a great price compared to everywhere else, especially for those of us in Australia! Hasegawa kits just keep surprising me, each new one I build, the more I like them!
The Jagdpanzer is another German tank destroyer that i am not sure was used too much in Normandy. I am guessing it was used more on the Eastern front, but i could be wrong. Anyway i wanted to build one and i am sure it will be happy to fit in with my Stugs and Hetzers. The kit comes in the usual Hasegawa grey plastic which is really easy to cut and glue. Wheels are simple and go straight onto the bottom hull. Eight along the bottom and then four return rollers on the top. You need to make sure you keep the lower hull and upper hull separate before painting them and after painting the tracks. The tracks need to go onto the lower hull before gluing the two together otherwise it will be very tricky to get them on. The tracks are the one piece rubbery type so give them a good stretch to make sure they fit OK without straining on the drive and sprocket wheels. You do not want to snap anything off……
The upper hull is pretty straightforward but it does not miss any detail. You have to open a couple of holes and also fill a couple of others. On the front of the hull there is one bigger area to fill which i made a total pigs ear of. I made such a mess with my filler and sanding i had to cover it up with extra track. Great way to cover my mistakes! I also added some more track along the front and the usual washing up brush plastic bristle aerial. If you haven’t tried that yet i suggest getting a $2 washing up brush from Woolworths with plastic bristles. Hey presto, 200 plastic aerials! I was super impressed with the detail and the challenge of this kit. Hatches can be open or closed, and I have a commander in the painting queue soon to be added.
Painting started with an undercoat of matt black followed by dunkelb dark yellow. Then i did a red brown and bright green camo pattern. Gloss varnish, followed by decals and dark brown wash and finally some chipping using a sponge. Its the usual process but i was happy how it all came out. I had also based the tank on 3mm mdf as usual. After a coat or three of matt varnish i used mud, dirt and various weathering powders to create the final dirty finish. The base was completed with tufts and flock and a little static grass.
This kit is excellent and a great balance between a challenging build without being frustrating. For a wargamer i do not think you will find a better version of this tank. I also made some camouflage foliage for the crew to further hide their vehicle so I will detail them in my next post.
My Tiger tank regiment is expanding. I love making German armour, especially the big cats. I have made the Revell and Zvezda Tigers, but this time i tried out the Hasegawa kit. You can buy this kit for 810 yen direct from a Tokyo hobby shop which works out at around $10 Australian, so its a pretty good deal. They have the whole Hasegawa range all at between 810 – 1100 yen, so i am sure i will end up buying all the kits at some point. The Hasegawa Puma Armoured car is a particularly nice kit.
The kit comes in Hasegawa’s usual grey plastic which is really easy to work with. I had no issues with any of the kit and it was quite simple to put together. There are few holes to fill so you need some kind of modellers putty or something to fill and then a fine sand paper to finish them off. The shovel on the front of the tank is also meant to be removed but i really didn’t see the point. I had a bit of trouble lining up the two halves of the turret so be careful with that step as mine came out a little wonky. Hatches can be modelled open or closed which is always good news as you can choose to crew or not to crew. My previous Tigers had no commanders so i left my hatches open and added a couple of AB figures tank commander and henchman types.
I left the tank tracks off until after painting the main tank so i could paint and rust up the tracks before attaching them. The tracks are the rubber type so make sure you give them a careful stretch before attempting to fit them. I had to use superglue to get the tracks to stick, and putting the vehicle on a base also helps keep it all together. Also superglue the top track down near the sprocket wheel to give it an appearance of weight. Otherwise they float unrealistically. That’s one bit of the model that does not quite match the Revell and Zvezda kits is the solid sprocket wheel. The other kits have better detail.
My paint scheme was a three colour camo using red brown, bright green and the usual sandy yellow dunkelb. I gave it a wash with a dark brown and used weathering powders to create some dirt. Hasegawa kits always give you a good range of decals with loads of options. Here are my photos, plus some photos with the Revell and Zvezda Tigers. This kit is slightly smaller than the other models but it still fits in OK when they are cruising around together.
I had an idea to swap some things i will never use. I have a Loic Neveu house that is too small for my 1/72 scale houses, it just doesn’t fit in. Its a nicely sculpted resin building with a removal roof and first floor. Also i have a dingo armoured car and achilles tank destroyer both resin and metal from Britannia. Again they don’t fit with my existing stuff as they are a bit on the small side. They both come with crew and MGs. All brand new and unpainted. I thought if anyone has a 1/72 plastic kit or kits they don’t want, preferably German or British armour or vehicle, i will happily post these items to you and vice versa. Bear in mind i am in Australia so postage not the cheapest, but you will get free goodies from me in the post. Check it out and drop me a comment if you are interested.
I have been a busy bee trying to finish eight different things at once and ultimately failing to really finish anything. Also a ten day trip overseas for work also interrupted my building and painting production line. I have, however, managed to complete some Airfix halftracks. I found these kits for some bargain price on eBay, i think less than five pounds each and had them delivered to my mum’s address in the UK before a trip there. Any chance i get to avoid shipping to Australia i take it! I have a fondness for any Airfix kit I previously built in the early 1980’s and this was no exception.
I have always read many complaints about the accuracy of this kit. To be honest I don’t care. It’s a great little kit and I loved building it three times. It goes together very nicely with no problems. Only fitting the front bonnet was a bit tricky to make sure everything was square, but apart from that i had a great time making these. The interior is sparse, but again you can easily paint up some figures to put in the back. The driver is a horrible figure and this time I didn’t bother with one as you can’t really see him anyway. I may put a machine gunner in the turret to fire the 50 cal, but I may not.
It definitely helps to add some stowage. I used all sorts from Black Dog, SHQ and anything else i could find. The decals that come with the kit are excellent and are thin enough to mould to the surface detail. I added some more numbers and symbols from other decals i had. Nothing historically accurate but who cares. Plenty of weathering powders and muddy bits all finished it off. Here they are together and also with my White Scout and IBG Models Chevrolet Radio truck on some reconnaissance.