Armourfast Hanomag Halftracks in 1/72 scale

I finished up a couple more halftracks from Armourfast. These come two in a box and are really reasonably priced. But they do lack detail, especially in the one piece track and wheel area. But if you want some good value vehicles to bulk up the numbers then look no further. They go together in minutes and you can always dress them up with extras and crew.

So that’s what I did with these two. I had a spare Pak 36 gun from somewhere which I added to the top of one vehicle (I think it was a Plastic Soldier Company spare I had). This was teamed up with some Zvezda crew men from their 88mm gun kit. On reflection I would change the position of the crew as it looks a bit like they are doing a loading conga in the back of the half track. For the other vehicle I used my favourite AB figures for the crew, including a machine gunner and a couple of seated guys. Spent way too long doing the camo schemes again but it’s a fun past time.

I tried something new with my camouflage on the half tracks by first painting the green pattern in dark green with a brush, but then giving them a fine respray with my dunkelb spray can. It fades the camo quite nicely. Since I refuse to think about an airbrush this is as far as I will go without breaking my own strict modelling rules of engagement!

 

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Ready To Roll German Vehicles in 1/72 scale

I wanted to buy some more alternative German vehicles that I could not find in plastic model kit form anywhere. One of the companies who make a few of these rarer vehicles is the Rapid Fire Ready to Roll Vehicles you can find here Rapid Fire. These were two Hotchkiss German SPGS, one 75mm and one 105mm. Also a halftrack with a Pak 40 75mm gun. Rapid Fire is a ruleset I have, but have not yet tried out yet. Their website is a great source for all sorts of things and worth a look.

Their vehicles come in resin and metal, with the tank barrels usually being in metal. They are pretty inexpensive and have a decent range of British, German and American vehicles. I haven’t seen so many other resin castings to compare them to, but i was pretty happy with the detail. They come on bases already moulded. All i had to do was file down a view bits here and there and then superglue the barrels onto the main chassis. Hey presto the vehicle is finished.

The open top SPGs and halftrack were crying out for some AB figures crew and so I happily obliged with a few guys in camp and black jackets. It took me about two weeks to finish off painting all the camp on the crew men due to the camo pattern i did on all their pants. Then of course, once they are in place in their vehicles you cannot see so much of all my painstaking spotty came schemes……… Plenty of photos below!

MACO sWS Amoured Cab Variant Half-Track in 1/72 scale

Sadly this model kit maker, I think from Germany, has stopped producing these kits anymore. So you’re only chance of picking one up is on eBay or some similar shop somewhere. I was lucky enough to grab four different MACO kits on eBay a while ago. There are really cool half tracks and some excellent anti aircraft vehicles too.

So I was itching to build one of these and picked out the sWS cargo halftrack to begin. My first observation is that it is a massive vehicle. I think a good metre or longer than the 251 series half tracks. The kit parts are amazing, delicate and detailed. The tracks are link and length and are probably the best tracks I have found so far in a small scale kit. I tend to glue the single links together and create a curve slowly before attempting to add them to the sprocket wheel. This worked well with this kit. The tracks are so nice and thin they bend easily to the running gear. Inside the cabin there is also a good amount of detail, and you could add your own driver or crew member if you wanted to. The roof hatch can also be modelled open. I left mine closed and didn’t add any crew. This is a fab little kit. I cannot wait to try out the other ones I have in my stash. Painting was just the usual dunkelb followed by a brown wash over gloss varnish. The tracks were base coated in german dark grey and then rusted with powders. I did quite a lot of sponge chipping and wearing using black, raw umber and red oxide. I may have slightly over done this part so my cargo half track does look like he has transported a lot of cargo. The only decals to add were number plates on the front and back. To finish it all off i added plenty of earth and sand powders.

All I can say if you can find a MACO kit anywhere you should buy at least one just to check them out. I hope maybe someone will pick up production again as they really are top notch.

Thank you eBay!

Not anything new finished but just a shout out to the fantastic candy shop that is eBay. A nice lady in Canberra was selling off up to 300 model kits she said were gathering dust in her roof. I am not sure why so many, or maybe some of us just end up with a roof full of kits and don’t complete them in our life time. I can see that happening to be honest.

I picked up three vintage Esci kits for less than $10 each. In perfect condition even though they look like kits from the 1980s! They even have that musty old library book smell to them. I love the smell of old library books in the morning. The parts are all wrapped in plastic still, although the decals look as if they curled up and died a while back. So I added more German armour to my growing pile of kits!

My favourite thing was in the instructions, which really showed the age of these kits. To bend the towing cable to fit to your model the instructions instruct you to use a lit cigarette to heat and bend the plastic. You couldn’t do that these days. That was back when Steve McQueen smoked and it was cool. And it didn’t kill you. The good old days.

Anyway check out the illustration in the instructions. Brilliant. I am off to buy a pack of Benson and Hedges. Not sure they sell them in Australia. If they do Malcolm Turnbull is probably smoking one right now………

 

Stone walls from Tiger Terrain

To complete my Normandy Church I needed to make a base with some nice stone walls. Looking around I wanted to try a new source for my church yard rather than making them myself.  Tiger Terrain make some great looking buildings and scenery in 15mm/20mm scale and I decided to grab some of their rustic stone walls plus some tidier brick walls with stone capping and some entrance pillars.

Their buildings look great, and they have a nice looking range in 15mm plus a few in 20mm. I grabbed a small cottage in 20mm just to try them out. I think if i had my time over I would have made all my buildings with a smaller footprint so I could have used some of these excellent 15mm houses too. They look great.

My church base was cut from MDF and the stone walls glued straight on with PVA according to my plan of two gateways and just an open section. The walls are beautifully cast with no bubbles or defects and they fit together nicely. The detail is great. I threw a whole load of fine sand over PVA to give the base some texture. I then built up the pathways with more sand. Green flock followed by two shades of static grass finished things off. I used the balloon rubbing trick to get the static grass to wake up a bit. I am planning a home made static grass applicator but that will be another story sometime….

I was happy with the end result. My church can be a country church or you can take it off the base and just have in the middle of town instead. I wanted it to be an angle just to add some interest and make it a bit less asymmetrical…… in case you are wondering. My wife did.

Airfix Bofors 40mm gun and tractor

Another trip down memory lane with this Airfix kit. I had this as a teenager and was built and played with unpainted and I am sure ended up significantly damaged probably to the point of total destruction. The kit is advertised as 1/76 but seems to fit in perfectly well with all my other stuff and certainly does not seem small.

It’s an Airfix kit that still stands the test of time and was really fun to build. I love the tractor as its quite a unique vehicle that you cannot find anywhere else but this kit. It’s a nice easy build and there were no issues whatsoever, something you cannot always say about old Airfix kits. The only thing i can really criticise is the crew and driver supplied which are all poor figures and need to be replaced. So i turned as usual to AB figures who produce an excellent Bofors crew, plus an extra driver. These guys fit very nicely and are a great improvement on the original plastic rubbish.

I found this kit on eBay for pennies, which is a great place for finding old Airfix kits, often for under $10 a pop. My copy looked like it was from the 1980s so i was surprised that the decals actually worked. My personal favourite is the RAF circular symbol that you can slap on the tractor roof to avoid any untoward friendly fire.

I added plenty of muddy weathering powders to everything creating quite a dusty looking combo. I also modelled the gun in firing position but also kind of towing still so it looks OK either way in a game. I didn’t feel like building two kits, one for towing and one for firing. I also picked up an old Esci 25 per to go with a box of Plastic Soldier Company 25 pars to make up an artillery regiment. Might do that next!

Normandy Church scratch build in 1/72 scale

I have been busy working on my final building for my Normandy village. After hunting around everywhere looking at purchasing a church for my village it was decided that the only way to go was to build my own. So here is L’Eglise de Moutarde Forte in all its glory. I made the structure out of 3mm foam board glued together with PVA. If you use dressmaking pins to keep it all together while the glue dries that will help.

Once you have built the shell with all the window and door apertures cut out, I gave it good thick coating of plaster. I use the ready made stuff from Bunnings and just slap it on with my hands. A good sanding down with sandpaper and then I laboriously carve the brickwork using my Chinese etching tool ($10 on ebay and a few batteries later…) It helps to leave the structure apart for this stage otherwise its hard to carve your stonework into the corners. This part was very time consuming and probably took me a week or more doing some scribing every day. Tedious. But worth it. I added some buttresses for extra detail. These were foam board coated and carved as before.

Now my one problem area was the windows. Making nice arches with delicate window settings was close to impossible. After a lot of research I found a company in the USA that does exactly the right thing in exactly the right size for my project. Rusty Stumps make all sorts of modelling goodies, I think aimed at model railway people more than wargamers, but still will give you many great options for building your own stuff! Walt, who runs the place was super helpful and even posted my chosen windows to an address in the states, as we happened to be there on holiday. I bought two sheets of windows, some thicker, some thinner, and used all of them in my church. They are super thin MDF and very delicate. So I was very careful in gluing them and their accompanying frames behind the apertures I had cut, after I had scribed all my bricks. Once they were glued in securely I went around and filled any small gaps with extra plaster. The Rusty Stump windows also come with thin plastic windows to glue behind the frames if you like. I didn’t bother as I was happy enough with the effect.

The spire roof, main roof and smaller front roof are all removable. Made out of thick card on foam board supports. Then its old Christmas cards recycled to make slates glued in strips. Again, another time consuming process, but worth the effort.

The whole thing was base coated in grey primer. Just make sure you have given any foam board edges a coat of PVA glue otherwise you may find spray paint dissolving stuff. I used various light brown, light grey, yellows and ochres for the stone work, and paynes grey in various shades for the roof. The roof was also given small stippled patches of yellow ochre and pale green for mossy bits, plus some weathering powders streaked in brown and earth.

Now he is finished and I can actually get on and set up my whole village ready for battle.