I built the second building from Metcalfe Models that i bought a while back. The first manor house was a bit on the small side to fit in with my other scratch built Normandy buildings so i was not too enthusiastic about this one. But i was happy to be surprised with how this turned out. Scale size is always a problem, especially with buildings. I did purchase one as a trial from Loic Neveu, who makes great looking stuff, but it was tiny! I reckon it would fit better with 15mm or 1/100 scale. My home made village all comes in around 40mm per storey or 120mm minimum height for a two storey building with roof. Plus the chimney pots and 3-5mm of base. This Metcalfe village shop is 110mm in height to the top of the chimneys which is just big enough to fit in with my existing buildings without looking shrunken and dwarfish. Once you stick him in with other scenery you don’t notice the slightly smaller scale.
So onto the model. I really like these card kits. They come in super solid card stock and are really fun and easy to build. A clear instruction sheet is provided and the card pieces are very clearly marked and self explanatory. It makes a nice change for an evening’s modelling excitement. The card does a look a bit too clean and tidy, so i find basing them and throwing some brown paint around does help them blend into the “real world” a bit. While i am super keen on building my own terrain from scratch having a few of these guys adds some variety and speeds up the process a bit too. Building my own takes me weeks and weeks. For around $15 – 17 per house they are very good value compared to other resin or plastic options. I have my beady eyes on a couple of other Metcalfe kits, the terraced houses and corner store may be added to my collection. You should check them out, even more so for you Cold War and Modern wargamers, as they will fit better in that period than in Normandy 1944.
These kits from Polish company IBG are just always a total pleasure to build. This is only my second truck from their range but i it was just as awesome as the first one. They come packed in a way oversize box with just a couple of sprues. Detail is great and the kit goes together very nicely with no issues. You don’t get any crew so i added my usual driver from AB figures. Always remember to build and paint the interior of the cab before putting on the roof and the driver in. I have made this mistake before……
Not much else to say. I really enjoyed making this kit. if you want a good range of smaller trucks then look no further than IBG. I painted mine in standard olive green and added some dirt and dust and mud. Great fun. They have some very cool looking US trucks too which i want to get my hands on. You always need trucks and plenty of them. Some lucky officer will get to swan around in this baby.
Trumpeter produce a huge range of 1/72 scale tanks and vehicles and where i am in Australia they are very affordable and easy to find. Only $10 a pop from my www.hobbyeasy.com, which i think is just great value. The Jagdpanther is a very cool tank and although not used in great numbers in Normandy i still really wanted to build one.
Previously i had built some Jagdpanthers from the English company Armourfast, but to be honest, this Trumpeter kit is 100% far and away totally better in every department. The kit is quite a simple build. The running gear goes together quickly with a couple of dozen wheels. I left the vinyl/rubber tracks off so i could paint them separately before attaching them to the tank later. The hull of the tank has plenty of great detail to add including spare tracks on each side, plus it has schurzen plates to add if you like. On this version i decided to leave them off so you can see the running gear more clearly. Some good decals are provided, with two different choices of numbers for the side of the tank.
I painted this by hand in a usual three colour camouflage scheme, but tried a brighter camo green than i normally use. I also tried some new techniques and products I hadn’t tried before. Firstly i bought some MIG products washes for British and German tanks. Normally i just use some raw/burnt umber mixed with a touch of black for a wash. I gave the tank a gloss varnish after finishing the camo scheme and then gave it a wash with the MIG wash for German vehicles. What a difference! I would recommend grabbing some of these as the effect is so much better than just the regular paint wash i was using.
I also tried some chipping weathering effects with a sponge that i had read about. This worked quite well with a contrasting paint colour to my tanks paintwork (i used burnt umber and raw umber mainly). I made sure i didn’t over do it. Also after reading a tutorial by Piers Brand on how he uses weathering powders on tanks i decided i wanted to try them out too. So another trip to BNA Model World, i bought a bunch of weathering powders, again from MIG, and used them on the tracks and running gear. Using them sparingly and keeping the effects subtle they certainly improve the look of the vehicle.
So i was very happy with the new techniques and products i tried this week. You can see the results in my finished Jagdpanther below.
Another fine book from Pen and Sword Publishing in the UK. I think they made a movie out of this a few years ago. Its the true story of Vassili Zaistev and his role as the greatest Russian sniper in the battle for Stalingrad. From humble beginnings in the Urals hunting animals he becomes the most famous sniper accounting for a reported 242 German scalps.
It is a great, first hand account of the house to house, factory to factory, close quarters fighting of Stalingrad and the role of the sniper in that fierce and bloody conflict. Vassili goes into detail about sniper tactics and how he learned his art through the rubble and twisted metal of a devastated city. If you are modelling or gaming any part of the Stalingrad period this would be a good book for you for inspiration and information. You get a very real impression of how the fighting occurred and what sort of engagements were fought. Snipers had a crucial role in the city and could swing a battle in their favour.
I think i will have to search out the movie now and watch it again after reading this. Overall an excellent read and one you can certainly whizz through in a few days.