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!
Airfix kits just have that nostalgic smell and something that takes me back 35 years, and I love them. They may not be as well detailed or the same size or fit together as well as any other more modern brands, but I don’t care. Even the cardboard box and the instructions have a deja vu type feeling for me. To complete my recent Churchill tank building spree here is the Crocodile flame thrower to join them.
The wheels are fiddly as you have to add them individually and get them straight. But apart from that this went together pretty easily. The tracks were toast in this particularly eBay purchase, but luckily I had a nice new set of flexible tracks from a Dragon kit left over. Very nice. The fuel tank towed at the back is particularly well put together and obviously a different, newer mould than the actual tank. The turret hatches are all moulded shut which is always a shame. You could do some tweaking and open them up, but I am always too worried about making a pig’s ear of it. I did add an aerial but that was about it.
In plastic I do not think there is another alternative for this vehicle. It is a bit smaller than my other 1/72 scale Churchills, but not too much so that it really makes much difference. In the last photo for comparison I have put an Esci, Plastic Soldier Company, Dragon and finally an Airfix Churchill together. You can see Mr Airfix is a touch shorter than the others. Now he really needs a flame to show the flame thrower in action. Ouchy hot.
This weekend I finished painting three more Churchill tanks for my British forces. These three were all Esci kits bought on eBay (one of them was boxed as Humbrol, but it is the same Esci kit in the box). The kits are identical except for the Humbrol branded one comes with one piece plastic tracks rather than the link and length tracks in the Esci kit. Luckily the one piece tracks are usable and not the super annoying vinyl ones that mess with my sanity. It also helps that the design of the Churchill means a lot of track is not even visible so you have plenty of scope to make a mess and then cover it all up.
These kits may be old, but they are still great. No fiddly wheels as the running gear comes in just two sections that you have to line up. The detail is good and the parts fit together well. I only had to fill a few gaps here and there with putty, mostly near the front fenders. I think the old plastic had warped a bit. You can leave the commanders hatch open, which I did, and added my usual AB Commanders. Turrets fit nicely and turn easily even after a couple of layers of paint. I added some aerials but left off any stowage, just for a change felt like some clean looking vehicles.
They were all undercoated in matt black then a coat of olive drab. A layer of gloss varnish before I added a whole heap of decals, some from the kits plus a bunch of other spares. I like seeing names down the side of the Churchills so these three got that treatment. A brown wash and a coat of matt varnish finished these guys off. Plus some dark earth and European earth pigments just to dust them up a bit.
I also finished my furry field and sandy track for the Churchill troop to be driving down. Perfect photo opportunity for everyone. These kits may be old but they are just as good as modern offerings from Dragon, and better than more simple kits like Plastic Soldier Company. If you can find them for $10 on eBay well worth the money. I built an Airfix Churchill Crocodile at the same for comparison. You can see him next,
I have been trying to finish up my remaining piles of British Infantry and all the support weapons and other bits and pieces. Unfortunately I keep getting tempted by more AB figures and bought another squad of British just because I like them. So I think as many other figure painters find, it is one step forward with reducing stocks, and two steps backwards as more figures and kits are added to the collection…..
Anyway here is a fancy looking AB figures commander smoking a pipe, with some observation teams. Also a commander from Stonewall figures and two radio men. I added an aerial to the one with a radio backpack. The flamethrower team and support man with an SMG are from AB figures again. I am going to make a flame attachment to show them firing. Probably out of wire and some kind of painted sponge and flock I think. Will have to think about that. One day I will complete my British Battalion and actually get a game going. My friend Jim at Combat HQ has released his version 2 rules of Combat HQ so I want to try and get a game in and write up a battle report/review.
More lockdown production, this time a Sherman Hybrid with a 17pdr gun that I thought was a Firefly, but isn’t. Well it’s gun is a Firefly 17 pdr gun but the actual tank is a regular Sherman. Another forum had to point it out to me. I was a bit surprised as I bought the kit to fit into my Firefly additions but I soon realized the hull is shorter than the PSC Fireflies I was building at the same time!
The kit is great. I really like Unimodel kits. More detail, some cool photo etch to mess around with and drop on the floor, and plenty of decals. The spares from this one I used on my PSC Fireflies (see previous post). All turrets can be modelled open so I included an AB commander in the turret hatch and decapitated two other plastic dudes for the hull hatches. Just their little scones sticking out catching a glimpse of what big cats were up ahead. The link and length tracks and bogey wheels are excellent. Even a bit of photo etch on the bogies. They are definitely more challenging than other kits and well worth it if you are looking for something more involved. I find buying direct from the Ukraine is far better value than any other hobby store.
Painted in olive drab with a dark wash is all you need to do. I do not bother with chips and scratches on dark green vehicles. Maybe i should try it. Next up I have three Esci Churchills ready to go, perhaps they will be more beaten up than this Sherman.
Finally finished the other two Fireflies in from a box of three I bought a while ago. The Plastic Soldier Company models are very simple kits, easy to build, but have a nice level of detail, and are good and solid. I do like them for knocking out a few quick tanks, like Armourfast but better on the detail side. They also respond well to some tarting up with a few bells and whistles. These two have aerials added, AB figures crew men, a bit of value gear stowage, and plenty of random decals stolen from other kits.
Olive drab spray can, gloss varnish and decals, dark wash, matt varnish and plenty of European earth and sand powders on top. Easy formula for my British Army vehicles.
Lockdown has definitely increased my hobby output. I would highly recommend PSC kits if you want to build a good looking force nice and quickly. Much easier than fiddling with link and length tracks or dreaded Esci vinyl ones. You can smash out a few troops of tanks in quick time. I have not tried the figures from PSC as I am firmly entrenched with my favourite metal ranges, and will never go back to plastic.
IBG Models make great little kits of all sorts of vehicles, especially some lesser known ones. This Otter Light Reconnaissance vehicle is one of those. Everyone knows about Humbers and Daimler armoured cars, but this little guy is a treat. IBG kits are always a real pleasure to make and this one is no exception. I loved it. To begin with its a fine looking little armoured car. The casting is super clear and everything fits together perfectly. The kit comes with some excellent PE parts for mudguards and a cool plank for getting out of a bogging situation (not sure what that is called!).
So building this car was a lot of fun. The interior is also fully detailed so you can leave a side door open and have a look in. If i build another one I will do that with maybe a crew man stepping out. You get a choice of decals to use, so I went with a Canadian unit which would be relevant for Normandy. I liked the white star mainly.
Olive drab paint work plus a bit of a dark wash, followed by some earth and sand pigments. I added my own aerial as usual just to finish it off. I can never recommend IBG model kits highly enough. I have a Bedford QLT ready in the queue for my next build.
I think like everyone out there this isolation thing is providing us all with extra hours to dedicate to painting and building. Always a silver lining. Although I am happy to continue in isolation paintbrush and glue in hand. My wife and dog provide me with all the human interaction and companionship I need to live a content life.
Anyway more British infantry finished. A mixture of three figures from AB, two rifles and a bren gunner defending in great poses. Then five advancing troopers from SHQ, and another kneeling bren gunner from CP models. Finally at the back is a another rifleman from Capitan (i think sold by Stonewall figures), who i left at the back as they are poorer quality figures. Better to leave him in the blurry background. If you are looking at Stonewall Figures their Combat 20mm ranges are cool, but I didn’t like the Capitan range. Sculpting was not so flash.
All i have left to do on my British company is some support weapons (HMGs and light mortars), flamethrowers and a bunch of officers and observers. Oh and a sniper. Oh and one more squad, the only plastics I will have being an excellent piece of work from Zvezda.
This isolation business is really doing wonders for my output. I have almost got through painting all my British infantry who will make up a full company of men. This is another squad from the fantastic AB Figures range. British infantry walking, running, carrying a fuel can, patrolling, and armed with rifles, a couple of SMGs and a bren. The difference with this squad is that they are wearing camouflage smocks. This made a great change from the usual uniforms I have been painting. Looking on the AB Figures web site I used their painted example as a guide. So the camo smocks were a dark yellow base with patches of red brown and bright green, a bit like a German tank. Pants were painted the usual British army khaki. It all still took me ages to do but luckily I have plenty of time these days. After looking at some amazing painting of AB Figures faces in this tiny scale I am trying to do a bit more with the faces. Trying to do a base coat, a wash, then two lots of highlights. It seems to work better. It just takes longer………..
These guys are still waiting for their bases to be finished with flock and tufts. I have another squad also completed so I will get all the bases done together and post the two finished squads.
I finished one more platoon of British Infantry for my Battalion of Northumbrian Light Infantry. These guys made up of 5 figures from CP Models, 4 from SHQ and 1 from AB Figures. All great ranges of figures. My aim is to have a full 3 companies x 3 platoons and support without duplicating a single figure. I have about forty figures to go before completion, so getting there slowly.
The group of five men, including the waving officer with the SMG, are from CP Models. I love their range of figures. Great detail and interesting poses. They are especially easy to paint as everything is so clear. I keep faces simple with a basecoat, a red oxide wash, and then some lighter fleshy highlights. The officer has a nice blue bandana round his neck. My only criticism maybe is their legs get a bit chunky, but you do not really notice. CP do provide bases with slots but I usually cut off most of the slots and glue them into clay on 20 cent pieces. CP have a fab range, I have a bunch of Germans from them getting ready for camo smocks.
The group of four men are from SHQ miniatures, also a company I like. Their figures are cheaper than other brands and slightly smaller. The detail is not as clear as CP or AB but I still really like their poses and they fit in nicely with the other brands. Subtle differences but these differences just add to the look of the unit.
The last lonely man in front of the Brasserie is an officer with an SMG from AB Figures. I have written enough about AB Figures! Great figures and a fantastic range. My battalion is 50% AB figures, but the other manufacturers are very worthy accompaniments for them. All my plastic will now be consigned to storage or eBay as it has all been replaced by these excellent metal miniatures.