Another German vehicle finished this week, but this time one of their excellent eight wheeled armoured cars. This kit is from Roden, who do a good range of all the eight wheeled armoured cars and other lesser known vehicles. I bought this one from my friends at Metro Hobbies. Its a funny looking vehicle but will come in very handy for reconnaissance and scouting missions.
The kit is fun to build with most of the challenge coming in building the under carriage. The wheels and axles and suspension are done in this soft black plastic which I found quite tricky to work with. I manage to snap one axle without much effort, and found it difficult to get the wheel alignment nice and straight. Four wheels each side means there is a fair bit of aligning to do. Apart from that I lost a light to the carpet monster and struggled a little with the mirrors and other bits on the hull.
On reflection I think I should have painted this German grey and then done some highlighting to try and pick out more of the details on the vehicle. Doing a green camo stripe type thing seems to lose a lot of the detail and leaves him looking a bit boxy and flat. Anyway I have two more versions of this eight wheeler in the box so next time I will try something different.
Apologies for the fuzzy photos, blame my crappy camera phone……….
I completed another Dragon StuG kit this week. It coincided with another delivery from Dragon Models in the USA. I have found them a great source for cheaper Dragon kits and if you buy three or four kits the postage from the US to Australia is only USD 12. Great value I think. They always have discounted kits and promotions on their website, so its well worth checking out. You can usually find stuff at USD 8-10 per kit which is a bargain I think for Dragon Kits. Have a look at Dragon Models USA
So onto my latest StuG kit. Its one of the new Dragon quick build models, so very easy to put together. The tracks are one piece affairs which fit around the sprocket and drive wheels. The whole kit has minimal pieces, and being a turret less tank, even fewer than normal. I still feel a little disappointed with such an easy, fast build for a Dragon kit, but the end result is still a very nicely detailed vehicle. I guess I was happy to spend more time on the painting and decorating this time. If you can find these type of kits for less than USD 10 then I think its good value. If you want a more complicated and challenging model I would be buying Trumpeter or Unimodel versions.
I kept this one a plain dunkelb yellow, but tried out some more chipping affects with a sponge. I used a black, a brown and a rust colour, and ended up overdoing the chips. I think its very easy to over do it. So I painted over some of the panels with more dunkelb and it seemed to fix the problem. Every where I read that with chipping and scratching less is always more! I think I proved a point. Lots of mud and dirt and dust with various powders and pastes was added. I then lined up my new StuG with two other friends (one a Trumpeter kit and the other another Dragon). Nice looking unit read for action.
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!
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.
Its always total fun painting any figures from AB. The details are so clear and sharp that they really paint themselves. Once you get the paint on in the right places the rest really looks after itself. They really are the best 20mm figures out there, and even though significantly more expensive than any plastic figures i think its well worth it for the difference in quality. I did recently pick up some more British from CP Models, which look really good, Wartime Miniatures and also SHQ, so i will do a comparison of all them sometime.
But back to these SS troops packing Panzerfausts and Panzershrecks. I did my usual German camo scheme in greens and browns the only difference was i had some cool new grassy tufts to try out on the bases. The poses from AB are just great, looking natural and realistic. I still have some loading crew, a trooper carrying the Panzershreck rounds and a couple more Panzerfaust firers, to paint next. But i am going to do a more Autumn camo scheme with them for a change. Anyway if you dont have any AB figures run out and get some, they are just brilliant!
Some photos of my tank killing team out on the Farm looking for Shermans.
My last slightly obscure German vehicle I had in my pile of kits came out and was built this last week. The Sturmtiger was a support tank based on the Tiger chassis. Its not a vehicle I would get to use a lot but a lot of fun to have and build anyway. Trumpeter kits are excellent and this one did not disappoint.
Its a very easy kit to build as its mainly a box on a chassis with quite simple running gear. So it didn’t take too long to build. Everything fits together nicely as usual with Trumpeter. The instructions for the gun were a bit vague in parts and then didn’t match the picture on the front of the box. This was confusing. The picture on the box also misses off the MG gun in the hull which is weird. I had to consult some internet pictures and places to try and work out the main gun. I still think I got it a bit wrong, but the box art has missed a bit off totally (its the part that goes around the end of the main gun).
I realise after painting that I am not that happy with this Tiger’s paint job. My camo scheme went a bit screwy and needs more contrast. Also I added too much sand and dirt and it all came out looking a bit the same. I need to cut back on the dirt as with a Dunkelb yellow vehicle you need some contrast otherwise it all just looks a bit boring. The tracks would have looked better left the rusty colour I did prior to all the muck. Also this tank is very boxy and doesn’t have a huge amount of surface detail so I needed to spend more time picking out details with dark washes. Next time I will do a better job! I should also glue down bits of the top of the tracks to signify their weight.
For some reason there are no decals supplied. Not sure why, so you will need to dig up some spares.
Overall this is another wicked little kit from Trumpeter, not sure if anyone else actually makes a 1/72 scale Sturmtiger, but if you want one look no further!