Another great kit from Dragon Models. It is a Krupp six wheeled heavy car towing a Pak 36 anti tank gun. I really like Dragon Models, they make the best kits. Great detail, clear instructions, and everything fits together nicely. I particularly like building trucks and vehicles right now, and luckily my time period of World War Two is full of interesting transports.
I always base my wheeled vehicles, and this one also has some fiddly bits that definitely need a base you can pick the model up with, rather than risking big hand damage. I painted this one an early war German grey and then lightened it with a second coat with some white added. My only gripe was that the anti tank gun is really fiddly and I nearly threw my toys with the teeny tiny bits. Driving the truck is a man from AB Figures and in the back are some greatcoat wearing seated dudes from Caesar Miniatures. I bought a box of these guys who are really cheap and handy for the back of any your trucks. It made a nice change to do a grey vehicle rather than my usual dunkelb and camo.
Another personal favourite of mine the Puma armoured car. This one is from Italeri and a great little kit. I have previously built the Hasagewa version of the Puma, which is also a very nice kit. The Italeri one is not quite as detailed and slightly bigger in all dimensions, but matches up pretty well. Unfortunately the hatches on the Italeri kit are moulded shut so you would need to do some surgery in order to open them up. I did not change much just added the usual aerial. I particularly liked how easy it was to align the eight wheels on this model, its a good design. Overall it was a fun kit to build, but I still prefer the Hasagewa version.
I did a dunkelb base and a dark green camo. Some chips with a sponge in dark brown and black. Oh and a dirty brown wash. Here is the finished model next to my other Puma for comparison.
So another German half track rolls off my painting (dining) table. This time from Special Armour, which is a company I have never built before. It’s a nice little half track mainly used for towing guns I think. Another eBay purchase that I found quite cheaply. The kit was quite a challenge with various small PE parts that raised my frustration levels a fair bit. I lost at least one door handle in the process. The worst thing though was the front engine and drivers compartment did not fit properly on to the chassis. So the front section was too high and there was a gap between the chassis and the engine, and the front suspension looks a bit high. I am not sure if it was my building that went wrong but I could not see how it was meant to be any different as the whole back section was correct and in line. Anyway I wont be buying one of these again. Luckily you cannot really see the problem.
I used the usual dunkelb dark yellow and did a fair amount of chipping with my sponge and added plenty of dirt and dust. The squad in the back and the driver and officer are all from AB figures. I tried out a new M44 camo scheme using an awesome set of paints I bought. Also threw in an old fuel barrel that I rusted up.
Another two old Esci kits I bought on eBay for not very much. They were both pretty old kits and I managed to buy two of the 250/9’s and one 250/3. As usual with Esci kits of this age the little tracks were wonderful vinyl that would not bend, but rather snap into little pieces at the slightest hint of movement. So the first step was to find replacement tracks as none of my lessons for Esci vinyl tracks I have previously learned could be applied here. Luckily on eBay again I found a ready supply of rubber track for this little armoured car, so I picked up four sets for only $10 or so. Its amazing what you can find these days. If you need it, you can almost always find it, and have it delivered to your door. Very lucky in the current climate.
So onto the kits themselves! I cannot say that I enjoyed making either of these little vehicles. The plastic is old and brittle and did not take plastic cement at all well. They are not complicated but so bits didn’t fit well and didn’t glue well. The wheels especially were very tricky to get square. Even super glue did not really cope with the plastic. So I would recommend avoiding these particular old Esci kits if I were you. There must be plenty more versions these days that are a million times better!
Once I had managed to build them I added some aerials and a bit of stowage here and there and painted them in a two tone camo scheme. The original decals were long gone so I used replacements. They came up OK after all the painting and basing, but there was a sigh of relief when I finished them. You get what you pay for sometimes…….
Ooh so as working from home continues, working on model kits also continues at a feverish pace, if you will excuse the term in the current pandemic. I bought this Revell King Tiger from eBay for not much as it was missing a box and decals. No box means cheaper postage anyway I guess too. Win win.
This is a great kit. So much in a tank kit boils down to their treatment of tracks. This monster of a tank has excellent link and length tracks. They are nice big track links to begin with, but very easy to put together. I always start with multiples of two and around the sprocket wheel. The running gear and tracks you can make as two units before attaching them both, left and right, to the lower hull. Wheels are individual but are easy to get nice and straight. You can model the hatches open or closed which is always nice when you want to put in a couple of AB figures tank crew like me.
A few tow cables for the sides look good. There is also some spare track to put on the turret, but they don’t include hooks. So I added some of my own just by gluing small squares of plastic card where the hook would stick out. I left the spare tracks off until I had painted the turret so the rusty effects would not interfere.
For painting I loosely followed the plans in an excellent book i have called “How To Paint 1:72 Military Vehicles – The Weathering Special”. They actually use the Tiger II for one chapter so I went through the majority of the techniques in the book. Another guide to painting that I can really recommend.
I chopped off some of the side guards for battle damage, like they had in the book, and copied best I could the colour schemes. Lots of chips, dirt, mud and grime using various sponges, powders and other products. AB tank commanders to finish him off. Great little kit and great fun to spend a bit longer on the paint job and all the weathering effects.
I didn’t really need any French tanks, as I do not have any French forces, but I do like these Somua tanks. They were captured and used by the Germans later in the war and so I thought I would build a troop of them anyway. I think the only plastic model kit in this scale of the Somua is made by Heller, so I bought three of them on eBay from someone, somewhere. Loved the box art and attempted to base my camo scheme on the front action shot.
It’s a tiny tank and the kit is easy to put together. Detail is nice and there were zero construction issues. By the third build I was doing it with my eyes shut! Tracks are like a soft vinyl that fitted perfectly which made a nice change. I think I drilled out the gun barrels with a very tiny drill, but did not do much else. Camo scheme was applied using the blutack masking technique, which ended up coming out very nicely. The decals were a mixture of the supplied ones plus some other spares. I really liked the French red white and blue insignia and white numbers so I sourced some similar stuff from my decal files. I figure I can use these for either side, early war French or late war Germans.
Here is le Troop just wandering through a village.
You always know what you are going to get with a Armourfast kit. Two tanks in a box for something like seven pounds. Great value at about seven Australian dollars a tank for me down here in the Southern hemisphere. There are only a few parts to each tank, so they are super quick to build. Nothing wrong with a fast build tank. The detail is good enough for a wargame, and if you want a large number of tanks in quick smart time, then these kits are for you. You cannot beat value for money to bulk up an army.
I had a lot of fun doing a lot of weathering to my two Stugs. I really wanted to try the hairspray chipping effect on these two to add a bit more interest to them. So after building, and leaving the side skirts off, i sprayed everything with a red oxide and a dark brown spray can. Then i gave it three thin coats of hairspray, letting it dry in between each layer. Oh and do this outside….. It can get smelly. Once this was all dry i did the usual dark yellow dunkelb spray over the top. Once that’s all dry you can grab a stiff brush and a toothpick, wet a small surface of the tank and give it a rub and a scratch. The trick here is to do this in areas that would get worn out, like hatches etc, and also not to over do it. I was impatient as usual and went overboard. It’s a fun process and can look really good but you need to remember less is more. Next time i will take it easy.
I gave it all a gloss varnish and a dark wash. Plus some decals. You don’t get decals with the tanks so you need to source elsewhere. I added my favourite AB figure crewmen plus a home made aerial and also some camouflage foliage. These Armourfast tanks really do improve greatly if you take a bit of extra effort and make some modifications!
I picked two more Panzer IVs on eBay just like this one. Costing less than $10 each, such good value, even if they are the kits with the nasty vinyl tracks. I am now confident I can defeat the horrible things with a good dose of super glue and patience. I needed a couple more Panzer IVs to go with my Zvezda troop that I built previously. These Esci kits still hold up nicely, you just need to give them a bit more love than more modern kits. These two I made quite a few alterations to get them up to scratch.
First up is to sort out the tricky tracks. I managed to totally snap one of the tracks trying to wrap and glue them around the running gear, leaving a missing section. My solution for both vehicles was to scratch build side skirts to cover up the top section of the tracks. This gave me free reign to use wire to connect the tracks to the top return rollers, knowing it would all be covered up by the schurtzen. I used thin plastic card and the Zvezda skirts as a template. I also needed to build turret armour using the same plastic card superglued to thicker wire so it would retain its curved shape around the turret. This worked out quite well as I basically just tried to copy the Zvezda tanks.
One of my old Esci kits had a malformed gun barrel, so i bought a nice new metal one for a few dollars and replaced it. This was a great improvement too. I also picked up a tow cable to add. I drilled some holes and glued in aerials as usual. These kits let you leave the turret open so I did that on one tank ready for my AB figures crew man.
Paint job was a black undercoat followed by a Tamiya dark yellow spray. I then hand painted the green camo which was followed by a light overspray of dark yellow again. Gloss varnish and decals is followed by a MIG dark brown wash to pick out details. I did some chipping and scratching to make it all look nice and work, using a sponge and even just sand paper to leave some marks on the paintwork. After a matt varnish i used plenty of dusty pigments for the weathered look. My AB commander was painted and added and you can see him relaxing in his hatch below.
I was happy with the end result with all my additions and they fit in nicely with the two Zvezda kits i had made previously. Overall these Esci kits are great if you can be bothered to give them a little more love and attention.
Zvezda really do make some great kits in 1/72 scale. I have already made their Panther and also their Tiger. This Panzer IV is better than both of the big cats. I have built Panzer IVs from Esci, Dragon and Armourfast, but these Zvezda kits are better than any of them from all perspectives. The kits go together beautifully, have great detail, plenty of parts to keep you interested, and are decent value for money. This pair I picked up from the Ukraine via eBay at less than $15 AUD each. In my book that’s a bargain for something a lot better than a quick build kit.
After struggling for weeks with horrible tracks, these tracks are great and so easy to put together. The kit comes complete with side and turret skirts, which I chopped up a little, mainly inspired by the excellent box art. My one criticism is the commanders hatch is modelled closed with no option to open it. I added a couple of washing up brush bristle aerials just to finish the whole look off.
Painting was just a bright camo green on dark yellow plus some chipping and plenty of dirt and dust. I also built two Esci old Panzer IVs at the same time which I will post up next. They were a whole different ball game and gave me far more of a challenge to get up to scratch. If you need Panzer IVs for your German army run out and grab some of these!
OK so I have finally been beaten by vinyl tracks. I am very sad to admit defeat. I have spent most of August working on a troop of Panzer IVs from Zvezda and Esci (vinyl tracks!), but I tried to finish off this old kit I picked up for pennies. Alas no it was not to be……. After many attempts trying to use my superglue and patience technique on this little guy I ended up with too much super glue and too little patience.
The kit was thrown in the garbage, something I am not proud of, but you have to draw a line somewhere. Buyers beware this one is a real dud. I think I better turn to Unimodel and buy their Marders as their kits are excellent.
Should have my panzers finished soon and I can get back to posting something more constructive!