Esci Pz.Kpfw.V Panther in 1/72 scale

One more Panther! This will be it. I now have seven Panthers which is enough for any battle. Four from PSC, Zvezda, Dragon and now a vintage Esci kit.

I have been having a lot of fun buying up these old Esci kits on eBay. They really hold up well even after all these years. I think I like the smell of old cardboard and instructions with brown edges. This one had an illustration of using a lit cigarette to help melt a bit of sprue for an aerial. Fantastic suggestion back when cigarettes were good for you.

In comparison the other Panthers I have built in this scale, it measures up well. It is a nice chunky model, like the Plastic Soldier Company ones, only with much better detail. I also prefer it to the Dragon Panther which is too refined and looks a bit boring. So it was a winner all round. I did not use the crewman as he was rubbish, and may pop a nice AB figures German officer in the hatch. I was very happy with the end result, but the building of this model kit was definitely a challenge. Two words. Vinyl tracks. I am sort of seeing them as a positive now, like a badge of courage, I have to conquer the shitty vinyl tracks. In this case I managed to snap the front sprockets, but trusty drill and wire to the rescue I fixed them up better than ever. Probably two gallons of super glue were used in the making of this cat.

A very weird design issue with this kit was the lack of hull above the running gear. Esci have left off a whole area where you can just see into the hull of the tank. Very odd. So that needed fixing with some thin plastic card. The tow cables were tricky to fit and needed more super glue and patience. I made an aerial out of washing up brush as usual, rather than taking up smoking again and stretching sprue with my Benson and Hedges.

I gave up modelling when I started smoking in the 1980’s, but then luckily modelling has been the addictive habit I have taken up again in the 2010’s. Gave up smoking a long time ago. Probably a good swap from a health perspective.

I used a red brown base followed by dark sand and three colour camo. I made sure I under cooked the chipping and went easy on the dust and dirt. Learning from previous over cooking. The original decals were brown and crispy like barbequed pork so I used some nice new ones. Happy Easter everyone!

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Dragon Sd.Kfz. 171 Panther Ausf.D Late Production

Another big German tank finished. This time a Panther. So far my Panther brigades are made up of Plastic Soldier Company vehicles and one from Zvezda. Dragon kits are always a special treat, they are great to put together. I always keep one eye on the Dragon USA web site as they often have special deals with kits going as cheap as USD 8-10. That is a great saving over anywhere else. It is very rare that Dragon kits come up on eBay for resale, and if they do they are quite often priced higher than buying from the source. So where is the value in that?

The moulding and detail on this kit is of the usual high standard I would expect from Dragon kits. The running gear is very clever as it is moulded in rows making sure each level of wheels is straight. It also saves on time but does not reduce the realism. The tracks are the nice soft type that fit very easily and can be glued to produce sag on the top of the wheels. Oh what a relief after fighting for days with a face full of superglue wrestling with those old Esci tracks! The detail is very delicate and a different level to the Plastic Soldier Company models. The only addition I made was the plastic aerial on the back. The side skirts are optional and are nice and thin. In hindsight I wish I had made some damage to one of them like on the box art. Next time.

My paint job started out well. A nice covering of sandy dunkelb, followed by camo green and red brown patches with my brush. Then I over sprayed with my Tamiya dark yellow to fade everything out. Unfortunately I am still experimenting with my weathering. So I think this time I overdid it with the chipping and lost some of the impact. As always its a learning experience, so next time I will take it easy with my sponge. I used decals supplied with the kit from the two options you get.

This is a great kit. Much better than some of Dragon’s other “fast build” type offerings I have built. I think to hide some of my average painting I will add some extra foliage branches and stuff like that. In case you are wondering I had to take photos on a bit of white paper as my table is all packed away for renovations. I think I need a stronger light source for my photos! Next I have a vintage Esci Panther, oh no back to the horrible tracks of death……….

Esci Jagdtiger in 1/72 scale

Oh boy another big cat I had never built before. This time a Jagdtiger tank destroyer. It’s a beast of a vehicle. Another eBay purchase for not much more than pennies. The kit seemed pretty old as the box was beaten up and the decals died a while back, but the box art still looks pretty good. Opening up the kit I just love the smell of 1980’s childhood I get from fading paper instructions and old cardboard.

I do read a lot of criticism on the net about these old Esci kits, but I love them. This one is another old gem. It’s a relatively straight forward and easy build as the tank has no turret and is made up up a big piece of lower hull and a big piece of upper hull. One massive barrel of a gun. It comes with a commander figure who I declined to include, plus a couple of hatch torsos who were also relegated to the spares box. All the detail is nice and chunky. Towing cable and extra track add some interest to the solid sides of the tank. One of the pictures in the instructions showed some battle damage on one side of the fender, so I hacked off the front fender on the left side.

The only thing that’s a real struggle with these Esci kits are the tracks. They are this horrible stiff vinyl type stuff that doesn’t want to go where you want it to go. Whatever you do, do not attach the side fenders until after you have the tracks finished. I used a lot of super glue and some clamps and wedges, and a lot of patience to get the tracks to glue and stay. I found that gluing and weighting or clamping or wedging them a small section at a time was the only way to do it. I managed to get the tracks to wrap around the front sprocket and then sag only by wedging some card firmly under the upper hull while the super glue was drying. So tracks aside the construction was problem free!

Paint job was a three colour camouflage I pinched from the internet somewhere. Chipping and mud and dust and rust all added later. The decals are from my spares box as the originals were yellow and crispy. Overall a great little old kit that still scrubs up nicely, if you can put up with the tracks from hell……….

My photos are limited to the churchyard right now as everything is packed away ready for some renovations in our house!

Revell Sturmgeshutz IV in 1/72 scale

OK so this kit usually gets an absolute pounding on line whenever I read a review of it. I built it and quite enjoyed building it. It comes out as quite a nice wargaming model. The only really strange thing about it is the massive muzzle brake. It looks like a person with a really massive nose. So a bit weird. Some people criticize the lack of detail on the tracks, but these link and length tracks went together really well. The side armour is quite thick, but nothing that really upset me, and if you were really picky you could switch them for some other ones.

All the hatches you can leave open for crew. So I will be adding some AB figures crew for this guy when I get the time. Here are some photos with all my other Stugs too. I think that will be enough Stugs for my Germans now. Such cool little tanks!

 

 

Dragon Models Sd.Kfz.142 Stug III Ausf B in 1/72 scale

Another Stug for my collection from Dragon Models. This time I managed to buy from Dragon Models USA for some super duper bargain price. Keep a look out for their specials as sometimes they do have really good ones. Even with the pricey freight USA to Australia its worth it.

The kit is really simple as Dragon are now releasing these small scale kits with running gear and tracks in single sections. So each side of the tracks include the lower wheels and upper return rollers and fit over the sprocket and drive wheel. This reduces the parts drastically but I still have trouble fitting the tracks and managed to snap off one of the wheels. Lucky I now have a fantastic pin vice and mini drill bits. So a new metal axle was added to the back wheels far stronger than the original plastic one. So fitting the tracks after that was a breeze. I just use some thicker wire superglued into the wheel and then into the lower hull at the right spot. You just need to drill corresponding holes where the wire fits. Anyway a great investment go get a pin vice, I think I paid about $15 for mine. What a life saver!!!

The rest of the kit was very straight forward. The Stug is a simple looking tank and so a simple model. All the hatches are moulded shut on this one and the hull details also mostly moulded on. So a great kit for someone who wants a fast easy build, but if you want a challenge I think Trumpeter make lots of Stug versions that are more interesting.

I tried a green and brown camo scheme just kind of blotchy patchy random. I did go back afterwards and respray with dark yellow to fade out my painting, a technique which seems to work well. A new aerial was added using my washing up brush aerials and a whole heap of stowage to the back to make things a bit more exciting. I also built a Revell Stug at the same time, so he is up next. The last photo shows all my Stugs, one Trumpeter kit and now three from Dragon. They are cool little tanks.

Modelling Waffen SS Figures by Osprey Publishing

I picked up this excellent book from the Book Depository for less than $20. I am currently working on stack of figures for my German forces from CP Models and AB Figures and needed some more inspiration for my camouflage uniforms.

Although aimed at the 1/35 scale figure modeler there is still a lot to like for the smaller scale hobbyist like me. And probably you too if you are reading this. The author details three or four different German SS figures and his process of building, converting, adding and finally painting. What he does with converting some of the figures and the detailing them with extras of his own is quite amazing. There are definitely tips and tricks to be learnt for the 1/72 scale figure modeler and painter from this book.

I was most interested in his guides for painting camouflage schemes. He does a great Oak Leaf, Plane Tree, Pea Dot and Italian camo on various 1/35 scale figures. It gives you an excellent guide to what colours to use and what patterns to apply. I will be trying this out on my pile of little guys soon when I get the chance. This book is a nice quick read but definitely worth adding to your library, especially if you are keen to keep perfecting those camo schemes.

I have been up to my neck building more German armour and have not managed to finish anything so posts have been a bit scarce this month! A Stug III and a Stug IV should be at the finishing line soon!

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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!