Vespid is a new brand for me so it could be a new brand altogether. They seem to make only a couple of kits so far and this Comet caught my eye. It was not a cheap kit but it was worth every penny from wherever I found it. The comet was a design based I think on the Cromwell but with a more powerful gun. It certainly looks very like the predecessor to the Centurion – the turret especially. The kit was awesome to build and I really cannot fault anything about it. They supply it with a metal gun barrel, a resin gun mantle cover (which I did not use) and a few PE parts. I managed all the PE parts except the small aerial which ended up as ball of superglued mess and in the bin. Lots of fun. They also supply a large range of decals for various tanks. All I added was my own aerial due to the above PE debacle and the compulsory AB figures commander. Vespid also make a Panther which I am very tempted to buy now!!!
I finished a German halftrack this week. Another excellent Dragon Models hanomag type towing a small anti tank gun. Dragon make super little kits. Maybe more expensive but well worth it for what you get. Great detail, great moulding and everything fits together perfectly. All it was missing was a driver. So I added one, and you can barely see him anyway once he is seated in the drivers seat. Interior detail of this kit was especially nice, there are rifles stored behind the seats, and the rear door mechanism is pretty cool. The anti tank gun is verging on the over fiddly and was a little frustrating to build. Do not attempt this if you live in a carpeted establishment. Your tiny bits may go AWOL. The MGs on the half track are particularly nice, but delicate. The tracks are one piece rubbery stuff which glue very easily. I think link and length is too fiddly for a small tracked vehicle like this so Dragon made a good choice. I definitely needed to base this guy due to the number of delicate parts (aerials, lights, MGs etc) and the AT gun especially needs extra strength. I painted him in a yellow with dark green camo stripes, a little chipping with a sponge and then plenty of dirt and dust.
I keep building armoured cars at the moment. British armoured cars. I think this Marmon Herrington did not feature in Normandy or the later part of the war, but I saw a bargain and could not help buy one. It is a fun little model, and definitely one of the original armoured cars, looking very much like a car with some armour attached! My previous experience with Attack kits had not been pleasant. This one was much better. Some of the detail was a bit soft, I was tempted to redo the lines on the bonnet as i had read a review where someone had replaced these with plastic card. But then I didn’t bother. The machine gun on the side of the car sits in a ball and socket type joint, and the hole is too big for the ball so you need to enlarge the ball a bit so it stays in place. I used some putty to clog it up. I added my own plastic aerial as the model does not come supplied with one. Not much else to tell you, it was a nice simple build which I enjoyed making. He will be added to my lengthening line of armoured cars, although i don’t suppose he will be much use for anything. Some officer will probably use it to pop down to the shops for a loaf of bread rather than risking life and limb in it. Oh the decals were good – i just mixed up the ones I liked so the car gets a cool name along the bonnet.
One armoured car that I really wanted to add to my collection is the AEC armoured car. This vehicle is more like a four wheeled tank. I could not find a plastic model kit anywhere from anyone in 1/72 scale so I had to break my rules on this occasion. I found an excellent version from Early War Miniatures in the UK, who do a big range of vehicles.
The armoured car comes in two main parts, being a metal turret and barrel, plus a special type of resin hull and wheels. Compared to other resin items I have bought this is easily the best quality. The detail is crisp and there are no bubbles or mis-shapen bits. It was a pleasant surprise I have some other resin things languishing on a scrap heap looking too tricky to fix. You also get a couple of machine guns to pop on the turret and also some mirrors to attach to the hull. So a bit of superglue later and hey presto i am ready to paint.
Black undercoat and an olive drab spray was all he needed. Decals are not supplied so I added from my bottomless source. I did attach him to an MDF base for extra strength, and then dirtied him up with some weathering powder. This made a nice change from my usual plastic kits and so speedy to the finish line. For more resin vehicles I will certainly shop here again.
I finished another very cool truck from the Polish company IBG Models. This time a towing vehicle for the British Bofors anti aircraft gun. I always enjoy building their kits and they do produce a wide variety of different models at very decent value. My only criticism is sometimes the parts have too many connection points and removal and clean up can be annoying. This one was also a bit tricky getting the cab put together as lining everything up is more a trial and error thing rather than having specific guide holes or slots. I added a driver as they do not supply one. You have to have someone in control! I used normal cement glue on the windows and windscreen which was not good enough and my windshield fell in after i had completed the kit. So i suggest using super glue instead…..
I wanted to do the mickey mouse camo scheme which is one of my favourites. I also added two relaxed looking passengers in the back, from AB figures as usual. This was a fun build and an excellent addition to my growing fleet of British vehicles.
This was a tiny quick build from Zvezda. I like their little kits as they are really handy for filling holes in your forces cheaply and quickly. Only a few bits but those bits are nicely detailed. This one only took me a few minutes to assemble. You need to leave the seated gunner off until everything is painted. I added an Esci spare officer i had pointing at something probably a badger appearing in the hedgerows. I put the whole thing on a small MDF base with some Value Gear sandbags. Here they are defending a ruined house with their tow and a Puma scuttling past in the background.
The kits is very nicely moulded and has good detail. The tracks are particularly nice and although the instructions say put them in warm water before attaching to the wheels, i didnt need to. They are flexible plastic and in one piece, which again makes a change from nasty rubber or vinyl, or fiddly link and length.
I did have to drill a few holes for some the external details and you do have to drill a few holes in the back of the halftrack too. The trailer at the back is a nice easy build and i added a few bits of stowage on the top. Be really careful with the gun barrels as they are very delicate, you can probably get metal replacements somewhere.
Its a fun kit to build and would look excellent in firing position with some crew firing it.
It is always good to have some super speedy reconnaissance vehicles with machine guns. Like having sharks with laser beams attached to their heads. Also good. Zvezda produce a great little motorbike and sidecar for a few dollars. The kit is very simple and only a few parts, will go together in minutes. Just remember to keep the riders separate for painting as it is too tricky to paint them once they are glued in position. This does mean that you have to leave the front part of the sidecar off so you can fit the passenger in once he is painted. This was the only piece that was tricky to do and i had to do some surgery to get the last piece to fit in. I also dumped the plastic base it came with and made my own from MDF as usual. Great kit and great value. I might buy some more!
The Italeri kit comes in a larger pack with two single bikes and two motorbikes with sidecars. You get extra figures to make different options, with helmets or caps, and an LMG or SMG in the sidecar. So that’s nice you can vary how you build your bikes. Kits are again very simple and take minutes to put together. The only thing is i had to use super glue as the plastic rejected all my usual plastic cement. I also tossed the supplied bases away and made my own. Each passenger and rider has a bum toggle that i removed so positioning was easier. That way you are not trying to shove the toggle into the hole in the seat. Just glue the dudes on. Again another good kit and nice to have options. Great value as you get four bikes in each box.
I painted them all German grey and the figures field grey. Added some dust, but kept the process simple. I actually have the other two bikes from the Italeri kit I finished a few years back, and I may have to redo them in the same way.
I have spent the past couple of weeks finishing up six Cromwell tanks. Three from Armourfast, two from Airfix and one Revell kit. This will finish up my required Cromwell units for Normandy. I think thirteen Cromwells is more than enough for any battle! These are made up of eight from Armourfast (including one with a Black Dog hessian camo turret), three from Revell and two from Airfix. They are all crewed with figures from the fantastic AB Figures range.
The Armourfast kits are super cheap and come two in a box, but they do need some dressing up to make them a bit more interesting. I added some aerials, hedge cutters, headlight guards, spot lights, extra tools and stowage. This definitely helps them look more interesting as they come in only a few parts. The hatches can be modelled open or closed which is always handy for adding crew. Decals I used from my endless supply of spares and do not intend to reflect any particular unit. Scale wise they match up well with the Revell kits but are significantly larger than the Airfix Cromwell (advertised as 1/76 scale). When i lined them up altogether you do not really notice the big difference in size, but i am not as pedantic as some. Value for money you cannot really go wrong with Armourfast.
The Revell Cromwell kit is fantastic. This was my third build of this model and it remains the best. I think it is also getting hard to find around the place as I really had to hunt for this one. Plenty of detail and matches the Armourfast kits perfectly in scale. If you can find a kit on line I would be snapping them up
Lastly the Airfix kit is a really nice little tank. It is 1/76 scale so does look a bit smaller, but if you make a complete unit with the same model no one will ever know. See if you can spot the smaller tanks in the photos below. I particularly like their track design with one piece tracks fitting around the road wheels, no stretching or link and length stuff. Easy to build and look really good. Cromwells are great looking tanks and I am happy to have finished this unit now ready for action!
I have been working on a box of Plastic Soldier Company Bren carriers for a while, along with another carrier from IBG models. The four of them are to create a carrier platoon for my British units. AB figures make a fantastic set of twelve figures, including three drivers, for these vehicles. Plus with the PSC kit you get three vehicles in a box and twelve crewman. These are just three sets of four duplicates, so i only wanted to use set of four, to keep things unique. So sixteen men to paint up first and get ready for their little tracked boxes.
The PSC kits are excellent and just so easy to put together. In such a small vehicle these kits really shine. The tiny tracks are all one piece including the running gear. You can build early or late model carriers with the supplied parts, I wanted spare wheels on the front and two headlights so I am not sure which version that is. I needed to leave the front section off until I had painted the interior and the driver/passenger to make sure it all fitted in ok. The stowage supplied is repeated three times so i added lots of my own stuff to keep it varied. Added a PIAT and SMG plus picks, shovels and fuel cans for some variety. These were super speedy to build and can be dressed up nicely to create individual looking vehicles. The AB figures fit perfectly and make a big improvement over the supplied crew figures. If you are happy having the same crew repeated in each carrier than no need to replace them. No decals are supplied but my IBG kit supplied six different versions of decals so I just pinched three of them. So they are all from different units but it doesn’t bother me….
The IBG version is a different story! If you are not looking for a challenge then I would suggest sticking to the PSC versions. They have made the tiny tracks a bit tricky by having them link and length rather than one piece. If you have carpet at home just forget it. I nearly lost my cool with this endlessly dropping teeny parts and gluing my fingers together. Also the instructions suggest building the whole track in two parts and then attaching it to the wheels. I found it easier (for easier I mean not impossible) to glue the tracks around the sprocket wheel first and build them up. The rest of the kit is excellent, and matches perfectly in size with the PSC kits. Like I said comes with lots of decal options. I have one more of these in my stash somewhere so i will need to take a deep breath before attempting these tracks again…….
Here are the carriers all finished and driving around Normandy somewhere looking to get ambushed by some sneaky Stugs……