Hasegawa Sdkfz 251/1 Halftrack with AB Crew

I continued working through my backlog of German vehicles and troops. My buddy Jim from Combat HQ had mentioned German hanomags so i thought i would finish off a Hasegawa kit i had lying around. I have already reviewed this kit in a previous post, but this time wanted to put some grenadiers in the back making a fight of it. The kit itself is a good one, simple to build but more detailed than anything the Plastic Soldier Company do. The only poor thing about is the funny ribber tracks which are a bit crap. If i had some spares i would swap them.

The more exciting bit was choosing the crew and how they would fit in the back. I used some awesome AB figures as usual. This particular pack was made for fighting out of a half track. I also cut the top half off an Esci/Italeri side car machine gunner and glued him to someone else’s standing legs. He makes a nice cap wearing machine gunner at the front. For their camo i tried using a dark yellow instead of a light brown on one round of dots. This worked out well as it provides a better contrast to the other colours. I find with any German SS camo scheme i am doing it does not really matter which three colours i use. A base coat of green or khaki, with darker brown/black patches and red brown patches works nicely. Followed by layers of dots of lighter shades on the darker patches and darker dots on the lighter patches all work well. Its the contrasting colours that create the effect. From my research the range of colours and patterns was so wide it you can basically do whatever you like and it will turn out OK.

Following photos of my finished half track, plus him as part of a Panzer Grenadier unit with other half  tracks, a Kubelwagen and a Marder as support.

Unimodel Hetzer Flammpanzer 38(t)

This was the second of the Unimodel Kits i bought from the Ukraine, and one of my favourite little tanks. I actually bought two of the kits which is my usual habit. In these Unimodel kits you can usually build various different versions of the same tank as they include most of the parts. I thought i could do the same with this one and built a regular Hetzer with a normal gun barrel. This kit is missing the remote controlled MG which sits on the roof, so its not totally correct. I just realised i have forgotten to add an aerial too. I can fix that later.

The running gear and lower hull are the same as the Marder in my previous post, so based on the Pz.Kpfw 38 Light tank. Second time around i did a better job with the link and length tracks. That’s the part of the model that takes the longest, with the remainder being fairly straight forward. Some vague instructions make some of the smaller bits a bit tricky. I think i screwed up the drivers periscope a little and had to file down the top of it a bit as i had it glued at thee wrong angle. Also i wasn’t sure about the pipe from the hull to the exhaust and what angle to put it at. I left off the PE schurzen plates until after i had painted which made it easier to paint and weather the tracks and wheels.

I had a lot of fun with my torn sponge chipping and scratching effect on this little guy. Using Raw Umber, Black and Red Oxide i was braver with my sponging and created more weathering on all sides of the Hetzer. I like the way it came out so will keep on using this technique. Next up might try some really damaged and scratched effect. I also tried using Blutack as a masking for the camouflage paint job. This also worked well with my Tamiya spray cans, and i will try it again too.

I love these Unimodel Kits –  looking forward to building a Sherman some time soon.

Unimodel Sd.Kfz.139 Marder III in 1/72 scale

I am really enjoying building these Unimodel kits. They have a huge range covering loads of World War 2 vehicles, some of which are a bit more obscure. I pick these up directly from an excellent Ukrainian Hobby shop which stocks pretty much the whole range. You can find them at https://www.hobby.dn.ua. Its far better to buy these kits direct from Ukraine as they work out at much better value. Postage from Ukraine to Australia is very reasonable too. Anyway check them out. I did pick up some Hetzers and a Sherman at the same time, which are next in line for building.

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This Marder III is another of the German Self Propelled guns they came up with and its a pretty funny looking design. They just used the same chassis at the PzKpfw 38 Light Tank and jammed an AT gun on top. The hull and running gear are quite easy to build with four big wheels either side plus sprocket and drive wheel. The tracks are link and length and fitted really nicely. I always start with getting the sprocket wheel done first, but in this case it didn’t matter as the tracks all lined up perfectly.

The armour sections on the upper hull were a little bit tricky as the instructions tend to be a bit vague. Unimodel tend to include a little too many steps in their exploded diagrams so it can be hard to follow. Once i had fitted all the upper armour sections i found that the top rail would not fit across so i had to add an extra bit of plastic. No harm done. But the armour plate was the trickiest part of this model. You get some photo etched metal bits too. The basket at the back is metal you need to bend plus some other little bits here and there. Overall this was a lot of fun to build and a bit more challenging than the usual tank.

It doesn’t come with any crew, and for an open topped vehicle its crucial to have some crew hanging around doing their thing. I used AB Figures tank crew as usual. I had a lot of fun doing a peadot camo on their pants so i included a photo of them in mid paint under the magnifying glass light. The tank i tried a new camo scheme with green patches out lined in red brown. The kit comes with plenty of decals giving you options to do whatever you want. I liked this kit so much i immediately started work on one of the Unimodel Hetzers i also bought……

Trumpeter Sd.Kfz 184 Ferdinand “Elefant” 1/72 scale kit

I bought this kit from Hobby Easy in Hong Kong for an amazing $8.50 which was just too good to pass up. Also my buddy Jim Bambra who makes excellent wargaming rules at Combat HQ wanted some photos of an Elefant (not the big eared type), so i happily obliged with my build of this interesting tank.

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The more i build Trumpeter kits the more i like them. Enough detail for a bit of a challenge, but all the bits go together nicely without too much screwing around. I hate messing around with ill fitting parts. It’s no fun! This kit is great. A few little things should be mentioned. The instructions are not correct for the running gear assembly, so you really need to pay attention to the pictures and not the instructions to make sure you get the right wheels and the right suspension in the right places. Also there were two little spikey bits that go behind the sprocket wheels that i could not get into the right place and so i left them out. It didn’t matter as you cannot see them anyway in the final model. I did get some photo etched grills and stuff but they did not appear in the instructions and seem to have some from another version or something.

There are two options for the tracks. You can use the single piece rubber/vinyl or you can build the link and length type. I could not see how you could attach the link and length easily on the wheels unless you did them much earlier in the build than the instructions suggested. So i went for the single length tracks and they worked out fine.

All the hatches are moulded shut which is a shame, but i guess you could open them up with some knife work. It would be good to put a commander in there somewhere. I did a a two colour paint job, just yellow and green patches. Plus lots of dirt and mud and dust as usual. Its a cool kit and a cool looking tank. Much fun.

Farmyard Scratchbuild Part Two

I finally finished the second and third buildings for my Normandy farmyard. Inspired by David Wright and his brilliant book “Making Rural Buildings for Model Railways” i modelled my farm buildings on a couple of farms i saw in his book and on his web site. I had finished the main farm house and had to complete the small stable and the out house with hay loft and steps.

All made from a structure of 5mm foam core coated with plaster and modelling clay, that’s the easy bit! The time consuming effort comes with carving the stone work brick by brick. I bought a cheap engraving tool on eBay for $15 which definitely speeds the process up, although i did go change batteries quicker than undies. Roofs are all old Christmas cards cut up into tiles in strips glued onto a foam core structure, except for the rusty corrugated steel, which i picked up from Sergeants Mess for a couple of pounds.

I left the buildings all un-based and free standing so i could change their configuration into whatever i please. I will add a large hay barn next and make a farm yard stone wall and gate and path. Need some hay bales and a tractor to finish the whole thing off. Photos below with a sneaky Tiger wandering past.

Metcalfe Models 00/HO Scale Village Shop & Cafe

I built the second building from Metcalfe Models that i bought a while back. The first manor house was a bit on the small side to fit in with my other scratch built Normandy buildings so i was not too enthusiastic about this one. But i was happy to be surprised with how this turned out. Scale size is always a problem, especially with buildings. I did purchase one as a trial from Loic Neveu, who makes great looking stuff, but it was tiny! I reckon it would fit better with 15mm or 1/100 scale. My home made village all comes in around 40mm per storey or 120mm minimum height for a two storey building with roof. Plus the chimney pots and 3-5mm of base. This Metcalfe village shop is 110mm in height to the top of the chimneys which is just big enough to fit in with my existing buildings without looking shrunken and dwarfish. Once you stick him in with other scenery you don’t notice the slightly smaller scale.

So onto the model. I really like these card kits. They come in super solid card stock and are really fun and easy to build. A clear instruction sheet is provided and the card pieces are very clearly marked and self explanatory. It makes a nice change for an evening’s modelling excitement. The card does a look a bit too clean and tidy, so i find basing them and throwing some brown paint around does help them blend into the “real world” a bit. While i am super keen on building my own terrain from scratch having a few of these guys adds some variety and speeds up the process a bit too. Building my own takes me weeks and weeks. For around $15 – 17 per house they are very good value compared to other resin or plastic options. I have my beady eyes on a couple of other Metcalfe kits, the terraced houses and corner store may be added to my collection. You should check them out, even more so for you Cold War and Modern wargamers, as they will fit better in that period than in Normandy 1944.

IBG Models Chevrolet C15A No.13 Cab in 1/72 scale

IBG 72015 1/72 Chevrolet C15A No.13 Cab Australian Pattern Wirel

These kits from Polish company IBG are just always a total pleasure to build. This is only my second truck from their range but i it was just as awesome as the first one. They come packed in a way oversize box with just a couple of sprues. Detail is great and the kit goes together very nicely with no issues. You don’t get any crew so i added my usual driver from AB figures. Always remember to build and paint the interior of the cab before putting on the roof and the driver in. I have made this mistake before……

Not much else to say. I really enjoyed making this kit. if you want a good range of smaller trucks then look no further than IBG. I painted mine in standard olive green and added some dirt and dust and mud. Great fun. They have some very cool looking US trucks too which i want to get my hands on. You always need trucks and plenty of them. Some lucky officer will get to swan around in this baby.