Cheers from the factory floor
February 24, 2008
At last, the first Marder III (h) and Opel Blitz 4X2 are done.
Here’s the Marder:
They both came out fairly well.
The camouflage scheme on the Marder was a lot of fun to do, and I hope fairly historically accurate. The darkness of each colour shows the technicals and crew had plenty of the new paint and spare petrol to play with in making and applying it.
The Marder turned out to be fairly straightforward to assemble, until it came to assembling the gun and turret. The gun was far more work than it should be, with elevation wheels that had to be individually glued on and pins that weren’t big enough to truly support the barrel on it’s frame. The turret is made of individual plates of armour (historically accurate) but they don’t necessarily sit well or fit well, and the instruction sheet is done from a difficult angle to really see how to accurately fit everything. With this model, the turret came out well. With the remainder (which have just finished gluing and polyfilling) the turrets are leaning on angles or look awkward. Also, the grille on the back has a tendency to lean, too. My suggestion to UM would be to make both the turret and the rear grille simpler to construct – less pieces. The grille is in 5 parts – it could be in 1. The turret is in 8 pieces – it could be in 6 or 4. The UM moulds are very good – I don’t think much detail would be lost.
The Opel Blitz was nerve-wracking during the first half of assembly and then fiddly but fun for the rest. My one gripe about it is that the tray didn’t sit flat on the back of the chassis – so it is leaning to the left and looks odd. Coupled with the front axle going the other way (so one wheel is well off the ground), it doesn’t look so great. But it paints up well, and includes GrossDeutschland symbol decals (which you can see on the door) which are two plusses. I’m now going to build an old ESCI kit of the exact same vehicle. It has only two sprues and lots of the individual parts from the Roden kit are premoulded together in the ESCI kit, so building it looks deceptively quick and easy. For example, the engine block is one piece for ESCI – about a dozen for Roden.
Some more notes: the Marder had decals for kill markers, which I tried applying near the muzzle brake and failed miserably. I painted them instead – it looks fine. The Opel Blitz had decals for the number plates – again, the attempted application went awry because the numberplate has the registration moulded on – so the decal can’t glue to the ridges and bumps! I just painted the registration on with a 20/0 brush. All failed decals went in the bin.
Anyway, now the other 3 Marders are about to get their paintjobs. I didn’t do any painting of the hull after painting the tracks like last time, so all the Desert Yellow will go on at once.