Not an ACE effort

May 6, 2008

Been a while between drinks – and right now, a Cascade Pale Ale is travelling downwards.

The ACE Models PaK-38 anti-tank gun is completed. Finally. Thank goodness. Becuase I did not enjoy any step of it’s construction. Parts where there was no pin to connect one part to another; an uneven finish (the struts don’t lie flat, so I’ll have to file down one wheel so the darn thing sits flat) and the requirement for thin wire, not included in the box, all made me glad to be finished this one, and only have two more to do.

Come Hell or high water, I’ll sell those ACE PaK-40’s and buy the Italeri ones. Oh, they may not be as detailed as the ACE one, but give a stuff! The detail DID NOT really add much to this kit – in fact, I think at 1/72, some detail should be sacrificed in order to have a kit that assembles well. I certainly don’t feel that this one really did.

Now I’ll have to paint up some crew while assembling the other two. No worries – I’ve got a whole load of MG-42 medium machinegun crews to do. The PaK gunners can join their queue.

Next AFV project? I’m due for one, after these PaKs. I’ll jump in the deep end – Tigers. Oh yeah.

By the by, I finished painting the ESCI Opel Blitz. Very quick and straightforward to assemble, took paint well, and now it sits next to the Roden one. Sadly, I now prefer the Roden! The extra detail there (wing mirrors etc.) give it a little extra life…make it look real whereas the ESCI looks like a Hot Wheels imitation.

While I wait for Tigers, I’m going to do the Roden Opel Blitz Maultiers. 3 of ’em. Winter camo pattern, here we come!

The 3-colour camouflage schemes on the remaining 3 Marder’s are done. Each is different, so all 4 have a slightly different scheme. The schemes all do the intended purpose, of breaking up the silhouette of the unit, or at least making it hard to clearly identified.

I used angled lines with some accompanying blobs, but the most successful was one using vertical wavy lines. This will be used in a different way with later units, especially any Panther tanks (I hope to have a whole abteilung of Panthers). Once these Marders are complete, you’ll see photos here. Making each scheme similar but still seperate was quite hard, when the purpose of that scheme is remembered. I would quite often hold up a Marder and look at it from different distances, asking myself “Will this make it harder to identify? Will it blend in with trees? Will it blend in when in rough terrain?” The vertical wavy-lined one certainly will. I also kept in my mind many of the colour plates from the books and materials I’ve gathered about the armies on the Eastern Front. I didn’t want to directly copy – I wanted originality, but a likely originality…

This week has been darned hot all day and much of the night all week long, which has slowed down all hobby work. Last night was the most successful of the whole week, where I turned my attention to all the smaller detail on the Marders (while taste-testing a Pale Ale) and also painting the boots of 3rd Platoon. A lot of Chaos Black at work last night. There are also some hills being made – they have had their two coats of paint, and now are ready for their first application of flock. Some will be given to Nunawading Wargames Association, the rest are for my own use, and are intended for use with Panzerfaust: Iron fist, so in time you may see them here.

72 no. 710

As you can see, yesterday saw the completion of assembly of the Opel Blitz and the essential completion of the Marder III (all I have to do to the Marder III is paint the interior of the gun shield and the gun, then I can stick the roof on, paint the roof and touch up). This brings me to the painting stage, which should be straightforward.

I felt that assembly of that PST 1:72 BZ35 Refueller was a bit complicated and demanding – well, assembling the Roden Opel Blitz was much worse than that. Here’s a quick list of intricate frustrations:

  • Individual footpedals and the front numberplate had to be stuck on.
  • The frame attached to the chassis on which the carry tray rests was 4 individual strands, all requiring seperate glueing and resultingly meant that the tray didn’t rest on it equally.
  • A section under the cab, when placed on the chassis as per the instruction sheet, wouldn’t allow the cab to be glued onto the chassis!
  • Glueing the shovel and pick onto the mudguards.
  • Holes for attaching rearview mirrors, headlights and horn were absent or too shallow
    to allow these to be effectively stuck.

That’s enough for now.  Both the carry tray and wheels were nervewracking to glue on – and sure enough, they are all crooked 😦 So I’ll paint it now and see how that is – I’ve done the cab interior. I liked the way they did glass – it was thin plastic sheet that you cut out yourself. This allowed you to glue around and not in the frame, so you didn’t get glue dribbles on window panes. Nice! Building the ESCI version of the same vehicle will be illuminating. ESCI / Italeri are a good name, so it’ll be eye-opening.

As for the UM Marder III, I think I white-anted myself on that one. It wasn’t as hard as it seemed, but I will say that I think the instruction sheet could be clearer. Assembling the gun itself was scaring me, and it probably was the hardest part – but it was a little bit like swimming; you had to get wet first, then things got a bit easier. However, I feel that some parts don’t line up nicely with others – especially when building the armoured gun cab. That took a few reworkings and reglueings, and a few hard gulps of Cascade Pale Ale until I felt it was matching specifications (I was checking a book on Marders as I went, so had actual photos and drawings to compare with). I liked the individual track links and feel the detail was high. But where was part 58D? These are supports on the mudguards – I was missing a set. I’ll check the other kits and see if they are absent on all.

***

I’ve been working on two FAOs, with their horses. I did my first dappled grey. It looks better from a distance – the white spots blend into the grey more. I like these FAOs more – they seem more authentic…but in reality most FAOs worked from dugouts and foxholes, so I dunno. Wargaming is an abstract at the best of times, so reality when modelling for it always must be tempered by that truth.