I’ve completed the major stages of assembly of UniModel’s 1/72 scale SU-85 (or, if you are Russian, 333 UM 1/72 Самоходная артиллерийская установка СУ-85):   . It’s a well-detailed kit, but I think there must be better ways to actually assemble the kit than the way they suggest on the instruction sheet. Since this is the first of a company of 5 that I’m assembling, I’ll assemble the other 4 in a different way. The reason for wanting to do it differently is that, having followed their instructions, part fit of the superstructure to the hull was poor – out came the nail files and there was a lot of filing in order to get part fit, let alone accurate part fit. Not good. I’m reminded of some of the grizzles with assembly I had with the Marder III (h)’s of theirs that I did 4-5 years ago. So, we’ll see how the rest of them go. This one isn’t too bad, but it certainly isn’t going to be the company commander’s vehicle.

Also, I completed the Pegasus Hobbies 1/72 scale Russian Log house – Two storey (Large Karilian region izba) that I won as part of a number of job lots on eBay three years back. Mine looks like this from the front:  and like this at the rear: . It’s to scale, as you can see here, with 1/72 troops (ESCI/Italeri, in this instance):   . It’s meant to be a two-storey building, but there is no “first floor” provided, so I made one with leftover sheet styrene:  so I can have snipers upstairs if I want:  and the first floor sections easily lift out and away for when the door finally gets broken in and close-quarters combat (CQC) occurs:  . As you can see, it is a very big building. Great for diorama or scale modellers, but I think that for wargaming, it occupies too much of the tabletap. I don’t mind a factory or somesuch taking up big slabs of the tabletop, but I’m not so sure a large farmhouse (Russian: изба́) should share that right.

So, now I have a good collection of buildings by Pegasus and MiniArt for the Russian side of the Eastern Front (Ostfront):  – that should be enough for a few years.

***

My Dragon 251/10’s are coming along a bit more slowly at the moment, as you have to paint the interiors before you can fully assemble the bodies:  .

 

I visited a private seller who was clearing out unwanted model kits last week. Whilst browsing through a lot of Soviet light tanks, I found a BA-10 (in Russian, БА-10) by UM Models . Being fairly impressed with previous UM kits, I decided to buy it…$10 was a reasonable price and it would make a start towards building up Soviet recon stuff, of which both Peter and I are lacking.

I was pleasantly surprised, when I opened it, to find two kits inside: .

Both are two-thirds assembled. I’m hoping each bag has been labelled correctly! There are no instructions for either, but I can get them from Henk of Holland’s wonderful repository.

I decided to start with the bag labelled BA-9: . I’m unfamiliar with Soviet armoured cars (or Бронеавтомобиль in Russian) – it looks like it has a light-calibre main gun, maybe even a machinegun or automatic cannon instead of a normal cannon: . Some reading courtesy of the English version of The Russian Battlefield website confirms that it is a machinegun, a 12.7-mm DK machine-gun, and that this vehicle is a BA-9 (БА-9 in Russian) . For Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist purposes, a 12.-7mm MG is a HMG.

Now for the BA-6m (БА–6M). It’s in a similar state to the BA-9:  . Looking at it’s main armament, it does seem to have a 45mm cannon, like most later BA armoured cars do: . Both the BA-6M and the BA-10 had the same armament, so this vehicle also seems to be correctly labelled.

So all up, a good deal! A cheap, useful purchase actually yielded two useful, even cheaper, purchases! As Paul from “Plastic Warriors” says, “model on!”

As both have been partially assembled, I have decided to finish assembly of both before undercoating them. I’ve been doing some research about Russian armoured cars so I’ll be sharing more about them with you over the weeks and months it takes me to finish.

 

 

 

 

Caesar Miniatures have very recently begun to make vehicles and guns as well as figures. I’ve bought various WWII figures off them over the years and have always found them well worth the money, well sculpted and with very good detail. I was waiting to hear what people thought of them before I committed any cash and, mercifully, positive statements were made reasonably quickly.

Henk of Holland has found in their favour, as have the folks over at the Braille Scale Discussion Forum. I was most interested in the quality and accuracy and they are fine on both of these regards. Al from 20th Century Wargames mentions the extras you get and you get a nice review of both quality and sprues over with the Bunkermeister.

While winning some lots on Ebay, I also had the funds to buy two of these Sig 33 kits. I’m in complete agreement with everyone else: they look great, are pretty finely detailed and are fantastic value! Here’s a photo: and detail of the gun sprue itself :  .

They won’t be done for a little while as I’ve got a number of other kits undercoated and under various stages of contruction at the moment, but more about that another time.

By the by, I bought my two kits through Bryan at Always Model – a very reliable and agreeable online retailer. I’ve used him a number of times now and have always been happy with price, communications and service.

It’s been some time since I worked on either troops or AFVs. Although my Panzer V Panthers remain technically incomplete (I haven’t done the aerials yet – I was able to buy some more brass wire but not enough to make 7 aerials and have enough to waste), I’m up to speed and have enough infantry and infantry support bases to do plenty of infantry scenarios (thanks to completing those IG-18s).

I’ve decided to turn my attention to a kit I was extremely lucky to purchase last year – UM’s Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer (Commander’s version). 6 or 7 were being sold for $5 AUD each at a swap & sell last year. I purchased four, enough for a section. I then asked around about whether I can use these as normal vehicles and received a number of confirming replies. This was fantastic, as this kit does come with the roof-mounted remote-controlled machinegun, but it’s not assembled and put on this kit.

There’s already some good commentary about Hetzer kits in 1/72 scale. The kit I’m doing, for your own reference, is this one (have a look at Henk’s site for more photos, assembly instruction sheet scans, etc.)

I’ve commenced with doing the lower chassis, assembling the hull, suspension and roadwheels. Tonight will be the bogies and outer parts of the drive wheels, then the labourious process of glueing together the length & link tracks can occur.

I find UM’s kits to be very good – good instructions and well-cast parts.

Oh, the other thing I need to alter in the assembly is to only provide one aerial, not two. I may need to cut or file off the second aerial mount…I’ll have to check my excellent Polish bi-lingual Hetzer reference  book to see.

I did some research about what camouflage scheme (if any) I should paint onto my GrossDeutschland Panther tanks. I had seen a photo once of a column of Panthers moving forward on the Eastern Front (OstFront), painted only in DunkelGelb…no green or brown (or both) camouflage paint at all. Very simple – and given that the camouflage green and brown pastes didn’t get as widely distributed in quatity and completeness as on the Western Front (WestFront),  I think probably pretty common.  I was tempted to do all like that. However, since that is what I’m doing for many of my Opel Blitzes, Horch 108s and 251/1’s,  changed my mind, wanted some cammo and undertook a serious hunt to find out if GrossDeutschland’s Panthers had any camouflage scheme/s and what they were. The outcome was simpler than I thought: Panzer Colours III had both a black & white historical photo and a colour illustration of a GrossDeutschland regimental commander’s Panther that had a base coat of DunkelGelb and then a camouflage scheme of Dark Green mottling.  This is what I’ve decided to do for my 7 Revell Panthers.

Considering what is recommended on instruction sheets and commonly seen on the Internet and TV, certainly the more popular Panther camouflage (for modellers) is a scheme in Dark Green and Red-Brown that seems to be common in use and pictorial evidence on the Western Front (WestFront).  You can see a restored Panther in that camouflage scheme, here on YouTube:

While doing all this current research, I stumbled across a source of camouflage schemes (as colour illustrations) seen on actual WWII serving German vehicles that I had forgotten about using for well over a year or so…Dragon Models Limited’s instruction sheets! You can see a good number of these on Henk’s website, Henk of Holland: Plastic Manufacturers – Dragon.  For a great variety of different camouflage schemes, have a look at the scans of the instructions for Kit 7223 – SdKfz. 251/1 Ausf. C (about 1/5 down the page)  and for Kit 7225 – SdKfz. 251/1 Ausf. D  (just two kits later). These are a useful online information source to add to a WWII modeller’s and WWII wargamer’s repertoire/toolbox/collection/favourites/bookmarks.

Still 4 weeks of Spring left, but today is the second day of over 30 degrees…in fact, looking at the MelbinYewni real time temperature graph, today got to just over 34! This means it’s time to think about doing lots of wargames terrain / wargames scenery, as there will be the heat to cure and dry everything thoroughly and promptly.

I’ve made a start: the three telegraph posts from an old ESCI Diorama Accessories set have been assembled, based and given some lumpy earth around their bases…ready now for painting.

I finished off a platoon of PaK 36 anti-tank guns with crews, plus that ICM Krupp truck, so that they wouldn’t bother me and so that “Operation Barbarossa” next year will be a reality. The PaK 36s are from Fujimi, the crews are the one worthwhile figure from the Fujimi set the gun comes in, a chap from the  Revell  Fallschirmjägers and one of the two ESCI / Italeri Sd. Kfz. 251/1 crew. Photos: PaK 36 teams & truck PaK 36 gun & truck .

Some more comments about the ICM Krupp L2H143 Kfz 70 kit…it turns out pretty well and looks great painted. I opted to have the MG 34 on a pintle mount in the rear tray option, to fit in with the Kubelwagen Type 82 which also had pintle-mounted MG34. I don’t like the decals that ICM provided for this kit, though. There is too much excess clear decal surrounding the rear number plate, and even drybrushing with Kommando Khaki as a coat of dust didn’t help…in fact it made it worse and drew attention to the excess. There was also far too much excess on the front number plate – which is meant to wrap around a front bumper bar which is probably only a milimetre wide. Stupid! It wrapped but wouldn’t glue. I know some modellers add a special glue under any decal they apply, but I don’t have that glue and don’t think it should be necessary. The front number plate decal’s glue didn’t hold and so the whole thing popped off during drybrushing. A shame. Sorry ICM, sorry Roden, but I’m not having much luck with your decals.

Now, Fujimi’s product is meant to be 1/76 scale, but it isn’t. Let me clarify…the house probably is, but the figures and PaK gun supplied with it are definitely 1/72 scale or even larger…possibly even 1/70 scale! Anyway, only one figure from that product is worth using with the anti-tank gun because the others are even worsely sculpted and moulded than the figures Hasegawa provide with their WWII AFVs. Hence why each PaK 36 base I’ve done has figures from other manufacturers to make up the two-man crews that Panzerfaust: Armored Fist requires.

Lastly – a couple of Battlefield Accessories wall sections (enough to make two simple houses) have been assembled and are being painted, along with a Faller German, Austrian or Swiss log cabin that I bought at a model railroad shop.

Oh, and there’s a Wespe and that other Kubelwagen still in Tankoberg…but I’m feeling the time is nigh to make a caulk creek / stream following the laws laid down by Nikolas Lloyd.

 

 

Darn vinyl tracks

May 1, 2009

The vinyl tracks that were supplied with the Sd.Kfz 7/1 that I was assembling cracked and broke only five minutes after starting to flex them into shape.  Annoying. But then, that kit was bought at a Swap-n-sell…it may have been sitting in a tin shed for many years enduring our hot summers – which would naturally make the vinyl brittle and cracked.

I had bought (also at a Swap-n-sell) an Eastern Express T-34/85, which I later realised (thanks to the mighty Henk of Holland) has a number of inaccuracies, so I won’t build it. Instead, it was put aside for kitbash fodder and for stowage fodder.

I had a brainwave that its tracks might work well on the Sd.Kfz 7/1…and indeed they do! So, rather than having a second AA vehicle become impossible to complete (as I wasn’t going to buy separate tracks for it) it is nearing completion – painting two of the crew up commences tonight.

…and then it was suddenly finished. Here is the basic view, of the assembled kit in its undercoat of Chaos Black:

horch-and-aa-gun1

I took that photo on the angle so that you can see the driver’s side rear-view mirrors, which are actually etched brass pieces.

Here is the view from above:

horch-and-gun-above

Yes, the detail is extremely good. You can see that on the bonnet, and with the grilles on the back half of the chassis. How all that very fine detail will come out with more paint on it…well, I worry. I think that very fine detail will be lost.

Final photo – with the AA gun set up on the back:

horch-and-gun-as-unit

Why did I commence this post with “..and then it was suddenly finished”? All weekend I had been preparing myself for the very fiddly job of trying to glue on the very fine and tiny (and hence, impractical) etched brass pieces to support the AA gun shield, which I knew was going to be time-consuming and I would get glue all over my fingers, onto my clothes and possibly even across doorknobs and fittings of my house. When I had girded my loins and picked up the sprue cutter to cut off the gun shield and make a start, I found (after fifteen solid minutes of checking, re-checking and re-re-checking) that no gun shield is supplied.

If you remember, I’d bought two boxes of this kit. No gun shield on either set of sprues, so it’s not as if I’d lost it.

After all searching confirmed this, I joyously realised that all that hoopla had been neatly removed! All I had to do was apply what remaining etched brass bits there were (the etched brass bits is mostly the last stages of assembly) and I was done. On went the number plates, the towing hooks and the rearview mirrors (yes, even they are etched brass and IN TWO PIECES – you have to assemble them and that’s a pain) and it was finished. Done. A giant boil lanced and all pus extracted.

Painting it will be fairly easy – I’ll just go with Dark Yellow with a mild green cammo scheme. I’m thinking of drybrushing those grilles to preserve the fine detail as much as is possible.

To sum up this kit so far -1) they aren’t kidding on the box when they say for ages 14 & over, and 2) Henk of Holland‘s comment about AMC: ” Warning !!! The AMC plastic kits are poor and the passing of the parts is not correct. It is not easy to see on the instructionsheet on which place you have to glue the parts. Some parts need a lot of reworking. For me are this kits not adviced for a starter, but more for advanced modellers with expierence in scratchbuilding. The kits are too expensieve for the quality“.

MAC’s kits are not poor quality, they are very precise with lots of detail. I did have some issues with parts correctly fitting, hence the need for scalpel and file work to make them fit. The instruction sheet – I’ve talked a lot about this, I’ll show you what’s wrong specifically in another post. MAC kits certainly are for advanced modellers – which I don’t think I am. Tread carefully and slowly, and check everything first before applying any glue.

Even though it’s been spread over a week, it’s only taken about two hours to assemble a Jagdpanther. Now, the particular kit I’ve assembled is Revell kit #3152, “Jagdpanther & Deutsche Infantrie”. Although the box says that all the contents are 1:72 scale, the Jagdpanther is actually 1:76 scale. As Henk of Holland and On the Way! both state, many of these “Kombi-packs” of vehicles and soldiers contain 1:72 scale Revell soldiers but 1:76 scale Matchbox vehicles – kit #3152 being one of them.

I bought two of the Jagdpanther kombi-packs earlier this year and decided to buy two more, to make a platoon of four Jagdpanthers and also because I intend to use all the soldiers for a company of Panzergrenadiers. I decided to commence work on the Jagdpanthers now as a sort of flow-on from the most recent game of Panzerfaust: Iron Fist I played, so that rather than always playing early and mid War, Peter and I could play late War, when the Eastern Front reversed and moved back across Eastern Europe to Berlin.  I want to see those mighty tank destroyers up against some IS-2s.

Having undertaken my usual preparations of washing the sprues in hot water with some dishwashing liquid in it; thoroughly air-drying the sprues and finally undercoating them with Chaos Black, I began assembly and soon realised I was nearly done in only an hour. In fact, waiting for the glue to dry on the wheels was the longest part. Why?

Well, this kit has one-piece vinyl tracks. Yes, those old-fashioned, horrible soft vinyl tracks that harden and crack after a few years (less if left in the heat). Yes, they are too short to actually fit around the wheels of this kit (believe me, I tried). But if you can stand to put the vinyl tracks on and live with the gap by not trying to make the tracks into one loop (like I was forced to with Roden’s Opel Maultiers), then you get great track sag and quick assembly.

Anyway, it meant that last sunday I had to put all work on the first one on hold as I’d run out of Desert Yellow to begin working on it’s paint scheme!

It’s been a pleasant week, working on this kit. A lot of the detail is permanently fixed on the hull due to the mould, but it’s good detail and should paint up well. Tonight I was working through the Doug Chaltry track-painting technique. Tomorrow I commence work on more modular scenery (including working with another water product) and an AA vehicle!

A supplementary ration

January 8, 2008

A friend of mine from Nunawading Wargames Association asked around on e-mail for some websites that discuss painting vehicle camouflage. Now, he wanted it for very small scale, as he’s painting up AFV’s and air units for Epic 40K.

I’m working on a larger scale, 1:72, whereas he is working in 1:285. I’ve been having to ready extensively through primary and secondary documents (as well as related hobby information) whereas his game, set in the future, is not so bound to accuracy. Still, here is what I recommended:

Perhaps you’ll also find them useful?