Hello all,

My Dragon Models 1/72 scale Sd.Kfz 251/1 D’s are potentially one step away from being finished: .

When I started them, I thought that I might glue lichen on their sides to represent added foliage, as many German forces did to their vehicles in the last 2-3 years of the war. You can see a historical example of this ‘foliage as additional camouflage’ practice here. I’ve already done this to some of my vehicles, like my 234/3’s and my Hetzers.

Now I’m not sure I want to do this. The 234/3’s and the Hetzers aren’t meant to get so much game use compared to the 251/1’s. If they aren’t getting so much game use, I figure they can be a little more delicate and elaborate! Lichen on them is fine!

But I’m now not sure about adding lichen to these 251/1 D’s. These 251/1’s don’t have good vantage/attachment points to secure the lichen, so it’s possible that I could botch what I do. I don’t want to botch what has gone pretty well! The other 251’s I’ve done or are yet to do aren’t going to have lichen attached…plus it’s only an average of $10-15 per kit at swap-n-sells to get more if these ones do end up looking tatty after a couple of years. To topit all off, I’ve only been averaging 4 games a year lately…

Still, I’m thinking that they are fine as they are and that I don’t have to be so realistic all the time. Maybe I’m lazy and just want them off my table? Dunno.

So, readers, I’m turning this over to you. Do I follow through and add the lichen to them, or stop now?

Tankograd had four more come off the production line. Here they are:

251 234 263 and Kubel

From left to right: a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 251/22, a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 234/3, a Hasegawa Kubelwagen and lastly a Roden Sd. Kfz. 263. The Kubelwagen comes from the Hasegawa ‘Kubelwagen & BMW Side-car’ kit (MT-12) – the rest are stand-alone kits.

The 251/22 was a great kit to complete. The only trouble I had was with assembling the mount for the PaK 40 anti-tank gun. I included a loader holding a PaK 40 shell – he comes from the Italeri “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit. The PaK 40 shell is tipped in black – designating it as an AP shell.

The 234/3 was straightforward and lots of fun. Nearly all my comments about the Hasegawa 234/2 apply to it. I included a loader for it too, another figure from the Italeri “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit. That particular figure is sitting down andjusting the gun elevation, so he is molded with an elevation wheel in his left hand. I cut it out and glued a PaK 38 shell there in its place – the shell being surplus from the Roden PaK 38 kits I did some time ago. That shell was tipped with white, designating it as HE.

The Kubelwagen was problematic. I painted up the driver seperate to the rest of the vehicle – and then couldn’t fit him into place once he was finished. The steering wheel had to be removed; the machine gun mount and machine gun mount supports had to be re-done (and new supports kitbashed from leftover parts from old sprues). I learned my lesson – glue any drivers into place first and then paint, which is what I’m doing with the ICM Krupp truck.

The Roden 263 wasn’t too hard. I think their decals didn’t work so well for this kit. The large aerial overhead frame was fiddly but turned out OK. There was also a bit of flash on the sprues that needed some careful scalpel-work.

The Kubelwagen and the 263 got standard Dark Grey with heavy dust coats, for the start of “Barbarossa”:  263 and Kubel front 263 & Kubel rear

The 251/22 got my first attempt at a ‘ambush’ paint scheme. I gave it the same paint scheme as per the notes in my Jagdpanzer 38 “Hetzer” book by MBI. Sure, it’s a little bit stylised, but I love it! The 234/3 got a simple disruptive pattern in Citadel’s Goblin Green. I went and added some foliage – Woodland Scenics’ lichen. 251 234 front 251 234 rear

So, just gotta get them bikers done and the Recon game can happen…

Tankoberg has stopped assembling and is now just painting. The Pumas presented an interesting question – should I paint the sets of axles in dunkelgelb or just with bare metal?

I set out using Google and also a new search engine, Duck Duck Go, to see what I could find. Certainly, searching images turned up lots of beautifully painted model kits in a number of scales, but none clearly showed axles. Even walk-around photos of museum vehicles didn’t oblige! While diligently going through the first 20 pages of results for a search, I found step-by-step photos of a model kit WIP (work in progress) in 1:6 scale.  Egonzinc’s Sdkfz. 234/2 “Puma” *Building the Model” was very informative and I, like those who have already commented on that discussion board, also wish to congratulate him heartily for such fantastic work.

I elected to follow his example and paint my kits’ axles (and also the undercarriage) dunkelgelb, not base metal, just as Egonzinc had done.

Next day, still testing out Duck Duck Go, I did some more general searches about painting Sd.Kfz. 234/2s (or any of the 234 family, since I have a 234/3 and will be buying some 234/1s eventually). As with the searches discussed above, I found a lot of photos and text about how modellers were painting or had painted them – but that wasn’t what I wanted. I’d searched my historical books and had seen photos of actual combat vehicles in plain dunkelgelb, two-tone camouflage and also three-tone camouflage. The Hasegawa kit assembly instruction sheet and box that the kit came in has a painting guide for three-tone camouflage, for a vehicle in action. So, the paint scheme is dark yellow, red brown and olive green in a mottled pattern – and this vehicle is on the Western Front, in Normandy. I’m interested in Eastern Front!

More searches unsued. “German  armoured cars of World War Two” (Milsom & Chamberlain 1974, Arms and armour Press, London) was clearly showing me vehicles with different paint and camouflage schemes! So did Bundesarchiv. So did historical black and white photos from other websites.

An examination of one result hit the jackpot – an English translation of the web page Sd Kfz 234/2 by Francisco Javier Cabeza & Carlos Martín. It had everything I wanted – authoritative text and historical photographs in colour. The Combat Use section is most helpful. Paint schemes and camouflage schemes are discussed as thoroughly as sources allow, as well as markings and divisional insignia. Francisco and Carlos have referred to some texts I own and also some I don’t, but I consider what is on their web site to be accurate and their sources to be high quality – therefore I’m acting on the  information they present.

I noted that the SS Panzer Division used three-tone cammo’d Pumas (but then, SS units usually got the best quality equipment). I decided that since mine were to be Eastern Front, I’d leave them as dunkelgelb but with proper markings. I’ve got some Hetzer tank-hunters who will get a heavy three-tone camouflage scheme and I’m going to do my Panthers in three-tone camouflage too.

Painting has been done with more vigour since this historical research and very fortunate pair of discoveries! Research is a wonderful thing.

Over a year ago I discussed general principles of camouflage on vehicles in this post. This post also introduced some of you to the wonderful Lone Sentry website, a great place for primary documents.

In my discussion, I quoted a section about the failings of camouflage painting (or perhaps that a well-painted camouflage scheme alone cannot solve all problems). The section prior to that which I quoted discusses using natural materials to aid vehicle camouflage (and is called, not surprisingly, Natural Materials).

All this was thrust back to the foreground of my modelling thinking a few days ago, because of a YouTube video I found serendipitously after trialling a another video which was Recommended for me at login. The video is called Restored Jagdpanzer Hetzer:

It’s the first eight (8) seconds that interested me. The Hetzer begins in the shade of some trees before driving out into full sunlight. The disruptive camouflage paint scheme in combination with the clumpy shade from the branches overhead really help to break up the silhouette and shape of the Hetzer.

It’s a lovely example of how a camouflage scheme can contribute greatly to concealment – I hope you enjoy it as I did, and learn from it (or have the theory neatly illustrated by it).

While logging in to YouTube, it recommended the following video for me. I normally ignore these recommendations because they are usually far, far off key…but this one was good.

Modellers, take your cues from that. I liked the simple yet realistic camouflage scheme and that it had a few side skirts. But that gun…deadly.

Now, Eastern Suburbs Scale Modelling Club had their annual second-hand kit sale. Best purchase of the day for me was a platoon of UM’s Hetzers (Commander’s version) for $20 AUD. I was reliably informed by the very knowledgeable Neil G. that the external differences between this unit and a standard unit should only be an extra radio mount, so I won’t get yelled at for fielding four of these as standard vehicles.

Lastly, today was the second most intensive day spent working on the Horch 108…which isn’t saying much. I’m not enjoying building it and I’m especially annoyed that of the only piece to go missing, it had to be one that holds the gun in place on its mount. Why not a freakin’ wheel?! Got plenty of spares of those in my leftovers collection…

I don’t know why this kit has to be so troublesome. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to post a bit more on it.

Them Marder III’s

March 4, 2008

Some additional comments regarding those Marder III’s, discovered during painting:

1) Painting under the wheels is really difficult. I probably should have done that after glueing on the wheels but before glueing on the track. I think that’s what I did before…but I’m not sure. Oh well. These ones will have to have some extra mud spattered around to cover up lesser paintwork.

2) Painting the rear grille requires good lungs – to breathe hard and make sure the paint doesn’t block up the holes, removing the grille effect.

3) Using a black undercoat gives the impression that vehicles were originally in their Field Grey and were since resprayed when the “3 colour system” came in in 1943. This is fine if that’s the effect you want. It’s the effect I get because I’m using Chaos Black in a spraycan, lazy sod that I am. I guess that when it comes to doing Tigers, Panthers or Hetzers, I’ll have to find some other undercoat-in-a-can.