You’re all aware that I am working on some Panzer IIIs – well, I always try to have something else on the side to work on when the main project is drying. This time I put an awful lot on the side to keep me busy, one item being MiniArt’s ‘East European village house’ (kit #72016). I purchased this at a Swap & Sell…I believe that it’s original purpose was to be cut in half and used in a modelling diorama…I was glad to get it as I’d seen it on Hobby Terra and wondered what it was like as a kit. Buying and completing one would serve as a good test run.

Well, it’s comprised of 28 parts, which seems reasonable, all made of styrene. The roof is made of a single moulded piece of styrene. It is completely joined to the surrounding frame – it doesn’t sit on four little supporting pins like normal kits – so you have to cut the entire roof clear of the rest of the ‘sprue’. Not a problem for me as I have a good Olfa cutter, but it means that all the detail of the thatching on the end of the roof is lost….you have to recreate it once you’ve cut the roof clear. I used my scalpels to do that.

There are four walls and a floor. There are options for two doorways (not sure why as the box art and box photos suggest these only had one entrance/exit – probably because of moulding convenience) so you cut away the indicated tab on the wall and put the closed door in it’s door frame over it. The window shutters are all single pieces. Everything glues together well:  except that I had some trouble with the chimney.

The chimney is four identical pieces that you glue together and then glue in place on the horizontal part of the roof. That sounds straightforward enough, doesn’t it? Well, even when assembled, it’s still the smallest part of the kit! It’s also the worst-formed or worst-cast, so it doesn’t glue together equally. Here’s how mine ended up looking when complete:  . I used extra glue as subsitute filler to try to minimise the gaps between each piece. It also didn’t sit flatly on the horizontal part of the roof – it leans a bit to one side.

Pegasus Hobbies’ Russian buildings feature two piece chimneys which assemble very simply, very neatly and sit flatly in comparison. I’m not sure why MiniArt wanted to make the smallest part of their kit so detailed and so complicated? I’d rather they had put crisper, slightly more exaggerated detailing into the thatching on the roof…I’m going to have to paint the whole roof using drybrushing the entire time, methinks, in order to preserve the ridges and troughs that will provide natural shadowing.

All this being said, I’ll still buy more of these kits if I see them. The chimney can be dealt with by a more careful examination previous to getting out the glue than I gave. Some careful cutting and filing would make the chimney perfect, with some extra filing once glueing is finished. They are a nice counterpoint to the Pegasus kits and reasonably priced, too. They are true to scale and if, like me, you don’t glue the roof in place, the roof lifts off easily so you can do house-to-house combat. A good product and worth the cash…just a little more examination and effort needed with some parts prior to assembly than with Pegasus’ kits.

It’s Truck Month

February 2, 2011

In conjunction with Paul from Plastic Warriors: 1/76 & 1/72 Plastic Soldiers,Armour & Aircraft and Al from 20th Century Wargames: Wargaming with mostly 1/72 scale plastic miniatures, I’m bringing you Truck Month. That means that during February I must start and finish a truck kit.

Like Paul, I’m going to be working on Roden’s Opel Blitz kit because I still have at least 5 that I purchased back in 2008 and, to this day, haven’t even been opened.

The first four stages were to:

  1. wash the sprues in very warm water with dishwashing detergent, in order to wash any remaining moulding residues off that may prevent good glueing or painting;
  2. rinse the sprues in very warm water to get rid of any detergent from the previous step;
  3. air-dry the sprues completely;
  4. undercoat the sprues.

Undercoating the sprues is complete:  , so now I can prepare for assembly.

I’m over a third of the way done, but not halfway. The chassis and lower hull were all finished last weekend, the last couple of nights have been finishing off the fiddly detail on the upper hull. Here’s a pic:

The ‘fiddly detail’ is the photoetched brass parts. I enjoyed the challenge of the remote-controlled, roof-mounted machinegun shield and have previous experience with a previous UM tank-destroyer kit in  folding and shaping the ammo box so they were done in a minute each. The thin guards over the periscope were a bit frustrating but well worth the effort.  However, I have decided not to do the folding and glueing of the spare mudguard supports and the front mudguurd braces – they are too fiddly and I couldn’t get the brass to fold properly! I was careful but I still stuffed it! Like Paul over at ‘Plastic Warriors’, I’m not a rivet-counter…I like accuracy when I build something… but this is meant to be a fun hobby – getting worked up over two non-essential parts is not fun at all. Thus, they were ditched. I personally think the rear mudguard support could have been done in plastic…they have fine plastic moulding on other parts of the kit…

If you’re interested in which particular kit I’m working on, here’s a link to a very good vendor’s product description.

While waiting for glue to bond and/or dry, I’m working on more wargaming terrain. Here’s a pic: Thick, tall clumps of bushes and blackberry (or similar)…copses or thickets…tall enough to block vision (“lines of sight” to use the military term) for infantry and also most vehicles. I deliberately use the tallest lichen clumps I can. They will be used for the Leningrad region game coming up in July and also for Pripyat Marshes games.

BZ-35 Refueller

July 5, 2009

The weather is still rather unfavourable here,  so all that happened this weekend was getting some undercoating done. I managed to get the following coated:

which leaves just two Hasegawa Pumas to go.

In the meantime, I’ve turned my attention to trying new products as well as completing a couple of kits that have been sitting around undercoated and waiting for such a “rainy day” as this.

I tried out Hob-e-tac again, doing up two Tree Armatures as Birch trees in early Autumn.  As well as using Woodland Scenics products (like those just mentioned), I found a wonderful (coarse) turf by a different company, Scenic Express, called “Early Autumn blend”. It has what I consider the perfect blend of yellow, light orange, red and woody grey colours in it. Having just gone through Autumn here, I was able to watch and compare all the Birches here with the various modelling products by these two companies. This was definitely the closest thing to reality.

The Hob-e-tac became super-tacky right on cue and easily adhered to all the Early Autumn Blend, with almost none coming off after curing…I’ll never try doing that with PVA glue, I’ll stick (bad pun) with Hob-e-tac every time. I then used some Early Autumn Blend around the base of the tree, to represent fallen leaves. The final result is a little stronger yellow than reality, but I think it’s still more than suitable.

No other terrain – no hills work this weekend.

Now, those two kits that I undercoated a while ago…they are of a Soviet BZ-35 Refueller truck. I’d already assembled and painted one up two years ago – these were put aside because 1) the kit was fiddly to assemble, 2) I had no need for any more at that stage of wargaming, 3) I had other, more important and necessary kits to work on . Which particular kit am I referring to? PST’s 1:72 kit, #72021, “Fuel Truck BZ-35”.

The kit is fiddly because not all parts are supplied – you need to provide your own “metal kernals” (their words). I’ve been using brass wire to meet that requirement. Assembly has to be done in a number of stages, more than they indicate on the instruction sheet. However, the end product, after the fiddling is completed, is very nice.

The BZ-35 is built using the same components and chassis as the ZIS-6 truck.  For Soviet WW2 information, I head to Alex’s RKKA in World War II website, which I’ve found extremely useful since I took the plunge into WW2 wargaming four years ago. He has a section on Auxiliary Vehicles which includes a page with the BZ-35 on it (as well as others). There’s a nice colour picture there to help me with painting but I also get painting hints from here and here (with this latter one, scroll down past the political message/s so you can see the heading “Trucks, pickups, buses and special trucks” and start from there).

Assembly of the two kits is halfway complete. They’ll keep me going while I finish undercoating all the other stuff – I want to start all the other stuff simultaneously, rather than doing things in dribs and drabs.

…done.

A whole platoon and the platoon HQ are now based. All that remains is to paint the bases a nice earth colour, glue on some flock to represent grass; glue on some model bushes, and they can be played with.

I’m very happy with the colouring, the uniforms and the amount of detail. They look far better than my Russians.

Both sets of mortars are done, too – 1 section of 81mm mortars and 2 bases of 120mm mortars. The realistic poses of the crews mean I’ll be buying more, if just to use unused crew figures to man the PaK 38’s and PaK 40’s I got in my HobbyTerra order last month.

Over in Tankoberg, I decided on the outcome of the Doug Chaltry technique on tracks painted Codex Grey compared to the outcomes on the painted Chaos Black or my Panzer Grey blend. I had bought two secondhand ESCI SdKfz 251’s, so I’ve begun applying the technique to the tracks on those, to see a working sample. I can always (and probably will) buy more 251’s…especially since Caeser Miniatures have indicated they are working on a range of 1/72 PanzerGrenadiers.

Preface

September 13, 2007

Having ordered a number of kits from HobbyTerra and with some Italeri kits already owned, I’m going to work through the process of preparing, assembling, painting and basing WW2 German Forces in 1/72 scale for the miniatures wargame Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist and blog it here for you.

You’ll get to read about what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, what resources I’m using and a few photos as well.

There won’t be daily posts unless I think it’s worthwhile. I also intend not to bore you with personal ramblings.