I’ve been working on an Airfix Willys’ Jeep (proper name for the Willys’ Jeep being Willys MB US Army Jeep) that I bought at a swap ‘n sell at a non-swap-‘n-sell price (in other words, regular retail price). I also opted to do up its trailer, inspired by some of Paul from Plastic Soldiers‘ work with the same kit last year. Here’s what my interpretation looks like: . A little dustier than intended…I need to watch that. I’ve been getting carried away with dust lately…a post coming up in the next week or so will help you see what I mean about excessive dustiness on my kits.

This is bigger than the existing Willys’ Jeep that I have, leading me to suspect that the existing one I have is a Matchbox kit.

What purpose will this Jeep serve in my games? Well, as a target for my Germans when I’m playing Germans; as a HQ vehicle or recon vehicle if I’m playing Late War Soviets (when they had lots of Lend-Lease stuff like Willys’ Jeeps).

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As for what’s on my Hobby Table right at the moment, here are the vehicles currently under production: .

 

I realised during a game of Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist last year (last year being the year ended last night, 2010 – Happy New Year 2011 to regular readers!) that when I deploy my beefy 120mm Mortar Platoon, I’m meant to have a Fire Control base accompanying it. I decided to get rid of some loose figures by making up the required base, plus use up some of those Italeri German motorcycles by making up bases of FAOs on motorbikes.

They were all finished yesterday – the 40 degree celsius heatwave we had here drying out the last paintwork extremely quickly. Here are some photos of all three bases together – front:  and now rear:  .

Close-ups of the Fire Control base – front:  and rear:  .

Motorcycle-riding FAOs – front:  and rear:  .

Glad to finish them…they’ve been sitting around taking up space and effort.

The figures are a mix – Italeri, Revell and Pegasus Hobbies.

The logs that the binocular-wielding FAOs are propping themselves against are worth mentioning. Regular readers would know that I choose real sticks & twigs from nature, paintstakingly saw them using a tiny sawblade and then use them unpainted in my bases and terrain. This time I decided that I couldn’t use twigs from nature as I didn’t have anything suitable in my hobby room and aren’t sure at the moment where to look for fresh supplies. Also, if I did find real twigs they were going to have to fit under the height of the raised leg of the FAO figure – even harder to ensure. I wondered if the two plastic logs supplied with the Hasegawa kit MT30 ( 31130 – GERMAN INFANTRY ATTACK GROUP) would suffice…

I dug them out of a spares box and found that the middle of the big log from that kit would be suitable! I cut the big log into two, filed its bottom so it would sit nicely on the bases and then added the rest of the features. Painting the log to make it look realistic was going to be a real challenge…wood that’s fallen is different in colour to living wood – so I used both a fresh wood base colour, then an aged wood greyish-brown and finally a drybrushing of plain grey. Then I glued some bright green flock onto one side to represent moss (you can’t see it very clearly in the photos above, unfortunately).

They turned out really well and look great in real life.

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I’m over halfway done with those Matchbox 1/76 Wespes I won on Ebay last November, plus some railway buildings I’ve tinkered with over the months. The decals for the Wespes went on an hour ago and then it’s cammo time. Next come the final fiddly details, then weathering, Dullcoting and at last they’ll be ready for war.

Four good lots located in the USA came up on EBay late last month. With the Aussie Dollar almost on par with the US Greenback, I decided to bid well & bid hard on  them as my purchasing power was higher than usual making this an excellent opportunity. I won three of the lots. They were a mixture of assembled plastic kits, a white metal truck & gun and some resin vehicles. Here’s a photo of all three lots combined:  . All three require some work, but that’s fine. They are all resin or pre-assembled, so some of my work has been done for me! The work they need is mostly minor repairs. I’m going to strip the existing undercoat off all the cars and the truck & gun, and re-undercoat all the Wespes. Then everything will get my painting treatment.

I got six Wespes (a whole platoon) in one go. Sure, they have suffered some damage from storage and previous use, but nothing that can’t be fixed:  . Some glue and possibly some bits & bobs out of the leftovers/spares box should get them back to operational status. Then I’m going to undercoat all with black and do the painting my way. I’ll lose a little of their detail in doing so, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

Next were some Horch or Steyr heavy cars with what I think is a Krupp 2.5 ton truck with an IG-18 field gun:  . If you think you can tell me exactly which model of Krupp truck it’s meant to represent, please let me know via Comments. This lot and the last lot are all going to require me to buy some new cyanoacrylate glue, as they are resin or white metal kits and so my plastic glue obviously won’t cut the mustard. The Krupp truck & gun are white metal – I can’t see any manufacturer’s mark on it’s undercarriage so I can’t ascertain its providence. The windshield, tow hook, a wheel and a tray bench all need glueing.

The last lot are more heavy ccars and an armoured car:  . All are resin kits. The armoured car is an SdKfz 231. Again, some wheels need glueing. Then these two lots of resin & white metal vehicles will undergo some paint stripping so I can start painting them from scratch.

The Wespes are actually 1/76 scale, as you can see here when you look at them compared to my ESCI 1/72 Wespe in whitewash cammo:   . Again, I cannot determine which manufacturer made them…Matchbox, Fujimi…there is nothing on the undercarriage to tell me. They require more glueing than anything else I bought but I’m overjoyed to note that all the one piece vinyl tracks they came with have not deteriorated at all and so I’m not going to have to scrounge up some tracks to repair them with.

My forces just grew in a sizeable bound. Yay for EBay and the Aussie Dollar!

Other blogs inspire me 1

August 16, 2009

Over at Paul’s “Plastic Warriors” (1/72 & 1/76 scale) blog, he’s shown off some conversions of Sd.Kfz 251/1s into Sd.Kfz 251/2s.

This is something I intend to do with some Italeri 251cs and leftover mortars from my Pegasus German Mortar Teams boxes that I used for my infantry. Glad to see that my idea is a good one!

…but my Jagdpanthers do.

The Revell / Matchbox Jagdpanthers are nearing completion. That means that they now have a completed camouflage paint scheme / pattern on them and I’m just doing the little details like painting stowage and overpainting  errors.

I did some reading to see what sort of camouflage patterns and colours were used on these tank hunters. I found a drawing of one that had been with GrossDeutschland, but it was just in DunkelGelb (Dark Yellow) with a partial coat of whitewash, as winter camouflage. The other drawings all had many different patterns (as well as another with just plain DunkelGelb) but stripes of colours (in parallel, mostly on an angle) was the majority of patterns I found.

I have found extremely little on how long GrossDeutschland may have had Jagdpanthers…my guess at the moment is that probably as little as two or three months. (Those out there who know – I’m happy to be corrected). Now, it wasn’t going to be fun to have plain old DunkelGelb vehicles…that’s already being done with my StuG III’s, will be done with those Horch FlaK heavy cars and to some degree with my as-yet-unpurchased Panzer IV’s.

So, I selected a scheme for a vehicle that was operating on the Eastern Front but labelled as “Unit unidentified” and decided to paint a platoon of them. It had parallel stripes on an angle,  similar to this vehicle. However, the difference was that the colour stripes didn’t simply alternate between green and brown, but instead had a repeating pattern of green-green-brown with one green stripe being bigger than the other.

This also gave me a chance to try out the new-ish Citadel ‘Foundation Paints’. I can recommend the Orkhide Shade! It makes a nice alternative to using Dark Angels Green for green camouflage.

The saggy baggy Jagdpanther

November 16, 2008

Well, they may be 1/76 scale, but these Revell Jagdpanthers (originally Matchbox) come up looking the part.

This post will address two things, as follows:

1) These kits come with two jerrycans that are glued onto the starboard side of the Jagdpanther. The racks forward on the superstructure, where pioneering equipment was stored, are all empty. This clashes with all the other kits I’ve assembled or are assembling, where there are plenty of items of stowage or pioneering tools. There is a mallet on the rear plate, but nothing else.

Now, wisely I have retained leftovers from previous kits, so I’ve added plenty of extras to make these tank destroyers look like working units and not museum pieces. From the Roden Opel Blitz kits, I saved a rolled up tarpaulin. One got that. From the UM Marder IIIs, I saved spare picks and shovels. From the Italeri StuG III, I saved buckets. Picks and shovels were divided up and glued on different sides of different units. now they look like working vehicles! The moral of this is: always save unused materials, especially stowage. You’ll want them for kits that don’t have enough (or any at all).

2) Bad track sag – I mentioned that I’ve come to realise that the track sag I did with the first kit matched the track sag of a Tiger…but when I checked my sources, didn’t match a Jagdpanther’s track sag at all. For example, have a look at these historical photos. As you see, the historical evidence shows that the sag is more like a bow – the first vehicle I did looks like the tracks are much looser, so loose that they are lying on top of the return rollers.

Now, to get more accurate sag (using these horrible soft vinyl tracks that can’t do a proper job anyway) some more careful glueing was going to be involved. Two months ago, my household decided to retire all its old chopsticks and use freshly-purchased uniform ones from China. I saved all the old chopsticks for use with my hobbies. So, I cut them up, split them, broke them into little pieces, etc.  Then, wedging them in at the right places after shaping them, I achieved better sag with the remaining three. The moral of this is: always check historical sources first before assembly.

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The Tigers are moving forward slowly because I’m painting the stowed pioneering tools and all the other little fiddly bits. Procrastination strikes, too. As Summer is just two weeks away, I have to get a wriggle on, or it’ll get too hot to do much hobby work done.

All assembly of the other two Maultiers ended on Saturday night, so before I began painting them on Sunday, I took some photos of them:

As I’ve said earlier, although I initially found Roden kits to be difficult because they were highly detailed, I do find the finished product to be excellent. They take paint well and look very effective. The Italeri product is quicker to assemble, but when placed side by side with the Roden, looks more simplistic. The Italeri kit is cheaper and certainly much more easily purchased – remember, I ordered the Roden kits from the Ukraine! Even this is changing, though – as hobby shop proprietors are assembling these Eastern European kits for themselves and seeing the quality, they are increasingly stocking them. I’m becoming increasingly attuned to detail, so I would buy more more of the Roden without hesitation.

In the close-up profile photos, you should be able to clearly see that the tracks are too short to fit the kit. This is my only gripe, and I mentioned it in the previous post. Another centimeter would have been fine – another two centimeters would have allowed for good track sag. The tracks are good quality vinly one-piece items – they didn’t have the anchoring pins on them to join them into loops like the Airfix, Matchbox or ESCI kits do, so trimming off some leftover was not going to stop a track being made into a proper loop. Trimmed pieces could be used in a diorama or for a kitbash…

The Opel Maultier was developed by the SS and was so effective in the mud and then snow on the harsh Eastern Front that there was, in time, a good number of them. With all that snow and ice in mind, I’ve decided to paint them with a simple Dark Yellow coat and then give them some poorly-applied Winter whitewashing, so they don’t stand out too much and make themselves inviting targets. The technique I employed for the plaster inside the railway station will be given another try. Whitewash was often slopped on with whatever came to hand, so it should be lumpy and uneven. Applying lumpy, semi-dried paint off an overloaded cheap brush should model this perfectly.