Dragon SdKfz 251- detailing

December 9, 2011

My progress on the 251s has been very slow…to some degree I’ve actually been avoiding them. Painting over some errors seemed to be bigger in my mind than it actually was. You see, I’d used my version of the Doug Chaltry Technique on the tracks, and then painted the hull afterwards. The Desert Yellow splattered or dripped onto the tracks as I applied it very liberally and inaccurately. Fixing my mistakes using Boltgun Metal had become as big a job as painting the rubber on the roadwheels, which is a job requiring some time and skill.

When I actually got going, it only took 15 minutes to paint over any Desert Yellow splashes with Boltgun Metal…I thought it would take at least 45 minutes, maybe an hour.

This means that I am now up to the second last stage of painting, fixing any other mistakes and finalising details – making the pioneer tools look good; inking around hatches; correcting paint around wheel hubs, etc. The last stage is weathering and mud.



With a final black ink wash, what I call the Doug Chaltry technique for painting AFV tracks is done.

I use a mix of 25% Black Ink – 75% water. A previous mix in an earlier post was described as being like milk…well, this mix is like watery milk! Here it is going on the tracks…you can see the raised metal surfaces easily through it – the mix is simply adding some extra shading to crevices etc: and here you can see it pooling together: and to give you another perspective of its strength, here is an almost-dried spilt drop on the upper hull: .

Here are three photos of the final products, all dried: .

With that done, the finishing construction steps in Tankoberg could be undertaken. I glued the hulls onto the lower hulls/chassis, so that I had a whole tank. As the upper wouldn’t sit perfectly on the lower, I used my scalpels to do some trimming on the inside…a major lesson being to ignore UM Models’ assembly advice and not to glue the baggage/stowage that sits on the mudguards until all hull assembly is complete, otherwise it interferes with everything fitting together perfectly! I also had to cut grooves into one side to get a better fit.

I used woodworking clamps to hold the two halves in place for 45 minutes while I waited for the glue to dry.

Having pre-drilled holes in the right place on the hull before assembly, I was able to Zap-a-gap glue in place some 0.022″ diameter brass wire to represent the radio aerials.

Tomorrow: some fine detail glueing (holders for jerry cans etc.)  and some gap filling with putty. Wednesday or thursday…serious detail painting commences.

To continue the Doug Chaltry technique, a heavy wash of something to simulate rust needs to be applied.

I do this using Flesh Wash, which sadly is now RIP as a product. I’m going to write about making my own substitute in the future.

So here it is, being applied:

and this is what it looks like when it’s dry: .

For shading and shadowing, a thinned black wash is required. I use a mix of 50% Black Ink-50% water, liberally applied. The wash should be ‘milky’ as you brush it on. Here it is during brushing on: .

After drying, the results of these two washes should look something like this: .

I’ve mentioned a number of times that I use what I call “The Doug Chaltry technique” for painting AFV tracks. The links I had on this blog to thewebpage that I found it on probably don’t all point there now, as that webpage had an address and server change – so here’s a link to the correct page now.

Here are some photos showing my local variation of this technique using the paints and inks I prefer.

Before we start – tracks begin with basic black undercoat already sprayed on:  .

The first step in the technique is to apply a dark grey.  I use my homemade Panzer Grey. These photos hopefully will show the difference between my Panzer Grey and the undercoated black. In this photo, I’ve finished painting the grey on  two of the platoon of four vehicles, see the contrast:  .

One track black, the other grey: .

Spare links mounted on the roof or sides – before: and after: .

All four done: and here’s the detail of one of them: .

Somehow I got it in my head that the lower hull and undercarriage were Dark Green. I now know that this was not so – so I’m going to have to do some fancy painting to fix this.

Both halves of the kit are completed and were sprayed again with Chaos Black undercoat to ensure consistency. The muffler has not been glued on as it is positioned right near where the top half of the hull is glued to the bottom half, but this is only one piece; it will be quick to do and starting the ‘Doug Chaltry technique’ is far more important, as the technique involves many stages and takes time to finish.

I loaded extra supplies onto these kits, so they don’t look as sleek and streamlined as the kit boxes depict or recommend. Each one got extra track links; many got a water jerrycan; all got the optional extra toolbox and all are carrying a complete extra idler wheel. The extra idler wheel was to reflect that by the late part of the War (1944-1945) some German AFV maintenance crews knew that spares couldn’t be simply ordered from Berlin when requireded, thus some AFVs went about carrying plenty of spares/replacement parts of their own that had been taken off superceded vehicles or salvageable knocked-out vehicles.

So, it’s time to break out the Desert Yellow to get the basic Dunkelgelb coat complete and my vehicle component colour paints to get all of the ‘Doug Chaltry technique’ out of the way.

By the way, since I’m talking about UM, they recently redesigned their website. Here’s the link!

More to do…

June 15, 2010

With the annual IPMS Model Expo over, I have a few more kits to work on (some day). The swap-n-sell yesterday was not as productive (in terms of kits purchased) as I’d dreamed, but was not disappointing either.

I was able to add the following to my stash:

2 Königstigers (Royal or King Tigers) by Revell AG;

1 Stug III C/D version by Trumpeter;

1 Sd.Kfz. 234/2 “Puma” by Hasegawa and lastly,

1 Sd.Kfz. 234/3 by Hasegawa.

I’m one Königstiger from a platoon of 4 and one Puma from a full group (can’t remember how many I need right now).

4 of the kits were $10 AUD each and the fifth one only $5. While not all were still in their sealed plastic bags, each was in its box with complete sprues, instructions and decals.

I’m pumped about being close to a platoon of Königstigers…I may even splurge and buy one at normal price so we can heavy some real “heavy metal action” in a 1945 scenario!

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.

The Hasegawa Kettenkrad included in the “Schwimmwagen + Kettenkrad” 1/72 scale Minibox kit turns out pretty well, as you can see from the pictures above. You can also see three ESCI telegraph poles from their Diorama Accessories kit. Those telegraph poles are certainly better than the Fujimi ones! Much more detailed and realistic.

The Hasegawa Kettenkrad is only problematic when it comes to including the figures that are meant to be used with it. Two problems here: 1) You cannot get two blokes sitting on the back – realistically, they should be able to. I decided to go with just one passenger. Mine is packing an MG-34.    2) The fully assembled driver cannot be placed properly. I cut off much of his lower legs, trimmed & filed the stumps and his thighs and then he fitted on his seat and his posture looked mostly normal. Otherwise, it’s quick to assemble and looks pretty good.

You can read about what On the Way! has to say about Hasegawa here. In particular, Stephen Brezinski provides a comparison of Hasegawa’s Kettenkrad versus Academy’s Kettenkrad here.

OK, so I’ve broken my personal rules and ended up having too many kits on the go at the same time in TankoBerg.  I’ll blame Peter for this…we cooked up the idea to have a recon AFV game next time, and I’m sadly lacking in recon units. Earlier this Winter I had washed and undercoated the sprues of two Hasegawa Pumas – they have been sitting on a box lid since then and I decided to build them up, since Peter can loan me two more to make a platoon of 4.

The kit in question is the Hasegawa 1/72 #31152.  Doug Chaltry, writing for On the Way!, has already provided a comprehensive discussion of this kit, so I’m only going to pass some comments as a wargamer-modeller rather than master modeller.

Those comments:

  • although appearing to be challenging and complicated due to the high number of sprues and parts on the sprues, the instructions are clear and the stages you assemble things in are relevant. One instruction has been mis-translated – what has been provided in English is “After making it dry enough, it advances to the following distance”. I asked a Japanese colleague to provide a second opinion (second translation) – she said that what it means is  “Once all the glueing you’ve done at this stage is dry, then you can proceed to the next stage”. Sound advice, I found.
  • you can assemble some stages simultaneously. I was assembling the turret while glueing on the fiddly details to the vehicle body (spare wheel, wheel jack, tarpaulins etc.).
  • a nice-looking commander figure is provided. I’m going to keep them and use them with other kits where I know I’m not going to get a commander figure.
  • no problem with parts fitting, except for one mudguard (and only on one kit).
  • you’ll be left with some useful spares that could be used with other kits.

I finished all glueing today. Now, I have to be disciplined and finish off everything else that is still sitting around that was started prior to them (like that 250/3) and then I’ll tell you about painting them.

Out of the blue

March 29, 2009

Soooo…I was going to start assembly of the second Horch 108 yesterday, knowing that I was going to have to find a replacement arm to support the AA gun. I was hoping to kitbash one out of spare styrene sheet carefully cut and carved with a scalpel or by cutting and carving a suitable piece off old sprues from other kits (don’t ever through them out, folks!). I glued on a few pieces for the undercarriage and then prepared to do the axles – only to find one of the two axle covers was missing.

I spent a full fifteen minutes looking everywhere. Nope. Gone. No idea where, either. I could’ve sworn I had it when I begun assembly of the first Horch 108.

I even cut open and searched through the vacuum cleaner bag…not there. There were screws, bits of dried polyfiller, dead insects and a curtain rod end, but nothing resembling either missing piece from this kit. Damn.

It doesn’t feel right to assemble a kit without such an important part, even when it won’t be visible during play…so I’ve put that kit away. Hopefully I can pick up an unwanted kit at a swap n’ sell and combine the two to make a perfect kit.

I still need a second AA vehicle. Last year’s IPMS Swap n’ sell at Ashburton saw me purchase a Sd.Kfz. 7/1 20mm AA vehicle. It’s a Revell kit, but the comments over at On the Way! simply state the following: “Re-boxing of Hasegawa’s fairly poor kit. Vinyl tracks.”

Yesterday I washed and dried the sprues. Today I undercoated them with the intention to commence assembly tonight. Looks like it should be a quick kit to assemble. It should do the job as a second AA vehicle for Panzerfaust, too – given so many of our games involve ad-hoc German companies! On Friday night Peter and I had our first game for this year – more of that in other post.