The weather here is not very conducive to painting or glueing so activity in the hobby room has pretty much ceased becuase things are taking much longer to dry. However it’s nowhere near as bad as up North.

I made a start on the second locomotive/engine shed on saturday when it was darned hot and dry.  I began here: . As I said in a previous post, I bought this and the one you’ve already seen a few days ago secondhand through a model railways shop. Both of them were extremely reasonably priced: – given that the Italeri ‘country house’ series cost 4-5 times that on average, this was practically free.

Out of the plastic bag, you have the ‘already-assembled and already-painted by the previous owner’ building plus the two doors: I particularly like the little tin-roofed add-on room at the back with the sodium-bulb lamp…really gives a great 1920s-1950s feel to the piece and in my mind grounds it definitely in the period I’m working with.

I was originally thinking about trying to remove the existing paint job but that is a very involving process – also I found with the first shed that simply and carefully applying a good spray-on undercoat covered and sealed the previous paint without any side reactions occurring. Removing the previous paint was thus unnecessary – it wasn’t doing any harm staying there and it’s removal would not add detail to the kit because it is not thickly coating the kit.

I prepared my spraypainting area – a section of cardboard box with extra cardboard to prevent the spraypaint wafting away too far and coating things it is not meant to and commenced undercoating with Citadel’s “Chaos Black” spray undercoat in small steps, first doing one external side: and then the other. The inside also has to be done:  . After painting all surfaces and letting it dry for a good while, I then inspected to see if I’d missed anything or if there was somewhere than needed a thicker coating.

When I was fully satisfied, I was left with this: .

Since then I realised I had to seal up some two holes in the roof that I’d overlooked and also had to cut off some excess plastic. I’ve also installed the missing brace for the fan that at first I thought I’d ignore. The building needs a little bit of respraying just to cover up where I’ve done work since, but as far as this blog is concerned, I’m up to the first stage of painting.

PS: I used Google’s Image search and found out who the manufacturer of these sheds are – Airfix! Have a look at this link. Thanks to DL McCarthy for having the information on his Airfix Model Railways website.

I’ve been alerted to Aaron Spilling’s incredibly useful model paint conversion chart, called The Ultimate Model Paint Conversion Chart. It’s a free website you can use to compare model paint colours. Some of the brands of paint you can compare include Vallejo, Revell, Humbrol and Tamiya.

I was very glad to see that it also included Citadel, which is what I use due to having a retailer just next to my place of work! When I compared Citadel to other brands, I could see why I make my own blends/mixes…Citadel only make core colours. They rationalised what they made two or three years back, too.

Those of you using other brands of paint will probably find this more immediately useful, but remember that some brands may not react well to other brands when mixed together or when one brand is applied on top of another. I’m not sure which will do that to which – perhaps that’s another webpage project for someone?

Although they were finished a fortnight ago, I wasn’t able to get around to photographing my completed Tigers until yesterday.

Now, these are Revell kits 03116 and 03161 – the difference being that in 03161 you also get a set of German infantry in Winter/Late War cammo gear.

I’ve posted here and there on what I discovered as I built and painted this kit. The only real troubles I had were 1) where I had used track links that are meant to get stuck on the turret as ‘ordinary’ track links, requiring those links that were glued onto the turret to require a little extra effort, and 2) when I realised I had to manually drill a hole (or two?) into the turret roof before assembly – but I’d already assembled.

Here’s the platoon:

tiger-platoon

The camouflage I chose was the Dark Yellow with Chocolate Brown scheme that GrossDeutschland’s organic Tiger unit at some stage in Southern Russia. I didn’t ‘mottle’ particularly well – in fact, until I applied the Kommando Khaki dust coats, they looked like milk cows!

You can see the camouflage pattern I did clearly in this photo of the platoon commander’s vehicle:

natural-aerial-view-of-commanders-tiger

I mentioned near the outset of their construction abouthow I was inspired by a colleague’s Panzer IIIs and StuGs, which looked so real because of dust coats and plenty of stowage and that I was going to add stowage to these Tigers.

I then discussed how I secured a barrel to a turret (which I directly based from a source historical photo). You can see the final product, painted-fishing-line-representing-steel-wire, here:

tiger-detail-secured-barrel-again

Pretty good, I reckon!

You can see all nine photos over at my Flickr account.

I think this is a very good kit. Great realism, not too complicated, sturdy and paints up very well. I’ve got two more to assemble as Company Commanders’ vehicles – once I’ve finished the Horch 108s, that is.

This is a question I’ve been pondering for the last fortnight and it arose because of the turret of one of the Tigers. To be more precise, it arose because I was painting up a crewman whose head is poking out the cupola of the platoon tank’s cupola.

The crewman is the crewman supplied with the Italeri StuG III kit, and he’s wearing a field cap (feldmutze).  The question was – should I paint on the cockade and national emblem onto the cap, or leave them off? Painting them on would certainly add more detail and realism, but it would be (for me) finicky and difficult…and if I stuffed it up, would require doing the whole cap again. My rule (discussed in a previous post) that near enough is good enough when painting small items of detail (like GrossDeutschland stahlhelms) would also have to apply if I got it to look OK, it would have to stay OK – trying to add to it and make it perfect would probably lead to me over-correcting or over-adding and so ruining the OK effort that I already had.

Remembering to do my research first, I checked the Panzerworld website to check up on Heer Panzer crew headgear. The national emblem would be easy enough – a light grey (I chose Fortress Grey) but the cockade would be Skull White with a Blood Red centre. Still the question remained – to do it, or not? Would it be visible at a range greater than 50cm? Would it really add anything to the overall effect? Would it be worth extra lost time if I made an error? I didn’t do it with my Italeri StuG…should I do it here?

My memory also summoned up the efforts of two WW2 wargaming  colleagues from Nunawading Wargames Association. One turned out functional yet very realistic-looking troops and vehicles. The other turned out technically brilliant work, even perfectly painting on collar patches and shoulder strap rank insignia (no mean feat on 1:72 scale figures!) to his troops – but such tiny detail was lost if you were looking at the troops at any distance greater than half a metre. I had talked with the former at an in-house painting clinic, and he urged against such intricate work as being unnecessary and not as useful as proper shading, highlighting and basing.

Having given all this good consideration, I decided I would. After all, these are Tigers, the most notable German tank of the war and equalizer (for a short while – the T-34 lost all its threat). Also, if the detail on the feldmutze couldn’t be distinguished at range then I would know not to do it again in the future, especially if I didn’t botch painting the cockade and national emblem.

Luckily, I did a better than OK job and have glued the crewman into place. Now I can do all the final anoying details on these Tigers, then do the camouflage pattern, weather them and get them off my hobby table and onto the gaming table!