Trainee Funker was not obeying any orders for a while during last saturday morning and I nearly didn’t get to go to Bayonet Military Model Club’s modelling competition & swap ‘n sell YET AGAIN…however, he finally responded to discipline and so I was able to hit the Western Ring Road and Princes Highway down to Werribee.

The trip is worth it for the B-24 Liberator alone. Here are my photos – approaching the restoration hanger (the competition and swap ‘n sell is inside, along with the plane):  , and now inside, looking at real, restored history:  ,  ,  ,  ,  , some of the business purposes of the vehicle –  , great campaign pitch  – hard to say ‘no’ to that!,  ,  , “pilot to gunner!” –  ,  ,  ,  , again the business reasons –   , their contact details on their advertising trailer if you want to find out more:  .

I scored pretty heavily at this swap ‘n sell:  .

  • 2 T-34/76’s (in 1:76 scale, though) to add to my existing 8 which gives me a complete company;
  • 2 250/9’s which added to my existing kits now gives me two platoons and a spare of these recon vehicles;
  • 2 recovery KVs for particular scenarios;
  • 3 KV-2’s which, if I add to my existing 3, gives me more than a company. But the first three KV-2’s I assembled and painted weren’t painted very well, so I might just give them to Trainee Funker when he’s older and start afresh with these;
  • 3 ISU-152s to add to my existing three which gives me a company plus a spare;
  • a total of five KV-1’s (there is no real difference between these two kits) which is a whole company straight off. I already have a whole company of KV-1’s, in the same situation as my KV-2’s. Two companies? Or one for me and one for the Trainee?

Pretty darned good, if you’ll agree. Plus, all those PST kits were a paltry $5 each, all sealed and in perfect condition. So, $65 bought 13 kits. All the above cost a total of $99.

Here are ‘drool’ photos of some of what was available:  (a fair whack of this stuff can home with me – this was taken upon my arrival at the venue);  ; wow, 1/ 6 scale stuff!:  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; even 1/1 scale stuff for re-enactors…  .

A great way to spend a morning. See some real history and buy some small-scale plastic replica history. Thanks for organising it, Bayonet Military Model Club, and I hope to attend every year from now on!

It’s taken me a little longer than I thought to complete these, but I learned a few things along the way that I missed with the first one I did a few years ago.

I decided to use my limited Russian Language abilities and realised that I could paint up some more detail on the rear of the refuellers – thanks to this set of blueprints. There are two red stop lights that I could paint up!

Here are all the photos: BZ-35 pair 3quarter 1 BZ-35 pair 3quarter 2

BZ-35 pair front 1 BZ-35 pair rear 1 BZ-35 pair profile 1

I also decided to paint up what I thought was a sign that illuminates when the truck is actually refuelling.

I tried putting on the decals for “Flammable” and “Benzine” which go on the upper tank, but they wouldn’t behave so I was forced to paint the correct word on each. Looks OK – in fact I prefer the amateurish appeal.

Objectives, targets, window dressing…they are ready.

This terrain project is finished, and I’m pretty happy with the outcome: Hills with pins and shadow

The hills in the above photo haven’t had the pins/tacks removed. I’ve put my 1:72 UM Marder III (h) on the larger, to give you some idea of scale.  The spraying of Scenic Cement yesterday and application of extra coarse turf worked perfectly to plug the spots where the first and second glueing attempts with PVA glue failed to thickly coat the area. I also added a few patches of flock/scatter on top of the Scenic Cement to provide extra texture – that too worked well.

The Marder III(h) above is casting a strong shadow against the smaller hill. I’ve talked in earlier posts about how shadows can reveal an AFV’s location – the above example is a practical demonstration of that. Now it should be evident why, in the latter half of WWII, German AFVs stayed under cover during the day or attached lots of branches and foliage to their AFVs if they had to move during the day…because the hard angles and unnaturally-shaped shadows really are noticeable.

These next two photos are of the hills/mountains with pins/tacks removed from their bases, so they look as if they are being used as scenery in a wargame: Hills unpinned aerial Hills unpinned ground

I’ve realised with some previously-made hills, I used a finer grade of talus to represent small rocks which I could have done here…I’ll use them with the next lot of mountains / steep hills that I make.

The BZ-35 Refuellers are coming along well – they are receiving a careful solid coating of Catachan Green, which perfectly models the green the Soviets used on their softskins and AFVs.

I’ve commenced assembly of a 1:72  Sd. Kfz. 250/3 by Italeri (kit No. 7034), which was one of kits I bought at the Model Expo Swap & Sell on the Queen’s Birthday Weekend back in June.  It’ll end up being used as a reconnaissance vehicle for encounter scenario games.

Yesterday I began work on painting up a building (4 inch square walls) from Battlefield Accessories. It’ll have the same paint scheme that I used with the AMRI railway station that I painted up last year, for re-creating the fighting around Mga Railway Station in North-western Russia.

Painting the two BZ-35s has commenced…finally.  A front wheel fell off one just when I thought all glueing was finished so I had to do more glueing of axles and I also decided to use to Tamiya Putty (Basic type) to really lock down the wheels on the rear axles.

The finished product is nice to look at, though. Definitely a worthwhile PST kit to get if you want to game the Eastern Front (or Ostfront)…sadly, it seems PST has gone very quiet of late and so you may have to hunt around hobby shops and/or Ebay to get them. It’s really a shame, because I’ve also assembled and painted their Soviet KV-1s and KV-2s (in 1:72 scale, of course) and they turned out very well.

The silly title for this post is because while working on assembling the front of each refuelling truck, the instruction sheet said I had to glue on the radiator caps.

Yes, glue on a tiny radiator cap.

On the sprue, was indeed a tiny little radiator cap.

“Well”, I thought, “that’s detail for you. They could have easily included the radiator cap fixed in place as part of the mould, but to show you how much external detail this kit can have, they’ve given me a radiator cap to glue on”. It goes right where there is a bit of flash that actually looks like a radiator cap already, which just makes it seem even stranger. (Yes, even the kit assembled two years ago also had this radiator cap-shaped piece of flash on it).

I clipped the radiator caps off and glued them in place, which was a little trickier than I expected – the top of the radiator gently curves, so they initially won’t sit flatly.

***

The small hill was finished last sunday, the glue holding the coarse turf on the big one hadn’t fully dried in some patches so I had to re-do it during the week. Today I sprayed it with Scenic Cement to seal it and added some more flock and coarse turf to try to cover up the less successful patches. Tomorrow night I’ll have a look at it – I’m keeping it in a warm room to speed the drying.

Also commenced painting up a shelled house!

Since I built the previous PST BZ-35 two years ago, all the papers and documents I gathered about them at the time was carefully put away into two different folders. The two folders’ purposes changed a year ago…and so during the Queen’s Birthday Holiday weekend in June this year, I had an “audit” of them. I located all the photographs and such that I needed for the assembly of these current two kits and the two folders have had their purposes clarified and their contents sorted and stored appropriately.

While doing so, I came across a printout I’d made of a cut-away photograph of a Sturmgeschütz III assault gun/tank destroyer. To my knowledge, this was an actual Sturmgeschütz III captured during the second half of World War II by the Allies, and then dissected by Allied engineers to find out more about these vehicles. You can see the cut-away photo here (scroll down 1/3 of the page) – the side armour and wall has been removed and some engineers are positioned inside, in the crew’s positions, so you can see what the crew space is like during operation.

I had some teething troubles getting the wheels, axles and so-on into place and nicely aligned on these two BZ-35s. This was a problem at first but as I was using brass rod for the axles, I could gently bend the axles into different positions so the wheels were aligned as straightly as was possible. I know I grizzled about this PST kit requiring you to supply extra materials but in this instance it has actually been a boon. If plastic axles had’ve been arranged, I’m not so sure I could have rescued these kits from this dilemma – but then the axles and transmissions might have been differently modelled for kit assembly and this problem might never arise in the first place!

When I’ve had time, things have progressed well with these kits. I didn’t keep written notes about colours used for painting when I assembled some Military Wheels 1:72 GAZ-AAs two years ago, so I’m playing safe and painting the interiors of these BZ-35s the same colour as the exterior (Catachan Green) because that seems to be what I did with those GAZ-AAs.

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.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had decided to add to the variety of kits underway by also making some more wargaming terrain and that I had taken the first steps by cutting up some sheet styrene and undercoating it with brown acrylic housepaint.

Having given the sheet styrene shape two coatings of paint, I then selected and cut to shape (with sewing scissors – nice and sharp) some lichen. I like lichen very much – it has many uses. As well as simulating bushes and shrubs, it can be used for making trees and also as camouflage on vehicles. For this particular piece, I’m using Woodland Scenics L166 Lichen – NaturalL166 Lichen - Natural (1 1/2 qt./82 cu. in. ) Lichen (Click for larger picture) , and I’m using it to represent thorn bushes. Having cut some good clumps into the shapes I want, I glued it to the sheet styrene with water-based PVA glue and then left it to dry for 24 hours.

Last night, the remaining exposed areas of the piece were coated with PVA glue and two grades of Woodlands Scenics Talus (rock debris) sprinkled on loosely. The two grades of Natural coloured Talus were Medium and Coarse. The Talus is to represent rocky ground – hence poor farming ground and thus a good place to let thorn bushes grow. After all, rabbits can live there and provide a food source…

Immediately after the Talus was sprinkled on, I then added Woodland Scenics Green Blend flock (to represent grass). I then pressed down to make sure the Talus and flock did stick into the glue, then left it to dry. If all’s well tonight, I’ll shake and brush off any loose Talus and flock; seal it with Testors Dullcote and then it will be ready for play.

***

I touched up the bare metal sections of the Opel Maultiers using my own blend of undercarriage paint; reinforced the green paint of the schwimmwagen’s camouflage and commenced glueing on the tracks for the StuG. It’ll be interesting to compare working with Italeri’s hard track link sections to that of the UM and PST kits that I’ve previously completed.

Not enough links!

February 5, 2008

I must say – it’d be nice if UM had’ve included some extra individual track links on each of sprue A for kit #340 (the Marder III h), and had a couple more of piece A11, too! PST give plenty of extra links – UM cut it too finely, in my opinion.

72 no. 710

As you can see, yesterday saw the completion of assembly of the Opel Blitz and the essential completion of the Marder III (all I have to do to the Marder III is paint the interior of the gun shield and the gun, then I can stick the roof on, paint the roof and touch up). This brings me to the painting stage, which should be straightforward.

I felt that assembly of that PST 1:72 BZ35 Refueller was a bit complicated and demanding – well, assembling the Roden Opel Blitz was much worse than that. Here’s a quick list of intricate frustrations:

  • Individual footpedals and the front numberplate had to be stuck on.
  • The frame attached to the chassis on which the carry tray rests was 4 individual strands, all requiring seperate glueing and resultingly meant that the tray didn’t rest on it equally.
  • A section under the cab, when placed on the chassis as per the instruction sheet, wouldn’t allow the cab to be glued onto the chassis!
  • Glueing the shovel and pick onto the mudguards.
  • Holes for attaching rearview mirrors, headlights and horn were absent or too shallow
    to allow these to be effectively stuck.

That’s enough for now.  Both the carry tray and wheels were nervewracking to glue on – and sure enough, they are all crooked 😦 So I’ll paint it now and see how that is – I’ve done the cab interior. I liked the way they did glass – it was thin plastic sheet that you cut out yourself. This allowed you to glue around and not in the frame, so you didn’t get glue dribbles on window panes. Nice! Building the ESCI version of the same vehicle will be illuminating. ESCI / Italeri are a good name, so it’ll be eye-opening.

As for the UM Marder III, I think I white-anted myself on that one. It wasn’t as hard as it seemed, but I will say that I think the instruction sheet could be clearer. Assembling the gun itself was scaring me, and it probably was the hardest part – but it was a little bit like swimming; you had to get wet first, then things got a bit easier. However, I feel that some parts don’t line up nicely with others – especially when building the armoured gun cab. That took a few reworkings and reglueings, and a few hard gulps of Cascade Pale Ale until I felt it was matching specifications (I was checking a book on Marders as I went, so had actual photos and drawings to compare with). I liked the individual track links and feel the detail was high. But where was part 58D? These are supports on the mudguards – I was missing a set. I’ll check the other kits and see if they are absent on all.

***

I’ve been working on two FAOs, with their horses. I did my first dappled grey. It looks better from a distance – the white spots blend into the grey more. I like these FAOs more – they seem more authentic…but in reality most FAOs worked from dugouts and foxholes, so I dunno. Wargaming is an abstract at the best of times, so reality when modelling for it always must be tempered by that truth.

Found some very nice photos of World War Two re-enactors over at Facebook. Looking at re-enactors is a great way of seeing colour schemes and camoflage, as they try extremely hard to be accurate (unlike in many big-budget movies where the audience is expected to have no knowledge) – they are pretty tough with eachother on accuracy, too.

Over at MySpace, I found a group for female WW2 re-enactors. Extremely few women choose to re-enact WW2, so I’m glad to have found it! Women fought with great distinction as fighter pilots and snipers for Russia during WW2, but were also important in auxilliary roles too. Useful reference for later, once I’ve got my troops ready battle.

Work continued on the BZ-35 and the minute detail of the German troops (helmet chinstraps etc.). I want the mortars and a couple of squads ready for November’s game (deadlines help me work!)