Tankograd had four more come off the production line. Here they are:

251 234 263 and Kubel

From left to right: a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 251/22, a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 234/3, a Hasegawa Kubelwagen and lastly a Roden Sd. Kfz. 263. The Kubelwagen comes from the Hasegawa ‘Kubelwagen & BMW Side-car’ kit (MT-12) – the rest are stand-alone kits.

The 251/22 was a great kit to complete. The only trouble I had was with assembling the mount for the PaK 40 anti-tank gun. I included a loader holding a PaK 40 shell – he comes from the Italeri “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit. The PaK 40 shell is tipped in black – designating it as an AP shell.

The 234/3 was straightforward and lots of fun. Nearly all my comments about the Hasegawa 234/2 apply to it. I included a loader for it too, another figure from the Italeri “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit. That particular figure is sitting down andjusting the gun elevation, so he is molded with an elevation wheel in his left hand. I cut it out and glued a PaK 38 shell there in its place – the shell being surplus from the Roden PaK 38 kits I did some time ago. That shell was tipped with white, designating it as HE.

The Kubelwagen was problematic. I painted up the driver seperate to the rest of the vehicle – and then couldn’t fit him into place once he was finished. The steering wheel had to be removed; the machine gun mount and machine gun mount supports had to be re-done (and new supports kitbashed from leftover parts from old sprues). I learned my lesson – glue any drivers into place first and then paint, which is what I’m doing with the ICM Krupp truck.

The Roden 263 wasn’t too hard. I think their decals didn’t work so well for this kit. The large aerial overhead frame was fiddly but turned out OK. There was also a bit of flash on the sprues that needed some careful scalpel-work.

The Kubelwagen and the 263 got standard Dark Grey with heavy dust coats, for the start of “Barbarossa”:  263 and Kubel front 263 & Kubel rear

The 251/22 got my first attempt at a ‘ambush’ paint scheme. I gave it the same paint scheme as per the notes in my Jagdpanzer 38 “Hetzer” book by MBI. Sure, it’s a little bit stylised, but I love it! The 234/3 got a simple disruptive pattern in Citadel’s Goblin Green. I went and added some foliage – Woodland Scenics’ lichen. 251 234 front 251 234 rear

So, just gotta get them bikers done and the Recon game can happen…

Having found an original bottle of Citadel Black Ink at a sale, I decided that using a little of it in order to make my own ink was an urgent task. I’ve written earlier about Citadel changing their inks. I’m not impressed with their decision to only sell very-watered down inks – you can water down a stronger product but you can’t make a weaker product stronger!

Using some of my recently acquired, now extremely precious Black Ink, I made a colour card to compare it to their new ink called Radab Black. Here’s the colour card:Black ink 1The difference is very noticeable – you can see how much lighter Radab Black is. Very watered down.

Now, I like a mix of about 50% original Black Ink and 50% water for the inking that I do around the hatches of AFVs…the hatch becomes nicely shaded and the vehicle looks much more three-dimensional (as well as more realistic!).

I used 50% Chaos Black paint and 50% water to try to make Citadel Black Ink. Black ink 2 As you can can see from that colour card, 50% paint watered down was too strong. It seemed logical to try a mix half that strength, 25% Chaos Black paint and 75% water, as you can see on that same card. I felt that I was getting closer to the original product, but was still not there quite yet.

I then went right down to a ratio of  (about) 1 part paint to 5 parts water, or about 15%. This was pretty good, as you can see: Black ink 3 but 20% Chaos Black to 80% water is what I’ll comfortably call Citadel Black Ink.

I have sealed the original Black Ink bottle with cellotape and made sure the cap was very tightly screwed on. I did the same with the original brown inks I have. Making my own versions of the brown inks is a task that can wait a little while, as I have two bottles of each so there’s less urgency to do so. I did make a point of sealing them and making sure their caps were extremely tightly screwed on. I may even keep all these in the fridge during the upcoming summer.

As for AFVs – at a different sale I bought a Roden Sd.Kfz. 263. Assembling the wheels (see stage 1 on the assembly instructions Henk has on his website) has been unnecessarily difficult. Each wheel has it’s own axle – and trying to get those axles to sit properly while glueing everything led to me stuffing one up horribly. All I could do was cut all of it away, drill new holes for everything and use some brass rod (secured with Flash Cyanoacrylate glue) as a substitute. It worked much better! Why didn’t they just do one axle, moulded on an angle, for two wheels?! Hasegawa have made assembling their wheels and axles into a pleasure, why can’t Roden?? I’m not sure if I’ll buy any of their 232s if it’s going to so annoying…

Apart from this grizzle, the rest of the kit has been easy. It looks OK…I feel some of the surface detail could have been raised a little more off the surface to make it more distinct – I guess I’ll see if I’m right about that whenI come to paint it.

So far, ICM 1:72 kit #72411 has been very straightforward to assemble. Part fit has been very good. There’s been a little bit of flash on the mudguards but otherwise it’s needed nothing but glue and cleaning up where I’ve cut each piece from it’s sprue. Assembly instructions are pretty clear – there’s one stage where one action is meant to be done three more times…but you get the drift from the pictures.

Also rolling along the Tankoberg assembly lines have been a Hasegawa Kubelwagen and BMW motorbike w/ sidecar – kit #31112 which I picked up last weekend at an IPMS Swap & Sell.

I’ve been experimenting with something else, too. After researching and consulting a number of sources online and in person, I decided to go ahead and try to make star/umbrella aerials for my Pumas, as I am well aware that they were used on these vehicles. Consulting photos in books and from the Bundesarchiv (the picture archives of the Federal Archives of Germany) left me a little unsure of how many prongs such an aerial should have…some vehicles had 6 prongs, some had 5. I decided to go with 5 for my Pumas after seeing a 251 with a 5-prong aerial and two different Sd. Kfz 263s with 5-prong aerials.

They aren’t so hard to make. Here are the steps I took:

One: Collect these materials – brass wire of two different thicknesses; some superglue or, in my case, Flash Cyanoacrylate (dangerous stuff but powerful); needlenose piers; wire cutters and lastly clamps or a modeller’s mate like this one to hold things for you.Aerials 1.

Two: shape the thinner brass wire into a triangular shape. Aerials 2. Also cut yourself a reasonable length of the thicker brass wire – in my case, about 5 – 6 inches.

Three: bend the two ends so that they run parallel and can touch each other flatly. Lock the thick brass wire into one clamp of the modeller’s mate and lock the thin brass triangular bit into the other clamp – bring the flat ends of the triangular wire so that they touch flatly along the thick wire and superglue them into place: Aerials 3. Let everything dry.

Four: repeat Two and Three with another triangle, except it needs to be at an angle of about 75 degrees to the first triangle. You’ll need to cut off one side of the glued-on triangle to permit this. When all is dry, cut off the side of the second triangle – now you should have 4 prongs radiating off from the thick brass wire.

Five: make the last prong and glue it on to make 5 prongs – hopefully the two triangles you glued on and cut away result in 5 fairly evenly-spaced prongs. Aerials 4

Six: when everything’s dry, take out of the clamp and use a scalpel to cut away any excess lumps of glue.

Seven: use the wire cutters to cut the prongs to a suitable anduniform length: Aerials 5.

Eight: stickytape the aerial to something and undercoat it: Aerials 6

Nine: glue into place on the vehicle and paint when the glue’s dry. Aerials 7 It’s that easy!