Zvezda make a heap of small scale kits including groups of troops and lots of armour and guns. They are super good value and perfect kits for wargamers. I built two of their German 75mm infantry guns in a matter of minutes as they come in minimal parts but do not sacrifice too much detail. It’s a soft grey plastic that glues nicely. There is a base supplied but I abandon those as prefer to do my own thing. Each gun comes with two crew figures, a loader and a gunner. I am sure the minimum crew for one of these would be more like four, so I pinched a couple of other crew men and just some kneeling troopers to bulk up my crew. The build was really easy and painting was just a coat of dark yellow and a brown wash. The crew took me a lot longer in various shades of field grey. I also added a box or two to the base for some added interest. I have a Zvezda Pak-40 sitting on the bench which will have some excellent AB crew painted up next.
I had bought this small half track from S and S models to bulk up a purchase and make the postage from UK to Australia more palatable. Usually I try and stick to plastic model kits but will make exceptions in some circumstances! This was only a few parts with a resin hull and metal tracks and wheels to super glue on. So the whole construction did not take long. The paint job was fun. Dark yellow undercoat and some green camo stripes. The interior was bare so I added some spare crew men I had half painted. A couple of Plastic Soldier Company men and an Esci dude carrying one of those range finder thingies or he just a bought a poster from Amazon and it showed up in a tube. I also added some extra camo green foliage to brighten the whole place up. Lots of dusty powder and some basing tufties finished it off. It was fun to get to the painting part quickly as construction was so quick. S and S Models have a good range of stuff and also lots of more obscure things. I have a Bofors gun on the back of a Bedford truck which is in the lineup.
This was the first kit I have made from MAC Kits. I am pretty sure it is also the last. This was a horrible experience from start to finish. The plastic was weird kind of waxy and did not like my glue. The fit was awful and lots of the bits did not have obvious location points. The detail is also poor on much of it. Even on the box art you do not get all the bits you see. Like the metal steps on the door are not actually in the kit so I ended up making my own. I think MAC must make 1/35 kits too and perhaps the box photo is from a larger scale version. I am pretty sure the instructions were also poor. So yes I will not buying any more MAC kits…….
What did I do, well i pushed through, I kept on swimming and finished the job. Rather than put the canvas cover on the back I made my own frame from wire and decided to fill the back up with my recently painted seated dudes. The truck received some green camo random stripes and plenty of dirt and dust. Oh and on a positive note the decals were good and I did use them. They also supply a tiny bit of clear plastic sheet to make a windshield. I think I did try to use the PE supplied but was mainly over the whole thing by then and tossed them out in a finger sticking super glued moment of despair.
Once Mr Steyr was painted and based, and my German troops in their camo smocks had been thrown in the back I felt much happier. Oh the driver is an AB figures man as usual. The addition of the driver and the passengers make all the difference to what is a poor kit and not one i suggest bothering with.
Another great kit from Dragon Models. It is a Krupp six wheeled heavy car towing a Pak 36 anti tank gun. I really like Dragon Models, they make the best kits. Great detail, clear instructions, and everything fits together nicely. I particularly like building trucks and vehicles right now, and luckily my time period of World War Two is full of interesting transports.
I always base my wheeled vehicles, and this one also has some fiddly bits that definitely need a base you can pick the model up with, rather than risking big hand damage. I painted this one an early war German grey and then lightened it with a second coat with some white added. My only gripe was that the anti tank gun is really fiddly and I nearly threw my toys with the teeny tiny bits. Driving the truck is a man from AB Figures and in the back are some greatcoat wearing seated dudes from Caesar Miniatures. I bought a box of these guys who are really cheap and handy for the back of any your trucks. It made a nice change to do a grey vehicle rather than my usual dunkelb and camo.
Another personal favourite of mine the Puma armoured car. This one is from Italeri and a great little kit. I have previously built the Hasagewa version of the Puma, which is also a very nice kit. The Italeri one is not quite as detailed and slightly bigger in all dimensions, but matches up pretty well. Unfortunately the hatches on the Italeri kit are moulded shut so you would need to do some surgery in order to open them up. I did not change much just added the usual aerial. I particularly liked how easy it was to align the eight wheels on this model, its a good design. Overall it was a fun kit to build, but I still prefer the Hasagewa version.
I did a dunkelb base and a dark green camo. Some chips with a sponge in dark brown and black. Oh and a dirty brown wash. Here is the finished model next to my other Puma for comparison.
So another German half track rolls off my painting (dining) table. This time from Special Armour, which is a company I have never built before. It’s a nice little half track mainly used for towing guns I think. Another eBay purchase that I found quite cheaply. The kit was quite a challenge with various small PE parts that raised my frustration levels a fair bit. I lost at least one door handle in the process. The worst thing though was the front engine and drivers compartment did not fit properly on to the chassis. So the front section was too high and there was a gap between the chassis and the engine, and the front suspension looks a bit high. I am not sure if it was my building that went wrong but I could not see how it was meant to be any different as the whole back section was correct and in line. Anyway I wont be buying one of these again. Luckily you cannot really see the problem.
I used the usual dunkelb dark yellow and did a fair amount of chipping with my sponge and added plenty of dirt and dust. The squad in the back and the driver and officer are all from AB figures. I tried out a new M44 camo scheme using an awesome set of paints I bought. Also threw in an old fuel barrel that I rusted up.
Another two old Esci kits I bought on eBay for not very much. They were both pretty old kits and I managed to buy two of the 250/9’s and one 250/3. As usual with Esci kits of this age the little tracks were wonderful vinyl that would not bend, but rather snap into little pieces at the slightest hint of movement. So the first step was to find replacement tracks as none of my lessons for Esci vinyl tracks I have previously learned could be applied here. Luckily on eBay again I found a ready supply of rubber track for this little armoured car, so I picked up four sets for only $10 or so. Its amazing what you can find these days. If you need it, you can almost always find it, and have it delivered to your door. Very lucky in the current climate.
So onto the kits themselves! I cannot say that I enjoyed making either of these little vehicles. The plastic is old and brittle and did not take plastic cement at all well. They are not complicated but so bits didn’t fit well and didn’t glue well. The wheels especially were very tricky to get square. Even super glue did not really cope with the plastic. So I would recommend avoiding these particular old Esci kits if I were you. There must be plenty more versions these days that are a million times better!
Once I had managed to build them I added some aerials and a bit of stowage here and there and painted them in a two tone camo scheme. The original decals were long gone so I used replacements. They came up OK after all the painting and basing, but there was a sigh of relief when I finished them. You get what you pay for sometimes…….
Ooh so as working from home continues, working on model kits also continues at a feverish pace, if you will excuse the term in the current pandemic. I bought this Revell King Tiger from eBay for not much as it was missing a box and decals. No box means cheaper postage anyway I guess too. Win win.
This is a great kit. So much in a tank kit boils down to their treatment of tracks. This monster of a tank has excellent link and length tracks. They are nice big track links to begin with, but very easy to put together. I always start with multiples of two and around the sprocket wheel. The running gear and tracks you can make as two units before attaching them both, left and right, to the lower hull. Wheels are individual but are easy to get nice and straight. You can model the hatches open or closed which is always nice when you want to put in a couple of AB figures tank crew like me.
A few tow cables for the sides look good. There is also some spare track to put on the turret, but they don’t include hooks. So I added some of my own just by gluing small squares of plastic card where the hook would stick out. I left the spare tracks off until I had painted the turret so the rusty effects would not interfere.
For painting I loosely followed the plans in an excellent book i have called “How To Paint 1:72 Military Vehicles – The Weathering Special”. They actually use the Tiger II for one chapter so I went through the majority of the techniques in the book. Another guide to painting that I can really recommend.
I chopped off some of the side guards for battle damage, like they had in the book, and copied best I could the colour schemes. Lots of chips, dirt, mud and grime using various sponges, powders and other products. AB tank commanders to finish him off. Great little kit and great fun to spend a bit longer on the paint job and all the weathering effects.
I didn’t really need any French tanks, as I do not have any French forces, but I do like these Somua tanks. They were captured and used by the Germans later in the war and so I thought I would build a troop of them anyway. I think the only plastic model kit in this scale of the Somua is made by Heller, so I bought three of them on eBay from someone, somewhere. Loved the box art and attempted to base my camo scheme on the front action shot.
It’s a tiny tank and the kit is easy to put together. Detail is nice and there were zero construction issues. By the third build I was doing it with my eyes shut! Tracks are like a soft vinyl that fitted perfectly which made a nice change. I think I drilled out the gun barrels with a very tiny drill, but did not do much else. Camo scheme was applied using the blutack masking technique, which ended up coming out very nicely. The decals were a mixture of the supplied ones plus some other spares. I really liked the French red white and blue insignia and white numbers so I sourced some similar stuff from my decal files. I figure I can use these for either side, early war French or late war Germans.
Here is le Troop just wandering through a village.
You always know what you are going to get with a Armourfast kit. Two tanks in a box for something like seven pounds. Great value at about seven Australian dollars a tank for me down here in the Southern hemisphere. There are only a few parts to each tank, so they are super quick to build. Nothing wrong with a fast build tank. The detail is good enough for a wargame, and if you want a large number of tanks in quick smart time, then these kits are for you. You cannot beat value for money to bulk up an army.
I had a lot of fun doing a lot of weathering to my two Stugs. I really wanted to try the hairspray chipping effect on these two to add a bit more interest to them. So after building, and leaving the side skirts off, i sprayed everything with a red oxide and a dark brown spray can. Then i gave it three thin coats of hairspray, letting it dry in between each layer. Oh and do this outside….. It can get smelly. Once this was all dry i did the usual dark yellow dunkelb spray over the top. Once that’s all dry you can grab a stiff brush and a toothpick, wet a small surface of the tank and give it a rub and a scratch. The trick here is to do this in areas that would get worn out, like hatches etc, and also not to over do it. I was impatient as usual and went overboard. It’s a fun process and can look really good but you need to remember less is more. Next time i will take it easy.
I gave it all a gloss varnish and a dark wash. Plus some decals. You don’t get decals with the tanks so you need to source elsewhere. I added my favourite AB figure crewmen plus a home made aerial and also some camouflage foliage. These Armourfast tanks really do improve greatly if you take a bit of extra effort and make some modifications!