And now I found this manual online.
It is great if you made an impulse buy on Ebay, and have no operating manual, but it is also good for reference.
And now I found this manual online.
It is great if you made an impulse buy on Ebay, and have no operating manual, but it is also good for reference.
I have not seen this radar in model form before. For more information on the radar itself and it development history, it is well worth to check out this webpage.
There are some really useful reference photos as well that I used for this build. There is also a very good webpage on radars in general worth visiting.
As you can see the detail is impressive, and the assembly was a breeze. (The silly little legs of the circular platform were a bit of a pain to adjust. And they keep breaking off as you handle the model.)
The painting was done using silly putty: after a Vallejo primer I painted the model in chocolate brown (Tamiya), and applied the putty mask. This was followed by Mig Ammo’s two type of Dunkelgelb (they were used to create some shading – one is really pale the other is more yellowish, so a varying mixture of the two produced a nice final shade).
So far so good; next step: weathering.
The painting was reasonably simple. Since there is no painting guide nor decals provided I simply chose an attractive scheme, and used a couple of leftover Modelcollect decals.
The priming was done with Vallejo’s German grey primer; I really like this product as it provides a really good surface for the paint, it can be sprayed without diluting it, and it sticks to any surface. I sprayed a Tamiya buff with some green mixed in as a base, and applied a somewhat darker green free-hand with an airbrush (I used the base coat to lighten Tamiya’s Russian Green). The demarcation lines between the colors were painted on using a very dark grey (representing black) with a brush. I also painted the tracks and the rubber rims of the roadwheels by hand.
Using a 00 brush and Vallejo’s German Black Brown I painted discreet chips and scratches on the tank. I tried not to go overboard; in this scale no chips would be visible, but they do give some visual interest to the model. I also used sponge chipping on larger surfaces.
I added a couple of ochre and brown filters to tie the colors together a bit, dark pin washes, and some dust and mud using pigments. (I did not want to go overboard with the weathering.)
Overall it has been a really nice build, and the model is a pretty unique. It certainly stands out of all the Braille-scale tanks in my collection. Apart from the minor issues I mentioned it should be an easy build for everyone who has a little experience with resin already. The only real downside of this model -as with most resin models – is the price; 52 EURs are pretty steep for a 1/72 kit. This is, unfortunately, the cost of building rare and unique vehicles.
Ever since I started to play World of Tanks I have been partial to the SU-26. It is tiny little Russian SPG in the game with considerable fame (until they nerfed it). It had a fully rotating tower, it looked funky, and it had an amazing rate of fire- what’s not to like? Since I liked the in-game vehicle, I was trying to find it in scale model form. The SPG itself is quite unknown (only 14 were built on the basis of the T-26 light tank), but I was delighted to find something similar in polystyrene…
Enter Mirage Hobby.
The SPG looks somewhat similar to the beloved SU-26, although the gun shield is most definitely not the same. I debated if I should build it out of the box, or modify the kit to resemble the SU-26, but the forces of caution won- I did not modify the kit.
The model went together without any problems; no major fit issues. The detail is reasonably good -better what I expected, in fact. The tracks are rubber band style, and the suspension is surprisingly good for this scale.
The painting was done with brush only. I used Citadel paints, since back then I was living in a tiny room surrounded by all my possessions in boxes. The mud and dust was applied using the good old drybrushing technique and the different earth shades offered by Citadel. (I was writing up my thesis, and rented a very small room to save on money. This meant most of my modelling equipment, paints and pigments were packed away.)
This is the finished product in a display case:
I’m seriously thinking about ordering another kit to do the necessary changes for an SU-26.
I’m continuing the MiniArt SU-122 build and review- you can find the previous parts below:
If the gods will it, I should be ready in two more posts -and about two more weeks. (I hope.)
I had some constructive feedback which mentioned photo sizes. In further posts I’ll be experimenting the different options WordPress offers- thumbnails, galleries, etc. Please let me know if you have any suggestions -length, number of photos, quality of photos, style, anything. (I also would love to read comments on the models… after all, this is one of the reason for the blog.)
So, without further ado, onto the build:
The gun is not really difficult to build -except for the broken recoil guard, which I had to fix with glue. It was whole when the model came, but it snapped into three parts sometime during the build. I suggest you put this part aside before you touch the model, because it’ll break as you move the sprues around during the build. The hydraulic tubes elevating the gun are working (the two parts can move), however the way they are attached to the gun (glued to a PE holding bracket) makes this feature more like an option to fix the gun in any position you desire, than to make it adjustable after the gun is in place. In other words decide what position you’d like the gun in, put the it in place, and then glue the hydraulic tubes into place. Alternatively you can just forget about them, as they would not be visible, anyhow, and this would leave the gun movable. (In the non-interior version of this kit they are not included.)
A side-note: the wheel controlling the elevation of the gun is on the right side, between the gun and the wall of the fighting compartment… ergonomics was not a main concern when the vehicle was built.
I painted the gun in the “Russian” green color I’ll paint the whole vehicle with, and weathered it with oil washes, filters to make it look used and less uniform. Some wear-and-tear was simulated with painted chips (both black-brown and some metallic). The gun shield (not sure what it is- the fat protective shield around the base of the gun) is a three part assembly, with a prominent seam going along its length. Because the lifting hook is molded with one of the parts together, the filling and sanding requires a little care.
Engine and transmission
The building of the engine is pretty straightforward affair. The detail is pretty good, although no wiring/cabling guide is provided (which is a shame, really, but there is available reference material online). The transmission looks exceptionally well detailed; it is quite easy to see how the real thing worked once you assemble the model. The fit is really good; things snap together once in place. I painted the engine in a dark aluminium color, dry brushed it with brighter metallic shades, and weathered it using oil washes and Vajello’s engine grime product (I could not resist to try it). Some of the cabling was done using thin solder wire or Champagne bottle wire painted black (I used it to simulate cabling in the fighting compartment as well).
And the finished engine with the radiators attached.
Since I “dirtied up” the engine compartment, I added the transmission at this point because I wanted to display the model with the back folded down. I left the engine out so that it’s not going to be hidden once the model is done. (It’s a shame only the very top of it would be visible once the engine compartment is finished. Because I could not figure out how to create a realistic-looking cutaway of the engine compartment, I’m going to display it in front of the model like I did with my Hobby Boss T-34/85, and the MiniArt T-44.)
Some other parts: a really bent cover of the transmission… (Only my sample, apparently. I’m reviewing another SU-122 kit and the SU-85 by MiniArt, and they seem fine.)
The cooling flaps on the engine deck are positionable; it’s a pity only the back ones will be visible; the rest will be covered up by plastic parts covering the engine deck.
Well, that’s it for now. Next steps: putting the interior together.
While I’m working on the T-44, another blast from the past… I present you ICM’s Panzerbeobachtungswagen Panther.
OK, try to say this word three times. Panzerbeobachtungswagen
(If you manage it, something worse than Beetlejuice will come.)
The vehicle itself is not a “real” tank: it does not have a main gun. The thing you see sticking out of the turret is a dummy gun; it’s there to make sure it “blends in” with the other tanks, so that the enemy cannot single it out. Why is it important to hide what this tank is? Well, it’s an artillery observation vehicle. In itself it’s not dangerous; however, in place of the gun it carries a lot of extra radios, and the turret is equipped with special optics and a range-finder – this tank poses danger by acting as the eyes of the artillery. (I’ve read somewhere that even the turret was fixed in place. Somewhat dubious, since the optics would require the turret to be turned occasionally, but perhaps true.)
I’ve built this kit straight out of the box; unfortunately I did not document the building process. Back in those days (about 8 years ago) model kits from Eastern Europe had a reputation. Sub-par plastic quality, lots of flash, fit issues, low detail… in general, poor models. Well, this kit put all those things to lie. It was an incredibly well designed model. It could use some PE -especially the screens protecting the engine deck- but otherwise it’s a great kit.
I’ve chosen a Dunkelgelb camo, as was depicted on the box, and experimented with pre-shading, oil washes, pigments and filters. (This was my first model where I used filters, by the way.)
Surfacer 1000 base coat followed by some pre-shading
Lots of wheels. Lots and lots of them.
The base-coat of Dunkelgelb is on. It’s slightly greenish, but that’s how it’s supposed to be, apparently. I used Tamiya’s paint lightened with some Buff.
Added dirt using chalk powders. (Cheaper than pigments.)
A very thin mixture of burned umber was spread on the surface with a downward streaking motion with a flat brush. It acted as a filter, and as a very subtle wash as well, since it got into the crevices and nooks.
Some earth colored pigment mixed with white spirit was added directly onto the lower points of the chassis and mudguards, and a slightly wet (with white spirit) brush was used to spread it upwards.
In a similar fashion I’ve treated the top edges of the tank – to make darker stains running down. I’ve used more black than brown in the oil paint mixture.
Dot-method of filters was used as well using brown colors.
The bloody antenna broke more times than I care to remember.
Using a sponge I’ve dabbed some dark-brown/black oil mixture directly onto the tank to simulate paint chips. I’ve concentrated around the edges and hatches.
The Renault UE was a small, lightly armored vehicle which was developed to tow artillery pieces. It’s worth reading the Wiki article on the tractor -quite an interesting vehicle.
After capturing several hundred of these vehicles, the Germans have taken about forty, and since they could not possibly put an 88 on top, went for the second best thing. They have added Wurfrahmen 40 rocket launchers to the vehicles. There were two configurations: one had the rockets mounted on the sides, and the other had the launching platform mounted on the back. (I assume despite of the armored compartment, the crew had to leave the tractors before firing.) As mentioned in the previous post about Wurfrahem rockets, they were ideal attacking larger areas. The drawback was that their short range and tell-tale smoke contrails invited some vigorous counter-battery response from the less-than-amused enemy forces after an attack. This meant you had to let the rockets go, and get out of dodge as soon as possible. Since the range of fire was short, some armor protection was handy, too.
The Germans also used these vehicles in their original roles, of course, and they also armed several of them by adding small caliber guns, machine guns, and other weapons it could carry. Sadly, no 88s as I mentioned.
The Mirage Hobby kit was an interesting one. I’ve built it a long time ago; it was my first armor kit with link and length tracks. The color of the plastic was -I can’t put it in another way- very white; once assembled, the model looked like a scratchbuilt model someome put together from Evergreen plastic. (It would have been impressive feat.) The detail is really nice, although not sure how it would compare to the more recent Tamiya UE that was issued a couple of years ago. (Probably not favourably. The price, however, still make this model worth building.) One thing is for sure: I built it the same time I was working on the Trumpeter R35, and the detail on the Mirage Hobby kit was much better than on the Trumpeter one. There was some flash on the parts, but nothing major, and even the thin parts were straight, and easy to work with. All in all, it was a professional kit; I quite liked working with it.
Painting went the usual way: I sprayed the model with different shades of German grey, and then added some oil dot filters, and some washes; nothing too fancy. If I manage to dig this model out of storage, I’ll be sure to work on the weathering some more.
As I said, it is an old build; I included here as a historical reference -and because I did not want to lose my photos again on my hard drive. (Perhaps I should make some new photos as well; my equipment was not very up to the task then.)
I’ve sung a lot of praises about the DML Flak 88 gun. I’ve shown my very first build of it -the model that has pushed me over to the armor models from airplanes-, and here is the second I did. I rarely repeat a build; normally I’d rather spend the time building something different. This is one of those kits that you MUST build, even if you prefer race cars or H0 Railroad stuff…
With this kit I wanted to depict the gun in a very different position than my first build. Whereas the first model was build showcasing the gun in a deployed state, with the gun shields attached, and in a German grey paint scheme, the new build was going to be an Afrika Korps gun without shield, still in transport mode (in which state the gun could still be fired I might add).
The build was unremarkable. It’s a very complex model, but it’s still relatively easy to build.
rifling on the barrel
The detail and the inclusion of extras simply make you feel like you’re working with the supercar version of scale models. Luxury in a box.
Functioning gun elevating mechanism…
Limbering up… the model is fully functioning in this respect as well -although you’d have to be careful about the delicate plastic parts.
Unfortunately, these are the photos I could find. As with the rest, all my US-built models are in storage, so I cannot show the finished product. (With the wheels on. If you can imagine the wheels, you’ll be set, though.)
Again: time to revisit an old build, since the previous posts covered a new Trumpeter kit.
I’ve already mentioned the tendency of the Germans to stick an 88 on anything that could carry it; they had a similar affectation towards Wurfrahmen rockets as well -they went on anything that moved: captured tanks, personnel carriers, half-tracks, anything. (I think the only combination they have not considered was sticking the Wurfrahmen rockets onto an 88…)
The H39 was an excellent platform for modifications, since they captured a lot in France. They were small, and quite inadequate in both armament and armor for the modern (a.k.a 1940) battlefield, however, they could be modified to no end, as they were well-made, and easy to maintain. I’m not aware of any report on the effectiveness of this weapon platform; in theory, it should have worked relatively well. After all, the tank is fast, well armored to be protected against small-arms fire and shrapnel, and had a small caliber tank gun, which could be used to defend itself if need came be. These tanks could -in theory- get close to the enemy, let loose a volley or rockets, and hastily depart with relative impunity. Then again; I might be wrong.
Well, this kit brings up some memories… An old-school Trumpeter model, when they were still kind of mediocre, but very cheap, but after their “not-so-good” (Type 59, anyone?) phase. Since then a lot of water has passed under the bridge, and Trumpeter became a serious competitor to Tamiya, Dragon and all the other “big ones”… (This can also be seen in the price of their kits.)
The model had no real issues, and went together like a charm. After assembly I used Surfacer 500 to roughen up the hull; this gave an impression of the cast metal surface of the armor.
After the usual primer coat, the tank was painted with Tamiya Panzer Grey, the seams and some casting imperfections filled, and painted again.
I think the track is slack a bit… we get enough vinyl tracks for two tanks.
This is where I wanted to experiment a bit. I just got my airbrush recently back then (well, the compressor, to be honest; I’ve had an airbrush since I was 14, but I never had any means to use it). Ten years later, I got the chance, when some old lady in Boca Raton sold her unused compressor for peanuts. What I did was to dabble on different colors, which -I hoped- would show slightly through the next layer of panzer grey -kind of like a proto-pre-modulation technique. Had it worked, it would have looked awesome. As it was I went in with way too much paint for the next session, so everything got (almost) covered up. When you look at the tank in a good light, you kinda see the differently modulated grey. One thing is for sure: I’ll have to do some more experiments with this.
It does look impressive, though.
The final coat and subsequent filters prepared from oil paints, made the model look very dark; back then I was not aware how much filters and washes darken the model…
The rockets are held in disposable wooden frames, which are held in place by a light metallic frame. Again: there were no issues with construction; the results are actually quite good.
The Sturmtiger always fascinated me; an over-the-top tank equipped with an even more over-the-top artillery piece that shoots over-the-top rockets. (A full grown man can fit into the stubby gun tube.)
What else can you ask for? Since the boxy superstructure has hidden the whole intriguing interior, I wanted to build my model with the interior somehow exposed. The best I could come up with was to simply cut the side open, as you can see it in the Imperial War Museum with their JagdPanther. The Tamiya kit only comes with a rudimentary interior; it’s sufficient if you only leave the hatches open, but it will be very poorly looking indeed if you open up the side as well. Solution: an aftermarket transmission (the very first resin AM part I’ve used, I think), and an Eduart PE set, aftermarket, turned metal rockets, and some resin Zimmerit. (I honestly cannot say where everything came from; I got them from Ebay a long, long time ago… this tank was built when I was still in Boca Raton, about 8 years ago.)
It took quite a lot of time to collect enough reference photos on the interior; and I’ve found out some interesting things about this monster. For example the whole superstructure is fixed to the hull only with those gigantic rivets on the side of the vehicle. If you ondo them, you can just lift the top off.
First I glued the resin Zimmerit to the hull; it went on much easier than expected. I only had to cut out the appropriate shapes, and use two-part epoxy to affix them to the model. It was simple as that; just make sure you don’t leave any bubbles when you place them onto the plastic surface. Any mistakes can be corrected using putty.
Anyhow; the interior was quite a big challenge for me at that stage of my model building life, but it started me down on a ruinous path: tanks with full interiors.
The transmission was a resin aftermarket item; since the Eudard PE set offered a really nice, PE replacement for it, the end part had to be removed.
The interior was dressed up using the Eudard set: the floor was improved considerably using the no-slip surfaces, the railings on the superstructure were added (as they were completely missing from the Tamiya kit), straps, radios, etc were added. All in all, they really improve the look of the interior.
The painting was done using airbrush: the lower hull was given a primer red color, while the rest of the interior the typical German cream interior color.
Once everything was finished, I’ve added the rockets. I am not certain about it, but I think Tamiya has not provided a complete set of plastic rockets; I’ve bought some aftermarket ones made of turned aluminium, with PE rings on the bottom. (I think they were Tamiya made, by the way… the details are quite hazy after so many years.)
I’ve put the plastic ones where they were least visible, and the metal ones into the foreground.
I made sure that the rocket placed onto the loading rack has the fuse fitted.
The superstructure was also a very interesting, very busy affair. There were a lot of extra parts added to make it look realistic.
(I still don’t know what those tubes are on the front wall…)
Once everything was finished (and very slightly weathered) I masked the openings with tape, and glued everything in place. I’ve decided on light weathering after looking at the photos taken by the US Army: the captured Sturmtigers were also spotlessly clean. They simply had no time to get worn down before being taken by the Americans.
First paint layer
The roadwheels were steel rimmed; it was easier to paint them than the rubber rimmed varieties. Simply fix the wheels to a toothpick using blue tac, and touch them to a paintbrush loaded with metallic paint, roll, and you’re done.
Masking was done with blue tac. I simply traced the outlines onto the hull using a pencil, and then filled them in with blue tac. It worked surprisingly well…
The camo is almost finished. The mistakes were touched up using a paintbrush.
The last step was to add the dots onto the tank… not very entertaining, but it’s done pretty quick.
I sprayed a layer of Future Floorwax onto the model before applying any washes.
The tank in it’s full glory after weathering… some washes, some drybrushing, and some pastel powder.
Since back then (~2005…) not many people (meaning: myself) heard of filters yet, the weathering feels a bit incomplete: as I wrote washes, drybrushing and pigments (chalk dust) were used primarily. As soon as the SturmTiger comes out of storage, I intend to remedy this issue. (And probably take another couple of shots, as the crane for the rockets is not finished yet on these photos… this is what you get when you use archive material.)
I have no idea what that small thing next to the tank is