Category Archives: heavy tank

1:76 TOG-II Giesbers Models 

This was always something of a holy grail for me … The obscure and unknown TOG-II achieved a mythical status thanks to World of Tanks, where it is a playable premium tank , giving birth to a multitude of memes.

I also had the fortune of seeing the original in Bovingdon… (Follow the link for photos.) It looks so absurd, so strange, you just want to have a scale model of it.

There is only one company that I know of that produces this tank in a model form, Giesbers Models.

I have been aware of this model for a long time, but the really high shipping costs always held me back from ordering it. However in 2021 I finally took the plunge and ordered this model and the Vickers Independent (another strange tank on the list of must-haves).

The model is a classical small-scale resin model in the favor of Cromwell Models, Armory, or Hunor Models – a sturdy little box, a few parts, lots of flash, and some pouring errors… The biggest problem with the model are some casting issues: on one side where the side-sponson would have been mounted it looks like the resin poured into the edges. Also on the turret the resin looks like it is flaking off in layers. The gun itself has some problems, too. The shape is a bit of an oval, not circular, and the “peeling” effect you can see on the turret is very much prominent there, too. The detail on the muzzle break is not exactly sharp, either, and will need to be drilled. These are just your bog-standard “garage kit” issues. The other big problem is surface. This model has a lot of it, big, flat surfaces, and they are far from perfect. The master of the model was obviously produced using 3D printing, and the layers from the printer have not been smoothed away. They are very prominent after you prime the model. Obviously you can sand them off, but then you have to replicate all the fine little detail you just destroyed. Very unsatisfactory, honestly; you would expect some pre-production work on a model.

The cleaning of the parts took about thirty minutes, assembly approximately twenty… so not a complex model for sure. (It is a hilariously long tank when put next to other small-scale models.) I did some sanding, but decided against spending hours and hours with a sanding stick, so some layer marks stayed. They are very prominent on close-ups, but when you view the model with a naked eye it is not that bad.

It took me some time to figure out what sort of paint scheme I want to use -since I did not like the one it actually has in the Tank Museum, and I decided against the usual “boring” green. I just “stole” a desert pattern the British used in Africa -although I highly doubt this tank would have been transported to that theater. (Maybe the in-doors swimming pool I always supposed it had inside would have been useful there.)

Overall I really am happy with this model since this was always something I wanted to have on my shelf, regardless of the issues it presents. However, just as with the Independent, the HMS TOG would also benefit from a 1/35 full interior version.

1/76 Vickers Independent Giesbers Models 

This tank is one of those strange ones build between the wars. by the British. When I first saw it in Bovingdon, I really liked how it looked -the riveted, domed turret, the long shape, the multiple gun-turrets… as if someone tried to build a steam-punk tank back in the 20s. It wasn’t ver practical, but hey – looks beat practical. Naturally I wanted to have a scale model of it, so after much deliberation I ordered Giesber’s models’ offering.

The model is made out of relatively few parts, and assembly is quick once I finished cleaning up all the flash and pouring blocks. There are a couple of bubbles in the resin which is not welcome; correcting these is a pain, but what are you going to do? This is part and parcel of resin kits.

The model is reasonably accurate: a few viewing ports are missing from the main turret -the rest of the detail is there and accurate. The detail on the machine gun barrels is somewhat soft, but in this scale it is probably expected. As a side-note: there are no hatches on the main turret, so the only way out would be the two hatches on the side of the tank. The very thought of being in that thing without an easy way out gives me serious claustrophobia…

The assembly is quick as I said, although the fit is not perfect. Regardless the tank can be built in an hour once the cleanup is done.

Painting was done using the usual acrylics (Tamiya) over Vallejo primer. I tried not to go overboard with weathering since in this small scale it can look quite bad; some careful pinwashes, some filters, oils and pigments were added -and my own little HMS Independent was ready to sail.

It is an unique tank with an unique design, so not surprisingly I really would love to have a 1/35 version of it with an interior. Since this is not actually an option now, I am content with this option.

Trumpeter 1/72 IS-7

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Well, another tank I would have not known about had it not for World of Tanks.

There it is a top tier Soviet heavy tank; in real life it was, well, a Soviet heavy tank. The last heavy tank, in fact, in service, ever. It is a fairly obscure vehicle, so it was a very welcome surprise seeing it in plastic. (Normally you would expect small companies producing a resin version for a literal arm and leg.)

The Trumpeter kit is simple to assemble, and has pretty good detail. The whole running gear and track assembly comes as one unit, which, I have to say, was not a bad solution. It did make building quick, for sure.

After the Vallejo primer I layered citadell olive green with increasing amount of yellow onto the tank – it produces a pretty nice looking green for the tank.

I did some sponge chipping, a filter with Tamiya transparent yellow, and some blending with oils, a ton of filters, and acrylic pencils for the streaks and dust. The mud was Vallejo’s industrial mud mixed with different pigments. I think the results are not half bad.

Let’s hope Trumpeter does some other esotheric tanks, like the IS-6, T57, ELC-AMX, T-10, AMX-50 in plastic, too. All in all this is a neat little kit, worth picking up. Also, check this build out, too.