Category Archives: light tanks

ICM 1/35 Rheinmetall Leichttraktor Part 2.

Part 1.

 You can build the whole thing before painting; there are no sub-assemblies to paint first. The instructions provide a guide to the Buntfarbenanstrich (colorful) painting scheme (https://panzerworld.com/german-armor-camouflage for more information), but I kept to the plain (and very likely non-historical) panzergray for sentimental reasons – this is how I was used to the vehicle when I played it in World of Tanks. I painted it using Tamiya acrylics: panzer grey lightened with buff for the whole tank with zenithal highlight and some panel highlighting, used light grey to further highlight edges and smaller details, and then used oils (burned umber, raw umber, green, white) to “deepen” the color with filters.

Some streaking was added, some dust and some mud, and I declared the model done. I did not want to go overboard with rust, chips and scratches, as I figured the vehicle as a prototype had no time to actually get “used in”. It spent a couple of exciting days in the proving ground, and then went back to the machine shop to be dismantled. (Sadly.)

It was also an interesting experience with the AK weathering pencils: they are pretty good at making dust. The fact that the effect can be adjusted any time after drying is great.

ICM 1/35 Rheinmetall Leichttraktor Part 1.

I am very enthusiastic about farming equipment, bulldozers and whatnot, so I was really excited when ICM announced they were going to issue a rare, interwar German agricultural mover; it represents a very important, albeit little known step in tractor development.

Incidentally it also has a turret and a gun (I guess the designers were really keen on preparing for all eventualities a farm worker might face), so we may even look at it as an early attempt at tank development by the German industry. I say “may”, since at that time the Germans were prohibited from armored vehicle development by the treaties closing WWI, it is merely a coincidence, I am sure. Regardless, these little vehicles were used by the German armed forces as a substitute during training and for the development of their armor doctrine. This is the main reason that although they never were intended for combat, they had an extremely useful role in the development of the German armored tactics (blitzkrieg) employed in WWII, and also in the development of early and mid war German armored fighting vehicles. It is indeed a welcome step from ICM to issue a plastic model of this important vehicle; it seems like the company is willing to take risks and develop models of unique subjects.

The model is very traditionally designed: the hull is made up by flat parts, the turret is made up by two semi-circular halves, necessitating filling seam lines, unfortunately which I personally do not like. (One of the boons of armor modelling in my opinion is that there is no need to fill in seam lines along the fuselage…) There is even some minimal turret interior provided; you get the main gun and the coaxial machine gun with some rudimentary detail. If you plan to leave the turret doors open, just paint the interior of the hull (but not the turret…) black.

The suspension and running gear is simplified; only the parts that show from under the side covering are detailed. Looking at the myriad of tiny road wheels it is a good thing I think… although it may be very interesting to have the option to open the side hatches to show off the suspension.

The gun has a hollowed-out end, which was solved without the use of slide-moulding: the tip is made up of two parts: the long barrel with half of the end is missing, and a tiny part that makes up for the missing half. This was it was possible to mould a short longitudinal channel in the end of the barrel, and closing it off with a small “half-pipe” forms it into a complete gun barrel with a hole at the end.

The model comes with rubber band type tracks – is a matter of taste if you prefer them or not. Talking for myself only, I consider this to be the weakest point of the model. (I prefer link-and-length tracks or individual track links, if possible. In this case definitely not individual links, though seeing how small the track links are.) You are supposed to glue two parts for one set of tracks, which leaves you with two possible seams showing where the tracks meet. I would suggest using a more discreet place to join them up than I did: the drive wheels and idlers… My mistake; as the tracks bend around the wheels the seams show up. They would all but disappear when joined flat.

The sides of the tracks do not really show segmentation where the track links meet – they are smooth, which is less-than-ideal.

All-in-all the model is well-made but geared for simplicity and ease of assembly. (I will not lie, a full interior version would be extremely welcome…) On top of the mud guards there may or may not have been some anti-slip surfacing on the real vehicle, which is lacking from this model (the mud guards are smooth). I could not decide how it was based on reference photos, but there are some builds online where this surface was added using PE by the modeller.

There are also no tools provided, which is, again, something that may be accurate; don’t forget, this vehicle was not progressed from the prototype phase. It really should not be hard to add a couple of shovels and picks should you want to include them. The weird, corkscrew-like exhaust is designed in a way that after gluing the two halves together there is no need to fill in seam lines; a very considerate way of designing models.

The thin handrails around the top of the hull are very well done, but a pain in the neck to use because it is really difficult to clean them properly from the sprue gates. They are very thin and snap easily. What I did was to shave off as much leftover plastic as I could, and then brushed on some liquid glue to melt the plastic a bit, smoothing out the sharp, protruding sprue gate remains. In all honesty if the model was not for review I would have just switched the plastic to wire, keeping the vertical holders. (It is also very easy to break them during the painting and weathering steps. Don’t ask me how I know this.)

Armory/S-models: 1/72 152mm T49 gun tank

I promised I will post finished models as well… so here is number one. (There are others lined up, I promise.)

Well, this is the actual reason for building the Armory Walker Bulldog and the S-models Sheridan… the 152mm T49 gun tank. I always wanted to build one, but did not feel like making the investment to buy two 1/35 scale models; so when Armory came out with their Bulldog, I knew I finally had the opportunity to build one in Braille.

I did not even know this tank existed until it was introduced to World of Tanks. It provided a very interesting gameplay of speed coupled with an inaccurate 152mm derp gun, so it became one of my favorite tank. The hull is the Walker Bulldog‘s, the turret was used later on the Sheridan -so putting the two together will yield you this oddity.

The conversion was quite simple: I had to cut off the turret ring from the S-model turret, and installed rare earth magnets into the models to make the switch easier. (The other option was gluing the turret to the hull.) This way I can use the same hull for two different models.

There are not many photos available of this experimental tank, so I used Citadell’s airbrush ready olive drab -a pretty good looking olive drab color, and easy to spray. I did not want to repaint the Bulldog and the Sheridan in a WoT scheme, because then I would have two tank with the same fake camo pattern (even though I do like the look of these camos). I decided to depict a battered, older Walker Bulldog hull being used as a test-bed for the prototype. This way we would expect a more pristine turret painted sitting on a relatively run-down hull. (I am sure they will repaint the prototype once the trials are over, before presenting it to the top brass, don’t worry.)

I wanted to give a shot to the AK Interactive weathering pencils for this build -dust has always been a weak point for me. These pencils are essentially the same as the aquarell pencils you can get in art stores, but the colors are developed for the modeller.

I will do a review of it, but in general, the first impressions are, well, they are OK. The best way to apply it I found was to pre-wet the surface, and then smear the pencil onto the wet surface. To see a noticable effect, you have to add a LOT – lot more than you would expect. Because of the water, the pigments tend to gravitate towards the edges (see the commander’s cupola on the photo), forming a thin, bright line, but this can be adjusted using a darker wash later on. It allows you to make mistakes, since it is very easy to re-adjust it, or just remove it (just wash it off with water), but this also means you can’t layer the effects using the same method -unless you seal everything with varnish first, which will alter the effect. I think this will be used as a last step adjustment of the overall effect. All in all, they are fine products.

And basically, that is it. Now I just have to pray for a 1/72 Object 416 and a BT-SV…

ACE Model 1/72 AMX-13/75 part 2.

 

Part 1. 

Well, the painting stage was long, protracted and not very well documented; I apologize for that.

 

Regardless: as usual, the model was primed with Vallejo’s acrylic primer, and then I chose a green color that was the closest to the Bolivian scheme I chose from the instructions. (The temptation was high to use a fictional, World of Tanks camo, but this model was for review, so I stuck with a historical one.)

The top of the model got the same green with some yellow added to lighten it up, and form a sort of zenithal lightning.

The canvas was painted with bestial brown by Citadell, and highlighted with buff and bestial brown. The handles were painted in a light green color (the filters lessened the contrast later on). Using sponge and a 00 brush I added some faint paint chips using Vallejo’s German black brown mixed with green on areas where I thought the heavy wear would damage the paint (the thin metal of the tool boxes, around hatches, on the edges, etc.).

After that it was dark brown washes, some highlights added with a fine brush, and then I used a couple of green and brown filters made from oil paints and ZestIt. The dust on the top surfaces and mud on the lower chassis (I did not want to have an overly muddy vehicle) was done using Vallejo’s dust washes and pigments. Again: once applied, you wait a bit, and remove, blend and adjust for a realistic look. Once done I sealed the paint with a flat varnish, and used a silver pencil on the edges to give the model a metallic look.

 

All-in-all, this was a really nice little model with good detail; no complaints at all.

S-models 1/72 M551 Sheridan part 1

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Since I want to build a 152mm gun tank T49 I needed a Walker Bulldog and a Sheridan. The Sheridan was never an issue since S-models had one; I just did not know what to expect. After all, cheap, Chinese model, basic cover art, two models per box… it does not suggest high tech, high detail model to me.

Boy was I wrong. The model is simple, builds up in an hour or so, but the detail is crisp and fine. All in all, a neat little kit with some PE added. It is missing a few details, but since this is a short project I am not fussed about it,

I only needed one Sheridan model for the T49 (the turret is fixed with rare earth magnets, so I can switch it between the Bulldog and the Sheridan), however since I had another model, I decided to build it, too. There are two 152mm gun tubes provided, so I built this with the shorter one. (I have no idea about the difference between the two.)

Now I just need to figure out what camo I want to paint it, so on it goes to the unfinished project pile… (I am working on these half-done models I promise. Apart from the Markgraf most everything is done, just need to do the photos and whatnot.)

ACE Model 1/72 AMX-13/75 part 1.

ACE has recently issued a 1/72 scale AMX-13/75, which was a welcome news since the only Braille scale models of this tank I know of are a few, quite expensive resin kits which are also quite difficult to get, and an old Heller kit, which is inaccurate and also not easily available. 

 

The AMX-13 light tank had a long service history, produced for over thirty years between the 50s and 80s, undergoing multiple rounds of modifications and modernization. The most apparent of which was the increase of gun caliber from 75mm to 105mm. The full designation of the tank is  Char 13t-75 Modèle 51, referencing the weight (13 tons), and the caliber of the main gun (75mm).

 

This is my second ACE kit; so I was curious how it would turn out.

 

The plastic is soft, but not too soft; it is easy to work with. There is some flash on some of the parts – take care removing it as the soft plastic is very easy to cut. And while the plastic might be a bit soft, the details are most definitely not; I have to say I was impressed with the surface detail. (Except for the 50 cal machine gun; it looks a bit bare.) There are seam lines on every part you will have to deal with, though. 

The model gets PE as well, which is a very welcome addition, as it adds some very convincing detail to the tank: engine grilles, and headlight protectors and a few other details.

The tracks are the rubber band type, but plastic glue works on them. This is something I welcome wholeheartedly; none of that nonsense with tracks that cannot be glued. 

Personally I do prefer plastic link-and-length tracks (or PE…) but these work fine, the detail is somewhat weak, but still OK. 

 

The assembly is relatively quick and straightforward. The fit is great, so there is no complaint there; I elected to fill in a few seams on the connecting surfaces of some panels, but I am not sure they would show up if I had left them as they were. The model is a pretty “old-school” design, so no slide-molds and elaborately shaped plastic parts are present; every complex shape is put together from flat panels. ACE did a very good job designing the model, as at the end you will have a very nice representation of the AMX-13/75.

The oscillating turret is very nicely reproduced -with one serious issue of the kit: the very prominent canvas cover protecting the joint between the two parts of the turret. This had been occasionally removed from the real vehicles, and you can certainly omit it from your  build. If you go this way, be aware that there is detail under the canvas: the seam and the attachment points where the canvas is fixed to are quite visible. (These details are not present in this kit.) As the shape is quite complex, the model’s canvas cover is supposed to be assembled from four parts. The assembly did not exactly go by the book. First, the canvas detail is too big; it should not be this thick and bulging (it also looks very “orderly”; not at all how canvas is folding). It is a thin sheet of canvas, after all. Second, the parts do not connect… (see photos.) They are too short to go around the turret, leaving prominent gaps, which have to be filled. I glued them on as best as I could, and then used putty and green stuff to fill in the missing parts. It does the job, but the detail is still over-emphasised. I think there are two options, really. You either leave it off (as virtually all builds I have seen online did it), and accept that the detail is not perfect, or just make your own using some putty. Since this is a review of the kit, I installed the kit part as best as I could.

 

Here is a very nice photo of the canvas cover on the turret -from a different vehicle, but the turret is identical.

A side note: that driver with his helmet and googles looks like a skull… every time I see this photo it draws my eyes to him.

 

 

Armory 1/72 M41A1/A2 Walker Bulldog p2.

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Part 1

And the published review. (It’s probably worth checking it out if you want to build the model; I pointed out some issues with the model, and gave some tips for the build.)

Once the model was primed, I sprayed Citadel’s olive green (from the airbrush-ready range) mixed with Gunze’s yellow. The first coats had no yellow added, the subsequent coats had more and more stirred in, and I made sure I only lightly misted these on, focusing on the top of the vehicle. So the bottom of the chassis has no yellow at all, while the top received the most.

The model was fully assembled, so the tracks received some green paint; I simply went over with a black/antracite color to correct these oversprays. I found that it is quite simple and easy to paint models with tracks and all already installed, rather than trying to install the tracks on a fully painted model. The dark primer provides a very nice “shadow” to areas where the green paint did not get to.

I added the decals (one “Deliquent” decal was lost in the process…), and this is where I realized that there was not enough room between the grab handles to add the number… Something to look out for in your build. (I am not unduly worried about the turret, since I will use a different one.)

After a brown pin wash, followed with a black pinwash on the engine deck, I covered the model with semi-matte varnish.

I used Tamiya’s weathering sticks for dust and mud – again, this is not the end manifestation of the model, so I kept weathering minimum. (I found that using a wet brush to apply the product to the model, and then using a clean, wet brush to adjust the effect works wonders.) I painted the muffler cover using several rust tones, and used a silver pencil on the edges to give a metallic shine to the model.

That’s pretty much it. I am thinking about magnetizing the turret so I can just switch it (a’la KV-220, T-150) once I finish the actual model I wanted to build using this kit.

 

Armory 1/72 M41A1/A2 Walker Bulldog p1.

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Well, I decided to buy Armory’s new injection molded model, the Walker Bulldog. I have written a review of it on Armorama; when it comes live I will link it here.

My aim with the purchase was to do a conversion, I was not particularly interested in the Bulldog itself.

 

As I wrote in the review, the build was pretty nice; I found no major hurdles -apart from the tool rack which I just left off. I also did not install the gun lock since I will be using the chassis for a different vehicle with a different gun. There are some minor issues with the model, but none of them are deal breaking (and at least the gun is not assembled from two halves…)

 

There’s an awful lot of PE coming with the kit; the smaller parts were glued on using white glue. The sink marks on the tracks are somewhat annoying but they will be filled with some mud at the end.

 

Next up: painting and weathering.

 

And then – when I buy the necessary supplies: THE CONVERSION.

Dnepromodel 1/35 Straussler V-4 part 2.

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First part

I mostly used acrylic paints and Vallejo weathering products because due to a small human cohabiting with us since the end of December, I need to limit the usage of stinky, dangerous stuff in the house. (I do make sure there is an appropriate separation, but one can never be too careful.)

 

I wanted to depict a brand new prototype after a long day out on the proving ground -so lots of mud, but not much rust and fading.

I used Vallejo’s primer to prime the model, and a mixture of Tamiya greens to give the base color. (I don’t really know of any accurate color reference charts of pre-war Hungarian colors, so it’s a free-for-all.) I used Tamiya’s transparent green and yellow as a first round of filters (wanted to see how they work ever since I’ve read about them a while ago).

 

I also used several of AK’s filters on various parts of the hull to create hue differences. I used different oil colors as well for filters (dot method), and blending -you can see the results on the back hatches especially. All this helped to create visually interesting differences in the otherwise uniform green finish.

 

Instead of turpentine or white spirit I use Zest It as a diluent; it’s still not ideal, but better health-wise.

I bought a bunch of Vallejo’s weathering products: industrial thick mud, dust and oily mud washes, mud splashes, etc. They have the undisputed advantage of being water-based, so I can use them without worry to anyone’s health. I used the mud as a base, and stained it with pigments and paints, applying them in layers, and washing them back a bit with a wet brush to adjust the effect. (There are several mud colors, but I only bought one because I’m cheap.) A Tamiya mud weathering stick added some more hues of mud. (Just dab on, and adjust with a wet brush.) I used a silver pencil to bring out the details on the tracks, and to highlight the edges of the superstructure.

 

Overall this is a nice model. It is by no means perfect, but the result does look good, it’s not overly difficult to build (this is my first 1/35 resin model), and it is quite an unorthodox little vehicle which is relatively unknown and has an unique look. I really enjoyed the build, and since the tank has an intriguing history I am quite happy to put it on my shelf.