Category Archives: review

Rye Fields Panther Ausf G – part 6. finishing up the interior

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In-box comparison

Rye Fields build so far

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

The turret looks great with the transparent parts; it really saved me the headache I had with the Takom turret. (Not much can be seen from the outside.)

Before I closed up the hull I needed to finish the engine -but once that was done, hallelujah! – the hull is closed! The nightmare is ending! Now it is merely another 1000 parts to finish the outside of the tank, and then I can start painting it. As mentioned in the previous post, it will be painted in French service. I already have the decals printed.

Well, not so much finished as only getting there… a lot of small details are still to be added.

So I spent another few hours doing just that…

Another unpleasant experience (actually two):

  1. the hose leading from the turret basket to the extraction fan is rigid, and needs to be assembled from two parts –after the turret interior is fit together. Yeah, good luck with that. The fit was not good, and while I was fiddling with fitting the second part in, I managed to break off the first one coming from the top of the turret. Takom solved this with a flexible hose – I suspect if you build this model, you should find a flexible alternative, too. (Unless you love keyhole surgery, and your family members do not mind strong words.)
  2. The top of the hull does not fit well. I mean I got used to fit issues, so it does not surprise me, but this model does not even have side-skirts that would hide the problem. It does have the mounting brackets for them, though… maybe it would be a good idea to buy some PE aftermarket?

Regardless, most of the small details are attached to the exterior (some extremely small parts are still to be added, as well as the front mudguards), so painting can finally commence.

Now the problem of masking. (This is what I was dreading all these two years of building this model.)

 

Takom Sd.Kfz. 171. Panther Ausf A part 7. Interior is finished

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In-box comparison

Takom build so far

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4.

Part 5. 

 

Well I ended up closing up the turret without cutting out the top. I experimented with the Zvezda Panzer IV which is still unfinished, but ended up deciding against a half-attempt of a cutaway.

I used Meng’s zimmerit decal set for the Meng kit – it fit more or less. (There are some differences between the dimensions of the two Panther kits – I have no clue which one is more accurate.) The decal is really fragile, and handling it is a pain, but at least it looks like some realistic heavy damage when breaks… If you know what is good for you, you use white glue to fix it to the model because using CA it is a hell to apply and adjust.

The hull was also closed up, and we are ready for masking and the paintjob… now it is only a matter of time to finish this bad boy. The only issue I have is that I can’t seem to find all the tracks I have built for it…

The plan is to build this Panther in Soviet colors. Since the Soviets used captured Panthers, I decided to give this model an unique twist. (Originally I planned to paint it in Bovingdon-colors.)

(The RFM Panther will be an example used by the French – after all they were the longest operators of the type, and I have not seen many models depicting a French Panther.)

The hull was sprayed using Mig’s Dunkelgelb colors (they carry two shades; I used a mixture of both as I found one of them too yellow, the other too light; using both also allows you to create shades and hues), and the turret was painted using one of AK’s Russian green color. I did make a mistake, and used a post-war, 1947 era color… not that it matters a lot -when it comes to Russian green, any green will do, as we know. The star and number was painted by hand- somewhat intentionally clumsy as on the photos you can clearly see a similar sloppiness in their application.

I also finished the engines – the RFM one will be installed, but I decided to close down the Takom hull without the engine. It would not be visible through the maintenance hatch, anyhow, and will use it for the Jagdpanther I still have on my shelf. The engine will be quite hidden in the RFM models as well, so I did not spend too much time detailing and painting it. (It is the more detailed of the two, truth be told, but they both are great.)

That is it for now. There is still a lot to do, but it is getting finished finally

How to use your brand new Flak 8.8 gun

I quite like the gun; it is an iconic WWII weapon, it made me get into armor models (the also iconic DML Flak 88 model), and I built a couple of iterations of it over the years.

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.

Paint review – MRP: Cream, AK Interactive: Cremeweiss

Well, I have not used either of these brands of paint before, so I was curious how they work.

MRP

After some serious shaking, the results were less than stellar, as you can see.

However, I was unperturbed and undeterred, since the reviews were generally good, and people tend to like this brand a lot. Not to mention my experience with AK’s primer taught me something important: if you think you have shaken it up, shake it some more…

So that is what I did. I bought a nail polish shaker, and used that for a minute to mix up the paint.

The results were great. The paint sprayed very nice straight from the bottle. (I painted up the leftover hatches and whatnot from the Takom Panther and the bottom of a leftover hull for the purpose of this post.)

To quickly do a side-by-side color comparison, I sprayed AK’s cremeweiss and the MRP cream next to each other onto a panzer IV hull . The AK paint is really nice, and as this paint is not pre-thinned for airbrush, so some water was necessary. (I have been using this paint as a base color for the Panther interiors, so I did have some experience using it.)

As you can see the AK paint has a more yellowish hue, while the MRP paint is more off-white. I am not sure which one should be used for German interiors. As you can see from the photos of the Tiger 131 restoration, the color is a somewhat yellowish/brownish white, but not as white as the MRP one, and not as yellow as the AK one. (And then there is the million-dollar question about the accuracy of the paint colors the restaurators used…)

I suspect, considering the scale effect, the real color is somewhere between the two; the AK paint is way too yellow in 1/35 scale. It is probably spot on if you put it next to the real vehicle, but with the scale effect considered, it is too dark and too yellow – some lightening with white is required for sure. (Which is something people usually do anyhow, since most paints need to be adjusted for the scale effect.)

Regardless, both paints are great. They spray great, they cover well, which is a big thing when you are discussing whites, and I found no problems using them. Overall I will be happy to buy from either of these paint ranges in the future. I am quite set on Tamiya right now, as experiments with other brands left me sticking with what worked before. Now I am a bit more open for trying more brands.

Das Werk: 1/35 FMG 39 / FuSE 62 D „Würzburg“ Part 1.

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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.

Paint review: AK Interactive True Metal range

I really like these paints. They are wax-based, so they behave more like a gel than a paint, and they handle very well. They do look metallic, their coverage is great, any mistakes can be removed with a bush wetted with turpentine, and they can be mixed easily. For large surfaces I found that they should be diluted with turpentine somewhat, and applied in two coats. Interestingly basecoat does not seem to matter – which is an awesome news as basecoats are very important for most metallics.

According to AK you can polish them to a shine, but I found that any gentle polishing will rub some of the paint off; it does not work for me as well as it is shown in their video. If you rub it, some of it does come off.

So back to my colors. I used gold, old bronze, copper, iron, steel and gun metal on my old Panzer IV hull. I did rub a fine cloth on the lower part to show how it polishes up half an hour after applying the paint – the results are not as good – some of the base coat shows off as the paint rubbet off.

I also repeated the exercise a day later – the paint was more resilient (obviously), but there was no dramatic change in shine. (I took some photos using flash as well, as it does bring out the metallic effect better.) Once completely dry, some gloss varnish for metallics does bring the shine out, though.

There is a relatively big range of metallic colors, but I do have some issues with some of the shades. The gun metal should be much darker in my opinion, and the iron is much shinier than the steel color. Plus a bright chrome paint is missing from the palette. More about shades later.

Photos of the paint in diffused lights

 

Polishing the paint after 24hrs of drying

 

I took some photos using the flash as well- it brings the shine out better

(You can see where the paint wore off due to the polishing.)

So what is the paint good for?

(I use these paints for almost all my metallics: engine parts, worn parts like return rollers, figures -literally anywhere where a metal surface is needed. The ease of application and cleanup makes these paints very attractive for me.)

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Well, it is great for drybrushing -it gives off a great metallic effect on tracks and whatnot. It can be used to simulate the worn metal surface on road wheels, idlers and drive wheels; the application is simple, the effect is convincing. If you make a mistake, the excess paint can be removed with a brush slightly wetted with turpentine, and it really saves time and effort when you have countless of roadwheels and return rollers to paint. It is also very useful to paint headlights.

With the Ford Speedster I found that painting thin lines using gold it was indispensable: any mistakes were easily cleaned up with a wet brush (wet with turpentine, that is), so the end results were nice and straight. This how I could paint the lines on the fender and the Ford sign with relative ease.

 

They are also great for painting shells…

I mainly use these paints for figure painting – as I said I goes on very well, and any mistakes can be easily corrected. (I am a better model builder than figure painter, mind, even though this does not say a lot.)

I was using a drybrush method to paint the Custodian and Stormcast Ethernals – they are admittedly not finished; I was just experimenting with the paint. (I will give them some more attention at some point.) But the TS Terminators and Abaddon were also painted with True Metal colors. The different shades (gold and old bronze) can be mixed in different quantities resulting in nice blends.

If you want to cover large areas (for example an airplane) use it with an airbrush; this I have never tried.

All in all they are very, very good paints. (I still do not understand how the paint did not rub off in the AK video…)

Now to something interesting. Do you recall I mentioned the gun metal being too bright for my taste? Well, there is something neat you can do with these paints: you can mix them with regular artists’ oil paints… making it possible to either “metalize” any color with an iron/steel, darken the metal color with black or burned umber, or to create different hues of whatever metal color you wish to use. This really expands the usability of these paints – which makes me pretty proud to have thought of this. (Not a big discovery, but still.)

I took a photo in diffused light and using flash. The paint mixes with oil very well; it is a quite promising way of creating metallic shades. Gold mixed with black yields different shades of bronze; iron mixed with black creates dark, gun metal shades; the red was just a random color I wanted to try. The best part is that you can even polish the true metal-oil paint mixes to a shine.

So there it is. Overall I am quite happy with these paints; especially with the option of making my own hues and colors using oils.

 

Takom Sd.Kfz. 171. Panther Ausf A, Rye Fields Panther Ausf G, comparison of the builds part 5. – Interior is getting ready

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In-box comparison

Takom build so far

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4.

Rye Fields build so far

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

I decided to do a joint post since both tanks are in the same state right now, and some comparison between the two is quite timely.

Well.

In short: Takom is detailed and it is easy to build. RFM is extremely detailed (it is indeed incredible how much detail they have put into the interior -a lot of it is missing from the Takom kit), however it is not as a joyride to build as the Takom kit. The reasons are two-fold: the kit is extremely overengineered AND bad fitting. As I detailed in the previous posts, the hull is too narrow, so the torsion bars, the transmission, the metal braces within the hull, the crew’s floor panels can’t properly fit.

The overengineering is something that is a matter of perspective. The model is full of details which are hidden -for example the cogs in the final drive, the cooling fans which are made out of fifteen parts, many of which are also hidden (after all only the top is visible), and so on and so forth. Takom, in contrast does offer some solutions that simplify the build: for example the ready-racks do not need to be filled with individual pieces of ammunition: you get a single part which has all the protruding heads moulded onto.

At this point I have the interior -both the hull and the turret- finished, but I am stalled with both kits. Since the RFM model felt like it was fighting me during the build I lost some of my drive to finish it; and since I do want to show off the turret interior, I need to figure it out how to do so. The different hatches do not show enough of it for my taste, so there is something else to be done. I may actually do a cutout on the turret roof; not sure. It is certainly a bit stressing to cut into an almost finished model…

Well, here are the photos. The color authenticity I am not sure about. Primer red / blue-gray may or may not have been the correct one. There are some widely-accepted wisdoms online about it, but I found a lot of contradictory evidence as well. At the end I decided not to sweat it, and just use whatever the instruction booklets were suggesting.

It really is worth looking at is the comparison between the two models. By itself I would say the Takom kit is really comprehensive and very detailed model. Next to the RFM one it looks bare. So there you go. With RFM you get a flawed but an incredily detailed model. With the Takom kit you get something you will actually enjoy building.

 

Stay tuned; I hope once the interior is closed up the models would be finished in a reasonable time.

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…

Zvezda 1/72 BMPT Terminator Part 1

Well, sitting on skype conferences where your input is not required leaves two restless hands (which can actually build stuff, now that I do not have to actually sit in those conferences in person). In a week and a half of thirty minutes of everyday meetings I managed to put Zvezda’s Terminator together. (I am finishing up other projects as well, so there will be posts about actually finishing models rather than just starting them. It just takes some time for the final touches.)

This thing really is a mean looking vehicle. The Russians really took the lessons of Grozny to heart (and probably play Warhammer 40K), and created something that is really, really well protected from all sides, and also bristling with all sorts weapons.

Short review:

  • Great detail in general; there are some ridiculously thin parts so sprue gate removal is not always easy/possible. (See antenna – I will replace it after the painting stage.)
  • The model comes with flexible tracks which can be glued with plastic glue (they are kind of stiff; more like a transition between the usual “rubber” and plastic tracks)
  • lots of seamlines. The very fine detail means real difficulties of removing them from certain parts (missile tubes come to mind… I left them as they were for fear of destroying the detail. I will try to remove the seamlines once the model is primed, and I can see it better.)
  • In general the build went without a hitch; I can’t complain, really. The only difficulty was to position the missile launchers in a perfectly parallel position.

 

Here are the finished photos – painting will commence soon.