Category Archives: world of tanks

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.

ICM Marder I on FCM 36 base

If you want to read a review of the model, I published one on Armorama. I only learned about this tank destroyer from World of Tanks where it is an incredibly overpowered tier III premium vehicle.

In short: it is a simple, easy-to-assemble kit of a cool little tank destroyer. If you are a fan of this vehicle in World of Tanks and have no modelling experience, it is actually a model you can build with ease. If it was not a review sample coming with its own paint-set, I would have painted it in the “green grove” camo from WoT. ..

The paints performed admirably; the only issue I have -which might not be an issue at all- is that I find the base yellow (dunkelgelb) provided way too dark. (It is “middle stone” in the paint set.)

What I did was to use it as a base layer and “modulated” it with Mig’s Dunkelgelb…

I used silly putty for masking, and added the other two colors of the camo. The paints performed perfectly well; I had no problem using them with airbrush or brush, although they needed to be diluted with water heavily. (The paint is very thick,) Which is fine as you get a lot actually in those tiny, 12ml bottles.

Weathering…

I started with filters -ochre, brownish, a touch of green.

Then came the chipping, the wear-and-tear and rust inside: the trusty German Black Brown applied with a 0 sized brush. I applied some scratches and whatnot on the superstructure, and added a little bit of rust streak to some of them. (Most of it is hidden by the dust layers…)

Dust and mud were adding using these products mainly. The very light brown “light sienna” was a transformative product (any pigment would suffice, not just Vallejo’s); after all dry mud is almost grey in color. (One of my constant struggle with mud has been the unrealistically dark color.) The structured mud by Green Stuff World is essentially the same thing you can get from Tamiya or Vallejo- a thick paste you can dilute with water, and mix it with pigments, ink or acrylic paints (or anything water-soluble, really). There was no strict order or method – generally I tried to apply the lighter colors on a larger surface (dried, older mud, dust), used a wet brush to remove some of the material using vertical strokes, simulating rain and other effects, waited until it got dry, and went ahead with a thicker, darker mixture on a smaller area. I also applied some splashes using an old brush and a piece of card on the lower hull using several different shades.

Amusing Hobby 1/35 Ferdinand with interior part 8 Finishing the beast

The previous installments:

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Part 5.

Part 5.1

Part 6.

Part 7.

OK, the final push… fixing the running gear, painting small details, and dusting it up. (I wanted to leave scratches and paintchips off this time; historically it is more accurate, but the real reason is that I am experimenting with effects. I don’t want all my models look the same.)

The running gear was somewhat damaged during the subsequent handling, so I had to do some fixing, painting and extra weathering. It is not perfect I admit.

I painted smaller details, like the plug on the machine gun port.

And finally, I added dust and mud.

I started with Mig Ammo’s washable dust. I never managed to actually wash it back off (it sticks quite well to the matte surfaces I prefer, and it runs into tiny droplets when sprayed onto smooth surface), but it is a very good-looking dust paint. I carefuly built up the dust effect from the bottom up using an airbrush. The horizontal top surfaces got dust layers using a brush, and I did manage to wash them back before full drying.

Added streaks using AK’s weathering pencils and some streaking products.

The bottom part (running gear, mud guards, etc) got light washes of different mud-colored pigments; after drying it looks pretty convincing. (The one big thing I need to learn is creating mud with volume…)

The running gear, the tracks, the edges were lined with a silver pencil to give a slight metallic shine to the model, and essentially I was done. The model is ready (yes, there could be some more things done with it, but for now I declare it finished).

The interior can be seen through the transparent parts I left unpainted; however it was quite difficult to take photos through them, so here are some photos from the building phase as reminder.

Overall, Amusing Hobby managed to create a complex model with an interior which is relatively easy to assemble, although there are some problematic areas. The top of the superstructure does not fit very well, and the individual track links are no ideal, either. There are some other fit issues I mentioned in the posts about the assembly, and as Peter kindly commented, the interior is not perfectly replicated. Regardless, the model is highly recommended: it builds up into an impressive replica of the Ferdinand tank destroyer, and all that space inside is perfectly filled out with interesting details.

Now off to finish some long-outstanding builds before starting that T-72

One last thing to mention.

On this photo used to promote Amusing Hobby’s new version of the Elephan it totally looks like if that dude was milking the vehicle.

That is all.

Amusing Hobby 1/35 Ferdinand with interior part 7. Weathering steps

The previous installments:

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Part 5.

Part 5.1

Part 6.

OK, after the Mig Ammo filter chipping, I was a bit more careful applying green filter to the model. These filters can be created from oil paints, but it is nice to have pre-mixed colors, and not just the ones you get from the tube. This particular filter is for green vehicles, but you can actually use them for other colors without the modeling police showing up at your door. The previous layers were light brownish colors- closer to the Dunkelgelb, and this layer is a green color -close to the olive green, hence tying the colors of the camo together somewhat, lessening the contrast. (It did work as intended; the model does not look as artificial as before already.)

This is followed by the oil-dot method, which is also a type of filter. This time I do use oil paints and ZestIt to wash most of it down. I am using yellows and greens, which are close to the camo colors -darker on the bottom, lighter on the top. I apply the dots to the surface, then with a moistened, clean wash, I start removing the paint using downward strokes, while constantly cleaning the brush.

The next oil-based step was to apply the paint straight. I used burned umber mostly, and applied it into the darker areas to form a sort of shadow/accumulated, thin mud. The paint was gently spread with a dry brush, to “massage” and feather it; you can create a really nice transition with this method. (Just use a very little amount of paint.)

On the top of the vehicle I used a yellowish hue to achieve fading. I used some dark wash on the weld seams and corners.

Well, this is the end of the oil weathering phase.

Amusing Hobby 1/35 Ferdinand with interior part 6. finishing the build for real -and painting the beast

Well, finishing up the build… The previous installments:

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Part 5.

Part 5.1

Well, the Ferdinand was almost finished -the tracks were not installed as it made more sense to do after having painted the base color.

I finally bought out the airbrush, and applied Dunkelgelb from Mig Ammo (they have to shades: one until ’44, and a much lighter after ’44 -I used them mixed to give some tonal differences, focusing on the darker shades on the lower part, and putting the lightened layers on top.

While the paint cured, I painted the tracks dark grey, and applied AK’s True Metal Gun Metal on the parts that were subject to constant friction (where the road wheels and drive wheels touch the track links). The rest is treated with a couple of rust washes and a generous amount of dirt and mud.

I also applied mud to the sides of the lower chassis with layers of dust washes from Vallejo and also using Vallejo Thick mud (industrial dust) to give it volume. Once dried I stained some of it with a couple of thin, brownish washes.

This is a pale, greyish colored thick paste, which can be used to give texture to mud. It can also be mixed with different colors (acrylic paints, washes, pigments, etc.) to create darker shades as well. Diluted with water it can be used as a “splashing” mud -a lot of ways to use it. (Cost effective modelling.)

Once all this was dry, I glued the tracks on. The running gear is movable, but I did not have the patience and mindfulness to make the tracks themselves workable -they were fiddly to assemble as it is.

The tracks installed I added the mudgards, and now the model was ready to progress with the camoflage.

I applied silly putty on the top to cover the transparent parts in patches, and then proceeded to paint the green. I wanted to do the green intersecting lines style camo, and for that I should have really started with the green, and used putty to make the lines… but I started with a sand primer (on the top), so went the other way around. It took me about three hours to up the mask up (god bless teams conferences…).

I used a somewhat lightened Model Master olivegrun for the green in several thin layers (to avoid it sweeping under the mask). It was somewhat a stressful moment to take the mask off, but it worked out just well. I quite like the results.

I brush painted the details on top, which were covered by the mask (hatches, etc.) with both Dunkelgelb and Olivegrun, corrected some parts where the mask did not work perfectly, and the first part of the painting was done.

The last step at this stage was to use a dark brown filter by Mig Ammo.

Which led to an interesting discovery: the enamel-based filter dissolves the acrylic paint produced by the same company, leading to an instant chipping/worn paint effect.

I did not plan to do a lot of chipping, but I think I just discovered a new technique for chipping. (Or, alternatively, almost ruined my model. I prefer the former version.)

Next step: weathering this somewhat artificial-looking beast. (By the way, my wife said she liked the way it looked. Out of the blue. Nice…)

Amusing Hobby 1/35 Ferdinand with interior part 5.1 Finishing the build

Well, finishing up the build… The previous installments:

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Part 5.

OK, now it is ready to be painted. Personally I blame the holidays for the lack of progress.

Amusing Hobby 1/35 Ferdinand with interior part 5. Finishing the build

Well, finishing up the build… The previous installments:

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

So, further difficulties… although not big ones.

The periscopes do not fit into their slots -neither on the driver’s hatch, nor on the top of the vehicle. Bummer.

The mantlet (part number A8) of the gun barrel did not fit into place, either; I trimmed about a mm off from the end to be able to slot it into place.

Because the gun is set off-set, and not centered (I had the bright idea to display it off-centered… talk about self-goals), I can’t fit the roof of the fighting compartment into place. The gunsight gets in the way, unfortunately. I strongly suggest centering the gun, or leave the hatches open so that the gunsight can stick out of the tank. I will have to figure something out; maybe display it lifted.

The tank is essentially done apart from the tow cables and a few minor parts. I will glue the fenders in place once I installed the tracks, and call it a day. I am still unsure about what tracks to use as I am not happy with either options, but I would like to stress something. None of these issues are deal-breaking – the model went together rather well. It is quite a spectacular-looking model, and considering that it comes with a full interior it was not a tour de force to build it. I do confess my love to the MiniArt kits with interior, but a T-54 was a much, much more involved process. This model went together surprisingly quickly. The ease of building obviously does come with some compromise with regards to detail. The question obviously is how much detail you can live without. I am happy to say that this level I am fine with -milage may vary. I am sure there will be a 1kg Voyager update set with PE and resin for the people who wish for more. Perhaps an aftermarket set of tracks would be useful but otherwise I am fine with this model out of the box.

Now I just need to paint the thing.

Amusing Hobby 1/35 Ferdinand with interior part 4.

Well, finishing up the interior… The previous installments:

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

The interior was a surprisingly short affair, compared to RFM’s or Takom’s Panthers‘ (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your point of view… right now I am happy it did not take years).

I cut the floor of the fighting compartment to show off half of the electric motor, and the assorted parts; I also did a cut on the panel holding the gun, but still very little can be seen of the engines. I actually took one of them out to display it separately.

The superstructure was finished (a few bits and pieces are missing still) and weathered with AK’s interior wash, oils, chipping done with brush and sponge, and some AK rust pencils.

One issue with the decals: there are no stencils for the interior or the ammunition. It is important in this case since you can see the bottom of the rounds from above. I used RFM’s decals for the Panther ammo to depict the primer. It does improve the overall look of the model.

Based on the few photos available on the driver’s compartment it does not seem to be completely accurate, but it is easy to work with if you want to.

I also ran into the first fit issues…

  1. The horizontal cover of the driving comparment, D2, (where the extra tracklinks are stored) is too long. It needs to be filed down so it actually fits inside the hull. I did not remove enough so now it is bent… I think I will install the spare tracklinks after all to hide this shameful fact. (It was not clear when I glued it in place. The frontal part is straight as I had it pressed flat in its place – the back part, however, stayed bent.
  2. At step 33 the assembly of the air filters (those strange flower-like things on both sides of the gun) should not be done in the suggested order. The instructions would have you put the whole filter assembly together, and then install them in place. You should first glue the individual holding legs into place, and then add the top of the filters with the canisters installed.
  3. E18, the panel that holds the gun, and the top of the engines do not have enough clearance… The engines are a mm or so too high, and will not let the panel settle into its place.
  4. The superstructure has a very tight fit… I had to remove the gun, in order to be able to glue the top of the superstructure on -which obviously created fit issues with the gun later on. The gun was heavily modified: I cut off the pin that would keep it in place because once the superstructure is on, it cannot be inserted into the hole on the floor, and the gun shield was thinned somewhat. This allowed me to squeze the gun into place. Since I did not want it to be boring, I made it a slight off-center as if it was aiming at something.
  5. Part D5 (some sort of engine hatch) is too wide to fit between the superstructure and the engine deck. I had to sand it a bit off.
  6. Part J35 should be labelled B35…
  7. I am seriously considering using the flexible, rubber band tracks…

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.)