ACE Models: 1/72 Shot Meteor

Another ACE kit… A Centurion in IDF service. I will write a review of it for Armorama; for now, a few points:

There is a substantial amount of flash, and also seam lines everywhere. The detail, in general, is good, but the gun barrels are not exactly great. Lots of sink marks and whatnot -not ideal. The other big issue I have is the rubber track… each section is made up by two parts, and you are supposed to melt them together. Not going to happen. (I do wish ACE switched to link-and-length…)

 

 

 

Otherwise it is a good kit. Not as refined, perhaps, than a Flyhawk model, but you don’t need to be spoiled all the time; it builds up into a respectable replica of a Centurion, and that’s that. It is absolutely recommended.

 

 

Painting will commence as soon as I have some time to bring out the airbrush… Right now my modelling time increased because I can actually work while listening to pointless skype meetings, but airbrushing would be one step too far I feel. Stay safe, everyone!

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.)

Upcoming models…

This blog is not in the news business, but three upcoming models really caught my eyes…

 

It seems like MiniArt widens its interior kit series to the German tanks as well- the Panzer IV ausf J, more specifically. (There is an upcoming T-34/85, and, of course, there are the Grant and Lee tanks, which I still need to get.) And this when I was just about to finish my own with resin interior. (One thing I can say even without seeing the MiniArt kit: it is going to be better than the one I am doing right now -although I have not touched the poor model since I moved from the UK… I will need to finish it soon.)

 

Just when I thought I had enough of T-54/55s with interior, here comes this thing. I do not know what it is, but it looks great. And I still have their T-55 mod 1981 waiting to be built…

 

And finally this, for Takom. I am intruiged by the Cold War British armor (do not know much about it, but learning), and having readily available 1/72 kits is a great thing. I do have the Centurion (in the form of ACE’s Shot Meteor, and I am planning to get the Challenger 2 from Dragon. The 1/35 Super Conqueror from Amusing Hobby is also on the list, unless someone issues a 1/72 version. (Too many tanks to build… and 1/72 is more economical both financially and time-wise.)

 

And I have not even mentioned IBG’s upcoming British releases of Crusider tanks…

(One of the many coming out this year.)

 

So, next step:

W-models Object 775. It’s just a weird looking oddity that makes it a must-have. (Not to mention their radars and the Kondensator I also would like to have.)

 

And apparently Armory is working on a T95.

 

So there you go. New things on the “must-have” pile.

In this hobby you need unlimited funds and time to build everything you wish.

 

 

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.

 

 

Dusting it up -Vallejo wash and AK Interactive pencil

We talked about the issues of gear acquisition… I can’t help myself, apparently. (OK, chalk it up to natural curiousity; it is not as bad as if I bought the entire range of both products on a whim, right?) While I am still trying to finally apply some paint to the Markgraf, I can do smaller projects. (Seriously; getting time to do some airbrushing is impossible… and since smaller projects will end up at the stage where airbrushing is required, it is getting more and more impossible as models pile up on the “to be sprayed” pile.)

So I have Vallejo’s dust wash (which I was playing with before), and I bought an acrylic pencil by AK Interactive, to see how it compares to my “normal” acrylic pencils bought in an art store.

 

 

I have chosen two tanks from my shelf – it is actually quite good to keep working on older models (as I have done previously). This was Cromwell’s T29 and OKB’s UFO tank (Object 279).

What I did was to first apply the dust wash on the fenders and wheels, then adjusted the effect with a wet brush. This I did several times until I got a nice blend. Then I used the pencil (wet the tip, first), deposited some on the tank (only on a small area), then adjusted the effect with water. Sometimes I found it was better to make a “wash” in situ by adding a lot of water; sometimes I just feathered the edges to form a natural-looking dust deposit (on the sides of the fenders on the T29, for example.)

Here are the comparison photos -the before and after shots.

The dust did improve the look of the tank, but I found the Vallejo wash to be more useful in this regard. It made the stark contrast on the lower hull and the fenders much better looking.

The pencil has a very light color, which is not necessarily realistic (it looks like the tank drove through a cement factory), and it does produce tide marks when used with a lot of water (problem with water-based products; the high surface tension drags the pigments on the side), and overall does not cover the area as smooth as an oil paint-based (home made) dust would do. It did make some very nice dust streaks on the vertical surfaces, though.

A little bit browner, darker color might be better for dust, but overall, not bad.

 

 

Well, the photos definitely need some improvement (the new light box does not seem to be very good), for one.

 

Let me know what you think of the results.

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.

Modelcollect 1/72 Waffentrager Ausf. E-100 with 128mm gun

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Modelcollect seems to specialise in two types of Braille scale vehicles: post-war Soviet-Russian wheeled and tracked vehicles, and the increasingly esoteric WWII German what-ifs, paper panzers and artillery (rockets and guns). Some of those were actual plans, like the E series of tanks, but a lot of them are just pure fabrications, like the walker-type tanks, and the different modifications based on the E series. They also make a 1/72 scale P1000 Ratte.

 

The topic of this review is a fictional vehicle, albeit a fictional vehicle from the online game World of Tanks. In the game it was a game-breaking tank destroyer with a four (or six, depending on the gun used) shot autoloader.

Eventually it was removed as it was overpowered as heck, but I was really happy to see it in plastic form. (Never had a chance to play it, but it sure was satisfying catching one in reload…) It is essentially a 12,8 cm Kw.K. 44 L/55 gun mounted on an E-100 chassis in a large, open turret and an autoloader. It is very interesting to see the effect of a massively popular game on the modelling world; I do hope more models will follow. (Amusing Hobby seems to follow a similar pattern; they have issued the same model in 1/35.)

The instructions do have some sort of a history for the type, but as the type itself it is absolutely fictional, it is not something to be taken too seriously.

 

The kit

The box is your typical Modelcollect box, with a nice painting of the tank destroyer on the front. The plastic is good quality, although there is flash around certain parts; especially the drive wheels needed a little cleanup. The detail is OK, and we do get some PE for the engine deck screens. We do not, however, get a metal barrel, which is a shame, especially considering that the massive gun needs to be glued together from two halves; it’s quite an old-school kit in this regards. (I really like Modelcollect’s Russian MTBs; they are true gems with all the PE and metal barrels provided. This model is definitely a bit more of a ‘budget option’ compared to them.)

 

At first glance the part number is quite high, but this is somewhat deceptive. Since the model is made out of several other Modelcollect products, naturally there will be a lot of leftovers after the construction.

 

The assembly is not very difficult; beginners will find no real challenge putting the model together. For some reason the roadwheels require you to glue little plastic rings between the wheels, similar to the 1/35 polycap style wheels, which is somewhat puzzling. (There are two caps fewer included than would be necessary, but they are not actually needed for the running gear’s assembly; the wheels can be glued to the swing arms without them without any problems.)

The large gun-shield is an elaborate piece of plastic; due to the injection moulding process a few moulding lines will need to be sanded off. The bottom part, however does not fit perfectly to the top; it’s not a huge issue, but I definitely needed to fiddle with it.

The tracks are the rubber type vinyl tracks, so installation is simple, although I do prefer the link-and-length option that is provided with other Modelcollect German superheavy tanks. (It is a personal preference, admittedly.)

Since the large gun shield covers quite a lot of visible detail, you will have to do most of the painting before final assembly.

After priming and applying the base coat of dunkelgelb (Mig Ammo), I messed up the free-hand camo, so I decided to give a try to the Mig Ammo washable white… Nobody will know I am covering up a mistake, will they?

After wearing the white down a bit with a wet brush, I started weathering. I wanted to do a really heavily weathered tank… a tank that is going through the longest winter ever – a tank from Westeros. Streaking dirt, mud and everything you can think of… I just piled it on. I used oil paints, mud products and pigments by Mig Ammo and Vallejo, filters of different color (even green – interestingly it gave a depth to the white color), acrylic paints, acrylic and a silver pencil. The results are pretty nice; I now have a weathered, battered veteran on my shelf.

 

 

Scale model building – amateur style