Tag Archives: 1/76

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.

Milicast Bergepanther Ausf A (final production) 1/76 review

headerI’ve known about Milicast since, well, forever. (Or at least as far as 2005.) I remember finding their website, and looking at the wide selection of interesting models thinking I’d never be able to afford the prices and the shipping to the US.

Well, this has changed; I moved to the UK, and I do have a slightly better salary (which is balanced by living in London…). Anyhow, I’ve ordered the Bergepanther as something I always wanted to try from them. (They even have an M3 Lee with interior. In 1/76.)

 

I’ve written about the model and the issues I encountered during the assembly in my review on Armorama; if you’re interested, I’d refer you to there. Here let’s concentrate on the assembly and the photos…

The complete hull is given as one, hollow part. It has all the running gear, tracks already attached; the middle is empty, where the interior (driver’s compartment, winch assembly) needs to be placed from under. There was a considerable gap left between the sides of the hull and the interior insert. Also, another issue was that the bottom of this part needed to be trimmed so that it did not stick out from under the vehicle.

The basic assembly is actually quite easy and fast. I went around the building and painting steps in an unorthodox sequence: first assembled, painted and weathered the hull, then added the interior.

Most of the winch assembly is a single piece, with some impressive detail; it’s a shame most of it is hidden once the tank is completed.

I added most of the larger details to the hull (with some of the more fragile ones left out), and did the painting and weathering. The tank was primed with red-oxide, sealed with dullcote, and applied a chipping medium by AK Interactive. I used Mig Ammo’s Dunkelgelb, and did a moderate amount of chipping using a stiff, wet brush. Since engineering vehicles undergo some serious strain, and they also tend to last longer than front line tanks, I was not worried about overdoing the effect. (This is a constant dilemma of mine; real tanks are not as rusty and worn as we depict them; absolute realism, however would make quite boring paintjobs.)

Once I was satisfied with the level of wear-and-tear, I sealed the paint, and followed with several brown filters. I also used Vallejo’s oil stain weathering product on the engine deck, and several light brown pigments on the sides and top to depict dust. The lower part of the hull and the running gear received a generous amount of mud (prepared from pigments mixed with turpentine) in several layers and colors; the last step was to rub some metallic pigments onto the tip of the dozer blade/spade. Since this is an engineering vehicle I wanted to make it properly dirty and oily. (The small scale makes it easy to overdo, though.)

Only after all the weathering was done did I glue the interior in, and chipped the bottom away a bit with a scalpel so that it did not stick out from under the tank. (It was quite thick, and could be easily seen if viewed from the front or back.)

I think completing the hull before installing the interior and small, fragile parts worked out overall, but I did run into some difficulties of my own making. It was also a bit more tedious to add the exhaust ports after the dozer blade/spade was installed, for example, and I already mentioned the gap issues, so plan ahead with the build. It would probably be easier to glue the insert in, fill the gaps, paint, and then start weathering of the interior, followed by the painting and weathering of the hull.

Once most everything was finished, I continued with the raised frame and wooden planks around the winch assembly. Since most of the engineering vehicles were converted from broken down Panthers, I used primer red on the metal parts- this particular Bergepanther was not given an overall paint coat after assembly. To decrease the stark contrast between the red of the metal and the rest of the tank I’ve used Tamiya’s Model Master set (the one that looks like a makeup set) to add different dust and sand colored pigments; this is a quick and easy way to do weathering. The wooden sidewalls were painted Tamiya deck tan, and I used burned umber oil washes to make it look like wood- the texture is really nicely done. There are wooden planks covering the interior provided as well. I did not use them, as I wanted to display the winch; you may cut it up into separate planks, and just scatter them around the vehicle. There is also an optional armor plate/raincover (?) for the crew compartment but I also left it off.

One word of warning: when installing the frame around the winch, make sure that the side with the hole is facing backwards; this is where the cable from the winch goes through.

I have done most of the detail painting and weathering steps at this stage, leaving the fragile parts off until the last moment. The MG-34, the 2cm autocannon and the crane was added on the very last step.

The crane went together easier than I expected. I was prepared to display it folded up, and call it a day, to be honest. I was pleasantly surprised how easy the assembly was. The only bit I’m not satisfied with -which is my fault- is the slight angle the top chain has in the middle -obviously it should be ramrod-straight. If there is a small weight on the hook, the tension straightens it out, so I might actually find something to hang on it to make it look a bit more realistic. I assembled the crane in situ (in place), but it might be a better way to assemble vertical parts (two rods and the connecting chain forming a triangle) separately, laying flat on a surface first. There is a similar problem with the section of chain with the hook at the end: the resin hook is not heavy enough to pull the chain down. (I have a Revell Famo engine in my spares box; I’m thinking about installing it to deal with both of these issues.)

As the very last step I glued the wooden beam to the side of the tank (which I have forgotten about to be absolutely honest until I reviewed the photos).

Overall the kit was not as difficult to build as I thought it would be after looking at the instructions. It is a pretty good representation of the Bergepanther, and you can customize it to resemble several different variants easily. The scale is somewhat archaic (not many new 1/76 kits are being made as 1/72 has seem to have won the competition), and the model itself is quite old-school in its design, but this does not mean it’s not a good one. Anyone enjoying Braille scale resin kits will like this model.

Churchill Bridgelayer 1/76, Matchbox

churchill-avre-matchbox

Another blast from the past… This build is really old; if you look at the background on the first photo, you’ll see the instructions for one Renault UE I’ve built in 2006… So yeah. Matchbox is somewhat of a forgotten brand when it comes to models; so I thought I’d present here one of their kits I’ve built.

I bought this kit on a whim, and I was put off by the shiny green plastic at first. But once you cover it with paint… the model becomes great. I’m not sure about accuracy; it’s a Churchill, it has a big bridge on the top, and it has a big mortar in the turret. (Which was reloaded manually- from the outside.)

 

 

It appears that the bridge was hand-cranked as well.

Assembled tank

The first coat of paint really transformed the model for me. This is when I started to like the tank. I was not very much concerned with the shade of green, I must confess, so it might not be historically correct. I was young, OK?

The bridge is attached, finally. I did a burnt umber oil wash first, but it still looked very much plastic.

Some more weathering. A tip: once you attached the threads, cover them with glue so that they don’t get fuzzy later. (It was not very easy to do the rigging, I tell you that.)

This is the time when I discovered pigments… I put them on diluted in white spirit, and let them dry out. It worked nicely.

Even more pigments; they did help to bring he model to life, though.

So here it is… a really old model (by all standards), but it was quite a nice experience nevertheless. The moral of this story is I guess is that it’s sometimes really worth buying these old gems.