Tag Archives: German

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.

Das Werk: 1/35 FMG 39 / FuSE 62 D „Würzburg“ Part 2.

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OK, the last part of building the radar: weathering.
I did go very lightly on weathering, since these things were mostly stationary and well tended – no knocking around and muddy roads for them, ergo no sratches, paintchips and mud.
 

Some light filters, a dark wash, very light layer of dust, and a light overall wash of Vallejo’s oily earth on the platform; pretty much that was it.

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.

ICM 1/350 Markgraf part 4 -finishing for now

First part

Second part

Third part

Well, what do you know… another model is being finished. The world must be ending.

(OK, “sorta” finished. The rigging and some weathering is still to be done as you will see.) I wrote a review if interested about the model on ModelShipwright.

I ended up gluing in the turrets as they were somewhat wobbly, and decided not to do the rigging yet as I was pretty much exhausted with the model.

The next problem I faced: I could not take proper photos using my lightboxes. I have a small one, and a medium sized one -but the ship did not fit into either properly, as you can see, not to mention I had problems with lightning it properly.

I ended up using natural light outside my patio and included those photos as well.

 

OK, so some weathering, some rigging, and it is done. But for now, I keep it in the cabinet.

Now I need to finish the two Panthers (the Takom one is getting there), and I can feel finally I am doing something productive.

And then I only have a StuGIII, a Tiger I, Tiger II with resin interiors, an Amusing Hobby Ferdinand, a Takom Jagdpanther, and the RFM Sherman with interiors. And the older models I kept from my time in America… At this rate it will take a couple of decades to finish the larger projects, let alone the small ones also waiting.

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.

 

 

ICM 1/350 Markgraf part 3

First part

Second part

I started the painting process.

Everything was primed using Vallejo’s primer -or in case of the wooden deck, AK Interactive’s sand primer. I used oils -straight from the tube- to create a wood-like effect, and a dark wash.

 

The superstructure was painted light grey, the hull a darker shade- tried to mix up the necessary colors representative of the German navy during WWI.

I also tried to mix the linoleum color for the upper decks.

ICM 1/350 Markgraf part 2

In the first part I reached a stage when I could make a diorama, something like the sunken Hindenburg, and call it a day…

This would be an interesting diorama idea, however, I have a ship to review. So I went on to working on the turrets.

I cut away the same length of plastic from the kit barrels as the metal barrels were, and I fixed the metal barrels onto the resulting stump. Carefully filed away the moulded-on ladder detail from the turrets, and used PE instead. The bases of the turrets also were a bit improved with PE replacement ladders. The turrets remain movable, however they do not fit snugly, and there’s a little play in the movement; I think I will glue them in place once I decide on their position on the model.

I also built the boats; they are fine as they are, but the PE set provides some serious improvement. (Rudders, oars, propellers, railings…)

 

Due to the peculiarities of battleship building, you build and paint in sub-assemblies. Now I need to paint… which requires me to set a big chunk of time aside. Until then the ship building is suspended.

(The next steps will be the painting of the decks, the hull, and the superstructure. Once that is done, I have to add the small details, the boats. the boarding ladders, the railings, etc, and paint a lot of this by hand… I think armor will stay my favorite subject.)

ICM 1/350 Markgraf part 1… opening the box and starting the build

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ICM has sent me their 1/350 Markgraf kit for a review… so here it is – the build itself. Once done I will submit it to Modelshipwrights as an article with more information, photos of the sprues and a lot of research. Ships last a long time, so they undergo several rounds of refits, renovations and repairs –  if you want absolute accuracy, you have to do a lot of research. Fortunately WWI German battleships have not much information available, and even that is often contradictory. I say fortunately because this allows me for some leeway while building… I did a lot of reading, but ultimately I build for fun, not for absolute and total historical accuracy. (I have had enough of the two Panthers for now. I will go on with the builds, but I felt increasingly like the RFM one was fighting me. The Takom needs to be cut up for a cutaway, and it that is also a major source of stress.)

Since PE is necessary I also review  (and use) two sets. One is Tom’s Modelworks, and it’s pretty basic, the other is the GMM set.

The model itself is surprisingly simple, but well detailed; a lot of surface detail is so fine it takes a while to actually notice it, but it’s all there: hatches, portholes, covers, everything. I wonder how this will look after painting and washes.

I started with the superstructure and funnels. Since I decided to try my hands on rigging, the kit masts are too thin and weak; I replaced the thinner parts with brass rods (Trumpeter sells sets which are useful if you need brass rods in various thickness.)

While the kit is nice, it really is in a need of upgrade: the funnel grilles, the hatches, the ladders and staircases are all in dire need of replacement. Now I have something that looks like a half-sunk ship.

Interestingly the TM grilles are very much different from the GMM ones: the GMM grilles are very simple affairs, and I think they might be incorrect (although I found no photos of the actual ship, only models done by others…). I used the TM ones based on personal preference.

The nature of ship models is such that you need to do sub-assemblies separately: assemble, paint and weather everything, and then put them together.

The superstructure came together really nice. The columns holding the different platform are supposed to go through very fine holes, and the fit is so nice, they actually work. You have to be very attentive because the instructions are not very clear about which holes they should be going through. (The tiny holes sometimes are covered by flash, so observe the parts carefully, and you will be fine.) You can also replace these parts with brass rods, but I found it unnecessary – and I wanted to use as many kit parts as possible. All in all, the detail is great, especially with the PE improvements. The detail on the headlights is quite basic, but in this scale they look fine.

There were some fit issues as can be seen on the white putty; nothing major came up.

One word of advice: the splinter shields on the small platforms were all-chain railings pre-1917, and were later replaced with the solid splinter shields -but not on the aft funnel’s decks… Which I did not realized while building. Now it would be a bit difficult to change them, so they will stay like that. (And the PE railings will stay on the sprue.)

This -and the fact that I do not like the look of the anti-torpedo netting- decided that I will build the ship in a post-Jutland configuration.

More coming up later: turrets and the rest of the small details.

Modelcollect 1/72 E-75 German heavy tank with interior

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As an introduction I have to admit that I love models featuring their interior. (The blog is full of these models…) If I can, I buy aftermarket sets to enhance my models, and obviously I was overjoyed by the recent influx of tanks with full interior by several manufacturers. Modelcollect has been on my radar for a long time now, because I do like to build post-war Soviet armor/trucks, and I also like that the 1/72 scale Modelcollect kits usually come with PE and metal barrels, which is really unusual -and amazing-, and more importantly, I like their prices. When I saw that they were working on a series of tanks with interior included, obviously I became very much interested indeed. I kept checking their online shop to see when these tanks become available, and when the E-50 and E-75 finally did, I immediately went and purchased the E-75.

The first thing I received was a sprue of the top of the hull. That was all I got in the cardboard box, and there was no explanation included. This made me worried for a while as you can imagine, but it took me just an email to clear up the situation: Modelcollect sent out replacement sprues for all the E-75 they sold. Exceptional customer service I’d say. (The reason, as far as I could determine, was that the top hull was somewhat damaged in the original sprue – the back of the engine compartment is a thin plastic strip, and it was bent a little in my sample. Other than that I could not find any differences between the original and the replacement.)

The tank itself is a paper panzer: it never got further than the planning phase. It was planned to use a lot of the Tiger II components, and looks remarkably similar to it. I suspect the model’s interior was designed using the Tiger II as a template – after all German tank designs were quite conservative during the war, so it is a safe bet from Modelcollect. The model is packed in a somewhat thin cardboard box; the box art is a technical drawing of the tank against a black background.

The kit comes with several extra parts you will not use during the building phase; an extra lower turret, two E-50 turrets, and a lot of smaller bits. (This seems to be the case with most Modelcollect kits; my spares box has been filling up lately from the leftovers of the three models I’ve bought.) The introduction on the instructions are taken from the wikipedia page of the E-50. (A mistake obviously.)

The instructions are provided as a foldout on high quality, glossy paper. The steps are outlined well and look clear, but during the building phase I ran into a couple of issues, which I will highlight over the course of the review. None of these issues are deal-breaking, but they did cause me some headache; however if you know about them you will have no problems whatsoever during the build. (I guess this is one of the reasons to read reviews.)

The model also comes with a very large set of PE: apart from interior details and a lot (and I mean a lot) of round disks for the bottom of the ammunition, we also get the back and front mudguards as optional PE parts, and the track guards are included as well. A lot of the PE is not used for the build; I’m honestly not sure what they are for. It’s an intriguing enigma. There is also a small fret for the engine deck grilles, periscope covers and lifting hooks. A third tiny PE fret is also included, which is not used at all. (And not included in the sprue layout section of the instructions, either.) Another mystery; if anyone has the answers, please let me know in the forum. There’s a nice-looking crew included if you want to place them inside the tank; the detail is not as fine as some resin offerings’, but they are still pretty good. The plastic is somewhat fragile. The parts are finely cast, but there is some flash (not a lot), and the detail is OK, but not exceptional.

The interior is not too detailed, unfortunately. I know I’m asking for a lot here, so take this criticism with a grain of salt. The basics are in, but there is a lot more that could have been done. The detail from the firewall is missing completely, and the radio-operator’s station has no detail at all. The seats have no moulded-on detail of padding, and the turret is missing a lot of things (fume extractor, electrical boxes, etc.). Obviously this is a 1/72 scale kit, so the expectations need to be adjusted a bit, but I still would have liked to see a more comprehensive interior. If you plan to build the tank with only the hatches open most of it will be invisible, so it may not be an issue for you -but then why not buy the cheaper version with no interior? I built the model as a cutaway, so for me the more detail the model has, the better. My impression is that originally the tank was not planned with an interior, but it was added to it later. The interior sides of the larger parts (hull, turret, etc.) have no markings where the different interior detail should go, and some hatches are moulded shut. A lot of the PE options look like an afterthought, too, and sometimes surgery is necessary before installing them (I’m thinking of the front and back mudguards mostly).


The first step details the addition of extra track links to the turret; I would leave them off until after the painting is done. The teeth are supposed to be replaced using PE replacements; I’ve left them as they were. (The instructions are not clear about removing the plastic teeth, and they are tiny anyway.)

The second step assembles the turret basket (very nice PE plate), and the third finishes off most of the turret interior and the gun. This is where you run into the first issue: the metal barrel should fit onto a small peg on part A6- but there is no hole drilled into the metal. I cut the peg off and tried to glue the barrel to the plastic base as straight as I could; it’s still a bit wonky if I’m honest. Only after painting -when I was putting the leftover bits into the spares box- did I realize that we actually get a proper mantlet that can fit the metal barrel (A9 instead of A8). This is a recurring problem with the instructions- they seem to have been designed for an all-plastic model, which was modified later to include PE, metal barrel and interior. Unfortunately not all the modifications made their way into the instructions; some did, but this particular one, for example, apparently did not. Regardless now you know, so you can use the correct part.


There are two turret bases included, but the instruction does not give the part number, so I have no idea if I used the right one. This is again a tricky issue. The turret ring on the hull does not have the holes for the interlocking pegs normally moulded onto the ring of the turret itself. These are very well known features of almost all tank models: this is how the turret is locked into place. Upon inspection you will find that one of the turret bases has these little pegs, while the other does not. The latter one would go better with this model, but at the end of the day it makes little difference which one you choose to use. Obviously I used the ones that had them as I did not notice these differences during the building phase…

The turret bottom has moulded-on holders for the gun; these are unnecessary, since the gun comes with its own support-and these details are not featured in the instructions, either. (You just have to cut them off.) Where the gun goes exactly is not marked anywhere, unfortunately; I used the location of the holding pegs I cut away to attach the gun.

Step 4 finishes off the turret exterior: hatches, lifting hooks and everything else. Unfortunately the back access hatch cannot be displayed opened; and the loader’s hatch can only be opened about 90 degrees, because the fume extractor housing is in the way.

Step 5 and 6 work on the upper hull and engine deck: you have an option to cut off the moulded-on mudguard, and substitute it with a PE one (tiny PE part alert). There are also PE guards supplied for the whole length of the tank; this is really nice if you want to show them damaged, bent or missing. I would not add them to the hull at this stage, though -wait until you finished the hull and running gear. (There are no markings where exactly should the tools, towing cables, trackguards go.) The engine deck has nice PE grilles.

None of the engine access hatches or the driver’s/radio operator’s hatches can be opened; this is a shame, since you do get an engine compartment and a driver’s compartment. Unless you are building a cutaway these details will be invisible once you finish the build.

Steps 7-10 detail the assembly of the running gear/tracks. The process is quite easy and straightforward. The E series was not planned to use torsion bars; the special spring suspension is nicely replicated. The positions of swing arms, however, are not very obvious. You can move them up or down, hence adjust the road wheels to any terrain, but the “neutral” setting is not very clear.

The kit comes with link-and-length tracks, which is a very good option for this scale. The links are left and right handed; something the instructions do not say or indicate. You should sort the track links first and then start with the assembly. I cut off the connecting pins from them because it was easier to assemble them (they are a bit clunky and don’t fit very well into their grooves). The number of links necessary for the tracks shown on figure 10 is not correct; you will need at least five extra individual links to finish the complete track.

Step 11-12 shows the assembly of the engine compartment. There is some flash on the lower hull which needs to be removed. The basic layout is created by parts H18 and H4; there are no guiding grooves within the lower hull to help you with the placement. (It’s not difficult to find the correct position, but it would still be nice to have them. The engine is quite detailed little thing, and once finished the whole engine compartment looks pretty good. Some larger pipes can be scratchbuilt if you are so inclined; overall, it’s a really good representation of the real thing in this scale. The problem is that none of it will be visible if you close the engine deck, since the access hatches cannot be displayed open.

Step 13-15 details the assembly of the interior. It is somewhat basic, but generally enough in this scale. The radio operator’s station in quite neglected as I mentioned; if you plan to do a cutaway, best use the driver’s side, or work on your scratchbuilding skills. To make painting easier do not yet glue the bottom of the fighting compartment into the hull; I did, and it made painting somewhat difficult.

Step 16 shows the assembly of the ammo racks; depending on how you want to display the tank you may not need to bother with all the PE disks for the ammunition. The place where part J8 should be placed is not marked on the hull.

Step 17-19 show the assembly of the back armor plate of the tank. The detail is pretty good, but I’m not sure the suggested sequence is correct. You have an option of using a PE mudguard; for this you need to remove the moulded-on plastic part. The instructions would have you attach all the small parts to the panel and then remove the plastic mudguards. Performing this surgery first, and then adding the protruding details might be a better way of doing it. I would also glue the panel to the hull before adding the smaller bits; the fit is tight, and it takes some fiddling to slot it in place. (I generally prefer finishing off the large assemblies first, and then add the details to minimize damage later on; this means I’ve installed this part when I was finished with the tub of the hull and before I installed the interior.)

Step 20 is the final assembly. The top of the hull does not fit perfectly to the bottom which necessitated some sanding on the sides of the lower hull to achieve a good fit. As mentioned at step 1, the turret ring on the hull is perfectly circular; there are no notches that would allow the turret to lock onto the hull. This may be annoying to some, but I think it’s actually a good thing: it allows you to display the tank with the turret off, without having to make those notches disappear. It also means that nothing keeps the turret in place if you don’t glue or magnetize it.

 

Once the assembly was done I’ve chosen a hypothetical (and funky looking) camo pattern; I did not like the plain dunkelgelb suggested by the assembly. I tried to make weathering as realistic as possible: as usual I applied some filters to “unify” the colors, and after washes, I painted paint-chips, scratches and rust streaks onto the tank. The streaks were done in several layers in several colors: from blackish to rust, representing dirt, dust and rust streaks. As a final step I dabbed some pigments on the horizontal surfaces to simulate dust.

Overall the detail is good, the subject is great (depending on your preferences, of course), and the interior is a very welcome bonus. What really lets the model down is the instructions; as I pointed it out several times they are not very good at certain steps, and at others they are flat out wrong. This is not a deal-breaker; especially if are aware of the weak areas. The model, as I mentioned, was improved from an all-plastic version. The design of the “base” pieces, the several extra parts, and the somewhat mangled instructions all seem to point to this direction. There is nothing wrong with improving existing models; I just wish the instructions were improved to the same level as the model itself was. It is certainly not a bad model by any measures I have to add; in fact I quite like it, and I’m really looking forward to building the T-80 I have in my stash -and the T-72 with interior still to be issued.

Conclusion

To sum up: what can you use this model for? As I mentioned it a couple of times already, if you just build it out of the box, most of the interior detail will not be visible. In this case you are better off ordering the non-interior version. (This is a very good idea MiniArt seems to be adopting, too: a budget version for most people, and a “premium” version with interior for the more unhallowed model builders.)

The interior version is a very good option if you plan to build a damaged tank, or a tank under repair. For these purposes this model offers an incredible deal, since it is relatively inexpensive, and has enough detail to showcase it with the turret lifted off with a crane. If you want to add more detail, you can use the Tiger II as a guide and either scratchbuild the missing detail, or adopt one of the aftermarket resin interior sets available for the Tiger I. I think Modelcollect could have gone a bit further with detail even if it means an increase of price: after all, there is a cheaper alternative available, and this was always going to be a niche product, so why not go all the way? Regardless if would like to build something special; this is definitely a good model to grab.

1/35 ESCI 7.5-cm l.I.G. 18

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Another old build finished… This is the model of a 75mm light infantry howitzer used by the German army.

The model is quite hold- it’s older than I am in fact, from 1976. I got it as a present from a friend years ago, back in the US, started to build it halfheartedly, and put it away in 2009 half-finished when I moved over to the UK. It was made of cheap-looking bring green plastic (similar color to the Army Men toys), and was not exactly inspiring me to finish it. It received a panzer grey coat, and that was it.

It’s incredible how much presentation matters with models. The “Eastern European” 1/72 kits (UM, Attak, etc) look pretty shabby and amateurish unpainted. Flash everywhere, the plastic is not the best, the attachment gates are thick… and usually the plastic has weird, uneven colors – nothing to drive you to press on with the build. Case to the point: my KV-2 build. It had a strange, toy-like feel to it unpainted, but once I applied the primer coat, it’s all gone, and suddenly you have a pretty detailed model in your hands. Whereas a professionally packaged kit with crisp details and good looking instructions can just make you want to drop everything and start building it. I might be shallow, I know, but presentation matters.

I dug it out three years ago from a box in my mother’s attic; by that time one of the wheels broke off. I brought it with me to the UK, but it was kept in a box forgotten and unloved. About two months ago I got fed up with stalled projects; so the SiG got a new lease in life. Since it was the quickest to finish, I thought I’d start with it. I drilled a hole where the wheel axis was, re-attached the wheel with an evergreen plastic rod, and started weathering the gun. It’s not a very detailed model (the breach assembly, the optics are very much simplified), but it’s detailed enough.

First step was a couple of light coat of blue filter; which was followed by some dark brown pin washes.

Once everything dried I added some lightened base-coat to the raised details and edges as highlights.

I tried a couple of AK products on this build; after all this seemed like an ideal opportunity to practice – if I improve the looks, fine; if I mess up the build, then that’s fine, too.

I did some streaking using different streaking products. Add a dot using a small brush, and used a moist (almost dry) wide brush with downward motion to form the steaks. I also added rust-streaks with the same method. I also added earth effects to the bottom of the gun shield and the carriage. I was reluctant before to use this particular product, as the contrast seemed high when I applied it. Once it’s semi-dry, you can (and should) remove, adjust the pigments with a moist brush. After drying the contrast will be much smaller, and the effect more realistic.

I also tried some of the dust effect products around the rivets and whatnot; they work reasonably well. To be honest using oil paints and pigments diluted with alcohol/white spirit/water is still a better option, but I might just be too old school for this.

As finishing touches I used Tamiya’s make-up set to add more dust and some metallic shine to the gun.

Is it a good model? Not particularly. It was nice, however, to finally finish the build. I built up a small stash when in the US, and it feels good to finally start building these models. (Even though a lot of them are somewhat outdated; we finally have a King Tiger with full interior in plastic, and MiniArt’s T-55 is coming also with full interior, I still feel good about finishing them.)