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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.


Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Part 5.

With adding some more rust, some dust and filling up the cab and roof rack the with the missing equipment and cargo, I call this vehicle done.

It is honestly great that MiniArt and other plastic model manufacturers venture into the more unique and obscure subject territory. Previously if it was not a Sherman or Tiger (with some exaggeration) you were out of luck -only very expensive kits or conversions by resin manufacturers were available. So while I would love to build the new General Motor CMP C60X by Resicast I will never be able to afford it; this model gave me something similar I actually can. We truly live in a golden age of scale modelling.

Review: Takom 1/72 Chieftain Mk.10 part 1

Well, since I have a lot of other projects running, why not start another one? (I spent a week in Tokaj taking the family to my father-in-law, so I took a box with me to work on during the evenings.)

The box contains two versions of the Chieftain -only marginally different ones at that. I chose the Mk 10 because I like the camo on the box (and I will probably hate my life trying to paint it but it remains to be seen).

The model is OK with an important caveat. People at Takom should realize that a 1/72 model is not a down-sized 1/35. There need to be compromises made. This model builds up like a 1/35 model and sometimes it made me curse. A lot. When you pick up a Revell, Modelcollect, etc. 1/72 kit, it builds up into a nice, small but detailed model without the itsy-bitsy parts. Well, this does not. Just check out the instructions of the 1/72 and the 1/35 versions by Takom… in some cases the 1/72 is actually better the better model. (Just check out the gun barrel on the 1/35 model…) Better but with very, very tiny parts – it is essentially, a scaled-down 1/35 model. I had plans for the second one: perhaps build it for a different camo, or hand it over to a fifteen year old cousin of mine, but I can’t imagine how a relative beginner would fare with this model, and I can’t see myself building a second one of these… (The results ARE spectacular, though, so it is not to say the model is bad, but perhaps not for me a second helping.)

Anyhow, after much frustration I finished the build. There are a few things not attached yet because I could not mask the necessary areas with them on. We will see how fun it will be to paint it.


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Part 2.

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Attached the rack to the top, and then painted and weathered all the baggage.

This essentially concluded the building process. Some adjustments here and there are still done, but the model is essentially ready. The smaller details will be added in the upcoming week (or two), and I will post the result. Some oil cans, gas cylinders are missing still, but I think the weathering is finished, so once they are installed, the model will be officially ready, too.

Overall I would say this is an interesting subject, a relatively well designed model, with the caveat of the assembly of the chassis, the running gear and the bonnet.


Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

The doors were weathered inside and out. I used oils straight to modulate their colors from the inside, some dark and rush washes to make them look used. I chose two of the posters and glued them onto the back door. I used a very faint rust wash on the seams – using rust colored pigments suspended in ZestIt.

The outside got several layers of splashed mud using the same basic mixture of dust colored pigments, AK’s resin thickening agent, and water with other colored pigments added between applications. I used the usual method of splattering this mixture onto the model with the help of an old brush and a toothpick. The secret of realistic looking result is several, almost invisible layers on top of each other; just swamping the surface with a single dust/mud color will make the model look, well, not good, as I experienced it when I started using pigments and other products, expecting to see the same results as can be seen on the packaging.

The top of the bus got a much lighter mixture of dust colored pigments. I used both AK’s pencils and Tamiya’s dust weathering stick to achieve the effect. The good thing about these products is that you can just add them onto the surface with a copious amount of water, wait until they dry, and then use a wet brush to adjust the effect to your heart’s content.

I also dusted up the windows a bit; after all you can’t expect them to be completely clean if the vehicle is dusty.

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.


Part 1.

Part 2.

OK, I finished all the little details, added everything, and it looks pretty cool. I have to say I am very pleased with the results… it is now time to hide them.

The headlights were painted with the chrome paint from Green Stuff World. The thing is simply amazing. It looks just like liquid chrome.

I closed down the top of the vehicle, and painted the exterior in dunkelgelb. I used liquid mask on the windows, but the mask was way too thin, and on some places the paint actually stuck to the transparent plastic; it took some care to remove it without scratching the windows. The few remaining scratches will be covered up with dust. (Yes, I admit it. We all do it, right?)

You can clearly see where the hooks for the ladder broke off… Beh. Looking at the photos one of the front wheels look wobbly; this was a damage occupred during the handling of the model. As I said before, the attachment point is not exactly robust. I also found a curious issue: the rectangular transparent plastic on the top of the windshield does not actually fit into the rectangular hole. I might just leave it out – the new users (Germans) would not need the number sign on their captured bus.

All the juicy details are now hidden inside; I feel quite conflicted about it; I probably should have done something to make the top removable.

Next up: weathering and finishing the model. I hope.

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.


Part 1.

OK, so I am pressing ahead with the back of the bus, and had faced some serious issues with the front…

As the manual has you put the bonnet, the radiator, the front of the cab together at very different steps, there will be misalignements. Small problems snowball into larger ones, ending up like this: the front of the cab is pushed back by the back of the engine compartment, the radiator will be pushed front, and the side panels of the engine compartment will not fit.

Yeah. It does not fit.

So I took the whole bloody thing away, and put it back together again, this time as one unit. I also had to shave off about 3mm of the back of the engine compartment (the unit built in step 28) so that it does not put H8 (the front part of the cab) back. This way I managed to fit the side panels of the engine compartment. Victory.

Back to the back.

I built and painted the workbenches. They got a coat of light grey, then a coat of worn effects fluid, followed by dunkelgelb, worn down, applied varnish, applied worn effect fluid, applied Nato black, worn down again. I painted a couple of drawers in red and blue, and then using AK’s old wood I painted chips, scratches, and the wood panels that are visible under the worn paint.

From here on it was the matter of adding some dripping paint (stole the idea), dust, some more paint, and some oil and whatnot which you would expect on a workbench. I kinda like the achieved result.

I also started to fill up the interior; I have to say it is actually a fun thing to do, despite of my earlier reservations.

I realized a sprue was missing from my box, contacted MiniArt, and they sent me a replacement. Great customer service I have to say.

I have a couple of smaller wrenches, etc. left, and then I can close the bus, and start working on the outside. I have to say this build is much more fun than I expected, and I had already had high expectations…