Tag Archives: weathering

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.

Turpentin alternatives

A quick post about turpentine alternatives (mostly as a note to myself).

Turpentine is smelly, but more importantly, it is also quite toxic -not to mention flammable. (Even the odorless terpenoid is quite toxic. Aromatic compounds are not good for your health as a general rule.) However, since oil paints are part and parcel of scale modelling, not to mention enamel-based weathering products (such as AK’s  and Mig’s  weathering range), you are forced to use it. (I am still experimenting with water-based oils.)

I found two viable alternatives, which I would like to share. While they are certainly better than the original, they are still not healthy for you. It is still important to have proper ventilation.

Zest-It

I have been using Zest-It for diluting oil paints, prepare washes, apply filters, and cleaning brushes. Perfectly serviceable – I can only recommend it.

Turpenoid Natural

Now, just because “natural” is in the name, does not make it healthy. (Arsenic is quite natural, too, after all.) I have not had the chance to use it, but once I run out of Zest-It, I will probably give it a go. It claims to be non-toxic and non-flammable, which, in my book, makes it an acceptable compromise even if the performance is inferior to turpentine’s. (It does mention a maximum mix ratio, which suggests to me that it may not perform as well as the good ole’ turpentine,

Hobby Boss 1/35 EBR-10 Part 3. -Muddying things up

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The mud was created using Tamiya’s concerete textured paint as a base with lots of earth colored pigments and some static grass and sand added. The first batch was prepared using washable dust by Ammo, though – this represents the dried mud under all the subsequent layers. The next batch was created by adding different (and subsequently darkening) earth colored pigments; after application, as usual, I used a wet brush to adjust the effect, to remove some mud from some places, to move clumps around, and to subtly mix the different layers together. Once the lower hull and the wheels were dirtied up, I glued the wheels on.

The products for the mud I used were the following: Tamiya basing paste (concrete), Vallejo splashed mud, different earth colored pigments and sand with static grass.

(I know it is a lot… I accumulated them over the years, and never really gave them a proper tryout. It is the perfect opportunity I guess.)

If there is one fault of the kit is the tiny connection point between the axes and the wheels. It was really annoying to constantly re-gluing the whells, because the pin holding them was tiny and did not create a strong enough hold.

The last step was adding a couple of mud splashes using the above mixtures diluted with water, and a stiff old brush.

The top of the hull and the turret got some dust (washable dust by Ammo Mig, rainmarks by Vallejo), and pretty much it was it. While I do appreciate the Vallejo weathering products, as they are not solvent-based, they are more difficult to apply properly. The high surface tension of the water in them means they do not spread so easily, and they form tide marks very readily when applied to a dry surface directly. The best way I found to use them was to wet the surface, dilute the products somewhat, and keep feathering the edges of the patches so that the very marked tide-marks do not form. The key is to build up the effect in light layers. Using directly from the bottle will not yield good results.

The middle wheels were painted using AK’s True Metal paint to resemble the worn metallic surface. The same paint was used with dry brushing over some of the surfaces. The model got an overall flat coat (especially the canvas cover on the turret), and the edges were lined with silver pencil.

I did add a lot of petrol spill around the caps, but since the model was over-done, anyway, I really wanted to go the whole nine yards. Always wanted to do one of those over-weathered models… While they are certainly not realistic, they do look good. Mine looks like that the only reason why it does not fall apart due to the extensive rusting, or bursts into flames due to the gallons of spilled gasoline is the incredible amount of mud that holds the whole thing together…

I am not entirely satisfied with the results, but overall I quite like how it turned out.

By the way, the freaking wheels keep breaking off due to the tiny connecting pins snapping every time I handle the model. I gave up and used green stuff to fix them in place.

Takom Sd.Kfz. 171. Panther Ausf A part 9. Finished

In-box comparison

Takom build so far

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4.

Part 5. 

Part 6.

Part 7.

Part 8.

Well, the second Panther is finished, too. There were things I liked better in the RFM model, but overall the experience was much more pleasurable with the Takom kit. I did not go overboard with the weathering: some rust, some streaking, some dust; nothing major. I still need to figure out how to display the interior best -a cutaway would have been the best option. Next time…

The last thing to finish now is that third Panther waiting for me since 2006…

Rye Fields Panther Ausf G – part 8. Finished Model

In-box comparison

Rye Fields build so far

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Part 5.

Part 6.

Part 7.

Well, the model is finished -at least I decided to stop. The masks have come off – the results are OK, but not as good as I expected. Some weathering was done, but not much, beforehand, and I sprayed on a coat of flat varnish before touching the mask.

There will be another post with the Takom Panther, and a final one comparing them; and finally these kits are finished. With the RFM Panther I felt the model was actively fighting me several times; it is a very ambicious model, but it sure has its shortcomings. More on that in a final comparison post.

Rye Fields Panther Ausf G – part 7. -Finishing up the exterior

Chieftain’s article on the Panther in French service is very informative; this video sums it up pretty well, if you don’t have time to read it. (By the way, the Bovingdon Panther was one option I was considering, having seen it first-hand. I don’t see myself building yet another Panther -especially that I have a Takom Jagdpanther on my shelf waiting to be built- but if I do, it will be in this setup.)

I tried to find photos of Panthers in French service, but there are not many around. I suspect this light yellow color could be a light version of dunkelgelb (AK Interactive has one).

In-box comparison

Rye Fields build so far

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Part 5.

Part 6.

I decided to use masking fluid on parts of the chassis and turret I wanted to keep transparent, and use the ivory interior color as a primer -this way I only have to paint one surface, making masking and painting simpler, although the interior would be gloss as a tradeoff.

What I did not count on was the upper plate on the front. This is a two-part affair; for some reason (techniqual I suspect) you have to glue a transparent plate over the transparent upper hull. For obvious reasons I was very careful with the amount of glue I used as I did not want the glue sweep between the plates -capillary forces are not very helpful as they would drag the glue over a large distance. Which they did in a couple of areas.

Well, they dragged the masking fluid as well as you can see (the white area in the front). Fortunately this is exactly where the large French ensign will go, but I would have preferred not to have to worry about it.

Once the masking fluid was dry, I proceeded to use AK’s Cremeweiss (which I reviewed) almost straight, with very little thinner. It went on better than I thought it would. (I was worried about the gloss surface and the fact that I spray white.) It really gripped the plastic well; I was very happy to see the results.

Next coat: AK Interactive dark yellow primer, followed by Mig’s Dunkelgelb.

The decals were custom-made. They went on once the paint dried, and now the model is ready for the running gear and weathering. I will keep the masking on until I am done with weathering and adding a flat varnish – I am quite tense about how this will turn out in the end.

I painted the roadwheels, finished and painted the tracks, and installed them. RFM does give you the option to leave the drive wheel off -the axle it goes onto is detailed, not just a peg sticking out. It is a shame to cover it up.

Added the spare track links (some of the PE brackets were lost during the handling of the model… damn), the tools and painted everything.

Overall it is getting there. Everything is attached -except for the AAA gun, which I suspect would not have been used by the French- and now it is “only” the weathering and the painting of the small details are left. The last step will be the removal of the mask… which is really a stressful thought.

Perhaps not that stressful.

Takom Sd.Kfz. 171. Panther Ausf A part 8. Finishing and weathering…

 

In-box comparison

Takom build so far

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4.

Part 5. 

Well, the finish line… I do not want to do a very heavy weathering, but I do want to make the tank looked used -after all it is a captured vehicle.

The turret itself will be light on weathering, since it was re-painted “recently”.

I did some experimentation with Italery’s black wash, and a mixture of Vallejo’s dust washes with some pigments added to the mixture; the results are kind of pleasing to the eye -grimy, dirty, but not overdone. (Truth be told, the black wash completely disappears under the dirty…)
Acrylic washes are interesting: it does run into details as pinwash, but you do need a wet brush to remove the residue from the surfaces you want to keep clean. Overall I like it – the disadvantages are balanced by the lack of organic solvent.

I used the remaining of the mixture on the Zimmerit after diluting it with water; it worked as a nice wash/dirt combo. I concentrated most of it on the lower parts, but made sure some got to the top of the hull, too.

I did add an overall wash using Mig’s Dark Wash to accentuate the Zimmerit pattern, but to my shock the turpentine alternative (ZestIt) I use simply lifted the Mig Ammo paint up. I suspect normal turpentine would have done the same. I never had an issue with Tamiya paints, so I think I will stick to those in the future. Regardless it created a nice chipped look, so perhaps it is something to remember for the future.

It is a sort of Bob Ross moment.

Takom provides a rig for assembling the tracks, which is really nice of them; it does make the job simpler. I assembled sections of the tracks, and painted them with dark grey primer as a base.

https://imgur.com/QKwJkdP

 

Installation is simple, but it takes time – I had to wait for the glue to set before I could move on to install the next section of tracks/idlers/drive wheels.

 

It is not completely done yet but getting there. I added some tools, the AAA machine gun and other small bits… the problem of having little time to build, and building an almost 2000 part model is that sometimes things get left off. Well, now it is time to make good for these little slips.

Once these are painted up, the engine deck is weathered and some dust is added to the model, I will declare it to be finished. One more post I guess.

Rye Fields Panther Ausf G – part 6. finishing up the interior

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In-box comparison

Rye Fields build so far

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

The turret looks great with the transparent parts; it really saved me the headache I had with the Takom turret. (Not much can be seen from the outside.)

Before I closed up the hull I needed to finish the engine -but once that was done, hallelujah! – the hull is closed! The nightmare is ending! Now it is merely another 1000 parts to finish the outside of the tank, and then I can start painting it. As mentioned in the previous post, it will be painted in French service. I already have the decals printed.

Well, not so much finished as only getting there… a lot of small details are still to be added.

So I spent another few hours doing just that…

Another unpleasant experience (actually two):

  1. the hose leading from the turret basket to the extraction fan is rigid, and needs to be assembled from two parts –after the turret interior is fit together. Yeah, good luck with that. The fit was not good, and while I was fiddling with fitting the second part in, I managed to break off the first one coming from the top of the turret. Takom solved this with a flexible hose – I suspect if you build this model, you should find a flexible alternative, too. (Unless you love keyhole surgery, and your family members do not mind strong words.)
  2. The top of the hull does not fit well. I mean I got used to fit issues, so it does not surprise me, but this model does not even have side-skirts that would hide the problem. It does have the mounting brackets for them, though… maybe it would be a good idea to buy some PE aftermarket?

Regardless, most of the small details are attached to the exterior (some extremely small parts are still to be added, as well as the front mudguards), so painting can finally commence.

Now the problem of masking. (This is what I was dreading all these two years of building this model.)