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Friday, 31 August 2012

Zvezda 15mm Sdkfz 222 - Part Two

Painting the diminutive Sdkfz 222 armoured car followed my usual method for early war German Armour.

Step 1.  Spray paint the model in white primer. In this case I'd already fixed the finished model to its textured mdf base.
Step 2. Paint the entire model Vallejo Dark Grey and the base Earth Brown.
Step 3. Paint the Dark Grey areas with Vallejo Sepia Wash. Then paint the tyres Black
Step 4. Heavily dry-brush the model with slightly lightened Dark grey.
Step 5. Now lightly dry-brush the raised detail, and the textured base, with Vallejo Sand.
Step 6. Pick out the details like the exhausts, lights and the spade and the add decals - surplus from Dragon 1/144 models
Step 7. Spray firstly with GW Purity Seal, followed (when dry) with Army Painter Matt Coat spray. Finally add static grass.
And there we are, a cracking little model of a popular vehicle.
Left Side View

Top view
Front View
Rear View

A challenging model compared to, say the T34/76, but rewarding all the same.

Thoroughly recommended.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Zvezda 15mm T34/76 - Part Two

I thought I'd write this report as a step by step painting guide, which may (or may not!) be of some use to those reading the blog.

STEP 1:- Undercoat the model in white. I use GW, Vallejo or Army Painter aerosol paint because it covers well, in an even - not too thick coat - and dries quickly. Ultimately the model will be based. In the picture the model is stood loosely on its 40 x 80mm mdf base. To prepare the base it was coated with Vallejo Grey Pumice which when dry, was painted with Earth Brown acrylic paint and finally dry brushed with Vallejo Sand.
STEP 2:- As this is the only Russian model I was finishing, I chose to brush paint it rather than use the airbrush. It was finished in Vallejo Russian Green, which had been slightly thinned with Vallejo Thinners. The paint dried thin in some places (you can see the lighter areas showing through on the turret for instance) but this is of no consequence for the stages to follow.
STEP 3:- The next stage was to paint the entire model in Vallejo Sepia Wash. This settles in the crevices and pools around raised detail to give an impression of shadow and collected dirt.
STEP 4:- The track detail was picked out in slightly thinned Vallejo Light Grey
STEP 5:- Now all the wash covered, green painted, areas are dry brushed with slightly lightened (with white) Vallejo Russian Green. Done with a soft flat ended brush, the aim is to get the paint to adhere to all raised areas and large open spaces (i.e. hull sides).
STEP 6:- To pick out the detail the entire model was now dry-brushed with Vallejo Sand. I use a flat ended nylon bristled brush I bought from Hobbycraft as part of a 6 brush set for £4. Make sure the brush is liberally coated with paint and then brush it off onto a tissue until no more appears to be coming off. Then the brush will be ready to leave just the slightest hint of highlight on all edges and raised detail.
STEP 7:- Nearly there now! The finishing touches begin with coating the tracks in Vallejo Fleshtone Wash to simulate rust. When this has dried it will also get a dry-brushing of Vallejo Sand. Next pick out the tools, spare track links and towing cable in grey & brown followed by a Sepia Wash. The exhausts were painted to simulate rust - using brick red followed by Vallejo Smoke Glaze. The simple red stars were hand drawn with pencil and then painted free had in GW Blood Red. The model was attached to its base with PVA adhesive and left to dry.
STEP 8:- All that's left to get the model read for the table is to spray a coat of GW Purity Seal to protect the paintwork followed by (when dry!) a spray coat of Army Painter Matt Coat to dull the finish down. When all was dry an bit of PVA on the base with some static grass and the model's finished.
Below are a few more shots of the finished model. In the final part I'll compare the Zvezda T34 to the PSC example.
Top View
Side View

Front View
Rear View

Monday, 13 August 2012

PSC 15mm Panther - Part One

So far I've built the PSC 15mm T34's, Pzkfw IV's, Sdkfz 251/D's and the Russian Infantry. So I consider myself to be a major fan of the series.

One thing I'd always wanted was the option to buy the vehicles individually - I can even remember debating this with Will Townsend at Crusade 2011.

Therefore when the reinforcements range of single sprue bagged kits was announced, I was very pleased.
However am I the only person who thinks at £5 a shot I'm having the mickey taken out of me just a little bit?

Now currently the PSC Panther, the subject of this article, cost £17.95 for a box of five. Excellent value at £3.59 a piece! How come buying one on it's own in a plastic bag with no instructions warrants a £1.41 premium? See what I'm getting at?

Anyway, I didn't need 5 Panthers so there was only one thing for it and I bought a single one at £5 from the Hereford Model shop.
All the parts come on a single sprue of sand coloured hard polystyrene. As ever they are cleanly moulded and offer loads of alternatives.
As stated above, there are no instructions with the kit. In many cases from PSC this would not be a big issue as the model is self-explanatory. However this model will build up as either the Ausf A, D or G and as a consequence includes two hulls and various other ancillary bits and pieces.
It is good then that all the PSC instruction sheets are available on their website to download and print off. I'd decided to build the Ausf G (the red bits in the diagram above) as I already have a Forged in Battle Panther Ausf G to go with it.
Top Tip: - emery boards for 30p from SuperDrug to clean up where the bits have been removed from the sprue.
I built the model as a series of sub-assemblies as suggested on the instructions starting with the turret.
Be careful to follow the instructions and glue the rear plate in before the turret base. The main gun barrel had the muzzle brake drilled out with a 2mm bit twisted between finger and thumb.

The anti-aircraft MG34 had a little bit of flash to be cleaned off from around the butt and then glued into the mount that was part of the commander's cupola ring. I decided this was too exposed and delicate - unlikely to survive the rigours of a good wargame - so I cut it off.
Next up were the track units. Starting with the drive sprockets glued in place so the outer face was clear of teeth.
Then add the upper track length. This is shaped to go around the rear idler and simulate a degree of sag running up to the drive sprocket. Just behind the drive sprocket you can see a quite prominent ejector pin mark, which is a shame.
Then stick the bottom track length in place. The inner edge of which should be flush with the rear of the wheels.
Now the hull top assembly. This needed two sides, two hull hatches, a rear plate, spare aerial container, exhausts and hull MG to be fitted in place. The sides incorporate nice pioneer tool detail. There is a half figure you can place in either the driver or MG gunner position if you wish as the hatches are separate and there's a void beneath where they fit.
Note the raised cooling fan mount of the left rear hull. The key identifying feature of the Ausf G.
The rear plate takes the combined exhaust assembly which also had the holes opened up with a drill bit to add to the reality.
This left me with four completed sub-assemblies and a hull floor.
First job is to fix the hull floor to the hull top assembly. The rear plate has a small lip at the base which just wraps around the hull floor to hold things together very well.
Next glue a track unit each side of the hull - you can't get this wrong they'll only fit one way round.

And that's it. Just drop on the turret and that's the Panther finished.
There are a few extras you can use if you wish to enhance / personalise your AFV. There are two jerrycans, tool boxes, track links and "Bazooka" plates.
I chose just to add a few track links to the hull rears and the bazooka plates. The latter should make painting the finished vehicle a little simpler (less tracks) and also serve the purpose of hiding the ejector pin mark mentioned above.
And there you are, a rather nice little rendition of the Panther Ausf G.

As ever, a pleasure to assemble, leading to what seems to be a robust little model (AA Mg aside!)...now to get this and all those other vehicles painted.

To be continued.................

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Zvezda 15mm T34/76 - Part One

I bought myself the PSC T34's when I first saw them back in January 2011. I thought then (and still do) that the advent of 1/100 quick build models was one of the most exciting Wargaming innovations of recent years.

I enjoyed the build and made it my first ever build report. I also know from the blogger stats that this is my most visited page, so I guess an awful lot of you must feel the same.

I'm probably more of a modeller at heart than a wargamer, so building the PSC T34 seemed a breeze. However I've seen posts since that comment on the level of assembly with PSC kits and how long it takes to get them to the table.

Well I bought myself the Zvezda T34/76 the other day........now this is a totally different kettle of fish!
As ever, the kit is boxed with artwork on the front and some details and shots of an exploded + finished model on the back.
Inside there was a sheet of simple assembly instructions and a single sprue of slightly flexible plastic parts - 5 in total (less the Art of Tactic flag)!
Now for the ultra-quick assembly brigade this bodes well when compared to the PSC version which contains a minimum of 15 parts to come up with the same vehicle.
Cleaning the parts up requires a very sharp knife and a lot of care. You can't easily file or sand this material; cutting off the excess is the only answer. To be honest a write up of building this model would only insult your intelligence! It is simplicity itself and takes seconds.
And, as you can see, the finished article is impressive.

This version is (to me anyway) the more common 1940 model, whereas the PSC model contains parts for the 1943 model as well as the later 85mm armed turret. Detail as ever is more than just adequate and I'm sure the kit will paint up well. So I'd better get on with it then...........

To be continued................

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Zvezda 15mm Sdkfz 222 Armoured Car - Part One

When I saw the new 15mm releases from Zvezda I was excited to find they'd taken the plunge and modelled the little German Sdkfz 222 Armoured Car.

I've loved the shape of this AFV ever since I first made the Tamiya 1/35th version in the 1970's.
As ever the model comes packed in a cardboard carton which displays both evocative artwork and three views of the finished model.
Inside the carton, the model is on two quite busy sprues of grey plastic.
Moulded in a harder plastic than some of the the earlier kits in this range.
As you can see from the pics this is quite a "complex" model compared to some (see the T34 build I'll be covering next!)
So it's a good job they've included a quite detailed assembly instruction leaflet!
Close examination of the parts revealed that there was no flash, but one of the stub axles was broken off. This could easily happen when the carton was packed, and was solved by gluing a short length of plastic rod in it's place (see arrowed above)
Step One: - Assemble central strut
Step Two: Then assemble the chassis adding the 4 stub axles
The four inner wings with moulded on suspension and stub axle are quite fiddly to fit. There's no risk of getting them mixed up because they will only fit one corner. I've used ordinary polystyrene cement on the assembly even though you can get away with just snapping the kit together - I guess I just like the added security. One thing to watch out for though, put too much cement on one of the location pins and they wont push fully into their respective location holes!
Step Three: join the previous two sub assemblies together to make the base of the vehicle.
You can see the underside here. Quite good chassis detail.
Step Four: Assemble the body
Now I tried to fit the two sides first and then the hull top. This didn't work! I think next time I'll fit the hull top first and then the two sides after.
The two sides attached
The sides are actually quite fiddly to fit as well. I found it easiest to locate the rear pins (furthest from the camera in the photo above) first, followed by the centre and finally the front pins.
The hull top attached
To complete the hull all that remained was to fit the two small storage bins on the doors and the five wheels (one covered spare and four road wheels).
Step Five: having completed the hull, assemble the turret.
Finally all that's left is to assemble the turret. This is simply a case of gluing the combined 20mm /7.92mm gun mount (with moulded on anti-grenade netting) to the single piece turret. Simples!
Finished model with Forged in Battle figure for scale
And that's it. The turret is a secure fit and rotates nicely. The model looks small against over sized metal 15mm figures, but I'm sure its correctly to scale. I think it looks great.
Based and ready for undercoating
If I had any criticisms, it would be that the model seems a little over complex for a "snap together" kit. Probably in the same way their Sdkfz 251 was a little fiddly too.

Don't get me wrong, it's not beyond anyone to assemble, just a little challenging for the very young (Or old for that matter).

When finished the parts aren't a perfect fit - there are gaps that you can see light through. I think that painting will overcome this...we shall see.

To be continued...........