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Sunday, 25 May 2014

Plastic Soldier Company 15mm Stuart Light Tank

The Hereford Model Centre has a box around the back that contains a small selection of PSC single sprue kits for £5. The choice doesn't change too often, but a few weeks ago I spotted both the Stuart and Cromwell kits, so I grabbed them quick.
The Stuart sprue intrigued me as it contains no less than three different upper hulls and two sets of tracks. This got me thinking......
Some years ago at a Military Vehicle rally I saw a couple of Stuarts modified into turret less Recce Vehicles armed with just a .50 cal. This was a wartime conversion that made the vehicle silhouette lower and more stealthy, and as the 37mm was by then totally ineffective, the .50 cal was more than adequate for self defence. Now could I build one of these with the left over spares parts on the sprue....
My first plan involved making a copy of the lower hull using my magic mould stuff.
This stuff goes soft in hot water and the sets in the fridge. Now I can fill the mould with Green Stuff and I'll a new lower hull!
A good idea? Maybe, but I couldn't get the blooming new hull out in one piece! So back to the drawing board.
I was actually making life harder than I needed to. I opted to make my Stuart without dust guards so selecting the two track lengths with mud guards and the unwanted early style upper hull I assembled a "hollow" Stuart hull. When it was set, I very simply cut a new floor from plasticard and glued it in. Then I cut more card to fill in the front glacis and the rear engine doors....simples!
I trimmed the inner edge of the turret ring to remove the turret retaining lip and fitted a .50 cal from the spares box. The Culin hedgerow device from the kit was added to hide my home made floor.
The large storage box was added at the rear to hide the rear plate I'd added along with three jerrycans from the Sdkfz251 kit. And there you have it, your very own Stuart Recce Tank!

The Stuart itself went together very well. I built the turret first. The seven parts were beautifully engraved.
The kit included a commander figure but I opted to fit a spare Battlefront item. There is also a lovely little .30 cal mg.
The rest of the kit went together in a couple of minutes. With a little bit of work I had two kits for the price of one!
I made a crew figure for the Recce Tank with another Battlefront tank commander with PSC Russian officers legs.
Both Tanks were finished in a similar fashion to the T35. The white star decals came from QRF Miniatures.
The bases are mdf covered in Vallejo Pumice, painted earth brown and dry brushed Iraqui Sand.
Two cracking additions to the Allied cause. A bargain when you take into account you get two vehicles for £5 and a little bit of work that any one with a bit of modelling ability could achieve.

Very much recommended!


Zvezda 1/100 T35 Heavy Tank

Here's another model I'd always wanted, thanks to Gerald Scarborough's Airfix Guide to Tank and AFV Modelling where he scratch built one in 1/76. His T35 used tracks the Airfix centurion and wheels from an Airfix Churchill, the rest being entirely built from plastic are and rod. I really liked the look of this multi-turreted monster, but it was beyond my modelling skills then. Now thanks to Zvezda I can have one in the collection, albeit in 1/100 scale.
The kit comes on two sprues and includes assembly instructions
The parts are moulded in dark green hard plastic and the kit can be either snap-fit assembled or glued as I chose to.
I found that the hull top needed a bit of help while the glue dried, so snap-fitting might not produce quite such a good finish?
Even in 15mm scale the finished article is impressive.
To finish it I sprayed the entire vehicle Vallejo Russian Green, followed when dry by a coat of Vallejo Sepia Wash. After 24 hours I dry brushed overall with slightly lightened Russian Green before picking out the details.
Tool heads and tracks are painted light grey. I then wash the tracks with Vallejo Flesh Wash. Once dry I wash again this time with Vallejo Black Wash. This dries to give a rusty metallic look that I like.
The tool handles are picked out in brown paint an I I hand painted red stars on the main turret (after I'd drawn them in pencil first). The real vehicle would have a large circular tubular aerial around the turret top (see the box art) but this is not represented on this simple wargaming model. If you wanted this level of detail it wouldn't be too hard to add, but I can sort of understand why they've left it off, though the MGs are very finely moulded so it's not like they aren't prepared to do detail like this?

All in all a very impressive model that looks most imposing alongside my T34's and a bargain at only £3!

Why the newer Abrams, T72 etc. are £6.50 I'll never know?

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Zvezda 1/100 Matilda Tanks.

Lloyd Next on the list were the two versions of the Matilda Infantry Tank that Zvezda have recently released for their early war version of Art of Tactics.
The Matilda II will be popular for both early and desert war scenarios. This kit is back to Zvezda at their simplest best. Only 9 parts in total!
Moulded in a hard, sand coloured plastic, the parts come on two sprues.
First up came the turret. Just three parts - turret, mantelet and cupola.
The lower hull parts could be clipped together, but I glue them just to be sure.
Once completed it just needs the upper hull and rear panel adding.
There it is finished. You can see from the figures in the background that this is a small vehicle. I think the kit really captures the classic shape of the Matilda. Another winner from Zvezda.
It's tiny predecessor, the Matilda I, is a favourite of mine. I've always wanted a model of one since reading Gerald Scarbourough's Airfix Guide to AFV Modelling in the 70's where he scratch built one using two rear suspension units from Airfix Halftracks!
This time there's only 6 parts! All on one sand coloured sprue.
It was so simple I took all the parts off the sprue in one go.
The hull is made up of three parts. The picture shows the bottom two assembled just waiting for the upper, third part to be added.
All that's left is to add the two track assemblies and the turret.
And there we have it. Two beautiful little Matilda Models. I may at some time do an early war scenario, I've always fancied an Operation Sealion battle. But for the time being these will be finished and put in the cabinet to admire.
By way of an update, here's the finished articles.
Both finished in the black and green camoflague of the BEF in 1940.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Zvezda 1/100 BA10 Armoured Car

Finally got around to assembling a few Zvezda 1/100 kits I've had lying around for months.....
Starting with the diminutive BA10 Armoured Car.
All the parts are on one dark green sprue of Zvezda's newer hard plastic.
First assemble the two body sides to the rear floor with attached mudguards
Glue both sides and then add the spare wheels
Next add to the floor pan
Grooves behind the front wheel arches will hold the body sides at the correct angle
Next add the body roof in two parts. Assemble these together before trying to attach to the body assembly.
Once fitted add the turret and the (very!) fiddly headlights to the front arches.
The rear axles are probably best assembled off the car and then fitted wholesale. In the picture I'd forgotten to remove the piece of sprue bracing the two axles! Doh!
Just the front axle to go
The finished article. You can see how small it is by the battlefront minis alongside.
Painted up simply in Russian Green
And some old Dragon number decals just to break up the finish
A lovely little model. Quite complex to assemble (not unlike the Sdkfz222) but worth it in the end.