Saturday, January 19, 2019

Commission Work: Soviet Tankovy Company (Part Two)

To go along with the Tankovy Company I completed in 2016, the client approached me and asked if I would add a platoon of Lend-Lease Lees and two platoons of KV-1s.

KV-1 base color is Testors Acryl Russian Armor Green (first time using this color and I love it!) with VMC Green Ochre stripes; detail washes with P3 Armor Wash and GW Green. Tracks are my usual Pavement Grey, washed with Testors Acryl Rust, then drybrushed with GW Boltgun Metal. Gunmetal parts are Pavement Grey, washed with P3 Armor wash, then highlighted Slate Grey. Tank crew wear my custom Telo Mimetico Blue, washed with GW Blue Ink; fleshtones in VMC Flat Flesh, washed with GW Ogryn Flesh.

Lees are basecoated in Tamiya Olive Drab, highlighted in a 50/50 mix of Tamiya Olive Drab & Olive Green, and edge highlighted with Tamiya Olive Green with a little White added, then the entire vehicle is washed with Vallejo Olive Green Wash. The Leess were kind of a bear to paint, simply because they had part rubber, part steel tracks. All rubber (including tires) is Pavement washed with P3 Armor Wash








Thursday, January 17, 2019

Product Review: Meng "World War Toons" Tigers



In an effort to do something a little different, I picked up two of Meng's new line of "World War Toons" tanks - the Tiger I and King Tiger. These super-deformed tanks are based on vehicles from the video game of the same name, and are part of a full line of popular WW2-era tanks. There's no scale listed but they range from nominally 1/35 to 1/48 scale and would work well for conversions for alternative history or science fiction gaming. Prices are extremely low, ranging between $9-$15, depending on the model. I believe I spent about $25 for both of the Tigers.



Plastic quality is very good considering the price, though there was a lot of mold release agent on the sprues when I opened the boxes but this was easily cured by a bath in warm dishsoap water. Sprues are organized well being generally divided by part type. Each model includes a great full-color instructions booklet, a few nice decals, rubberized tracks, and poly caps. The poly caps are useful in the Tiger I if you want free spinning wheels/tracks but, oddly, the King Tiger's roadwheels need to be snapped/glued in (even though the kit contains polycaps), preventing wheel spin.

Assembly is straightforward, though often requires a careful review of the pictures to ensure parts (especially tools) are placed in the right holes. There are some minor fit issues - mostly in the Tiger I - that requires some filling and sanding. Unfortunately, as all the stowage and tools have corresponding holes in hull, there isn't an option to not include them. Though this isn't technically a "snap fit" model, there are a lot of part that snap into place with little or no glue. In fact, in the pictures below, the hull of the King Tiger isn't joined because I want to be able to paint and weather the lower hull and, due to the snap pin assembly, it would be impossible to take apart once together.


Both models went together fairly quickly, being finished in a few sittings over the course of an evening. The Tiger I presented a bit more fit issues, especially the rear hull plate which had large gaps along either side of the hull itself. It wasn't a big deal, just annoying. All in all, these are great models for the price, very approachable for the younger or casual modeler and perfect for conversion fodder for gamers.

The Tiger I is a bit larger and taller than the King Tiger and would be very suitable for 40K in an Ork army.



Pros:
  • Very unique models
  • Easy to assemble, with lots of pseudo-"snap fit" parts - perfect for younger modelers
  • Great bases for conversion
  • Extremely cheap price point
Cons:
  • Some fit issues, especially in the Tiger I
  • Tools and stowage must be included
  • Not a lot of crisp details
  • Rubberized treads are difficult to paint and weather


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

On The Prowl - SS 'Wiking' Tiger I

This is the last of the 1/56 scale AFVs in my paint queue - a stripped and repainted Italeri Tiger I. This kit is mostly out-of-the-box, except that I added an AA machine-gun mount, MG42, and a metal tank commander from Warlord. The MG mount itself is just a piece of 24ga wire, bent back upon itself, then bent horizontally at the front and back, and superglued in place. The tank commander's torso is actually an Italian crew with a German headswap. I used the Italian torso because I wanted to model the crewman wearing SS camouflage coveralls in the Plane Tree scheme.

Painting the tank itself was mostly an exercise in just trying new techniques - zenithal highlights, hairspray chipping, a bit heavier oil rendering than I normally do, and some camouflage netting. It is primed in Krylon Red Oxide, then just giving zenithal highlights with an airbrush with VMC Old Rose, after which it was sealed and hairspray was applied. The basecoat is Tamiya 50/50 Dark Yellow and Yellow Green, with wide diagonal bands of Tamiya Red Brown. Details are picked out in VMC paints.

The tracks are done differently than I normally do them. I primed them in Krylon Flat Grey Primer, then washed them directly with some cheap Burnt Umber thinned down with Vallejo Glaze Medium. I then drybrushed them in VMC Oily Steel and washed them again with Vallejo European Dirt. While I like the dusty effect of this method, I don't think it's dark enough and I'll be trying an AK Interactive Enamel track wash next time.

The netting is simply medical gauze, unrolled and misted with Rustoleum Camouflage Olive. Once dry, these were cut to size and dunked in a 50/50 mix of water and white glue and laid on the tank. To give the appearance of "weight" to the netting, I dipped an old brush in the mix and used that to manipulate the gauze into place, pushing it down and around contortions. It's a nice effect and adds some visual interest to a rather bland tank.








Monday, January 7, 2019

Product Review: Rubicon Models 1/56 SdKfz 250 Neu



This isn't really a new release, but I haven't seen very many product reviews done for this kit and, after picking one up for my late war German army, decided to do one myself. My only prior experience with Rubicon was their extremely inaccurate and poorly modeled Panzer III kit (which I'm given to understand, they have since re-tooled) and their Opel Blitz (which is a decent kit) so I was a little hesitant but decided to take the leap...and I'm glad I did.


The kit itself consists of two sprues, an instruction sheet, and a German decal sheet. Having assembled a few Rubicon kits, it appears that their AFVs share the same decal sheet. On the plus side, this presents the ability to model all sorts of different vehicles and leaves a lot of extra decals leftover. However, this does prevent the modeling of unique vehicles, so take that as you will. The instruction sheet is clear and concise, as well as pointing out additional steps that need to be taken if you've bought one of the many expansion kits.

The plastic quality is decent enough, though even after washing I've noticed a slight glossy sheen to many of the parts. Whether this affect priming and painting remains to be seen (I'll update this if it does). The mold quality is fantastic - there are very little mold lines and flash or slippage is non-existent.



Assembly is fairly straightforward, though early on it requires several holes to be drilled to place parts and, in a few cases, it's unclear which hole needs to be drilled if you aren't using one of the expansions. My advice is to go slow and dry-fit parts before gluing. The only problem I ran into was that the slot to fit the side stowage bins isn't long enough, so they don't sit flush with the vehicle hull unless you remove some of the plastic on the back of the the bin to make it fit correctly. Three crew members are included - a driver, MG gunner, and commander - which is a nice addition and (unlike many kits in this scale) they are properly scaled and proportioned. I used the driver, but decided against the other crew...though I'll inevitably end up using them elsewhere. Another great option for this kit is the ability to easily split it into sub-assemblies for easier painting (seen below) that (as I dry fit them) seem to go together flawlessly once complete.


All in all, I'm very happy with this kit and highly recommend it!



Pros:

  • Extremely detailed and accurate kit
  • Pieces included to make the initial and later production models
  • Lots of optional kits available from Rubicon to make the different models
  • Extra crew included

Cons:

  • Being a very detailed kit, this may be complex for beginning modelers
  • Some very minor fit issues
  • No stowage included

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Last of the Assault Guns - Hungarian StuG Ausf. G

Well, unfortunately, I didn't get the last Hungarian AFV in my queue finished before the end of 2018 but here it is for the first post of 2019. This is a heavily-converted Italeri/Warlord Games 1/56 StuG which I detailed here. Stowage was a variety of 1/48 plastic jerry cans, an O Gauge railroad milk can, a Warlord 75mm shell canister, a wooden barrel from some basing kit, and a tarp made from milliput. The crewman is a Warlord Italian crewman painted in the same manner as the crewman of my CV-33.

For the paint job, I really wanted to impart the feeling of the long bitter retreat towards Budapest during 1944 - that the vehicle had fought a long series of fighting withdrawals and defensive actions with little in the way of rest or relaxation, so there's a lot of chipping, wear, rain streaks, and dust. The AFV was overall primered in Krylon Red Oxide, hairspray applied for chipping, and then basecoated in a 75/25 mix of Tamiya Yellow-Green and Dark Yellow. Rubber wheels are done in VMC German Grey and washed with P3 Armor Wash. The tracks are just primed in Krylon Grey Primer, washed with a enamel brown, drybrushed with VMC Oily Steel, then washed again with Vallejo European Dirt Wash. Most of the stowage is a variety of blues and blue-greys to offset the yellow of the tank itself.

Decals are by Mad Bob. The most distinguishing aspect of the Hungarian assault guns were the extremely large insignia and numbering applied to them. As I could not find suitable decals in this scale, I designed my own mask - I printed out the numbers from the computer, cut those out, retraced them unto painter's table, cut those out, applied them to the tank and airbrushed them in flat black. While there was a little touchup to be done, since all the insignia was meant to be battered, it's hardly noticeable.

After chipping, the tank was sealed and weathering was done with oil pin washes, oil rendering, Vallejo European Mud effects, and dry pigments. I'm very pleased with the end result.