Monday, 22 August 2011

Skirmish in the sand

Now it is time for some figures! Here some pictures of a diorama I finished yesterday. It is a skirmish between crusaders (order of St. John and some seculair knights) and Saraceens. It is not set in a particular time or place. The figures are from Italeri, Revell, Valdemar Miniatures and Strelets.

The scene depicts an attack on a knight (the yellow blue guy on the horse back) since the can ask a lot of ransom money for him if they capture him. The footsoldiers have diverted their attention to the Sacaceen on the horse and Saraceen groundforces are moving in from the other side. But the knight is an experienced warrior and doesn't fall for this, meanwhile foot soldiers are rushing in to fill up the hole in the defences, you dicide who wins!

Click on the pictures for a larger version!






Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Leopard II A2

The Leopard II is one of the most advanced tanks in the world but, like it's counterparts, also a quite old one. The first batch of Leopard 2 's left the factory in 1979 and is known as the A1 variant. Modifications where made resulting in a rapid succession by the A2, A3 and A4 variants. The A4 variant can be seen as the definitive model of the past century and all A1, A2 and A3's where upgraded to this type. Around the turn of the century the A5 variant was developed having more armour. At this moment the A6 is the most used type which differs from the A5 in armament. while the A1 to A4 version hardly differ on the outside the A5/A6 version is clearly distinct from the A4 on the outside.

Hasegawa offers a model of one of the earlier types of the Leopard II. The only difference with the Leopard II A4 on the outside is the location of a windspeed meter (this is the sphere on a stick on the turret). It is gone on the A4 version.
The Hasegawa model has about 40 parts and the wheels and tracks are molded as one part for each side. The detail on the running gear is a bit sparse but this is not a problem since it can't be seen very well anyway. An other weak point are the grabhandels on the otherwise very well done turret. These are a kind of small 'balconies', I've replaced them with plastic rods and card. I also drilled out the three lifting hookd on the turret. Apart from these minor issues the model is very good. There is also a figure included, not a good as figures from special figure sets but crew figures are hard to find so you won't here me complaning. I've used my crew figure on the Leopard I A5 seen earlier on this blog.

When the early types of Leopard where in service they where all painted monotic green. I remembered this video from years ago with leopards painted with white strips for the wintertime:

(specific footage at 0:20 and further) I decided to paint mine in this scheme.

On to the photo's!




It was a very nice model to build, the parts are not as numerous as on the model by Revell making it slighty less detailed. The model can be build fast though.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

M16 MGMC

The M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage was a M3 Halftrack modified to carry a Maxon AA turret in the back with four .50 machine guns. The weapon was effective against aircraft and soft armored groud targets as well. The turret was electically operated and the guns could be "centered" to have the bullets converge at one point at certain distance. This distance could be modified constantly. The weapon played a large role in the battle of the bulge. The turret was also used in vietnam where it was placed on the back of a M923 Bigfoot truck.

There are no models of this guncarrier in 1/72 revell has one availible in 1/76 scale (model no. 03228). Italeri recently released a few versions of the M3 halftrack as fast assembly models (model no. 7510). I decided to put both models together to make a M16 MGMC.
Boxes of the present Italeri and Revell releases. The Italeri box comes with two models.

The revell model is a release of the old Matchbox version and is a few decades old, it still is a good model on it's own however. The Italeri model is brand new and in true 1/72 scale. The detail on the outside is done very well but a bit lacking on the inside. In this case it is ideal because the parts of the revell model have to go in there anyway. The rivets and other small details are more pronounced on the Italeri model which makes them more visible but a bit overscale perhaps. Wether you like this or not is a matter of personal taste.

The most difficult part of this conversion was the fact that the sides of the Italeri halftrack have to be cut down and the removed section had to be cut in to shape. This to represent the part of the side that can flap over to allow the gun to rotate. Apart from this most parts of the Revell model can be directly glued to the Italeri version. At some points some plastic card was needed to fill up seams and holes. I can give a describtion in words of what was done to build the model but I rather let the photo's do the word. (Dark green are Revell parts, Light green Italeri parts and white is plastic card)


The model was finished in oliv drab and white bands to represent a vehicle used in the battle of the bulge. Arifical snow was made by simple chalk, this can be washed off at every moment. White paint for wintercamouflage was not the best paint availible and wore off quite fast. This is an ideal excuse to give the white parts of the vehicle a good weathering showing off all the detail. The same was done with a darker version of the oliv drab. Let the results speak for themselves:




As said this model is not availible in true 1/72 scale. The revell model in 1/76 is quite good on it self and must be an easy model to assemble for every oe but the very beginner. The only difficulty might be the fact that the parts are molded close to the sprue making removal sometimes a bit difficult.
The Italeri model is very good on the outside and can even be made without glue.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Tech Tip I - Gunbarrels

Sometimes gunbarrels are supplied in two halves. Since a gunbarrel is a rather eyecatching part of a tank it is important that this part looks good. Some people buy a metal aftermarket replacement for the gunbarrel but in 1/72 there is not really much to choose. A metal gunbarrel can also be quite heavy causing the barrel to point down all the time. This is especially the case with gunbarrels for artillery weapons. To make matters worse; these barrels are big so that they are often supplied in two halves.

So how do you glue gunbarrel in one piece in a propper way? The best way to explain this is by looking at the three mistakes you don't have to make.
1. It is important to align the two halves properly when glueing the barrel.
2. Glue the barrel by applying a thin kind of glue with a 'weld effect'. (That is a glue softening the plastic so you kind of 'weld' the halves together, the thin version revell contacta in the glass jar with brush is a good example of this glue) When the glue is really dry you sand away the weldseam. It is important to do this with a very fine sanding paper checking all the time if you don't sand you barrel into an oval shape.
3. Leave a small part of sprue on the barrel until you glue the halfs together. If you cut off this part before you glue the halves together you have a large change of greating a hole on the side of the barrel because you also cutted off a part of the barrel it self. The picture explains more:

Make sure you glue the barrel properly together at the pieces where you have the pieces of the sprue still attached! Here an example of a barrel still drying (click on the picture for a larger version):

At this stage the barrel looks horrible but the results will be perfect when finished!