Modelling is a demonstration of skills. It's very rare to go beyond this. Modeling with skill is already an achievement for very few.
But it happens. And it happened with a diorama by Rick Lawler and Markus Lack – Burden of Sorrow.
In spite of all the half finished models on the bench I decided to do one from start to finish. And after a few days deciding which one I should build I decided to start with one of the most recent releases. The Zvesda T-90 was the other option, and it looked very appealing, but I'll resume activity with a simpler paint job and then the T-90 will follow.
I already started a build log for it and you can read it here M-24 Chaffee Build Log.
I've been absent from modeling for quite a while now. I did try to restart. A very timid attempt that resulted in another period if inactivity. But the bench is becoming more and more attractive and I decided to have another go at it.
Meanwhile a lot of nice kits arrived the market and I found myself buying a few of them. Strangely enough the majority of them are from Bronco. Three of them are some of my all time favorites: The Bishop, Humber MkIV and the M-24 Chaffee. The last two are the Pz II Ausf D1 and the fantastic Zvesda T-90.
I've read good things about these specific Bronco offerings, and some positive comments about the T-90. As always there are those purists, or should I camm them extremists, that go to forae saying that the T-90 is rubbish, but I've compared photos of the model with all the photos I could get of the T-90 and it seems to be a very decent model. Certainly much more cost effective than the Tamiya/ Miniarm option that costs an arm and a leg (if not both arms… and I need them to build the models).
Although I have hundreds of models stashed just behind me I'm sure I'll resume with one of these. That will flex my muscles for all the other models that I have started and are just a few hours away from finish. It seems easier to start and finish one of them and all the half done models suddenly look much more appealing.
I have no idea if I will descend to the after market hell with these but that is something that needs a closer inspection. At first glance all of them seem quite decent to make out of the box as usual with Bronco so I guess I wont be spending fortunes in barrels, tracks and PE for them.
I used my faithful suppliers, Blast Models and Der Sockelshop ans as usual flawless service and stock.
At the same time I ordered some AK Interactive products. Although I'm very happy with the MIG range I had this curiosity about these products that come from the hands of Miguel Jimenez. Let's see if all washes and effects are made equal.
I can't promise that I'll be posting pictures very soon but I'm sure determined to resume activity.Let's see if my skills improved during this 1+ year without touching any models.
I started the BT-7 tonight. I had forgotten how good Tamiya kits were.
Tamiya pushed the quality of assembly to the level of an art form. I made the entire lower hull and suspension in little more than 45 minutes. Not only everything fits perfectly but the parts count is surprisingly small.
What and admirable little kit. The plastic is dark green with very good detail, a small PE set (for the engine grilles) a length of chain and a very small decal sheet that includes decals for a captured German version and that's abut it.
I can see no reason to go on a shopping spree for aftermarket parts. The tracks are made of several lengths of crisp and detailed links and the kit includes all that necessary to have a very nice model.
This was my fastest build ever. The kit assembles like a charm and doing all the "plastic" is just a matter of hours.
Painting was simple, although I used several tones by airbrush and later enhanced the effect with the application of oil washes.
The weathering took me a while because I did it in several sessions of very few areas at a time. Better to be restrained than to go to far. Like this I can step back and look at the general effect. If more is needed then another session. I used MIG Pigments with Fixer and also other weathering effects from them. Oil Stain effects, Rust effects etc etc. Everything I had I used.
I hope you enjoy the result. To see it just go to the BT-7 Build Log
Virtually complete. This was a very nice project. So much that it was the last to enter the bench and the first to leave. I couldn't wait to see the final result and I like it.
Painting and weathering was a real treat. I used every trick and technique that I know for what I think is one of my best models until now. It just proves me that a monotone vehicle can really have life and pizazz.
There are just a few things missing and a final pass on everything and another one to the shelf to contemplate.
I hope you enjoy the description of this build in the AB43 Build Log.
Building at full speed
I looked at my bench and I thought it was getting really crowded. A few vacation days with a lot of time to spare and the results begin to be visible.
I made the engine and all the engine bay and took care of some little details that this kit was requiring.
There isn't much left to do before painting begins so I decided I needed to clear some space on the bench. I have so many tanks lying there that it will be a double win. The joys of painting something and to claim some space on the crowded bench. And I really need to start building something from the pile of kits before I loose my vision LOL.
Not only that but after seeing a couple of builds of the excellent AB 41 from Italeri it reminded me that I had one of those Italeri kits somewhere on the stash. It was not the AB 41 but the AB 43 instead that had an upgraded engine and different turret and exhaust silencer.
After reading a little on the subject I found out that the intended modifications on the upgraded AB41 never materialize completely and a few changes (the engine, turret and exhaust) were put in place in some AB's. However the upgraded canon that was initially planned for this version didn't go into production.
It was the Germans that used it in Italy but there were a few that saw the light of day with the simple sand color scheme and on Italian service. It was either that or a very complex camo scheme that I really don't want to deal with. There was always the option of doing the red Polizia version from the 50's but it didn't seem quite right. It can be done as a beautiful model but I'm into military models and not into civilian after War models. Maybe next time.
I'm going to do one that belonged to the 1st Platoon 1st Company "Lancieri Vittorio Emanuele II" Regiment 135th Armored Cavalry Division "Ariete" II that was in Rome during September 1943. This is why a huge pile of books is helpful. In one of them I managed to find probably the only proof that this AB43 existed in these colors in Rome in 1943.
The kit is a nice one from Italeri but suffers from the same problems I found in the L6/40. Some gaps, although with better fit and better surface detail, that were solved with Tamiya putty thinned with acetone.
For the price I believe it's a nice kit to have but I'm not going to do it strictly OOB. Hussar wheels, not because the tires are not good, but because I hate to think that in a few years the tires will melt down and I end up with a nice kit with destroyed tires and a Voyager PE set (the AB41 one) that included many parts I can use and above all a decent gun barrel. Again Italeri made a gun that needs some imagination to say it's the right one. Too thin and out of proportion.
I'm back. And back with a Dingo Mk Ib
These manufacturers are putting out so many quality kits that is impossible to resist. What can I say..
I started to build this one and found out that two sprues were from the other Dingo variant that Miniart produces. I emailed Miniart and the following day they were asking for my address to send the correct sprues.
They arrived 11 days after my first email (Ukraine to Portugal) and I have to say this is one of the best examples I can give of a good Customer Service. 10 out of 10 for Miniart!
Finally, after 6 months without touching a model decided to make one from start to finish. And the Dingo was the one. Small, nice and presumably fast. It has started and you can see the Build Log here
If asked what the best looking tank of WWII was, I'm absolutely sure that the Churchill would not be in the top 10. The tank is not one of the best looking tanks that Britain designed but it was effective, well armored and contributed to the defeat of the German Forces in Europe.
I was not planning to build this one but a web page from a remarkable modeler made me change my mind.
Rick Lawler built an outstanding AFV Club Churchill. I looked at that build so many times that I felt the urge to build one too. I just hope I can do it as good as he did. If not, I sure hope I don't mess it badly.
I'm using a pair of BESA MG's from RB model and resin petrol cans from Ultracast, probably the best I ever saw in resin. The handle is perfectly molded and there is no need at all for PE parts like on other brands (Armorscale for example).
This is one is complete. Just a few details that are missing from the pictures, and to the shelf. A very slow but enjoyable build. The fact that I had to stay at home a few days helped giving this one the final boost. Hope you like it.
Read the details on the Churchill MK III build Log
Sd.Kfz.7/2 3.7cm Flak 37 w/Armor Cab
Another one on the way. I just ordered this beauty with an Aber barrel for it.
I had a lot of fun building the SdKfz 11 and these Dragon offers seem very good and I'm gonna have a try with one of them. It'll probably be the only SdKfz 7 that I'll get despite the recent flood of versions for this chassis.
After carefully reading the head to head reviews between Trumpeter and Dragon version I decided for the Dragon offer. Things like the sprockets rollers ot of place on the Trumpeter kit and other accuracy issues made me decide for this version despite it's high price.
The Aber barrel is just the icing on the cake, because the plastic barrel seems really good and shows how far injection plastic has reached.
When will I build it? Well, I don't know. We'll see…
In the meantime and if this teaser enticed your appetite have a look at this in box review at ModelArmour.
One of these days I bought an issue of AFV Modeller. This detailing set was advertised on the inside back cover and looking at the pictures I couldn't believe that something made in resin could look that good.
Since I have a Tristar Marder III H waiting to be built I wondered if it could be a good acquisition. I remembered a blog about it that showed some limitations on the ammo tubes and opened the kit to have a look.
By comparing the plastic ones with the pics of this K59 set I had no doubts and decided to order it.
In this picture with the exception of the strap that holds the tubes and the small straps with buckles in each tube, everything else is resin.
This says a lot about the level of this resin kit…
Sherman Mark Vc Firefly
I'm going to do my first Sherman. And what better choice than a Tasca kit?
I bought this kit a while back and I had it in my hands many times but somehow there were always other build that got in front. This time is for real.
I have all the bits and pieces needed for the build including an Armorscale barrel, Bison decals en Panda Plastic tracks.
This version was the most powerful Sherman of WWII and resulted from the installation of the British 17 pounder gun. It had enough punch to knock out the German Tiger unlike other versions of the Sherman that needed to hit that tank on the least armored angles, namely the rear.
The problem was that while they were trying to do that, the 88mm gun of the Tiger would blow them away easily. It's not by chance that they compared the Sherman to a Zippo. It lights first time, every time. Not a good thing for the crews…
Jagdpanzer 38(t) that many call the Hetzer much to the despair of some that defend that the Hetzer was the E-25.
This tank never existed. I'm not even sure if it reached the prototype stage but sure it's cool. It's really very sophisticated and at the same time minimalist in design.
The suspension could be lowered or raised to give it an incredibly low profile.
It's complete, except for the last details on the figure. Have a look at the build log
The fact that it's a re issued kit must explain all of this.
Painting of the hull is complete. I couldn't stop there and I advanced to the weathering and chipping.
The tracks arrived and they are beautiful. One of the best sets of Friul tracks I ever saw. The detail on links is remarkable and it comes with a pair os replacement sprockets for the Italeri kit. And that's a good thing because there is no way that the original sprocket can be made to fit these tracks.
The link count for each track is around 82-83 links which means that a good 2-3 hours for each track are needed to assemble them.
Read some more about it on the Build Log
This is almost getting the seal of approval.
I just have to find some time to paint the little details on the stowage and place the antenna to consider it complete.
A very enjoyable build and a very high standard model. It was my first Bronco kit and it wont be the last
Read some more about it on the Build Log
The Dragon kit is superb and one of the best examples of what can be done today in plastic molds.
The need for aftermarket in this kit is close to none. Even the plastic barrel is good enough to use and no one will spot the difference in the end.
Read some more about it on the Build Log
I love bargains. And this one is a real bargain. The tractor and gun below the price of a Dragon Pz II? It's a very good deal if you are into these kinds of vehicles.
I used the link tracks from AFV Club and at first I had some issues trying to put them together. In the end all the "planets aligned" and it was easy to finish those odd tracks.
It was my first color modulation model and heavily weathered model. That's what happens when you see the Mig productions DVD's
Have a look at the Build Log
One of my complicated projects. Turning a Tamiya T55 into a IDF Tiran with all sorts of aftermarket goodies. The Tiran 5 conversion from Blast Models, link tracks from Friul decals from Bison some scratch building and several months sanding adjusting and finally painting and weathering what I consider to be one of by best models.
It wasn't a cheap project but it was worthwhile. When something goes so well together it's a pleasure to do.
Have a look at the complete build log here