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A brace of panzers - 1/100


Churchill
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I've been putting together a few pieces for the mini-wargame 'Tanks!' by Gale Force Nine. The game is no longer supported by the maker, but starter sets and expansion packs are still readily available. It uses the same 15mm (1/100) models from Battlefront as the more complex 'Flames of War' system. I have one Panzer IIIG already completed, you can see it here. It will be joined by two more Panzer III's, One is the Zvezda Panzer II Ausf G, the other is by Battlefront.

 

51149084561_019638aa9f_k.jpg2021-04-30_09-55-59 by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

Obligatory sprue shots:

 

51150188885_26eb3eb239_k.jpg2021-04-30_09-56-17 by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

Zvezda in grey:

 

51149086466_c3b3079ae0_k.jpg2021-04-30_09-57-57 by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

Battlefront in dunkelgelb:

 

51150190645_fe8eaff7f9_k.jpg2021-04-30_09-58-06 by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

stay tuned for the next episode, for a side-by side kit comparison.... 😁

 

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Welcome to the build Churchill, looks like you’ve got your own blitz build in the making.

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The Battlefront (I'm gonna call it BF from here) kit has more parts, and more options - there's the long 5cm barrel, and a short barrel - not sure if it's meant to be the L/42 5cm or the 3.7cm, and there's the stubby 7.5cm (no rules for that last one in the kit but I expect it's an option for Flames of War). There's some additional armour for the mantlet and an option for the extra thick front armour on the plate with the driver's vision slit, so you can make it up as most of the Ausf types. The hatch can be portrayed open or closed, and there's a bit of stowage. I'll be showing the hatch open with a figure from the bits box, and going for the L/60 option as the two Zvezdas are short barrelled only. 

 

The Zvezda is AusfG. Fewer parts, and no options, but the detail is generally much finer, especially the checker plate on the track covers, the air filters, the exhaust cans (hardly there on the BF), the running gear, and the thickness of the various hatches. The Zvezda's hull MG is very fine, whereas the BF has a prize marrow growing out of the ball mount:

 

51149867234_2be0a72fba_k.jpg2021-04-30_09-58-31 by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

The only area where the BF scores over the Zvezda is the molding of the tracks, but that's what mud is for, right?

 

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The BF also has the engine hatches on a separate piece, which is double sided so you can portray them hinged to open fore-aft or flip it over for port-starboard. I have not been able to find which is correct for the type I'm making. In fact my research has been pretty woeful generally. Wikipedia says the Ausf J saw action in North Africa and that some had the long gun, it also says they had the extra spaced armour but has a picture of a long-barreled Ausf J which seems to have the same armour as the earlier types so that's what I've used. I went with the same orientation of engine hatches as on the Ausf G.

 

51148407307_4e6edfa67f_h.jpg2021-04-30_09-58-20 by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

 

 

51149866954_89f8d8ef39_h.jpg2021-04-30_09-58-14 by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

Hmm, on an enlarged picture that hatch looks a bit 'sinky'. Might stick a bit of filler on there.

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2 hours ago, bigfoot said:

There seems to be quite a size difference between the two kits. The Zveda one definitely looks more refined.

There is. The BF is taller and longer, and there is a shape difference in that the engine compartment of the BF extends beyond the track covers:

 

_20210501_145341

 

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Primer on. I do like this stage. The model always looks clean and you can see where there are any mold lines to clean up or joins to fill.

 

The drive, idler, and running wheels and the return rollers on the Zvezda are separated from the hull:

 

_20210501_150801

 

...but are blocked to the hull on the BF:

 

_20210501_150720

 

Perhaps it's an unfair comparison. After all, the Zvezda is intended as a display model that can also be used with their game system, while the BF is intended purely for wargaming.

 

 

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Hi Churchill. Great to see you here with what looks to be a fascinating project. As Ozzy said - looks like a bit of your own blitzbuild going on! Very interesting to see the differences between the kits and I can certainly see why you decided to replace the machine gun on the Battlefront kit!! I'm looking forward to seeing both kits as they progress. :popcorn:

Kind regards,

Stix

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Decided to go with the Afrika korps pre-'42 colours of RAL 7008 on RAL 8000 for the short-barrelled Zvezda and the '42 colours of RAL 7027 on RAL 8020 for the long-barrelled  BF:

 

2021-05-02_06-29-28

 

As ever, thanks for looking. 

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I'm impressed with the detail. Can't quite get how small these are. How many are you planning on building?

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1 hour ago, Ned said:

I'm impressed with the detail. Can't quite get how small these are. How many are you planning on building?

@Ned When these two are done, I'll have three Pz Iii's, one with the long barrel. I have a Tiger and a Pz IV to do, which will be plenty for a game of 'Tanks!' - it's a small, manageable wargame that's intended to last only half an hour or so. On the allied side, I have a Churchill, a Grant, a Matilda, a Valentine, a Crusader, a Honey, and a Sherman to choose from, none of them finished. I have built the desert baseboard though, and several bits of terrain. 

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10 hours ago, Churchill said:

@Ned When these two are done, I'll have three Pz Iii's, one with the long barrel. I have a Tiger and a Pz IV to do, which will be plenty for a game of 'Tanks!' - it's a small, manageable wargame that's intended to last only half an hour or so. On the allied side, I have a Churchill, a Grant, a Matilda, a Valentine, a Crusader, a Honey, and a Sherman to choose from, none of them finished. I have built the desert baseboard though, and several bits of terrain. 

Back in the very early 80s I spent what was to me back then a fortune on tiny white metal tanks. I bought the British ones, and my mate Ian bought German ones. I was always jealous, especially when his Tiger regiment came onto the battlefield and rolled over everything I had. They were 6mm scale, 1/285. Tiny little things, but my Crusader tanks looked great en masse, until the 'knocked out' cotton wool balls started to take over my forces.

I bought the Squad Leader hex-based boardgame as well. Again Ian would get to be the Germans, decimating my Russian troops in Stalingrad with his MG42s. Ian was also always the German guards when we played Colditz.

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35 minutes ago, Ned said:

Back in the very early 80s I spent what was to me back then a fortune on tiny white metal tanks. I bought the British ones, and my mate Ian bought German ones. I was always jealous, especially when his Tiger regiment came onto the battlefield and rolled over everything I had. They were 6mm scale, 1/285. Tiny little things, but my Crusader tanks looked great en masse, until the 'knocked out' cotton wool balls started to take over my forces.

I bought the Squad Leader hex-based boardgame as well. Again Ian would get to be the Germans, decimating my Russian troops in Stalingrad with his MG42s. Ian was also always the German guards when we played Colditz.

I remember finding Colditz exciting but a bit bewildering - I was probably about ten when I played it. But my cousin had a army of diecast tanks and artillery with the spring loaded firing mechanisms. We would deploy these along with plastic infantry at either end of the kitchen table and take turns shooting matchsticks until a victor emerged.

 

And now I'm starting to sound like Ron Manager from the Fast Show; "boys in the park, jumpers for goalposts, shirts and skins, those were the days..."

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Now I'm happy with the pre-'42 colours, but less so with the '42 RAL 7027 on RAL 8020. The RAL 8020 (by Mig Ammo) when painted on white paper gives a good colour - I'd call it a lightish yellow ochre. On the photo above it doesn't look too bad. But in the flesh, under daylight or LED lights, - yeesh. It's an insipid colour, distinctly unmilitary. I'd say something like vanilla icecream. I sprayed it over a pale grey primer, Tamiya fine surface primer. Could be it'd have been better over a medium grey.

 

So I've given both tanks a wash with Vallejo sepia wash, diluted 50:50 with acrylic thinners. But while with the pre-'42 I've made a fairly targeted wash and cleaned the wash away from surfaces before it dried, with the '42 colour scheme I've left the wash on as a kind of colour filter. I'm not 100% happy with the result, but it's an improvement:

 

51157750788_332eba39f8_k.jpgWashed by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

And it actually camouflages quite well against the desert baseboard I made:

 

51156859712_dad9d741f3_h.jpg2021-05-04_03-45-08 by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

The shading/highlighting on both tanks will be fairly strong. This is for two reasons: 1) the smaller the model, the more shading/highlighting it needs to look 'right'. If you think about it, a 1:1 model would need none. 2) the models need to look their best when viewed as playing pieces from a distance of three to five feet away, not when closely inspected. So please be understanding if the effects seem a little overdone on the finished models. 

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This serious looking young man is Herr Leutnant Fritz von Schermannknäckerer, who will in due course be taking command of the long-barrelled Pz III.

 

_20210504_204353

 

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Wow!! You are making excellent progress with these! And the figure looks amazing!! Especially in this scale! Very well done.

Kind regards,

Stix

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Busy day today, but found a little time to tidy up the washes a little and do a light dry-brushing.

 

These little models need so few man-hours compared to the other entries in the GB, but it is still possible to stall the build, so I think it's a good idea to do at least a few minutes every day if possible. My oldest will be home over the weekend and will want his room back, so a few days' break will be forced on me.

 

Dry brushed

 

Thanks for looking.

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Posted (edited)

Freehand painted the turret numbers (15th panzer division - cos they're easiest! only the company number, and no white outline). Freehand painted DAK palm tree symbols front and back (kind of impressionistic at this scale) and added balkankreuz decals to the side armour.

Edited by Churchill
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Today, I have mostly been painting... tyres. 

 

Here are the ones on the BF panzer, I've painted the blocked in tyres about half-way back to the hull to help give the impression that they're the correct depth:

 

51167800323_abe606c78f_k.jpgTyres by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

I like Citadel's 'Charadon Granite' for this, it's a nice dirty dark grey. While I'm on the subject of paint, I am becoming increasingly disappointed with and frustrated by the Mig Ammo paints I've been using. I've acquired about twenty bottles over the last couple of builds and I find that many of them have a serious problem with very poor 'wetability'. I'm not sure if it's the paint I'm applying, or the paint I'm applying it to, but it acts like I'm trying to paint it over a layer of silicone polish. It just pulls together under its own surface tension and beads up, sometimes leaving no trace that it was ever on the parts of the surface it's just pulled away from. I know this can happen when painting bare plastic, and I know it can happen when the model has been handled too much and there's oils from your skin on the paint surface. But this happens even when putting a Mig Ammo paint on a fresh surface of Mig Ammo primer. In the worst cases, it renders the paint effectively unusable. The problem occurs no matter how carefully the paint has been stirred (I'll pull the spouts off the dropper bottles and get in there with a mixing rod) and regardless of whether the paint is diluted with water, acrylic thinners, or used straight from the bottle. 

 

Here's Mig 122 'bone' painted on a fresh layer of Mig one-shot grey primer:

 

51165928921_cc3c9e983b_c.jpg2021-05-08_08-23-32 by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

That's not by any means the worst, at least the paint has kept up to the outline of the brush-stokes instead of beading up completely. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd appreciate it. My local model shop sells only Mig and Tamiya and I feel like chucking all the Mig in the bin and replacing it with Tamiya. 

 

Will post this on the GB chat.

 

 

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Hi Churchill. Well the actual tanks look great but annoying about your paint issues. I cannot help as I don't use Mig Ammo paints. I hope someone will be able to offer some advice.

Kind regards,

Stix

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Ive never had the issue of it over primer but thats because i don't use primer… ever. I have had ammo by mig come to thin in the bottle much like Vallejo. I usually put some on a palette or water bottle cap, leave it sit for awhile and evaporate some of its moisture away. It allows the paint to thicken up a bit. 

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Progress, and paint woes.

 

Nearly finished now. I've painted the tracks, added a little chipping here and there, painted the details like the tools and stowage, and added some desert dust to the tracks, running gear, and some horizontal surfaces using weathering powders. These should be finished tonight:

 

51178882826_38306d5321_k.jpgNearly there... by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

And now the woes.

 

Woe 1) Painting the tools with a mix of Mig Ammo dunkelgrau and matt black, I quickly found that the paint wasn't adhering well. I flipped over the tank and painted a few broad brushstrokes on the lower surface to see what was happening. The paint was the worst yet for non-adherence. Take a look:

 

51172882718_d13eb98fb3_h.jpg2021-05-11_07-10-28 by Rob Churchill, on Flickr

 

Here the paint has pulled away from the surface completely, leaving most of the brushstroke bare of any trace of paint. 

 

Now Mr @Corsairfoxfouruncle has kindly suggested that I leave the paint to dry and thicken up for a bit before using it, but that isn't a solution for the way I work. I do leave paint to partially dry before using when I'm drybrushing, as I find that works better. But for most painting I want to dilute the paint a bit before using it, as this produces a much better surface with no brush marks, and I often use dilute paint to build up colour layers for gradual shading, for glazes, and for washes. If paint won't stick to a surface even undiluted, then clearly I can't use it for layering/glazing/washing and it's no good to me.

 

Woe 2) this paint is really soft and fragile. I know I'll need to varnish the models so that they can be handled, but unvarnished paint should stand up to the very delicate handling necessary while the model is being built. I found that I had to do a lot of touching up where my fingers had removed paint from prominent edges right down to the primer. 

 

Woe 3) I've only used weathering powder once before, when I found that they make a good rust effect when dusted into Citadel Lahmann medium (intended for making washes). On these models I wanted to use them to produce the effect of desert dust all over the tracks and wheels. So I watched one of Humbrol's youtube videos on how to use their powders. Humbrol suggest using Decalfix as a diluent for the powders instead of plain water, as once dried the powders will be semi-fixed but can be reactivated and manipulated with a wet brush. 

 

I should have expected this, but Decalfix strips Mig Ammo acrylics. Fortunately I saw what was happening before I did too much damage.

 

Woe 4) Can't blame Mig Jimenez for this one. I wanted to put a wash of sepia on the tracks after applying the base colour (a mix of mid-grey and chocolate brown). I put a few drops of Vallejo sepia wash on my palette, sploshed it gaily over the tracks and got a surprising amount of the tracks covered before thinking; 'hmm, this sepia wash looks a little dark'. Somehow I'd picked up a bottle of Mig matt black by mistake. Fortunately for me, as we've seen, my Mig matt black doesn't exactly stick :shrug:.

 

Should've gone to Specsavers. 

 

I just need to do the exhaust cans, stick Leutnant von Schermannknäckerer in his cupola, apply an overall coat of matt varnish, touch up a little here and there, and add an air recognition flag to the long-barreled PzIII which I've freehand painted on tissue paper. Then they can head off to the Gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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