In the meantime, I added the ammunition boxes on the back of the vehicle, as well as the drivers compartment. I also finished the side armors, which were painted and weathered inside, and then added to the hull. Before I will mount the main gun, I decided to finish the running gear first to minimize the need for handling the model with the gun mounted. Due to the very open construction, the build is a constant iteration from building to painting to building again.
So I started to add mud and dust, and also worked on a set of Friul tracks.
The mud texture consists of a mixture from acrylic paint, artists’ acrylic medium, real earth and plaster. After having tried some readily mixed diorama mud products, I am quite sure that these are also based on simple artists’ acrylic medium. So it is a much more flexible approach to create this on your own, and also the earth texture can be varied and better controlled by mixing it yourself. The plaster is also a quite useful ingredient, as it helps to add texture as well and guarantees a dead matt finish of the mud.
Still working on the Marder II, I started to build the next open top tank hunter, the very first of its kind: the Panzerjaeger I. This vehicle consisted of a Chech 47mm anti tank gun mounted on a Panzer I B chassis, and was manufactured from 1940 to 1941. Despite its obvious shortcomings, being under-motorized, providing not enough space and minimal protection for the crew, it still was a effective weapon not only used against enemy tanks, but also against machine gun nests or buildings.
The kit is from Dragon, with an extensive array of Aber sets available. I also bought the upper hull, the basic set and fenders from Aber. As with the Marder, I started building the interior that will be completely painted and weathered, before I glue the hull parts together and finish the build. The interior is simpler than the one from the Marder, and a lot of nice details like the vision ports are contained in the Aber sets.
This is the current state of the build:
I continued to work on the Marder, and started to paint and weather the interior. I also sculpted a driver figure, which I placed on the drivers’ seat. Unfortunately, the figure will be mostly invisible after further closing the drivers’ compartment.
This is the current state of the project.
The third German tank hunter I am going to build is one of the earlier ones, a Marder II. This vehicle is more a self propelled anti-tank gun, based on the carriage of the Panzer II and either a Russian 7.62mm gun (Sd Kfz 132) or the German 75mm Pak 40. As such, it has an open fighting compartment, with a lot of details to be shown, and only limited protection for the crew. Despite this and the very high silhouette that made hiding and/or camouflaging difficult, it was a successful interim solution, until “real” tank hunter like the Jagdpanzer 38 (Hetzer) became available.
The build is based on a Dragon kit (6423), with PE parts from Voyager (base set and fenders) and Friul tracks. The quality of the Dragon kit is mixed, with some very detailed parts (e. g. the Pak itself), but a lot of detail lacking inside the vehicle. Also the usual upper/lower hull part split really makes no sense for this vehicle, so the first step consists of cutting the upper hull into pieces, and cutting of the fenders.
I also bought a Nuts&Bolts volume on this vehicle, which is very helpful as it contains a lot of reference photos from museum vehicles, that help a lot to understand the build of the original vehicle, and which details have to be added. Together with some more pictures available on the Internet, I was pretty confident in having enough references available. So I started to build the first stage of the interior, that then will be painted and weathered, before the remaining parts will be built and added later. And as said above, I needed some time to really understand and being able to replicate the original build.
The pictures then show the state right before the first round of painting:
As can be seen, the engine housing is more or less the original kit part, but the fuel tank has to be build from scratch, as the original part has way too thick sides. The gearbox also can be used without a lot of modifications, but around it and on the sides of the interior, a lot of detail has to be added. I also started to rebuild the upper part of the drivers’ compartment from sheet styrene, as the original part is also way too thick and completely misses the internal structure that will be at least partly visible from outside. I also plan to open the drivers’ viewing hatch, which will be also much easier using scratch built parts.
The next tank hunter I have finished is the ultimate heavy weight, the Jagdtiger. A small number of those had a Porsche design suspension (all other a Henschel drive like the Tiger II tank), and I like the look of it. So I decided to build one of those vehicles, also featuring Zimmerit. The vehicle is tank number 314, which belonged to the heavy tank hunter unit 653, and was originally abandoned on March 17, 1945, near Strassbourg. I also depicted an abandoned vehicle, inspected by American soldiers, but in a slightly different setting.
The kit is from Dragon, and comes with Zimmerit. I also bought a complete detail set from Aber, containing PE parts and a new barrel. The figures are from Alpine and were built out of the box. I decided to sand of the original Zimmerit and to do it own my own, using Magic Sculp. This is a very tedious excercise, and I would presumably use something different now. The great advantage of home made Zimmerit is that you are in complete control of the application, but there seem to be some very high quality resin offerings around. I would not use PE Zimmerit, as it presumably does not feature the coarseness and irregularities of the original material. One problem with the Magic Sculp I used is that the edges look to “soft”, so perhaps it makes more sense to use some other putty next time.
As there is no interior to be built, construction went quite fast. Below are the pictures of the finished tank, put on a base. Actually the figures help to illustrate the enormous size of the vehicle, and the impressive size main gun as well.
I started to work on German tank hunters, and finished my first vehicle, the Jagdpanzer IV with the long-barreled 75mm gun. The version I built is the Vomag one, with the super low silhoutte. From a design perspective, I really like this vehicle, and being a closed armoured vehicle, the build took not long, as there is no interior to be detailed like with the earlier self-propelled anti-tank guns, like the Marders.
The kit is from Tamiya, with a aluminium barrel and PE sets added from Aber. I also exchanged the Tamiya figures with Alpine offerings. As a reference, I bought the Nuts & Bolts volume 38, and also used one of the color schemes provided there as inspiration.
One of the books of Michael Rinaldi (Tankart 4) features a white-washed Hetzer, and I really liked the look of it, so I decided to do a distressed white-wash as well over a hard-edged three tone camo scheme. I think this makes the vehicle more interesting, as it features many flat surfaces (like the Hetzer), that need some good painting and weathering to avoid looking boring.
I will continue with the tank hunters, having almost finished the next beast, a Jagdtiger. But find below some pictures of the Jagdpanzer IV.
Some time ago, I was looking for a 3.7cm Pak, and found a nice kit from Dragon, called “chow time”, featuring three German soldiers in coats having something to eat. I very much liked the composition and immediately thought of placing the figures together on a small base. And now it’s there… I replaced the heads by Hornet ones, and added some details.
From the Panzerwerfer and Maultier builds I had a lot of parts for a standard Opel truck left over, so I decided to redo the Rasputiza scene. I finished the new Opel truck, and added it to the base, together with one of the original figures and the original driver. As war-time pictures usually show many soldiers trying to move trucks out of the mud again, there will remain many more figures to be added…
I finished two Alpine figures from my stack, a German Waffen-SS grenadier set in winter clothing. I placed the finished figures on a small base with some grass and vegetation.
I just finished a small project, featuring the well known Fallschirmjaegers from Alpine. The figures were built out of the box, with the Panzerschreck being replaced by one from a Miniart set. The one included in the figure set is actually wrong, as it does not have a protective shield, and must not have been used without wearing a gas mask to protect the gunner during firing. I added the figures to a small base I had in stock, that was reburbished using bushes from Silhoutte.