Quite some time ago I bought a German soldier riding a horse from Masterclub. I started painting the horse, but left it unfinished for quite some time. Recently, I took the horse out of the shelf and finished painting.
The original rider was not the best figure out there, therefore I replaced the upper half with an Alpine SS reconnaissance officer, to depict an SS officer from the “Florian Geyer” division.
Another tank hunter (although technically more a motorized anti-tank gun) that I built is the Marder I, featuring a 75mm Pak 40 on a french chassis, built on the base of the Tracteur Blindé 37L (Lorraine), a French artillery tractor/armoured personnel carrier of which the Germans had acquired more than three hundred after the Fall of France in 1940.
The vehicle is one of the examples of using outdated chassis as a means to provide mobility to anti-tank guns until proper tank hunters were available. The Lorraine chassis was quite small, so a somewhat bulky looking superstructure was added, that only provided some protection against small arms.
The kit is from Tamiya, and while is has stunning details, it also shows some shortcomings. I think one aim of Tamiya is to make kits easy to build, so one of the issues here is the incredible thickness of the originally thin side walls, the gun shield and other parts. So without using PE parts, the finished kit will look somewhat toy-like. Therefore I added a PE set from Voyager, which has the complete fighting compartment included. I also added Friul tracks, as I like working with them, and the Tamiya plastic tracks are ok, but lack some detail. The other issue the kit is famous for is the wrong direction of the Tamiya tracks, but this could be rectified by changing the direction of the tracks and some bending.
I also added the original Tamiya figures included in the kit. They have very nice poses and very naturally looking folds, but otherwise have very little detail. I was starting to work on resin figures from Royal Model in parallel (the very nicely done Ferdinand crew), which clearly highlighted the differences in detail… but the Tamiya figures are ok.
One of the things I like about these open top vehicles is the level of detail to be shown, like the gun itself and stowage inside the fighting compartment.
Finally I put the vehicle on a base with some groundwork.
As a side project, I built one of the iconic vehicles of WW2, a Russian BM-13 rocket launcher mounted on a Studebaker US6 lend-lease truck. The kit is from ICM, I added some PE from a set for the conventional US6 truck from Voyager, and completely rebuilt the cradle of the rocket launcher unit from scratch, using reference photos as guidance. I also replaced the sheets that cover the driver’s cabin and the front window with scratch built brass parts, which look much more in scale compared to the parts from the kit. I finally added two Russian soldiers.
One issue of the Weathering Magazine features a large scale metal figure of “the Führer”, looking over the ruins of Berlin (and his short-lived empire). I found this very inspiring, and decided to purchase the figure from Andrea. The subject is controversial, and this is by no means any glorification of Hitler, but I took the opportunity to paint a larger figure.
I also added another figure, called “the Speaker”, depicting Hitler around 1934 speaking to the public.
I added two small bases, with some scratch built microphones going with the “speaker”. Painting was fun, although quite a challenge due to the considerable weight of the metal figures.
After a longer break from modelling, I finished the second model of Jagdtiger 314 with the Porsche suspension. As the original tank had no Zimmerit coating, and was abandondened in March 1945, I decided to rebuilt the model, depicting the famous scene of the vehicle in a ditch near to a small tree besides a road.
I reused the two US soldiers from the original scene, and added my first attempt of a wire-made tree, which turned out to be quite time-consuming, as on the original pictures from early spring, the tree has no leaves, calling for many branches to work out… with foliage, these kind of trees are presumably less work.
After quite some time I now finished another tank hunter, the Nashorn. Featuring the long-barreled 88mm Pak43, this was also one of the mounted anti-tank guns, but now built on a tailored base (the Geschützwagen III/IV).
There are numerous pictures of the original vehicle available, and I got inspired by one showing a dispatch rider handing some message to a Nashorn commander. There is actually a figure set available from the Russian manufacturer Stalingrad, featuring six resin figures plus a very nicely crafted horse. As kit I chose the AFV offering, adding a PE set from Voyager models. The idea then was to depict a Nashorn of schwere Panzerjaegerabteilung 519 in winter withewash, located near Vitebsk (Belarus) in January 1944.
The build itself took some time, with many thoughts going into what should be build and painted when. To me, open-roof combat vehicles are both a blessing and a curse, as you can depict many many details, but the assembly just takes a lot of time.
Especially the gun shield took some time, as I ended up using the kit plastic part, with the PE part having the wrong shape.
The whitewash was executed using hairspray, painting and weathering went on quite fine.
The figures have nice poses and are a really good addition to the vehicle. The only downside of Stalingrad figures is that they don’t have the quality of e.g. Alpine offerings, so some cleanup using Magic Sculpt was required. There is one guy wearing a hood over his head, and the face was so badly moulded that I cut of the head, replaced it with an Hornet offering and resculpted the hood.
The finished vehicle
I placed the vehicle on a self made base, depicting a muddy road with remnants of snow.
In between I was busy at work, but also managed to start a new build – a Takom Jagdpanther with interior. This was actually a very time consuming excercise, interesting and challenging, but unfortunately nothing at all of the interior will remain visible, as I will place the tank into a small scene again. At least, I left the roof of the fighting removable, so that I am able to take a look into the vehicle again. The tank is now almost finished, with only some dust effects and finishing touches left.
The Jagdpanther is from schwere Panzerjaeger-Abteilung 654, and the scene will depict the vehicle driving through a French town in late summer 1944. So I spent some more time on creating a base, which consists of a partly displayed house located at a street. All was more or less scratch built from plaster, with the doors and shutters made from styrene sheet.
This is the result so far:
Now I will add some figures depicting civilian refugees, and of course the Jagdpanther with some crew members.