Wednesday, 18 February 2015

An old project returns...

The monstrosity from the front.
Way back in 2011 I posted my plans for an improvised tank killer on an old 38(t) chassis.  Following a move of house it was boxed and retired.

Recent reading has kindled my interest in the Royal Hungarian Army.  Often belittled, these troops fought bravely against the Red Army (and others) for nearly four years.  Their equipment was in short supply and what they had was often second-rate.  However they fought right until the end of the war, the final stages spent defending what little of their Country was unoccupied and then retreating West.

Now, the "Honvedseg" was equipped with domestic and foreign AFVs.  In 1942 a good number of Panzers 38(t) were provided by Germany.  The Magyars had a distinct lack of anti-tank capability and thus are prime candidates for using my "Frankenstein" vehicle.    Cobbled together from an old tank chassis and a salvaged F34 cannon sourced from a T34/76, the vehicle will lend some much needed "punch" to my nascent "Honved" platoon.

Side elevation.
I am intending to use various Warlord plastic sets for the infantry (Soviet Winter and German - both Early and late) converting as needed.  I will be using a few Woodbine M16 "WW1 Turkish" heads to add a bit of variety.  These helmets were in use for the duration of the conflict (by Germany also!)  In addition I will be sculpting the odd moustache.  I find the easiest way to do this is with heavily thinned "Squadron Green Putty" as my usual epoxy never adheres.

WIP commader - he ain't got no time for the monkey business.
The commander (Szazados Frigyes Higany) is nearly finished and tank needs some bits added (Not least the foul-weather tarp) but this may be added to the spray queue soon!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Part 1a: Panzerbefehlswagen 740 (r)

After taking a pause, it became glaringly obvious that the aerial had to go.  The T26 kit is an absolute dog but I couldn't justify the over-scale antenna by such reasoning!  After all, I am attempting to make something good!

Toothpick is a spacer until the epoxy dries.
I prised off the already glued aerial (amazing how resilient super glue is when you don't want it to be!) and removed the tree-trunk supports.  I have made a new frame from thin brass rod and need to visit my local (unfriendly) model shop for some appropriately sized styrene rod.

Other bits of stowage have been added along with an unditching log.  Still to come is some gap filling and the "soft" stowage.  Both achieved with a mixture of epoxy putties.  Also, I have a bit of chain that will look quite good when artfully draped.

Now, time for a coffee and bath...

Friday, 6 February 2015

"Upcycling" - a question of command.

Nice shot of a Panzerbefehlswagen I.
With the new year has come substantial resolve.  Both to get fit (well, less unfit!) and to get some of the long considered projects completed.  I spent most of my January free-time improving a diecast Panzer IV toy - more of which in another post.  However this left me needing a command vehicle for my kampfgruppe.

As can be seen, frame antennae come in different shapes!
Now I could have gone for a bog-standard command vehicle like an SdKfz 250 or 251 but I wanted something "different" and with a frame aerial.   I like the look of the Panzerbefehlswagen I but couldn't find one online and also didn't fancy forking out for another model.  Thus I decided to think outside the box and produce something unique.

A quick trip to the loft produced a rather nasty T26 bought from an Ebay seller.  It was warped and the track units are different lengths (both being too short!)  It cost me very little and I suspect it is a "knock-off" so I didnt mind chopping it up.

The solution to my problem came to me at about 05:00 today after the Nitrazepam wore off.  I would create a "Beute" Befehlswagen!  After a day of tinkering bending and sanding I present the Panzerbefehlswagen 740 (r)

Figures for size reference.

This monster was cobbled together in an unidentified workshop at the request of an officer short of a mount.  He didn't wish to "waste" a gun-tank so had his men create a custom vehicle from parts.   The aerial from a scout car, the cupola from a written off Panzer III and some sheet steel cut from a destroyed Hanomag.  All these mixed with some ingenuity and the command vehicle was born!

Rudimentary MG port shown.

As can be seen it is not finished needing tidying up, filling, sanding and more detailing.  Also it is far from perfect having an overscale antenna.  However any thinner and I think it would be prone to breakage during a game.  The supports will be replaced as they look like tree trunks!

Rear hatch and home-cast stowage boxes.

The track units have (I hope) been disguised and a coat of gunk will help this process further.  The (lucky?) commander is already modelled and just needs to be seated in his cupola and then this should be ready for the spray booth.  It will be in Soviet green and panzergrau with a winter over-paint making it usable for almost the whole war.  I am currently deciding which technique should be used to portray chipped and worn whitewash...

Anyway, I am pretty happy and hope this is of interest to someone!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

"New StuGs for old!"

I don't like Christmas.  Faux festive cheer, crusty celebrities and depressing decorations...

Amazing little books - beautifully produced.

That said, this year the lady wife gifted me two fantastic books by ADH to add to the library!  The thin but fact filled tomes detail StuGs from " Bagration to Berlin".  Full of informative text, photos and colour profiles - they are a boon to the enthusiast.

I have long been of the opinion that almost anything goes when it comes to StuGs and perusing the images shows myriad variations.

Now, about ten years ago I bought one of Tamiya's 1:48 StuG III B kits.  Great kit but it got worked on, boxed and shelved.  Two house moves and three children later it was an abandoned project.  Then these books gave me an idea, resurrect the beast and produce an Endkampf oddity.  To my amazement I found most of the bits in the attic - not the hatch, this will be made from plastic sheet.

Epoxy concrete armour and sight aperture.
As can be seen, the project is nowhere near completion.  However the beast is taking shape.  Concrete armour, heavy stowage and fender damage is in place.  Hatches, running gear, armament (aluminium StuK 40 in topfblende) and a bit more clutter to add.

Rear view showing stowage etc.
A commander will be peering out of the hatch trying to spot the rapidly approaching "Ivans".

This project has cost me very little* and feels like a freebie!  This makes it even more appealing.

*Yes I paid for the kit but after a decade it doesn't count!