Tag Archives: Build

Revell 1/35 World of Tanks T-26 (03505) Build Review


I intend building this kit as a captured Nationalist T-26 during the Spanish Civil War. If you’re building any kit as something other than straight out-of-the-box, you’ll need to do some investigation. The main question is: does this kit accurately represent a tank of this period? That question requires some research, and I believe that there are a number of minor issues but just three principal problems: the louvre over the rear deck, the roadwheels and the radio antenna.

Early Model 1933 T-26 tanks had roadwheels with thick rubber rims. Later versions had more complex steel roadwheels with thinner rubber rims. This kit comes with the later type of roadwheel. I have seen it suggested that all tanks provided to Spain had the earlier type of roadwheel, but I don’t think that’s true.

This image shows a restored Nationalist T-26 in a Spanish museum. You’ll see that three of the roadwheels (one at the front and two at the rear) are of the later type while the other five are the earlier type.

Here’s another former Nationalist T-26 currently undergoing restoration in Spain. You can see that all the roadwheels here are of the later type. This images also gives a good view of the engine-deck louvre.

So, while many captured T-26 tanks in Spain may have had the earlier type of roadwheel, it certainly isn’t impossible that some were fitted with the later type. So, I’m going to go ahead and use the roadwheels provided with this kit.

The louvre over the engine deck is also an issue. The kit includes this type of louvre cover.

However, this was only developed after the Spanish Civil War because so many T-26 tanks were lost after improvised Molotov-cocktails were used on the louvre to disable these tanks. Tanks in Spain had earlier slatted-type louvres that looked like this:

This is quite a distinctive difference, and I’ll have to scratch-build a new louvre. Fortunately, the louvre is provided as a separate part on this kit, so replacing it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Finally, it does not seem that any Nationalist T-26 tanks were fitted with radios. A few captured Republican tanks did have radios, but these and the antenna were removed before these entered Nationalist service. All that was left were the stubs of the antenna mountings welded to plates on the turret which looked like this:

So, I won’t be using the radio antenna that comes with this kit and I’ll be modifying the mountings so that they look like the image above. That’s it for the changes needed, so it’s time to start the actual build.

The Build

I begin by assembling the hull. This comprises just six parts. It’s only when I’m assembling this that I notice that one of the main axles for the suspension bogies on the right side has snapped off. It isn’t in the packaging, so I’ll have to make a new one.

Fit is OK, but certainly not perfect. Tape is required to hold things in alignment while they set and some filler is required at the front. I then add something that looks a little like the slatted engine-deck louvre found on SCW T-26 tanks.

I add the rest of the bits and pieces to the hull. The driver’s hatch is a separate part and could be shown open, but the lack of any interior detail or a driver figures makes this a little pointless, so I show it closed. I do come across an issue that has me scratching my head when I try to fit the vent at the rear left of the engine deck. There are two raised lines on the hull (you can see them in the photo above) and the instructions seem to show that the vent should go inside these lines.

However, if you do that, it doesn’t fit – the vent ends up projecting to the right and rear of the engine deck, which is clearly wrong. But, if you put the vent on so that it goes outside these lines, it doesn’t sit properly – the right side is higher than the right. It takes a fair amount of filing and sanding before I get something that sits flat in approximately in the right place, and even then, filler is needed to cover a noticeable gap on the left.

I feel like I have done something wrong here, but I can’t see what it might be.

The next step is to assemble the roadwheels, suspension bogies, idlers, sprockets and return rollers. I do this because I want to build the link-and-length tracks, and to allow that, I need these parts temporarily in place. Fit isn’t wonderful with the bogies – some locating pegs would have been useful. It’s also worth noting that two different versions of the sprockets are provided with this kit – the correct ones to use are provided on the sprues with the tracks, not those included on the main sprue.

Then, it’s time to start on the tracks. This is fiddly – the individual track links are small, but at least they are cleanly moulded and they do fit together well. My plan is to construct the tracks on each side as separate upper and lower runs which I can slide into place later, once main painting and construction are done.

This is what I end up with, with the separate sections temporarily held in place with tape. The sagging on the upper run is nicely done, though obviously, you do have to make sure it’s positioned correctly so that the high points coincide with the return rollers. The tracks themselves have good detail, inside and out.

One thing I found was that, while the instructions claim that you need 7 links on the idler and 9 on the sprocket, I found that I used 8 on the sprocket and 9 on the idler. I also had to cut two links out of the section of track on the bottom run that spans between the idler and the rear roadwheel.  At least I now have complete sections of track for each side that I can add later.

I add the tracks guards, stowage boxes and other bits and pieces and, for the moment, that’s it for hull construction. I’ll add the exhaust,  tools and running gear later.

Now it’s time to make a start on the turret. I begin by drilling out the main gun, sanding off the moulding seams and mounting it in the mantlet.

That’s when I realize that no co-axial MG is included with this kit, though it is shown in the view of the completed turret in the instructions.

It’s not a major problem, and I replace it with a German MG-34 barrel from the spares box (captured Nationalist T-26 tanks often seem to have been fitted with these machine guns) but its absence seems a little odd. Main turret construction is straightforward, though the location of the two halves isn’t particularly precise and a little filler is needed on the join at the front.

Such is my hatred of masking that I’m leaving off the mantlet for the moment to make painting easier. And now, it’s time to think about the paint scheme. I’m using the Star decals set for Nationalist T-26 tanks which also includes several paint schemes. I have chosen this one, showing a tank of the Tercio de extranjeros (literally, regiment of foreigners, usually translated as Foreign Legion) in 1938.

By that time, Nationalist T-26 tanks were painted in a standard way. Most were painted in some combination of dark green, light brown and dark brown with red/yellow/red stripes on the mantlet and turret rear and the turret hatch painted either white with a diagonal black cross or black with a diagonal white cross as an air recognition symbol. There doesn’t seem to have been a fixed pattern for the camo scheme or colours and these were usually been applied by hand to give a hard-edged finish.

I begin by painting the mantlet and turret. Here’s the result after masking and painting the red/yellow/red stripes, painting the hatch white and giving it an overall base coat of dark green.

As ever, the results of my masking don’t look particularly great, but I’ll just have to live with it. Then, the hull also gets a base coat of dark green, using AK Olivegrun, but for some reason this goes on badly and it takes four coats to get anything approaching a consistent finish.

Now it’s time to think about the camo scheme. Nationalist tanks had irregular blotches of light and/or dark brown applied over the base green. There wasn’t a set pattern, so I decide on a two-colour scheme based loosely on a restored Nationalist T-26 at the military museum in Cartagena  in Spain.    

Then I add the decals to the hull. These come from Star Decals and they’re, OK, though not perfect. A couple of them broke up as I slid them off the backing sheet (including one of the Falangist Party symbols on the front mudguards) and the circular symbol that is placed on the hull front and rear is printed slightly out of register. Other than that, these are nicely dense and seem to be accurate.

I do some dry-brushed highlights then, everything gets a coat of clear varnish and I do an overall wash with dark grey oil. I also add some mud/dust on the lower hull, tracks and running gear.

With that done, it’s time to add the tracks and running gear. Happily, the assembled and painted tracks slide into place without any problems. Here’s the first side done.

There’s no doubt that link and length tracks can be tricky to assemble. But, when they’re done well (as they are in this kit) they just look so much better than vinyl tracks… All that’s now left to do is to add the exhaust and tools, and that’s this Nationalist T-26 done!

After Action Report

I’m reasonably happy with how this turned out. This really isn’t a bad little kit. Fit in some places is just average, though in the end, I used very little filler here. The lack of a co-axial MG is odd, but otherwise detail is acceptable, though it would have been great to have some internal detail and a couple of crew figures. The tracks really are pretty good. They may be a little fiddly to build, but I think the end result is worth it.

As a model of a Spanish Civil War T-26, it’s not perfect, but just about what I was aiming for. The decals from Star Decals really make a difference and their painting guide is very helpful if you’re trying to build something other than what’s provided in the box.

Overall, if you want to build a 1/35 T-26, you could do a lot worse than this Revell kit. And if producing a WoT model doesn’t appeal, well just check out the Star Decals site for lots of other options.

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Revell 1/35 World of Tanks T-26 (03505) In-Box Review and History


Star Decals website

Tamiya 1/35 Type 97 Chi-Ha (35075) Build Review

I’m going to build this one pretty much out of the box, with a couple of small changes that I’ll explain along the way. The first thing I tackle are the odd gaps between the upper and lower hull that seem to be a feature of many of these early Tamiya kits. I have no idea why – perhaps it was to allow heat from the motor to dissipate? Whatever the reason, I’m planning to have the hatches open and the kit figures in place on this build and, as you can see with the upper and lower hull temporarily together, the gap on the left side is clearly visible through  the open MG operator’s hatch.

Fixing it is simple and only requires a couple of pieces of thin plastic card cut to shape, but this does seem an odd issue on an otherwise beautifully engineered kit.

I try the hull machine-gun operator in position, and it all looks good. I have painted the inside surface of the plastic card a dark grey so that hopefully it’ll disappear into the shadow of the interior. With that done, it’s time to continue with the rest of construction…

I start by assembling the roadwheels, sprockets, idlers and bogies. All the roadwheel tyres have distinct moulding seams on their circumference that need to be sanded – a bit of a chore as there are 24. The four single roadwheels and both sprockets are retained by plastic poly caps. There’s nice detail here – the front and rear single pairs of roadwheels have slightly different hubs compared to the roadwheels attached to the bogies, and that’s accurately replicated.

I then move to construction of the lower hull. No problems here. I’m leaving off the roadwheels, bogies etc. for the moment – the camo scheme extends down the sides of the lower hull and I think this will be easier to paint before these parts are in place.

And then it’s on to the upper hull. Again, no problems and everything goes together easily and without the need for any filler.

The upper and lower hulls are then joined with no gaps and no need for filler. Construction so far is a pleasure: good detail, few tiny parts and fit is as close to perfect as you’re likely to find. I don’t see how you can ask more from any plastic model kit!  

I then add the Hull MG operator’s hatch after adding some detail to the interior. I leave off the exhausts, tools, tow-cable, etc., and I’ll add these once I’m done with painting.

Then, it’s time to start on the turret. I begin with the main gun, which comes in two parts, with a separate muzzle which incorporates an open bore. Fortunately, fit between these parts is very good and it’s possible to sand the join without compromising the distinct shape of the muzzle.

The first part of turret construction goes without any problems and fit is great.

I complete turret construction and notice that the AA machine gun mount is clearly located in the instructions (I claimed in the In-Box review that it wasn’t), so I decide to include this after all. I also incorporate some additional detail inside the main hatch. I leave off the radio antenna at this stage to make painting easier.

It’s time to begin painting. As usual, I’ll be brush painting everything and I’m going for the four-colour scheme incorporating the irregular yellow cross – it looks a little challenging, but I hope it will be visually striking. After some testing and experimentation, I’m using Mig Olivegrun Opt. 2 for the base green colour.

Then, I add the lighter of the two browns, using Vallejo US Field Drab.

Then I add the darker brown using Vallejo Flat Brown and the yellow cross. I paint this first in pale grey before overpainting in yellow, otherwise the yellow doesn’t really show up at all. It’s a bit wibbly, but I think it will do. And given that the original was simply brush painted, I don’t suppose it was perfect either!

Next, I use lightened versions of all three main colours to dry brush highlights on the hull, turret and running gear. Then, I add the decals and give everything a coat of clear matte varnish. Oddly, this seems to darken the lighter of the two browns, but not the other colours.

Then I add a dark oil wash to bring out the shadows and this, in conjunction with the highlighting, really brings everything up nicely.

I then do an overall watercolour wash with additional dust/mud streaks on the sides and on the roadwheels, etc. I then add the roadwheels, idlers and sprockets onto the hull and that gives me a chance to try fitting the tracks. 

They’re a good length and they join cleanly but once they’re in place, it’s clear that the inner guide teeth don’t fit inside the gap between the two outer, upper return rollers. I checked the instructions, and I think I have assembled these correctly, but there is no way to get the tracks to sit properly on the rollers. As shown above, this just looks wrong. I’d also like to show some sag, and that takes a little head-scratching.

In the end, I cut off two of the inner guide teeth where the tracks pass over the outer rollers and I glue a couple of pieces of curved plastic on the underside of the inside of the tracks. These are invisible once the tracks are in place and help to give at least the impression of some sag on the main runs. I also glue the tracks down to the return rollers once they’re painted. This is what I end up with. Certainly not perfect, but I think I can live with it.

Time to work on the remaining bits and pieces. The exhausts get some rough texture and some paint to represent rust. The tow cable, tools and jack get added to the rear hull and the radio antenna and the AA MG are added to the turret.

That’s about it for construction. The last step is assembly and painting of the figures. They do have prominent moulding seams that need to be sanded, but they are both generally well sculpted and only a tiny amount of filler is needed to smooth one shoulder joint on the commander.

I give them both a fairly simple paint job that follows the instructions.

And with the figures in place, I declare this Tamiya Chi-Ha done!

After Action Report

This is a fairly typical early Tamiya tank kit: it’s well engineered, fit is as close to perfect as you’re likely to find and it builds into a reasonable representation of the subject. Kit-building just doesn’t get much easier or more satisfying than this.

OK, it isn’t perfect. The gap between the upper and lower hull is odd (and common to several other early Tamiya kits) and it can clearly be seen through the open hull MG operator’s hatch so it does need to be fixed. Both that hatch and the turret hatch lack internal detail and again, that’s probably something you’re going to have to work on if you want to show these open.

The tracks are well detailed and join easily, but they’re made of fairly inflexible vinyl so if you want to show sag, some creativity will be required. But that’s pretty much it in terms of drawbacks. Otherwise, this is simple to build and there is nothing here that would challenge even a beginner kit-builder.

Overall, I’d give this one a big thumbs-up! And, like many of the early Tamiya kits, you can find this one for not very much money at all. Go for it!

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Heller 1/72 Somua (79875) Build Review

I start as recommended by the instructions, by assembling the four parts that make up the lower hull. Four parts. How difficult can that be? Well, if it’s these particular four parts, perhaps rather more difficult than you’d expect.

The problem is location. Although the instructions show locating pins, there aren’t any. So you’re left to try to figure precisely how these parts fit together. I mean, I get the general idea, but actually getting all four joined with some sort of congruence is far from simple. And when I’m finally done and I test-fit the upper hull, I realise that the rear bulkhead is too high and needs to be trimmed and the front is too low and will require filler.

I decide to ignore the instructions which suggest that joining the upper and lower hulls is the last step of construction and I go ahead and do that now. It takes some trimming before I get the upper hull to fit correctly, and then it’s obvious that the small semi-circular flanges via which the actual upper and lower hulls would be joined on the original don’t line up. I have to trim off all the flanges on the lower hull.

With the hull finally complete, I assemble the suspension, road wheels, sprockets, return rollers and idlers on each side. Happily that’s fairly simple. I leave off the suspension covers for the moment to make painting easier. I also check that it’s possible to squeeze the tracks between the top plate and the return rollers and that they’re long enough – it is and they are.

I add the last few bits and pieces to the hull, with the exception of the exhaust, tracks, shovel, and side-covers which I’ll add after painting.

Then I start work on the turret. Assembling the upper and lower halves is simple, but just as with the hull, there aren’t any pins or holes to aid with location so some care is needed. When It’s done, I carefully sand the join and add some filler to modify the shape of the right side. I also do a little work on the main gun – it’s notably far from circular, so I spend some time trying to sand it into a better shape and I then drill it out.

I complete the turret with the addition of the main gun and MG mantlets and that’s construction pretty much done. Now it’s time to start painting. First, everything gets several thin coats of Vallejo Dark Yellow, which looks a reasonable match for the ocre jaune used on French tanks early in World War Two.

Then I add a camo pattern based on the instructions and using Vallejo Olive Green for vert.

Finally, I use a 0.8mm black marker pen to add the black lines between the main camo colours. This is fiddly, but not too difficult.

Then I carefully add a matt varnish coat once the pen lines are dry – you do have to be careful with the varnish because if you’re a little too brisk with the brush, you can smear the pen lines. Then I add the decals using Vallejo Decal Fix and Decal Softener.

And then it gets an oil wash in dark brown to bring out the shadows and make everything look a bit grubby. Then I add the tracks and the exhaust pipe, though not the shovel – when I looked at it properly, it’s much too large and a very odd shape. And that’s it done.

After Action Report

Sorry Heller, but this just isn’t a great kit. In terms of fit, ease of construction, detail and overall quality, this falls short in every area.  OK, I know, it’s forty years old, but it is still notably worse than a number of other kits from the 1960s and 1970s that I have tackled. The tracks are particularly nasty. Not only don’t they resemble the tracks on the S35, they’re made of a particularly light, rubbery vinyl that just won’t take glue – I had to use a couple of stiches to get them joined.

This is especially disappointing because the S35 is an interesting subject for a small-scale armour kit. But there just aren’t many kits of French AFVs of World War Two in 1/72 or 1/76. Your only options for the S35 in this scale is this one or a quick-build wargaming kit. If you decide to go for this one, be prepared for some challenges along the way.  

I like old kits and I generally enjoy building them. This one, not so much. The previous kit I finished was a Revell/Matchbox kit from 1974. It had good detail, was crisply moulded and it was simply a joy to build. On this one, the only warm feeling I got inside was down to indigestion. In all honesty, this is probably one to avoid unless you’re willing to put in some effort and work with aftermarket parts in order to improve it.

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And if you want to see how much fun old kits can be:

Revell (Matchbox) 1/76 M24 Chaffee (03323) Build Review

Revell (Matchbox) 1/76 Humber Mk. II (03289) Build review

I’ll be building this Humber Mk. II straight out of the box. The only small change will be to use a flat file to thin out the outer edges of the mudguards a little – they do look rather thick. I do this before I begin construction with assembly of the lower hull. Fit is good, but it’s immediately apparent just how tiny this is: overall length of the hull is just 60mm (2.4”)!

I then add the upper hull. Fit here is also good, though at the rear some tape is needed to hold everything in place while the glue sets. Overall, this does a pretty good job of replicating the distinctively complex shape of the hull on this tiny armoured car and, so far, no filler is needed to fill any gaps.

There is very little detail underneath but you do have to be careful to get the axles aligned – these aren’t particularly well located.

Then, I add the last few bits and pieces to the upper hull. . There are some very small parts here (the caps for the suspension units, for example), but even with my clumsy man-fingers, I manage to deal with them all. I leave off  the wheels and tyres, tarpaulin, jerricans, etc. which will be painted separately and added later.

Turret assembly is simple and, once again, fit is very good indeed and no filler is needed. I do carefully sand the main gun barrel – it’s quite thick and has noticeable moulding seams.

Completed turret with commander in position to check fit. The main hatch comes as a single part which you must cut in half if you want to show it open, but the join is clearly scribed and easy to follow. It’s only while looking at this photo that I realize I have glued the mantlet on upside down – the heavy machine gun should be in the centre. Oh well, at least it’s easy to fix…

Overall, main construction is straightforward and aided by very good fit – I didn’t use any filler here at all! Now, it’s time to think about painting. I have decided to go for the Italian scheme, so I begin with several light coats of Vallejo Russian Uniform over some white highlights.

Then, I add a contrasting camo scheme in dark green, following the instructions.

Then it’s time to paint the tools, headlights, main gun and other bits and pieces. Some of these are very small, so some care is required, but they do add visual interest to the hull.

And then I add the decals, though I leave off the German crosses. That means just four decals – the RTC flashes on either side of the hull and the “Isle of Ely” marking on either side of the turret.

Then I add the wheels and everything else except the tarpaulin. And it’s starting to look like a Humber!

Next, it all gets a coat of clear varnish and then dark-grey oil wash. I add the commander figure and the tarpaulin and that’s the Humber done.

Now, it’s time to take a look at the diorama base. I start with basic flat colours – light brown for the main part and grey for the road and a darker brown for the puddle at the bottom of the shell-hole.

I then add some oil washes, some gloss varnish for the water and add the submerged tyre and other bits and pieces.

Finally, it’s time to see how the Humber looks on this diorama base.

After Action Report

This was just sheer fun! If you want an unchallenging, simple build, you won’t do better than these reissued early Matchbox kits. Fit is great, there is very little flash and there are few tiny pieces. Of course, the corollary is that detail here just isn’t as great as current kits. For me, that isn’t a problem. I’m very happy to swap some fine detail for ease of building. You may feel differently.

I really like the diorama bases that these kits are provided with. I feel that they really add to the finished model and I simply can’t understand why no other manufacturers followed Matchbox’s lead in this. Surely this can’t be too difficult so, how about it Airfix, Dragon, Zvezda, et al: what about giving us some diorama bases with small-scale armour kits?

This is the third of these reissued Matchbox 1/76 kits that I have built recently, and all three have been absolute crackers. Everything fits and, though they’re fairly simple, all three have built up into rather nice finished models. These kits are also as cheap as chips so, what are you waiting for? Grab a piece of kit-building history that’s also still worth spending your time on!

Now, if only Revell would reissue the old Matchbox M16 Half-track, the Hanomag Half-track and the Panzer III!

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Tamiya 1/35 British Army 6 Pounder Anti-Tank Gun (35005) Build Review

I start by gluing together the two halves of the gun, as the instructions suggest. You’d think that would be pretty easy, wouldn’t you? That’s what I thought too… Fit between the two halves is, well, indifferent would probably be a kind way to put it. There are locating pins on one half and corresponding holes in the other, but the pins are smaller than the holes which gives you a lot of leeway to get it wrong. It took a fair bit of fiddling and securing the two halves together with pegs and tape until I got something that looked just about right.

Although everything lines up on top, the underside looks like this…

Even then, the join between the two halves is very apparent, especially on top – the seam there took a great deal of sanding. I also notice even though the various sections of the gun line up perfectly on top, they are out of alignment by about 1mm underneath. I suppose you won’t really see the join on the underside of the finished model, but still, that’s not right. Then I noticed that the end of the muzzle brake isn’t circular. I mean, it’s a long way from circular and the central opening is far from central.

Peg on top of muzzle-brake

Then I noticed that the two halves of the muzzle brake are different. On the left side, the muzzle brake is a fairly smooth cone, which looks pretty much like photographs of the 6-Pdr. On the right side, there is a distinct lip at the muzzle end. There is also a strange peg on the top rear of the muzzle brake. It doesn’t seem to be a moulding defect and it’s present on both halves, but it isn’t shown on the instructions or the box-top art and I can’t see anything like it on any wartime photograph of this weapon. Sheesh – I have only glued two parts together and already it’s clear that a fair amount of sanding and filling will be required to get something that looks even close to correct.

Fortunately, the remainder of construction is easier, though there are still lots of moulding seams and defects that need to be sanded. I also added filler to hide the very large mounting holes in the front of the main gun shield. Fit is generally OK though it’s just not as good as later Taimya kits. The Panzer II I built, for example, was released in 1971, just one year later than this one, but it’s much, much better in terms of fit and overall sharpness of mouldings.

Finally, after a great deal of sanding, construction is complete. I don’t fix the forward shield in place to make life easier when I’m painting. One thing that’s notable is that the main gun shield really does look much too thick…

Anyway, on to painting. I start with a coat of Vallejo Russian Green, which (IMHO) isn’t a bad match for the Khaki Green used on British tanks and vehicles before they switched to Olive Drab in 1944. The tyres are finished in several shades of dark grey.

Then, I add highlights in a lightened version of the base colour and paint chipping and scratching using Vallejo German Grey in areas that would be likely to wear. I’m not going OTT here: I just want to suggest some general wear and tear.

Then, it gets a coat of clear matte varnish followed by an oil wash using Abteilung 502  Dark Mud (a dark grey) to emphasize shadows. As I’m doing this, I also notice that I have managed to assemble the main axle upside-down! No excuses – the instructions clearly show what’s needed, but I somehow still managed to get it wrong. Oh well, at least it’s easy to fix…

And at that point, the gun itself is pretty much done. This is a quick and straightforward build (assuming that you actually follow the instructions!) and painting really doesn’t take long at all. That is pretty satisfying but now it’s time to take a look at the figures.

Detail isn’t particularly good and is not well-defined, which will make painting more difficult. Trousers look OK, but the battledress blouses look much too tight and close fitting – in reality, these were made of thick material and often fitted rather loosely and looked quite bulky. These guys look as though they’re wearing skin-tight shirts! At least these figures are simple to assemble, though a little filler is needed here and there to cover minor gaps. There’s no doubt about it, they just aren’t up to current standards. And look at how those helmets are attached to the sprue – getting them off without damage is going to be a challenge.

I don’t plan to build a diorama here, but I will paint the figures – my figure-painting skills need as much practise as I can get and I want to see how they look when they’re done. I do a simple colour scheme for all three – Russian Uniform for blouse and trousers, khaki for belts, webbing and gaiters, grey for helmets and dark grey for boots. Once they’re painted, they get an oil wash in dark grey to bring out the shadows.

And here they are – the officer won’t stand unaided, so that’s why he is attached to a base and, I think I have assembled it correctly, but the loader’s pose does look kind of odd… And what they are wearing only approximately looks like the British Army uniform of World War Two.

And here is the crew with the gun:

After Action Report

You’ll know if you read the reviews on this site that I like older kits and that I have thoroughly enjoyed the other early Tamiya kits that I built (Panzer II, Walker Bulldog, etc.). This one, not so much. Look: this isn’t a terrible kit by any means – it’s a simple and undemanding build and the end result kinda, sorta looks like a 6-Pounder anti-tank gun with a British Army crew. But it is easily the least impressive Tamiya kit that I have ever come across. Honestly, it’s a bit crap in terms of detail and fit even when compared to other Tamiya kits from the early 70s.

When I bought this, I knew it was an early Tamiya kit, though I didn’t realise it was one of the very first of the Military Miniatures series. I guess that this kit represents Tamiya beginning to learn the business of making 1/35 kits so it probably isn’t surprising if quality doesn’t match their later efforts. That also makes it interesting if you know its history, but if you purchased this without knowing how old it was and simply on the basis of the Tamiya name on the box as an assurance of quality, I think you’d be understandably rather disappointed.

So, come on Tamiya, after more than 50 years, you must have made a handsome return on the original moulds for this kit. Isn’t it time that this was sent into honourable retirement and you gave us an improved version of this British anti-tank gun? At the moment, all I can say is that this  is probably one old Tamiya kit that’s best avoided.

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RPM 1/72 Renault FT Char Cannon with Berliet Turret (72204) Build Review

I’m not by nature a giver-upper, dear readers, in fact persistence is one of my few positive personality traits.  But I came very close to abandoning this build. In many ways, this is a horrible kit. There are lots of tiny parts, fit is variable, mouldings aren’t particularly sharp, the plastic used is brittle and attachment to the sprues is very clumsy indeed which makes it virtually certain that you are going to snap a fair number of parts just getting them off the sprue. This isn’t a happy story…

I began by building the turret and the hull. Neither are pleasant experiences. Several parts snapped as they were being removed from the sprue, fit was pretty dreadful with many parts needing to be sanded before they will fit and filler needed to cover the worst of the gaps. It took more than ten minutes with a circular file before I could even get the turret to fit in opening in the hull. The finished items are pretty rough and more sanding and filling will be required.

Some of the mouldings are also incomplete. The circled area above shows a part of the lower hull that is missing, and I used the better of the two hull halves here. The others were much worse. This area will be hidden by the suspension and running gear, but still, this isn’t good.

Then, I start on the suspension. Assembling this is no problem, provided that you have the eyesight of a falcon and the manual dexterity of a brain surgeon. I have neither and I struggled. Part of the issue is that many of the parts are just stupidly small. Here, for example is one of the upper return roller assemblies. There are 15 parts here and yes, that is a normal sized matchstick.

Several of the mouldings aren’t great. Here, for example is one of the lower running-gear side plates. As you can see, three of the nine holes that are used to mount the roadwheels aren’t there at all and two are only partly formed. All the other three plates were similar, and all need to be drilled out, even the holes that are there because they’re too small to fit the tiny axles on the roadwheels.

Here are the upper and lower assemblies complete. It took some time to get to this point, but there are still lots of parts to add. Several other mounting holes were not formed and had to be drilled, and the location of parts like the main support for the upper assembly is not clear.

Finally, I got the whole assembly done for both sides, and I tried one of the tracks in place, using a drill bit in place of the rear spindle. At least the tracks aren’t too tight, because the whole assembly is very fragile.

Then, I join the two completed assemblies to the hull, and even that isn’t easy. These units don’t attach direct to the hull, but are attached via a fragile spindle that projects from the hull at the rear and a single equally fragile suspension unit at the front that fixes to the top and bottom of the suspension. It’s extremely difficult to get both joined so that they are even approximately in the right place. On reflection, I would have been better to have left the suspension assemblies off until I had finished painting, but I just work round that.

And with that, main assembly is done. And what long and a frustrating task it was! Each running gear assembly contains almost fifty parts, most of them tiny. Getting small parts off the sprues intact is a challenge, and several important mounting holes just aren’t there. In total, there are close to 150 parts on the hull running gear and turret on a completed model that’s barely two inches long. This was not a fun build. But, at least it’s almost done. Only the exhaust and tools are left off for the moment and I can finally begin painting.

I’m aiming for a Polish tank from around 1933. I start with a base of several thin coats of Vallejo Dark Yellow, which seems a fairly close match for the light sand colour used on Polish tanks.

Then I add a simple green/brown camo scheme using Vallejo Russian Uniform and Tamiya Flat Earth. It seems that Polish tanks didn’t use standard, defined schemes, so I guess this is plausible.

Then I do some drybrushing in highlighted versions of the base colours. I also use a permanent marker to add a black line between the camo colours. This only seems to have been done on Polish AFVs for a couple of years, and they had reverted to a more standard three-colour scheme by the time that the war began. I just like this scheme and I wanted to see how using the marker worked. It’s far from perfect, but I’m quite happy with the overall look when it’s done.

I’m not using any of the provided decals. None are appropriate for a Polish tank from the 1930s, and most images seem to show that Polish tanks of that period didn’t carry any markings at all. It all gets a coat of varnish and a grey oil wash which helps to deepen the shadows and make the drybrushed highlights stand out.

The last parts to be added are the tools and the exhaust. And while cutting them off the sprue, the axe breaks into two parts and the shovel into three. Which rather sums this kit up. Ambition is high and separate tools are good, but not if they can’t be removed from the sprues without damage. I manage to repair the broken parts and add them to the kit.

All that now remains are the tracks. These get a base coat of Vallejo dark grey, then light gunmetal highlights on the treads and then a brown acrylic wash. You do have to be very careful when fitting the tracks, because the whole suspension, running gear, sprocket, idler assembly is very fragile indeed. With the tracks on, this kit is finally complete.

After Action Report

If you enjoy sanding, filling, drilling and repairing parts so tiny that they’re barely visible to the naked eye, you may enjoy this kit. If like me you appreciate a simple build and good fit, then you may want to look elsewhere. This tiny kit includes something in the region of 150 parts in a finished model that’s barely two inches long. In some ways, that suggests a commendable quest for detail and accuracy. In other ways, it suggests that this is a complete pain in the ass to build.

As you can probably guess, I didn’t enjoy this build. Actually, I really, really didn’t enjoy it at all. Parts that are very difficult to get off the sprue without damage combined with indifferent fit and poor mouldings make for hard work, especially when the parts involved are so small. The finished model looks sort of OK, though the fact that it has such fine detail does make the fat tracks look a little odd.

I certainly won’t be rushing to buy another RPM kit, no matter how cheap, though I hear that some of their other subjects are better done and easier to build. I guess it depends what you’re looking for. I like simple builds and good fit so that I can focus on painting. If you enjoy the challenge of a difficult-to-build kit that requires lots of effort, you might just enjoy this one.

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Airfix 1/76 Cromwell IV Tank (A02338) Build Review

The way in which the tracks are provided in this kit means that I will be painting and assembling the tracks, roadwheels, idlers, sprockets and lower hull before I start painting the upper hull. As usual, I’ll be brush painting everything.

The lower hull comprises seven parts and assembles without any problems and without the need for any filler.

I attach the upper hull and add all the other bits and pieces to that, other than for the rear mudguards and the side-pieces for the track guards, which I’ll leave off until the tracks are complete and in place. Fit is great with one exception: the part on the rear hull arrowed below. This part has two pegs that are supposed to fit into two holes in the upper hull. But the holes are too small (or the pegs are too big) and I had to use a 1mm drill to enlarge the holes before this part would fit properly.

I then added the inner halves of the roadwheels, idlers and sprockets to the lower hull. The tracks fit over these and are retained in place by the outer halves which are fixed in place after the tracks. Some care is needed when fitting the sprockets as these must mesh with the gaps between treads on the tracks, so dry-fitting and adjustment is needed before the inner halves of the sprockets are fixed in place.

With the inner wheels in place, I try a dry fit of the tracks, and they look pretty good. 

Then, it’s on to the turret. The armour plates on the sides and rear are separate parts, but fit is generally very good. The only issue is where the mantlet and front plate join the turret. Here, there’s a distinct gap.

This is odd, mainly because fit everywhere else is very good, but I don’t think I messed up construction, so some filler will be required.

The completed turret sits nicely on the hull once it’s done. The last bit of construction before I start painting is the main gun. And it’s a bit of a faff. The barrel and one half of the muzzle come as a single part with the other (and very tiny) half of the muzzle as a separate part. This means that the muzzle opening is open without the need for slide moulding, but fit and location of the half of the muzzle isn’t great.

Careful sanding is required to get something that looks even approximately right. Once the muzzle half is added, I notice that the opening at the front is too small and clearly not circular, so I end up having to drill it out anyway!

Time to start painting. First, the tracks get a coat of Vallejo dark grey, followed by dry-brushing with gunmetal and a wash of acrylic brown. I also paint the lower hull as well as the inner and outer halves of the sprockets, roadwheels and idlers. I’m using Vallejo Russian Uniform as the base colour. This is initially a little light, but previous experience suggests that once it gets a coat of varnish and a dark grey wash, it should look all right.

Then the tracks are pushed into place and the outer halves of the wheels are glued into place – this also holds the tracks in position.

I did find painting the roadwheel tyres difficult here. Hell, I always find painting 1/76 roadwheel tyres challenging, but these were even more fiendishly difficult than usual. The main problem is that the small outer lip of the wheels is barely defined at all, making it hard to follow with a brush. It takes several attempts before I get something I’m moderately happy with. I also highlight the hubs and bolts with a lighter version of the base colour.

Overall, I like this method of track construction. It’s easy and straightforward and even I find it difficult to get it wrong. OK, so I still feel that the tracks could have had more detail, but in general, this isn’t bad. With the tracks in place, I add the small side-pieces at the front and rear of each track guard. There is no clearance at all between these and the tracks and on one side at the front, I had to sand down the outer edge of the track to get this part to fit properly. Fortunately, this isn’t visible once the side piece is in place.

Then, the upper hull is painted with several thinned coats of the base colour and some dry-brushed highlights are added using a lightened version of this colour.

Finally, the decals are added (but not the white stars – as noted in in-box review, I don’t think these were used on the tank from 7th Armoured Division for which decals are provided) and I add some chipping in Vallejo German Grey on exposed edges and around hatches. I also paint the tools on the rear hull and the hull and turret machine-guns and then give everything a coat of clear varnish.

Finally, it gets a wash with dark grey oil paint to bring out shadows and make everything look a bit grubby and well-used. And that’s it done.

After Action Report

This was a straightforward build with no major problems. Fit is generally good, the instructions are clear and I do like this method of representing tracks. Detail is generally very good and this ends up looking like a Cromwell, which is about all you can ask for at this scale.

Getting rid of the join where the tip of the muzzle is attached to the gun is fiddly and filler was needed at the front of the turret roof, but otherwise this was a relaxing and enjoyable build. If you want to build a 1/76 Cromwell, this is the only choice, so it’s lucky that it’s a decent kit.

I would have liked to see some more detail on the tracks and perhaps a few items of stowage for the rear hull and a commander figure might have been nice, especially as the turret hatch can be shown open. But overall, these are pretty minor niggles. It’s nice to see an Airfix tank kit that’s up there in most respects with modern kits compared to the older 1/76 offerings from this company which are looking rather tired now. I just wish other small-scale armour kit manufacturers would adopt this method of producing tracks and add more detail…

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IBG Models 1/72 A9 British Cruiser Tank Mk.I with 2 pdr Gun (WAW011) Build Review

The order of construction here is dictated by the way in which this kit is presented. I want to paint the wheels and tracks before attaching these to the hull. That also means leaving off the track guards until the tracks are painted and attached.

I begin with construction of the hull. There are no particular problems here, though there is an error in the instructions. If you look at the image above, you’ll see that I have fixed part K15, the mounting for the middle return roller, as shown in the instructions.

However, that’s wrong. If you put it there, it not only doesn’t line up with the roller, it will stop the track guards fitting in place. The correct location for this part is lower and further to the rear, arrowed in red on the image above.  Everything fits nicely with no need for filler and other than this minor issue, the locations for all parts are clear despite the instructions being rather brief. Some small parts, the headlights, for example, are tricky to remove from the sprues without damage. The plastic is rather soft, the attachment points are thick and you do need to use a very sharp knife. I leave off the exhaust and tools so that I can paint these separately.

Next, the turret, and again, fit is good and construction straightforward. Surface detail and especially the rivets are very well done. The only odd feature is that the Commander’s hatch is square while the opening beneath is circular, but that’s a feature of the original too. The hatch can be fitted open or closed, though because there isn’t a figure or any internal detail, I’m going for closed. The radio antenna is way too thick, so I cut it off the base and I’ll replace it with stretched sprue at some point.

I construct the MG turrets too, but I don’t add them to the hull yet. I think that painting these and the surrounding hull will be easier if I keep them separate for the moment. I do drill a small hole in the base of each and mount them on screws to make handling easier while I’m painting them.

That’s as far as I can go with construction until I have painted the tracks and lower hull. I’m using Vallejo Russian Uniform for the base colour. It isn’t a precise match for Khaki Green G3, but it’s probably close enough. I’m brush painting as usual and there is some very fine surface detail here, so I’ll be building up several coats of very thinned paint.

The suggested paint scheme in the magazine shows the camo extending to the lower hull, under the track guards, to the roadwheels, but I’m not convinced. Looking at wartime photos and images of the A9 in The Tank Museum in Bovington, it seems more likely that the dark green camo pattern was only applied to the track guards and above.  

For painting the tracks, I begin with the base green, including highlights. Then I add dark grey for the tyres (and the idler has a rubber tyre as well as the roadwheels) before starting on the tracks. These are painted a lighter grey, then highlighted with gunmetal and given a final acrylic brown wash. Once everything is dry, the tracks and lower hull get a coat of clear varnish and then a wash of dark grey oil to pick out the shadows.

Once they’re painted, I add the track guards to the lower hull and then fix the tracks in place (and you must do it in that order, if you fit the tracks first, it isn’t possible to get the track guards on). Painting the one-piece tracks and running gear is more challenging than working with separate parts, but overall, I’m not unhappy with how it looks in the end.

Next, everything gets a couple of thinned coats of the base colour followed by some drybrushing of edges and details with a lightened version of the same colour.

Then I add the camouflage pattern using a dark green I mixed using Vallejo Dark Grey and Olive Green and following the detailed 3-view drawings in the magazine as a guide. Once it’s done, I again add drybrushed highlights using a lightened tone of the same colour.

Then, I paint on the tools on the track guards and the lens on the turret spotlight and add the shovel and crowbar on the right side of the hull. I also add the decals, and these are commendably thin and densely printed and they go on with no problems using Vallejo Decal Fix and Decal Softener. Strangely, there are spares on the decal sheet – there are three of the blue squares for the turret where only two are needed and two of the 1st Armoured Division rhinoceros where only one is needed. I suppose it’s always good to have spares.

Finally, it all gets an overall coat of clear varnish followed by an oil wash. I use a dark grey overall wash to highlight shadows with a few spots of white to show streaking and bleaching on the hull and turret. All that’s then left to do is give it a final coat of clear matt varnish, then add a stretched sprue radio antenna on the turret and fix the exhaust to the rear hull and put everything together.

After Action Report                                                                                                          

This was a satisfying and simple build.  Fit was good, there were no real problems and I rather like the look of the completed model. Detail is sharp and the camo scheme didn’t turn out too badly either.

Don’t let the fact that this is described as a fast-build kit put you off. Yes, the tracks, roadwheels, etc. come as a single part, but detail is generally good. Apart from the tracks themselves of course, and how many small-scale tank kits have I said that about?

This is a fairly cheap kit, but IMHO, it’s as good as or better than many other more expensive kits. The provision of the magazine is a nice touch and it does give some interesting background to the development and use of this tank. And it’s great to find a decent model of a little-known British tank. I haven’t tried any of the other IBG World at War series, but if they’re as good as this little A9, they should be well worth looking out for.     

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Hasegawa 1/72 Sd.Kfz. 162 Jagdpanzer IV L/48 Late Version (31151) Build Review

I begin with hull construction, and I won’t quite be following the instructions. I’m going to join the upper and lower hull before adding the tracks – the instructions suggest that the tracks should be added first. I want to paint the tracks separately and add them when hull painting is complete, so I also leave off the sprockets to make fitting the tracks simpler.

Main hull construction is simple as there are just five parts – the top, bottom, sides and rear. I begin by filling the hole for the MG port on the left side and adding the gun and mantlet. Joining the main gun barrel to the hollow tip is easy, but fit isn’t great and it takes so much sanding to get rid of the join that I’m concerned about ending up with a tapered gun. Personally, I’d rather just drill out the barrel.

The other parts of the hull go together well with no need for filler but I do notice something odd that has me scratching my head. When the rear plate is added, the hubs for the idlers and what I take to be the inner part of the hub don’t line up.

It looks to me as if the hubs and mounting pins for the idlers, which are attached to the hull sides, are around 3-4mm too low. It would be possible to cut these off and re-attach them higher, but I’m concerned that this might not be strong enough to resist being broken by the vinyl tracks. So, I leave it as-is. I just don’t know enough to be sure, but looking at photographs of Panzer IVs and Jagdpanzer IVs, this looks wrong to me.

The rest of hull construction is straightforward and everything fits well. The only minor problem is when I come to fit the small schürzen mountings, I discover that one is missing from the sprue. Initially, I assumed that this must have broken off while I was handling this sprue, but checking the photographs I took for the In-Box review (which I took as soon as I opened the package) shows that it was missing then. The missing part isn’t in the box or the plastic bag in which the sprues were packed, so I guess it just wasn’t supplied.

I can’t say I’m too perturbed. I’ll just use four mountings per side rather than five, but in over a year since I re-started model building, this is the fist time I have received a kit with a missing part. Incidentally, these are really tiny parts and the mounting positions are more a guide than a help. I didn’t quite enter full cat-startling-tantrum mode, but I didn’t enjoy this fiddly part of the build at all.  

With these parts added, that’s construction virtually done.  Or, at least I thought it was until I actually looked at the photo above. When I did, I could see that I had got the fitting of the plates on either side of the rear hull completely wrong! Why do I only notice these things in photos! I had fitted the rear plates so that they matched the angle of the rear hull behind them, but that’s clearly wrong. Instead, they should follow the angle of the hull side plates. I have to cut them off and re-fix before they look right.

I’m also leaving off the roadwheels, jack, exhaust,  spare track links and other bits and pieces at this stage to make painting a little easier. Now, it’s time to think about painting, and I’m keen to try something different. In late August 1944, some German tanks were painted with a new colour scheme – the Hinterhalt (ambush) scheme. This was applied at the factory rather than in the field and there were two versions. Both began with a base coat of Dunklegelb (dark yellow) overlaid with large irregular patches of Olivgrün (Olive Green) and Rotbraun (Red Brown). On one version of the scheme, a stencil of irregular circles was then created and dunklegelb was oversprayed through this on top of the green and brown areas. On the other scheme, small circles or triangles of dunklegelb were added to the brown and green areas and circles or triangles of green were added to the dunklegelb areas. Below you can see a Jagdpanzer IV L/70 in the Hinterhalt scheme.

This scheme was discontinued after less than three months, simply because it took more time to get vehicles out of the factory. I have not been able to find photographic evidence of a late Jagdpanzer IV L/48 with this scheme, but it is certainly possible and it’s a different and challenging paint scheme. It starts with several base coats of well-thinned Vallejo dunklegelb.

Then, I add some dry-brushed highlights.

 Then, it gets a simple scheme of lightened rotbraun and olivegrun with appropriate dots added. I can’t say that I’m entirely happy with the result, the dots look rather clumsy. I added them using a sharpened matchstick and I wonder if I did too many and made them too large? Oh well, I’ll continue anyway.

The next step is painting the tools on the rear hull and the roadwheel tyres. I hate painting roadwheel tyres and, with eight small wheels per side, the Panzer IV chassis is particularly challenging in 1/72. I finally get them done and add them to the hull. When attaching the painted roadwheels, and it’s notable that the individual wheels are a loose fit on the spindles, so some care is required to ensure all eight line up. I also add some fairly generic decals: a balkenkreuz on the rear hull plates,  a three-digit unit number on the hull sides, kill rings on the gun and a Panzer Lehr Divisional marking on the front.

Even the decals were a problem on this kit. Usually, I find that a minute or so of soaking in warm water is enough to release these from their backing. Here, each decal had to be left for at least ten minutes before it would move and even then, some of them cracked (that’s why there are fewer kill rings than provided). I can’t imagine why that is – the backing sheet does seem thicker than usual, but even so, loosening these took much longer than normal.

Then I add the spare track links on the rear and add a brown detail wash over everything. I also add some mud and staining to the hull close to the roadwheels and return rollers. There is nice detail here, and the wash helps to highlight things like the joints in the armour plate on the front on the hull.

The tracks get a simple finish – dark grey base, gunmetal highlights on the treads and a brown acrylic wash overall. These tracks really are lacking detail.

Then I add the tracks and sprockets to the hull, which fortunately isn’t too difficult. The tracks aren’t at all tight, which helps. Then, all I have to do is add the exhaust and tools, and it’s done.

After Action Report

This isn’t a terrible kit by any means. But I don’t feel it’s a great kit either, mainly due to some niggling issues. It takes quite a while to fill the left side MG port on the front hull so that it’s invisible on the finished model. The fit of the tip of the gun and the main part of the barrel isn’t great and also requires lots of sanding, which inevitably leads to a slightly tapered main gun. I think that the idlers and their hubs are set too low, and that looks a little odd from the side as well as meaning that these parts don’t line up with the inner hubs on the hull rear plate. The roadwheels are a loose fit on the mounting spindles, making it very difficult to get them to line up accurately. Accurately fitting the tiny middle schurzen mountings is tricky. The decals take way too long to separate from the backing sheet and the tracks are really poor.

Set against those things, surface detail isn’t bad, and this does look like a fairly accurate representation of the Jagdpanzer IV. It’s probably true to say that my biggest problem with this kit is the Hasegawa Churchill I built previously. Although that kit dates from 1974, fit was as close to perfect as you will find in 1/72 scale, the build was simple and straightforward and the whole kit just seemed sharper than this one. I probably expected this to be as good as that Churchill and, IMHO, it isn’t

So, would you be disappointed with one of these? Probably not if, unlike me, your expectations weren’t set unrealistically high. Though I’m afraid those tracks really aren’t up to modern standards…

Happy kit-building

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Hasegawa 1/72 Infantry Tank Churchill Mk. I (31127) Build Review

I have decided to build this kit as a Churchill Mk I of the 9th Royal Tank Regiment in 1942.

I start with drilling out both gun barrels and then move on to construction of the central section of the hull. Something that immediately becomes obvious is the superb fit of all the parts that make up the lower hull. This is as good as it gets and certainly as good if not better than the fit on any other small-scale AFV I have built.

No filler is required at all and everything lines up as it should. I construct the outer boxes that support the tracks separately, mainly because I want to paint some internal details such as the suspension springs before assembly. I also paint the inside of the front and rear hull plates and the sprockets and idlers in a slightly darkened version of the base colour.

When I finish painting, I assemble the outer boxes that contain the suspension – each comprises three parts: the outer plate including the outer faces of the rollers, a central part that includes the suspension springs and the roller axles and a small inner plate that includes the inner faces of the rollers. Fit is again great with one exception – the roller axles line up perfectly with the inner and outer faces of the rollers on nine out of the eleven rollers, but on the raised front and rear rollers, they don’t line up at all. This isn’t a massive problem – the suspension springs can be bent into the right position, but it’s odd considering how well everything else fits.

With that done, I join the boxes to the hull. The suspension springs are clearly visible, so I’m happy that I took the time to paint them before assembly.

The only parts left to fit on the hull are the exhausts, which I’ll paint separately. I do leave the idlers and sprockets free to rotate, because they engage with the tracks and I’ll need to have them in just the right position to get the tracks to sit correctly. There is nice detail on the sprockets at the rear, but unfortunately when these are in position, they can’t be seen at all. At this stage I also check the fit of the tracks and I’m delighted to report that they’re just right in terms of length, neither too tight nor too loose, so I’m hoping that fitting these won’t be too much of a chore.

Next, the turret. Again, fit is very good indeed with only a tiny amount of filler needed at the front on the join between the upper and lower parts of the turret. The inner mantlet is free to elevate.

I check the fit of the turret on the hull, and it’s fine. And that is essentially construction done. There are no problems here and nothing that is at all difficult.

Now, it’s time to begin painting. Finding the precise colour to use is not especially easy. From 1941-42, British tanks were painted in a base colour of Khaki Green No.3, which is a bit lighter than US Olive Drab. After a bit of research, I have decided to use Vallejo Model Color Russian Uniform Green 70.924, which seems at least close to the correct colour. It may be a bit light, but I’m hoping that oil washes will darken it a bit.  

I have used Vallejo acrylics before, but I do note a couple of odd things about this paint. First, it separates really quickly when you put some on a palette. To avoid streaks, you must mix it carefully each time you load the brush. Second, it rubs off really easily. Just gently handling the model results in patches of bare plastic that must be touched-up. I haven’t experienced this with any other Vallejo paints. Once I have an even coat, I give it a quick protective coat of clear varnish before adding some highlights by dry brushing with a slightly lightened version of the base green and I paint the tools on the rear hull and the jacks on the sides.

Then I add the decals. This doesn’t take long as only six are provided for the Mk I – three each of the identification numbers and the red squares denoting this as a tank of “B” squadron.  

After another coat of varnish, I use a heavily thinned wash of black oil paint. This gives me the density of shadow I want in nooks and crannies and also darkens the green and adds streaks and grubby areas to the hull and turret.

Overall, I’m not too unhappy with the final colour. It’s close to what I was hoping for and, I think, a reasonable colour for a British tank in 1942.

Next, the tracks. I give these a very simple finish of dark grey, light gunmetal highlighting for the treads and then a wash with a dark brown acrylic to finish. I glue them together using a two-pack epoxy resin, and this holds well given that they hardly need to be stretched at all to fit in place. All that’s left to add are the two exhausts on the rear hull, and it’s done.

After Action Report

This was simply a joy to build. Everything went together perfectly and with no problems. If you were looking for a first small-scale AFV kit, this would be a great place to start. OK, so the decal sheet is a little sparse, you’ll need to drill out both guns, the commander figure isn’t the best and tracks aren’t great, but they do at least fit and that’s more than I can say for many 1/72 and 1/76 kits!

Despite these minor drawbacks and other than the tracks, detail here is sharp and entirely adequate. Everything appears to be where it should and the proportions and sizes of everything look good.  

Other than drilling out both guns and adding some rough texture to represent rust on the exhausts, this is built straight out of the box. I enjoyed building this and I’m happy with the result. And I don’t suppose you can ask much more from a kit that cost less than €10!

This 1975 kit is highly recommended. And I’m rather looking forward to my next Hasegawa 1/72 kit. Come on, at that price, I wasn’t going to buy just one, now was I?

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