IBG Scammell Pioneer Tank Transporter Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

This is the IBG Scammell Pioneer Tank Transporter with TRCU30 Trailer, part of a family of Scammell truck kits released in 2020. I purchased the kit as part of my on-going fascination with tank transporters, this will be the third one I’ve constructed recently. I am hoping to knock this one out fairly quickly while waiting for the big box of Arma Hayates to arrive from Hannants.
Tank transporters build up into large vehicles when finished, and this one will be no exception. There are lots and lots of parts, ten sprues altogether. The box contains two copies of the sprue on the bottom left, four copies of the sprue on bottom right in order to account for the fourteen wheels of the prototype. I found it odd that there are no spares, you’d figure one would be carried. Both the cab and the frame have to be built up from their respective components, no slide molded wizardry here.
The final two sprues. The parts are well molded and sharp, but there is a mold seam on most parts which will need the attentions of an Xacto knife. Mold attachment points are on the thick side but clean up well. On many kits the photoetch fret is used to enhance detail, or provide an alternative to molded pieces. Not here. In this case the PE parts are required to complete the model and many are part of the structure.
This is the cab interior. The seat supports are PE which makes them a bit flimsy. The only way to ever see them would be if the doors were cut out and posed open. The various shift and brake levers were provided as PE parts, I replaced them with 0.015” round stock because it’s easier to work with and the levers weren’t really flat.
This is the state of the construction after Step 20 (of 35). Many of the PE parts are brackets to hold various rollers and pulleys. One set defied my attempts at alignment and was replaced with plastic card. I have left off several pieces of PE from the engine as they will be invisible with the hood panels in place. If you wanted to leave off the side panels and wire the engine it would be impressive, otherwise it is wasted detail.
Here the tractor section is complete except for the roof pieces which I will leave off so I can paint the interior. The white cover behind the cab is provided as PE. That was not going to work for me so I fabricated a replacement from Evergreen sheet. There is a mold seam down the centerline of all the tires but that can be removed with a sanding block.

Italeri Churchill Mk. III Build in 1/72 Scale

For some reason I thought this was a new tool Churchill kit from Italeri. I’m not sure where I got that impression, this is the old ESCI kit first released in 1988. In fact, even Italeri had issued previous boxings, so my curiosity of what Italeri would do with a new tool armor kit is still unsatisfied.
Two plastic sprues and flexible tracks are in what’s in the box, along with a small decal sheet with four marking options. Scalemates indicates there are new parts here, I’m guessing they would have to be the tracks. The instructions indicate the tracks are designed for CA glue, which does in fact work well. You also get a crew figure, a nice touch.
Each side of the suspension is constructed using only eight parts (including tracks). This is a mercy, as the breakdown of the Churchill suspension could have easily run into 40 – 50 parts, even using continuous band tracks. My personal preference is for buildability over a myriad of detail which cannot be easily seen, and alignment of all these bogeys as individual parts would have been a nightmare. These parts required some cleanup as there were mold seams and a little flash, the old ESCI molds are beginning to show their age.
The tracks reacted well to superglue. This Churchill variant concealed the return run of the tracks under an extensive fender system. The tracks turned out to be slightly long (or I stretched them during installation), but I was able to cut off the excess and hide the ends behind the air intakes. Pioneer tools are molded onto the engine deck, and handles are molded onto the hatches.
There are some seams to address with this kit, on the majority of the armor kits I have constructed this has not been much of an issue. There are also some annoying ejector pin marks in bad locations, visible here on the armor plate in front of the hull machine gunner’s position and in the turret trace over the track fenders. Filling and sanding these would result in lost detail so I filled them with Perfect Plastic Putty, which can be smoothed with a wet Q-Tip.
The camouflage was masked off using poster putty. This is one of the modeling supplies available at the supermarket, and is re-usable. It provides a solid demarcation between colors without as great of risk of paint seeping under as with masking tape.
Here are the colors used. The Sand FS 30475 was done first as layers of Mr. Color 44 and 19 to vary the tone, while the Extra Dark Sea Gray is a mix of 116 RLM 65 Black Gray and 366 Intermediate Sea Blue.
After decals and a second coat of Testors Glosscoat recesses were highlighted with a wash of Tamiya black panel line wash. I then added some chipping with a dark brown make-up applicator. The entire model then received a very thin coat of light tan “dust” to unify the finish, followed by Testors Dullcote. While the molds are beginning to show their age, the kit builds up well with a few enhancements.

Hero of the Empire Audio Book Review

Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill

Authored by Candice Millard, Narrated by Simon Vance

Audiobook, 10 hours and 14 minutes

Published by Random House Audio

Language: English

ASIN: B01J6GNLB8

Born into English aristocracy, Winston Churchill was always convinced he was destined for greatness.  He determined that the surest path to political success was being publicly recognized for audacity on the battlefield, and at the end of the 1800s England did not lack for battlefields in the far reaches of her sprawling Empire.  Churchill served as a junior officer in India and the Sudan, but the medals he so desperately sought eluded him.  Resigning his commission, he relied on his writing skills as a military correspondent in Cuba, and his oratory skills in a failed run for Parliament.  Still craving adventure and the recognition which would propel him to greatness, he sailed to South Africa to cover the Boer War as a journalist in 1899.  He was 24 at the time.

The Boers soon proved to be worthy opponents for the mighty British Army.  A pioneering people, they turned their frontier skills and knowledge into formidable weapons, fighting a successful guerilla war and handing the British several defeats.  Churchill was with a formation which was bottled up in Estcourt, harassed by invisible Boer fighters.  The garrison sent out an armored train on a daily patrol.  Churchill rode along on the day the train was ambushed.  He saw this as an opportunity, and directed the men in responding to the ambush, attempting to get the train underway again.  The British were eventually overwhelmed, the survivors being captured and taken to Pretoria, the Boer capitol.

Churchill chaffed at his captivity.  He joined a small party who were planning an escape, but wound up being the only member to go over the wall unnoticed.  There he found himself alone deep in enemy territory, lacking adequate provisions, a map, or even a plan.  With no other acceptable options, he set out.

This book is part biographical history and part adventure story, an excellent combination.  While I was familiar with Churchill’s background in broad terms, the details of his escape are fascinating.  This is not a dry history and the author’s style is engaging, resulting in a real “page turner”.  I was surprised at Churchill’s unreserved ambition, and conviction from an early age that he was destined for greatness.  One wonders how the world might have turned out differently today if things had worked out differently for him, and there certainly were multiple opportunities for things to have gone wrong.  Highly recommended.

Vickers Mark VI Light Tank Build in 1/72 Scale

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I have a Creality LD-002R 3-D resin printer, it is small enough to fit on a corner of my workbench and not horribly expensive for what it can do. The printers are quite useful but you can easily go down the rabbit hole with these things. I found a file for a Vickers Mk. VI light tank from designer “TigerAce1945” on Thingiverse here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2055879 I scaled it to 1/72 and soon it was ready to go.

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Assembly consists of removing the supports and placing the turret on the hull. The resin is cured by UV light, so I placed it in the sunshine and flipped it over after the supports were off to make sure everything hardened up completely. The resin is hard and a little on the brittle side but cuts and sands very much like typical model plastic or casting resin.

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The model would be fine for wargaming just as it was, but I wanted to jazz it up a bit as a display model using Evergreen strip and wire. The shovel and ax are separate prints. The towing eyes on the front of the hull and fire extinguisher are from the spares box. I rebuilt the stowage frame on the rear plate because the wall thickness was too much.

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A couple of coats of Mr. Surfacer 1000 smoothed out most of the printing layers. These were not all that bad, but the prints don’t yet have the same fidelity as injection molded kits. The technology is getting closer though and works well for many modeling tasks!

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Here is the model with the Malta “stone wall” camouflage prior to weathering. I love the scheme, and this is a quick and painless way to try to represent it.

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What better backdrop for a stone wall camouflage than a stone wall? I found a suitable example and printed a wall to go with the tank. The file is intended for 28 mm wargamers, but one of the neat things about printers is the files can be re-scaled within reason. The designer is “Ravenloth” on Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4231810

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Here is the wall mounted to a display base. Small pebbles from the driveway enhance the randomness of the wall and provide rubble where sections have fallen down.

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I added more rocks to the top of the wall to break up the flat profile. The small tree is a twisted wire trunk, scattered grass and tufts complete the terrain.

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The Vickers was finished off in the standard way with washes and chipping, then sprayed with DullCoat. The antenna is Nitenol wire, and there is some basic stowage added in the rack on the back.

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Here is the finished product, with a Preisser Luftwaffe figure modified to represent a British tanker added for scale. All in all an enjoyable little project which came together quickly.

Airfix Standard Light Utility Vehicles in 1/72 Scale

These are Standard Light Utility Vehicles which are part of the Airfix WWII RAF Bomber Re-Supply Set.  One is included in each box, it is essentially a light truck and a quick build in 1/72 scale.  Many of the kit parts are molded on the clear sprue, but mine suffered from the dreaded Airfix flow lines so I cut the portions representing glass off and replaced the windshields with acetate.  There were also gaps at the sides where the cab joins the hood which I filled with Perfect Plastic Putty.  Other than that they build up nicely.

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Airfix Bedford Trucks in 1/72 Scale

These are the Airfix Bedford trucks which are part of their WWII RAF Bomber Re-Supply Set.  You get one truck in each set but have the option of building it as either an MWC water tanker or an MWD light truck.  I purchased two sets so I built one of each version.  The kits are well engineered and go together without any surprises, the only down side is the clear parts had the dreaded Airfix flow lines and so the windshields were replaced with clear acetate.  I modified the water tanker by lowering the equipment boxes on the sides of the tank and replacing the walkways with P.E. from Brengun.

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Bomber Re-Supply Set construction here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/03/20/airfix-wwii-raf-bomber-re-supply-set-build-in-1-72-scale/

Allied Armor in Normandy Book Review

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Allied Armor in Normandy

By Yves Buffetaut, illustrated by Jean Restayn

Paperback, 128 pages, heavily illustrated

Published by Casemate, June 2018

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1612006078

ISBN-13: 978-1612006079

Product Dimensions: 7.0 x 0.5 x 9.8 inches

The size and format of Casemate’s “Illustrated” series naturally invites comparison to Osprey’s long-running catalog.  Both publishers aim squarely at the modeling / wargaming / history communities with affordable paperback volumes focusing on a specific topic.  Both are well illustrated with photographs, artwork, and profiles of the men and vehicles involved.  They are also prevented by size from presenting much more than a brief overview of their subjects.

This Casemate volume can be considered to be a cross between an Osprey Campaign book and a New Vanguard vehicle monograph.  The first third of the text explains the organization of the American and British model armored divisions.  The Breakdown of the Regiments and Battalions comprising each Division is then listed which quickly devolves into a laundry list of units.  The remaining two-thirds of the text explains the landings at Normandy and the subsequent Allied Operations culminating in the breakout during Operation Cobra in August 1944.

Interspersed throughout the text are several black and white photographs, which are relatively large and printed clearly.  There are also several color illustrations of selected vehicles.   These are divided into two-page spreads, each showing three vehicles along with captions and marking details.  The vehicles are illustrated in profile and perspective views.  There are also brief one-page biographies of several of the commanders involved.

There is little in the way of personal anecdotes or detailed reports of specific actions, outside of summations listing losses at the end of an engagement.  This generality carries over to the profile captions – while the type of vehicle and unit is identified, there is no detail provided concerning any actions it may have fought in nor the fate of the vehicle or crew.

The overall impression is of a potpourri of content which never forms a cohesive whole, it simply tries to cover too much material in too little space.  The result is a book which jumps around too much to ever establish a flow.  Still useful, but could have been better.

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Airfix Bedford Truck Builds in 1/72 Scale

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This is the Airfix Bedford truck kit which is part of their WWII RAF Bomber Re-Supply Set.  You get one truck in each set but have the option of building it as either an MWC water tanker or an MWD light truck.  I purchased two sets so I’ll be building one of each.  This is the common component of both kits, the frame and the cab.
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Most of the frame is molded as a single piece which helps speed construction.
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Here is where most of the difference comes in, the water tank on the left and standard bed on the right.  I replaced the walkways on the tanker with PE parts from the Brengun set, those and some side mirrors were the only parts I used.  The grab handles were replaced with wire, a simple improvement which improves the appearance considerably.
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Here is the bed with its canvas cover.  The canvas over the cab has a circular hump which was apparently less common than a straight canvas tarp, so I cut the hump out and filled it with stock on both kits.
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The walkways and bins on the water tanker are molded on too high, lowering them a couple of millimeters makes a noticeable improvement.
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Here are the major sub assemblies painted up, the water tanker in Dark Earth and scale black, the standard truck in Dark Earth with a lightened cover.
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The kits were given a coat of gloss to prepare for decals and also to seal the underlying paint for washes.  The decals performed pretty well with a little coaxing.
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Here are the trucks with a Tamiya black wash and a coat of flat.  The front windscreens have been replaced with acetate sheet as mine had the dreaded Airfix clear part flowlines.
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These went together well and I enjoyed building them.  I have a soft spot for military softskins, these will look good in the collection.

More finished pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/06/09/airfix-bedford-trucks-in-1-72-scale/

Airfix Standard Light Utility Vehicle Build in 1/72 Scale

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This is the Airfix Standard Light Utility Vehicle which is part of the WWII RAF Bomber Re-Supply Set.  It is essentially a light truck, and a quick build in 1/72 scale.  Many of the kit parts are molded on the clear sprue, but mine suffered from the dreaded Airfix flow lines so I cut them off.  Saves on the masking anyway!

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The forward part of the canvas cover is also molded on the clear sprue in order to provide for the small side windows.  I masked those off both inside and out.  In this picture you can also see some of the small added details – door handles, side mirrors, and gear shift levers.

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The underside is blessed simplicity, molded as a single piece with only the forward axle to add.  This did take a little time to remove mold lines but I prefer the one-piece frames.

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A coat of Mr. Surfacer revealed some issues.  There was a gap at the forward edge of both doors and the clear firewall part was concealing two ejector pin marks in a prominent location.  These were filled with Perfect Plastic Putty and smoothed with a wet Q-tip.  An easy fix for a potentially tricky problem.

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Both vehicles were painted in the Dark Earth and scale black camouflage.  Seats and benchtops were painted Olive Drab.

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The window frames were replaced with 0.02” Evergreen stock.  I had to make new side mirrors as I managed to knock off the originals during painting.

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There are a few decals provided in the kit, which I used.

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Windshields were made from acetate dipped in Future, wipers were made from stretched sprue.

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I weathered one vehicle but left the other relatively clean.  The weathering was intended to be a light misting of dust but I didn’t pull it off well and so the effect is not quite like I intended.  I may play with it a bit more but I’m calling it done for now.