3-D Printed Vickers Mark IV Light Tank in 1/72 Scale

This is a Vickers Mk. VI light tank from designer “TigerAce1945” on Thingiverse here:  https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2055879

The file was scaled to 1/72 and printed on a Creality LD-002R 3-D resin printer.  It is painted as one of the tanks defending Malta in the “stone wall” scheme.  The figure is converted from a Preisser Luftwaffe pilot.

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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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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.

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.

Airfix WWII RAF Bomber Re-Supply Set Build in 1/72 Scale

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The Airfix RAF Bomber Re-Supply Set might best be described as a “diorama in a box”.  Inside is a broad sampling of vehicles and equipment used by the RAF for ground support of its heavy bomber aircraft.  Just add the bomber of your choice, some figures, and a base and you’re in business.  The kit was first released in 2013 and was roundly acclaimed by modelers for its utility and versatility.  I bought two.

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The sprues are molded in Airfix standard light blue soft plastic.  The level of detail is good.  There was no flash on my examples, but there are mold lines to be removed and a few ejector pin marks in unfortunate locations.  These three sprues contain various ordinance loads and miscellaneous equipment, along with a David Brown tractor and fuel trailer.  This will be the subject of this build post.

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Additional sprues contain parts for the two vehicles in the kit – a Bedford truck with an option to build one of two variants, and a Standard Light Utility Vehicle.  I will show the construction of these kits in future posts.

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I also purchased two sets of Brengun’s photoetch to dress up the models.  However, as I got to each opportunity to replace the kit parts with items from this set I became painfully aware that I would be substituting effectively two-dimensional PE parts for three-dimensional kit parts.  In most cases the Airfix part was the better representation, so I ended up using very little from this set.

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These are the assembled fuel trailers.  There was some shrinking along the locating pin locations which I filled with Mr. Surfacer.  The lack of locator pins is a common criticism of limited-run kits, but their presence cuts both ways.  The door handles were cut off and replaced with wire, a quick improvement which improves the detail substantially.

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The underside of the fuel trailer shows some seams and ejector marks which I didn’t bother to fill on my examples.  There is some nice brake line detail molded in.

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The sets each have three bomb trollies which are a useful item and can be displayed loaded or empty.  Here are two loaded with 8,000 pound and 4,000 pound “cookies”.  I have replaced the lifting eyes on mine with wire loops.

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Additional trollies are loaded with conventional 1,000 pound and 500 bound bombs.  I thinned the tail fins and made wire lifting eyes here as well.  If you purchase an Airfix Lancaster kit it does not provide any of these standard bomb types, so you’ll need to get a re-supply set if you want to load up your Lanc.

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The David Brown tractor builds up quickly, having only eighteen parts.  This would be right at home on a farm if you wanted to model a more peaceful scene.

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The underside shows several ejector marks and does require some quality time with an exacto knife to remove mold seams from the frame.

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Here the camouflage of Dark Earth and scale black is applied using poster putty for masks.  The models were then shot with GlossCoat, decaled, and washed with Tamiya black panel line wash.

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Here are the finished models.  The kit decals performed well, even the bands on the bombs which I was a little apprehensive about.  Airfix has released a similar set for U.S. subjects, and I hope they were successful enough to warrant issuing additional sets in the future as they are quite nice.

Airfix Gloster Gladiator Mk.I in 1/72 Scale

This is the Gloster Gladiator Mk. I of F/Lt Marmaduke Pattle at Amriya Egypt in 1940.  Pattle was a South African serving in the RAF during the Second World War and is credited with being the highest-scoring ace in the RAF.  He is credited with fifty victories, fifteen of which were on the Gladiator.  He was shot down and killed by Bf 110s of ZG 26 over Piraeus Harbor, Greece on 20APR41.

The Airfix kits are a pleasure to build.  The engineering of the struts and gear legs is well thought out, and eliminates the alignment issues common to many biplane kits.  The Airfix instructions are also outstanding.  The camo and marking guides are in color and are to scale.  There is also a rigging guide which sets a high standard which I hope other manufactures to attempt to emulate.  All rigging is shown in keyed scale drawings from the front and plan, with detail insets illustrating the optimal installation sequence.

Airfix kit, markings are from the Pavla kit.

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Pavla Gloster Sea Gladiator in 1/72 Scale

This is the Pavla Sea Gladiator of Lt A. N. Young, 813 NAS Fighter Flight aboard HMS Eagle, Mediterranean Sea, Summer 1940. These are still nice kits, but with all the quirks you would expect from a limited run molding.  One big asset is the Pavla decal sheet provides six sets of markings. The Pavla fuselage is a little more bloated than the newer Airfix molding, but I don’t really notice it much on the finished model.  I had intended to model this one with a closed canopy, but the vacuformed kit canopy was far too small to fit properly and looked better open.

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