Zvezda Panzer IV Ausf. H in 1/72 Scale

This is the Zvezda Panzer IV Ausf. H in 1/72 scale, kit number 5017 released in 2018.  I replaced the hull Schürzen with sheet plastic and I added Zimmerit made with Mr. Surfacer 500.  A nice kit and loads of camo schemes to choose from.  Decals are from Kagero Top Colors 32 and depict a Panzer IV from the 116th Panzer Division in Normandy, August 1944.  I found the mixed camo patterns of the hull Schürzen and the rest of the vehicle interesting.

DSC_7551

DSC_7550

DSC_7549

DSC_7548

DSC_7518

DSC_7519

DSC_7520

Tigers in the Mud Book Review

DSC_7302

Tigers in the Mud, The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius

By Otto Carius, translated by Robert J. Edwards

Softcover, 231 pages plus documents, appendices, and index; illustrated

Published by Stackpole Books, 2003

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0-8117-2911-7

Dimensions:  8.9 x 6.0 x 1.1 inches

Otto Carius began his war as a loader on a Panzer 38(t) in the 21st Panzer Regiment at the start of operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union.  Sadly only the first few chapters are devoted to his time with the 21st Panzer Regiment.  The narrative mainly focusses on events after January 1943, when Carius returned to Germany for officer’s training and eventual assignment to Schwere Panzer Abteilung 502, a Tiger unit.

There Carius was a platoon commander in the 2.Kompanie.  He was often right in the thick of the action, as the Tigers were used to bolster defensive positions against attack or to counter Soviet penetrations of German lines.  The Tigers were almost always outnumbered but seldom out matched, their superior armor making it quite difficult to put one out of action permanently.  But with the armor protection came weight, and the Tigers had to be driven carefully to avoid becoming mired in unsuitable terrain or suffering mechanical failures.  Both problems were common.

While scouting the terrain for his Tigers Carius’ motorcycle was ambushed by Soviet infantry and he was shot several times, his life being saved only by his speedy evacuation to a field hospital.  During his convalescence he was awarded the Oakleaves to the Knights Cross by Himmler.  Subsequently he was assigned to the 512th Battalion in the West which was equipped with the massive Jagdtiger tank destroyer.  By this time the war was coming to an end and the situation was hopeless for Germany.

This book is regarded as a classic account of German armor on the Russian Front, and rightfully so.  First-hand accounts are very interesting, Carius writes well and recounts a detailed description of life in a Tiger platoon.  The time in the 21st Regiment’s Panzer 38(t)’s is only given the most basic recounting which is a shame.  The reproductions of award documentation and after action reports are an interesting bonus.  Carius is highly critical of how poorly Germany treated its former soldiers after the war, he alludes to this several times throughout the book, something which I had not considered – sad, but not entirely surprising in retrospect.  A very interesting memoir which I recommend highly.

DSC_7303

Zvezda Panzer IV Ausf. H Build in 1/72 Scale

PanzerIV_01
This is the Zvezda Panzer IV Ausf. H in 1/72 scale, kit number 5017 released in 2018. This is a scaled down version of their 2017 release in 1/35 scale which uses the same box art. The box depicts a Panzer IV in Normandy, an early version with the Zimmerit paste in abundance (even on the Schürzen) but the kit is molded without the Zimmerit texture. This is a wise decision as fewer and fewer surfaces received the Zimmerit treatment as Panzer IV production continued.

PanzerIV_02
Zvezda uses a hard plastic, overall molding is crisp and flash-free. The Schürzen are molded as single pieces. While the edges are thin, the plate overlap is not represented. Tracks are single pieces and pliable enough to wrap around the running gear with careful gluing.

PanzerIV_03
The lower hull is built up from separate panels. The gun barrel is molded as a single piece and the muzzle will need to be drilled out. Despite what is depicted on the box art, there is no spare track provided for the front of the glacis plate.

PanzerIV_04
The hull tub components lock into place well providing a good alignment. Likewise, the running gear builds up quickly and lines up well. I pulled my usual trick of lining the bottom of the hull with BBs and fixing them in place with old casting resin.

PanzerIV_05
The particular vehicle I have chosen to model carried Zimmerit on a few panels. I made this with Mr. Surfacer 500 and a fine flat-head screwdriver bit chucked into a pin vice. Easy enough to do, and any mistakes can be “erased” with lacquer thinner and a little more Mr. Surfacer.

PanzerIV_06
I replaced the kit Schürzen panels over the tracks with panels made from Evergreen sheet so I could replicate the slight overlap, the turret skirts are from the kit. I scratchbuilt one of the turret skirt side doors so I could show it open. My plan is to leave the Schürzen off for now so I can better get at the hull for washes and weathering. The panels were arranged in the proper order on the cards so the camouflage will be consistent.

PanzerIV_07
The model received a coat of Future (Klear) to protect the finish from the weathering process. I applied mud to the lower hull and running gear, this will be mostly hidden on the finished model but I can use the practice.

PanzerIV_08
Here is the finished model after weathering. Decals are from Kagero Top Colors 32 and depict a Panzer IV from the 116th Panzer Division in Normandy, August 1944. I found the mixed camo patterns of the hull Schürzen and the rest of the vehicle interesting.

Trumpeter Sd.Ah.116 Tank Transporter Build in 1/72 Scale

Transporter116_01
This is Trumpeter kit number 07249, the Sd.Ah.116 Tank Transporter. This was usually seen being towed behind an Sd.Kfz. 8 or Sd.Kfz. 9 FAMO halftrack. The trailer was rated at 23 tons but could haul up to 28 tons, most commonly vehicles based upon the Panzer III were carried but there are several photos showing Panzer IVs as well.

Transporter116_02
The parts are well molded and my example had no flash, but there are some ejector pin marks on the underside of some parts.

Transporter116_03
The driver’s cab is a single piece of slide mold wizardry. A small length of thread is provided to represent rope but this is fuzzy and best replaced. You also get a short run of metal chain which is useful. Tires are the flexible vinyl type with the impossible-to-remove mold line down the center so hopefully the seam can be hidden with mud.

Transporter116_04
The parts build up into three major assemblies, and these can be completed in any order you wish. I’d recommend jumping around a bit to allow for time for the glue to set as keeping these assemblies square and aligned will certainly make life easier later on.

Transporter116_05
The built-up kit is 6.5 inches (165 mm) long, which is pretty impressive for a 1/72 model, with a towing vehicle it will really stretch out. I’ve begun to develop an interest in tank transporters so there will be more of these coming in the model pipeline.

Transporter116_06
Paint on this one will be just the basic Panzer Dunkelgelb. My intention is to use this build to test various weathering techniques so I wanted a finish which could show the effects of being beaten up.

Transporter116_07
Here the model has been assembled and the decals applied. The red and white stripe decals on the edges of the mudguards were too wide to fit properly so I just painted the markings. Everything is sealed with Future (Klear) which is an acrylic in order to protect the base coat from being worn away by solvents. The driver’s cab is not glued down at this point.

Transporter116_08
The model after some simple washes with Tamiya Panel Line wash. I applied a black wash first, and then brown. I found I was able to modulate the effect that way and I used the brown wash to push the black wash around, removing it from areas where I didn’t want it and emphasizing areas where I did.

Transporter116_09
Here are a few more weathering layers. Chipping was done by stippling on oil paint, dirt and mud is Vallejo weathering powder pressed into yellow ochre oil paint. I then misted a light layer of dust over the whole thing, which toned down the tires quite a bit.

Transporter116_10
A detail shot of the rear section showing the weathering. In general this is the appearance I was hoping for but there is still room for improvement. There is no substitute for practice!

The Tank Book Book Review

DSC_5783

The Tank Book: The Definitive Visual History of Armored Vehicles

Softcover, 256 pages, profusely illustrated

Published by Dorling Kindersley 2019

Language: English

ISBN-13: 978-0-2414-2049-2

Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.9 x 12.1 inches

The Dorling Kindersley publications are billed as “visual histories”, they are large format books which rely on large numbers of photographs with either short texts or captions to tell the story.  Each double page spread introduces a variation on the general topic in a short and easy to comprehend segment.

In this case the subject is tanks, although the term is applied in its broadest sense.  There are several variations of armored vehicles which are not technically proper tanks, such as engineering vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles, wheeled troop carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, etc.  These are grouped to allow the reader to compare contemporary vehicles of several nations or to show the evolution of one particular nation’s vehicles.  A wide variety of subjects are illustrated with clear color photographs of either restored museum examples or types which are in active service.

Of interest to modelers are the spreads which focus on individual vehicles which are photographed from several angles.  These show many useful details themselves, and are frequently accompanied by photographs in a “walk around” style depicting internal and external equipment.

I normally don’t pick up broad-topic survey-type books, but this one caught my eye.  The quality of the photography is exceptional, and there are many close-up pictures which may well prove useful.  I found this copy at Half Price Books for $10, a bargain.  A great browser, I only wish my copy was in hardcover as I can see myself returning to this book frequently.

DSC_5785

DSC_5786

DSC_5784

Sturmgeschütz IV Book Review

DSC_6002

 

Sturmgeschütz IV

By Łukasz Gładysiak, Tomasz Idzikowski, and Marek Jaszcolt

Kagero Photosniper Series Book 13

Paperback, 80 pages, profusely illustrated, eight color profiles, three isometric

Published by Kagero November 2014

Language: English

ISBN-10: 8364596209

ISBN-13: 978-8364596209

Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.3 x 11.6 inches

This is an interesting book for what would at first appear to be a simple vehicle modeling guide.  It starts off with a brief history of the development of the Sturmgeschütz IV design, which was an amalgamation of the StuG III superstructure and the Panzer IV chassis.  This is accompanied by the expected tables of specifications and a few period photographs.

The narrative then shifts to the recovery and restoration of a StuG IV from the river Rgilewka, near Grzegorzewo, Poland.  The vehicle had broken through ice on the river during the German withdrawal in 1945 and had remained sunken in the mud in the riverbed ever since.  A team from the Museum of Armoured Weapons in Poznan, Wielkopolska recovered the Stug IV in 2006.  Remarkably, they were able to completely restore this assault gun to running condition and it is currently the only running StuG IV in existence today.

There are several photographs of the recovery of various components from the river and their restoration, culminating in the finished and fully restored vehicle.  The bulk of the book, and the part most interesting to modelers, is an extensive “walk around” style presentation of photographs of various details.  These are reproduced in large full-color spreads, usually two or three photographs per page.  These show both interior and exterior views of the vehicle and constitute the majority of the book, 48 pages in total.  This is followed by a short discussion of crew uniforms and paint colors.  A strength of Kagero publications is the computer rendered artwork, in this book we have three vehicles shown in isometric illustrations and eight others in the more usual side profiles.

This is a quality publication which contains a wealth of useful information for modelers or anyone else interested in the details of the Sturmgeschütz IV.  There are some rather cryptic text passages which have suffered during the translation from Polish to English, but the meaning of most can be determined.  In any case the value of this book lies in the photography and illustrations, which are of high quality and well reproduced.  Recommended.

DSC_6004

 

DSC_6003

 

 

 

Trumpeter Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G Assault Gun in 1/72 Scale

This is the Trumpeter StuG III Ausf. G, representing a late-production machine with cast steel return rollers and Saukopf gun mantlet with co-axial machine gun.  The Schürzen brackets and “fencing” around the engine deck were added with Evergreen strip and Tequila bottle foil.  This is a nice kit which goes together quickly.

 

DSC_5822

 

DSC_5816

 

DSC_5818

 

DSC_5751

 

DSC_5752

 

DSC_5753

 

DSC_5754

 

Build thread here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/06/19/plastic-soldier-stug-iii-ausf-g-assault-gun-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/

Plastic Soldier Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G Assault Gun with Concrete Armor in 1/72 Scale

Another Plastic Soldier StuG III, this time with the Saukopf gun mantlet and concrete armor added to the front of the fighting compartment.  The concrete armor was added to some StuGs late in the war.  The Schürzen armored plates were designed to offer protection against the Soviet PTRS-41 and PTRD 14.5 mm anti-tank rifles which were produced in great numbers and proved capable of penetrating the side armor of the StuG III.  The skirts also proved useful against hollow-charge weapons such as the American Bazooka.

DSC_5812

 

DSC_5814

 

DSC_5815

 

DSC_5759

 

DSC_5760

 

DSC_5761

 

DSC_5762

 

More StuG III builds here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/07/28/trumpeter-sturmgeschutz-iii-ausf-g-assault-gun-in-1-72-scale/

Plastic Soldier Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G Assault Gun in 1/72 Scale

This is a Plastic Soldier Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G Assault Gun.  These kits are intended for the wargaming market and come packaged three kits to a box.  I built this one to represent a StuG III on the Russian Front during 1943 / 44.  I replaced the overly-thick Schürzen which also helps hide the rather basic running gear and added various other details to spruce it up a bit.  The commander figure is included with the kit.

DSC_5800

 

DSC_5798

 

DSC_5796

 

DSC_5758

 

DSC_5757

 

DSC_5756

 

DSC_5755

 

More StuG III builds here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/07/21/plastic-soldier-sturmgeschutz-iii-ausf-g-assault-gun-with-concrete-armor-in-1-72-scale/

Plastic Soldier Sturmhaubitze 42 in 1/72 Scale

The Sturmhaubitze 42 was a variant of the Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. F or Ausf. G which replaced the 75 mm anti-tank gun with a 105 mm L/28 howitzer.  The choice of gun options is provided in the Plastic Soldier StuG III kits although this is not explained in the kit instructions.  My StuH 42 also carries Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste made from Mr. Surfacer 500.

DSC_5804

 

DSC_5806

 

DSC_5808

 

DSC_5763

 

DSC_5764

 

DSC_5765

 

DSC_5766

 

More StuG III builds here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/07/14/plastic-soldier-sturmgeschutz-iii-ausf-g-assault-gun-in-1-72-scale/