First to Fight Sd.Kfz. 247 and Polish Uhlan Cavalry Diorama in 1/72 Scale

This scene depicts a German Sd.Kfz. 247 scout car which has been abandoned by its crew.  A unit of Polish Uhlan cavalry has happened upon the vehicle and has stopped to inspect it. Mechanical breakdown or fuel exhaustion is common, or perhaps the crew has simply dismounted and is nearby, waiting for the Poles to pass.  I wanted the vehicle to appear disheveled but not damaged, so I posed the doors and visor open and placed various pieces of stowage and debris in the interior.

First to Fight Sd.Kfz. 247 Diorama Build in 1/72 Scale

A surprising subject in 1/72 scale are these sets of Polish Uhlan cavalry from 1939. These are from First to Fight, a Polish company which focuses on subjects from the September 1939 invasion. I thought they would be interesting as part of a diorama featuring the Sd.Kfz. 247 scout car.
Each box contains six figures and six horses on four sprues, you get two of each pose per box. The second box (1939-072) is interesting as one of the “mounts” is actually a pack horse, so there will be two extra figures from this set.
First to Fight also produces a box of dismounted Uhlans which complements the cavalry figures. Pretty thorough coverage for such an obscure subject, but their entire range is composed of obscure and unusual subjects.
You get three sprues in the box for a total of fifteen figures. The “horse holder” figure is duplicated on each sprue, so only four unique poses.
Of course, there is nothing stopping the modeler from re-posing the figures to suit a particular need or to widen the variety. Here is the stock dismounted Uhlan officer on the left, and one with replacement arms from the spares box on the right.
The horses were also dressed up a bit. The pack horse on the left has received additional loads. The horse on the right is a spare from the old Hasegawa M3 Stuart kit with his tack modified to better represent the Polish pattern.
Here are two of the horses under a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000. There are held in clamp stands from TacketZ, a new company which produces a wide variety of holders for modeling tools and supplies for the workbench. TacketZ here: https://tacketz.com/
Here are the completed Uhlans, ready to mount to the base.
The base is a simple dirt road with a few trees for interest. Vegetation is from Woodland Scenics.
This is the general layout. The Sd.Kfz. 247 has been abandoned by its crew and is being inspected by the Uhlan officer while other cavalrymen stand by. The vehicle is in disarray with open doors and various articles strewn about the interior.

First to Fight Polish TKS Tankette Diorama Build in 1/72 Scale

Several of the blogs and boards I follow are devoted to the painting of (and/or gaming with) “minis”.  The work of these figure painters is fantastic and inspiring, but makes me more aware of the limitations of my own modeling skills.  I need practice, so I decided to add bases and figures to my recent batch of completed vehicles.

I’ve seen modelers try various ways of building bases on You Tube videos. This one didn’t look difficult and I already had most of the materials in the garage. This is just foam insulation glued to a wooden base. Instead of cutting the foam, I used the “fat lardie” method and contoured the foam by stepping on it on a concrete floor – worked like a charm!
The edges are dressed up with strips of 1 inch (25 mm) wide balsa wood from the Local Hobby Store. All this is glued with carpenter’s clue, clamped, and left to dry overnight.
I added surface contours with lightweight spackling compound. An advantage of the lightweight spackle is it can be compressed when dry without fracturing.
The base color is a suitable shade of acrylic beige wall paint. Cheap, and a quart will be a lifetime supply for modeling purposes.
I have become interested in the use of mounted cavalry during WWII, and surprisingly there are a few choices of figures available in 1/72 scale. These are First to Fight Polish Uhlans mounted on Zvezda horses. Turns out the Polish and Russian cavalry tack is similar, so only a few modifications were needed. The poses of the figures were modified, and reins and bedrolls are made from masking tape.
Here are the figures under a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000. The biggest improvement is the replacement of the molded-on reins, the tape reins are more dynamic and can be mated with the figures’ hands. The Mr. Surfacer and subsequent paint layers are generally sufficient to bond the reins, but a little dab of superglue doesn’t hurt either!
The mini-diorama depicts a TKS supporting the advance of a unit of Uhlan cavalry. The ground cover is a mix of Woodland Scenics products. I made indentations in the grass where the tracks of the TKS passed by rolling a coin, an example of where the ability of the lightweight spackling compound to compress came in handy. I’m definitely not quick about the figure painting and basing yet, but I do like the effect!

Dragon Krupp Protze Kfz.70 Build in 1/72 Scale

This is the Dragon Krupp Protze Kfz.70, kit #7377 first issued in 2011. It is a nice kit. I often manage to run into these on vendor tables for a good price at the shows and have build a few of them.
Dragon has opted to provide a detailed suspension, and there are several very delicate parts on the sprues. Careful parts removal and clean-up is rewarded. The main sprue is slightly longer than the box and is crammed in there, but this has never resulted in distorted parts on any which I have built.
For all the small parts the kit assembles well. This boxing also includes a 3.7 cm Pak 36 anti-tank gun. This is a little odd as the gun was more usually associated with the Kfz.69 version of this chassis which incorporated ammunition storage (also kitted by Dragon), while the Kfz.70 is a version configured for passenger / cargo.
Here is the model after priming with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and a black base coat of Alclad primer.
The model was given a camouflage of Panzer Gray with Brown for the Polish Campaign. I managed to break off the indicators on the front fenders while painting so sharp-eyed viewers will have noticed they are replaced with insect pins in this photo.
I washed the recesses with black and then dirtied everything up. The canvas cover is made from masking tape. The softskin trucks are ubiquitous and can be displayed in a variety of scenes.

First to Fight Sd.Kfz. 247 Build in 1/72 Scale

This is the First to Fight kit number PL1939-059 molding of the Sd.Kfz. 247 Ausf. A, a newer kit first released in 2018. It is a rather uncommon type which was not produced in large numbers and was rarely seen in later campaigns. Only twenty were produced.
The parts layout is straightforward. The suspension is simplified which speeds construction. Unless you’re planning on showing the vehicle on its side this should not be a problem. The kit includes two crew figures, which are always welcome.
I am planning on modeling this one as an abandoned vehicle, so I’ll be opening up the doors and the driver’s visor. Here I have removed the doors from the body and begun chain drilling the visor. This will be opened up with an exacto knife.
The doors are in upper and lower sections to account for the kink in the hull. I replaced the handles on the pioneer tools as these were molded with undercuts to clear the mold. Fender indicators are insect pins.
Another view after priming with Mr. Surfacer 1000. Towing hooks were made from wire and added front and back.
The basic camouflage during the Polish campaign was Panzer Gray with Brown covering 1/3 of the vehicle. In grayscale there is little difference between the two colors so this is often unnoticed in black and white photographs.
A finished picture after decals and weathering. The model was given a black wash followed by a tan mud wash, then a thin layer of “dust” was sprayed over the whole thing. The rolled-up tarp is made from masking tape.

First to Fight Polish TKS Tankette Build in 1/72 Scale

This is kit number PL1939-001 from Polish manufacturer First to Fight. It was initially released in 2013, and re-released in 2019 with a turned metal gun barrel. It is an interesting design, and quite small. It carried a crew of two and makes me wonder just where is the line for being too small to be considered a tank. The main gun is a 20mm cannon, there was another version which carried a machine gun instead, which First to Fight also kits.
There is only a single sprue which contains twelve parts, plus a turned brass barrel which is a very nice touch. The suspension is mercifully molded as a single piece for each side and is very well detailed. For many subjects this approach is adequate for 1/72 scale, and much easier to build (and align!) than a pile of tweezer-bait. Instructions and a painting guide are printed on the back of the box.
The hull is split into top and bottom pieces. There is a gap under the mudguards, which is not obvious on the finished model from normal viewing angles but only takes a couple of minutes to fill with plastic card.
Assembly complete. The brass barrel is a nice touch as the molded barrel would be difficult to clean up and keep straight. I cut off the handles on the front plates and replaced them with wire stock, a simple improvement which enhances the looks of the model.
The model was primed with Mr. Surfacer to check for flaws, and then with black Alclad primer.
I followed the illustration on the box art for the camouflage scheme. It is interesting that the colors are so similar to those adopted by the Wehrmacht in 1943.
Here is the finished model after a panel wash and a light coat of dust. This kit goes together well and its simplicity and low parts count makes it a perfect choice for a quick build.