Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack Dioramas in 1/72 Scale

I present three dioramas (or are they vignettes) featuring Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftracks in 1/72 scale.  The first is a Planet Models resin kit with Black Dog accessories.  The figures are mainly from Preiser set 72505, augmented with others from one of their Luftwaffe sets.  The crew has taken a break for lunch in the shade of a tree.  The dog is painted to resemble one of my own.

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This scene is the Revell FAMO towing an Italeri sFH 18 Field Howitzer, both very nice kits.  The cargo is mainly Value Gear in the bed and Black Dog tarps on the fenders.  Figures are a mix of Preiser and modified artillerymen from the Italeri kit. Value Gear here: http://valuegeardetails.com/UniversalStowage72.html

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I have recently developed an affinity for tank transporters (like I needed another rabbit hole to climb in) so there will likely be more like this scene in the future.  This is the Trumpeter FAMO and transport trailer with a Zvezda Panzer IV.  Figures are from the CMK set designed for the FAMO and a few from Caesar, Value Gear stowage in the bed again.  I like the casual poses, particularly the bored guy on the back of the trailer.

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Build links and more finished pictures here:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/?s=Sd.+Kfz.+9+FAMO

2020 Year in Review

“May you live in interesting times.” – ancient Chinese curse

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2020 in the form of a gingerbread house.

Oddly for a method of telling time, the positioning of our new year is arbitrary from a physical perspective and should have no actual bearing on earthly events, but here’s hoping for a better 2021 anyway!

I’ll look for the “win” here even if it is minor: We modelers are fortunate to have an inherently solitary hobby in these times.  Overall modeling appears to have picked up, Hornsby (parent company of Airfix) is reporting profits for the first time in years.  Modeling podcasts have come into their own and make bench time even more enjoyable.

The biggest void from a modeling perspective in my opinion is the cancellation of the shows.  I usually attend half a dozen per year and they are always a fine day out, with friends, new kits, and getting to see the work of hundreds of fellow modelers.  Also missing was the Half Price Books annual clearance sale where literally semi-truck loads of books are sold at ridiculously low prices at the state fairgrounds.

On a different note, perhaps the most interesting story of the year received very little attention – the U.S. government admitted that it was studying materials retrieved from vehicles of extraterrestrial origin.  Another commentary on the year 2020.

Blog Statistics and News

2020 was the second complete year for the Inch High Guy blog.  I am happy to report that I again managed to make a post each day, so 366 posts due to the leap year.  The blog received 73,992 views and 26,731 visitors, up from 27,174 views and 7,303 visitors last year.  The most popular post was “Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Interior Colors Part I” with 1,857 views, followed by “The B-17E and the Myth of the Bendix Ventral Turret” with 1,116 views.  Forts appear to be popular around here!

Link:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/b-17-flying-fortress-interior-colors-part-i/

Link: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/the-b-17e-and-the-myth-of-the-bendix-ventral-turret/

I am still struggling with the counter-intuitive Word Press editor, and that was only made worse with the introduction of the Word Press “Block Editor” in September.  This eliminated some useful functions while re-naming and moving others, with no apparent improvements on the user end.  On a more positive note, I did finally locate the tagging function and busied myself adding tags to all posts old and new.

I have linked several posts on ScaleMates, where the walk-around posts of museum aircraft have proved to be the most popular.  The Women Warriors posts have found a following with wargamers over on The Miniatures Page, among others.  I had intended for these pictures to tell their own stories, but there have been a few requests for captions.  Easier said than done with the modern-era photos as information ranges from obvious to impossible-to-determine, but there may be hope for the historical pictures.

Models Built in 2020

Forty-seven completions, twenty-nine aircraft and eighteen vehicles.  In addition I painted fifteen figures (plus one dog) and constructed three diorama bases. Everything was built to 1/72 scale as is my preference.  The mosaic has a picture of each build, if you want to see more finished pictures or the construction posts just follow the tags at the bottom of this post or enter the descriptions in the search bar in the upper right column.

Hasegawa Kawanishi Kyofu (Rex) x 2

Tamiya Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)

Aoshima Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)

MPM Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)

Hasegawa Kawanishi Shiden Kai (George) x 2

Hasegawa Mitsubishi Raiden (Jack)

Fujimi Aichi B7A1 Ryusei (Grace)

LS Yokosuka K5Y Akatombo (Willow)

AZ Yokosuka K5Y Akatombo (Willow)

Special Hobby Curtiss P-40 Warhawk x 5

Tamiya Republic P-47D Thunderbolt

Airfix Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress conversion to B-17E x 2

RPM Hotchkiss H35 French Light Tank

RAF Bomber Supply Set x 2 (6 vehicles)

IBG Chevrolet C15A Personnel Lorry

Monogram Boeing F4B-4 x 2

Rare Bits Boeing F4B-1 Conversion

Monogram Curtiss F11C-2 Goshawk

Matchbox Boeing P-12E x 2

Czech Master Resin Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk

Plastic Soldier StuG III Ausf. G Assault Gun x 3

Trumpeter StuG III Ausf. G Assault Gun

Revell Heinkel He 177A-5 Greif

Revell Junkers Ju 88P-1 Conversion

Hasegawa Heinkel He 111H-20

Italeri 15 cm Field Howitzer sFH 18

Trumpeter Sd.Ah.116 Tank Transporter

Zvezda Panzer IV Ausf. H

Planet Models Resin Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack

Revell Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack

Trumpeter Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack

Forward

Arma hobby has just announced a P-51 B/C Mustang in 1/72. The computer renders look good and show areas such as the wing leading edge and wheel well openings which have given other manufacturers problems appear to have been rendered properly. Here’s hoping! Every previous B/C in 1/72 scale has had some major shape issue so an accurate new tool kit has been at the top of many modeler’s wish lists for many years now. The early Mustangs, if done well, are sure to be a hit and a license to print money for Arma so here’s wishing for a successful release!

In more local news Ms. Inch High put a Creality LD-002R 3-D resin printer under the Christmas tree this year. These are very useful if you know what you’re doing, which I don’t at this point. Hopefully I will soon though, and I look forward to printing something useful. It is an amazing technology to have sitting on the bench. For all the talk of “Death of the Hobby” in some circles, I have yet to see any hint of it from here.

I have enjoyed putting this together, and have enjoyed hearing from other modelers and discovering other blogs.  A big thank you to all who have visited here, commented, followed, and especially those who have posted links.  

May you all live long enough to build every model in your stash!

Italeri 15 cm Field Howitzer sFH 18 / 10,5 cm Field Gun 10,5 cm sK 18 Build in 1/72 Scale

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This is a new tool offering from Italeri for 2020, the WWII German 15 cm Field Howitzer sFH 18 / 10,5 cm Field Gun 10,5 cm sK 18 kit number 7082. As the name implies, the kit contains parts to build either version. Also included are a set of five figures and four shells in each caliber, all of which are nicely sculpted and posed. This kit pushes many of the right buttons for me so I was eager to get started!
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The upper sprue contains detail parts for the carriage and limber, the two smaller sprues are for parts specific for the type of gun one chooses to build. All parts are finely detailed. There was no flash present on my example, and no ejector pin marks in visible locations so clean-up will be limited to mold attachment points and the occasional mold seam.
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More sprues, the upper one has the trails and the slide along with additional fiddly bits, the lower contains the figures. All the accessories and pioneer tools are molded separately which should make painting easier. The kit contains five figures, normal crew size for these guns was seven men so purists will need to source two additional figures. There are four shells provided for each gun. The shells are unpacked as opposed to boxed or in the wicker packing sleeves, and there are no propellant charges for the shells or their cases. Also missing are the four wicker mats which were issued with each gun and used for a variety of purposes by the crews.
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The carriage and limber build up quickly and go together without problems. These parts are common to either gun.
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This is the barrel assembly for the sFH 18 15 cm howitzer. It is at this point that the modeler must choose between the deployed configuration ready to fire or the transport configuration as the position of the gun on the slide is different for each.
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This page from the instructions illustrates the major differences between the two configurations. The upper gun is in the traveling configuration. The limber is obvious, the position of the gun is more subtle. When moving, the barrel assembly is detached from the recoil cylinder on top of the gun and the gun is moved back along the slide towards the limber. The spades at the end of the trails are also detached and secured to the middle of the trails. There are pins on the trails which engage the slide to keep the barrel from moving in elevation while being towed.
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Here is the model assembled in the towing configuration ready for primer. I have left off the accessories to make painting easier.
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Photographs of the sFH 18 being towed usually show covers over the sights, the breach, and the muzzle. Here I have begun making the canvas with masking tape. The seams will be smoothed with superglue and Mr. Surfacer.
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I decided to paint this one Panzer Gray, with a darker mix sprayed from below and a lighter mix sprayed from above to emphasize shadows and highlights. The spades cover several of the pioneer tools and aiming stakes so I have left them off for now.
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Everything is assembled and the model has been given a gloss coat for decals. The gloss coat also protects the finish while washes and weathering are applied. Always tempting to stop at this point in a build but it’s also fun to push a little further too.
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This is the finished product after weathering layers and a flat coat, some experimenting with different techniques on this one. The mud effects on the wheels were made with oil paint and Vallejo pigments, I have found this to be easy to control. I also used oils to blend the tones of the canvas covers and to make the splashes. I’ll be working this build and a few others into vignettes so you’ll be seeing more of this one in the near future.