mercoledì 28 novembre 2012

Shermans !! (again...)

Tonight I've not much time, I'll just put on some pictures of my ever growing Sherman collection, without much explanations. I painted three more recently, all by Italeri, and all fast-assembly kits. I'm starting to like their fast-assembly kits, they're simplified but nice looking, and can withstand without fear the strain of wargaming.

Above a Sherman III (M4A2, the diesel variant) in british/polish service in 1943. It's meant for late african - early italian campaigns. Markings are totally fictitious. It's an early production Sherman, you can tell from the three pieces transmission cover, the protruding crew hatches in the hull and the smaller gun shield.

Above another Sherman III, it comes from the same kit as the former model. This one is again british, but in the original american Olive Drab colour, and it's meant for late italian - early french campaigns.
Markings are again total random.

Last one, a M4A3 76(W) - I hope I got the name right. This was the standard 76mm gunned Sherman in US Army service. More about this kit in a previous post.
I chose to paint it in a winter camo, as suggested in the box. I tried a different approach to the washable white camo, and I liked the final result - this kind of camo was often quite rough so applying the paint with irregular brush strokes helps to get the right result.

Work in progress! Nothing to do with Shermans - this Airfix MiG-15 is my current project. A few decalling and some final touching up, and it will be finished.
This is a new kit from Airfix, and is a good one - thanks Airfix, not just another re-release at last!

PS I use Citadel silver paint, it's the best silver I ever tried - I just hope their new silver paint is as good as this old one.

sabato 24 novembre 2012

T-26 soviet tanks and other Vickers derivatives

The Vickers 6-ton tank, sometimes known as Vickers E, was a very successful vehicle from the late '20s - early '30s. Some countries bought it in small quantities, and some other developed their own versions.
The original design was really modern for its age, but had become obsolete at the start of ww2, and so happened to its derivatives.

Above we have the usual family picture, showing from left to right the polish 7TP, two variants of T-26 (model 1933 and model 1939) and the italian M13/40.

The 7TP had already been depicted in an old post, so not much more to say here about the kit.
As for the tank, it was slow and not much armoured, but had a decent gun and in 1939 was superior to most german tanks as firepower. It was very similar to the original Vickers tank, apart the turret and the engine compartment which was bigger.

The italian M13/40 wasn't an exact copy of the Vickers model, but clearly was heavily inspired by it - through the earlier and even less effective M11/39. It too was slow and poorly armoured, but anyway was the best of the family as firepower and protection. Well it was developed 10 years later than its ancestor, so no wonder it was at least slightly better.
The M13/40 was featured in a long post not much time ago. 

The T-26 model 1933 (photo above) was almost the same as the Vickers tank, but had different weaponry.
The original Vickers 6-ton had two variants, one with two small turrets each one armed with a machinegun, and one with a single turret armed with a short 47 mm gun and a coaxial mg. The soviet chose both the versions, but then developed only the single turret variant, which had first a long 37 mm gun, and then the 45 mm showed above, possibly the best AT gun of its age. In time the turret was improved, the one in the picture is the earlier smaller one - quite similar to that of the 7TP, by the way.

The kit is by UM (ex-Skif), and is very detailed, but also very difficult to put together. Some pieces are made in photoetched metal, and there are no plastic replacements. These parts are quite a pain to work with, and I simply left the smaller ones out. The turret is plastic, but the surface detail is two separate PE parts: it's a pain to attach the bigger one to the turret, but I have to admit it improves very much the look of the tank.
The tracks are possibly the worst part of the kit - but the easiest to put together. They come as rubbery (ethylene?) rings, lack most of the detail but are very easy to put on. 

Overall a nice kit, but a very difficult one to work with - not good for wargaming, but a good basis for a nice display model - apart the tracks of course. 

Above we have the latest variant of the T-26 series, the model 1939.
This variant had a bigger turret, and had in some places thicker armour; other improvements were meant to reduce manufacturing time, not to increase combat effectiveness. The T-26 series, even if it is much underrated, was really important, being manufactured in the number of 10.000 or even 12.000.

The kit (again from Skif / UM) is basically the same as above, but with some different details and a different turret. The same things can be said about it: nice detail but a lot of effort needed. The turret may be bigger, but has much less detail than the other one. The model 1939 usually had a machinegun in the rear of the turret, but I heard it wasn't universal - indeed this kit doesn't have it. The camouflage is very odd, I found it in several sources and I liked it, it seems it was an experimental pattern used only during training right before the war, so it's definitely not typical. 

giovedì 22 novembre 2012

KV-2 (Forces of Valor)

Some time ago I posted a little preview about the new KV-2 kit from Forces of Valor (Unimax), now it's time to add some photos of the finished thing.

The kit came out neatly, without any trouble and indeed is very well engineered.
The tracks are quite decent too, I usually don't like single-piece tracks but this time they turned out to be nice enough. The tracks aren't made in the usual polyethilene-like stuff as in Esci kits, rather are more flexible but not as rubbey as Matchbox or late Airfix ones - in conclusion they're quite good, nicely detailed and easy to put together.

On overall the kit is good looking, details are nice but some are missing and in places things are oversimplified.
As I said before, this model is half way between a wargamer's kit and a modeller's kit, you'll need some time and some scratchbuilding to turn it into a show winner.
On the other hand it's easy and quick to build, but not as much as a fast-assembly kit, so not for total beginners or die-hard wargamers maybe.


The nice commander figure is made in the same stuff as the tracks, and it's a good touch.
Strangely enough, the hatch is meant to be modelled only as open, but it will take no time to convert it into closed if need comes. No decals included, but no need for them because I've never seen a photo of a KV-2 sporting sings of any kind.

So, is it recommended? Yes, definitely, but not for zealous display-modellers.