Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Russian Infantry of Peter the Great

I picked up the Zvezda "Russian Infantry of Peter the Great" in 1/72 scale a couple of weeks ago just to have a try at miniature painting of more than the occasional pilot or tanker. The figures are very well sculpted for plastic figures, with very little flash but still with the molding inadequacies that come with plastic miniatures. Anyway, I find that they look good in a larger group, and I added soldiers from the Semenovsky Guards Regiment (blue coat) as well as the Abramov regiment (white coat) to the unstructured mass of soldiers from the Preobrashensky Guards Regiment. Unfortunately I had to take pictures with my phone, so the shots are not up to par, but I hope they nevertheless will provide some amusement.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Panzerkampfwagen V Ausf A in 1/35

The village of Heikendorf near Kiel in Germany had an interesting more-or-less public secret: an older gentleman had a WW2 tank in his basement, not to mention an anti-aircraft gun and a torpedo. However, in early July 2015 the German Bundeswehr relieved the 78-year old retiree of his Panzerkampfwagen V tank as well as other equipment. It took 20 soldiers nine hours to extract the vehicle from the basement of the building, and it turned out that the tank was in very good condition, albeit without tracks (

I felt that I had to pick up a Panther for a little summer entertainment, and on a whim I bought an older Tamiya kit of a Pzkw V Ausf A, the second version of the Panther that was introduced in the fall of 1943. This version had a ball mount for the hull machine gun as well as a new commander's cupola and strengthened running gear. It served up to the end of the war, and some 2,192 Ausf A Pathers were build between 1943 and July 1944.

The old Tamiya kit was not difficult to assemble, but it is lacking in detail by today's standards. I was however primarily interested in painting the vehicle, although I did add a machine gun barrel, a radio antenna, a cupola ant--aircraft machine gun mount and a few more modern pioneer tools. I used Vallejo acrylic paints applied with various brushes and a series of washes to dull the Panzer Dunkelgelb and to weather the vehicle. The markings are from the kit, and the vehicle is supposed to be rather generic, since the various division emblem decals didn't adhere very well to the tank for some reason. It is perhaps camouflaged for the spring of 1944 and the onslaught of the Red Army. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

SE.5A of No. 92 (East India) Squadron

The SE.5A may not require that much of an introduction. Suffice to say that it was the air-superiority counterpart of the Sopwith Camel and that it acquitted itself quite well after some teething troubles in the late spring of 1917.

The parts count.

The ESCI kit is, I dare say, rudimentary, and I'd guess that it is from the seventies or late sixties. This particular kit has also been re-boxed by several companies. Judging from available plans I would also say that it is a bit smaller than 1/72, and possibly closer to 1/76. In general, the kit comes together well, although the landing gear is a bit fiddly. Since the cockpit is portioned off, I decided to make the model in flight with a pilot, or rather the top half of a pilot as well as a propeller disc. I also added a different set of wheels, a windscreen, the gun sight and a Vickers machine gun from the spares box. The decals worked nicely enough, and after adding rigging made out of stretched sprue the SE.5A was mounted on a stand made out of a wire hanger.

The decals do indeed provide markings for a SE.5A of No. 92 Squadron. This unit was established as a scout squadron on September 1, 1917, and it spent some time in Colney, Great Britain before being sent over to France in July of 1918. It was initially deployed to the Dunkirk area, but it was transferred to Serny in August that same year, and it started scoring victories. The squadron took part in the 1918 Somme offensive where it was heavily engaged, and it remained on the Western Front up to the Armistice, when it had scored 37 victories. The unit had also produced eight aces: Oren Rose, Thomas Stanley Horry, William Reed, Earl Frederick Crabb, Evander Shapard, Herbert Good and future Air Marshal Arthur Coningham as well as future Air Chief Marshal James Robb.