Featuring the models voted Model of the Month by Poole Vikings Model Club members at our monthly meetings. Once the page holds a maximum of twelve models, then the oldest will be replaced by the newest giving a good idea of the contemporary modelling standards being achieved by Club members.
Our Hall of Fame post shows a gallery of single photos of former Models of the Month and other models by our members that have won prizes at our own and other shows.
At our own April Show each year we will try to feature the previous twelve models of the month together on the club stand.
The Model of the Month for April 2017 is a diorama of an Italeri 1/72nd Messerschmitt Me110 G-4 R/3, NJ.G.1/III Gruppe, Arnhem 1944, by Mike Parker.
photos by Malcolm Lowe
the light levels in our club venue can be pretty awful for photography and Malcolm struggled with the available light levels to get the above shots. Mike Parker has now provided a set of new photos taken at home in natural daylight that show the colour scheme and wiggle pattern more clearly.
On my quest to build and display examples of ‘night fighter’ aircraft in 1:72 scale, I’m always on the lookout for the next example, this the twentieth in my collection. The model was purchased many moons ago, second hand and at a reasonable price. On returning home I place the kit on my ‘pending to build in the not too distant future’ shelf, with a number of others. A couple of years passed and the time finally came to build. The kit, an Italeri Messerschmitt Me110 G-4 R/3 in grey plastic was removed from the polybag and showed some promise. The moulding was generally fine, with some flash particularly on the rather elaborate arrangement of flame eliminating exhaust pipes, common with aircraft converted to this role. Transparencies and decals were adequate, which is more than I could say for the radar aerials; more about this later. All items received a soapy wash and dried thoroughly.
Instructions for the build were clear and concise and the build sequence straightforward. Starting with the cockpit containing enough detail to gain my interest. The radar operator’s panel, needed a little attention, adding a small piece of plasticard to fill a gaping hole, most visible if left unattended. Twin defensive, rearward facing machine guns were put aside to fit later. The fuselage halves mated well. So far so good, or so I thought. Next the simple task was to assemble the wings. I test fitted them, trying desperately to make them fit together, not a hope. The single moulded lower wing section was offered up to the two upper wing sections and they didn’t fit. Endeavouring to fit the main plane to the fuselage, along with the omittance of a port leading edge landing light compounded my frustrations. This was turning from a night fighter into a ‘nightmare’ fighter, but my persistence prevailed. After lots of filling and sanding I progressed onto the engine nacelles. Fortunately the exhaust pipes cleaned up fairly well and added great detail due to their odd configuration. These were to be fitted later. Note: the instruction for this kit illustrates engine sub-assemblies transposed. As for the landing light the need to file out the leading edge and position a small piece of transparent plastic was required, filing it over to follow the profile of the leading edge completed the task.
Filling, sanding and preparing to paint came next. The long ‘greenhouse’ canopy was cleaned and hand painted and adhered to the fuselage. Masked with Tamiya’s ‘bendy’ masking tape and Halford’s grey primer followed. It was at this point I realized I was out of Vallejo Air RLM76 pale blue grey paint; attempts to airbrush the same in Humbrol acrylics proved troublesome. So, with trusty flat brush in hand on went the first coat of Humbrol 247. A completed second was followed by coats of aerosol gloss varnish ready for decal application. Three colour schemes were provided by Italeri, the first two with splinter grey and green camouflage and another with an overall ‘squiggle’ random pattern in grey. I opted for the latter.
I now needed to devise a method of achieving this random pattern effect. After much trial and error I came to the conclusion that my present skill with brush and airbrush would not achieve the desired result. It was time to rely on some of the skills from my days as a technical illustrator. I reasoned that I could use a soft pencil, with a matched grey tone, to apply free hand this complex pattern; or so I thought. Research informed me that this style of camouflage to aircraft of the day was often hastily applied with a vast variety of outcomes, often due to the competence of the paint sprayer and his skill (or lack of) with a spray gun. This finish often covered existing markings and in this case at least only applied to the upper surfaces.
My first attempts proved fruitless, after selecting a suitable soft pencil I practiced on a test piece of prepared plasticard, yet to no avail. It simply didn’t look right. It was then I reasoned that in my own limited experience of spraying aircraft, that only certain coverage can be obtained, due to the practice of how the spray gun is handled. Only certain radial motions, limited by the joints of arm and hand can be achieved. This may seem a little extreme, but once taken on board, the desired effect (after some practice) proved effective and this technique I applied to the model.
The next big task of most night fighter aircraft was the radar aerials. As with many kits the ones supplied do not do the rest of the model credit. Earlier in the build I purchased online some turned brass alternative aerials and proceeded to assemble them. This required some ingenuity, with a strip of card and some cut down icelolly sticks glued together, a suitably little jig came into being. This allowed me to accurately super glue all the elements with precise spacing and alignment. Next the ‘antler’ style frames, ‘out of the box’, were cleaned up and required 0.8mm holes drilled into each of the ends. Finally gluing these to the nose of the model, allowing to set, followed by gluing the brass aerials into the previously drilled holes. Later undercoated and brush painted.
Wheel undercarriage, propellers and exhausts received the appropriate treatment and attachment to the aircraft. Airbrush exhaust staining completed, final coats of flat aerosol varnish applied. Canopy masking carefully removed and other aerials fitted. Elastic thread, stained with a black Sharpie pen (other makes are available), a small hole drilled into both fins and thread adhered with cyanoacrylate. I chose to show the pilot’s cockpit glazing in the open position to allow easier viewing of at least some of the interior. Also not forgetting to retrofit the two rearward facing machine guns.
Next the base, a modified picture frame, reinforced with 6mm MDF insert, filled with wall filler, sealed with watered down PVA glue and painted. Scratch built workbench, complete with paint pot and paint mixing paraphernalia, added interest to this hangar scene. All that remained to do was to add a lone figure, spray gun in hand. A fitting detail in this case and on which to conclude my build.
The Model of the Month for March 2017 is a fabulous 1/48th scale model of a de Havilland Sea Devon by Ian Domeney, built from the Magna Models resin kit.
I’m sure many of you will remember a former Viking Club member, Martyn Gomm. Some of you will also know that he was the creator and producer of Magna Models. Martyn and his wife Lynn have lived for over ten years now in sunny Spain and a few years ago he sent me over a review sample of what was his latest creation, a 1/48 scale De Havilland Sea Devon. Martyn is aware of my love of any Fleet Air Arm aircraft and so I was delighted to take up the offer of a “Free of Charge” kit and the build process started almost immediately.
Magna Models are all resin moulded items with white metal or pewter details and vac-formed transparencies and are produced using what can only be described as cottage industry techniques. The fuselage is in two pieces, split vertically with a rather neat tongue and groove method of trapping the tail fin between the two halves. Each main plane is moulded in a single shot, which considering the amount of resin, has worked very well, there being little or no distortion over the length. The panel lines are nicely understated but clear enough to be emphasised if required.
The little bag of white metal parts contains the propellers, oleos and control columns together with exhausts and undercarriage doors. Just in case of accident, two vac-formed canopies and fairings are included but surprisingly no spare cabin window transparencies.
Completing the parts count are the engine nacelles, tail-plane, wheels, cockpit details and cabin seats. Initial progress on the build was quite swift but came to a grinding halt when I attempted to fit all the vac-formed cabin windows. The fit was less than satisfactory with little opportunity to improve the general effect so I took the somewhat risky decision to remove the entire side of the fuselage at window height and fit a clear plastic insert which could later be masked off to produce the glazing apertures. At this point I put the whole thing in the cupboard for several months whilst I contemplated the next step.
When I eventually summoned the courage to continue, the interior was painted to represent red leather upholstery (more of that later) and the cockpit was fitted out with a degree of scratch built detail and the fuselage halves were joined. I took great care to ensure that the cabin was sealed from any possible ingress of dust from the subsequent sanding operations as there was no way to gain entry to the cabin once the two fuselage halves were bonded together. So far so good. The main planes were then attached together with tail plane horizontal surfaces etc. The model now looked more or less like a miniature Sea Devon when a call from Martyn stopped the build in its tracks. Mr Gomm had decided to give up the manufacture of Magna Models. The partly finished project went back in the cupboard.
A year went by before, during a visit to the Motherland, Martyn asked how I’d gotten on with the Sea Devon? Let’s have another look. Hmm, not so bad. I should be able to get it completed for my own satisfaction without the now unnecessary review. I’d already decided that I would finish the aircraft as an Admiral’s Barge which explains the red leather and gave me the chance to use the remaining contents of a can of Ford Mondeo green aerosol that I’d used previously on a Sea Vampire. Gentle sanding of the airframe revealed dozens of tiny air bubbles just below the surface of the resin so copious quantities of filler were needed before Mr Halford’s own primer was applied overall. The upper and lower demarcation masking was straight forward so finally the trusty green can was exhausted. It was at this time that I was horrified to discover that the inside of the cabin windows were sprinkled with a layer of dust. I don’t know how it got inside and I’m afraid it will remain in place as there is no possible way of getting it out. Back into the cupboard it went. (note for next time…always leave a way into a fuselage….door, window, access panel or something).
A couple of months ago, guilt drove me to extricate the almost finished model from the top shelf and get the decals in place. The kit offerings were good to look at but did not perform well when introduced to water so most came from my own supply. Finally the undercarriage and propellers were added together with various aerials and ancillaries from the spares box.
At last it was complete. De Havilland C Mk20 Sea Devon XJ350 of 781 Sqn based at Lee-on-the-Solent as an Admiral’s Barge during 1961. I was relieved, Martyn was delighted and the club voted it “Model of the Month”
Model of the month for February 2017 is a 1/35th scale ZSU-23-4 of the Syrian Army, built by Allan Parker
ZSU-23-4MZ Shilka (Meng)
Thanks to everyone for voting for my Shilka to be MoM, it is justification for the effort I put in to finish the kit.
I had previously built a version of the Shilka, made by Dragon, but it was poor quality and lacking in detail. At that time photographic reference material was very thin on the ground and my scratch building skill was very limited (not that it is much better now). However, that was all forgotten when Meng decided to release their rendition of the Shilka.
The kit itself is very well moulded and requires almost no clean-up. The instructions are very clear and allow you to build one of four versions of the Shilka, plus you get a fret of photo-etch brass to enrich the finish. The thing that really made me want to make this kit was the fact that you get the complete drivers compartment to construct, plus you get the detailed mouldings for the inside of the ammunition stowage bins. Neither of these enhancements was offered with the Dragon kit.
I started off by studying the instructions and the painting guide. You could build a ZSU-23-4V1, ..M, ..M2 or …MZ. I wanted to build a …MZ and put markings on from a unit of the Libyan Army as I had seen featured on the news in the not too distant past. However, the nearest country I could find that operated the …MZ was from the Syrian Army. Neither of these sets of markings is provided and so I found Star Decals had just what I was looking for. It was important to decide early on which version I was going to build as Meng provide instructions as to precisely which locator holes to open up for use in later build steps to accommodate components specific to the version I wanted to build.
I began the build by putting the driver’s compartment together and painting it as per the instructions. The only reference pictures I could find for this area was a pristine example in a museum. To get the used/abused look, that I wanted to finish with, took a little artistic licence with the dry-brush and washes. I built the lower hull including the running gear and incorporated the driver’s compartment. Because I’d already painted the driver’s compartment and I didn’t want it to get ruined when I airbrushed the rest of the model, I used liquid mask to temporarily stick the driver’s hatch closed.
I constructed and painted the four cannons as a separate unit from the turret so that I could airbrush the hull and turret together before fixing the cannons in place. However, despite my best efforts, I just could not get the cannons to fit properly once the turret had been glued together. Never mind, plan B. Fix the cannons into position; glue the turret top and bottom halves together; mask off the cannons before getting the airbrush out.
I then moved on to the fantastic detail provided for the inside of the ammunition stowage bins. This needed to be shown off but I thought Meng hadn’t provided any extra parts to pose the lids in the open position. I couldn’t just glue the lids vertical and say it was “magic”; I had to work out how the bins were normally held open while the ammunition was being replenished. It was then that I noticed the detail which had been moulded onto the inside of the lids. Meng had actually provided small rods to represent the stays in the stowed position. I immediately chiselled these out and scratch-built the stays, from some plastic rod I had in my bits box, to hold the lids open.
I’ve been building various Trumpeter model kits recently and they seem to love providing track in the form of individual plastic links with separate guide horns for each link. I was pleased to find that Meng, whilst their track was provided as individual plastic links, had the guide horns moulded in. Having said that and despite taking extra care, I couldn’t get the track to look realistic so I resorted to buying white metal track from Sector35. I just love the natural sag from the weight of the white metal links.
The rest of the build seemed to go relatively smoothly up until the point after I’d sprayed the kit in overall desert tan (Humbrol Enamel 237). I was putting the Sector35 track on when it became apparent that the gap between the two guide horns on each link was too narrow for the road wheels to fit which meant there was a gap between the running surface of the track and the wheels where they are supposed to meet. To fix this I ended up shaving about 0.5mm off the bottom inside surface of each wheel. Now the road wheels sit nicely on the running surface of the track, PANIC OVER!!
To finish the model I used a combination of dry-brushing, washes and followed by many hours trying to replicate realistic chips and scratches plus a little rust and some AK Interactive Streaking Grime.
All in all, this has to be the kit I’ve enjoyed making the most.
Model of the Month for January 2017 was a Valom 1/72nd kit of an Armstrong Whitworth Albermarle built as P1383 ‘G’ 297 Squadron at RAF Stoney Cross in the of Autumn 1943 built by Henry Goodall.
Fuelling has just finished as the aircrew arrive to board the aircraft and receive secret papers from a dispatch rider. These will be dropped tonight to the French Resistance together with arms, ammunition and radio equipment. The containers are checked by a corporal and aircrew member, as another airman carried the parachute strops to the aircraft. Before long ‘G’ George will soon be airborne on another dangerous single aircraft night mission.
Henry has sent in a further set of photos of the model
and a description of the model and its build
Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle N, P1383 ‘G’ George, 297 Squadron, Stoney Cross, Autumn 1943
My grateful thanks go to everyone who voted for the Albemarle diorama this month. The inspiration for this build was meeting the daughter of the wireless operator of this aircraft, P1383 ‘G’ George, while on holiday in 2014. His logbook records several equipment drops to the French Resistance in late 1943 from Stoney Cross, in addition to his modest note “All crew awarded DFCs”, as the lead aircraft dropping the first ten 22nd Independent Para. Coy. Pathfinders on the Ranville DZ ‘N’ on D-Day.
I decided on a busy pre-mission diorama, to show off this unusual aircraft, once described as having “no vices and no virtues”. The 1/72 scale Valom kit has many of the common short run kit failings, including no locating pins and holes throughout, poorly fitting engine nacelles and inaccurate fuselage to cockpit canopy, nose canopy, rear fuselage windows and skylight joints.
However, with much dry fitting and patience, building up with filler, superglue and PVA glue etc., I was able to overcome most of these challenges. There is no real cockpit floor locating ledge, so repeated dry fitting was required, and lead sheet, to prevent it being a ‘tail sitter’. The offset dorsal turret lacks seating lugs, so these also have to be created. The decals are for a 297 Squadron aircraft, which operated from Stoney Cross; they seat well with Microsol/Microset. I modified them for the specific aircraft being built; however, obtaining a good style and colour match with Xtradecal WWII Bomber Command decals proved problematic.
Having masked the nose canopy over the navigator’s compartment before painting, I later discovered that the glue had spread to fog part of the windows. A desperate e-mail to Valom produced a positive response; two sets of clear sprues arrived from Václav Lomitzki in the Czech Republic within 4 days, free of charge – what great service!!
The base (DisplaysUK – Christchurch) was augmented with sheet styrene, to enable fixing the model to the base with metal pins. I used Halfords Wet & Dry 240 for the Stoney Cross dispersal, with Gaugemaster autumn grass mat; Lifecolor Tensocrom oil and fuel spills and Paynes Grey/Burnt Sienna oil paint mix (dried puddles) completed the base. The accessories were mainly from the WWII Airfix Bomber Resupply set, the refuelling ladder and chocks by Flightpath, and figures from the Revell RAF Pilots & Ground Crew set. The fragile transverse glider tow apparatus broke easily; I substituted wire.
Painting was airbrushed with Humbrol matt enamels, vehicle camouflage was Lifecolor Panzergrau acrylic over Humbrol Dark Earth. Figures were painted mainly with Lifecolor acrylics, the Mae Wests with matt enamel, their straps and the container parachute strops were thinly cut wine bottle lead foil. The drop containers were sculpted from old sprue and drilled, wooden steps scratch built from sheet styrene and the ‘wheelbarrow’ scratch built from wire, with Flightpath etched wheels. The refuelling tubing was 0.8mm wire, with the spout 0.4mm wire.
Overall, it was a very satisfying build/challenge and will go into the FONFA Museum with copies of pages from Bill Pomfrey’s logook.”
Model of the Month for December 2016 is a 1/700th scale model of H.M.S. Aurora by Austin Stack.
All I changed was the railings for GMM ‘Gold Plus Ultrafine’ (0.003), which GMM state is ‘virtually at the extreme limits of current technology…’ and ‘approaches the limits of human skill and dexterity as required for the successful use of these railings’. These look more scale-like. The other thing was the masts. As supplied they are quite nice but as its always been one of my favorite ‘bits’ about modelling ships, I made them from 0.03 brass tube, bought locally at the same place I get all my supplies.(Westbourne Models).
Model of the month for November 2016
There was a dead heat in the voting at the club meeting on November 2nd.
Sharing the award was a 1/35th model of a sIG33 15cm Heavy Infantry Gun by Terry Howlett
It was a very pleasant surprise to jointly win the November competition with this model. Although I’ve been modelling since about the age of 10, life got in the way in my thirties, and I only really dabbled until I was in my early fifties. Even then I was only able to start again properly when I moved to Dorset last year.
The SIG33 is one of a number of models that had been started some years before. It is my first completed AFV model for about 40 years! It is the old ALAN kit and needed an immense amount of tidying up and refining to turn it into something decent. The barrel was replaced by a small piece of aluminium tube and the wheels were heavily distressed with the trusty scalpel and files and lots of liquid poly to generally get them looking well used.
The build was carried out in several sub component parts. The gun cradle and chassis, the gun shield and attached components, the gun barrel and breech mechanism, and the two wheels. I reduced that to three main sub-assemblies by attaching the completed shield to the cradle. Painting then took place with the model in the three subassemblies.
Initially everything was airbrushed with a couple of light coats of Tamiya Hull red. After that each sub-assembly then was given a coat of Johnson’s Klear. A few days later and it was time to give everything several light airbrush coats of the base German Yellow which was mixed from Tamiya Acrylics. Next came the tricky part, masking for the camouflage. I used A cheap brand of blue tack to cover up everything that was to remain German Yellow, and over sprayed the German Green mixed Tamiya Acrylics. Finally, more blue tack onto those parts which were to remain green ready for the German Red Brown. I left all that for a few days then removed the blue tack to find a very neat looking three colour pattern! Very fiddly stuff but well worth it I think. At this stage I brush painted some of the tooling and airbrushed the sighting poles on the gun shield and the sight itself after some VERY careful masking! Then more weathering on those parts before the three sub-assemblies were then airbrushed with another fine layer of Klear.
I really enjoyed the next stage which involved some subtle weathering. I used mostly Tamiya Acrylic filters (diluted and tinted shades of the base colour). When everything was thoroughly dry I used Humbrol enamel based washes, usually of much darker shades than the underlying colours. There was a small amount of dry brushing of metallic parts and one or two areas which benefitted from dry brushing.Finally, all sub-assemblies were glued together and the model given a couple of very light airbrushed coats of Tamiya Acrylic flat varnish diluted with Isopropyl and ethyl Alcohol.
I am very pleased with the result, and in parallel with my 1/144 and 1/72 Aircraft projects underway, it has encouraged me to complete a couple of half constructed 1/35 AFV’s which have languished in a cupboard for a very long time! Hopefully you will see more soon.
Thank you all for your encouragement and support on this one!
…… and the Master Box 1/35th figure set of British Infantry, Battle of the Somme, 1916 built by Clive Hillman as a sombre and moving monochrome memorial, the only colour some red poppies.
I started with a kit of British 1916 Somme soldiers from a MB kit. I primed it with Halfords grey primer first but this made it hard for the figures to stick. The pavement base was a pre-made plaster cast which I gave two or three coats of primer, filled the cracks with dark dirt filler then went over with a black wash followed by a coat of varnish. The figures were painted with several different shades of grey, to keep it looking sombre.
The only colour to this piece were the poppies which were made from a photo etch kit and then painted (awkward or what). I put a pre-made wall that I primed and put a black wash on to define joints on the pavement then I added the poppies followed by the figures. This was then added to a slate backdrop and put on a base covered with sand and primed to keep to maintain the grey colour.
I enjoyed this kit and a special reminder of the events 100 years ago this summer.
Model of the Month for October 2016 A Private in the Dorset Regiment in WW1 by Jez Thomson
120mm WW1 Infantryman of the Dorset Regiment 1916
A resin kit from Imperial Gallery comprising a dozen well cast parts. Originally depicting a soldier of the Lancashire regiment this has been altered slightly to represent an infantryman of the Dorset regiment in 1916. Sounds spectacular but only meant the re-sculpting of the cap badge and a simple attempt to paint the brass Dorset shoulder flash.
Construction was simple but several dry runs are needed to check positions for the extra accoutrements and this led to a small amount of material being removed to ensure a really good fit – all of about 30 minutes work – a testimony to the quality of the original and the casting. Painting was entirely by hand using almost entirely acrylics – Citadel, Vallejo and Lifcolour, except for the flesh areas (sorry Ian!) boots and woodwork which is done in oils over an acrylic base.
I tended to use colours “straight from the pot” and then relied on filters and glazes to add shadows and highlights. Various sandy tones were used for the highlighting and browns for the shadows and for emphasis in certain areas.
The only “serious” alteration made was to replace the water-bottle straps as the originals did not do justice to the quality of the rest of the model. Other straps were built from lead and aluminium foil as required added towards the end of the build and then blended in to the cast versions.
Thank you for your votes this has been a very enjoyable project – I will be looking at more of Rob Hardwick’s figures in the future – which by the time you read this will have been donated to the Gillingham Branch of the Devon and Dorset Association to help raise funds at their annual dinner.
Model of the Month for September 2016 is a wonderful atmospheric model of …… a Zombie Burger van. It can only be adequately described by its maker, Sarah and her words follow below the pictures. We leave you with one thought, what are the Zombies’ burgers made of?
“Hello…here is the description of my model, they say a little chaos liberates you, so I present the apocalyptic burger van ,because zombies need to eat to…in the spirit of using free stuff I started with an old picture frame ,creating a base with clay ,adding mounds and texture ,upon that came brown paint and dried tea leaves. The whole base evolved at its own rate, grass, leaves mud and broken brick piles ..generously donated was the main event of the ice cream van and zombies ,the joy of deconstructing the van and ripping off the wheels was the best part and thanks to Tom for teaching me how to use MiG powders for the classic rust effect. The Zombies were a challenge, but they came out well and looking hungry. I enjoyed painting these guys. The coup de gras was leaving the tune on the van which I felt added a fun factor to the tableau. I don’t think my methods will ever be as organized as my esteemed colleagues, who I learn from and am inspired by, but I’ve never been normal ,so thanks for enjoying my mad world….X”
Model of the Month August 2016 was a dead heat.
Joint winners were
Jonathan King with his 1.48th scale Stuka
‘Kanonenvogel – Cannonbird’
This Ju87 G-2 comes from the eastern front where it was used in the specialised anti tank role with 37mm cannons fitted instead of the usual dive bomber configuration. Derived from the Ju87 dive bomber and ground attack aircraft which first flew 1935 and saw had a combat debut in 1937 with the Condor legion during the Spanish civil war.
In the dive bomber role the aircraft was used with great effectiveness to spearhead air assaults during the invasion of Poland in 1939 and the Norwegian campaign shortly after. However once the air superiority was lost it was an easier target for allied fighters.
This aircraft was flown by Hans-Ulrich Rudel. He was the most successful Stuka pilot and the most highly decorated German serviceman of the Second World War, credited with 519 tank kills over 2,530 ground attack missions but also a highly controversial figure after the war, dying in 1982 and up to his death still an advocate supporter of Hitler. His burial in Germany (after many years in Argentina ) was reported to have been marked by a fly past by some F4s.
Back to the kit which was from Italeri (2722) and a straight forward build with good quality detailed parts and some photo etch for the interior. It’s not the most graceful of aircraft but since I built a 1/24 version of the dive bomber many years ago I have always appreciated the angular and purposeful looks (a product of the inverted gull wings) . There are a few variants of G2 kits available but I chose this kit as it had the option of the detailed Jumo 211 inverted v12 engine which could be left exposed to help make the diorama more interesting.
On the downside there is a lot of canopy to work with and get wrong.. this did go wrong when the masking didn’t go as planned and resulted in an order for a replacement and trying again. The exterior masking and painting proved much easier and as it was my first attempt with an air brush went better than expected. Standard acrylic Luftwaffe colours from Mr Hobby were used and seem to work well. Weathering effects were added little by little; this is all very new to me and a whole new skill to try and master. The slowly slowly approach allowed me to get the effect I was looking for but not without thinking I was going to mess up a perfectly good looking paint job..
The diorama was put together using coffee stirring sticks for the decking, stained and covered with some aggregate here and there. A couple figures, some packing crates and oil cart completed the scene which I tried to keep simple.
Austin Stack’s model of the French Battleship “HOCHE”
This is my 1/700 take on the French pre-dreadnought Hoche in 1890. This is a Combrig resin kit from a Russian company well known for it’s range of ships of this era.Anyone not familiar with these kits who might wish to examine them more closely can do so on the Steel Navy web site website, I would suggest. One is also rewarded with a fuller history than one might otherwise find in one place.
Model of the Month July 2016 Master Box 1/35th scale injection moulded kit “British infantry before the attack, WW1 era” by John Levesley
07:20 hours July 1st 1916
The British Front Line facing the fortified village of Serre, on the Somme
The first wave, A Company of the 12th (Service) Battalion Yorks and Lancs Regiment, the City of Sheffield Battalion, part of the 94th Brigade of the 31st Division, moves out 100 yards into No Man’s Land. They will be followed by C Company, the second wave, 30 yards behind. The third (B Company) and fourth (D Company) waves are some distance behind them in the trenches and will follow in turn. The distance between the British and German lines before Serre is about 140 yards.
At 07:30 the artillery barrage on the German lines lifts and the first wave moves forward followed by the second, third and fourth waves. Only a few soldiers reach the German front line. Few of them return, many just disappear. Few soldiers of the third and fourth waves even reach No Man’s Land. The Battalion sends 697 men forward. Coming out of the line on the 4th July at a parade and roll call, amongst those who took part in the attack, only 102 answer to their names. In less than thirty minutes over 500 have been killed, wounded or are missing and a further 73 are “lightly wounded”.
Sheffield is my home city and my grandparents told me of the sacrifice of our Battalion. This model was made in memory of those members of my grandparents’ generation who were lost between the British front lines in Luke and John Copses and the German front lines below Serre that dreadful morning.
The model is the Master Box 1/35th scale injected moulded kit “British infantry before the attack, WW1 era”. The model contains five figures and a section of trench. I’ve used just four figures, the fifth is a great model of a British Staff Officer who is staying behind but I chose not to include it. The figures are representative of British troops in 1916, and are built out of the box except for the addition of strips of thin lead sheet for rifle slings. I also used some “Perfect Plastic Putty” to give the impression the helmets have cloth covers over them – a feature seen in many photographs of British troops on the Somme. I haven’t added divisional or brigade insignia to the uniform, they are proving difficult to research for 1916. Some sources say that they were not in fact worn in the front line.
The trench is a simple build. The instructions don’t mention it but the trench can be built, single sided but twice the length; sufficient extra duckboards and fire steps are included. The duckboards have optional cut outs that can be combined with moulded fillets of “earth” so the trench can be modelled with an angle at the half way point. The barbed wire is made from a model railway accessory, rewound to a wider diameter, sprayed a rust colour and sprinkled with two different colour rusty pigments. The wooden frames are stained cocktail sticks. If I built it again I would add sheets of corrugated iron that were often used to reinforce the lower half of the wooden trench walls.
I made extensive use of pigments to colour wash and texture the sandbags, firesteps and duckboards. Crushed blackboard chalk was used to represent the natural chalk of the Somme basin. Earth and grass were model railway texture material and the poppies are also model railway accessories. I also made washes of the chalk to colour the trench walls, based on a colour online photo I found of a restored trench on the Somme battlefield.
The Y&L cap badge and Y&L Sheffield shoulder flash are genuine WW1 period uniform items.
When I built this model I did not add any unit markings in the form of battle insignia. My research at that point had only served to confuse me as to what was worn and when. I now have Mike Chappell’s book “British Battle Insignia (1) 1914 -1918” published by Osprey. (Part 2 deals with the insignia of WW2). What I learnt from the book was that 1916 was a year of change in that the identify of units was being made less obvious for greater security. To grossly simplify the books content; Divisions, Brigades and Battalions adopted coloured symbols on their equipment and uniforms to identify who they were. Some divisions applied their symbols only to vehicles and equipment, others had a divisional badge on uniforms as well. Brigade and battalion badges were worn on uniforms, positioning varied. In the front line the wearing of regimental insignia was discouraged as it helped the enemy identify the unit.
It is most likely that when the Sheffield Battalion was in the front line they would not have worn either a Y&L badge or their metal Sheffield shoulder badges. The 31st Division did not, it appears, have its badge on its soldiers’ uniforms but both a brigade badge and a battalion badge was worn. The 94th Brigade badge was carried on the upper back and was a cloth square, red over white. The Sheffield Battalion, the second battalion of the third brigade in the division, wore a green circle on their upper arm. It’s quite likely that a coloured flash/symbol was carried to identify each company but so far I haven’t been able to identify those.
Finally another scan through the history of the Sheffield Battalion reveals a contemporary record that the night before the attack the soldiers backpacks were decorated with a shiny metal triangle to help observation posts track the progress of the troops. Since the photographs above were taken I have added Brigade and Battalion badges and used the same lead foil I used for the rifle slings to reproduce the shiny triangles on the backpacks.
Model of the Month June 2016. “Stepping the Steppe” 1/35th scale Josef Stalin IS 2 by Martin Crabb
On a trip to the Toy and Collector’s Fair at The Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, I acquired a small collection of four 1/35 scale tank kits. Three Italeri and a Dragon for forty quid, just the type of price I like! The Dragon kit was this Russian JS-2m or IS-2m if you are from Russia. Not knowing much about this tank but loving the look, I did a small amount of research into it, finding these tanks were developed in 1943 as a Tiger killer. Armed with its 122mm gun it could penetrate 160mm of armour plate at 1000 metres. This version was built in the Chelyabinskogo Kirovski Works, Zavod.
The kit came with no instructions, but they were sourced very easily online. Construction was straight forward with no major fit issues, the separate track links were brilliant, not magic tracks but they pushed together tightly with no glue, meaning they could be fitted and shaped to form the track sag only gluing when happy.
Moving on to the painting, starting with a Russian green primer followed by some white primer to give some pre-fade to the panels. Base coat was Vallejo’s model air Russian green. This was then slightly lightened with some radome tan to enhance fading to the paint.After painting the white air recognition markings I gave it a quick clear coat and applied the decals. Once this was done I noticed the decals were translucent and showed green. A coat of heavily thinned US dark green brought the tone of the white stripes down to match the decals and also enhanced the modulated look. Highlights were dealt with by using Russian uniform green.
Weathering wise I did not want to go too heavy, so worn paint was depicted with a rub of the ever helpful graphite pencil, a small amount of rust, dust and stains were added to create a used look.
Not really sure on any type of base to mount it on, I scratched my head and came upon the idea of it heading out of Russia, across the open plains, the Steppes. Fairly simple static grass on pva glue with some tufts and longer dead grasses were used to create the plains. Looking at the model once completed, I thought how mean it looked, talking the talk, walking the walk…
“Stepping the Steppe”
Model of the Month May 2016. 1/72nd scale Westland lysander Mk IIISD by Henry Goodall
“We Landed by Moonlight”
Squadron Leader Hugh Verity, DSO and bar, DFC, Legion d’Honneur, Croix de Guerre avec palm, piloting his 161 Squadron Lysander Mk III (Special Duties) MA-K “Jiminy Cricket”, hands down sealed papers to the French Resistance during Operation Salvia, on the landing field “Marot” south west of Ronsay, 10 km west of the outskirts of Reims, at around 0100 hrs on 12th November 1943.
Pierre Hentic (Agent “Treillu”) unloads packages to the waiting team, Captain Henri Bertin (head of “Ceux de la Resistance” in Reims). Paul Fortier and Hentic are due to return to England as passengers with Sq Ldr Verity. Flight Lieutenant Stephen Hankey circles above, waiting his turn to land, to pick up WT Georges Simorre, Raoul Potelette and his wife who is eight month pregnant. All will be safely back at Tangmere by morning.
My thanks go to all who voted for the Lysander diorama at the May meeting; your support is very much appreciated. This build was inspired by seeing the Shuttleworth Collection’s Lysander on one of the visits in a ‘Secret War’ tour by Travel Editions. I subsequently re-read Sqn Ldr Hugh Verity’s ‘We Landed by Moonlight’, after 35 years, which is the best record of these hazardous SOE missions and a great read. Having researched the exact site of the landing field, the position of the moon and stars in the south west sky on the date, and the personnel involved, I set about recreating the pick-up on 12th November 1943.The Lysander was an amazingly tough aircraft and aerodynamically advanced, being equipped with fully automatic wing slats, slotted flaps and a variable incidence tailplane.
The main undercarriage strut was forged in Switzerland, allowing safe landing on almost any surface. Several times the aircraft bogged down on wet fields in France and large amounts of mud were removed from the wheel spats on return to base. The operations were based at Tempsford, with Tangmere being the forward airfield for two weeks, every month, during the moonlit phase.
I used the original 1973 Airfix 01004-5 Westland Lysander III (SD) moulding, re-boxed as No. 02053 in 1998. It is still the most widely available and accurate 1/72 scale Mk III (SD) kit, although the similar Matchbox kit can also be found, via the Internet. The latter’s deeply engraved panel lines on the fuselage and wheel spats need to be reduced. Both kits use (incorrect) lugs to attach the wings to the cockpit; the Airfix as part of the clear cockpit assembly and the Matchbox as part of the wings. These need to be removed for a vacuum canopy to be installed. My photos of the Shuttleworth Lysander enabled me to replicate the metal tube construction and oil tank, supporting the junction of wings and fuselage, with a Falcon FNCV2272 Clear-Vax canopy replacing the thick plastic kit offering.The leading edge slats were fashioned from sheet styrene and the slots sculpted out of the wings. The flaps were set in the fully down position and the tailplane positioned for landing.
The kit wheels are too narrow; I used aftermarket Typhoon/Tempest wheels, which approximate to the Lysander’s wheels, although both spats and wheels need to be trimmed to achieve a good fit. The Kora DS7250 resin engine cowling and exhaust are more accurate than the Airfix one; the Matchbox cowling is in between, for accuracy. The kit decals were modified to depict MA-J and the ‘Jiminy Cricket’ nose art painted onto decal material and attached normally. The circling 1/700 scale resin Lysander (Linda & Jack Kellbach, Powell, Ohio, USA) completed the picture. Apart from these modifications and the scratch built propeller, instrument panel and external tank fuel pipe, the kit was built ‘straight out of the box’. The base sheet was styrene (4D Modelshop), on a firm rectangular (Displays UK) base, angled up towards the horizon to give some perspective.
The grass was Gaugemaster Scenic Mat GM22 Autumn, airbrushed matt black, with the pools of light from landing lights protected by masking tape. The sky backdrop was made from clear plastic sheet (Antics online), glued with PVA to avoid edge fogging, supported by styrene, allowing a smooth curving internal backdrop, and airbrushed matt black, with blue added near to the horizon. Black trees, the moon and stars, and the two distant runway torches, were painted on later. The third runway torch lens, held in the foreground by the man in the overcoat, was from Little Cars. Figures were from two Caesar kits, H006 WWII Underground Resisters (for the Maquis) and CEMH56 WW2 Partisans in Europe (for the Agents), with poses suitably altered, as required. The pilot was from the Revell 02401 RAF Pilots & Groundcrew set. Painting was with Humbrol enamels for the aircraft and Lifecolor acrylics for the figures.