Category Archives: Armor


This is a 1/48 scale model of a KV-1 made by Hobby Boss.  This is the first plastic kit I’ve assembled since I was a teenager probably.  It is a great little kit.  I’d say it’s done,  but I’ve got a couple of things to fix, and I think I may want to do some more weathering.


When I went to do the final assembly, which is really just putting the turret on it, the turret no longer fit.  Before I started the painting it fit no problem.  I must have squished something somewhere along the line because even after quite a bit of filing it no longer slipped into its hole, and it still doesn’t turn.  I’d like to remeidate that, but right now, I just wanted to get it photographed.


There are two weathering things I want to do to it now that I’ve got it all together.  First, the treads had a nice bare metal effect on them before and that seems to not be as pronounced so I’ll redo that on the visible treads.  And I’d like there to be more dust on the vertical surfaces, in particular the sides of the turret.  All the dust is from a mixture of pigments and I’m not convinced that will work that great on the vertical surfaces, so I’ll probably work on finding an oil mixture that gets me a good effect.


The Hobby Boss kit is a charm.  There were a couple of small things I didn’t get right, but they aren’t really visible on the finished model so I’m not too worried about that.  I’m also working on one of their T-34 kits which is more challenging than this kit was.  The main difficulty with this kit was getting the tracks to fit.  On the one hand it’s pretty easy, but those final joins were a pain.  You can see a little inconsistency in that on the front track on this side.


I’m also not convinced by the rusty exhausts.  I know everyone does that, so I did it, but I might repaint them more black or something.

I highly recommend this kit.  I’ve been thinking about switching to 1/48 because of the greater realism of the vehicles.  I’m not sure how well they will hold up to gaming use though.  I don’t want to be repairing it after each game.  We’ll see.



M10s for the Yanks

I think this is the last of the supports I’m doing for my Americans for Chain of Command.  It’s a pair of M10 tank destroyers from Warlord.


Apologies for the photos.  I couldn’t find my camera and so snapped these with my phone.  (My phone isn’t bad at taking pics but it’s not quite the same).  The models turned out fairly well compared with what I thought they would be.  There was a lot of patching to the hull on one of the models and some patching on the hull of the other.  You can see if you look closely and it probably shows up on the pictures pretty clearly.


For my American forces I now have a full US infantry rifle platoon and a weapons platoon.  I painted up enough alternate command figures to use them as an armored rifle platoon from an armored division if we want to have a game like that, but the infantry are marked as US 90th infantry division and that’s how I intend to use them.  I have an FOO to bring in a devastating off-table mortar barrage, a 3″ anti-tank gun, a .50-cal (that could be part of the weapons platoon as they had one mounted on a jeep), 3 Shermans, and these 2 M10s.


Rubicon T-34/76 completed

I’ve been working on this slowly since my review post after assembling this and it’s now done.  I think.  I may go over the tracks to make the metal look worn but I’m not sure.  That’s visible in a lot of historical pics but not in all, and I don’t really want to call attention to that part of this model which is its weak link.  (ha)


I thought about making it a winter camo tank as I really like doing that, but opted for the dusty, summer of ’42 on the steppes (TM) look.


I added a couple of wood crates as additional stowage but nothing else.  You can see where I did a rather poor job of filling the hole on the back of this model.  It doesn’t show up that much unless you look close, but those kinds of things stare back at you in photos.


I absolutely love the decal sheet that comes with the model.  And the decals went on like a breeze and I had to do hardly anything about silvering with them.

I’ll have to get a couple more of these.

Rubicon T-34/76 Initial Review

This arrived at the FLHS yesterday and I grabbed one.  I assembled it and wanted to give my first impressions before painting it up.  Mostly I’m very pleased with the model.  I have one criticism of something that is fairly disappointing, and a few nits to pick, but at the end of it all, I’m still very pleased and will probably get a couple more of these.

Here it is as assembled.  It probably took me two hours to put it together.  A lot of that time was look at pictures and drawings and making decisions about what options to put onto the model.


I have a great book on T-34s by Mikhail Baryatinskiy.  I very much recommend this book.  I’d really love it if someone would do a real encyclopedia in English on T-34s as it seems there is a lot to know.  Anyway, I looked through the book and tried to pick a picture to build like.  I wanted to do an STZ factory with the distinctive gun mantlet as that is an option with this kit.  There weren’t many pictures of that but one line drawing, so I followed the line drawing but substituted the rubber road wheels instead of the steel wheels.

There’s a lot you can do with this kit: you can do a version with steel road wheels or rubber road wheels.  There are two turret options, two gun mantlets options, two hatch options on the turret, and two on the hull, and a few other things.  You can assemble a number of different looks to your T-34.  Just find a good pic and start following it and you probably have the parts to do any T-34 mostly correct before the introduction of the improved turret with the dual hatches for the commander and loader.

My only major criticism of this kit is the tracks which I find fairly disappointing.  Here’s a closeup from the end:


Those don’t look like the tread pattern on the T-34 too much to me.  I’m sure I’ll mud them up and it will be pretty obscure anyway but even pictures of muddy treads show the kind of interlocking pattern on the T-34 track joins.  That shouldn’t be that hard given the detail they are getting on other parts of the model.  And the inside of the tracks don’t show any track joins at all.  You can see that from this photo:


Those two tracks on the fender are cast on.  I was a little disappointed by that.  It seems like that should be optional stowage that you can add or not.

The build went together really well.  There are only two places on the model where there might still be seams visible and I imagine I’ll fix those in prepping for painting.  At the bottom of the turret on one side one of the seams might show.  I “painted” over it with plastruct and I think it wouldn’t appear but I’ll put some Tamiya modeling paste on it to give it the rough casting look to the metal anyway so it shouldn’t show up.  There is another seam on the rear of the model between the hull and drive assembly which will get the same treatment but I may have to fill it a little bit beforehand.  And I didn’t have to hack on anything to make it fit.  Nicely done!

I only did one modification before putting it together.  I couldn’t find any pictures of a T-34 with towing spots on the lower hull in front.  Both options Rubicon provides have something for that, either a hook or a kind of handle thing.  I just cut that off with an x-acto and filed it smooth.  When you look at the tank from the front I can point out a nit here.  That headlight seems awfully small compared to the headlights in pics I have.  They do a nice job in allowing you to put zero, one, or two on the model, and then they have an assembly for the headlight that was fitted to the side of the hull too if you want that.  I wish they were all slightly larger.


I chose to put a radio antenna on this model.  You can leave it off completely.

One other nit which you can see if you click on the top photo – the end of the gun is larger, like the end of a muzzle brake or something.  I can see that in one line drawing of a T-34 but I don’t see that in a single picture I have.  I guess you could sand it down, but that seems like a disaster waiting to happen if you’re not really careful.

It comes with a very nice set of decals that will allow you to number some tanks that will look like they belong in the same unit.

I’d love to see a single sprue option addition that you could purchase for this.  Here’s what I would put on it:

– a third set of tracks with a mix of steel and rubber road wheels.  You see a lot of pictures of T-34s like that where the front and rear are rubber and the ones in the middle are steel.

– a flamethrower attachment for the MG slot (I see from one of their online posts that will go in the T-34/85 kit – not sure the T-34/85 was ever configured with a flamethrower, but hey….)

– larger headlights, and perhaps a headlight that has been knocked out

– an empty antenna slot

– some stowage (empty boxes to sit along the side of the hull for example), or fascines of one sort or another.

But it’s a nice kit and I think I’ll need another one or two.

I thought I’d put a couple of pics up next to my Warlord model for a size comparison.  The Rubicon model is slightly larger.  It’s only a little longer but noticeably wider.



US Sherman Tanks

Models by JTFM/Die Waffenkammer.  These are beautiful models.  JTFM is my favorite maker of resin 1/56 vehicles.  High quality models professionally delivered.


I put together three of them.  That’s a nice group though I’m really tempted to do 2 more to have a 5 tank section.  Not that I know what I’d actually do with 5 tanks on the game table but it would be nice to have them!


I don’t think having all these vehicles will turn my favorite game,  Chain of Command, into a tank game but we might get these all on the table tomorrow!


And here are a few close-ups of one of the tanks.  I’m basically using Steven Zaloga’s techniques from his book on painting American armor.  It’s pretty straightforward really.  He has a nice OD formula with some suggestions on lightening it to get some effects on the model and then using washes for the dust effects.  It seems to be a fairly believable dusty Sherman technique.

IMG_3732 IMG_3733 IMG_3734

The decals are from a couple of sheets of decals from Warlord Games.  Those decals are extremely easy to use!  I love them.

Polish Firefly

This is a JTFM Die Waffenkammer Sherman Firefly Mk V.  It is a beautiful model.  I depicted a tank from the 24th Polish Lancer Regiment (24 Pulk Ulanow).


I’ve wanted to paint some Polish Shermans for quite a long time.  I have a book about them with lots of great photos.  This is inspired by those photos if not being exactly what one of them represents.


Warlord makes very nice decals for the Polish armored division in Normandy and some other more generic decals for British armor.  It made doing this quite easy.  (Ooops, yes I need to touch up that rolled up tarp on the back deck – what you can see with a camera, eh?)


This is a good shot of the rear decals.  The decals are really a breeze to put on.  I left the storage box on the rear deck as a relatively new addition for this crew but may go back and weather it some also.  It looks a little too new compared to the rest of the tank.


That blue circle silvered badly and I couldn’t do anything other than to finally just paint over the silvering in the end.  I generally don’t have that problem with any decals, but I think it’s the large blank area that made it problematic.

I did two kinds of weathering on this model – I used some acrylic texturing gel applied around the hull on every side before painting it, then after most of it was done I went back and painted that brown with some highlighting in hopes of depicting some dried on mud.


I gave the vehicle an overall dusty look with the painting technique of Steven Zaloga – the lower parts of the hull are painted khaki drab then oversprayed with brown and some deck tan lightly up on the sides, then after sealing, an overall enamel wash to produce a dusty appearance.  It looks pretty good I think.

At some point I’ll do 3 regular shermans to go with it.

And a Stug IIIG

Everyone has to have a Stug IIIG for their late war Germans, right?


This is also by Warlord.  Starting out I wasn’t too optimistic about it either, but I’m really very pleased with it and how it came out.  I clipped off half the side skirts on the right side to give it a bit of a beaten look.  That was really easy to do and it still came together really well.   I don’t know whether late StuGs should have zimmerit.  This model doesn’t.


The markings are pretty minimal but looking at lots of pictures of StuGs it seems like often the markings on them were pretty minimal.  I guess it allows me to use it with any kind of unit I concoct.

I just threw some pigments onto the tracks and roadwheels to give some dust.  I think that’s a bit overdone.  So there’s more to learn.

I like this model a lot and would recommend it.