Wednesday, 29 May 2013

005. Something a bit different...

While blog jumping (like link jumping only using blog rolls) the other day I stumbled across some coverage from a European model event which had a non miniature game focus - lots of period pieces, busts, and TANKS!!!!

Looking at the phenomenal work on display got me thinking about trying something different for my modelling itch - and so I went searching around forums, and stores, and blogs and the general internet and came up with a plan to build, paint, weather and maybe make into some kind of diorama one of these:

My first WW2 tank kit - looks tame enough

Its a 1/35 scale, Tamiya Panzer IV (J) (kit number 35181 for those playing along at home).

At the same time I also picked up an AK Interactive colour modulation set for Panzer Grey colour schemes as well as some other weathering bits and bobs, and an Osprey Publishing book on modelling late war model Panzer IV's.

The kit with the AK Modulation set and the Osprey 'how to model' guide

A look at the forums helped me understand the term 'rivet counters' when discussing the modelling fanatics who go to the nth degree of minutiae in ensuring the accuracy of the model approaching the true, real life version of the kit.  'Hyper Detailing' as it is known is an art all of its own, and lost upon me, but its also big business.  I have bought into it somewhat as I have ordered some photo etch 'zimmerit' to grace the panels on the tank.  In the real world it was a material applied to the panels that acted as an anti-magnet barrier to stop the allies magnetically attaching mines to a tank.  Aside from that though, I'm leaving the kit as is, out of the box (or OOB) with no other after market (or AM - see I am getting the lingo down).  What I might try though is texturing the otherwise plain panels using a technique described in detail in this video by Mr Justin himself of Secret Weapon Miniatures fame.

The kit itself comes in a massive box - nearly of similar dimensions to a Baneblade box, but only contains 4 sprues, a piece of string, some instructions and decal sheet, and some rubbery vinyl tracks.  The string had me puzzled until I went  through the instructions (which by the way are crazy long and detailed with lots of obscure sprue and part number references which is novel - every sprue is individually granted an alpha identifier and each part on a sprue (or tree in military modelling parlance) is individually numbered) and identified it is intended to be wedded to two tow hook ends and used to represent a tow line.

The kit unboxed - lots and lots of very fine detailed pieces - I may need some of those magnifier glasses and another set of detail tweezers to manage this

Quite looking forward to having a crack at it.  The Osprey book is by a couple of master Rivet Counters who go through in some detail how they used a lot of AM product, scratch built and home molded parts to 'hyper detail' the same (or similar - ie other brand) tank.  It really is something else to see how much detail they apply - lots of it which will never see the light of day - like adding extra rivets a road wheel, on an internal side wall that wont be seen once the track is fitted.  Looking at some of it I would think they were slightly nuts, but like the missus says, it takes all sorts to make the world go round and they aren't harming anyone in their hobby - and it is a hobby which you make of what you want.

I'm going against the real world history by aiming to paint and weather my tank in panzer grey colouring which this tank variant (the J variant) would not have sported.  Per my previous comment above, my hobby, my way.

The AK kit comes with a useful how to apply step by step guide for me to follow

To help me on my way when painting, I have also ordered in a couple of books from Studio Rinaldi (otherwise known as Michael Rinaldi - what many consider a god in the military modelling world - or so the internet tells me).  The books cover in great detail (and judging by the reviews, exacting how to step by steps) painting and weathering advice for world war 2 era vehicles with the first book focusing on Axis vehicles, and the second on Allied vehicles.  I'm keen on the first as it has a detailed step by step on painting panzer grey vehicles (which shouldn't be that hard but I'm hoping there are some tips and tricks in there to expand on my current tank painting approach of layering and washing).  These are basically a military modelling equivalent of the FW Masterclass books - which given Phil Stutcinskas who co-wrote the FW books is a mad military hobbyist outside of his FW gig makes lots of sense.

What I want to start doing with my hobby is push my skills beyond those I have historically used.  So detailing and properly weathering a tank kit seemed like something different, interesting and fun to try.  Plus I like the period represented by the kit and real world nature of it (not that there is anything wrong with far future modelling), it links into my other time waster of the minute - World of Tanks - and I hope to pick up some new techniques I can apply on my abundance of 40K models - namely the fairly large range of tank kits for both Guard and Marines, as well as my FW Titan which is sitting unloved in a state of semi painted condition.

This kit itself is another one of my slow go, medium-long term projects that I will put in the mix with the other things I have on the go - I'm a useless hobby butterfly like that - but it keeps me quiet and entertained, and stops me bothering the missus, so points all round I figure.

That's all for now - next weeks post may or may not be delayed as my missus and I are expecting the birth of our first bubs any day now (official due date tomorrow) - so depending on what happens there my hobby time may disappear for a short bit while I figure out a new routine around the tasks associated with raising a little one.

Cheers all, and happy hobby in whatever form that takes,



  1. Cracking post. That looks like an awesome project. A cool kit in a cool scale. The amount of detail that the master models get onto their vehicles simply boggles my mind. I'm sure going back to historical's will give you loads more new skills for other projects.
    Good luck, also all the best with your little one!

  2. Cheers Col.

    Your right about the rivet counters - it is crazy how much detail they can apply, even at this scale - some will even go to town on Flames of War scale miniatures - they must have crazy patience.

    I'm hoping to get something out of it - new skills and techniques would be great, but even just a different kind of hobby mojo would be awesome.

    Thanks again for stopping by.

  3. A great post, and a bit of a trip down memory lane for me. As a kid I'd build loads of these 1:35 kits, although I've never done that one. I recently got back into that with the Evening Star steam train and U-96, and both were much harder than GW or other plastic kits. A good way of stretching modelling skills as you say.

    Impressed with the amount of research with Osprey books etc, I think you have the balance of realism vs fun just right. Not quite rivet counting, but still bearing historical accuracy in mind while having fun.

    Can't wait to see how it turns out!

    1. Cheers Colonel - the build has tested my patience over the last three days - some of the pieces are very small and I can't really see what purpose they serve being separate to the main cast other than some sadistic bugger at the Tamiya design lab is having a laugh at all us clumsy oaths trying to put delicate pieces onto a tank hull.

      I'll have a post up later today hopefully with the finished build, and then tomorrow if the weather eases up I might head of to my shed and do some base coat spraying.