An Increase in the Tank Park

I was out of Manila this weekend and discovered a model shop which had a supply of 1/72 scale modern tanks. There were also a few packets of 1/72 scale plastic figures as well but it was the tanks I was interested in.

I picked up a Challenger and a Merkava for the collection. I will get around to doing an unboxing of these later but a quick look has me salivating with the detail.

They go along with the M1 Abrams and the T-72 collection along with the lone T-80 and ZTZ-99.

What I would like to add to round out the modern collection would be a Leopard 2 and an AMX-56 LeClerc.

Now I just need to time to start to sit down and buid some of these (or buy some more early World War 2 tanks).

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S-Model ZTZ-99A MBT 1/72 Unpacked

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The Box – slightly damaged

I had plans of doing some painting today however one thing and another conspired to prevent that from happening. I therefore decided to have a look at the contents of a couple of the kits I had acquired recently – sort of get used to the contents before making them.

The Type 99 (Chinese: 99式; pinyin: Jiǔjiǔshì) or ZTZ99 is a Chinese third generation main battle tank (MBT). The tank entered People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) service in 2001. I originally thought the S-Model kit was expensive until I realised that the 1+1 on the box meant that there were two vehicles inside the box.

From Wikipedia: 99A, the Improved Type 99. Prototype testing was underway by August 2007 and believed to be the standard deployed Type 99 variant in 2011; upgradable from Type 99. The improved main gun may fire an Invar-type ATGM. It mounts 3rd generation (Relikt-type) ERA, and an active protection system. Has a new turret with “arrow shaped” applique armor. The larger turret may have improved armour and a commander’s periscope, and the tank may have an integrated propulsion system. Has a semi-automatic transmission.

Once I realised that the number of pieces in the box did not look quite so daunting.

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The Sprues

Two sprues make up most of the parts. As with tanks, the first question is the tracks. Unlike older kits, the tracks here are moulded to some of the rollers with additional tracks to wrap around the idler and the drive sprocket.

The pieces are crisply moulded and appear as though they will be easy to remove from the sprue. I did not notice any flash with a quick look. At 1/72 scale this is a large tank, larger I think than the T-64 in my collection and that I will look at later.

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Photo-Etched Parts and the instruction sheet

Perhaps the best part though are the Photo-Etched parts. These are very finely modelled and will add very fine detail to various parts of the tank.

Currently the only users of the type 99A are the People’s Republic of China with 4 battalions of Type 99A (124 tanks) in service as of December 2015.

I am thinking to start this tank (or one of the other ones I purchased) this week.

Overall I like the model and I am looking forward to putting knife and glue to it.

I am also wondering what to do with the second vehicle.

Some More Kits

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The M4A3E8 Sherman of Korean War vintage

I was out and about the other day. I had to go over the MegaMall in Ortigas City, Metro Manila. Apart from a very useful art supply store on the 4th floor of Mega B that has a complete range of Vallejo Paints amongst others as well as some quite good sable brushes, there is a Lil’s HobbyShop in the basement. This particular branch of Lil’s has a good range of 1/72 scale tanks as well as the more popular larger scales. As I had a Pershing, one of the American Tanks that saw some action in Korea, I thought a Korean War Sherman would be a good addition to the collection.

The Sherman is an older Trumpeter kit and has the stretchable plastic tracks that I hate. The cost of the kit was 330 pesos (about $10 Aussie or US $7.20). I’ll get around to an unboxing soon.

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The soviet JS-3 (Josef Stalin 3) heavy tank

Once I had found the Sherman I then thought that a Soviet JS-3 was in order, in part to keep the theme for heavy tanks of the World War 2/Korean War era. Trumpeter also make a JS-3 and this kit was newer than the Sherman as the tracks are moulded in the same plastic as the model, much easier to deal with.

Given the clean lines of this tank there is not a great deal of detail that can be moulded on but the model looked clean. As with the Sherman, I will unbox it later. The cost of this was also 330 pesos (about $10 Aussie or US $7.20).

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T-80UD MBT

Model Collect is a new Chinese company producing models. The range was small at Lil’s with about 10 kits in stock. The company tends to concentrate on Soviet/Russian equipment currently with some World War 2 German items.

These kits are magnificent however. The barrel is metal and there are also photo-etched parts to this beastie. The tracks look easy to deal with as well. Again, I will do a full unboxing in the not too distant future.

This kit though contains way more parts than the Trumpeter kits and the detail on these models is superb – in part I guess from the photo-etched pieces.

They are more expensive than Trumpeter as well with this model retailing for 1,598 pesos (about $45 Aussie or $33 US). The price direct from Model Collect for this is about $25 so considerably more than Trumpeter but for a kit that is a quantum leap forward in detail and inclusions.

I am looking forward to building these in the near future.

How Big is the Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tank?

Panther on the left, Pershing on the right and the Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tank in the iddle
Panther on the left, Pershing on the right and the Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tank in the middle

I was curious about exactly how small the Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tank so I grabbed the hulls from two other kits I have here to build. A Dragon Panther on the left and a Trumpeter Pershing on the right.

The Type 95 Ha-Go is in the centre. It is tiny.

It occurred to be tonight how much I like Tamiya modelling tools. The modelling knife has a tab on the side, the only purpose of which an be to stop the knife rolling across the modelling bench. This I appreciate as I have managed to stab myself in the thigh a couple of times in the past as a tool drops from the table and my legs react and snap together before my brain can get the message to the legs of “noooooo!”

I appreciate the forethought Tamiya.

Another Kit

Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tank
Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tank

I had to go collect my laptop from a PC repair after I dropped it at home here a while back. Unfortunately the hard drive was spinning up when I dropped it so the drive had to be replaced. The repair was going to take about a week but I needed a laptop for work so I bought a cheap one to use and put this repair off until the next payday.

I collected it a few days ago. The repair shop is in the Greenhills area of Manila in V-Mall. Also in V-Mall is a good model shop. I saw the Dragon kit of the IJA Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tank. I have some in 1/285 scale so thought it would be nice to get one in 1/72 scale as well.

Big Box for small tank
Big Box for small tank

When I got it home I had to have a look inside (actually, a quick inspection was made at the shop to ensure it was all there before bringing it home). The model is tiny, especially when viewed inside the packaging. You can see how tiny the hull is in respect of the box in the picture to the right.

The parts look crisply cast though and I like the use of etched brass for the exhaust cover on the tank. I’m looking forward to building this wee beastie. I will document the build when I do it.

This is not the start of a new project

Everyone should have a Pershing!
Everyone should have a Pershing!

Not at all.

It’s just that I was at Mega Mall on Saturday looking to see if I could expand the memory in my laptop (I can’t  – brickbats to Asus) and after failing at that, madam suggested slipping down to the lower ground floor. There is a Lil’s Model Shop there with an extensive range of Tamiya kits and modelling equipment as well as Trumpeter, Fujimi and others.

It was there that two things caught my eye. One was the 1/72 scale M26E2 Pershing Heavy Tank.

The Pershing was the first operational heavy tank of the United States Army. It was designed in World War II and saw a little action there.

The M26 was supposed to be an improvement of the M4 Sherman and although it was heavier and better armed, and indeed a match for the German Tiger I and Panther tanks, it was pretty unreliable mechanically. Its most famous use in World War II was with the 9th Armored Division and the dash to take the Ludendorff Bridge during the Battle of Remagen.

Pershings also were active in the Korean War, where they were superior to the T34/85s used by the North except that they suffered in the hilly terrain. They were replaced by the M46 Patton.

It will look good displayed next to the Panther I already have. So, you can see my interest.

Always was interested in Aerosans
Always was interested in Aerosans

Speaking of interests, I’ve always had a interest in some of the more esoteric Soviet vehicles from both the Winter War and World War II. In this case it is Aerosans.

This model, the NKL-26 was an armoured aerosan based on an earlier vehicle, the NKL-6 (OSGA-6). It was constructed from plywood and protoected with 10mm armour plate to the front. Armarment was a 7.62mm machine gun in a ring mount. It was powered by an M-11G aircraft engine.

There were two crewmen and could carry four ski troops riding outside the vehicle on its skis or towed behind.

Detailed painting instructions, in colour. Paint it white!
Detailed painting instructions, in colour. Paint it white!

The Trumpeter kit is 1/35 scale and includes two crewmen.

Also included is the coloured colour painting guide. Painting guide? Paint white 🙂

I’m really looking forward to building this model as it covers a vehicle not often seen. I am also looking forward to trying my spray gun out on this – after all, how wrong can a bloke go spraying white?

The big surprise for me with this kit was the number of etched brass parts included. Now I am really going to need to pay attention during the building.

I think next I’ll pick up some 1/100 scale aircraft next, just to relax with mind 😉

And as I say in the title, this is not the start of a new project or interest – just a bloke building a couple of models on a cold Manila evening!

Damn, there are a butt-load of etched brass fittings!
Damn, there are a butt-load of etched brass fittings!

Some Toys

One of the advantages of having regular employment again is being able to afford to buy some toys. I stopped into the Tamiya shop here in Glorietta tonight looking for a couple of kits. I found them … and I should point out that the car kits are not mine … madam has decided to build one to determine if it is a suitable present for her nephew … I knew there was a reason I liked this woman 😉

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The loot from tonight's toy shopping

WIP — Yes, Plastics 6

I finished the first five bases today, recovering as I was from watching the Netherlands finish the demolition of Brazilian football. I’m pretty happy with everything on them, except for the unit flashes. Looking further at the flashes on-line this evening they seem somewhat straighter and smaller. Oh well, I guess I will touch them up when I do the next batch of uniform dry-brushing.

Apart from that, I am happy with them. I don’t have to worry about finishing the bases, Anthony will do that so they look the same as the other troops in his forces.

The main colours used were the following (Vallejo unless otherwise noted):

  • 921 English Uniform
  • 988 Khaki
  • 924 Russian Uniform
  • 982 Flat Earth
  • 967 Flat Red
  • 963 Gunmetal Grey
  • 995 German Grey
  • Barbarian Flesh (from Army Painter War Paints)
  • Devlan Mud (an old Games Workshop Citadel wash)

The figures themselves are OK although they appear a little large for 20mm (1/72) and there are a few in odd poses – like the bloke squatting as if he as answering a call of nature whilst pumping a few rounds off from his Lee-Enfield SMLE. The hard plastic takes paint quite well though and has the advantage of not bending like metal does when you bump a figure accidentally.

WIP — Yes, Plastics 5

I was knackered last night so went to bed early. I followed my usual routine, large drink of water, clean teeth and retire to slumber. Usually, as the last thing before sleep, I will watch a movie or TV show on my phone. I know, it’s supposed to prevent you sleeping well but I find it relaxing … go figure! Last night I watched the first episode of Reign. I’ve been kind of caught up in the world of the Tudors recently and it was good to see how far the producers, directors and writers of the shows I have been watching have drifted from the history.

Anyway, I watched, snoozed then slept … only to awake at about three in the morning, unable initially to fall back to sleep again. So, what else does one do at three in the cool of a Singapore morning? I got up and painted for a while. Painting is a catharsis for me (as compared to cathartic for which I rely on a good, heady beer) and usually calms my mind, spirit and emotions so that I can relax. I was hoping that a 3:00 am painting session for about 30 minutes would help me to sleep again. It did.

I had decided that rather than work on all the figures in a single batch, from yesterday’s point onwards I would work on 5 or so bases at a time. That way if any of the technique or paints did not work out I only had a few to repaint rather than the whole batch.

The painting sessions yesterday and this morning were initially to get the webbing done but I decided to do some washing and dry brushing as well, just to see how things turned out.

The picture quality is not great – the phone’s camera combined with the light on the painting table tends to wash the colours together but I am quite pleased with the way that batch looks now. The wash has picked out items such as the collars on the uniform and other fine details. It has also provided an edge between the uniform and the webbing.

Next task will be to do the same for the rest of the figures, then pick out the weapons, water bottles and other smaller items such as the bayonet scabbards.