Comments Walter Hendriksma:
In 1993 I bought an ESCI Tiger and built it. I liked the kit so much that I decided to buy another one straight away. One way or another, I never got down to building it, even though in 2000 I got a resin zimmerit conversion set for the kit at the IPMS nationals (for 11 guilders, believe it or not). After Italeri released the Jagdtiger brother of the Tiger II, I couldn’t help myself and had to buy that one too; I just love these old ESCI kits. A lot has been said about what is wrong with these kits and maybe they are outdated, but I still believe that with a little effort you can build a really nice Tiger out of them. What I didn’t like I changed by scratch building it myself; like the hinges on all the hatches and rear doors or engine deck. I also changed the cables on the two Tigers I built in 2006. The cable on the Tiger with the zimmerit was made out of AM-FM antenna wire, with cable eyes from a Revell Tiger I, and while I was at it I also used the headlight of this kit to fit the picture I have of this particular Tiger. The cable on the Jagdtiger was made in the same way, but with spare cable eyes from a Dragon kit. Another thing I couldn’t live with was the lack of detail on the tracks and the poor road wheels. The quick and easy solution to that was to experiment with MIG pigments in a set they call Fresh Mud (you don’t want your mud not to be fresh, right?). It comes with fluid resin, which dries if you mix it with plaster, and of course the desired pigments. I highly recommend the stuff, because as you can see, it builds a mean dirty old Tiger. Finally, ESCI likes you to think that those spare tracks on the side of the tank defy gravity; they don’t. You have to scratch build the hinges they hang on, and position the tracks exactly the other way around from the way ESCI suggests in the building instructions. While building the Jagdtiger I read the review on Preiser’s marching grenadiers on this site and couldn’t help myself from building a small diorama with these figures on it. The base is from Milicast and the ammo boxes are from MIG. The figures on the Tiger II with zimmerit are German Winter Tankers from MIG. All other figures are from Preiser. As for the things I could live with, like the fact that the Jagdtiger is 5mm too short and the air vents and antenna on the Tiger II aren’t in the right position. Well, I left those for what they are. If you can’t live with it; buy a Dragon or a Revell. All I wanted to prove is that these little Tigers from the seventies are great kits to put together and with some imagination still provide a lot of fun.
Big Bird Down - Comments Walter Hendriksma:
You might be wondering what an airplane is doing on an AFV site. There are two reasons for that. Reason one is that it looks like a plane, but actually it’s a tank. In fact the abbreviation Ta stands for Tank; Kurt Tank to be precise, as he designed this airplane, the Ta 152 C-0. Reason number two for my little side step away from the AFV path, is that I’m building these dioramas for my friend Michael Timmers, who is the most dedicated airplane spotter I know, and he loves these Long Nose Focke Wulfs. This is the Dragon kit from the early nineties, and to be honest; that shows. The last two pictures are Tamyia Focke Wulf 190’s and they are much better kits. What could go wrong went wrong on this Dragon Ta 152, and it came to that point were you have to decide to throw it away or re-do the whole thing. The first option is not an option so I went to the Luchtvaart hobbyshop and got two KORA photo etched sets and a set of resin rudders and controls and re-did the whole thing. The KORA PE sets of flaps and details are in the category of “figure it out for yourself”, in other words there’s no description whatsoever on where everything goes. Fortunately there’s an abundance of pictures of this model to be found on the net. As for the rest of the Ta 152, there’s not a part or side of the plane that I haven’t altered one way or the other. The FLAK is an Italeri reissue of an old ESCI mold and with a little work on the guns and chairs it’s still a half-decent kit. The figures are mostly Preiser, but the “fat” German is one of the Italeri soldiers, with a MIG head and Preiser arms. The buildings, sideway and road are vacuform kits from R2 and a Polish manufacturer. They are real fixer-uppers, but with some imagination they build into nice diorama material. The idea behind the scene is that the Ta 152 C was shot by friendly fire of this not-so-smart FLAK crew.
"Richthofen" - Comments Walter Hendriksma:
This is the Tamiya 1:72 Focke Wulf 190 A3 of hauptmann Hans “Assi” Hahn, commander of III Fighter Group 2 “Richthofen”, flying from France in 1942. At its time the A3, with it’s BMW 801 air-cooled engine, had absolute air superiority over anything the allies were flying. Besides building dioramas, I’m a bit of a flight sim freak, and this plane is by far one of my favourites. I’ve been wanting to build one for ages, and finding this kit on sale gave me a good excuse. Except for drilling out the Machine guns, I built this little Tamiya kit straight out of the box, and what a joy it is to build. I did experiment with the paint job of the plane, though, using a technique called layering. Spraying strongly diluted layers of paint on top of each other, giving the paint job a transparent look to it, with lighter shades on the top of the wings and hull. The decals of this kit were a bit of a bother, as they don’t react well to micro set and soll. It’s better to cover them with a couple of layers of varnish. Weathering the plane, I used a thick layer of black matt paint coming from the openings of the engine on the sides of the plane, as many photo’s indicate that this was typical for this type of Focke Wulf. The figures are a CMK resin kit, they look to me like the crew of a ME 110, and I’m not sure if the colour blue is correct for these uniforms, but I simply followed the example on the box.
"Long nosed Focke Wulf" - Comments Walter Hendriksma:
Again this Focke Wulf 190 D9 is a Tamiya kit, just like the A3 in the previous diorama. Building a Tamiya kit is a good reason for taking a side step from the AFV path, as they don’t make 1:72 AFV, and I always wondered how building a Tamiya kit would be. Now I know: Great fun! So much fun that I decided to open up the cowl ring of the engine on this D9, after seeing an example of that on the net, done with a 1:48 version of this plane. That meant some scratch building with tiny pieces of plastic card, but what those 1:48 boys can do, we can too! The Academy refuelling set needed a “bit “of work as well. I mean; why does Academy add detail to the back doors and interior of the Opel fuel truck, when you can see through the whole thing? Nevertheless, this kit is a nice little set from Academy, and with some effort it adds nicely to a diorama like this. The figures are from Preiser, some with MIG heads and Extratech photo etched weapons.
"Too much, too late" - Comments Walter Hendriksma:
This is the Focke Wulf T152 H1, probably the ultimate piston engine high altitude performance fighter ever made. Not that it did the Germans any good (fortunately), because by the time that this monster saw some action, the war was utterly lost for the Nazi’s Like the Ta 152c-O, this is a Dragon kit, complete with engine. I bought these kits a long time ago, and that’s probably why all the tiny pieces of the kit broke and had to be replaced with bits of sprue, iron wire or plastic card. I didn’t like the engine bay doors either, as they are far too thick and need to be sanded down to a more realistic appearance. That means losing all the detail on the inside of the door and re-building it from scratch. I also opened up the exhaust pipes and machine guns, like I had previously done with the Dora; no pain, no gain. The paint job on this plane was entirely done with acrylics, for me a first time and much to my satisfaction.
"Traffic Jam" - Comments Walter Hendriksma:
It was a long time coming, but here’s my first all American diorama. It turned out to be a big one, with lots of accessories from many manufacturers. Here’s the short list: The buildings are from Custom dioramas, the American soldiers are all from Milicast, the fugitives are from Preiser, the GMC trucks are from Italeri, the Sherman 76 mm is from Revell, the 75mm is from ESCI, the Dodge ambulance is from Academy and the Jeep ambulance from Milicast. Much has been said about all the things that are wrong on the Revell Sherman, I won’t repeat them. I remember when this kit came out and this was all there was if you wanted a Sherman. For reasons of sentiment I decided to transform this kit into something somewhat like the real thing. First of all, I started with the road wheels and tracks. These are mainly from the Italeri/ESCI Sherman, but with the resin open spoke wheels from Calibre 72. The upper hull has a photo etched set from Part on it and lots of sandbags and boxes and stuff from a Geoffy resin set. Finally, an Armo barrel was added and the gun was converted in such a way that it’s now able to move up and down, and I exchanged the 50mm machine gun for a 30mm one. The only thing that is still wrong with the model are the sloping sides of the turret, but this didn’t bother me enough to change. All in all, the perfect model is the model that you take from the box and start building. The other vehicles in this diorama are mainly straight out of the box, except for some scratch built add-on hinges, windshield wipers, etc. As for the ambulance Jeep from Milicast, “straight out of the box” still means that you have to do a whole lot of replacing and building of parts yourself, but the result is very rewarding.
"Hunting Party" - Comments Walter Hendriksma:
This diorama is a tank destroyer and reconnaissance group of the American army somewhere on the Western front in 1945. The two kits on this diorama are the Italeri M8 reconnaissance vehicle, and the ExtraTech M36 tank destroyer, both converted. The M8 conversion was done with Eduard photo-etched parts, including a full (and corrected) interior and a MR Modellbau resin correction set, including; corrected wheels, turret, snow chains and side-storage boxes. An intercom and several other small pieces were built from scratch, including an axe and shovel on the side of the vehicle. I also converted the front wheel suspension, to be fixed in another position, where the wheels are turned to the left. Accessories came from a Goffy Model set.
All in all, this was pretty much a straight forward job. The only difficulties I had was the MR Modellbau set, which had many air bubbles in the resin. It’s a good set, but check the contents carefully before you use it, some bubbles are almost invisible, until you cut or grind the parts and your whole storage box falls apart in your hands (which happened to me).
The ExtraTech M36 ExtraPack that I used should never have passed inspection, there’s no other word for it. It’s an expensive kit and it was my mistake to think that this would mean that everything would be OK. I started work on the tank, without thorough inspection of the contents. Basically, the problem with the M36 came down to the fact that the limited run plastic parts of the kit were not acceptable at all; incomplete, warped, bent out of shape, you name it. The resin extra parts of the kit and the photo-etched parts, however, are excellent. Nevertheless, I still used a Part photo-etched parts set for a Sherman M4A1, because the ExtraTech set is too basic. Essential parts are missing, like the belts and hinges for the tools on the back of the tank to hang on. Another bother of the M36 are the forward hatches; with a full and finely detailed interior, you want those to be open. Well, you’ll have to do that yourself, and don’t forget that these hatches are positioned in a forward tilted position when they are open.
The figures from Milicast and the Custom Dioramas Masonry Bridge had no flaws whatsoever; excellent casting and lovely detail.
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