Flames of War US Armour – Tanks Alone

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Another fairly meaty project I’ve taken on. This one is 20 WW2 American armoured vehicles. A mix of Half-tracks, tanks (mostly Shermanns) and self-propelled guns. They’re all by Battlefront from their big starter box.

I’ve finished most of the tanks, but not the crews. And with a number of open top vehicles in the mix there are a lot of crew to get through. So this is just a little taste of them, focused on the tanks and showing the ones that don’t have any visible crew. You’ll just have to assume I went and fully detailed the interiors with painted crew, or not.

They’re all painted with the same colours and were done with a batch process to get them nice and consistent looking. I’m featuring three different vehicles in this batch: 2 different M4 Shermans (the 75mm and 76mm variants) and some M5 Stuarts. The Stuarts are so cute and little.

Colours:

  • Base: SMS Premium US olive drab – FS33070 (PL167)
  • Dry brush: Vallejo Japanese uniform WW2 (VMC 70.923)
  • Tires/Pads: Scale75 Eclipse grey (SC16)
  • Wood handles: Scale75 Arabic shadow (SC22)
  • Wood highlight: Vallejo Brown sand (VMC 70.876)
  • Metal tools: Scale75 Eclipse grey (SC16)
  • Tool highlight: Scale75 Arctic grey (SC05)
  • Guns: Scale75 Eclipse grey (SC16)
  • Gun drybrush: Scale75 Black metal (SC63)

After all that it was the decals which came in the boxed set. Then I applied a gloss coat and an enamel panel line wash (with a dark grey/black) which I cleaned up with white spirits. Next up it was a matt coat to keep all that protected and give some texture for the weathering to stick to. Well the weathering was a range of stuff. First there was some mud, this is plaster combined with pigments, fine turf, static grass and play sand. This makes a nice thick mixture that will give the mud some depth and let you apply streaks and what not. Unfortunately I’ve found this mix dries way to light (I think because of the plaster) so it needs to be covered with pigments to darken it up. I use a mix of AK enamel muds as well as brown pigment powders. I’ve found that lots of different layers and different things give it the best look. Cleaning off bits with white spirits and cotton buds also helps to soften any edges and just generally mix it all into a bit of a mess of browns (which is what we want). A final matt coat seals it all in and gets rid of any shine from rubbing off the previous matt coat or the other products used leaving anything gloss.

I’ll finish this post off with some of my thoughts on Battlefront’s plastic models. I’ll start by saying I’ve never really liked their old style models: the resin bodies with metal tracks. I always found the details a bit inconsitent, they required loads of cleanup and never really ended up looking that good. However, I’ve been really impressed by their plastics. They’re great little kits and clean up really nicely. I found their ealy Team Yankee models a hit and miss prospect. Some (e.g. the M1, Hind, BMP) were great, but others were a bit soft on the detail and not quite the same quality (T-72 and AH-1). It really did look like there were two different companies producing them. I’m happy to say the models in this set were all the better kind and all pretty nice. The detail is nice and crisp with sharp edges and pretty good panel lines. The only criticism I have is with some of the engineering: there are some gaps that need sealing in visible spots. And with molded on details (which are necessary in this scale) it’s almost impossible to fill and clean like you would with a larger model. This I find a bit of a disappointment, BF have been at this for a while now, so they should be better than that. It’s poor choices that drop the quality of what you can produce. They just need to put a little more thought into the layout and they should be able to get rid of the visible seams. It’s not really a cost thing, more a thinking and experience thing. But that said, I’m nitpicking here – these are great models. I’d probably give them an 8-9, but they’re not far from a 9-10. I really don’t think there is much you could add without dramatically increasing the build complexity and time – which is not their market.

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The Monday Knights are a gaming group based in Melbourne Australia.  We are happy to play just about any game at any time.

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