All posts by Dave Tootill

1/16th Scale Porsche Jagdtiger

This model is based on the Tamiya King Tiger model. I had a second hand ready built model and was asked by someone to make him a Jagdtiger, but of course it wasn’t that easy because he wanted a Porsche wheeled version, this rendered the whole lower hull no good and a new one was made with 60th plastic card, braced inside and made to the correct length.

porsche1 porsche2 porsche3

The original top hull was then increased by the same amount and new axle openings made. A suspension arm top was made and 8 units cast in resin, as a cheating way of doing it I ran 8 axles right across the width of the lower hull and mounted the suspension arms to these.

I had a master cast for the wheels and fitted them to the axles with spacers to give the right amount of stagger to alternate axles. The fighting compartment was made from 40 and 60 card and all details added from various card, rod and strip, the gun support was from 100th rod and a piece of plastruct tube,

The mantlet was from a mate which he cast from resin (thanks Paul, who also did the wheels) the bulge behind the mantlet on the front of the fighting compartment was a crude shaped piece of card glued on first and then covered in Das clay allowing the mantlet to sit squarely.

The barrel was from the local woodturner. I added a couple of extra links to make up for the longer chassis and used the kit sprockets and idlers, all fittings were from the original kit.
Paint was sand with red-brown and green.

1/15th Scale Sturmtiger

When I was asked to build a large scale model of a Sturmtiger, the first base kit I thought of was the Tamiya one.

sturmtiger1 sturmtiger2

The only trouble was there would be a lot of unused bits over, I knew I had a few parts from a Bandai model that on there own were not much use and some Verlinden Tiger parts.

I finally sorted out a Bandai lower hull, drivers plate, glacis plate and track and then a pair of Verlinden exhausts and various small parts. I bought a set of Resin Tiger 2 wheels from a friend and altered the hubs and a pair of resin sprockets and idlers from someone else and we were in business the axles ¼ inch tube with metal rod inners and the body top and fighting compartment from 60th card, the barrel and half ball mount were turned from wood.

All the rest was from the usual Evergreen rod, strip and tube. The model was finished in sand, red brown and green and after all the scrounging for bits was named ” Pig’s Ear”

1/15th Scale Bandai Tiger I

About four years ago, a friend bought a Bandai 1/15th scale Tiger 1, asking me to build it for him and to place it in a simple diorama with a few figures. It was interesting that twenty years previous I had been told of this kit by a friend and colleague at my local model club, and even though it was shown in the old Bandai catalogue, I never did manage to get hold of one myself. So you can imagine how pleased I was to finally get the chance to build the kit and see what it was really like.

tiger1 tiger2 tiger3 tiger4 tiger5 tiger6 tiger7 tiger8

Second Chance
After finishing the model, I then attempted to get hold of a kit for myself, but to my disappointment they seemed to have disappeared. Then, about eighteen months ago I got the chance to exchange one of my scratchbuilt models for a Bandai Tiger. I didn’t have to be asked a second time, in fact I grabbed it so quick I almost took his watch as well!
Having been bombarded with endless reviews and articles on the recently released large scale Tiger 1, it occurred to me that I could take an alternative look at the Bandai Tiger. I’m sure that it’s a terrific model, but it strikes me that it is well over-priced for what it is and with me only needing a static model, I thought it might be time to take a look at this classic Tiger kit.

Starting point
The huge box sees the contents well protected and the sprues nicely laid out. Remembering that this kit is now very old, it’s immediately apparent that some of the parts require some improvement, but as with all models, it’s down to the individual how much is done.
The wheels are all single pieces with separate rubber tyres. As it would be easy to confuse the parts, I decided to mark on the part numbers in pencil on the back of each part. The torsion bars are metal and slip through the lower hull and held with small coil loop springs that give the axles the tension. The sprockets are also metal, held to the ends of the axle with small bolts and covered with poly caps.

The rest of the model assembles in normal fashion with no snags to speak of. Although a lot of the parts are simplified, they can be altered and improved as you go. The injection moulded tracks are fitted together with metal pins and once you get yourself into a routine, are quite easy to assemble.

Completed Tiger : Front shot
Completed Tiger : Birds eye shot

Completed Tiger : Rear shot
Tiger taking shape Smaller Details
Some of the smaller parts, such as the headlight fittings on the top plate and the moulded conduit and small rosette are very basic. There are a few holes on the hull sides which take the brackets for the track changing cable, but they’re far too big. I found it a lot easier to fill the holes, drill new ones and construct new brackets. All over the model there are over-sized holes for the various tools and pieces of equipment, again it’s better to fill them and start again.

The rear turret stowage bin seems to be about standard for the model, but has no hinge or clasp detail. On a model of this size it would certainly be noticed, as would the lack of detailing on the front mudguards, which only have basic details, so additional detailing would be added using plasticard and rod.
I guess that overall the model can only be described as ‘simplified’, but when you consider the price of the model compared to the latest Tamiya kit and the fact the Bandai kit is over thirty years old, I think it’s very good value for money. Another thing that came to mind while building the model was that with very few modifications, such as to the road wheels, cupola and other smaller items, you could build a late model.

Specific Changes
I had decided to build my model as a vehicle from the 501st Heavy Tank Battalion, referring to Achtung Panzer for the specific detail changes needed to the model. Work began with the obvious changes, including new rear mudguards constructed from 30 thou plasticard and 1/8th x 40 thou strip. New, narrower front guards were cut from 20 thou card with chequer plate plasticard on top with bolt and hinge details added from rod and strip.

As I had settled on an early model, the dust guards were separated and pieces of .100 x 30 thou strip were added along their length. They were then fitted to the body with a bend halfway along the length. Bolt heads were added to the lower front hull behind the drive housings.
On the top plate, strip was added for the mine launchers, using 2mm hexagonal rod for the bolt heads. The tools were re-arranged and a new pair of wire cutters were constructed as the detail was really quite poor. The main tow cables were fitted the opposite way round and new end clips made and fitted.

Headlamp blanking plates were made and new brackets were built from 80 x 30 thou strip and fitted to the front plate above the mudguards. Copper wire was run from the two new lamp rosettes on the body to the brackets. I did use the original headlamps provided in the kit, but they needed detailing and if I had a better set I would have used them as the original items aren’t too good.

Hull Details
The ‘V’ shaped fork for the Feifel air cleaner tubes was raised up slightly and the tubes made from 5/16″ plastic tubing, covered with a fine net curtain to create the texture. The smaller rear shaped tubes were fitted with square plates and bolt heads, also brackets were made for the four main boxes at the rear.
The hull rear plate was fitted with a new towing pintle and tool box, constructed from 30 thou plasticard and strip. Brackets were made for the jack, but the jack itself was left off as it was pretty rough and not worthy of the kit. The intention is to either find a replacement or scratchbuild one at a later date.

The exhaust stacks were fitted and topped with the earlier style pop-up caps, using small pieces of plasticard and bolt heads cut from plastic rod. Next came what turned out to be the most awkward job of the lot, cutting six slots into each of the exhaust shrouds. After much head scratching I finally did them with a razor saw, a thin knife blade, body putty and large amounts of swearing!

The other unpleasant task was the removal of the raised centre piece on the gun mantlet to back date the model. Again the saw and knife were used to gradually remove the offending lump, which was covered over with 30 thou plasticard and yet more filler.

More details
The rear stowage bin for the turret was covered with 30 thou plasticard to give it the squarer appearance of the earlier model. Side brackets were added from 1/8″ plastic channel with 40 thou bolt heads and the hinges were detailed with bolt heads and the clips made from thin strip and rod.

An extra pistol port was made from card laminated to the same thickness as the kit item and cone shaped bolts added, this and the kit part were then added to the turret sides. The smoke dischargers were assembled as per the instructions and fitted to the turret roof. Ignition wire was added using 1mm plastic rod and the thick main cable from 1/16″ rod.

Tracks and various pieces
Work in progress : Front right shot

Work in progress : Rear left shot
Work in progress : Birds eye shot The final job was to add the spare track link-brackets to the turret sides. I made the top ones from 1/8 x 20 thou strip and made the lifting handles from cut-through square tube. The bottom clips were fitted to the spare links and then the link fitted under the top bracket and glued in place.

The last item, the turret brackets should cause a stir, because I’ve since been told by an expert (after I had made the brackets) that they were not fitted to this very early model, which is a bit of a shame because I certainly won’t remove them now the model’s finished.

Painting by numbers
After checking a variety of reference sources I discovered that the colour scheme and markings for tank No. 142 varied tremendously. It could either be overall sand with numbers in red with white outlines, overall dark sand (almost brown) with white number outlines, overall green with white number outlines, or overall dark sand (almost brown) with white number outlines with an infill of sand.
In the end I painted my model in sand with green disruptive pattern and white number outlines. No letters please, I know it’s probably not correct but at least I like it and I think the model looks good.

So there you have it, a large-scale model of the Tiger 1, which retails at around the £300 mark. Yes it needs some work, but it’s nothing too drastic and for a kit that’s around thirty years old I think it’s pretty good. Check out the internet for prices and availability

1/16th Scale British Challenger M B T

When I decided to have a go at a model of a Challenger tank, I didn’t realise quite what a task it would be. A couple of years ago I built one in 1/24 scale and thought it would be much the same, but of course because of the larger scale it allowed far more detail and I just didn’t know how much.

chal1 chal2

This time I started the model from the turret,a bit strange but if I could get this right I hoped the rest would be a bit easier. I still had my old 1/35 scale Tamiya kit and a few good photos so I got started. The first thing was to make the base plate without the turret ring opening from 60th plastic card, to this I fitted the two side walls and the back wall to keep it all square, the two front sloping walls were added allowing for the correct shape opening for the mantlet, the rear box was fitted and the top cover to the front plates, this assembly was set aside to dry.

When it was time to carry on with the turret I started adding the roof plates starting from the rear I made the two back plates from 30th card and using a piece of scrap card I propped them up and glued them in place, it was then a case of doing the same thing with each section of roof shaping them to fit as needed, before the last top plate was fitted a box about 1 inch in cube was fitted inside and to this a piece of 1/4 inch tube with a limited amount of movement was added to take the barrel at a later stage, the basic turret unit was now ready for all the add on bits.

All the pieces that go around the turret sides were copied from the kit parts and checked against photos as I made them, this way I hoped to get them fairly right. The parts were made from 20,30,40 and 60th card and many different strip and rod, I also used a piece of old net curtain for the front stowage basket All external stowage boxes and bins were made from 30,40 and 60th plastic card and various strip and rod detail. The water can holders are from 3/64 rod fitted to brackets,all roof plate joints were filled with .5mm rod The barrel is from 5/16,3/8,and 7/16 tubes with a piece of opened up 1/2 inch tube for the centre fume extractor, wrapping is from fine expanded polystyrene sheet held with 1mm x .5mm strip and small square tube for buckles.

1/16th Scale British Challenger M B T

Profile Shot The lower hull was made from 60th card sides, bottom, and front and 30th for ease of shaping at the rear,5/16 tube was inserted at all axle stations full width of body, protruding ends were covered with 1/2 inch tube and fitted with 40th disc cover and 2mm hex bolt heads, axle swing arms are 1/4 inch tube with brass rod inners fitted to 3/8 x 3/16 strip drops the arms these were then fitted into 5/16 openings on body at correct height and allowed to dry overnight.

The main body top was then built up onto this assembly with 40th card and the plates shaped as fitted, the turret ring opening was cut and extra card bracing fitted inside. The rear engine panels and grilles were made from 1mm x .5mm strip edge 1mm rod middles and 60 x 60th centre dividers all sizes were guesstimated and if it looked OK it was OK, some fine mesh was used the various vent covers and all other detail was the usual different rod and strip.
The exhaust outlets were made from 40th strip and 30th card shaped and fitted to the body tops,all the hinges and other detail was made from card, strip and rod.
The rear plate was cut from a piece of 20th card and because it was so thin allowed me to shape it to fit around into the base plate,all the fittings for this was then copied from photo’s and the Tamiya kit.The two rear drums are resin parts with straps from thin strip added,one of the most complex parts was the barrel lock assembly which was made to work ( I wonder why?) all other parts were made in the usual way from card, rod and strip.

I had made a master for the road wheel and sent it off to Terry Beale at Castoff to have 24 produced, I then recieved a call from him to say ask if I would like a new master made as he could turn me one up and then cast them,i guessed that in a subtle way he was saying the first one was tosh, but not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth I said yes. I certainly made the right choice, when they all arrived completed they were really well done with separate centre hubs, rear wheels(no bolts) and front wheels (with bolts), I found the best way to fit them was to glue the hubs to the rear wheels and line them all up on the axles and then glue the front one’s to these, when they were all dry they could be taken off as complete units and put aside for painting.

I made a master for a track link and again sent it to Castoff to have 200 made, these were completed pretty quickly and returned. I then set about drilling them out to be able to articulate the two finished sets to make it easier for assembly, I must say at this stage that if you’ve been put off at the thought of drilling and pinning all those track links, then you’re in good company I think everyone dreads the idea,but I have made enough models now to know it is worthwhile doing ( even though I still hate the idea of it).

The next thing I did was to make the sprockets these were again copied from the kit parts with a front disc of 30th card cut with the teeth all in one and bolt head detail added,the two rear discs were the same but without the detail and the spacer between was two old large wheels from the spares box, two pieces of 1/4 tube was fitted to the backs with pieces of 3/16 and 1/8 tube in the middles for strength.

I then made the idlers from 30th front and rear discs with the shaped holes cut out this time with only narrow spacers and again fitted to 1/4 tubes.
The front reactive armour assembly was copied from the kit and made from various thickness of card with details of 2mm hex rod and strip.
The side reactive armour skirts were made again copying the kit parts starting this time with a 60th piece of card and adding all the strip and bolt detail on to them, I also made the handles at the back and front and the water (fuel) can holders on each side from 1mm x .5mm strip.

Finally it was ready to start being assembled, firstly I fitted the sprockets and the idlers and made sure they lined up along the body,I then fitted all the road wheels, first putting 2mm thick washers behind to bring them out to the correct distance and lastly fitting the tracks.

The wheels, tracks, front armour and a few other parts were painted before fitting together and then the whole model airbrushed in various shades of sand, and spraying darker shades in the joins and gaps.

The whole model took about 450 hrs, and almost 4000 parts to complete but luckily it was spread over a long time. I would like to thank all the usual suspects for help with this model.
Perkins Distribution for Evergreen products
Castoff Models.

1/16th Scale JS3

I Have never been a big fan of Russian Armour I suppose because any model of a Russian tank seems to be a bit basic and lacking in all those odds and ends that we modellers love to cover our tanks in, but having said that one Soviet tank that always took my fancy to build was the J.S.3., in all honesty I think it was because it was a complex looking and has a “bun” shape turret or at least half a bun!

js31 js32

When I decided to have a go at one I Initially wanted to make the T.10 version which was longer and had an extra road wheel per side, but thanks to good old Tamiya they brought out the 1/35 scale model and I took the lazy way and scaled thier model up to 1/16.
I started the model in the usual way by scaling the hull to 1/16 and making the whole piece in 60th card, I followed the same shape which meant making the axle station boxes seperately and fitting them on afterwards, when all these assemblies were complete and dry I drilled out the axle holes to 1/4 inch and around the openings fitted ready made discs from the plastruct range and on to these were glued bolt heads from 2mm hex rod.

Ten of the twelve road wheel axles have a round drop centre instead of the more common square and these were made from 5/16 tube with inserts of 1/4 inch tube for stength, the tubes were then drilled at the tops and bottom at the correct distance apart and 1/8 inch tube inserted, when the small tubes were dry 3/16 and 1/4 inch pieces were added this gave me the final axle size.

The two remaining axles were made in the same way but with centre drops in 5/16×1/4 rectangle tube. The four sprocket toothed wheels were cut from 40th card with bolt heads added to the outer two around the edges and a centre cap from Milliput, the spacers to get the correct distance the two sets were two cone shaped pieces from the scrap box, I then fitted axles from 1/4 inch tube and as before smaller inserts for strength. At this time I fitted all those fiddly bits to the lower hull including the two angled bars that fit to go almost up to the sprockets (what are they ?)

The next job was to make the mudguards which were from 20th card and because they were so thin it was quite easy to get the rounded fronts, I then made the inner pieces but did not fit them until later.I made the two long side top plates that run along the outer edge from 60th card and made four shaped wedges at the correct angle and glued two in each side up against the side plates.

Rear Side Shot

Profile Shot I made the rear lower and upper plates from 40th card and glued both of them on making sure all edges were flushed and then taped them in position and left the whole lot to dry overnight.
The following day I made the glacis plate from two pieces of shaped cardboard and after some trial and error I eventually transferred them to 60th plastic card, I glued them in position leaving the edges quite rough until they were dry enough to sand to shape, I then glued two 20thx80th strips to the edge that joins the glacis to the mudguards.

I made the top plate with the turret ring opening from 60th card and shaped it to the front and trimmed it off when dry, I made it short from the back and then added the engine deck to it with some edging strip around all sides, in the middle I 80thx80th strip in the outline of the engine grills and added 60×40 strip inside, lastly I added the various bolt heads.

I next added the detailing to the rear plate making the round access panels from 20th card with hinges from strip and rod, the barrel lock is from 80th rod and 30th card and all the bolt heads are again from 2mm hex rod, front and rear tow hooks were made from two laminates of 60th card. I then checked around the model and added any of the previous forgotten parts including the fuel tanks which are from cut down steredent tubes and the whole thing was set aside to dry.

The turret was something I’d been thinking about for some time during the rest of the build and finally decided to make a base plate copying the 1/35 scale model I then added two pieces of 60th card about an inch wide and a bit shorter than the overall height and glued them to the centre of the base plate, to the top of this I fitted a piece of card following the shape in the kit turret top and glued it on, all the measurements were made from the kit turret and I don’t suppose they are accurate, but at least I had a starter.

I cut about 40 pieces of 60th card with a slightly rounded edge one side copying the kit shape as near as possible and glued them all from the top plate down to about 1/8 of an inch from the outside edge of the base plate, once these were all dry I added 20th card cut into about 3/8 inch strips and layed them around in the opposite way until it was almost all covered.

1/16th Scale U.S. Abrams

Having recently built a scratchbuilt model of the British Challenger MBT, I began to start think in about a companion piece to go with it. I’ve said many times before that I prefer WW 2 tanks, but there are certain modern vehicles that have an appeal. The American MI Abrams Main Battle Tank is one such tank, and with its slab-sided appearance is not that dissimilar to some WW2 German tanks. I guess the catalyst to my finally deciding to build the model was the discovery of some parts from a wrecked 1/16th scale Tamiya Leopard in my parts box.
The first step when tackling a project such as this to see how many of the parts are going to he usable. Luckily the size of the wheels from the Leopard kit were the same as would be needed for the Abrams, a big help. but I still needed to change the appearance of the centres to reflect those on the Abrams. For this I used 20 thou plasticard discs and added 2mm hexagonal plastic rod for the new bolt heads. The centre holes were enlarged to 1/4 inch and into these I fitted short tubular stub axles in readiness for the swing arms.

abrams1 abrams2 abrams3

Lower Hull
The next stage was to make a start on the lower hull and this was constructed from 60 thou plasicard, with most of the dimensions and shapes scaled up from the Tamiya 1/35th scale kit. The Squadron Signal Armour in Action title on the Abrams provided other useful details. Once the positions and holes for the swing arms and axles had been marked and drilled, the plates around the wheel stations were added from 30 thou plasticard and the bolts again came from hexagonal plastic rod. The return roller openings were drilled to 3/16th inch and tubes fitted, I also fitted the rollers themselves, which were taken from the Leopard and fitted to 1/8th inch tube axles.

The axle arms were constructed from 3/8th x 40 thou strip back and front and 1/8 square strip middles both ends were fitted with 1/4 inch tube and reduced to accept a piece of thin steel rod for added strength. All the swing arms were then fitted to the Lower hull, taking care to line them up correctly. A full width length of tubing was now added for the rear sprockets and front idler wheels.

Work in progress shot I
The original Leopard sprockets were used, but as the Abrams has deeper centres than the leopard I first had to remove a 1/14 inch from the centres and cut off the front sprocket ring. I then added a piece of a car hub from the spares box and refitted the outer ring to achieve the correct offset.

The hull sides and top was built up pretty well copying the l/35th scale kit using 40 and 60 thou plasticard. The rear griLle and exhaust outlets were fashioned from 1/8th 80 thou strip, all fixed to a piece of card to line everything up and then to the rear hull plate. Hinges were constructed from 3/16th x 60 thou strip and 1/16th diameter rod fitted up against the grilles and the roun rear light shrouds were cut from old marker pens. with the lights themselves made up from 60 thou card and all remaining details added using various sized rod and strip plastic.

The upper sections of the hull were added using mainly 30 thou plasticard as it was easier to work with and then reinforced underneath with pieces of scrap. Thc opening for the turret was cut and a separate piece added around it to bring it up to the correct level. The top details were all added and some nylon mesh fitted for the top grilles, while the small hatches were built up from 20 thou plasticard using 1mm diameter rod and 100 x 20 thou strip for the hinges.

The Turret
The turret was made by once again copying the 1/35th scale kit, stating with the base plate cut from 60 thou plasticard. This had to curve slightly at the back and front so I made a series of fine cuts in the back of the piece to make it curve more easily.
In my opinion it wasn’t perfect, but with it being well hidden on the finished model I think its good enough. The two front side walls were made from 40 thou card cut to shape and then added to the base plate. Pieces of scrap plastic were used to fit it into place. The main side walls were then added to these after first putting a bevel on the joining edges and adding a piece of rod to the inside of the joint for added strength. The rear plate was now cut to shape and added to the assembly in readiness for the roof panels to be added.

With the base and walls in position I started work on the roof. The roof is multi-faceted so I added each panel one by one, cutting and trimming the next one to shape until all were in place. It took a little trial and error, but in the end it looked fine. The turret top details were now added, starting with the two large blow out panels at the rear. These were cut from 40 thou and then 60 thou plasticard. with the bolt heads added later, The commander’s cupola was built up using 60 thou shaped card for the surround and 1/4 x 80 thou strip edged with 1mm x .5mm strip for the vision blocks. The hatch was made up as per the 1/35th scale kit so that it lifts in a double hinged action, with hinges shaped from pieces of 60 thou plasticard.
Work in progress shot II
The conduit that runs to the smoke dischargers are 1mm rod with brackets cut from sections of 1mm tube. The smoke discharger bodies were quite complex and made up from 3/16 round tube and 3/16 square tube fitted together with the back ends tapered and a piece of 20 thou ard glued on top. The resulting assembly was blended in using filler and brackets built up from 20 and 60 thou card to fix them to the turret, making sure that they mated to the conduit tubes.

Finishing off
The large rear stowage basket for the back of the turret was made as a separate item constructed from shaped pieces of card. strip and rod. When the assembly was dry I added a piece of nylon garden netting, cutting and gluing it as I went. The wind speed indicator was made up from 1/4 and 3/16 tubing and fitted to the turret in the down position, as I didn’t want to snap it off! The turret was finished off by adding all the various handles and fittings, using various rod and strip for most of the parts. Thc gun barrel itself was made up using plastic tubing of various diameters and the body of a large marker pen for the fume extractor.

Apart from some of the very fine details I thought the model was pretty well complete. but being a little crazy I then decided to go the whole way and add the mine plough is well. Having looked at the parts on the 1/35th scale kit I began to realise that it wasn’t as bad as i had first thought. First I made the main frame from 3/8 round tube, managing 10 get the parts close enough to make the left and right hand sections look equal and then carried on more or less as the smaller kit parts, using 30, 40 and 60 thou plasticard and plastic strip for most of the construction.

The final job was to paint the model, not an insignificant thing on a model of this size. The desert sand colour was mixed up usin Humbrol Light Sand number 103 and Light Grey number 166 and applied by airbrush. The mix was varied a couple of times to different areas of the model to give some interest before finally weathering and completing the model. In the end was pretty satisfied with the result, even if it did take me around 400 hours and 3,000 parts to build!