Sunday, May 30, 2010

PHM Crusader

The British in WWII had slow, heavily armored infantry support tanks.

They also had fast, nimble cruiser tanks, like these Crusader tanks.

These Paul Heiser Models are 1/87th scale resin kits of these tanks. Photos and tank construction by Paul Heiser himself!

They follow the traditions of the horse cavalry of breakthrough and exploitation.

One of the nice things about Paul Heiser Models is that Paul likes to make his models in series, so there is a nice variety of Crusader tanks from him. Check out Fidelis Models for these kits, which will be in full production soon.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

PHM Crusader

Paul Heiser Models has released a large number of new tank models. Here is their latest WWII Japanese tank models. Japanese tanks have been scarce in HO but PHM is working on fixing that problem.

Paul is also doing HO scale wagons, this WWII German wagon was very modern and all steel.

They were towed by horses or by vehicle. These wagons were great on roads, not so good cross country.

British Crusader tank. PHM is doing several versions of this important British tank.

These models are perfect for experienced modellers with limited resin model experience. They are easy to assemble for a resin kit. Super glues or Epoxy are both good glues for these kits. PHM are normally flash free and sturdy enough for wargaming. Check out Fidelis Models for these kits.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sidewheeler Ship

The Germans used any thing that would float to evacuate German civilians and troops from the Baltic Sea as World War Two was drawing to a close.

Here a Revell 1/72nd scale KM sailor stands on the deck of the side wheeler. The Germans used them to tend submarine nets in harbors, and as coastal patrol craft.

As I continued construction, I moved around some of the parts taken off the kit as a sort of mock up version of the model. There will be many more changes, but this is the general outline of the final model.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Side Wheeler

Lindberg made a kit of an American paddle wheel steamer from the mid - 1800's. They built it about 1/120 scale. I am going to convert it to a World War Two era German boat. My friend Randy from Fidelis Models purchased the model, used and assembled, a couple years ago. It has been bouncing around my garage for all that time. These are some of the bits I removed from the model.

I tore off all the cotton bales, and tanned hides and most of the upper superstructure. The kit was so old that the plastic was a bit brittle. I am updating the ship by 100 years, changing it from American to German and increasing the size from 1/120 to HO scale.

At one point, the kit was pretty well done. The model had rigging and lots of other details. I had to remove most of them, and the previous owner used big globs of glue.

Once the upper works are removed it has a very smooth clean line. I am planning on plating over the upper deck with new sheet plastic to give a deck surface similar to the lower deck.

The ship model looks much like an old derelict ship, docked in a backwater harbor someplace. Removing the upper works took a long time, then the residues had to be scrapped off. This is going to be a long term project.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Plastic Wooden Box

Making the box for my Italeri Gigant glider with sheet styrene was a bigger project than I expected.

I used a zillion rubber bands to secure the plastic bits to make a box.

Visit the grooming section of your local store. Look for the little rubber bands that are used for ladies making pony tails. These rubber bands come in a variety of colors and sizes all in one small bag. The rubber bands are so tiny they can fit almost anything. They are also so cheap, you can cut them off rather than pull them off. One bag usually lasts me for years, even decades. The other rubber bands are for orthodontic braces. Very small rubber bands that are also very strong.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nose Weights

I built a Gigant WWII German glider. The model is very tail heavy and so I wanted to put weights in the nose so it would sit nicely on the wargame table. A visit to a model RR shop got these lead weights. They are used as ballast for train car models.

It took a load of them and I wanted them to look nice when the nose is open. So I stacked them up and built a box around them.

Using sheet styrene, I built a "wooden" box, and then wrapped it up in rubber bands.

A quick test fit on the box in the nose.

Monday, May 24, 2010


The 1/72nd scale Revell U-Boats have a lot of small railing parts.

These railing fit around the guns.

They really make a big difference in the detail and quality of the kit. They look complicated, but they fit very easily. The molds are very well done, there was no flash, and the parts had few connections to the sprue so they were easy to remove. They also aligned perfectly with the hull parts, which was very nice.

I used photos from this Osprey book to determine the different armaments to use on the one submarine with the quad 20 mm AA guns.

Side by side these two U-Boats look pretty awesome. U-Boats often nested together like this in port so they did not take up much room at dockside. The wooden decks are well detailed on these kits.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kit Show

Brewer Brothers Model Kit Expo is Sunday, June 13, 2010. It is open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission is $5.00 and kids under 12 get in free! They have over 70 tables of vendors selling new and used model kits. They have an ATM and restaurant on site.

It is located at Old World Village, German Hall & Restaurant, 7561 Center Ave. #49, Huntington Beach, California, 92647. Contact Chris Brewer at 562-569-2509 or 562-343-2805 for more information On the web at

I have been to several of these and they get better all the time. It is a good opportunity to buy kits that have been long out of production and to see new kits that have only been out a short time. They typically are priced below retail as show specials. Many of the dealers will haggle a bit and I have bought something every time I have visited.

Kit shows are interesting because there are so many kits released that no one can keep up with them all. I have found not only bargains, but rare kits I never knew existed at kit shows. Often there are specialty dealers at shows like this that don't sell in hobby shops and sometimes don't sell on line either. As a dealer it is a great way to get new products out to the public who don't regularly frequent your brick and mortar store or to clear out old stuff that has been slow to sell.

This show is about ten miles south of Disneyland and even if you don't live in Southern California might be a good excuse to come here for a visit and see some of the other sights and make a hobby run! If you can't make this one, the Brewer Brothers run several a year, so maybe next time.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Life Rafts and U-Boats

The conning tower for the German U-Boat Type VII/C 41 Atlantic. The AA guns are very nice.

The standard mounts were two twin 20 mm guns and one 37mm gun below. They also mounted two twin 20 mm mounts and a quad-twenty on the lower deck. I am doing one of each. Quad mount is from Eadai / Grip models.

The U-Boat crews sustained huge losses. One new technique to mitigate that high loss rate was the addition of rubber life rafts on the front hull in special compartments. These special containers are all in a row at the front of the ship.

If the ship were to go down the rafts could allow the crewmen the chance to be saved by German, Allied or neutral ships. The same icy water where the Titanic went down is the same waters cruised by many U-Boats. A few minutes in water like that meant death.

Friday, May 21, 2010


When I cut the lower hull off of a ship model, I glue on a flat piece of styrene so the hull is stronger, and it will slide along on the wargame table easier.

Revell makes a WWII German submarine model, the Type VII C / Atlantic 1941. It is a mid to late war submarine. I have a couple of them under construction in this photo.

These 1/72nd scale models are about three feet long. When only doing the upper hull, there are not too many parts on the kit.

I taped the hull bottoms to the hull sides to help hold them in place while the glue is drying.

The late war versions of this submarine had a snorkel, it allowed the submarine to cruise underwater and stay hidden from Allied attacks.

Once the glue is dried, I have to trim the edges of the hull bottom flush with the sides. My long term plan calls for two of these submarines, and one early war Type VII C submarine. And maybe some others...

Submarines have great wargame potential. Build a dock or u-boat pen and then stage commando, resistance raid or even paratrooper drop on them. Play submarine vs Flower Class Corvette.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Abandoned Army Post

These buildings were made mostly of wood. Originally, it was not intended to even paint them, but after some consideration, they were painted, inside and out.

The buildings were standardized, and so the same ones were built all over the world. Sometimes hundreds of the same buildings were built in the same place.

These barracks were improvements from the ones built during World War One, but were very similar.

Not long ago, these buildings had painted rocks and raked gravel surrounding them.

Buildings by Model Power and Marx in HO and 1/72nd scale. The Marx barracks building is a quick and easy to assemble kit. The Model Power buildings are pre-assembled and pre-painted.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Abandoned Base

After World War Two there were hundreds of Army bases all over the world that were essentially abandoned.

Thirteen million troops served in uniform in the US during World War Two and the day Japan surrendered, most got to go home.

Buildings that once were so clean you could eat off of the floor were suddenly left to the mercy of the elements.

Warehouses, motor pools, barracks all just sat there, unattended, often even unguarded.

Many were in far off parts of the world. Many of those in the USA were in remote regions of the American South West, or Alaska. Hardly a place for tourists or scavengers. The buildings just sat there, build as temporary war emergency structures, they were never intended to last more than a few years.