Wednesday 30 January 2019

Bovington Tigers: Elefant, Sd.Kfz. 184

After lots of frustration with my dear little MX5, I got her MOT'd, serviced, and one or two faults repaired. And, finally, today I was able to drive down to Dorset, to the Bovington Tank Museum, and see their superb Tiger collection. 

I was particularly keen for several reasons: I love German WWII armour, and some of these particular Tiger variants are amongst my favourite tanks. I'm also currently building several Elefant/Ferdinand kits, as well. It's a pity they didn't have a SturmTiger. I learned today that they did try and get one from a German collection, but it didn't work out. All that they had of this vehicle was a barrel (I'll be addressing the other vehicles in another post).

I took loads of photos, particularly of the Elefant, and I've very quickly and roughly made a series of montages of some of the latter, to share here. Many of these images are cropped in the versions displayed in this post. I wanted as much ref as poss, as this particular tank goes back to the U.S. tomorrow! 

I'm sooo glad I made it to see these amazing tanks. I spent three hours looking at and photographing them, and chatting with staff. The staff were very friendly and helpful. I had a couple of interesting chats with David Willey, curator of the museum. I even got to see the collections own Tiger I, known as Tiger 131 (the very tank that was used in Fury), being worked on, and moved/driven off. More on this to come in another post.

I think I once heard such posts as this being referred to as Panzer Porn. Well, yes, these beauties turn me on. The phrase seems fitting!

Tuesday 29 January 2019

1/72 Trumpeter Sd. Kfz. 184, Elefant

My original plan for today was to visit Bovington Tank Museum and see the Tiger collection, and in particular the Elefant. But my car hasn't played ball with me.

So instead I'm starting in Elefant #3 today. Although in truth I started a couple of days ago, trying to replicate the front driver hatch, etc. I tried to reproduce the hatches using white Miliput, by pressing the part into some, letting that dry, and then pressing some more Milliput into that: sort of taking an impression, then working from that. That took two days - hard to be so patient! And in the end it didn't really work. Or at least not well enough for me to go that route.

Sadly this process didn't yield the desired results.

Instead I decided to try and cut out the actual hatch moulded on to the model. I had hoped to have both the driver and the radio operator hatches open. But this was such hard work I only did the radio  op's hatch in the end. But this has at least worked much better. I was able to keep certain details, like the hinges, by working carefully around some parts, whilst taking other bits off with a scalpel, and re-attaching them later, and leaving some in situ.

Hatch in place, I prepare the radio operator for surgery... no anaesthetic!

Crewman has a seat, and I stretch sprue for handles.

I also constructed an inner 'lip', inside the opening created by (very carefully!) cutting out the hatch itself, which the hatch would rest on when closed. And using candle-stretched sprue I made two little latch handle points on the inner or underside of the hatch. I tried stretching some more sprue even thinner, to make the actual handhold parts of the handle, but couldn't get the styrene I'm using to stretch finely enough, for some reason.

Ta-dah. Funkmeister in his proper place. [1]

I think the figure is a Milicast resin chap. I hade to remove his left hand, his legs, from mid-thigh down, and shave his arms a bit at the sides, to get him to fit. I only hope there's nothing in the base of the chassis to cause grief later on? I'm pleased with the outcome. I just would like to have the driver's hatch up as well. Hmmm... should I? I don't want to wreck either what I've already done, or the other more fancy hatch, with its triple periscope arrangement.

Not glued yet, just wanted to see...

I diverged from the recommended order of assembly a little, in order to see the radio man in situ (albeit not glued in place yet), just 'cause I wanted to be sure the figure would fit. But then I got back on track. And, like many AFV models, this one starts with the running gear. In my recent Krupp Protze build it was the delicate suspension that wowed. Here it's the unusual (and often faulty in the field) three part longitudinal suspension bits.

Getting all the running gear ready to assemble.

Assembling the unusual suspension.

Starting to get the wheels onto the suspension.

Ready to go in the chassis.

So I got the wheels and suspension assembled and on the chassis. The detailing is very nice and crisp. Sadly there's a fair bit of flash to be removed. I think that's me done for this evening. I got my car back from the garage, and it seems to be in order again. So I've rearranged tomorrow's lessons for Thursday, in order to get down to Bovington and see the Elefant. I'm determined! I'll finish today's post with a couple more period pics, this time of wrecked vehicles.


[1] In my musical side of life I'm a bit of a funk-head, amongst other things, and I love that the German for radio is 'funk', as in funkwagen, etc. 

Monday 28 January 2019

Misc: celebrating 50 followers with 50 Ferdinand/Elefant pics

I just spotted that, having reached 49 followers quite some time ago, and having stayed on that number for what feels like ages, I am now up to 50. So, whoever that was, thank you! It's gratifying to feel that ones work on a blog is found sufficiently helpful or interesting for someone to choose to 'follow'. In celebration, I'm posting 50 images - one of which is in fact a video - of the Sd. Kfz. 184 Ferdinand, or Elefant, a magnificent mammoth of a vehicle, and my current favourite tank.

David Willey's superb Elefant 'tank chat'. Fascinating!

Whilst building the Zvezda Sd. Kfz. 184 I remembered that Bovington Tank Museum had a Tiger show recently. I thought, with mounting panic and horror, that I'd missed it. But a quick check online reveals it's been extended to Autumn 2019. However... the Elefant, on loan from the US, is due to return Stateside at the end of this January. I don't know if I can get it together at such short notice. But I feel a strong desire to make a pilgrimage down to Dorset tomorrow, and see it in the flesh, while I still can.

In the meantime, here are a whole load of fab pics (the source of which is included as a link in my previous post) of this amazing beast.