Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Shifting Sands Army Build- Part Two

StuGs!  I decided to run one of the custom lists that the organizers designed just for this event.  In Mid War the StuG is a nasty piece of equipment with Front Armor 7 and either an AT of 11 or 10 with Breakthrough Gun.  Having spent most of my points on these guys, I had to use an earlier model of StuG for my HQ.

This started as a reclamation project for the StuH platoon.  I had three old StuG F/8 models that were supposed to go with a Luftwaffe Felddivison army but it's been on my back burner for about three years now.  Figured I should put these guys to use.  Research showed that some of the earliest StuH 42s built were assembled on the F/8 chassis and since Kursk was one of the first battles that the StuH saw action it was very possible that these early models were there.
Assembly: make sure to remove any mold lines on the metal parts while also checking the resin for defects.  I like to sand smooth the flat panels to make sure any particles from the molding process get eliminated.  Test fit the parts before gluing to prevent angrily throwing your tanks against the wall.
Decide now if you want to have any crew hanging out of the hatches and position them either open or closed.  Plan which crew figs you want to use, along with what kind of stowage to hang, if any.  I like to drill my gun barrels and mantlets out to add some depth.  Remember you can disguise any bad spots or blemishes by covering it with stowage bits.
Modification work is a pain but can really make your models stand out.  The company diagram called for a StuG D but all of these tanks were out of front-line service by Kursk.  Needing to conserve points in my list I thought it reasonable that some ausf. E StuGs would still be in service with the Fs and decided to back-date an F back to an E.  The ausf. E StuG had the short 7.5cm gun and no roof mounted ventilator so I had to remove the latter and raid my bits box for an appropriate gun barrel.  I also wanted to open both hatches up since this will be my Company Commander.
I forgot to glue my stowage on before I primed but I took a series of planning shots so I knew where I wanted to mount it for later.  I also check my crew figures for positioning.  I do a quick sand of the primer where it needs it before busting out the airbrush.
After airbrushing the base color (Tamiya Dark Yellow XF-60) I hit the upper surfaces with a lighter color (Wooden Deck Tan XF-78).  This will give an impression of surface fading.  After drying for a day or two I use MIGs enamel filters for Dark Yellow.  A filter is basically a thin wash that will cover the entire model and blend the lighter shade with the darker one.  After a coate of Gloss Varnish I use AK Interactive's Wash for German Dunkelgelb along the panel lines.  Once dry, I clean up any overspill with thinner and a flat brush.  

Next, it's time for decal work!  The gloss surface is best for making them sit right, and Micro Scale's Set and Sol are great products to help this happen without silvering or bubbles.  I used a mix of decals from I-94 (crosses) and Battlefront (numbers).  Once dry, I spray a matte coat before using a fine brush to do any chipping.  It's really easy to overdo this and I'm guilty of that.  I use a dark hull red color from Vallejo and hit edges and surfaces that would get heavy use in service.  I also use it to cover up any additional blemishes in the surface (damage).  

I absolutely love AK Interactive's Streaking Rust.  I like to use it on the spots where I put the chipping and along surfaces where rain would flow down.  Once done with that I paint the stowage, add any chain and then do a black wash on these items.  I then paint the tracks in a dark red/black color before using AK's Track Wash, another amazing product.  Once that's all dry I glue in my crew figures (painted separately), do another spray of matte varnish and do any dry pigment work, usually along the tracks and running gear.  I still want to go back and add tie-down ropes on the stowage.

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