Wednesday, October 6, 2021

1/35 Panzer IV

 Tamiya kit, along with the Panzergrenadier figure set.  My second diorama, 1976 I think. Many times busted up, many times repaired. Still have it, still wears well. The fuel trailer was my first shot at scratchbuilding.


 This is DML's notorious 1992 first edition Nashorn somewhere in Russia... you pick the locale. The dio dates back to 1995 or so.

Way back in the early 1970s I was introduced to the Nashorn by the wargame "Panzerblitz". Soon after, I bought Squadron's "Nashorn, Hummel, Brummbaer in Action" which served as my reference on this project. My favorite photo therein shows a man on horseback hand-delivering a message to a Nashorn commander. 25 years went by, and then I bought this kit. I still liked the message idea, but didn't go for the horse, which would seem odd in the winter scene I was planning. I really enjoy winter whitewash schemes, and the slab-sided Nashorn is the perfect subject. So the horse and rider were out.

I had recently bought DML's Ski Troops, and expected to use one of the skiers as the messenger. But I decided the walking figure carrying his poles and skis would work better than a figure in the process of skiing. I wanted to get a good eye-to-eye relationship between the crewman and the skier, and besides, the ski gear was more interesting up on a shoulder than on the ground. The document he's handing over was drawn in Autocad, using a German blackletter font. Seen close up it's recognizable as German.

I had also been thinking for a few years about showing the clutter of discarded ammunition, but had not found the occasion to make such a mess. In this dio, having all the used casings and empty crates flung out the back of the Nashorn encourages the messenger to take off his skis. My casual research showed Nashorn ammo packed in metal tubes, but I really liked these wooden crates for their character. And if you do the math, I'm short quite a few shells, but they cost a buck each; so I made do with 6.

The diorama base is Styrofoam topped with painted Celluclay. While damp, the 'clay was covered with soupy baking soda. For some reason, baking soda put down like this heaves up and down as it dries, leaving a final irregular surface, even if it started out smooth. The soda also yellowed a bit, pulling some tint out of the Celluclay, I think. I then sprinkled enough dry baking soda to cover most, but not all, of the dull off-white crust.

The figures are from Tamiya's Flak Crew, and DML's Assault Gun Crew, German Snipers, and Ski Troops. They're pretty near stock. Except for the scissor telescope, the Nashorn's stock too, inaccuracies and all.

Other than the whitewashing, no special techniques were involved in finishing the Nashorn. First, I airbrushed Testor's Model Master Enamels in a 3-color scheme....nothing special there. Then I painted on the German crosses, using paper stencils also drawn in Autocad. Next I used an old, stiff brush to scrub on el cheapo craft-store acrylic white paint. I gave the paint a few minutes to dry, and then began to scrub it off with a wet toothbrush. The results vary with the wetness of the brush, how hard I scrub, and how dry the paint is. If too much white comes off, I put more paint on the bare spot, and come back to it in a few minutes. I have also used toothpaste on my finger to wear whitewash off on other models. The effect is not the same as with the toothbrush, so you may want to experiment.