Friday, 14 October 2016

1/76th late WW2 British armour

Over the last few months I've completed three British tanks- Sherman Firefly, Cromwell and Comet in 1/76th scale. This was the first British armour that I'd done in this scale, my 1/76th collection being Eastern Front. I have done a fair bit in 15mm though.

It's been awhile since I completed a plastic kit and it took me a bit of time to get into the groove again. I made mistakes with each one, which I'll mention below, but overall I'm happy with the results of all three.

I built and painted the Comet and Firefly over the same period this summer. The Cromwell is the Airfix kit which I picked up in 2004 from eBay for about £5.00. It's one of the newer Airfix kits released in 2011, consisting of about 90 parts. I was really impressed with this kit having made a number of the old Airfix kits over the years. It went together very well, with little/no flash on the mouldings and made a very nice model. A bonus for me was the track moulding in one piece plastic rather than the old "rubber band" type. They worked a treat. 

Airfix Cromwell
The Sherman Firefly was another £5.00 eBay purchase. I bought it on a whim in May this year on the way home from work - the danger of smart phones! It's the old Matchbox kit re boxed as Revell. I like the old Matchbox kits. They're a good balance between being straightforward and not too fiddly to build yet still looking good for wargames purposes. This one went together without any problems apart from the very last part where I stuck the two main assemblies together without fixing the turret retaining ring. However, this self inflicted annoyance aside, it was another pleasing and successful build.

Matchbox/Revell Firefly
The Comet was bought back in 2014 at the same time as the Cromwell. Once again it was about a fiver and like the Firefly it was an old Matchbox kit re boxed as Revell. This was a breeze to build. I think this had a lot to do with having recently built the Cromwell and Firefly and I'd refreshed my skills. As seems to be the pattern at the very last I cut one of the front towing hooks off the sprue and it pinged across the room never to be seen. Mildly annoying but not the end of the world by any means. Of the three builds I think the Comet was my favourite. 

Matchbox/Revell Comet
I like to add a mix of putty, washers, old figures etc to the inside of my plastic tanks to give them a more weighty, satisfying feel. Obviously the best time to do this is during construction but I only remembered to do this at this stage for the Comet. For the Cromwell it wasn't too much trouble to fix as the turret is removable so I could pack it in. With the Firefly where I already had to correct the forgotten turret ring, I ended up drilling/cutting a whole in the bottom of the tank so with a pair of tweezers I could fit the turret ring and then I could pack the hull.  

I painted the wheels and associated parts of the Cromwell and Firefly as I assembled them. They got a base coat of Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) 924 Russian Uniform. The wheel rims were painted VMC 995 German Grey . I then painted the superstructure with a base coat of VMC 897 Bronze Green. This didn't give the colour I wanted so I repainted with Russian Uniform and applied a wash of VMC 890 Reflective Green or 894 Russian Green (can't remember which), Citadel Badab Black, VMC Glaze Medium and water mixed to the standard skimmed milk consistency. This added a nice depth to the Russian Uniform base. I then highlighted with Russian Uniform mixed with VMC 886 Green Grey to varying degrees and then a final touch of pure Green Grey on some areas.The final step was a dirty wash of Vallejo Game Colour Earth to the wheels and sparingly to the hull. 

The Comet was painted in exactly the same way apart from I didn't do any painting on the sprue and only painted the wheels when they were all assembled and stuck to the running gear. The other difference was I went straight to Russian Uniform for the base colour. Machine guns and tool heads were painted VMC Black base with a pencil highlight. Tool handles in some shade of Citadel brown I forget which. The tracks were given a base of some Citadel muddy colour with a drybrush of VGC Boltgun. Then they were washed with a Citadel Devlan Mud/Badab Black mix and then a bit more of a Boltgun drybrush. As a final finish odd areas were very lightly drybrushed with VMC  124 Iraqi Sand which has to be one of my most used/useful colours.

And that's it. I will add some stowage when I get hold of some and possible some markings. I don't really have a firm idea of what to use them for past the usual Normandy/Market-Garden scenarios for the Cromwell and Firefly and an East v West 1946 scenario for the Comet. But before I do that I'll need to get hold of some Brit infantry. 

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