The move is approaching. Our closing date on the new house is set for late October, and we’ve been prepping by cleaning out and packing up as we can with two small children darting about underfoot and generally deciding that when daddy is on the ladder changing a light fixture is the ideal time to demand full, undiverted attention.
Anyway, amid all this chaos, the bench is getting packed up. The paint. The airbrushes. The thinner and decal solvents and masking materials and brushes. I’m leaving myself a small cadre of gear – sprue cutters, sanding sticks, xactos, tweezers, pliers, and various glues.
I’ve been jokingly calling this the “Time of Tanks” because, well, even with the reduced bench, I can still build tanks up to the paint or near-paint stage. And so that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Tasca M4A3(76)W Sherman
The first to hit and clear the bench was Tasca’s M4A3(76)W Sherman. A very good kit of one of my favorite tanks (I’m a total sucker for any and all upgunned Shermans).
I honestly don’t know that Tasca quite deserves its ridiculous reputation – I mean the kit was very good, but it wasn’t blow my skirts up wonderful. I’d probably place it pretty nearly on par with Dragon’s excellent Panzer IV if I had to, maybe slightly better. Still…so it’s not the bee’s knees AND the cat’s meow, but it’s certainly one of those two.
Next, I’ve been working on Trumpeter’s KV-2. I’ve been a fan of the KV-2 ever since I first learned what one was. I mean…the things are just ludicrous. At a time when most tanks were packing 50mm guns, this bastard game to play with a 153mm monster. It’s said it was so tough that the Germans could only kill the things with their vaunted 88mm guns. But…this one is depicting one of the many KV-2s that found their way into German hands and thus into German service. The one of the box is done up in German tri-color camo, but I’m leaning toward this Panzer Gray example.
There’s been some speculation about the chains over on the FSM forums, and the best guess is that they’re additional weight and that maybe the KV-2 is testing the load of the bridge. I still like my theory that it was drafted to play Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol.
So far, the Trumpy KV-2 is a solid kit, but definitely a step or two behind my recent experiences with Tasca and Dragon/Cyber-Hobby. Parts that would just fit on those don’t quite on the Trumpeter. But then other parts fit amazingly well. The build actually reminds me very much of my experience building the Hobby Boss Wildcats last year. Flashes of brilliance, flashes of sheer head-banging frustration.
I should be finishing up the turret this evening, and then it’s on the the friuls, all 176 whopping links!
I’ve got a pretty deep selection of kits to draw from, but I’m thinking my next build will almost certainly be a Dragon Sherman, so I can compare and contrast with the Tasca while it’s fresh in my mind. But…do I go for the M4A4 that I’m building as a fanciful bare metal Sherman? Or the Firefly Ic? Or the Firefly Vc? Or the M4 Composite Hull? Choices, choices…
After the next Sherman, I’m contemplating a veer back into Axis territory. Possibly a Tiger, or maybe, just maybe, that slick new Panzer IV Ausf. J Last Production…