Monday, December 3

Build Guide (& pimping out) Meng's World War Toons German Light Panzer 38(t)

We love the "Egg" and "Cute" series of models that has become more and more of a fad recently in modelling. These models give those who want something hassle-free to build, alternatively, they give the young and inexperienced modellers a chance to learn the skills of the trade. Thirdly they give those diorama experts a chance to create a whole tiny world. Meng's Panzer 38(t) is the subject of our build and pimping out guide today in the news...

From Meng Models
Series: World War Toons
injection-plastic military vehicle model kit.
Item Size/Weight: 23.2cm x 16.2cm x 6.3cm / 170g
Price: A$18.17 AUD from HLJ
Many of us are taken with the "Cute", "Egg" and "tiny" family of models that are caricatures of the real thing. I know that I first saw these weird kits in the Hasegawa "Egg"(tm) series of kits of their WWII and jet fighters. Others have jumped into the fray, with Ebro and Tiger model making these dysmorphic shaped models, ships, subs and tanks are even now on the menu with Meng's series of kits. These take advantage of the designs of the tanks from the popular game World War Toons.
World War Toons is a virtual-reality compatible, free-to-play online multiplayer shooter from Studio Roqovan. Set in the WWII era, soldiers, guns and even tanks are cartoonized in this game. Moreover, the World War Toons is the first FPS game on the PlayStation VR platform. The combination of the brand-new VR technology and the excellent game brings players unprecedented game experience. In this game, there are not only crazy cartoonish soldiers but the tanks they drive - shaped and empathized to fit into this crazy world. You can see more of what I am talking about on the World War Toons Facebook Page
Meng Models did a very smart thing recently, they teamed up with Studio Roqovan to bring these designs to life in plastic. From this, we have had Tigers, Panthers, T-34's KV-2's, Shermans and Stuarts to name a few. There will be many more to come by the look of it, and we love to see these designs and to be able to create our own cartoonish version of these cartoon figures. Today we have a favourite of mine to look at, the German Panzer 38(t) tank. 

We have already built four of these kits here at TMN. Clayton has shown us his guide of the King Tiger as well as the KV-2, while Andy has given us the dual build of the Tiger I & M4 Sherman tanks where they showed us how to get the most out of the kits. 
We will attempt to climb that peak today - and maybe show us what we can add to the kit to show it's potential past a beginner's model.

These kits are a simple affair, and no real thoughts about accuracy are a concern of anyone that would make them I would think. Whether they have the idiosyncrasies of the real thing that is highlighted in these kits. The kit itself comes in a little sturdy box with an end-opening that the model, in a single plastic bag comes out from.
Inside the box are two sprues moulded in grey as well as two black vinyl tracks, decals and a small instruction booklet.
 The instructions are a simple affair, with easy to follow directions with CAD illustrations and English, Japanese, a Chinese Language and Russian. Thes sprue map shows us what is inside the kit.
 The simple build process of the kit is unfolded on the pages of the booklet, with the four steps on the first few pages already seeing the complete hull and running gear put together.
 The upper hull, gun and mantlet are covered in the next three steps. Incredibly simple model building here again.
The turret construction and adding the hull to the turret round out constructions, which really only is an afternoon's casual work for even beginner modellers. This kit is a snap-fit construction, so glue isn't needed (except maybe for some smaller parts), and assembly is easy. 
The colours of the tank are called out in the booklet, with a simple grey early WWII shading, the colours are named in AK Interactive paints who also sell a paint set for this kit.

There are two grey sprues in this kit - with the turret and the running gear wheels on one sprue...

The upper part of the hull is on the other sprue along with the gun, exhaust and some other surface details.

The Hull:

The bottom of the hull is one main part, this is supplied without a sprue, just as a large part in grey plastic.

The simple snap together hull parts and the running gear sockets make the construction a no-brainer and super fast.

the turret of the real Pz 38(t) is bolted together with large hexagonal bolts, and this kit has these (scale) bolts on the turret also...

The return rollers and drive sprockets are a simplified version of the original, a little too simple, but you can enhance them as we will show.

The same thing can be said of the individual road wheels, which so have the hexagon bolts here again in some pleasing detail.

The top part of the hull features some pretty thick mudguards that do not really bend unfortunately without a lot of demolition work I would think.

Some parts of the tank that are easily recognizable, the front and rear plates, the turret front plate, all are bolted with those large hexagon bolts, the exhaust in the upper top right and the gun on the far left of this picture below.

The main gun is partially hollowed out. Again, this if fine for basic modelling, but those seeking more can improve on this...

Building the kit:

Because the build is so very simple we will keep it brief; we will concentrate however on the parts of the kit that the modeller could enhance. A start is the road wheels, that in real life are rimmed with rubber. I took to these with a cutting saw and the scalpel to take the nicks out of them that often occurred in heavy road wear. I really over-emphasized the damage (along with a few bullet holes) to keep in the same cartoonish scale detail as the model design.

Here you see them attached to the already moulded on parts of the suspension on the hull. You can drive this around after construction if you like which is good for younger modellers, but most who are reading this won't feel that need I would think...

The bottom and top halves of the hull are a simple snap-fit together. No glue is required and the fit is snug without the extra adhesion.

Here we are after the top and bottom halves are secured. We are already thinking that a company like "Retrokit", who makes alterations to these kits in resin, would have many opportunities with this chassis from the Pz 38(t).

The instructions call for the exhaust to be added to the rear of the hull. Exactly like the real thing that was often corroded and damaged due to the nature of the thinness of the steel used and temperatures seen in the part. We banged it up with cuts from the scalpel and used glue to soften the surface before using a Japanese cutting saw to create rough, rusted surface texture.

Here is the result. Fitting in with the roadwheels, we also hollowed out the tip of the exhaust with a scalpel and a drill.

A look at the extra detail parts of the hull which I left off the kit until the latter stages of completion. a Notek look-alike light, a sledgehammer, two towing hooks and some plastic tow cable, two rear lights and formation lights as well as an aerial which we will all add later (and not glue on to the kit to aid painting).

The top of the hull fits together with five easy parts. These are all socketed in together, but there is a slight gap between all of these that requires some attention or putty.

The turret goes together next, with the front plate simply sliding into the rest of the turret on lugs supplied here. Again, there is a little seam after they are put together which needs some close attention - or failing that putty to fill any gap.

You can see here there is a gap here on the joints of the hull, one that I worked a bit harder with glue to secure and close. those in a hurry simply swipe some thin putty into there if you like.

The upper part of the hull and lower are also a snap-together fit which again needs no glue to secure neatly.

To enhance the main gun and two machine gun's look I used the scalpel to make a small hole, then a larger series of drills to hollow out the barrels. This really does improve the kit without adding any aftermarket barrels.

The turret with the main gun installed simply snaps together with the bottom that has two notches that sit inside lugs in the turret ring that enable the turret to be rotated and removed when needed. The top cupola on the right needs some glue to sit on and keep on the top.

One part that I was going to replace was the tank's aerial. I thinned this down as much as I dared too, and then bent and bent it to the same degreed until it looked like the tank was moving standing still - one of the things that I find important to the look of these models.

The top and bottom of the hull simply lock in together - a few hours of relaxed work got me here...

Here it is - with the three tools I needed to get them together and looking sweet - this is where most people might leave the kit and perfectly suitable for most people...

A walk around the finished "vanilla" kit completed - already the little alterations to the plastic of the kit give it just a little more "cartoonish" realism.

But what if you want more from your kit?

I had a look in the spares basket and noticed a lot of the smaller 1/35th scale bits of tanks along with 48th scale accessories can be added to the tank. I included a few things that one might see on a "regular" model of the Panzer 38(t) - including chain, a helmet and soldier's pack, a "Gerry" can, some cardboard German ration boxes, a 35th scale 38(t) track, some alternate decals ("07" for World of tanks Fans)  and lastly...Is that a BUCKET?
After adding all of this here is s final walk around of the kit with some choice extras of a NOTEK headlight cover, a rangefinder set and Tiger I toolbox to give it just a little more detail - what do you think?

Nice huh? Painting next - but maybe another day huh?

This is a fun little kit that is suitable for beginners as well as advanced modellers and diorama enthusiasts. Depending on the extra effort you put in, the kit can be made into anything you want - the sky is the limit with these types of kits.

The imagination is the only real barrier - It sure got my juices flowing.

Adam Norenberg.

Thanks to Meng Models for sending this kit to us to build and pimp out.