Saturday, December 21

Build Review: Ferdinand Jagdpanzer Sd. Kfz. 184 & 16t Strabokran From Amusing Hobby

Clayton Ockerby has already built a great version of the 16t Strabokran that fits inside this BIG box of Amusing Hobby's combination set that matches this with a 35th scale Ferdinand Jagdpanzer Sd. Kfz. 184 kit. See how the Ferdinand goes together before painting w/ AK real colors in the second part of his guide...
Build Review: Ferdinand Jagdpanzer Sd. Kfz. 184 & 16t Strabokran
From Amusing Hobby
1/35th Scale
Kit No: # AMH35A030
Injection moulded sprues in tan
Clear parts & photo-etched parts
Item Size/Weight: 39.8cm x 26.3cm x 19.5cm / 1680g
Product Link on the Amusing Hobby Website
Many of you will have seen the build and paint review I did a month or two ago of the recent Amusing Hobby 16t Strabokran. Whilst the crane I built was a stand-alone release, as time would soon reveal, Amusing Hobby made the decision of pairing their Strabokran with a brand new, full interior Ferdinand! I was pretty happy with how the crane built up, so it was a pretty easy decision for me to make to add this Ferdinand to my collection.
The kits comes in one of the biggest boxes I have seen for a 35th scale release. I guess it is housing 2 large kits, so logic would suggest that was always going to be the case, but I still got a shock when I pulled it out of the packaging.
 a box inside another box! Two kits in here for you in this boxing...
Rather than a sprue by sprue in-box review, I thought I’d get straight into the build on this one. As usual, I won’t be following the instruction sheet in the numeric order, so hopefully, my build makes sense and offers some value.

I do get a little wary of these full interior kits. Unless you plan to do a cut-away or some form of destroyed vehicle, displaying them well can be difficult. You can put hours and hours of work into something you will never see. I do try to find a middle ground with what I am doing on the interiors, but essentially, as long as it is painted and in place, I try not to get too bogged down in the weathering process. The hero is the exterior, not the interior. That said, it is important to understand what your intention is for displaying the model in its’ final destination and finish your model accordingly.

Let’s begin...

The build starts with the underside of the model and the driver and radio operators’ compartment. 
Next, I began construction on the gun assembly. The detail is a little soft but adequate. A touch of paint will bring this to life. 
 The two engines are now completed. If you were wanting to feature these parts then a little additional plumbing would be in order, but I resisted the temptation in favour of pressing on with the build. These parts still need some of those seams cleaned up. That must be the one Paul Lee helped me build :-)
The inside pieces of the armoured top section are now set in place. Racks, boxes and gas masks, as well as a couple of machine guns, adorn the walls of the interior.
The sidewalls and fuel tank sections are glued up and the cooling fan sub-assemblies are completed.
These fans were quite a mess and would require some attention if you were to feature them, but after studying the instructions I ascertained they wouldn’t be visible with the way I was posing the model, so I didn’t waste any time on filling and sanding.
Interior details for the driver and radio operator and prepared. Some of the seat pieces were broken in my kit, and as you can see, some of the detail looks a little chunky, but given the position of the pieces and the lack of potential visibility in the final build, I left them as they were.
Running gear and wheels are now assembled. Again, the detail just all feels a little soft compared to some of the other recent releases I have seen from other companies, but judgment should really be reserved until the part sees some paint. Sometimes the colour of the plastic has a bearing on the way it presents out of the box.
The suspension arms are now assembled. The kit is supplied with a basic spring system that is sandwiched between the plastic pieces. When attached to the hull the spring is tensioned and offers movement in the part. Quite a simple solution to workable suspension.
More internals – the generator and electric motors.
The kit comes with the majority of the horizontal surfaces as clear styrene. I can’t say I am a fan of this. I can’t imagine anyone actually leaving these pieces as clear sections, and I find the clear styrene a little difficult to work with.

Here the top hatches are all set in place. Although a little awkward, the hatches are workable.
Being a full interior kit, it is important to consider the order in which you should be painting the pieces. Using Neutral Grey from AK some of the internals are painted.
The engines are treated to a coat of Dunkelgrau – They dark colour instantly makes them look better. 
I was wanting to chip some of the internals in the hope that some of the detail may be caught through the hatches. The chipping colour is first sprayed using a mix of Rotbraun and Dunkelgrau from Real Colour – No primer required. The lacquer adheres to the plastic beautifully.  After about 15 minutes of dry time, the part received two layers of hairspray.
The gun section was also painted in the chipping colour, then hairspray and then the off-white top colour. By then setting the hairspray layer off with tap water and scrubbing with a brush our chips are formed.
The hull we painted earlier was also treated to the hairspray layer and then painted in the darker grey. The same chipping technique is employed. In reality, most of this detail will never see the light of day. I just can’t help myself on these interior kits… must resist the temptation to waste too much time here!
The pillbox section is now treated to the chipping process. Try to be logical with where your chips will be. Think about the traffic areas within the cabin and what pieces would have taken bumps in the day to day running of the vehicle.
By using a combination of brushes and items like a toothpick, some really realistic chipping can be achieved. The Lacquer paints chip a little differently to some of the other paints I have used. They are a little more difficult to chip, but they present really nicely when they do.
With a few of the subassemblies pre-painted,  the Driver and Radio Operators quarters are now assembled.
The engines receive a light drybrush with Aluminium lacquer paint and a few of the details are brush painted using Vallejo acrylics. Again, these parts will not even be seen in the finished model, so I am mindful to not get caught up here.
Snug but tidy fit and the engines are set in place. 
The mid-section of the model requires some bending of photo-etch parts. I’m not sure what value the etch adds here, so I felt its’ inclusion was a little odd, but never the less the pieces looked sharp and sat in position as required. The forming of the part was reasonably simple, just take your time and test fit as you go.
The sidewalls and remaining internals of the model are glued in place. So far so good. I toyed with adding detail to the engines but needed to be sensible, so stopped that before I got too far.
The rear armour plate is now attached and a few other sections that see the exhaust pipes ferry through. The underside interior is now at a point where we will be saying goodbye to 50 % of it…
Some light enamel washes and detail painting, and the gun breech is just about ready to go. 
The spring arms and drive wheels are now attached. The way the spring tensions from the hull section is a little tricky. Twist the piece slowly and you will hear it click in place and feel the armload up. Just be careful which pieces you actually glue because you may unknowingly negate the movement in the arm.
Sections of the front armour and now applied. I was a little unsure if the positioning was correct due to quite a large gap being present. The whole front section felt a little bit like guesswork.  You can also notice the air-filters are installed. Their positioning was a little sloppy too, but it isn’t going to matter so much in the scheme of things.
The engine deck is attached again leaving quite a noticeable gap at the front section of the piece. This was filled with styrene sheet and putty. In reality, this whole section lifted off for maintenance, so I probably missed a bit of an opportunity to display some of the internals…but it seemed like a little more work than I was able to commit to, so with the interests of the build progressing I glued the section in place and would be content with the view I got through the maintenance hatch.
The gun mount and fighting compartment floor are now fitted to the model essentially covering everything underneath. It may have been nice if the hatch on the floor was a separate piece so it could be posed open. If you were really inspired there is nothing stopping you removing that yourself.
The ammunition is pre-painted and fitted off to the walls of the fighting compartment. The brass lacquer paint adds a nice contrast to the off-white walls.
When I first started the build, I was trying to consider how I would display the model with the lid lifted on the crane. I struggled to find any decent reference material as to how that may happen or what that might look like. I’ve seen the image of the top side stacked up on blocks but was unsure how the gun section would be dismantled, and which parts stayed and left. I also gave consideration to the fact that it would have been unlikely that the vehicle would have been dismantled with a full serving of ammunition strapped to the walls, and with no viable option to pose it sans-ammo, I gave up on the concept and took the safe road. (Call me chicken, I’m OK with that)

So, I attached the top and the bottom pieces together. The fit was pretty ordinary. It was hard to tell but I think the top piece had a slight warp to it and wouldn’t sit cleanly to the base piece. I manipulated the piece as best I could and resorted to superglue to get the thing to stick. The engine maintenance hatch piece wouldn’t fit in the space left for it either, so I used a piece of styrene sheet in its’ place. I was going to pose it open, but due to the minimal glimpse at the engines, and the lack of detail on the piece, I thought better of it.
The metal barrel is a very nice addition to the kit and is fixed in place. The fit is incredibly tight, and I would recommend the connection point be drilled out slightly prior to fitting the part to avoid breaking anything trying to fit it.
With the model primed, the gaps in the roof section became painfully obvious. They were filled with petty and a welded texture was pressed into it whilst drying using the nose of some fine tweezers.
Now, the tracks! I haven’t forgotten them. The kit comes with the option of the individual, working tracks or the old-fashioned rubber-bands.

First – the rubber bands. Ya.
The individual links are assembled with the aid of a jig. They went together surprisingly well and weren’t nearly as painful as I was expecting.

It was about at this point though I had made a rookie error and should have studied the instructions a little more closely… I’ll leave that with you readers to work out where I went wrong.

But after all that, I did have some white metal tracks in the stash I was holding on to for if I was ever to build a Ferdinand, so I decided I would be using those for the final build anyway.
The model is now primed in Tamiya Fine Surface Primer. 
And there she is. Ready for paint. 
I know it sounds like I hit a few hurdles through this build, and I probably did, but to be fair, overall the build has been really enjoyable. I couldn’t tell you of any kits with full interior kits that I have built that haven’t fought me a little bit along the way. The kit hits all the marks in terms of details, and for those of you looking to super-detail the interior, then this offers and really sound foundation to work from. As I mentioned previously, I had to make a conscious effort not to get too tied down on the interior and that will be a trap for some. I tried to offer some interest when peering through the hatches without going too far with it, but every modeller will be different.

It’s a funny thing looking at the model with a coat of primer over it. It starts to take shape and gives you that little kick of motivation to get some colour of it and bring it to life. Looking forward to getting some colour on this beast!

The link to the third and final part is at this link
Clayton Ockerby

Thank you to Amusing Hobby for sending this kit to Clayton to build for us - you can see more of Amusing Hobby's kits on their Website.
Thanks also to AK Interactive for sending the paints & weathering gear to Clayton to use so well on this model
See more of Clayton's amazing works on his modelling website "Workbench Hobbies" or his FB page