1/35 Nashorn 8.8cm Pak43/1 auf Geshtzwagen III/IV (Sd.Kfz.164). Tamiya kit.

In action somewhere on the eastern front during the winter of 1944.

This was a great kit by Tamiya and one I had my eye on ever since it was released a few years back. It has lots of possibilities for a diorama and I chose a winter scene to match the winter white camouflage depicted on the box art.

Starting work on the hull which had lots of fine rivet detail.

The Nashorn (‘Rhinoceros’) is equipped with 8.8cm Pak 43, a gun based on the successful anti-aircraft weapon and an awesome weapon it is too! For the chassis, it was decided to use the Panzer III/IV as time was short and a vehicle was needed urgently to counter the overpowering Soviet T-34 tank.

In October 1942, Hitler ordered the production of 100 examples by May 1943, in time to join the summer offensive at Kursk. In total, 439 Nashorns were built, ending in March 1945.

I painted the wheels and bottom of the hull before proceeding with the tracks. I left off the drive sprocket until attaching the tracks, which came as lengths of single piece rubber.
The gun mechanism was quite complicated with lots of fine details. I managed to break one half of a traversing wheel shown here by the gunner’s seat but was able to repair it with a scratch build!
I quickly airbrushed the usual deep yellow/red-brown/green camouflage knowing that most would be hidden by the winter whitewash. The unpainted tracks are visible behind the model.
The Nashorn had a five man crew. The driver would have sat in front of the gun compartment. The figures really make the model come alive and are wonderfully animated. The winter white battle fatigues were reversible with a standard coloured pattern on the inside. The gunner is looking through his gun sight while the commander observes with binoculars. Note the periscope behind the gunner. I painted the shells with a mixture of gold and brass. The discarded spent shells needed the tops hollowing out but easy enough with a pin vise.
Weathering the model was a lot of fun using various powders, pigments, washes and even oils. The external figures and dog came from the Tamiya briefing set. The German shepherd is a nice touch. Dogs were used for scouting and warning of the enemy at the front, just as they are today in the Ukraine conflict in the Donbass! Note the slight sag on the tracks to make them look more realistic. Achieved with a touch of the indispensable superglue!
Note the soldier carrying a Panzerfaust, a type of early RPG, which dates the scene late in the war.
Mmm Meine Uhr funktioniert nicht mehr-billiger Sowjetschrott! ‘Mty watch has stopped-cheap Soviet rubbish’!
‘Those fascists are in for a shock!’ A Soviet soldier is creeping up to lob a grenade. Actually he is a Soviet mountain soldier from the Zvezda set but the only one I could find in a suitable pose!
Beautiful box art. As with most Tamiya kits, you get a beautifully engineered, flaw free fitting, quality plastic model.

According to Tamiya:

‘The Nashorn quickly proved its value in live combat, causing havoc among Russian tanks in its maiden deployment, as part of the 560th which provided cover for the flanks of the 4th Panzer Army in the 1943 German assault on Kursk. It is also said that in action with the 525th in the Battle of Monte Cassino, January 1944, a Nashorn destroyed an M4 Sherman from a range of 2,800 metres’ (!).

From December 1943 to March 1944, Commander of the 1st Platoon of the 1st Company, Lt. Albert Ernst, destroyed some 65 enemy tanks in the Vitebesk area of Belarus for which he was awarded the Knight’s Cross.

Overall, the Nashorn was a very effective weapon and if it had been introduced into mass production earlier in the war it might have had a decisive effect.

A day at Bovington Tank Museum and model show, September 2021.

A fraction of the models on display at the show. The standard was amazing and puts some of my dioramas to shame! Never mind, it was an inspiring experience and great tonic to be among the modelling fraternity.
To enter the museum, you first had to get past the Daleks on guard
Great LRDG Chevrolet and diorama
Sherman Firefly-the real one not a model! One of the many tanks on my to do wish list.
This is my good friend and companion Richard at the show who is also now a keen modeller. Not sure if he is texting his mistress or trying to find out how Exeter City are doing.
Wide variety of FWW models. Nice to see an often neglected area of modelling.
I was very impressed by some of the smaller scale models such as these 1/72. I started out modelling in 1/72 and seeing the amazing detail of these am tempted to go back to it!
Yours truly with a French Renault FT-17 which stars in my gas attack diorama!
Another favourite the French Somua from WW2
No visit to the museum is complete without seeing the Tiger
And the beautiful Panther also has to get a look in
To balance things up, I had to include a Soviet T-34, although this is a captured trophy tank or what the Germans called a ‘Beutepanzer’, at least that’s how it’s been depicted. The Germans used captured Soviet tanks and other AFVs to augment their own forces on the eastern front and to gain insight into Soviet technical skills.
Showing the crude welding around the hatches-useful for when I get round to building a model of one!
There was a gantry so I had a chance to take a rare view of the top of the tank
The wide tracks necessary for travelling in snow and mud
And another view you don’t often see, the rear, but very useful for modellers like me!
The tiny German Pzkpfw 1 light tank, hard to believe it was still in use at the start of WW2. However, experience of using this tank in the Spanish Civil War helped the Germans in the invasion of Poland, France and the Soviet Union. Later the chassis would be used for assault guns and tank destroyers (such as the Marder model I have displayed on this site).
Richard surveying some Allied armour models. The displays were very well done and there were also lots of stalls selling models. Modellers’ heaven!
Crossley Chevrolet armoured car which was used in India. A lot of the exhibits I had not seen before and I believe must have been recently acquired and restored.
Lanchester armoured car. I have a soft spot for old armoured cars.
This modeller had a passion for the Romanian Air Force and why not their aircraft are very colourful. I was particularly impressed by the big Trumpeter 1/32 scale Mig21 taking off
This was an amazing display. Believe it not, all these models are made from card from instructions freely downloaded off the internet!
As close as I will ever get to firing an RPG unless I join the Taliban!
Next to Apollo Saturn launcher. Branson and Bezos eat your hearts out!

A great day out and inevitably Richard and I ended up buying a few more model kits for our ever growing stashes! Thanks to Richard again for successfully and safely navigating us there and back.

Hawker Hurricane Mk.I Tropical. Airfix 1:48.

The ‘Hurrie’ ready for take off from Sidi Barani, Egypt, 1941.

The Hurricane was getting towards obsolescence by the start of WW2, but this tough, partly fabric covered aircraft played a crucial role in the early part of the war and went with the BEF to France in early 1940. We all remember the scene of them getting shot up at the start of the movie ‘Battle of Britain‘, shown elsewhere on my site.

Quite a bit of work went into the construction of this kit although most of it you can’t see as it’s inside the fuselage! Airfix have taken to adding a lot of interior details to their models of late, no bad thing in my opinion.

There were one or two oddities with this kit, one of which was having to cut out a sizeable piece of plastic under the nose.

I used my modelling saw to hack out the indicated piece
The removed piece. Why didn’t they just mould it that way!?
Some of the interior frames. There was an option to expose the breeches of the Browning machine guns, which is a nice touch, but having already done that on a previous Mk.I Hurricane, I elected to leave them covered. The paint scheme was going to be tricky enough!
Masking off the wings before spraying the aluminium leading edge
And underneath…
The Hurricane always looks like she means the business from head on. Overshadowed by the Supermarine Spitfire of course but still a lovely looking kite in my opinion and the vital work horse of the Battle of Britain. They were more numerous than the Spitfires, and being slower, were mainly tasked with attacking the Luftwaffe bombers.
Despite its fiddly nature, this scheme was irresistible. Flown by Sergeant Pilot F.H.Dean, No. 274 Squadron.
A fair bit of weathering-the trick is knowing when to stop!
I read this short memoir by Roald Dahl during lockdown, which partly inspired me to make this model. As I recall, he joined the RAF in Kenya and trained in a Tiger Moth, then progressed to a Gladiator in Iraq and finally flew combat missions in the Western Desert and Greece. He crashed in Libya and for a time lost his sight. After recovering, he was sent on the futile mission to Greece where he took part in dog fights. He was forced to give up the service from a black out he suffered during an aerial duel if I remember correctly, probably as a result of his crash in the desert. It’s a great story.
In Greece
Later sent to Palestine

Exeter WW2 bomb detonated

I live in Exeter and this is about the most exciting thing to happen here since World War 2!! It certainly put the city on the map from all the publicity. Who knows, maybe they will find some more!? It was thought to be an SC 1,000 (Sprengbombe Cylindrisch 1000) or 1,000kg ‘Hermann bomb’ and was found on a waste site near the University campus. Exeter was badly damaged during the so-called Baedeker raids in April-May 1942. I live about a mile or so from the site and the boom was very loud but luckily no damage done to the house! When my parents first came to Exeter in the early 1950s, the whole of the city centre was practically in ruins. There used to be a common saying here that what the Luftwaffe started the City Council finished off when it redeveloped the city in the post-war period!