Work in Progress

Esci 1/72 Sd.Kfz. 184 Jagdpanzer Elefant

Posted by huib on 11 Oct 2017, 20:13

Esci 1/72 German Tank Elefant

This kit dates originally from 1975 and is also for Esci an early tank model. My boxing was issued in 1978, and I recently purchased it second hand.

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I always like the boxarts from the older Esci kits. It's a complete painting with scenery and all. And not so dramatic as the old Airfix and Matchbox boxes were the tanks are always blazing from all barrels at the same time. The scenery clearly depicts a Russian scene, and there immediately is a small problem. So far into Russia you would expect the earlier Ferdinand version from 1943. And indeed this vehicle with number 501 is a well known Ferdinand that was deserted at Kursk and was well photographed by the Russians:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/6d/58/3a/6d583a3326489a7c1828dfe29351d3cf.jpg

So what's the difference between a Ferdinand and an Elefant?
The Ferdinand was designed as a very heavy tank destroyer on the chassis of the Porsche design for the Tiger I. Only 90 were built. Operational first during the battle of Kursk it proved excellent in destroying Russian tanks at long distance. But due to mechanical unreliability and extreme weight it had a disastrous mobility. Moreover the crew was'nt able to protect themselves against infantry anti-tank teams. Half of the Ferdinands were lost during the battle due to these problems. So after the battle of Kursk the vehicles left over were upgraded with a bow machine gun, a commanders cupola with all round vision and zimmerit anti magnetic mine coating. You can clearly see the innovations on this picture:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4273/34081906653_c84814aea4_z.jpg

The upgraded vehicle was later called Elefant, more in accordance with German nomenclatura. The Elefants were used on the Eastern front and in Italy to fight off the landing at Anzio.

What's in the Esci box?
The Esci box is containing no Ferdinand, but basically an Elefant as the model has a bow machine gun and a commanders copula. But the Zimmerit is missing. That makes it relatively easy to backdate the kit to a Ferdinand. But that's not what I am going to do now.

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In the box are two sprues of dark green plastic and silver coloured plastic tracks. Interesting is that there are some parts for the interior included like radios, ammunition and a gun breech. But its incomplete and nothing can be seen of it. Exterior detail is quite well done with rough armour plate and welding lines.

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And a decal sheet for four different versions. As an Elefant it can't be the 501, so I'll see what to make of it.

And now, let's build!
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huib  Netherlands
 
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Posted by Wiking on 12 Oct 2017, 04:15

Nice short report and pictures. :thumbup:

This Esci tank is one of my earlier builds. The difference to my kit are the L&L tracks.
(The provided figure is ugly.)

Take the glue huib!
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Wiking  Germany
 
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Posted by Susofrick on 12 Oct 2017, 07:43

Always liked the ESCI boxes. Never bought many, but I drooled over the pictures in the catalogue. Can only agree with Wiking, the figure is very ugly! Almost like me in the evening!
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Susofrick  Sweden
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Posted by huib on 12 Oct 2017, 08:39

Lower hull

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I started with constructing the lower hull. With some scratching and a tiger turret from another kit, it should not be difficult to convert this Elefant into a Porsche Tiger prototype. That would also be a nice project.

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Some sink holes and ejector pin marks had to be cleaned up.

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The lower hull constructed. Straigth out of the box so far. But from now on I am also going to make some changes to the kit. That's always the nicest part.
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huib  Netherlands
 
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Posted by Beano Boy on 12 Oct 2017, 09:40

A good looking project indeed.
I like the box art too.
Thanks for the photograph links! BB
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Beano Boy  England
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Posted by Wiking on 12 Oct 2017, 19:06

Wow! Strait forward modelling!
Huib is on a building mission.
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Wiking  Germany
 
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Posted by huib on 13 Oct 2017, 16:37

Thank you, BB and Wiking!

Opening up the hatches

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All the hatches are moulded closed in this kit, except for the loaders hatch. Also the commanders cupola is a shapeless thing. In reality it should house seven periscopes. So some work can be done here to liven things up.

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So, I opened up some holes: the aperture for loading ammunition in the back of the hull, the drivers and radiomans hatches in the front, and removed the complete commanders cupola.

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Glued the gun cradle and breach in place. The kit contains much more detail for the breach, but as nothing can be seen of it, these parts are for the sparebox.

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Upper hull glued in place. Now it starts looking like an Elefant

And now its time for a serious challenge: applying Zimmerit anti magnetic mine coating......
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huib  Netherlands
 
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Posted by huib on 16 Oct 2017, 09:27

Zimmerit

All 41 Ferdinands that were refurbished during the winter of 43/44 and were upgraded into Elefants received a coating of Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste on the lower hull. So every Elefant has this Zimmerit. The Zimmirit is not present on the Esci kit. That is because the kit is based on the only remaining Elefant in the collection of the US Ordnance Museum. With this vehicle the Zimmerit was removed after the war.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4275/34049838394_00fe1427d7_c.jpg
This pic shows what the Zimmerit looks like: the ribbed structure on the surface of the armour plates.

So, I have to make some Zimmerit. I tried to do that before using filler. Now I try another method, using my soldiering iron.

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My soldering iron has a pointed iron (above). That's not much suited for making Zimmerit, so from a big nail I filed a new iron in the form of a wedge. (below)

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All the surfaces that need to get a Zimmerit coating were bordered with modelling tape. After that I melted the Zimmerit pattern in the plastic with the hot soldiering iron. It's quite tricky as the hot soldiering iron moves through the plastic like a knife in soft butter.

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Side view

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Backside

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Front

For a first attempt I am not unhappy. The Zimmmerit effect however is much to coarse for this scale. But I'll try with some sanding and painting to tone the effect a bit down. With a next model I'll try to use a smaller iron in an attempt to get a bit more subtle effect.

And now some details to add....
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huib  Netherlands
 
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Posted by C M Dodson on 16 Oct 2017, 11:19

Very nice build Mr H. I gave never tried it on plastic but decorators caulk might work as Zimmeritt. It could save your fingers!

Best wishes, Chris
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Posted by huib on 17 Oct 2017, 08:14

Thanks, Chris!

Details

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After sculpting he Zimmerit I continued with adding lots of details to the Elefant: a commanders cupola, gunners periscope, lifting hooks, hatches for the driver and radioman, spare tracks, etc.

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And on the back of the vehicle: hooks and handrails, a small hatch for loading ammunition, a sledgehammer and some other details.

And now it's time to start some painting.
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huib  Netherlands
 
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Posted by Wiking on 17 Oct 2017, 15:50

You add ivory to an elephant!
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Wiking  Germany
 
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Posted by huib on 18 Oct 2017, 09:46

Thanks Wiking!

Painting

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Like all German military vehicles from 1943 on, the base color is dark yellow, for which I used Humbrol 94. Because of the very dark green colour of the plastic it needed four layers for full opacity

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After that I applied a camouflage pattern with olive green (Humbrol86). It is inspired on a vehicle of the Schwere Panzerjäger Abteilung 653, that used Elefants in 1944 on the Italian front.

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To decrease the contrast between the green and the yellow I applied a filter of diluted yellow ochre oilpaint. But this made the whole model more yellow than I was happy with.

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Therefore I applied a second filter of white oilpaint, mixed with a bit of yellow ochre. Much better. This creates a sunbleeched and dusty look appropriate to the Italian front.

And now for a few decals....
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huib  Netherlands
 
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Posted by huib on 19 Oct 2017, 10:26

Decals

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Left you see the decal sheet that is part of the kit. But those crosses and numbers are way to large! In the middle you see for comparison the decal sheet of the rebox of the same kit by Italeri, were the crosses and numbers have the correct size. So I will use some numbers from the Italeri sheet, and some German crosses from the sparebox (right).

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The decals in place. Only two numbers and two crosses. Number 102 means the second vehicle of the staff of the first company (of the Schwere Panzerjägerabteiliung 653).
I used a lot of Microsol to snuggle the German crosses into the Zimmerit.

And now for some weathering.....
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huib  Netherlands
 
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Posted by huib on 20 Oct 2017, 10:44

Weathering

After the decals were sealed with a gloss varnish, I continued with weathering.

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I did a wash with black oil paint in the engine grilles, and a wash of dark brow oil paint on the rest of the vehicle. On purpose I didn't apply a dark wash on the Zimmerit, to make the Zimmerit optically more flat.

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After some chipping and drybrushing this is the result. Only I am not happy yet with the wash in the engine grilles. The effect is too minimal now.

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Here an extra black wash using gouache paint was applied on the grilles. And I simulated some more chipping and worn off paint by using a very soft pencil on the edges of the vehicle. The model was finished with a matte varnish.

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Some dried mud and dust at the undersides and around the suspension and mudguards.

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Some details painted on the backside. For a change I painted the inside of the loading hatch in primer red. But that is my own imagination and not based on evidence.

And now for another big job: the wheels!
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huib  Netherlands
 
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Posted by Kekso on 22 Oct 2017, 10:43

Nice wip... I hope some of members will learn new techniques from it.
Not me... I'm too lazy :xd:
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Kekso  Croatia

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Posted by huib on 22 Oct 2017, 20:35

Wheels

What is it with German tanks? They always seem to have more wheels than other tanks!


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I started painting the wheels on the sprue, so I have something to hold them.

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Continuing with weathering: a dark brown oil paint wash, a drybrush, and some mud in different colours

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4226/34852637566_50ca07e533_b.jpg
If you look at the road wheels of an Elefant (a Ferdinand on this picture) you can see that each wheel consists of two narrow wheels

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But if you look at the kit wheels, they appear to be solid (left). And because something can be seen of it later, it is worthwhile to spend some effort on it. So I made a cut around each wheel with a razor saw, and widened the cut with a small file (right).
And that twelve times. A bit of an effort, but with result :sweatdrop:

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What is also asking some attention is that you have two types of road wheels: those with a long axle stub (above), and those with a short axle stub (below). To make it more logic they are arranged as follows from front to back: long, short, long, short, short, long. Must be some kind of secret German enigma code.

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And the drive sprockets, glued together and weathered. For strength I gave them all an axle of 1,2mm iron wire.

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All wheels glued in place, in the right order. (Do you remember: long, short, long, short, short, long)

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Ready for tracks!
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huib  Netherlands
 
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Posted by Wiking on 22 Oct 2017, 21:49

It was a good to choose the smaller dragon water slide decals.
Nice done to "cut" the wheels for look like two .
And your work with the iron for the driving wheels is well thought-out. To fight both stiff rubber snake (according to rumors this should be the tracks) around the driving wheels.

Hardest fact for me right now is that Stenfalk`s and your elephant look so different in shape and color.
But I will find the missing link. :mrgreen:
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Wiking  Germany
 
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Posted by huib on 23 Oct 2017, 15:29

Thanks, Wiking!

Wiking wrote:Hardest fact for me right now is that Stenfalk`s and your elephant look so different in shape and color.

Don´t worry. I know why. Stenfalk clearly explained to me that he did not put a lot of effort in the painting. That explains the difference. But maybe I should also check the instructions again, if I put the trunk in the right place.
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huib  Netherlands
 
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Posted by huib on 23 Oct 2017, 15:40

Tracks

These silvercoloured plastic tracks always have some surprises.

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I painted and drybrushed them with a variation of colours, simulating rust, mud, dust and steel.

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Close-up.

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The connection system of the tracks is very feeble: only one plastic pin and one hole for each track.Therefore I also sewed the tracks together with needle and thread. But the connection between the track ends doesn´t look very good. We´ll see how that works out.

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Tracks in place..... :eh: what the hell! :shock: :shock:
They´re too long! Even a 70 ton Elefant is hovering above the ground like a flying saucer on these tracks!

How to solve this?
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huib  Netherlands
 
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Posted by Bramble15 on 23 Oct 2017, 17:30

Tracks too long? I had a similar problem with a dragon kit. I eyeball measured "at what link I needed to cut". Then I went two longer. Glued one end securely to the drive sprocket then stretched and completed the trimming and glue.
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Bramble15  United States of America
 
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