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135
Elefant hunting

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Those of you who look at the Battle Damage campaign will already have seen this, but for everyone else here is my take on the "preserved" Elefant tank destroyer as it appeared at the Aberdeen Proving Ground collection in the tail end of the 20th century. I rushed this for the Tankmod show at Bovington's Tank Museum on 7 October, because of course this year (2017) they have the real thing on loan for a "Tiger family" display, and I couldn't resist having a model on our club's table.

I used the ancient Italeri kit because a) I had one in the stash, and b) it was based on a careful measurement of the broken-down heap at APG. Thus, its many flaws often reflect the actual state of preservation of the real thing! I replaced the tracks with a set of HobbyBoss indy-link plastic ones, and added a few minor details from Evergreen plastic (mostly welds), but by and large the kit was build OOTB.

Painting was based on that iconic "ghost grey" that APG used on many of its German exhibits - presumably to obscure the unpleasant nationality issue and focus the viewer on the vehicle as a development of war machinery in the abstract sense. I started with a base coat of Chaos Black spray from a Games Workshop rattle can, followed by a coat of red-brown Tamiya acrylic mix to simulate the red primer seen where the paint has worn away. (Images on the web taken over the years show an almost time-lapse effect as the grey paint wears off...) I then applied a very uneven thinned coat of Tamiya's Sky Grey. Dry-brushing with burnt umber, raw umber, light grey, and a little earth followed, until I had the desired effect. Oh, and there are several pin-washes of the umbers, as well as a bit of black, to pick out details and shadowy crevices. For those who don't like taking this odd care-worn approach, the folks at APG repainted the beast a few years back into a natty camo pattern...
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About the Author

About Tom Cromwell (barkingdigger)
FROM: ENGLAND - EAST ANGLIA, UNITED KINGDOM

A Yank living overseas on a long-term basis, I've been building tanks since the early '70s. I relish the challenges of older kits (remember when Tamiya was "new"?...) because I love to scratch-build.


Comments

Excellent job Tom & instantly recognisable. Please forgive this nit-pick but Italeri got the big pair of bolts at the lower edge of the upper back-plate wrong. On both sides they should be at the 1 oíclock and 7 oíclock position (i.e. the starboard side is correct, the port side wrong) in the same way as the pairs on the lower back-plate are correctly depicted. (All WW2 photos confirm, Iím assuming APG didnít mess with them at a later date) Also, Iím not sure if you meant you had measured the APG beast or that Italeri had done so. All I can say is that the shape and angles of their main superstructure/fighting compartment are distinctly different (basically squatter) to Dragonís relatively more recent version(s) Ė Iím not sure which is correct as Iíve never been near a 1:1 version alas, but Iíd tend go with the latter if Italeriís lack of observation regarding the bolts is anything to go by. Whatever hardly anyone would know, the main thing is you produced a totally convincing beauty
OCT 31, 2017 - 01:44 PM
I want one even more now Looks very good with that painting =) Is sure is a beauty
OCT 31, 2017 - 11:25 PM
Thanks Tim - I hadn't noticed the bolts. (I didn't do any measuring, and only saw the real thing a month ago...). But I know the DML kits are far superior and certainly a better starting point if the price is right. One thing in Italeri's favour is the area just in front of the casement, where the engine deck had hinged panels with domed covers. There should be four panels and three domes, but by the time the Italeri folks got to it the two right-hand panels were replaced by a sheet of metal, and only one dome remained. Anyone building it "in service" had to rework this area, but DML came to the rescue! Still, it was a bit of cheap fun.
NOV 01, 2017 - 09:01 AM
Nice variation on the subject. I might try as well just to avoid putting up Zimmerit. Thanks for sharing Tom.
NOV 01, 2017 - 10:35 AM
Enjoyed seeing it as it brought back memories from the summer of '74 (?) when we went and saw the beast in Aberdeen. Even back then I could only wonder why they'd leave such a collection in a field to rust...
NOV 02, 2017 - 01:19 AM
For me it brings back memories of Christmas 1976 or 77 when I was given this kit by my grandmother. The DIY shop up her road stocked Matchbox kits I could afford, and these big Italaeri (as it was then) kits that I couldn't... granny to the rescue. Still have it and it can still be pushed along the carpet with the wheels and tracks going round. Partially repainted it recently for an airbrush review. Tom, what is that strip to the right of the gun mantlet? I don't recall that, though maybe it fell of mine years ago. Also, of course, the repainting of the APG Elefant this represents was documented on "Tank Overhaul". I remember they painted the "wound" to the right of the gun in silver paint. It's great that you finally built it, I remember your review of it a few years back (50%... )
NOV 02, 2017 - 02:28 AM
Hi Matthew, that strip is a rain gutter that I added from plastic strip - it doesn't come in the kit. I remember doing my first Elefant way back when it was still "new", painting it rattle-can buff and then sticking on cotton balls to get a camo pattern when I oversprayed it in dark grey! Looked kinda like the recent repaint, but perhaps a bit less skilful... I'm sure it's the queen of some landfill these days.
NOV 02, 2017 - 05:15 AM
Very nice...this would make an interesting group build. APG vehicles lined up next to one another.
NOV 02, 2017 - 08:30 AM
Wonderful subject, quite creative!
NOV 02, 2017 - 10:06 AM
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