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Matchbox 1/76 Armour Nostalgia-Build-Fest
guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 11:53 PM UTC
Hi there,

when I was a kid my entrance into armor modelling was with those fine Matchbox 76th scale kits that came with a small diorama base and more often than not with some nice figures or accessories. I used to build quite a few back in the day before the "dark ages" (meaning the time as a teenager when girls and parties were WAY more interesting than modelling, which was meant for kids anyway, right!? ) set in and I returned to the hobby about some ten years later with the "grown up stuff" in 35th scale. But now there is family, job and other stuff, so bench time is rare and it is sometimes a struggle to stay informed and skilled. So I had my share of problems with newer products, weathering, chipping... well, you name it. That brought me back to the smaller scale once in a while, just to use some old cheap kits as testbeds for new products and techniques.

That again let me stumble over the current re-releases of those old Matchbox kits by Revell. I found it so super funny that they are still around. So I got myself a bunch of them and soon enough tried to get a hold on as many as possible (meaning right now easily available in stores).

So here is what I got so far:





The Challenger MBT is already on its way and I have my eyes on a few more on ebay. For now I have a start, meaning 9 of the 27 existing kits. That makes... magic of algorythms... a whole third of the bunch!

So I will start building them soon enough and I am intending to share all the builds here with you from start to finish. This will be a long-term project because on the one hand I will probably only build about two of them a year (as I mentioned above: bench time is rare and the projects are many); on the other hand I will also need to collect them bit by bit on the way to get all 27 of them eventually.

Anyway I would be happy if you followed me on the way and of course I want to hear your stories with those little guys as well. I will tell mine about each model myself starting soon with my very first armor kit ever, the Jagdpanther. Until then please add your comments, thoughts and ideas as you please.
guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 05:32 AM UTC
A few notes before we get started:

First of all I realized that Revell has changed the aquired skill level from 3 to 4 on their more recent releases... Since they haven't changed either their skill level system or the kits themselves it only leaves you at the conclusion that Revell assumes modellers to be more... what, stupid maybe ? Because I mean come on, what better way to start your modelling career than with those fun little kits, right? And Revell is as if "Nothing for you if you are not experienced" Well, and were to get the experience in the first place?

Anyway, another funny thing is the most recent label "new" on their boxes, which is implying an all new mold, actually. That is obviously not the case and the year it is released might be even making some sense (because the "new" actually indicates the release). Only if you see such a box in a few years the only thing left to think will be "Wow, used to be all-new in ***"... Needless to say that this is more than just a little misleading. But oh well, maybe I'm too much of a rivet counter here.

That said there are only a few last things before the actual build starts. I will be building the kits basically out of the box. Not that there is any kit-specific aftermarket available anyway (which is a shame in case of the tracks). Here and there I will try to "enhance" them a bit to the best of my abilities. It probably goes without saying that these models are not so much for the rivet counters but more for the fun of building (having a Wespe displayed in North Africa says it all I guess ) I will also display them as intended with the accessories and/or figures coming with them on their genuinely provided diorama bases.

That was it I guess, the next post will be the start of assembling the Jagdpanther. Have fun and stay tuned!
petbat
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Queensland, Australia
Joined: August 06, 2005
KitMaker: 2,770 posts
Armorama: 2,596 posts
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 08:26 AM UTC
Looking forward to seeing the build fest Marian. Plenty of memories for me in these kits. They were some really great kits in their time and can be made better now with a little work.

I actually built the Matchbox M16 Halftrack and detailed it and its base a while back for a campaign here at Armorama. Added some scratch built stowage as well.




I too have planned on re-collecting and building my youth. I still have in the stash:
M3 Stuart
Monty's Caravan and Daimler
Jagdpanzer IV
M7 Priest
Sherman Firefly

… and a trackless Challenger. Got duped on that one...

3 in original Matchbox packaging being the ones made in England with the clear panel on the back of the box.


Have fun
Bigred69
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Armed Forces Europe, United States
Joined: December 27, 2015
KitMaker: 273 posts
Armorama: 233 posts
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 09:27 AM UTC
I have the M19 tank transporter in stock, one of my favorites! I'll be at a Hobby show this weekend near Munich, checking outm what they have for sell. If they have some 1/76 models, i'll pick some up. These where always a easy Build.
guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2020 - 02:26 AM UTC
Thanks for the replies guys. Peter, that M16 looks really, really nice, thanks for sharing here! I would be very happy if I were to make it anywhere near this look with my attempts. This kit also brings up memories, but that's a story for later...
Ronnie: Go for it! And yes, the M19 is a great one, I mean to get a beast like this as a model kit back in the day was just "wow". And look how long it took Merit to come out with its counterpart in 35th scale a few years ago


Alright, lets start with building them! As I mentioned earlier I will begin with the SdKfz.173 "Jagdpanther", which used to be the very first armor model I built. That must have been during the year 1993 oder 1994, when I was just slowly entering my teenager years. I had been building a few cars in 1:24 and the "HMS Victory" sailing ship before, so it wasn't my first model ever. The 76ers were still released under the Matchbox label with the original boxart but were already licensed to Revell.

Anyway, I saw them at my local hobby store and they were just about in the range of my allowance back then, even if I added some colors and tools to the bill. I found the built Jagdpanther picture especially cool in their catalogue so I went for it to give it a try. And what can I say: It just got me hooked Of course I brush painted the beast, glued it together strictly following the instructions and after a few days I was happy to have my very first armor model on display. I'm pretty sure that it still exists somewhere at my parents' house and next time I'm there I'll have a look and if I can find it take a picture to post it here.

Now, almost (but not quite) 30years later I started take two on this one.

First of all the current boxart again:




Unfortunately I forgot to take any sprue pictures before assembling it, I will do it for the next builds to come. First thing was assembling the base, which is pretty much straight forward as you can imagine. Some sanding away of parting lines and that was it. Maybe I'll get some filler in here and there still... we'll see.




Next came the lower hull parts (which are seperate parts: floor, sides and back panel), again, no problems with fit or the parts themselves. I added a bit of microfiller (Mr. Surfacer 500) here and there and will have to remove some nasty pin marks, but nothing unmanagable.






Next up will be the upper hull which requires a bit more work because of some details to add. More on that later, for now: Have fun and a wonderful day with a lot of bench time!
guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 01:27 AM UTC
And on we go with the Jagdpanther. I eventually decided to go the extra mile and add some detail that is easily managable:

- drilled out the barrel
- corrected the hull-MG port
- replaced the vision ports with some brass and Evergreen profiles
- drilled out the visor hole and added a small visor from Evergreen rod
- cut some PE-mesh to size for the grills on the backplate

Still to come is an antenna from 0,12mm spring-steel wire and the front mud guards, which will go on as soon as she's buttoned up. Again, it's nothing for the rivet counters but I'm quite happy how the selfmade updates turned out so far. Next up will be the lower hull with fitting the tracks and then closing the hull and prepare her for the paintshop. I would still have to add that I'm quite impressed (again) by the level of detail and crispness for such a small and ancient kit.

Now again some pictures of the progress as mentioned above:









firstcircle
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: November 19, 2008
KitMaker: 2,207 posts
Armorama: 1,970 posts
Posted: Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 02:43 AM UTC
Nice work with the extra detailing, and yes, these kits were crisply moulded for their time. I think the main shortcoming with this kit is the tracks, which are quite stiff and a bit flat in appearance. Having put in this good work so far, maybe worth sourcing some tracks from elsewhere?
guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 10:53 AM UTC
Matthew, thanks for your kind reply. You just mentioned one of the few real weak spots on this one, indeed: the tracks. The problem would be to find a proper replacement, since there is no aftermarket for these kits and 72th scale is unfortunately off, even if only slightly. I just checked and of course you wouldn't get it to fit on the sprockets... Replacing the sprockets isn't the real deal either, since then the whole wheel line-up is jammed... Does anyone have a suggestion? Otherwise I'll somehow give the kits tracks a chance to bend to my will and see how that turns out...
petbat
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Queensland, Australia
Joined: August 06, 2005
KitMaker: 2,770 posts
Armorama: 2,596 posts
Posted: Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 01:29 PM UTC
Nice extra detail. Little things like this go a long way. If I can make a suggestion? Score along the edge of the two hatches on the superstructure rear to make a shallow underscore. You will be surprised how that comes out after painting. You can do the same for the sledge hammer on the rear.

Are you going to add some wire handles and thin wire around the mesh?


The tracks on this and the Panther are not the best, but still way better than Airfix's Panther tracks....

My suggestion is side skirts and mud. The skirts can be made from Evergreen card stock easy enough and it hides the lack of sag. The mud will disguise the straight edge, flat face, solid guidehorn kit tracks:


A Panther showing what I mean


or maybe a mix of mud and some evergreen strip to raise the face profile:



Alternately, you can go 1/72nd scale. You can cheat and remove the kit drive sprocket teeth where the tracks sit and re attach them where the 1/72nd scale holes are.
18Bravo
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Colorado, United States
Joined: January 20, 2005
KitMaker: 6,756 posts
Armorama: 5,690 posts
Posted: Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 01:38 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Does anyone have a suggestion? Otherwise I'll somehow give the kits tracks a chance to bend to my will and see how that turns out...



Nice job so far. Ever cast anything? I'd suggest making a squash mold of the tracks, then cast them in resin.
They will conform nicely with a little heat from a blow dryer.

If that's not something that appeals to you, run brass rod through both sides of the hull to hold the track down where you want it. You can even achieve a nice curve to the tracks if you're careful.
petbat
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Queensland, Australia
Joined: August 06, 2005
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Posted: Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 05:34 PM UTC
The issue is the quality of the link profile Robert. Basically it is a rubber band with a slight raised section impersonating a track face - not really suitable for casting
guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2020 - 12:43 AM UTC
Thanks for the suggestions guys. Casting is - for mentioned reasons - not solving all the problems with these tracks. I could update them with some detail or go 72nd scale, but that would include a lot of work (and not the fun part of it but just fiddly repetitive stuff) with no guarantee for the end result. So I guess I'll go with the rest of your suggestions: trimming the kit tracks with some wire through the hull and mudding it up later. That keeps the fun in it and sounds promising, still.

I went ahead and dry fit them on and what can I say: doesn't look too bad:

(NOTE: On this picture everything is just dry fit and the wheels still need clean up, since they come straight cut from the sprue)






I will still have a look for a proper 72nd scale replacement and then I'll decide which route to follow.

@Peter: Yes, I will still add some handles and some more minor details here and there. For that I will have to check my references again. With that underscoring to you mean to scribe under the structures indicated on the following picture?




For now I just want to thank you all for watching and I'm off now to clean what feels like a zillion road wheels
18Bravo
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Colorado, United States
Joined: January 20, 2005
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Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2020 - 02:38 AM UTC
I didn't realize just how bad those tracks looked. Yes, casting them would not have helped. However, they do look far better being held down with the rod.
guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 08, 2020 - 09:43 PM UTC
A small update on the Jagdpanther build: I decided to bolt the model down to the base with a small screw (size M2), which has several advantages:

- The whole chassis including the tracks conforms much better to the ground (see pictures below)

- I have something to grab on to and hold the model during painting.

- It makes moving the whole setup much easier once it's done since the Jagdpanther is not prone to fall off then.

I will have to disguise the screw later, though. But I think it is actually worth it. But see and decide for yourself:









After that I put the lower and upper hulls together and wanted to add some mudguards. I realized only then that if I want to do it halfway right I would also need to add the small fenders to the sides of the vehicle... I slept a night over it to decide if it is really worth the effort and finally decided to give it a go. I dug out my 0,2mm plastic sheet and cut some small stripes to put on. I will show some more pictures of it once it's completely done, but here you can see how the left side worked out... not too bad in my opinion, but not perfect (in the sense of the word) either I would have to admit. Anyway, I'll leave it and can now go on to adding those mudguards:

guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 08, 2020 - 10:15 PM UTC
Now I asked myself the question on what version this old Matchbox kit might depict... Is it a late G1? Or an early G2? Or a mix up? Or based on fantasy? Because it so clearly shows outfits from both G1 and G2 versions (exhaust mufflers, crew heater, tool placement etc.) that I am a bit confused. And I would have to admit that I am not a real Jagdpanther crack... So any help on this is highly aprreciated.

That might lead to my next question: Did these (whatever the Matchbox kit is) have steel wheels or with that rubber rim? This info will definitely come in handy when painting it... so again: Thank you guys for any light you can shed on this issue for me!
tatbaqui
Staff MemberNews Writer
ARMORAMA
#040
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Metro Manila, Philippines
Joined: May 06, 2007
KitMaker: 2,700 posts
Armorama: 2,438 posts
Posted: Monday, March 09, 2020 - 10:40 AM UTC
Great project you have here -- am very much impressed with the level of detail you're putting in. Built the same Jagdpanther as well for a campaign years back and used paper clip wire for the track sag. Curious about the PE screens -- which brand? Will it work for 1/72 as well?
18Bravo
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Colorado, United States
Joined: January 20, 2005
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Posted: Monday, March 09, 2020 - 12:12 PM UTC

Quoted Text

A small update on the Jagdpanther build: I decided to bolt the model down to the base with a small screw (size M2)...



Shep Paine's legacy lives on!
guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Monday, March 09, 2020 - 07:54 PM UTC

Quoted Text

[...] Shep Paine's legacy lives on!



That's right, I didn't even notice at the moment but now that you mentioned it I remember my old diorama how-to book from Shep Paine suggesting exactly that... So it might have been stuck in my subconscious somehow until the day it came in handy



Quoted Text

[...] Curious about the PE screens -- which brand? Will it work for 1/72 as well?



Thanks for your comment, the PE screens are just some generic brass square mesh cut to size. Something like that:

https://www.modellbau-koenig.de/Fahrzeuge/Militaer-1-35/Zuruestteile/Aetz-Metallteile/sonstige/Fine-Square-Mesh


You can get it in different sizes, I used a 0,3mm one for the covers (see picture above). You can easily use it for any scale you want as long as you are satisfied with the looks of it.
tatbaqui
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ARMORAMA
#040
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Metro Manila, Philippines
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Posted: Monday, March 09, 2020 - 10:02 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Thanks for your comment, the PE screens are just some generic brass square mesh cut to size. Something like that:

https://www.modellbau-koenig.de/Fahrzeuge/Militaer-1-35/Zuruestteile/Aetz-Metallteile/sonstige/Fine-Square-Mesh


You can get it in different sizes, I used a 0,3mm one for the covers (see picture above). You can easily use it for any scale you want as long as you are satisfied with the looks of it.



Royal Model -- got it, thanks!
guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 01:53 AM UTC
And here we go. After adding the side fenders I went on to finally get those mudguards done. For that I used some 0,1mm brass sheet, again cut to size and embossing (is that the right word here?) the lines with the help of a steel ruler and a ball pen. They are looking okay in my opinion, but are not 100% even... Anyway, when painted we won't see it anymore, so I call this one done and ready for the paintshop. Oh yeah, just to complete the whole sequence: I added and replaced a few grab handles and some small stuff on the engine deck still... nothing crazy, just to wrap up the whole thing. I know, I could have done even more like detailling the tool holders adding a tow cable and such stuff but I wanted it to be fun still, and here is where I decided that I finally wanted to see some color on this beast.








And so I got my airbrush out, gave my MIG ONE SHOT grey primer a good shake, set my compressor at about 20psi, and went for it... MIGs ONE SHOT is basically a relabeled Stynylrez as far as I understand it and this is the best way for us to get this nice primer for us Europeans. I like it very much, since it sprays nicely right out of the bottle, you can sand it, it drys super-smooth and is super-forgiving. Even an airbrush-noob like me can't screw it up with this one! And that goes a long way, believe me...

After that I realized some minor flaws in the finish and did some touch ups like on the hull MG-port which will get some cleaning still... So much for that, next one is the "real color", but not by AK (yes, pun intended ) but by Mission Models. I will go for a rather "classic" three-tone camo, but we'll see how that turns out in the next news. So far, have fun and enjoy the day!

18Bravo
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Colorado, United States
Joined: January 20, 2005
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Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 08:22 AM UTC
Jar nicht schlecht, ee.
petbat
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Queensland, Australia
Joined: August 06, 2005
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Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 07:16 PM UTC
Looking great Marian. The extra work is sensational. Yes by undercut, I mean scribing the edge of the part where it meets the hull, just to define it is a separate part in real life.

As to seeing the screw, well some styrene 'bricks' from the pushed over wall, all piled up underneath will fix that.

Yes, the kit is a mish mash and a lot is not accurate, but it is closer to a G2 overall. If you want accurate, it depends on how insane you want to get …. Miag or MNH built? What month build? What Unit for mods?

Generally, the Rear engine deck has fuel and water filler caps the same size and in line with the rear which is just wrong. The one on the left as you face the rear of the vehicle from behind it, should be offset further forward for a G2, and the G1 has two different sized covers.
The exhaust is early layout of single pipes. It lacks the breather tubes of later ones. The vehicles with Flammvernichter had the different armoured exhaust covers with the flat face.
The kit appears to have the late bolted gun cradle mount or possibly the interim one where the lower 4 bolts were in smaller depressions.
The kit has the towing pintle (of a sort!) on the engine access cover on the rear.
The sledge is not in a standard position and I have nothing suggesting this was not added by Matchbox to fill space...

At this stage, I suggest just build it as is, and enjoy it for what it is meant to be...
guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Friday, March 13, 2020 - 07:35 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Jar nicht schlecht, ee.



:D Thanks man, I appreciate that!


Quoted Text

[...] At this stage, I suggest just build it as is, and enjoy it for what it is meant to be...



Got you! I always wanted to keep it fun, so we definitely agree here

Thanks for all the info anyway, that gave me a good insight on a shoe string and now I can go on building with a good conscience, since I now know I can afford some "artistic freedom" on this one.

Color is on, pictures will follow within the next days...
guni-kid
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: July 21, 2007
KitMaker: 458 posts
Armorama: 453 posts
Posted: Monday, March 16, 2020 - 02:49 AM UTC
And so, after a short delay because of those crazy times of now, I can present the Jagdpanther with its color on. I used MissionModels lit up a little with some white. It was my first time spraying camouflage free hand (used to mask everything before this one). I am quite satisfied with the color itself, the spraying might need some more training and expierence, but overall I am happy with the outcome.






After that came some touch-ups, all the wheels and some brownish-tan filter.




Now it's on to some subtle chipping and scratches, detail painting and decals. Washes and some highlighting will follow and then I'll turn over to the base, since all the mud and dust will have to be matching the groundwork.

Have a nice day and stay tuned!