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The Warriors pith helmet was painted in a light green as they were delivered to North Afrika in both tan and green
A close up of the cab area
When Tamiya released their Famo I knew I had found my vehicle. References on the Famo have improved greatly with the release of the Tamiya Famo. Fortunately Nuts & Bolts released a marvellous manual on the Famo and its variants which includes a complete walk around in detail of Kevin Wheatcroft’s brilliantly restored 57 . The photo-etched fret is in some respects a duplication of the Aber parts. and I really feel sorry for those who tackled the DES Famo with its tricky instructions. sans trailer. I acquired Decalstar’s partially folded back canvas top in resin. The running rust is seen to good effect here. a folded down canvas covered windscreen and a canvas top. A close up of the stowage compartment and a slung Dragon gasmask canister. however the windscreen is much simpler to construct and also includes a nicely rendered set of ignition keys. in a modeling contest with an ABM spade and both of the Aber photo-etched sets. which is a different version to the ABM resin kit.Afrika Korps Famo By Rhodes A Williams After spending years building German vehicles for Western and Eastern Front dioramas. and the Royal Model details set. which includes some very nicely cast resin including a pair of useful fire-extinguishers. I decided it was due time to get cracking on an Afrika Korps themed AFV. Also note the excellent Aber chains across the crew compartment doors. Lastly. In addition to this I purchased the Tamiya spade. I won the Tamiya kit.
After all the wheels were roughened up. In the desert. Make sure to use unwaxed floss as the waxed variety tends to shed the wax on the plastic. I find it chews up the edges of the rubber roadwheels and gives tank hulls and turrets a nice cast appearance. Unfortunately. and Minimeca tubing for the control arms leading to the gearbox late variant Famo. even with the engine covers off. Save the Tamiya part as you will need to remove the grab handles and attach them underneath the openings in the Aber photo-etched panel. the engine access covers on either side were often left off to maximize air circulation. I went to work on the portions of the gearbox visible through the opened floor board. This disc was designed for cleaning and polishing metal surfaces and removing rust and corrosion. To my eye the Tamiya flooring was as good so I left it in place except for the access hatch to the gearbox. This would have to be cut away so as to reveal the intricate Aber I shall not bother you with a complete blow-by-blow of the construction as it has been done to death and by better modelers than I. I cut a hole into the Tamiya panel and then with a length of unwaxed dental floss cut cleanly around the I wished to beat up my Famo and a good place to begin was the beautifully rendered Tamiya roadwheels. human body hydrated. I went back over them with an Exacto blade to clean away the excess plastic. leaving a clean edge as you cut around the access hatch using the same sort of movement as you would when gripping a wire garrote. Leaving these off meant I had to detail the engine compartment and Aber gives plenty of Whilst inspecting the Aber photo-etched set I noted a good deal of gearbox details and other sub-carriage bits which once assembled would be utterly invisible. In some cases I decided to leave them off. However. but in the case of the gearbox housing. but in my case need not be as the hatch rests on the rear bench seat. I had the idea to add them to the kit and cut away the rear center Once the engine bay was completed. 58 . A very clean cut is difficult to achieve by scribing with an Exacto blade. keeping a motor cool is as vital as keeping the Construction then went ahead per the Tamiya instructions building up the kit in sub-assemblies of the frame and wheels. However. As well as the articulating air vents in the hood of the Famo. engine compartment. Note the Aber photo-etched dash and acetate instruments The engine detailed with Aber photo-etch. opportunity for that. Now this process may seem odd. photo-etch beneath it. but it works brilliantly. treadplate access panel as Aber thoughtfully included the tread patterned flooring.The completed and unpainted crew compartment. Firstly I placed a steel brush accessories disc into a Ryobi motor tool set at low. I shall highlight where I stepped off of the beaten path to add some bits and bobs. most of the really splendid wiring and plumbing is not visible. The Aber part is a perfect fit. Rubber rimmed roadwheels frequently got nicked and beaten up on tough terrain and caused an increasingly uncomfortable ride when not replaced. In this case. The Tamiya instruction booklet is adequate for construction out-of-the-box. panel. Once the panel was cut away I cleaned it up with the most minimal of sanding. various diameters of brass and lead wire. should you wish to execute any sort of super-detailing then the Nuts & Bolts book is a must. cargo bed and spade. crew compartment.
having said that. I did sand off all the grab rings and replace them with the Aber parts as the level of detail is far superior. So. especially nice touch. are a bit murky here. The cargo bed received a heavier selection of sand as it was prone to being loaded and off loaded with heavy equipment in the field. thoughtfully provided by Royal Model. The kit included tracks are quite lovely and when properly assembled remain workable. When painted they are just as good as those available from Fruil and Modelkasten. The hood and lift bed. I also elected to use the Royal Model Fire extinguishers as they are superior to the kit included extinguishers and as nicely detailed as the Aber parts with none of the work. hood. that any Famos utilized them. however in this instance the Tamiya part is suitably detailed. I also detailed both the inside and outside of the door for the bed and left it loose for painting. Still.the windscreen. Tamiya’s is far inferior to the photo-etched options. resupply was a real problem for the Afrika Korps. I assume. I have to date not seen photographic evidence of the spade in North Africa. toppling out. The cargo bed also went together without any headaches. These are better left off until all the painting is done as they will just get knocked off time and time again. Aber includes the option of replacing the kit locker doors with ones made of photo-etch. which eliminates also the ability to store the spare tyre in its rack underneath the bed. 59 . some of which were used to secure the crew from. the date of introduction of the spade to the Famo does not preclude them either. I added a few details to the trailer coupling. Aber includes a nice selection of chains. With the gearbox complete. so chances are slim. Unfortunately for me.These were installed per the Aber instructions. The spade went together without any problems and was set aside for painting later. Also note the spare tyre dumped unceremoniously when the spade is fitted. as I intended to use the spade. The Royal Model set includes the latch pins for unlocking the opening window on the driver’s side as well as all the detail on the swing arms. with minimal cleanup. unfortunately. each detailed Note the thoughtfully included resin spotlight. The Royal Model photo-etched windscreen. Of the two. Very nice. It fits a bit tight so some sanding is needed before painting and gluing in place. A job well done by Royal Model for including resin in their detail sets. Beginning work in earnest on the crew compartment soon ran into my first major Aber versus Royal Model dilemma . I kept the Famo in ten sub-assemblies for ease of painting: Frame with Maybach mounted. wheel wells and grill. This was topped off with an oft overlooked set of ignition keys. the rope clamp guide has to be relocated from the left rear frame to its centre. I utilized the Aber dash and acetate instrument dials. The Nuts & Bolts book on the Famo comes in very handy in these instances as there are few places on Kevin Wheatcroft’s restored Famo not photographed. which. However. Royal Model’s is far simpler to construct and the results just as appealing. tyres. The Decalstar tarp is cast in one piece resin and crisp overall. the diorama I am planning for this Famo necessitates the spade. with Aber photo-etch and kept The locking pins and wingnuts are an separate for painting.
As this is an “Afrika” Famo I departed from the usual as I wished to use a heavily chipped desert overspray. is an orange coloured liquid friskit designed for masking watercolours. The windscreen was handpainted as it is just too time consuming to mask off the keeping in mind enough of the base coat should show through at the edges of a panel creating depth to the model. Left to dry for a good 24 hours. The impact of the pastel wash is used to good effect here. lots of imperfections. A nice transition. Note how the exhaust manifold has discoloured from being subjected to continual heat 60 . and also resembles.153). thinning it with EcoHouse thinner at a ratio of 40% paint to 60% thinner. Grumbacher “Miskit”. Note how the interior of the engine bay remains in its original colours. A note here. I prefer this for several reasons. Firstly. spade. however if you are on a budget there are two alternatives. These work fine. acetate windscreen.Primed and assembled.28) and sprayed again within the previous grey zones for a stronger fading between the most washed out grey and the exposed undercoat. I prefer using the pre-shading method as I can achieve the type of panel fade I desire with much more control. After the Humbrol was set. cargo bed. The small components such as the windscreen were mounted on wooden blocks. I primed the entire model Sun bleached German RAL gray pre-shaded over mixing Humbrol colours until I got a brownish. and tracks.111) 30% paint to 70% thinner and began filling the panel lines. ever so slightly. The entire model including tracks gets this treatment until an even flat coat of dark primer covers all the exposed area. a mixture of grime and exposed primer. dash. This was blown through an Iwata Micron at a psi setting of 18. I used grey as so many vehicles were rushed to North Africa in their European livery and then hurriedly overpainted either at Bizerte or in the field. There are several types of mask on the market especially for military modelers.33) and 15% red (No. A bit on the thin side but I like to work in two thin coats rather then one thick glop. I mixed Humbrol Grey (No. I chose this color treatment as it creates a nice dark base for the lighter colours to come. crew compartment. To begin with I mixed Humbrol Brown (No. The Maybach motor from the left side. Note the instrument faces have been covered with masking tape windscreen. Always With the construction complete I moved along to painting. I was ready to apply the mask so integral to the chipping process. This grey was lightened with a bit of Humbrol Off-White (No. it is a horrid orange and hard to miss when it The engine bay filled with Aber photo-etch.160) 70% with 15% Humbrol black (No. The first. The wiring is various diameters of lead wire. Either way. the primer colour primer red colour. Crew compartment after application of the gray coat.
sun. urine.28 Off-White to the original mix and highlighted the centre of the just applied desert tan. Both are applied with a well worn paint brush.1 scale counterpart. This also works very well. one about ready for the bin with its bristles well split and frayed is best. This takes time. but for the purpose of this article I shall refer to it as Sandgelb. If you prefer you can use you bare finger.comes time to remove it. If not you might get a sticky mess. pay keen attention to not step outside the panel fade of the grey undercoat. The second economic route is to use regular office supply rubber-cement. the undercoat.103. Both Miskit and rubber cement dry quickly and you can begin spraying the next coat within a few minutes. cold. dunkelgelb and its derivatives came from varied stocks. I pulled on a surgical rubber glove. it comes off without much effort. Once it dried well enough. Again. I then touch them with desert tan later on. so I’d advise against it. duststorms. Whilst this coat set up. a bit of Humbrol No. so many extremes that the original colour at times faded entirely to reveal gloves is that it pulls up the mask quickly and cleanly. This color was all subject to the extremes of desert warfare: heat. Adjusting the pressure on my compressor to a psi setting of 8. The colour need not be exact. Secondly. Once all the mask is removed the undercoat of Dunklegrau and primer red will appear where the mask was pulled up leaving convincing chips and wear marks all over the vehicle—just like the 1.0 spotter brush. I began spraying a thin coat of Sandgelb over the mask. and the primer red underneath. For my Famo it needed to be extensively chipped and patches faded to reveal both the Dunklegrau (dark grey—RAL 7021). petrol. you name it. however it takes a good deal of rubbing to ball up the mask and the friction heats up the skin. but the results come quickly and look quite nice. If too thin it can be difficult to remove. I hand painted the windscreen and hand chipped the paint with an 18. the advantage of wearing rubber To create a suitable Sandgelb I mixed 60% Humbrol No. With a low psi on the compressor. I prefer to work around them as they are already painted with the undercoats. Dipping the brush into the liquid mask I then dab it here and there where I wish to have the undercoat remain visible. Apply it heavily.94 to which I added 30% Humbrol No. at varied times and were applied with water. This was heavily thinned 25% paint to 75% thinners. For wear marks I prefer to drybrush with darker colours rather than lighter.84 with 10% No. Setting the Famo aside overnight allowed the paint to cure. even very small areas on the spade can be faded. Some suggest that Sandgelb was exactly the same as Dunklegelb nach Muster (RAL 7028). after all what is exact with regards to German RAL colours? Desert tan. A few years back I mixed some flat black onto an 61 . but is much more difficult and time consuming to remove. In this case I have a home concocted flat black for these purposes. It is best not to rush into removing the mask until the paint has completely dried. Work around them and then if you wish hand paint them later on. I added Be aware of those fiddly photo-etch bits as they are ruined if you get liquid mask on them.
The kit part and Aber part did not interest me as much as the mirror assembly on Kevin Wheatcroft’s Famo seen in the Nuts & Bolts reference. These were not oversprayed with Sandgelb as this would have only been applied to the exterior. and I cannot recommend them enough for detail work as the quill is longer than standard and holds a lot of paint to a very fine tip. It is as flat as I’ve ever seen and I find I use it frequently for those jobs requiring the flattest of flat blacks.0 liner brush.A detail of the well worn drivers seat A Verlinden tool case was sourced from the parts bin and works perfectly here index card and delivered it to my local household paint shop with its computerized paint matching system.0 liner. All damaging to the enamel undercoats. These were applied with straight Burnt Sienna oil paint. painted. mentioned previously. and raised bolt detail. Mind you. Next I applied the rust spots. As opposed to a general wash. It should last a lifetime. the pin wash is a bit less thinned and applied with the 18. Before carrying on. which is incidentally a fine match for the base color of rifle stocks. The windscreen was attached and I constructed the side view mirror. I assembled all the principal sub-assemblies and put on the tracks. Gently running the brush over the damp oils they 62 . the oil paint will be pulled from the brush and run into the recessed lines and grab around bolt and other raised details. Time consuming but fun. the tyres and the track pads. this wash is touched into all crevices. I thinned out the Tamiya seat where I wished the stuffing to be exposed with an Exacto. The stuffing was painted with an acrylic color called Pigskin. I applied the streaks in thin fine lines wherever rust streaks would commonly appear. This type of wash is time consuming and best not rushed. This mix was drybrushed onto all the edges to bring out details of contrast and generally give the vehicle a grungy lived-inthe-field look. The oil should still be thick but manageable enough for that 18. Well mixed. of the wood grains were also painted at this time using Pigskin as a base followed by a wash of Burnt Sienna oils. I prefer this over Humbrol as it is not nearly as The crew compartment received the same worn treatment. engine bay and crew compartment. I mixed Raw Umber with a touch of Flat Black oils at a ratio of 20% oil paint to 80% Eco-Thinner. At this point I grained the steering wheel and added the red line to the instrument cluster with a Loew-Cornell 18. panel lines. These are available at finer art supply shops. The rip in the front of the driver’s seat is worth mentioning here. it takes a long time. Letting the oil set for about fifteen minutes I took a fresh brush and dipped it into Eco-thinner. Using capillary action. Perfect for modeling work. and then draped glue soaked Kleenex over the Tamiya part and folded back the torn material. I airbrushed the seats with progressively lighter shades of Burnt Sienna acrylic paint to simulate the constant use and exposure. There are several variations of the side view mirror mounted on the left ‘driver knows’. In this case I mixed a little Vallejo grey into it so as to have a shade a touch darker than then chipped Dunklegrau paint elsewhere on the Famo. All of these were already primed and panel faded using the Humbrol Grey. The engine and engine bay received a bit of Testors steel drybrushing to create the effect of casted iron and steel. Applied to the palette I thinned the oil 80% paint to 20% thinner.0 liner brush. The mirror itself was punched from a piece of doll house Mylar using a Waldron Punch. I also used this color for the rubber rims on the road wheels. This was mounted and hand With the appropriate amounts of chipping done I painted the engine. especially when you consider I painted around every bolt on each roadwheel. I constructed mine from a piece of brass Minemica tubing. They scanned the card and mixed me a gallon of interior latex paint in flat black. With the Famo assembled and well dry I began the pin washes.
Tunisia was quite wet in the The Sandgelb applied after the mask application rainy season so even desert vehicles showed the effects of rusting. at the coast and near wadis and The mask removed by rubbing surface with a surgical glove. With the rusting complete I prepared to apply the layers of sand that inevitably fill all the recesses everywhere on a vehicle in the desert. which adds a slippery texture to the mix. It is easy to put it on too heavy. This process was done by grinding up various shades of brown and An overall view of the cab and running gear rust coloured pastel chalks with a scrap of sandpaper. Once ground they are mixed in an old cat food tin and thinned down with Tamiya X-20A Thinner. A word here.dispersed down the length of the run. Once dry the tracks are as convincing as metal Fruil tracks. Most extinguishers were over painted in the base color. just not to the extent of a Famo which had served the winter on the Eastern Front. With the washes complete. but I like the fact that Tamiya’s contains glycerin. but sometimes artistic license takes over and I do like the idea of breaking up the rather monotone color scheme with a splash of red. Once dry they diffuse nicely giving the model a convincing rust streak. used and replaced. I subtly rusted out the tracks. Parts of Tunisia. I hand painted the fire extinguishers red and dulled them down with a wash of Raw Umber oils. Note the realistic chipping effect revealing both the German gray and primer coats underneath. Firstly I added more significant sand. I prefer Weber Costello brand “Alphacolour” earth tone pastels. Note how the Envirotex resin gives the instruments a very realistic glass appearance 63 . You could also use Windex windscreen cleaner. The chewed up rubber rimmed roadwheels and tracks. The Tunisian landscape is very much unlike the deep desert of the Sahara. so go easy and let each wash dry well in between. Now would they remain red? It is somewhat unlikely. Each bolt on each roadwheel was spot washed with oil paint using capillary action Note the subtle rusting and how the pastel chalk gets into all the right recesses with amazing realism A close up of the dash and instrument cluster. however they were on occasion. but as the thinning agent evaporates it leaves the pastels in all the recesses. The trick with thinned pastels is that they tend to apply quite clear. but that is up to the individual user. This was applied to the tracks with a wide soft brush and allowed to dry. small stones and dirt to the spade and cargo bed.
needs no more attention. I duplicated this by sifting out very fine garden dirt. particularly in the tracks. resin extra from Royal Model whilst the license plates are a brass item from Elephant models to which I added the Tamiya decals. Once the pastels dried I drybrushed them with flat black and highlighted them by adding some grey. Washed with thinned Raw Umber oils it was finally drybrushed with khaki. The remaining residue. it can be touched with thinner and some of the pastel soaked up with a soft cloth. as are the rifles. which are just brilliant (I wish they would release a separate set of these) and a few scrounged up resin Italian Jerrycans by Model Victoria. the flooring of the crew compartment. it was applied to all recesses with the 18. oases are verdant and the soil quite hardpacked with stones and other earthy rubbish. light yellow powder. whilst the pith helmets with goggles are by Warriors. This creates the illusion of sand in the treads without it remaining on the rest of the tyre. This was then airbrushed with various khaki to sand yellow shades.0 liner brush. Thoroughly mixed. The water bottles are The same cannot be said of the two front tyres. the soil in the bed and on the rear of the spade. To this I added a few larger stones and a pinch of sand from the beach in Naples. The ring within the radiator opening is from the photo-etch spares box. which are nice enough save for the fact they are actually British “War Department” knock-offs. Don’t worry if the thinner evaporates. Florida. Note the lovely Aber photo-etch gearbox access hatch. this is time consuming. These were painted and weathered in a similar fashion to the Famo. The windscreen was misted with the airbrush after I applied masks cut from masking tape and laid over the clean areas created by a pass of the wipers. This was mixed again in an old cat food tin with Tamiya X-20A Thinner at a ratio of 10% pastels to 90% thinner. If it dries too strong. Some last details included airbrushing the tarp and handpainting the leather straps and installing it. but rather fun too. the pastels can be reactivated with more thinner. I added this by first brushing on thinned white glue and sprinkling on the earth mixture. Save those extra photoetched bits and bobs—they come in handy! The Notek light is a Once dry I ground up appropriate pastel sticks until I had a sandy. until I had a nice pile of very fine soil. These were all seated with Microsol to minimize silvering. The spare. tyres. Decals included the kit supplied water slides and two Afrika Korps palms from the old Tamiya BMW w/ sidecar sets. Dragon cans. relocated to from Dragon’s “Deutsche Afrika Korps” set and include a nice set of decals. The Schmeisser is a Dragon weapon and the most superior available. 64 . the bed. is heavily saturated with dust as it sat exposed and unused. The chain is from Aber. and washed with a thick flat brush over the tracks. This mix was applied throughout the engine. Again.Tamiya spade is an easy build. Note the vast amount of chipping using the masking method The rear crew bench seat. The Jerrycans are sourced from Italeri. It is important to remember not to overdo the application. I also wished to have a member of the maintenance crew refilling the radiator with a jerry can so I left the top off and added an inner plug from the scrap box. As the thinner evaporates the pastels become very strong in color. The upturned helmet with liner is from Jaguar.
Six months all told. Again practice and lots of patience it required. however. Add the spade and it makes for a very challenging long term project. I used it on the rear convoy lamp. straight from the box. I plan to almost use them exclusively. to the nature of the assembly. Detail work on the figures such as webbing and boots were done with both Humbrol enamels and Vallejo acrylics. The battered German helmets are from the spares box and I believe of Tamiya origin. Painting lighter colours with enamels is difficult as the washes of oils have to be thinned so much the pigment separates. The Lieutenant standing with an arm against the windscreen is from the very old Verlinden “Afrika Korps Tankers” set. splendidly etched to create a woven effect The weathering process is shown to good effect on the hood The sling is constructed from Tech Star “Lead Foil” with some buckles courtesy of Verlinden. wonderful aftermarket bits and bobs. I started mine in May of 2001 and completed it in November the same year. I clipped off the side-peaked cap and gave him the dreaded pith helmet with goggles. and a bandanna head from Warriors. For the first time I painted them almost entirely in oils. He received a couple of new arms from the parts bin. You’ll need a good eight hours for the resin to harden. the lights will dry convex and are as convincing as anything MV Lenses produces. The national emblems were hand painted. but with one large price tag. typical efficient Tamiya assembly and instructions. The corporal with the cigar is also an older Verlinden release. The figurines are a mixed bag of currently available Afrika Korps blokes. With this in hand I went to work and was so pleased with the superior blending abilities. If applied with the Famo upside down.The Aber radiator fan mesh. The fellow in the jumper and shorts is from the Dragon “Deutsche Afrika Korps” set with a repositioned arm. It does give the modeler a good value. 65 . Brilliant detail. Lastly I mixed equal parts of Envirotex Resin. the numbers sometimes seen on them also hand painted.com/hmforum/homepage/) any WWII color can be achieved. The beautifully rendered MG-34 is from Collectors Brass and only a bit superior to the Dragon equivalent. the inclusion of linkto-link tracks and a nice selection of accessories. the glass lenses of the figurines’ goggles and glasses and the two auxiliary lights on either side of the cab. the instrument clusters. instead of just the fleshtones: and good fun it was. The gasmask tins are from a recent Dragon set. If well mixed it can then be applied anywhere you wish to simulate glass. Make sure the parts are completely even or the resin will remain tacky for ages. I found by mixing colours courtesy of a color chart from Historical Modelers Forum (http://hmforum. resin hand from the parts bin. This was the most enjoyable project I’ve done so far with all the new processes I entertained. resin boots from Warriors.