35026 (B) 35020 (E/F)

Angus Creighton builds not one, but two of Tristar’s Panzer 38(t) kits, the ausf B and ausf E/F


Military Illustrated Modeller - October 2012


fter the Germans occupied Czechoslovakia in 1938, they decided to continue with manufacture of the LT vz.38, re-naming it the Panzer Kpfw.38(t). Experience with early versions like the Ausf B (produced in early 1940) led to armour thickness increasing on the Ausf E/F (produced November 1940 to May 1941). Tristar have released versions of the Ausf B, E/F and G, with a supplementary interior detailing set providing both the crew and engine bays. The Ausf B and E/F versions are modelled here. Construction commences with the hull. To maximise detail, Tristar have opted to mould the hull as flat panels, which need to be carefully aligned as they are glued. If you intend to fit an interior as I have done here, there are a number of ejector pin marks on the inside that will require filling and sanding. These are very subtle on the Ausf B, but quite deep on the Ausf E/F. With the latter, the interior detail (cable conduit) on the right hand wall is missing, so these will need to be added using fine rod or wire. The armour plate directly in front of the driver and radio operator is best fitted at this stage as the join can be covered with a plastic card ‘flange’ and bolt heads added. I left the gearbox armour plate on the Ausf E/F kit separate as this makes installing the internal components a little easier. With the Ausf B, this plate was fixed, but the internal parts could still be installed correctly.


The exhaust silencers with both kits can be fitted late in the build, which makes painting a little easier. The later production tank has a modified exhaust, moved up the back plate to allow a smoke candle rack to be installed. You may notice the rack on my model is a resin casting. To keep all my models consistent, I created a detailed master some years ago and use it on all my builds whenever this rack type is required. The one provided by Tristar is more than adequate, but lacks some little interior details. The chains seen hanging down on the finished tank are by Aber. The fenders are well-detailed on top and include the characteristic ‘kink’ upwards halfway along. The undersides are blank with a number of deep ejector pin marks. Although this detail is poor compared with fenders on, say, the latest Dragon kits, the area is obscured by the tracks so is not really worth worrying about. The fenders need to be thinned a little at the front and back to better suggest the thickness of the original. Don’t forget to add the electrical conduits for the external lights and horn that ran along where the fenders joined with the hull. As far as I can tell, the fender supports had small holes in the corner to allow the cable conduit to pass through. All cables lead back to the engine bay where they loop over the edge of the bay and disappear inside.


With the basic construction of the exterior complete, its time to consider the interior. By assembling the hull first, any subsequent painting will cover joins perfectly. Precisely what colour the interior should be is open to debate; I have not been able to track down conclusive documentation. I therefore opted to apply a red oxide to the floor and after masking, ivory to the side-walls. All fittings provided by Tristar can be individually painted and added after the hull has been painted. The interior is pretty much as provided in the Tristar kit. Components are based on a series of photographs taken of the interior of the original LT vs.38 prior to being fitted out for German use. One standout feature is the gearbox and steering linkage. Assembled from plastic and photo-etched brass, the level of detailing is outstanding (Perhaps ignore the fact that the original may have been covered with a flat sheet metal shroud). Not included are typical German additions such as gas mask canisters, mess tins, water bottles that you might expect to see. Tristar provide a very detailed radio receiver, transformer and rack, but give no clue as to where to install it. As far as I can tell, no images exist confirming its placement. Added to this dilemma is the command version where a second transmitter was fitted. With SPs such as the Marder III, the two radios were mounted over the drive shaft, but this seems impractical on the standard 38(t) where the turret rotated. Some have suggested radios were in the turret, with a dummy gun fitted, but images exist showing command tanks with the turret rotated and the main gun in operation (being cleaned). We do know that the hull MG was removed to accommodate the radio, and we can see the cable connecting the frame antenna attached to the hull. I have opted to install the ‘standard’ receiver above the operators head (apparently where the original Czech radio was fitted) and the ‘command’ transmitter in front of the operator, with

AFV Edition



The engine block and gearbox/steering system are seen here, the latter with their photo-etched brass parts in place

The engine block has been painted and given a colour-wash to impart an oily appearance

A view through the glacis access hatch partially shows off the steering gear

The ammunition stowage racks are complex affairs and photo-etched brass is the best material for their formation in miniature

The gearbox and steering with a coat of nearblack, and a metallic surface treatment

Both models reach the same constructional stage


Military Illustrated Modeller - October 2012

which has been painted in a dull red colour to suggest red-lead oxide primer which was commonly used in the areas of tank interior not in use by the crew The tiny fighting compartment with elfenbein (ivory) colour walls and firewall The driver’s station is seen here. Note the ammo stowage and green-coloured fire extinguisher Above and below. Note the canvas seat covers and red-brown electrical cabling AFV Edition 17 . the radio operator sat alongside the driver with his radio sets directly in front and to his left.B build-up The engine of the Ausf.Ausf.B in its bay. before the upper hull is fixed in place.

18 Military Illustrated Modeller . with the detail picked out using oil paint. suppressor leads and linkages to the single carburettor could all be added to further to the improve detail. as they are easier to bend into natural shapes. grain. The Australian company ‘WWII Productions’ produce these tracks in resin and are worth the investment if you want to create a truly accurate early Pz38(t). MAKING TRACKS TIME TO PAINT TURRET The original turret was constructed using plates bolted or riveted to a simple internal framework. The decals are by Cartograph and have perfect registration and conform to the kit perfectly. The unditching beam is made in the same way. ‘rivets’. with the centrifugal fan impeller finished in natural metal. Once again colour direction is sketchy although the consensus would suggest red oxide for the interior. The gun breach and seats are included in the standard kit. they are articulated after assembly and painting and the Tristar running gear does not need to be modified to fit these tracks. I must stress that this is an educated guess and not based on fact. Copper foil was used to create the retaining strap. I used 89 links per side. The links are beautifully cast and even sport casting numbers on each link. with the turret traverse mechanism and ammo lockers provided in the interior set. There is no suggestion of either internal rivets or frame. I added this feature using 1939/40 pattern cans by Tasca and a plastic card tray. Many Pz38(t)s mounted four jerry cans on the engine deck. so I added this detail by installing strips of 2mm plastic card and adding punch and die I assume both tanks were used in the Russian campaign. ENGINE BUILD-UP Moving to the engine. I built this straight from the box. Terry Ashley of Perth Military Modelling suggests the kit barrel is up to 3mm too long. Battery cables. followed by spot washes in various browns to pick out the bolt detail. The Aber barrel needs to be fitted further into the breech to ensure the overall length is reduced accordingly. with a plastic bar scribed to suggest wood- The tracks provided by Tristar are the same in both kits. with a silver crankcase and dark green head. The jack blocks were reworked to better represent the wood-grain effect. It is worth noting that many Ausf B photographed later in the war appear to mount the later style track so Tristar are not incorrect including this pattern in the kit. but the outlet hole was off centre on both kits. with finely hollowed guide horns. However. The supports are plastic card. below the transformer mounted over the hull MG position. The latter comprise a very complicated looking perforated etched brass assembly. with moulded ammo cases that slot inside. in a crude wooden tray. by gently scraping lines in the surface with the point of a scalpel. Cleanup is minimal.FEATURE ARTICLE: TRISTAR 1:35 PZ38(t) • KIT NO. there would seem little need to upgrade. but I remade these using copper foil. New plastic card straps added along with the central wing nut retainer. 35026 (B) 35020 (E/F) The undersides of the engine access hatches were painted in red oxide primer as was the engine bay. Simply because I had a set ‘in stock’ I used resin tracks on the Ausf E/F as well. Most of the tools were added after the hulls were painted. the original Ausf B was supplied with an early pattern track with smaller ‘solid’ guide horns and a different ‘face’ pattern. Finally time to look at the turret interior. The lower hull on both tanks were oversprayed with a dusty sand colour.October 2012 . The leather retaining straps are provided in etch by Tristar. The plastic kit gun is not bad. Well detailed. thus grey camouflage should be uniform. The radiator assembly is painted black. so the turned Aber replacement offered an inexpensive solution. My only other addition was a turned aluminium main gun by Aber.

Note the position of the Balkenkreuz The delicate steering gear is made up from multiple photo-etched brass elements The tools were fitted with brass clamps and the horn received an electrical cable The Ausf.E/F.E/F’s hull prior to the installation of the gearbox and other equipment AFV Edition 19 .Ausf. Copper wire cabling and a little PE was also used on the interior Pioneer tools and jack block on the fender of the Ausf.E/F showing the white plastic strip where the author has made his detail improvements.E/F build-up Views into the turret of the Ausf.

I could have written far more.E/F’s turret shows the ammunition stowage racks and the generally cramped conditions More ammo stowage was found in the lower hull area. that is precisely what I did with this excellent little model which is why you have two to look at. seen unpainted below 20 Military Illustrated Modeller .au • As can be seen here. Tristar’s Pz38(t) kits are superb models. These duly arrived in little over a week from my first email.net. pointing out noteworthy details but I need to leave some room for photos! I hope the images speak for themselves – an outstanding kit. behind the radio operator FINAL THOUGHTS It is a cliché that many reviewers use when we finish a great kit and write ‘can’t wait to build another’. Well.FEATURE ARTICLE: TRISTAR 1:35 PZ38(t) • KIT NO. 35026 (B) 35020 (E/F) This view into the Ausf. accurately researched and tooled.October 2012 . Finally. it was well worth the effort adding the structural strips and rivets to the turret’s inner walls. a big ‘thank you’ to Bill at WWII productions who was out of stock of the early tracks. but specially cast me a set. ww2productions@netspace.

AFV Edition 21 .

it’s another boring Tiger I! Many modellers love them. 28 Military Illustrated Modeller . it has no name – but think about all the following processes as a general idea. all the steps are important.October 2012 . So. It’s an awesome tank with a tremendous firepower and armour. so sorry.FEATURE ARTICLE: TAMIYA 1:48 TIGER I • KIT NO. Just extract your own ideas about ‘why’ and ‘what for’. the bad results painting with the airbrush starts here. I can´t say that these three first steps are the most important… But. 32504 FIFTY SHADES OF GRAU: A NEW APPROACH TO COLOUR José Luis Lopez Ruiz describes a new way to paint a 1:48 Tiger I Y es. there’s no universal recipe for painting a tank! PREPARATION When you´re painting a kit. many hate them. with whom my Tiger I was fielded in Russia. LET’S PAINT THE TIGER I’ll be describing a new painting technique with this vehicle – sorry. like ‘503. for many modellers. I usually prefer more modern vehicles than WW2. but I think that the Tiger I is an icon that still commands respect among modellers. but lacking in mobility and reliability. Most German tank aces used this vehicle during their career in the Heavy Tank Battalions.

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the surface must be as soft and clean as the skin of a baby! 30 Military Illustrated Modeller . I always apply this primer with a brush over the metal surfaces such as gun barrel. Use it when necessary over granulated surfaces (be careful with PE parts!). very important. fine sandpaper. dirty airbrush… But even in the worst situation. we have a great ally. I applied (with an airbrush) Tamiya’s surface primer. and.October 2012 . 32504 1 In this step. stale paint. PE parts 2 Once Gunze’s primer was dry. lack of moisture in the air. There are several variables that causes this.FEATURE ARTICLE: TAMIYA 1:48 TIGER I • KIT NO. you can see Gunze’s Metal primer. This was the first time I used the white primer and I must say that it’s more difficult to apply than the grey one 3 One of the most desperate moments for the modeller is when he discovers than the paint has granulated. too much dust in the environment.

I started to paint the general colour of my black and white base. rivets. this can be a real nightmare. The paint was heavily thinned as I want the pre-shading work to be seen under this general base colour. not only making them in the right shape. Maybe after the sixth or seventh time. it’ll be done 5 Using 80% white and 20% black. For many modellers. not too much of this step will be seen later. using Tamiya acrylic paint thinned with lacquer thinner. like with airbrush) so. a well painted kit is spoiled by a bad chipping work AFV Edition 31 . not all the details have the same white intensity 7 Now. I painted some details here and there (clasps. times. with a brush. one pass over a surface does not mean it’s painted. I played with the number of coats of paint (one is never enough. I used a 90% black 10% white mix applied with my airbrush. Actually. Do not use your airbrush like a paintbrush. many. time for chipping.4 General pre-shading. And it´s also tedious work and frustrating at times. edges…). but this preliminary base is a great place to start gaining confidence with one of your best modelling weapons! 6 Using pure white acrylic paint from Vallejo. but also locating them in the correct places. Some skill with the airbrush are required. it is a really difficult step. With this black and white technique. The last step was made using pure white paint.

‘drawing’ the final shape of the weathering all around the kit . a necessary step for washes and weathering with this technique 9 Pictures 9 and 10: Time for weathering. Like on chipping task. start removing the paint like if you’re using a pencil. 32504 8 General washes were applied all over the tank. Not true weathering but a technique that will help you to create a surface full of contrast for the future base colour. you have now the perfect chance to take some risks with the effects in this step. a great product that can be mixed with any of Tamiya´s enamel range and can be thinned with Tamiya’s Enamel Thinner (blue cap). I added a generous coat of Tamiya’s X22 Clear with my airbrush. with a cotton stick. I used for this task Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color. Before this.FEATURE ARTICLE: TAMIYA 1:48 TIGER I • KIT NO. Just enjoy playing with your brush! 10 32 Military Illustrated Modeller . Start thinking about the finished tank and start looking for attractive weathering and colour effects here and there.October 2012 11 Once the gloss black paint is dry (5-10 minutes or even less).

I lingered with the mix in some places but. For this task. heavily thinned (90% thinner) in several. I airbrushed pure white in a few areas to create some extreme highlights Now it’s time to apply the base-coat for the accessories. using Tamiya’s thinner (blue cap) to keep the mix fluid and easy to control AFV Edition 33 . as it really helps to evaluate the general contrast and finish of the tank. accessories and so on. I used Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color mixed with XF-52 Flat Earth. Just at the end. Before the washes. Probably.12 Did you think that you’d have to wait days to see the base-colour develop? No my friends! We have been doing all this work just to spend no more than ten minutes painting the Panzer Grey base-colour! I just used Tamiya’s XF-63 Panzer Grey with a little bit of white added. light coats. once the vehicle is close to being finished. as in the previous steps. as can be clearly seen in the pictures. I applied two solid coats of Tamiya X22 Clear. I used different brown colours for the wooden parts and pure black for the metallic parts 13 14 Colour-washes always help to increase the perception of the detail on a kit. the perfect base for washes as it lets them run easily in and around the kit’s details. I’ll change some of the colours according to the general aspect of the vehicle. But I like to paint this base coat on the tools. all the underlying effects can be clearly seen through the thin grey film and look integrated with the base colour.

easy to apply and easy to remove with a tasty colour for me 34 Military Illustrated Modeller . you can also use Tamiya enamel paint to do it using buff. no gain! Why not try a new product? In this case. using a brush. I started to remove the applied dust to my taste. using AK´s thinner. I used AK Interactive’s enamel Africa Dust (AK22) instead Tamiya’s enamel because I felt that the yellowish dust of this product would be perfectly suited to the Tiger. I just waited fifteen minutes and then. 32504 15 Now. If you don’t have this product. I must say that I’m happy with the product. white and a little bit of desert yellow 16 Now. I cleaned the kit in the desired areas.October 2012 . Even by the next day I was able to do this because the enamel nature of AK’s product. it’s time to spoil the previous work! No pain.FEATURE ARTICLE: TAMIYA 1:48 TIGER I • KIT NO.

Anything else: Always looking for new challenges! Mr Tamiya should be canonized and become a saint! Pictures 17 and 18: Once the base dust colour shapes looked okay to me. I have just to pass with the brush more times. Mixing them I got a nice dirt colour series... Sci-fi. making them 2008 Favourite modelling subject: Anything easy to built and interesting to paint! Modern or WWII vehicles. I always use the same colours for this: black. (a couple of days. Madrid (Spain) Modelling experience: Dreaming with kits since 1971. airplanes.. that’s all! 18 19 20 AFV Edition 35 . I add some dirt-details here and there using acrylic paints. If I want a more intense effect. dark mud and buff. be patient!).ABOUT THE MODELLER Name: JOSE LUIS LOPEZ RUIZ 17 Age: 41 Lives: Las Rozas. I applied a nice coat of matt varnish (Marabu) to seal in the ‘dust’ and to avoid damage from further steps. Once dry. I added water – a lot of water – to the mix to ensure that the desired effects were subtle.

it will bond strongly to any kind of surface. I applied the mix to the wheels and the lower parts of the tank. Of course you can play a little bit with the mix proportions. My favourite is Tamiya’s texture paint. Be sure that this paint does not hide all the elements or you’ll achieve a dull and unattractive surface 25 Time for the tracks.FEATURE ARTICLE: TAMIYA 1:48 TIGER I • KIT NO. Anyway. 32504 21 22 23 24 Pictures 19 to 24: Another daring step. but do not use different colours to simulate the same effect: dust and dirt 36 Military Illustrated Modeller . the result is anything but nice! But keep the faith! This is just the beginning! Once the texture paint was dry (a day or more) using a colour mix of paints similar to the AK dust. where a little faith is necessary! There are a lot of ways to simulate mud: with plaster. which must be in scale and as heterogeneous as possible.October 2012 . the colour is NOT important. with acrylic resin and pigments. Why? A big bottle. Using a brush. I can achieve a nice colour to start adding the mud. Always use the same dust colours for the tracks as you did for the rest of the vehicle. you can mix it with sand. with specific products and so on. As can be seen in the pictures. Adding some dark brown pigment and paint to Tamiya’s paint. I randomly applied a fine coat of dust over the wheels. just the texture. pigments or acrylic paint and. most of all.

splashes on the wheels applied with AK’s products (damp earth. my great support. as always. for their love. for the chance of publishing for the first time in his magazine. final highlighting. why and what for? To my family. so on. the Editor. mud) and an old brush. some pigments here and there. Localised washes. I strongly recommend to work slowly and. And thanks also to Marcus. because just at the end we start to make little changes in the kit here and there using all the techniques explained before. It’s the only way to properly use all the techniques explained in this and many other articles. Remember. Hopefully not the last! • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AFV Edition 37 . once you’re thinking about any weathering technique. for their infinite patience. polish metal bare metal parts with a pencil (graphite). you must always have an answer to two questions.FINAL THOUGHTS And it’s time to finish the work! It’s very complex to really finish a tank. have a clear idea about the final look of your kit.