Australian Military Vehicles Model Gallery Page
Australian Leopard AS1 in 1/16th scale.
Modelled by Scott Dutton
Scott had purchased a Tamiya 1/16th scale Leopard 1A4 with some bits missing. Read his story below the images.
I can’t claim credit for much of the work for this project, it really was a labour of love that was started by the late Eric Sujecki (From Victorian Hobby Centre days).The kit had been originally been built by another as a West German Leopard as an R/C model and looked well used (Photo: Original kit) as there were so many broken pieces.
Eric, who can only be described as a very patient and fastidious modeller, had lovingly recast many of the broken pieces before he passed away. I can only assume he used a spare 1/16 kit for this, I guess the advantage of having a hobby store. These are all the white resin pieces that you see in “Work In Progress” or “Work Complete” photos.
After his passing the kit (and the resin pieces) came into my possession, as someone who might finish Eric’s work. Now I consider an average modeller at best, certainly not to the standard of many of the detailers and scratch builders, or Eric, but it would certainly go to a good home and be completed as an Australian AS1. As a modeller I take certain liberties, as I build for myself, so the inaccuracies you see are all mine, and I know the finished kit crosses a number of time periods. I wanted to make one that reflected my memories of service having seen these things a few times.
I wanted to reflect an early Tricolour vehicle, but without the latest equipment, ie older turret bustle bins, and I like the old cam poles with hessian and foam heads. I also wanted to do a fictitious vehicle, based on my C/S 23 from reserve days in cav (never tanks) and a name I just invented matching that squadron (Artistic licence)
As I was building an AS1 I turned to Mouse House who have been producing excellent conversions in 1/35 for some time, to discover they also did a 1/16 conversion, spares and decals. I elected not to utilise their baskets, just to keep costs down, but used their
· 1/16th Leopard As1 conversion set
· Water Jerries
· 5 Man Ration Boxes
The original kit was stripped with “Mr Muscle”, a bad mistake, as the galvanised metal hull has subsequently rusted inside after not having the caustic Mr Muscle completely neutralised. The tool mounting holes along the hull were filled as the Mouse House Tool boxes would be installed
The resin replacement parts were installed including
· Smoke Discharger set
· Smoke Discharger Guard
· Armoured Turret Hatch
· Barrel Clamp
· Towing Pintle
· Hull Lifting Eyes
· Turret Hatch MG rails and mounts
· Drivers hatch
· Drivers Mirror.
Eric had also manufactured from brass the tank telephone assembly
I manufactured the following components
· Turret basket based on averaging out measurements from a number of photos and drawings and the sizes of the accessories from Mouse House (Jerries and Spare Road wheel)
· I utilised fibreglass mesh for the basket linings. I liked the basket with the standoffs, and with a hinge in the centre to access the searchlight armoured bin, much artistic licence here.
· I eventually added a fictitious extra component to carry the gas bottle, installed after all the painting was done
“Canvas Mantlet Cover”, made from lead foil based on a copy from the rubber part Tamiya provides off of a friends kit. To this I added some lead solder as the retaining wire with fuse wire as the eyes to which that rope was threaded
The searchlight power cable and turret connector from transformer wire
The end of the barrel was missing, so a new one was turned (without rifling), thanks Benny.
Captive chains were added to the smoke discharger covers, and to the mantlet plugs (Mouse House supplied, I think, for the gunners sight and coax MG)
The odd grab handle
Mudguards front and rear, these were missing and so had to be manufactured from lead and plastic card.
· I didn’t modify the tracks at all, I’m lazy. I’ll discuss the accessories later.
The Mouse house Conversion was then installed comprising the following key components
Rear deck fan and grille
Tool boxes (3)
Turret plug for LHS
Cross wind sensor and guard (a lovely wire assembly soldered together that just needs to be bent)
· This was fairy confusing as the original turret had the parts in there which impacted the installation of the LHS mount. Errors in location there are my fault. I now also know that this vehicle should not have the GPS button, but I took artistic licence
· Various other turret small components (refer Mouse House website and the photos of the grey resin parts)
Painting and Accessories
I didn’t have the Mouse House colours when I started painting so mixed my own in acrylics. The green was mixed from NATO green with some buff added. The brown I always remember as having a fair amount of pink, so it was mixed from Tamiya Tanh and Flesh and good old NATO black was the black.
The cam pattern was masked as best I could to reflect drawings I had for this scheme. It’s not 100% accurate but the proportions are about correct.
I used “Panzer Putty” for the first set of masking and made the mistake of leaving it on too long so the putty drooped with gravity over time leaving me with areas becoming masked that were not originally masked, and thus leaving a number of small lines 2-3 wide that should not have been there. When I sprayed I also let it build up too much at that mask and got a step, which had to be sanded and feathered out (Thanks for help Dale)
The decals are from Mouse House. I found some a little difficult to use as they seemed to be printed as individual portions rather than a single decal when there was a gap (The 23 for example was not a single 2 decal and a single 3 decal but in 3 parts each reflecting the stencil). Therefore mixed and matched to make life easy, so I have the yellow bridge class rather than the low vis one just because it would be easier to apply. The leopards head, C/S and inverted chevron are all Mouse House and are very thin. I made the “Balls Up” from laser printer decal film using Photoshop.
I wanted to have a full bustle indicating the shortage of space all tankies face. I raided the neighbours trees for the twigs that form the basis of the cam net poles. Medical gauze was used to make the hessian bags wrapped around the poles. They were tied on using old printed circuit tape. The cam nets are gauze with various herbs added with thinned white glue.
· The jerry cans and ration packs are Mouse House
· The tarp is lead run through a industrial rollers to thin. The 9 Kg gas bottle was machined in aluminium (Thanks Benny) based on drawings from Bunnings, the burner is the wheel hub from a 1/48 B-25. I loved it so much I had to paint it bright orange to draw attention and add the holder on the side as it was too nice to hide in the turret baskets J
· The Jaffle Iron is plastic card, wire and party cocktail sticks that were conveniently machined to act as timber handles. The holder on the turret is total fantasy, who would leave it in the dust, but I had to have it visible J
· The plastic wash basin is machined from aluminium based on some measurements from the real thing (Thanks Benny and Peter). Its is solid inside so has to go onto the turret this way to avoid seeing the inside.
· The barbed wire is photoetch rolled and covered in paper to look like hessian, it’s held on by magic (artistic licence as I know the back end is not that correct detail wise). The tow cable is stainless cable from Masters, heated to something very close to white hot to make it semi bendable
· The MG was missing, so this is an MG-34 (very close relative to MG-3 anyway) from the spares (Thanks Craig)
Well that’s about it, I hope it does Eric proud, to know that at least this kit was finished and is much loved.
Now for 1/16 M-198 to match. I will have no excuses for it, serving on them for many a pleasant year.
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