The World War 1 vehicles and guns of Nuno Cabeçadas

I first saw one or two examples of Nuno Cabeçadas' work on the HaT website, so when he sent me this selection of photos of some of his collection of 20mm WW1 AFVs and guns there was absolutely no question in my mind that I had to publish these on 'The Great Adventure'. While they do not constitute an army, they are inspirational and worthy of a good long look. The commentary is Nuno's.Thanks to Nuno for these great photos.

A cautionary note for those with a slower internet connection: the image file sizes are a little larger than I'd normally use on this site, but they are well worth the wait.

The BeutePanzer Mk IV 

Germany only realized the potential of amour late in the War and was unable to produce enough tanks of its own to cope with the large numbers of Allied tanks. Being impossible to make them in numbers, the practical sense of the German Army determined that the large numbers of captured Allied tanks should be put to use. 
The British Mk IV, both Male and Female, become the backbone of the German amour, some of them being modified to use new weapons or ammunitions. 
The Mk IV Female made from Emhar is a nice kit and much more correct than the Male version. The difference between both are the sponsons and while the Female version duplicates correctly the shape, with minor errors in the bolts, the Male have a few layout errors that need to be corrected. 
The decision to make the Female version was based on these facts and to avoid paying for the expensive Matador transkit to have the correct sponsons. 

Some BeutePanzers had they British machine guns replaced with German Spandau or with anti tank rifles, while others kept they original weapons bored out to fire the German 7.92 ammunition. I decided to keep the original machine guns because it was easier .
The Emhar kit is very straightforward, however it needs some attention to details and some patience to place the upper bars correctly. For those who want to made the German version, a small square hatch should be added to the driver's compartment and the guns may be others than the machine guns supplied with the kit. 
Painting these kits is an easy task, but paints must be carefully chosen. The general idea is that German WW I tanks are gray, with green or brownish spots, but the colors are different from those used in the next war. In the 1st World War, the shades are lighter and combining it with the scale effect, a much lighter gray must be used to be near the real tank. 

An approach can be made by looking to helmets or guns with camouflage patterns from the same year as the tanks, but even there many different colors and shades can be seen. The Matt Slate Grey is a near color, but examples of other shades of the elusive color described as Feldgrau are available everywhere. The so called Feldgrau isn't a single color, but a whole collection of colors and shades that range from grayish to green or blue. Its impossible to be sure about what is accurate, but its clear that isn't Panzer Grey. 
My method was to use acrylic Slate Grey as base, dry brushing with lighter shades to achieve an acceptable base color and after added the camouflage spots and details. 
The Mk IV was painted with a mix of slate gray and khaki drab to achieve a grayish green shade, one of the many possibilities for Feldgrau. The idea was to have different base shades for all the tanks to duplicated the lack of standards in German Armour. Then, I followed the instructions supplied with the kit and added sand and earth spots. Tracks, as in other tanks, are painted with a mix of black and red, with metallic highlights and a black wash. 
The decals are good, but for those who want something better or just different, its possible to use the new Black Lion decals or just use the excellent instructions included on their site.


The German A7V Sturmpanzer 


The A7V its an example of continuous evolution and little practical sense. Germany only made 20 of these vehicles and all have small differences, most of them often being modified during their short service lives. 
The Emhar kit reproduces the earlier Röchling version, with buck mounted 57 mm Nordenfelt gun, single side amour, no exhaust and a few less evident features. Trying to convert it into a late model can be tricky, mostly because many rivets must be added to reproduce the newer three part side hull. 
This is a good kit, inspired in Mephisto, the only surviving A7V, currently displayed in Australia, but there are some small errors that can be corrected. 
One obvious mistake is having two sprockets and no idler, something than can be easily solved by shaving the front sprocket teeth. This can be done with a sharp modeling knife and presents no difficulty. 
Another less obvious mistake are the exhausts. The earlier A7V just had a side hole, so these two parts aren't to be used unless a later variant is built. Interestingly, the box art shows the model without the exhausts, which is correct for this early variant. 
Other modification that is somewhat tricky is the gun mount. The sights are in a T shaped opening that must be carefully drilled or just painted, to avoid damaging this rather fragile part. 
Apart from these small errors, requiring some attention, in theory its a very easy kit to build. The instructions are easy to follow, even if the gun mount assembly in the 2nd step is wrong, and parts are well modeled. Difficulties arise because this is a multisided hull and all parts need to be very carefully fitted. 
My advice is to use contact glue to keep all the hull parts with the exception of the top in place, while keeping the possibility of making small adjustments. When all parts are correctly placed, they should be kept in place with super or instant glue. The same process can be followed to assemble the small tower in the upper hull before the whole body is glued together. 

Both A7V's had been paint according to the instructions supplied, but the base colours are slightly different shades based in slate gray. The only A7V survivor, Mephisto, currently has a much lighter shade than in the instructions supplied with the kit, but there is no evidence that is the original shade and the pictures taken during the war don't allow me to be sure of the colours. Then, I dry brushed the Green and Earth spots, according to the plans supplied for Bader I, and added some spots to put the bolts in evidence. 
After placing the decals, without the suspicious upper cross, the whole kit was washed with water with a few drops of acrylic black and small mud spots added to suspension and tracks. 
A second tank, Cyclop, followed, using the same method just with a few differences in the finish. The base color is a more bluish gray and the spots are only in Earth. 
The upper cross was added in this model and required more attention than initially intended. The decal is placed over a large grill and needs to be carefully cut. The process required to apply matt varnish before cutting all the holes from the grill. Then, the cross was painted over with matt black as some details are missing. Indeed, what is important in the cross is the white border because it defines the whole shape, but its too risky to remove the black inner before getting it in place. 
Overall, this is a nice kit but a single part hull and tower made in a sliding mould could improve the model and make things much easier to less experienced modelers.


The French FT17


This is the HaT Renault FT-17 armed with a Hotchkiss machine gun in a Omnibus turret. 

As most HaT kits, this was easy to build, and with only 7 parts the small tank can be assembled in minutes. The only problem is concealing the line between the two main hull parts. This can be done with putty or with the cheapest superglue available. It's not a problem, but requires some work, as does the mould line around the tracks. This line can be removed with a blade or just sanded, but takes time and patience.

This kit was painted black as most models I make, and was dry-brush with the darker camouflage color. For this disruptive pattern, the darker color was green, so the FT-17 was all green before the camouflage was applied. The sand and brown pattern, with some small outlines, was among many schemes that can be found. The tracks are painted with a mix of red and black and the remains of this paint used to highlight a few details in the hull, such as screws or the exhaust pipe.

Final details like visors, the machine gun and a few more exposed metal parts were added just before the whole kit was washed with black. This kit only needed an hour to be completed

The A7V and FT-17 together showing how small the FT17 looks near its German counterpart.
The British MkII tank


This is the old Airfix WW 1 tank, sold as a Mk I and shaped as a Mk II with a carriage behind. This kit was made as a Mk II, without the wheels behind, the exhaust was replaced with three covers, the hatch in the driver's tower was removed and a box was added in the back. The paint scheme is from the earlier Mk II, without visible markings. 
This kit has a couple mistakes that can be easily corrected, and another that is almost impossible to correct. I've corrected most errors except the rivets, there are far more than in reality and would need a complete replacement. As most people don't count rivets, the kit can be in front of the camera without shocking most observers. 

The German FK96 gun 


The FK96 its one of the most famous German guns in the Great War and was seen in all fronts from the beginning until the end of the conflict. Even after the deployment of the newer and more effective FK16, available in kit form from HaT, the older version was kept in the front and served well, despite is short range and light ammunition. 
The Emhar FK96 would be a very easy to assemble model if the plastic could take both glue and paint without problems. Unfortunately, the plastic cannot be glued with superglue and rejects most glues known by me. I decided to rely on contact glue and used superglue to help keep some of the small parts in place, but the result isn't famous and the gun must be based to avoid being touched. 
The kit is generally correct, but lacks some details needed to reproduce accurately this famous gun. Two handles should be placed in the front, near the seats, the sight should be added and cushions for the seats need to be provided. These parts had been made of hard plastic from old sprues and glued to the FK96 with contact glue. The barrel was drilled with a common scissors and the inside painted black. 
A major problem with this Emhar kit is the crew. The figures are well molded, but almost useless as none is actually serving the gun and the gear is from the next war, not from the Great War. This leave no choice than to use the HaT crew supplied with they own FK16, which is composed with figures serving the gun. Another advantage its that these figures take glue and paint very well, so are a pleasure to paint after the dreadful experience with Emhar plastic. 
To protect the gun, I decided to include a small ruin with the base. Apart from aesthetics, the hard plastic ruins may help to pick the set without touching the gun or the figures, avoiding certain damage. 

The FK96 can be painted in Feldgrau, for the beginning of the war or with the later camouflage pattern. As the HaT crew is late war, the gun was camouflaged with Feldgrau, green, earth and brown. The colors are divided with the typical black lines, as imposed by the regulations and some metallic and rust effects were added to the wheels and breach. This gun its really small and the shape doesn't help too much painting some details, but overall the result is satisfying. 
The crew from Hat was painted with acrylic black and dry brushed with Feldgrau. Then most details, as belts, flesh, boots, etc had been added also with a dry brushing technique and with two additional layers of a lighter shade. This method is fast and allow for painting a small group within a few minutes while its still possible to look at the TV. Only in the last stage, adding such details as the small red stripes, lighter shades in the faces and eyes, is more attention required. The figures had been also washed with black in areas over dark colors or tan when the background was lighter.

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