The publication of any images or informations related to nazism, fascism or any other totalitarian regimes must be understood as the reproduction of historical accuracy and not as apology to these regimes, leaders or symbols.
A publicação de qualquer imagem ou informação referentes ao nazismo, fascismo ou quaisquer outros regimes totalitários deve ser entendida como reprodução do rigor histórico e não como apologia a estes regimes, líderes ou símbolos.

Value Gear Details - Spare parts, tents, crates and rollbeds - 1/35 scale - REVIEW

      The internet is an interesting thing. Lets find amazing things and people that otherwise would never be possible. This happened to me last month.
        I found the Value Gear of Ireland ( ), and ordered a few sets of bags, tents and crates to equip my 1/35 scale vehicles.

     I'm a bit exaggerated and just ordered a good supply of sets, because my vehicles are getting ready without these details.
      I was immediately attended to by the owner, Steve, a straight and very nice fellow . I paid my order by Paypal, which I greatly facilitated things. In the next day, I received a new email saying that things were in the way, with track number and all that.
     After the usual delay of mail, I received my order in the middle of last week and write here my first impressions. After opening the package, I found several bags with cardboard tags, identifying each of the sets.
Value Gear stuff...
      Each set comes in a zippered plastic bag with a cardboard label and a small banner with the photo and description of the parts of the parts of each set with suggested paint and finish.
Value Gear set
        Inside the plastic bags, I found 16 sets of tents, bags, blankets, all very well cast in resin, with total absence of bubbles and burrs. The pieces could be immediately ready for paint,  without having to use hobby knife or sandpaper. Amazing....
The resin pieces of Set 1 from Value Gear - 16 parts; Notice the banner with colors suggestion
Value Gear - Set number 1
Value Gear photo - set 1
      The back of the pieces are flat and the height does not require sanding or cutting. The pieces come ready!!
Value Gear stuff: front and rear
Close-up of a tent, with poles and straps, all finely carved.
Same set, another things...
Different stuff of the same set
        And the coolest thing is that no two pieces are alike on set. All pieces are individual to each other.  I was checking in the other seven sets I bought and I don´t found one piece that was repeated in other packages.
        For the price of the set ( 9 Euros ), with 16 pieces, each part costs 56 cents of Euro. A real bargain !!!
        I tested the pieces in a Sherman "unloaded" from my collection. Below are some examples of load on the Shermie´s rear deck:

      In the front glacis is possible to use the VG stuff, too:

       Some examples in a Skink AA tank:

Skink AA tank with Value Gear cargo in the rear deck
       The trucks and armored cars can use the sets, too:

Value Gear stuff in Studer US6 snow-plow - notice the cargo bed, the fender and roof 

Brazilian M8 Greyhound

        To conform the pieces in a little curved surfaces, we dip the piece of resin in hot water (be careful not to hurt yourself) and adapt its base to the surface curvature.
      But I didn´t buy only "soft" parts. I also bought two sets of crates and they are also very good. See:
Value Gear Crates set number 1

22 pieces for 9 euros...
The crates in natura...
...and VG colors suggestion


front and back from the crates...

no bubbles and flashes...

Shermie with crates...rear deck
Shermie with crates...front glacis
        The quality of the material and the price really surprised me positively, but the best was the variety of pieces.

        I recommend it without no reservation. I just loved and will acquire new releases, no doubt.
        Congratulations to Steve and the Value Gear by the initiative in manufacturing kits of such good quality and diversification.

        As Mr. Spock would say: That the Value Gear (and Steve) have a long life and prosper!!

I would like to thank my credit card.

Tortoise - A39 Super Heavy Assault Gun - case report

      Today is time of this beast: A39 Tortoise Super Heavy Assault Gun
Meng´s box art 
        The Super Heavy Assault Gun "Tortoise" (A39) was a British heavy assault tank design developed in World War II but never put into mass production. It was developed for the task of clearing heavily fortified areas and as a result favoured armour protection over mobility. Although heavy, at 78 tons, and not readily transported, it was reliable and a good gun platform.
 Super Heavy Assault Gun "Tortoise" A39 - right side

Super Heavy Assault Gun "Tortoise" A39 - left side

        In the early part of 1943 the Allied forces anticipated considerable resistance in the projected future invasion of Europe, with the enemy fighting from heavily fortified positions such as the Siegfried Line. As a result, a new class of vehicles emerged, in the shape of Assault tanks, which placed maximum armour protection at a higher priority than mobility. Initially, work was concentrated on the Excelsior tank (A33), based on the Cromwell tank.
A33 Excelsior Tank

        There was also a program to upgrade the armour of the Churchill tank. For similar work in the Far East, the Valiant tank (A38), based on theValentine tank was considered although weight was specified to be as low as possible.
A38 Valiant Tank

        The Secretary of State for War and the Minister of Supply issued a Joint Memorandum in April 1943 which gave a vague specification for an Assault tank, classing it as a special purpose vehicle to operate in heavily defended areas as part of the specialist 79th Armoured Division.
        The Nuffield Organisation responded with 18 separate designs (AT1 through AT18) drafted between May 1943 and February 1944, each design larger and heavier than the last. By February 1944 design AT16 was complete and was approved by the Tank Board who proposed that month that 25 be produced directly from the mockup stage without bothering with a prototype, to be available for operational service in September 1945. An order for 25 was placed by the War Office and work was begun.
          Following the end of the war the order was reduced and only 6 vehicles were built. One example was sent to Germany for trials where it was found to be mechanically reliable and a powerful and accurate gun platform, however at a weight of 80 tons and a height of 3.0 m it was extremely slow and proved difficult to transport.
        Since the Tortoise had a fixed casemate superstructure instead of a turret, it can be classified as a self-propelled gun or an assault gun and not a tank. The crew included a commander, driver, and gunner, with two loaders for the 32-pounder (93.4mm) gun and two machine gunners. The 32-pdr gun was mounted in a power-assisted limited traverse mounting; rather than being mounted on the more traditional trunnions, it protruded through a large ball mount in the front of the hull, protected by 225 mm armour. To the left of it was a Besa machine gun in an armoured ball mount. A further two Besa machine guns were mounted in a turret on the top of the hull to the right.
        Internally it was split into three compartments, the transmission to the front, the crew in the centre and the Rolls-Royce Meteor engine at the rear. The suspension consisted of four bogies on each side each of the hull. Each bogie had two pairs of wheels, with each pair linked to a transverse torsion bar. The Merritt-Brown transmission was fitted with an all speed reverse, giving approximately the same speed backwards as forwards.
 Two Diamonds T M19 heavy tractors with
Crane 70 ton trailer carry an A39 Tortoise.
        Once the War had ended the order was reduced and ultimately only 6 vehicles were ever built. The Tortoise P5 "ADVENTURER" was sent to Germany for automotive and gunnery trials where it was found to be reliable and a hard hitting and accurate gun platform, however at 80 tons it proved to be difficult to transport and at a height of 10 feet was considered too tall. On completion of the trials the Tortoise was discarded.

George Bradford drawing
Weight78 long tons 
Length10 m (33 ft)
Width3.9 m (13 ft)
Height3 m (9 ft 10 in)
Crew7 (Commander, gunner, machine gunner, 2 loaders, driver, co-driver)

Armour178–228 mm (7–9 in)
33 mm (1.3 in) top
Ordnance QF 32 pounder
(94 mm gun)
3 x 7.92 mm Besa machine guns
EngineRolls-Royce Meteor V12 petrol
600 hp (450 kW)
Power/weight7.7 hp/tonne
Suspensiontorsion bar
Road: 140 km (87 mi)
SpeedRoad: 19 km/h (12 mph)
Off-road: 6 km/h (4 mph)
        A historical possibility (hypothetical) of marking:
Based on a George Bradford drawing
The kit:
Opening the box:
Tortoise kit box, booklet and parts in my workbench
The booklet instructions
         The Tortoise is huge. Compare the size of this beast with a Shermie M4 and Panzer IV Ausf F.

Size is worthwhile ...
Side by side with Jagdtiger. Tortoise is huge !!!
        I started the building by the book: ie, the suspension ... The rear wheels are at different distances. So,  you have to cut one of the pieces A9
Notice the A9 part cropped (center below)
        The rears wheels and suspension arms: Notice the different sizes.
The rear wheels : the short (left side) and the long (right side) 

The rear wheels in the hull
        It is very important to observe the perpendicularity of the arms of the wheels in relation to the hull.
Perpendicularity is very, very important !!!!
       After building the rear bogies, I started building the other bogies. But, according to the instructions, the building of bogies is a real nuts. The parts are very difficult to build ... Not because of defective parts, but because of the sequence of the inserts. By the booklet, assembly is a real nightmare!!!
         Then, I remembered seeing a Tortoise in building in this site: Modelers Social Club Forum.  In this (excelent) forum, Mike Shackleton proposes a new approach in the building of the bogies:
"1 - Do not clip link arm A3 into axle arm A10.
 2 - Glue A10 in between the road wheels.
 3 - Suspension arms and the pivot bar can be added as per instructions. Make sure these are all square and allow the glue to set.Do notglue the arms to the wheels. They will need to move later on." 

         I followed the "Shackleton Method" and really build the bogies, although delicate, is not maddening. Mike hit bull's eye!!
         Thanks a lot, Mike !!!!

Pasting the A2 parts in the A5 part

The bogies built by  "Shackleton Method". In the top, the booklet method: pfuh !!!

Brackets suspensions with parts A3 parts ("Shackleton Method")
The bogie almost ready...
And all the bogies built by Shackleton Method. Piece of cake !!!
     After that, I built the front glacis...

... and started the superstructure ...
Notice the gun...
Rear view.

       To close the armour sides, I built the tracks; Link by link...Very good and smooth to build.
The armored side skirts...

Building the tracks...

...with "welder" glue.
Here, I had a doubt: In the pictures of the kit and the Museum, the tracks are in a position, but in the photos from 1945, the links of the tracks appear inverted. What positioning using??

Notice the 1945 and the Museum pics...
        I opted for the position of the real photos, from the vehicle of 1945 (the opposite the kit ...)
Tracks: rear view.
        The build continues... I do all the work today. The kit is very easy to build. ( after Mike´s shortcut, of course !!!)
Using a metal stuff (RBModels Besa MG)

Very good !!!
        ... and the Girl looks like this, right now:
Almost there...

        A lttle advance, after the day in my Clinic:
Turret with machine guns in progress...Notice the little triangle scrapped from front glacis...
          About the casting Red Triangle, in the Tortoise´s front glacis, I scrapped off. It´s represents the vehicle is a test vehicle, made with normal and mild steel and his hull is unarmoured (no tempered steel).  My girl will be operational !!!

      Well, some progress in my huge British girl. After scrap the casting triangle, I started building the crew hatches. As I don´t know when or how I will assemble the figures for this beast, I decided to make the hatches hinged. I used a Dremmel to drill the hinges and allow movement of the hatches ...
Drilling the hinges of the turret hatch
low rotation and steady hand...
drilling the hinge device in the turret...
using copper wire as pin for the hinge movements...
The hatches open....
        Notice the MG Besas replaced by metal stuff from RBModels:
The kit and metal Besas...
I cut the plastic MG bases, for adapt the metal guns.
       I decided to make my tank as a late prototype (the P3, P4 or P5). But Meng´s kit represents only the initial versions (P1 and P2) of this monster.
        The main difference is the presence of a hatch for loading ammunition in the upper left side, on the vehicle superstructure.
Different types of A39

        The biggest problem was to find a picture that represents the hinge mechanism of the hatch of ammo. The research material of the Tortoise is rare, even more of the final versions of the vehicle. Who saved the day was  Saul Garcia, who sent me this photo:

A39 Tortoise with ammo loading hatch - rear view

        With it, I could build the ammo hatch with plasticard. There this:
I did the ammo hatch with plasticard 2mm thick, compass, scalpel, ruler, some tools and tons of fun ...
In close-up
A39 Tortoise late version, ready for primmer.
        After that, I applied primmer in my model:
Tortoise with primmer
        And fix a flaw of Meng´s kit: the absence of casting marks on the gun mantlet and machine gun Besa shield. For this, I used the excellent raised decal of Archer. I like to use the decal AFTER the primmer, to increase the detail of the decal
The abscence of mantlet´s casting marks
Archer decal - wonderful !!!
Another view of casting marks.
        Then, I painted the tank:

The girl in green...
        After the paint has dried, I applied with airbrush a thin layer of Future, to prepare the tank for the markings and weathering:
Future (or Pledge) in the tank

She´s shinning !!!
        I'm thinking of using these markings:
A39 Tortoise - 79th Armoured Division
Based on a George Bradford drawing

       The stars and red triangle are from my spare box; The bull head (79 AD) and serial numbers from Archer, the AoS 991 and bridge tonnage I made with my Laserjet Color. All decals were applied with Future:
A39 Tortoise in colors...
A39 Tortoise - markings - front view
left side
rear view
right side
bird view
right view - close up
Front view - close up - notice the casting marks in the gun´s mantlet
 The weathering stages of Tortoise. I will not do a heavy weathering ...
Washes and filters
Tortoise left side

Tortoise right side
          And almost there...
Tortoise almost ready - Notice the aerials, made with acupuncture needles
The jerrycan (Italeri) built, but unpainted...
The Girl is huge, indeed !!!
A39 Tortoise heating the engine...
 Since I decided to make my Tortoise "operational", I decided to put some stuff of the crew on the monster´s hull. A great opportunity to use the stowage sets from Value Gear:

First, choosing the parts and their arrangement on the hull
Painting the stowage set from Value Gear...Very good stuff!!!

...and putting the bags and tarpaulins in the hull.
In the front fenders...
Rear deck - left view
Rear deck - right view
A39 Tortoise - right side

Tankers ....
         Finally, I finished the beast! The kit is simply a delight to build. As was said earlier, the destroyer was made ​​with markings of a possible operational life in the hands of Hobart's Funnies. Here are the photos:
A39 Tortoise from 79th British Armored Division - Hobart´s Funnies

A39 Tortoise - left side

A39 Tortoise - left rear

A39 Tortoise - right rear

A39 Tortoise - right side

A39 Tortoise - front view

A39 Tortoise 

A39 Tortoise with Kojak, for size comparison

Kojak pleased as Commander of the Tortoise
        For final, a size comparison between two monsters: Jagdtiger henschel and tortoise, side by side...  Huge, very huge girls...

Jagdtiger and Tortoise
Thanks, guys, for your company on this project ...

See you soon!