“Sand Dunes” is  by Donna Ellis

Panama City Beach, Florida



November 16,2018

Soviet Ball Tank

By Gill Gonsoulin

Miniart’s Soviet ball tank is supposed to be the first in their “What If” series. At first it looks like it would be a fun build, however that’s not the case. The first thing you’ll notice is that from its size it would be difficult to put five people into this tank. Kind of like a circus clown car.  And if you could put five guys in it there would be some serious issues for the crew. With the doors closed, how could they breathe and how could air get to the engine? Also the driver has particularly no vision. The kit will need some serious modification to make these corrections.

Soviet Ball Tank

My first modification to it was to add the skis. This did two things: it allowed me to put it into a snow diorama and it gave the tank better stability than the original two small wheels. The skis were made from Evergreen plastic’s sheet, square, and angle shapes. Next, I addressed how to get air in and exhaust out. I went to the spare parts box and found two pieces of photo etched that could be used as a vent. These were placed on the tank’s front, just below the drivers view port. For the exhaust I drilled a hole on the back side just below the radiators vent. The pipe is plastic tubing.

Soviet Ball Tank


On the inside I started by adding an instrument panel and a radio. The kit had only one interior light, so again, from the spare parts box came four replacement ones. An antenna mount was placed on top of the tank.

Soviet Ball Tank


Now to the kit’s assembly. Putting the interior together is a real bear. It’s a complex task to say the least. The locator pins to attach the top three cross members to the outer rings are OK. However those on the lower one with the engine aren’t that good. You need to be careful here because if it’s not on correctly the seats frames will be out of alignment. I replaced the drivers vision ball with a clear plastic disk.

Soviet Ball Tank


The balls that hold the guns are tricky. You’ll need to make the holes they go into bigger because they have to be movable in order to mount the weapons. The canons are difficult to build and mount.  The model was painted flat white on the outside and sand on the inside. It was weathered with Windsor Newton oils.

New Stuff has a listing of what the delivery trucks brought us!

Future Releases has info from  Amt – – Moebius – – Zvezda – – Revell Monogram – – Trumpeter – – Italeri – – and more


November 9, 2018



by Brian Cavet 

3rd. Inf. Div. M1A1 Operation Iraqi Freedom




Tamiya’s M1A1 has been around for quite some time. It started life as a motorized kit of the original 105 mm gunned M1. In the early 90’s they re-released it with some new parts to make the A1 version. While it’s not perfect, it’s close enough for a good starting point. I did a few minor changes to get it more accurate.


I started with the lower hull by filling in all the motorization holes. This was done with sheet plastic and filler used Testors red putty. It’s actually Bondo spot filler for auto use but it turns out to be the same stuff as Testors at 1/3 the price. Since I wanted to leave off the rear-most side skirt I also filled the gap above the drive sprocket. The sprockets themselves are missing the lightening holes, so I marked the location and drilled them out – four on each sprocket. You could also use the ones supplied in the Legend Productions update set. If you do, I suggest cutting the sprockets off the kit wheel and gluing it to the aftermarket wheel. You will see how I did this on the mine plow version I’m building.


The skirts were easy: just cut off the last section thin it down some and add a hinge. Do the same thing with the rear mud flap. Thin it down and add the mounting pins. Next up was the upper hull. It is missing the anti-slip surface on the deck. I drew out the pattern with pencil and then used Mr. Surface 500 applied with a stiff flat brush in a stabbing motion. This was done on the turret as well. The hull is missing the fire extinguisher cut out on the left side this was cut out and a strip plastic back added then the handle was put in. Additional parts were added from the Eduard set #35333. I also used the smoke grenade boxes from a Trumpeter kit as the Kit parts are not correct.


All of these things were done with reference help from the web and books mainly the Concord M1A1 book. The tow cables were attached with shackles from the spares box to the front and rear hull. They are rarely stored on the turret for combat. They need to be ready for use. I used the kit end drilled out and added a length of nylon string. I like nylon cause it doesn’t fray like cotton string and it is easy to work with.


The paint is overall Testors #2136 U.S. Army/Marines. I used a wash of browns and dark sand then I used a sand color mix of pastels sprayed through an airbrush over the whole tank. I also used the same mixture as a wash in all the areas were dust would collect.


The reflective material for the vision blocks is gift-wrap curling ribbon I found at hobby lobby. It is transparent and has that highly reflective property that changes color as the light hits it. The blocks were painted black then the strip was cut to size and glued in place with white glue. A very nice touch for modern armor! All the stowage is from Tamiya’s new set of modern gear. I also added strip plastic straps to everything that needed them.


The tracks are from AFV Club and work quite well on the kit. They were assembled per the instructions. I painted them flat black and weathered them right on the tank. One additional step: since the tank would be displayed on the highway, the track blocks were painted a suitable gray/ black color.



















“”Quarter Light” is copyrighted by William Wolfe and is used with his permission     

  New Orleans, Louisiana