As a fervent supporter of the quarter – scale, Italeri´s Puma was a shock for me as this eight-wheeled vehicle is one of my favourite WWII wheeled vehicle. As once as I saw it available at Gaso.line Olivier´s shop, I couldn’t resist and I bought it without thinking about anything but making and painting the kit. I think that this Puma has has been one of the models that I made with more enthusiasm in my life!
Since Tamiya released their 1/48 line in 2004, many other companies have released their own 1/48 product lines. Maybe Hauler is one of the more prolific firms with their wide range of products including conversions, PE Sheets and even complete resin kits, but other companies have also dared to include 1/48 products in their catalogs. Reality in Scale is one of those companies but unfortunately, by now, they have only one reference “The Palazzo”, used as a base for the italeri kit. Hope they release more kits for this scale as nice as their 1/35 references!
If you were a policeman in an ocuppied country by the enemy, will you put a fine on a military vehicle badly parked?. That´s our policeman´s dilemma. Probably, he will look for another “easier” prey! Because he can be the one who ends behind bars!
ASSEMBLING THE KIT
Absolutely dissapointed. Perhaps my expectations were excessive with this new model, but Italeri certainly lost a great opportunity to highlight with this kit in 1 / 48´s family.
Do not get me wrong!. The assembly of the model is simple and uncomplicated, with an excellent fit of the parts (no putty used), but the level of detail of the accessories (jerry cans and attachements, tools, jack…, is far from being aceptable. Unfortunately, when I received and assembled the vehicle, Hauler had not yet marketed its references 48309 and 48310, so the details of the model had to be done from other generic references like their tools, extinguishers and jack sets mostly from Hauler.
The jerry cans located on the side skirts so characteristic in the 234 series, were just a fool in the kit, so I took Tamiya´s jerry cans and with some generic PE strips I completely re-made these parts.
I also changed the plastic gun barrel, using an Armo´s Pz III L instead, which fits well to my not too exigent eyes.
PAINTING THE KIT
1.- BASE COLOR
For the base color, I used a mixture of Tamiya´s XF-2 (white), XF-3 (yellow) and XF-60 (dark yellow) to my taste. I always choose a light color as base because the weathering process always darken the final look of the kit.
To add some color variation to the base color, adding some white to the base paint, I start painting some strategic parts of the kit, as hatches, horizontal plates, the upper parts of the vehicle, so on. I added white paint to the base mix just becaused I added yellow color to the base mix. Adding just white to highlight a color is a mistake, because the final light will be just white!
Once the paint is dry, I always apply a nice coat of Tamiya´s Clear to achieve a glossy surface that will help me in the following painting steps.
3.- WASHES AND DECALS (pictures 7 and 8)
For me, the most important step as all the details are show up to the observer. All the volumes, shapes and details of the vehicle are highlighted using Tamiya´s black enamel paint diluted using the Tamiya´s thinner (blue cap).
Washes allow to detect the most prominent and interesting parts of the vehicle, helping me to choose the parts I will highlight in the final look of the kit.
Once the wash is dry, I put the decals. I used Archer transfer for this task as I was not very confidence about the quality of Italeri´s kit.
Using Tamiya´s enamels highly diluted with Tamiya´s thinner, I start making filters of different shades. The objetive is to bend the base colors seeking for a more unified base color but with attractive color shades.
This is a really tedious work as the best results are obtained by applying the filters gradually, and this use to be a work were I spen several modelling sessions.
Always a risky and complicated step as all the previous work can be ruined with unrealistic chipping. As one friend of mine says, chipping is an art. The final “chipped” look of the kit will not depend of the number of chips and scratches applied. It just depends on whether the logic of their situation and realism of the execution.
For the situation, just think about the places more exposed to shocks and abrassion by the crew (climbing over the vehicle, manteinance), minor crashes by a not carefully driving or just battle damages.
For the execution, a number 1 brush and acrylic paints. The more superficial chips are made using the base color slighty lighter. The deepest chips, using a mix of black and red color. To simulate abrassion, a sponge is the best tool available.
Using acrylic paints, I paint the different accessories all around the vehicle before adding the final weathering step using enamel paints and oils.
I have try to paint the jerry cans in different colors and shades in order to achieve a more attractive result. Also, the wood parts are painted using different brwon shades. For this task, the Panzer Aces New and Weathered Wood color are really useful. Metal parts were painted using a black base coat. Once dried, I added some graphite to achieve the desired metal effect.
8.- FINAL WEATHERING
The weathering is made using oils. Natural umber is for me a “must have” for any weathering, mixed with Naples Yellow and sienna in different shades. Mixing these colors, heavily thinned (white spirit is the best option), I start adding subtle spots here and there trying to add contrast between the different surfaces, affecting more in the recesses and areas of accumulation of dirt.
Again, this is a tedious task as these filters are applied in several sessions. I usually begin to see the effects of the oils in the third or fourth session as I really use very thinned oils, like filters. Only where the accumulation of dirt is more evident, I apply the oil less diluted.
Vertical strokes are also made using these filters. This task can be also made using acrylic paints, or even eith enamel paints. But always, this task must be done in a controled and slowy way.
9.- FINISHING THE PUMA
I used a graphite pencil mostly on the wheels and in the main edges of the vehicle´s hull. Some smoke pigments were used in the exahust pipes and to enhance the black parts of the tyres without dirt.
For lazy modeller like me, “The Palazzo”, from Reality in Scale, is a gift from the Gods. Just a three parts kit!. The detail level of the building and the quality of the resin is amazing and very easy to work with.
I just added a traffic signal from Gaso.line kit range and a street light from Railroad modelling to customize the vignette.
The pavement was painted with a brush stone by stone using different shades of grey. For this, I used acrylic paints, mixing a medium grey with buff, blue, green, red, yellow…To reduce the contrast of so many colors, I added a filter made with natural umber color.
The main wall was painted using the airbrush. Base color was a mix of white and buff color. With filters, I changed this base color trying to get a rich color variation in the wall. Using different green shade oils, I tried to add some moss and dirt effects.
The statue was painted using old gold and gold acrylic colors. Shadows were made using smoke acrylic color.
Some fallen leaves were added to the base to get the final atmospheric effect to the scene. I changed the color of some of the leaves using acrylic light brown colors and in some zones, I added dark filters to increase the contrast.
The figure, a reference from Gaso.Line catalog, was perfectly suited for this vignette. The colors I used to paint it, not correspond to any actual reference. I tried to emulate a blue color so typical in Police forces uniforms. Yellow details on uniform only respond to my imagination!
Although Italeri´s kit is far from being the perfect kit, it´s a nice base to make a nice vehicle using the several detailing sets already on sale in our favourite modelling shops. Anyway, I´ll pray for new amazing new releases from Italeri! In fact, their new Flak 37 is waiting for me!
Maybe commercial bases are too bored and common. Anything but original!. But they´re the perfect choice for lazy modellers like me who do not like to make exclusive but complex bases for their vehicles. A nice base always enhance the value of your kit, and a figure adds the human factor so important in our hobby.
Hope that new bases references will be released in a close future!.
The best in the 1/48 scale is still to come!