A Hetzer, a new President and an exhausted Bricker.

Hello one and all,

Like the proverbial prodigal son, I have returned. My hat in hand, my arms spread wide, I grovel on my knees and self-flagellate for your forgiveness. It has been far too long! Life, to say the least, has been busy. Work is ramping up, weather has been wild, traffic on my commute is worsening and I just finished my over a year long steep in the United States presidential election. My nerves are shot, my eyes heavy, my bowels are liquid and my will to live is ebbing.


“Brett Bricker? He has no stamina. Terrible stamina. And when it comes time to post on his blog, he chokes. Believe me! Very unfit for modelling. No one makes models better than I do, that I can tell you.”

In case you weren’t aware, we have been in the midst of an election the likes of which we have never seen before: in summation, a real shit show. As a student of history, policy wonk, and political junkie, I loved every moment of it. Needless to say, it has ended and I am glad its over. I’m hoping that my stamina will return and I can focus more acutely on my modelling. That isn’t to say I haven’t made progress. Au contraire mon capitan! I have been a rather busy chap. Endless cups of coffee (my poor rapidly receding gums) have propelled me through these dark times and I have some great new work to show.

Executive summary: The Academy Hetzer is complete and the Dragon Tiger I is primed.


Didn’t think I’d get this far? Never doubt a Bricker.

Now I never claimed to be the fastest Canuck in the West, but when I do a job, I do it damn well. Sometimes a week off from a project yields new insights and different perspectives on problems. I’m finding that taking my time and thinking through different stages of weathering/painting/building is really helping mitigate issues along the way. But, believe me, I still mess up often along the way. It would not be a Bricker build without at least one catastrophic error that makes me want to retire from the hobby. What can I say? Self-loathing, can be productive (at least that’s what I tell myself).

Alright, let’s get down the brass tacks, how much for that ape….I mean, let’s take a look at the model builds.


So where we last left off, I was just about to run off and gloss coat the Hetzer. Might I make a quick aside while we are on varnish: ever since I switched the Winsor and Newton acrylic varnishes from Vallejo varnishes and floor polish my results have been stellar. I am so happy to have found these great products. HIGHLY recommend!

Now, let’s take a photo-safari of the work leading up to the finished model.


At this point, a satin varnish (Winsor and Newton) was applied after the decals dried and the initial washes, streaking, and oil paint rendering began. I have switched from sealing the decals with additional coat of gloss and have switched to satin instead. It seems to give the oils a bit more to bite on and has improved my results. The tracks and wheels were dry fitted for this shot. I experimented heavily with oil paints on this build.


Variations in rust tones is crucial for believability and visual appeal. Note the various tones of streaks and grime. Building up layers of weathering is important. It may seem like overkill, but adding depth and variation produces striking results.


I often get asked what products I use on my builds. This is most of the “weathering” products I used on this model. I know it may look like a lot, but having a vast arsenal really adds to the different things you can do and the different layers of effects you can achieve. Note: the bottom row are all pigments.


Chipping was applied at this point, the tracks and wheels secured and the skirts were attached. I found the skirt attachment very flimsy and fragile. I had to be extremely careful when handling the model. 


Mud was applied using MIG pigments and securing them with Tamiya thinner. I also added a bit of Vallejo Russian Mud. I wasn’t all that impressed with Vallejo’s product. It was far too thick and rather difficult to apply. I will field test this product further in the future. 

And now, its time for the final reveal!

Academy Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer early 1/35


Overall, I had a good time with this kit. Easy-to-build, barely any drama and a lot of fun to paint and weather. Biggest gripe: a little soft on some details. But, sometimes simple is good.

Highly recommend.


Tiger I

Well, after all the drama I’d been through on the kit so far, I made the final push to fill all the unsightly gaps that Dragon so generously provided. Several hours, Tamiya masking tape, water and some Perfect Plastic Putty yielded a gap free conclusion to this tedious and drama filled build. I am pretty convinced that the vendor that this kit was acquired from stored it in a hot place and thus allowed the styrene to deform and warp over time. I’ll give Dragon a small pinch of “the benefit of the doubt.”


After working on such a smooth build as the Hetzer, my return to Dragon kind of felt like this.

Anyway, I was just happy to finish the damn thing at this point. Although this build taught me a lot of valuable lessons in terms of how to build and deal with sloppy fit, it gets very tedious and soul sapping fighting against the kit the whole time. This is partially why I have delayed the build numerous times. It really is draining to have so many set backs. Another aspect of my glacial pace is due to the fact that I wanted to improve my modelling and painting skills before truly knocking this build out. I can say after the last few builds I have completed, I am feeling much more confident that I can deliver a better model than if I had tried to complete this a few months after starting it. Again, I thank my friend (the person who will be receiving the build when its complete) for his patience.

Let’s take a look at the progress:


Thar she blows! The build is complete at this point. I keep the drive and bow gunner hatches off so I can add the periscopes in after the build is completed. This is my lazy/more controlled way at not having to mask small tiny periscopes.


Nearly ready for the primer. I have found it quite handy to use the model box (when sturdy and large enough) or a plastic tote to store models in during construction and painting. It keeps dust off and adds a layer of protection. This may seem obvious, but it occurred to me on the Hetzer build. Gotta love that RB models barrel. 


The hull looks good and blemish free by and large. I am greatly looking forward to getting the base coat and white wash onto this guy. I have a feeling its going to transform into a very special model.


The turret is commanding and robust! I really like the option of the twin side stowage bins. It sets this Tiger apart from nearly every other build I’ve seen ad nauseum. 

So that is what I have completed thus far. I did not work on the Tiger this week/weekend as I am much too fatigued. I hope to jump back into the saddle ASAP.


My consolation? Like a kidney stone, this kit shall pass painfully in time.

So what’s next?

Rest assured, I will continue this marathon with Dragon on the Tiger I. But what of other builds? Well, I am not quite sure just yet. I did try to dive into a Trumpeter BMP-3 model I have. Let’s just say the clean up and terrible sprue gate attachment points made me reconsider that build at a later date when I am more rested. Takom, Meng, Tamiya and Trumpeter are all in the mix right now. Kits ranging from World War 2 to modern day. We shall just have to see what strikes my fancy. Anyway, I am looking forward to completing this Tiger and moving onward to new projects.

Well that is all folks. Thanks for giving this all a read! Wishing you all the best and a big thank you for your continued support!


Live long and prosper, my friends!


One thought on “A Hetzer, a new President and an exhausted Bricker.

  1. Pingback: December Blitz | Bricker ★ Industries

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