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Scratchbuilding a 1/72 bucket for your WW2 tanks

WW2 picture showing Panthers with buckets hung in the back

Learn how you can easily produce this accessory that will improve and add that extra bit of authenticity to your German WW2 armour models.

What you will need:

  1. Piece of tin, or aluminium sheet. You don’t need to go out and buy this, a lot of regular household items comes in aluminium packages, cans or lids. Here is an idea for you, beer cans. They are cheap, taste great and you can improve your models with the left overs 😉
  2. A sharp X-acto knife & descent precision scissors
  3. 200 and 400 grit sandpaper
  4. 0.3mm or thinner cooper or aluminium wire, and while not mandatory a 0.3mm drill bit on a pin vise is recommended
  5. Our pattern

First of all watch it, just like when working with Photo Etch wear goggles and exercise extra care. You will be cutting and shaping a very sharp material in very small pieces that can easily fly out when cut, so keep it safe OK?.

1/72 scratchbuilt bucket tutorial

Start by downloading and printing our 1/72 bucket pattern. You should make sure the measure guide in the pattern matches the actual size with a ruler. If it doesn’t you should adjust your printing parameters until it comes out right in size. This will ensure you are producing a 1/72 bucket and not something that will look huge on your model, or under-scale.

Once it is printed you can put your tin foil (again this can be cut from a beer can, that is what I did), place it over your cutting mat with the pattern right over it and score the drawing with a pin, or pen.

This will transfer the pattern to the tin foil so you know where to cut. If you are planning on doing a lot of these, you can make a plastic card pattern like I did, because paper can only stand so much scoring with the pin.

1/72 scratchbuilt bucket tutorial

Now you cut the two parts with the scissors following the lines on the foil. For the base circle it might take some practice at first, but if anything just try to go wide and cut some slack on it. You can always cut or sand that.

Once you have the curved side part or the bucket, you take a pencil or pen and hold that piece against the “cone” that makes the tip of the pencil. By gently pressing over it, the part will start curving and because of the shape of the pencil you should be properly matching the ends of the bucket sides. You don’t need to be 100% precise here, just make sure it is round and that the ends overlap a little.

The resulting part should be glued at the ends with Cyano glue. Hold the part with some fine tweezers, place a drop of glue in a scrap part that you won’t use and with a pin touch the glue and transfer just a little to the edge of the overlapping. Pressing gently with your fingers have these parts contact each other until they stick. They should glue quite instantly but feel free to use CA accelerators if you have them.

1/72 scratchbuilt bucket tutorial

If at this point the part is not exactly round don’t panic. Make sure it is completely dry, place it back on the pencil and press and shape until you are satisfied.

Then you repeat the glue/pin process to glue the base. Again, you don’t need to be perfect here, just make sure the base covers the whole bottom of the bucket with some slack if possible.

Once the glue settled you can sand any excess of material of the base, to exact roundness with your 200 sandpaper, then smooth any glue smears or sanding marks with 400 grit sandpaper. Even if your side part didn’t overlap true (i.e. one side is sticking up where they meet) you can sand that and it will still look great.

1/72 Panther with scratchbuilt bucket

Drill the handle holes if you want (marked on our pattern) and place the wire that will make the handle there, or you can just super glue the wire to the inner face of the bucket lip.

There you go, nice 1/72 bucket ready for paint and weathering. If you used beer can, or any other aluminium can you can even leave it bare, applying oils or pigments directly to it.

Most of the pictures show these to be quite weathered and well used items, so if yours came up not exactly round just give it a bang somewhere, dent it, or even drill some bullet holes in it. I like using burnt sienna and rust coloured oils or pigments on it. Make sure it matches the rest of your model’s weathering.

1/72 Jagdtiger with scratchbuilt bucket

Believe me, it is much easier than it sounds and it will make your armour models really stand out.

Braille Sergeant
Truth is we don't know where he came from. Some says he was a Japanese model manufacturer experiment that went wrong... too realistically bad mouthed for a toy. Others would say Chuck Norris was visiting Airfix in the old days when he somehow got injured by the machinery and some of his blood dropped on the injection machine just when this soldier was being made. All we know is he came to wreak havoc among those who don't believe in the only true scale.

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