Saturday, 13 January 2018

We are Sailing....

Ok, I blame 'Arteis' - who posted on his 'Dressing the Lines' blog  this morning, about purchasing a paddle-steamer kit from AliExpress to convert into an armoured steamer for his Maori Wars project.

This of course got me having a browse on the AliExpress site and finding this..

I immediately fell deeply in love. and had to buy it. Still not sure what I am going to use it for, but I think it is going to end up being a 28mm 'schooner' or other small inshore vessel, for use with Sharp Practice. Of course, it is 1/100, so true 15mm scale, and if you wanted to play pirate..  Oh, and of course, it is a kit, so I will have to build it.. doubtless failing to get anywhere close to the above completed model. But it just looks lovely.

There are a couple of versions, I got the deluxe one with brass cannon and a lifeboat, but they are as low in price as US $15 with free shipping (though in my experience this means a long lead tome from China.

Here's the link for those so inclined: 

Buy me a lovely Boat here now..  

More AFVs completed

In a flurry of activity, the last three AFV are completed. I still have a couple more to go, but those are oddities like an interwar armoured car, and a civilian lorry, plus a motorcycle combination and a Kettenkraftrad.The mc/combo and Kette are best treated as infantry I think, as the bulk of the painting is the riders.

I have been experimenting with the Tamiya weathering powders, but I am not convinced. If they were static models, that would be fine, but wargames models are to be handled, so the powders come off, and if you try to seal them, they tend to 'vanish'.  Anyway, here are the glamour shots.

In hindsight, I think it would have looked better had I put the larger recognition flashes on the fenders and the smaller ones on the turret.. ho hum..

This one was just a bit of fun with blue-tac and the airbrush. The photographs show every problem I'm afraid, like the rust weathering powder has sneaked onto the tracks.

I probably wouldn't have hung the jerry-cans on the side, but I bought the model as part of an eBay job lot, and it was already assembled (and needed cleaning up). I tried detaching one, but it would have damaged it too much.

And before I forget, added a heavily converted commander to the PzII. The Iron Cross, from the Warlord sprue is way overscale though, and I will probably remove it.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Most Colourful AFVs Ever?

I had a few models to finish up before getting cracking on the AWI project, and I suddenly realised that perhaps unconsciously, after all the drab stuff, I had chosen some of the most radical colour schemes available for the last three..

They are now awaiting a gloss varnish and the weathering.

A Crusader in the unusual black and sand scheme, a Honey light tank in Caunter, and a late-war Sdkfz 251 in a honeycomb pattern. Lots of fun doing these, and while there is still a lot of work to do, this should give you an idea of what the end result will look like.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Painting Tanks

Towards the end of last year I found myself with quite a few vehicles that had been built, and in some cases base coated, but still needing finishing. Working on the Blitzkrieg Miniatures Panzer II sourced from the Perrys gave me the impetus I needed to get cracking on them all. I am going to post a PzII specific post once I load the pictures, but for now, here's the rogue's gallery. I hope you like them.

Churchill and Sherman for North West Europe post D-Day

Big Cat Tiger I & Support Pz III

The tiniest Panzer - well apart from the Pz I - here's no. II

Big Brother - Panzer III

Recce - in the form of a Solido Sdkfz 231, yes I know the aerial is wrong 

How did I end up with 2 Sdkfz 234/2 Puma? 

KV1 & T34 - Zu Rodina Comrades!
And that kept me busy (and amused) for a little while. Now I have to commit to running a game this year at Kirrie, and that means painting some infantry..  will it be Sharp Practice - American War of Independence, or Chain of Command?

Saturday, 6 January 2018

A Year in Review, and in Prospect.

As is traditional (for me at least) - I have been looking both back, and forward. 

Looking back

2017 was in many ways a horrible year personally, with loss, health issues and crisis, as well as supporting others through their own hard times. 

From a wargaming point of view, it had many highlights though. I tend to find that when times are tough, it is therapeutic to deal with solving things that merely require research, glue, paint, raw materials and some tools. I built some kits, painted some vehicles, won a couple of prizes, came to love and understand my airbrush, and even played a few games. Oh, and added to the pile of lead and plastic (discreetly, you understand).

Games at Kirriemuir have been great, with the caveat that I don't get to use my own figures, because as usual, I haven't completed enough of them other than for Call of Cthulhu.. which doesn't need figures and isn't really suited to a club anyway, 15mm Cold War, which no-one else there plays, and 15mm Ancients.. ditto.  Ah well. I attended a few conventions and even played half a tournament. 

On the bright side, I did get a few bits and pieces finished, and I am seeing my nephew enjoy some actual wargaming, as opposed to reading it, and imagining it solo. And you know what? He's pretty good at it.  

Looking forward..  

Firstly: All the best for 2018  to anyone and everyone who reads this blog: -
As ever, and in keeping with every wargamers resolution...    no more lead/plastic whatever, till I get stuff painted...   lets see how long it lasts. And, given how I always neglect terrain, no ban on terrain modelling purchases.
More importantly perhaps, a few minor health niggles and the loss of a loved one have given me a healthy reminder of my own mortality, as well as realising I now weigh 1.5 times what I did 10 years ago. So that's the other thing.

In wargaming terms, I reckon I should focus on a few small achievable projects. My only problem, is that with my Magpie instincts, I don't actually have any small achievable projects..  Ha!

This year I am going to play some Chain of Command games either here, at the nephew's, or up at Kirrie. I am pleased that rather than go all out for more and more figures, I have forces suitable for the following:

28mm German - DAK, half painted plus 6 vehicles and a couple of other support options -

British 8th Army - ditto   - plus I collected and built desert buildings, so all I need is a groundcloth and we are on. Target for this.. realistically, I could get this completed in a few days, but I am sure I will get distracted, so end of February it is..   

28mm German and British for North West Europe. Again, I have a load of vehicles, many figures painted to 75%, buildings that need completing. I'm calling this one, end of June. The real challenge is the trees, bushes, rivers, roads and all the other hundred and one terrain pieces required.

For some reason, I just can't get too excited about the Soviet stuff. Don't really know why, but the Germans for NWE are perfectly usable for Eastern Front, so it makes sense to do the Soviets as well.  

Finish painting and terrain for 28mm AWI, this has actually progressed fairly well.. but I keep acquiring ‘bargains’ so that I now have forces way too large for Sharp Practice 2.  Again I need to finish terrain, and just focus on a few additional groups. I really could knock over the troops for SP forces very quickly. I have all the British I need finished, (and hundreds more to paint..) ... so a push with the Colonials would see this one on the table as soon as terrain was done!  Target is to get SP sized forces completed by end March.

Start Painting for 28mm Napoleonics, British and French Peninsular, again intended for SP, but now large enough for General d’ Armee. This will have to be a background project, maybe just one to aim to do a group a month in the background of other major projects... let's see.

I am going to find a decent set of rules to do ‘Team Yankee’ size engagements with Cold War 15mm - as I have my Danes all ready to go, have done a set of Soviet T55, and have the PSC Soviet Cold War infantry pack to use as opponents. All suggestions gratefully received. Looking for 'small battlegroup' level. That's a longer term thing. No rush. End of the year will be soon enough.  

Just keep the 15mm ancients ticking over. I am considering getting an army sent over from Oz, or maybe apply paint to either the Early Crusaders (Baueda Normans, still awaiting a crossbowman figure in the range though), or the Picts. Early Crusaders looks the favourite..   

Finally, 28mm Lion Rampant Otterburn Period Scots. Maybe this is another one of those Napoleonic ones..  a group a month? 

And then there are all those 6mm figs ...   plus a 1/3000 French Pre-Dreadnought fleet, and the Colonial French...   the 28mm Napoleonic Prussians.. etc.. 

Friday, 29 December 2017

Desert buildings completed

Some time back, I picked up some 28mm desert buildings as noted in a previous post. 

I wanted to get them finished before the end of the year so they could be added to my total in the TFL Painting Challenge, but had been holding off photographing them till the PVA in the well dried clear, and the palm trees arrived..    well. Finally!

These were 'Supreme Littleness' buildings from Michael, treated with a grout, then dry-brushed with household emulsions. I am very pleased with how they have turned out. Not quite the works of art that Michael has on the site, but plenty good enough for me.

The two- storey house has a particularly nice balcony, and lots of nice details. 

You can see the PVA in the well hasn't cured yet.. but it will.. it will..  the palm tree is a very cheap plastic one from China, I think they were from Gentoys and worked out at literally pennies each in three or so sizes. I got plenty to add interest to other buildings, wells, oasis, or similar.

After building the previous two, I liked the models so much, I purchased the bases from Supreme Littleness, and the basic one storey house.

I have some buildings on order from Warbases, but I would love it if Supreme Littleness expanded its range as well.

PSC 15mm T55 - Quick Review and Painting

Some time back, I saw that Plastic Soldier Company were advertising pre release pricing on company boxes of 15mm Cold War Soviet infantry.

I already have a Danish Cold War (c 1985) force, which is largely outclassed by most modern forces of the period, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to put together a cheap opposition force, representing a second line Soviet battlegroup, so that the poor Danish Centurions and M41 were not outclassed completely by Soviet T64 and WarPac T72. The plastic PSC T55 would be ideal.

Just a day before Christmas, a package came through the door containing the PSC Soviet Infantry and the PSC T55 plastic models. Excellent!

As is the case with all the PSC products I have purchased in the past, there is a simple instruction sheet, showing assembly in the form of an exploded diagram, and on the reverse, a colour coded sprue diagram which is matched to the various options to assemble the basic early Soviet model T55, the T55a, Polish, East German and Czech variations, and the modernised T55AM2.

I am no huge expert on Soviet hardware, but I would check carefully against published images to make sure you are selecting the appropriate turret hatches and snorkel arrangement. I found the colour coding to be unclear in a couple of places, and the colour variation not sufficient for me to be able to definitively decide whether I was looking at a pink or lilac component, or differentiate properly between a dark yellow and a palled orange.

If I was colour blind, I would have struggled to differentiate between parts. Bit of a black mark for PSC. The colour thing is a neat idea, but numbering them as a backup would make it more user friendly.

There were other downsides to the kit, that were unusual for PSC. I found it difficult to get the very nicely detailed one piece track assemblies to lock into place without strong clamps, as the peg and slot don't have a great fit, and this becomes a big issue if you are building the AM2 model, as the side skirts have a groove designed to allow the tracks to sit in. If the running gear isn't properly aligned, you will be in for a lot of cursing trying to get the skirts to sit in place.

Secondly, it wasn't easy to determine from the instructions, exactly where the left hand turret box and the smoke dischargers were supposed to sit. Again, photographs recommended. 

Finally, the hull top to bottom hull alignment is one to take care with, it is a butt join along the edges and while the rear sits into a recessed section, the front is free floating, and it's not hard to get it out of a straight alignment as there are no teeth or pegs to lock it in place.

Alright..  minor nuisances dealt with, I was delighted with the results. I built 4 out of the 5 as the AM versions, leaving one as a much older Soviet T55 so I had it for possible African conflicts.

Painting was a black undercoat beneath, a grey one on top, using my standard spray enamel cans from the local hardware place. Following that I pulled out the cheap airbrush, and gave a light undercoat of a much lightened Vallejo ModelAir Olive Green. Adding more white, I went back over three times to give some light and shade (modulation).

The effect is subtle, but otherwise - washes and highlighting would do a similar job. It was then a case of adding base colours for tyres, tracks and machine gun, and giving the gun a quick wash with GW Nuln Oil. Once that was done, I grabbed some old Battlefront decals and some Decal softener, keeping it very simple. I thought about extensive weathering, but these would be basically new vehicles, recently refurbished to AM standards, and it's the first days of a war, so not much time to get everything worn and rusty.

A spray of gloss varnish to seal everything, added lamps and headlights in dark blue, with Bavarian blue and white highlights, matt varnish to get a sort of 'Satin' finish, and dabbed some gloss varnish on the lenses.

Overall you could build these 5 from start to finish in a day no problem. So the finished product, good enough for wargames I reckon!