Saturday, 27 January 2018

North African Infantry - DAK

Well, finally managed to finish some infantry for the North Africa campaign. These are the German elements of Panzer Gruppe Afrika.

I am still not sure whether I should do some more with the bases, or use the Vallejo dust wash. I may try it on a test figure to see how it looks.

38 figures
 This is the HQ & Supports, plus three squads of 10 men including a Light Machine Gun (MG34).

Hans is a bit goggle-eyed, I really need to develop a technique for painting eyes on 28mm figures.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

SdKfz 222 & Kettenkraftrad Complete

As I mentioned in my previous post I picked up an ICM kit of the iconic SdKfz 222 armoured car from eBay. So this post is the stages in getting it painted and table ready. I also had a Kettenkraftrad lurking about for my NWE German forces, so I knocked that over too.

 The kit itself has been the subject of negative reviews, but it went together fine for me.

Etch and Decals
The only real complaint is that the decals are so out of register that the multi-colour ones (plates and Balkankreuz) are almost unusable. I did use the plates in the end, after covering them with a ton of dust.

 Assembly was straightforward, other than that the second storage box on the left hand side is a very snug fit if you follow the instructions and put it in after the forward storage box. The hull top and bottom lacks positive locators to ensure a neat fit, so it takes some care. Some green stuff is likely to be needed. The hull pieces are also detached from a separate sprue before packing, a bit ham-fistedly, so you may need to do a little filling there as well.

Care is required with the etch. I recommend bending it in the opposite direction initially, and then reversing it. You will get a neater finish. Also make sure the engine deck grill is absolutely flat, otherwise it's a swine to get in place.

Assembly omplete
You will notice the Green Stuff, I used the GW liquid Green Stuff, as it is convenient and easy to use.  I also added some additional stowage, such as a pick, helmet, jerry-cans, and MG34 etc.

Undercoated my usual car primer, in this case a mid grey, as these vehicles were grey orginally before repainting or even having mud applied. I had an idea about using the hairspray technique for weathering, but not a drop of hairspray in the house, and impatience!

First Airbrush
Airbrushing was with Vallejo Model Air, 'Light Brown' from their Buildings set,, heavily mixed with white, then successive layers of highlighting adding more white to the mix. The commander was hacked together using the Warlord Games German Panzer Grenadier torso, head and right arm, while the left arm was from a spare Perry 8th Army radio operator figure. (In the background is the Kettenkraftrad, some objective markers and a range of passengers from Perry and Warlord (Plastic). The light brown makes a good base for DAK uniforms and also the later war ponchos.

Decals were applied, sourced from the spares box and the Rubicon DAK set, chipping was done with packing sponge, spray varnish, and once set the whole thing got a wash with the Vallejo 'Desert Wash' - I don't think I mixed this well enough, and it came out somewhat yellow. I then applied a heavy coat of the Vallejo Desert Sand pigment, and tried to fix this with white spirit...   which stripped a decent chunk of the previous work.. ah well.. Some practice needed with pigments obviously.

Glamour shot 2
And while I had the paints out, I threw some paint at a Kettenkraftrad I had already built, but had been lurking for a while.

Hopefully, next post will be some finished infantry!

Thursday, 18 January 2018

DAK Infantry

Avid readers, aka myself, will recall my resolution o actually finish a project this year, unlike just about every other year. So if I can resist the temptation to keep adding stuff* the one probably closest to completion is the Chain of Command North Africa forces.

(* stuff like the iconic Sdkfz 222, and probably only iconic thanks to the Airfix German Recce set.)

I have completed some desert buildings, other terrain requirements are minimal..  and also completed some AFVs for each side, respectively, a Kubel, Sdkfz 231, a Pz II and a Pz III (I still have a motorcycle combo to finish painting, plus the aforementioned Sdkfz 222 on its way), the Brits have a Honey light tank and a Crusader II.

I suspect reading this, I will have to add some more options for the Brits, so I shall keep an eye out for bargains in British early period armoured cars or carriers).

On to the main course. Chain of Command - hereafter referred to as CoC, is an infantry game first and foremost, and the primary forces in play are a platoon plus supports. So the main thing I need to get painted is the infantry. Roughly 40 figures per side, and as fortune would have it, the Perry plastic 28mm figures are ideal for this. On with the painting - here's a sample of the progress to date.

It's not quite Cletus the slack-jawed yokel, but the closeup reveals that Hans might just be a transported farmboy from Swabia. And that I didn't clean a seam under his right arm.. doh! Still, as this is about twice actual size, it isn't particularly noticeable on the actual figure itself. What is noticeable on this one is just how large the helmet is. I wonder whether I haven't accidentally used a Warlord helmet?

Anyway - so far, the process has been:

  1. glue figures to 2p coin using superglue
  2. coat base with white glue, add sand & 'rock' (kitty litter)
  3. Undercoat everything matt black with car primer
  4. Airbrush roughly with 'dark yellow' (Vallejo)
  5. Trousers and hat 'buff '(Tamiya)  - note that some have received 'Grey Green' trousers, or buff jackets and so on. It makes for a healthy mix, with a couple of the field caps and helmets field grey as well.
  6. bread bag 'khaki' (Vallejo)
  7. Gas mask container a mix of 'Golden Brown' & 'Tan Earth'  (Vallejo)
  8. Helmet 'Golden Brown'  (Vallejo)
  9. Boots & ammo pouches 'Dark Chocolate Brown'  (Vallejo)
  10. Metalwork on water bottle 'German Field Grey'  (Vallejo)
Next steps are the straps.. I really should have done them earlier, but I tried using German Camo Beige from Vallejo and they simply didn't have enough contrast with the jacket. I am going to try the Vallejo Medium Grey, which is a slightly brownish light grey and see how that works.

The British meanwhile have received stage 4. an airbrushed undercoat of 'desert yellow' (Tamiya) - and straps have been done in 'Russian Uniform' (Vallejo). 

Once the straps have been done on the Germans, there will be some touch-ups, boot covers, the entrenching tool and the rifle to be done. I intend to use the various browns in this process to also add hair to the figures. That will complete the block painting. I look to do the faces after that, then the next step will be sealing with gloss primer, decals!  (yes really..) and doing some washes and weathering. One of my recent purchases was the Vallejo 'Desert Dust' wash, and I am wondering how that will work on these figures. 

Non-Competition Gamers please ignore

Time for a bit of a whinge here...  for many years I was heavily involved in organising and umpiring competition games in Canberra, Australia. Specifically, the DBA and latterly the DBMM competitions at Cancon in January and Wintercon in July.

Now that I am no longer in Oz, I like to keep in touch, and to try to help out, so I offer to list-check for these competitions. The lists are sent to an official list-checker address, and I go through them,  and compare them to the DBMM list books to make sure they comply. It can be a lengthy process, depending on format, the complexity of the list, regional or date variations, minimums for allies, and so on.

Anyway, for the last few years we have had fairly small competitions, so the task isn't too onerous. I can check most lists in about 10-15 minutes each. Often I will have to reproduce them on a spreadsheet to check points totals and break-points and so on.. but not so bad. 

So here's the whinge..   so far, I have checked 9 lists for Cancon, and out of those, only 4 were correct. That's a whopping error rate..   Guys. You have 1 list to check.. just 1.

If you are going to enter a competition, here's a couple of hints:

  1. Put the list number, the date and any regional variation or named general on it.. please.
  2. Check your points totals.. not once, but twice. Manually add it up if necessary.. so far it's been up to 23 points over the agreed total.
  3. Check the troop types you have included have the correct points set against them.
  4. Check the troop types you have included, actually exist in the list you have selected.
Here endeth the whinge.

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..