I purchased a transaprent plastic rod from a manufacturer last year. I wanted to use it to place aeroplanes on when basing them for wargzming, so that rather than having to disguise a piece of wire or solid rod, its transparency would negate the need.

The rod was a metre long (and has a diameter of 12mm), which might make the height of the plane on the wargaming table more realistic, but it would be impractical. Altering the length and shape of the rod would thus be crucial.

A hacksaw cut through it nicely: Experiments 1  – so perpendicular cuts are OK.

What about a diagonal cut? To position the plane on the rod so that it looks like it’s dive-bombing or strafing, a diagonal cut (or a few of them) would be required. Well, here’s multiple attempts: Experiments 2 – as you can see, a bit ‘iffy’. Now, I need to acknowledge that I was not using a clamp to hold the rod still, nor was I using a new or very fine hacksaw blade. Both of those things would help enormously.

Then I needed to know if I could file it: Experiments 3 – I filed the end of a perpendicular cut, then began filing diagonally to see if there was any difference. As you can see, it files very nicely (and I wasn’t using a good quality file).

Lastly, I wondered if it could be cut, or at least shaved, with a good knife. The answer was no to cutting, and not really with shaving: Experiments 4 – filing would be a much better way of getting rid of some girth, instead of trying to shave it off with a knife.

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Today’s swap & sell was cancelled. Next one is the IPMS one on Queens’ Birthday weekend monday.

 

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Chris Kemp has posted a brief but novel explanation on his blog about creating canvases/tarps and then getting the sag right when they are on frames. I hadn’t thought of getting sag using something like thin/flexible wire…I use rigid things like bulldog clips or clothespegs. Those methods of mine won’t really work for this sort of thing…this copper wire idea is simple and practical, and I should have some floating around the house or the shed somewhere.

Of course, I’ve always had pliers at the hobby table – they are necessary for when I’m working with wargaming figures made of various white metals or lead/pewter compounds (none of which are WWII, so you don’t see them here).

Does anyone else have any cool ways for improvising tarps/canvases when arranged on the frames of AFVs and other vehicles? Suggest them in the Comments!

 

Two years ago I explained and demonstrated (with photos and all) how I made my wargaming smoke markers – if you don’t remember, click on this link. I’ve been very happy with them ever since and they have been serving me very faithfully, with no problems whatsoever.

Well, Paul from “Plastic Warriors 1/76 & 1/72 Plastic Soldiers,Armour & Aircraft” has shared on his blog how his mate Dave makes wargaming smoke markers. I was very impressed! Not only are the materials pretty easy to come by, there are times when a smoke marker having some sort of flat base to correctly position it (or anchor it, if you play outdoors and it’s a bit breezy) is  a great idea. Mrs Funker, like Paul’s wife, would not be happy with using the family oven for drying – I think sun-drying during the summer or indoors for a few days in a quite-warm, low-humidity room in winter would do the job adequately…after all, if not perfectly dry after a couple of days, it’s very easy to just put them outside again during the next sunny spell…

Anyway. This is something I will remember for next time I need to make smoke markers…and I may even ‘base’ a couple of my existing ones using my current supply of caulk, sheet styrene cut to appropriate sizes and shapes, and paint. Thanks Paul, and thanks Dave!

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The blog ‘War and game’ is gone – it ceased being accessible last year, and I mentioned this on this post here.

But I didn’t remove the link and kept forgetting to do so every time I logged in to WordPress.

Realising today that I really need to do a little cleaning up and re-organising around here, I have removed it from my Links…

…and added a new link!

Chris Kemp’s blog “Not Quite Mechanised: Fastplay Operational-Level Tabletop Wargaming” http://notquitemechanised.wordpress.com/ is taking up the slack! It’s a blog about 20th Century wargaming, and one tank model on the table represents a whole company (which s quite different to ‘Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist’, which is 1:1). There are great photos, plus progress reports and lots more. So, welcome Chris!

If you don’t know about the TV version of The Wombles books, educate yourself on YouTube here.

I’ve been doing a bit of Wombling lately…

someone at work had bought an Eee Slate and threw out the box and packaging: Wombling 1 . The cardboard packaging was of no value to me, but wait…: Wombling 2 – could that be a useful plastic tray? Let’s have a look: Wombling 3 – why yes, it is! A nice size for a lap, with a nice, sturdy carry rim: Wombling 4 and good depth too, probably an inch deep: Wombling 5 . Great! This will be useful for sorting out bits and pieces when assembling individual 1:72 scale figures, or for sorting out vehicular stowage and other small odds & ends. I might even use it to catch the pieces of flashing when cleaning sprues with a scalpel. So, useless plastic to one is a handy hobby tray to another.

Next up: Christmas present packaging. Two presents came with transparent plastic lids:  Wombling 6 . The first one is a perfect, flat sheet – I’ll cut off the 90 degree angle sides and discard them (they are too small and I can’t be bothered keeping every last scrap of everything): Wombling 7 . I have used pieces like this to make wargaming rivers in the past (for a smaller scale of wargaming, different period and different rule set). They turn out really well, too! The second one has some shaping moulded into it, so it’s not a single perfect sheet: Wombling 8 . With the shaping bits removed, there’s plenty left to use for windshields, aircraft canopies, building windows, etc.

So, some rubbish that might end up as landfill will be given a second life on the wargames table. As Paul from Plastic Warriors would say, “Model on!!!”

 

Thanos, over at his Miniatures and Terrain blog, recently did a great post about making your own sandbags and then painting them.

I like it because he is working with some of the same paints that I am (Citadel, by Games Workshop) and he makes everything look so easy and professional.

What are you waiting for? Go have a look!

 

With the strains of Monty Python’s Flying Circus in the background, I commence the final of the series of entries I’ve been writing about using tree armatures to make trees with. The last time I posted about these was to report my failures on May 17 this year.

I had resolved to try putting lichen on the armatures initially glued in placed with PVA glue, then sprayed with watered-down PVA. So, I began by gluing everything together: . This time, the film cannister lids and armatures were glued onto the sheet styrene using PVA, as I discovered that the Revell Contacta glue was warping the sheet styrene early in June. So, I had tree trunks fixed onto bases: . Then I had to search through the lichen for suitable clumps: . I can’t describe how I chose the pieces, except to say that the fluffy rounded top bits obviously went onto the top of the armatures or where I wanted to show new growth on a big limb. I tried to select pieces that were stretchy thin “sheets” that I could wrap around the armature and cover as much as possible with, but I also put on smaller clumps here and there so that each tree didn’t look too uniform in appearance. PVA was thickly brushed on to each single limb, to a depth of 1.5cm, or until a fork was reached (or both): (you can see a blurry big drop of PVA waiting to have lichen pressed onto it). I hoped that it would be a quick process – the first tree seemed to be done fairly promptly: but when I finished all 6 an hour had gone by. I left them overnight, hoping to spray them with watered-down PVA today, but the weather was against me. So, more tree updates as they sprout.

***

I’m working on too many things at once again. I am slowly preparing enough figures for a company of Panzer Grenadiers. I didn’t have any suitable Platoon Commanders (Sergeants?) so I cut MP-40s off excess numbers of one pose and glued them into the empty hands of another pose: .

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The Panzer IIIs are having their tracks painted. This involves two painting stages and four wash stages, so it’s taking some time to do.

 

…here’s the first one off and ready for combat:    . This is Revell’s Pz Kpfw III Ausf. L kit (#03133) which is currently out of print – a real shame. The four other kits which are still being assembled on my hobby table are original prints of the Pz Kpfw III Ausf. M (#03117), which was re-released late last year or early this year.

I didn’t do an aerial for two reasons: 1) I forgot; 2) The aerial fixture provided is too weak for me to drill, and given the extensive drybrushing I’ve already done, I don’t want to glue on a new kitbashed fixture that could take drilling as it will stand out too much when I try to paint it to match the rest of the model. So all these Pz IIIs will go aerial-less, but the Pz IVs waiting their turn will definitely have them.

Many of the “other” things I’ve been working on the side for some time are now being completed. The Trumpeter StuG III C/D is a quite detailed yet simple kit to assemble. I was getting along with it so quickly that I stopped myself occasionally to make sure I wasn’t missing steps or pieces! The only real problem I had with it was the rubber tracks. They are one piece and have holes on one end and pins on the other, wich you press together and glue. The pins on my kit were perhaps two milimetres long and far too thin…they certainly weren’t going to stay in place under their own power while waiting for the glue to harden. I snipped them off, used cyanoacrylate and clothes pegs with bits of broken chopstick to get the tracks into position and stay in place.

I improvised a gun aiming telescope sticking out of the molded-open roof hatch by using a cut-off piece from a Hasegawa kit glued onto some leftover sprue. From more than a couple of feet distance it looks great.

It then received a Dunkelgrau paint job and rather than just Operation Barbarossa dust drybrushing, it got dust and then ink and paint to represent splashed-up puddles and the Autumn mud. Here it is:

I also had three other things on the go on the side:

You’ve seen the Horch resin kits before…I did four of them previously…I decided a couple of months back to do the remaining two on the side while waiting for all those StuG Gs to harden or dry. I tried a slightly different way of painting the reflection on the windscreen with these two. I like it better than what I did previously, but it’s still got a long way to go yet.

The log building is from Pegasus Hobbies, but I’m not sure which box or production/kit number it is, because I got it loose in an eBay job lot. It’s not the “Russian Farm Houses” (#7702) or “Russian Log House – Two Story (Large Karilian region izba)” because I’ve already got those. If you know, could you please let me know? They are great to paint as they have good, clean, well-detailed detail so you can really bring out highlights and shades.

I played a game of Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist on friday with Peter, but it wasn’t an Ostfront game. Photos but minimal report to come (as it wasn’t Ostfront).

Two days back my colleague Paul over at Plastic Warriors: 1/76 & 1/72 Plastic Soldiers,Armour & Aircraft also posted about basing trees. His post offers a greener option than mine, as his involves using wood rather than artificially made plastic sheet styrene as bases. What’s more, it’s cheaper! Also quicker than what I have proposed.

Enough bumpf – go have a look at his offering!

For cutting and shaping the Fuji Film canister lids, I experimented using both my Olfa packing knife and one of my Excel scalpels  . The Olfa packing knife quickly proved to be unsuitable…the blade size is too big and the chance of cutting into oneself while using it is quite high. The scalpel was far more appropriate, allowing for a good grip and fine blade control.

I experimented with cutting the lid from the topside and the underside. Cutting from the underside was better: . The purpose is to cut away the excess outer ring so that only the inner raised section or cup is retained…you should end up after the first stage of cutting with something looking like this: . The second stage involves refining the cut area, so that it is rounder and on an angle, not perpendicular to the surface it’s going to be stuck to. Here’s a finished one: .

With that complete, it’s time to prepare the tree armatures by shaping them to a shape you want and cut the trunks to the height you want. I kept some of the original shapes; I reshaped some of the others to other shapes; I cut some right back so that they would look like young trees and I also cut away all branches on one angle to make it look like that side of the tree was dying and had already dropped its limbs.  I used side cutters for all this shaping: .

Then I cut the trunks to a range of shorter heights: .

I had already pre-cut the sheet styrene I was going to use as the final bases. These are roughly 50mm x 50mm.

I made two small incisions in an ‘x’ shape in each cannister lid (a cross incision) and got the glue ready.

The last stage was to insert the tree armature into the ‘x’/cross incision in the lid, press the armature & lid combination against the sheet styrene base to make sure the bottom of the armature and the bottom of the lid were equal, and glue it all in place. One lot of glue went on the end of the armature so it whould adhere to the sheet styre, a second lot of glue went on the lid so it would adhere to the sheet styrene, and a third and final lot of glue went on where the armature is anchored in the cross incision in the lid: .

Once they are all cured/dried, I tested them – if something hadn’t glued together properly, I redid it.

The armatures are based and ready for foliage. That’s going to be the next few posts…