The sIG-33’s are complete:

The pair together: .

They turned out very well! Well made, Caesar!

I’ve used the SeeNiks Earth Blend flock once again, to represent the trodden-on ground/churned-up mud that would eventuate whenever a field gun is set up somewhere and fired more than once or twice. I’m not so happy with the results…the SeeNiks Earth blend flock looks great when used on a hill or as a scenery piece, but here on a base trying to represent freshly-disturbed earth, I don’t think it’s so goodl. I’ll go back to using Woodland Scenics’ Earth blend for freshly-churned-up earth/mud.

I am having trouble with doing extreme macro’s/close-ups with Mrs Eastern Funker’s camera. I’ll do some reading to see if there is some setting I haven’t utilised properly…but it might be that her camera is not cut out for detailed closeups of 1:72 scale troops’ faces.

 

 

They are based and flocked.

They need some tiny fixes to where things didn’t go so well (or too well!) during the flocking process, and I also realised after they were flocked that I hadn’t put a coat of dust on them. Two sets of things to do before I can Dullcote and claim them as finished.

Here’s a sneak peek: – aiming to have them done by the end of next weekend.

 

Here are photos of the assembled and painted crew for the first of the two Caesar miniatures sIG 33 infantry howitzers I bought – this post is so you can see the poses I chose to assemble my crews into:

– this gunner is actually lifting the handle on the back of the gun, to help move it into position. – I’m not sure if this gunner is turning a crank wheel to elevate the gun, or doing something else…I’m going to have him touching the gun or a crank wheel, so that he is useful. – I’ve assembled him so that he looks like he’s aiming the gun.  – a loader, about to be given a shell.  – a commander. I deliberately gave him the head with the only open mouth. His pose is copied directly from the box art.  – the other loader. He’s on quite an angle and I’m not sure you are actually meant to assemble him actually holding a shell…as you can see, I chose to have him holding one.

Here’s the gun that these six are crewing: .

With the second crew of six – oh, I should clarify something here. You get eight crew with the gun in the box. The Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist rules class this as a C-size gun, and C-size guns require 6 crew on accompanying the gun on its base. So, I don’t need all 8 from the box.

So, with the second crew of six, I did not have a commander. Here’s the second crew, and I photographed them on different angles to the first six so you can see a bit more of how I chose to assemble them and what the poses I chose look like: – I think this one’s turning a crank wheel to elevate the gun. Why is he resting his left arm on his left leg? – aiming. But why he has his left hand up like that, I’m not sure. If he’s fine-aiming by twiddling a snall knob, his fingers shouldn’t look like that.

– you didn’t see this bloke in the first crew. I’ve glued his arms in a higher position here, so he could be doing something to the gun itself, or helping with shells, or something else useful. – lifting and repositioning the gun, except I’ve glued his arms at a higher angle. Makes his pose more generic, different to the first crew, and able to be doing something else, like touching the gun, in a pinch. – loader, same as the first crew. – loader with shell, same as the first crew. You can see how far he’s leaning over in this photo. I’m not sure why he’s leaning so much, but it does make him look a bit different to so many loaders holding shells from other manufacturers. Lastly, here’s the second gun: .

So, there you go! The options for assembly of the gun crew figures are many.

I’ve kept the surplus two figures from each kit because I am, at some stage in the future, going to need to base some size-D guns, and they require 8 crew figures per gun base. Here are the four surplus figures from the two boxes: – not sure what he’s doing, but he does look animated, which is better than standing straight and being boring. – I realised one of my kits was missing a left arm after I’d opened them. This bloke’s left arm comes from one of Hasegawa’s kits. This gunner is either about to be handed a shell, or is about to remove an empty cartridge. – another commander. I made his right arm vertical. I photographed him from behind so that you could see his binoculars. Yes, this Caesar kit gives you binoculars and matching binocular cases (you can see it on his right hip)!  – horizontal arms. Looks bit like a zombie, but he’s going to be crewing a bigger gun, so his arms should be in an OK position.

What guns will these blokes be crewing? Oh, just some of these: .

Yes, the machines ganged up on me on sunday night, just as they do to Neil. I spent part of the morning taking photos of my completed Caesar Miniatures sIG 33 gun crew; had perfect conditions with nice natural light, had a white backboard and all…

I plugged my old digital camera into my old Windows XP PC (this camera won’t talk to my current Windows 7 Ultimate machine), the photos copied across and I was just starting to edit them when I told the camera to wipe them from the camera digital card. Fine, no problems. But the folder on my old PC was somehow still trying to talk to the camera, even though the message had popped up saying “Transfer completed – please detach USB cable”. I tried to copy the folder from one part of the old computer to another, and then delete the folder in its old location…and wiped everything. My beautiful photos. They weren’t anywhere, not even in the Recycle bin. All this stuff I was going to show you all. A more substantial blog post than some of the last few.

Damn.

Sorry all. You’ll have to wait to Good Friday or something now, when I can take daytime photos again. Then you’ll see.

 

Peter and I were due for our second game last night but it had to be postponed, so I was left with an ’empty’ evening. I’ve been busy every friday night for a while now, and could have gone along to NWA regardless of having a game or not, to say hello to colleagues and see what was going on. I realised, though, that if I stayed home I could actually get some serious hobby work done…as lately I’ve not had much time for my Germans or my Russians. So I worked on prepping the sIG 33 crews and some Pegasus Russian farm houses.

Guests were due this afternoon but didn’t eventuate, so I’ve been able to get a good 4 hours over the last 24. The sIG 33s got a coat of Panzer Grey and the crews had their uniforms and boots done. The Russian farm houses had all undercoating done.

A Hasegawa 251/9 was washed and undercoated…I’ll be assembling it whilst waiting for the paint to dry on all these other things. Then the SU-85s (СУ-85)will come.

Cristian Florescu over at the Braille Scale Discussion Group has performed a thorough dissection and postmortem of this particular kit that I’ve been working on.

He presents a thorough description; presents plenty of colour photos, scans and sprue shots and leaves no stone unturned.

I’m still working on mine, so please, find a suitable beverage, settle back into a comfortable piece of furniture and enjoy his treatise.

 

There is only one sprue in the box for the sIG 33 howitzer itself: . That means that assembly should be fairly quick and straightforward. On saturday I found I had some spare time and so I assembled one gun.

The first thing was to do the barrel, what I think is part of the recoil mechanism and also the angle of trajectory gearwheel: . The smaller detail parts looked fiddly to assemble, but in fact were very straightfoward – tongues and grooves (to use carpentry terminology) are clear and crisp on the parts and fit together very well, requiring no extra effort.

It’s not immediately clear which way the gearwheel is meant to be pointing…I did it in this direction as that way the supporting frame doesn’t block the loading breech at all.

Next was the gun carriage: . This was a bit fiddly as the two axles have to be put in at this stage, and one floats freely in the carriage frame pieces (this is intentional, according to the instructions). It would’ve been nicer if there was a raised ridge or somesuch so that after a certain amount of sliding they stopped…instead you are trying to get the loose axle to balance/stay in place whilst glueing a number of other things together at once – I found  that axle slid around a lot (I glued mine into place). I make it sound like it’s hard…it’s not too bad, but I do recommend a dry fit first so you can appreciate the problem before you attempt glueing.

Now it was time for the wheels and the gun shield supports: – if you cut the axle off the sprue poorly, you won’t be able to fit the hubcap over the wheel. More about this at the end. The gun shield supports have a groove a bit too big for my liking, but nonetheless they fit well enough to do their job.

The gun shield needs a shovel glued onto it’s front and a small sliding shield glued over the aiming slot, then the gun shield can go on – whilst doing it, I also did the crank wheels . I also did some of the parts that go on to the gun carriage.

Any remaining pieces now go on, and you’ve got a finished howitzer: .

Actual time spent cutting pieces off the sprue, removing excess plastic, checking fit and then glueing was about two hours.

I then assembled the second gun and that time was reduced to 90 minutes as I already knew about fit. Of course, ! was allowing a few 5 minute breaks here and there to allow the glue to harden enough to permit further construction.

I actually assembled the first gun over a 6-hour period during the middle of the day…I had some other things to do and so glued things in small steps and then left the gun for periods of 15 minutes to an hour to allow the glue to really harden. The second gun was commenced in the evening, done in stages, left overnight and then finished during sunday afternoon.

The guns look great when assembled – plenty of crisp detail that should paint up really well.

I mentioned that you need to cut the axle off the sprue carefully. Here’s detail of the axle on the sprue: – right in the middle of the photo. See all those different width increases? Well, I cut it off wrongly – cutting off the first width on one side (I thought the first width section was still part of the sprue). My advice – with this axle, cut it off the sprue where the curve is narrowing and then do a second, finer cut of the millimetre or two of excess plastic once it’s free.

 

It’s time to start work on my pair of Caesar Miniatures 150mm sIG 33 infantry guns.

Inside the box are four sprues – one for the gun itself: and three to make the 8-man crew: (although in that photo I doubled-up on the head sprues and personal kit sprues).

You have to assemble the crew. Each gunner requires two legs to be glued together, a torso to be glued onto that, arms to be glued to the torso, head glued to torso and helmet glued to head! See here: . The detail is excellent, folds in the clothing, curves etc. are beautifully done, as you can see in a close-up here: . These figures are going to paint up really well.

After glueing the bodies together, you have to glue the heads on, and then glue helmets onto the heads. Yes, really! Here’s the ‘head’ sprue – you get neck and then a slice of head, with full face detail, each face with different expressions: . Talk about attention to detail!

Then using the personal effects sprue, you can glue on ammo pouches, helmets, weapons, canteens etc. to your own choosing:   and the personal effects have folds, detail, curves etc., as hopefully you’ll see in this closeup: . Instructions for assembling the gun look pretty clear: .

There’s something missing, though – instructions to assemble the crew. I bought two of this kit, and no instructions in either. You get very small group photos of the assembled crew in action on the other side of the instruction sheet, but no clear indication of what each and every gunner should look like individually.

That being said, it’s the only negative to this kit. It looks very straightforward to assemble and has very good detail. The next post I do should be about assembling the gun. Assembling the gunners will be a seperate post or set of posts; I aim to provide seperate photos of how each of my gunners end up looking. Those of you who then decide to buy this kit can then make up your own minds about how you’ll deal with the crew.

I’ve already done 333 posts…one third of a thousand. I didn’t think back at the start that I would need so much time to complete enough German forces to have a good slog against Peter – well, I was wrong. At the rate I’m going, I’ll need another 300 posts at least…

Anyway, let’s keep making better hills!

Assemble all terrain ingredients you think will be useful: . I’ve got my Woodland Scenics Green Blend flock, my SeeNiks Earth Blend flock, some Woodland Scenics fine Talus, some Heki coarse flock and Selleys Aquadhere glue. No, none of these companies are sponsoring me.

Apply the glue completely and thickly: . A thick application of glue will fill up any small holes and crevices, leaving a smoother appearance.

If you’re going to apply talus, now’s the time, before applying any flock: . Remember, grass grows up,  around and sometimes nearly covers rocks…not the other way around (unless a volcano just went off).

If you need to apply any sort of coarse turf or small clumpy foliage, you are now at the appropriate stage to do so: – I use this strongly-coloured green coarse turf stuff from Heki to represent big-leafed weeds. Green Blend flock is fine, but it’s still a fairly uniform product. Break it up with some of this kind of stuff.

Thickly apply your flock: – you too can let a chance ray of sunlight into your garden shed if you want…this was by and large a grey morning, so all my other photos don’t feature it. Once applied, I manually pat the stuff down hard so I know that it’s gone into the glue. I pat the whole hill over and I pat it with some strength to the action. Then I apply more flock over the top of what’s there because inveitably you’ll see some glue visible somewhere after patting.

Now you can leave it for 24 hours(or longer if the humidity’s high) to dry.

Want to do hills where some bare soil is showing? OK, apply glue and then your Earth Blend flock: – I placed some Talus around its edge to show the effects of erosion. Remember, erosion usually only affects one side of a hill, so don’t go silly with your Earth Blend flock. I decided with this project to leave the Woodland Scenics Earth Blend out – I wanted to try the less uniform and slightly more gritty SeeNiks Earth Blend. It goes on OK and looks good at this stage.

I like to put some lush vgetation (thick weeds) on the opposite side of the hill, to show that the other side to the Earth Blend is sheltered from the wind: .

Then on goes the Green Blend flock, thickly applied, patted down and then reapplied where necessary: – you’ll see that I’ve even applied it almost covering the Earth Blend flock too. I don’t want the erosion to be too bare.

Now wait for it to dry.

***

Back inside the house, the next project is waiting to be started. It’s a pair of infantry guns: . I bought them over a year ago – it’s time to get these Caesar Miniatures sIG 33 guns built, painted, based and gaming.

Caesar Miniatures have very recently begun to make vehicles and guns as well as figures. I’ve bought various WWII figures off them over the years and have always found them well worth the money, well sculpted and with very good detail. I was waiting to hear what people thought of them before I committed any cash and, mercifully, positive statements were made reasonably quickly.

Henk of Holland has found in their favour, as have the folks over at the Braille Scale Discussion Forum. I was most interested in the quality and accuracy and they are fine on both of these regards. Al from 20th Century Wargames mentions the extras you get and you get a nice review of both quality and sprues over with the Bunkermeister.

While winning some lots on Ebay, I also had the funds to buy two of these Sig 33 kits. I’m in complete agreement with everyone else: they look great, are pretty finely detailed and are fantastic value! Here’s a photo: and detail of the gun sprue itself :  .

They won’t be done for a little while as I’ve got a number of other kits undercoated and under various stages of contruction at the moment, but more about that another time.

By the by, I bought my two kits through Bryan at Always Model – a very reliable and agreeable online retailer. I’ve used him a number of times now and have always been happy with price, communications and service.