It’s only taken two years and ten months, but the Eastern shacks I bought from Mike Parker of Battlefield Accessories are complete! They turned out very nicely too. I recommend them.

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As you can see, the roofs are detachable and each shack almost holds a fire team.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I think I have enough Russian buildings for now. I really need to concetrate on AFVs and guns. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ll only buy more Eastern Front buildings if they turn up for good prices at Swap & Sells.

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As well as Truck Month and that shed, I did have some Sd Kfz 251/1s on the go. As of today, everything is completed and Dullcoted and getting stored in boxes whilst they await a chance to be played with in a game.

Time to show you photos of the lot. With flash and without.

Here’s the resin 8-rad Sd Kfz 231 that I got in those two big eBay wins last year:    . I think it’s 1/76 scale.

The Roden Opel Blitz – you’ll see I did include the perspex window panes:   .

Italeri’s 251/1 (I’ve had these sitting around for probably two and half years now – and I’m thinking a softskin troop carrier month may be in order sometime this year as I have some Dragon ones to do too):   .

Lastly, the Airfix engine shed. Both sheds have turned out a little differently (not withstanding the wooden end room being a different colour) but I like them both. Here it is:      .

Good to have all things off the tables and shelves and ready to be used.

The next things to be worked on are two Italeri StuG IIIGs and two Revell StuG IIIGs plus there will be new episodes of the continuing saga of Hob-e-tac, as I use it to make thirteen trees.

Well, if you wrote an e-mail to Italeri telling them what products of theirs you love and what future products you’d like them to make, then you’re one of over 1000 responses they’ve had! What’s more, the scale that got the highest number of responses was 1/72, which is the scale that I play in. I requested something a little bit unusual (but still WWII) and they said they did receive a number of unusual requests, so I’m hoping that they list my suggestions (and I hope other people asked for mine too). Just to add a sense of mystery to this blog entry, I’m not telling you what I wanted (but it had to do with Axis AFVs).

I wonder if they are then going to get us to vote or somesuch on the most popular suggestions? Keep an eye on their website and hopefully we’ll all find out very soon…

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During a quiet moment last week, I decided to look through some wargaming and modelling websites that I used to frequent very regularly until they entered periods of hiatus or extended lulls. Terragenesis was one of those, but it has picked up again in a big way.

One regular correspondent wrote a review about the starter kit made by Woodland Scenics which teaches you how to use their scenery products:  how to use plaster cloth, how to use flock, how to use spray-on glues and many other things.

I was struck by the section where he discusses Hob-e-tac. Last Winter I discussed my experience with Hob-e-tac. I’ve used it since then a few more times and felt that their instructions of use weren’t quite matching reality…or at least my reality. I was finding that I would apply the Hob-e-tac (which looked like PVA glue but smelt more strongly) and wait the recommended 15 minutes to let it get tacky, but it was still pretty runny and lots of it hadn’t become tacky in that time, even during very warm days. I wondered if I needed to wait more time before working with it – maybe an hour or so – but even when I did use it, I was usually giving it thirty minutes before working with it…. After waiting overnight I was finding that it was still tacky, and some of the trees I’ve made using it are still tacky today, even after being sprayed with watered-down glue and Dullcote! I thought by now that they would have cured completely, especially after 6 months and a hot Australian summer.

Andy’s discussion about making up the clump-foliage trees resonated strongly with all my Hob-e-tac experiences.

I want to be fair to Hob-e-tac and will experiment with it more this year. However, what Andy did (using superglue to attach foliage clumps to trees) will not be forgotten and may well be acted upon when I finally run out of Hob-e-tac.

I bought some of those armatures on E-bay and am expecting them any day, so you won’t have to wait too long!

Battlefield Accessories is a local wargames terrain/wargames scenery manufacturer producing mostly for the 1/72 & 1/76 scales.

Having already made up ‘BA14 Ruined Building Pack Size 3’ last year, I picked up ‘BA16 Ruined Building: Spare Wall Pack’ this year at our Open Day this year, for which the contents are 4 x4″ & 4 x 2.5″ Walls.

Since I still have so much 1mm sheet styrene lying around, it would supply the bases/floors for two of these buildings. I also decided one would be undamaged and one damaged.

The logs piled against the walls are real trigs that I found during walks around the neighbourhood, that are already dried out. Providing one uses a fine, sharp saw, they become very suitable 1/72 scale logs.

The moss effect almost entirely covering one wall on each building is ultrafine leftover flock that I originally purchased to represent duckweed on ponds. I’m now using it for modelling moss growing on walls.

The other green effect, looking like veins or cracks but fluffy is an attempt to model vines or creepers growing up and spreading their branches out along the wall. I’m fairly pleased with the final result.

The burnt effect is model railroad coal and some 50% Black Ink spattered beyond it to show where flame spread but didn’t consume the wood.

Now that these are finished, it really is time to get cracking with some Nikolas Lloyd caulk waterways!

Two fridays back Peter and I had our second game for the year. Last year so many events worked against us playing – we only had three games for the year…and so far it’s been a game a month (effectively). Yay!

Since we had an armoured slugfest last time, we decided to revisit the infantry-vs-infantry style of game that we had enjoyed last year.  In fact, it even ended up being infantry and artillery only – no armour or SPGs at all (although if fellow club members could’ve loaned me six Wespes, I woulda gone for some mobile artillery too). I had a few vehicles – some Opel Blitzes and two 251/1Cs, but none were meant to be used in the attack. It was just going to be my Infantry company with some Offboard Artillery against whatever Peter had points for.

Let me detail the agreements made pre-game. This was to be a Quality German Attack – so whatever Point Value (PV) total I had, Peter would have half that for his forces. We agreed on No Vehicles (meaning no tanks or SPGs that were also tank destroyers). We agreed on each having Offboard Artillery. I ended up with approximately 2200 PV, so Peter had to take half that. In Panzerfaust: Iron Fist, German forces are expensive because most troops have good experience and Morale by default. Peter may have had only 1100 points to build his army with, but I knew he would end up with at least an Infantry Company plus some Offboard Artillery because Soviet troops are so cheap. Whatever else he was able to afford would prove interesting and challenging.

Here’s the map/board for the night: map-for-april-2009

The idea was for the terrain to represent a village or hamlet in a valley. Thusly I placed as many hills and elevated ground around the edges of the board as I could. The village was just four buildings, with a pond in between two of them…it represented a clean source of drinking water (maybe a large well or natural spring). Some good-sized fields of crops and an obligatory apple orchard on the edge of town…apples were a popular crop back in Russia and the Eastern Front in general…and it’s easier to buy the pre-made trees or components to make apple trees than to try and do something more exotic like cherry trees (and not Japanese cherry trees, or poor old Anton Chekhov would really be rolling in his grave). Some copses of trees on the town outskirts and some trees on the hills too.

Preparation: a Light, Westerly wind was rolled. My troops were coming in from the Western side of the board. The Objective that I had to reach in 10 turns was the road in between the four buildings.

Turn One – my forces came on board safely, in the Northwest, travelling Southeast. My 150mm Offboard Artillery was aimed at the nearest edge of the nearest house to my forces. Before I began rolling, Peter said he had deployed badly – but when he heard I had 150mm artillery, he said it would be a quick game! (He even suggested post-game that if I had selected only 105mm artillery, then I would’ve had much more trouble breaking his troops’ Morale).

I had two pairs of 15omm guns. I rolled two hits and two misses – killing a Soviet platoon HQ base and squad straight off. A good opening for me!

Turn Two:  Now I could see some of the defenders, russians-now-in-sight right in the outer edges of the fields, closest to me. Peter had opted for an aggressive defence and deployed accordingly.  He had mortars – they rained down fire on my Company HQ as it was moving down to its intended position. The Russians opened up on my infantry with MMGs, LMGs and rifles russian-mmg-lmg-fire for a fierce 46 Fire Factors at 25cm range. He rolled a 6 to get +1, but then suffered -2 for being Conscript troops. So, in conclusion he was -1 at 40cm…I lost 7 bases, which I spread out amongst the squads. I had to test Morale for 4 squads…the overall platoon was fine but some squads were Shaken, so they hit the deck and were just going to fire back.

My 3rd Platoon also came under heavy fire, losing the Platoon HQ. I rolled a 6…-5 left me with a final result of 1…that platoon was Shaken. They also were going to stay still and just shoot back, too.

My Artillery now came down. Even though I rolled shockingly, I still wiped out all the troops concealed inside the building, forcing Peter to test Morale.

The Germans returned rifle & LMG fire, killing a Russian MMG and some grunts. The killing of the MMG was due to Peter determining that my German LMGs could target the MMG, with leftover factors carrying over onto the surrounding bases as “splash damage”. This is an unofficial decision that worked well and will need codifying somewhere…stay tuned.

The nearest platoon of Russians have had enough and began to Retreat – the first time I’ve ever got Peter to retreat! Still, the Russian Company as a whole rolls 3 Morale, so they are OK…just.

The Russian mortars come down again on my Company HQ and softskins – killing my Company HQ. For once, I roll well in testing the Company Morale in a crisis – and get 8, leading to a final result of 1. We are Shaken for a turn but still in the game.

Turn Three – No more advancing for me – I’m Shaken so can only stay still and fire back. I disembark the four 120mm Battalian Support mortars out of the surving Opel Blitzes – they can fire on Turn Five. The 251/1C in front of the Opel Blitzes that I was using to make a FAO mobile  kills off some Russians with its LMG, so the other Russian bases near it surrender to me.

One of Peter’s platoons continued its retreat fleeing-russians but sadly for them they ran into my 150mm Artillery Barrage and were all killed.

Turn Four – I can move again! I had set up my company 81mm support mortars last turn and they could now fire. They missed. His mortars killed off a LMG base attached to my Company HQ teams.

Turn Five – I decided to change my Offboard Artillery fire from Pre-determined as I wanted to silence his mortars and so I had to roll to Call Down my Artillery onto a new target. I succeeded and silenced one of the Russian mortars, but his Mortars hit my 120mm Mortars whom are forced to flee off the table (they were right next to it).

I roll my Company Morale again – a 3 – leading to a Retreat. Game Over. I was so close this time to forcing him into a Retreat and winning…arghhhhh.

Here’s a photo of the FAO in the 251/1C directly fighting Russian infantry: fao-and-softskins-advancing

This time I had remembered everything.  Smokescreens, the lot.  It was him hitting my Company HQ so early on that prevented me winning…I must place them somewhere safer, not on a wing, and certainly not let them start high on a hill where they can be seen and mortared!

The extremely useful On the Way! website is back, hopefully for good. Supported by it’s creator Doug Chaltry (he of the Doug Chaltry technique, if you’ve read my earlier posts) as well as plenty of wonderful helpers.

If you’re doing wargaming in 1/72 or 1/76 and you’re buying model kits to do it,  On the Way! should be immediately added to your Bookmarks or Favourites.

The Devil is in the detail; time consumption is in painting detail. My wisdom for you all – you’re welcome to it. It explains why those Opel Maultiers are crawling along; the tarpaulins were given a fantastic-looking finish yesterday and today the bogies and suspension were being carefully painted. Once that’s done, I can do the chassis and undercarriage and all that mostly unseen stuff, with my home-made blend of Vehicle Undercarriage, which is really just some Brown ink, Boltgun Metal and Chaos Black all mixed together.

Yesterday, those Revell Tiger 1 E’s and an Italeri StuG III G were undercoated with Chaos Black spraypaint (not as thickly, this time – I’m trying an experiment. Next time I’ll use even less). Tankoberg was all set to start production again and I was going to begin glueing all of them together. I decided not to, though. I want those Opel Maultiers off my table, and that Schwimmwagen too. So, the StuG began production. What a lovely kit it is to work with. It’s been reviewed fairly favourably, although there has been some comment that too much is already moulded on. While I agree that a lot has been moulded on, at least it’s been done extremely well! I’m looking forward to the finished product. The tracks and wheels are causing a little consternation – I’m not sure about the return rollers and their position in relation to everything else. I guess I’ll see when I commence track assembly.

The little Schwimmwagen is getting close to having all it’s basics and details done, so that I can finish it by applying the three-colour camouflage pattern. Again, it’s time-consuming detail that I was working on. I also consulted my books for information about the grills to the rear of the unit, and how the canvas folding roof worked. The driver is long finished. He’ll go in, then the steering wheel; touch up the paint for the steering wheel, then camouflage, then done.

The SdKfz 11 had the first stage of an extensive dust coating applied.

Being in a productive mood this weekend, I also decided to begin making some more terrain / scenery. I prefer the term terrain rather than scenery…for me, scenery is what you make for a model railway – something static. Terrain is what you make for wargaming – it’s practical and gets used. I carved up some sheet styrene into a small thicket, a big thicket with room for a fallen tree trunk, a duckpond/village pond and lastly a larger pond/small lake. I used an Olfa cutter for this. Since I make my terrain to be modular, the thickets are two layered – if a unit moves onto the terrain, I take the first layer off, so they don’t damage the lichen or whatever I have stuck there. I’ve got bags and bags of lichen, so it’s time to get some more of it onto the wargaming table. I undercoated the smaller thicket with some basic house acrylic in brown and then gave up for the weekend.

Yesterday those two Fujimi houses had individual bricks picked out using pure Terracotta. The result was great – giving a reasonable imitation of brick houses at Oradour-sur-Glane.

Well, Second World War miniature wargaming using the 1/72 scale.

The rules that cause me to adopt certain conventions for my efforts is Panzerfaust – Armoured Fist (4th edition, revised). You can now get those rules for free! Follow the link above, scroll down past the Statistics section and there, in Files, you’ll find the PDF. As a bonus, Peter even adds:

“This is the pdf for the rules. I give permission for anyone to download this pdf. Feel free to share with friends.”

Kit management

July 20, 2008

I finally finished applying the Doug Chaltry technique to the tracks of the Opel Maultiers as well as a SdKfz 11 halftrack that I got when I bought ESCI’s “Don: the long retreat” 1/72 scale diorama set. I bought that diorama set new from a little shop I know. I bought it in order to get the KV-1 and Russian Infantry out of it, as back then I was going to be playing Russians. Instead, I’ve ended up playing Germans, so I’ve ended up using everything out of that diorama set, as it also held German Infantry, the SDKfz 11 and an Opel Blitz (which you’ve already seen and read about earlier).

I’ve also being painting up a Hasegawa Schwimmwagen I picked up last month at that swap-n-sell I went to. It’s a fun little vehicle and I even successfully kitbashed an extra rest/brace for the LMG, after ruining the first brace, successfully improvising a replacement, then making a second brace. It’s been well coated with Desert Yellow – today I was beginning the detail, being the seat covers, tyres, LMG and canvas canopy. I was originally going to do the interior with Kommando Khaki – many German AFVs had light buff tan interiors, according to Panzer Colours 1 by Culver & Murphy (Squadron/Signal pubs.), but this is not really an AFV, so I just made it Desert Yellow as per the exterior.

I’m beginning to digress – with those Maultier tracks finished, I was able to begin working on the rest of the vehicles, touching up the exterior Desert Yellow including fine detail spots, then fix the Bestial Brown job on the tray. The tarpaulins on the back got Catachan Green, but will have a patchy Desert Yellow coat applied, to represent the spraypainting of tarpaulins.

All this piecework means that I have lots of kits on the go, as I can only do a little work on each, then leave them for periods to dry properly. With it being winter here, drying periods are longer. So, I’ve decided to have lots of things on the go, rather than just working in five minute spurts two or three times a day, which I feel wastes the rest of my leisure time. Thus, today I opened up four of those Revell Tiger I Ausf. E’s and washed the sprues, to prepare them for undercoating and assembly. I’ve also being working on some more scenery. I was given a couple of Fujimi 1/76 kits for my recent birthday by the mighty President of Nunawading Wargames Association. I can use some more houses – I’d love to do a skirmish between infantry companies in a sizeable village, with lots of house-to-house combat…so I’ve been having to mix up some brick colours to match the ruins from the tragic town of Oradour, which I’m using as my reference point.

So, I’ve got a Schwimmwagen, Schwimmwagen driver, 3-ton SdKfz 11 halftrack, three Opel Maultiers, two houses all on the go, with four washed Tiger sprues drying out. Time management? Sort of. I prefer “kit management”.

The above are the completed PaK 38’s by ACE. Crew figures were from Pegasus Miniatures’ Mortar sets, Italeri and one odd bod that I purchased as part of a collection at a Swap&Sell. They have turned out pretty well – definitely painting, basing and adding crew makes them more attractive. Here’s a close-up:

You can see all six photos over at my Flickr account.

Time for a final gripe, though – while flocking, three of the six wire handgrips that I had to supply myself came off the gun struts – one off each gun. I gave up and decided that all three guns will have to be “battle-damaged”, becuase I wasn’t going to try to go through the rigmarole of glueing and painting new ones on.

I’m looking forward to trying the Italeri ‘PaK 40 with Servants’ kits I’ve got.