The bases of teams with panzerfausts for that Infantry company are now up to the basing and flocking stage. I spent a fair bit of time and inconclusive researching trying to determine what was the factory colour for panzerfausts. The photo evidence of panzerfausts delivered by the Wehrmacht but unused showed them to either be a green that I had not previously sighted anywhere in use, or a sort of off-white / beige. I decided to select Citadel’s Cammo Green for my panzerfausts, feeling that it was distinct enough and not wanting to try to make a blend to match a colour photo taken with a weak flash in a dark room. So, my panzerfaust teams will look like this:

That’s good enough.

The first of my StuG III’s by Italeri have come off the assembly line and are complete.

I’m doing some minor kitbashing to modify and enhance them.  Have a look at this photo:

On the back, I used leftover parts from the Roden Opel Maultiers and Opel Blitzes to make an equipment frame for the crew’s gear. This was a common field modification and some were even added in the factory. Panzer Grenadiers also found them useful as handholds when riding on the back. They were simple bits of metal welded into a crude frame.

Using leftover brass wire from the ACE PaK 38’s and my fine hand screwdriver, I added the aerial. I also wanted the vehicle to look battle-hardened, so I used my scalpels and files to remove the first plate of the left-hand-side schurzen. Schurzen plates were often lost from enemy fire or were snagged and ripped off when moving through rough scrub and rough terrain.

Lastly, I didn’t want this vehicle to have an autumn of spring look (mud everywhere), so I went for a high summer look and liberally coated it with dust. The effect is quite good. Careful observers will notice I painted in some sides of the track links being used as extra armour…again, another field modification by some crews.

I like this Italeri kit. Yes, it’s been simplified and doesn’t allow much modification but turns into a fine kit with a little extra work and love.

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.

Tonight, the remainder of Company A was taken off their blackened film cannisters and packed away with all my other German forces. Photos will, of course, be shown here soon. But for now, I’m relaxing, comfortable in the knowledge that the next time I play Panzerfaust Iron Fist, a whole company of infantry (with all options) can take the field. That means 3 platoons of 11 bases each (each platoon is 9 bases plus 2 bases for platoon HQ), plus a company HQ base with 2 rifle bases and 2 LMG bases. Flocking, Dullcoting and annotating was trouble-free. I like the basing effect I get using the fine flock, coarse flock and then bushes…this time, I alternated bushes with small clumps of lichen that were carefully selected and cut.

The PaK 38’s are being feldgrau’d. I dropped the completed one by accident. It suffered minor damage, so I will have to craft, glue and then paint another wire hand grip on one of the struts. Since I’m discussing the PaKs, I’d like to also point out that I again fell foul of the instruction sheet, which I’ve griped about before. I stuck the gun mounting on too high! I’d been wondering why it looked so odd and didn’t quite match all the photos I’d found online of actual guns…I cut it off with a scalpel. Then, using a good file, filed it and the two others so that the whole mounting would fit on properly, liberally applied glue and stuck everything together. Saved, but once again, that instruction sheet could do with improvement – maybe a second diagram of the same stage, but from a different perspective and with arrows demonstrating how it’s meant to be joined to the rest of the trailer…anyway, others who wish to buy the same ACE kit – be warned.

The MMG teams are about to be commenced, along with some gun crews for the PaK38’s. Since I’m about to slave over painting another batch of troops, I decided to glue up, paint and base all the rest of my Pegasus mortar crews too.

I haven’t forgotten the Opel Maultiers…all things in time…I’m fighting the urge off to do the Tigers, and have sworn only to do them once those Maultiers are done.

Not an ACE effort

May 6, 2008

Been a while between drinks – and right now, a Cascade Pale Ale is travelling downwards.

The ACE Models PaK-38 anti-tank gun is completed. Finally. Thank goodness. Becuase I did not enjoy any step of it’s construction. Parts where there was no pin to connect one part to another; an uneven finish (the struts don’t lie flat, so I’ll have to file down one wheel so the darn thing sits flat) and the requirement for thin wire, not included in the box, all made me glad to be finished this one, and only have two more to do.

Come Hell or high water, I’ll sell those ACE PaK-40’s and buy the Italeri ones. Oh, they may not be as detailed as the ACE one, but give a stuff! The detail DID NOT really add much to this kit – in fact, I think at 1/72, some detail should be sacrificed in order to have a kit that assembles well. I certainly don’t feel that this one really did.

Now I’ll have to paint up some crew while assembling the other two. No worries – I’ve got a whole load of MG-42 medium machinegun crews to do. The PaK gunners can join their queue.

Next AFV project? I’m due for one, after these PaKs. I’ll jump in the deep end – Tigers. Oh yeah.

By the by, I finished painting the ESCI Opel Blitz. Very quick and straightforward to assemble, took paint well, and now it sits next to the Roden one. Sadly, I now prefer the Roden! The extra detail there (wing mirrors etc.) give it a little extra life…make it look real whereas the ESCI looks like a Hot Wheels imitation.

While I wait for Tigers, I’m going to do the Roden Opel Blitz Maultiers. 3 of ’em. Winter camo pattern, here we come!

ESCI: “Gee, this has been really easy to make, and still has plenty of detail! Why couldn’t the Roden kit have been this straightforward?!”

ACE: “ARGH!!! Damn it! The actual pieces don’t have the detail on them that the instruction sheet says they should have!!! How am I meant to secure the gun barrel to the rest of the frame when these three pieces don’t have the pins on them for securing the barrel, that the instruction sheet says they should???” ………..and then, later on: “ARGHHH! Not more problems! Now I have to use pieces of wire (not supplied, of course – why the Hell would they, if their pieces don’t match the instructions?!) and I can’t get beyond the middle stage without using wire! What’s more, I can’t use any old wire….” (check my supply of wire): “Too thin!!! It’ll have to wait until next bloody weekend! Bah, not worth it, this kit! If I hadda known, I would’ve waited for and bought the Italeri kit, it even comes with gun crews!”

…done.

A whole platoon and the platoon HQ are now based. All that remains is to paint the bases a nice earth colour, glue on some flock to represent grass; glue on some model bushes, and they can be played with.

I’m very happy with the colouring, the uniforms and the amount of detail. They look far better than my Russians.

Both sets of mortars are done, too – 1 section of 81mm mortars and 2 bases of 120mm mortars. The realistic poses of the crews mean I’ll be buying more, if just to use unused crew figures to man the PaK 38’s and PaK 40’s I got in my HobbyTerra order last month.

Over in Tankoberg, I decided on the outcome of the Doug Chaltry technique on tracks painted Codex Grey compared to the outcomes on the painted Chaos Black or my Panzer Grey blend. I had bought two secondhand ESCI SdKfz 251’s, so I’ve begun applying the technique to the tracks on those, to see a working sample. I can always (and probably will) buy more 251’s…especially since Caeser Miniatures have indicated they are working on a range of 1/72 PanzerGrenadiers.