2 weeks back Peter and I met for our third game of the year. The period was Autumn, 1942. The scenario was Breakthrough, with Peter’s Russians attacking (breaking through) my defending Germans. The sky was clear and there were light winds. Here’s the map: … a crossroads with hamlets and houses nearby.

No-one had any aerial forces, so we got straight into it.

Turn 1: The Russians call down a smoke barrage on the wrecked T-34 at the crossroads, neatly obscuring the vision of the PaK-40 I had dug-in behind it. Some recon forces came on to the table:  – T-34s were proxying T-70’s.

Turn 2: The T-70’s continued to probe forward: .

Turn 3: Now all the Russians came on to the table. T-34/76’s and KV-1’s. The smoke barrage was continuing: so my central PaK-40 couldn’t see them. They rumbled down the main road but also through the fields and trees beside it: – my PaK on the left flank found a T-34/76 going right into his bore-sighted path, so it fired and knocked it out of action .

Turn 4: The scouting T-70 on the far right sights the PaK-40 I placed over there. As the KV-1’s on that side break through the treeline, that PaK-40 knocks out a KV-1, which happened to be a Platoon Commander’s vehicle! Good! But over on the left, the T-34/76’s let rip with their hull MGs and my PaK-40 there is out of action. My mortar section try to rain death onto any tank riders, but their aim is off.

Turn 5: The Russians have to grind on if they are going to break through. One body of vehicles pushes past my dead PaK: .

Since I wanted to get my central PaK into action, we had a look at the rules about traversing infantry guns during a game. We were surprised to see some infantry guns could be fired whilst their crews were trying to shift them into new positions! We had to clarify the rules there and then for traversing mid-game: for a size B gun, the first 30 degrees of traversing is free…you can movie it and fire it without penalty. If you traverse it between 31-45 degrees from the original position, you can fire it but you suffer -2 penalty to hit. If you are trying to move the gun more than 45 degrees from it’s original  position you can do so but cannot fire it that turn.

So, back to the game; my right flanking PaK-40 hits a KV-1 and Stuns it, but is LMG’d to death by the rest of the KV-1 company. My mortars on the left flank wipe out a squad of tank riders through some accurate aiming. My infantry kill a few more. My remaining PaK-40 – the middle one, who was trying to traverse so that they could be useful – have to check Morale due to the losses of my other AT guns and fail, so they surrender to the Russkies.

Turn 6: Soviet movement is strong . They push hard and run over the dug-in Germans. All the Germans can  do is try to kill tank riders and weaken Russian morale. For the central force of Germans, their AT Rifles are useless against these medium tanks’ side armour so all that they can do by is pick off Russian infantry riding on the passing tanks. The Russians lose another squad as the Germans do so, but their Morale holds and the tank MGs cut down German infantry.

Turn 7: A lucky German infantryman kills the Soviet infantry company commander who’s riding on a tank: . The Russian Infantry check their Morale and are affected -they are now Shaken. But they are on the backs of tanks, so Shaken effectively means nothing for them. The Russians grind on to their breakthrough point and begin to exit the table  – they’ve won . My infantry are unable to stop them. Another victory to Peter.

~~~~~

It was also scenery-making night at the club that night. Here’s a mate making terrain for Stalingrad and the Eastern Front…burnt-down Russian hovels, where only the chimneys remain… .

Undercoating to final protective Dullcote varnishing took less than a year – booyah! It was April 2009 when I started. It was January 31 2010 when I finished. They look better than I thought they may, too! Have a look for yourselves:

Some detail of the anti-tank gun platoon commander and his gun: 

In “Panzerfaust: Armoured fist” I can have a platoon of three 7.5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 40’s attached to an infantry company or I can purchase a platoon of four 7.5 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 40’s from a tank hunter battery. That’s why you see four bases of guns. Due to gun size, a crew of four is required. Now, in the Italeri box for this kit (#6096) you get six crew figures, so you are safely covered here. Mixing up the final pose (I only used one crew figure holding binoculars) means I have some sets of spare gunners for other projects.

I’m very happy with the way the camouflaged reversible winter parkas turned out. However, for when I do some Panzergrenadiers, I’ll do the Splinter camouflage pattern a little differently. I think that I have made the green patches/streaks too big on these figures. Have a look:

The Dark Green is the same size as the Dark Brown.

Now have a look at what Richard A. Underwood Militaria advertise. The Dark Green is half to one-third the size of the Dark Brown and are more like stretched hexagons rather than long streaks or long stripes. That is what I have to do for the Panzergrenadiers.

Some quick notes about the scenic effects for the guns that make them look like vignettes or dioramas: I used coarse turf in two colours instead of flock for the thick longer grass. I used Earth Blend flock for the churned-up ground where the crew are working. Woodland Scenics turf and flock are my ‘weapons of choice’.

I used real sticks / twigs found while walking or trout fishing for the logs that each gun is hiding behind.

A quick complaint about the PaK 40 guns themselves – their gun elevation is not 0 degrees or positive degrees – they are all pointing down slightly, their elevation is negative degrees. I suppose you could put some extra stuff under their wheels to raise each gun and get rid of this effect – I didn’t think of it until now – but it would’ve been nice if they had been made properly from the start. Still, for those who haven’t assembled and begun painting yet, you’ve got the chance to take my warning and correct this slight defect.

Some time ago I started serious work on Italeri’s “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit.

Since that post I had finished painting the four guns in DunkelGelb in Spring and left the crews to the side, as I was also going to do some crews for IG-18 field guns (7.5 cm leichtes Infanteriegeschütz 18) at the same time. Well, being a wargamer, I fall victim to regular bouts of “start something else on the side” disease and so decided to get these PaK 40 guns & crews painted, based, flocked and in play before July 2010.

I took off the sprue and removed all flashing from all six crew and then settled on four (as that’s what the Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist rules mandates for a gun of that size). Then I started painting.

Now, please click on this link to see all six crew that you get with the kit.

From the top row, I’m using #1 and #3 from the left. On the bottom row, I’ve chosen to paint up three of #1, all four of #2 and one of #3 from the left.

If you look closely, you’ll see that they are all warmly dressed. Bottom row #1 is in greatcoat and top row #3 has a balaclava or some sort of woollens around his neck. That means that I have to paint them as if all are in snow or a cold climate.

The crew whom aren’t in greatcoats are wearing a parka or jacket of some sort. Since I’ve already done troops in the reversible ‘mouse” suits, I wanted these later -war soldiers to have cammo. I decided to go and look at re-enactor suppliers and also my history books. Richard A. Underwood Militaria has this. Epic Militaria has this, which is great, but then there is also this. My book seemed to indicate that often it was the latter of Epic Militaria’s cammo smocks that were worn…ones without hoods.

You can’t see it clearly back on at Plastic Soldier Review, but these figures have smocks or parkas with hoods and also with distinctive drawstrings. So, it seems I’ll be painting my Splinter Camouflage uniforms with white drawstrings, as this best fits the Winter clothing Italeri has dressed these chaps in. Even though those winter outfits were reversible to snow white, I’m having all-cammo-out, because I can. Hah!

It’s nice that one two of the figures have greatcoats. Variety is a grand thing. Sadly, the picture I have in a book which I think Italeri has based this kit on doesn’t feature anyone in greatcoats…they are all in the reversible parkas, some with matching leggings and some not. All have reversed their clothing so the snow white side is on the outside. All wear the 1943 field Cap too (Einheitsfeldmütze).

***

Paul has concluded (for now) his Opel Blitz review and he has selected the leading product for wargamers to assemble, paint and use. Read his decision here.

Still 4 weeks of Spring left, but today is the second day of over 30 degrees…in fact, looking at the MelbinYewni real time temperature graph, today got to just over 34! This means it’s time to think about doing lots of wargames terrain / wargames scenery, as there will be the heat to cure and dry everything thoroughly and promptly.

I’ve made a start: the three telegraph posts from an old ESCI Diorama Accessories set have been assembled, based and given some lumpy earth around their bases…ready now for painting.

I finished off a platoon of PaK 36 anti-tank guns with crews, plus that ICM Krupp truck, so that they wouldn’t bother me and so that “Operation Barbarossa” next year will be a reality. The PaK 36s are from Fujimi, the crews are the one worthwhile figure from the Fujimi set the gun comes in, a chap from the  Revell  Fallschirmjägers and one of the two ESCI / Italeri Sd. Kfz. 251/1 crew. Photos: PaK 36 teams & truck PaK 36 gun & truck .

Some more comments about the ICM Krupp L2H143 Kfz 70 kit…it turns out pretty well and looks great painted. I opted to have the MG 34 on a pintle mount in the rear tray option, to fit in with the Kubelwagen Type 82 which also had pintle-mounted MG34. I don’t like the decals that ICM provided for this kit, though. There is too much excess clear decal surrounding the rear number plate, and even drybrushing with Kommando Khaki as a coat of dust didn’t help…in fact it made it worse and drew attention to the excess. There was also far too much excess on the front number plate – which is meant to wrap around a front bumper bar which is probably only a milimetre wide. Stupid! It wrapped but wouldn’t glue. I know some modellers add a special glue under any decal they apply, but I don’t have that glue and don’t think it should be necessary. The front number plate decal’s glue didn’t hold and so the whole thing popped off during drybrushing. A shame. Sorry ICM, sorry Roden, but I’m not having much luck with your decals.

Now, Fujimi’s product is meant to be 1/76 scale, but it isn’t. Let me clarify…the house probably is, but the figures and PaK gun supplied with it are definitely 1/72 scale or even larger…possibly even 1/70 scale! Anyway, only one figure from that product is worth using with the anti-tank gun because the others are even worsely sculpted and moulded than the figures Hasegawa provide with their WWII AFVs. Hence why each PaK 36 base I’ve done has figures from other manufacturers to make up the two-man crews that Panzerfaust: Armored Fist requires.

Lastly – a couple of Battlefield Accessories wall sections (enough to make two simple houses) have been assembled and are being painted, along with a Faller German, Austrian or Swiss log cabin that I bought at a model railroad shop.

Oh, and there’s a Wespe and that other Kubelwagen still in Tankoberg…but I’m feeling the time is nigh to make a caulk creek / stream following the laws laid down by Nikolas Lloyd.

 

 

Tankograd had four more come off the production line. Here they are:

251 234 263 and Kubel

From left to right: a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 251/22, a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 234/3, a Hasegawa Kubelwagen and lastly a Roden Sd. Kfz. 263. The Kubelwagen comes from the Hasegawa ‘Kubelwagen & BMW Side-car’ kit (MT-12) – the rest are stand-alone kits.

The 251/22 was a great kit to complete. The only trouble I had was with assembling the mount for the PaK 40 anti-tank gun. I included a loader holding a PaK 40 shell – he comes from the Italeri “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit. The PaK 40 shell is tipped in black – designating it as an AP shell.

The 234/3 was straightforward and lots of fun. Nearly all my comments about the Hasegawa 234/2 apply to it. I included a loader for it too, another figure from the Italeri “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit. That particular figure is sitting down andjusting the gun elevation, so he is molded with an elevation wheel in his left hand. I cut it out and glued a PaK 38 shell there in its place – the shell being surplus from the Roden PaK 38 kits I did some time ago. That shell was tipped with white, designating it as HE.

The Kubelwagen was problematic. I painted up the driver seperate to the rest of the vehicle – and then couldn’t fit him into place once he was finished. The steering wheel had to be removed; the machine gun mount and machine gun mount supports had to be re-done (and new supports kitbashed from leftover parts from old sprues). I learned my lesson – glue any drivers into place first and then paint, which is what I’m doing with the ICM Krupp truck.

The Roden 263 wasn’t too hard. I think their decals didn’t work so well for this kit. The large aerial overhead frame was fiddly but turned out OK. There was also a bit of flash on the sprues that needed some careful scalpel-work.

The Kubelwagen and the 263 got standard Dark Grey with heavy dust coats, for the start of “Barbarossa”:  263 and Kubel front 263 & Kubel rear

The 251/22 got my first attempt at a ‘ambush’ paint scheme. I gave it the same paint scheme as per the notes in my Jagdpanzer 38 “Hetzer” book by MBI. Sure, it’s a little bit stylised, but I love it! The 234/3 got a simple disruptive pattern in Citadel’s Goblin Green. I went and added some foliage – Woodland Scenics’ lichen. 251 234 front 251 234 rear

So, just gotta get them bikers done and the Recon game can happen…

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.

One, then the others

June 20, 2008

For much of the time I’ve been working on these Maultiers, I’ve been assembling them simultaneously. Since I’m now putting major parts together and building up the caterpillar track drive system, I’ve decided to only forge ahead on one, so that I can make sure I’m doing the right thing (and can quickly enact changes if not). Then the other two can be (hopefully perfectly) assembled.

A problem: the bogies wouldn’t fit on their axles. Out came the mini-drillbits and the scalpels to drill and resize everything so that I had a snug fit. It was time-consuming because I had to be very careful with whittling down the axles with the scalpel…I didn’t want to have to deal with breakages and heavy re-glueing, as discussed in my previous post.

Painting up the PaK 38 gun crews and 120mm mortar crews is moving swiftly and smoothly.

As an unhistorical aside, I’m debating about going to see Mongol. I have high standards ever since seeing Jing ke ci qin wang / the Emperor and the Assassin. But – I haven’t been to the movies for a while, so perhaps I should…

On parade

June 1, 2008

Yesterday I took some photos of the completed A Company. Not only was the lighting good, but both the regular uniforms and the winter “mouse-suits” came out perfectly. Judge for yourself:

A Company, German infantry from the Eastern Front, suitable for 1941-1943

Here’s a close-up of one platoon:

Close-up - German infantry - especially showing the \"mouse-suit\"

From another angle:

From a different angle, showing prone and upright soldiers

You can see all of the photos over at my Flickr account.

Last year I purchased a secondhand, unwanted HO scale railway station from one of my favourite hobby suppliers. The maker is AMRI – I think they are long out of business, but they produced a lovely railway station circa 1930-1950’s Melbourne. I decided to assemble it and then add lots of bomb damage, in order to use it in games re-enacting the battles over Mga station.

First though, the kit had been in it’s box a bit long and long parts of it were slightly bent. I decided to fix it’s slight warping by gently heating the curved parts under the grill. This promptly completely melted the roof beyond repair (bad pun), so I put the rest of it aside in anger and frustration. Over the last nine months, I slowly picked it up again, decided to have a second go, glued it together, added bomb damage by using side cutters, then slowly painted it. It was completed on Friday, and has turned out extremely well – see here:

The bombed railway station

It takes bases/teams for Panzerfaust Iron Fist extremely well:

Railways station with Panzerfaust bases/teams

Again, more views over at Flickr.

Hopefully Peter and I can now play a scenario with it in the next month or so.

I have used Citadel paints for all this plastic work. With a supplier near my workplace and another supplier near my regular place of grocery shopping, it makes sense to. I am also in agreement with a number of others whom have commented that Citadel paints are good quality and applicable for a broad range of uses. In the past I’d used Gunze Sangyo, but when I started painting fantasy figures a few years back, chose to use Citadel as I couldn’t get Gunze Sangyo easily.

Certainly, I’ve applied Citadel paints successfully to sheet styrene, polystyrene, caulk, plastic figures, white metal figures, wire and more and they’ve done very well – however, I have learned that you can’t always undercoat some surfaces with their spraypaint (much to my annoyance).

The paints and inks mix well and I have experimented with them in order to produce the colours and shades you can see in my work. Even drybrushing was done with mixes. Usually I was blending Catachan Green with either Codex Grey or Space Wolves Grey for regular uniforms, and blending Black Ink with Boltgun Metal for various types of metals.

The bases were done with Kayak Brown house acrylic, which I also use on my hills.

So, I hope you enjoy the parade. I’ve moved on to painting up the 6 MMG teams and assembling the 3 Opel Maultiers. I’ve nearly completed painting the PaK 38’s (just drybrushing and then mud on the wheels to go) and hopefully next weekend I can begin work on the PaK 38 gun crews.

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.

Today it got it’s camouflage scheme, and tonight all final detals will be completed, then it’s ready. The other two are nearly assembled and then they can be painted. Haven’t done anything about the crews, because it makes sense to use the spare crew figures out of the Italeri PaK 40 kits.

Having finally got more flock, so flocked the rest of Company A, being 3rd Platoon and the full HQ bases.

The bombed railway station will be up for final details tomorrow; scorch marks and application of piles of ash. Yay!