Trainee Funker was not obeying any orders for a while during last saturday morning and I nearly didn’t get to go to Bayonet Military Model Club’s modelling competition & swap ‘n sell YET AGAIN…however, he finally responded to discipline and so I was able to hit the Western Ring Road and Princes Highway down to Werribee.

The trip is worth it for the B-24 Liberator alone. Here are my photos – approaching the restoration hanger (the competition and swap ‘n sell is inside, along with the plane):  , and now inside, looking at real, restored history:  ,  ,  ,  ,  , some of the business purposes of the vehicle –  , great campaign pitch  – hard to say ‘no’ to that!,  ,  , “pilot to gunner!” –  ,  ,  ,  , again the business reasons –   , their contact details on their advertising trailer if you want to find out more:  .

I scored pretty heavily at this swap ‘n sell:  .

  • 2 T-34/76’s (in 1:76 scale, though) to add to my existing 8 which gives me a complete company;
  • 2 250/9’s which added to my existing kits now gives me two platoons and a spare of these recon vehicles;
  • 2 recovery KVs for particular scenarios;
  • 3 KV-2’s which, if I add to my existing 3, gives me more than a company. But the first three KV-2’s I assembled and painted weren’t painted very well, so I might just give them to Trainee Funker when he’s older and start afresh with these;
  • 3 ISU-152s to add to my existing three which gives me a company plus a spare;
  • a total of five KV-1’s (there is no real difference between these two kits) which is a whole company straight off. I already have a whole company of KV-1’s, in the same situation as my KV-2’s. Two companies? Or one for me and one for the Trainee?

Pretty darned good, if you’ll agree. Plus, all those PST kits were a paltry $5 each, all sealed and in perfect condition. So, $65 bought 13 kits. All the above cost a total of $99.

Here are ‘drool’ photos of some of what was available:  (a fair whack of this stuff can home with me – this was taken upon my arrival at the venue);  ; wow, 1/ 6 scale stuff!:  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; even 1/1 scale stuff for re-enactors…  .

A great way to spend a morning. See some real history and buy some small-scale plastic replica history. Thanks for organising it, Bayonet Military Model Club, and I hope to attend every year from now on!

I bought Fujimi’s “Diorama Accessory” as a Christmas Present to myself a couple of years back, as I had an idea at the time about using the footbridge contained therein. When I opened the box, I decided that the footbridge was not suitable and that I would have to make a footbridge myself. This is something I still plan to do!

I’ve been trying to make some space on my shelves (the unbuilt kits are accumulating rather quickly) so I decided to undercoat the rest of the box’s contents that are immediately useful and shove the rest in the spares box. The only thing I deemed immediately useful were all the jerrycans…but then I thought it’d be fun to add some tents to a fixed HQ – so I undercoated the tents along with the jerrycans.

Then, because I was waiting for glue to dry while assembling all the StuGs I mentioned some time ago, I went and painted the tents. Here they are, in differing levels of sunlight:       . The colours are all fine – the camouflage pattern is not so fine. The camouflage is meant to be that of the Zeltbahn Splinter A type…I’ve sort of magnified it and then tried to have it repeating across the whole tent. Lots of room for improvement…but you never know until you have a go…

Whilst waiting for glue or various paint applications on the Wespes to dry, I’ve been working on two buildings suitable for railway stations or a rail yard – an engine maintenance/storage shed and a water tank:   .

Here’s detail of the water tank, which was 75% scratchbuilt:    . The ladder, iron/wooden frame and half of the floor of the watchtower/look-out came from the Fujimi House & Look-out set (kit #360379). The rest came from my spares box and my terrain-building materials. The cylindrical tank is PVC pipe left over from when I had to do some plumbing repairs; the roof is sheet styrene which I carefully carved with scalpels to fashion planks and represent wood detail; the floor is just a square of sheet styrene and the pipe is a piece of left-over sprue. I did some grinding to get the angled sheet styrene roof to fit on the PVC pipe, but the rest was straightforward and everything was glued together with plastics glue. Easy!

Why such an angled roof? Well, to prevent snow from building up and crushing it. Straightforward physics. I also hoped it would add a nice Eastern European feel to it…

The engine shed is something I bought secondhand from a model railways shop I frequent. Here’s the detail:     .

Both the engine shed and the water tank have turned out really well.

This is the first time I’ve used a wash. I used Badab Black from Citadel in order to give the roof tiles a more realistic colour and also to give both buildings a coating of coal-dust/soot. I also hoped that it would also bring out the details on the bricks, which are not very distinguishable on this kit. I certainly wasn’t going to try to paint in the mortar separating them! They are too fine and not prominently raised and seperated for such finicky painting detail. A wash did a better job by instead bringing up the shadows.

You’ll notice that I have still done a little drybrushing here and there to represent dust build-up and to provide contrasting. I originally wasn’t going to, but in fact it adds the third dimension to the pieces.

I’ve got a second one of these engine sheds to do and that will be some of the next few posts that I make – how to get the same colour and contrasts as I’ve got here.

As an inventory check, I’ve got enough railway tracks to go over a 6-foot board and a couple of extra feet distance too in curves; I’ve got a bombed railway station; I’ve got a water tank and an engine maintenance/storage shed with another shed having its paintwork commenced in the next day or two. Not bad!

Four good lots located in the USA came up on EBay late last month. With the Aussie Dollar almost on par with the US Greenback, I decided to bid well & bid hard on  them as my purchasing power was higher than usual making this an excellent opportunity. I won three of the lots. They were a mixture of assembled plastic kits, a white metal truck & gun and some resin vehicles. Here’s a photo of all three lots combined:  . All three require some work, but that’s fine. They are all resin or pre-assembled, so some of my work has been done for me! The work they need is mostly minor repairs. I’m going to strip the existing undercoat off all the cars and the truck & gun, and re-undercoat all the Wespes. Then everything will get my painting treatment.

I got six Wespes (a whole platoon) in one go. Sure, they have suffered some damage from storage and previous use, but nothing that can’t be fixed:  . Some glue and possibly some bits & bobs out of the leftovers/spares box should get them back to operational status. Then I’m going to undercoat all with black and do the painting my way. I’ll lose a little of their detail in doing so, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

Next were some Horch or Steyr heavy cars with what I think is a Krupp 2.5 ton truck with an IG-18 field gun:  . If you think you can tell me exactly which model of Krupp truck it’s meant to represent, please let me know via Comments. This lot and the last lot are all going to require me to buy some new cyanoacrylate glue, as they are resin or white metal kits and so my plastic glue obviously won’t cut the mustard. The Krupp truck & gun are white metal – I can’t see any manufacturer’s mark on it’s undercarriage so I can’t ascertain its providence. The windshield, tow hook, a wheel and a tray bench all need glueing.

The last lot are more heavy ccars and an armoured car:  . All are resin kits. The armoured car is an SdKfz 231. Again, some wheels need glueing. Then these two lots of resin & white metal vehicles will undergo some paint stripping so I can start painting them from scratch.

The Wespes are actually 1/76 scale, as you can see here when you look at them compared to my ESCI 1/72 Wespe in whitewash cammo:   . Again, I cannot determine which manufacturer made them…Matchbox, Fujimi…there is nothing on the undercarriage to tell me. They require more glueing than anything else I bought but I’m overjoyed to note that all the one piece vinyl tracks they came with have not deteriorated at all and so I’m not going to have to scrounge up some tracks to repair them with.

My forces just grew in a sizeable bound. Yay for EBay and the Aussie Dollar!

I took an incredible gamble that the “bridge” in the Fujimi /176 Diorama Accessory #38 might work for a quickly assembled timber bridge used for light & medium vehicles right across the Eastern Front – and lost. It’s a timber bridge for individual people only, not vehicles.

While sweeping away the cut-up pieces of bamboo skewers used to get ‘purr-fect’ Panther track sag (yes, I know, puns are very much welcomed here), I suddenly realised that I could use bamboo skewers and thin slices of 1mm sheet styrene to make a wooden/log bridge! So, I’ll do it while waiting for rivers to cure.

***

Speaking of the Panthers, I’ve finished the Doug Chaltry technique, so last parts of assembly can begin, as well as some preliminary painting.

The lead command Panther will have two crew out of hatches too. That’s going to be interesting.

The Hasegawa Kettenkrad included in the “Schwimmwagen + Kettenkrad” 1/72 scale Minibox kit turns out pretty well, as you can see from the pictures above. You can also see three ESCI telegraph poles from their Diorama Accessories kit. Those telegraph poles are certainly better than the Fujimi ones! Much more detailed and realistic.

The Hasegawa Kettenkrad is only problematic when it comes to including the figures that are meant to be used with it. Two problems here: 1) You cannot get two blokes sitting on the back – realistically, they should be able to. I decided to go with just one passenger. Mine is packing an MG-34.    2) The fully assembled driver cannot be placed properly. I cut off much of his lower legs, trimmed & filed the stumps and his thighs and then he fitted on his seat and his posture looked mostly normal. Otherwise, it’s quick to assemble and looks pretty good.

You can read about what On the Way! has to say about Hasegawa here. In particular, Stephen Brezinski provides a comparison of Hasegawa’s Kettenkrad versus Academy’s Kettenkrad 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.

 

 

I realise that I have forgotten to mention my other photographic source for researching the colours for those Fujimi 1:76 houses…Flickr. To be precise, this photo by Britta. I know that it’s not actually a house, but when compared with photos from Oradour-sur-Glane, I can see enough to know what to use on my palette.

A mixture of the Citadel oranges, both straight and in blends,  with some darker parts done with straight Terracotta, did the job.

***

Tomorrow the caulk on the pond terrain piece should have finished setting. We’ve had glorious warm weather for early Spring…days of 25 degrees celcius and bright sunshine five days out of seven.

The caulk I’m using is already a good earthy brown, but I’m still going to go at at with that acrylic paint for houses (colour name: Kayak) and my Citadel paints.

The birthday presents are complete, Dullcoted and ready for a game. They are quick to assemble and come out looking great. Judge for yourself:

So, thanks Fujimi, you make some nice, cheap but great-looking terrain pieces. I know that you aren’t the scale I’ve chosen, but for these, I’ll make an exception. Each house almost holds two bases of Panzerfaust: Iron Fist infantry!

As well as some some straight Citadel colours, there was some blending going on, with a number of bricks individually picked out and also careful drybrushing. I have not glued the roofs on – that way they came be quickly removed and infantry bases placed there instead.

It’s been a productive weekend, because the Opel Maultiers were Dullcoted and put away at the same time as the houses. Having purchased some reference material, I’ve been kitbashing and modding the Italeri StuG IIIG that has been sitting alongside the houses. Just a couple of hours ago, the Revell Tigers began construction. Tankoberg, go!

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.