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!

The UM Hetzers received their final bodywork in Tankoberg this morning and were photographed (when the bodywork was dry) at lunch. Here they are: . I’m very happy with them – just disappointed that it took me so long to finish them.

This is UM Models’ kit #UM 356, which is a Commander’s vehicle. I didn’t include the second radio mount which sits on the left side of the vehicle; I did utilise the remote-control MG and it’s shield which mercifully is included in the kit box, so you can build this kit either way.

As this vehicle began to leave Skoda and BMM (the two manufacturers) in midsummer 1944, I figured to paint it as a muddy vehicle, thus allowing it to represent the 3 seasons it was used in.

I attached the shadow/outline-disrupting foliage with ordinary PVA glue this time. My thinking was that I didn’t want to use plastic glue for it and certainly didn’t want to use any cyanoacrylate glue, as cyanoacrylate discolours surrounding paintwork meaning you have to paint the area where you use it again. PVA dries matt clear and, with the spray of Dullcote to seal & protect it, should disappear from view completely. I’m happy with the result.

I have so many tank hunter units now, more than normal tanks! I have Jagdpanthers, Marder III(h)’s, these Hetzers…I should really try to concentrate on normal Panzer III’s & IV’s, but they haven’t turned up at Swap & Sells this year! I don’t have enough of either III’s or IV’s for a platoon and don’t want to pay full price for kits either. Have to keep watching Ebay, I guess.

First game for 2009

April 11, 2009

A fortnight back, Peter and I went to NWA for a game of Panzerfaust: Iron Fist. Here’s what happened:

First thing was to set up a map for an Encounter scenario. The map agreed upon was thus: map-for-march-2009

Just a road with some hills, copses, a burnt-out forest (impassible terrain for vehicles – see earlier posts for its construction) some thickets and good grassland. A roll of the dice resulted in there being No Wind for the duration of the game. I asked that we play lengthways, rather than the traditional widthways. Since I was fielding Jagdpanthers, Peter agreed to this…even so, there was some concern that it might take too many rounds before enough tanks were in effective range to decide the outcome of the game.

I was playing with 5345 Points Value (much higher than normal) – 4 Jagdpanthers, 6 Tiger Is, 4 StuGs – that comprised one ad-hoc company. Peter had three tank companies.

TURN ONE: The objective was to reach the exact centre of the board.

Peter reckons he’s stumped about deployment, but I’m not. Any plan is better than no plan! My Tigers will take the left flank, the Jagdpanthers the copse on the right flank, and the StuGs will hold the middle (but just hold it…they can’t expect to kill much).

The StuGs and Jagdpanthers advanced to or through woods, depending on their proximity to same  jagdpanthers-using-terrain-1. The Tigers stayed in the woods and opened fire on the IS-2s that appeared opposite them. There was one hit but it bounced off an IS-2 hull.

TURN TWO: I continued to cautiously move the StuGs and Jagdpanthers forward. Another Tiger scored a hit but to no effect. The Russians moved the bulk of their threatened IS-2s to hull-down positions while three returned fire, knocking out Tiger #22. death-of-a-tiger-2 I tested Morale – all OK.

TURN THREE: Now I aggressively pushed my StuGs and Jagdpanthers forward, trying to get them into optimum firing positions. stug-platoon-moving-to-position-2 The Tigers moved cautiously. A company of T-34-85s now made their presence known, emerging from behind a wood. The IS-2s hit a second Tiger, is2s-early-taking-apart-the-tigers destroying its main gun (the mighty 88mm). To protect his comrades, that Tiger laid down a smokescreen with his smoke launchers.

TURN FOUR: The Jagdpanthers finally reached their firing position, jagdpanthers-in-position-and-commencing-firing from where they could gain a little concealment and kill the ISU-152s opposite them. The StuGs knew they had to fire a smokescreen to block the LOS (line of sight) of the ISU-152s, so they swivelled and loaded smoke shells. The Tigers moved to a better position to try to deal with the superior IS-2s. An ISU-152 killed a StuG, but the remaining StuGs successfully laid down a smokescreen stugs-lay-a-smokescreen .

TURN FIVE: Battle was now truly joined. Both sides manouvered extensively, jockeying for position.

The ISU-152s and Jagdpanthers opened up on eachother, with one Jagdpanther lost for two knocked-out ISU-152s. A second Jagdpanther was tracked. isu152s-1 The Russian Morale Check was passed OK.

The StuG platoon command vehicle was immobilised. This was bad, but there was no need for me to test the whole platoon’s Morale, just that of the command vehicle itself.

TURN SIX: The Jagdpanthers swivelled to shoot up IS-2s and T-34-85s jagdpanthers-killing-isu152s. StuGs that could advance did so and the Tigers stayed obscured by trees while they advanced.

The Jagdpanthers then experienced a savage exchange – two more were lost, including the platoon command vehicle. I checked the survivors’ Morale – Shaken. I tested the whole Company – OK.

TURN SEVEN: With more IS-2s killed, the Tigers came back into the action. My lone Jagdpanther was Shaken – so he simply held his position and fired, since he was not being forced to flee or surrender. He killed a T-34-85 platoon command vehicle t34s-mid-war-taking-fire, and that platoon became Shaken. Trying to get revenge, the T-34-85s returned fire and hit the Jagdpanther, but to no effect.

The Stalins killed another Tiger, but I rolled a strong Morale check of 11 – Fine! I was still in the game!

TURN EIGHT: Where the T-34-85s failed in killing that lone operational Jagdpanther, the ISU-152s succeeded. russians-grinding-on-to-victory I tested my whole Company – a 9 – Fine. Then the IS-2s killed my Company Command Tiger – and that was the end of the game.

RESULTS Not only did the Russians put a lot of my vehicles out of action, they got closer to the objective than I did. I got to see the killing power of IS-2s, ISU-152s and Jagdpanthers in action…those Jagdpanthers are deadly, even at long range.

I was disappointed by my Tigers vs. those IS-2s…but this was a historical outcome, the Tiger was outclassed and outgunned by the IS-2, even the early IS-2s.

Tip for the game? Use my smokescreens earlier!

All photos are over at my Flickr account.

While logging in to YouTube, it recommended the following video for me. I normally ignore these recommendations because they are usually far, far off key…but this one was good.

Modellers, take your cues from that. I liked the simple yet realistic camouflage scheme and that it had a few side skirts. But that gun…deadly.

Now, Eastern Suburbs Scale Modelling Club had their annual second-hand kit sale. Best purchase of the day for me was a platoon of UM’s Hetzers (Commander’s version) for $20 AUD. I was reliably informed by the very knowledgeable Neil G. that the external differences between this unit and a standard unit should only be an extra radio mount, so I won’t get yelled at for fielding four of these as standard vehicles.

Lastly, today was the second most intensive day spent working on the Horch 108…which isn’t saying much. I’m not enjoying building it and I’m especially annoyed that of the only piece to go missing, it had to be one that holds the gun in place on its mount. Why not a freakin’ wheel?! Got plenty of spares of those in my leftovers collection…

I don’t know why this kit has to be so troublesome. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to post a bit more on it.

So begins one of my summer terrain projects – making up lots of Russian roads for the Eastern Front.

This is following the techniques publicised by Mr Nikolas Lloyd, for whom I have great respect.

First of all, gather what’s needed: starting-tools

Sheet styrene; an Olfa cutting blade; measuring tape (not shown); caulk and caulk gun; some sprues of extra truck wheels, to inprint “realistic” tyre tracks in the surface.

Second, begin cutting the lengths and then the widths with the cutting blade: getting-road-widths-right-using-a-jagdpanther

I’ve used a Jagdpanther to get the widths correct. The roads around Leningrad during Operation Barbarossa seemed to be about 1.5 Tiger tanks wide, so making these roads about 1.5 Jagdpanthers wide should be fine.

Third, make sure what you want will fit in the carrying boxes – this is something you can easily forget about as it’s easy to get carried away while cutting/carving/shaping… can-it-fit

I’ve ensured the maximum length still has at least 1cm clearance for the smallest size box I use for carrying/storing terrain (pictured on left, with those unfinished Tigers living in them). I’ve also done three different length…while fixing up and shaping the sides later, I made a fourth length. Not everything will fit on the table.

I also made two different crossroads, two different t-intersections and two different curves/bends.

Now I need lots of caulk, so it’s time to put this aside for a day or two.

So here they are:

finished-jagdpanthers-11 –> the Commander’s vehicle is on the left…

finished-jagdpanthers-21 –> being the other three.

finished-jagdpanthers-31 –> Detail of #811, the commanding vehicle.

finished-jagdpanthers-41 –> The whole platoon.

The mud (Vermin Brown) was splattered fairly liberally on three of the four, and I took efforts to make sure it also went on the lower bits of any nearby lichen.

The photos don’t do justice to the decals, which turned out far better on this project than when I applied them to the UniModels Marder III’s that I did.

A visiting friend on Sunday afternoon was also surprised that these were 1/76, given that next to them were the Revell 1/72 Tigers that are still unfinished and in his eyes, the Jagdpanthers fitted the scale of the Tigers. So I’m very happy with this kit – quick to build (just wish the tracks weren’t vinyl one piece items!), good detail that is enhanced by a bit of modeller’s love (and careful use of leftovers) and careful brushwork. Can’t wait for them to get on the table and start reversing the Allied advance!

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My thanks to all of you for reading and commenting. I’m going to briefly indulge is off-topic banter for a moment, but before you stop reading, the next two months will involve finishing those Tigers, starting those Horchs and doing a lot of scenery (since it’ll be good and hot and the caulk should dry more quickly).

OK, stop reading now if you want.
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My thoughts go out to those whom are working to bring peace and end wars and also to those whom are helping the unfortunate. Peace on Earth, war (only) on the (wargaming) table.

I didn’t end up using 6lb fishing line to secure the lichen to those Jagdpanthers…nor did I go into heavier gauged lines that I have, like 15lbs, 25 lbs or even 35lbs. This was because I realised I wanted to have the “wire” or “rope” tied around the lichen – if I painted the fishing line with Shadow Grey first and then tried to tie the fishing line around the lichen, I knew the paint was just going to come straight off. There was no way to paint the Shadow Grey on after tying the line around the lichen first.

I realised that string would be a good substitute for rope at those scales (1:72 & 1: 76). The twine I have in my toolbox was too coarse and shedding its fibres too freely. The different balls of string I saw in newsagents were no better.

While drinking my morning cup of tea at work, I saw the solution right in front of me – to use the string from the teabag. String on teabags? If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a picture.

I saved the strings, brought them home, completely immersed them in Flesh Wash to give them a good, dark colour and let them dry. When dry, I tried using one – perfect results.

So all that remains with those Jagdpanthers is to paint on some fresh mud using Vermin Brown, then apply a coat of protective Dullcote, and they are finished.

The “felled trees” impassable-to-vehicles terrain piece is finished!

felled-ground-4

felled-ground-5

I was unconvinced that I’d done a good job until after the Dullcote was dry – I don’t know why, and I’m sure lots of wargamers and modellers probably don’t add a protective varnish coat to terrain, but I find it has a slight darkening affect but also makes the ingredients look more natural and more to scale.

With this piece, I was just going to stick to using the Dark Green Bushes…but I ent all out and even added some Forest-blend bushes as well. They turned out pretty well! I did expend all my “useful” lichen, though, so I went and picked up three single packs of lichen (natural colour, light green and medium green) so I can work on some big hills over Christmas (more about this another time).

Here’s two Jagdpanthers so that you can see the camouflage patterns / scheme that I used: jagdpanthers-close-to-finish

Today I finished all the annoying details and applied the decals. Tomorrow is just fixing up the remaining odds & ends with Desert Yellow and then I can do the weathering with Kommando Khaki.

The Tigers also had all detail finished and will get final Desert Yellow touching-up tomorrow, but I didn’t get up to decals. I really want to finish these Jagdpanthers, so I’m driving hard (bad pun, I know) to finish them first, so that the Tigers can get more care (because I can use them more in games).

Jagdpanthers, trees and wire

December 10, 2008

The one thing I neglected to mention about camouflage for the Jagdpanthers is that because the Allies had air superiority by the time Jagdpanthers were entering service, many German vehicles had additional camouflage added to them by draping or securing tree limbs and branches to them, to further break up their silhouette.  This certainly happened to Jagdpanthers – there is plenty of photo evidence of them having foliage draped over them to break up their shape and also to provide localised camouflage so that they could be used in ambushes, which was an effective tactic for these tank hunters.

I’m going to replicate this by glueing lichen to my completed models and then securing the lichen to the vehicle hull with 6lbs fishing line, to represent wire, which was often used for that purpose.

So, once I’ve finished the fine detail and corrected any mistakes, the glue comes back out, lichen and fishing line get glued on, any last mistakes are fixed and then lastly on goes the Dullcote and then they get “blooded” in a game.

I’ve provided a scan of Revell’s own painting instructions for these Jagdpanthers:

The colour code is as follows: revell-jagdpanther-paint-scheme-suggestion

  1. A = “Matt Sand”, #16
  2. B = “Lake Green”, #48
  3. C = “Matt Brick”, #37

and those names and numbers are for Revell’s own line of paints.

The reason I posted that scan is to show some more Jagdpanther camouflage schemes / patterns…not stripes, not mottling (still not exactly sure what mottling really is) and not plain DunkelGelb. I suppose more of a disruptive scheme?

…but my Jagdpanthers do.

The Revell / Matchbox Jagdpanthers are nearing completion. That means that they now have a completed camouflage paint scheme / pattern on them and I’m just doing the little details like painting stowage and overpainting  errors.

I did some reading to see what sort of camouflage patterns and colours were used on these tank hunters. I found a drawing of one that had been with GrossDeutschland, but it was just in DunkelGelb (Dark Yellow) with a partial coat of whitewash, as winter camouflage. The other drawings all had many different patterns (as well as another with just plain DunkelGelb) but stripes of colours (in parallel, mostly on an angle) was the majority of patterns I found.

I have found extremely little on how long GrossDeutschland may have had Jagdpanthers…my guess at the moment is that probably as little as two or three months. (Those out there who know – I’m happy to be corrected). Now, it wasn’t going to be fun to have plain old DunkelGelb vehicles…that’s already being done with my StuG III’s, will be done with those Horch FlaK heavy cars and to some degree with my as-yet-unpurchased Panzer IV’s.

So, I selected a scheme for a vehicle that was operating on the Eastern Front but labelled as “Unit unidentified” and decided to paint a platoon of them. It had parallel stripes on an angle,  similar to this vehicle. However, the difference was that the colour stripes didn’t simply alternate between green and brown, but instead had a repeating pattern of green-green-brown with one green stripe being bigger than the other.

This also gave me a chance to try out the new-ish Citadel ‘Foundation Paints’. I can recommend the Orkhide Shade! It makes a nice alternative to using Dark Angels Green for green camouflage.