I finished my platoon of Revell Panzer IIIs. The lead vehicle (in the centre of the photos) is the Panzer III L kit, the rest are Panzer III M kits, identifiable by their exposed rear exhausts: .

I also finished two Krupp trucks – the ICM kit version, with the very-accurately-detailed but very-prone-to-breaking-even-while-on-the-sprue axles, exhaust pipes and other fine tubes: .They were joined by the first of the  same kit I assembled and painted some time ago.

After taking these photos and preparing to store these vehicles, I realised that these were the most weathered/dustiest vehicles I’ve done to date. Other trucks and tanks, even those meant to be from “Barbarossa”, are not as dusty as these. This means I’ll have to cut back on the weathering/dust application with other vehicles that are for “Barbarossa” (but not these makes & models).

If questions are asked, I’m going to explain it away as saying this platoon and the trucks were travelling together as a group down the dustiest road on the hottest day of that campaign.

Oh, you can also se a base of troops with those trucks. That is the first of two mortar platoon HQs. I haven’t started the second one as they are low priority.

PS. The next game Pete and I will play is going to be a re-run of our last game. We both enjoyed it very much.

This final experimental batch of trees made from armatures are done. Here they are, immediately after a good spraying with Dullcote to seal them: . Covering the bases with lots of glue to try to reduce the sharp and unnatural angles/contours of the film cannister lids did not quite work: but at least the coarse turf does soften those angles/contours a bit: . So, it seems to me that I’ve worked out the best techniques for preparing plastic tree armatures to become wargaming trees – simple PVA glue to affix lichen; a good spraying with watered-down PVA glue a couple of days later and then careful application of covering flock or turf is all that’s really required. Forget Hob-e-tac! Forget Clump Foliage! Trees made with those don’t survive regular handling and accidental knocking over. So, experiment and project complete.

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I bought some more Heki apple trees yesterday. I already have 6, but on the table they make a small orchard and I wanted to have either a big orchard or two small ones. I have also decided to refurbish the trees I have with very warped bases, so I’m going to do them all these trees in one big batch:  . However, I have finally finished all the fiddly gluing and preparatory painting for my Panzer IIIs and Krupp Boxers, so they will be getting full priority from now on: .

As per the previous post, Peter and I decided to explore another time and place two fridays back…the time being Spring 1940 and the place being France for our second “Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist” game of the year. Only a brief description follows of what transpired – in fact, if you want it to be really brief, Peter (as the French) won a close victory.

The board was of a French country house or manor or large farmhouse situated in the middle of a large farm:   .

The Germans attempted a central and Northern thrust using Panzers and motorised infantry:  but French armour, beautifully camouflaged, burst from the woods across the small stream and upset the German plan:   .

The centre platoon of Panzers continued forwards towards its objective whilst a flanking platoon was forced to halt and return fire  but they were surprised by dug-in, very determined and well-aged French tanks whom forced them to stop for three turns (as per the purple die you see on the table).  German mortars were so disorganised that, even though on the table for nine turns, they never actually lobbed over a single shell:  and as Panzers were slowed knocked out one by one the French actually advanced and forced their opponents to retreat:   . The game ended with the motorised infantry failing to reach the centre of the table as French machinegun fire slowli inflicted increasing casualties and broke the German morale:  . I blame my troops’ loss on all the wine and cheese they had been pigging out on the night before. If only they stuck to beer and schnitzels…

It was an extremely close game, going right up till 11.30 at night. We tried out an airstrike by a Stuka (which was successful) and had both infantry and armour on the table. Fun! Next game is going to be Operation Barbarossa.

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…

I’ve finished the assembly of ICM’s kit #72451: Krupp L2H143 Kfz.70. I’d picked it up mid-year, you’ll recall, at the IPMS Expo. This kit hasn’t been easy to work with – unlike the Sd. Kfz. 222, which I’ve already reviewed on this blog and you can find the concluding entry about it here.

Since I’ve been doing the final painting of a base of  Italeri BMW R75 motorcycles I need for this upcoming recon game, I wanted something to work on while waiting for the fiddly painting to dry.  I dusted off the Krupp last week and began work on it building it.

I loved doing the Sd. Kfz. 222…but I haven’t loved this kit. The detail of some pieces is extremely fine. In fact, two parts (front axle, bumper bar) were broken already, and the kit hadn’t even come out of it’s plastic sealed bag! The pressures on the sprue are too intense.  Some more pieces broke while cutting them off the sprue. I was careful cutting pieces free, even using ultra-sharp hospital scalpels (thanks to my inside contact).

So, there’s been attempts to fix broken parts with lots of fancy gluework (and me having to work in short spurts to escape the fumes) and some straight-out kitbashing with brass wire and cyanoacrylate superglue. Fancy gluework didn’t work for the crucial parts, leading to frustration and a number of points where I was going to give up and turn the whole lot into spares. The front axle was one of these prickly points – I ended up replacing it with brass wire and had to use lots of cyanoacrylate to get everything to finally stay solid.

Once assembled, though,  it looks pretty good. However, I’m not going to buy any more (unless they are $5 AUD each or less) and I have to recommend that this is a kit for advanced modellers only.

Oh, and by the way – Italeri have launched a new version of their website!

BZ-35 Refueller

July 5, 2009

The weather is still rather unfavourable here,  so all that happened this weekend was getting some undercoating done. I managed to get the following coated:

which leaves just two Hasegawa Pumas to go.

In the meantime, I’ve turned my attention to trying new products as well as completing a couple of kits that have been sitting around undercoated and waiting for such a “rainy day” as this.

I tried out Hob-e-tac again, doing up two Tree Armatures as Birch trees in early Autumn.  As well as using Woodland Scenics products (like those just mentioned), I found a wonderful (coarse) turf by a different company, Scenic Express, called “Early Autumn blend”. It has what I consider the perfect blend of yellow, light orange, red and woody grey colours in it. Having just gone through Autumn here, I was able to watch and compare all the Birches here with the various modelling products by these two companies. This was definitely the closest thing to reality.

The Hob-e-tac became super-tacky right on cue and easily adhered to all the Early Autumn Blend, with almost none coming off after curing…I’ll never try doing that with PVA glue, I’ll stick (bad pun) with Hob-e-tac every time. I then used some Early Autumn Blend around the base of the tree, to represent fallen leaves. The final result is a little stronger yellow than reality, but I think it’s still more than suitable.

No other terrain – no hills work this weekend.

Now, those two kits that I undercoated a while ago…they are of a Soviet BZ-35 Refueller truck. I’d already assembled and painted one up two years ago – these were put aside because 1) the kit was fiddly to assemble, 2) I had no need for any more at that stage of wargaming, 3) I had other, more important and necessary kits to work on . Which particular kit am I referring to? PST’s 1:72 kit, #72021, “Fuel Truck BZ-35”.

The kit is fiddly because not all parts are supplied – you need to provide your own “metal kernals” (their words). I’ve been using brass wire to meet that requirement. Assembly has to be done in a number of stages, more than they indicate on the instruction sheet. However, the end product, after the fiddling is completed, is very nice.

The BZ-35 is built using the same components and chassis as the ZIS-6 truck.  For Soviet WW2 information, I head to Alex’s RKKA in World War II website, which I’ve found extremely useful since I took the plunge into WW2 wargaming four years ago. He has a section on Auxiliary Vehicles which includes a page with the BZ-35 on it (as well as others). There’s a nice colour picture there to help me with painting but I also get painting hints from here and here (with this latter one, scroll down past the political message/s so you can see the heading “Trucks, pickups, buses and special trucks” and start from there).

Assembly of the two kits is halfway complete. They’ll keep me going while I finish undercoating all the other stuff – I want to start all the other stuff simultaneously, rather than doing things in dribs and drabs.

Successful Swap & Sell

June 13, 2009

Last weekend was Model Expo 2009. I was going to enter some of my Germans in the Wargaming Army competition but have pushed those plans back to next year. I did attend the Swap & Sell, which I’ve done four times.

I was able to purchase two ICM kits (as well as a fair few other things!) which will be interesting to assemble. Here’s a link to ICM’s web site.

I had been contemplating buying some of their kits to begin a Reconaissance Platoon, with SdKfz 222s. Well, I was fortunate enough to be able to buy one of ICM72411 Sd.Kfz.222 WWII German light armored vehicle.

I also purchased one of   ICM72451 Krupp L2H143 Kfz.70 WWII German light truck.

I would have purchased more of each if I could, but one of each was all that was available. Once I’ve got these Tigers finished, then I’ll be moving on to these kits.

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Oh, and as for Bing trumping Google in useage last week? Well, with all the heavy advertising across every last web page Microsoft has influence over, why wouldn’t it do so for a week? People will try it out for a short while. It’s whether they stay with it. I certainly am not.