I’ve completed the major stages of assembly of UniModel’s 1/72 scale SU-85 (or, if you are Russian, 333 UM 1/72 Самоходная артиллерийская установка СУ-85):   . It’s a well-detailed kit, but I think there must be better ways to actually assemble the kit than the way they suggest on the instruction sheet. Since this is the first of a company of 5 that I’m assembling, I’ll assemble the other 4 in a different way. The reason for wanting to do it differently is that, having followed their instructions, part fit of the superstructure to the hull was poor – out came the nail files and there was a lot of filing in order to get part fit, let alone accurate part fit. Not good. I’m reminded of some of the grizzles with assembly I had with the Marder III (h)’s of theirs that I did 4-5 years ago. So, we’ll see how the rest of them go. This one isn’t too bad, but it certainly isn’t going to be the company commander’s vehicle.

Also, I completed the Pegasus Hobbies 1/72 scale Russian Log house – Two storey (Large Karilian region izba) that I won as part of a number of job lots on eBay three years back. Mine looks like this from the front:  and like this at the rear: . It’s to scale, as you can see here, with 1/72 troops (ESCI/Italeri, in this instance):   . It’s meant to be a two-storey building, but there is no “first floor” provided, so I made one with leftover sheet styrene:  so I can have snipers upstairs if I want:  and the first floor sections easily lift out and away for when the door finally gets broken in and close-quarters combat (CQC) occurs:  . As you can see, it is a very big building. Great for diorama or scale modellers, but I think that for wargaming, it occupies too much of the tabletap. I don’t mind a factory or somesuch taking up big slabs of the tabletop, but I’m not so sure a large farmhouse (Russian: изба́) should share that right.

So, now I have a good collection of buildings by Pegasus and MiniArt for the Russian side of the Eastern Front (Ostfront):  – that should be enough for a few years.

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My Dragon 251/10’s are coming along a bit more slowly at the moment, as you have to paint the interiors before you can fully assemble the bodies:  .

 

Ah, Pegasus Hobbies Russian farm houses…I won these on eBay three or more years back. Due to ever-shrinking shelf space, I decided last month to get them assembled and painted. Here they are after Dullcoting:  .

Here they are with figures and on a proper gaming board:  . Now I have a total of three of these kits…these two kits joining my existing one as well as my existing MiniArt “East European village house” (kit MA72016). I’m getting quite a nice little Eastern European village going!

Here’s the farm houses with some troops:

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A Soviet rifle squad moves along the outskirts of the same village:   – sighting trouble, they set up their LMG:  and as quickly as possible try to pin down their opponents with a hail of bullets:  . From inside one farmhouse, a cowering village resident yells from inside his house  about the enemy sniper:  – a heavy burst sends the sniper scurrying back to the rest of his unit:  and the Russian riflemen cut down any foolish enough that flee recklessly:  . The village has been taken back!

(If you enjoyed this picture story, you’ll enjoy Bunkermeister’s work. He just finished one based on Starship Troopers).

Game report: Game 4, 2011

October 31, 2011

This game was a replaying of the game we played back in August. Nothing had changed except that the map/table had even fewer clear lines of sight (LOS) and I was able to put my completed MiniArt Eastern European House on display. Here’s an aerial recon photo: .

A few things had happened inside my army since the last game – after Peter’s explanation of the difference between Digging in and Entrenching, I had some more points to spend:

  1. The AT Rifle teams went out, Early AT Rifle Grenades were in.
  2. An extra PaK40 went in.
  3. I was only Entrenched, not Dug In.

So, to begin, we established the Weather for the day. It was a Clear day with a Moderate Westerly wind.

TURN 1: Three T-70 light tanks came on to do some recon:  . A Soviet mortar barrage drops smoke down on the crossroads  whilst 122mm artillery rain down right on top of my 81mm Mortars, but good dice rolling on my behalf saw them head down in their trenches and safe.

TURN 2: The T-70s advance. Soviet artillery and mortars continue. T-34s now come on to the table. The Soviets can see two PaK40s on their right flank: .

Stupidly my mortar crew got out of their trench or something as I rolled badly and they were all killed.

As it was likely the T-34s had seen my PaK40s, they got to work right away. They killed a T-34 and Tracked another   , a great opening for me.

Having lost my Mortars, I Test my Morale and Pass. His tank crew Fail their Test and Bail Out, with the rest of that Platoon (one tank) fleeing! Sadly, the rest of the Russians held on to their firm resolve to defeat the Fascists.

TURN 3: The fleeing T-34 passes it’s Rally Test.

The two PaK40s are LMG’d into silence  , but in doing so they pop the turret off another T-34.

Having lost half of my AT Gun Platoon, I Test the Morale of those remaining and get a 4. They are Shaken for 6 turns.

The remaining two PaK40s are on the Soviet’s left flank. As a T-70 is within range, they are forced to fire on it – and kill it  .

It’s a tense game tonight. Can I win from here? I’m denting Soviet armour much more heavily than in the previous game…

TURN 4: The Soviets successfully call down 122mm artillery on furthest PaK on the left flank. The other PaK40 sees a T-70 come within 400m of it, so they flee the gun and it’s out of the game. 9 Russian tanks now try to silence the furthest PaK40 and fail! In reply, they kill a KV1-E  . But then the shells from the artillery land into their trenches and they are lost  .

I have to Test Morale twice now. This is where games are usually lost for me. But I roll a 10 for the AT Gun crew and they are fine – I then roll another 10 for the remainders of my Company, and they are fine! Battle on!

TURN 5: The Soviets continue to advance  , racing forward as there seems to be no remaining German opposition.

TURN 6: The Soviets continue to push forward – remember, their objective is to Break Through my lines. The 122mm artillery is now called down upon one of my rifle platoons, but they are safe in their trenches.

TURN 7: It is clear that the Soviet exit point is too far from my rifle platoons with their AT Rifle Grenades  , so I declare the Soviets to have won. Peter shows me his map with the exit point on it and indeed he is safe and thus the winner.

REVIEW: It was a really tense game. I could see myself winning until halfway through turn 4. I thought I had placed my AT Guns well and they performed extremely well.

However, I chose to ignore Peter’s advice from the previous game about landmines – to my detriment. I really could have used them this time to plug some of the holes in my lines.

The MiniArt “East European village house” (kit MA72016) is complete.

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It turned out quite well, and I learned about inking this sort of building…don’t do it. Far better to roughly apply semi-dried white paint onto a basecoat of black or very dark brown, and then simply drybrush some parts of the walls with a dustry colour to simulate weathering.

I have grizzled in a previous post about the chimney. Why does it have to be made of 4 seperate pieces which need to be glued together? (If you don’t believe me about this, here’s a scan of the assembly instruction sheet: ).

Especially bothersome when the four pieces are not equally sized, causing the finished chimney to have a lopsided appearance. Now, I could have corrected it with intense filing, but I feel I shouldn’t have to. The Pegasus Hobbies Rusian house chimneys have been two pieces, glue together well and sit very nicely on the roof – I don’t know why MiniArt have chosen what they have. Perhaps it’s to do with the waythe kit is moulded and cast.

I would have liked more exaggerated detail on the roof too, to really bring out the contours and depth of the thatching when painting. But still, as you can see from the photo, the roof still looks OK.

So, it’s the end of play with this one – now I can game with it.

Oh, and I was in the city last month and saw the barn. Didn’t buy it – I really want to get this instead.

I had been wondering what to do with the walls for this house. They were already white; two good coats of Skull White over a spraypainted undercoat of Chaos Black. The question was, how to represent weathering on those walls? How to show the effects of rain, dust, wind and whitewash deterioration?

I thought that what I’d do would be to ink the walls with a brown ink and, if everything looked OK, then drybrush some more Skull White on, give it a final light drybrush of Kommando Khaki and call it quits. Having looked at my homemade ink charts (the relevant ones for this post being available for you to view here), I decided to select Gryphonne Sepia. I gave the house as even a coating as possible, and just a single coating.

When I came to it 24 hours later, it looked like this: – with the camera flash on, like this: . I’d stuffed it. The house was too brown. I stood up and swore. I’d need to do a lot of drybrushing with Skull White to get the slight patchy weathered effect I could see in my mind’s eye.

So, since then I’ve been very carefully applying 2 more coats of Skull White to cover up my mistake. It seems the better way to weather this house would be just to drybrush some Kommando Khaki on to the double layer of Skull White and leave it. No inking at all.

The next post will be about the finished product.

Last week I was able to work on the MiniArt ‘Eastern European village house’ a bit more – specifically, I could work on the roof, which was going to need a number of drybrushing coatings plus some stronger (wetter?) brushing too, in order to produce a satisfactory “thatched” appearance. The thatching is only lightly moulded, meaning that too much paint will end up with the roof surface becoming almost flat and detail being lost, unlike the roofs of the Russian houses by Pegasus Hobbies.

Having undercoated the roof with Chaos Black, I had already thoroughly drybrushed the roof with Scorched Brown two weeks ago. The first thing to do when I sat down last week was to weather that Scorched Brown coat, so I then drybrushed on a good coat of Kommando Khaki. The roof looked like this once it was dry:   . The detail is holding up well, you can still see plenty of black so the three dimensional feeling is still there; there is “depth” to it.

Then what I wanted to do was have some sections in a different colour to represent where re-thatching has taken place and the wind has exposed some of the thatching. I used Desert Yellow for this, and the roof looked like this when I put it down to dry: .

Then I wanted to drybrush it again with Kommando Khaki to reduce the clashing of the colours. This took a bit more time and I had to do it in sections to make sure the colour was evenly applied. When done, it looked like this: . Not too bad. If I wanted to, I could very lightly drybrush the idges with some grey. For now I’ll leave it and wait to see how the rest of the project turns out.

 

You’re all aware that I am working on some Panzer IIIs – well, I always try to have something else on the side to work on when the main project is drying. This time I put an awful lot on the side to keep me busy, one item being MiniArt’s ‘East European village house’ (kit #72016). I purchased this at a Swap & Sell…I believe that it’s original purpose was to be cut in half and used in a modelling diorama…I was glad to get it as I’d seen it on Hobby Terra and wondered what it was like as a kit. Buying and completing one would serve as a good test run.

Well, it’s comprised of 28 parts, which seems reasonable, all made of styrene. The roof is made of a single moulded piece of styrene. It is completely joined to the surrounding frame – it doesn’t sit on four little supporting pins like normal kits – so you have to cut the entire roof clear of the rest of the ‘sprue’. Not a problem for me as I have a good Olfa cutter, but it means that all the detail of the thatching on the end of the roof is lost….you have to recreate it once you’ve cut the roof clear. I used my scalpels to do that.

There are four walls and a floor. There are options for two doorways (not sure why as the box art and box photos suggest these only had one entrance/exit – probably because of moulding convenience) so you cut away the indicated tab on the wall and put the closed door in it’s door frame over it. The window shutters are all single pieces. Everything glues together well:  except that I had some trouble with the chimney.

The chimney is four identical pieces that you glue together and then glue in place on the horizontal part of the roof. That sounds straightforward enough, doesn’t it? Well, even when assembled, it’s still the smallest part of the kit! It’s also the worst-formed or worst-cast, so it doesn’t glue together equally. Here’s how mine ended up looking when complete:  . I used extra glue as subsitute filler to try to minimise the gaps between each piece. It also didn’t sit flatly on the horizontal part of the roof – it leans a bit to one side.

Pegasus Hobbies’ Russian buildings feature two piece chimneys which assemble very simply, very neatly and sit flatly in comparison. I’m not sure why MiniArt wanted to make the smallest part of their kit so detailed and so complicated? I’d rather they had put crisper, slightly more exaggerated detailing into the thatching on the roof…I’m going to have to paint the whole roof using drybrushing the entire time, methinks, in order to preserve the ridges and troughs that will provide natural shadowing.

All this being said, I’ll still buy more of these kits if I see them. The chimney can be dealt with by a more careful examination previous to getting out the glue than I gave. Some careful cutting and filing would make the chimney perfect, with some extra filing once glueing is finished. They are a nice counterpoint to the Pegasus kits and reasonably priced, too. They are true to scale and if, like me, you don’t glue the roof in place, the roof lifts off easily so you can do house-to-house combat. A good product and worth the cash…just a little more examination and effort needed with some parts prior to assembly than with Pegasus’ kits.