This last game of Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist (click this link to get the rules for free) for 2012 was to be an Encounter scenario, using forces most likely to represent reconnaissance forces. The date is March, 1942. The failed drive to Moscow is a fresh and sore memory.

Forces are searching for each other in the regions west of Moscow. For Weather, a 6 was rolled – Clear. For Wind, a 1 – Still.

Here’s the map/board for the night: 1 Map 1 2 Map 2

Turn 1:

The Germans 3 details 1 could already see a company of BA armoured cars that were advancing at high speed. I order to try to reach better positions before engaging, I decided the Germans would all move at Full Movement speed.

More Russians then came into view after my movement, including infantry on horseback 4 details 2 .

The Russians had already set up some anti-tank guns 5 Russian 45mm L 56 ATGs . A 45mm L56 fired on a Pz 38(t) but missed. Being a small gun and at some distance, the Germans couldn’t see its muzzle flash and so couldn’t try to fire speculatively at it.

Russian 122mm artillery is attempted to be called down onto the Pz 38(t)’s. An 8 is required; a 4 is rolled. It’ll come down next turn (Peter did this too late in the turn and so penalised himself by delaying its arrival).

Turn 2:

All German forces continued moving at full speed 6 Germans moving at full .  The Russian 45mm L56 on the hill fired again, missing again. The BA company 7 What the Germans could see  all fire at my Pz 38(t) platoon and all miss. The Russian artillery comes down but only affects a Pz 38(t) on the wing, Stunning it for 2 turns.

Turn 3:

I roll 5 pips for my actions. Good, I need it to get everyone firing at the Communist hordes. I choose to continue advancing the company as a whole (so my two motorised infantry platoons continue to move forward to optimal combat positions) 8 Germans continuing to move at full but I spend pips halting my two armour platoons.

My SdKfz 222’s roll brilliantly, and cause three BA’s to be tracked. The Pz 38(t)’s hit the same BA’s, knocking the gun out on one and causing the crews to bail out of two others 10 Russians taking hits too .

As a result of this savage fighting, the BA company have to test morale. They are Stunned for 6 turns! But – they can still shoot, it just means they can’t advance – so I still have to be careful.

By now the other Russian 45mm anti-tank guns are set up and open fire, knocking out a Pz 38(t). Another hits my already-Stunned Pz 38(t) causing it to be tracked, then a third hit forces its crew to bail out  . I have to test the Morale of the Pz 38(t) platoon. I roll a 7, which is modified to 5 because of the Russian artillery fire, so we are fine (a roll that ends up being modified to 2 or below is bad).

A SdKfz 222 is hit and the crew bail out 9 Germans taking hits . I test the platoon’s morale – 3 – they are Shaken. I rolled to see how many turns they are Shaken for – 6! Drat.

Now I test my company’s Morale. 7, modified to 6; no problem.

Turn 4:

I move everyone, armour at full speed but infantry at 5cm so that the infantry vehicles (SdKfz 251/10’s) can shoot. Some infantry vehicles have stopped moving, allowing the troops to race into the buildings 11 Turn4 results 1 .

There is mass Russian shooting. A Pz 38(t) is tracked. My SdKfz 251/1’s use their LMGs to wipe out some Russian infantry with AT rifles.

The tracked Pz 38(t) fails his Morale check but the rest of the platoon passes.

Turn 5:

My infantry have all leaped off their 251/1’s and 251/10’s (apart from those needed to operate those vehicles’ weapons). Some are able to swarm into the hamlet’s hall (the game’s objective) and surrounding houses. But they lie low, as the Russians don’t know they are there and the opportunity to ambush is too good to pass up.

My SdKfz 222’s use their LMGs and 20mm cannons on the second platoon of 45mm L56’s, wiping out the whole platoon at once. But it’s not all good news, as the German guns and Russian guns have simultaneous firing times – so the L56’s shoot and score three hits on the SdKfz 222’s, killing the platoon commander and causing the others to surrender to the Russians.

I test my company Morale – 8 – fine.

A 251/10 lands a shell on a BA and stuns it.

My 50mm infantry mortars fail to land their shells on opposing Russian footsloggers. The 251/1’s let rip with their LMGs at the same footsloggers and kill a few 12 Turn5 results 1 .

My other 251/10 is destroyed and that platoon’s Morale fails.

I test the whole (surviving) company Morale – 5, modified to 1…Shaken. I can’t advance, but I’m still in the game 13 Turn5 results 2 .

Turn 6:

We declared this would be the final turn, as it was 11.30pm.

The 45mm L56’s on the hill hit my Pz 38(t)’s and kill the platoon HQ; the game ended right there 14 Turn6 as my Morale was now too low to continue fighting.

So I lost (as usual) but this time did reach the objective and occupy it (briefly). I’m improving each year! 1 win, 3 losses for 2012. Next year, I want to have 2 wins and 2 losses.

***

Here are some photos of other games being played at NWA that night:

Other games 1 Other games 2 Other games 3 Other games 4 Other games 5 Other games 6 . Those Warhammer 40K dudes? some of them are Stephen/cheetah185’s. You can see photos of his Warhammer 40K project on his blog, In my own time.

 

 

Even though it’s been spread over a week, it’s only taken about two hours to assemble a Jagdpanther. Now, the particular kit I’ve assembled is Revell kit #3152, “Jagdpanther & Deutsche Infantrie”. Although the box says that all the contents are 1:72 scale, the Jagdpanther is actually 1:76 scale. As Henk of Holland and On the Way! both state, many of these “Kombi-packs” of vehicles and soldiers contain 1:72 scale Revell soldiers but 1:76 scale Matchbox vehicles – kit #3152 being one of them.

I bought two of the Jagdpanther kombi-packs earlier this year and decided to buy two more, to make a platoon of four Jagdpanthers and also because I intend to use all the soldiers for a company of Panzergrenadiers. I decided to commence work on the Jagdpanthers now as a sort of flow-on from the most recent game of Panzerfaust: Iron Fist I played, so that rather than always playing early and mid War, Peter and I could play late War, when the Eastern Front reversed and moved back across Eastern Europe to Berlin.  I want to see those mighty tank destroyers up against some IS-2s.

Having undertaken my usual preparations of washing the sprues in hot water with some dishwashing liquid in it; thoroughly air-drying the sprues and finally undercoating them with Chaos Black, I began assembly and soon realised I was nearly done in only an hour. In fact, waiting for the glue to dry on the wheels was the longest part. Why?

Well, this kit has one-piece vinyl tracks. Yes, those old-fashioned, horrible soft vinyl tracks that harden and crack after a few years (less if left in the heat). Yes, they are too short to actually fit around the wheels of this kit (believe me, I tried). But if you can stand to put the vinyl tracks on and live with the gap by not trying to make the tracks into one loop (like I was forced to with Roden’s Opel Maultiers), then you get great track sag and quick assembly.

Anyway, it meant that last sunday I had to put all work on the first one on hold as I’d run out of Desert Yellow to begin working on it’s paint scheme!

It’s been a pleasant week, working on this kit. A lot of the detail is permanently fixed on the hull due to the mould, but it’s good detail and should paint up well. Tonight I was working through the Doug Chaltry track-painting technique. Tomorrow I commence work on more modular scenery (including working with another water product) and an AA vehicle!

The bases of teams with panzerfausts for that Infantry company are now up to the basing and flocking stage. I spent a fair bit of time and inconclusive researching trying to determine what was the factory colour for panzerfausts. The photo evidence of panzerfausts delivered by the Wehrmacht but unused showed them to either be a green that I had not previously sighted anywhere in use, or a sort of off-white / beige. I decided to select Citadel’s Cammo Green for my panzerfausts, feeling that it was distinct enough and not wanting to try to make a blend to match a colour photo taken with a weak flash in a dark room. So, my panzerfaust teams will look like this:

That’s good enough.

The first of my StuG III’s by Italeri have come off the assembly line and are complete.

I’m doing some minor kitbashing to modify and enhance them.  Have a look at this photo:

On the back, I used leftover parts from the Roden Opel Maultiers and Opel Blitzes to make an equipment frame for the crew’s gear. This was a common field modification and some were even added in the factory. Panzer Grenadiers also found them useful as handholds when riding on the back. They were simple bits of metal welded into a crude frame.

Using leftover brass wire from the ACE PaK 38’s and my fine hand screwdriver, I added the aerial. I also wanted the vehicle to look battle-hardened, so I used my scalpels and files to remove the first plate of the left-hand-side schurzen. Schurzen plates were often lost from enemy fire or were snagged and ripped off when moving through rough scrub and rough terrain.

Lastly, I didn’t want this vehicle to have an autumn of spring look (mud everywhere), so I went for a high summer look and liberally coated it with dust. The effect is quite good. Careful observers will notice I painted in some sides of the track links being used as extra armour…again, another field modification by some crews.

I like this Italeri kit. Yes, it’s been simplified and doesn’t allow much modification but turns into a fine kit with a little extra work and love.

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!

So, there they are. The left and middle vehicles have a more ‘typical’ scheme (if such a thing can be said), whitewashed wavy lines representing tree trunks and limbs to help break up the blocky outline.

The right vehicle is more of an experiment. In gathering online information for the Soviet forces I’ve acquired, I came across this Soviet Winter camouflage pattern. You can see a very similar paint scheme on the same type of vehicle (a SU-76) in the Bovington Museum collection in Britain. I also have, in one of my reference books*, the following colour plate:

and the camouflage scheme in that plate is described as an “unusual” camouflage pattern for Soviet forces (even in 1945).

I began painting that camouflage scheme on the Maultier before re-consulting these two sources, so it came from my “mind’s eye”. I think it looks good, if perhaps a little too uniform…it should have been more random, with more bunches of spots and bent or angled lines as well as short, straight ones, like you’ll see at the Bovington SU-76. Oh well, too late now.

* Zaloga, SJ, Kinnear, J, Aksenov, A & Koshchavtaev, A 2002, Stalin’s
heavy tanks 1941-1945: the KV and IS heavy tanks
, Concord, Hong Kong.

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Trey Partin has a new stop-motion film up, this time using 54mm miniatures…

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Been having a play with VuFind at work. It’s a step towards seamless, one-stop-shop search and retrieve. It’s feature that lets a user search by tags is a good innovation, but how does someone affix a tag to an item, and are tags controlled or edited by the library? Otherwise someone may just put lots of obscenities as tags…did I just give anyone ideas?!

(One quibble about the demo – I didn’t like the fact that so few items have been tagged. If you do a search and that search word hasn’t been used as a tag yet, then you get all items returned as having that tag, with a tiny note saying that tag doesn’t exist. Shouldn’t it just return zero results?)

Here in the National Library up in Canberra, they’ve implemented VuFind. Comparing the old catalogue (still in action) to the new, 1) being able to narrow a search and 2) checking your search history, are very helpful. Commercial databases allow these, so should all OPACs. Search by…Occupation is unusual – but obviously useful to certain institutions.

Examining one result about prisoners in Changi, I was offered a link to go examine LibraryThing! I’ve commented last year on LibraryThing. While searching for material about the European theatre of the War, the results returned (about Polish memories) brought up the option to assign an RSS Feed to this search.

Some valid tools for my work.

Two things to cover in this post – A) the thicket that I made using sheet styrene, lichen, talus and flock are finished, and B) I’ve got enough fiddly stuff done on the Maultiers to begin the winter/snow camouflage pattern on them.

Here’s a photo of the thicket in play but without a unit in it/entering it:

and now a photo of the thicket with a Marder III(h) moving through it:

As you can see, when something moves into, across or is revealed to be hidden in the terrain, simply lift off the beautifully made modular piece and there is still the template or base below (as you can see, painted to exactly replicate the bushes and rocks above it) so all know that it is abnormal terrain.

Because this is a small piece (about 5 inches by 3 inches), I only made the top in halves. Previous projects have involved the terrain piece being cut into thirds or fifths (the one into fifths was for 28mm fantasy wargaming).

However, you get beautiful terrain which never gets damaged in play.

On to the Maultier – I’ve opted for a hasty, streaked pattern (deliberately not going over the GrossDeutschland stahlhelm on the cabin doors). I won’t even give the pattern a second coat…I want it to lookquickly done with watered-down whitewash. I’ll do the tray sides and rear plus completely do the tarpaulin.

Oh, and those Caesar Panzergrenadiers have arrived! Overall, a good set of figures. Full review to come very soon.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had decided to add to the variety of kits underway by also making some more wargaming terrain and that I had taken the first steps by cutting up some sheet styrene and undercoating it with brown acrylic housepaint.

Having given the sheet styrene shape two coatings of paint, I then selected and cut to shape (with sewing scissors – nice and sharp) some lichen. I like lichen very much – it has many uses. As well as simulating bushes and shrubs, it can be used for making trees and also as camouflage on vehicles. For this particular piece, I’m using Woodland Scenics L166 Lichen – NaturalL166 Lichen - Natural (1 1/2 qt./82 cu. in. ) Lichen (Click for larger picture) , and I’m using it to represent thorn bushes. Having cut some good clumps into the shapes I want, I glued it to the sheet styrene with water-based PVA glue and then left it to dry for 24 hours.

Last night, the remaining exposed areas of the piece were coated with PVA glue and two grades of Woodlands Scenics Talus (rock debris) sprinkled on loosely. The two grades of Natural coloured Talus were Medium and Coarse. The Talus is to represent rocky ground – hence poor farming ground and thus a good place to let thorn bushes grow. After all, rabbits can live there and provide a food source…

Immediately after the Talus was sprinkled on, I then added Woodland Scenics Green Blend flock (to represent grass). I then pressed down to make sure the Talus and flock did stick into the glue, then left it to dry. If all’s well tonight, I’ll shake and brush off any loose Talus and flock; seal it with Testors Dullcote and then it will be ready for play.

***

I touched up the bare metal sections of the Opel Maultiers using my own blend of undercarriage paint; reinforced the green paint of the schwimmwagen’s camouflage and commenced glueing on the tracks for the StuG. It’ll be interesting to compare working with Italeri’s hard track link sections to that of the UM and PST kits that I’ve previously completed.

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.

Kit management

July 20, 2008

I finally finished applying the Doug Chaltry technique to the tracks of the Opel Maultiers as well as a SdKfz 11 halftrack that I got when I bought ESCI’s “Don: the long retreat” 1/72 scale diorama set. I bought that diorama set new from a little shop I know. I bought it in order to get the KV-1 and Russian Infantry out of it, as back then I was going to be playing Russians. Instead, I’ve ended up playing Germans, so I’ve ended up using everything out of that diorama set, as it also held German Infantry, the SDKfz 11 and an Opel Blitz (which you’ve already seen and read about earlier).

I’ve also being painting up a Hasegawa Schwimmwagen I picked up last month at that swap-n-sell I went to. It’s a fun little vehicle and I even successfully kitbashed an extra rest/brace for the LMG, after ruining the first brace, successfully improvising a replacement, then making a second brace. It’s been well coated with Desert Yellow – today I was beginning the detail, being the seat covers, tyres, LMG and canvas canopy. I was originally going to do the interior with Kommando Khaki – many German AFVs had light buff tan interiors, according to Panzer Colours 1 by Culver & Murphy (Squadron/Signal pubs.), but this is not really an AFV, so I just made it Desert Yellow as per the exterior.

I’m beginning to digress – with those Maultier tracks finished, I was able to begin working on the rest of the vehicles, touching up the exterior Desert Yellow including fine detail spots, then fix the Bestial Brown job on the tray. The tarpaulins on the back got Catachan Green, but will have a patchy Desert Yellow coat applied, to represent the spraypainting of tarpaulins.

All this piecework means that I have lots of kits on the go, as I can only do a little work on each, then leave them for periods to dry properly. With it being winter here, drying periods are longer. So, I’ve decided to have lots of things on the go, rather than just working in five minute spurts two or three times a day, which I feel wastes the rest of my leisure time. Thus, today I opened up four of those Revell Tiger I Ausf. E’s and washed the sprues, to prepare them for undercoating and assembly. I’ve also being working on some more scenery. I was given a couple of Fujimi 1/76 kits for my recent birthday by the mighty President of Nunawading Wargames Association. I can use some more houses – I’d love to do a skirmish between infantry companies in a sizeable village, with lots of house-to-house combat…so I’ve been having to mix up some brick colours to match the ruins from the tragic town of Oradour, which I’m using as my reference point.

So, I’ve got a Schwimmwagen, Schwimmwagen driver, 3-ton SdKfz 11 halftrack, three Opel Maultiers, two houses all on the go, with four washed Tiger sprues drying out. Time management? Sort of. I prefer “kit management”.

All assembly of the other two Maultiers ended on Saturday night, so before I began painting them on Sunday, I took some photos of them:

As I’ve said earlier, although I initially found Roden kits to be difficult because they were highly detailed, I do find the finished product to be excellent. They take paint well and look very effective. The Italeri product is quicker to assemble, but when placed side by side with the Roden, looks more simplistic. The Italeri kit is cheaper and certainly much more easily purchased – remember, I ordered the Roden kits from the Ukraine! Even this is changing, though – as hobby shop proprietors are assembling these Eastern European kits for themselves and seeing the quality, they are increasingly stocking them. I’m becoming increasingly attuned to detail, so I would buy more more of the Roden without hesitation.

In the close-up profile photos, you should be able to clearly see that the tracks are too short to fit the kit. This is my only gripe, and I mentioned it in the previous post. Another centimeter would have been fine – another two centimeters would have allowed for good track sag. The tracks are good quality vinly one-piece items – they didn’t have the anchoring pins on them to join them into loops like the Airfix, Matchbox or ESCI kits do, so trimming off some leftover was not going to stop a track being made into a proper loop. Trimmed pieces could be used in a diorama or for a kitbash…

The Opel Maultier was developed by the SS and was so effective in the mud and then snow on the harsh Eastern Front that there was, in time, a good number of them. With all that snow and ice in mind, I’ve decided to paint them with a simple Dark Yellow coat and then give them some poorly-applied Winter whitewashing, so they don’t stand out too much and make themselves inviting targets. The technique I employed for the plaster inside the railway station will be given another try. Whitewash was often slopped on with whatever came to hand, so it should be lumpy and uneven. Applying lumpy, semi-dried paint off an overloaded cheap brush should model this perfectly.