Yesterday was the first of what will hopefully become a regular swap ‘n sell in Chirnside Park. Mrs Eastern Funker joined me for the drive and we arrived here: .

When I got inside, there were a number of different traders with something for almost everyone.

Here’s the view in one direction in the main room: and from the other direction: . In the next room: and in the last room: .

AFVs, boats, planes, trucks, cars, space vehicles (actual, not sci-fi), submarines and of course books about all of those and more. Well done Model Art Australia, Yarra Ranges Council and Rainbow Meats Chirnside Park – I hope to come along again next year.

Now, I’m sure some of you are asking, “Well, what did Eastern Funker get?”

Here’s my loot: Chirnside Park swap n' sell 6 - the loot!. The FAMOs were a steal at $10 AUD each and shall be used in some more distinct scenarios to some of those that Peter and I currently play. The StuG and Panzer III commence filling up new platoons, the US stuff is for more distinct scenarios and the JU-88 is for Panzerfaust’s bombing rules.

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: .

…here’s the first one off and ready for combat:    . This is Revell’s Pz Kpfw III Ausf. L kit (#03133) which is currently out of print – a real shame. The four other kits which are still being assembled on my hobby table are original prints of the Pz Kpfw III Ausf. M (#03117), which was re-released late last year or early this year.

I didn’t do an aerial for two reasons: 1) I forgot; 2) The aerial fixture provided is too weak for me to drill, and given the extensive drybrushing I’ve already done, I don’t want to glue on a new kitbashed fixture that could take drilling as it will stand out too much when I try to paint it to match the rest of the model. So all these Pz IIIs will go aerial-less, but the Pz IVs waiting their turn will definitely have them.

The IPMS Swap & Sell yesterday was quite an event. I was there at 9.05am, 55 minutes before opening at 10am, and there were already 50-80 people ahead of me. By 10am, the queue stretched the length of the building. Here’s a photo as I went up the escalator of the queue BEHIND me:  – you can see it stretching all the way under that roof up to the bright daylight in the distance. How many people is that lined up? 500? 800? I don’t know. But I’m glad I got there when I did and will be there earlier next year.

I already mentioned part of my wish list last post. I think Santa must have been listening:

  • 2 x Revell Panzer III – platoon completed!
  • 2 x Revell Panzer IV – platoon completed!
  • 1 x Dragon 251/2 D – The 251/2 by Dragon can be built as a 251/1, so that’s a platoon completed! Also, it’s technically not a 215/2 – the 251/2 had a mortar replacing the front MG. This vehicle is actually a Sd.Kfz.251/1 Ausf. D mit 28cm Wurfrahmen.
  • 4 x Revell Panzer VI – a platoon in one purchase! Sure, they are slightly different models of vehicle, but who cares? Many of the earlier ones with air cleaners on the back never went to the Afrika Korps.
  • 1 x Dragon 251/7 mit 2.8cm sPzB 41 – an engineering vehicle with a meaty gun; will be fun for Late War reconnaissance games where it can join the one I bought back in March.
  • 1 x ICM Sd.Kfz 222 & 1 x ICM Sd. Kfz 223 – a full reconnaissance platoon completed!
  • 2 x Revell Tiger II – half a second platoon started.
  • 1 x Revell Ju 87 D – all I needed for the air warfare component of the rules.

15 kits for $226…that’s $16 a kit if I add in petrol money and entrance fee. Now to find some time to assemble and paint them, and who to start with first? Decisions, decisions…probably the halftracks…

At a swap-meet this month, I was lucky enough to purchase a now out-of-print Panzer III M by Revell. The box art shows it with schurzen (armour skirts) and they are included with the sprues. I wasn’t aware of Panzer III’s having schurzen at all, so I decided to do some historical research to see how many did, if it was standard issues, etc.

Part of this research involved searching the web, since I spend much of my day online (for my work).

I decided to use a search engine I normally wouldn’t use, KartOO. My search string was as follows:                  panzer iii m schurzen

Fairly reasonable, I thought.

I encountered a number of problems using and navigating in KartOO. These were:

  1. If I move forward through the pages of results, then click on “Back” (in Firefox), I go right back to the start screen and have to execute the search again. Annoying.
  2. My search string of panzer iii m schurzen gets only 99 results in total. In using search engine Alltheweb, I get 1020.
  3. By default, KartOO is set to search pages from the United Kingdom first. This is not good practice, unless a search engine states that it is specifically set for a country/region (like ANZWERS, which is Australia & New Zealand–centric and clearly states this).
  4. “Topics” is a misleading or misnamed feature. Clicking on something listed there limits results further by what you clicked on. With only 99 results to start with, this is unhelpful.
  5. “Image Search” and “Video Search” are just naked Yahoo! search engine searches.

http://www.achtungpanzer.com/panzerkampfwagen-iii.htm has what I want, and it is on the first page of KartOO. This is good.
It’s also on the first page of results with Alltheweb, but on the second page of results for Google.

The visual mapping is too limiting to me. The results gained in a text-driven search engine like Alltheweb are far more meaningful to me, as I can examine all the URLs which offer plenty of guides as to a site being historical/descriptive or a vendor and also I can see other words and phrases on the result page, which again are useful guides.

Visual mapping – is it a passing fad? Time will tell.