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: .

I was only able to give the tree bases the first of their two coats of Kayak Brown paint before today. Today was glorious Spring-like weather – 18 degrees and very sunny – so I wanted to spray the liquid glue onto the lichen and the armatures to ensure as much adhesion of the two as possible and reinforce the lichen for handling and normal gaming wear & tear.

The first step was to set up a small table and gather everything together: . At this point I’ll clarify something from my previous post…I’m not using PVA glue that I have watered down myself, I’m using Woodland Scenics’ pre-watered down glue which they sell under the name “Scenic Cement”. I’ve been using it before I started this blog and have always been happy with it.

Second step: fill 500ml garden sprayer/mister with glue. Holding sprayer in your good hand, pick up tree in your other hand and hold it upside down. Give it two good sprays from at least 4 different angles: . The third step is to then right the tree (just turn your wrist back to it’s normal position) and give at least one spray from at least 4 different angles and a spray from above too: .

Last step is to place them somewhere sunny to dry: . Done!

Now, I did not attach the trees to broad-enough bases (I just stuck them onto film cannisters) so whilst they were sunning, any puff of wind would just bowl them over and elicit loud toilet words from me (not good when the neighbour’s pre-school kids are playing in the garden next door!). So, I would recommend not following in my footsteps but instead stick them onto someting broader…I normally would use plastic single-serve yoghurt containers, they never tip over.

I like to give any PVA glue at least 24 hours to dry (watered down or not, placed in the sun or not) so the earliest I can put that second coat of Kayak Brown paint onto the bases will be tomorrow night.

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Due to following the wrong instructions, I drilled some holes into the Panzer III turrets and hulls that I did not have to (since I’m not attaching any schürzen). When I realised my mistake, I filled them with Tamiya’s light grey modelling putty. I then decided to respray the black undercoat rather than hope my water-based paints would adhere to it without any priming, so out came the Citadel spraycan of Chaos Black: . Great! Now the dark grey camouflage paint can be painted on.

I made that painting shield by cutting up old boxes. It’s quite useful for stopping spraypaint going everywhere…that being said, I still do my spraypainting outside, away from the house (here, I’ve set it up in the doorway of the shed).

 

With the strains of Monty Python’s Flying Circus in the background, I commence the final of the series of entries I’ve been writing about using tree armatures to make trees with. The last time I posted about these was to report my failures on May 17 this year.

I had resolved to try putting lichen on the armatures initially glued in placed with PVA glue, then sprayed with watered-down PVA. So, I began by gluing everything together: . This time, the film cannister lids and armatures were glued onto the sheet styrene using PVA, as I discovered that the Revell Contacta glue was warping the sheet styrene early in June. So, I had tree trunks fixed onto bases: . Then I had to search through the lichen for suitable clumps: . I can’t describe how I chose the pieces, except to say that the fluffy rounded top bits obviously went onto the top of the armatures or where I wanted to show new growth on a big limb. I tried to select pieces that were stretchy thin “sheets” that I could wrap around the armature and cover as much as possible with, but I also put on smaller clumps here and there so that each tree didn’t look too uniform in appearance. PVA was thickly brushed on to each single limb, to a depth of 1.5cm, or until a fork was reached (or both): (you can see a blurry big drop of PVA waiting to have lichen pressed onto it). I hoped that it would be a quick process – the first tree seemed to be done fairly promptly: but when I finished all 6 an hour had gone by. I left them overnight, hoping to spray them with watered-down PVA today, but the weather was against me. So, more tree updates as they sprout.

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I’m working on too many things at once again. I am slowly preparing enough figures for a company of Panzer Grenadiers. I didn’t have any suitable Platoon Commanders (Sergeants?) so I cut MP-40s off excess numbers of one pose and glued them into the empty hands of another pose: .

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The Panzer IIIs are having their tracks painted. This involves two painting stages and four wash stages, so it’s taking some time to do.

 

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.

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.

Eastern Suburbs Scale Modelling Club had their annual swap & sell yesterday. I’ve attended at least three of these and don’t recall others having been held on a public holiday long weekend. Because we have today (Monday) off (Labour Day), not as many people stayed in Melbourne for the weekend and it was reflected in attendence. The queue didn’t stretch down and around as it has done every other time and you could walk around inside the venue without much difficulty (unlike last year where there were serious bottlenecks at either end of the venue…honestly, vendors selling books should be outside or in a seperate room because too many people crowd around their table and then spend at least five minutes flicking through titles causing bottlenecks as kit buyers not interested in books can’t get through the book mob to the other vendors without real pushing & shoving, whereas some people can approach and leave a vendor selling just model kits in about 15 seconds if they have a good eye and the vendor has nothing they want).

I was pretty disappointed with what I got. Not that I didn’t get anything – here’s a photo of what I got:  – 7 kits (all not started and complete, some still in shrinkwrapping) and two books for a total of $110, including my $2 entry fee.

I was disappointed because I was hoping to get some more Revell Panzer III & Panzer IV kits, enough to make up platoons with the kits I already have. If not those, some more Italeri StuGs (with the length & link tracks) or Revell StuGs . If not those, some Panzer IIs or Panzer 38s!

Still. I did get a nice Platoon HQ halftrack with a 28mm L61 sPzB 41 on it and one more 234/2.

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.

While doing various searches for information to recreate scenarios for games of Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist, I’ve been extremely fortunate to stumble across British Pathe’s film archives.

Four films of footage recorded by German cameramen during Operation Barbarossa have lots of great material for both wargamers and modellers. Here they are, with my notes:

GERMAN INVASION OF RUSSIA Film ID: 1669.02 –  Great footage of towns, bridges, rivers as the Germans fight forward or advance forward. Plenty of town shots, both of outskirts and inside them too. The Horch heavy car! Panzer IIIs and a Panzer IV short-barrel.

GERMAN INVASION OF RUSSIA Film ID: 1669.03 – towards the end you can see PaK 36’s, IG-18’s and Flak 88’s all being used against ground targets.

GERMAN INVASION OF RUSSIA Film ID: 1669.04 – StuG IIICs or some other early models in action! Converted AA flak trucks engaging ground targets! Infantry flamethrowers! German psychological warfare infantry team with portable AV equipment calling for Russians to surrender from the buildings they are defending!

GERMAN INVASION OF RUSSIA Film ID:  3259.07 – Camouflaged 88mms in action; 50mm infantry mortars in action; field artillery (not sure of what they are) ,  SdKfz 11 towing Leichte Feldhaubitze Mundungbremse 18 artillery piece (105mm artillery piece).

Some have sound, some don’t.

In the words of Fred Moriarity from “The Goon Show”, “There’s more where that came from!”

So this post is the first of a series.