Sunday’s swap & sell

August 21, 2012

Mrs Funker kindly excused me from active duty on sunday so I could get along to the IPMS Swap & Sell held at Ashburton Primary School. I came home with very little:  – just two books, The Eastern Front by JN Westwood and Ju-87 Stuka in action. JN Westwood’s book had some photos, both in black & white and also in colour,that I hadn’t seen before, and for $5, was well worth it. “Stuka in action” is needed for my Revell Stuka kit that I want to start before Christmas.

There were no model kits I needed at the swap & sell…only model kits that could be somewhat useful in secondary roles, mostly for my Russians, and even then they were usually single support vehicles (eg. trucks) or the like. So, I held off.

It was nice to say hello to my friends, though, and show Trainee Funker’s photo to them.

The even was being held in a different venue to the previous two. It was quite suitable and spacious:     .

Here are some drool photos:     .

The next swap & sell is a modelling club one, over in Werribee, in November. For various reasons, I’ve not been able to attend it since I started this blog. Hopefully this year, I’ll be able to make it.

I got there later than I normally would, 9.30am. Already 80 people in front of me:   . I joined the queue, but after five minutes spotted fellow NWA’er, raconteur and all-round good bloke Sean 6 people behind me, so I gave up my spot to drop back a few spots and hang out with him, passing the time shooting the breeze. Here’s the queue ahead of us:  . Now, in previous years I think there would have been more people ahead of us at that time of the morning, but this morning was very chilly…just 5 degrees C, and it  was only 7 degrees by the time I got home at midday. (The warmest it got today was 10 degrees, at 4pm…the sun only broke through the heavy fog at 1.30pm…)

The doors were opened spot on time and the queue moved well, no jumpers from where we were. I said hello to Neil, Jon and Michael as we moved around inside, also from NWA.

Inside was arranged as per normal except there was only one side of tables in the middle of the room, instead of two. This meant that there was actually more elbow room and it didn’t feel so claustrophobic. I must remember to take my glasses next time, as the lighting wasn’t good for me and I was squinting a lot trying to spot desired kits.

This time, there was plenty of 1/72 – but much of it I already had. I did come home with lots of loot, though – here’s a photo of the treasure:  . The first three columns of kits were all from the one vendor. 12 kits for $160.

The Nashorn was only $7 – an absolute steal for an unopened kit, so I bought it even though I currently don’t need it. I was stoked to find another Academy set of US vehicles. As I said before, the Russians loved those amphibious jeeps – see this link.

The little Renault FT17s with 37mm guns are fast-build kits, 2 in the box. They are the beginnings of my Romanian forces!

What was really good about today was to get the 8 Panthers. I need one more of each of those kits to make full-sterngth platoons of each. Then, when complete, they join my already completed full-strength platoon and company HQ vehicles, to make an entire company of Panthers. Grrrrrrraarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

***

PS: For Ben and Stephen, here are the promised ‘drool’ photos in their original 2304×1728 format:

           …and that’s a snapshot (pardon the pun) of what was there…there was lots more…

 

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.

***

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: .

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.

…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…

As promised, here are the photos of the four StuGs I’ve been working on while tackling the tree armatures over the last few months.

The group photo:  .

The Italeri StuGs:   – yes I deliberately did one without the MG-34 set up behind it’s shield. I did that for variety; for recognition eg. ‘Peter’s just blown up my 2IC vehicle, dang it!!!” and also because the default position was shield down and MG-34 stowed inside the StuG anway! It also added to the appearance that that StuG is en route to somewhere else and so isn’t meant to be expecting trouble, hence the jerrycans stowed on its rear deck. I’m modelling a StuG that I saw in a photo from the Bundesarchiv. Closeup photo of this StuG:  . Here’s the two of them one last time, from above:  .

Now the Revell StuGs:     . I’m very happy with how these Revell StuGs turned out – I was using the cammo pattern that Revell recommended –  – but I applied camouflage on the lower sides, where the return rollers and roadwheels were – unlike Revell, who advise to leave it plain DunkelGelb. Why leave those sides plain when they show cammo going to the very bottow of the lower front and rear???

Now I have a platoon of StuGs that I did myself. No more repainted dodgy Airfix stand-ins! To battle!

Here I am, well over 48 hours of drying time. Nothing more has detached –  . When I handle the tress and shake them upside down fairly strongly, nothing detaches. I could cut off the branches that have lost their foliage and make do – but that would be the problem. I’d be making do. We modellers and wargamers generally take pride in our stuff! Every time I’d look at those three trees, I’d know that they aren’t perfect.

So I put them in the plastic recycling bin.

I suppose the discovery out of all this is not to mix Hob-e-tac and Scenic Cement – make the tree with Hob-e-tac and then use it as is, occasionally glueing fallen foliage back on with more Hob-e-tac, or make the tree using some other glue or glues. I’m going to do it my way with the remaining armatures.

When I get around to doing it, I’ll let you see how I did it here.

While you wait, here are some indoors, insufficient-lighting, flash-needed photos of my finished StuGs!    Better photos on the weekend, weather permitting – my New Zealand colleagues sound like they know what I mean about the weather at the moment.

StuGs and StuGs

March 24, 2011

I’m currently working on two Sf. Kfz. 142 Stug III Ausf. Gs from Italeri (kit #7021) and two Revell StuG 40 Ausf. Gs which are currently out of print.

I have previously built one of the Italeri kits and found it very straightforward. The Revell kit is also very straightforward. The differences are in the detail and how the level of detail can affect assembly.

The Italeri kit’s length & link tracks are quite simplified, with the guidance teeth being merely slight pimples – hardly what they should be (or could be). While this makes glueing them quite easy, it also quite easy to misalign them on a number of axes – which I did, and had to sever parts off and re-glue them. I also came to realise that when I stuck on extra pieces of track as improvised armour, they were sitting wrong side up!

Revell uses length & link too but they are beautifully formed and finely detailed. They are a nuisance to cut off the sprue (use a scalpel, not clippers) but when glueing them in place it was impossible to misalign – the guidance teeth kept everything in control and the fit of individual links into each other led to very close-fit positioning and a realistic appearance.

When these 4 are finished, Im going to work on some opposing units – Russian ISU SPGs!