Hello all,

My Dragon Models 1/72 scale Sd.Kfz 251/1 D’s are potentially one step away from being finished: .

When I started them, I thought that I might glue lichen on their sides to represent added foliage, as many German forces did to their vehicles in the last 2-3 years of the war. You can see a historical example of this ‘foliage as additional camouflage’ practice here. I’ve already done this to some of my vehicles, like my 234/3’s and my Hetzers.

Now I’m not sure I want to do this. The 234/3’s and the Hetzers aren’t meant to get so much game use compared to the 251/1’s. If they aren’t getting so much game use, I figure they can be a little more delicate and elaborate! Lichen on them is fine!

But I’m now not sure about adding lichen to these 251/1 D’s. These 251/1’s don’t have good vantage/attachment points to secure the lichen, so it’s possible that I could botch what I do. I don’t want to botch what has gone pretty well! The other 251’s I’ve done or are yet to do aren’t going to have lichen attached…plus it’s only an average of $10-15 per kit at swap-n-sells to get more if these ones do end up looking tatty after a couple of years. To topit all off, I’ve only been averaging 4 games a year lately…

Still, I’m thinking that they are fine as they are and that I don’t have to be so realistic all the time. Maybe I’m lazy and just want them off my table? Dunno.

So, readers, I’m turning this over to you. Do I follow through and add the lichen to them, or stop now?

This game was a little unusual in that there were four platoons per side. This was because when we were going to play this game back in January, it was going to be two players per side. On the night it was just Peter and me with a lot of vehicles and a lot of firepower on the table. Peter was playing the Americans for a change; I was playing Germans.

The scenario was a second trial of a reconnaissance encounter. A medium-sized village somewhere near Germany in the late Autumn of 1944. A gale-force wind was blowing. Both forces are trying to see if the train station and railyard are clear…since that is where most cover for armour would be. Here are some photos of the table:   and here are three close-ups, going from right side to left:    . As you can see, there was plenty of terrain to block LOS and provide hiding spots as well as slow up any gallant cavalry charges.

So to the game! Turn One was plain movement. Each player moved one platoon and then their opponent moved a platoon until all platoons had been ordered to do something. \Such is the way of resolving movement with an Encounter scenario in Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist. Here you can see some M8s coming on board:  .

Turn 2: more movement. Peter’s M8s and a platoon of Chaffees are making the most of no hostile fire:  .

Turn 3: I choose to move full and get some of my men into optimal positions. Sadly, as they do so they sight enemy armour –  – they see Chaffees trying to conceal themselves by sticking as close as possible to a small brick house past the railyards  . Now, as I’d moved full movement that turn, I couldn’t shoot. However, Peter could and did. His Chaffees open up on a 234/3 and knock it out. They also try to hit a 234/2 but miss – it had only just come into view and they hadn’t properly trained their guns on it. I have to make a Morale Test for my 234/3s – I roll a 10 – they are fine.

Turn 4 is when it got hot. Both forces are fully aware of each other. I have to make a desperate gamble to save my Panzer II Lynxes from the very powerful guns of a second platoon of Chaffees. I bring around my platoon of 251/9 Stummels to do so. It is at this juncture that Peter asks me if I have purchased HEAT ammo for all my guns, which I have neglected to do…damn!

My forces try to manoeuvre into good firing positions while using as little Movement to do so and Peter does the same, boldly racing his M8s down the road to flank me.

A 234/2 Puma gets a good shot off and tracks a Chaffee  and in retaliation a platoon-mate of the stricken Chaffee shoots and hits a 251/22, destroying it completely:  . True to my luck, or form, or character, call it what you will! – that 251/22 wasn’t just any 251/22 but my Company’s Command Vehicle. This was bad. To ease my concerns slightly another 251/22 knocks the gun out of action on a Chaffee and the Chaffee crew bail, but regardless it still means I have to make a Morale Test for the whole company and the there is a good chance the game will end right then and there. I roll a 7…after extensive modifications it is a 2, which means the whole company is Shaken. I roll a single D6 to see how many turns they are Shaken and get 2. Not so bad. Across the table a 251/9 is hit and brews up – the armour they have is no defence at all to a Chaffee gun. A 234/3 who had turned 90 degrees is able to knock out an M8  , even though it was racing along the road. End of a tumultuous turn for me.

Turn 5. Due to so many enemy AFVs being within 400 metres (40cm) of my forces and my forces currently being Shaken, my troops must all withdraw. Peter checks the rules and realises that there is no discussion of what speed my men must withdraw at, so I can withdraw as slowly as possible. Two more 251/9s are destroyed  and the Morale Test gets a flee result. I then have to test the remainders of the Company and they too fail Morale, so my bloodied and battered troops flee the scene. Just as well, as at the rail yard the Americans had massed for a big push:  .

This game was played with 1/72 and 1/76 scale forces. Most of my forces were plastic, but the Lynxes were resin and some of Peter’s were resin.

I lose again and once again my badly placed commander dies too early. I don’t know how I can fix that situation apart from play ‘out of character’ and put my Commander at the back of the force.

I really enjoy making this particular Hasegawa kit…I’m not sure why. I guess it’s appearance just appeals to me – sleek and deadly?

This finished model has the crew member that is supplied in the kit and also has different colour lichen used as vehicle camouflage. Otherwise what you see is the same as what I did with the first one last year or so. Here it is as if being used in a game: .

Now for detail – closeups in three-quarter profile:

Getting a good photo “at ground level” isn’t easy with my now-ancient digital camera but I had luck with this one: and here’s some detail of the crewman, who I’ve named Hans: .

I commenced work on this kit as something to fill in time while working on those three Opel truck kits from earlier. That’s something I have been doing for a very long time and it helps improve workflow and productivity – while working on a group of vehicles or troops (all the same type), have a couple of completely different vehicles or troops to work on sitting on the side. That way, while you wait for the glue or paint to dry on the main group, you can work on something completely different in the meantime. The benefits are that you don’t get up and walk away and get distracted by other things whilst you wait for glue/paint to dry and you get more things finished (which means you can buy more things to work on in the future!).

I get distracted and may not return to the hobby tables for hours or days if I don’t have a ‘side project’ readily available, and that really slows down getting anything completed at all.

I commenced work on those Revell Panthers a couple of weekends back because I’d finished those three Hasegawa 251/9 ‘Stummels’ – they had just been sitting around on my hobby table waiting for me to stop running around so busily and take a couple of piccies of them. The one time I was ready to photograph them, the weather wasn’t – heavy rain pounded down all morning. My photos are all taken using morning sunlight, but in the shade and without flash. That way, the lighting and colouring looks as natural as possible. With pounding rain, the possibility of photographing the 251/9s was thwarted.

These are similar to the 234/3 ‘Stummel’ that I did two months ago – the 75mm L24, its gun laying mechanism & gun bed are all identical. Assembling the kit was very straightfoward. I elected not to put any crew figures in – the Italeri chap I put in with the 251/22 was a bit too big for the vehicle (ie. his scale was not 1/72…possibly 1/70) and I didn’t want the same odd look with these…but since I have a surplus of crew figures from the Hasegawa 234/2 Puma kits, I might use one of those figures in the future, as they are to scale with their vehicle.

How many more to do? The Panzerfaust army list for Panzergrenadier companies gives me a pair of 251/9’s as a heavy weapons cannon section for s standard company.  A Panzergrenadier heavy weapons company has a cannon company, comprised of three sections with each section having two 251/9s.

I’ve done my standard heavy weapons cannon section (numbered 241 & 242) and one of the heavy weapons company vehicles (numbered 251). Here  are 241 & 242:

Now all three: 

and here’s a view from above: .

If I was to go completely silly, I have five more to go. Only if I can get them on a big discount or at a swap & sell…

Now, some extra resources I found online for this project were:

  1. colour and b&w photos by The 9th Reenactment Society of their own ‘Stummel’,
  2. a walkaround with colour photographs of the 251/9 museum piece from the Deutsches Panzermuseum in  Munster on a site called “The Panzer Tank Walkaround or Panzer Photo Gallery” (there are other Panzers there to look at, too!); and lastly
  3. the same as #2. immediately above but taken by a different photographer. Also with more photos.

I really like the green cammo scheme on the Munster 251/9…I might try to use it on the Panthers when they are ready.

***

Through the superior firepower (well, superior CNC & milling tools of a colleague) I have been able to get an identical replacement part for the MAC Distribution Horch 108 (Kfz. 70) & 20mm Flak 30 that I shelved back in the first half of the year due to losing a critical piece of the gun bed. I have nearly finished assembly and will do a similar camouflage scheme but with Dark Angels Green instead of Goblin Green.

I figured with all these fumes from assembling 7 Panthers, what harm was one more kit going to do?

It’s not been easy to assemble, either (just like the first time). I’m not looking forward to working on the four MAC Horch 108 passenger cars I’ve got!

Fourth & final game for 2009

November 28, 2009

A medium-sized township somewhere on the Eastern Front…the Eastern Front in Spring 1945, that is. Two reconnaissance forces clash somewhere in or near Germany.

There was a moderate south-easterly wind blowing.

We decided to play lengthways for this game, as our AFVs could all move at very good speeds and Peter wanted me to see just how that translated onto the table.

I had a company comprised of many different AFVs – 234/2 Pumas, a 234/3 Stummel, 222s and Lynxs. Peter’s Soviet force had a high percentage of Lend-Lease vehicles – M3A1s, M3 half-tracks as well as T-70s.

FIRST TURN:

Both sides moved. My 234/2 Pumas moved at 1/2 their maximum permitted speed, so they could shoot at the T-70s they saw on the main road on the other side of town.

The Pumas hit, but at that range their shells could never penetrate, so the shells bounced off.

SECOND TURN:

More movement. The T-70’s guns can’t reach my Pumas, so my Pumas take advantage of the situation, opening fire and causing one T-70 to be Tracked.

THIRD TURN:

Now AFVs from both sides were racing across the table top.

Peter was right – these recon AFVs really could fly, and having the roads helped this aspect of the game too.

The T-70s are now in range and fire a salvo at the opposing 234/2s but with no success. The 234/2s return fire, getting a Stun result on one of T-70s and  immobilising the other.

FOURTH TURN:

With AFVs sited by both forces, I needed all my 6 ‘pips’ to split my forces up. All jockeyed for cover or to present their heavily-armoured fronts to their opponents.

Down in the south-east of the town, my Lynxs came under solid fire from the Lend-Lease M3A1s, causing one Lynx crew to panic and bail out.

To the north, the 234/2 Pumas both immobilise the already immobilised T-70 and destroy its gun too – Peter rules that it is effectively destroyed as it can do nothing else.

FIFTH TURN:

I order all my German forces to slow right down. Firing at half speed affects their aim (not surprisingly) so now they are to only move 5cm each or less. My rolling for shooting goes downhill though – I roll far too high all of a sudden so my strategy is for naught.

The Russian infantry whom had been tank-riding and dismounted back in Turn Two, hurl Molotov cocktails from their concealed positions in the railway station at the Pumas. Peter rolls the top result possible – Puma #2 is destroyed!

I make a Morale Check for the whole Company…a Shaken result. Not so good.

SIXTH TURN:

My toughest platoon on the table – my 234/2 Pumas – must Withdraw. ‘Withdraw’ means reverse 5cm but can still Shoot…I just cannot go forward under any circumstances.

This turn there was much death. Peter’s  BA-10 platoon are all effectively Tracked and so they Bail Out. My Puma platoon leader is killed. 

I roll an 8 for my Morale Check. With adjustments, the final result is 0 – my remaining Puma must Retreat – but since enemy forces are so close, it’s forced to Surrender to those nearby enemy forces.

At this stage, I declared the Germans had lost. The Russians were bloodied – the most bloodied this year – but I didn’t have enough remaining firepower to break them.

An interesting game – assembling, painting and getting a whole 6 vehicle 234/2 Puma platoon reay for a re-match is an appealing way to spend the upcoming Christmas break.

Tankograd had four more come off the production line. Here they are:

251 234 263 and Kubel

From left to right: a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 251/22, a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 234/3, a Hasegawa Kubelwagen and lastly a Roden Sd. Kfz. 263. The Kubelwagen comes from the Hasegawa ‘Kubelwagen & BMW Side-car’ kit (MT-12) – the rest are stand-alone kits.

The 251/22 was a great kit to complete. The only trouble I had was with assembling the mount for the PaK 40 anti-tank gun. I included a loader holding a PaK 40 shell – he comes from the Italeri “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit. The PaK 40 shell is tipped in black – designating it as an AP shell.

The 234/3 was straightforward and lots of fun. Nearly all my comments about the Hasegawa 234/2 apply to it. I included a loader for it too, another figure from the Italeri “PaK 40 AT gun with servants” kit. That particular figure is sitting down andjusting the gun elevation, so he is molded with an elevation wheel in his left hand. I cut it out and glued a PaK 38 shell there in its place – the shell being surplus from the Roden PaK 38 kits I did some time ago. That shell was tipped with white, designating it as HE.

The Kubelwagen was problematic. I painted up the driver seperate to the rest of the vehicle – and then couldn’t fit him into place once he was finished. The steering wheel had to be removed; the machine gun mount and machine gun mount supports had to be re-done (and new supports kitbashed from leftover parts from old sprues). I learned my lesson – glue any drivers into place first and then paint, which is what I’m doing with the ICM Krupp truck.

The Roden 263 wasn’t too hard. I think their decals didn’t work so well for this kit. The large aerial overhead frame was fiddly but turned out OK. There was also a bit of flash on the sprues that needed some careful scalpel-work.

The Kubelwagen and the 263 got standard Dark Grey with heavy dust coats, for the start of “Barbarossa”:  263 and Kubel front 263 & Kubel rear

The 251/22 got my first attempt at a ‘ambush’ paint scheme. I gave it the same paint scheme as per the notes in my Jagdpanzer 38 “Hetzer” book by MBI. Sure, it’s a little bit stylised, but I love it! The 234/3 got a simple disruptive pattern in Citadel’s Goblin Green. I went and added some foliage – Woodland Scenics’ lichen. 251 234 front 251 234 rear

So, just gotta get them bikers done and the Recon game can happen…

The first two of what will end up being a platoon of six Pumas are done. I even numbered them ‘1″ and “2”:

Puma #1 Puma #2

As you can see, I went for both a dust coat but also a bit of dirty water and some mud splashed around on them. #2 has some rather unusual stowage on its rear deck – a case of 120mm mortar shells plus two boxes of  81mm mortar shells (left over from my Pegasus Hobbies mortars). I chose a while ago to give my AFVs plenty of interesting and unusual stowage courtesy of Scott Nicholas, whose own collection of 1/72 & 1/76 WWII Germans for Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist set extremely high standards for me in terms of painting, detail and stowage.

Now here they are together: Pumas 1 Pumas 2

Do please note the rear jerrycans with the white painted crosses on them – I felt that if these guys were doing deep recon, they may well want to take plenty of drinking water with them.

I’ve really enjoyed putting these Hasegawa kits together. Yes, they involve lots of parts and lots of stages but the final product is trouble-free and looks very accurate. Even the wheels, which I thought I might do incorrectly, came out perfectly. I know some people don’t like the tyres on these kits, but as a wagamer I’m not fussed by them.  Looking at those photos from Sd Kfz 234/2 by Francisco Javier Cabeza & Carlos Martín and then comparing them to Hasegawa – certainly, they don’t have the newest and deepest tread on them, but why should they? Why not have them well-worn?

I’m putting the finishing touches to a crewman for their 234/3 kit which should be finished by next weekend. It’s taken more time because of the detail for the crewman and the fiddliness of the gun – but it too has turned out well. It’ll get more paint and extras than these Pumas – you’ll have to wait to see exactly what more and what extra!

Tankoberg has stopped assembling and is now just painting. The Pumas presented an interesting question – should I paint the sets of axles in dunkelgelb or just with bare metal?

I set out using Google and also a new search engine, Duck Duck Go, to see what I could find. Certainly, searching images turned up lots of beautifully painted model kits in a number of scales, but none clearly showed axles. Even walk-around photos of museum vehicles didn’t oblige! While diligently going through the first 20 pages of results for a search, I found step-by-step photos of a model kit WIP (work in progress) in 1:6 scale.  Egonzinc’s Sdkfz. 234/2 “Puma” *Building the Model” was very informative and I, like those who have already commented on that discussion board, also wish to congratulate him heartily for such fantastic work.

I elected to follow his example and paint my kits’ axles (and also the undercarriage) dunkelgelb, not base metal, just as Egonzinc had done.

Next day, still testing out Duck Duck Go, I did some more general searches about painting Sd.Kfz. 234/2s (or any of the 234 family, since I have a 234/3 and will be buying some 234/1s eventually). As with the searches discussed above, I found a lot of photos and text about how modellers were painting or had painted them – but that wasn’t what I wanted. I’d searched my historical books and had seen photos of actual combat vehicles in plain dunkelgelb, two-tone camouflage and also three-tone camouflage. The Hasegawa kit assembly instruction sheet and box that the kit came in has a painting guide for three-tone camouflage, for a vehicle in action. So, the paint scheme is dark yellow, red brown and olive green in a mottled pattern – and this vehicle is on the Western Front, in Normandy. I’m interested in Eastern Front!

More searches unsued. “German  armoured cars of World War Two” (Milsom & Chamberlain 1974, Arms and armour Press, London) was clearly showing me vehicles with different paint and camouflage schemes! So did Bundesarchiv. So did historical black and white photos from other websites.

An examination of one result hit the jackpot – an English translation of the web page Sd Kfz 234/2 by Francisco Javier Cabeza & Carlos Martín. It had everything I wanted – authoritative text and historical photographs in colour. The Combat Use section is most helpful. Paint schemes and camouflage schemes are discussed as thoroughly as sources allow, as well as markings and divisional insignia. Francisco and Carlos have referred to some texts I own and also some I don’t, but I consider what is on their web site to be accurate and their sources to be high quality – therefore I’m acting on the  information they present.

I noted that the SS Panzer Division used three-tone cammo’d Pumas (but then, SS units usually got the best quality equipment). I decided that since mine were to be Eastern Front, I’d leave them as dunkelgelb but with proper markings. I’ve got some Hetzer tank-hunters who will get a heavy three-tone camouflage scheme and I’m going to do my Panthers in three-tone camouflage too.

Painting has been done with more vigour since this historical research and very fortunate pair of discoveries! Research is a wonderful thing.