I went along to the IPMS Model Expo 2013 Swap & sell on the Queen’s Birthday Monday, but decided not to stand in the queue for an hour…as less and less of what I want appears at swap & sells now, I opted to sleep in and only stand in the queue for 25 minutes (the roads were so empty, I got there quicker than I thought I would).

Huge queue – here it is 15 minutes before opening, looking to the front: IPMS 2013 1

and then looking to the back: IPMS 2013 2

and of course it was even bigger by the time the doors opened.

No photos from inside, because it was too jam-packed to get panormic photos for drooling over! I’m sure that if you were there, you would have seen some things worth buying.

Here’s what I bought: IPMS 2013 3 – the Luftwaffe crews are destined to become Panzerwaffe crews.

 

The IPMS Model Expo started today.

Monday is the great big Swap & Sell. Monday’s Swap & Sell is often very, very good for me.

I’ve even compiled a list of extra-special things to look for, mostly to make complete platoons of vehicles or complete platoons+matching HQ vehicles. I’ll lay a bit on you:

  1. 1 more each of ICM’s Sd.Kfz 222 & 223.
  2. 1 more Dragon 251/1
  3. 2 more Hasegawa 234/2

…and of course there’s more.

What’s different to previous years is that I’m also looking for a Focke-Wulf FW 190 G-3 or a Junkers 87 B-1 or a Junkers 87 D-1. Yes, aircraft! Pete and I want toget aircraft into our games.

 

 

 

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.

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.

Panzerbefehlswagen Panthers

August 22, 2010

Back in March this year my Panthers rolled off the production line at Tankoberg and I gave you all a good look at them. I mentioned that aerials would have to wait until I had more supplies of brass wire.

Not only have I been able to obtain plenty of brass wire in the gauges I had previously used, I was able to get plenty in other gauges as well. For those that are interested, I use Detail Associates’ brass wire: . I had held off doing the Panthers’ aerials as I wanted more 0.022″ wire, which I have decided is my standard for aerials from now on (only using the 0.033″ to represent very thick aerials…some StuGs had them).

I had been able to buy 0.012″ and 0.015″ which meant I was able to try some thinner wire for star aerials/umbrella aerials, as I felt the last lot of star/umbrella aerials looked too thick, too heavy, too out of scale and thus totally unrealistic (well, totally unrealistic for my taste).

The last lot were also the first lot of star/umbrella  aerials…you can see them  on some Sd. Kfz. 234/2 Pumas on this link. I commenced assembling them on this link, you may want to read that first, and I completed them on this link.

Here are photos of the second lot, finished and in situ: .

What was different this time? As decided in those posts from last year, the main aerial is of 0.022″ thickness, and the prongs/ribs coming off the main aerial are 0.012″. Also, I used Zap’s Zap-a-gap Medium viscosity instead of the Flash Cyanoacrylate in Thick viscosity. The Flash thick cyanoacrylate made the join look far too oversized. They are still oversized, but I feel I’ve reached the limit, given the techniques and materials available to me.

Most importantly, I feel that I’ve reached the right balance of appearance with practicality/durability with this second attempt. I could have used even thinner wire, but in my opinion it wouldn’t be durable enough. Thinner wire would require some putty or plugging with bits of plastic or filling with extra glue as the drillbit I use to drill the aerial’s anchor hole into the vehicle is already the finest I have and the 0.022″ has plenty of space when it’s placed into that hole, so going even thinner seems silly. Also, when bumped the 0.022″ springs straight back into place whereas the 0.012″ stays bent and that means I have to spend time bending them back into paint and repainting paint that flakes off bent wire…so the practicality/durability combination seem to have been found for star aerials in 1/72 scale, as far as I’m concerned.

More to do…

June 15, 2010

With the annual IPMS Model Expo over, I have a few more kits to work on (some day). The swap-n-sell yesterday was not as productive (in terms of kits purchased) as I’d dreamed, but was not disappointing either.

I was able to add the following to my stash:

2 Königstigers (Royal or King Tigers) by Revell AG;

1 Stug III C/D version by Trumpeter;

1 Sd.Kfz. 234/2 “Puma” by Hasegawa and lastly,

1 Sd.Kfz. 234/3 by Hasegawa.

I’m one Königstiger from a platoon of 4 and one Puma from a full group (can’t remember how many I need right now).

4 of the kits were $10 AUD each and the fifth one only $5. While not all were still in their sealed plastic bags, each was in its box with complete sprues, instructions and decals.

I’m pumped about being close to a platoon of Königstigers…I may even splurge and buy one at normal price so we can heavy some real “heavy metal action” in a 1945 scenario!

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.

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!

After working through information sources like the Bundesarchiv, “German armoured cars of World War Two”, some Squadron/Signal publications as well as search engines like Google and Duck Duck Go, I decided I needed to see what the definitive text “Encyclopaedia of German Tanks of World War Two” (Peter Chamberlain & Hilary Doyle with technical editor Thomas Jentz, 1999, Cassell:  London) could tell me about star/umbrella (some were called ‘crow’s foot’) aerials (as I knew some of the pictures included vehicles with these types of aerial).

The Panzerbefehlswagen mit 5cm KwK39 L/60 entry showed two different vehicles that both had an aerial with 4 clearly identifable prongs. The prongs all began where the main aerial ended and radiated out at a 135 degree angle. This is probably a ‘crow’s foot’ aerial.

The Artillerie-Panzerbeobachtungswagen (Panzerkampfwagen III) (Sd Kfz 143) had an identical aerial, clearly painted dunkelgelb.

The Sturmpanzer IV (Sd Kfz 166) had a very different arrangement. It had quite a tall aerial with at least three prongs. The aerial extended upwards quite a way beyond the short prongs…in fact, the prongs are probably about 1/3 of the way from the top of the aerial, and are probably only about 1/6 of the length of the main aerial.

Two different Panzerbefehlswagen mit 7.5cm KwK42 L/70 (Panther) vehicles has two diferent star aerials.  One was an aerial with 6 clearly identifable prongs. The prongs all began where the main aerial ended and radiated out at a 135 degree angle – a variation on the ‘crow’s foot’ aerial. The other was a tall aerial with 6 prongs, the prongs about 1/3 of the way from the top of the aerial, like that for the Sturmpanzer IV (Sd Kfz 166).

When I reached the section on semi-tracked vehicles, the types of star aerial I had seen most of prior to this research began to crop up. The Sd Kfz 250/3 without frame aerial had a star aerial with 6 prongs, the prongs beginning at the end of the main aerial. The Sd Kfz 250/5 leichte Beobachtungspanzerwagen had the same.

Armoured Cars – the S Pz Sp Wg (Fu) (Sd Kfz 232) 8-Rad had the same as the Sd Kfz 250s mentioned above.

The Panzerfunkwagen (Sd Kfz 263) 8-Rad had an aerial with 5 very long prongs radiating from the main aerial, but the main aerial continued upwards after the prongs for another foot, then had a thin vertical prong off it’s top. This seems to be the same as that star aerial photo I found in the Bundesarchiv and which I linked to in an earlier post.  “Encyclopaedia of German Tanks of World War Two” suggests that that particular vehicle may in fact be a Sd Kfz 247 Ausf B, by the way.

The photos in “Encyclopaedia of German Tanks of World War Two” are sometimes  more illustrative than those in “German armoured cars of World War Two”, as they are published showing the vehicle at a further distance from the camera – so you can see the whole aerial. This is certainly true of the photos of the Sd Kfz 234/2 Puma – you can see a 4-prong ‘crow’s foot’ aerial in the former text, whereas you have no idea it’s a star aerial at all in the latter.

A learned friend tells me that it’s extremely likely prongs could be folded out (as seen in the photos)  or folded back against the main aerial if circumstances required. Some prongs may even have ben able to be folded out to horizontal.

It’s best for me to conclude that there were a number of types of star aerials in use, with different main aerial lengths, different numbers of prongs and different prong lengths. Not all prongs were fixed, either. As long as you are consistent by giving all identical vehicles identical types of star aerials, that should satisfy most serious WWII buffs. I’ll be sure to do this with all my Pumas and with any other vehicles I decide  (or assembly instructions insist on or the texts indicate) will have star aerials.