First game was on friday. Somewhere on the Eastern Front, early 1945 – probably March. Clear and no wind. Here’s the map: – the Objective was to reach the crossroads in the centre of the map  and hold it, with at least undamaged vehicle, until the end of Turn 10. The map was not too complicated – fields, orchards, treelines, low hills – and on one side, a small power plant: . I had an anit-tank SP company, two platoons of StuG IIIG and one platoon of JagdPanzer IV L70.

TURN 1: Movement. My StuGs race to reach optimal firing positions: while the JgPz stay concealed behind a treeline. The two Soviet tank companies do the same: . After all this movement, there was combat! At the time, I said this was a first, having combat in the first turn…but it may well have happened before, so I’m not too sure. Anyway, T-34/85s on the left flank shoot at the StuGs over there – 2 shots resulting in one kill and one StuG being Tracked  – it’s tracks are hit and it now can’t move. I roll Morale for the Tracked StuG and the crew bail out. I now have to test the Morale of that Platoon – the final result is a 2, and so that Platoon will Flee the battle . I now test for the whole Company – I roll a 10 – that’s fine, they pass.

TURN 2: It is possible for me to try to stop the panicked StuG platoon fleeing the table…I need to get my Company HQ StuGs over to them (to talk some sense to them face to face). Sadly this is impossible – that Platoon is already very close to the edge of the map and my HQ can’t get there in time – so I lose them off the map and out of the game. The PJgPzs stay put. I move my remaining StuGs up to a treeline. The Russians consolidate their positions on the map  and prepare to race to the Objective. A keen T-34/85 tries to shoot a StuG but fails to hit. The Stugs see the muzzleflash (I rolled for it and passed) so now they know roughly where the enemy is on the left flank.

TURN 3: My StuGs lay down a Smokescreen by firing smoke shells with their main guns. While doing so, the enemy opens up on them and one is knocked out of action and a second one damaged so badly that the crew decided to bail out and flee  . I have to test the Morale of this central platoon – they are Shaken for 2 Turns. I test my Company’s Morale – a 5 – low, but OK.

TURN 4: The StuGs have to reverse to try to safely get to a better position. The JgPz IV L70s hold. The Russians race to new positions and also closer to the Objective , also laying smokescreens to shield them from unwanted attention by my boys.

TURN 5: The StuGs continue reversing. The first Russian tank reaches the Objective whilst others try to lay down more smoke.

TURN 6: MY StuG platoon is no longer Shaken. They lay down a small smokescreen that allows a JgPz to move onto the road and the others to break cover . The Russians lay down smoke in front of them so they cannot shoot at the T-34/85s racing in from the right flank to help bolster defence of the Objective.

TURN 7: More movement by everyone. Some jockeying to be in firing positions by the end of the Movement phase.

TURN 8: Lots of movement. A StuG hits a T-34/85 but the shot bounces off.

TURN 9: My Company Commander hits a T-34/85 and Stuns it. The Russians try to knock out the JgPz on the roadside but miss. They now have a good hold of the Objective .

TURN 10: My StuGs haven’t completed their shift to new positions so it’s all down to the JgPz IV L70 on the road to try to shift the Soviet tanks out of position. It fires and wipes out a T-34/76 – sadly not a Company Commander, so the Russians are staying put. That was how the Turn ended and the game too, as the Russians have the Objective and outnumber us 4:1.

Peter had brought along two mates of his whom each took a side and got involved in the game. Both enjoyed themselves.

AFTER ACTION REVIEW: This wasn’t much of a slugfest. It showed the importance of good Movement and positioning. It also showed the value of smokescreens. An interesting game.

Now for some wargamer eye candy! Here’s some detail of one of Peter’s T-34/85 commanders: , here are my haystacks being used as terrain: and here’s another shot of those JgPz IV L70s: . Those JgPz IV L70s are mine, but I didn’t paint them…they were a win on eBay. The StuGs you see early in the post with the two-tone camouflage scheme, full schürzen and loads of stowage are Peter’s mate Scott’s. They are the quality and level that I aspire to in my wargame modelling.

The UM Model armoured cars (Бронеавтомобиль) are done!

I mentioned in my previous post that I was getting carried away with how much weathering/how much of a ‘dust coat’ I drybrush onto my vehicles…these photos show that I had gone overboard with these paticulr two kits. If I buy more of these kits to make a platoon, the rest will also be heavily coated like this…but no other kit , regardless what Nation they are for, will get this dusty in the future. It’s too much, methinks.

The kits paint up well, as you can see. I think they would benefit from adding on some extra stowage…I added a toolbox onto the right rear mudguard of one…but I guess some more research is really needed before committing to that recommendation too seriously.

Also, I finished painting up the building and industrial chimney/smokestack I bought at a model train sale back in November. I applied plenty of black as soot and plenty of black ink as fine soot/smoke: . Here’s the building by itself: and here’s the chimney or smokestack by itself: . Together, they could represent some sort of a furnace or smelter, a coal-fired electric power station or any other sort of industrial plant requiring the burning of lots of coal or wood. The colour scheme used was heavily based on that used for the Airfix engine sheds I finished last year.

I also completed an Italeri StuG III, much needed for tomorrow night’s game: .

I have a bare hobby table for the first time in months and I’ll try to keep it bare until Saturday arvo…have a bit of a rest from it all, so I can start some other kits with a clear mind.


I decided to put all this finished stuff into a little diorama. Russian recon forces are about to find something that might well prove fatal… .



A few weeks’ back, YouTube suggested (for no discernable reason) I have a look at this video:

Wow! In colour! And you can see the camouflage (камуфляж) schemes so clearly too!Very useful for modellers and wargamers…

There are  a couple of StuH-42 (Sturmhaubitze 42, Sd.Kfz 142/2) in the first part of this sction of footage and later on the StuG III. Thanks to DShK127 for making it available.

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.

I’m going to sidestep the StuG IIIs I’m working on (yet again!) to discuss an aspect of the hobby that I really enjoy – terrain.

In a collection of eBay purchases from over a year ago, a number of plastic tree armatures were included. I have avoided them whilst I have been building up the numbers of my AFVs and also trying to work out how best to use Hob-e-tac, which is needed to affix foliage to tree armatures. The last experiment was in October – you can catch up on it here. During Easter I found Iwas ready to continue my efforts with both of these aspects, Hob-e-tac and making trees.

The first problem to be dealt with was that the armatures have no bases. They end in thin plastic spikes, as they are meant to be simply stuck into polystyrene and left there…they are for model railroad dioramas, not for wargaming. Here’s what they look like:  . Instead,I need them stuck onto some sort of a small flat base so they stand by themselves and be boxed up for easy transportation.

I mentioned last year that I saw a great way to do this – Tim over at Tim’s Wargaming Stuff had a great demo about how he solved an almost identical problem, using GW ‘slotta’ bases. He took leftover ‘slotta’ bases, drilled holes in them, stuck the tree trunks through the holes  and then fixed everything in place with some glue. Simple and effective! The difference for me is that I’m working with 20mm or 25mm scale trees – Tim was working with 10mm scale trees. I needed some sort of bigger substitute for ‘slotta’ bases.

The answer was closer at hand than I thought. I collect unwanted film canisters from film development centres as they have a number of modelling applications:  . I decided to experiment using the two main types, which are Kodak and Fuji Film. I commenced by cutting holes through the grey lids of the black Kodak canisters:   . I then stuck the tree armature trunks into them to see how well they would stand.

I then did the same with the Fuji Film canister lids:  .

When compared side by side   the Fuji Film lids seemed to be the better choice. They had a smaller raised section which, when glued onto a sheet styrene base, would look less obtrusive or could be disguised more effectively. The Kodak lids would suffice but look a little more odd.

I had plenty of both and so gathered all the Fuji Film lids and prepared to cut and shape them all to the task.

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!