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.

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.

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!