…there were Hungarians, too, as the other major national force.

I was searching for pictures of Hungarian armour, and came across two different forums that had some great photos.

First, from WW2InColour: Thread: Hungarian military in WWII

and from the Axis History Forum, Hungarian Armor in WW2.

Some good colour photos there…

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It’s been quite some time since I put an animated film up – 2008 was the last time, from memory. Two weeks ago, the President of Nunawading Wargames Association sent an email to some of the regular WWII gamers with a link to a YouTube video on it.

It’s not Eastern Front – it’s Western Front, the Battle of the Bulge. Done with 1/6 scale action figures by Nick Hsu. It nods its head to some classic war films. I think it’s a fine effort and I hope you enjoy it:

 

Plastic Soldier Review reviewed Caeser’s WWII German Paratroopers (Fallschirmjäger) back on February 21.  Sorry that I didn’t mention it here sooner.

They are very favourably reviewed and you get to clearly see all the poses you get in the box. For me it would be perfect (as a wargamer) if a single radio operator was included, because they are a staple of command bases / unit HQ’s. Two of the good poses are troops actively using the FG42 assault rifle.

***

The seven Revell Panthers are done. I’m going to Dullcote them and put a photo or two here. I had hoped to secure brass wire to make antennas and star aerials for them by now but none has arrived, so I’ll do that later. I want them on ‘active duty’ for wargaming now!

While browsing all my colleagues’ blogs on my Blogroll, Geordie’s Big Battles had a media release and URL that I’ve been looking for over the last couple of weeks. You see, Plastic Soldier Review had a newsflash on 9 Feb 2010 about a new toy soldier manufacturer and I’d been searching the web daily since then trying to find out more about them.

They’re simply called “The Plastic Soldier Company” and their first few releases will be of interest to anyone wargaming or modelling the WWII Eastern Front (OstFront) in 1/72 scale.

Here’s their website!

Their first two releases are WWII Russians in Summer uniform and WWII Late war German infantry 1943-1945. While there are plenty of the latter already, there aren’t so many of the former. It’ll be interesting to see what they are like.

Well, if you wrote an e-mail to Italeri telling them what products of theirs you love and what future products you’d like them to make, then you’re one of over 1000 responses they’ve had! What’s more, the scale that got the highest number of responses was 1/72, which is the scale that I play in. I requested something a little bit unusual (but still WWII) and they said they did receive a number of unusual requests, so I’m hoping that they list my suggestions (and I hope other people asked for mine too). Just to add a sense of mystery to this blog entry, I’m not telling you what I wanted (but it had to do with Axis AFVs).

I wonder if they are then going to get us to vote or somesuch on the most popular suggestions? Keep an eye on their website and hopefully we’ll all find out very soon…

+++

During a quiet moment last week, I decided to look through some wargaming and modelling websites that I used to frequent very regularly until they entered periods of hiatus or extended lulls. Terragenesis was one of those, but it has picked up again in a big way.

One regular correspondent wrote a review about the starter kit made by Woodland Scenics which teaches you how to use their scenery products:  how to use plaster cloth, how to use flock, how to use spray-on glues and many other things.

I was struck by the section where he discusses Hob-e-tac. Last Winter I discussed my experience with Hob-e-tac. I’ve used it since then a few more times and felt that their instructions of use weren’t quite matching reality…or at least my reality. I was finding that I would apply the Hob-e-tac (which looked like PVA glue but smelt more strongly) and wait the recommended 15 minutes to let it get tacky, but it was still pretty runny and lots of it hadn’t become tacky in that time, even during very warm days. I wondered if I needed to wait more time before working with it – maybe an hour or so – but even when I did use it, I was usually giving it thirty minutes before working with it…. After waiting overnight I was finding that it was still tacky, and some of the trees I’ve made using it are still tacky today, even after being sprayed with watered-down glue and Dullcote! I thought by now that they would have cured completely, especially after 6 months and a hot Australian summer.

Andy’s discussion about making up the clump-foliage trees resonated strongly with all my Hob-e-tac experiences.

I want to be fair to Hob-e-tac and will experiment with it more this year. However, what Andy did (using superglue to attach foliage clumps to trees) will not be forgotten and may well be acted upon when I finally run out of Hob-e-tac.

I bought some of those armatures on E-bay and am expecting them any day, so you won’t have to wait too long!

I was sent this via e-mail by a mate.

The text that accompanied it went as follows:
“This Video shows the Winner of 2009’s ” Ukraine ’s Got Talent”,
Kseniya Simonova, 24, drawing a series of pictures on an illuminated
sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German
Invasion during World War II. Her talent, which admittedly is a
strange one, is mesmeric to watch.
The images, projected onto a large screen, moved many in the audience
to tears and she won the top prize of about $75,000.
She begins by creating a scene showing a couple sitting holding hands
on a bench under a starry sky, but then warplanes appear and the happy
scene is obliterated.
It is replaced by a woman’s face crying, but then a baby arrives and
the woman smiles again. Once again war returns and Miss Simonova
throws the sand into chaos from which a young woman’s face appears.
She quickly becomes an old widow, her face wrinkled and sad, before
the image turns into a monument to an Unknown Soldier.
This outdoor scene becomes framed by a window as if the viewer is
looking out on the monument from within a house.
In the final scene, a mother and child appear inside and a man
standing outside, with his hands pressed against the glass, saying
goodbye.
The Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Ukraine , resulted in one
in four of the population being killed with eight to 11 million deaths
out of a population of 42 million.
An art critic said:
“I find it difficult enough to create art using paper and pencils or
paintbrushes, but using sand and fingers is beyond me. The art,
especially when the war is used as the subject matter, even brings
some audience members to tears. And there’s surely no bigger
compliment.””

I personally cannot testify to the veracity of all that text (especially the comment by the art critic) but it is an impressive and extremely important work by Kseniya Simonova.

Since it deals with the Eastern Front (OstFront), naturally I’ve included it here.

The Ukraine was a particularly precious prize to both the Germans and the Russians. Whatever conflict happened there was always going to be bloodier than usual. A grim reminder of why we should always exhaust all avenues of   “jaw-jaw” and leave “war-war” to be the absolute last resort (thanks to Winston Churchill for “jaw-jaw”-“war-war”).

I’ve been alerted to a discussion over at the Axis History Forum web site, where the members are displaying  photos and providing some commentary about unusual WWII German AFV camouflage schemes. I hope it’s useful to some of you out there!

 

 

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/858178/nazi-survivor-tells-of-hitler-bunker-horror

Nazi survivor tells of Hitler bunker horror
10:30 AEST Fri Sep 4 2009
1 hour 25 minutes ago
ninemsn staff

The last remaining survivor of Adolf Hitler’s suicide bunker has given a matter-of-fact account of watching children fed fatal doses of poison and seeing the Nazi leader’s lifeless body wrapped in a blanket.

Rochus Misch, 92, was working as a telephone operator at the secret Berlin bunker where Hitler retreated during the final days of World War II.

He is now the only surviving person who was inside the bunker on April 30, 1945, the day Hitler and his wife Eva Braun committed suicide by gunshot and cyanide poisoning.

“[The others in the bunker] heard a gunshot, but I hadn’t,” he told the BBC.

“At that moment Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary, ordered everyone to be silent.

“I was speaking on the telephone and I made sure I talked louder on purpose because I wanted to hear something … I didn’t want it to feel like we were in a death bunker.”

Mr Misch said he would never forget the moment when Mr Bormann opened the door to Hitler’s room.

“I saw Hitler slumped with his head on the table … Eva Braun was lying on the sofa, with her head towards him,” he said.

“Her knees were drawn tightly up to her chest, she was wearing a dark blue dress with white frills.”

Mr Misch had worked for Hitler as a bodyguard, courier and telephone operator for five years and was part of his inner circle.

He said he watched as his colleagues wrapped Hitler’s body up and carried him passed to be cremated.

The next day six children of Joseph Goebbels — Hitler’s successor — were drugged and murdered by their mother Magda in the bunker.

“The kids were right next to me and behind me … we all knew what was going to happen.

“I saw Hitler’s doctor, Dr Stumpfegger, give the children something to drink — Some kind of sugary drink.

“Then Stumpfegger went and helped to kill them, all of us knew what was going on.

“An hour or two later, Mrs Goebbels came out crying.”

Joseph Goebbels and his wife both committed suicide shortly afterwards.

Mr Misch fled the bunker hours before it was captured by Soviet troops, but he was later captured and spent nine years in labour camps.

He told the BBC that while he was working for Hitler he did not know the full extent of the horrors being carried out by the Nazi regime.

“I knew about Dachau camp and about concentration camps in general,” he said.

“But I had no idea of the scale. It wasn’t part of our conversations.

“You must remember there was never a war when crimes weren’t committed, and there never will be.”

© AAP 2009

This terrain project is finished, and I’m pretty happy with the outcome: Hills with pins and shadow

The hills in the above photo haven’t had the pins/tacks removed. I’ve put my 1:72 UM Marder III (h) on the larger, to give you some idea of scale.  The spraying of Scenic Cement yesterday and application of extra coarse turf worked perfectly to plug the spots where the first and second glueing attempts with PVA glue failed to thickly coat the area. I also added a few patches of flock/scatter on top of the Scenic Cement to provide extra texture – that too worked well.

The Marder III(h) above is casting a strong shadow against the smaller hill. I’ve talked in earlier posts about how shadows can reveal an AFV’s location – the above example is a practical demonstration of that. Now it should be evident why, in the latter half of WWII, German AFVs stayed under cover during the day or attached lots of branches and foliage to their AFVs if they had to move during the day…because the hard angles and unnaturally-shaped shadows really are noticeable.

These next two photos are of the hills/mountains with pins/tacks removed from their bases, so they look as if they are being used as scenery in a wargame: Hills unpinned aerial Hills unpinned ground

I’ve realised with some previously-made hills, I used a finer grade of talus to represent small rocks which I could have done here…I’ll use them with the next lot of mountains / steep hills that I make.

The BZ-35 Refuellers are coming along well – they are receiving a careful solid coating of Catachan Green, which perfectly models the green the Soviets used on their softskins and AFVs.

I’ve commenced assembly of a 1:72  Sd. Kfz. 250/3 by Italeri (kit No. 7034), which was one of kits I bought at the Model Expo Swap & Sell on the Queen’s Birthday Weekend back in June.  It’ll end up being used as a reconnaissance vehicle for encounter scenario games.

Yesterday I began work on painting up a building (4 inch square walls) from Battlefield Accessories. It’ll have the same paint scheme that I used with the AMRI railway station that I painted up last year, for re-creating the fighting around Mga Railway Station in North-western Russia.

I mentioned below (or click on this link if you don’t want to scroll down) that I was working on another piece of WWII wargaming terrain that is impassable to vehicles – a knocked-out T-34/85 tank.

Here’s a pic: Brewed-up T-34-85 aerial

The piece is ideally representing a group or column of vehicles that have been knocked out / destroyed. This piece may portray the losers of an armoured battle; an armoured column hit by artillery; an armoured column attacked from the air; softskins hit by artillery or from the air…there are plenty of possibilities, if you do some reading!

I’m using up an Eastern Express T-34/85 that I bought but later decided I wasn’t going to ever assemble and use for active gaming.

This piece of terrain should be kept fairly small – as you can see, it only extends a short distance around the circumference of the model. All the paint has been applied – I’ve been wanting to apply washes and inks, to represent mud and also weeping rust, but haven’t had the inks and necessary paints until last night. Hopefully I can apply these this weekend, and then this terrain piece will be complete. Here’s a second pic, from a slightly different angle: Brewed-up T-34-85 side

***

Nearly every wargame table benefits from having at least one hill on it. I’ve made hills for both the 15mm scale and for sci-fi wargaming scales in the past and nowadays make hills for 15mm scale and also 20mm scale (1:72).

Having rescued some very thick (80mm) house insulation polystyrene foam that was destined for a rubbish tip last year, I spent a cooler summer day cutting it into the rough shapes for some tall, steep hills (the plan being to use these steep hills to represent the mountainous regions of Romania, Hungary or Italy).

I used a hot wire cutter to get the rough shapes I wanted. This is a dangerous thing to do because:

  1. If you’re using an industrial unit like I was, you may scald yourself on the wire;
  2. You need to do it where there is plenty of fresh air;
  3. You must wear eye protection as the fumes can damage your eyes.

Therefore, do it outside or where you have good airflow; wear tradesmans’ or lab technicians’ safety glasses; wear old clothing and lastly do everything slowly and take plenty of breaks so your concentration remains unwavering.

Two of the end results were these: Roughly shaped blanks

On the weekend, deciding to get a few of these hills made for a game while Peter’s busy, I tool out my Olfa snap-blade cutter (Get knife) and shaved off and smoothed the hard angles and rough edges –                             as you can see here: Shave and smooth blanks

Using a Olfa blade, packing knife or anything similar is also quite dangerous. Remember to always cut away from you (always, no getting lazy!); check first that each cut is necessary before making it (don’t just absent-mindedly whittle away) and always retract the blade fully before putting the tool down and check that it was retracted fully before you reach down to pick it up again!

Provided the weather is good (well, not wet and/or frosty) this weekend, I can take these two smoothed, prepared hills Completed first stage and move on to stage 2 – undercoating them with paint.