Panzerschreck Design Studio

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Archive for the ‘Diary of an Army I (1944 British)’ Category

Building a 1944 British Armoured battlegroup in 15mm from go to whoa.

An Update of Sorts

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, November 19

WW2 Projects Update:

Late War British:
I had hoped to attend the FOW NZ GT in Auckland this weekend, but unfortunately work requirements and the need for $$$ prevented me taking the trip up. Good thing too, I’m almost finished redoing my Cromwells from 7th Armoured Div to 11th Armd, and I’ve just got to get the bases finished on the Infantry after that.

Late War Fallschirmjäger: Organised and ready to be started once and for all. I’ve sorted out the mix of figures, Camo schemes and what supporting armour they’ll have available to them – a mix of Panthers, a Tiger IE and the usual Stug IIIs (albeit with Saukopf mantlets of which I prefer the look). I had pondered using my 4 Panzer III ausf Ms but I’ve deceided to use them for a Winter 43 project based on the very nice artwork on the Squadron Signal SS Armor in Action.

Early War BEF: Very slowly progressing now, although the basic uniforms and webbing are done for all the figures now, just the small arms, boots and flesh to be picked out. Once I get the full Infantry company out of the way I’ll be able to go to town on the Cruisers – The Matildas will probably wait a while as I’m still not sure on how far I want to go with Infantry tanks – I’ll probably end up needing a lot more Matilda Is and a few more Matilda IIs to obtain the look I’m after.

Other periods:
I’m hopefully getting hold of a second hand Freikorps Ancient British Chariot based force that will serve nicely as a counterpoint to my Spanish and Romans. Yes the Ancient British panzer division will ride again – there’s something about fielding 21 Chariots on the tabletop that appeals.

Napoleonics and ACW: I’m in the final stages of offloading my Napoleonics – they just weren’t getting used and I can put the money towards the move to Australia. I’ve not sorted out whether I’ll be angling for an ACW army in 15mm in partial trade but it does appeal, which will flesh out my existing ACW forces nicely. I’ve been helping troubleshoot (I wouldn’t call it playtesting – I’m that poor a gamer that I tend to break  most rules sets through my ineptitude) a locally written set of Grand tactical Napoleonics rules which are set above the level I’d normally enjoy but work really well – fast play but enough plausibility in results and flavour enough to suit. Of course it helps that Evan and Kelly have gone nuts with regard to painting some AB 18mms  – some of the nicest figures I’ve seen and the painting is worthy of the sculpts. I’m hoping to grab a few decent pics of a game in progress as it really does look rather good.

Very little activity these days, as between work hours and personal commitments I really don’t have the time or space to set up anything and the last thing I want to do is face an extended session on the PC after 8 hours at work.

So there you have it, very little actually getting done, and it’s unlikely to change between now and May 2008 when I should be ensconced in Aussie. Mostly I’ve been doing a little reading (mainly Lachoucque’s History of the Garde Imperiale) or watching some classic documentaries and series (The Beeb’s The Great War, Stalag 17, Colditz Story, Paths of Glory and The Wooden Horse come to mind).

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On the Painting Table

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 10

I thought I’d show my little work area – very simple, very cluttered, very much not used enough 🙂 But funnily enough it works nicely. Or it did until I got distracted by boardgaming again. I am not a goldfish! Oh look a shiny pebble!

The Painting Desk

Starting from the lower left and moving clockwise: Battlefront BEF infantry gradually getting painted as and when the muse strikes me; on the dowels behind theusual selection of Vallejos are the last of my late war British 3″ mortar crews – actually Italian theatre styled; my brush/common tool holder; More late war Brit mortar crews; Vallejos; Immediately to their front, a trio of the older Universal carriers from BF – these are the last of the kit type ones rather than the newer one piece resin castings; a pair of Daimler Dingos about 40% finished; and finally a group of Shermans in various stages of completion – for the main part assembled and base coated , just awaiting final detailing with smaller metal parts, crew, hatches, markings and weathering.

Partially completed Shermans Achilles IC Troop

The Shermans are a mix of the most recent sculpts and some of the middle period models (notably the Firefly and cast hull Sherman next to the BEF figures) – The old Firefly is probably going to sit around morosely once finished unless I can find some older stablemates for it. The cast hull Sherman is going to be used as an OP tank so will need some extra work on aerials, etc. The three other Shermans are going to have lots more stowage and extra work added most probably and will join a fourth Sherman which is sitting with the rest of the 1944 Brits already

The Achilles were painted by an old friend of mine and just require the addition of markings and some of the new SP crew from Battlefront to flesh them out. I’m not concerned with the 17lber compared to the new releases, with a complete 4 vehicle troop I don’t have to worry about mixing generational casts. In any case they’re good enough for me and will look even better with crew and markings.

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Don’t laugh too much, it’s been a long night

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, April 28

I’ve finished a Sherman platoon. Only taken 4 years to get it assembled and painted to the pioint where all I have to do is add the markings and one or two crew.

In fact I’ve been so productive I’ve started work on some BEF infantry as well while I had some English Uniform to use on the palette.  Anyway, this bodes well for the next club meeting where I’m meant to turn up with a 1500 point army – I may even get the army finished this week.

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Diary of a Late War Brit Army – progress report

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, April 24

I had a few days away staying at a friends where I had a good look at the next Flames of War battle book: Omaha and at the remastered Cromwells. The good new s is that the new cromwells are very nice indeed, yet my existing ones are still very useful in that they are type D hulls and can be used for the uparmoured welded hull Mark Vw and Mark VIIw versions. The new Cromwells are Mark IVs so I’ll end up fleshing out my Squadron with another 7 models.

I managed to get another three bases worth of Late War infantry painted and based along with the mortar crews – I still need to fill some gaps with regard to Command teams inparticular, but it looks like I’ve got enough to field three full Rifle platoons. I took a quick look at my options for a Armoured Recce Squadron force for Panzerschreck VII and I think I need to buy at least a couple more Carrier patrols. I’d be happier if I could use a proper 7th Armoured Division List but it’s unlikely to be released before the cut off date for Panzerschreck army lists so that means no Cromwell/Firefly combinations either. Good thing I’ve got enough Achilles to make up for the loss of the Fireflies.

I might see if I can flog some of the all metal Typhoons that Evan still has – I prefer the heft of the suckers.

Other than that general news is positive: I picked up a CD with all the Duellists graphics onboard so that means I can actually look at designing the new Club webpages complete with decent photos of various armies etc. I ‘m still working on some ideas for terrain but i’m not holding my breath on getting them completed before Panzerschreck although it’d be nice.

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Diary of a Late War army Part IX

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, September 2

What a great day. Not only have I managed to organise most of my miniatures logically, I found all my old tools and craft supplies so I’ll be back in the swing of things almost immediately. I set up the PC so I could at least avoid listening to crap radio for another day, and just afterI sorted that out, Evan arrived bearing gifts: a new office chair which I really needed, but get this: he went and made me some painting rods and a painting stand so I could keep going with the Late War Brits! He made a whole bunch of the rods and will do another stand so I’ll be able to have at least 36 figures on the go if needed. This means I’ll be painting by platoons if needed and I can also mix and match infantry, arty and vehicles without having to handle the castings at all until after they’re varnished. To say I’m blown away is an understatement. He even managed to change his usual remark about me being able to get my A into G to being able to continue my progress.I don’t think I’m able to paint tonight though as I’m a bit tired after unpacking all day. I think I saw some nice and cheap china display cabinets at one of the local goodwill type shops in town so I’ll have a gander at them on Thursday when I’m next in town (by which stage I’ll be ready to start doing the full basing for the brits as I’ll have the Resene paints and the field grass). I may just leave the next instalment of this as the final one when I’ve completed the basing of the infantry and just post once more after that when I’ve completed all the super-detailing and the objectives for this particular army.

TheArmy as it looks today (20 Sept 2006) except for the Cromwells and Fireflies which are still at Evan’s, the mortar platoon and the rest of the infantry :
September 2006 - Taking shape

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Diary of a Late War Army part VIII

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, September 1

Nothing concrete achieved today painting wise except that I definitely have room for a work area and even a space for a proper display type cabinet for my finished armies. I unpacked and reorganised my old Citadel/GW/Ral Partha paints to go with my Vallejos, so I can even start looking at the ACW and Ancients if ever I need a change of pace. The good thing is that I have 90% of the materials needed for basing purposes, I just need some Woodland Scenics Field Grass and some Resene test pots for the basic ground colours (I refuse to use my Vallejos for something that mundane and material intensive) and I’ll be good to go.

Talked with Evan about going to Bunnings Hardware tomorrow to pick up some dowelling so will see where that goes as I’ll just whack it on the credit card. Must say that the Lounge/Workspace area is just about perfect. I still have to set up the PC and the Home Theatre System but that’s going to take some time. I just know I’ve got lots of transcription of handwritten journal entries ahead of me tomorrow once I have a spare moment.

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Diary of a late War Army part VII

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, August 31

Moving day. I spent the morning packing up almost everything and then spent the afternoon getting 75% of the stuff in storage installed in the new place. Evan and I dropped off everything I had packed up that evening, including the half-painted brits ( I have no painting rods anymore so the army will definitely be languishing for at least a week until I have some cash to get some ones made up. Organised the lounge partially (still waiting for the desktop, bookshelves and couch to arrive) and I’m pretty sure that I will be able to have enough storage and workspace there to easily keep good work habits. I’m looking forward to finishing off everything tomorrow and then starting the unpacking and sorting – I’m sure I’ll find a whle bunch of stuff that I forgot I had (I just loaded up boxes as fast as possible when packing so there was stuff I’d never really got around to looking at closely) – but I now have the freedom to leave projects in being on the workspace.Went to the club tonight and it was excellent. I was pretty positive about the whole progress thing and that in itself was a marked contrast to previous visits. Jem and the others were pleased I think to see I was now being active again – I’ve spent far too long coasting along as an observer rather than participating at any level in the hobby. Now if only I could get started on the Brits again.

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Diary of a Late War Army Part VI

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, August 30

I only managed to make a little progress with the last lot of figures – basecoat, helmets and blacklined webbing was the state of play by the end of the night. Evan will want his painting bench back tomorrow (he’s been very patient and generous with his work space) so that’s the end for this lot of infantry until at least next week at the earliest. Thefunny thing is that these are all the prone figures – a bren team and three (3) PIAT teams plus a few standard riflemen to fill out the remaining bases. Once I’ve done these, I’ll glue them all to the bases and get stuck into the Mortar Platoon. I might see if I can scrounge some more late war brits from my last source – but that’ll take a little bit of work given that I only found these by looking closely. I’m really pleased that I’ve got so far with the army since effectively the 14th August.

I’m actually rather pleased with myself right now – I’ve proved that I can still paint to a fairly high standard, my confidence at completing tasks is back and I don’t fear picking up a paintbrush anymore – I do however have a very high regard for painting in manageable quantities which is why I doubt I’ll try and finish my ancients and ACW armies in short order. I’ll leave them until I get a decent palette of Vallejo Model and Game Colors so I can get the correct tonal qualities.

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Diary of A Late War Army Part V

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, August 29

Finished off yesterday’s twelve figures with a minimum of trouble although I was trying to get the move into the new place organised which effectively took most of the day away from the painting bench as I was not really mentally up to painting for very long at a time. I did manage to get the remainder of the figures undercoated (leaving just the 3 inch Mortar platoon to be sorted out ready for undercoating).

Given that I’m moving into the new place tomorrow I really needed to get everything finished tonight but I just wasn’t able to. I’m a tad worried that if I don’t get these infantry done now, I’ll lose my impetus until such time as I have a painting setup ready at the new place, which means I need to get some dowelling and some wood blocks ready. I’ll also need to grab some decent lengths of 2″ square section balsa for the mass undercoating. So it may be some time before I get another chance.

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Diary of A Late War Army Part IV

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, August 28

Almost completed the second twelve this morning – everything but the metals and the varnish to go – If I wasn’t so fearful of a poor result and having to do all the previous figures I’d look at some highlighting of the base uniform colour (Edit: I went back and did some of the existing figures, and I’m satisfied with the overall look merging seamlessly within a platoon). I experimented with using Luftwaffe Camo Green for the bedrolls and helmets to get an increased contrast as I find it difficult to separate the base helmet colour (WWII Russian Uniform) from the khaki I use for the webbing and netting/hessian strips.

    Ten Lessons Learned:

  1. Paint helmets completely in base colour, let the drybrushing do the work of blacklining.
  2. Check that undercoat isn’t too thinned down, redo if necessary – it’s worth getting it right to begin with.
  3. Don’t sweat some casting flaws, most of the time they can be fixed simply by judicious painting and even ignored if they’re not likely to picked up by anyone except the most anal observers (and those are the types I don’t let touch my figures anyway – usually I’ve never seen any examples of their work and they’re usually slobs with greasy fingers and BO issues.
  4. Varnishing with Humbrol MattCote really tones down the harsher contrasts nicely and does a little bit of blending it seems as well.
  5. Twelve (12) figures is about right for detail work – anymore and my hands and legs get cramped from sitting in the one position for that length of time. Sixteen (16) to twenty-four (24) is okay when doing base colour work but only occasionally.
  6. Keep the hordes of unpainted stuff out of sight and therefore out of mind – the more progress you can see in front of you the more you end up painting and completing.
  7. Schedules help a lot, they really do. Getting into a routine of undercoating last thing at night, then basecoating the following morning usually results in the figures being done by the end of the day just in time to watch Boston Legal, ER or The Sopranos (yeah I watch those three series, about all I watch on broadcast TV these days).
  8. Paint when you have not only the physical energy, but also the mental energy – I suffer from depression so I often find I’m just not able to paint sometimes. As soon as painting becomes a stressful activity, it’s time to walk away from the painting area. Always have a drinks break/walk around/ sit back in a comfortable chair between colours – you’l return to the painting table with not only renewed enthusiasm and energy but your attention to detail and accuracy will be much the better for the break.
  9. Check the figures a couple of days after varnishing them and gluing them to the bare bases – you can do any last minute corrections, consistency touchups at this point, then do the actual groundwork basing safe in the knowledge you’ve done the best you could.This is one reason to leave the basing for a while after varnishing as well.
  10. Base the figures en masse in a production line. Don’t base one lot one day and wait a week before basing the rest. You’ll never get the consistent look that really sets off an army. If you’ve ever tried to duplicate an existing basing scheme from scratch, you know it’s actually far easier and faster to start over the whole lot in a new scheme.

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Diary of A Late War Army Part III

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, August 27

Painted another twelve (12) late war Brits today, very pleased with the results, even managing to basecoat another bunch of twelve as well, so while I’m still incredibly slow compared to others, I am at least getting better and faster and importantly getting things finished in order. Even if I only do one colour per night for twenty-four (24) figures that’s still a fair amount of completed figures by the end of a Sunday evening.The First Platoon:
The first platoon

A Close Up:
The Platoon CO

Apologies for the standard of the pics, I’m still working around with the light settings and these were taken at almost midnight.

    Lessons Learned:

  1. A decent coverage of undercoat makes all the difference using my technique: it’s why I’ll never bother with spray undercoats – the time spent getting the nooks and crannies missed the first time around istime wasted imo.
  2. Always concentrate on completing each colour the first time around, it’s far more time efficient in the long run plus it means you develop self-confidence in your ability and with that comes speed coupled with the accuracy required.
  3. Always have the colours ready from the get go, lined up in the order you’ll use them. This is second nature to most people but believe me, I’m finally getting the hang of organising my painting area before picking up a brush.
  4. Flesh in 15mm really isn’t as daunting as I remember, of course I like the standard flesh colour of vallejo far more than my previous choices (Humbrol Flesh was the colour of nightmares).
  5. Following on from the last, Vallejo are so much more enjoyable to use than any other range of paints I’ve tried in the past – Humbrol enamels and acrylics, Model Master enamels and acrylics, Ral Partha Acrylics, Armory Acrylics, GW in their various iterations, Color Drop system…I’ve just had almost no problems with them outside of the occasional opacity issues with yellows and greens – but that’s down to a technical error or omission of proper technique steps on my part than a failing of the paint itself.

I’m almost at the stage now where basing will become a necessity – which means a fair chunk of work rebasing Evan’s originals to the standard FOW bases – That’s how long ago the LW stuff was released – pre the standard bases. By moving to 4 figures per base rather than the usual 5 figures, I can add an extra platoon and get the look of 1944-era Brits with their lack of trained infantry. I like the look of the old LW Brit figures, they’ve got that je ne sais quoi look of the 1st gen Fallschirmjäger sculpts. From what I understand Evan is hoping to make the new sculpts mimic the style as much as possible, just as he did with the new US Para sculpts which are superb. I do wish I could still get some more lying down Bren gunners as I’m still not that fussed on the advancing pose I have at the moment, same goes for the PIAT gunners which I need a few more so I can convert my Rifle platoon to Motor Battalion troops.

Basing comparison: FOW style base compared to plasticard
Mine on the left, Evan's on the right

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Diary of a late war army part II

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, August 26

Late start today but spent what time I could tidying up the Churchills although my pickiness is a cause of some slowing down as I try for that very fine-lined blacklining effect I really enjoy. Unfortunately it’s quite hard to do this with these churchills as they are pretty heavily covered in enamel and then washed with sepia inks which has meant a fair amount of work to get the effect toned down and consistent. I still haven’t decided on markings and there’s still a lot to do before varnishing them although I’d be happy enough to field them on thetabletop as is – they do fit in nicely with the Quads and Sextons – just have to get those pesky infantry done.Churchills by the three
In echelon

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Diary of an Army Part I

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2006, August 23

The last week has been remarkably productive on the painting front as I’ve been able to really have a go at refurbishing some old models andfigures I’ve had sitting around for a while. With the release of Flames of War 2nd Edition and the upcoming late war focus, I’ve taken some brits out of storage.
Originally the late war brits were a real mix:

  • twelve Cromwells, three Fireflies and a full platoon of infantry courtesy of Evan Allen
  • a troop of four M10C Achilles and a pair of Daimler Armoured cars from Ian Galley
  • a full troop of four 25 pdrs and Quads with attached observerand CO, four Churchill mark IVs, four Sexton SP25pdrs and assortedBritish softskin vehicles from Richard of Army Builder file fame
  • my collection of early all metal Bren carriers (most of which will end up as wrecks/part of terrain pieces)
  • some OOP blister packs of Late War Brits that I picked up froma gaming store recently. The blister packs include a 3″ Mortar platoon(2nd Ed makes mortars much more useful on the table), a full fourVickers MMG platoon (something again that 2nd edition really makesworth fielding), and another full rifle platoon.

Here’s some of the army as it originally appeared:
The original Late War Brits

I started off by painting the Vickers platoon. I hadn’t painted infantry for ages, so I was more than a little hesitant, especially as I needed to match the style of the rifle platoon that Evan had already painted. It took two days for me to paint 15 figures and four MGs to a level I was happy with, particularly as they are almost indistinguishable from Evan’s originals.

Vickers Team

Mine on the left, Evan's originals on the right

I needed a change after painting infantry so I returned to looking at vehicles. The towed 25pdrs were based and painted to a satisfactory quality for gaming purposes and if I wanted to do any touching up, it’d be a long and involved process. Instead I selected four Quad Tractors that really needed some refurbishment: they were painted significantly differently to my Cromwells and Fireflies, plus they needed some work on detailing.

Originally painted in Humbrol enamels, the panel lines and some of the definition were hidden or no longer survived the rigours of handling. I chose to freehand or redo the panel lines and shadows with Vallejo black 950 and then blocked in the late war British Khaki Drab carefully using Vallejo Russian Uniform Green 924, which is the best match for Humbrol 159/Khaki drab I’ve found (it takes clear direct sunlight to tell the very minor difference in shade). I also went over the stowage and general accessories with subtler shades of tans and greys. I put the main effort on painting the solid windows on the Quads using a technique from the Flames of War website and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I know I can and will do better with more practice but I also realise that I need to buy some quality brushes before I attempt such fine work again at least if I want toachieve better more consistent results.


Quad Close Up

Once I was generally satisfied with the look of the Quads (I’ve not weathered them yet as I think I’ll be basing them when I do all my basing in one go to maintain a consistent theme) I put them aside and looked at something with guns to paint. The Cromwells, Fireflies and Ian G’s Achilles were all consistently themed and stylistically matched anyway, so there was no point in adding a second troop just yet. I almost went for the Churchills, but I hadn’t done enough research as yet and I was still thinking more along the lines of fielding a Cromwell based army rather than an Infantry based force. So I chose the four Sextons.

These are some of the earlier late war models, predating the release of Flames of War by at least a year and it shows. They’re still very nice looking models but they did require some work before they would fit in with my other models. Again the original paintwork was done in enamel, but it was chalky and mismatched in places plus had been badly handled over time. The usual clean up with freehand blacklining and blocking colour ensued, but I left the crew as they were for now…they’ll do the job at a pinch and the main vehicles look much better – complete with Unit and Divisional markings for the 13th RHA of the 11th Armoured Division. Again I’ll probably base up the Sextons to hide the flaws that no paintjob can totally disguise (I hate trackwork) and they’ll suit a bit more dioramic treatment.

Troop A, 13 RHA

Sexton Front on Close up

Sexton in the back

The next units on the schedule are the Churchills and the remaining Infantry (rifle and 3″ mortar platoon).

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