Panzerschreck Design Studio

Journey of a Wargamer – Comments welcomed

Archive for the ‘Modelling and Painting’ Category

Some changes in the wind…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2011, November 3

One of the downsides of spending 4 hours a day commuting is that I’m terminally knackered during the week and there’s no energy or enthiusiasm ton sit and paint, even for 30-45 minutes in the evening. However thanks to an unplanned employment change, the long haul commute may be a thing of the past shortly if i can find a position closer to home (which would be the preferred option). It may mean a lesser salary, but I’ll take that within reason.

Ideally, I’d like a position in Gosford, which would mean I’d be home by 6pm at the latest and I’d be getting 2 more hours sleep at the beginning of the day. This would mean I could actually budget around 60-90 minutes per evening for painting, something that’d allow me to revisit the painting skills I had which have sorely atrophied. In the time I’ve stopped painting, (not that I did that much as it was) the general level of painting I’ve seen for 15mm has passed me by to a huge extent. I’d have to knuckle down and religiously paint as if I was starting from scratch.

We’ll see I guess. It would be nice to get back into painting again, and even more so now I’d be doing it purely for myself, with no pressure to complete stuff for a tournament, competition or for anything beyond personal satisfaction. Hell I don’t even know if I’d be that bothered if I didn’t end up gaming with the models, I’d just prefer to have stuff completed.

 

Posted in Modelling and Painting | 4 Comments »

Tyranid New arrivals: Classic Lictor, Screamer Killer and Hive Tyrant

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2010, July 25

I’ve had these for a few months now, but things being what they are between work, ASL and home, I never managed to get some pics ready until now:

Mr Slashy, Mr Rippy and Mr Bitey

Mr Slashy, Mr Rippy and Mr Bitey

Mr Slashy

Posted in Articles, Diary of an Army V (Tyranids and Genestealer Cultists), Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Rules, Tyranids, wargaming, WH40K | 3 Comments »

Little Marienburg – The German Defence II

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2010, February 27

And so we continue the pre-game deployment walk-around:

From this shot, it looks bad for the Germans...

Until you move back and see these...

These were placed on table because they took up horrible blank space, and because I could.

The forward platoon really aren't sure what they are doing up here, and those 152s look more like 16" naval guns from front on at this range

Because every Fallschirmjäger army has StuGs around somewhere - these are actually in reserve unable to move until Turn 2 at the earliest

Unfortunately after setting up the terrain, taking photos, setting up the figures, taking more photos, handling the club finances and general admin stuff, there wasn’t enough time to play a game if I wanted to get it all packed up and catch a train home at a reasonable hour. I should have been at the club earlier but I really did need the leisurely start to the weekend. Plus setting up and packing the terrain took a lot longer than I had hoped. I was pretty sure that there was an opportunity for a fun contest there, the soviet horde can do some nifty things in late war, and those 152s are vicious beasties at clearing out infantry.

Posted in Diary of An Army II (1944 Fallschirmjäger), Diary of an Army IV (1943-44 Soviet), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Rules, wargaming | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Little Marienburg – The German Defences I

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2010, February 27

And now for the German response, a few Fallschirmjäger platoons, a couple of lightweight Anti-tank guns and a Jagdpanther. Maybe the last is overkill, but there are two Svierbois and three KV-1Es  to contend with, and the FJs are pretty lightweight in the handheld AT department. I was going to add a few tigers but given my Soviets are still understrength tank wise, that would have been cruel.

The Northern Flank - FJs in slit trenches waiting for the juggernaut

10.5cm LG40s in ambush guarding the NW exit road - I don't think they're going to do that well against KV-1Es

Just because there are two AT guns guarding one exit, there's nothing to prevent the Hunting Kitty from guarding the main road

A better shot, right down the road between the trees - nassty russki hobbitses

A third shot, which is probably all this Kitty will need.

Posted in Diary of An Army II (1944 Fallschirmjäger), Diary of an Army IV (1943-44 Soviet), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Little Marienburg – The Soviet Initial Wave

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2010, February 27

It would have seemed a waste of time to set up all this terrain without putting the models on it. Unfortunately no Brits were available so I had tro make do with my winter Soviets – a different look but rationalised by substituting East Prussia for Normandy in the description 🙂

T34 advance on the Northern flank - I'd like to field at least 30 of these suckers

Soviet Combined Arms, T34/76s with desantniki and an SMG company

The KVs enter the town with a modicum of infantry support

Meanwhile the SU152s prepare to support the assault infantry into the south of Little Marienburg, something rather brutish about this particular force.

The remaining company of Infantry advances down the railway line, looking to gain their first objective, the area of the crossroads on the left hand side, but they better watch out for the dug in FJs, even if they aren't too keen on facing 6 inch shells from the Zvierbois

Posted in Diary of An Army II (1944 Fallschirmjäger), Diary of an Army IV (1943-44 Soviet), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Rules, wargaming | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

More pics from the club

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2010, February 27

Just a few more pics from the club – still without the figures on the table. Apart from more trees, I definitely need a few more packs of roads and especially fields – thankfully coles have a couple more plain mats I can cut up and the haystacks are kinder surprise shells with loose mat fibres glues to the exterior mounted on a steel washer. So I can count on the support of the 7 year old in keeping up stocks of those particular items.

Looking towards the North East - more terrain needed in the foreground

I’m pretty pleased with how this looks for a start, more general terrain clutter and trees would help, plus a lot more hedges and walls. A stream would certainly break up the expanses of green base cloth still apparent. Miniature World Maker should be okay for the streams, I’ll see who does the best value for money re hedges and walls.

The south eastern approach to Little Marienburg

Tree-lined roads would greatly help in breaking up sight-lines here, and maybe an orchard or two just to give that agricultural/rural village feel a bit more. Who am I kidding? I just want a decent wood or forest for large sections of the tabletop. Some wooded hills would kill two birds with one stone and still allow reasonable room for manoeuvre. An idle comment of needing 150-200 trees doesn’t look so far out in size now. Oops!

Southern Little Marienburg - note the expat residents from Shebangabang

Peter Pig and Irregular will be definitely getting some business from me, I need a bunch of dead cattle and horses still, plus there just aren’t enough sheep! I’ll also have to look at making a bunch more cropfields and variations – I want a lot of LOS breakages and obscuration – I hate that single big tank dominating an entire table from the backfield of a large hill.

The western entry to Little Marienburg

Time to look at obtaining a decent Church – there are a few around, but I don’t want something too big, I am missing my old Military Miniatures solid resin pieces now. JR Miniatures and Kerr & King should help populate the table nicely – and next year i’ll probably try for an urban rubble look for a decent section of a table. Nothing too tall, just more about covering areas and breaking up the view from the tabletop.

The Western Farmlets

A few more animals , some tractors, more haystacks and cropfields and I should be okay for a reasonable variation. More trees and in a lot mnore variations – I don’t think I’ll be bothering with more Woodland Scenics though, probably more Noch, Heki and yes even Lifeline Scenics. I do need a bunch of poplars for the roads though, say around 120 minimum.

One thing this has brought home to me, I can pretty much do the set up from Terry Wise’s Introduction to Battlegaming WW2 scenario in 15mm now without too much extra expense or terrain. So apart from some judicious purchases over the next year I’ve got enough to play around with at the club.

Posted in Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Terrain Listing (ongoing)

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2010, January 31

So here’s the itemised list of what I have now:

General Terrain

  • Crescent Root buildings – Europe series 2: 15A2, 15B2, 15C2, 15D2, 15E2, 15F2, 15H2
  • 18 x 6 inch hedges
  • 25 assorted trees (and rubberised ‘forest’ bases that trees plug into)
  • ca 4 foot of dirt roads, 4 foot of cobble roads and 3 foot of railway lines (all Miniature World Maker)
  • 5 Hills – 1 large, 3 medium, 1 small (MWM again)
  • 6 ‘fields’ – these are from flocked, textured corrugated card (to look like ploughed fields), artifical grass (crops) and coir floor mats (wheat) – these have all been cut to match the length of hedges and stones walls so a French style patch work can easily be built.
  • 34 x 3 inch sections of stone walls (4 gate sections)
  • Cows, sheep, hay stacks and farm machinery so ‘dressing the paddocks’

Fortifications

  • 6 bunkers (1 5cm stellung, 2 pill boxes, one turreted tobruk and 2 open gun pits)
  • 16 x 3 inch strips of barbed wire entanglements (so approx 8 elements)
  • 3 feet of resin trench lines including gun pits
  • 6 x 3 inch minefield sections (makes 3 elements)
  • 2 x 3 inch anti tank traps (makes 1 element)

Additional Items

  • 3 x A4 based bocage fields (field elevation is higher than surrounding terrain (gives that sunken road feel to the lanes)
  • 2 x GW medium hills
  • 60-70 Noch deciduous trees
  • 2 x coir doormats approx 60cm by 30cm each

Now all I have to do is get painting some more fallschirmjäger – thanks to Alun, he also included the old 2nd edition of Diving Eagles so I’m able to play around with the Camo schemes again. I’m going to be buying more MWM roads and rivers I think, they’re so lightweight I can easily carry a decent amount. As for portability, well I can fit all the terrain in one of those two wheeled shopping trolley bags which is perfect for my needs. I intend to use most of the terrain at the club in February, it should be fun to play again on terrain that has enough density to feel right and prevent the Wall o’ Tanks I detest in any game.  Some more photos of the terrain:

Posted in Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | 1 Comment »

Project Tau: The Schedule

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2010, January 15

My Tau Schedule

Given the rules of the Challenge, I’m limited to using an RRP Limit of $500.00 plus the initial Battleforce and optional HQ blister. This effectively gives me an RRP budget of $650 total excluding any bits and pieces such as bases, conversion materials and spare parts for conversions which do not count against the budget. In the end I used $636 of the retail budget but only actually spent $350 which allowed me to justify spending the remaining $300 on more Tau (you really thought I’d stop there?) after the Challenge is over.

January 2010: Purchase: Battleforce ($150)

HQ 1a- XV8 counts as Crisis Suit Commander

Troop 1a: 6 x FW

Troop 2a: 6 x FW

Elite1a: 3 x XV25 Stealth Suits

For later use: Devilfish

Troop 3: 12 x Kroot
February 2010: Tau Crisis Commander (RRP$50) – HQ 1b

March 2010: Tau Pathfinders (RRP$22), Shas’Ui Pathfinder(RRP$22) – FA 2              $6 credit

April 2010: nothing bought ($50 put aside)                       $56 credit

May 2010: nothing bought ($50 put aside)                       $106 credit

June 2010: Battleforce 2                                                   $6 credit

HQ 1c: add 2nd Crisis Suit bodyguard

Troop 1b: Add 6 x FW

Troop 2b: Add 6 x FW

Elite1b: Add 3 x XV25 Stealth

For Later Use: 1 x Devilfish

Troop 4: 12 x Kroot

July 2010: Tau Pathfinders (RRP$22), Shas’Ui Pathfinder(RRP$22) – FA 3              $12 credit

August 2010: Pathfinders with RR (RRP$25)                      $37 credit

September 2010: 2 x Piranha (RRP$82)                                    $5 credit

October 2010: 1 x Piranha (RRP$41)                                    $14 credit

November 2010: Sniper Drone Team (RRP$50)                       $14 credit

So at the end, I should have the following:

HQ1:                                       Crisis Commander + 2 XV8 Bodyguard

Troop 1:                                   12 x FW

Troop 2:                                   12 x FW

Troop 3:                                   12 x Kroot

Troop 4:                                   12 x Kroot

Elite 1:                                     6 x XV25 Stealth

Fast Attack 1:                          3 x Piranha

Fast Attack 2:                         Shas’Ui, 3 x Pathfinder, 1 x Pathfinder+RR + Devilfish

Fast Attack 3:                          Shas’Ui, 3 x Pathfinder, 1 x Pathfinder+RR + Devilfish

Heavy Support 1:                    Sniper Drone Team

I’d say that most of the work will be building and painting the vehicles, especially the modular Devilfish/Hammerheads. This army is pretty much complete except for the purchase of a few Skyrays, a couple of Broadsides and perhaps more Sniper Drone teams. Even after adding those I should be able to afford some Forge World Tau models without exceeding the $650 limit (probably some TX-42s or an XV-9).

This would be a pretty sizable army for me anyway, even without adding in all the extra stuff I bought outside the Challenge, but as with all good intentions, I went overboard in obtaining models to practise on  before starting painting.

Posted in Articles, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Project Tau, wargaming, WH40K | Leave a Comment »

Project Tau – Challenge rules and guidelines

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2010, January 11

The Challenge Rules

Start Off:

  • 1 x battleforce of choice
  • 1 x blister of HQ choice
  • 1 x codex (optional).
  1. Monthly purchase allowance of AUD$50 GW RRP**.
  2. Try to fill out one option from each area of the army list (hq, fast attack, elites, heavy support) before adding a second (except troops which you should be free, nay encouraged, to spam).

**you can buy up to $50 at GW RRP, or buy the same items elsewhere for cheaper, but cannot use the money saved to buy more.

Painting:

Part of this challenge is to paint the army. There are deadlines imposed, but there isn’t any great penalty, though there is an award for having an army fully painted month to month.

The first month’s purchases, the battleforce + HQ, will have a 2 month time period in which to have it painted to 3 colour standard and based to be eligible for some of the ongoing painting awards, all other months will have one month (till the next meet) to be finished to still comply.

Any parts used or purchased for conversion are not restricted, and any paints etc too. This includes buying the codex, you are free to buy anything like that without penalty.

Shipping is not included in allocating RRP of models, so I could buy from GW direct, etc for RRP indicated on the site, wthout having to also factor in shipping on top, or if you buy something that is RRP of $48, but you get it at a discount online for $40 except shipping comes to $11, that wont take the total to $51, because it goes off RRP of $48 as if you were to walk in to GW and take it off the shelf.

Participants will start their army from scratch. Any models already owned by the participant are not to be included (except if broken down for parts for conversion?).

For clarity, black reach and macragge sets will not be allowed as a substitute for a battleforce, nor will resale of items from the battleforce in order to then buy other items. Make do with what you get in the battleforce to start, and if you really dont plan to ever use something from the battleforce then you can sell it by all means, but the money gained doesnt come off the total spent in order to then buy other things with it.

Because of the large variation in points costs, game size will be determined month to month by comparison of maximum points capable for each army*** and the lowest value determines size of game to the nearest 50, rounding up, i.e. lowest points value of army is 575, game size will be 600 (even if all others can make it to 750), and so on.

(*** participants to have lists in a week before the club meets, so that Patto had ample time to go through them and compare totals etc, then inform everyone what the game size will be for that month so they can rewrite their lists accordingly. With lists should come a short write-up of only a few paragraphs describing motivations for your purchases, progress of painting and converting, maybe some tactics you’ve found useful for particular units you’re using – something that would be interesting for others to read if they were considering collecting that army)

One may forfeit some or all of your allowance from one month, in order to purchase a larger item such as a tank that costs more than one month’s worth in the next month, but it was suggested waiting until you have enough points to meet the game size, rather than handicapping yourself in the early months, If someone does this, they will be ignored (go to next lowest) for purposes of determining game size by lowest point total of army, and will have to make do with being severely under-pointed in games, e.g. If you only buy a box that costs say $35 RRP one month, the remaining $15 carries over to the next month, so you could buy up to $65 RRP worth the next month (or less and have carryover once again).

#1 rule is Common Sense. Not only that, but also Good Sportsmanship.

Posted in Articles, Modelling and Painting, Project Tau, WH40K | Leave a Comment »

Why 40K and why Tau?

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2010, January 11

Why I’m playing 40K these days

When I moved over to Australia, I’d pretty much rationalised all my wargaming to three key areas, WW2, ACW and  mid-19th Century European wars, all in 15mm. The idea was that I’d finally get some armies painted and actually play scenarios etc at the Corsairs.

That sort of went west after I started attending meetings and met the various reprobates. Flames of War and WW2 15mm is still a very much nascent area for the club and it was going to take me time to build up some painted armies and more especially enough nice terrain to play games I would enjoy.

With the pending release of Space Hulk 3rd Edition and a reawakening interest in Genestealers and Tyranids, I soon found myself with a painted 40K Tyranid army. Sure enough, I ended up with a freaking Hive Fleet all of my own. I purchased a second hand Space Marine army from WargamerAU’s Buy, Swap and Sell just so I could at least play space marines as an alternate to the ‘nids and I thought cool, with Space Hulk as well I’d be pretty much sorted. Then along came Patto and the Challenge.

I found that I actually enjoy 40K as a game, at least I enjoy playing at the Corsairs which has a very similar ethos as my old club, the Manawatu Duellists, in terms of being more about gaming than competition/tourneys.

But why choose TAU?

Very simply, I already had enough Tyranids to last me until 2015 in terms of painting and I wanted something more sci-fi oriented than the bugs. Eldar were out as an option – I just knew I’d never summon up the courage to paint them and the models don’t appeal to me as much as they might to others. Oh and I wanted something a bit more shooty – I didn’t mean to go quite as far to the Tau extreme and have minimal close combat capability.

Posted in Articles, Modelling and Painting, Project Tau, WH40K | Leave a Comment »

Project Tau – My part in the Grand ‘Non-Spess Moron’ *Battleforce* Challenge

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2010, January 11

Project Tau

My part in the Grand ‘Non-Spess Moron’ *Battleforce* Challenge

The Origins of the Challenge

My local gaming club, the Central Coast Corsairs, have been discussing on our forum (http://corsairs.freehostia.com/index.php) ways and means of rekindling interest in gaming generally, but more particularly completing armies and projects rather than flitting aimlessly between the latest game du jour.

One of the club members, Patto, started a discussion rolling with this post (somewhat edited):

Space Marines are a good all-rounder army for a beginner player to collect, because they’re easy to paint, easy to use, and GW releases a new codex with better rules ever 5 minutes (when they’re not drinking Space Marine Cola™ out of their favourite Space Marine Sippy-Cup™, while scratching themselves with their Space Marine Lightning Claw Butt-Scratcher™)

But thats where the buck stops for me. I have grown bored of space marines, both using them myself, and playing against them, and have endeavoured to branch out once more into the deeper reaches of the 40k universe and collecting an army that isnt boring.

If it were up to me, the Imperial Guard would be the centre focus of the imperial forces, and the space marines would have a fringe role as…marines.

I have noticed that there is a very large representation of space marine players within our club, and the hobby at large, and would find it more enjoyable if there was more showing by other races.

Therefore I have decided to introduce this challenge to anyone (marine player or not) to take up, to create an army that is different to what they usually collect, and most importantly, isn’t space marines*.

*no spikey space marines either.

The challenge would start at the beginning of 2010 (January Meet = Day 1 of Month 1), and run all year long, with a ladder kept throughout, till the completion of the year (Nov/Dec) where the armies should be displayed alongside each other and voted for against a series of criteria for categories such as:

  • best painted army
  • most adventurous
  • best converted
  • league winner
  • best and fairest
  • best theme
  • most hazardous army (most injuries sustained during construction)
  • laziest participant
  • most consistent painter
  • always on time (everything painted, every month)
  • just in the nick of time (doesn’t paint anything all year and then manages to get it all painted by December) etc.

I am looking at starting off with 1x battleforce of choice, 1x blister of HQ choice, 1x codex (optional). I am thinking each month to have a purchase allowance of $50 Australian GW RRP**.

Painting. Part of this challenge is to paint your army. There will be deadlines imposed, but there isn’t any great penalty, though there will be an award for having your army fully painted month to month.

#1 rule is Common Sense. Not only that, but also Good Sportsmanship.

The Suckers…er…participants:

Patto – Dark Eldar (BDSM Brigade)
Synicbast (me)– Tau (Nice Guys)
Chiwie – “Manly McBeefington” Eldar (The Conmpensating Much? Army)
Spakka – Necrons (because someone just had to, didn’t they?)
Chadamus Prime – Imperial Guard Marines (Sempur Fidelis)
R3plikate – Tyranids (Gotta be more fun than the LOLbotz)

Overall some good representation of nearly all the factions that AREN’T space marines, my plan is successful so far.

And so it began.

Posted in Articles, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Project Tau, wargaming, WH40K | Leave a Comment »

Paints and Paintstation pics

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2009, July 17

As promised, some pics of my intial setup, at this stage I’m ready to restart painting again. A fewthings are missing: my wet palette, normal mixing palette some older brushes, the epoxy putties and superglues and a few of my tools including the airbrush stuff.

The Paintstation

I still have to grab a few more things from Eckersleys and Dymocks, but for the most part I’m set. The unlabelled big white in right centre is White gesso, but as it’s an el cheapo pot, i may need to get some Liquitex white to avoid the lumpy finish commented on at Wee Toy Soldiers. There’s some Derivan  ink medium to the left of the Dullcote which i’m going to play around with at some point but I think I’ve got a decent selection of media to start with, even if some of it performs much the same function.

The Paint Station

The Paints (& some tools)

Not as many Vallejos as I’d prefer but the real binge on them is at Christmas when I’ll be looking at starting the 28mm ACW stuff. The P3 stuff was bought for the particular hues and shades included in the two sets – very useful particularly if I go for the variant templar look on my Marines. Most of the older GW stuff on the right is a large amount of the various reds and yellows – I’ll decant them into new bottles shortly and that shoould clear some room nicely as well as help reduce wastage.

The paints

The Brushes

A good starting point – but a fair amount still to buy before I’ll be satisfied. Good Games Gosford brought in some more Vallejo synthetics and sables that I may pick up. I do like this wallet for storing my better quality brushes, though.

The Brushes

The Inks

Some oldies and goodies here – add in a couple of the newer washes and some FW inks, I may well be ready to work with glazes again. I’m glad I didn’t chuck the oranges away as I can definitely use them with my Tyranids, plus the old Flesh wash will be really useful for my 28mm work.

Inks and Washes

Conclusion

I’m pretty happy with the setup above – the only issue is that the Paint Station weighs a ton with everything on it and I will need to glue it together properly and add a sturdy carrying handle to the sides. I’ll add a proper cutting mat from Office Works next weekend and then no excuses will be sustainable.

Pete

Posted in Modelling and Painting | 1 Comment »

When containers go bad

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2009, July 17

I was on www.wargamerau.com browsing the buy and sell as I still do and someone was seeking a bottle of the old GW Putrid Green. I wnet trawling through my collection of GW paints and sure enough there’s an almost full bottle sitting there. I started to type up a message to say I had one available and I thought I’d just check to make sure the paint was still okay (the price sticker on the bottle read 02/96 and cost NZD$2.95 so it was a fairly old bottle. Well after trying to prise off the lid, all that happened was the white plastic shattered and crumbled completely.  The paint itself is perfectly okay, but this has prompted me to look at investing in some replacement bottles, probably Derivans and Vallejos, for the vbulk of my older GW bottles, particular the masses of Bad Moon Yellow and Blood Red i have accumulated.

It’s pertinent because I think I’ll be using my Black Reach orks to practise using yellows and reds until I truly feel comfortable.  Now onto photographing my painting set up as promised.

Pete

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A quick trip to the shops…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2009, July 16

Picked up a few items today at Good Games Gosford courtesy of Fro: some GW dice in black and bone (for the Tyranids); some OOP Citadel paints (Tanned Flesh x 2, Bronzed Flesh, Flesh wash and Red ink) for the Better Half’s Sisters of Battle and  Flames of War standard artillery template, and from Spotlight, some dress-making shears and a good circle cutter for my tree bases, rounded out with a few craftwood rectangular placemats and 90mm coasters for scenery pieces and basing samplers.

A pretty moderate haul in terms of expenditure but necessary (well apart from the dice cubes which were a partial extravagance). While I was at Good Games iIwatched a couple of 40K games – Black Templars versus bog-standard Marines, and the Black Templars once more against a very firepower driven Tau force (a “ninja” tau force I’d run up against before with my ‘nids) that wiped the BTs off the table to the last marine.

So while my Tyranids are definitely the only full army I will build  for 40K, I do have a reasonable selection of Marines and Orks courtesy of the Macragge and Black Reach boxed sets – these I intend to use to hone my skills at painting and basing larger figures. I’ll probably do a variation of the Black Templars scheme based on that of the historical Knights Templar and the Teutonic Knights just for something fun. I can’t see myself ever getting back into early medieval again, unless there are some really good value later crusades models around that I like the look of in 28mm.

Tomorrow I’m going to take some photos of my basic painting set up and the accumulated 15mm Fallschirmjäger that I’ve been promising to finish for the past 5 years. I managed to pick up a couple of boxed sets of the FJ company set recently along with a bunch of 7.5 cm GebG36 to provide artillery support. Between those recent additions and my already sizable FJ collection, I’m pretty much set for FJs apart from a fair amount of artillery crews that are still needed.

Pete

Posted in Gaming, Modelling and Painting, wargaming, WH40K | Leave a Comment »

Wanted to buy

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2009, July 14

I’ve added a new section to the blog – the Buy and Sell page – seen in the top menu above. Nothing for sale as yet just my wanted list for minis (I may add some boardgames later, depending on my success with a couple of current searches). Most of the minis wanted are Genestealers and Tyranids from the early days of 40K – although there are a couple of Flames of War minis I wouldn’t mind getting hold of.

Pete

Posted in Gaming, General, Modelling and Painting, Tyranids | Leave a Comment »

The Portable Battlefield – A return to necessities

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2009, July 7

As I do not currently own a motor vehicle, use public transport to commute, attend Corsairs meetings and will likely continue to do so for the next couple of years, the one major restriction on my gaming is setting up a tabletop terrain that caters to my aesthetic sensibilities  and still be able to transport it to and from the gaming venue without risking a hernia.

I once developed a quick list of what a portable setup might entail on this blog several years ago, but nothing surpasses theory so much as the exigencies of reality.

Convenience has triumphed over economy and in turn value over aesthetic ideals. I’ve obtained one of the cloth backed GW battle mats, which I find suits my needs for the meantime. it’s well made, durable, and lightweight and generally very good value for money. With free time being a distinct limitation, the idea of making a whole bunch of portable terrain took a deserved back seat. The addition of some ready made lightweight hills (GW funnily enough) and a good number of Noch deciduous trees to begin with gives me a good starting point to work from.

If I make a few judicious purchases and add a couple of commercial pieces I should be able to bring a decent terrain set up to the club by rail and not feel like i’m playing on a billiard table or a cricket pitch. If anything it’s trees and particularly buildings that will take the most space and effort to take along, so initially I’ll be playing in rural wildernesses bereft of habitation, as long as there are sufficient amounts of broken and LoS blocking/obscuring terrain.

In 15mm, it’ll be easy to add a few scratchbuilt structure from foamcore and the like, and most of the other scale specific terrain will easily fit within acceptable load limits. 120 or so trees should allow me to have enough cover on the table and break it up nicely in concert with a few hills and maybe the occasional cropfield (coir mats FTW) anmd flexible roads/river networks.

I’ve seen exquisite portable 15mm terrain carried around in old Kodak photopaper boxes to know it can be done and that I could fill the average 6′ by 4′ tabletop with enough hedges, fences and walls to look good. So all in all I feel pretty confident about being able to take along the army du jour and enough terrain to at least get a passable rating in terms of cover and aesthetics.

Pete

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From Scratch – Rebuilding the painting desk (We’re not in Kansas anymore) – a brief essay

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2009, July 7

When I made the decision back in 2007 to move to Australia, I was under no illusion that I’d have to start almost from scratch in terms of modelling supplies. By the time I made the move (May 2008) I’d winnowed my wargames armies, scales & periods to a core grouping: WW2 in 15mm, ACW in 15mm and 28mm & to finish off, a selection of European armies in 15mm from the period 1859 – 1870. Everything else was sold, given away or traded – including pretty much all my terrain and modelling gear

I’d made the decision to start afresh with terrain as I was also looking at a much increased income to afford the sort of terrain set up that suited my aesthetic ideals/preferences. This would include commercially available buildings like Crescent Root, Kerr & King, Hovels etc.

I arrived in Australia with the bare bones of a modelling toolkit: my selection of Vallejos, Citadel paints (most of which were OOP), a few X-acto handles, the few remaining decent paintbrushes, some needle files, a dodgy old pin-vise and a quality side-cutter/clipper. Nothing else crossed the ditch apart from  rules and reference books.

I ended up with a few weeks to find my way around the NSW gaming scene before I managed to find a decent job, so I used that time to scope out  where and what was available in the Gosford-Woy Woy region as well as in the immediate area of Sydney’s CBD where I would end up working. What I found was pretty good, locally a Bunnings, Spotlight and OfficeWorks all within comfortable walking distance of home, and in the CBD, Tin Soldier/Napoleon’s (Minis, Derivan, P3, Vallejo and Citadel paints), Eckersleys (art supplies), Dymocks (books and art supples), Hobbyco (modelling supplies) all were less than a 5 minute walk from work. It helped that about 4 months after I moved, Good Games Gosford opened and I started attending the Central Coast Corsairs on a regular basis. So I’m in a pretty good place supplies wise, once you add in the fairly decent array of Australian online suppliers.

Where I’m at now

I’ve spent the last few months obtaining the core building blocks that will; enable the creation and finishing of a wargames army from go to whoa, miniatures to terrain. There are still a few things I am yet to buy, but for the most part I’m set to get back into the creative aspects of wargaming rather than just the participatory side.

One of my first purchases has been a GW paint station. Sure I could have constructed a purpose designed and built portable painting desk myself, if I were to have had the tools necessary at hand, but for an outlay of AUD$50 or so, I ended up with something that fits on my desk in the study, didn’t involve sacrificing a new-born to buy a decent selection of home handyman tools and best of all I don’t have to figure out ways of lugging all that MDF home as well as dealing with the damn dust. There is a rhyme and reason in paying for convenience, particularly when assembly took all of 5 minutes. The paint station is a damn sight larger than I originally thought which helps with findingh room for the tools and supllies for each project, which leads me to my next  point.

Rather than attempt to do everything on  my to-do list all at the same time, in the same area and generally get nothing done, I’ve decided to challenge myself to work on one thing at a time. Inspiration came out of the Frugal Gaming meme that gained currency as the GFC developed, as I’ve always been known as a gadfly when it comes to getting stuff completed.

I also want to focus on improving my skillsets which are sadly atrophied and also challenge myself to learn new ones. To this end I’ve invested in a selection of epoxy putties and materials so I can put my hand to conversions, scratch-building and detailing, all areas I’ve left to others in the past. Given that all the projects I have in mind, planned and started involve aspects of all three areas, it seems an opportune time to start as I mean to go on.

I’m also seeking to avoid falling into the trap of quantity over quality in one particular area – paintbrushes. I’ve never been one to take good care of my brushes previously, nor have I bothered to invest the same sort of money in them as I do in miniatures or paints. Now however i’m looking to inculcate a regime of proper brush selection, maintenance and care. This has meant I’ve moved to purchasing decent quality brushes and the requisite care products to do them justice.

I admit to buying some taklon brushes from Spotlight, some of the Francheville 424 line are good value and suit those times when there’s no point in using a finest quality sable whn an acrylic will do the same job just as well. I have discovered the Roymac brand of brushes to be a good first step in moving beyond my inherent cheapness though – the Purity range of sables and the Revolution range of acrylics will do until I can afford and do proper justice to Winsor & Newton series 7s.

The Purity range has a distinctive classical inkpen handle that suits my particular handgrip style when painting and are pretty good value given their quality – thankfully between Eckersley’s and Dymocks I’ve been able to obtain a selection of sizes in excellent condition. The Revolution range may well be a triumph of marketing over technical reality but the theory behind the design of the faux sable acrylic bristles was intriguing to say the least. It helped that the price falls right in the mid-point between the Francheville 442 sables and the Purity brushes so a few extra brushes wouldn’t hurt.

I can already hear the mutterings from the Winsor & Newton series 7 aficionados as they shake their heads. No arguments from me, but series 7 are a sizable investment in both money and the time necessary to gain the degree of skill needed to use them properly – I don’t have those skills yet and I will probably end up saving the W&Ns for the 28mm stuff anyway – because frankly it’s overkill to use them on 15s.

I’ve broadened my paint palette to include Derivans and P3 paints – the Derivans are extremely good value for money and the P3s because of the various shades they offer that I really don’t want to try and mix. I also picked up some Lifecolor acrylics for a specific purpose – Caunter camouflage schemes – I was not looking forward to either mixing acrylics to match the Mike Starmer guide, or to spend all that time working through the various permutations of Vallejos to get approximate matches. I’m still pondering obtaining a couple of Foundry colour deals, notably the Horse, Flesh and Napoleonic sets but that’s perhaps another 6-12 months away when I’m fit to use them.

Even though I do find the majority of GW products over-priced for the quality and quantity on offer, lines such as the Foundation paints and the Inks/washes set were pretty much a given to purchase, especially with my move into 28mm (there’s a definite surprise in that particular decision as well for any one who’s known me for any length of time) in the not too distant future. I’ve not painted anything other than 15s for close to 25 years as it is, so relearning techniques such as spot washes, glazes, wet-blending and full detailing are all on the agenda (it’ll be a cold day in hell before I bother with the Dallimore butcher’s blocking school though) over the next few years.

With the climate on the Central Coast being what it is (notably warmer and more humid than the lower North Island as well as subject to a greater degree of temperature change in a 24 hour cycle) I’ve invested some thought and expense into maximising the lifespan of my paints. With that in mind, it was an easy decision to add a wet palette to the usual suspects of retarder, extender, blending and flow improving mediums. as part of my new regimen. Having experienced a summer here where 27° C was close to the minimum, and given my usual snail’s pace approach to painting, I really didn’t have much choice.

In addition to new paintbrushes, paints, techniques and prepwork, I’ve decided to take the momentous step of working with Gesso as my primer/undercoat of choice. This is because my days of working with Humbrol Matt 33 are gone for good except in very limited applications. The late and sadly lamented Wee Toy Soldier blog pointed me towards gesso as a solution particularly in regard to 28s.

Matt Varnish – where to start? Moana brand, the one spray varnish I’ve been 100% convinced about, is not available here in Aussie or if it is, I haven’t found a source (Any help gratefully received). Instead I’ve moved to Testor’s Dullcote via Hobbyco and Krylon matt clear from Spotlight as substitutes. Brush on varnish  is pretty much gonme now that Humbrol’s Mattcote is satinesque although I note Tin Soldier had a few bottle of brush on Dullcote stoll on the shelves. Maybe next pay.

Milliput standard (Hobbyco), Gale Force 9 green stuff and the newer grey stuff are pretty much where I’m at in terms of experimental materials. I’ve made do with Maxi-Fill all purpose filler in the place of a pot of Selley’s Permafill but I’m on the lookout for a decent source of tetrion powdered filler just for that particular look.

Cleaners and Strippers – no it’s not some Melbourne band, but exactly what it means. I’ve gone with two old faithfuls – Simple Green for paint stripping and the Master’s Brush cleaner, while adding Vallejo’s brush restorer for those forgetful moments which I’m sure to have. All solid products and all generally available and good value for money.

In terms of general tools, apart from a basic selection of X-acto #1 handles, the el cheapo needle files and the sidecutters, I’ve added two Stanley knives, a GF9 pin vise (to better suit my somewhat arthritic hands), a selection of GF9 sculting tools (the intro set and soon the deluxe wallet set), some tweezers and grips and a bunch of mini-clamps. I’ve still got an Iwata HP-BCS sitting around waiting for the right combination of enthusiasm and intestinal fortitude, but along the way I will be picking up a moderate priced no-name general purpose airbrush and a decent compressor from Runway 13 in Canberra  along with a Sparmax Spraybooth/cleaning stand from Hobbyco. At which point I may finally decide to tackle the late war panzers rather than leaving it up to others.

All told, I’ve worked out that it’s cost me less than AUD$500 to rebuild my toolkit to what it once was and even better (not counting the airbrush setup) although  I’m yet to find a mini-drill that suits me – perhaps a trip to DSE/Bunnings/supercheap will suffice. I’m now at the point where I can get back into things with the right frame of mind and technioal approach that suits a particular regime. I still need to get hold of general terrain and basing supplies but that’s for another tiome, what matters now is that I have no excuse for not painting anymore and even better I actually have some degree of enthusiasm for it all

Pete

Posted in Modelling and Painting | 1 Comment »

Shopping Trip #1

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, May 23

Off to Spotlight and Bunnings tomorrow to have a decent looksee at brushes and to pick up some Simple Green (surprised me that I couldn’t find it at any of Coles, Franklins or Woolies but this is Aussie so go figure). I’m pretty much sorted on what I’m going to be painting for the next few weeks – Fallschirmjäger, Fallschirmjäger and more Fallschirmjäger, alll of which will be in the grey-green bonesacks.

I’ll make do without acrylic retarder, extender and matte medium for now just because it’s winter and evenung temps are sufficiently mild that I’ll not run into the risk of excessive early drying out of pigment. I may even try using a wet pallette at some point.

Brushes wise I’m on a strict budget so I’ll be looking to pick up some Francheville #0 or #1 sables and at least one liner in Taklon – probably from Spotlight although I gather Bunnings may stock Francheville, in which case I’ll be happy as.

I’d love to grab some proper W&N series 7s (nb, not the dire W&N series 7 Miniatures which don’t hold enough pigment or wetting agent to work well in 15mm) but that’ll have to wait until I can grab one or two per paycheque.

By the time I’m ready to move on to anything technically advanced, I should have a nice selection of paintbrushes and most importantly tools. I made a huge mistake in not shipping it all over in hindsight as it’ll be a fair while before I have quite so nice a collection of tools and painting supplies again.

The main thing on the paint front is to start obtaining some Derivan and Foundation paints – as I have a lot of German Dark Yellow and Panzer Gray to work on.

I’m also looking forward to picking some Battleworn and Gloider Assault FJs to flesh out my 1st ed Fhs ranks. I have hordfes of spare ATG ammo crew and gunlayers but only two poses of Stg44 and FG42 fiugures to work with on the Late war infantry teams and i’ve pretty much used up all my Panzerfaust figures to bring up the numbers. It’ll be good to check through the LG40 10.5cm and mid war Mediterranean FJs I have coming over by ship to see what other figures I may have overlooked – IIRC there are at least another 8 HMG crews and a full FJ Coy HQ and Platoon to work with.

It’ll be good to sit and paint for once – I seem to be well over the whole issue of Painting Ennui/Enervation. I’m definitely looking forward to experimenting with some different techniques for getting winter camo right on the FJs as opposed ton vehicles which are a much easier canvas to control.

I do need to grab some Pak97/38s and GebG36s still thouigh I’m not sure I really want even more 10.5cm LG40s – I have about 16-20 of the suckers to go along with the same amount of 7.5cm pieces. I may just say stuff it and field 10.5s as per the original 1st Edition Diving Eagles Lists – as always an element of contentiousness on whether the change was really warranted.

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Fallschirmjäger: Organising Figures

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, May 20

As I settle into my new digs in Australia, I’ve finally had the opportunity to start the process of sorting out the various FJ figures I have into discrete platoons and companies.

It’s a daunting task really, as I’ve managed to accumulate a fair slew of the original Battlefront FJ minis over the years and there are still more on the way. So far I’ve filled out one 1940 company of three full strength platoons plus a pioneer and glider assault platoon including an all optioned Company HQ and two MG platoons, one 1944 company equipped with FG42s and the optional Sturmgewehr 44 units, an MG platoon and all Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust options. Those are the complete units. I still have sizable cadre forces for my 1941 Crete, 1941-43 Russian Winter and 1943-44 Italian Theatre Fallschirmjäger companies, plus surplus amounts of 10.5cm and 7.5cm Recoilless (so many I would have to buy another three or four companies of FJ).

Lots still to do and a lot more to buy – basically I’m reconstituting my modelling toolbox from scratch – this is not going to be cheap or that much fun – but it offers the opportunity to concentrate on proper processes and function over expediency.

I may even get around to taking photos of figures and models rather than wildlife and scenery.

Posted in Diary of An Army II (1944 Fallschirmjäger), Flames of War, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

Crossing the Ditch

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, April 27

The movers are picking up everything tomorrow, so I’m going to be offline for at least the next two weeks without update possibilities. I’ve pretty much sorted what I’m going to be taking with me painting wise until all my stuff arrives in late June.

For simplicity’s sake, I’m just going take over a selection of Fallschirmjäger so I can get started on the 1940-41 figures. This means I only need to take over a few bottles of Vallejo and a couple of brushes as anything else I need I’ll get from Spotlight or direct from BF via mail order (bases mainly). I’m also going to take the opportunity to buy some Foundation paints once I’m in Aus so I can experiment with an alternative way of doing German Dark Yellow on some of the Mid-Late War FJ vehicles I have: Kettenkrads, M/C Combos and Kubels/Schwimmwagens.

So the plan is to have quite a sizable backlog of photos and progress reports ready for posting once II’m back online. Because of the timeframe before I take up my new position (early in June) I’ve about a month of free time to get organised and get into a nightly painting regimen with the support of Kirsty. It’ll be slow going initially no doubt, but If I stick at it, the simple nature of the paint scheme for the Fjs should mean I can get a fair amount done. The real kicker is going to be gradually accumulating all the DFS230s and Ju52s I require but I have a plan in mind for those.

Kirsty mentioned she was out of plain Black and White so I’ll also be taking the opportunity to see how Derivan compares to Vallejo, particularly in regard to black as the Vallejo black is one of the smoothest paints I’ve ever come across.

Back in a few weeks,

P-J

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Beginner’s Choice WW2 Armies: Part I An Overview

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, March 29

I had thought I’d outlined my plan for the late war armies somewhere in the mists of time but it doesn’t seem to have survived the various domain shuffles, hard drive crashes and now the packing of all my data backups.

Years ago when I was still doing 1/300th WW2 and thinking seriously about dabbling in 1/200th (for what reason I cannot remember) I often used Ian Shaw’s TTG army lists as a convenienty way of picking a force for a game. As I delved more into the esoterica of OOBs and TOEs I found there were issues of interpretation and research.However it was more the move away from gaming WW2 locally that consigned the army lists to the bookshelf.

It was only when I started collecting WW2 in 15mm that I returned to Shaw’s book. It wasn’t the army lists per se, but the little appendix of Beginners Choice armies. These armies were designed to “give any of the others a good fight, whichever set of rules is used.” and were “not balanced in points”. What struck me as I started working on Flames of War was just how similar the force sizes were to the upper limit of armies we were fielding at points in the playtest.

The four armies were:

British – Armoured Reconnaissance North West Europe late 1944
– Battlegroup HQ  (4 x Dingos, 2 x M5 Halftracks)
– Armoured Car Troop (2 x Daimler AC, 2 x Dingos)
– Armoured Recce Squadron (15 Cromwells, 3 x Stuarts, 4 x Challengers)
– Motor Infantry Company (3 halftrack platoons, 1 x Carrier Platoon)
– SP A/T Troop (4 x Archer)
– Artillery (8 x 25 pdr)

U.S. Army – Aemored Combat Command North West Europe 1945
– Battlegroup HQ (2 x M3a1 Halftracks, 2 x Jeeps)
– Recon Troop (3 x M8 Armored Cars, 6 x Jeeps)
– Medium Tank Company ( 12 x M4A3 Sherman 75/76, 1 x M4A3/105, 5 x M4A3E8 Sherman 76)
– Armored Infantry Company (20 x M3 Halftracks, 3 x jeeps, 3 x 57mm ATG)
– Tank Destroyer Platoon (4 x M18 Hellcats, 2 x M20 Armored cars)
– Artillery (6 x M7 Priest 105mm)

Russian (sic) Tank Corps 1944
– Battlegroup HQ (2 x T34/85)
– Scout platoon (4 x BA64 armoured cars)
– Medium Tank Company (10 x T34/85)
– Medium Tank Company (10 x T34/85)
– SMG Company (3 Platoons)
– SMG Company (3 Platoons)
– SP Platoon ( 4 x SU76M)
– Tank Destroyer Company ( 5 x SU100)

German Armoured Kampfgruppe 1944
– Battlegroup HQ (2 x Sdkfz 251 Halftracks, 1 x Sdkfz 7/1 with quad 20mm)
– Armoured Recce Troop (1 x Sdkfz 250/1, 2 x Sdkfz 250/9)
– Armoured Recce Troop (1 x Sdkfz 250/1, 2 x Sdkfz 250/9)
– Mixed Company
 CHQ 2 x Panther, 1 x Sdkfz 7/1 with Quad 20mm
 2 Platoons of 4 x Panther
 2 Platoons of Panzer Grenadiers in Sdkfz 251
 1 Platoon of Panzer Grenadier Heavy weapons in halftracks (2 x 81mm Mortar, 2 x 75mm short)
– Heavy Tank Platoon (4 x Tiger II)
– A/T Platoon (4 x Jagdpanzer IV/70)
– Artillery (4 x 105mm)

My personal viewpoint is that the German force is far too strong for any of the others and would make mincemeat of the US and the Soviets in short order given the preponderance of long 75s and the four Tiger IIs coupled with the lack of any Artillery of note for the Soviets.

However what immediately comes to mind is just how close I am to being able to field all four armies almost to the exact mix of vehicles. Obviously a few tweaks and substitutions are required, but when one takes into account what I already have, I’m pretty well set already.

Posted in Articles, Beginner's Choice Armies, Flames of War, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

Diary of an Army IV (1943-44 Soviet): Part 1 The start

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, March 28

I missed out on this the first time around, but it came up again and I just had to grab it.

Winter Russkies 

I paid a wee bit over the odds than I was comfortable with, however when I found out they were originally Kelly G’s army, I was stoked. Kelly is one of those machine like painters one admires for their output and craft, and what’s more for once he actually finished some basing 🙂

I’m pretty happy not having to paint oodles of Russkies myself (although somewhere I actually have about 120 more Old Glory and 1st gen Battlefront partially finished) and I can flesh out both the KVs and the T34s with the ones I have sitting around spare. I also have three BA-10s I can add as my “puma bait”. For me though the winter camo look is exactly what I wanted.

The main thing is that I now have all four armies I wanted to complete as my core gaming forces: late War ‘murricans; Late War Pomgolians; Late War Fascist bullyboys and last but not least Godless Commies. These will probably be the four armies I use at Tourneys over in Oz because they’ll be mostly canon archetypes.

Returning to the Russkies, I’m very happy to have them with Tankodesantniki because that’s the way I intend to field them anyway. But having a mix of KVs, T34s and SU152s as the backbone as well as a decent company of puddlesplashers  means I can really look at concentrating on the ancillary supports and take my time about upping the infantry quotient. Expect to see some 45mm obr1942 anti-tank guns added to the mix, plus I have all the excuse I want to add the Artillery as and when I feel like it.

Here Kitty Kitty 

Okay so I only have two of these beasties but that’s enough for now. I can always add a couple more and practice getting the whitewash look pat.

Swarm Them! 

Being able to field a full strength company of these is very useful. Given I already have another 4 in the spares box, I’ll probably experiment with fielding two 7 Tank companies relatively soon. Plus I actually like painting T34s, they’re nice and simple to work on.

12.7mm DSHk Goodness 

I just know I’ll run into some aircraft at tourneys but I like having these bods around anyway. Plus having the option of some 12.7mm death spitters for the inevitable infantry assault is a little more flexibility which for me is paramount when fielding the White Horde.

And now for the ubiquitous roadkill … er Infantry:

Da Boys 

A little tidying up of the basework, some TLC on the edging and I should be fine. This will probably be the first army to see action in Australia – something different to what I normally field and hopefully something a little less Soviet Amorphous Mass than is usual.

All in all, I’m very pleased with the decision to grab these. The Soviets were always going to be my bête noire in terms of assembling a painted army and now I can put that issue to the rear of the queue again.

 

Posted in Articles, Diary of an Army IV (1943-44 Soviet), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

Terrain: Some Thoughts, Ideas and a Plan Part III

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, March 15

Trees:

For years I’ve been looking to obtain a decent amount of trees to use on the tabletop. I’ve never been a fan of the usual scraggly felt surmounted by one or two lopsided, dilapidated pine trees. Admittedly I’m influenced by the years of playing 1/300th moderns and World War 2 games with hundreds of trees on the tabletops, tree lined roads and lots of greenery breaking up lines of sight. However I’ve always thought that too many wargames have a dearth of terrain that obscures or interrupts line of sight, thus exacerbating the problems of omniscience with the issue of an artificially target rich environment and far too much freedom of action.

I had been looking at getting K and M trees from Essex Australia but it would seem they no longer import them and frankly I’m a bit loath to deal with EA anyway as their word of mouth reputation hasn’t filled me with a great amount of desire to spend hundreds of dollars with them.

From what I understand the Games Workshop trees are pretty much rebranded K and M trees but they lack the autumn shades and variations I really am looking for. I may make do with a couple of packs to start with, particularly with my need for some 25mm ACW terrain. However failing that I think Noch and Heki will suffice particularly if I can obtain some of their value packs – I’m not a big fan of a multitude of pines so may offload those to defray shipping.

Hedges:

Commercial hedge models tend to look far too artificial for my liking so I may just suck it up and scrtachbuild a several linear metres of ordinary and Bocage hedgerows. There are some very interesting tutorials floating around on the ‘net anyway, and with the quantities I want for 15mm, it’ll be much cheaper to do them myself.

Walls and fences:

Walls are something I really will end up having to shop around for, the variety and pricing means I’ll hbe able to go for some serious amounts and with some major stylistic differences. Much of my walling will actually be hardmounted into existing terrain pieces as I’m loathe to lug around a whole box of free standing walling all the time.

Fences are a difficult area, as I’m definitely in the market for some region specific fencing such as Snake, 5 Rail for the American Civil War and the ubiquitous post and rail types, the problem being I’ll need a serious amount of all three types just to get the look right even on a 6′ by 4′ table.

Crops:
Too many variations here, but probably a combination of the infamous floor mats, Teddy bear fur and maybe some of the BTA Cornfields for that quintessential North American look. the latter being probably the most expensive of all my terrain purchases particularly if I go ahead and do a modular terrain version of Gettysburg or Shiloh.

Posted in Articles, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Rants and Raves, wargaming | 2 Comments »

Terrain: Some Thoughts, Ideas and a Plan Part II

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, March 15

Tiger Terrain is a new producer of terrain that I’m looking at. Referenced by members of The Guild  and Gentlemens Wargames Parlour  some of the items appeal as a means of breaking up the lines of sight, and hopefully avoiding the curse of FOW games – way too much open ground in the area of effective range band – 15 to  60 cms.

These are the particular products I’m looking to add as they will fit in nicely with the Crescent Root and Kerr and King items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only downside to the Tiger Terrain stuff is a combination of the price (somewhat on the high side for now) and the fact they require PayPal with no credit card facility  and having been badly burned by PayPal previously, I’m probably going to have to sort out an alternate means of obtaining them indirectly.

JR Miniatures offer a very low cost alternative and also some interesting alternatives to the previously mentioned manufacturers. Admittedly they’re cruder in terms of finish and somewhat more robust (read chunky) but with a bit of work, attention to detail in painting and some judicious application of extra material they have the possibility of really bringing a table to life.

The main selections I’m looking at are these three:

 

I’ve also been advised of Battlefield Accessories USA  and I’ll be picking up a couple of sample pieces to see how they work as well, notably:

 

This will fit in very very well with the Kerr and King Roadblock, I can see a few being bought for some urban slogfests.

So that’s the buildings sorted, now on to ground cover, hedges, walls, fences and trees…

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Terrain: Some Thoughts, Ideas and a Plan Part I

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, March 8

With the move to Australia, I’ve offloaded all my bulky and heavy resin buildings and scenery. This has meant I’m effectively making a fresh start in terms of scenery for my tabletop games.  

In a perfect world I’d be able to construct, store and use custom-made terrain modules in the same manner as this: 

 

Road To Messina 

 

However time, space and personal circumstances currently conspire against me and I’m planning on a modest, easily portable setup I can take to the Corsairs each month by Train until I have my own transport. 

To this end I’ve been looking around at the newer ranges of resin buildings and terrain features for items that suit my requirements. I’ve found lots of inspiration in the buildings and terrain that grace the pages of the various Rapid Fire books, 

RF Table 

RF Buildings 

but as they’re a) designed for 20mm b) extremely expensive to obtain in this part of the world and c) not particularly suited to my actual playability requirements, this meant that I’d be looking to scratchbuild 15mm versions. In itself this would not normally be a bad thing but again my living situation prevents such projects for now. 

Instead I’ve decided to go with a selection of ready-made terrain pieces, based on a combination of style, ubiquity and pricepoint. I’ve seen a couple of the pieces in the flesh so to speak and was impressed enough but the clincher for some of the suppliers is the freighting cost, always an issue with overseas terrain orders. 

Kerr and King were always going to be one of my go to places, as I’m intrigued by their FOW bases anyway and they have some interesting designs, particularly the Tram Road Block  

Kerr & King Tram 

Kerr and King View 2 

which I’m sure I can feature in more than a few scenarios. It helps that K & K offer free shipping worldwide.  So that’s the urban terrain aspect taken care of, particularly with this as the starting point: 

Urban Terrain Deluxe 

Crescent Root offer a really nice selection of Rural and village type farmlets, walled estates and a church to die for that are perfect for my North Western Europe requirements: 

 

 

 

 

 

And if I’m particularly honest, the idea of ordering the pre-painted versions has some appeal, particularly for that initial population of the gaming table. One thing I particularly like is the whole look of each model, fully self contained and with enough room to place my elements in nicely, this becomes important with regard to my 19th Century figures as well as FOW. 

P-J 

 

Posted in Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Rapid Fire, wargaming | 1 Comment »

Redeployment and Refocusing

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, March 2

Just as with Friday’s post, a bit of a generalist musing over a fair range of topics today.

I’ve been reading through the rest of Freyberg’s biography the last few days. Now I’m almost certainly biased in this respect, but for me the criticisms of Auchinleck ring very true, insofar as the debilitating effect of his adherence to a mode of warfare that had been palpably shown up as an abject failure in the face of even moderate enemy competency really was rather striking. Freyberg had an arrogance about him, but that arrogance wasn’t exactly born of youthful enthusiasm as opposed to practical experience and contrary to some authors’ views, it wasn’t as if Freyberg was someone recently promoted to staff rank – sometimes I wonder if the authors actually appreciate just how high ranking a Lieutenant General really was in terms of field armies. So far it’s been a damned interesting read, particularly regarding the inquiries into Crete and Greece that were effectively suppressed, and Freyberg’s willingness to take on board Hargest’s criticisms of his hands on command style as testified by Hargest himself did do a fair amount to make me reconsider my view of Freyberg’s ability at the level of Divisional commander.

Out of all this I’ve also found an area of the desert war that really does interest me at a level I don’t think I’ve looked at before: the relief of Tobruk in December 1941. Overshadowed by the events elsewhere and Rommel’s gallivanting around, the operations of 2 NZ Div are quite striking and will reward further study both at the tactical level of Advanced Squad Leader and Flames of War, but also at the operational level of Simonitch’s The Legend Begins. I wonder if there’s a genesis of an idea in looking at using a development of the VITW/Typhoon system to focus on that particular episode solely. Perhaps in view of the above heading, it might be better to just stick with TLB and ASL for now. Certainly it’d save me having to start a FoW desert army which could take years to finish.

Cassino looms large on the horizon right now as well, so I may take a break from Freyberg and the Ferns once the Alamein chapters are done to assemble a decent reference library again.

Overhanging everything at the moment is the move to Australia. I’m now at the stage where I’m going to have to make some very hard decisions about what to take with me and what to leave with family. This is complicated by the issue that family storage issues prevent me leaving too much behind and budgetary constraints affect how much I can actually ship across.

Thankfully I know I can safely take most of my modelling gear across with me, it’s the boardgames and roleplaying that need to be well organised. Given that I’m not a games collector thses days, and what titles I have are very much for playing I’m probably going to bite the bullet and eliminate the wasted space of the boxed games by ziplocing many of the titles and look at reboxing once in Australia. The Roleplaying material is limited to one system  these days but there’s a lot of it and not easily replaceable.

As for this blog, I’ve got a plan in mind for the period March through June. March will tend to be general musings, with some filler articles and photos of my armies as I continue to pack them away. April is where I’ll very much be reliant on pre-prepared posts to keep the body alive and thus there’s likely to be more posts of the rants and raves variety than photo-ops. May is where I’ll effectively be posting from Australia for the first time which hopefully means some photos and reports of my initial forays into the Australian gaming scene. I expect to attend at least one Paddington Bears game meeting in the early days of my arrival which should mean I get to demonstrate my incompetency at ASL in public. If I’m really smart I might even get a game of Storm Over Arnhem in which means no chance of dubious victory.

I’m looking forward to taking a bit of a relaxing holiday from work in May, as I’m very much at the end of my OT rope. The money’s nice but it’ll be fun to rediscover the two day weekend and I think that I’ll be happy to sit and paint during daylight hours for a change, without real time pressures although I should really look to have the Late War British finished ready for the first Central Coast Corsairs meeting I attend. Budget wise I’ve had to look at exactly what I’m going to be purchasing in the way of minis for the next 12 months, most of which involves tabletop scenery and modelling supplies.

And so that’s it for the first post of March. February looks to have been a very productive month for this Blog, not quite up to the level of January but still very pleasing to be one of the top three months since I started this iteration. Perhaps if I actually sat down in May/June and wrote up some more reviews I might get some commentary response 🙂 Yes I’m an attention starved fool.

P-J

.

 

Posted in Books, General, Modelling and Painting, Rants and Raves, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

More Feline Goodness Part II

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 26

the last lot of photos of the Germans until Derek sends me more…

Panthers 4 

I’ve got so many crew figures to play with I might take my time selecting the right figures for the commanders.

Purty Putty Tat 

The dark yellow is actually a mix of Tamiya Dark yellow and Desert Yellow with a little bit of white added. It’s not quite as pronounced as this picture might have you believe, and nothing that a light dusting of buff or yellow grey can’t tone down. It’ll be interesting how the magic wash works on the overall tone, I’m thinking even if it darkens the overall scheme, I’ll not be too worried. What does thrill me is that I’ll have a nice consistent look across the platoons. Makes for a nice homogenous looking force (a tad dichotomous for a bunch of camo schemes but it’s the aesthete in me that cares).

Bye bye Kitty kats 

I’m not sure when I’ll next get the chance to post a lot of pictures – but hopefully I’ll sort something out soonish. In the meantime I  really should set out my late war brits for a mass photo shoot before I pack them away for the move.

P-J

 

Posted in Articles, Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

More Feline Goodness

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 24

Derek’s been a very busy lad it would seem. When I originally asked him to do some airbrushing, we hit upon a scheme that featured a fairly sparse coverage of olivgrun and rotbraun over the dunkelgelb base colour. Derek managed to alter those parameters slightly and I’m glad he did because the results are pretty damn good.

Panther G 

The thing that impresses me is that there’s very little I’ll need to do to get these to a level I’ll be very happy to field on the tabletop. I’ve got a fair amount of stowage and detailing I can and will add along with the markings and some subtle weathering.

Panthers 2 

I can see I’m going to have a bit of fun with Micro Sol and Micro Set. I’m also going to need to decide on exactly what unit I want to represent, as I’ll need to see what decals are available to get the look just right. And I still haven’t settled on a decent technique for the trackwork. I also have to think about drilling out the muzzle brakes…

Bergepanther 

The Bergepanther is probably where I can experiment the most with weathering, mud and paintchipping techniques as subtlety isn’t as paramount for a recovery vehicle as it would be for the teeth vehicles.

More pics later today but for now I’m just going to see where the Germans are in terms of a game-ready force.

P-J

 

Posted in Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

Reference materials and Reading list

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 23

I haven’t restricted myself to buying just models lately, I’ve also picked up a few books:

The first is a  biography of Freyberg by his son, which has been on my Holy Grail list of books for some time. It’ll make a nice counterpoint to the rather facile criticisms of the Cassino battles by some of the more acerbic British and American authors (Fred Majdalany being a notable exception) and will also compliment my collection of Crete references perfectly

Freyberg VC 

The second book is another one that will sit by my workbench at all times, and will hopefully aid me in my quest to improve my modelling skills:

The Handbook 

The third book should be no surprise to recent viewers, given what i’ve been buying lately:

How to Build a Tigger 

I had thought of picking up the Greenland Ospreys on Panzers etc, and may still do so, but this should give me a starting point with the detailing.

The last book I bought lately was to get me started on the various 2nd Edition Flames of War supplements. I finally completed getting all my 1st Ed Flames of War books (somehow I now have 3 copies of the early Diving Eagles book though) apart from Stars and Stripes, but that will be easy enough to find. The real book I wanted was the initial 2nd ed army book: Festung Europa:

Festung Europa 

So that’s my current reading pile, no real relaxing reads, but enough to generate some real ideas.

Posted in Books, Diary of An Army II (1944 Fallschirmjäger), Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Gaming, History, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

It only took one day…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 20

…to add more tigers to my collection courtesy of a bargain on Trade Me:

Pretty Kitteh 

and hopefully i’ll get them looking like this:

Very pretty kittehs 

I’m doomed. And now I just now I’ll need to buy the Wittman boxed set because it has a schwimmwagen!

 

Doomed I tell you. And this just after I bragged that I had more Cromwells than Tigers to show I wasn’t a panzerporn fanboy…oops, not true anymore.

Oh well at least I’ll be able to do a reasonable review and comparison with the second generation ones I already have. Now to explain this particular purchase to the other half.

P-J

 

Posted in Articles, Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting | Leave a Comment »

The list

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 20

here’s the list of German models I have right now:

German tanks and other vehicles

2 x Tiger II (1st gen – painted ambush)
2 x Tiger II (2nd gen – unpainted)
4 x Jagdpanther (2nd gen – unpainted) – base coat by Derek Forrester
4 x Panther G (1st gen – painted 2 and 3 colour)
5 x Panther G (2nd gen – unpainted) – base coat by Derek Forrester
4 x Tiger I (2nd gen -unpainted) – base coat by Derek Forrester
1 x Bergepanther  – base coat by Derek Forrester
3 x Panzer IV G (unpainted 2nd Gen)
4 x Panzer III L/M
2 x Pzjgr Ferdinand (1st/2nd gen painted)
1 x Sdkfz 250/1alt (painted)

7 x Horch Staff car
2 x Kubelwagen
2 x Schwimmwagen
1 x Sdkfz 10/4 AA
3 x Krupp Protze
16 x Motorcycle/sidecars
4 x Pak 40 + crew
1 x pak 38 + crew
1 x leFH18 + crew
 

3 x Grenadier Platoons, 2 x MG platoons, 1 x 81mm Mortar platoon.

All I really need to add for my purposes are some Armoured cars (yes Pumas), Sdkfz 250s and 251s plus the ubiquitous StuG platoon and maybe a unit or two of Jagdpanzer IVs (JgPz IV/48s, JgPzIV/70s and IV/70As)

Posted in Articles, Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting | Leave a Comment »

Where The Tigers Are…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 20

So here they are, the first lot of big cats to be airbrushed, courtesy of Duellists club member and all around nice guy Derek F. Derek’s opinion is that the Tamiya Dark Yellow is actually too green tinged for his liking, and although I can’t see it myself (I do think I have issues with the green/yellow /brown spectrum of military colours) I’m going with his call to use a mix of Tamiya Desert Yellow and Dark Yellow. I’m very pleased with the way the red-brown has a vibrancy that captures the look I was after along with the understated amount of the contrasting camouflage colours. Now all I have to do is work on the details and the highlighting before applying some form of Magic Wash/Pinwash shading. Thinking about it, I’ll probably err on the side of less is more in terms of weathering and highlighting and just make sure that the details are done to the best of my ability. Aerials and the bow MG, plus a couple of crew  will probably do more to set them off nicely than any amount of chipping etc. I’m still wondering whether to use some of the seafoam foliage Derek generously gave me but I’ll probably make my decision once I’m in Aussie with a complete painted force. 

 

 

the First step 

 

 

The best thing about all this model acquisition is that it’s actually been coherent, I’ve worked to a plan and the best thing is that it’s actually mirrored the exact purchase plan I had in mind when Flames of War was still in early playtest. What I have to do is avoid the temptations of the Gentlemen’s Wargame Parlour and The Guild discussion groups with their evil eye-cady personal projects and diversions into the “Other” scale (20mm), although I do have a hankering to do something Twilight 2000 related just because it’s so attractive to play around with 1980s/90s era European equipment.  

   

Where will it all end? Probably never. Much of my impetus at the moment is rationalising my collections so that I can turn up to the club in Australia with stuff that fits the type of games I want to play and offer. Hence the retrenchment away from Ancients and Napoleonics until I’m fully settled, and the concentration on my two main interest, ACW and WW2.  

   

With all my purchases of late, I’m pretty much ready to spend the balance of 2008 painting all of it, with no need to do anything else in terms of miniatures acquisition. Given my partner is supportive, encouraging and understanding of my hobbies, I’m happy to just concentrate on that aspect and leave further acquisitions to the areas of paints, tools and reference materials.  

   

Of course there’s also the sorting out of various things I’ll need to do in the meantime, i.e. scenery, terrain, and the occasional bit of scratchbuilding/conversion.

Posted in Articles, Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting | Leave a Comment »

It’s started…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 18

So yesterday Derek Forrester picked up the first lot of German panzers to be basecoated: 4 x Tiger 1s, 4 x Jagdpanthers, 5 x Panther Gs and 1 x Bergepanther. I just have to rememebr to pick up some Tamiya Dark Yellow and maybe some buff to take the green edge from it for him. The cool thing is this will be a collaboration of sorts. Derek does the initial 3 colours and I spend my time doing the detailing – something i find I’m okay to do. I’m going to be working with a version of the magic wash/pinwash for the panel lines and some moderate highlighting.

Next up I’ll get him to do the Panzer IVs and the remaining two Henschel Tigger IIs. I’ll probably end up doing the dappling for the ambush schemes myself as I’m avoiding the dot version and going for the tickmark variant which I prefer the look of, plus you can get away with fewer tick marks compared to the tendency to overdo the spotted ambush look – sometime one sees a KT looking more like a refugee from the measles ward.

With regard to markings, well I may actually have the KTs as part of sPzAbt 506 Hummel of Arnhem infamy just because they’re a Wehrmacht unit rather than the SS types, and I’ve got enough SS troopers to to do some 10th SS grenadiers to accompany them.

August September means the autumn scheme for the Germans which suits me just fine, I don’t like the look of the bright greens of the spring version, the russets and browns work better for my eyes.

And because it’s Arnhem, I suppose I better think about grabbing some Para Recce Jeeps – Peter Pig or Battlefront? Probably a mix of both, depending on what sort of deal I can get from Martin at Peter Pig if I buy enough, as I’d like to do a comparison between the two without the input of some of the more virulent PMTers like Hodge or Cartwright.

I can also go ahead and finish off my old Panzer IIIMs (okay they’ve got schürzen which the ones in Then and Now didn’t have) but they’ll at least be more use than a Kursk army I’ll never end up completing.

Posted in Articles, Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Rules, wargaming | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thoughts

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 10

With all these nefarious Germans soon to arrive, I’ve arranged to do a partial exchange of services for models. I don’t actually need the Panzer IVs right now, so a local club member who’s got the time and interest right now to do some airbrushing for me is going to do some 3 colour airbrushing base coats on the big cats, so I can concentrate on the detailing, weathering and dealing parts.

The issue I have is that I really do need to look at what particular scheme I want to use for the Panthers and Tigers. Ambush scheme is out for now, mainly because I’m not going to ask the guy to do that sort of work in an exchange deal. I quite like the idea of the sPzabt 101 three colour scheme for my tigger 1s, as that will allow me some versatility and also there’s Hill 112 to be considered.

As for the infantry, well that’s one area it’s going to be very measured and planned. I’m going to see just how motley I can get the uniforms to look, and this may see my first experimentation with green stuff for the zeltbahn ponchos etc, given that I won’t be too concerned about stuffing it up using the older gen figures.

Posted in Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

Here Kitty Kitty (the latest additions)

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 6

Tiggers

1st Gen Sculpts again, but nicely finished . I have to get rid of the Balkankreuz on the Turret sides at some point, but as I know the exact shades Evan used when he painted these all those years ago, I’m pretty comfortable with being able to do so. Some highlighting and detailing plus decals and markings to bring them up to scratch.

Tiggers!

Mreooow!

Panthers

I paid a bit of a premium for these first gen Battlefront Panther Gs, and my reasoning was they certainly looked nicely done from the pics. The ambush scheme was the clincher for me really. I wasn’t disappointed in the flesh, although I will have to either replace the old style narrow tracks with newer ones obtained from Evan, or disguise them by basing them which is a serious option for me these days (I used to find basing the bigger vehicles a biit dubious but these days I prefer to have them based for storage purposes particularly if they’re going to be taken to club meetings or such. I may end up replacing the gun barrels anyway but they do fit nicely with my Tigger IIs (see above). I’ll probably give them a coat of magic wash to accentuate the detail before a very light highlighting and decals to finish with a good varnish. And yes I have fixed the misapplied hatch.

Ooh Kitty cats

Panther G / 3 Colour

Panther G 2 Colour

Panther G Ambush

 

Panther G 2 colour #2

More Germans

One of the more glaring gaps in my WW2 collection has been Germans. Sure I have a bunch of Fallschirmjäger but in terms of general wehrmacht line infantry – nothing. At least until now. So they’re mid-late war with the anklets rather than Jackboots but that just means they’re ideally suited to my Normandy and Holland theme. I now have a decent bunch of AT guns to work with as well, important given the scenarios I have in mind. Plus Pak 40s are way more styley than the overrepresented 88mm.

Panzergrenadiers

  • 1 x Grenadier Platoon
  • 1 x Panzergrenadier/Grenadier Company HQ
  • 1 x Panzergrenadier/Grenadier MG Platoon
  • 1 x Panzergrenadier/Grenadier Mortar Platoon
  • 1 x Fallschirmjager MG Platoon (like I need any more)
  • 2 x 7.5cm anti-tank gun (to add to the two I have already)
  • 1 x 5cm anti-tank gun (one of my favourite AT guns)
  • 1 x 10.5cm field howitzer (I’m sure I can find a use for this)
  • 70 + other miniatures, mostly older (rectangular base) Battlefront minis which will flesh out the infantry sections along with the Grenadier Platoon I already bought last week.

German Vehicles I

A bunch of vehicles including some older softskins to match my existing ones, along with a couple of very welcome Jagdpanthers.

German Support Vehicles

 

Left To Right, Top to Bottom

  • 1 x Horch Kfz70 (I already have oodles of these, but I still have need of some)
  • 1 x Krupp Protze (Again, I needed a few more anyway)
  • 2 x Kubelwagen (just like Jeeps, I never have enough)
  • 2 x Schwimmwagen (very useful for Recce teams)
  • 1 x Sd Kfz 10/5 2cm Flak halftrack (a bit of a luxury but my FJs need a few)
  • 1 x Sd Kfz 11 3t halftrack (bonus vehicle here)
  • 2 x Jagdpanther (yeah baby, yeah)
  • 4 x Sd Kfz 251/1D/10D halftrack (I just need to get some seated Germans to populate them)
  • 1 x Sd Kfz 251/9 7.5cm halftrack (I need more)

German Vehicles II

I couldn’t resist picking these ones up as a complement to the previous lot. I wanted at least 4 Jagdpanthers,and the additional Tiggers were very welcome. Even though these models are not the latest sculpts from BF they match my existing ones and are still very serviceable as far as I’m concerned. I did pay close to retail but these are worth it especially as the Jagdpanthers are no longer available.

Lots of Heavy Metal late war panzertruppen

Left To Right, Top to Bottom

  • 1 x Jagdpanther (almost a full platoon)
  • 3 x Tiger 1E (Zimmerit) (now I have four of them)
  • 2 x Kingtiger (Henschel Turret) (that makes four as well)
  • 1 x Jagdpanther (there’s my four Jagdpanthers – can you sense a theme?)
  • 2 x Panther G (Okay so added to the four above plus my original G and D, that makes Woot! two platoons)
  • 1 x Bergepanther (because one should always have a recovery vehicle)
  • 3 x Panzer IV H (I’ll always find a use for Panzer IVs, but I really do need another 5 or so)

Summary

In one fell swoop I’ve accumulated almost the Late War Kampfgruppe force I wanted to do in 15mm. Just need to add some more Panzer IVs and perhaps some recce vehicles (234s of various types or 250s) and maybe some more Flak or ATGs ( Pak97/38s appeal for novelty value).

One of the reasons I was happy enough to go with buying all these older gen models is that I can practise my airbrushing on them, which I’d be nervous about with the more expensive recent German armour. I’ll probably try for some cohesive camo schemes though, it’s always easier to get into a groove when you’re working with the same parameters. Probably a 3 colour scheme similar to the first Panther G rather than an ambush tick/dot scheme or the broad swathes of colour. Somehow I think Panzer Colors 1, various Squadron Signals and Histoire et Collections books are going to feature on my reading list soon enough.

Posted in Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

Some not really new additions

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, January 19

I’m gradually assembling  couple of long term project forces bit by bit outside of my main focus. Yes they’re German, and yes they’re late war. One is SS but that’s more a case of the vehicles limiting the choice to a specific unit. Anyway the other unit is late war Normandy/Holland and these are the particular vehicles I’ve been wanting to get hold of for a while (no longer in production – the only alternative was QRF – been there done that, not really willing to pay for the experience again):

 

The first Bambina

 

I bought two boxes worth so I now have four dinky little alternatives to Kubelwagens and Schwimmwagens to swan around the lanes and villages of North Western Europe. Now all I have to do is load the back seats up with Panzerfausts, ‘schrecks and teller mines. Muahahaa. I don’t think I have enough of them yet though – I probably need another 8-12 to be satisfied.

Posted in Diary of An Army II (1944 Fallschirmjäger), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | 1 Comment »

Supplies – Rebuilding the modelling tool box

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, December 26

One of the issues I’m facing with my impending move to Australia is the need to replace/restock my modelling supplies once I arrive.

There’s little or no point in bothering to ship much of my existing stuff, for one thing it’s an absolute pain to package and frankly much of it is well overdue for replacement.

The good thing about all this is that I now have the opportunity to really get things planned properly. I’ve had a good browse through the ‘net looking at domestic Aussie suppliers of paints, tools and modelling supplies and I’ve pretty much been pleased with what I’ll be obtaining. I’ve been fortunate in that Evan A has been giving me lots of feedback on stuff he’s bought lately – nothing beats user reviews.

The first step is to sort out a decent workbench setup, and for that I could go no further than this:

The Painting Desk

I’ll probably end up buying the big set as both Kirsty and I can split it between us as needed.

Paints wise, I’ll be sticking with my trusty Vallejo Model Colours for the main part but will be supplementing them with the Derivan Minis range as an alternative to buying GW or Vallejo Game Colour. I’m also biting the bullet and grabbing a couple of sets of Foundry paints (despite finding the whole Dallimore painting style complete bollocks – there’s no subtlety and obviously wet blending is just that tad too difficult – don’t make me laugh) because the three stage paint system does have its uses. Other paints I’ll definitely be obtaining are some of the Privateer P3 and Citadel Foundation.

Airbrush wise, I’ve got to pick up either this @ $400 odd AUD:

Delta Air Compressor with 2.5L Tank
or this version at $240.00:

Delta Air

Naturally there’s a lot of other stuff I’ll need to grab but between Micro-mark, Spotlight and a few local suppliers I should be able to assemble a very nice colection of tools in short orde – I do need to buy a decent fineline airbrush to match up with my Iwata Eclipse HP-BCS and Iwata Hi-Performance clone. Something with a .25mm or less needle might be in order but I dread the expense.

MIG pigments, Inks and almost certainly a period of experimenting with the Dip/Magic Wash probably for my ACW as that will be the fastest way to get them on the table.

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Something’s wrong in Denmark

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, December 15

So I was looking at an online auction site and there were some painted Battlefront 15mm BEF for sale. Not tempting fate but I’ve put in a couple of bids so hopefully they’ll arrive as my delayed Xmas pressies. In the meantime my undercaoted BEF looked accusiningly at me across the painting desk so I spent 40 minutes giving them a first base coat of English Uniform and set them aside to dry. I’ll probably try and paint the highlights tomorrow afternoon, and then carry on painting one stick of figures per day, depending on my level of energy post work.

Funny that I’m painting the BEF again though, maybe the idea of having the infantry ready to go might get me making a move with the Armour, it’s only been 5 years since I considered painting the BEF.

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Review III: QRF Japanese Type 89

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 13

15mm/1:100 th scale model

The model made by QRF is the A version with the sloping turret and the two part glacis.

There are 5 parts to this model: The hull, two double-sided track suspension sponsons, the turret and the commander’s hatch. In general the model is pretty crisply cast. Edges are quite distinct and the detail while simple is there. One piece of detail that is very well done is the grill work on the exhaust – it’s something that you’re better off doing a thin wash to highlight rather than drybrush.

Looking at the hull there are a few areas of concern however. The rear track guards are poorly cast and lack the curve of the prototype, in this case there’s some damage to them which would require replacement with plastic card from the end of the exhaust onwards. Underneath the track guards is a real problem area. Be prepared either to carve or dremel the bulges of excess metal that will interfere with the top track run. A good sand down of the attachment plate will also help. There are a couple of shape issues I have with the fighting compartment area – I think the frontal aspect is a bit shallow, the lower glacis could be a bit deeper to avoid the odd looking gap between ground and belly of the hull. The side sponson angles just seem a little off in that they’re just that bit too horizontal for my liking.

The tracks: Again you’re going to have the same old problem of attaching them to the hull. This is exacerbated by the nature of the suspension units which are not slab sided at all and have many undercuts. I think you can eliminate using a plastic card shim here and instead look at using a thin sausage of milliput to create the necessary conformation of an attachment bracket. I’m not sure that the shape of the track units is that correct, as it doesn’t taper to the rear and create that steep angled look to the tank from the side. The suspension detail is pretty much non existent with none of the suspension brackets visible just solid flat disc wheels. The top track run is simple but has the return rollers showing which is a nice identifier.

The turret has some issues that will require fixing however. For one thing it’s too shallow, and the profile is not symmetrical when viewed from the front, with the right side evidencing a marked slope while the left side is much steeper. Along with the shallowness, the turret top suffers from shrinkage and is quite concave as can occur with metal castings. The turret also catches badly on the rear engine grilles to the extent that you have to traverse the turret some 60 degrees away from the centreline before this is no longer a factor. Definitely a case of adding a shim or raising the fighting compartment by about 1mm. The shim would also at least give the turret some additional needed height as otherwise the turret just looks rather wrong (the gun mounting is set too low by comparison). The turret cupola is the later version which would have a split hatch as opposed to the upturned bucket type with the dustbin lid cover. However as many Type89s were effectively hybrids this is less of an issue and it would be a simple matter to do the old style cupola.

The turret unfortunately also suffers from mould misalignment…this is noticeable when viewing the turret from the rear where you’ll need to do some filing and tidying, but also on the left hand side of the turret where there is a significant undercut in the lower third (although the photo shadow overstates this to some degree). This is probably why the slope on the left looks wrong and really can only be fixed by building it up with putty to eliminate the step and return the correct slope angle. There’s also a fair bit of banding which is annoying although not exactly

One thing that will strike you is the lack of rivet detail. This tank rivals the Italian M series tanks in number of rivets but there are none to be seen on the model. Be prepared for lots of fiddly work adding rivets to this model. Personally I’m not going to bother – I’d rather focus on getting the paint scheme right and looking crisp.

All in all a serviceable model. Very plain to the point of simplistic but it should paint up well. Those of you interested in the Mainland Asia battles should get a lot of use out of the Type 89.

Posted in Modelling and Painting, Reviews | 6 Comments »

Thought and Ruminations

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 12

Looking at the Miniatures Page workbench article on the Panzer IIIs, I was distinctly unimpressed. It looked like the paint was exceedingly heavy in terms of coating, the colour scheme was to put it charitably, somewhat fanciful and the general attention to detail was lacking.

It’s been a while since I’ve painted much 1939-42 German armour but I don’t think even my earliest efforts in 15mm were quiet as crude. What that article has done is remind me that I have 6 Panzer IV Ds sitting around doing nothing. Admittedly they’re the old white resin Battlefront models but I’ve picked up some of the revised trackwork which gives a better overall height. Now as I’ve got another 6 or so Pzkpfw 38 ausf As as well spare, I may as well paint them up for France or even Barbarossa.

Why am I looking at this right now? Mainly because I’m waiting for some better late morning light before taking some more photos of the Type 89 for the review, The review itself is unfortunately taking a bit longer to polish up the wording and I’m still working on getting the formatting right with regard to adding photos in a clear and neat fashion.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Review II: QRF Renault D2

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 11

So let’s see how this one turns out:

Four pieces: hull, turret and two identical track/suspension pieces.

 

The hull is a hollowcast piece with a very thick nose area, a subdivided hollowed middle chamber and a solid rear end that isn’t as deep as the nose. The turret is a solid one piece casting (like the original really) with a 2mm peg as the mounting point. The track/suspension units are reversible single piece mouldings.

 

All in all a pretty tidy model, much better than the FCM 2C. I still have some issues however: notably in the area of the trackwork and finish of the hull.

At each front end of the lower hull superstructure (where one attaches the suspension units) QRF have a large flat plate that continues down from the mudgaurds. This is about .5mm higher than the rest of the corrsponding attachment area and thus the track sponsons are not going to sit flush longitudinally. This would be a minor point, albeit annoying, and fixable with a simple shim of plasticard (something I have no qualms about doing normally anyway to get a flush seat on any model) if it wasn’t for the issue of these reversible track units. Nice idea in terms of mould efficiency but an absolute bear to keep everything square on the model if the contact surface is not flush. And given the various nooks and crannies of the suspension sponsons, that’s not going to happen. It’s exacerbated in this case by the fact that the trackwork itself is wider than the sponsons and suspension so again one has the problem of a non-trued mounting in one aspect. Combine that with the frontal plate issue and you’ve got issues of load bearing on the glue . Fixable properly by using Milliput as a gap filler to obtain the 90 degree true aspect but a bit more work than I’d want if I inteneded to field an entire company of this model.

 

The hull itself is pretty good although the angles of the stowage bins at the front end of the tank are blurry in definition and incorrect in aspect angle. A minor nitpick, solved with some judicious use of a file and a decent blade. Details generally are okay although somehat perfunctory and not as crisp compared to those attainable by resin models in general – but that’s always been an advantage of resin in any scale. My hull casting has a 1-1.5mm diameter sinkhole and a secon smaller one but both obvious and deep to the naked eye behind the left hand stowage bin. Again fixable but annoying. Looking at the hull directly from above, it’s slightly out of true at the upper glacis area and where the sloping engine plate meets the turret deck, but nowhere near as objectionable as the FCM2C was. This is something you’d have to be looking for to notice and shouldn’t show up from the usual oblique vantage point.

 

There’s some sinkage on the rear engine plate which mars the fairly basic grill detail but if at this stage you’re worried about that you’re probably thinking about redoing the engine grills anyway so you’d fix that at the same time with some milliput. The rear plate of the hull isn’t too bad with basic detail.

 

 

The Turret

 

Generally okay. Horizontal mould line around the turret is a personal annoyance. The real issue here is the fact that the armoured shroud for the coax interferes with the driver’s periscope badly. The turret is unable to be placed properly fore and aft as the shroud rests on the periscope and raises the turret slightly. This also means that it catches when turning the turret. Not a problem if you glue down your turrets but I don’t as I need to show turret traverse/armament orientation in my games. Fixable with a circular shim of plasticard easily enough. Details are somewhat crude at times and the casting is pretty rough in finish but a good primer and smart paintwork will smooth that out nicely.

 

The suspension units are not too bad apart from the issue of attachment mentioned above. The finish is a bit rough with some pitting and sinkage but nothing too drastic. Be prepared to remove some of the flash around the front drive whee but be careful of the rear idler, as the casting shape of it means it can look like flash. I did note that the rear idler on my model has signs of shrinkage in the metal which shows itself as a gap between the misshapen rim and track. Also the track at the rear is almost pointed rather than conforming to the expected curve. Rudimentary tracklink detail on upper surfaces and visble front/rear asp[ects but I hate painting tracklinks anyway so this works okay for me. There’s an obvious join/gap in the track midway along the bottom run.

 

Summary:

 

Average to poor quality in terms of casting crispness and shape, basic details are there, some aspects could be improved. I’m not sure I’d want to buy a whole company of them given the price per model, but it is effectively the only available model of the D2 that I know and it is after all a French tank which means you get to paint something that looks like it was designed by Dali with a colour scheme from Picasso. An improvement from the FCM 2C and very usable. Just be prepared to do some work and don’t rush the painting and preparation. A good paintjob will work wonders on this model and disguise most of the faults. Finally it’s not as cliched as fielding Somuas or Char Bs so you get style points.

Posted in Articles, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Reviews | 6 Comments »

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.

Posted in Articles, Diary of an Army I (1944 British), Flames of War, Gaming, Modelling and Painting | Leave a Comment »

QRF Review

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 10

To be honest I’ve never thought that much of the QRF stuff from what I’ve been able to glean from the pics on the website. The quality of the castings always looked slightly hit or miss, and somewhat rough in finish. One of my pet hates is mould lines around turrets, hence my aversion to the OG/Command Decision stuff so I was quite happy to limit myself to an initial sampling, especially as I’ve not seen QRF stuff in the flesh before.

As for the cost of the order, the total came to £13.69 plus £6.00 shipping so just on NZD$56 for three models. That’s with the 20% discount applied. Somehow unless I could get that discount with every order I’m not sure I’d be ordering that often. It’s not an outrageous amount but just the reality of ordering models from the UK.

The order arrived on Monday 15th January packed in a standard bubblewrap envelope with each model in a ziplock bag and wrapped in newspaper. Pretty standard packaging and nothing had escaped. I was a little surprised that there was no invoice enclosed but perhaps I should have specified I would have liked a hardcopy one included in special instructions.

Because of the relatively new status of the models/masters (in the case of the D2 and FCM 2C) I had some reasonable expectations about casting quality and fit from the outset, particularly based on the photos I’d seen on the website (I’d seen the painted example of the 2C from another customer and discounted it as a useful reference because of the quality of the photo and the less than stellar paintjob).

The only damage in shipping I could find was that the main gun of the 2C was bent out of true to 90 degrees but given the vagaries of shipping, that was understandable. Thankfully the metal used is pliable enough to allow readjustment without real issues of metal fatigue (good thing that LKM moved away from the FreiKorps metal type years ago).

The FCM 2C comes in 6 pieces: Hull; twin double sided suspension units; main turret; subsidiary turret; and a smaller upper hull superstructure/engine deck. On first impression, the castings aren’t as good as I’d hoped. The main hull is warped and bowed along the longitudinal axis on the sides, there’s significant shrinkage on the upper horizontal surfaces (a problem consistent with the nature of big single metal castings) and the model itself isn’t square along the front or rear hull lines, with a fairly obvious bias to the lefthand side. Much of this I believe to be due to the nature of metal casting, particularly the shrinkage, but I was surprised to see how far out of true the casting was.

F2C Parts
F2C Overview

The main turret looks to be a tad too short, almost squashed as it were, and on closer inspection I know why: the turret casting is lopsided, which is rather obvious when viewed from the front. The left hand side is deeper than the right hand side, it leans to the right. I’ve compared the model to the 6 view plans I’ve got and indeed the turret is askew. Other issues with the turret include the fairly significant mould line around the circumference, and the fact the locating hole for it needs to be drilled out, and that even when the turret is located correctly, the rear abrades and catches on the hull raised detail (this actually is a problem with all three models). Thankfully by adding a small plasticard riser to the underside of the turret I can get around this, but it will involve a fair bit of work to reverse the lean as well.

F2C front alternate
F2C Front profile

The suspension units are interesting. QRF cast them as double-sided, so that they basically just needed one master. There are issues of a minor nature with these as well. The trackwork is serviceable, although there’s some pitting and slippage along the top sides, and the track detail is rudimentary at best, with the bottom run of tracks being plain along the contact area with the ground. The MGs on the bow quarters are in bas relief which I find offputting, better to have left them for the gamer to add themselves or included a couple of barrels separately. The actual detail on the sides is okay if a tad simplistic, but there’s a lot of scope for extra detail that I’m used to getting with resin production. As for the attachment procedure, well let’s just say I’m glad I have decent line drawings so I can determine where exactly I’ll need to affix to the hull. That in itself will be a mission as the framework cast onto the hull sides for this very reason is misshapen, miscast and because of the significant bowing, will need to be replaced.

Attaching the units to the main hull will need a fair bit of work to get a decent fit. No use of superglue here, this is a case for a fair amount of two part epoxy araldite, model clamps and I hate to say it, filler putty. It’s been many a year since I’ve had to use the amount of filler on a single model that I know I’ll need for this. The double sided suspension units don’t offer a flush perpendicular surface to attach either so some shims of plasticard are necessary to get a proper squared off look .

The upper superstructure was very simple and had no major issues although again it’s slightly bowed and out of true. The subsidiary turret is probably the least problematic of all just needing a quick rasp with the file to clean up.

F2C Arse

In summation, I was disappointed with the quality of this model. I had expected a lot less blurring of details (there’s some chunky flash on the front and rear of the hull) and the level of detail is rudimentary as well. What was really disappointing was that with such a newish master and model release that the castings require so much work and in some respects (the hull) are irredeemable. I’d started out with a fair degree of reasonable expectation, and frankly the reality hasn’t matched up. I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll order more FCM 2Cs as the effort required to bring them up to the level of finish I’d want to field on the table is significant and even then I might be better off scratchbuilding my own.

I’ll be looking at the Renault D2 and Japanese Type 89 tomorrow.

Posted in Articles, Gaming, Modelling and Painting, Reviews | 6 Comments »

Paints

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 7

I wandered into the local games shop the other day and was able to see the newish Foundation paint set from Games Workshop along with the Privateer Press boxed sets of their P3 range of paints. Now normally I’d not consider adding anything from GW to my materials colection (unless they were on sale) but the concept of these paints is different enough for me to at least consider them as an option. As for the P3 paints, unfortunately only the boxed sets for the various Warmachine /Hordes factions are available but, and this is a fairly big but, the colours available could fill in some of the gaps I need to fill for my non-WW2 projects. Certainly my ACW figures will benefit from the increased palette choice.

The foundation paint set is pretty expensive at $80 or so but I’ll probably only need one set ever anyway as I’ll get the paints colour matched as close as possible to Resene or ordinary household paints for terrain painting which requires much bigger quantities. However it’ll be an interesting experiment to see what the coverage is like over resin/plastic buildings especially if they are harder wearing than the usual acrylics I’ve been using.

The Cygnar set I think is going to be very useful for my 15mm Franco Prussian and ACW armies, while the Proctectorate and Khador sets are going to really suit my Romans and Medieval/pike and shot armies.

The last three sets are unlikely to be picked up mainly because I have all the drab military style colours I need via Vallejo anyway. I might have a look at the Iron Kingdom set just to expand my very limited range of metallic paints anyway.

I’m just glad I don’t actually have anything to do with Warmachine or Hordes otherwise I’d be in real trouble. Altough the idea of practising over and over on say a Khador boxed set or a Protectorate set appeals if ever I was too look at getting back into developing my techniques for painting 28mm and larger again. Must not go there though, that way lies badness and poverty.

Now all I need to do is put aside funds enough to buy the sets and get some more Winsor and Newton Sables.

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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.

Posted in Diary of an Army I (1944 British), Flames of War, Modelling and Painting | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in Diary of an Army I (1944 British), Flames of War, Modelling and Painting | Leave a Comment »

March Madness

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, March 29

Just picked up the final hardcover edition of the six volume series from Arms and Armour Press (for less than 1/3 of the price I had considered spending for it!).

Armour camouflage & markings North Africa 1940-1943
By George Bradford

Hard Cover, Published 1974 by Arms and Armour Press, 98 pages, includes many black and white photos and colour illustrations.
Over 100 superb colour profiles and views of tanks, and 90 black and white photos illustrate this detailed reference work. Described and pictured are the camouflage & markings of the armoured vehicles that fought in North Africa from the first Italian campaigns and the German advance to El Alamein to the final Allied victories that drove the Axis into the sea.

The contents are: comparative colour swatches; Italian armour camouflage & markings 1940-43; British armour camouflage & markings 1940-43; the birth of the DAK; German armour camouflage & markings 1941-43; American armour camouflage & markings 1942-43.

So now I have hardcovers of Panzer Colours; Blitzkrieg; British Tank Markings and Names; The Eastern Front; D-Day to Berlin and now North Africa to go laong with the various Histoire and Starmer titles. It’s only taken me 25 years to get hold of all six but better late than never.

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Quick Reaction Force: First Impressions of the FCM 2C

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, January 21

Firstly a word of apology for not having the pics…I’ve not got my camera set up properly for review purposes and the models aren’t available to photograph this weekend.

One of my long term projects has been to have a selection of models of some of the less well known WW2 tanks: The Neubaufahrzüg, the FCM Char 2C, Renault D2, Japanese Type 89 Chi Ro and the British Medium Mark II/IIC from the 30s. I’ve toyed with the idea of scratchbuilding some (as I only need a few of each) and buying the rest as funds allowed from the manufacturers who make them – not that many do.Recently (as in over the last 6 months) I saw that QRF had released a model of the FCM 2C. I was reasonably impressed with the publicity photo they had of the master, it looked serviceable, and I knew they did the Medium IIC and the Type 89. So when I had some discretionary funds on the CC and QRF had a 20% off sale (to offset the strength of the pound vis a vis the Pacific Peso) I went and ordered a few sample models.

To be honest I’ve never thought that much of the QRF stuff from what I’ve been able to glean from the pics on the website. The quality of the castings always looked slightly hit or miss, and somewhat rough in finish. One of my pet hates is mould lines around turrets, hence my aversion to the OG/Command Decision stuff so I was quite happy to limit myself to an initial sampling, especially as I’ve not seen QRF stuff in the flesh before.

Unfortunately my initial intention to order 5 different models fell by the wayside after I discovered that the Nbfzg was actually made by SDD rather than QRF. Oops. Anyway, as I was ordering late at night, I also managed to forget to order the Medium Mark II.

I knew from the pics I’d seen of that and the Nbfzg I would be looking at some fairly significant post purchase detailing anyway, so for review purposes it wouldn’t be quite so useful to include it. But still, the opportunity to grab one or two was lost.

In the end I ordered the Renault D2, FCM 2C and the Type 89 Chi Ro. The order process went smoothly including payment via credit card, or so I thought. It was about 12 hours later when I saw Geoff at QRF had emailed me to say there’d been a glitch with the website and while payment had been processed QRF didn’t have an actual record of the substance of my order.

As for the cost of the order, the total came to £13.69 plus £6.00 shipping so just on NZD$56 for three models. That’s with the 20% discount applied. Somehow unless I could get that discount with every order I’m not sure I’d be ordering that often. It’s not an outrageous amount but just the reality of ordering models from the UK. Returning to the glitch, a simple email reply solved any issues and the models would arrive when they would.

The order arrived on Monday 15th packed in a standard bubblewrap envelope with each model in a ziplock bag and wrapped in newspaper. Pretty standard packaging and nothing had escaped. I was a little surprised that there was no invoice enclosed but perhaps I should have specified I would have liked a hardcopy one included in special instructions.

Because of the relatively new status of the models/masters (in the case of the D2 and FCM 2C) I had some reasonable expectations about casting quality and fit from the outset, particularly based on the photos I’d seen on the website (I’d seen the painted example of the 2C from another customer and discounted it as a useful reference because of the quality of the photo and the less than stellar paintjob).

The only damage in shipping I could find was that the main gun of the 2C was bent out of true to 90 degrees but given the vagaries of shipping, that was understandable. Thankfully the metal used is pliable enough to allow readjustment without real issues of metal fatigue (good thing that LKM moved away from the FreiKorps metal type years ago).

The FCM 2C comes in 6 pieces: Hull; twin double sided suspension units; main turret; subsidiary turret; and a smaller upper hull superstructure/engine deck. On first impression, the castings aren’t as good as I’d hoped. The main hull is warped and bowed along the longitudinal axis on the sides, there’s significant shrinkage on the upper horizontal surfaces (a problem consistent with the nature of big single metal castings) and the model itself isn’t square along the front or rear hull lines, with a fairly obvious bias to the lefthand side. Much of this I believe to be due to the nature of metal casting, particularly the shrinkage, but I was surprised to see how far out of true the casting was. The other castings had their own idiosyncracies:

The main turret looks to be a tad too short, almost squashed as it were, and on closer inspection I know why: the turret casting is lopsided, which is rather obvious when viewed from the front. The left hand side is deeper than the right hand side, it leans to the right. I’ve compared the model to the 6 view plans I’ve got and indeed the turret is askew. Other issues with the turret include the fairly significant mould line around the circumference, and the fact the locating hole for it needs to be drilled out, and that even when the turret is located correctly, the rear abrades and catches on the hull raised detail (this actually is a problem with all three models). Thankfully by adding a small plasticard riser to the underside of the turret I can get around this, but it will involve a fair bit of work to reverse the lean as well.

The suspension units are interesting. QRF cast them as double-sided, so that they basically just needed one master. There are issues of a minor nature with these as well. The trackwork is serviceable, although there’s some pitting and slippage along the top sides, and the track detail is rudimentary at best, with the bottom run of tracks being plain along the contact area with the ground. The MGs on the bow quarters are in bas relief which I find offputting, better to have left them for the gamer to add themselves or included a couple of barrels separately. The actual detail on the sides is okay if a tad simplistic, but there’s a lot of scope for extra detail that I’m used to getting with resin production. As for the attachment procedure, well let’s just say I’m glad I have decent line drawings so I can determine where exactly I’ll need to affix to the hull. That in itself will be a mission as the framework cast onto the hull sides for this very reason is misshapen, miscast and because of the significant bowing, will need to be replaced.

Attaching the units to the main hull will need a fair bit of work to get a decent fit. No use of superglue here, this is a case for a fair amount of two part epoxy araldite, model clamps and I hate to say it, filler putty. It’s been many a year since I’ve had to use the amount of filler on a single model that I know I’ll need for this. The double sided suspension units don’t offer a flush perpendicular surface to attach either so some shims of plasticard are necessary to get a proper squared off look .

The upper superstructure was very simple and had no major issues although again it’s slightly bowed and out of true. The subsidiary turret is probably the least problematic of all just needing a quick rasp with the file to clean up.

In summation, I was disappointed with the quality of this model. I had expected a lot less blurring of details (there’s some chunky flash on the front and rear of the hull) and the level of detail is rudimentary as well. What was really disappointing was that with such a newish master and model release that the castings require so much work and in some respects (the hull) are irredeemable. I’d started out with a fair degree of reasonable expectation, and frankly the reality hasn’t matched up. I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll order more FCM 2Cs as the effort required to bring them up to the level of finish I’d want to field on the table is significant and even then I might be better off scratchbuilding my own.

I’ll be adding a lot of photos of the raw castings and continuing on with my efforts to come up with a serviceable final model over the next few months but the enthusiasm levels are a bit low at the moment – there’s a lot of work ahead and I’m just not sure I have the energy or commitment wherewithal.

Posted in Modelling and Painting, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

When Craftsmanship has its place…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, January 16

As a teenager, I remember the débût of Verlinden into the realm of aftermarket decals for 1/35th models. Back then it was a new wave of detail freaks etc etc filling the gaps the major manufacturers couldn’t justify with esoteric and limited production runs of all kinds of useful but not economically viable modelling addenda. And then we saw it with flags and shield decals for ancients through Napoleonics and ACW. All those time consuming and very artistically intensive areas that defy the common wargamer’s talent to replicate with a paintbrush are now the preserve of the gifted and organised aftermarket supplier.

Where is this guy going, you ask?

Well around New Years, I was browsing the web as one does when one is bored and listless and on one’s own. I’d made a couple of orders for books and models so far that day and really I had a few spare dollars available to me and I was still working on obtaining stuff to complete my Late War Brits. I knew I needed some decals, and enough to outfit a Cromwell squadron, a troop of Churchills, a full Motor Company of infantry, two full Carrier Platoons (yes 24-28 Carriers) and two RHA AT platoons along with a Field battery of 25lbers.

I’d been looking at doing the 11th armoured anyway, and the Churchills would end up beingfrom a neighbouring Tank brigade so I sent off to Dom for some of his new Decals. Normally I’d send off to BF locally, but I wanted to not have to bother with a whole bunch of extra decals I wouldn’t use to get enough for 11th Armd, and secondly I wanted to have a look at Dom’s decals for myself. So I armed myself with my trusty plastic and ordered a selection of decals from Dom’s site.

Now the purchase itself was nice and painless. and Dom’s personal email confirming and thanking me for the order within 24 hours was a nice touch. We may disagree on several aspects of wargaming, particularly in terms of the industry and rules, but it’s not an issue that drives our every gaming instant. Anyway, it was less than 8 days before the order arrived in an wee envelope (decals are such easy to freight things, it’s worth buying as many sheets as you can afford in one go whereever possible, the economy of scale is that much. Unfortunately with the strength of the Pound vis a vis the Pacific peso I’d had to limit myself to a single £10 order.

I’d ordered the 11th and 79th divisional decals, some white tactical markings (with blackedging), a sheet of 44-45 recce unit decals, the Lorried Infantry Brigade sheet and Dom’s first release, The Finnish set (I’m sure I’ll find a use for them in the Talvisota and Jatkosota forces.). I’ve not yet had a chance to apply the decals, a matter of getting everything ready and in one place. However when I do, I’m glad Dom’s seen fit to includ a nice handy tip sheet about applying them. It never hurts to have something of a hard copy reference guide to refresh the memory and there’s a tip or two there that I’d not actively considered before.

I’m looking forward to bering able to have neat and proper markings for my late war brits. It seems right to have everything crisp and neat at first then ladle on the ephemera of personal kit. I was very happy with the service and the quality of the decals, they certainly will make getting the army looking “right” a lot easier and hopefully less frustrating.

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First order to arrive…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, January 9

No surprises really when it was the Battlefront order with the Falschirmjäger crewed Pak 35/36s and Vallejo Middlestone. This means that I can actually do some painting of mid/war FJs and vehicles. Damn, now I have no more excuses.

Anyway, the Pak set comes with two guns, 6 gun crew, an observer cmd team and a three man local defense/2ic team plus spare barrels with the StielGranate moulded on. Misc inclusions are two 37mm ammo pannions and a paradrop container plus the requisite two medium and 2 small bases. On closer inspection, I think the FJ moulds are starting to show some wear and tear, the observer had significant amounts of flash around his upper arms and shoulders and there were telltale signs of mould slippage as well. Thankfully nothing that couldn’t be cleaned up in about 10 seconds although it is a little bit of an annoyance, as I’ve only come across this issue with the last of the BEF blisters that BF produced.

The Paks are probably going to be set aside for now, as I’m going to replace them with some Pak 97/38s instead, preferring the look of the model in terms of heft. Plus the shells the gunners are carrying are just that wee bit large for 37mm being more the size of 75mm PzGr40 rounds. I had planned on getting some painting done tonight but looking at the time, it’s getting to the stage where I’m too tired to do much more than undercoat and as I still use enamels for that, I’d rather not go to bed reeking of turps. Especially as work has left me with the beginnings of a mild headache. No pics just yet, once I’ve got bandwidth to spare I’ll update the various posts in a big way.

Ciao for Now

Posted in Flames of War, Modelling and Painting, Reviews | Leave a Comment »