Saturday, December 31, 2016

28mm Panther and Marder III

Two recently finished German AFVs. A Panther and a Marder III Ausf. M. Both are Warlord models in resin. Paint is Vallejo dunkelgelb  airbrush primer. Brown and green camouflage are Tamiya XF-10 and XF-61 thinned with alcohol. I gave the cammo a good filter of thinned dunkelgelb and then the whole model got a sepia detail wash after painting the details and applying decals. Final dusting is with Mig European dust.

It's been a busy holiday break. I'll be doing back-to-back posts over the next few days to catch up with all the modeling and gaming that I've crammed into this week break from work.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

WIP - Flakpanzer 38 (t) Gepard - Conversion from Warlord Hetzer

I've been reading all of the conversion articles on the Warlord Games website and have been itching to try one myself. After discussing my plans with the people on the Warlord forums, including prolific converters Rich H and Jacob Lotsz, I decided to give it a go.

These are some work in progress (WIP) shots so far. The Flak 38 AA gun is magnetized so that it can be pivoted, as well as removed to be used as a normal ground-based Flak 38 on it's original mount, which is also magnetized. The Warlord Hetzer III has had its superstructure removed, the compartment has been ground out to remove all of the Pak-40 ammo racks and to make space for crew. The Pak-40 travel lock has been removed and the access panel hinges added where the removed travel lock was sanded off.

The lower, fixed portion of the AA 'tub' has been created. This was a significant challenge as the geometry here is VERY complex. I've done my best, but in some places I had to just accept that as a wargaming model, IPMS standards need not apply. I've also kept the original rear hull panel in place for now. This was initially done to add structure during construction. The actual vehicle didn't have this panel in place when built, but removing it will be an amazingly difficult and dangerous operation. I may simply add another bench over it and call it 'good enough' for wargaming use.

Next up will be the upper portion of the tub. At this point I am thinking I will have these panels on the model in their lowered state, which is how they would usually be when the vehicle was deployed for AA use, as seen in this historic photo.

At this point I have what I believe should be the hardest part of the model behind me - the tub construction. I still have a lot of work to do with the folded panels, and then adding and restoring somewhere around 50-75 individual rivets. Then of course painting and final assembly. So far the project has been a lot of fun and I can finally see myself being able to successfully complete it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Iron Cross - 28mm WWII at Adler Hobby

Today I stopped by the Adler Hobby Boardgame Cafe to visit with Gordon and Earl while the three of us learned how to play Iron Cross. Gordon set up his "Italian Steel" scenario which we used to give the rules a run through. I arrived late while Earl and Gordon were well into the first turn so I kibitzed, read the rules and attempted catch up with the game as they played it. I wasn't the GM, but I attempted to help out as best I could in that role.

Iron Cross is a simple rule set, but with an interesting activation and reaction mechanism that adds the required detail, friction and in some cases chaos required to give the game a 'battlefield' feel. Gordon had great success early with his tanks, but as he closed to the required distance to engage the scenario's target, the Austrian command post, Earl's infantry assaults and Boys AT rifles started to do their work. Eventually Earl's reserve 2-pounder portees arrived and really made Gordon pay. Gordon attempted to 'go for broke' ignoring the 2-pounders and focusing on the objective. Gordon knocked out one of the fortification's two walls, but as he did the portees knocked out his tanks one by one. In the last photo you can see the carnage. With the objective compromised, but not knocked out the objective points were a draw, but with all but one of the Italian tanks knocked out, Earl could claim victory.

We played a few things wrong the first play through, but nothing really hampered the fun or the game play. After looking through the rules after the game, Gordon and I figured out most of what we did wrong so a second game will go a lot more smoothly. I'm hoping to run a few games in my basement to continue to give these rules a good try out. Best of all, once you buy the base rule book (at a VERY affordable $22.00 MSRP) all the remaining resources, army lists, etc. are available for free on the Great Escape Games Website.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Nine Year's War at Ed M's

My friend Ed M. invited those of us who had the day off due to holiday shut downs at work to a game at his house today. The game was a 6mm Nine Years War game using Ed's 9YW house rule variant of Volley & Bayonet.

As you can see from the game, Ed uses a system of very easy to understand on-stand casualty markers as well as having beautiful figures and terrain. Although I could never paint 6mm figures, there is something appealing about seeing the whole unit in formation, particularly multiple squadron cavalry brigades.

George and I played the French and Bob and Pete (shown left) played the allied coalition forces. George and I were defending and deployed our main batteries interspersed with our infantry on the central hill with our lighter batteries supporting our flank units. On our right Peter and I positioned, and re-positioned our cavalry each looking for an advantage, but both of us maintaining at best parity until finally all of our battle cavalry were on-line.

Having the slightly superior morale quality, I finally went in with the whole lot. Pete's 'inferior' cavalry had their way with my heavies and for the most part sent me packing. Over the next few turns we fought to mostly a mutually assured destruction. I was hoping for and needed better from our best troops. To the left you can see what was left from BOTH forces at the end of the game.

In the center of my command's half of the battlefield was a small town, held by some of my dismounted Dragoons - in the Nine Years War these are still mounted infantry, just starting to transition towards the cavalry we all fear in the Napoleonic era - specialist troops being used appropriately here to secure and in the case of the coalition forces, to assault towns and other built-up areas. Peter's dragoons pushed mine out, then my infantry pushed his dragoons out with Peter finally decisively retaking the town permanently with a good infantry force in reserve. For my side of the battle, a loss across the board. Well played by Pete.

On George's flank Bob pressed hard with his cavalry on our left flank and over time wore George's cavalry and some infantry down significantly contesting our left most hill. The larger town on George's flank was taken once softened up with mass infantry musketry. George's counter-attack almost re-captured the town but fell just short. Well played by Bob. This was a decisive coalition victory.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Late War 28mm British WWII Vehicles

I've been painting a bunch of 28mm late-war British infantry recently, and I thought it was time to get some vehicles painted up for them so I could possibly try the British out in Bolt Action, possibly at the local store's Thursday night games. These are all Warlord miniatures. I'm slightly disappointed in the final finish. I had covered them all in dust pigment, but when I put the final flat coat on them the carrier of the dull lacquer dissolved the dust pigment and made it look like a thin layer of 'muck' instead of dust. I was trying for a muddy look on the treads, but not on the hulls. I think I still have more to learn about weathering armor models. Either way, these are 'good enough' for the tabletop.

I'm mostly trying for lighter armor since Bolt Action is primarily an infantry-based skirmish game. That said, I'll need at least one medium or heavy tank for larger games. For the British, the Cromwell seems like the perfect choice. It's a good all-around tank and classically British. I couldn't resist putting the commander in a red Beret. I'm not sure it's 100% accurate, but he sure looks British in it!

A 'Honey' Stuart, as the British would call it. Or for us Americans, a lend-lease M5. I've topped it with the optional 50-cal AA gun on the turret. I'm a sucker for the Ma Deuce.

For reconnaissance, another lend-lease vehicle, an M8 Greyhound scout car. I've kept the British markings to a minimum on this one with the hopes that it can serve dual purpose in the hands of any Americans I choose to paint up in the future. The same goes for a pair of M4 Shermans that I've picked up off of Ebay in the past.

For transportation of the British infantry, and possible armed MG support, I wanted some Bren carriers. These are the early Warlord offering in resin. I'm hoping to find another pack of un-painted old stock of these, as the new plastic ones don't match up well to these in size.

These were an impulse buy. They're the Warlord 'red devils' jeeps. I've chosen head swaps that will allow them to be used with regular British infantry as well. A light recon choice, or transportation for officers and smaller teams. I picked them up because who can resist Jeeps, particularly with such great stowage included. Strangely they seem to be armed with WWI Lewis guns. The venerable Lewis gun was used heavily in the desert and during the early years of the war. It seems a bit out of place on lend-lease American Jeeps that could have easily been provided with US .30 cal air-cooled LMGs. Still, they look very British, so I used them instead of swapping them out for .30 cals.

Total figure count, 5 figures and 7 vehicles. Yes, I'm counting the drivers of the Bren carriers. Those guys are a huge pain to paint in there! Still on the painting table are a battery of French Napoleonic field guns, and while I have the WWII bug, some German armor.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Merry Christmas

With the holidays coming up I wanted to take the time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy New Years and anything else you choose to celebrate during holiday season. For me it's a time to see a lot of my family, some of whom I'm only fortunate enough to see once per year.

I'm also off on holiday break from work between Christmas and New Years, so that often means a flurry of blog posts early in January of projects I've completed and games I've played in during that time. I hope everyone has a safe holiday with their families.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

28mm WWII German Limber Freya Radar Terrain Piece

I've always wanted to add a WWII radar station to my Bolt Action terrain, even before the great scene in Saving Private Ryan. This is a Freya Limber Radar station. From the other photos I've found on the Net, it appears that this was designed to use the same limber system as the 8.8 cm Flak gun - aka the '88'. Since no appropriate model exists in 1/56 scale, I decided to scratch build this one. I say 'scratch' built, but I did use my laser cutter to do all of the intricate work on the radar system's receiver support structure.

Radar systems in WWII were BIG. This might possibly be one of the smaller land-based systems. Often multiple were used in a single installation. Although the base turns, it wasn't operated in a spinning mode like more modern radar systems. Since this is a terrain piece, I've gone for a relatively simple rendition of what was a very complex system of antennae in front of the mesh reflective surface. The mesh for the array's reflector surface is fiberglass window screen. The weave shows up prominently in these photos, but much less so in person and is 'close enough' to giving the right feel for me.

Below are some additional photos, plus one 'scene' with a bunker I previously built, a radio antenna my Uncle scratch built for me and an SdKfz 250 command half track and a couple of infantry figures for scale.

The diagram I built my model from, and a couple of historical photos from the web below.

I'm counting this as one (1) terrain item in my annual painting totals. This may be one of my favorite laser-cut original creations.