Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Taking a Day Off

My daughter and son have an INSET day on Friday, so I've arranged to take the day off to look after them, which is something I can do now that I'm an educational gun for hire and not chained to the chalk face. This means I will be able to set up a game of What a Tanker! to run through the rules and can rope in the kids as 'volunteer' panzer commanders.

They are usually up for this sort of thing and don't need any persuasion, although the lad is now more interested in his X-Box than miniature gaming, which is a shame but I'm sure he'll realise the error of his ways when he grows out of it. Anyway, I'm looking forward to finally getting in a game or two using my 1/50th scale Corgi diecast tank collection. Roll on Friday!

Monday, 21 May 2018

What a Tanker! Panther Wash


So, rather than do a drybrush and wash over the Halfords Ultra Matt Khaki basecoat on the Panther and Jagdpanther, I thought I'd cut a corner and just wash them both in my Future based brown ink wash, in order to provide a base for the ambush pattern camouflage. I think the Halfords khaki shade is a pretty close match to the pale sand shade used on late war German AFV's, which bears little resemblance to the darker yellow Dunkelgelb shade that I've used on the Tigers, so a direct over wash seemed like a good idea.

I'm planning to do a variety of typical disruptive camouflage patterns on the Panthers using a combination of Vallejo Panzer brown and greens which, if it looks good, may not even get an overcoat of whitewash winter camouflage. I don't have an airbrush so this will all have to be done by hand, which could work well or could be a total disaster? If it doesn't work, I'll just slosh and stipple white paint all over the buggers and pretend that was the plan from the outset!

Sunday, 20 May 2018

What a Tanker! Panther Basecoat

I've decided to overspray the Humbrol Sea Grey basecoat on the Armourfast Panther and Jagdpanther with an alternative basecoat of Halfords Ultra Matt Camouflage Khaki. I wasn't really sure about the grey to start with and the Halfords Khaki is much cheaper and easier for me to get hold of, so that I can use the same approach on the rest of the German tanks without running out.

The Halfords Matt Khaki is also a good match for late war toned down 'ambush pattern' camouflage colours, as shown on the Armourfast Panther Ausf G box art, for example. In the process of painting they will get overbrushed, dry brushed and ink washed, then covered in snow camouflage, so it doesn't really matter what colour I use. Either way, I think it looks a lot better than the bog standard grey.

Armour (not so) Fast Panther Ausf G

I was hoping to get both of these assembled today but car washing and GCSE revision scuppered my best laid plans. This one was also a bit longer in the production line than usual, due to the extra detailing bits that I added using the very handy Early War Miniatures accessories set. I left off the turret mounted machine gun and the side skirts but added just about all of the remaining bits of kit.

It certainly makes a difference and, at a distance, you wouldn't really know that this was a basic wargaming model. I will be gluing together the other Panther over the week, if I can find the time. I haven't done any more painting this weekend, even though I intended to get the Tigers finished, but have a week of holiday coming up in which I will be able to paint all of the models that I have assembled and perhaps add a few more, if the postman delivers on time?

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Pimp my Jagdpanther

I decided to put together the Armourfast Jagdpanther today, as it's been looking at me from the shelf above the workbench. I added some detailing bits from an old Revell Panther kit that I bought cheap when Modelzone closed down a few years ago, together with some white metal track links from EWM.. This meant that it took a bit longer than usual to assemble but I think it was time well spent. As I have run out of Humbrol Matt Dark Earth spray I used Matt Sea Grey instead, which I'm hoping will be a good basecoat for an overall white winter camouflage scheme. 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Filling the Gaps

So far, I've been raiding my existing stockpile of Italeri and Armourfast quick build kits, adding some new models for the Germans via eBay. I've thought about building some 'proper' 1/72nd scale kits from the stash in the loft but have shied away from this option, as I don't really have the time and don't fancy gluing all the fiddly bits together. I don't think they would look great next to the quick build stuff either.

Anyway, an option I've been looking at for those 'one off' missing AFV's that you just have to have at least one of, is the Early War Miniatures range of 'Blitz Build' plastic resin and white metal models. These look pretty good and aren't too expensive compared to normal injection moulded model kits. They also fill in a lot of the blanks, are quick to build and include some pretty neat early and mid-war AFV's.

For my purposes, however, it's the late war German tank destroyers that caught my eye, specifically the Hetzer, Nashorn and Jagdpanzer IV. I may well send off for one of the latter when I've ploughed through more of the existing back log of  plastic quick build models. The Russians need to be wrapped up first anyway before I can tackle any more of the Panzers!

Tankcraft Tiger I and II

I'm hoping to finish off the two Italeri Tiger I's this weekend, in between revision for the lad's GCSE exams, so thought I'd do some proper reading on the theme. This series of military modelling books is excellent, especially the one on British Shermans which I already own, so a digital copy of the Tiger I and II book seemed like a good idea. I'm also going for a rummage in the loft for old military magazines to see what I can find...I may be some time.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Engines of the Red Army

I've been gathering painting reference material for the What a Tanker! project and have uncovered this webpage, which has some brilliant profiles of Soviet WW2 armour. I'm slowly adding more tanks to the Russian horde and will begin painting them this weekend, so any colour images of winter camouflaged AFV's are really handy:

The other very useful website that I've been dipping into is the online Tank Encyclopedia, which has entries on just about every single AFV you could think of and includes technical data, combat history, video clips, photos and colour profiles. It's a great resource for would-be wargaming tankers:

Of course that won't stop me from buying more magazines and Osprey reference books!

Armourfast Stug IV's

I've had a busy weekend followed by an uphill first half of the week, so decided to give myself a boost toward Friday with a final addition to the Late War German tank force. This is a pair of Armourfast Stug IV's which I've had my eye on for a while. I really like these low slung tank destroyers and they will go nicely alongside the far less common Jagdpanther as the basis of a three AFV unit in What a Tanker!

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

What a Tanker! Armourfast T34/76

I've been helping my son with his GCSE exam revision this week, so haven't had much time in the evenings to work on the What a Tanker! project. The only thing I've managed to get done is a single Armourfast T34/76 model, which took a bit more time than normal as it is actually quite detailed for a fast assembly kit. It looks the part, however, and will soon be joined by a second T34/76 and the Valentine recce tank which arrived in the post today. I'll be adding at least a couple of T34/85's as well, when I can locate a kit at a reasonable price. The Plastic Soldier Company Panzer IV's have also arrived but they are at the back of the queue after the Tigers and Panthers have been finished.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

What a Tanker! Bases


I like to base my vehicles and AFV's as it protects them a bit from knocks and adds a bit of a visual boost. I'm using mdf rectangles with rounded edges from Warbases for the purpose but only have ones that fit the Shermans at the moment, so have been limited to a single model. The base was quickly textured with acrylic artist's paste, spray undercoated with Halfords Ultra Matt Camo Brown, then given a couple of wet and dry brush coats of Foundry Bay Brown shade and Bay Brown. It's basic to say the least but does the job!

Monday, 14 May 2018

What a Tanker! Tiger Highlights

I've lightly dry brushed the raised surfaces on the Tiger with Foundry Boneyard to pick out the details, not that you can actually see much of a difference in the photos. The top photos are under natural light while the bottom one is on the workbench, just so you can tell I'm not making it up! This means that I'm now ready for the tracks to be painted before I move on to the camouflage. I've been gathering together some reference pictures for winter camo schemes, most of which will allow me to have some of the Panzergelb yellow showing through, so that my layering and highlighting won't be completely wasted?

Sunday, 13 May 2018

What a Tanker! Tiger Wash

This is the last of the posts for the weekend, which has been quite a productive one for a change. The Tigers have now been washed in the Future based gunge and are drying off, ready to be highlighted with a dry brush in a light shade as yet to be decided. I will also paint the tracks and then have a crack at the winter camouflage, which I'm going to keep fairly toned down rather than covering the whole of the tanks in white paint. The engine compartment on one of them also needs a black basecoat, as it is visible through the engine deck louvres, but I forgot to do it before I started the paintwork. Typical!

What a Tanker! Tiger Basecoat

I've started painting the two Italeri quick build Tiger I's, with a basecoat of Vallejo Tan Yellow and Foundry Buff Leather Light dry brushed over the top. This looks not too bad and will be followed by an overall wash in a Future, Nuln Oil and Gryphon Sepia mix. After that, I'll probably do a quick flick over with a lighter shade to pick up the details. The whole lot will be 'winterized' later on with white dry brush camouflage, as I don't have an airbrush and will have to do it by hand. Panzers Marsch!

What a Tanker Soviets Finished

I finished off the painting, weathering and decals on the first lot of 1/72nd scale Soviet AFV's for the What a Tanker! project this morning, although I will be adding textured bases later when I get the laser cut mdf in the post. I'm quite pleased with the overall end result, even if it doesn't look like much effort has gone into them, so will be cracking on with some more Russian tanks to bulk out the force including more 'Emchas' and T34's. I've also built the second Italeri Tiger I, which is now waiting to be painted along with it's partner.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Jagdpanthers and Valentines

I have just won a single sprue of an Armourfast Jagdpanther to add to the German tank force that I'm assembling. Huzzah! I've wanted one of these all along but couldn't justify the cost of a full kit of two tank destroyer models when they were relatively rare. I can use the leftover spare bits from the Panther detailing set to tart up the single Jagdpanther too. I'll aim to paint it up in a winter scheme a bit like this one:

As a bonus, the auction came with a single sprue for a Valentine MkII, which I can use for my Soviet force as a recce tank, which is how the Russians decided to use them right up to the end of the war. It was a bargain as well, with each tank costing only £2.49, so well under the normal ticket price. I now have more than enough kits for both the Russians and the Germans, which doesn't mean I won't be tempted to get some more...

...and this was supposed to be a small, weekend project?!

Armourfast Panther Ausf G Kit

I have now got hold of the Armourfast Panther kit and also have two detailing sets from Early War Miniatures with which to soup them up. This is handy as the basic models are just that, fairly basic, so things like hull machine guns, stowage, tools and bazooka plates aren't included. I have almost run out of Humbrol Matt Dark Earth spray paint so will probably undercoat the Panthers on the sprues with something else, although I have to find the time to build them as well. I have lots of other things to do in the meantime including building a couple of T34/76, a second Tiger, undercoating the 'Emchas' and finishing off the weathering on the rest of the Soviet tanks. Blimey!

Friday, 11 May 2018

What a Tanker! Tigers

The Italeri Quick Build Tiger I's arrived in the post today, so I've just spent half an hour or so putting one together. It's a brilliant little model with only ten parts and you really wouldn't know that it's a simple fast build kit. The tracks need some fiddly filing due to a seam running down the middle and the turret  has a nasty dimple and a seam on both sides which I have now filled and sanded but, apart from that, it's a cracking little tank. I've undercoated it in Humbrol 29 Matt Dark Brown and will wet brush a basecoat of Panzer Yellow over the top. Panzers Marsch!

What a Tanker! Russian Reinforcements

I've been working away over the last couple of days to add a few more Soviet tanks to the collection from the kits that I already had stashed in the loft. The first two are M4A2 Shermans to replace the ones I mucked up on Monday. I've added some stowage and a rack of fuel drums to one of them, using some spares from an Italeri IS-2 that I had left over. To make the most of the other left over bits I did some simple kit bashing, which involved adding the 122mm gun barrel from the IS-2 to a spare ISU-152 hull to make a ISU-122S tank destroyer. Job done!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Soviet Lend Lease Tanks

I have been flicking through this Osprey and now plan to add some more Lend Lease AFV's to the Russian tank collection. I had to bin two of the three Sherman M4A2's that I built last weekend, when my sticky fingers ruined the paint finish and the decals went pear shaped, but at least one will now be replaced. I have also found an old 1/72nd scale Hasegawa M3 Lee kit that I could build for What a Tanker!, although it would be very unlikely to appear after 1944. If I can find a not too expensive Churchill MkIII then that would be a better option. In the meantime I'm waiting for a couple of T34/76 1943 models to arrive in the post to bulk out the Soviets.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

What a Tanker! Mark IV's

I needed some Mark IV's for the German tank forces to use against my nearly finished Soviets. The Level 3 1944-45 career entry point tanks in What a Tanker! include the ubiquitous Mark IV G-H, so I really thought I should get hold of some to go alongside the Panthers and Tigers that are already in the post. The only real option here, if you want a quick build kit, is the Plastic Soldier Company set of three as the Armourfast and Italeri options don't include the Schutzen side skirts.

After a hunt around for the best offer, I found a second hand, unused kit on eBay so I can now bulk out the bottom end of the German tank forces, giving me a clear path for promotion up the ladder. These will be painted up when I do the other tanks in a batch, with a similar winter camouflage theme to the Russian AFV's. I'll also do a couple of one off vehicles at the same time, as I really want a Jagdpanther and at least one Stug IV!

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

What a Tanker! Wash and Go

I took David Manley's sage advice (Thanks David) and gave the camouflaged tanks an overall wash in the same Gryphon Sepia, Nuln Oil and Future wash that I used on them before I applied the whitewash effect. The end result looks loads better and, with a bit of Nuln Oil pin washing in the various nooks and crannies, I'm now ready to add some weathering and final details.

Unfortunately, I stuffed up two of the Shermans in the process, so they've gone to the great tank park in the sky, which is a shame but not something I'm too annoyed about as they can easily be replaced. I'll aim to finish the remaining tanks off over the rest of the week, by which time I should have some Panzers to start on, as well as a couple of Soviet T34's. Za Rodinu!


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