Saturday, 23 June 2018

Infantry Colonel

I'm re-reading this autobiographical account of the campaign in NW Europe, specifically the actions of the 5th Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, written by it's C.O. Brigadier George Taylor. My original copy was very warped and had seen better days but I found an immaculate replacement a few years ago while on holiday in the Cotswolds. The book itself is full of typos but very well written, with a definite emphasis on the Sharp End. 

There are several really good accounts of platoon and company level engagements including the successful  ambush of five Tiger's with PIATS (!) during the Market Garden rescue attempts in Holland. If you can find a copy, it's a brilliant read and very much on a par with Sidney Jary's 18 Platoon, especially as it covers similar ground and a fellow 43rd Wessex Division unit, albeit from a different brigade and at a regimental command level.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Summer Holiday Project Re-Think

I've been debating whether or not the IABSM 15mm project is the best option for the holidays, mainly due to the vast number of plastic figures and vehicles that I'd need to assemble, let alone eventually paint. As an alternative, I've been considering the other 15mm WW2 project that I set out a few months ago, namely to re-purpose my Peter Pig 15mm lead pile for Chain of Command. 

These figures were originally intended for IABSM but, now that I've switched to Battlefront and PSC for that, they are surplus to requirements. The idea is to use them for Chain of Command, initially assembling a late war British unit with various support elements, to represent a platoon of the 5th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and tanks of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry or 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards.

This is all I'd need to base and paint for the 5th DCLI

I had a 20mm Rapid Fire! equivalent of this ages ago and have always wanted to pick it up where I left off, only in 15mm this time around. I'd also build a corresponding German platoon, possibly of Volksgrenadiers rather than standard infantry, as the plan would be to set up skirmish scenarios based around actions in Holland and the Rhineland in late 1944 to early 1945. 

It's just an ideas at the moment but it would be a lot more manageable than the IABSM option?

What a Tanker! Ink Wash

I have the day off work as I'm not needed, so have a bit of time to spend on the panzers for What a Tanker! I finished applying the white camouflage basecoat over the last couple of days, letting it dry out completely, then did the usual all over Future based ink wash this morning. This takes a while to dry out completely but will allow me to crack on with the dry brushing and blocking in of the various detailed bits like stowage, tools, machine guns and roadwheel tyres. I think these six tanks will be the last of the models for What a Tanker! for a while, as I need a break from painting AFVs!

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Bag the MiG Bail Out!

I've just had the fixtures through for cricket matches for my middle son this season and now know that all of the Tuesday evenings in June / July are taken up with either matches or training sessions, which means I can't be at the  local wargames club until after the summer. This means that the Bag the MiG multiplayer game I was planning to run will have to be postponed until the Autumn, before rugby training begins and after cricket has wound up for the year. The problem is that my wife has language lessons to teach on Tuesday evenings, so I am usually the one who has to do the cricket / rugby / modern dance transport taxi for the kids. All self inflicted too!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

What a Tanker! Mark IV's Camouflaged

As you can see, I've started the base coat of white camo paint on the Plastic Soldier Company Pzkpfw IV's over the last couple of days, squeezing in the time around work and family stuff. I'm really tired at the moment but have a day off coming up later in the week, so plan to get a lot more done and possibly even finish the rest of the German tanks by the end of the weekend. The idea with the Mark IV's is to replicate the washed out camouflage effect on the profile picture, which I think should look pretty good if I get it right?

Sunday, 17 June 2018

What a Tanker! Winter River Bridges

Ironically enough, despite it being Father's Day, I have had very little time for my own hobby pursuits today, especially as the other half decided it would be a good idea to completely empty and reorganise the garage. However, I have built, painted and weathered a very nice bridge for my winter terrain collection, using a well designed and inexpensive lasercut mdf kit from Supreme Littleness Designs

This is 28mm and was originally destined for the Wild West but it is now being re-purposed as a 20mm bridge somewhere on the Eastern Front. I also painted up a plastic pontoon bridge thing that came from an old Hasegawa or Fujimi field accessories set that I had in the loft, for use as an alterntive river crossing. In What a Tanker! only light tanks can cross wooden bridges but I'm going to bend the rules so that medium tanks can also use them, otherwise they are a bit pointless!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Gaslands Auto Combat Terrain

I had forgotten about Gaslands until I spotted these card print and play accessories on Wargames Vault this morning, some of which were on special half price discount. I've downloaded the three sets of terrain designed for Hotwheels scale gaming, together with a couple of the scaleable sci-fi pieces including a control tower and cargo containers. All very useful as structures to crash into, drive over or otherwise blow up!

Unfortunately my printer isn't up to the job, so I'll have to wait to get these printed on card at the local printing shop, which may not happen for a while. This lot set me back about seven quid, which is pretty good considering that I can now print off as many terrain pieces as I want and in numerous different schemes. It will also save me ages scratch building the same bits and pieces out of plastic card and scrap stuff.

New Wargaming Table!

My wife was kind enough to buy me a brand new foldable 5' x 10' wargaming table, which can be split into two halves for skirmish gaming or pushed together for really big battles. It's in a nice shade of blue for naval and air wargames, although someone has decided to paint a white line down the middle, which spoils the overall effect a bit. I suppose it's for deployment zones, which would be quite useful when you want to avoid those awkward disagreements about just how far from the table edge you can set up your units? The boys were even kind enough to set it up for me on the patio and they are now testing it using some ping pong balls (not sure what that's all about?)

Friday, 15 June 2018

Tiger, Tiger

I have found another of the Italeri Tiger I fast build kits for a very good price, so will be able to add a couple more at some point to the late war German Panzerwaffe. It's a shame that the kit has the later steel road wheels, as the earlier version with rubber tyres would have been more useful, especially for 1943. The two I've already done are in snow camouflage but I quite like the idea of doing these two in a summer camouflage pattern, similar to the examples from the back of the box. I have some time this weekend to crack on with the panzers on the workbench, so I'm hoping to get them almost finished by the end, which will then allow me to build those mid-war Russian tanks I've been wanting to tackle!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

T-34 In Action

I'm still slowly working my way through Tankmen by Robert Kershaw but thought this looked interesting, especially as it is based on interviews with Red Army veterans. I actually have relatively few books on this sort of thing, at least compared to my air warfare and naval warfare library, so it should be a useful resource. As usual, it's a digital copy, which means that I can read it on holiday in a few weeks time rather than lugging a hefty book about, although I do prefer a good old hardback!

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Italeri 'Fast Assembly' T34/76 m42

I have just opened this kit from Italeri, which contains two of their 'Fast Assembly' T34/76 m42 medium tanks, together with some excellent decals designed for wargaming unit building. I really like this range of kits, even though they are more expensive than the Armourfast alternative, as the models are a bit more detailed and are supplied with top quality decal sheets that more than make up for the marginal extra cost.

I also like the fact that the tracks on these models feature the non-solid road wheels and have the upper tracks with a bit of realistic sag, in the same style as the even more expensive Pegasus kits. I can now add some early war tanks to the KV-1 and KV-2 that I have in the kit pile, although I do quite like the idea of getting another of the Italeri T34 kits to make up a unit of four? I have no idea when I'll get round to this but the kits are so simple they'll be very quick to build when I do!

Monday, 11 June 2018

Mexican Expedition US Army Dodge Cars

I got hold of some very cheap, roughly 20mm diecast vans that I thought I could convert into something a bit like Dodge Touring Cars, as used by the US Army on the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916. I've successfully dismantled one and used a Dremel cutting disc to lop off the back end, following by some heavy duty filing to remove the van sides.

It's not anywhere near finished as I will now need to build a passenger back seat and rear body out of plastic card, then convert the canopy to fit over the top, but it's not a bad start? I don't actually need any for the Patton's First Fight scenario but they would look good parked on the table as scenic features and could have all sorts of uses in other scenarios.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

What a Tanker! Panzers Marsch

I have had a packed weekend but, at the end of it, have managed to assemble three Plastic Soldier Company Panzer IV H, an Armourfast StuH 42 and a second up-detailed Armourfast Panther, to add to my existing German tank collection. I was hoping to build at least one more Stug IV but I've run out of time so it will have to wait. I've base coated all of them in Halfords Ultra Matt Khaki and have now also soaked them in my usual Future and Gryphon Sepia ink wash, ready for winter camouflaging at some point over the week. 

I can't say I really enjoyed assembling either the Panzer IVs or the StuH 42, as in both cases the instructions weren't great and there were quite a lot of fiddly bits to do, but they came out looking alright in the end. I've heard that the tread head rivet counters are upset about the split cupola hatch on the PSC Mark IV but, to be honest, I'm not really bothered! I've also now nearly run out of stowage for the next lot of tanks, so have ordered some more in both small and large sizes from The Scene (he does some really neat 15mm stowage packs including various tarps and rolls):

Friday, 8 June 2018

What a Tanker! Trees


I've neglected the terrain part of the What a Tanker! project, so really need to get something sorted if I'm to actually play some decent looking games. I have used the Woodlands Scenics plastic tree armatures for 28mm cowboy gunfight games and for AK47 terrain markers before, so I had a couple of packs half used in the scenery spares box. I've found them and will base them up on washers for a bit more stability, texture in the bases and then spray them in Humbrol Ultra Matt brown, with some wintery dry brushing to blend them into the snow terrain cloth that I am using. I also now have some Blotz mdf lasercut building kits to assemble, so all I now need is a bridge and some modular road sections to be scratch build.

What a Tanker! Soviet Light Tanks

I've been way too busy at work for any modelling this week but, as it's the weekend, I'm planning to get the Panzer IV's and a couple of Stug's underway first thing tomorrow. In the meantime, I thought I'd splash some pay day funds on a box of three 1/72nd scale T-70 light tanks from Plastic Soldier Company. These are small models but will be a good addition to my Soviet tank forces, especially as they are one of the career entry point options at Level 3 in the campaign ladder. They are also really nice kits, from what I've read in reviews online, so I'm looking forward to assembling them when they turn up in the post.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

20mm Villista Renegades

Here are the six 20mm Shellhole Scenics Villista Dorado figures that I'll be using for the Patton's First Fight scenario, in the role of Julio Cardenas and his men. I thought about preparing mounted version of these foot figures as well, which came with the army pack that I bought, but decided to leave that for a later time. The scenario only uses six dismounted figures anyway. I'm hoping to slap some paint onto these over the weekend.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Armourfast StuH 42

I now have two Armourfast StuH 42 assault guns to add to the German tanks that I'm going to be working on over the next week or so, one of which may well be converted back into a StuG III if I can find an alternative 75mm gun barrel. These will go very well alongside my existing StuG IV and the Pzkpfw IV Ausf G/H that I'm already assembling. I'm now on the look out for something unusual to round off the Panzer production line, perhaps a captured Russian tank in German markings, or maybe just a couple of bog standard Panzer Mark III's?

Monday, 4 June 2018

What a Tanker! Panzer Plans

I've decided to crack straight on with the What a Tanker! project, this time going back to the Panzerwaffe with a trio of Plastic Soldier Company Panzer IV's and the single Armourfast Stug IV that I started on a while back. As you can see, this lot takes up quite a lot of workbench space but, once I've assembled the various bits into tank shaped objects, it should be a lot less crowded. 

I like the fact that the tracks are separate components in these PSC kits, which should speed up the production line and avoid the fiddly painting round the road wheels that I've had to deal with of late. I may well add another assault gun to this lot or something else to beef up the baddies, once I've put the Panzer IV's together over the coming week. 

The Mark IV's have been undercoated in Halfords Ultra Matt Khaki and will be painted up in snow camouflage just like the Panther and Jagdpanther that I've already completed, with at least one minus the hull bazooka skirts for a bit of visual variety. I'll aim to decal the three tanks with common insignia in order to give them the look of a proper unit, albeit at reduced strength due to battle losses.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

What a Tanker! Soviet Tanks Finished

I pushed it this evening to get the Russian tanks and tank destroyer finished by the end of the half term holiday, which I have now achieved albeit after quite a lot of colourful language, especially when the decals went pear shaped. I was using some old Verlinden 1/35th scale rub down transfers which are great on flat surfaces but a right bugger on anything curved. As a result, I had to salvage several attempts at various slogans and tank numbers, which meant that it took longer than usual. I also mixed up the decal set with some liquid poly at one point, which was almost a total disaster but was swiftly covered up with some more snow camouflage. Phew! It's onto some Panzer IV's next but I think I'll have a break first and paint some Mexicans.

Patton's First Fight Terrain Tweaks

I bashed this little lean to stable hitching post thing out of matchsticks and half a laser cut mdf terrain base this morning. The idea is to have a removable bit that can be repositioned either inside or outside the hacienda courtyard, as required by the scenario. It's nothing special but I think it does the job and looks okay, even if I overcooked the dry brushed weathering effect a bit too much!


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