Thursday, 21 February 2019

Taking a Break, Having a Think

I'm in Cornwall at the folks for a short break, which means a bit of time to think things through for the next six months or so. Last year I achieved quite a lot (for me!) by concentrating on what I wanted to do or just found enjoyable, rather than jumping on any trendy bandwagons. This was at the expense of gaming at the club or outside the holidays. I didn't finish everything either but did shift a few projects a decent way before succumbing to the inevitable 'ooh shiny' syndrome.

This year I decided to get to the club more to actually enjoy a few games and I have been keeping up thus far, partly by umpiring my own games but also by joining in with others. The only problem is that I can't be there every week so end up out of the loop, which means I don't know what's on offer or miss out on pre-organised games. I also don't really want to get sucked into things that I have no real interest in or that could divert me away from my own projects yet again. Get ye behind me Sharp Practice!

So, to cut a long ramble short, I'm thinking of limiting my club time to perhaps one game a month, spending more effort on the projects that I'm interested in but which probably don't appeal to other club players. I already have lots of incomplete projects that I've started and should spend more time on to finish off, including the 1/2400th scale ironclads and 15mm post-colonial projects, for example, but also have some things I'd like to do which aren't on anyone else's radar. 

In particular, I'd like to make more use of my winter terrain especially for 15mm WW2 wargaming but also for skirmishy things in other periods and scales. I'd also really like to make good use of my new sea cloth for naval wargaming, with a focus on something that wouldn't take too long to finish for at least a basic game. This might be the aforementioned ironclads but I have some other options too, perhaps 1/2400th pre-dreadnoughts, 1/700th modern FAC's, 1/450th pirate ships or even an Italian fleet in 1/3000th scale, assuming I can be bothered to rebase my French fleet to match?

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

EWM Sandbag Armour

I have ordered some Early War Miniatures resin sandbag improvised armour for my Shermans, together with some tool racks to fill up the obvious blank space on the rear hull, so that I can upgrade some of the Armourfast M4A3's. I thought I had already ordered a couple of these resin sets but somehow hadn't added them to the basket last time. They will definitely give that late war look to the models, along with all the extra stowage and winter camouflage.

I also included a cheap box of Armourfast M4A3 105mm Shermans in the order, at least one of which will be built out of the box and the other used for spares or conversion. I'm really building up a healthy stack of kits for this project, so I'm thinking of starting it sooner rather than later, probably bumping the Cruel Seas project to one side yet again to clear the decks?

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Bag the Blenheims Cards

I've been knocked sideways by a particularly vicious twenty four hour sickness bug, so the weekend was a bit of a wash out as far as wargaming is concerned. To make up for this, I've adapted a set of turn cards that I produced for a North Africa scenario, using them as a template to create the deck for the Bag the Blenheims Lard Day game. I'm quite pleased with the end result, as it's a bit more upmarket than the generic deck I created for the Bandits Over Berlin game, so I hope the players appreciate the full on technicolour production values?

Sunday, 17 February 2019

The Tank Killers

I'm still enjoying the background reading for What a Tanker! and have just started reading this book on the US tank destroyer contribution to the campaigns in North Africa, Italy and NW Europe. I've got some 1/72nd scale Armourfast TD's in the kit pile for the Battle of the Bulge project and I'm looking forward to building them, especially as you can really go to town on the stowage and detailing. In WAT, I've found tank destroyers to be really effective but the downside is that they are comparatively weak in terms of armour, so shoot and scoot is definitely a good idea!

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Steel 72 Resin Stowage

I found this manufacturer of figures and accessories for 1/72nd scale wargaming today. They do some really cool stowage and sandbag add-on resin pieces for German, Russian, Commonwealth and American tanks, designed for the Armourfast kits, which they also supply as single sprues with the matching detailing sets. They also do some really nice tank crew figures in white metal. Unfortunately, the postage to the UK from Spain is about £11 once you convert it from Euros to GB Pounds, so it is a bit too expensive if you only want a couple of packs of figures or resin bits. What a shame.

Tank You Very Much!

The Plastic Soldier Company has a 25% off Valentines Day sale on at the moment, so I took the opportunity to order a box of 1/72nd scale M5A1 light tanks for the What a Tanker! Battle of the Bulge project. The kits don't gave the annoying separate track pieces that I struggled to fit neatly onto the Panzer Mark IV's that I built last year, so that's a bonus and will make it a lot easier to assemble, if not to paint them. I have also ordered a box of Italeri Fast Assembly Sherman M4A3E2 'Jumbo' assault tanks, as they looked really handy as heavy support for the bog standard M4A3(76) tanks that will make up the core of any games. I have no idea when I'll get round to these but it will definitely be sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

S-Boat References

S-38b with 40mm Flak 28 Bofors (right)

Needless to say, I have a lot of books on coastal forces from autobiographies, to historical studies and technical reference sources. Possibly the best technical reference book that I own is the Squadron Signal Schnellboot in Action book in the Warships series. This is a fantastic little paperback aimed at scale modellers, with numerous photographs, line drawings and colour profiles, together with plenty of informational sections on different variants, armament, deck layout, armour and other very useful details. If you are looking for one book to get hold of as a guide to modelling and painting WW2 Kreigsmarine schnellboot, then this one is highly recommended, as it is way ahead of the comparable Osprey title, although a bit more expensive and harder to track down.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Cruel Seas Conversions

S-38b Cut and Shut Conversion

S-100 and S-38b

40mm Bofors (10mm Pendraken)

That will put the wind up the wavy navy!

I decided to postpone my What a Tanker! plans for the moment, so that I can concentrate instead on the Cruel Seas project that I was supposed to be doing anyway! I have seven plastic S-100 E Boats to assemble and paint as the 5th S-Boot Flotilla c1944, so have started to separate them from the sprues and clean them up ready for painting. 

Two of these should really be S-38b class boats, so I've also experimented with a cut and shut conversion, using the bow section of a damaged S-100 model, mated to the stern section of the S-38 class model from the same sprue. This worked well but I will now need to add a gun platform for a 40mm Bofors, for which I have a 10mm Pendraken model. 

This is overscale but I will be cutting it down to size so that it looks right, even if it isn't exactly the right size. I'll aim to get the whole lot painted and glued together by the end of the month, together with a Vorpostenboot model from the Kriegsmarine starter set. I'm really looking forward to doing something naval for a change, so will get cracking!

Monday, 11 February 2019

What a Tanker! Russian Tanks Finished

Pegasus KV-2 and KV-1

Italeri T34/76

I've now added some decals and a bit of weathering to the KV-1 and KV-2, together with the two T34/76 tanks, so this bit of the What a Tanker! project has now been completed. I may return to the Russian Front later but for the moment I'm going to concentrate on some US tanks and tank destroyers for the Ardennes. It's ironic that there doesn't seem to be much interest in WAT! at the local club but I'm happy just tinkering away with the plastic tank kits regardless, so I'm not overly bothered (although I really should be moving on to other things rather than making more tank kits!)

What a Tanker! Russian Armour Update

I had a bit of time yesterday, in between painting my daughter's bedroom, walking the dog, helping with homework and doing the weekly shopping, so thought I'd blitz the Russian tanks for What a Tanker!, leaving the lone Panzer IV Ausf F/G for a rainy day. This turned out to be a very productive painting session, which included the tracks, exhausts, stowage, machine guns and tools, as well as the headlights on the KV's. I have now glued the hulls to the tracks, so all I need to do to finish them off is add the decals and some weathering, then spray seal everything with matt varnish, which means the workbench will be free for the US tanks. Crack on!


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