Thursday 31 May 2018

Pegasus KV-1 and KV-2

This is definitely the last of the Russian AFV kits that I will adding to the What a Tanker! project, otherwise it's going to get a bit silly. I have no real use for either of these early war heavy tanks but you can't really have a WW2 Russian tank collection without a KV-2. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. They weren't very common but did make quite an impression when the first appeared, especially due to the virtually impervious armour.

The fact that you get one of each in the box rather than two of the same is what persuaded me to order a set, as well as the fact that I like the Pegasus EZ Build kits for their level of detail and straightforward construction, even if they are a bit more expensive unless you are prepared to shop around. This kit wasn't too much of a stretch and the free postage helped to soak up the price tag.

I suppose I could do some more early war Russian tanks like BT-7's and T34/76' stop it!

What a Tanker! Soviet Base Coat Painting

Today, I wet brushed the T34's, Emchas and SU-100 in Flames of War Russian Green, then washed them in my usual Future ink wash, finishing off with a heavy drybrush of 70:30 Russian Green and Vallejo Tan Yellow. They are now going to be given some time to thoroughly dry out, before I do some Nuln Oil ink washing of the engine decks and apply the winter snow camouflage. I'm going to make this a bit heavier than the last lot of Russian tanks, varying the coverage and pattern to add some different effects. I'm planning to get this done tomorrow so that I can then paint and weather the tracks. 

San Miguelito Ranch House

Hey Gringo! 

I bought this Blotz 20mm Middle Eastern building at Colours last year to use as a Mexican ranch house or hacienda for the Viva la Revolucion! scenario, Patton's First Fight. It's not exactly the right layout but, with the addition of an outbuilding or stables on the adjacent laser cut mdf rectangle, it will do the job quite well. I'll need to scratch build the stables but that shouldn't be too difficult using bits of mdf base, matchsticks and other scrap stuff.

Last night, I under coated the mdf parts in some horribly sticky yellow spray paint then sanded this down when I realised I'd made a bad choice, assembled it then resprayed it in the more reliable Halfords Ultra Matt Khaki. I then smothered it in artist's acrylic paste, to give it some texture and to hide the nasty joints, which is now drying out prior to being lightly sanded down again. I can then texture the courtyard area and start on the painting bit. 

Wednesday 30 May 2018

What a Tanker! Soviet Tank Traffic Jam

I spent most of today gluing together a sizeable collection of Soviet medium tanks and a tank destroyer including two Armourfast T34/76's, two T34/85's, an M4A3 76mm, an M4A3 75mm and a single Pegasus SU-100 to round things off. The Pegasus model is an EZ-Build kit but still a bit more fiddly and detailed than the Armourfast tanks. The tracks do look good, however, as they have a nice 'droop effect' and much better surface detail. I have another one of these that can be built as an SU-85 but not for now as I have more than enough to paint as it is. I will start painting all of these in one batch tomorrow, starting with a wet brush basecoat of Russian Green, followed by an overall ink wash to bring out the surface details. I can then splash on the white winter camouflage!

Terrain for What a Tanker!

I have a desperate shortage of decent terrain in 20mm, as it's not a scale I normally game in, so need some bits and bobs to litter the battlefield with. I've chosen the Eastern Front in Winter for my games and will be using my snow cloth and river sections, but need at least one bridge and some sort of settlement. I also need to base up some trees, make some fields and build some proper road sections. I can improvise some of these things but want to put together a decent collection of scenery over time.

For buildings, I've been looking at two possible options, both of which would do the job for minimal expense and effort. The first is a set of five Russian village buildings from Red Vectors, which you can get on both standing and ruined form. The second is a series of three or four intact Russian village buildings from Blotz, together with some of the Blotz rickety fencing to break up lines of fire and movement (although a tank might not be too bothered about rickety fences?)

These two both work out at about the same cost and would be perfect, although I can't help feeling that I could scratch build some ruins if I put my mind to it, using card and balsa wood. I'll just have to make up my mind about which option to go for, as I really should be focussed on the other terrain elements that I will be making myself including the trees and roads. I have enough to do at the moment anyway, so the terrain will have to wait a bit longer.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Fistful of Lead: Viva la Revolucion!

I was looking for a little project to wrap up the latter half of the holiday week, setting the Wings at War: Desert Spitfires project to one side for the moment, as I've had enough of tiddly planes after the B-29's. I remembered that I had a plan, amongst many others, that I could probably squeeze into a few days alongside the remaining 1/72nd scale tanks (I have just started on two T34/85's for this and also hope to get some Panzer IV's underway before the end of the week).

The project in mind was a Fistful of Lead: Reloaded Mexican Revolution skirmish using 20mm figures from Shellhole Scenics, which I already have in the leadpile, and the Viva la Revolucion! scenario supplement. The idea was to just paint enough figures and make sufficient terrain for Scenario 10: Patton's First Fight. I've had a rummage and have extracted the figures and the Blotz laser cut building kit that I bought just for this project, so I'm good to go as soon as I can get started. 

It should be good fun!

MiG Alley B-29's Finished

I did a very quick finishing job on the Tumbling Dice B-29's today using a combination of I-94 and Dom's Decals to add some basic insignia. The tail code boxes are the wrong colour and should have a capital letter H in the middle but I couldn't be bothered to faff about with tiny lettering, so they will have to do. I also should have added some black anti glare panels to the leading edges but there you go. I've subsequently gloss varnished all eight of them to add a bit of a shine that was lost when I sealed the decals with Army Painter anti-shine varnish (yes, I know). I must be getting old. Anyway I now have enough for the B-29 escort mission scenario in Bag the MiG and for bombing North Korea in MiG Alley.

What a Tanker! Big Cats Finished

I finished off the Panther, Jagdpanther and Tigers this morning, before spraying them all in matt varnish to dull down the Future ink wash and seal the decals. The marking are all made up using whatever insignia took my fancy, so the panzer purists will probably get their knickers in a twist, but they look the part so I'm not too bothered. I'm going to assemble three Plastic Soldier Company Panzer IV's next, to round off the Panzerwaffe, before I go back to complete the late war Soviets. I've also got a resin and metal Early War Miniatures Jagdpanzer IV kit in the post which should be arriving at some point this week, so I'll add that to the painting list when it turns up.

Monday 28 May 2018

What a Tanker! First Game

I finally got round to a game of What a Tanker! this afternoon, playing against my daughter instead of my X-Box fixated middle sprog. She had a Panther Ausf D and I took a Churchill MkIII for a spin, somewhere on the Russian Front in Winter 1943. The game went on for a total of nine turns (!) before we packed up for tea, with neither side scoring a knock out blow. I was surprised it lasted that long but reckon I know why.

The Panther had an Armour dice rating of eight against the Churchill's Strike value of five, so more often than not the rounds just bounced off, while the Churchill's heavy armour rating of nine negated the Panther's Strike value of nine, especially when some dodgy dice rolling was factored into the equation. She even managed to roll a double 1 to hit dice at one point, which automatically ended her activation and lost her aim and acquisition markers.

In the end, the Soviet tank crew firing flank shots managed to inflict two temporary and one permanent damage hits on the Panther, for no damage to the Churchill. This handed a marginal victory to the Russians but only in the last couple of turns before night fell and the two sides withdrew. I really enjoyed the game and so did my daughter, who picked it up really quickly and played some clever command dice combinations at several points in the game. 

I only had one head scratching moment, which is unusual for me, when I had to work out if I needed to re-acquire a target that had hidden in partial cover. Other than that it was a breeze and moved quickly once we both knew what we were doing. I'll definitely set up another game soon using the 1/72nd scale tanks that I've been assembling. I do need some better terrain, however, so that will be on the to do list. Good fun!

MiG Alley B29's

And now for something completely different. I thought I'd have a short break from the 1/72nd scale What a Tanker! project to finish off the 1/600 scale Tumbling Dice B29's for MiG Alley and Bag the MiG. I started these back in March but then moved on to something else, so they were left half finished. I had masked and painted the tails with 19th Bomb Group stripes but thought these didn't look very good, so I have sanded them down and recoated them in Foundry Spearpoint. The next step will be to add some fine lining and the decals to finish them off. I have some RAAF Meteors to paint as well, so they might get done too over the next couple of days, if I have the time.

Sunday 27 May 2018

What a Tanker! Tiger II Finished

I finished off the Pegasus Tiger II today, although the tank commander still needs to be painted and popped into the cupola, leaving me with the rest of the German tanks to wrap up tomorrow. I'm quite pleased with the end result, although it won't win any IPMS prizes and is a bit workmanlike, but the base needs something or other to give it more interest. I might add some snow but I'm not keen on using the flock stuff it, so it may just get left as it is*

I've also moved the other German late war tanks a bit closer to the finishing line and just need to add decals, paint the stowage and do some light weathering to wrap them up. I will also add some bases but may play around with the scenic effects to add something to tart them up a bit. I might have a break from kit bashing plastic tanks after that and do something else or just crack on with some Soviets including a couple of T34/85's?

*I later decided just to remove the base and leave the model free standing!

Summer Project 2018: Breakout into Brittany

I've been reading the new Osprey Campaign book Brittany 1944 and have decided to make it the focus for my Summer Holiday project this year. This will be in 15mm and will make use of the PSC Army Box that I got for my birthday back in January. I was originally going to use this for the Ardennes and Rhineland but instead I will use both the AFV's and plastic infantry figures for Brittany, with the focus on company level actions with Task Force A or 4th Armoured Division.

I haven't decided on rules yet but it will probably be I Ain't Been Shot Mum or similar. I've really enjoyed making the 1/72nd scale tank kits for What a Tanker! so this project is designed to tap into my mojo, with lots of tanks and half tracks to assemble and paint. It will also give me some interesting German units to follow on with including some Fallschirmjager. I'll get started on this in a few weeks time, once the What a Tanker! project is completed, at least to the point where I can run some decent games. 

Bag the MiG Game Bits

I have offered to run a couple of scenarios of Bag the MiG next month at the club, date to be decided but probably in the last two weeks of June. To get ready for this I am going to be working on the cards and player aids that I need this week, with the aim of getting everything ready by the end of the holidays. I reckon that I'll need about forty cards for the two or three scenarios combined plus cheat sheets and aircraft recording sheets modified for Bag the MiG, so there's quite a lot to do!

Saturday 26 May 2018

What a Tanker! Tiger II and Stug IV

I've been alternately dry brushing and washing the Pegasus Tiger II today, in between all the other usual distractions, so it's pretty much ready for the fiddly detailing. I also blocked in the tracks ready for yet more washing and dry brushing tomorrow. While the King Tiger was drying out I glued together one of the Armourfast Stug IV's and painted it in parallel, using the same approach that I took with the Panthers. It's now ready for track painting and stowage detailing, after which I can glue the hull and bazooka plates on. This is all very enjoyable and a good start to the holiday weekend.


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