Saturday 30 June 2018

Nonomhan 1939

I'm reading this now, as a bit of background for one of the projects I'm thinking of doing over the holidays, although that's not set in stone as yet. This is a 1/600th scale Wings at War project, using elements of the Battle of Britain version, Scramble for Britain, combined with bits from the WW1 variant Duel of Aces, to recreate the air warfare side of the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in 1939 (I originally had this idea way back in 2010!)

Needless to say, I have all the Tumbling Dice planes ready and waiting, so would just be assembling and magnet basing them over the holidays, ready for painting in September. I'm also thinking of doing the same for the First World War version of the Wings at War rules, Duel of Aces, with lots of tiddly biplanes to glue together and magnet base alongside the later Japanese and Soviet stuff.

I can then pick and choose which project to complete in the latter half of the year, taking the same assembly line approach that I used for MiG Alley, which seemed to work well. The magnet basing will also mean that I can use the planes for Bag the Hun, Algernon Pulls It Off or any number of different rules, using my home made hex bases to swap over to hex based movement. 

Sturmpanzer IV Kitbash

I assembled the kitbash Esci / Armourfast Sturmpanzer IV this morning, which wasn't too much trouble and less complicated than I thought it would be, even if the hull needed a bit of jiggling about to fit on top of the tracks. I have left off the bazooka plates, some of the more fragile pieces and also simplified the stowage but, other than that, it's a straight out of the box conversion. I'm now wondering how to paint it and whether or not to use a camouflage pattern, then over weather it or just use the overall white camouflage that I've applied on the other 1/72nd scale tanks? 

Thursday 28 June 2018

Esci Sturmpanzer IV for What a Tanker!

I bought a cheap old Esci kit of a Sturmpanzer IV Brummbar on eBay a week or so ago, pretty much on a whim as it has no real use in What a Tanker! aside from being a massive bullet magnet. The idea will be to combine the top half of the kit with the bottom half of an Armourfast Stug IV, so that I don't have to muck about with fiddly track bits and loads of tiddly road wheels.

I might have a go at this kit bashing at the weekend, although I don't think I'll get around to painting the end result if it actually works? The point of the exercise will be to use the thing as a scenario objective or mission focus, either as something to protect as it rumbles toward a fortified target or as a broken down objective to be towed away by either side. 

Wednesday 27 June 2018

What's On The Workbench?

This is what I'm supposed to be doing now!

I've been very busy over the last couple of days, so no time for any wargaming things, although I have spent some time musing about what to do next, particularly over the holidays in three weeks time. I have now decided that 15mm Chain of Command will be too much to bite off and chew, with the end result being yet another box full of based figures that will get shoved back on top of the pile, so I am thinking of something else. 

At the moment, this has randomly see-sawed between a smaller 15mm project, probably one of the post-colonial ones that I fiddled about with earlier in the year, something nautical like the 1/700th scale Fast Attack missile boats that I fiddled about with at the same time, or perhaps another small scale 1/600th air project, of which I have many to choose from. 

Incidentally, the Wings of War: Desert Spitfires project has hit the buffers due to a complete lack of early Egyptian decals, so another plan is clearly called for. 

In the meantime I'm hoping to crack on with the Fistful of Lead: Viva La Revolucion! thing, if only I can find the time. The Mexicans are ready for painting and the US army figures are just waiting for a convenient slot to be based and undercoated, so I may get them started this weekend?

Sunday 24 June 2018

What a Tanker! Panzers Finished


Phew! About time too, as I'm now looking forward to something else, to be honest, having churned out both the German and Soviet tanks over the last month or so. I'm quite pleased with the end result, although the Armourfast Stug IV and StuH 42 aren't as nice as my favourites of the bunch, the Plastic Soldier Company Mark IV's. I used the leftover decals from the Italeri Tiger I kit on these and, although I would have preferred red numbers, I think they look not half bad. I have some space in the box for a few more German tanks and a couple of kits to build, including a Sturmpanzer IV and a Jagdtiger, but I think I'll give it a break now and do something different.

Battlegroup Core Rules

I posted a query on TMP about options for fast play, simple Company level WW2 rules, just to test the waters for a future project in 15mm. I have now got two potential 15mm company level forces for this, both US late war, so at some point will want to be able to get them painted for just this sort of thing. At the moment, the two sets of rules at the top of the list are IABSM3 and Fivecore Company Command, but I'm always looking for other options so thought Battlegroup might be worth a try. The core rules weren't too expensive, compared to the cost of rules these days, so I have now got a set of the latest edition.

I had dismissed Battlegroup before as I thought it was only for individually based figures and was an IGOUGO system, which I'm not keen on. I much prefer card based or random turn mechanics, as they are more realistic and add an element of unpredictability, not to mention a more involving turn sequence. Anyway, it turns out that Battlegroup can be used with multiple bases and has a turn system akin to BKC, another of my bugbears but one I can live with, including Reaction Orders to avoid one player doing everything first. 

I'm still undecided about Battlegroup but it's another option to add to the mix, if and when I ever get round to this project one day. The rule book itself is very nicely presented and has lots of explanatory bits to male things clear. The core rules are also quite compact and seem relatively straightforward, which ticks the 'idiot proof' and 'fast play' boxes. I have read and watched a few online reviews too, most of which seem to suggest that the rules play well and are a good representation of the historical context. The game also appears to be scaleable, from platoon to company level, so I could also use my Chain of Command individually based 15mm figures as another option?

It's not going to bump IABSM off the top of the list yet but it is definitely an interesting set of rules.

Saturday 23 June 2018

What a Tanker! Wheels and Tracks

Aaaargh! I have just spent a couple of hours painting tiny black tyres on the Plastic Soldier Company Panzer IV's and Armourfast Stugs, including the very tiddly wheel rims, most of which will be covered by bazooka plates anyway. This was far, far from enjoyable and I'm glad it's over, as it almost evaporated my enthusiasm for 1/72nd scale model tank painting. I also painted the exhausts and tracks on all of the models, so it wasn't entirely bad. At least I can now glue the tracks onto the Mark IV's and then fix the hulls to the superstructures, leaving only the stowage and some weathering before I add the decals. I'll be giving the What a Tanker! project a temporary break after that, give or take some terrain building. 

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.

The Tiger Ambush (from the Osprey: Operation Market Garden 3)

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):

Saturday 9 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.


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