Monday 30 September 2019

Airfix Airco DH4

Lovely Box Art!

The other option for some WW1 model building, assuming there's some interest in more games at the club after tomorrows multiplayer dogfighting shindig, is to make four Airfix DH4 light bombers. The parts for these are all undercoated and have been sitting in the loft for years, waiting for a rainy day, which is apt as it's chucking down outside and will probably do so for the foreseeable future. They are one of the better Airfix WW1 kits, with a good level of detail, bar and slot strut assembly and some decent crew figures, although I'll be replacing the Lewis guns with some metal ones from Aeroclub, of which I have a OOP stash.

The only downside of building these is that they are a bit boring to paint, being overall GW Catachan Green, or whatever the equivalent is these days, with only the front section in light grey to break up the monotone effect. Still, there's no funky camouflage to paint, so that's a bit of a bonus. The scenario in which they'd be deployed is a bombing mission, funnily enough, based on an early 1917 one we played years ago with Sopwith One and a Half Stutters escorted by Pups, although this time round the escort would be SE5a's or nothing at all. I'll ask the chaps tomorrow if they would like another game, then see if the DH4's tick the box?

Paddling Up the Congo


Bay Brown 

A finished pirate (actually a Darkest Africa musketeer)

With October just over the horizon, it's time to paddle off up the Congo, with my painting project for the next month or so, a Jungle Tribes column with all the whistles and bells. I'm going to start today with a basecoat of Foundry Bay Brown Shade, which I'll follow up with a highlight in Bay Brown and Bay Brown Light as the next two stages. I used this approach with a couple of my old 28mm Foundry Pirates and I think it gives a very good, not too light but not too dark skin tone. I may or may not give them a wash after the flesh tones are done but will probably move onto the loin cloths, head dresses, bangles, beads and masks before the ink wash is applied. I thought about texturing the bases before painting but I'll leave that until right at the end. 

Sunday 29 September 2019

Aircraft Carriers

No, not that sort of flat topped nautical thing but some old cardboard storage boxes converted into model plane transportation, using some scrap balsa blocks, mounting card off-cut dividers and left over foam pieces that came from a proper figure storage box. I glued them together this afternoon with my trusty tube of UHU so that I no longer need to take superglue with me to the club to fix all the broken struts, wheels and propeller blades! The box with the German aircraft is a bit more hard core than the British one, as I decided to use a different design that I think will be the way forward, when and if I make another one. Cheap, recycled, easy to do and hopefully sturdy enough to keep my aircraft in one piece for a change?

Last of the StuG's

I finally finished building the last PSC StuG's for Operation Blackcock this morning, so have now cleared the decks ready for some 28mm Congo figure painting, which I'm hoping will be fairly straightforward. I've run out of Halfords Untra Matt Khaki spray paint, so the StuG's look a bit rough and ready, but once I've got some more I'll give them an overall toot so that they are properly undercoated. Incidentally, the commander figure is a cut down crewman from the PSC PaK38 set, as the StuG's were manned by artillery crew not tankers. 

Flying Fokkers

If the WW1 aerial game stirs up some renewed interest at the club on Tuesday, I am thinking of running some more games in the near future. I'm therefore also considering the addition of a handful of new 1/72nd scale aircraft to my line up. I tend to build kits in batches of three or four, so that I can have enough for players to borrow and paint them in matching schemes.

I have several options but it's time that I did some more German planes, as there are a few types that are obviously missing and I have more allied aircraft to start with. Top of the list are a trio or quartet of Fokker Dr1 triplanes, using either the old 1970's Revell kit or the modern Eduard / Smer equivalent.

The old Revell kit is good as it's cheap, simple to build and virtually bomb proof for wargaming use, even if it lacks some finesse. The Eduard kit, however, is lovely and much more detailed, with fairly simple construction, clear instructions and some superb decals. I'll have to choose but, as I have the kits already stashed in the loft, there's no problem picking either one.

I'll get up there today for a rummage....

Saturday 28 September 2019

Nieuport 17 Repaint

I've been organising the stuff for the Knights of the Sky WW1 game today, which was a change of plan but worthwhile in the end. As part of this, I decided to repaint an old Revell Nieuport 17, that I had originally painted as an Imperial Russian plane, this time in RFC colours albeit with fictional markings as I couldn't be bothered to re-do the whole shebang. I will probably repaint the tail in the correct colours but that can wait until after the game.  It came out quite well in the end, so I now have six aircraft to lend out for the British and French players. I also sorted out all of the models that I'll be taking along to the club on Tuesday. I really should make some more to fill in the gaps, with some DH4's, Sopwith Pups, Fokker Dr1's and Albatros DV's top of the list!

Thursday 26 September 2019

Knights of the Sky Club Game

Next Tuesday I've organised another game at the local club using the house WW1 air dogfighting rules, Knights of the Sky. We haven't played one of these games for ages and they are great fun, with 1/72nd scale aircraft models attached to extendible magnetic pick up tool flight stands, so full 3D movement is a key aspect of any game. I'll be bringing along a selection of planes from my collection with the scenario being set in April 1917, so that I can use my Alabtros DIII's and Roland DII's against Sopwith Tripes and my trusty Harry Tate. Tally Ho!

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Esci Jagdpanzer IV Kit Bash

I've recently won a couple of old ESCI kits on eBay, both of which are Jagdpanzer IV so ideal for the Operation Blackcock project. I'm planning to kit bash these with the tracks from the Armourfast Panzer IV kit, in order to avoid having to build the whole chassis with its numerous fiddly wheels, especially as the old flexible polythene tracks look a bit rubbish. I may have to adapt the Armourfast track units with metal road wheels at the front end but I don't think anyone will be bothered, so will probably just use them as they are. I love these old ESCI kits as I used to make them when I was a kid and the original box art is pure nostalgia!

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Second StuG IIIG

It's slow going here at the moment, as work is starting to ramp up, so I've had little time today for modelling. However, here's the second of the PSC StuG III's for the Operation Blackcock What a Tanker! game, albeit in a rough and ready look, as I've run out of Halfords Ultra Matt Khaki Camo spray paint (again). I've made this one a bit more battle worn, in the shape of a dislodged schurtzen plate, but I might add some more special effects if I get the time including a bazooka strike and some splash damage.

Monday 23 September 2019

Congo Painting Project

It's going to take me quite a while to prepare and base the Saga warband, which I've decided to stick on 25mm laser cut mdf circles for ease of handling, so in the meantime I thought I'd get some 28mm figure painting practice under my belt, having not painted anything in the scale for literally years. So, rummaging about in the unfinished business box, I uncovered the Forest Tribe figures that I based up for Congo a couple of years ago but then shelved, as no one at the club was interested in the rules.

The figures are all based on 2p coins and ready to paint, although I have had to spray undercoat some of the units yesterday in Halfords Matt Black car spray, as I didn't get round to it at the time. I have also added an additional unit of Hunters, consisting of four bow armed figures with some scary masks, and I've done a headswap to create a new Champion figure to match the style of the rest of the column. The movement trays are just for ease of handling.

Chieftain, Champion, two Sacred Warriors
Healer, Witchdoctor

Head swapped Champion

The characters consists of a chieftain, a witchdoctor, a healer, a drummer and the aforementioned champion. For auxiliaries I've got two sacred warriors, which is the maximum allowed. The main units are two five man cannibal groups, two five man warrior groups, a unit of five young warriors, a unit of five bunduki musketeers, a unit of six archers, four hunters and three scouts with javelins. I haven't got any pygmies but will see if I can get some later on.

This lot should be pretty straightforward to paint, being a little less than heavily clothed, so it shouldn't be a difficult or long winded process. I'm going to try to find some really good basing materials, foliage, grass tufts, ferns and the like, in order to make the figures look really good despite their otherwise basic appearance. I'm also planning to scratchbuild some jungle terrain templates, so that they have something to hide in and run away to!

I'll get cracking this week!

Sunday 22 September 2019

SAGA Age of Vikings

I now have the second edition Saga rules, which I bought new and the Age of Vikings supplement, which I bought second hand but 'as new' for twenty quid, which is a bargain. I'll do some reading around the rules when the the Age of Vikings book arrives later this week, as I've also unearthed a load of Gripping Beast mid-Saxon metal figures that I'd forgotten about, so could do a West Saxon ninth century warband instead of the Welsh. In the meantime, I have some other plans designed to get me up to speed with 28mm figure painting, as I definitely need a refresher course! (more about that later today).

Saturday 21 September 2019

First of the StuG's

It's been a very busy day but I squeezed in some model tank building this evening, although I've only managed to build one of the three StuG's before being dragged away to do other things. The PSC model is easy to assemble and looks a good deal more sophisticated compared to the Armourfast equivalent, as you can see in the photos. Unfortunately, I've run out of Halfords Ultra Matt Khaki spray, otherwise I'd have given it a toot to cover up all the grey plastic bits and resin stowage. I'm hoping to get the other two done tomorrow.

SAGA Basing

25mm Norman, 25mm Welsh, 1p Welsh

I've been thinking of using 1p coins as bases for my new SAGA Welsh warband for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I like the idea of using magnetic basing for storage, so 1p coins would make this easy, with one of those RUB inserts from Charlie Foxtrot taking 104 figures. As all of the units would be foot, apart from the warband leader, this would be ideal. Secondly, the Gripping Beast figures have a smaller footprint on average than the Crusader Miniatures figures I've based in the past, so they actually fit on a 1p coin. However, my old Norman warband is based on 25mm mdf circular bases and these do look good when textured and decorated. If I end up keeping the Normans I could also use them against the Welsh, assuming I finished off the last two units of spearmen and archers. Perhaps 25mm bases would be the better option after all?

Thursday 19 September 2019

Operation Blackcock - The Opposition

I have now built and base coated the British tanks that I need for the Operation Blackcock project, although I am still thinking of adding a troop of Shermans, so it's time to move onto the Germans. I already have three Panzer IV's, a couple of Panther and Tigers, together with a single StuG IV, so I could just use those. However, as most of the German AFV's were self propelled anti-tank and assault guns, it would be better to build some instead.

This weekend I'm going to assemble three StuG IIIG late model assault guns, using the excellent Plastic Soldier Company kit, which I'm hoping won't take as long as the various conversion jobs I've done of late. The kits are based on the PSC Panzer IV sprues, so I'm pretty sure they'll be simple to construct and look really good. After that, I should be ready to start painting both the British and the German armour, which will move the project a little bit further toward the finishing line.

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Autumn Project - SAGA Welsh

I have had some inspiration for an Autumn project, following a very interesting chat with some of the SAGA enthusiasts at the club last night. It seems that the Second Edition of SAGA is well worth a try, so I've decided to dig out my dusty Gripping Beast 4 point Welsh starter army, although it's got some extra bits to make it up to a 6 point warband, so that I can paint it up for a game or two.

I don't have the rules or the supplement yet but, as it's not exactly cheap, I'll fund the project by selling off my old Norman 4 point force on eBay, which seems like a good way to kick start the project and clear the decks a bit. The Sandbox Skirmish project will be put back on the shelf in the meantime but will no doubt resurface at some point in the future.

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Ongoing SAGA

I made a rare if fleeting visit to the local club this evening, unfortunately not to play a game but to drop of number one son so he could play 40K. I did get a chance to have a chat with the regulars, however, which was really good and about time, as I've been away for far too long. It was also a good opportunity to find out a bit more about the new edition of SAGA, which is a definite improvement on the old version according to the usual suspects. 

I have a Norman army for SAGA but haven't used it for more than a couple of games way back in the distant past, primarily due to the fact that I was disappointed by the paintwork I inflicted on the figures, which are all lovely Crusader Miniatures and otherwise undeserving of my sloppy brushwork. In fact, only today I was thinking of sending them off to eBay to raise some cash for other projects. I may well do this but instead to fund a second edition of the rules and the (very expensive!) Age of Vikings supplement.

This would mean a new army would be needed, which isn't a problem as, guess what, I have a whole load of plastic and metal figures in the lead pile including a very nice Gripping Beast Welsh 4 point starter force, lots of plastic Anglo Saxons and other assorted early medieval sword fodder. These have been gathering dust but would be a great way for me to get back into SAGA after my abortive first edition efforts. I need to have another chat with the SAGA experts at the club first, but I think this would be a lot of fun!

Monday 16 September 2019

Sherman Firefly Finished


I've now built and base coated the last of the PSC M4A4 Shermans, this time an unmodified 'out of the box' 17 pounder armed Firefly, to complete a troop of the 7th Armoured Division for Operation Blackcock. This is as many as need for a game of What a Tanker! but I am tempted to add three Armourfast M4A2's and the last remaining PSC Firefly to have a troop of the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards of the 8th Armoured Brigade.

4th/7th Dragoon Guards in Operation Blackcock

The 4th/7th Dragoon Guards were involved in Operation Blackcock, being temporarily under the command of the 7th Armoured Division, and played a key role in following up the main assault to outflank the dug in German defenders. I even have a spare M4A2 sprue somewhere in the kit pile, so would only need to buy one new kit, as there are two models in each box. I've even modelled the unit before in the same scale for Rapid Fire but, unfortunately, sold off the whole lot on eBay ages ago!

Bag the Hun Plan B (or is it Plan A?)

Spitfires over the Channel!

I've been having a think about the Plan A (or B, depending on what happens) game for the Lard Day in March, which will be another Bag the Hun multiplayer game of some description. The original idea was to do the Winter War but this would have been starting from scratch, as I haven't even based any aircraft let alone painted anything and I'd need a completely new hex cloth too. This is all a bit too much for what will be a side line this year, so it's time for a re-think.

Here's some I made earlier..!

Museum Miniatures Bf109-F's

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I think I'm going to use my prepared models for the Channel Front c1942, which I've been meaning to paint up for a couple of years but have never got round to doing. These consist of an entire squadron of Spitfire VB's, a flight each of Beaufighters and Whirlwinds and a single Hudson. I've also already based eight Bf109-F's and four FW190-A4's, with more of the latter to be added once I've converted them from A8 models.

Fw190-A8's awaiting conversion to A4's

This is a much better starting point and I can also add some light bombers to the RAF contingent, either the lovely Museum Miniatures Blenheims, some Raiden Mitchells or Bostons, although I'm not sure I have many of the latter in the lead pile. As far as scenarios go, it won't be difficult to find an historical pretext for a big fighter vs fighter dogfight, with perhaps a bomber or fighter bomber escort mission to follow up. Rhubarb will be the flavour of the month!

Sunday 15 September 2019

Sherman Crab Conversion

Here's today's output for the What a Tanker! Operation Blackcock project, in the shape of a Sherman Crab flail tank, bashed together using a plastic PSC M4A4 and white metal conversion bits from S and S models. The turret caused be the most grief, believe it or not, as I couldn't get the %$£"%& mantlet to fit and had to fill in some nasty gaps at the back end. It's all done now and ready for painting, so it's on to the Sherman Firefly next, which will be a straight out of the box assembly job. After that I'm going to take a break from tanks and actually paint something for a change!

Saturday 14 September 2019

Crocodile Kit Bash Completed

I've now finished the assembly of the Churchill Crocodile, so it's ready for painting. The Airfix flame fuel trailer went together quite easily despite some fiddly bits and I've left it detachable from the tank so that it's not damaged during games and can be safely stored away. I also glued he flame projector on upside down at first (d'oh!) but I've now corrected it, in case you spotted it in the photo. I now need to build the PSC Sherman Firefly and possibly a Sherman Crab, if I can summon up the courage to tackle the S and S white metal conversion kit. 


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