Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Stuff on the table - January 2017 UPDATE

Here's the updated list for January:
  • Cromwell Models 1/76th Pz IV (2014) - COMPLETED (AT LAST)
  • Newline Designs 10mm Greek Hoplites (2015) - main painting completed
  • Oathsworn Miniatures 28mm Burrows and Badgers Rabbit Heroine (2016) - cleaned and primed
  • Oathsworn Miniatures 28mm Burrows and Badgers Toad Animist (2016) - cleaned and primed
  • Artizan Designs 28mm WW2 Partisans (2013) - cleaned and primed
I don't need to say anymore about the Pz IV, there's five separate posts devoted to it. The Greek Hoplites were the first 10mm that I'd painted. They've been sitting on the table for months, but I finally got stuck in and have enjoyed doing them which is just as well as I have about 300 10mm Ancients to do! They just need the final details such as shield designs and basing and they'll be complete.

Additional items I worked on:
  • Oathsworn Miniatures 28mm Burrows and Badgers Marmot Mercenary (2016)
  • Oathsworn Miniatures 28mm Burrows and Badgers Fox Huntress (2016)
  • Oathsworn Miniatures 28mm Burrows and Badgers Otter Mercenary (2016)
These were all cleaned up and primed with the usual thinned down Humbrol Enamel Matt Black brush painted on which I keep coming back to. The first 6 Oathsworn I did were primed with Army Painter Matt White primer but I think I work better over the black undercoat.

This month I feel that I spent too much time working on the blog rather than painting. That sort of defeats the object as doing the blog was supposed to focus me. But perhaps it was just the cathartic nature of getting the Pz IV done finally. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

1/76th Panzerkampfwagen IV - The Sequel

If you had more endurance than sense or were seeking a cure for insomnia and have stuck with this so far you may have wondered what happened to the Cromwell Models Pz IVH turret? 

I have an ongoing project to build some Berlin '45 terrain and on looking at the Battlefront Flames of War website I noticed that they produced a Pz IV turret bunker. That solved that , I hated the thought of that nice looking turret being consigned to the spares box for eternity.

I pulled the page up on the BF site on my iPad as inspiration and then measured and cut the pieces.  The top part was plastic card and the bottom part was cut from the the back of an old picture frame. I cut the bottom off the Pz IV turret to make it flush and then drilled a central hole with the pin vice. I was a little overzealous here and ended up drilling all the way through. This actually turned out to be helpful though as I placed this in the correct place on the bases and just drillled through the lot with the old pin vice. 

To add some texture I glued some wet and dry paper to each rectangle and then stuck them together with PVA.  When it was dry  I painted with various shades of grey. I think I used Privateer Press Bane Base and then Coat D'armes dark grey. I then drydrushed lighter shades of grey. The turret was attached with a piece of brass rod. I carefully filled the drill hole with green stuff and built up the missing piece of rim with green stuff.

The turret was basecoated with a mix of VMC Middlestone and VMC White and then washed with VMC Umber Wash. I used Citadel Devlan Mud to add further depth where required. I then added highlights with Middlestone mixed with more white. 


Saturday, 21 January 2017

1/76th Panzerkampfwagen IV - Pt 4 (of 4) The End or is it?

So after painting both models I though it'd be a simple thing to add the schurtzen. Think again. When I lined them up I realised that one side fitted snugly and the other didn't. So I ended up hacking off all the inner supports and in the process cutting off one of the support rails. AARRRGGGGH. Luckily I'd had the sense to give the models a good couple of coats of varnish so I didn't do too much damage to the camo finish. They fitted quite nicely after that with liberal use of Super Glue.

You'd have thought that by now I'd call it a day. No I wanted more pain so I cut some 1mm wide plastic card strips to make the schurtzen rail supports.I slightly shaped each end and fitted with not so liberal use of Super Glue.

With plastic card side supports added
And that my friends was that, apart from when I was showing boring my wife with what I'd done I saw that the turret was missing a schurtzen support. So I had to make a plastic card one. And paint it. And while I had the paint out I added a number of highlights to all the edges. And that really is that.

Cromwell hull, Fujimi turret
Cromwell hull, Fujimi turret

Cromwell hull, Fujimi turret top view
Turret and both hulls

Fujimi hull and turret
Fujimi hull and turret

Friday, 20 January 2017

1/76th Panzerkampfwagen IV - Pt 3 (of 4) - it's a saga now

Right with all the fiddly, fussy, fixing done (or so I thought) I could get down to painting. 

First off I painted the tyres and rollers. These got the usual coat of Vallejo Model Colour German Grey (VMC 995). By using a brush with a decent point and keeping a small moistened brush to hand I managed to do these without getting paint all over the inner parts of the wheels.

For the main assemblies both of them had originally been painted in my usual Dunkelgelb finish which was Humbrol 83 Matt Ochre and Humbrol 34 Matt White mixed to about 65/35 ratio. On digging through my box of enamels I found that both tins of the fore mentioned colours had dried out! So I reached for the Vallejo and mixed VMC Middlestone  (VMC 882) with VGC White to get an ok if quite light base colour.
Base coated and looking very light
Using the Osprey Modelling the Late Panzerkampfwagen IV I chose the model that had the most complete set of photos showing the camo pattern from the most angles. This was a PZIV H from 5th Panzer in 1944 which fitted my gaming period. 

I started with the Cromwell kit and drew the pattern on in pencil then painted the colours in. I used Citadel Calthan Brown and Knarloc Green paints that I got cheap years ago when the last local toy shop closed down and they looked ok. I wasn't really too bothered about the correct RAL numbers as I was going to do a lot of weathering. Once I'd got the camo on I then applied a watery wash of the base Dunkelgelb to tone it all down. This worked better than I thought. The final stages were to apply various washes of VMC Umber Wash and then Citadel Devlan Mud to the areas I wanted to add more depth to. 

Fujimi (L) base coat, Cromwell painted
Fujimi with basic camouflage
Fujimi with Dunkelgelb wash

Using the Cromwell kit as the master I then repeated the process for the Fujimi body. 

I then painted all the tools, exhausts etc. Here's how the Cromwell kit was looking prior to adding the schurtzen where you can see the tools more clearly.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

1/76th Panzerkampfwagen IV - Pt 2 (of 4) - fixing

Part 1. The Fujimi turret. Looking at the invaluable Osprey Modelling Guide no 38, Modelling the Late Panzerkampfwagen IV there wasn't too much difference between a H and a J turret. I simply removed the machine gun from the Fujimi model as both the H and J models detailed in the book didn't have one The H model should have zimmerit on the turret schurtzen but I can live without this, especially when you see how many wargamers have used non-zimmerit models for years.

Part 2. The Cromwell Pz IVH hull. This was a lovely detailed piece, with nice zimmerit and stowage moulded on. The only problem was the lack of side schurtzen. My initial thought was to use the ones off the Fujimi kit. However. these were supposed to represent the wire mesh ones that Pz IVJs had and were wrong for an H. Going through the spares box I found a set of metal schurtzen that came from an SHQ Sturmpanzer IV. Although slightly too small they had the correct number of plates (5) and would do the job. I bent some florist wire round the top of each schurtzen to shape it and then stuck it on the inside to represent the fixing rail. Fixing them was another matter but this would wait until the finishing stage.

Schurtzen  - before
Schurtzen - with rails added
The only other work needed on the Cromwell body was to drill a small hole and add an MG34 barrel from the spares box.

While I was doing all this I started to think about what I could do with the Cromwell turret and Fujimi body. I then decided that I'd repair the Fujimi body and paint it in the same scheme as the Cromwell body/Fujimi turret hybrid. That way I'd have a PZ IVJ to use if I ever wanted to. So I now increased my work load.

Part 3. The Fujimi Pz IVJ hull. When I removed the schurtzen I  pulled a couple of the track return rollers off one side and they pinged across the room never to be seen again. As I was going to model this without the side-skirts I needed to do some repair work. The surviving rollers were each made of two identical pieces glued back to back. By separating these it gave me the correct number of parts for a bodge/repair. For three of the rollers I removed the roller sections completely. I then attached a suitable size metal pin. Over this I slipped a small piece of plastic rod. Finally I added the correct roller. If you look closely and at a particular angle you'll see the rear roller is a little small but in normal use you'd never see it. I then straightened out and re-glued the tracks. 
Fujimi body with track rollers removed
Fujimi body with new rollers added
To finish the body I removed the flimsy exhausts, drilled holes and then slightly countersunk them to make them sturdier. Finally I added a new hull machine gun as above.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

1/76th Panzerkampfwagen IV - Pt 1 (of 4)

Anyone that has read my start and end of month progress posts may have noticed the ever present Cromwell Models Pz IVH. I bought this back in 2014 and it's been sitting either on my table or at difficult times banished to a drawer ever since. I even referred to it as my bĂȘte noire at one stage.

Like all Cromwell Models offerings it's a lovely kit, so what was the problem with it? The problem was it needed a lot of work. As I wrote in September "It's a resin kit with incredibly fragile turret schurtzen. All of the supports were either broken when I got it or have broken just by looking at them. Additionally the model didn't come with the side schurtzen or with the supports on the model which is pretty poor as all Pz IVHs had them."

When I got my WW2 mojo back on in October/November time I had a burst of inspiration. I have a poor old Fujimi Pz-IVJ that has seen better days built many years ago. Why not use the best of each kit to make a half decent model? 

The kits as they have appeared since 2014 - Fujimi PZIVJ on the left, Cromwell PZIVH on the right.
So that's what happened and if you want to read on you can see what I did in excruciating detail - I want you to share my pain.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Finally a game - Bolt Action Western Desert 1942

I coerced my wife to play the traditional New Year's Day wargame with me. This year we played a game of Bolt Action set in the Western Desert c.1942 at around 700 points a side.

There was no real choosing of sides as my father-in-law had served in Eighth Army in the desert campaign, so my wife was obviously the Desert Rat.
The Desert Rats: 2 Regular infantry squads with command, 2" mortar team and transports and a Lee for support.
The Afika Korps: 2 Veteran infantry squads with command and transports and a Pz IIIJ for support.
The Brits had the manpower advantage with 2 extra men per squad and also had a mortar for support. The Afrika Korps were vets though. After some moving round the shooting started. I lost a few infantry to a shot from the Lee but in the next round my Pz III took care of the pesky Tommy tank.

One of my infantry squads was then decimated by a combination lucky mortar shot and the withering SMLE and Bren fire put up by the Brits. 

The game was then decided by a British bayonet charge onto my remaining infantry squad (they don't like it up them!) After a right fracas I lost the close combat and was left with the Pz III and the transports intact. At that point we decided to call it a draw and have dinner!

This was my first game of Bolt Action and I enjoyed it. I've had the rules since 2013 but I spend 99% of my hobby time in the prep phase and never get round to a game. If there's one resolution I want to stick to it's to play more games and actually use the stuff I've got. It was good to get the old desert board out the loft. Sometimes I think we're so intent on getting the next thing we forget how much good stuff we've already got. 

You'll see from the photos that I use Battlefront minis and tanks. I have quite a large collection of their stuff for Western Desert and Med but have never played FOW.  I think that they work really well for Bolt Action with some modifications.  

To help with identification and tracking I add a post-it note to the bottom of each base with a little bit left showing on which I note the armament of each base and leave a space to mark casualties.  In addition I don't have Bolt Action dice. I made 2 sets of chits with the orders on and then use different coloured dice to decide who goes next. The player them just places the chit next to the base. It worked fine. If I can get hold of a couple of sets of BA dice for a fair price I'll do it but there's lot of other things that I'd rather pay £20 on. 

LRDG Pt.2 - 15mm

Inspired by working on the Artizan Designs 28mm LRDG I got a pair of 15mm Battlefront Ford V8 trucks. I don't play FOW (although I have a number of the force books) but I use my FOW figures for Bolt Action. On being given the Duel in the Sun supplement for my birthday I liked the idea of adding an LRDG squad.

I really like these little trucks. What I didn't like was 2 machine guns missing (according to BF there should be 4 in the pack) and the 2 crews being duplicate figures. To improve on this I did a head swap for one of the drivers, modified a British bailed out tankman I had from a Grant, added a spare Bren Gunner from a Motor Platoon pack and an LRDG man from the SAS patrol which were the first Battlefront Figures I bought in 2007 when I still had a FLGS. I also added stowage from a German stowage set I had. I think it makes a big difference to the models as they look somewhat naked and unfinished without this additions. 

Here's some more pictures:

LRDG Pt.1 - 28mm

In December I finally got round to finishing the pack of Artizan Designs 28mm LRDG figures that I've had sitting around since 2013. 

Here's some shots:

I was pleased with these. My personal preference is for less beefy figures but for some reason I like Artizan and have a lot of the Old West range and some other bits and pieces. These were done just for a change and for the pleasure of painting.

I have the companion pack to these, which were the first 28mm WW2 that I bought and painted in 2007. At the time I was quite pleased with how they turned out, but looking at the difference it's tempting to repaint the old pack.

I don't game WW2 in 28mm. I started collecting when WW2 was either 20mm or 1/300th. And then I bought FOW for my Western Desert stuff before 28mm had the variety it has now. If I was starting out now I think I'd go for the Perrys 28mm range as it does look superb. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Stuff on the table - January 2017

Happy New Year - here we go again. After quite a productive December there's not too much stuff in progress on the table:
  • Cromwell Models 1/76th Pz IV (2014)
  • Newline Designs 10mm Greek Hoplites (2015)
  • Oathsworn Miniatures 28mm Burrows and Badgers Rabbit Heroine (2016)
  • Oathsworn Miniatures 28mm Burrows and Badgers Toad Animist (2016)
  • Artizan Designs 28mm WW2 Partisans (2013)
The Pz IV is all but done just last details being added as I write this. I'm going to do a separate post on this model. It became a real problem at one stage but has turned out rather well.

 The Artizan Partisans are the last 28mm historical figures that I've got left and will be done as and when purely for the pleasure of painting. I have some Hordes and Burrow and Badgers left but nothing historical. For historical figures I think 2017 will be the year of 10mm to 20mm and nothing bigger. Well until someone releases something drool worthy in a larger scale that is....