Friday, 9 March 2018

Avast there me hearties! (and other Nautical Expressions)

So, as you do, you reread an Aubrey/Maturin novel - and you decide that your Sharp Practice games won't be complete without Marines and a few expressions like, shake out the mainbraces and splice the rum me bosun's hearties..  or whatever.. So you go looking for 28mm ships..  shudder in horror at the pricing, and then catch sight of this..

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-shipping-1-100-Scale-Wooden-Sailboat-Halcon1840-Model-Ship-life-boat-Brass-updates-kits/32491424565.html

It was 12.99 on special, and you take a punt..  so it arrives..


Some 'Construction' later..  not sure how this one is going to turn out...  and then I need to cut it down to waterline...  But with care and attention, I reckon it will look spectacular, and work as a full size 15mm Pirate Sloop-ship, or a 28mm Pinnance/Cutter..  more to follow, but I have actually been enjoying the build.

One note of caution..  when you order - make sure you ask for the full English instructions. I failed to do so, and I am working off the incomplete English instructions that come with the kit, an incomplete build log on Facebook, and best guess....   not too bad, but there are some areas I still haven't worked out, like how the bowsprit is attached..  I guess when i have used all the other bits, whatever is left over will be the answer :-)

Monday, 12 February 2018

Project Complete!

Whoo hoo!  ok, so maybe I will add a new table cloth, and perhaps an additional Armoured Car or carrier for the British, but I have finally finished the 8th Army infantry. This means I have terrain, in the form of buildings, vehicles, and infantry - enough to play a game of Chan of Command at home.. finally!

So some glamour shots.
HQ & Supports

Squad 1

Squad 2

Squad 3

DAK HQ & Supports 

Squad 1

Squad 2

Squad 3

Saturday, 10 February 2018

8th Army WIP - new highlights

So, I am still not sure which of these is going to represent my uncle, he would have to have a pipe...

But some Work in Progress on colour. The highlight is now a mix of Tamiya Desert Yellow and Deck Tan, and I am much happier with it..  so some samples.







Much better I reckon...   as always, comments welcome..

Friday, 9 February 2018

Aragonese Code & 8th Army

My email client gave me an interesting view.. I speculated what fishing had to do with anything, or whether the full word was 'codpiece', and some amazing uniform details were to be revealed, rendering all Aragonese figures obsolete overnight...*


* Without the addition of Milliput...

Back to some sensible stuff, and cracking on with the 8th Army to join my DAK figures.

This was a test piece, but the highlights are much too yellow. I want more of a bleached effect.





Saturday, 27 January 2018

North African Infantry - DAK

Well, finally managed to finish some infantry for the North Africa campaign. These are the German elements of Panzer Gruppe Afrika.

I am still not sure whether I should do some more with the bases, or use the Vallejo dust wash. I may try it on a test figure to see how it looks.

38 figures
 This is the HQ & Supports, plus three squads of 10 men including a Light Machine Gun (MG34).



Hans is a bit goggle-eyed, I really need to develop a technique for painting eyes on 28mm figures.


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

SdKfz 222 & Kettenkraftrad Complete

As I mentioned in my previous post I picked up an ICM kit of the iconic SdKfz 222 armoured car from eBay. So this post is the stages in getting it painted and table ready. I also had a Kettenkraftrad lurking about for my NWE German forces, so I knocked that over too.

Unboxed
 The kit itself has been the subject of negative reviews, but it went together fine for me.

Etch and Decals
The only real complaint is that the decals are so out of register that the multi-colour ones (plates and Balkankreuz) are almost unusable. I did use the plates in the end, after covering them with a ton of dust.

Assembled
 Assembly was straightforward, other than that the second storage box on the left hand side is a very snug fit if you follow the instructions and put it in after the forward storage box. The hull top and bottom lacks positive locators to ensure a neat fit, so it takes some care. Some green stuff is likely to be needed. The hull pieces are also detached from a separate sprue before packing, a bit ham-fistedly, so you may need to do a little filling there as well.

Care is required with the etch. I recommend bending it in the opposite direction initially, and then reversing it. You will get a neater finish. Also make sure the engine deck grill is absolutely flat, otherwise it's a swine to get in place.

Assembly omplete
You will notice the Green Stuff, I used the GW liquid Green Stuff, as it is convenient and easy to use.  I also added some additional stowage, such as a pick, helmet, jerry-cans, and MG34 etc.

Undercoated
Undercoated my usual car primer, in this case a mid grey, as these vehicles were grey orginally before repainting or even having mud applied. I had an idea about using the hairspray technique for weathering, but not a drop of hairspray in the house, and impatience!

First Airbrush
Airbrushing was with Vallejo Model Air, 'Light Brown' from their Buildings set,, heavily mixed with white, then successive layers of highlighting adding more white to the mix. The commander was hacked together using the Warlord Games German Panzer Grenadier torso, head and right arm, while the left arm was from a spare Perry 8th Army radio operator figure. (In the background is the Kettenkraftrad, some objective markers and a range of passengers from Perry and Warlord (Plastic). The light brown makes a good base for DAK uniforms and also the later war ponchos.

Done
Decals were applied, sourced from the spares box and the Rubicon DAK set, chipping was done with packing sponge, spray varnish, and once set the whole thing got a wash with the Vallejo 'Desert Wash' - I don't think I mixed this well enough, and it came out somewhat yellow. I then applied a heavy coat of the Vallejo Desert Sand pigment, and tried to fix this with white spirit...   which stripped a decent chunk of the previous work.. ah well.. Some practice needed with pigments obviously.

Glamour shot 2
And while I had the paints out, I threw some paint at a Kettenkraftrad I had already built, but had been lurking for a while.



Hopefully, next post will be some finished infantry!

Thursday, 18 January 2018

DAK Infantry

Avid readers, aka myself, will recall my resolution o actually finish a project this year, unlike just about every other year. So if I can resist the temptation to keep adding stuff* the one probably closest to completion is the Chain of Command North Africa forces.

(* stuff like the iconic Sdkfz 222, and probably only iconic thanks to the Airfix German Recce set.)


I have completed some desert buildings, other terrain requirements are minimal..  and also completed some AFVs for each side, respectively, a Kubel, Sdkfz 231, a Pz II and a Pz III (I still have a motorcycle combo to finish painting, plus the aforementioned Sdkfz 222 on its way), the Brits have a Honey light tank and a Crusader II.

I suspect reading this, I will have to add some more options for the Brits, so I shall keep an eye out for bargains in British early period armoured cars or carriers).

On to the main course. Chain of Command - hereafter referred to as CoC, is an infantry game first and foremost, and the primary forces in play are a platoon plus supports. So the main thing I need to get painted is the infantry. Roughly 40 figures per side, and as fortune would have it, the Perry plastic 28mm figures are ideal for this. On with the painting - here's a sample of the progress to date.


It's not quite Cletus the slack-jawed yokel, but the closeup reveals that Hans might just be a transported farmboy from Swabia. And that I didn't clean a seam under his right arm.. doh! Still, as this is about twice actual size, it isn't particularly noticeable on the actual figure itself. What is noticeable on this one is just how large the helmet is. I wonder whether I haven't accidentally used a Warlord helmet?

Anyway - so far, the process has been:

  1. glue figures to 2p coin using superglue
  2. coat base with white glue, add sand & 'rock' (kitty litter)
  3. Undercoat everything matt black with car primer
  4. Airbrush roughly with 'dark yellow' (Vallejo)
  5. Trousers and hat 'buff '(Tamiya)  - note that some have received 'Grey Green' trousers, or buff jackets and so on. It makes for a healthy mix, with a couple of the field caps and helmets field grey as well.
  6. bread bag 'khaki' (Vallejo)
  7. Gas mask container a mix of 'Golden Brown' & 'Tan Earth'  (Vallejo)
  8. Helmet 'Golden Brown'  (Vallejo)
  9. Boots & ammo pouches 'Dark Chocolate Brown'  (Vallejo)
  10. Metalwork on water bottle 'German Field Grey'  (Vallejo)
Next steps are the straps.. I really should have done them earlier, but I tried using German Camo Beige from Vallejo and they simply didn't have enough contrast with the jacket. I am going to try the Vallejo Medium Grey, which is a slightly brownish light grey and see how that works.

The British meanwhile have received stage 4. an airbrushed undercoat of 'desert yellow' (Tamiya) - and straps have been done in 'Russian Uniform' (Vallejo). 

Once the straps have been done on the Germans, there will be some touch-ups, boot covers, the entrenching tool and the rifle to be done. I intend to use the various browns in this process to also add hair to the figures. That will complete the block painting. I look to do the faces after that, then the next step will be sealing with gloss primer, decals!  (yes really..) and doing some washes and weathering. One of my recent purchases was the Vallejo 'Desert Dust' wash, and I am wondering how that will work on these figures. 

Non-Competition Gamers please ignore

Time for a bit of a whinge here...  for many years I was heavily involved in organising and umpiring competition games in Canberra, Australia. Specifically, the DBA and latterly the DBMM competitions at Cancon in January and Wintercon in July.

Now that I am no longer in Oz, I like to keep in touch, and to try to help out, so I offer to list-check for these competitions. The lists are sent to an official list-checker address, and I go through them,  and compare them to the DBMM list books to make sure they comply. It can be a lengthy process, depending on format, the complexity of the list, regional or date variations, minimums for allies, and so on.

Anyway, for the last few years we have had fairly small competitions, so the task isn't too onerous. I can check most lists in about 10-15 minutes each. Often I will have to reproduce them on a spreadsheet to check points totals and break-points and so on.. but not so bad. 

So here's the whinge..   so far, I have checked 9 lists for Cancon, and out of those, only 4 were correct. That's a whopping error rate..   Guys. You have 1 list to check.. just 1.

If you are going to enter a competition, here's a couple of hints:

  1. Put the list number, the date and any regional variation or named general on it.. please.
  2. Check your points totals.. not once, but twice. Manually add it up if necessary.. so far it's been up to 23 points over the agreed total.
  3. Check the troop types you have included have the correct points set against them.
  4. Check the troop types you have included, actually exist in the list you have selected.
Here endeth the whinge.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

We are Sailing....

Ok, I blame 'Arteis' - who posted on his 'Dressing the Lines' blog  this morning, about purchasing a paddle-steamer kit from AliExpress to convert into an armoured steamer for his Maori Wars project.

This of course got me having a browse on the AliExpress site and finding this..


I immediately fell deeply in love. and had to buy it. Still not sure what I am going to use it for, but I think it is going to end up being a 28mm 'schooner' or other small inshore vessel, for use with Sharp Practice. Of course, it is 1/100, so true 15mm scale, and if you wanted to play pirate..  Oh, and of course, it is a kit, so I will have to build it.. doubtless failing to get anywhere close to the above completed model. But it just looks lovely.

There are a couple of versions, I got the deluxe one with brass cannon and a lifeboat, but they are as low in price as US $15 with free shipping (though in my experience this means a long lead tome from China.

Here's the link for those so inclined: 

Buy me a lovely Boat here now..  

More AFVs completed

In a flurry of activity, the last three AFV are completed. I still have a couple more to go, but those are oddities like an interwar armoured car, and a civilian lorry, plus a motorcycle combination and a Kettenkraftrad.The mc/combo and Kette are best treated as infantry I think, as the bulk of the painting is the riders.

I have been experimenting with the Tamiya weathering powders, but I am not convinced. If they were static models, that would be fine, but wargames models are to be handled, so the powders come off, and if you try to seal them, they tend to 'vanish'.  Anyway, here are the glamour shots.


In hindsight, I think it would have looked better had I put the larger recognition flashes on the fenders and the smaller ones on the turret.. ho hum..





This one was just a bit of fun with blue-tac and the airbrush. The photographs show every problem I'm afraid, like the rust weathering powder has sneaked onto the tracks.


I probably wouldn't have hung the jerry-cans on the side, but I bought the model as part of an eBay job lot, and it was already assembled (and needed cleaning up). I tried detaching one, but it would have damaged it too much.

And before I forget, added a heavily converted commander to the PzII. The Iron Cross, from the Warlord sprue is way overscale though, and I will probably remove it.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Most Colourful AFVs Ever?

I had a few models to finish up before getting cracking on the AWI project, and I suddenly realised that perhaps unconsciously, after all the drab stuff, I had chosen some of the most radical colour schemes available for the last three..

They are now awaiting a gloss varnish and the weathering.


A Crusader in the unusual black and sand scheme, a Honey light tank in Caunter, and a late-war Sdkfz 251 in a honeycomb pattern. Lots of fun doing these, and while there is still a lot of work to do, this should give you an idea of what the end result will look like.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Painting Tanks

Towards the end of last year I found myself with quite a few vehicles that had been built, and in some cases base coated, but still needing finishing. Working on the Blitzkrieg Miniatures Panzer II sourced from the Perrys gave me the impetus I needed to get cracking on them all. I am going to post a PzII specific post once I load the pictures, but for now, here's the rogue's gallery. I hope you like them.

Churchill and Sherman for North West Europe post D-Day

Big Cat Tiger I & Support Pz III

The tiniest Panzer - well apart from the Pz I - here's no. II

Big Brother - Panzer III

Recce - in the form of a Solido Sdkfz 231, yes I know the aerial is wrong 

How did I end up with 2 Sdkfz 234/2 Puma? 

KV1 & T34 - Zu Rodina Comrades!
And that kept me busy (and amused) for a little while. Now I have to commit to running a game this year at Kirrie, and that means painting some infantry..  will it be Sharp Practice - American War of Independence, or Chain of Command?