Tuesday 20 August 2019

28mm Early War Germans complete

For some reason, these just seemed to take forever. I don't know, it was possibly that I had a first rush of enthusiasm when I finished my Early War French, and then the saga with BTD just left me fed up.

But they are finally finished and I am reasonably happy. Let me know what you think?

AT Gun 1.
In Chain of Command, most crewed support weapons have a crew of 4 or 5, sometimes with a junior leader.

AT Gun 2
So this gun only has one crew on his base, there are other figures I have listed as 'handlers', mostly made up from the Warlord plastics, that can be added to make up full crews. The square thing on the base is a dice frame from Warbases that will hold a 7mm dice to show casualties.
50mm Mortar
 These guys are normally in platoon headquarters with the platoon commander and platoon sergeant.

AT Rifle, sadly - not a support option in the Blitzkrieg book
This is a Warlord Games pack, picked up on a whim before I checked and discovered that the AT rifle isn't generally available to German units in 1940. OK, should see some use when I game Barbarossa, that'll really scare those KV tanks! 

The original command figures, 
I think the guy in the greatcoat is going to be retired, he looks way too senior for the scale of a CoC game, but I love the Warlord Games running 'officer' with the MP38. (Technically, the officer should be pistol equipped, but hey..  artistic licence and I will just count him as a pistol.)

More command and helpers.
The lads in the officers hats can stand in as Junior Leaders for the support weapons as required, the more disheveled chap on the left is the platoon sergeant, and the ones in front are the extra crew figures to make up full weapons crews.

Ammunition handlers
I sized this base so it can sit behind the AT guns, the Le IG and even the static MG 34 to make the crew numbers up. I figure that box could hold almost any kind of ammo.

Le IG 18 75mm
Another box, and I do like that kneeling figure. Adding the base above on the back of this one gives me the full crew while maintaining flexibility.

Squad 1
 Corporal, lance corporal, 5 riflemen and a light machine gun team of three men.

Squad 2

As above - you can see some of the great variety you can get with BTD.

Squad 3
As above, so below!

Squad 4
The Early War German platoons were organised into 4 squads, not the later three squad version. It also gives me the choice of another squad as a support option when playing post 1940 games.

Static MMG 34
Finally - the MG34 in its static role as a medium machine gun. To make up the crew I will need to use some of the handlers.

So far the painted German vehicles include a PzIV, a PzII a PzJager I, a Kubelwagen and an Sdkfz 222 armoured car. So the platoon is pretty well provided for in support options.

Now to decide whether to tackle GIs or Soviets next...

Monday 12 August 2019

28mm Buildings and US Armour

So, I haven't managed to get much wargames stuff done, real life has been so very intrusive. I have managed to slap some more colours on the Early War German platoon and supports, but they are still a long way from being picture-ready. Some progress has been made on the buildings.

I am fairly happy with the building design, and unlike my first thoughts, I have tiled the roofs, but I now need to add weathering, signage, and a range of little details like a light etc. I haven't quite worked out what kind of workshop it might be, but I wonder if it could be a bicycle workshop? 

Cafe Normandie
Ok, I have to confess; I am a little disappointed with how this is turning out. Essentially I got this wrong. There's a trap for young players, in that the Cafe Normandie signage should go on the first floor (second for our USA chums), and each of the flooring pieces has uniquely keyed tabs for the walls. So check that your signage piece, and the unique rear section for the first floor (2nd for our US cousins etc...) fit on the same floor section. Dry fit, dry fit, dry fit.. 

I ended up with the Signage on the second floor, as I assembled it quickly without checking, and it seems like I blew the whole thing. I simply couldn't get a neat join at the corner intersections, and even after a grouting coat, the interlocking sections are still painfully obvious.

Having seen the sample assembled model on the website, and a sample 'in the flesh' at Claymore, I can't believe the issue was the model, but much more likely that I just boobed in the construction phase. I wish I had another one of these to try and get it right, but ah well. In hindsight, as well as that, I wish I had elected to have the windows either fully closed with shutters, or entirely open. The half closed ones just look odd.

Anyway - on to something I am happier with - the Rubicon Stuart/Scott model.

As Scott

As Stuart
I have left the top hull section unglued so I can swap them out. In an ideal world, I would have cut away the top of the glacis plate and attached it to the different hull tops as the glacis is different, with the Scott having hatches there, the Stuart on the top hull plate. Again in hindsight, this would have been relatively easy, and I could have used magnets to hold the alternative turret + hull-top + glacis in place. At the time though I was again. rushing it.

As with all the Rubicon models I have made, this was an absolute delight to put together, with no flash and really well engineered. About the only thing I did to improve the model was drill out the lifting eyes. The decal sheet looks excellent, but the one criticism I have of the kit is that the marking options are not included anywhere, and so you are left to do your own research - which isn't ideal when you are looking at specific registrations.

I'm still hunting for specific combinations, if anyone can help out, let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Cafe de Normandie - WIP

One of the pieces of loot from Claymore was the Charlie Foxtrot model of the Cafe de Normandie, originally in Carentan. I've seen various versions of it.

My version is still awaiting clean up, roof tiling, drainpipes etc, plus signage, but I may make it something else, a hatshop perhaps..

So far, assembly (shell only), grouting adhesive, wash with very thinned Coat d' Armes super-shader, adding frames and doors (after painting separately). The shutters will be off-white.

Fairly happy so far.

Sunday 4 August 2019

Claymore 2019

Yesterday was spent with a very pleasant day at Claymore, a morning drive in the sunshine, and a lovely drive back with the countryside looking its best.

The Granton campus of Edinburgh College is a pretty nice venue, with lots of light airy halls, plenty of parking and some nice outdoor spaces when the weather is pleasant. There were excellent traders, and it wasn't too crowded.

So what was it like? Well, I actually found it rather disappointing. I normally expect that there will be one or two games that make me gasp, or come away inspired, or even smiling. In the past there have been Nazi moonbases, volcanoes, whole archipelagos and some great modelling and terrain making skills on show.

This year, I felt there were a lot of games that I would expect to be put on at an average club night, with bought terrain, pretty nice figures, but no great imagination. I suppose it may be because I have seen quite a few of the games already at Carronade in Falkirk, but I was left feeling disappointed 

Of the games that were there, Barry Hilton and the League of Augsburg's Ottoman wagon fortress was perhaps the best realised, the Vietnam 'Relief of Hue' style game was impressive for size, but the terrain was a bit sparse, and for me didn't capture the feel you got from movies and period photographs. Honourable mention to the small but well formed Holy Grail game, which seemed to consist of making your way by various paths through a shrubbery with knights posted at intersections, towards a large castle...

Muscovites vs Ottoman by LoA. 
And the loot? Well - for once I thought about this beforehand, and decided I needed some bits and pieces to round out various forces, so I pre-ordered from 1st Corps, taking advantage of their show discount. Airborne Jeeps, Pak crew, British 2" mortar crews etc.  The rest of my shopping list was essentially small terrain pieces, so a Greenhouse and cart from Supreme Littleness, a tractor, fountain and telegraph poles from Sarissa, and finally one of the very cheap 'modular' range from Warbases, that is going to be a small workshop.

Not having pre-ordered, I just took pot luck that they would have the items available, but both Sarissa and Supreme Littleness offered to send me the items post free. so that was terrific. 

And of course there were impulse buys... firstly from Charlie Foxtrot, their Cafe Normandie looks to be an absolute bargain. I don't really need too many more 28mm French buildings, but this was too nice to go past, and at £16 an absolute steal compared to some other companies. I was also impressed about the little extras included, like flashing strips in plastic, and small tubes for chimney pots. Looking forward to putting this one together.

I know it doesn't look like much in this picture..

I also looked for the new Rubicon early Panzer IV, but was out of luck. WarHQ was doing 15% off the Rubicon kits they did have available, so the Scott was picked up.

Other impulse buys, a Westwind US Recce Jeep and some BTD Soviet Riflemen from Colonel Bill's.

Needless to say, on getting home, I couldn't wait to start slinging some glue at these. So far:

Sarissa Tractor
The tractor is a great model, but getting the top pieces to line up smoothly is a pain. If I were building another one of these, I would use the top of the chassis as a guide, glue all the 'segments' together, and then file to get it smooth before gluing on to the model itself.
Westwind US Recce jeep
Great little model, just judging by eye, it looks like it will be a good match for my Perry US infantry (plastics).
1st Corps Airborne jeep
Really nice kit, but make sure you drill out the wheels for axles, there's little underside detail so it might actually be worth replacing the white metal axles with some brass rod or similar.
Another 1st Corps Airborne jeep

1st Corps and Westwind size comparison
 As you can see there's quite a difference, I believe 1st Corps are 1/48 while Westwind would be 1/56.
Warbases Modcular 5.
This one is going to have a tarpaper roof, and be a small workshop. I am actually going to remove the doors I glued on, and do cut outs so they are inset rather than outset. As always with MDF, it's a basic shell to build on. 

Finally, the standard of catering at Claymore I have to say was even worse than usual. A choice of a very dodgy looking chicken curry or a pie and chips. And they closed early so there was no way to even get a cup of tea after about 3pm. Organisers note, you might have been better organising a burger van for the central courtyard!

See you all there next year.