Friday, 31 January 2014

Stalin's Landships

Zvezda have recently released their latest plastic 1/100th scale tanks, the fabled multi-turreted T-35 and I bought five from Plastic Soldier Company in one of their company deals. I've been awaiting this kit's release for some time, I love the ridiculousness of the multi-turreted Soviet tanks. In practise they were a complete disaster on the battlefield with more being lost to mechanical problems than falling prey to the German guns. That said, they will be a great and interesting supplement to my Soviet forces.

The build was easy and simple, as always with Zvezda kits, but there is a word of warning here. It is worth cutting the lug off that joins the front of the hull halves as a gap appears on the front glacis plate otherwise. But this minor problem (and it is minor) was the only issue during the build. When varnishing them, I had some problems with frosting on the tanks, but I managed to rescue them somewhat with a couple more layers of varnishing then leaving them to dry under a lightbulb and they haven't turned out too badly.

They are massive models and to give you an idea of how big they are, here is a T-26 for a size comparison. With two 45mm turrets and a 76.2mm howitzer they should give the Germans something to worry about (if they ever arrive on the battlefield...).

According to the Rapid Fire! Russian Tank Units 1941-42 supplement, the 68th Tank Regiment, 34th Tank Division consisted of  ten of these beasts! So, maybe, just maybe, I might double their number, although I'm not sure ten T-35s will even fit on my table!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

To the Death!

Dean popped over on Sunday for a quick game of Rapid Fire! I decided to use my newly painted Americans against a force of half-tracked transported Panzer Grenadiers, with the Germans counter-attacking a bridge objective somewhere in Holland 1944. The weather was bad which precluded any air support, so the PBI were on their own. However, the Germans were supported by three Panzer IVh and three Marder II. For more equality the Americans had support in the form of five Sherman M4A3s (these were taken from my Soviet forces, hence the lack of stars...). I gave Dean the choice of which side to take and he plumped for the Yanks.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Plenty of Plastic

I have just built my first M5 Stuart light tank in 15mm. It's from Plastic Soldier Company and is a lovely little kit and goes together really easily. Just like all PSC products. It will be used in service with my recently completed American soldiers for Rapid Fire!

My only gripe is that there is a lot of left overs on the sprue, as shown above. There's two full hulls and a set of tracks, along with half a turret. It's almost enough to build another vehicle, but not quite! I understand about the range of options PSC give you and the need to fill up sprues, but it sometimes just feels like a bit of a waste of plastic. However, what I will do is make several wrecks from the leftovers. 

In other news, I bought a DBA army of 15th Century Wallachia from Essex Miniatures the other day, it's the army of Vlad Dracul (more commonly known as The Impaler) and I have wanted to get his army together for a few years now. I also bought the actual Vlad figure from East Riding Miniatures, the rest of the army has yet to turn up, but this package arrived this morning. It's a lovely little figure and is obviously based on Vlad's portrait (no pictures yet as it's still unpainted) and I'm looking forward to completing the army and impaling some sense into the Turks!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Over Paid, Over Sexed and Over Here!

Many, many years ago I bought a heap of Peter Pig's 15mm WW2 American soldiers, they were bought with the intention of playing Firebase Games' set of rules Overlord. The figures were based up for those rules and painted in my style at the time (a good twenty years ago...), I recently rediscovered them sitting in a box and in pretty bad shape. I had a look through my Rapid Fire rules (page 16 of the Second Edition) and found that I had enough figures to make the basic battalion (I had to add some trucks, a 57mm A/T gun and the other battalion support weapons, all of which were a mixture of Peter Pig and Command Decision).  stripped the figures with Dettol and rebased them all so they match my other Rapid Fire forces. I put the finishing touches to them just the other day and here they are!

The unit comprises: 

HQ = CO + 3 figures + 60mm Mortar (2 Crew) + .75 ton Dodge Truck
3 x Rifle Company, each of 10 figures (1 Bazooka team) + 2.5 ton Dodge Truck
Heavy Weapons Company: 50cal HMG (3 crew) + Jeep 
30cal MMG (3 crew) + Jeep 
81mm Mortar (3 crew) + Jeep
57mm Anti-Tank Gun (3 crew) + 1.5 ton Dodge Truck

I did a bit of searching around and found a colour list for the ETO uniforms that I liked and I used the following Vallejo paints for the figures:

Basic uniform: US Dark Green
Webbing, equipment and waders: Green Ochre
Helmet (and other equipment): Violet Brown

I also broke up the uniforms with the addition of a Khaki jacket on some of the figures. The boots were left in the brown which I undercoated the figures with initially.

I also went down the route of dipping for the first time with these figures. I am very pleased with how they turned out after treatment, although they came out a little dark, but from a gaming perspective it's not a massive issue for me. As you can see from the pictures I also had some issues with varnish frosting in some cases, but I managed to mostly fix the problem. Bloody winter.

These chaps will have support in the form of some Plastic Soldier Company M5 Stuart tanks in due course, plus if I were to upgrade them to an Armoured Infantry battalion I have some PSC M5 halftracks as transports (which I have yet to build). It was an easy job overall and gives me another force to use against my Germans and widens the theatres I can game!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Roland CII WIP Pt.3

It's been quite a while since I was able to sit down and continue making my Eduard 1/48th Roland CII. In fact it was last September when I did anything with it. The main reason for this was that I was researching airbrushes in order to paint the fuselage. I ended up buying a Badger airbrush with a compressor off EBay, I had also bought some RLM 76 Light Blue paint from Mr Hobby as I wanted the paint scheme to be the classic whale fuselage as seen on the box art.

I tried the paint with the airbrush. It didn't spray. So then I decided to track down some thinner to mix in the paint as I though the paint was too thick. It still wouldn't spray. I tried the airbrush with just water and it still wouldn't spray. So, I changed tack; I started painting the Mr Hobby paint on with a brush. This is when I realised the limitations of the paint. Not only was it incredibly thin, but the second coat reactivated the original coat and started dragging it off the plastic! I was at the stage of binning the entire model, but I thought I'd give it one more chance. I bought some Humbrol Light Blue instead. Bam! It was perfect! The Humbrol pigment was much thicker and stuck to the plastic much better. The actual painting was done pretty quickly, and two coats were enough:

The next stage was to add all the little bits and pieces to the fuselage and wings, there was very little left to do to the main part of the aircraft.

The top wings went on with no problems. The good thing about the CII is that it's a pretty robust aircraft due to the level of the top wings and the fuselage. 

The plane was then set aside while got down to the fiddly work of making the machine guns. These are made from the original plastic ones with many photo-etched parts added, they took about an hour to build up, but look much better than the original versions.

There was little left to do with the machine-guns except paint them and fix them in place, but before that part started I went back to the body of the plane and applied the decals. I realised that I had glued on a few bits and pieces that would sit over the top of the decals; the air intakes on the fuselage and some tiny pieces on the tailplane, for example, so these had to be removed and would be added later. It was slightly annoying to realise this, also realising that it would have made my life easier had I left the top wings off while I applied the fish scale decals... But, despite all this I applied the decals:

The application of the decals was really helped mainly due to the use of Microsol, a chemical which softens the decals so they conform to the shape of whatever it is being applied to. This was invaluable as there is some detail on the fuselage that is covered by the large fish scale decals and the Microsol helped to bring those details back out!

This is as far as I am now, there is still quite a lot left to do on the model, but it's not far off completion! Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


So the behemoth that is my Malaya invasion project has finally rolled to a halt after I finished these Type 95 (Ha-Go) Tankettes, they come from QRF (named as Type 75 (Kyu-Go) in their catalogue). They arrived just before Christmas, but didn't take long to paint and base.

As usual with QRF, I find their vehicles a bit hit and miss; some are amazing, but some, like these ones, can be a little shoddy. The moulding isn't great and there is a bit missing on some of the wheels. But! No one else does these tanks and due to the size of them the imperfections are not very noticeable.

So the addition of these four tanks brings my Japanese force to full strength (with the addition of a four figure Engineer platoon...). Here it is laid out in full, for those who think I have just reposted pictures of the same battalion again and again...

And to face them, here is the British and Indian defenders. It seems like a puny force in comparison, but historically they gave a sterling defence against an overwhelming majority. Hopefully, they'll do as well on my games table...

Now, I just need to find some time to actually play the campaign!!! Thanks for looking!!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Windy Militant

EBay can be a goldmine for wargaming scenery, I have been buying a lot of model railway scenery pieces for pennies in various states of distress with the intention of hacking them about for wargaming scenery. HO scale scenery works pretty well with 15mm and the level of detail on railway models makes pieces look a lot more realistic than a lot of wargaming specific scenery.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

MA Dissertation

I have been convinced by Sidney Roundwood to provide a link to my MA Dissertation, which I completed last year for the final stage of an MA in British First World War Studies at the University of Birmingham. It concerns chemical warfare and how it is depicted in contemporary First World War novels and how those depictions compared to the experiences of the soldiers and nurses who faced the gas threat in World War One. Personally, I think there is a lot of room for improvement and I am only posting it here in case someone may be interested in the contents.

Here is the download link:

Monday, 6 January 2014

Bloody Balloon!

Dean called over on Sunday for a game of Wings of Glory, it was our first game of the new year and I just wanted something quick and easy to set up and play. I decided on using one of the observation balloons that I have stored away with the Germans defending it and the Allies trying to bring it down. For the defence forces I had three Pfalz DIII (my favourite WW1 aircraft).

Friday, 3 January 2014

Type 97 (Chi-Ha) Medium Tanks

One of the last additions to my Japanese Malaya invasion force are these Type 97 (Chi-Ha) Medium tanks. I already had two of these tanks, but needed four for the OOB of the Malayan invasion force. These are Command Decision's models and I bought them through Old Glory UK who's delivery and service was fantastic! Unfortunately for me they only come in packs of three, so I now have five, rather than the four I actually need. However, I'm sure I'll find a use for the fifth tank! Here they are without the flash on the camera:

And with the flash on:

The Type 97 (Chi-Ha) have a reward firing machine gun in the turrets and I was going to scratch build some with the spare LMG figures that I have. The problem is that the LMGs are a bit big oon the figures, so they look more like tanks guns rather than MGs on the tanks!

And here they are with the other two I already have. By the end of this project the Japanese will have a total of sixteen tanks to play with.

Thanks for looking and keep checking back for the final stages of this seemingly endless project...