Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Ein Kleiner Panzer

Along with the other bits and pieces I got for Christmas, a chum gave me a 1/72nd Hasegawa Panzer IV. Unfortunately, it had no instructions, but I could see that it was an F/F2 or G model, and intriguingly had the parts for a Munitionsschlepper Panzer IV, so it may have originally come from the Hasegawa Morser Karl kit. I did toy with the idea of building it as a Munition Panzer, but thought better of it and settled on a bog standard Panzer IVg. Having no instructions wasn't a major problem, having built many of these tanks before it was pretty simple to work out where everything went. Information for the stuff I was stuck on came from several German vehicle manuals from my library and the internet. I added some stowage that I had kicking about and all in all it took an afternoon to build. Now, having no instructions, I wasn't sure if I had actually built an F2 or G model (not that there's much real difference anyway), but what you have ask yourself is; do I really care? and will I sleep soundly tonight? The answers are respectively no and yes.

I painted it as a late production G, in the typical three tone camouflage pattern and with the 1st SS Panzer Division symbol.

Then it was just a case of adding weathering and putting it on a base, which I made from a spare blank CD.

It took a couple of days to complete and was a nice kit to build. One of the nice touches was the small lugs under the side skirts which pressed the tracks down in a realistic sagging manner. That's something I haven't see on a kit of this scale before. Thanks for looking!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Naughty or Nice?

I hope you were all extra nice this year and had an old bearded man shove nice things in your stockings? I certainly was, judging by what I got for Christmas (this is not everything, but the nerdier portion of my presents).

I got a copy of Covenant With Death by John Harris, a fictionalised account of the Sheffield City Battalion during the First World War; The History of the World in 100 Weapons by Chris McNab, a good Osprey title with some good information in; The Truce: The Day the War Stopped by Chris Baker, a very good revisionist take on the increasingly mythologised Christmas Truce of 1914 (expect a book review when I have finished it); a copy of Ticket To Ride, which I have wanted for a while; a copy of Pandemic, which is an excellent co-operative game fighting worldwide disease and finally a Splinter Pattern T-Shirt.

A great haul, all in all. 

And finally, I have listed a few items on EBay, from 28mm Carlist War miniatures to Pre-painted rubble, please take a look HERE.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Pavlov's House, a Christmas Rapid Fire AAR

This Sunday was the last chance before Christmas for a game, I did think of setting up a Through the Mud and Blood scenario based on an attack by the Coldstream Guards on the Gerrman lines on 25th December 1914, just to show not everyone was involved in the Christmas truce (or the fictional football match, despite Sainsbury's and UEFA trying their best to turn myth into reality...).

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Factory Fighters!

The initial defending Soviet force in the Stalingrad scenario includes a unit of factory militia, this was good as it gave me a chance to paint some non-uniformed figures. For these I bought a couple of sets of Eureka's Soviet Partisans from Fighting 15s and they arrived in less than a week, a great service. This is the first time I have bought any of Eureka's miniatures, but it won't be the last. They are really nice figures, well posed and well proportioned and appear to be true 15mm in height.

My needs were very small, only fifteen figures in total and the unit included the HQ of a CO plus three figures. The CO figure was painted wearing Soviet uniform (including a peaked cap with a red band to mark him out) whilst the rest of the men wear a collection of civilian clothes and appropriated military gear.

The rest of the unit is made of two battalions each of only four men, again wearing a mix of civilian and military clothing. You may notice that they are also mounted on a larger than normal base, this is because I wanted all four men in each unit to be close to one another to represent their tactical inflexibility as militia.

The unit is supported by an MMG, this came from Eureka as well and looks to me like an MG 08, a relic of the First World War or Civil War. It was probably procured from a museum... There was no joining belt of ammunition between the loader and gun, so I had to knock one up from a spare Plastic Soldier Company German machine gunner.

So another team of fighters joins the defence of the beleaguered city.

Thanks for looking! In case you were wondering about the rubble on the bases of the figures, I am selling bags of it on eBay in three different colours, please take a look HERE.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Heroes of the Soviet Union

This third battalion of the 308th Rifle Division signals that I am about three quarters of the way through finishing this formation completely. Along with the other battalions this one is a battered version of the full battalion, being reduced to about the size of a company.

The core riflemen has a strength of seven Heroes of the Soviet Union, a mix of Peter Pig and Plastic Soldier Company figures.

Support comes from a Peter Pig Maxim MMG and a Command Decision anti-tank rifle team.

The total battalion numbers only twelve men, about the size of normal rifle company.

There is another similar battalion to add along with some submachine gunners and the support elements to finish off the 308th Div, but that is for another day!

And finally, although there are no snipers in the Rapid Fire! army lists I am using to build these forces, I figured every Stalingrad needs a Vasily Zaytsev. This sniper team was bought maybe a decade ago and I never really found a use for them, until now.

The set comes from Battlefront, part of a larger sniper group

The ruined wall that came with the figures fits in well with Stalingrad, so I thought the team would add another layer of danger for the Germans!

Now, if I can find a figure of Major Erwin König we can reenact the mythical duel between the two snipers...

I have also made the rubble mix that I use available for sale on ebay, please have a look HERE.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Ruined Building

As I have been gathering figures to refight Stalingrad, I have also been working on some of the scenery, when I can. I already have a lot of ruined buildings, but you can never have enough in my opinion... 

Along with a couple of German guns, my mate also gave me a couple of resin buildings, in exchange for a load of Japanese figures. I have no idea of the manufacturer of these buildings, but there are two separate models here, both being a quarter of a ruined building. I attached the two destroyed walls to a 6 inch square vinyl tile to give the impression of the front and back to a damaged building. The front wall had to be trimmed down as the original base was wider than 6 inch and I tied the two models together with some pollyfilla, which was then painted with PVA and sand.

Once this was dry I added more rubble, from my own home made concoction which was originally developed by Ninjasaurus Rex. Then I added shattered wooden beams to give the rubble some flavour.

The second model looks like an unrendered rear of the building, so although the front and rear don't match exactly, it is still a possibility that they are from the same building.

The front of the building had a floor remaining and I included this to give occupying figures more space.

And finally, how the model looks from above, the rubble strewn floor and upper floor level.

The base gives the impression of a raised pavement and this will fit very nicely in with the other ruined buildings I have. Thanks for looking!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

For the Motherland!

The second battalion of the 308th Rifle Division was finished today. They add to my now growing Soviet defending force for Stalingrad. Progress has been slower than the Germans, but that is because I am busy in the run up to Christmas, so I am only able to snatch short bursts of painting time. This is another under-strength unit, reduced to company size and consists of seven rifle men (unfortunately, the chap on the right broke the barrel of his gun during painting):

As with the first battalion of the 308th, this unit is a mix of Plastic Soldier Company and Peter Pig figures, which mix well together.

The battalion has support from an anti-tank rifle and a 50mm mortar, the rifle came from Command Decision and the mortar and crew are Peter Pig figures.

This is the entire battalion together, all eleven men!

There are two more similar battalions to finish for the 308th, so keep checking back for more updates in the future. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

The Glorious Defenders of Stalingrad

The German attackers of Stalingrad are almost done, there are a few more units left to paint but the back of that part of the project from the attackers point of view is broken. As a desperately needed change of tack from painting seemingly endless Feldgrau, I started on the Soviet defenders of the the beleaguered city.  Obviously, the defenders number far less than the attackers and the battalion sizes are far more reduced than their German opposites, so all in all this shouldn't take too long to complete. The main defenders of the city are the 308th Rifle Division and this is made up of four understrength battalions along with a few support weapons. I completed the first battalion of seven men this afternoon.

And their support units of a anti-tank rifle and Maxim MMG.

The whole battalion comprises of only twelve figures (Rapid Fire! uses a ratio of 1 to 15), demonstrating what dire straights the defenders of Stalingrad were actually in during October of 1942. The figures are a mix of Plastic Soldier Company, Peter Pig and Command Decision. The main bulk of them came from the PSC Russian Infantry set which I have had laying around for literally years now. The other figures all came from leftovers in the lead mountain, except the greatcoated infantry. These were gifted to me by Ninjasaurus Rex, who was insistent that I use some figures in greatcoats, for reasons known only to him. I wasn't complaining though, they add a bit of flavour to the unit.

I also painted the 308th Rifle Division's HQ unit, commanded by Colonel Gurtiev, seen in the centre, shouting orders.

A small but significant start, I think. The paints I used were all from Vallejo and colours were sourced from this blog that I stumbled across: WW2 Painting Guide: Russian Infantry. Uniforms and trousers were all painted in English Uniform, highlighted with Khaki Grey. Canvas bags and other equipment was German Camo Beige, with straps and belts painted in Flat Earth

There are three more similar sized battalions to complete, along with an SMG company and the support weapons for the 308th, so we are not there yet, but thanks for looking!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Plastic Soldier Company's German Stowage Product Review

The Plastic Soldier Company recently released the product I have been eagerly awaiting for several years now; German Stowage and Tank Commanders. To say I was excited to get my hands on this is an understatement. I LOVE STOWAGE!

However, finding it in 15mm is a bit of a nightmare, there are only a couple of companies that I know of who produce stowage, namely, Command Decision, Reiver Castings and Battlefront (there is probably many more, but these are some of the best I have found, let me know if you know of others. I'm always on the look out for new stowage). The latter produce my favourite bit of stowage, a pair of tank wheels with track wrapped around them for the front of a Panzer III or IV. Other than that, Battlefront stuff is expensive and not great, some of the Reiver Castings stowage is a bit on the big side, being designed for both 15mm and 20mm and the Command Decision stowage is a bit ropey in places, the jerry cans in particular.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire

As a change from the seemingly endless amount of Germans I have been painting for Stalingrad, I painted up this Early War Miniatures Double Kleif M1917 flamethrower for my 20mm First World War Germans. I have had the set for a while now and really I bought it because of the ready painted flame marker that came with the piece.

The pack consists of five crew men and a Stormtrooper unit leader, along with the lengths of hosepipe for the Kleif. The two flamethrowers are joined together by a Y join and allowed for a bigger and longer flame than the single man-pack.

When the flame marker is added to the mix it makes for a dramatic model!

This will make for an excellent scenario with the double flamethrower making its way across No-Man's-Land to attack a strongpoint.

This was a nice diversion and was a pleasure to put together and paint. The fire marker really makes this set stand out.