Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Berlin Strasse WIP Pt. 2

To see how I have got to this point, read part one of this build HERE. After leaving the glue drying on the building, it just remained to prime the walls. This was achieved with a simple spray of white. The white will be a good base for the future painting and also provides a sealed surface rather than the porous MDF.

As the paint dried (I didn't watch it), I turned to the base again. This was now dry and solid, so I cut out a piece of embossed plasticard to cover the gaps in the separate pieces and also to represent a tiled floor. This was cut just slightly too small due to a measuring error, but I will be covering the interior with rubble later, so all these problems can just be covered up. Once glued in place I piled a load of books on top and left it to dry overnight.

Once the base was dry I sprayed that as well in white primer and fitted the whole building together to see how it looked. The ruined White House:

The interior of the building was too empty and being such a big house I wanted to split it into sections. In Rapid Fire! a building like this would be at least two separate sections, enough to fit twelve men in each. Unfortunately for me, the front of the building didn't match square with the rear, so I had to build a dog-legged interior wall rather than a simple straight one!

This was done with foam card, as it was the right thickness and it has the appearance of a smashed wall with the foam interior. I drew out the line I wanted with a pencil and measured up the walls to the correct height. The rest of the wall was cut to make it looked ragged like the exterior walls. Once glued into position, I scraped off the sand in the appropriate places on the walls, so the dividing wall would fit snugly:

Once this was dry, I detailed the walls with sand, just like before. Then I added sand to the base, for the rubble of collapsed walls and roof. I did this at this stage so it would be easier than trying to smear PVA glue all over the floor when the walls were in place. The rubble is a mix of sand, small pebbles and railway modeller's ballast, just to give it some variety:

This was all left to dry overnight. Thanks for reading so far, there will be more to come with this!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Berlin Strasse WIP Pt. 1

Inspired by the unbelievably good job Ninjasaurus Rex did on his birthday present for me, I started work on my own flat block for Stalingrad/Berlin. At various conventions over the past few months, I had bought a few buildings from Commission Figurines, they were reasonably priced and lovely MDF models to boot. The one I began work on was CBP1 15mm Berlin Strasse. It was the smallest one I had and thought it would be a good starting point. The kit consisted of several pieces; the building front and back, two sides, four pavement/base parts and a ruined floor. I have been struggling to work out the best way to construct these MDF buildings, that is until I saw Ninjasaurus' finished piece and since he had described the way in which he had made his, I thought there was no point in reinventing the wheel, I'd follow his lead.

First thing to do was the fix the base together, this was very simple using PVA glue, clamps and elastic bands. I left this at least 24 hours to set and laid it to one side.

Looking at the rest of the pieces I turned my attention to the ruined floor. The building was going to be used in Rapid Fire games and as this is battalion level, the buildings are slightly abstract. The finished building was going to be open to the sky, both to represent a building smashed to pieces by heavy bombardment or bombing and fires burning the wooden floors, also this would allow easy access for figures in a game. It's realistic anyway, just look at any photo of Stalingrad after the battle and you'll see most buildings are just shells with all the wood burnt away or smashed to the ground.

Therefore, I didn't need the floor piece, as nice as it is, for its intended purpose. However, instead of throwing it away, I cut it into its constituent beams. If they had been designed as 15mm wooden floor beams, I may as well use them for their that in heaps of rubble. I wasn't very neat with the cutting and the way that they splintered was very useful to represent smashed wood.

The next thing was to paint the beams. I bought a couple of boxes of long matches and splintered them up by hand, then I mixed up some tempera paint that Ninjasaurus had given me to use as weathering powders. I mixed Black and Burnt Umber together to get a mucky brown colour, this was added to water and all the matches and wooden beams thrown in.

This was also left to one side overnight to soak into the wood. Meanwhile, I was left with a whole load of match heads:

I figured the safest thing to do was to dispose of them like a sensible adult. Which basically meant I put them on a plate wrapped in kitchen towel and set fire to them! What an explosion!

After the excitement of the explosion, I went back the building. I wanted to recreate the remains of the floor levels within the structure. I had discussed this with Ninjasaurus and his method was to paint a thin line of PVA glue sprinkled with really smooth sand to create the desired effect. This would simulate all the little bits that get caught between wooden floors, the detritus of wood, dust, insulation and the like, plus it would detract from the smooth interior walls that the model originally has.

This was quickly achieved and I created the remains of three floors on the walls, I used the ruler to 'tap' the sand once it had been sprinkled and get the lines straight. Again these were left to dry overnight.

The two end walls were done slightly differently, I wanted to replicate the supporting beams for floors on these. The quickest and easiest way of doing this was to use matchsticks. These were snapped at the appropriate lengths where the walls had fallen in. I widened the gap on the model's original floor level and inserted the sticks into that as well.

So, after only a couple of hour's work the building looked like this when all the parts were placed together. I scraped off a small amount of the sand at the ends of each line so that the matchsticks would fit flush against the walls when the whole building was put together and left it to dry overnight.

This is as far as I have got with it, so check back for more updates as I continue this build!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Fireflies Fighting Forward

A while back, I was in the Wargames Emporium in Sheffield and bought a box of the Plastic Soldier Company's Fireflies in 15mm.I was intending to use them with the Americans that I repainted some time ago, but my brain was misfiring or something as I'd completely forgotten that the Firefly is a British tank, not American! I know the box allows you to build the M4A4 as well, but I'd already got some M4A4 Shermans and wanted the Firefly! Undeterred by the fact that I have no British infantry to support them, I still made the five in the box.

Three of the tanks were painted in the British scheme, which was just a coat of Russian Uniform. This was highlighted with a dry brush of the base colour mixed with white. I added a couple of British 'style' decals, the usual stowage and they were finished.

However, as I was building the tanks I noticed in Panzer Colours that there was a captured Firefly being used by the Germans. This was described as having the normal base colour with dark green stripes applied over the top. With the extra German crosses on the turret it really appealed to me, so I did the last two tanks in this scheme.

I added a spare German commander from another PSC kit, daubed some dark green lines over the top and added a bit of German specific stowage, like the Dunklegelb Jerry cans, and I now have a couple of interesting additions to my German forces.

The addition of British tanks now means I have to start getting some British infantry to go with them; it's an uphill struggle, it really is.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Full Fallschirmjäger Battalion

I finished off the rest of the Fallschirmjäger unit the other day. It's a full Battalion for use in Rapid Fire! Here are the support elements of a 75mm Infantry gun, 2 x 80mm Mortars and 2 x MMGs:

The main body of soldiers is the three companies of ten men commanded by a HQ of four men.

All together they make an impressive sight on the table!

I have a few other spare guns which I may add to this little force and another almost full battalion's worth of men in the lead pile. It just needs the support elements adding, which may be a project for the future, but thanks for looking!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Birthday Bonanza!

It was my 40th Birthday yesterday, usually I don't do much to celebrate the occasion, but this year, with the move from my thirties to my forties I decided it was time to have a party. This began on Saturday afternoon and headed into the small hours, then turned into a barbecue on Sunday which also ended late and finally culminated in a day off work on Monday for the day proper and a chance to open the presents I'd been given. And here they are:

From games to books to egg cups, I've never had so many presents on a birthday since I was knee high to a grasshopper. On top of this, Ninjasaurus Rex gave me this Commission Figurines 15mm building that he had been working on in plain sight for the past six months.

I've been watching him build it over the past few months, without clicking once that he was building a terrain piece for Stalingrad even though he concentrates his gaming efforts on moderns...

It all centres on this amazing decal on the side wall of a gigantic Soviet style poster.

Here it is in detail:

Even the interior is fully detailed:

And the walls papered in 1940s style wallpaper!

A great haul, the building will take pride of place on the tabletop when we finally fight for the centre of Stalingrad! He has promised he will do a full build report on his blog, I'll link to it when he does.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Finally, Fallschirmjäger

Since I stripped the old Peter Pig German Paras and bought some new ones to bolster their size, they have been sitting in a box. I have been avoiding painting them as I thought the camo would be a real bastard to paint. I had only got as far as finishing the bases, but the fear gripped me and they went to the bottom of the pile whilst I worked on the 20mm Plastic First World War project. The other day I knew I just had to do something with them. The lead pile was actually starting to thin out a little, so I went back to them.

In actual fact they were surprisingly easy to paint. The Stumpfmuster 43 smocks turned out to be dead simple. The base coat was German Camo Beige (821) with German Dark Green (896) and Flat Brown (984) applied in delicate stripes over the top. canvas equipment was painted in Khaki, trousers and puttees were German WW2 Fieldgrey. Helmets, gasmask cases (not in the canvas covers) were German Grey and the rest of the equipment Black.

However, they still looked a little flat, so I began considering shading. I wasn't satisfied with the results of the tester figures that I previously painted. Turning to Games Workshop's Jervis Johnson's Pubic Hair  ink wash they all got a brown wash. I then very carefully highlighted the camo with Iraqui Sand (819) and lightened all the hands and faces with the base colour mixed with white.

I am actually pleased with how they turned out, the brown wash was subtle enough not to obscure too much detail, like black would and the dry brushing brought out the creases on the camo.

So far, I have only painted two companies and the HQ, so that leaves another company and the support weapons to finish before the full battalion is complete.

It was also nice to see the difference in the Peter Pig sculpts from twenty years ago and the modern versions and how much they have improved, not that they were bad in the first place.

Along with these. I have enough figures to make two full battalions, so that may be a long term goal. But until then, thanks for looking!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Showing Your Wares

On Sunday, my better half dragged me to IKEA in order to get some more bookshelves to house her academic tomes she needs for her PhD. It was a boiling hot day, but the place was packed with parents and kids. I mean, who takes their kids shopping in the middle of summer? Are there no parks they can go to? 

I digress, whilst we were arguing over the colours of bookshelves and cushions, I picked up a glass cabinet. With the imminent arrival of the entire output of work on Greek pottery, my models have to to be rehoused. The cabinet is perfect for them and they now have a dust free environment to sit in.

Although rehousing the planes and tanks was also an attempt to protect the models, a small light I stuck on the underside of the top fell off and not only smashed the top wings of the Nieuport 28 but the undercarriage of the Typhoon... Goddamit. They have been repaired now though.

If you're interested, it's the Detolf type and costs the princely sum of £40. My only issue with it is that it could do with a couple more shelves, but apart from that, it perfectly suits my needs!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

All the Kaiser's Men

I put the finishing touches to the box of 20mm Caesar German First World War figures I have. These are the left overs from the two sections that I had already completed and are made up of some figures wearing gasmasks. There wasn't enough in the full box of different poses to make a full section of gasmask wearing men, so this was the next best thing.

Also there were a few figures that I couldn't really use elsewhere, including a couple wearing trench armour. This was very rare in reality and cumbersome to wear, so the amount of men in this stuff is a bit unrealistic, but they do quite nicely as sentry figures and Big Men. The same could also be said for the chap wearing a gasmask with about eight hand-grenades hanging off his chest. I do like the guys armed with trench clubs though!

So this is the German force I have so far, it's enough for a decent game, I just need to find the time for one!

I have some Early War Miniatures Germans on order, so when they are finished, I will post pictures.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Pillboxes on the Western Front

These pillboxes were picked up at the Wargames Emporium in Sheffield at the princely sum of £3 each! They are from Last Man, Last Bullet but appear to have been sold through Anarchy Models and are made in resin. The models are undamaged, so I took my Dremel drill to them and added a few artillery scars. Then I glued them onto plasticard squares, with the corners clipped to give the base a more rounded nature. Then I added polyfiller to emulate the mounds of earth piled up around the structure. This was then sanded and painted with foliage added. The boxes themselves were painted in German Grey, drybrushed with Neutral Grey and then finally Stone Grey, the final stage was  a black inkwash.

Here they are under an intense artillery barrage. I'd hate to be stuck in that.

They are sold as 10mm Type 26 Pillboxes, but I will be using them as both 15mm and 20mm, they will serve as nice single man Observation Posts in 20mm. There are the remains of a German OP near the Ulster Tower on the Somme and it is about the same size as these, the only difference is that the one on the Somme is round. Here they are being assaulted by some 20mm Germans:

Alternatively they'll be good for 15mm games, here they are, being assaulted by some 15mm German Stormtroopers:

Overall, they are a good pair of models and well worth a punt, they took about an hour of building and painting (not including drying times) and are nice additions to my tabletop. I think they are supposed to be Second World War pillboxes, but there is not much difference in concrete between World War One and Two, as evidenced in the classic bedtime reading Pillboxes on the Western Front. Purists may disagree; I don't care!
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