Saturday, 28 March 2015

British Trench Warfare 1917-1918

A couple of years ago I bought a set of three interlocking trenches from Early War Miniatures. They have sat languishing in my 'to-do' pile for what seems like an eternity. Until this week. I had mainly agonised over how to make them more solid as the vac-forming process made the plastic seem a bit flimsy. I had a few ideas from using papier mache to insulating foam to bulk out the underside where the piece had been vac-formed. I thought it would add a bit of weight to the model and help it from getting damaged. However, rethinking it, I thought it would be hard to store these items with a solid base and leaving them open at the bottom would allow them to be stacked easier. With this mental breakthrough achieved, I set about painting one as a tester. My early attempts looked a bit slapdash and I realised that my drybrushing skills were not up to the level of being able to competently deal with the large areas of flat surface. So, even though I had already spray-painted the entire thing, I then added sand to all the areas outside of the trenches. This was done by painting PVA on the piece and chucking the sand all over it. Once dried, this was then resprayed and the drybrushing turned out a lot better than before.

It also took me a while to actually settle on the colours that I thought would be appropriate. I wanted the trenches to match the bases of my 20mm First World War figures, which I had painted with Vallejo's German Camo Black Brown. Whilst looking for primers in The Range, I stumbled upon some car sprays, two of which match the bases I already have: Vauxhall Brazil Brown and Ford Rio Brown. Both are essentially the same colour and a glossy match for the German Camo Black Brown. Also, an added bonus was that, being car paints, both were very strong when applied, so along with the PVA and sand, the plastic base was now very rigid (and hopefully hard wearing...).

Then it was simply a case of a heavy drybrush of Vallejo's Khaki. The wicker and wooden revetments were first painted in Khaki Grey, with a liberal wash of Army Painter's Dark Shade and a final drybrush of Vallejo's German Camo Beige. The sheets of wriggly tin were painted in a rusted colour, with a drybrush of gun metal. A final touch was to add clumps of static grass, to break up the shape of the piece and also to match my existing figures' bases.

It was a simple enough job, once I got started, however, being such big pieces (40cm long by 28cm wide), it took quite a while to paint, but I am pleased with the result. Here's how it looks with some Lancer Miniatures 20mm British soldiers manning the parapet from the firing bay:

And the other firing bay:

As you can see the One Pence pieces that I mounted my figures on have no problem fitting in the trench.

I would think these have no real problem with 15mm figures as well. I have two more of these to paint, and they will be done soon, so check back for future entrenchments.

In other news, I bought part of the German vehicles that I need for the Stalingrad project (I had a recent unexpected windfall). They came from Plastic Soldier Company and were delivered in two days, how's that for customer service!? There are still a few odds and sods that I need to fill out the gaps, but these will keep me busy for a while. Plus whilst in Sheffield, I happened upon the new Blucher rules, by Sam Mustafa, I have hankered for Napoleonic wargaming for years, I used to play it in 20mm, but have never done any recently. I'm looking forward to reading what looks like an beautifully produced book, with great reviews and seeing if my itch can be scratched...

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Waste Not, Want Not

As with all Plastic Soldier Company kits you get a lot of choice for vehicle versions and other extras. Their Panzer 38(t)/Marder III set is no different and you have the choice of building three different types of AFV. However, this leaves you with a lot of left over plastic, but fortunately some of these bits are very useful! As I had built five Marder IIIs, I was left with the turrets of the Pz 38(t)s, but someone on The Miniatures Page had mentioned that they could be used as static defence positions. So, that's what I used them for. 

Apparently 'Some 351 PzKpfw 38(t)’s turrets were used for German fortification in Norway (75), Denmark (20), Western Atlantic shore (9), Italy (25), Southwest Europe (150) and Eastern Europe / Front (78)' (source) This was all the information that I needed to knock together some quick defences that could be used anywhere. 

Taking a Fames of War medium sized base and increasing the height with some 2mm plasticard, I glued the turrets on top and painted the whole thing grey. I figured that the turrets wouldn't have been repainted and would have been left in their original Panzer Grey. I then added a bit of static grass to the edges of the bases to make them blend into the board. This was a bit of artistic license on my part as I didn't include the rear entrance, which would have been below ground and difficult to model properly.

I made one into a duel turreted defence position. I am not sure if this is a real thing, but it looks OK to me.

A very simple solution to the problem of left over plastic.Now, I just need to find something to do with those left over 75mm and 76.2mm gun barrels...

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

PSC Marder III Sdkfz 139/138

With a natural break in the Stalingrad project, I was able to finish off the new Plastic Soldier Company set of Marder IIIs. Two of the remaining four were built as the 138 Ausf H version, to go with the one I had already made, the other two I added to my early war collection as the 139 version.

The vehicles were augmented with more PSC stowage and crewmen from the set.

The 138s were a doddle to build, however, the 139s were a little more involved, the gun mount and upper hull had quite a few separate pieces. I noticed that a moulded spade on one of the side plates made it impossible build the vehicle without filing the spade off first. I know that some of the kits were recalled due to a problem that manifested itself in the construction, so I wonder if I ended up with one of these early sets. If I did, it wasn't a problem as I simply filed away the plastic and the piece fitted perfectly.

The 139 version is an ugly looking beast, but certainly adds some punch to my early war forces.

with all the options in this kit, there are a few left over pieces, like the Pz.38(t) turrets, but you'll have to wait to see what I do with those.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Finally, part two...

OK, I lied. I previously told you that I had finished off all the German infantry for the Stalingrad project except a FOO. It seems this wasn't true and as I was going through the lists for the four millionth time I noticed that I was still missing another small unit. Namely the Divisional HQ of the 14th Panzer. OK, this only amounts to six figures, but still, I had overlooked them. I painted them at the same time as the FOO:

These figures came from both Peter Pig and Command Decision, both of which were drawn from the lead pile. The Command Decision figure lying down also appears to be wearing a camouflage face covering, so he's perfect for a spotter.

The 14th Panzer Div HQ was an amalgamation of some left over Plastic Soldier Company figures, some Peter Pig figures and even some Command Decision figures. So this tiny unit was the most mixed unit in the entire German force!

These fellas just need a SdKfz 251/1 to zoom about in now!

So, I have finally finished the German infantry. I have checked, rechecked and trichecked the lists, but I can't see any missing formations. I'm still holding out for the vehicles, so until I have saved up for those, this project is, unfortunately, on hiatus for a wee while. I'll pick it back up though asap, so bare with me!

And finally, as always, the pre-painted rubble I use on my bases is available for sale on EBay, HERE.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Ack Ack

Along with the other support units for my Soviets at Stalingrad, I bought two Quad Maxim AA machineguns. They came from Peter Pig and are a new addition their range and you get two in each pack although I only need one for the Stalingrad lists. The second one was painted with an urban base as well, just to give me more choice in the future.

I added an extra crew man as you only get two per gun in the packs and Rapid Fire AA guns are crewed by three men.

This is a nice piece and make an interesting addition to the Soviet defenders. The figures have been well sculpted and are a great addition to Peter Pig's all ready extensive range.

So, now I am 99% finished with the Soviets defenders, the only thing missing are three Anti-Tank guns, which I have yet to buy. However, here is the total figures I have painted for the Rapid Fire lists, this also proves that I haven't just been reposting pictures of the same units!

As I said, I also need a few AT guns for the Russians, but I also need to gather together the following:

1 x German StuG IIIb
1 x German Panzer III K Command
3 x German Panzer III J
2 x German Panzer IV F1
1 x German Panzer IV F2/G
1 x German Sdkfz 251/17C
1 x German Sdkfz 251/1C
2 x German Opel Blitz
1 x German 150mm SIG 33
7 x German Horse towed wagons
3 x German 105mm Howitzer
2 x German 150mm Howitzer

I am looking at a total of about £130 for the lot, but I may be able to shave off the guns and claim them as off board artillery. Once I have returned from the US, I'll start saving and once I have bought the vehicles they shouldn't take too long to paint. However, all that is in the future.

Also, please have a look at the pre-painted rubble I am selling on EBay, you can find it HERE.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Guns and Bombs

With some help from Mr Neil McGurk, I was able to put together the last few remaining Soviet defenders of Stalingrad. He had sent me some AT rifles and some mortars and I added to these by cannibalising some of my older figures. I took some old Command Decision figures with AT rifles and painted them alongside the Peter Pig ones from Neil.

Neil had sent me four crews of the Peter Pig figures carrying the rifle and although I like the figures, I didn't want them all to be carrying their rifles, so I added two Command Decision crews as well. These came from one of my old Soviet Rifle Brigade units. I have two of these massive units and rarely get to field even one, so two AT rifles won't be missed.

Amongst the other things that Neil sent was a couple of 82mm Mortars and crew, but I actually needed three to finish off the close support for the Soviets. So I took a spare Peter Pig 81mm German mortar that I, fortunately, had kicking around and used that as the last mortar for these guys.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will note that it is the one on the right, with the square baseplate. I figured that the Soviets would have a stockpile of captured equipment and would be using them against their former owners.

Softly, softly, catchee monkey, as the saying goes and I am so close to finishing the Soviets I can almost touch it. I still need to buy some AT guns, but all the other aspects of the force are ready except the quad AA Maxim guns, which will be finished soon. 

As ever, the rubble I use on the bases is for sale HERE on EBay, please take a look!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Lancer 20mm German Field Telephones

When I ordered the British infantry from Lancer Miniatures, I also put a couple of German field telephonists into the order. Again, Lancer have excelled with these lovely figures, which adds a little bit of depth to my forces. Here they are from the front:

Both were painted in Sidney Roundwood's style, except I highlighted the tunics and trousers in German WW2 Fieldgrey. They'll both be useful for calling in that SOS artillery barrage.

As ever, I am still selling some pre-painted rubble on EBay, if anyone who runs a blog is interested in reviewing some for me, drop me a line and I can sort you out with a free sample.

Otherwise, find it for sale HERE.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Burn Baby Burn!

This blog has been a bit quiet recently as I was busy applying for a job (I didn't get it) and a PhD (my proposal needs more work), so the painting brush has been resting for a while. However, after a few weeks of patiently gathering the correct figures together I have been able to finally finish off the German infantry portion of the Stalingrad lists I have been working with. OK, I am still missing two artillery observers, which I only noticed when going through the lists again, but they won't take long to paint and add to the group.

This Sunday I painted the 14th Panzer Division's engineer battalion in one sitting, this unit has three companies each of nine men (and a flamethrower each...) and a HQ of a CO plus three men. The figures are a mix of Peter Pig, Command Decision and some of the remaining Plastic Soldier Company figures that I have left over. I also must mention that some of these figures were given to me by Mr Neil McGurk, in exchange for some odd bits that I had.They helped fill out the unit nicely.

As I said, these finish off the German infantry for Stalingrad and here they are in all their tiny glory (with the few vehicles that I have). This is the stage that I am at with the project; the majority of vehicles are still missing, as are the supporting guns, so we're not out of the woods yet!

Every painting session brings me closer to the end of this vast project, but as I have mentioned before I am saving for a holiday so the tanks and guns will have to wait until I've visited the Golden Gate Bridge and Yosemite National Park.

I am also selling the rubble you can see on the bases of the figures, HERE on EBay, it's pre-painted and comes in three colours of black/grey, dark brown and brick red. Perfect for any scale from 6mm to 54mm and can be used for urban bases and other modelling projects!

Thanks for reading!