Friday, 31 January 2014

On the workbench - January 2014

This week I have been trying to make progress with my Dystopian Wars Federated States of America fleet.  I've got the basic starter fleet, one Dreadnaught, one Battleship, three Cruisers and 9 Frigates plus two bombers and some tiny fliers.  I've added some more heavy ships with a second Dreadnaught and another Battleship as well as a Savannah Class Sky Fortress and a Valley Class airship.

As can be seen, I've opted for a patriotic red, white and blue colour scheme - the Prussian Blue I've used is actually pretty close to the colour of the USS Texas which I visited a couple of years back.  Decks are beige brown and there will be lashings of gunmetal grey and oily steel around plus some brass or copper depending on how the whim takes me.  No idea when these will be wrapped up as they are really detailed models, but I aim to get them on the wargames table in a couple of weeks time, whatever state they are in!

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

French 1985 mechanised regiment

Here is the latest progress towards my French armoured division c. 1985.  It's an almost complete mechanised regiment, just lacking the three company 81mm VAB mortar carriers, which I have on order from Scotia.

Here's the full regiment.  At the front two HQs with a FAO on the circular stand.  Behind that are three mechanised companies, each of four AMX-10 stands with three infantry and one Milan dismounts.  Each of these companies should also have an 81mm VAB mortar carrier as well.  At the back on the right is an AMX-30 squadron, with a 120mm mortar support company and a single HMG stand, all mounted in AMX-10s.
 The various command stands.
 One of the mechanised infantry companys.
 The infantry dismounts.
 The 120mm mortar support company.
 The AMX-30 squadron.

Most vehicles are Heroics and Ros, except the command AMX-10s (Scotia) and the AMX-30s which are either Scotia or GHQ.  The figures are all Mainforce from Magister Militem and very nice they are too.

I've pretty much run out of suitable models now, so have placed orders for enough to finish off another mechanised regiment, a VAB infantry regiment and some attached engineer and recce companies.  I still have some Gazelles and Pumas to assemble and paint - I just find assembling the helos really fiddly.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

French Air Support 1985

I've added some air support for the French armoured division.  They still need decals, but are otherwise ready to go.  All are from Heroics and Ros.

First up, three Mirage F1 (FMA203).
 One of the F1s in more detail.
 Three Sepecat Jaguar aircraft (UKMA201).
 The flight leader in more detail.
 A flight of three Mirage IIIs (FMA201).
 The flight leader.

These should provide some much needed support when the AMX-30s come up against T-72s.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

French Leclercs in modern tri-colour scheme


I wanted to try my hand at the modern French tri-colour cammo scheme.  This is Vallejo German Cammo Bright Green with Tamiya NATO Brown and NATO Black over sprayed and dry-brushed Vallejo Iraqi Sand.  I quite like the effect, although I think the green should be a brighter leaf green and the brown should be more orange, but overall quite pleased with the result.  I'll need to think again if I go up to a full armoured regiment worth.  I do like the models from Heroics and Ros, considering they represent the most expensive MBT built to date, they feel suitably chunky.

A company of four.
 A single platoon stand.

Thanks for looking.

French Armoured Division 1985 - various assets

Continuing the French 1985 theme, I've managed to get some photos of last weeks efforts on the workbench.  First up, two AMX-30 GCT 155mm artillery regiments, each of three batteries.  Huge barrels on the models, I'll have to think about how to store these.  In front are a pair of AMX-10P command apcs, doubling up as FAO stands attached to the HQs of each armoured regiment in the division.
 The two FAO stands in more detail.
 Corps AA SAM battery, three stands of AMX-30 Roland vehicles.
 Two AMX-13 DCA AA stands for close-in air defence.
 An armoured anti-tank company - three AMX-10 with HOT ATGM.  There seems to be a general concensus that these vehicles weren't actually used by the French military and that they preferred the VAB HOT or Milan armed apcs.
 The 120mm mortar company from a mechanised infantry battalion, with their AMX-10P transports.
 One of the 120mm mortar stands in more detail.  These should give the mechanized infantry some useful indirect fire support.

There are still lots of things still waiting their turn for painting in the box, including the two mechanized regiments and a VAB infantry battalion, various recce and engineers, helicopters and fast movers.  I'll need to get some more of the Mainforce infantry stands to complete the various units, perhaps at Vapnartak at the end of the month.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, 17 January 2014

French Armoured Regt Mechanised Co 1985

Here is the mechanised infantry company which makes up the final component of the Armoured Regiment.  The company comprises three infantry platoon stands, one Milan II stand (square base), all transported in four AMX-10P apcs, plus a VAB 81mm mortar platoon stand at the back.

 One of the infantry platoons supported by the AMX-10P stand.
 As above, together with the Milan II stand.
 The VAB 81mm mortar platoon stand.
 The complete regiment - four armoured squadrons, a mechanised infantry company and two HQ stands.

The mechanised company stands still need static grass added and they are effectively complete.  Infantry are Mainforce West Germans doubling up as French.  AMX-10Ps are Heroics and Ros (FM04).  The VAB is probably Scotia (thanks Richard).   All painted as per the previous post on the AMX-30s.

On the kitchen table are the models for another Armoured Regiment identical to this.  Then it's on to the mechanised infantry regiments and the divisional and corps supports.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

French Armoured Division - 1985

Having had the new airbrush at the weekend I decided to give it a try with some 6mm minis.  I had models and bases ready for an armoured regiment for my 1985 French, 16 H&R AMX-30s plus 2 HQ stands, the regimental HQ with an AMX-30 and an AMX-10 command APC, and a subordinate HQ with a single AMX-30 (for now although I may add a jeep or similar later).  This is enough for 4 armoured squadrons, although I still need to add a mechanised company to complete the unit.

This view shows one of the armoured squadrons in more detail.

The regimental HQ with command AMX-10PC.

One of the AMX-30 platoon stands.

Same again from the opposite side.

The subordinate HQ AMX-30 stand.

The AMX-30s are all by Heroics and Ros (FM01), while the AMX-10 SAO Command apc is from Scotia (FM00027).  The paint scheme is a Tamiya NATO green base, Army Painter dark tone ink washed and oversprayed with neat NATO green, then with a couple of drops of white and finally yellow added.  Tracks and exhaust are Vallejo flat brown and the models are dry brushed with Iraqi sand.  Searchlights are oily steel, vision slits blue and weight marking lemon yellow.  I  still need to paint tools visible on the hull and tow cable visible on the front armour and find a fine enough black pen to mark the weight on the yellow spots.  The models are really nicely detailed, although the hull front has prominent casting marks which need to be filed away, the rear of the turret had excess metal in c. 75% of the models and the little autocannon turret had a bulge in the fixing pin in most examples, which was particularly fiddly to hold and file at the same time.  However, the end result was a really nice model.

These are going to form part of the French 7th Armoured Division (7e Division Blindee, 7e DB),
probably the 3rd Armoured Regiment (3e Regiment de Cuiriassiers), part of the French 1st Corps allocated to NATO's reserve and counter-penetration forces to reinforce CENTAG and prevent Soviet forces reaching French territory.  Looking forward to see how the rest of the unit shapes up and performs on the tabletop.
Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

New airbrush and air compressor

Having spoken to Len at the Deeside Defenders club in Broughton a couple of times about affordable airbrushes, he pointed me towards the Expo airbrush and compressor kit from Wargamestore at Brimstage on the Wirral - see link and photo.  Len has put Youtube videos up showing the kit in action and there are a series of guides on the Wargamestore Youtube site.

I've never used an airbrush before, so was a bit unsure how user friendly it would be, especially the clean-up after use.  I found the kit easy to set up and very simple to use.

Once the paint is added to the pot and the compressor reaches pressure, there is a trigger to press to release air through the nozzle and the trigger slides back to control the amount of paint released (a dual action brush).  The pressure of the air from the compressor can also be varied and the airhose is braided which prevents kinking and pinching.  The compressor itself is very quiet, the fact sheet says around 40 dB, but I found it very quiet and it didn't disturb our 5 year old asleep in the bedroom above where I was working.  The airbrush runs undiluted Vallejo Model Air paints and other Vallejo and Tamiya acrylic paints diluted about 3 or 4 to 1 with acrylic thinners.  I also bought a bottle of Vallejo Grey Primer and Vallejo Airbrush Cleaner.  The latter is particularly useful as it really breaks up the paint residue making it easy to clean out the pot with a paper towel and flush the residue out the nozzle with a jet of air.  A pre-wash with water to remove most of the paint residues and flushing with surgical spirits also worked well, especially between paint colours, but the bespoke cleaner is also meant to lubricate the needle and helps to prevent corrosion when not in use, allegedly.  I was worried about the amount of overspray and the potential for clouds of paint to drift within the room or to be inhaled, but was pleasantly surprised to find almost no paint reached surfaces I wasn't aiming at.  There was also no odour to speak of, although I still plan to use paper masks, goggles and gloves when airbrushing, it's never worth taking a risk with eyes or lungs!

My first effort at airbrushing was to paint up an Airfix T34-85 which I'm planning to use at the Crisis Point 2014 game in April.  I've still got to do a lot of detailing, but the base coat is on with a Vallejo grey primer, Model Air Russian Green base coat, Army Painted dark tone ink wash, and progressively lighter dustings of Model Air Russian Green neat, with a couple of drops of white and finally a couple of drops of yellow.

Obviously far from finished, but I'm pretty pleased with the result and very impressed at how quickly I was able to go through the entire process.  So, I plan to make good use of my new airbrush/compressor kit in the future.

Thanks for looking.