Sunday, 8 September 2019

15mm Zvezda Stuka zu Fuss

I was at a loose end in Chester today while my lad was enjoying a 3d virtual reality experience as part of his birthday gifts (belated from last month so his school mates could come along).  So, with an hour to myself, the obvious hang outs were Waterstones and Chester Model Centre.  While in the model shop, I noticed they had the relatively new Zvezda Stuka zu Fuss, so thought I'd pick one up to see how it looks.  I've never really thought about using rocket artillery in games, lots of punch, but long load times and wildly inaccurate.

So, having got home, I assembled it in about 10 minutes, the body taking just a couple of minutes, but the rocket launchers taking up the rest of the time - quite fiddly consisting of the rocket and two halves for each launcher.  The whole lot snaps together quite robustly, with no need for glue.

Quite a good looking model once assembled, so another vehicle to add to the assembled, but unpainted, stash.  Thanks for looking.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

15mm Winter Panthers

After a bit of a summer break - one with very little sunshine this year, unfortunately - it's back to the painting table.  I had a box of Battlefront Panthers some time ago and assembled two of them as Jagdpanthers.  Recently, I converted the spare turrets into Pantherturms.  I'd always intended to use the three remaining kits as winter Panthers, as I have plenty of regular version.  I also found a free to download 3d model of the Jagdpanther, so decided to have a go at 3d printing using the new 3d printer at our company - I won't mention the source of the file as I don't think my printing abilities come close to doing it justice.

I painted these as normal and then winterised them with some snow made from PVA glue, Vallejo off-white and baking soda mixed into a damp paste and liberally daubed over the models.  Applied as a paste it looks quite good as snow and with more dry brushing it resembles frost, especially as the baking soda starts to crystallise as it dries.  The Jagdpanther also had a dilute wash of off-white before the snow effect was added to simulate whitewash.

The complete group.

The three Panthers.

Platoon leader with commander in the hatch.

Close-up of the leader in a snow smock and frosted helmet.

The whitewashed Jagdpanther.  I printed this one with the model standing on the rear end, resulting in the scan lines running vertically across the model when it stands on the tracks.  This wouldn't have looked good without the snow effects, which mask a lot of the printing lines.  Experimentation appears to be resulting in quite a bit of improvement in the final finish of 3d prints.

The whole group from the rear.

Detail of the snow effect on the Panther rear decks.

I have 4 StugIIIGs on the painting table, ready to winterise, so should soon be able to field the Recce infantry platoon from BG Wacht am Rhine, supported by a battery of Stugs, and/or a platoon of Panthers and a Jagdpanther, all suitably winterised.  They should also do for any late war eastern front winter scenarios.  I'm starting to feel chilly already.
More on the winter Stugs and some early war German kit, suitable for BG Blitzkrieg to Kursk to follow.  As ever, thanks for looking.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Llanstephan Castle, South Wales

Another family holiday to Carmarthen saw us staying just outside Llanstephan, close to a lovely beach and this excellent Medieval castle.  There is an excellent free car park by the beach, but that leaves a really steep climb up lanes and eventually a stony footpath to get to the castle.  Although not too strenuous, it's a bit of a climb for the elderly or infirm, or those with really young children.

The new gateway, added in Tudor times, the main gate, originally to the right, was blocked to turn the old gatehouse into a high status residence. 

The outer walls are surrounded by steep slopes dipping seaward, covered in dense woodland, which hides the banks and ditches of an Iron Age promontory fort, which the castle is built within.

Within the inner ward, the large building on the left is the gateway between the outer and inner wards, but the inner ward wall has been demolished, probably during Tudor remodelling.

The view from the well at the highest point within the inner ward, looking out into the Bristol channel.  The hills in the distance are on the Gower peninsula, separated from the headland in the foreground by the Loughor estuary.  Llansteffan castle lies at the opening of the Towy estuary, close to where it merges with the Laugharne estuary, so sits in the heart of sea transport routes in the area, while lying on a rather isolated peninsula from the landward side.

The inner ward gatehouse on the left with the main gatehouse to the right in the distance - note the big difference in elevation between the much higher inner ward, compared to the outer.

Remnants of buildings within the inner ward.

The inner ward gatehouse.

View inland from the top of the old gatehouse - just about the only structure that could be entered.

The old gatehouse from outside - quite impressive ramparts.

The blocked up gateway from the main gatehouse.  Floor level of the doorway would have been above head height, presumably entered via a wooden ramp or drawbridge across to a wooden ramp and platform.

Not a bad little castle, free to visit and well worth 1-2 hours, depending on walking pace and level of interest in the ruins.  The link below is to the wiki page for the castle, which isn't comprehensive, but does suggest it was the scene of military activity several times between the Norman conquest and it's eventual partial conversion into a des res in Tudor times.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

15mm Pantherturms

I had a box of Battlefront's Panthers.  I made 3 as regular Panthers and 2 as Jagdpanthers.  This left 2 spare Panther turrets, which I assembled and mounted on MDF blocks to represent Panther turrets used as static pillboxes.  I'm quite pleased with the results.  Should come in handy as supports for my Volkssturm platoon.

As ever, thanks for looking.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

20mm Early War Germans

Trying out some classic early war German troops and vehicles.  I picked up some assorted plastic figures at the Penkridge Tabletop sale back in the New Year, which included these Caesar classic German infantry.  I've painted up an 8 man squad to test the uniform colours, of German WW2 field grey tunics and London grey trousers, with black grey for boots, belts, webbing, ammo pouches etc.  Infantry platoons for Blitzkrieg through to Barbarossa (and Kursk?) will comprise three 7 man infantry sections and three 3 man MG34 teams, plus a 6 man command section.

I'm quite happy with the way these look.

Here is the Zvezda PAK 40 that I posted on a month or so back, together with a Krupp Protz 70 troop transport from First to Fight.  This was a nice kit once completed, but I found the instructions much less useful than I'd hoped.

I was quite pleased with the early war panzer grey colour, which is Vallejo grey violet, with a blue filter and Agrax Earthshade wash.  I had a nervous moment as the gloss varnish turned it much darker, but the matt varnish finish coat lightened it again.

A pair of soldiers standing at attention.  Not much use on the tabletop, except maybe as guards or sentries.

Finally, for now, an Early War Miniatures Kubelwagen from their £1 mis-cast show box, which I've repaired with sculpting paste and Milliput.  Crew are AB, picked up at Salute in April - lovely detailed figures, which I need to do some more detailing on to show insignia better.

More detail of the crew.  Some insignia will finish them off nicely.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

15mm WW2 US trucks

I needed some softskin transport for my US infantry, so when I saw these as a pack of four from Forged in Battle at the Phalanx show last month I thought, they will do the job fine.

I painted them in Vallejo brown violet, with khaki tilts and black grey tyres and .50 cal MGs.  Cab gunners are in Russian uniform with brown violet helmets.  I'm not sure the .50 cals were standard WW2 issue, perhaps more for Korea or even Vietnam?

More detail of one of the trucks.  Allied star decal is from Skytrex, vehicle numbers and unit markings are I-94 from Pendraken.  Dust effects are a simple dry brush in Iraqi sand.

Various angles on the individual models.

I used a diluted Agrax Earthshade wash to bring out some of the details.

Unit markings on front and rear.  Allied stars and vehicle ID on bonnet or hood as they would say in America.

So, when I need to rush some infantry reinforcements to the front, these guys should do the job.  They'll need to keep well out of the way of indirect fire and line of sight from just about anything in range.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, 12 July 2019

6mm 21st Panzer Division D-day afternoon

So, at Joy of 6 this year, we (Richard P, Ian S, Richard C, me and occasional helpers) played out a brigade level game of BKCIV, based on the 3rd British Infantry Division attempt to seize Caen on the afternoon of D-day.  The terrain stretched from Sword Beach to the outskirts of Caen and involved 185th British Infantry Brigade (3 battalions) with attached tank regiment from 27th Armoured Brigade, supported by a RM Commando with attached 13th/18th Hussar squadron and RM Centaur tank support.  The 185th was tasked with liberating Caen by advancing across Perriers Ridge (in the centre of the table below) and pushing into Caen.  The RM Commando was to cross the Orne Bridges and relieve the paratroopers holding Ranville and surroundings.

The long approach roads into Caen.  Lebissey Woods on the right.

Arrayed against the British was 21st Panzer Division.  This had been subdivided into three Kampfegruppes.  KG von Luck, mainly panzergrenadiers with a company of Pz IVs in support, was to advance on the far bank of the Orne, through Columbelles and take Ranville.  KG Oppeln and KG Rausch were to push along the near bank of the Orne, across Perriers Ridge and nip out the British lodgement at Sword beach.  The scene was set for both forces to clash head on.

Three Pz IV companies from Abt 1 of Pz Regt 22 with panzergrenadiers in the background heading for Lebissey Woods.

Panzergrenadiers from KG Rausch advancing on the flank of KG Oppeln.

The panzergrenadiers showing more appetite to get into the fight than the panzers!

The British deploy around the forward slopes of Perriers Ridge.

RM Commandos heading for Ranville on the far edge of the British advance.

The Jo6 setting - lots of people buying things and peering at very small figures.

A willing victim - sorry, games participant.  He enjoyed rolling some dice.

KG Rausch securing Mathieu and Epron.

Some troublesome Shermans at the base of Perriers Ridge.

KG Oppeln resting just out of Sherman range before Perriers Ridge.

Most of 21st Panzer stalled around Lebissey Woods.  On the far bank of the Orne, KG von Luck trading fire with the paratroopers around Ranville.

Where the game ended.  Short of a major clash, neither side was able to get to grips with the other before we had to call it a day.  However, the outcome was pretty historical in that the British drive for Caen was over for the day, while 21st Pz had come up against a serious hold up for it's drive on Sword.  On the day, 21st Panzer swung progressively further and further to the northwest, bypassing the British armour, eventually exploiting the gap between the Canadians from Juno and the British from Sword and reaching the sea in the vicinity of Lion-sur-Mer, before heading all the way back to the Epron area after being flown over by massed gliders landing 6th Airborne's reserves late on D-day.  I think I might use the image below as the starting point for another, smaller game, where the combatants can get to grips with each other sooner.

The models are all from Heroics and Ros, except the infantry, which is mainly Adler.  A lot of 21st Pz vehicles were from Ian Armstrong, although these are now available from Herocis and Ros - and lovely models they are too.

As ever, thanks for looking.