Tuesday, 29 September 2015

6MMRPC: Moar green tanks! Huzzah!

Hi folks,

With packing activity progressing I've been hurrying to get up to date with my modelling so I can get things varnished and then all my modelling stuff packed away. Don't get me wrong - packing takes precedence. But there is only so much you can do in a day! I think Amy understands that what I'm working on just now is my way of transitioning through the move - I feel like being able to pick up right where I've left off will help make things a lot easier for me.

This weekend I have been working on getting the three M3A1's, two Crusader AA and single M10C up to a point that they can be varnished. I'd have loved to get all 4 M10C's painted, but without enough stowage they are going to have to wait. These are all Battlefront models.

I also touched up paint on the three Wasp's I had worked on previously. I hadn't put any stowage on them and there were a few other bits I wanted to fix.

As part of the painting process I sorted out the bases, getting the acrylic resin on them, trimming them down and then magnetising them.

Here's the whole lots with the bases on:

I have to say, the Crocs look bloody good with the bases on them (although I know they won't be everyone's cup of tea). For the fuel trailers I just glued them onto the bases at the correct angle for them to line up with the tanks. They are not attached, so can be freely removed.

Some closer shots of the other tanks - as per usual these are WiP and just have the main colours blocked in before they get a coat of Army Painter Dark Tone varnish applied. So there are no highlights or anything on these models.

The M3A1 was a development of the M3 Light Tank. Normally referred to the Stuart in British service (after the standard British naming convention - most Lend Lease American tanks were given the names of American Civil War generals (Grant, Lee, Stuart, Sherman)) the standard M3 was also known as 'Honey'. Apparently as crews described them as 'running like a real honey'.

The M3A1's official name in the British Army was the Stuart III. It varied from the Stuart I (Honey) by having a new turret with turret basket and no cupola. Gun vertical stabiliser were installed and the sponson machine guns were removed. The turret is more rounded and less angular than the one used in the M3 and the removal of the commanders cupola on the turret roof means that there is a different hatch layout than the earlier version.

M3A1 of 144RAC somewhere in Normandy

A rather nice 1:72 Diorama of the picture above. From here - diorama by
In British service, the Stuart V's tended to be given to the Armoured Divisions, while the Stuart III's were still in use by the Independent Armoured Brigades.

Armed with a 37mm gun and three .30cal machine guns, it was pretty lightly armed and armoured for 1944. In fact, I think the Americans considered them to be obsolete.

Next up, the Crusader AA tanks.

These tanks are Crusader III, AA Mk II's. Armed with twin 20mm Oerlikon cannons. Prior to D-Day there was real concern about the Luftwaffe's response to the invasion and integral AA defence for units was seen as critical. The AA tanks came about from obsolete Crusader tanks being re-armed with the 20mm cannons. These were normally issued at a rate of 6 per Armoured regiment (normally to the HQ squadron). They saw little to no use in their intended role and there are various stories about how they were used in action - mainly being used as 'escort' tanks for unarmoured elements or as backup for the Regiments Light tanks. In June 1944 33 Armoured Brigade had 20 of these tanks on strength (6 per Regiment with 2 at Brigade HQ). By December 1944 there were none of these vehicles listed as being on strength of 33 Armoured Brigade, as they were removed from service and the crews used as replacements for losses in the Regiments.

There should be a tubular framework around the top of the turrets, but it's too fiddly for me even to try at this scale. 

Lastly, my single M10C.

Not much stowage on this, as I was running out. The netting looks pretty good, but the plan is to try and add to this with some foliage. If I can get some that looks realistic!

This is an American M10 Tank Destroyer armed with the British 17 Pounder Anti Tank gun. Normally called an Achilles, during WW2 it was called a 17pdr M10 or 17pdr SP M10. Lightly armoured but with one of the best anti tank guns the western allies used, these vehicles are not truly tanks - although they look like them! These are strictly speaking self propelled anti tank guns and were used by Royal Artillery (and Royal Canadian Artillery) anti tank units. Mines will be from 6th Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment, RCA. These were the corps A/T regiment of 2nd Canadian Corps.

So with these guys based, I'm hoping to get them varnished tomorrow. This will give them a day or so to dry then everything can be packed away!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

6MMRPC: Tanks and Trades

Hi folks,

A quick update before the weekend (and lots of packing) starts. Today was my final day of work in Glasgow, so I am looking forward to starting in Middlesbrough in a weeks time and not having to spend 3+ hours a day commuting! Tonight I celebrated by getting primer on my three Stuart M3A1's and Crusader AA tanks.

These pics are post black primer, so don't show much. I managed to do a little work through the week on stowage - running out of canvas rolls and jerry cans - and also managed to add a hull MG barrel to the Stuarts.

I had enough stowage to have a bash at one of the M10C's, adding a .50cal MG and patches of camo netting. I'm thinking on these guys to try a new thing, and have been looking at options for foliage branches in 15mm. There are a few options out there, I just need to pick one then have it delivered to my new address (I have the same issue with ordering more stowage).

My thinking with the foliage is that these Self propelled guns were normally used from defensive or ambush positions. Also, with them being a Canadian addition to my army, I wanted them to be visually a little different. The inclusion of foliage on the models will really depend on whether I can make it subtle enough. I've seen lots of models with clumps of horrible rubberised hair and the likes on them - or clumps of clump foliage - and I don't want to go down that route. The key will be getting decent looking 'branches' and leafs. 

I also picked up a Dremel like tool from EBuyer. Called the Xenta 163 Piece Rotary Tool it costs a whole £14.99. I'm waiting on it being delivered but the reviews sound OK and at that price if it only lasts a few months I won't complain. What it will let me look at doing it magnetising my turrets.

Also this week I managed to trade my 3 Stuart Honey tanks I asked for in error at Christmas time. I managed to arrange a trade of the 3 tanks and a small sum of money for 3 plastic  PSC Churchills and 4 plastic BF M5 Halftracks. I'm not too sure what to do with the Churchills, but the M5's will be for my Recce company infantry. The Churchills might end up as an extra support option or as base kits if the conversion kits for PSC Churchills ever materialize. I'll think about it but they can stay on the sprues for a while yet. I should probably count this as a Joker for the challenge, but it was a small amount of cash and that was only because we needed to even out the trade value.

And... I managed to move the vehicle crews onto the shelf as they are now ready to be varnished.

I've not posted the pics of the Stuarts or the Crusader AA as the black primer makes them just large black blobs in the pictures. More to follow when I get the base coat on them.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Full Thrust AAR

With my move upcoming, myself and C had got together today to play a last game of Full Thrust before I go.

We had agreed on 2000 points and more or less just a straight up fight scenario on C's large round table. This was the source of my Secret Project mentioned the other day. I decided not to go with the Light Carrier I was working on, and instead went with a 'Battle Wagon' lineup.

These guys form the 'heavy hitting' part of my NAC collection (along with a few older ships and escorts)

This group consists of a Farragut class Battledreadnought (BDN, on the left), two Thunderer class Battleships (BB, left and right rear), one Achilles class Heavy Frigate (FFG, smallest ship to the front), two Tallahachie class Destroyer's (DD, right front) and a Suffolk class Escort Cruiser (CE, far right). This group (along with an interceptor fighter squadron carried by the Battledreadnought) made up my force - around 2000 points. 

Given past experience, we decided to split the fleets up into sections and bring each part on as 'reserves'. The logic being that detecting an enemy force in the vastness of space requires spreading your fleet out. Once combat was joined the various elements would make for the fight. We randomized the arrival turn and location of each element, using a 12 sided dice to establish where on the table the ships arrived, as well as the starting velocity. This prevented the usual 'line up and joust' style of combat that straight up games can turn into. 

I split my force up, having one Battleship with the Heavy Frigate, one with a Destroyer and the Battledread with a Destroyer and the Escort Cruiser. I did configure my fleet for anti fighter defence, thinking the C might field fighters and that this could be these ships vulnerability. The Heavy Frigate (FFG) being an Escort version (with an area defence anti fighter fire control and a load of Point Defence systems) as well as making the Escort Cruiser (CE) the anti fighter variant (similar to the FFG, just with more point defence systems). 

C split his force into similar segments. I'm afraid his ships are all custom designs, so I've no idea what their fits were (other than running into some nasty weapons loadouts...).

Some of C's ships, from the Brigade British range

The game started with us both rolling for random entry - and both rolling the position on the table we were sitting at! The first few turns were slow as we closed the distance and manoeuvred for position. We were using centimetres for movement and shooting, so the distances were actually quite big. 

After a quick pass, the next groups arrived:

These also started closing the range, by two BB's converging on the new arrivals. 

One of my BB's took a bit of a pounding passing through the new group, with little damage done in return. Most of C's flee have very weak hulls but with two shields (and in one case, 2 advanced shields). 

The ships continued to manoeuvre a bit, trying to line up shots. C managed to get two of his ships round behind my two (bottom right above). Some poor choices by me saw him able to stick on their tale in the aft blind spot - doing a lot of damage and eventually causing the BB to lose it's bridge and have it's power core overload. The power core was fixed but not before the loss of the bridge caused the ship to leave the table. The DD acting as it's escort was destroyed a turn later. 

Our final two groups arrived - my BDN being quite far away from the other ships. C's ships started to converge on it. 

A little later and one of his capital ships was leaving the table (top right) with significant damage and no bridge (it's power core may also have been damaged - a recurring theme!). My remaining BB and the BDN started converging on the remaining big ship. We eventually got it to half damage and took out the bridge on the last turn. In the process I lost another Destroyer. 

At the end of the game I had lost one BB off the table, had 2 Destroyers blown up and had various other damage on other ships. C had a Heavy Battlecruiser (Pocket Battleship?) leave the table along with two Destroyer (or smaller?) size ships. I killed another 2 Destroyer size ships. One of C's remaining big ships was crippled but the rest of his fleet was largely untouched. We ended on a draw, with both forces heading off to rescue their damaged Battleships.

A good game, shame it could be the last for quite a while. The random entry certainly worked! Hopefully these Battleships and the BDN will get added to the to do pile!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

6MMRPC: A Bask of Crocodiles!

Hi Folks,

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

I've managed to get these 5 tanks and trailers to the point that they are ready for the Army Painter varnish. They were alright to paint - the more I work with Churchills the more I come to see them as quite charming in a pugnacious way.

Some of those pictures are looking a little washed out, but the paint tone is the same Russian Uniform green as eve.

Plus the trailers:

Still some touching up required, but that can be fixed easily enough (like the wheel above). The main thing is to get them varnished now, as time is rapidly ticking down to moving day!

I've also managed to get the flesh painted on half of the crew figures. I had planned to get the rest finished tonight, but my PC was starting to sound like a helicopter as I have been putting off cleaning it out for months. So I ended up doing that  instead.

I also had a secret project to work on tonight - but I made less progress than hoped, just getting the models cleaned and assembled. I may have time for a base coat but I doubt I'll get too much more done this week... More on this later!

Now on the painting table (but with little hope of being ready) are my M10C's, Crusader AA tanks and Stuart III's. With luck I will at least get the stowage on these and perhaps a base coat before moving day. 

Croc on!

Friday, 11 September 2015

6MMRPC: Crocs Update

Hi folks,

Blog post #225 and just over 50,000 visits! Not a bad run for my wee hobby blog (we'll ignore the fact 75% of the visits will have been spam!).

So, busy week this week, and busy weekend coming up. I thought I would do a quick update post now just to show I am still trying to work on my metal mountain!

This week I got the Churchill Croc's all detailed and base coated. I've not come up with a solution for the trailers yet. I also managed to get the webbing done on my vehicle crews. Beyond that, I am hoping for better progress next week!

I've done 3 with the netting and 2 with Sherman track's mounted on the turrets.

Some closer shots:

And also the trailers:

So, steady progress but no major breakthrough. I still need to consider basing and how to connect the trailers to the tanks, so that they can be removed easily.

Thats all for now!