Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Hobby admin - part 3

Hi folks,

Not a huge amount to report hobby wise, I've completed the updating of the Germans and most of the British stuff. 

With the Germans, I decided to go with the 60x40mm bases for the Panthers and Tigers after a little bit of indecision. Doesn't leave much room around the edges for tufts, but does reduce the storage space required, which was the point. I really wish someone did brass replacement barrels for 15mm vehicles, as it's only a matter of time before plastic Panther guns break. Some of these tanks also got a coat of ultra matt.  

The 2nd last British tray included the towed 17-pdrs, half tracks and some spare tanks. The Churchill bridgelayer is a work in progress, I've got a smaller base than the one it was on prepped, still to complete. Spare Shermans and the Crusader AA tanks also got a coat of ultra matt varnish. 

The re-based halftracks and towed guns look cool. The half tracks for this unit are due to be repurposed at some point in the future. They are currently marked up for the 51st Highland Division AT regiment, who used Quad tractors to tow their guns. I've some PSC Quads to build for them, and the half tracks will be switched to being 4th Canadian Armoured Division troop carriers for a mechanised infantry company. 

I'm now onto the final tray, which is the Shermans from my grandfathers unit. I've saved this to last as I plan to do upgrade more than just the bases. 

Currently, I'm switching metal or old plastic 17-pdr guns with more in scale models from the most recent plastic Sherman V kit. You can see below the size differences (two replacement barrels on the left):

Other work on this squadron includes adding the circle decal to 5 hulls, replacing turret number decals on 4 turrets and repainting 4 Firefly gun barrels which have been replaced. Then a ultra matt varnish over everything and new bases. I have considered re-highlighting, but I think I'll just leave these as is.

Hopefully, another few weeks and I'll be done and on to something else!

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Hobby admin - part 2

Hi folks,

Not much to report painting wise, unsurprisingly. I've repaired some chipped paint and replaced a couple of radio aerials which had gotten badly bent through becoming trapped in various turret rings, etc, while working through my boxes of miniatures rebasing. I've discovered a few turrets which are missing magnets, but that it is a job for later. Drilling resin needs to be done outside, and while the weather has been nice, I've had other stuff on. 

Two boxes have now been completed, which freed up enough space to allow my Cromwell Squadron to fit into a tray. I also made the decision to put my Crocodiles on a base with their trailers, rather than them being separate. In v3 of Flames of War, the Crocodiles could lose the trailer after firing the flamethrower and become a gun tank, whereas in the current edition the fuel isn't as limited (which seems more realistic). Nothing looks as cool as a tank with a trailer...

This does mean that the Croc's take up a bit more space, but the individual trailers were a nuisance to store due to their shape, so having the model all together is actually better. 

15mm Battlefront Churchill Crocodile (resin and metal)

I also updated my engineering vehicles and tanks, which were moved onto the smaller bases. I have changed the selection of tufts, which I'm not hugely keen on, but they look better in the pictures. There were a unit of M10s on the same tray, which have been moved elsewhere as space has become available:

Skytrex 15mm armoured D7 and PCS Churchill with a S&S models AVRE fascine & cradle conversion

I may try and move the SBG bridge AVRE onto a smaller base, but the weight of the resin bridge needs a large base to stop the model tipping. 

It wasn't just the allies who got some TLC. This tray went from being full of German vehicles with no room for anything else, to allowing me to fit my burgeoning Sherman DD squadron in. I'm sure they start arguing every time I close the lid. 

The process or rebasing is pretty straight forward as I'm only tacking vehicles on large bases - but it is slightly time consuming. It takes time to actually prepare the bases prior to shifting the vehicles on to them. I've also been disassembling the old bases, saving what tufts and such I can, while also re-using the ferrous sheeting on them for the new bases. 

Two 9ltr boxes with vehicles are left to tackle. One, with German big cats and a few bits of Allied bits and bobs shouldn't take much work. The other contains my 144RAC squadron, which I am going to be spending more time on. In addition to updating the basing for the Shermans I plan to get all the decals up to scratch and possibly do some more cosmetic work to bring together the whole unit visually. This was my first completed unit, and was collected and painted over a long time, so has more variance than my current units (as I now try to tackle whole units at once to avoid this issue).  

Until next update!

Monday, 5 April 2021

Hobby admin - rebasing

Hi folks,

With the Polish Cromwells now done, I moved on to a bit of administration. Mainly driven by the fact that I've no space to store the models I've just painted. 

Over the last few years I've been transitioning to using 9 litre Really Useful Boxes, with Sally 4th storage trays, for my model storage needs. I place magnetic sheeting in the trays, and have ferrous sheeting on the bottom of the miniatures. This allows for a pretty efficient use of space compared to my previous methods. 

Note: Dave does this differently. He places ferrous sheets in the trays, and has bases with a circular hole cut into which he glues a 2mm by 5mm magnet. 

Recently, driven by seeing the smaller, neater, 60mm by 40mm bases that Dave uses for his 15mm vehicles, I have switched to the same method. The bases just look better for the scale of the models, and have the added benefit of using less space on the trays. How much less space? Here is a visual demonstration:

Using the Flames of War 'Large' bases, as I have done for years, I can fit a whole tank squadron on one tray. 

However, the same models on the smaller bases:

Now, rebasing all of the relevant models onto the 60mm by 40mm bases is going to take some time and effort. There is a cost implication (money for the basing materials, my time). I've had to spend a bit of time weighing all the pros and cons as to the best course of action - it is, after all, a fairly large job. 

Cost wise, one 9ltr box (~£6) filled with 2 x 50mm tall trays and 1 x 35mm tall tray (£18.50), using 4 sheets of A4 magnetic paper (~£2.80) is a fairly significant investment (~£27.30 without postage costs). I still consider that cheaper for more storage that the equivalent in foam (which I hate), but at that price per finished box, I need to make sure I am getting my monies worth.  

For the cost of rebasing, I increase my existing available storage by about 25%, while also making the models look a little better and updating the basing on some of my older models. One of the first batches I handled were my Polish Sextons:

Before - based on large FoW bases

After - based on 60mm by 40mm bases

Not a huge difference, but much neater and more focussed on the model.

Many discussions have also been had with friends who use file boxes, etc. Yes, these are often cheaper, but for the scale of mini's I collect, there can be as much as 2/3rds of a physical container as wasted space, which means I need more space to store the same number of models. The 9ltr boxes with trays store a lot of minis in a comparatively small space, stack well and are more resilient.

My plan is to work through one 9ltr box of models at a time. My pass over the Polish Shermans box also saw me correct and error I'd made with them (the only repainting I have done) - WW2 allied air recognition panels appear to have been a bright red, orange or white. While yellow smoke was used during Operation Totalize to mark friendly units, the colour panels on the tanks I'd painted yellow were incorrect, so I changed them to orange (having given Amy the choice). 

So there you go - the madness continues.