Friday, 30 May 2014

Full Thrust Ship (Minotaur Class Deep Space Tug) - Finished!

A little interesting side project for me, which I mentioned here - I was going to try to add another tab to my blog in order to document some of my Full Thrust stuff, but so far that's been a little too complicated. I can't seem to get it to work the way I think it should, so any tips are gratefully received!

Aside from painting this ship I have also introduced 4 new players to the joys of Full Thrust with some degree of success. Myself, Connor and Steven have now played 3 or 4 games and had a good laugh doing so. Connors picked up some ships and I think Steven is looking at some currently. This Wednesday Connor and me played a game with Jamie and Jules - resulting in a draw, but plenty of laughs.

The plan is to slowly repaint my Full Thrust collection one or two ships at a time while also working on my standard 15mm Brits. I enjoyed how quickly I could get this ship done (it's been sitting ready for weeks now, I just forgot to take some pics) and I enjoyed using some new techniques and painting nice bright colors for a change!


 "The Minotaur class FTL Tug was a joint commercial and military venture by the New Anglian Confederation Admiralty. The design specification was issued to commercial shipyards in order to provide a class of ship that could be produced to be commercially rented but retained by the NAC Navy for their use in emergencies. Similar programmes had been successfully implemented with merchant hulls that could be re purposed during wartime into military transports - but without the upkeep cost to the Admiralty of a standing merchant fleet. These tugs are now prolific across NAC and allied space, doing everything from hauling cargo trains, shunting ships around orbitals, acting as 'Lifeboats', hauling asteroids and deep space rescue and salvage. Featuring a 200 mass FTL drive and over sized thrusters, the Minotaur is capable of acting as a tug for all but the largest vessels. Provided with screens and a level of Armour protections (as well as comprehensive PDS suite) for operating in debris strewn battlefields and asteroid belts, the Minotaur class has proven to be both as tough and as strong as it's namesake."

Monday, 26 May 2014

Kangeroo Company! 15mm Defrocked M7 Priests - Finished!

This is my last post in this little series I've had this weekend.

Again, some of the models I finished last week were the last remaining part of a larger force. In this case the last two Defrocked Priests for my infantry company to ride to battle in.

The Defrocked Priests were field modifications of American M7 Priest Self Propelled Artillery guns.

M7 Priest - Picture from Wiki (linked without permission)
As the Allied forces fought in Normandy (especially in the more open Canadian and British sectors of the front) they began encountering massive problems overcoming German machine gun and mortar fire. Tanks can't advance without infantry support, and infantry can't advance when their every move brings down accurate mortar fire and they are having to advance into the teeth of machine gun fire from the likes of the German MG-42.

Neither could tanks operate well with infantry at night - and yet it became apparent that the only way to avoid the long range/high powered anti tank guns used by the Germans - as well as the withering machine gun and mortar fire - was to advance at night. A solution was needed that would allow mounted infantry to move accross country at the same rate as the tanks, while protecting them from MG fire and shell splinters.

Famously, this coincided with a American issue with supply of the 105mm shells used by the M7. M7's had been in use by various Canadian and British units from D-day, but with the ammo supply becoming difficult the American requested that the other allies cease using the M7. The British and Canadians rapidly switched (mainly to towed 25 pdr guns) and the 'spare' M7's were made ready to return to the Americans. From Wiki:

"The order to convert 72 Priests into carriers by the commencement of Operation Totalize on August 9 was given on July 31 by Brigadier C.M. Grant, the Deputy Director of Mechanical Engineering at Headquarters.[5] Ultimately, 78 would be converted prior to the first engagement, in spite of the fact that the Operation's start date had been advanced to August 7 – an impressive feat, as just one part of the conversion process was generally a seven-day operation.[6]The drivers for the new vehicles were swiftly and secretly recruited from the Armoured Corps reinforcements, Artillery Units, and the Elgin Regiment, and were rushed into service with almost no training..."
Some of the sources mention that conversion had begun before the Americans had agreed!

My six Defrocked Priests are done up with the markings of the three Artillery Regiments of 3rd Canadian Infantry Division - two from each regiment just to be fair! However, I have since realised that the decals are actually for the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. Ooops! Correction will be forthcoming once I find someone that sells the correct decals.

Notice the slight changes in size between these models. They all came from Battlefront and all from 3 separate blisters - no 2 seem to be the same size or exact shape.

The markings in white on the front came from seeing this picture:

Linked from 51st HD website - used without permission

And this one:

Linked from 51st HD website - used without permission

17 Pounder Anti Tank platoon - Finished!

Continuing with this little series of blog posts on units I managed to get finished last week.

This article focuses on my completion of my heavy anti tank platoon. The unit is made up of the M5 Halftracks I've already featured a little (...!!!!) and four 17 Pounder Anti Tank guns - plus command. 

I've built this as a troop of guns belonging to 61st Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. Although one of the towing M5's currently has the wrong markings, which will be fixed shortly. 

From Wiki:

"The Ordnance Quick-Firing 17-pounder (or just 17-pdr)[1] was a 76.2 mm (3 inch) gun developed by the United Kingdom during World War II. It was used as an anti-tank gun on its own carriage, as well as equipping a number of British tanks. It was the most effective Allied anti-tank gun of the war. Used with the APDS shot it was capable of defeating all but the thickest armour on German tanks. It was used to 'up-gun' some foreign-built vehicles in British service, notably to produce the Sherman Firefly variant of the US M4 Sherman tank, giving British tank units the ability to hold their own against their German counterparts."

The anti tank regiment in the Division provided 24 x 17 pounder and 24 x 6 pounder anti tank guns. From my research it seems that the unit was split over the division and troops assigned where they was most needed. The 17 pounders, being much bigger guns, tended to be brought forward after an attack (rather than accompanying it) and deployed to help hold gains. 

In Flames of War these guns have the highest AT in the British list (at 14) and are immobile without their transport. Although they can be towed by many British tanks. In the Highland Division list these guys are Reluctant Veterans, making them hard to hit but hard to unpin. 

Currently missing from the bases are the newly adopted flowers and the ammo cases which still have to be painted. I'd also like to do some empty shell casings but need to find the correct material to do these with. 

Great fun using these guys, nice dishing out to the Germans what my poor Shermans normally suffer! 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

6 Pounder Anti Tank gun platoon - Finished!

Again, some pics of models I finished last week. The two final guns and Loyd carriers I needed to make my platoon up to full strength.

These guys carry the markings of 'S' Company of 7th Battalion, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders - the third of the three infantry battalions of 154 Brigade, 51st Highland Division. 

I realised that along with my 3" Mortar platoon I've more or less got the whole of 'S' Company! Might need to look at some command teams and stuff just to make it a stand alone unit...

Again, I can see how my painting has moved on since I started these back in 2012. I can also see that some of the older guns need another highlight and spray of Matt varnish. One of the things I changed last week were the bridging numbers on the Loyds carriers. I had these as '4's but it turns out they should be '5's... Fixed now! 

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Plastic Soldier Company 15mm plastic M5 Halftrack comparison

One of the most popular posts on my blog has been my article comparing the Plastic Soldier Company plastic M5 Halftracks against Blattlefronts resin kit for Flames of War. My original post was from just after I'd picked up and assembled the PSC version, and featured an unpainted and unbased model next to a painted and based one. Not a very fair comparison!

To revisit that post then, I've taken some pics of the two finished products side by side. On the right is the Battlefront model, on the left the PSC one. 

My impression of the kits now they are painted is that the detail on the PSC models come through better. The crew are a bit slighter of build and the models took a bit of assembly, but the quality is top notch as are all the extras you get in the sprue. 

State of the collection!

I'm off at the inlaws this weekend, but had taken a few pics on Thursday night after I'd tried to fit all my painted stuff into the cabinet I've got. Tried being the operative word.

So here's a little (poorly lit I'm afraid) collection of pics showing my (mostly) painted models.

Some of the models on the bottom shelf are just base coated...

But everything else on these shelves are finished!

And then there was the overspill:

Top shelf here only. The other shelf has a infantry platoon I've still to pay someone the money for (!) along with three Battlefront Universal Carriers - and a load of Forged in Battle ones I've barely touched. 

There's a shelf next to my painting chair with an assortment of unopened blisters...

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

M5 Halftrack Ambulance - PSC conversion - Finished!

I managed to get a few pics up last night of my finished halftracks that will be the tractor units for my 17 Pounder platoon. Alongside these I managed to finish off my halftrack ambulance (seen above). This is really a unit for Battlegroup Overlord rather than anything to do with Flames of War. It's one of several units I have planned. At the moment those plans include a ambulance jeep, a lorry loaded with supplies and a MP jeep.

Ok, so some details. The kit itself was from The Plastic Soldier Company and was one model from a pack of five M5 Halftracks. I already had a M5 halftrack from Battlefront which had been part of my Pioneer platoon - prior to the 'Overlord' book changing the platoon HQ vehicle to a truck. As this model was painted I decided to decal it as one of the halftracks of 61st Anti Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery, add it to the plastic Halftracks and convert one of them to an ambulance. Mainly as they were all unpainted.

Details of how I converted this model can be found here. Just to bore everyone again:

I removed the MG cupola and used some standard plasticard to build up the shape I needed for the canvas top. I figured this would be easier to build up the green stuff on. As you can see, the shapes are all pretty simple. The only bit that caused me an issue at this point was the front section - but a bit of time and shaping with a craft knife got me both the shape I needed and the little slices required to prop it up.

Then on to the green stuff:

This was just layered up. I rolled the mixed green stuff into sausages, laid them along from side to side, layering where the canvas was higher and just used a modelling tool to shape it. I tried to make it look 'canvassy' but not too sure that worked very well. Still, from a distance it looks fine!

The model then went through various stages of painting - Black primer, Base coat with Vallejo Model Color Russian Uniform (70924), Black for the tracks and wheels then Model Color Black Grey (70.862) highlighted by Vallejo Panzer Aces Dark Rubber (306). Model Color Mahogany Brown (70.846) for the tools highlighted by Model Color Beige Brown (70.875). The canvas I had gone for reflective green, but I think through drybrushing etc it ended up back at more the Russian Uniform color. Very hard to tell from what few period pics I could find what the tarp should have been painted.

Decal wise the British Red Crosses are from Skytrex (CD DEC26) along with my usual selection from Doms Decals. for the WD number (the number along the side of the front hull) I decided to go with a 'A' number. Mainly as I had ran out of 'Z' numbers which is normally what a halftrack is classified as. 'A', of course, stands for Ambulance.

The AoS markings I searched high and low for. Eventually I figured out that as a Ambulance of 154th Field Ambulance (the 154 Brigades ambulance unit) the AoS seems like is should be a white '77' on a black square.

I used one of my Doms Decals black '64' AoS decals (for the Divisions support battalion's MMG and 4.2" units) and just painted black over the 64 and reapplied the 77 in white.

I was a bit unsure about where to put the red cross markings but in the end went for a mix of the various markings I had seen during my research.

So that's it, one ambulance ready to support my PBI!

This model was also the first one I went for the flowers on as well, and I think they look brill. All in all really pleased with how it turned out.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

PSC M5 Halftracks... teaser

Managed to finally get my half tracks finished, based, etc The only thing remaining is some decals to fix on my previously completed Battlefront M5 to make it fit in with the unit. No time for a full blog tonight, but I was so chuffed I wanted to put some quick pics up before a fuller blog later.

Plastic Soldier Company M5 Halftracks in 15mm
Side view of Plastic Soldier Company M5 Halftracks in 15mm
My conversion of a Plastic Soldier Company M5 Halftrack into a M5 Ambulance - in 15mm
More pics to follow!

Monday, 19 May 2014


While working on finishing off the models I've been picking away at for the last few months(...), it occurred to me that I hadn't really detailed what I am doing for the basing of my mini's. Maybe I did a while ago, but I took a pic of what my rough process is.

So I start with my standard base - either a FoW one or one from Warbases. I try to keep units all on the same type of base - so for example all the half tracks I have done have Warbases large size bases.

I've mentioned a few times my reasoning behind basing everything. A lot of the FoW models come moulded on bases and I feel that if one thing has a base on it, everything should. It rattles some internal cage of mine seeing Universal Carriers that look out of scale next to Shermans... purely because the UC are on a base.

The base also provided a better transport solution (magnets) and stops the track to track car park look. The one that one of Battlefronts 'rangers' tells me never happens but that I see on battle reports all the time.

Here's the photo:

The 'Dark Earth' is a acrylic resin from Vallejo (26.218) and is basically a dark grey colour. I apply this to a base that has been well scored in a zigzag pattern by a craft knife. Usual (recently) I have just been using a teaspoon to scoop out the amount I need and then roughly flatten it down. The nice thing about the resin is that it can be cut and trimmer as required when it's dry.

Once it's dry and trimmed, I paint it all Vallejo Model Color Flat Earth (70983). If I am spraying matt varnish around this time I will also give it a spray of that just to seal it. A tip I picked up from Paul, Davey and YD was that if you are using wooden bases you should varnish all of them - including the under side. This means if water should ever get into your mini's, the bases don't swell up and become ruined. 

For bases with infantry, I just press the infantry down, then cut out a rough rectangle that they will fit in. Superglue on the hole and then press the mini in.

Then I paint the bases of the infantry flat earth and let that dry. Then cover the top of the base in PVA and using my home made squirty bottle of static grass (a washing up liquid bottle with the stopper removed) I fire the static grass onto the bases with little puffs of air.

For vehicle bases I just PVA and static grass, then superglue the model onto the base.

The last stage is some dabs of PVA and then application of scrub bushes and flowers (currently from MiniNatur). I'm not one for piles of stones or the likes, as my men are fighting in well cultivated Normandy. Similarly I don't like ruins, rubble, etc. Although to be fair it is a bit daft when my tanks sit on a road with their grass bases - but I'm not quite at the madness of interchangeable bases depending on the tabletop terrain.....

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Liebster Award


Dai, from over at the Lost Damned and Stunted blog, was kind enough to nominate me in his Liebster award post.

So the rules seem to be:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it you.

2. Pass the award to your top 11 blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of there posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.

3. Sit back and bask in the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing you have made someones day!

4. There is no obligation to pass this onto someone else but its nice if you take the time to do so.

And the tradition seems to be to start by listing 10 'Truths about me'.

1)  I'm a massive believer in/supporter of a independent Scottish nation (Yes, I am Scottish).
2)  I own over 200 roleplay books, from 2nd edition ADnD to all the current Warhammer 40k RPG books.
3)  I can't stand cucumber.
4)  I've a little boy who lives a couple of hundred miles away with his mum - and I miss him every day.
5)  I'll be 32 this year, and still have not decided what I want to be when I grow up.
6)  I have a full clean driving license, but have not driven a vehicle of any type in over 4 years.
7)  As a child, I stole from pick and mixes. A lot.
8)  I like brown sauce in my mince and tatties. This seems to upset my other half.
9)  I cannot remember the names or faces of 'celebrities'. My other half does not believe this to be true and thinks I do known names and faces of 'celebrities' but pretend I do not. Show me a WW2 aircraft however...
10) I swear at myself all the time. If I don't randomly swear at least five times per decal I apply, I'm probably drunk.

And then the 10 Questions I was posed (actually 11 - not sure where the extra one sneaked in!)

1. Why did you start blogging?

I started keeping a blog as I had spent a lot of time trying to find info on what I was doing with my painting. I like to try and have an idea of what steps I should be taking, where to look, what works and doesn't, etc. I found that there was nowhere central that I could go to that could provide all the answers I needed. So I thought if I started blogging I would keep track of my progress and hopefully help out other people at the same time. 

2. If you could change one thing about the wargaming hobby, what would it be?

I dislike that so much of the hobby is becoming more and more corporate. GW and Battlefront are prime examples, stomping on creativity and putting the shareholders dividend ahead of the hobbyists. New armies and rules seem to be aimed at forcing people to buy more models and books. I'd take that away. Sure, people need to be able to make cash and employ staff, etc. But treating hobbyists like cash cows to be milked as hard as possible is just sucking the fun out of things. 

3. What is best in life? 


4. Do you want to live forever?

No - long enough to see my Son do well and my country to have that status and those powers that other nations assume to be theirs by right.

5. Fame or fortune? 


6. What miniature are you most proud of having painted? 

Everything! I have never classed myself as being a painter. It's not something that comes as easy to me as to other people I know. My projects take ages and I always feel like I need to worry about suddenly switching to whatever new thing catches my eye!

7. How do you deal with burn out?
I spend time on the computer, playing whatever game is new. Reading and basically just taking my time. I also find working in batches with my own little targets helps. 

8. Why is a raven like a writing desk? 

And how do snow plow drivers get to work?

9. Star Wars or Star Trek? 

Star Trek. Star Wars is like Babylon 5. "A big pile o shite". 

10. If you could only buy from one miniature company from now on, which one would it be?

Tough one. I would go currently for either GZG or Battlefront. GW would actually be in the mix, but only as I love the background.

11. What is your favourite take away?

Cantonese style sweet and sour with egg fried rice.


The last bit of the award is nominating 10 other blogs. I'm not going to do that as it's taken me over a week just to get this far. Thanks again to Dai for nominating me, it really is nice to know someone appreciates my ramblings!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Carronade 2014 haul!

With finances being as they are just now, I was limiting myself to what I would spend today. Thankfully, the joys of a decent bring and buy is that you end up with far more for your £££'s.

So, some pictures of the haul. First up, one of my best buys:

Daimler Dingo's I've been looking at for months. Another Sherman Firefly... handy - although I had wanted a Hybrid Firefly it's no biggie. The Sherman V - not really something I need, but I am sure I'll find a use for it.

As you can see, the items were all prices £6.50. But two of them have the prices scored out. The chap was in the process of marking the new price having seen my looking at them and putting them down. What is the new price, says I. £1 each says he!!!! I practically threw the money at him. A saving of £16.50!

Next up - something I've been after for ages. I wanted some Battlefleet Gothic Imperial light cruisers, and someone here has cut down some Imperial ships to make them into Ork ships.

However, I am pretty sure I can strip the paint from these and rescue the hulls. These should make some use able light cruisers (albeit conversions). All these models in one box for £10. Again, I practically threw my money at the stallholder before he could change his mind. I'm only interested in the imperial hulls really, and can probably sell the Chaos stuff in it's current condition for the price I paid for the box.

A selection of tiddlywinks, box of FoW bases, some Warbases large FoW bases and some more turret number decals. The tiddlywinks is a cunning plan - part one is some to mark in Full Thrust when a ship has fired and part two is to use to base my planned individual 15mm figures (to supplement my FoW bases for Battlegroup Overlord). Also in this pic are the above mentioned FoW blisters. Also in the picture are my flight peg toppers from Figures in Comfort which I collected at the show and got a refund on my postage for!

Figures in Comfort were also selling these - a heading/weapon facing template for Full Thrust. Given that I've played two games of this in the last month using a tatty paper version I made 7 years ago I thought a new plastic version would be a good purchase.

In this Full Thrust theme:

3 old style ESU Battleships, two Light Carriers, two Heavy Cruisers (?) and an Escort Cruiser (?) and a pack with two ESU scout ships - as well as a load of fighter bases. For £5. Well spotted on these ones by Paul, who picked them up for me when he saw them and figured I would be interested.

Also in this pic is the template from above and a book on the 3rd Infantry Division from D-Day to the Elbe. This cost me £2.

Last two items:

Some Forged in Battle Loyd Carriers (to be transports for my 4.2" Mortar platoon). And some MiniNatur flower tufts. These are in white and yellow, and will spruce up some of my bases as well as the grass tufts I've been using.

A full comparison of the FoW and FiB Loyd Carriers will follow soon(ish).

A fantastic haul for me and I am really really pleased with some of these buys. The FoW models and BFG models especially.

YD picked up some 10mm WW2 Germans for his Rapid Fire army, some Zulus and British troops for 28mm games and some 15mm Vietnam mini's. Davey was happy with his huge box of 28mm Celts and Roman 28mm kits and Paul copied me in getting grass tufts/flowers and paints. He also got some books showing colour photos of Nap re-enactors in full kit (as opposed to no kit (ooo er)). We were all really pleased with our buys - Thanks to the guys for taking me along for the day.