Saturday, 27 August 2016

Sherman progress and some games

Hi folks,

This week has been spent doing a couple of things. First up, I set up a Facebook account for my blog. You can click the link on the right in order to follow me there, where I am trying to give a few more regular updates, etc.

I also continued to work on my 144 RAC Sherman I's and some of my Polish Sherman V's.

I mixed some 'Magic Wash' up. Seems to be working ok, but needs to be mixed with ink before adding to the mini's as I've not got the shade right yet.

And lastly, I played 2 games! One was even Flames of War! The other was a 6mm battle between York and Lancaster (?) during some English civil war or other. This game was the first at a club being set up by Yorkie, over and 'Little Legions' in a village hall about 45 mins from me. It was the inaugural meeting tonight and we managed to get 6 of us there for a multi player game. Some lovely mini's, good banter and a pretty quick playing game. Here's some pics:

All set up, we were on the left - no idea which army we were! Each player had two 'battles'. The hill to our North split our forces a little.

The enemy line! Some great looking units.

Our battle line - the hill that split our forces can be seen in the distance.

Some progress in the first few turns, with my battle heading forwards and getting some lucky shots in, causing one enemy unit to fall back. on the other flank the close combat had already started! A wood meant that only one part of that battle could engage at first. Thankfully they held their own!

Aftermath of the battle in the north - one enemy and one friendly unit lost, with another enemy unit shaken. My own force carefully deployed just out of initiative charge range...

Getting ready for the big clash!

Exchanging arrow fire - Thankfully Yorkie's dice were poor and he was just out of charge range.

The results of my own charge. By this point my allies had almost cleared the board, with only one other enemy unit still active. The two to my front were charged, with one combat resulting in a draw and the other resulting in a smashes enemy unit after a turn or so.

The rest our forces preparing to tackle the single remaining enemy unit (thats being pointed at). Bottom right my chaps smashed the shattered and disordered enemy unit, swept round the hill and took out the guns and lined up to charge the other enemy unit (locked in combat with my unit) in the rear. Thankfully a very close tie resulted in morale checks for both our engaged units - I passed, he did not and his unit routed. Victory!

On Wednesday I was invited round to Yorkies house for a quick game of Flames of War. I picked two 1000pt infantry lists and we used my figures (although his own are stunning). I only took one picture of the game, but it resulted in a Highland victory.

Magic Wash wise, the concotion looks like this:

But I feel it needs to be even darker. It's not so dark as it looks when poured out to be painted on. Some drops of Army Painter Strong Tone wash in the mix sorted it out ready to go onto my bunkers and Shermans:

German MG bunkers, resins casts. I've since put the static grass on them so they should be finished this weekend.

This was them after a wash of the Magic Wash mixture and a drybrush of Russian Uniform. More highlighting still required!
On top of all this, last weekend I got all my Polish Shermans primed using the Team Yankee Soviet Armour spray. The Sherman I's were hand primed and painted. I have to say this spray was (or seems) very close to Vallejo Russian Uniform, although I did quickly hand paint a coat of Russian Uniform onto them as well. One full tin and a bit of another used to cover all the Polish Shermans:

(less the 4 on the painting table)
So yeah, constructive week, I seem to be making good progress and the club should hopefully be running every two weeks. It is a 45 min drive but that's not too bad - may be quicker once the roadworks are gone! Fingers crossed this leads to some more gaming.

Friday, 19 August 2016

WiP: Sherman Horde! 1st Polish Armoured WiP

Hi folks,

So with the German Heer force tidied off for now I decided it was time to swing back to painting Allied Armour.

I had purchased a load of 2nd hand Sherman V's (M4A4's) over the last few months from a couple of different sources. Most were 'painted' and all were the Open Fire old style Shermans. These models are a pain to build, and have not been built well. I ended up taking some of them back to constituent bits in order to try and get some useful models out of them. After stripping, cleaning up, etc. I ended up with 18 useable tanks. Thankfully I only need 16 for the list and have the correct quota of Firefly's. However, these rebuilt tanks still needed work.

Pictures of the collection post rebuilding hulls and before me stripping crap off the others. 

So, a lot of badly placed stowage removed, squinty and badly placed gun barrels removed and replaced, and then a load of plastic putty used to try and fill in some of the gaps.

Some of the hulls were so badly damaged/built that I had to look to using something to cover the damage. I had thought of using camo netting, but in the end went with sandbags. A little against the look of the rest of the force, which I'll talk about in a bit. 

Once the basic cleanup and fixing was done, I moved onto stowage.

Looking at pictures of the Poles in Normandy, their tanks were pretty neat and tidy looking. One comment that stood out to me was that the Poles were apparently renowned for the tidiness of the stowage on their tanks and vehicles. I tried to replicate this look throughout the force - being a bit less random and a bit more structured with my placement of stowage, while still trying to have a little variety. I used the Peter Pig track links a lot, a mix of running gear wheels and a lot of Battlefront Sherman Stowage (I think from some of the box sets?).

I also had to replace a lot of turret hatches, as they were squinty...! The hatches were not square with the sides of the turret. Holes were drilled for radio aerials. .50 cals had to be added to the command vehicles, as the pictures I had of Poles show the command vehicles seemed to have turret MG's - I used some PSC bits I had left in order to make the guns look a bit more interesting. Blanket bins/radio boxes have been added to the rear of all turrets. Stowage added to the rear deck. All commanders were removed (to be replaced with better models later). Clipped down large canvas rolls from the plastic kits have been added to the rear of all the tanks as all the Polish Shermans seemed to have the Firefly style storage bin at the rear of the tank.

The whole lot looks like this:

On top of these 18 Sherman V's, I have 3 x Sherman I's and a Sherman IC Firefly to finish off my 144RAC force. Plus 3 x Sherman II's I have spare - may as well paint them, tempted to make one of these into a Sherman I Hybrid for the missing HQ tank in my 144RAC list. Plus a single Sherman V that I am building as a arty spotter tank. That is 26 Shermans... I may be a while!

The plan is to spray most of these with the Soviet Green spray I have, then drybrush them up with Russian Uniform. The 144RAC tanks I will probably hand paint just to keep the style of the other tanks in the army. I may also mix up some of the floor polish/ink solution I have been meaning to try instead of army painter dip.

Lots to do - and I have Crusader AA tanks and a Sherman ARV mk 1 to do as well! Not to mention 16 Cromwells... Oh dear!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Battlefront September Releases

Hi folks,

Just doing a quick post to show off some of the stuff coming for Flames of War in September. This is all collated from per-order's in stores and info gathered from WWPD's recent podcast and Breakthrough Assaults coverage.

First up, the Bulge Companion:

Not really my cup of tea, apart from the inclusion of a certain British army list:

Pic care of Breakthrough Assault's Facebook page
As the image isn't too clear, the British lists are:

7th Armoured Division (not involved in the Bulge fight, but due an upgrade from Overlord) - Armoured Squadron, Motor Company, Rifle Company.
29th Armoured Brigade (those damn Guards again - the most overrated British unit gets another list) - Armoured Squadron and Motor Company
53rd Welsh Infantry Division - Rifle Company
51st Highland Division - Rifle Company (likely the same one as above)
6th Airborne Division (?) - Parachute Company and Airlanding Company

US lists include:

4th Armoured - Tank Company, Armoured Rifle Company
7th Armoured - Tank Company, Armoured Rifle Company
704th Tank Destroyer Battalion - Tank Destroyer Company
761st Tanks Battalion - Black Panthers - Light Tank Company and Tank Company
29th Infantry Division - later late war version - Rifle Company
28th Infantry Division - Rifle Company
99th Infantry Battalion - Rifle Company
291st Engineer Combat Battalion - Engineer Combat Company
14th Cavalry Group - Cavalry Recon and Cav Tank Company
101st Airborne Division ('guys from nuts')
2nd Ranger Battalion in Hurtgen Forest

German Lists include:

106. Panzerbrigade Feldhernhalle - FHH Panzer Co, FHH Panzersturm Co, FHH PanzerGren Co
111. Panzerbrigade Panzercompanie
111. Panzerbrigade Panzergrenadierkompanie
SS-Kampfgruppe Peiper
SS-Kampfgruppe Hansen - Motor PanzerGren Co
SS-Schnellgruppe Knittel - Recon lists (A/C's and Infantry)
150. Panzerbrigade Kampfgruppe
Fuhrerbegleit and Fuhrengrenadier brigade -
Volksgrenadier Divisions
5. Fallschimjagerdivision
Nordwind Panzergrenadierkompanie
Schwere Panzerjagerkompanie

WWPD had a great interview with a BF staff member who talked about what types of lists were included. He also mentioned that the two plastic kits coming out for the Bulge Compilation were German Puma's (making 4 different versions - as described on the podcast as making the Puma, 234/1, 234/3 and 234/4 ) and American M10's (M10's, M10C's, Jacksons).

Also coming in September are a series of limited edition boxed sets - one for each main nation.

German set priced at around £65.

British set priced around £60

Russian set prices at £60.

US set priced at £70.

Sorry for the image quality, these were pinched from retailers who have them up for pre-orders.

Hope this is useful - thanks to the guys at WWPD and Breakthrough Assault for the interviews and images (hope no one minds me collating stuff here).

Edit: The WWPD site has been updated with more info on the Bulge Compilation - including some better list descriptions and images from the books. Link is here.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

15mm Tigers and StuG's Finished!

Hi folks,

A quick follow up on the post from earlier this week. Dom's Decals came through for me much faster than expected so I was able to get the stuff finished today. These are Battlefront models (15mm) with the Tigers being metal and resin and the StuGs being plastic (2 of the older style models and one of the newer).



Friday, 5 August 2016

Almost Finished! German 15mm Battlefront StuGs

Hi folks,

So this is an 'almost finished' post as other than hull numbers, which I am waiting on from Doms Decals, these assault guns are done!

These are plastic kits from Battlefront and are 15mm scale. Two are older 'open fire' plastic models while the one with the commander is a much nicer newer plastic kit from the same manufacturer. 

This particular unit is representing (roughly) Sturmgeschutzabteilung 1344. 

This unit was the Panzerjager component of  348.Infanterie-Division, but was ordered to proceed to Normandy independently in late July 1944. One source I have states "Stu.Gesch.Abt.1344 reportedly crossed the Seine during the night of 2./3.August. it was reportedly marching from the area south of Elbeuf and arrived with the 89.Inf.Div. on 7.August."

Two vehicles of this unit were knocked out by the Highland Division/33 Armoured Brigade in Tilly-la-Campagne on 8/7/44 and a intelligence report dated 12/8/44 mentions the wrecks and identifying markings. The village was cleared on the morning of 8/8/44 so the wrecks seems to have been there for a few days when the report was published. During the battle for the village '3 German SP's were knocked out, 25 Germans killed, and 85 prisoners taken'.

This evidence then does put the the unit in the correct area at the correct time. There are also references within various unit diaries to German SP guns operating during the night attack phase of Operation Totalise. In addition to this, in the days immediately prior to Totalise being launched 10 German PoW's were taken by the Canadians in the vicinity of Tilly-la-Campagne belonging to this unit. The report is a little confusing, stating that the PoW being interviewed was captured on the 5th, but that his unit arrived on the 6th... It does state that the PoW had provided information that his unit was supporting the 89. Infanterie Division. So good enough for me!

3 x Stug III G's finished:

Need to sort the end of the gun barrel out on these guys! Base is slightly chipped already as well!

Also need a light dry-brush on the decal - but I'll wait till the others are on first.
From Wiki:

StuG III Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 142/1; December 1942– April 1945, ~8423 produced, 142 built on Panzer III Ausf. M chassis, 173 converted from Panzer III): The final and by far the most common of the StuG series. Upper superstructure was widened: welded boxes on either sides were abandoned. This new superstructure design increased its height to 2160 mm. The back wall of the fighting compartment got straightened, and the ventilation fan on top of the superstructure was relocated to the back of the fighting compartment. From March 1943, the driver's periscope was abandoned. In February 1943, Alkett was joined by MIAG as a second manufacturer. From May 1943, side hull spaced armour plates (Schürzen) were fitted to G models for added armour protection, particularly against Russian anti-tank rifles, but were also useful against hollow-charge ammunition. Side plates were retro-fitted to some Ausf. F/8 models, as they were to be fitted to all front line StuGs and other tanks by June 1943 in preparation for the battle of Kursk. Mountings for the Schürzen proved inadequately strong, as many were lost in the field. From March 1944, an improved mounting was introduced; as a result, side skirts are seen more often with late model Ausf G. From May 1943, 80 mm thick plates were used for frontal armour instead of two plates of 50 mm + 30 mm. However, a backlog of StuGs with completed 50 mm armour existed. For those, a 30 mm additional armour plate still had to be welded or bolted on, until October 1943. 

Along with these three I've also got the two Tigers 'mostly' finished. Just some weathering to do on the hulls, and turret numbers for the turrets. 

Turret is still glossed - waiting on the decals. 

That's all for now - onto assembling a detailing a whole load of very poorly put together Shermans now!