Saturday, 28 January 2017

AHPC 'East' Bonus Round: 6mm and 3mm vehicles

Hi folks,

This week has been one of mainly prep, bad moods and full schedules...

I've now finished a good portion of the initial 'Gunuary' workload I had set myself. As such, I've moved from painting the guns to painting all the various bits and bobs that are required to put a full artillery unit on the table in Flames of War. As such, on the painting table currently are:

3 x Jeeps
3 x UC OP Carriers
8 x 15cwt Trucks
8 x Matadors
5 x Command squads (15 figures)
2 x OP stands (4 figures)
2 x Staff teams (8 figures)
Infantry for the bases of each of the 15cwt trucks... (25ish figures)
1 x resin scenic base

I'm the first to warn against overloading your table at any one time with stuff to paint. For me it puts a real dampener on my feelings towards the project, as the sheer amount to do seems to loom far too large. Along with a very busy time at work and the changes eventually (although for late war not initially) happening in v4 of the FoW rules mean that a lot of these 'extras' might be useless. I was starting to feel like putting the painting aside for a bit.

However, the v4 changes wouldn't impact for a long time, and I have the models bought. And stopping altogether wouldn't get anything done! So I resorted to just ignoring the bulk of it, picking 4 stands of the infantry figures and just getting them done to a wash stage. Last night I started on the next 4 stands, and I will just keep chipping away. I also spray coated the various vehicles and generally just made slow steady progress.

Last week I finished off my 5.5" guns, and quickly worked on some 6mm and 3mm stuff to enter into the AHPC bonus round, which this time had the theme 'East'. I had thought about doing some Full Thrust ESU star ships, but decided to stick with the Gunuary theme and go for my 6mm Soviet artillery (conventional and anti-air).

These 6mm models are all GHQ and are the first 6mm figures I think I have ever painted aside from some Epic models back in the day.

5 x 'Shilka' ZSU-23-4's.

5 x BMP2

5 x SA-13 'Gopher' SAMs

5 x 2S1 'Carnation' SP Guns

These are all part of my 6mm Team Yankee project - although the fact they are in packs of 5 means they don't currently exactly fit the TY army entries.

Radio aerials were done using a small pin vice and some toothbrush bristles. I have considered putting some 1/300th decals on them as well, but haven't ordered any yet. The pictures came out very dark, so I had to mess with the contrast and brightness, which has meant they look a little flat colour wise.

These are mounted on standard 'small' flames of war bases. For the bases I used PVA and sand, then strips of 1mm static grass and my standard length static grass (3 or 4mm?). I also added some small tufts.

I also, while I was working on these, dug out some of the 3mm stuff I still had to finish. This consisted of 4 x Cobras and 2 x Hinds (with the other 2 Hinds just needing basing). These are also based on 'small' flames of war sized bases and using some small paperclips for the flight stand. You should be able to see on the bases where the paperclip has been bent to provide a base. These are all 'Tumbling Dice' 1/600th scale models.



Side views:

So that's all I've finished since last week... hopefully soon I'll have a lot more to show off!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

AHPC - 2nd entry, British 5.5" Medium Guns Finished!

Hi Folks,

Apologies to those of you who have already seen this unit over on the AHPC blog, but I feel like I should post here as well. Just to keep everything together! I've also taken some better pictures.

This weeks entry was 6 x BL 5.5" Medium Guns. These heavy hitters were introduced into service in 1941, replacing some of the 6" 26 cwt Howitzers which had been used in British Medium Artillery Regiments prior to that date (also in use was the 4.5" Medium Gun - a very similar looking artillery gun). They first saw action in North Africa in 1942, and continued in service with British Territorial Army units until the 1980's. The last known firing of one of these guns 'in anger' was in 1999 during the fighting in Kashmir.

These 6 guns bring my unit up to a strength of 8, with me having finished the other two last year.

In my army, they will be representing a battery of the 79th (The Scottish Horse) Medium Regiment , Royal Artillery. This battery represents the guns of 4 AGRA (Army Group, Royal Artillery) in my Operation Totalise project - supporting the Canadian II Corps. I've had a bit of a wobble about this, as one reference mentions the unit having 5.5" guns, while another mentions 4.5" guns. I've since found another source which gives the unit 5.5" guns, so I'm 'sticking to my guns' and going with 79th Medium Regiment

Now to worry about the various command teams and vehicles for this unit! I know V4 will do away with a lot of those, but I have the figures so may as well do them!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

AHPC: Limbered (Towed) 17 Pdrs Finished!

Hi folks,

I managed to get my first actual challenge entry completed this week (aside from the bonus round entry of the Sextons). Sticking with my Gunuary theme, I took the easy option of finishing my towed 17 Pdrs. Not a huge amount of work in these as no crew to do!

These guns are from Skytrex and the first two were picked up after I spotted them on Ebay and decided it might be cool to do the guns being towed. I picked up another two from Skytrex, who offer them both limbered and deployed. A quick email to them confirmed that they would sell me only the limbered ones (instead of one of each, which is the normal pack).

'Brain Weasels' (and Dave D) are now telling me I should do the same with my 6 Pdrs... I know it's brain weasels as the thoughts always start with 'wouldn't it be cool if...'

One quick paint job and basing, and they are good to go! For the bases I decided to use the same large FoW bases as the deployed guns. In my head if the towed guns were put under an artillery template it seemed sensible that they be the same size base as the others - as in game terms they are the same model/unit.

The idea behind these gaming wise is that if the guns are being towed I have a model for this, and a seperate model for them deployed:

The battery moves into position - ready to hunt big cats!

Unfortunately time and different brands of static grass have resulted in slight differences in the shade of the basing. Not much I can do about that, I think. I could try some watered down PVA on the old bases and re-coat with the new static grass. Not too sure it's worth it as I suspect that the colour has just faded in the light.

The full unit on the move - a 17pdr battery of 61st Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery (51st Highland Division).

Work progresses on the 5.5" guns and I hope to have there done by next weeks submission date (Thursday). Once these are done I'll be starting on my bonus round entry for 'east' - probably either some 3mm Soviet helicopters or some 6mm Soviet armour. Then back onto artillery vehicles for 'Gunuary'.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

AHPC7: 1st Painting Challenge Entry

Hi folks,

So this year, as I mentioned previously, I decided to enter the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I've gotten off to a slow start, what with moving the week of the Challenge starting. I didn't really pick up a brush again until the start of the New Year. My first aim was to get an entry into the 1st 'challenge' Bonus round. As this was 'Armour' I was able to fit it in with my 'Gunuary' focus. You can find my entry here.

My first entry was therefore four Sexton Mk. II Self Propelled Guns. These vehicles belong to 2 Pulk Artylerii Motorowej (2nd Polish Motorised Artillery Regiment) of the 1st Polish Armoured Division. They are to join my 24th Polish Lancers (and other planned Polish lists, including the Cromwells). 

The Sexton was a development brought about by the inability to fit a 25 Pdr gun into a M7 Priest. Using the Priests 105mm gun was causing supply problems, as the British and Commonwealth forces did not use this type of ammunition in any other weapon system - whereas the 25 Pdr was used in all of the 'Field' Artillery Regiments. 

With the M7 Priest unable to be converted, work was undertaken in Canada by the Canadian Army Engineering Design Branch, to create a vehicle similar to the M7. This was done by converting the hull of the Ram tank (which had been developed but was not used in a active combat role itself). This design proved to be successful, with two versions being produced - the Mk1 (based on a Ram hull) and the Mk II (based on a Canadian built Sherman hull - the Grizzly). A total of 2,150 of these vehicles were produced for the British and other Commonwealth armies. The name Sexton was chosen to continue the religious theme of the Priests these vehicles were based on (and previous SPG's such as the Deacon). The Sexton continued in operational use until 1956!

As usual, these vehicles have the relevant unit markings on them - with the exception of the gun battery specific markings (normally blue boxes with one quarter red, the quarter changing depending on the guns number within the battery, along with a letter and number combo). Bridge Classification on these SPGs are 27, and the AoS decal is a red over blue box with a white 76. On the front right is the Polish 1st Armoured 'winged hussar' symbol, while on the rear is the AoS box, the winged hussar symbol and the white oblong with 'PL' in black lettering. All decals came from Doms Decals. I also applied a small allied circle to the lover front hull, as there was no decent flat surface to put them on to be visible from above. 

On the sides of the hull are a medium sized white star, along with the WD numbers (starting with the letter S for a self propelled gun). 

The crew were painted separately and glued into place once the vehicle was completed. The FoW website actually has images with 4 crew in the vehicle, one of which is sitting on the gunners chair. However the article mentions that there were added by the painter and are not part of the kit - which is a shame!

Stowage was added as normal, being a mix of Battlefront, Peter Pig and Skytrex. 

I've already completed the OP tank for this unit, so just the (soon to be made obsolete in V4) command and staff teams to do. 

I also have some small fixes to do - adding some darker static grass to the rear of the base to show the tracks passage, and adding some spent shell casings as well. These will come later once I'm on track with the rest of Gunuary and the AHPC. 

Next up, the limbered 17 Pdrs and then the 5.5" guns - which are more or less done but need crew painting.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

2016 Roundup

Hi folks,

I had a hectic week last week trying to get my first entry into the Analogue Painting Challenge done - my entry for the 'Armour' challenge can be found here.

This week I'm off work again (work required on the car means it's off the road, and I opted for using leave rather than public transport...) and will be trying to crack on with Gunuary and my next (first proper) challenge entry.

Today however, I was 'sorting' again. I moved all my books in from the garage due to concerns about how well they would keep outside. This lead to a shortage of space in my little room and Amy agreeing I could get another book case/shelf unit. One was acquired for the pretty decent price of £10 from a local charity furniture warehouse - 72" tall and 31.5" wide with 3 stout shelves. As such I'm re-jigging my room and trying to decide what will get to live where.

While this was going on, I had moved my models, and as I had them out anyway, decided to look at last years progress.

I made a short video, but have some still pictures which will follow:

2016 was quite a busy year for me, with a change in job at the start of the year leading to some pretty hectic days and late nights. There was also a small matter of a wedding! However, my painting continued at pace through various challenges and through the regular paint and chats I take part in. These really helped me focus on the hobby and meant I was working on something hobby related almost every night - something that also helped me deal with a very stressful year!

Almost all the 15mm models - excluding the Polish Shermans which wouldn't fit on the table!

The British/Canadian contingent

The Germans (with a stray Sherman)

The Polish contingent
I'm pretty pleased painting wise, although blogging wise my output fell slightly. Mainly due to the Facebook page and the general business of my weekends!

In total, my collection has expanded by several of these plastic boxes:

I think a major effort is going to be needed to start marking bases to help keep units together and clear... There is also some repair work needed and a 100 minor things I want to fix. I think I might take some time later in the year, after the challenge, to get my house in order a little!

Thanks to you all for your comments, visits, kind words and support over the year. All the best for 2017! Hopefully I can tempt some of you into joining in a Paint and Chat session at some point this year!

Monday, 2 January 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Folks!

I'm starting off the new year with my painting space starting to take shape:

I've still a bit to do and a visit to Ikea is planned for tomorrow to hopefully get another desk and make more of an L shape arrangement. But pictures are on the walls, bookcases is up and I have some handy little drawers under the desk for holding paints and stuff.

I've been cracking on with my Gunuary prep, having not got most of the first batch close to getting some primer on them. Just the stowage to go on the Sextons and I can start hand priming.

Feels like 'hunners' to do (as usual) and I have to have my first entry for the Analogue Painting Challenge submitted by the 20th - with the first bonus themed entry 'Armour' due on the 8th - so I will try to have the Sextons done for then!

Time to get cracking!