Saturday, 26 December 2020

Xmas Loot 2020

Hi folks,

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas this year. Not a normal one in my house, for sure. But we did take some pleasure in it being so chilled out - no rushing about, shuttling between relatives houses, putting up with hyper children or mega cooking sessions. A bit odd not seeing everyone as usual, but I think we made the most of it. 

As usual, I submitted a list of gift suggestions in advance and was thus rewarded with things I wanted/needed. This idea seems to be catching on with our family, as people have realised it means they get things for themselves they might not buy for themselves, and less random stuff they don't need. 

Hobby wise then, I did not too badly:

The Battlefield in a box terrain was a surprise gift from a gaming buddy, and much appreciated. We'd had a discussion earlier in the year about the sort of terrain missing from the Normandy gaming tables, and industrial bits had been lacking I think Martin has also been working on a coal mine, which should be cool for the battles around Caen. 

The Atlantikwall book is the last in the series of three covering the defences of all 5 Normandy beaches. Really interesting and useful source, showing bunker plans, defence layouts, etc. Two of these books, the Utah Beach and the Sword, Juno and Gold beach books I managed to find via French online sellers I found during my visit to Paris last year. 

Tasha's will be a useful addition to my DnD book collection, while the Adeptus Titanicus and Necromunda books add to the collections for these games I've yet to play properly! I also needed a restock of some basic painting/hobby supplies, which I purchased and Amy put aside for me. My dad got me the very interesting Normandy book I've been looking at for a while, with historic info combined with modern tourist info. 

Also lots of socks (desperately needed), clothes and sweets... 

So all in all, a good haul and lots of cool reading material. I'm extremely lucky to have people around me willing to indulge my interests!

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Finished: Cruel Seas 1/300 Fairmile D-class MGB/MTB

Hi folks,

Work has continued on clearing off some of the paint shelf lurkers. I'd gotten the vast amount of work done on these in the springtime, but hadn't actually gotten round to finishing them off.

These are Warlord Games models, in resin, with some of the metal weapon and crew upgrade bits. Myself and Dave have played the Cruel Seas game a few times at the club, and I picked up a British fleet a while back due to lack of any other options at a wargames show. 

I followed the Warlord Games painting guide for these, which has left the deck colour a little darker than perhaps it should be, but they look smart enough. 

6-pdr auto on the front and rear, twin 20mm mid and two .50 HMG turrets. Along with the 4 torp tubes!

Twin 20mm Oerlikon on the front, twin 20mm in the mid and 6-pdr auto on the rear, with some .50 HMG turrets. 

These have a mix of weapons, which I tried to make reflect the varying armament of these vessels around the time of the D-day landings. There was a lot of small scale naval action taking place off the beaches at night, with allied units trying to stop German attackers getting through to the merchant shipping off the beaches. 

I've still an armed trawler, Vosper MTB's and a Beaufighter to paint. I may tackle the trawler sooner rather than later, as I'm planning a rather utilitarian naval grey paint scheme. Fun little items to have done, I could be tempted to pick up some other bits (maybe a Flower class Corvette, after seeing Greyhound!)

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Finished: 15mm GZG Sci-Fi AV-12T Troop Transport VTOL

Hi folks,

As I move towards the start of a new Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge (and a hectic new year), I've continued with my task of clearing some of the half finished projects from the painting shelf. 

This particular hefty lump of metal is a GZG 'AV-12T Troop Transport VTOL', which is described as being the 'Squad carrier variant of MANTIS'. You can find it on the GZG site as V15-49A here. This is a 12 part metal kit, and if you put it in a sock you could do someone serious damage with a blow to the head. 

I decided to model mine on the ground, mainly as I see it being an objective or terrain piece for whatever games I run with the 15mm sci-fi stuff. 

I really, really struggled with a paint scheme for this model. I wanted something military but not too dull. I think it was painted black, blue and then dark grey before I went with a dry brush of lighter grey with dark accents. Really the concept was based on modern USAF aircraft. 

I added some of the 40k decals I have for my 3mm stuff. My thinking is that this is the 12th Aircraft of the 8th Squadron (hence 812, and the large 12). Unfortunately there is some silvering on a couple of the decals, which I can only assume is from me not paying enough attention and not putting the decal medium in place first. 

Captured lander, shows with some of the security bots I painted earlier in the year

I did contemplate basing the model as well, as it's hefty and supported by three rather spindly landing legs. I might revisit this idea as the model will be a bugger to store and is pretty prone to chipping. I am aware that I have many more bases that require this sand, and yet again I'm running short! 

To provide something for this model to do, I do have some military type 15mm models to go with it, included wounded soldiers which will require medi-vac. These are, however, further down the paint queue. My current 'whimsy' sci fi project being some 3mm models for my 'Calth' collection. 

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

For Joshua - 10mm Fantasy Humans

 Hi folks,

Doing a little bit of an audit of this years hobby progress so far, and I noticed I was missing some of the entries from the AHPCX challenge back in March. For some reason it appears I didn't get around to posting to my own blog the finished items. I suspect it may have been due to the proximity of lockdown, etc!

Anyway, these units were supporting ones for my Knight army, my own contribution to the 'For Joshua' project. These are 10mm figures mainly from Magister Militum. Very much based on the old Warhammer Brettonians, I'd gone for a load of archers and some light mounted archers/yeomen. Pendraken provided the figures for the ritual circle, though I'm not sure where the wizard is from as it was a donation to the project. 

Henge by Dave D - this will be the objective for our initial scenario game

I've also just discovered on my PC pictures of two units of 10mm Camel rides I also completed as part of the same army, that I don't appear to have posted anywhere! These are 10mm Pendraken Mahdists

I honestly can't remember why these never made it to my own blog - positively puzzled. I suspect it points to my state of mind back in May!

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Finished: 15mm Sci-Fi Colonists

 Hi folks,

A week of just tidying up bits that have sat half finished on the painting desk for far too long this year. Which included a fair few 15mm GZG sci-fi colonists and some power armoured troops I picked up from somewhere else. I went with pretty bright colours - representing industrial clothing really. Apologies for the picture quality, I'm having real issues getting the lighting to work currently. 

Some colonists with missile launchers. 

Some colonists with small arms - lighting in this pic was particularly terrible 

The power armoured suits, alongside the power armour I painted a few months back. My idea is that the thinner suits are actually drones, operating as wingmen for the manned suits. the drones would act as mobile cover, do room clearance and other such hazardous tasks. Armed with assault shotguns or SMGs. 

I've still a few outstanding bits for this small collection to paint, but it's now all to the bottom of the painting queue. 

Friday, 4 December 2020

The fruits of the first lockdown

Hi folks,

Whilst sorting the figures out for my infantry battalion pictures on Saturday, I also decided to get out the various elements of the 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry squadron I've been painting more or less since the start of the first lockdown (actually, around May). 

It's always nice to see everything out together, as I normally clear everything off into storage as soon as it's done. 

Again, lighting in the room is rubbish. At this time of year in these parts of North East England it barely gets properly light on a rainy day, and this whole week has been rainy. Apologies for the picture quality!

I tried to lay everything out roughly as per my painting plan:

Battlefront resin Humber Armoured Cars, M5 Halftracks and metal infantry (a motor platoon, which would be Bren/Pioneer teams), along with some resin Humber LRCs. Squadron command is a single Humber LRC. 

PSC 6-pdrs and Lloyd Carriers as well as the Mortar Carriers. Battlefront 3" Mortars, resin Universal Carriers, resin White Scout Car and resin Humber Scout Car. infantry are mainly BF metals. 

Not a huge number of models all in, but something I'd planned for a long time now done and off the to-do list. 

As mentioned in my earlier post, this was a project where I made the decision to ignore the v3 platoon command teams and command transport vehicles for the 3" Mortars and 6-pdrs. I don't feel that this detracts much from the whole, and while it only saved me from painting a few more infantry figures, it did free up 2 Universal Carriers that can be used elsewhere. On the table, one of the mortar squads and one of the guns becomes the HQ for the platoon. 

It should be noted that the historical OOB would have required double the number of transport carriers for moving the guns, crew and ammo - so the v3 force wasn't particular accurate anyway. 

Outside of the standard FoW rules, I also added dismounted options for the carrier patrols (Bren/Piat and Bren/2" Mortar teams), a vehicle mounted forward air observer, a foot version of the same and a foot Forward Bombardment Officer. I also decided to make the Humber Scout Car as a 144RAC vehicle transporting Lt. Col. Jolly. 

Here is this lot back in May - published as part of an article into having done too much prep and sickened myself off before I'd started! Just shows what breaking a project into more bitesize chunks can achieve. 

Hopefully I can make similar progress with the Polish Cromwells in the next few months!

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Finished: 15mm Polish 17-pdr M10 battery

Hi folks,

A busy hobby weekend was had, and I managed to finish off the first part of next painting plan - some Polish M10 Tank Destroyers from 1 Pułk Artylerii Przeciwpancernej, the anti-tank regiment which formed part of the 1st Polish Armoured Division. 

The old v3 Flames of War booklet for this unit lists them as having 24 of these vehicles, along with 24 towed 17-pdrs. A little bit of research shows that this unit actually consisted of twelve 17-pdr armed M10s, twelve 3" gun armed M10s and twenty four towed 17-pdrs. Post Totalize loss reports for the division shows that they lost a mix of 17-pdr and 3" armed vehicles, and photos in both 'Armoured Hussars' books show both versions of the M10 in use up until the battles in the Netherlands. 

These are older Battlefront 15mm Resin hulls, with the newer plastic tracks. Crew are the older metal Battlefront ones. 

Collection wise, this unit fills a gap as my only unit of painted M10s so far are Canadian 3" armed versions. 

I tried to go a little lighter on the weathering with these models - the Poles hadn't been in Normandy long prior to Operation Totalize. Period photos from around that operation show a lack of stowage or extra kit on the Polish vehicles - while later images shown lots of added track armour and stowage on the rear deck. 

These are Battlefront 15mm models, with the older metal British crew figures. 

Now, I know what you are thinking "but James, the crews of these vehicles were from the Royal Artillery" I hear you exclaim, "and as such, they should have khaki coloured berets, not Royal Armoured Corps black ones!". And normally, you would be correct. However, the Poles used black berets as a standard item of uniform, and so their M10 crews had them. Rest easy - I checked!

I am really chuffed with how these models came out, I went with my 'faster' method of applying the edge highlights, and I think they look very neat. The .50cals are plastic Battlefront ones, which I painted separately and have tried to glue on so they are a little protected by the turret. Crew were also painted separately, back when I painted the infantry platoon. Turrets are magnetised and turnable. 

Aerials are using my usual fishing line. One slight issue is that there is no obvious HQ unit, which I will have a think about. I may replicate something I've seen in the Armoured Hussar books where the Polish added extra machine guns to their M10s. Or I might just leave them alone!

Up next, I have some 10mm Fantasy stuff to base as part of the 'For Joshua' project, some 15mm sci-fi stuff to finish highlights on and some Cruel Seas ships to finish as well. I'm planning to leave the prepped Cromwells till I start the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge in December.  

Saturday, 28 November 2020

15mm Normandy British infantry battalion

 Hi folks,

While continuing with the current painting plan and approaching completion on my Polish M10C's, I took the opportunity of a lazy day in the house to lay out my British infantry for Flames of War. 

I had planned two layouts - 3rd Edition and 4th Edition setups - but it took so long to do the initial setup that I cut my plans short a little. I then had to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to fit the models all back into the storage boxes I'd taken them out of. 

I've come to the conclusion I need some sort of storage plan!

Anyway, the light was poor, with it being a dull November day and late in the afternoon. 

First up, I laid out the 4 rifle companies and the support company. This had the benefit of letting me see where I am short some bits:

- each company command section should have a carrier for transport. I'll need 3 more of these painted to fill that gap. 

- one company is missing the sniper teams. These are not used in v4 FoW, but the 7th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders had a scout/sniper platoon as part of the support company, so I'm tempted to fill the gap to represent this element of the ToE. 

- Pipers are missing from 2 of the company command teams. I've one currently in the lead pile, I'll need to pick up another and sort command bases. 

- I need to make a decision on whether to stick to the v3 organisation, or use the v4 one. While the v3 organisation is marginally more historically accurate (while still missing the ammo carriers, etc), I've tended to use the v4 organisation when playing. Switching entirely to v4 org would free up the carriers needed for the company commanders.

- I need to paint the de-frocked priests in order to do a large Totalize game, which was the point of the collection and something I've yet to do. As the battalion was down to 3 rifle companies at that time, I need to paint 12 of those vehicles. The existing 6 need re-work due to fogging of the varnish. 

- I still need to decide on what I want to do to represent the battalion HQ. 

Anyway, I took a few more pictures including some of my house rule 'extras' and the infantry support options. 

Medics and Engineers also included, along with the rifle coys.

RAF Forward Air Controller along with Vickers MMG's and 4.2" Mortars from 1/7 Middlesex Regiment

This included the regimental aid post and de-frocked priests, as well as the limbered 6-pdr guns. 

I do feel that I've cheated slightly, as I bought 5 platoons of infantry from a friend. However, I'm giving myself a break as they were nicely painted and resulted in me reaching my goal far sooner than I had planned!

Now I just need to plan another game big enough to get the whole lot on the table!

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Finished: 15mm British infantry platoon and dismounted carrier patrol

 Hi folks,

I had hoped to get these two units done over the weekend, but I was distracted by painting some M10s and didn't make as much progress on the infantry. 

This 'final' infantry platoon for my British infantry brings me up to a whole 12 platoons in my collection, meaning I can now field the equivalent of a whole battalion should I need to. Pictures of the whole lot to follow, when I have room to lay it out again. I've now scrapped my plans to paint an individual Polish infantry company, as that can be made up from my existing collection. 

I've still got a load of motor rifle platoons to do, and possibly a Canadian company, so not quite finished with painting these figures yet. 

This platoon was made up of both older and newer Battlefront 15mm metal models, with at least one Peter Pig radio man. I know this is the wrong type of radio for an infantry platoon, but no one does the correct radios at 15mm and I like using the figure with an aerial to mark out command teams. I did use some of the Battlefront commando figures, with some trimming done to remove daggers and tidy up backpacks, and a green stuff pompom added to the berets to make them into Tam O'shanters. This means I have a mix of helmeted and soft cover troops - which is inaccurate but adds a little flair of the veteran Jocks. 

The platoon consists of a command squad (small base), PIAT team (small base), 2" Mortar (Small Base) and 6 Rifle/Bren teams (medium bases). Two of the medium bases represents a squad, with each base being an element of the squad. There is only one Bren per 2 bases, unlike the motor platoons, who have 1 Bren per base. 

This unit fills in the first bit of green on my next painting plan:

Also on the painting desk was my final little unit from the previous painting plan - a 'dismounted carrier patrol' for my 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry squadron. 

Only 2 medium bases and a small base for these guys, with the options to fire as Bren teams, 2" Mortar teams or PIAT teams. My own little add on, not something represented in the rules for Flames of War. This unit may have more men than it should do, but that's mainly due to the fact 3 men on a medium base in FoW represents a heavy weapon team and it would lead to confusion. 

And the final completed painting plan for this unit:

I have made progress on the M10s - the crews are painted and the work on the hulls has begun. I've a few more steps to complete, but I'm thinking I've currently got 50% of the work done. I'm hoping the Cromwell troops will be fairly quick to do, but I also know as we move into the new year things will get hectic for me. I'll keep chipping away and see what I can get done!


Sunday, 1 November 2020

Frankenstein Monsters - Zvezda King Tigers with 'Porche' Butlers Printed Models turrets

Hi folks,

Another recent side project for me, partly driven by a new book I picked up during the 1st lockdown. I've a few of these Dennis Oliver books now and find them pretty useful. I also added the Jagdpather, Jagdpanzer and StuG titles to the collections this year. The Tiger book I primarily picked up due to my planned Tiger force based on Schwere SS-Panzerabteilung 101 for 8 August 1944. 

I will admit to being taken with the idea of having a couple of the King Tigers in my collection. 

Given the type of large, scenario style, games we enjoy playing as a group, I'm always on the lookout for bits to add which may add challenge or an interesting learning opportunity. I've read a bit about Operation Goodwood this year and with my growing collection of British armour, thought it would be fun to do a scenario game for that at some point (3 full squadrons by the time I have my Cromwells done). I also thought it would be interesting to have a couple of very big kitties in the collection. 

Unfortunately, Battlefront are not currently producing their Normandy era King Tigers, and Ebay prices are a bit mad. So I went looking for other options. Obviously, I couldn't be satisfied with using the later style turrets (although a very few of these do seem to have made it to Normandy)

I finally picked up a couple of the Zvezda 15mm King Tigers, which come with the later style 'Henschel' turrets. I know these are not the technically correct turret names, but they are the common terms, so I'm sticking to them for now. 

These kits go together pretty easily, although I recommend paying attention to some of the assembly walkthroughs on Youtube as there are a couple of bits which can trip you up. I assembled this beastie whilst playing in Dave D's recent Zoom game, and paid probably less attention that I should have - like not accounting for magnetizing the turret and hull. 

My cunning plan was then - as a trial - to pick up a couple of the earlier turrets from Butlers Printed Models (BPM). These are not the highest quality prints, with a bit of printing evidence visible on them at close range (they don't use resin printers, but FDM). At a distance though, they don't look too bad. 

Size wise, the BPM turrets are a good match, and look 'right' on the Zvezda hull. The BPM turret does come with a 'Battlefront' style turret peg (about .5 of an inch wide), which I removed with a modelling saw. As the FDM style of printing them leaves these hollow, it was easy enough to roughly add a magnet. 

Unfortunately, my haste and lack of thought in building the first hull led me to having to cut a hole in the bottom of the Zvezda turret for the magnet, and attach it in place using a length of sprue glued to the inside bottom of the turret. The hull magnet is on the outside of the hull, rather than the sensible approach of being inside the hull. The 2nd version I build will have the magnet inside the hull and turret. 

The Zvezda kits cost me about £5.25 each, while I paid £4 each for the turrets (when postage was included, which doubled the cost from the £2 price). I suspect a larger order from BPM would have made this more worthwhile. 

Missing Zimmerit on these models is a consideration, given that the early hulls would have had it from the factory, and I am tempted to try and add some myself. However, this might be a step too far modelling wise at 15mm, and remains a distant idea.