Sunday, 31 January 2016

First 28mm building completed.

I must say I enjoyed putting this one together, I left out the interior detail such as fireplaces etc! Now it's done I know I made the right decision in changing up, and I'm very pleased that my 15mm buildings have found a good new home (James at 'Mad Tin Hatter), where I know they will be put to good use. It needs a paint job, but it's fairly easy to do using inks I find.

With things settled on the home front I hope to able to have a bash through some of the terrain jobs that need doing, get the hedge sections glued and sprayed, finish off the 'orchard' with apples and buy new 28mm scale trees from S&A scenics for the woods etc. I'll also add a couple more MDF buildings. A lot to do, but I'm determined to see it through before I move on to the AWI.

The German force is about done as you can see, just the howitzer on order from eBay to round it off. Having spent a bit of time recently looking at Panzer cammo patterns of the Normandy period I also plan to retouch the half track and StuG, adding netting and branches etc as was typical of that period when the Allies dominated the skies. The US infantry force is mostly done too, just another dozen or so infantry to paint plus the artillery piece.

Another little plan I have is to make one of these, (tabletop periscope), to save the constant bending down to eye level when checking LoS...... it just looks such fun!

28mm & 15mm MDF buildings.

Friday, 29 January 2016

For sale: 15mm Normandy Village MDF.

Quickly following on from my post earlier today I am offering for sale my 15mm Normandy Village in MDF. Having taken the leap to 28mm buildings, I would like to see these go to somebody who will use and enjoy them. Rather than put them up on eBay I'll offer them here first to my fellow bloggers. As you can see they are mostly finished, but you could go further if you wish and add posters, shop names etc, as a village group they are perfect for Flames of War and other rules and also scale very well for 20mm figures.

£50.00 or nearest offer, and I'll cover the postage. All will be well packed and protected and posted via 1st class recorded. Payment by Paypal only please.

Please email me if you are interested. Thank you.

Buildings now sold.

PLUTO bungalows Greatstone, fuel for the Allied invasion of France 1944.

Bolt Action
 continues apace, and in time I will add Russians. My Germans will expand to take in both 'Normandy 1944' and the 'Last Levy 1945' lists, the latter incorporating Volkssturm & Hitler Youth squads. Both lists allow me to take a StuG or Tiger I, with the latter having severe fuel supply issues if used in 1945, as was indeed the case, requiring a dice throw after each movement turn to check fuel supply.

On the subject of tanks I now have all seven plastic tanks assembled, and the resin Tiger on the workbench. Following these I'll focus on infantry squads as I'll need at least four per side to complete the lists, plus artillery.

As you also see I'm also building new 28mm scale MDF buildings to replace the 15mm versions, starting with a damaged pair of shops, it's bloody HUGE, but will look so much better with my model tanks etc. I was reluctant to do this, but know it will be worth the effort in the long run.

PLUTO bungalows, Greatstone Beach.
On the subject of wartime fuel supplies I happened to pass these yesterday, a few miles down the coast, and was telling my wife the history of the wartime Pipeline Under The Ocean that supplied the fuel to support the D Day landings, and how these bungalows were built as 'dummies' to house the pumping stations and crews. There is also a single concrete section of Mulberry harbour visible off Greatstone that broke free and sank before it could be towed across the channel.

PLUTO bungalows, 1944 and today.

Two of the five PLUTO bungalows,
The bungalows 1944.

A 'Conundrum' on Greatstone beach 1944,each could carry 30 nautical miles of steel pipe, giving a combined 60 miles of pipe, capable of pumping a million gallons of fuel per day to France.

Fuel tanks.

PLUTO bungalows today.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Warlord Wittmann Tiger in resin and metal.

I mentioned previously that I had ordered the first resin and metal tank model for Bolt Action as an alternative to plastic kits. The model arrived yesterday and I must say that I am very impressed with the quality of the resin, it is clear that much care has been taken in the casting and inspection as I can't see a single imperfection! A dry fit of the track and wheels tells me this will go together nicely, and with just a few metal parts to glue on such as the huge 88mm gun, commanders hatch and spare track etc it will be put together in no time. This is the way forward for me as I expand into 'Tank War' as I'm somewhat peed off with plastic kits now, I still have three plastic tanks half built, so once completed all will be resin and metal.

I have a small game in progress on the unfinished terrain, but I can probably now field two full 2.000 point armies. I have ordered the German and US army list books and have the artillery to finish off my armies, although I have no interest in playing tournaments.

I read through 'Tank War' over the weekend, nothing startling really but the example lists are interesting comprising mostly tank models and anti tank guns/artillery. If I am completely honest with myself I am missing the 'Flames of War' shooting rules and especially the firepower checks that add real excitement to a game and models armoured combat very well. Occurred to me though that there is nothing to stop me playing FoW tank battles in 28mm if I wish to, an expensive idea, but workable possibly on a larger table?  That's for later.

Some pics of the Tiger and general BA progress.

You get two Wittmann figures, I'll use the turret figure and place the sitting figure, (in authentic Wittmann propaganda pose), when on the display shelf.

Sharp detail and no sticking together!

Metal Sherman crew complete with rear standing machine gunner, should be a nice addition to my tanks.

Coming along, building up the cammo pattern. These are the third member of an MG42 MMG team with spare barrel and ammo, a radio operator for my HQ team and that fine figure of a German commander, all unfinished.

The' zimmerit' anti magnetic coating is well detailed and should paint up well.

The hugely powerful 88mm anti tank gun.

Waiting in line,105mm US howitzer will be handy for shooting over those tall hedges!

Plastic models on the production line.

A small late war German force of 2 infantry squads, MMG and anti tank teams, half track bristling with MG's and the HQ team. MG's are the key to pinning in an infantry based game, putting down heavy fire. German MG teams also get 1 extra dice/shot to represent the very high rate of fire of the MG42 and the level of training, so a German MMG team gets no less than 5 shots per turn! Even though you can only put a single pin regardless of hits, this of course improves your chance of scoring a hit from a burst of MG fire.

Edited to add a few pics of the US army with Sherman added metal figures.

Sherman #1 with infantry gunner added. Shermans 2 & 3 just need tracks painted and decals etc.

The small US force currently ready for battle includes two regular infantry squads with MG and mortar teams, the recce jeep (spotters for indirect fire), the 'regular' Sherman in  infantry support mode, and command figures 'HQ' . 

Managed to lose one half of the Shermans hatch while drilling out the old plastic command figure, been on my hands and knees but can't find it ( although I did find all three parts of the drilled out figure!). I will fashion a replacement from plasticard if it does not turn up.

I'm looking into weathering products now as I want to give them that battle hardened dirty look.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Now that's more like it!

It's been a busy time on the domestic front, a close family friend has just returned home following a triple heart bypass operation in London, and my wife has been looking after him. Remarkable to think he was in for just six days and can already begin to feel the benefits of the operation, it was a planned 'non urgent' procedure that got cancelled twice at last minute previously, annoying when you live well over 100 miles from the hospital! Still, it's done now and he will soon be back on his feet again.

Bolt Action.
So the upshot of the above is that I now have a bit more time on my hands again, I've not painted a figure for quite a time it seems, having been engrossed in terrain building that I'd really rather not be doing. Last night I decided to lay out a basic set up with a view to a BA battle at the weekend, very little is finished, the hedges remain unglued and unpainted, the house bases unfinished, but I'm keen to run through another small game to keep the rules fresh in my mind. I also raised the table height up to 1 metre, and it's amazing how this changes the view of the board, its easier now to get down to those line of sight shots and the whole table seems far more broken up with pockets of hard and soft cover. I don't think I can see from one side to the other at any point now, so should produce a more challenging game. I'll keep this one infantry focused, I'm keen to try out 'fire and manouevre' tactics by the Yanks, using one squad to put down covering fire as the other advances, and also to get the MMG's in to pin the enemy infantry.

Lots of negativity re Bolt Action over on the TMP boards I see, you love it or hate it it seems, I just enjoy it for what it is, a fun game. I posted there in order to get a scan of the Panzer III assembly sheet and was delighted to get an immediate response from Lorenzo at Warlord Games who followed the link to my blog to get my email address and sent me clear pics of the sheet, good customer service.

Here is the newly raised table, it's very much a practice table for me, I know that in time I will need a bigger temporary table downstairs once I get into Tank War, but it's great to have a little space to play and listen to music, had a great Rory Gallagher session yesterday, decent speakers and no neighbours on that side means I can turn the volume up when the family are out.

Taking Bolt Action to the next level? Warlord say that 2016 will be a 'big year for BA'.

Inspirational image from Tank war with infantry machine gunner on the rear.

Could not resist adding more crew as above.

Can't see much from here!

The room last night. The table is slightly reduced in length, it's actually 5' 6" long in order to allow me to move freely along the side, and 4' wide. This leaves plenty of space for two chairs and my painting desk too. Will get a coat of paint to brighten it up next. 

And finally, I couldn't help myself, I did it ....... I ordered the 'Wittman Tiger' yesterday, have no idea how I'm going to justify it in a small game, but I had to have it. It's the new Resin and metal version so no fiddly construction work this time, if nothing else it will make a great display piece, but I'm sure it will get onto the table!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Panzer progress.

Well, I finally managed to get the four part tracks together on the Panzer III plastic model, I'm not totally happy with the fit but can't give it any more time! Once painted all will be well I'm sure, and weathering compounds will further disguise any tiny gaps. I still need to complete the turret then the mass of microscopic detail bits that this kit has will need to be stuck on.  I have also built the second StuG kit, much easier to put together and with the small detail moulded on and the simple four part tracks it was a breeze compared to the Panzer III. That will see the end of my plastic tank kits and I think 'phase 1' of Bolt Action will be about complete. I'm guessing up to 2000 points per side comprising the following:

German late war.
  • 4 squads of infantry, each of 10 men.
  • 'Team' bases of MG42 (MMG), sniper and Panzerscreck
  • 2 StuG Ausf G assault guns.
  • 1 Panzer III medium tank.
  • 1 command half track.
  • 1 light howitzer artillery piece.(unpainted).
  • Command, observer/spotter teams and medic team.
US late war.
  • 3 squads of infantry , each of 10 men.
  • 1 squad of veteran US airborne, 10 men
  • 'Team' bases of Bazooka (x2) 30cal MG 
  • 3 x Sherman M4's 75mm medium anti tank gun.
  • 1 x light artillery howitzer (unpainted).
  • Rece jeep with 30cal mg.
  • Command, observation, spotter and medic teams.

Quite enough to be going on with, although I will in due course tailor my forces towards specific BA lists. I'm now also experimenting with simple movement trays that each hold 5 men in order to reduce handling somewhat, especially in early stages.

Bocage is ready to be fixed and sprayed finally, but I'm having a break from it for a few days.

The Panzer III ...... making progress.

Simple movement trays for a 10 man squad.

The dreaded bocage, now ready for gunging and then spraying.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Plastic Panzer problems!

A few weeks ago I decided to invest in several more Warlord tank kits via ebay. I ordered five kits and only two came with instruction sheets and all were unboxed but sealed in bags. I paid an average of £18.00 per kit, so I wasn't buying them on the cheap, and if I'm honest I'm somewhat annoyed about it. The Shermans were fine, easy build kits plus I had already put one together anyway, but when it came to the Panzer III kit it was hopeless. Complaints about two part tracks with the joins at the most visible points resulted in Warlord producing this kit with four part tracks that I simply cannot get to fit together, I need an instruction sheet for this one badly! I checked a review or two of this kit and noted comments around the fine detail level of this one, it's obvious that Warlord have really gone out here to produce a scale model with far more fine detail than previous kits. It's a pain in the ar*e when you just really want to get on and paint the things.

The high command are NOT impressed with the situation!
So imagine my surprise  yesterday when I noticed that the Panzer III is now also sold as a resin and metal kit with barely any 'bits' to stick on. I'm guessing it's the release of 'Tank Wars' that has led to this most welcome development, they are a little more costly at around £23.00 for the Panzer III and £26.00 for the superb 'Wittman Tiger 007' model, but the time saved in fiddly construction makes it well worth the price to me. I can see down the line that I will eventually have a pretty extensive collection of 28mm tank models that will require the use of the dining table in order to reach full gaming potential.

For the time being I will attack the plastic Panzer once again to see if I can get those tracks together, I also have one more plastic StuG to build, (an easier kit by far), plus a Cromwell, after that all will be resin and metal models.

The 'Wittman' story is the stuff of legend, I really enjoyed this documentary relating to his death in action and subsequent attempts to discover just who fired the shot that resulted in the huge Tiger turret being blown clean off killing Wittman and his crew instantly. British and Canadian tankers  both claim the kill and battlefield archaeology tries to discover the truth.


Thursday, 14 January 2016

Let's get this done!

I can't say I'm enjoying being up to my elbows in scenic materials, I really need to push myself now to get this job finished so that I can get back to some painting and wargaming. Several hours work has seen me almost complete the extensive 'bocage' sections, as you can see they almost hide a Sherman! With the pinning and basing done next step will be to seal everything with a gloopy mix before bringing it all together tonally. The top layer of the crop field needs painting and I'll try to disguise the join if possible. The apple orchard is coming along, not sure if I want to simply drill the trees into the base for more stability and loose the small removable bases, might do, then the trees will have nice rosy red apples placed in them, (probably a nice Kentish variety!).

Current count on the bags of tree foliage stands at 18 bags used, I'm glad that's done at least. Some pictures of the ongoing works, hopefully by next post all will be finished, the table edged in pine and those Shermans can be completed, the tracks etc remain unpainted on two of them. I set up the tanks on a stretch of road with the hedgerows, reminded me of the scene from Fury just before the lead tank went up in flames from a panzerfaust shot. In order to try to emphasis the fact that I'm modelling fairly close action here with tanks in infantry support role I have ordered more metal crew figures, including infantry standing behind the turret firing the MG.

The room is also going to get a makeover, or at least a repaint, and then I'll sort out some prints for the walls.