Saturday, 31 December 2016

Final pictures of 2016 ... Half Tracks II (and just made the ton up: 100 posts)

On the other side of the "transport track" is the redoutable M3 Allied half-track from Plastic Soldier Company (PSC), not as sexy as a Hanomag perhaps but functional (see below, three M3 half-tracks full of Tommies):

PSC also provide the US with a crew version to complement the British (see below, full of GIs):

This fills out a platoon or company worth of armoured infantry (depending if you play Chain of Command or Command Decision) In addition to PSC, Academy do a M3 half track which gives nice variation in models (see below, side mounted 30 cals being of interest, so points it to the US forces):

A couple of extra shots of the German Hanomags mentioned in the previous post (see below):

Another close up of the Hanomag 251/2 81mm mortar (see below):

That's a few plastic boxes of models shifted from the loft to the "to be painted" boxes in the cupboard ;)

A final note for 2016: 

I seemed to "struggle" with the blog this year, barely making 100 posts. Lots happening, mostly good, moving jobs and a growing (as in kids getting older) family makes inroads into hobby time. HAd fun and used some games to keep in touch with some old friends which was good

Best wishes to one and all in advance of 2017 ;)

Friday, 30 December 2016

Cleaning up 2016 .. some more plastic "put-togethers" (PSC WW2 Hanomag 251/1, 251/2 and 251/10 Half Tracks)

Little bits and pieces that I did in 2016 ,,, seems right I post then in 2016!

As half-track transports are needed for the fourth scenario in Airfix Battles and being in a fidgeting mood, earlier in the month  I slapped together the PSC Hanomags that had be queued in the "to do" pile for the last six months. The beauty of PSC is that they go together very, very nicely with good detail in double quick time. The PSC pack I was putting together was the "special variety pack" however on reflection I really just needed the standard variants (already having two old Esci engineering Hanomags, a Hasagawa Stummel short 75mm and an old Esci version of the flame-throwing beast) but the Mortar carrying variant (251/2) was a must.

I started the builds with a standard 251/1 (see below, nicely packed with troops and extra kit on the side):

Next the 251/10 Commander A/T variant  (see below, likewise pleasantly cluttered with extras):

Another standard 251/1 APC, with plenty of extra's to ornament the sides a busy looking  (see below):

Finally the 'strange' 251/2 Mortar variant (see below):

That leaves me with a lot of German camo painting in 2017, but I am pretty much there for my Command Decision German armoured infantry (Panzer Grenadiers) OrBat.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Keeping up with the Jones' : Friends Wargaming Periods

Pretty thing alert! Pretty thing alert! Be warned 28mm metal "Shiny Things" close to hand. Danger close! Danger close! The warning comes as I am being invited to a local "all day big event" in January 2017 and the temptation to contribute to a longer term "group" project runs high (see below, an English 17th Century battle-line, looking very steady behind fortifications):

A new period for me, post ECW when muskets became the thing and pikes became the past, but hung around in "dribs and drab"s. This also means a new rule set to digest (Under the Lilly Banner), but I think I will try and "wing it on the day". Don't know the battle and don't know whether I will be 'good guys' (see above) or 'bad guys' (see below, some fine Frenchmen "in bleau"):

Looking forward to a "grand day out" ;)

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Xmas

The strap-line says it all
I hope you have a good one
To one and all

Monday, 19 December 2016

28mm 8th Army Progress

After many a cut, glue and splice "The 8th Army" boys have taken form (see below):

I decided to follow the basic "Order Of Battle" pattern as per the Perry's literature for 37 out of the 40 figures. That gives me three basic infantry sections (NCO, Six rifles, Bren Gunner, Loader, Rifle) and a command section (Junior Officer, Senior NCO, Radioman, Boyes AT Rifle and Loader, 2" Mortar Man and Loader). In Chain of Command terms the extra body in the Perry's list is the Radioman however pair him up with another Officer type figure and you have a nice FOO team, that leaves two "extra figures". The choice seemed relatively straight forward as the most useful piece of kit in the British Infantry platoon arsenal is the 2" Mortar to lay down additional covering smoke. Another one of these please!

This necessitates a slice and slice of plastic as I had to convert the laying down Bren team to be "walking with the Bren" so I could make the second mortar unit. All is well that ends well though, next up is the painting job ;)

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Airfix Battles Scenario Three - Bring on the Tiger (Part III)

Even as, with dramatic effect, smoke started billowing out from the freshly killed Sherman, the Americans launched another spirited counter-attack (see below, the smoke was courtesy of the jubilant German player's modest special effect talent):

With amazing alacrity a dare-devil Sherman bounded the complete length of the table and swung point blank onto the Tiger's more vulnerable flank side. So disturbing was this to the German player he burned an Interrupt card. Using this special event card (and removing the card's use from further play on this vital turn) the Tiger itself swung round to face the "cheeky" threat head-on to lessen its vulnerability (see below, the Sherman had originated from behind the top middle tree-line):

The exchange of fire left the Sherman in an extremely damaged state, morale faltering as it retreated away from the Tiger but still alive  (effectively on one hit point) and in the game - importantly not handing the Germans any "double armour victory points". Having blunted the German armour reaction potential the American Infantry counter-attacked. Firstly retaking the Objective then pouring withering fire of the ful-strength German Squad to devastating effect (see below):

In fact the only man left standing was the atached German Infantry Commader who escaped by teh skin of his teeth. The Americans now held the key terain feature and looked to edge the tactical situation. The German only had a hald squad on infantry he was capable of moving (see below):

In desparation the German Infantry tried to attack teh wounded Sherman. The sight of another burning Sherman might just be enough to shake the Americans (over 50% casualties). The anti-tank squad took care aim and fired ... (see below):

And missed. Too bad the signal to retreat was made and the Americans had pulled this one out of the bag. The German tanks were required elsewhere and the German Infantry was too thin on the ground to hold the Americans up. It was time to live and fight another day.

An excellent game played in great spirit with some good old fashioned 20mm or 1/72 (or even 1/76) scale toys of yesteryear. I need to paint some half-tracks and anti-tank guns for Game IV. Something I intend to do over the Xmas break.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Airfix Battles Scenario Three - Bring on the Tiger (Part II)

The German Panzer Commander was not going to be drawn into a headlong rush and methodically subjected the already battered American squad to a hail of machine gun, long barrelled 75mm and shells of  the dreaded Tiger's 88mm. This was all too much and American's were eliminated with ruthless efficiency (see below):

To the German Panzer Commander all seemed to be completely under control. The American Infantry were hiding out of line-of-sight and the American Tankers were reluctant to show themselves for fear of meeting their nemesis, "The Tiger" (see below):

This complacency was soon to be shattered as the Americans "bounced back" in a brave and spirited counter-attack. A Sherman blasted through the 'boccage' and stood ready to strike down the exposed German infantry. The long range shots of the Tiger were woe fully off the mark (see below):

The Sherman commander trained his 75mm cannon on the hapless Grenadiers. Time seemed to stand still, certain death was but moments away (see below):

Years of bitter combat experience on the Eastern Front clicked in and the Panzer IV Commander executed a daring flank attack (by virtue of an interrupt). The "hunter" had suddenly become the "hunted" (see below):

With a slug already in the barrel the Panzer IV succeeded at short range where its heavier cousin (The Tiger) had failed at long range. The Sherman was decapitated to the relief of the petrified German Landsers (see below):

Once again the situation seemed to be in back under control and the Germans started thinking about sealing the matter once and for all, There would be more more turn and one last throw of the dice in the game. The German had all of his armour in play and one and a half squads of infantry. The Americans were down to two Shermans and only one squad of infantry. The German Commander knew they were the threat as they were the only unit capable of retaking the village Objective. A lot depended on the next initiative roll, the loser being the "nail" to the other players "hammer".

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Airfix Battles Scenario Three - Bring on the Tiger (Part I)

The third Airfix Battle was situated in the badlands behind Omaha beach as the Americans attempted to break out. The vital objective was a farm house top-left. In addition extra points were awarded for armour knocked out, in particular the Americans would like to "bag a Tiger". Playing German I placed my infantry on the flanks and the armour in the middle (see below):

Possessing the initiative I orchestrated a quick infantry strike on the Americans, in light cover, to the (German) left of the Objective (see below):

The dirty American gangster commander interrupted me and retreated into the Objective (and hard cover to boot!), exactly where I wanted to go. The "Dirty Dogs"! (see below)

Not to be outdone I assaulted this position with my second squad of infantry and in the subsequent firefight I mauled the Americans and finally took the Objective. The Americans sought protective cover to the top right of the picture (see below):

However by feeling of euphoria was short lived as I realised I had placed my troops in full sight of an "angry phalanx" of US Army Sherman tanks. Admittedly they only had 75mm guns, but that didn't stop them opening fire in unison on the German defenders to devastating effect (see below):

Still albeit technically in control of the town (and holding the Objective marker) the German troops (now much less in number) suffered a bad case of morale failure. Hope seemingly deserting them and they retreated, aka ran, back a terrain square (see below):

The German infantry had shot its bolt but was there anything the German armour could do?

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Fantasy with a twist .. Roman Style

Put this down to the result of one of those two minute "conversations" you have with a friend at a wargame show. Something I was not remotely intending to get into, sounds an interesting project for "K" to do, he likes that sort of stuff ... until after a night of despair Xmas shopping on Amazon I lightened my mood by slipping this into my trolley (see below):

Fantasy ghosts, ghouls and Minotaur monsters with a Roman backdrop, plenty of Roman "Red-shirts" (akin to Star Trek expendables) to take "incoming fire". At the moment it is something to read over the Xmas break,

Think it will be good Beer and Pretzel stuff, akin to Frost Grave :)

Monday, 5 December 2016

Matilda 11: Close Support Tank .. WIP

Originally I had intended to convert a standard Airfix Matilda II into a Matilda II CS version cannibalising spare bits from the Hasagawa Churchill I/II kits I had previously made (some twenty years ago). These all came with a 3" hull mounted howitzer in the Churchill I configuration. However just prior to my 'model knife cutting sprue' I happened bu chance to a wargame show (Parade Ground 2016, Stockton/Middlesbrough) and via the Grubby Tanks stall picked up this little chap (see below). I noted in the kit description the CS Howitzer was actually 3.7 inch so the intended bit of plastic I was planning to use might well have looked "short and silly". Also resin is quicker (90% done) than a model kit to build so the idea was sold in my head and a purchase made (see below, bottom left long barrel is teh 3.7" howitzer in metal):

A pleasant by product of this is that the three unmade Airfix Matilda's can now be assigned to other projects:

  • The Russian Front, a pair of whitewashed Matilda's sent via the Arctic Convoys to help Russia in 1941/42 (and also play on old Wargames Illustrated scenario I have wanted to do for years, though it will also mean the purchase of some SHQ Aerosans .. not a bad thing)
  • The Pacific Front, a Matilda Frog (flamethrower) variant which requires a bit of modelling on my part) and perhaps a normal Matilda to stand guard over the other two (which means one 'final' Matilda purchase .. which should help Airfix out in its current financial situation)

Watch this space in 2017!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

An unplanned distraction .. Necrons .. some of the large biped robot varients

In my defence, they were in a sale! (see below):

Unpainted, raw plastic but they still look nasty .. meanwhile er, back to WWII, in silly large scale plastics.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

28mm WWII Perry Plastic 8th Army Bren Team

Something I said I would never do .. (see below, 28mm WWII Perry 8th Army Bren Team):

But they are "very nice" Mr Kipling! The intension is "just" to build up a platoon of the 8th Army to combat a platoon of the DAK in Chain of Command .. watch this space!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Matilda 10: RTR HQ Vehicle

The three fighting squadrons have been filled, so time to appoint a RHQ Troop (one vehicle representing 3-5 tanks on CD III rules). Again the classic Airfix model kit is used, however the command tank is given two figures (see below, note the "Monty" figure from an old Matchbox M3 Honey kit and the helmeted observer with binoculars from the Airfix Bofors kit):

All I need now is the specialist CS Troop (aka one tank in Command Decision  II/III terms) to be under the direct control of the RHQ for the "opposition" to be considered.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

New Blog found courtesy of ParadeGround 2016 connection

Battle Ground 2016 (North East of England Stockton:Middlesbrough):

Excellent Demonstration Game (Jutland 1916):

Long time since I managed to get out and "go to a show" but it was a really pleasant experience, despite "things having moved on" since my last outing. Hot things seemed to be Sci-Fi, Zombie Horror and 28mm plastics (replacing 15mm all things of 15mm) or 15/10/6mm WWII kits. My old school 15mm ancients and 20mm WWII were hard to find. Still it was great rummaging through stuff "bargain hunting". A comment from a trader seemed to be "most  people were looking and buying tit-bits rather than huge armies".

Impressively "shiny" new items found were:
As it was I stuck to my old projects with a modest purchase of:
  • Millennium Falcon for X-Wings, the Rebels need Han and Chewy
  • 28mm Warlord Games Scots Lancers (ECW/Scottish Montrose Campaign
  • 8 x 15mm Carthaginian Citizen Spearmen going cheap in a "bargain bucket"
  • 20mm Britannia Miniatures Sherman ARV  
  • 20mm Britannia Miniatures Matilda II CS
  • 20mm Britannia Miniatures British Paratroopers PIAT Team, 2" Mortar Team

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Plastic Airfix Sherman ... "Pimped Up" (Honour the Airfix!)

Looking at my "1944 RTR post D-Day" project box (A4 Flat Box with pop-up lid, we all have them), brimming full of Airfix Shermans and Matchbox (Revell) Fireflys, I came to the conclusion that it was time to break up their uniformity of build (aka the tanks "look"). After all heading across France and onto the Rhine the RTR was a formation on the move, not a parade ground inspection line-up. Hence there should be all manner of things "hanging off them". Time to break open all those "tins of extra spare part" (things that I have been acquiring for twenty five years) and festoon them Xmas cake fashion over the beloved (see below, a troop commander's Sherman):

As part of my Plastic Soldier Company assembly frenzy I had some M3 Half-Track stowage packs left over, so onto the the side they went (see below, "Messy Alice"):

Project wise, I still need to acquire a specialist Crusader AA (I nominally made up the Airfix Bofors kit as a stand in, but I have "gone off" that idea) and a Sherman ARV (again the stand in Airfix Scamell Tank Transporter is infeasible) as Xmas ["Dear Santa"] presents (I don't fancy the effort of a botched conversion [two kits making one]) from Britannia Miniatures, SHQ or Skytrex.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Don't Panic ... but Arrrgh .. Airfix, Hormby and Scaletrix ... Not Again!!!

How did I miss all this going on? Brexit and the American Election perhaps!

James May in February:

Then in June:

Note: Around that time (June/July) I saw the Hornby ranges disappear out of all places my local Garden Centre (one of those many national/regional chains). When I asked an shop attendant she said they were going bust but I  paid that no attention as I doubted the significance of this. I guessed they were not moving these products and were going to use the space to sell, well er, garden stuff.

BBC news:

Now tonight I stop into a small toy store to pick up some modelling glue only to be told that they do not stock Airfix anymore and Hornby are in trouble? Or are they just centralising their stockists?

The Airfix website still seems to be trading though on "reduced stock" IMHO. Does anybody know better what is going on? Am I best to keep my "Airfix attic" for future Antique Roadshows?

Would appreciate anyone else's thoughts!

Friday, 11 November 2016

Remember ...

Very moving today at work, many nationalities, many religions, all respected the two minutes silence. Thank you. I live in a good nation with good people. 

Note to self: Nice link to painting US Paratroopers (20mm - 1/72 - 1/76)

Like what I see here!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Plastic Soldier Company Marder II's (Plastic Frenzy #3)

The assembly line process continues apace. I shall let the pictures do the talking. Plastic Soldier Company Marder II (see below, late version with higher profile but better turret traverse) :

They fitted together like a dream. For the third remaining kit I did the earlier version so I could use it with an earlier purchased UM Marder II (see below, UM being the undercoated base yellow one):

They fit well together, but a nice touch is the PSC rolled up canvas coverings (see below):

This means I think I have the "Royal Flush" of German Tank Destroyer types, from the lowly Pz I (with a Czech 4.7cm gun) through the Marder II's, the Stugs, JagdPanzer IV, JagdPanther, not forgetting the Hetzer and finally the JagdTiger.

This means I have to fill my remaining holes in the 150mm support gun category, which is a Bison and Grille (again on the 38t chasis). From teh front cover of the PSC artwork I was hoping they were going tp come to my rescue here, but alas that may be for another pack at a later date.

Note: I resisted the urge to build the Pz 38t as I already have a formation of Fujimi Pz 38t's and I had the inking that the PSC woudl have 'stood large' by way of comparison.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Weekend Plastic Frenzy (2) PSC 250/1, PSC 250/7 (mortar) and PSC 250/11

The good thing about PSC kits is that they literally "fly together" when you get "in the zone". In particular there was not much fiddling to be down with these German 250 half tracks. These are Recon specials IMHO. I was torn between which variants to put together. If I had been sensible I would have made the standard 250/1's. However I could not resist the mortar variant (250/7), sense took over me and I then made a 250/1 but then despite already having two ESCI 250/10's I just had to make the alternative Anti-Tank support variant 250/11 (see below):

It was a very relaxing Saturday and I like the extra 2.8cm sPzB 41 (Panzerbuchse) heavy anti-tank rifle you get. Methinks I will have to get another box to make up purely as 250/1's. I should really paint these boys German Grey

Monday, 7 November 2016

Weekend Plastic Frenzy (1) Airfix Sherman

Well at the weekend I had the chance to write up an AAR for the blog or do a bit of hands on plastic modelling and the modelling won, first up was an old Airfix Sherman (see below, turret hatch open waiting for a suitable British tank commander figure to be found):

This means I am almost finished the basic 1944 RTR Command Decision OoB complement of standard tanks ;)

Modelling Note: The new Airfix tracks are a great improvement. They were really easy to glue together with "cheap pound shop" superglue! Dried white but everything is going to get painted over, so that ain't an issue,

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Airfix M3 Build Kit Bash

A quick kit-bash of an Airfix classic and one that will be useful in the next Battle in the Airfix Battles series (see below):

I took my time, having made this kit before helped and liked the result. The only thing I noted was that I remembered a "canvas cover" in the old kit but this was missing in the new box - also absent in the instructions, so not just missing from my box.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Nancy: These Boots Are Made For Walking ... Vietnam Route 66

On a cold wintry night some years back I weathered from the cold in WH Smiths. Mooching around the magazine section I spied those that come with attached toys. I could see "cast-offs" from pervious weeks and one caught my eye, although damaged this Vietnam era truch with quad 50 calibre browning machine guns packed a bit of a punch. Already reduced I sensed a bargain and as it has bee in advertantly stepped on "I barttered it down to a quid" (see "Nancy" below - no doubt in tribute to Nancy Sina):

Well for several years it has languished up in the loft, in bits (see below, front on):

Being a "dinky die-cast" with plastic parts superglue came to the rescue (see below, side profile):

I think it will do very well next to the M113's and light American armour (Sheridan's) but I think I will need to matte and dust it down as it is a bit too shiny for my taste. Other bloggers have done "good jobs" with these magazine freebies. I am wondering is this the way of the future buying die-cast? I have acquired many such models over the years "in ones" here and there. At least they come "combat ready" instead of "to be cut off the sprue". Price wise they are pretty much the same. You may tell I am beginning to advance in years!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Coming soon ... Airfix Shermans v Hasagawa Tiger (and PSC Panzer IV)

Airfix Battles Scenario Three: Shermans v Tiger (and a Panzer IV). The long standing heros of my modelling youth, I give you the venerable Airfix Sherman (see below, the one on the left is from my "fair hand" the other two [with more professional/better highlighting] are from a very skilled model maker called Denis):

The sinister forms of a PSC Panzer MkIVH (first saw action in 1939 and still going strong through all those production upgrades, from the Plastic Soldier Company) and a "Terrible Tiger" (the coveted Hasagawa special of my teenage modelling days). Will these be too much for the Allied tankers? (see below):

I do intend to paint up the original Airfix kits to honour these rules, The Tiger poses a problem as it required considerable "pimping" (aka the rear turret stowage bin was the hardest part) and I still need to add some mud-flaps. Something (as in a project) to keep me interested in the forthcoming long winter nights (as well as Game of Thrones).

Hint to Airfix: If you can add a little extra sprue of special bits to your other kits to make interesting variants such as the:

  • Sherman Crab
  • Sherman Calliope
  • Churchill Crocodile
  • Churchill AVRE Bridgelayer
  • Matilda Hedgehog

Then the iconic Tiger I surely deserves a rear stowage bin and mud-flaps - so the damn thing does not look so bloody naked!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

1/144 and 1/200 Aircraft Additions

Recent acquisitions (all from Zvezda) in no particuilar order, The ill-fated RAF (or rather AASFS) Fairey Battle in 1/144 (see below, but seems rather a large bird to my eyes):

The RAF Bristol Blenheim in 1/200 scale (see below, a very nice kit to make, although in scale it looks silly next to the Fairy Battle):

Closer up you can see there is quite a lot of detail in there despite it being 1/200 (see below):

Same manufacturer (Zvezda) but different scales 1/144 to 1/200 but the Fairey Battle (which was in effect an elongated Hurricane with a crew of three) still looks too big IHMO (see below):

Onto the Russian Front. I just had to get this (tiny and beautiful [in a quirky way]) Russian Polikarpoc I-16 "Rata" in 1/144 (see below, optimistically the cover art has it shooting down a Me-109):

Now assembled but who knows when they will be painted and god knows when I will ever use them, All-in-all I have never been disappointed with the Zvezda aircraft and