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Bauhaus Armoured Hussars “Juggernauts”

Bauhaus Armoured Hussars “Juggernauts”

Following on the heels of the Vulkan suits are my Armoured Hussars.

Amongst the rank and file of the Bauhaus armed forces, the Armoured Hussars are the elite. When the distinguished veterans of the Hussar regiments are given the choice of unit, many of them pick the Armoured Hussars. Made from the best of ceramic armour plating and Venusian armour they are extremely resilient, are the best personal armour in the stellar system and have earned themselves the nickname “Juggernauts” amongst the troops of the other corporations. As with the Vulkan suits their internal climate control systems make them well suited to the harsh climates of the polar regions of Venus. The only concession to their cold area of operation is that the armorers of the 23. Gebirgssturmbrigade had to change the valves and hydraulic pipes to accommodate hydraulic oils that do not clog up in the arctic conditions. These changes have been officially accepted by the Bauhaus high command as the XO-102(W) “Stahlmantel” (“[full] metal jacket”) variant of the armoured suit.

Bauhaus Armoured Hussars (1st squad)

Bauhaus Armoured Hussars (1st squad)

Bauhaus Armoured Hussars (1st squad - rear)

Bauhaus Armoured Hussars (1st squad – rear)

Bauhaus Armoured Hussars (2nd squad)

Bauhaus Armoured Hussars (2nd squad)

I really, really liked these models. When Prodos were running the Kickstarter for Warzone Resurrection these models were originally designed as the Vulkan suit. When pledgers commented that they were too small and light to convey a realistic Vulkan suit, Prodos commissioned the models shown yesterday. Which I think was a good idea, since these models would really have been too small. But Prodos did not want this concept art to go wasted and created a new unit type to use it, which are the Armoured Hussars. Which in my humble opinion was a great idea, since these models are far too nice to have been wasted.

Bauhaus Armoured Hussars (group shot)

Bauhaus Armoured Hussars (group shot)

The models themselves took me longer than I had wanted. My original plan had been to just paint them in the greys I used for the armour on the Hussars. I airbrushed a base coat on and then top down sprayed them with the highlight colour. Next I painted the weapons, engine pipes, hoses and uniform (showing through the gaps in the armour). Problem with that was… It was virtually all on the rear of the minis. So the only points of colour to the front were the blue panels on the arms with the yellow Bauhaus cogwheel and the green eye slits. So thinking that they required more colour I painted the larger armour panels on the torso and legs in blue. Which was well enough, except that all the grey and blue still looked bleak. So I added yellow markings to the blue areas before I was happy.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2014 in Bauhaus, Sci-Fi, Warzone Resurrection

 

Bauhaus Vulkan suits

Bauhaus Vulkan suits

So now it is time to up my Bauhaus forces for Warzone Resurrection some more. This time it is a team of Vulkan battle suits.

The Vulkan battle suit is the apex of Bauhaus engineering. Designed to fight in the thick Venusian jungles where the vegetation is too thick for tanks they are outfitted with the strongest of armour and the most advanced life support systems. This also makes them perfect for the use with the 23. Gebirgssturmbattalion. Due to their bipedal design they can still traverse the ragged mountain terrain and their life support is just as good for keeping the pilots alive in the harsh arctic conditions as it is in the jungles. For the infantry they support the Vulkans are huge boost bringing their heavy vehicle machine guns and flame throwers to bear.

Bauhaus Vulkan suit

Bauhaus Vulkan suit

Bauhaus Vulkan suit

Bauhaus Vulkan suit

Bauhaus Vulkan suit

Bauhaus Vulkan suit

The models were a bit of bad luck for me. One of them had a huge hole in the torso that required a bunch of green stuff to fill. The worst part were the left legs on two them. The outsides were completely cast, but had a bubble running through all of the leg, essentially making them hollow shells. Bad luck since this was invisible during quality control but made the legs completely unstable. Good thing is that the people at Prodos will send me replacements with my Kickstarter Wave 2 models. Anyway I wanted to see if they could be salvaged none the less and I pored white glue into the legs to fill them. Unfortunately this takes a long time to dry and cure, so they are still a bit unstable. But the replacements will solve that problem.

What else? I felt the spot where the weapons connect to the shoulder was a bit small and might not withstand game use. So I drilled both the shoulders and weapons and pinned that with guitar string (to mimic the looks of a hydraulic fluids hose) to give them extra support. I also added rollbars made from staples to protect the pilot. The models were painted with an airbrush. I used a dark grey base highlighted with a top down spray. Afterwards came a dark blue and light grey camo job. This was mostly to try out the new compressor. Not the best decision, since I wanted to try some fine camo stripes. But a walker with a very angled and faceted is not the best test piece for that since I often had to keep the airbrush further from the model than perfect. Therefore the model features a fine white mist in many places. To make the effect universal I also have the torso a fine dusting of grey. I think it enhances the camo effect, but did not give me the test I wanted. But I am still quite happy with the results.

Otherwise, the pilots helmets received the same stylised feral grin paintjob as their Hussar brethren. This time I just applied gloss varnish to their visors instead of a water paste. I like that far better, since this did retain the jewel effect of the visors.

Bauhaus Vulkan suits (group shot)

Bauhaus Vulkan suits (group shot)

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Bauhaus, Sci-Fi, Warzone Resurrection

 

WWII inner city terrain (part 1)

WWII inner city terrain (part 1)

Like most people who wargame WWII the one thing I always wanted was an inner city layout to refight battles like Berlin, Budapest, Stalingrad (although due to the architecture and scale of destruction this probably requires a different set of terrain), Aachen and so on. Some six or seven years ago, I started on the first buildings using foam core, but to be honest, I have not gotten further than two partially completed buildings. There is an abundance of MDF products on the market these days, but there either are no inner city buildings or those that you can find seem to be geared towards 15mm. So I was quiet happy, when I found a Kickstarter that did fit my needs last year. What I did not realize back then was that this was actually run by Commision Figurines, who had already made a name for themselves in the smaller scales. With the Kickstarter funding, Walt (the owner) could finally get himself the larger laser to expand into 28mm. He ran into some problems at that point, when he had to find, that the new laser used a different file settings, so instead of just resizing his 15mm files to 20mm and 28mm he actually had to redraw all the files one by one, which took its time. Which in turn meant that since I had pledged for everything except the Stalingrad Mill (which I do by now regret not pledeing for as well), I had to wait through virtually all the process while those on 15mm or with fewer items got their models earlier. But to be clear, I did not mind since a) I did not want to start work before this summer anyway and b) I have hardly ever met someone as straightforward about these problems as Walt. I think we exchanged more than 50 messages over the months and he never gave me the feeling of being left behind. So in that sense I would always buy from him again!

But now on to the models. While I have bought a whole bunch of buildings, I first wanted to do two test pieces. This has various reasons. For one, most of the WWII inner city buildings I see on tables are always grey. Nazi Germany (and the rest of fascist Europe) sure was a bleak and sad place at best. But that does not mean that everything was just grey. I was born in Germany in the late 70´s and some buildings had not been repainted since the war. While many had gone grey by then, one could clearly see that they once been painted in pastel colors, as well as the odd blue, green or red. Same goes if you look at the contemporary colour photographs. So I want my buildings to be in pastels or off whites as well, but I also had to see how this looked.

The other thing is, I usually find most terrain quite bleak, not like anyone had lived there before everything got shot up. So I wanted mine to look more lived in with wallpaper, tiles and furniture. But again, I had to see if this could actually be done. And here are the results:

First two corner ruins

First two corner ruins

The roads will not remain like this. These boards were created all those years ago for my DIY beginning of this project and will probably not even work now. So I will either start from scratch or get myself the roads Walt sells for his buildings if they fit the width I want. But all this will be decided by my gut feeling and a MK I eyeball when more buildings are finished.

Corner ruin 1 (outside)

Corner ruin 1 (outside)

I wanted to give them a real contemporary feeling, so this building received a contemporary slogan. The same will happen to a lot of the other buildings along with posters, air raid markers, military signs and so on.

Corner ruin 1 (inside)

Corner ruin 1 (inside)

Here is a view of the inside, showing the wallpaper and tiles (all simple print outs glued to the walls). The brown planking on the walls was done to mask the seams between the wallpaper for the separate levels. I painted these in a dark brown. While it might seem unrealistic, I grew up in a house that was built before the war and in it, as well as in two others I helped renovate, a lot of the wood for the roof and flooring was painted in a dark brown. All the paint I have seen was pretty robust, so I assume this was to protect the wood from moisture and termites and I have kept to that colour as a result.

Corner ruin 2 (outside)

Corner ruin 2 (outside)

Corner ruin 2 (inside)

Corner ruin 2 (inside)

The rubble is made from scratch using pink foam (to get the hight), paving sand and wooden ledges. The bricks are from a Linka mould broken up and glued onto the pink foam before the sand. I know there is less rubble than there should be, but I once did a model with more realistic amounts of rubble and it became a real trick to do it in a way that minis could still be placed inside, so I kept things more moderate here.

The furniture is all cheap plastic dollhouse furniture that I repainted. I already repainted the all the furniture I have (some 70 odd pieces). I am not sure if I will actually have enough, so I used very little now. I think it looks to scarce, so I will probably have to buy more! :-/

First two corner ruins

First two corner ruins

I deliberately did no rubble on the pavements. I later want to add things like lampposts and roadblocks. Before I do not know what the final set-up will look like, I will not glue any rubble on, that will later block the space for those pieces. Once I get a feeling for how all the pieces will interact, I will either glue on some rubble or do modular rubble pieces that can simply be placed on the terrain.

There is more to come on this so stay tuned, although the rest of this month will probably be taken up by miniatures.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Terrain building, WWII

 

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New river boards

New river boards

As indicated earlier this year, I decided, that I needed to do some new terrain. But to be honest the one thing that I made top priority was new river pieces. So much so, that I actually tackled this mission last year. ;-) Why? Well you might remember, that I remodelled my terrain boards and along with it, the hillside pieces (which I also used for my rivers). Which meant that I flocked the hillsides over with staticgrass to make them more robust. Back when I did that, I looked at streams around here and many had grass down to almost the waters edge, so I thought I could live with it, but to be honest… I could not. This is what it looked like, and frankly, it looked *bleep* IMHO.

Clash at the ford

The old look by combining he hillside pieces with varnished boards

So now it was on to something new. So I took pink foam (which is only available in very strange sizes here in Germany, so it involved an awful lot of re-cutting to even get the boards to my normal 50cm x 50cm size) and carved the banks out. They were sanded, glued to varnished HDF boards painted first with structured paint and then in browns and greens, flocked and the other normal bells and wistles. I also added bushels of pigs fair to simulate reeds growing in the water and some grey ballast for rocks in the river that have surfaced due to slightly low water levels. All in all, enough boards to fill almost my whole table (at minimum size though). And here they are (I deliberately left any other terrain off the boards for these photos):

Riverboards

Riverboards

Riverboards

Riverboards

Obviously there are a number of regular straits and the same applies here. They are slightly bendy, have mildly sloping banks (to make fording tanks still look good) a bit of driftwood and the already mentioned reeds and rocks. There are also four 90° bends to make sure I make the river flow anywhere on the table.

Riverboards close up

Riverboards close up

Riverboards close up

Riverboards close up

Riverboards close up

Riverboards close up

But I also wanted some special boards. The most simple one is the swampy board. Actually, this is pretty simple. I made the river pretty wide, roughened the water up a bit along the banks and added more reeds and here it is.

Tau Stealth suits on the swamp board

Tau Stealth suits on the swamp board

But one also needs places to cross the river. Up first is the short bridge. Now this one was actually quiet simple, since I simply recycled my old bridge and fitted it into the new river.

Bundeswehr on the small bridge

Bundeswehr on the small bridge

And then there is the ford to replace the improvised old version you could see in the first picture. Again, the ford area was roughened up, painted slightly different, rocks and reeds and it was done.

Byzantine cavalry crossing the ford

Byzantine cavalry crossing the ford

The ford board

The ford board

So to come full circle, why did I not post pictures earlier? Well I wanted a new larger and more impressive bridge. But I did not have the time to do this until last week. The board itself was done last year and I only left the cut-out to fit the bridge in. So last week I finally did the bridge. I cut some of the pink foam left-overs from last year up and carved stones out. I have to say, this is the first time I have ever carved anything out of pink foam and I was a bit anxious, but I am really happy with the results.

Königstiger on the large bridge

Königstiger on the large bridge

Napoleonic French crossing the large bridge

Napoleonic French crossing the large bridge

This will not be quiet the end to my river project. There will be simple wooden bridges, pontoon bridges and the likes, but those will be build in a way that they just fit the straits. And there will be a dedicated board with a water mill, but I am not sure when I will find the time to do that!

Well, hope you liked this. Now on to the next terrain project!

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2014 in Terrain building

 

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Bauhaus Hussars

Bauhaus Hussars

Now it is finally time to show the Bauhaus Hussars that almost made it into the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. They have been done for well over a week now, but I was (first) in no mood to do the basing and then (second) in no mood to take photos. Yes I know, shame on me!

Before I go on to show you the minis, I wanted to give you an idea where I want to go with them background wise. All my ideas for Bauhaus this has been heavily inspired by the Artwork of Paul Bonner and his paintings of Bauhaus troops and their setting. The unit mentioned and described here has been my idea though and is not based on anything in the background itself.

battle_painting

As I said on the Max Steiner post, in the Warzone setting Venus is the home world of the Bauhaus corporation. Venus has been terraformed and is mostly covered by jungles. But the further you get to the poles, the colder it gets and there actually is a region called “The Circles of Ice” that contains a number of human cities. One of them is Torburg which is a more mountainous region. For over a millennia Torburg has been the home garrison to the 23rd Gebirgssturm Brigade (Mountain Assault Brigade), nicknamed the “Fenriswölfe” (Fenriswolves). It has for all this time specialized in mountain and winter warfare, at which the men and women of the unit excel. At the same time they have access to all the heavy equipment Bauhaus has in its inventory from armoured battle suits to the heaviest of tanks.

Mutant-Chronicles-Bauhaus-Grizzly-Venusian-Ranger

While their main mission is the defense of Torburg and the surrounding regions, time and time again they have been called to serve off-world when Bauhaus forces were called to fight in other cold regions or mountainous terrain. In those cases they have always formed the spear point for the other Bauhaus troops and have gained the respect of both their enemies and their brothers in arms. As such they see themselves as the elites of the Bauhaus cooperation. This holds true not only for the Venusian Ranger, Blitzer, Dragoons or other special forces detachments fighting in the 23rd, but down to the very rank and file. As such even the regular Hussars have taken to marking their uniforms to bring them closer in appearance to the special forces. The Hussars from the Fenriswölfe, while keep keeping their body armor the standard Bauhaus light grey, paint the faceplates of their helmets a darker grey and stylized fangs in bone white on them. Together with the green glass of their visors this gives them a feral appearance and many have been haunted by the memories of them suddenly appeared out of the arctic twilight before them.

grizzly

Now on to the minis. I have given some of them slightly more dynamic arm positions then the normal minis, but nothing too spectacular. Only the trooper with the rocket launcher got different left arm and a shoulder pad for the non-launcher side (the original mini comes with none at all). But to fit them into my cold setting, I sculpted faux fur collars and cuffs onto the minis with green stuff. The minis themselves were painted with their uniforms in a dark blue grey uniforms, the holsters, backpacks and so on in ochre, tan boots and brown leather gloves. The body armour, and grips on the rifles were kept in an off-white. While painting them, I noticed that the faceplates had a skull like shape. But since it was longer than a regular skull I felt it would not lend itself to an imitation, so I just went with very stylized fangs. The eye slits were painted in green and given jewel effects. In the end I filled them with Vallejo water paste, which enhanced the visor look, but killed the jewel effect.

These will make up three small squads and each of the troopers got a small roman numeral on his left shoulder to show his squad. The NCO´s got laurel wreaths on their right shoulder as they had in the first edition of Warzone. I have ten more Hussars (which I will assemble when my weapon packs arrive with the second wave for my Kickstarter pledge) which will bring two of these squads to ten men.

Bauhaus Hussars (1st Squad)

Bauhaus Hussars (1st Squad)

Bauhaus Hussars (2nd Squad)

Bauhaus Hussars (2nd Squad)

Bauhaus Hussars (3rd Squad)

Bauhaus Hussars (3rd Squad)

Bauhaus Hussars (all 3 Squads)

Bauhaus Hussars (all 3 Squads)

This time I took the photos in front of a red background. I found that the winter setting for Max Steiner had made him look extremely bleak.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in Bauhaus, Sci-Fi, Warzone Resurrection

 

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Battlegroup Fall of the Reich AAR

We have lately been looking around at some other sets of WWII rules and I fell in love with the Battlegroup series. Martin and I had been trying to find a suitable date for a game for almost two weeks now and over the weekend we both realised that we would be available on Monday, so we met up yesterday morning for a game. What a way to start a week, right? And to make things even better, the weather had turned fabulous here in Germany over the weekend, so we spontaneously decided to have he game outside (this resulted in a board set up, which is a little more basic… Sorry for that!).

I had been in the mood for a late war game when creating the forces on Sunday, we went for the Fall of the Reich supplement and these are the forces (those marked with an asterisk were randomly determined to be reserves and arrived on turn 1 for the Russians and turn 2 for the Germans).

The German defenders had a Tiger II* as their forward headquarters unit, a PzKw II l Luchs reconnaissance and PaK 43 as support. The main force consisted of a squad of Volkssturm with two Panzerfäuste* and an armoured Panzergrenadier platoon. The later consisted of command squad in a SdKfz 251/10, a medic* and four eight-men Grenadier Squads (one started in reserve) in SdKfz 251/1. Their machine guns had been upgraded to MG-42s. They also had to special rules to raise their Battlegroup rating (more on that later).
The Soviets had a forward HQ, a VVS Air control officer* both in a GAZ jeep and a wire team*. There was also a T34/85 platoon* and a single JS-2 tank*. Their reconnaissance was provided by an infantry foot patrol. Oddly enough, I thought I had chosen a sniper and put a according mini on the able instead. (Good thing I actually put the sniper besides a bush that had virtually the same colour as his uniform and forgot about him all game long! :-P) There was also a rifle platoon, consisting of a command squad, four eight-men rifle squads (one would start in reserve), a Maxim HMG team*. They also had access to a two-gun off-board Zis-3 battery and two on board 82mm mortars*.

Table seen from the German side

Table seen from the German side

Martin chose to play the Germans, so the Soviets went to me. Set up was fairly straight. The Soviets deployed virtually even spaced along their deployment zone (10″ into the table). The German PaK deployed to the rear and in the centre, the Luchs on the road running the length of the board, with one of the halftracks behind. The other Panzergrenadiere and their halftracks deployed in the shadow of the village and the village square itself.

Table from the Soviet side

Table from the Soviet side

The first round saw the initiative go to the Russians. Not much going on there. All units (including the tanks and infantry from reserves moved forward). Two rifle squads and the Maxim were driven forward by their commissar and made extra speed under constant cries of Ura, Ura, Ura. The air control officer tried to call in the artillery, but after he saw the spotter round go wide, decided to call it off. I would have loved to fire the JS-2 at the PaK, but thought twice. Ammo is a bit abstract under the rules, so the JS-2 carries precious few ammo for that. Since I had not bought a re-supply unit for either side I had to think twice when to shoot and when not.

JS-2 in the fields

JS-2 in the fields

The Germans still lacked their reserves, so their actions were limited to advances by a few units and by the PaK firing. Well rather failing to spot a target and when it had, to hit it! ;-).

T34´s on the roll

T34´s on the roll

Now the second round saw initiative go to the Soviets once more. Their officer tried to call in the artillery again, but once more their spotter round went wide and they were not ordered to fire for effect. The air control officer wanted the mortars to fire at the PaK, but had to find it was too far away, so the mortars just advanced. So did the other infantry and tanks. The JS-2 had now almost run into the Luchs and decided to take a shot at close range. It hit and ripped the small tank to shreds.

JS-2 vs the small cat

JS-2 vs the small cat

Now the German reinforcements arrived on table. Unfortunately Martin had rolled very few orders, so it was mostly about moving the reserves up. The Königstiger in the middle with the Volkssturm in its wake and the halftrack racing up to the village. The only shot fired was the PaK which took its chances on the JS-2. It scored a lucky hit and blew the big tank up. But this did not prove a happy occasion for the Germans either. Battlegroup works not just with unit moral, but also with a moral for your whole force. For every tank or unit lost you pick a random counter and it’s value gets deducted from your Battlegroup rating. So I had to take a counter for the loss of my behemoth and actually managed to pull a special out of fuel counter from the bag, which I then played on the Königstiger. We rolled for the result and lo and behold… It ran out of fuel and it’s crew chose to abandon it. This is a fate of war.

PaK 43, Königstiger and Volkssturm

PaK 43, Königstiger and Volkssturm

The next round saw initiative go to the Germans. But again a poor roll for orders meant that essentially not much happened. The Volkssturm advanced further, the reserve Panzergrenadiere still raced towards the village and the PaK was back to not hitting anything!

Advance of the mighty Volkssturm

Advance of the mighty Volkssturm
[Photo edited to conform with German law]


For the Russians it was still a general advance and again some of the troops were pushed forward by the commissar in charge. The most impressive event of this round was that the Russian artillery finally had run out of Vodka (or had they managed to fill up enough?) and were finally able to hit the village square. Most of the infantry and halftracks got away with a scare, but the Panzergrenadier command was mauled by the barrage, lost their nerve and ran off the table.

Panzergrenadier reenforcements debussing in the village square

Panzergrenadier reinforcements debussing in the village square

The next few rounds saw the fighting pick up, now that the Russians were in range of the village. This also meant that the Soviet artillery chose not to fire for effect, for fear of hitting their own troops with the exception of one very effective barrage on the newly arrived reserve Grenadiere.

Moving towards the German village

Moving towards the German village

To block some of the troops moving up on the German right flank one of the MG-42 teams moved out of the village and fired at the advancing Russians. They only managed to pin them down and as a reward were ripped apart by a high explosive round and machine gun fire from one of the T34′s.

MG-42 team firing from the village

MG-42 team firing from the village

The Russians un-pinned themselves and close assaulted one of the German unit in the village square, wiping them out for the loss of five of their own.

Close Assault in the village

Close Assault in the village

 

Together with one of the rifle squads, the Maxim managed to wipe out another one of the German grenadier units, while the wheat fields saved themselves from punishment. The PaK finally found its Mark,and managed to wipe out the two centre T34′s.

Russian advance

Russian advance

But not before that happened, one of them had killed the MG-42 team that had deployed together with the other Panzergrenadiere from their half track on the road.

Panzergrenadiere debussing

Panzergrenadiere dismounting

The mortars also found a good target at last and destroyed first the infantry in the fields and then the halftrack that had brought them there. Sad thing is, that the halftrack had previously led a blessed life with two shots from a T34 missing it.

Russian Mortars

Russian Mortars

On the last round, I was getting a bit worried. Unless I could the Germans to exceed their Battlegroup rating, it would be a loss for me. I knew Martin had pulled a huge number of counters already, but I did not know their value. And
I was running out of targets. My remaining T34 was behind the village and most German units were out of line of sight anyway. So my infantry started shooting at one of the halftracks and the command halftrack. While they never stood a chance to destroy either, they forced both crews to abandon them, which meant two more counters for Martin. And the last one pushed him two points over his Battlegroup rating which meant a last-minute Soviet win.

Russian Infantry advancing

Russian Infantry advancing

All in all, we were both very pleased with the game. It was fast paced with a good historic feel and we both felt that just a little more experience, would make it even more pleasant. So,we are looking forward to the next installment!

 

Two troops of Irish Guards Shermans… yes in 28mm

Two troops of Irish Guards Shermans… yes in 28mm

Those who saw the ongoing coverage of my adventures during the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge will know, that I narrowly missed adding some eight Shermans to my total. I finally managed to sit down on Tuesday (well I wanted to have some time off painting after the mad rush towards the end and there were social events as well) and finished them. so here they are!

Now you all know (at least I hope so ;-)) that my infantry is based on the South Lancs. So a some time in February I decided to tackle my Shermans (which I had built some 5+ years ago) and was in for a surprise. They were supported by 27th Armoured Brigade which was useless for my needs. Now they operated mainly Duplex Drive Shermans and no Firefly. Another problem with them was, that they got disbanded and their men and tanks got distributed to other units in the summer of 1944, so there was not much mileage to be had from them. So I looked for another unit and one that would give me mileage. So an obvious choice seemed to be the Guards Armoured Division. They saw their fair share of fighting all through the war and obviously there is their big role in Market Garden. And Market Garden also dictated my choice of sub-unit since these are the Irish Guards. Why… well they were in lead when the tanks started rolling so they seemed like a natural choice. Also this will mean, that I will have a unit from all four countries that make up the United Kingdom in my British WWII forces in the end.

Shermans lined up in bocage field

Shermans lined up in bocage field

But this also gave me some problems. The Irish Guards actually used Sherman V models (aka M4A4) while these are M4 models. As I said, I build these more than half a decade ago and stuffed them with stowage, so I was in no mood to go and get myself different models really, so these will have to do and I hope I can be forgiven! The other problem was decals. I thought I had enough for two troops of Shermans, but I did not, so some had to be ordered. Easy enough since Dom´s Decals had almost all I needed. [If you need some for your 1:48th or 1:56th scale British tanks go and drop by Dom´s online shop since he has a nice selection that is getting far too little love from customers as far as I know!] Why almost… well the Guards used to fill their tactical markings in black. After some eMailing around, I found someone to do me custom blue tactical markings filled with black. Why blue? Blue is the color for the junior regiment in a Division, which the Irish Guards were. In this case I picked the triangle to show that these tanks belong to A Squadron. While I found no photographic evidence, that the Irish Guards painted the tank number into the markings like some units did, I still did so (freehand) to make sure the tanks could be distinguished on the tabletop.

So on to the models itself. All are 1:48th scale Tamiya models, with the exception of the troops leader for 1 troop, which is a Hobby Boss. They all come with a wide selection of stowage from at least three different aftermarket companies, Tamiya, Hobby Boss and some scratch build. The stowage boxes on the tanks are from Chieftain models. Initially I scratch build them from plasticard, but I was able to talk Crouchie from Chieftain into giving me eight separate boxes. Those who know how long Chieftain has been out of business will know how long these tanks have been sitting around, waiting to be painted! The tankers are by Warlord.

1 Troops comes mostly with additional improvised armor in shape of Sherman tracks welded to the hull and turrets, as can be seen on some contemporary photos. Most of these are by Tamiya as well. I send the good people at Tamiya Germany an eMail asking for a separate sprue of tracks, which they send me. Although it turned out, at a hilarious price. I think I could have gotten almost a complete kit off eBay for that price. :-/

Sherman (Troop 1, Troop leader , front)

Sherman (Troop 1, Troop leader , front)

Sherman (Troop 1, Troop leader , rear)

Sherman (Troop 1, Troop leader , rear)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank a , front)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank a , front)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank a , rear)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank a , rear)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank b , front)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank b , front)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank b , rear)

Sherman (Troop 1, Tank b , rear)

The Firefly got a scratch build stowage rack in the rear. I am really in love with that piece. Especially since it makes the tank appear much larger, so it looks like a real beast on the table!

Sherman Firefly (Troop 1, Tank c , front)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 1, Tank c , front)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 1, Tank c , rear)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 1, Tank c , rear)

Now 2 Troop does without the extra track links for protection. The only extra protection is the hessian tape netting on the troop leaders turret. For ages I had planned to use paper punch outs from my comb binding machine. I glued those on last week and frankly was quiet unhappy with the results. But since time was running out on the Challenge I painted them up anyway and would probably even have kept them. But after time had run out, I decided to go back to it. I glued gauze dyed green over the whole mess, cut some punch outs in half, soaked them in white glue, placed them on the netting, gave them another coat of white glue and painted them. And now I am even happy with it all! So a good thing I ran out of time!

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank b , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank b , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Troop leader , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Troop leader , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank a , front)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank a , front)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank a , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank a , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank b , front)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank b , front)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank b , rear)

Sherman (Troop 2, Tank b , rear)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 2, Tank c , front)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 2, Tank c , front)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 2, Tank c , rear)

Sherman Firefly (Troop 2, Tank c , rear)

Sherman Firefly crew

Sherman Firefly crew

And now to leave you with two “aerial” photos to show all the stowage.

Sherman troops (top view, front)

Sherman troops (top view, front)

Sherman troops (top view, rear)

Sherman troops (top view, rear)

 

 

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Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge recap

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge recap

wildbunch_ivpc_posterv6

Well as they say… all good things come to an end and so did the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge last Thursday.

So how did it go? Well I would say not too bad. Although I found less time to paint this year than I did last year, I actually managed to raise my points total. All in all I became 16th out of 61 participants being sandwiched between two regulars on this blog Samuli right above and Ray right below me on the standings. Top spot went to another regular on this blog Andrew (aka. Loki) who came out top with a massive output, which by itself was impressive, but got even more so taking into account the quality he managed to produce.

The only sad thing for me is, that I ran out of time in the end. I had two troops of Shermans on my table that only needed the tracks and weathering done and 15 Bauhaus Hussars for Warzone that only needed their weapons, gloves and bases done. All in all I guess another 6 or 7 hours of work and it would have been 195 points more (which would have brought me to 11th place).

Photo of shame

But on the last night I got too tired and decided to do it properly instead of just doing it fast to get the points in. I have to say that I am very happy with that decision. For example I spend Thursday afternoon redoing the hessian tape camo on one of the Shermans (far left of the front row) that I had not been happy with anyway and will now do some extra details that I would have skipped otherwise. But I guess you will see that in the coming days!

This being my second Challenge participation I have to say I immensely enjoyed it. For one thing it has given me a huge boost over the cold months here. For example, I have meant to paint my WWII British for three or four years now and had gotten nowhere so far. Now they are about 70% done. The only things missing are the riflemen, scout cars, Cromwells and Churchills and I have a full platoon of Infantry will all support elements and transports as well as four troops of tanks of various types. I doubt it would have found the motivation to do so otherwise. Plus I still found the time to do and paint other stuff (mainly through the theme rounds). I found these to be a great thing. As I said in the past I think it best to change topics from time to time to keep motivated and these allowed me to do so with a mix of Napoleonics, SciFi and other stuff. What I really enjoyed was painting the ACW trooper, since I had not touched that subject in over a decade.

5th Hussars officers

First real entry into the Challenge, 5th Hussars officers pillow fight

Before I give you an outlook of what is to some on this blog, I would like to take the time to say a few words to my fellow Challengers and Curt.

95th Rifles (front view)

95th Rifles (front view)

To the Challengers go my thanks for the good company and comradie you have given me. It was great to receive your feedback and the quality of the field was so great that it served as a constant motivator. One could not ask for a better band of (painting) brothers (and sisters)!!!

British 6pdr. [WG]

British 6pdr. [WG]
“Those skirts are not going to help you here!”

And a very special thanks goes out to Curt for hosting this event. Even if he says he enjoyed it, I still imagine that it must be a huge drain on his personal time catering for the entries of 60 other people for a quarter of a year. For this he has my most heartfelt gratitude! And above all this, he does it for no personal reward. While we all have to enter a mini (or in some cases by our own choice a selection of minis) as an entry fee of sorts, he donates 5 Dollars for every mini to a charity against animal abuse. I guess he has the most heartfelt gratitude for this from many a unknown puppy or kitten! Thanks a lot Curt for doing this!!!

I personally would be most honored, if I was to be allowed to participate in the next installment, if there is to be one!

MG42 team

my entry fee MG42 team

So what does the future bring now? Well obviously I am going to finish those Shermans and Hussars next. After that I will begin the terrain building phase I had planned for this year. As I said before, I have concentrated on minis so much over the past few years, that my terrain has not really kept up and now is the time to remedy that. There will be lots of small items like hedges, dances and fields to medium sized ones like a new bridge for my river boards, some new houses to large ones like the WWII inner city ruins. For those who chose this to follow blog for the minis… do not despair. I obviously will finish my WWII Brits soon (no use in dropping the ball now, right) and I plan a paint minis in between every step of terrain building. One to keep me entertained and two to make sure I do not loose my edge for painting minis!

So stay tuned tuned!

 
 

WWII British M5 half-tracks (Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge entry #13)

To complete my ever expanding British forces, here are some more rides for my poor bloody infantry. This time something heavier than those Universal Carriers, namely some M5 half-tracks. Now the M5 was created when the usual manufacturers like Autocar, Diamond T and White could not keep up with the demand. Additional models were produced by the International Harvester Company. But since they had different machinery from the others, changes had to be made to the design. Most of all a different type of steel was used for the armor, which made the vehicle heavier and made the armour was slightly less effective against small AP rounds but reduced the chances of shrapnel. This lead to the use of different axles and a strengthened hull. But the only outward difference between the M5 and M3 models were that the rear corners were rounded, while the mudguards had right angeles ends. Anyway, the US government saw these features as shortcomings and as a result the M5 became an export (lend-ease) version. Which is why I picked it for my Brits.

M5 Halftracks (group shot - front)

M5 Halftracks (group shot – front)

The halftrack model itself is by Warlord (I thought they were now OOP, but last weekend I saw one in their online store again). I had initially thought about using Corgi models for my Brits like I did with my Americans, but decided against it on the grounds, that I wanted M5 for them. Plus the good people at Warlord gave me its dimensions before ordering and I found that it was the same size. Well that is until the models arrived and I found that it actually was smaller. I decided not to care since chances of US and British infantry operating side by side on the tabletop are about the same as finding a snowball in hell. When I finally cleaned the models up this Christmas I regretted that decision, since I spend more than two hours on each of them just cleaning them up.
M5 Halftrack (group shot - rear)

M5 Halftrack (group shot – rear)

Now looking at the markings, you will find, that these are not for 3rd (British) Infantry Division like all my infantry and carriers, but for the Guards Armoured Division. Now I had a bit of a problem finding out if 3rd Infantry Division actually had these or not. What I found seemed to indicate their use as ambulances or for HQ´s but I remained constantly unsure if they were used as a troop carrier. On the other hand, they were used as such with the Armoured Divisions so this seemed like a natural choice. Why the Guards? Well as you know I am modeling my infantry on the South Lancs from 3rd Infantry Division. Now on D-Day and in Normandy they were supported by the 27th Armoured Brigade. Unfortunately the 27th were disbanded late summer 1944 and distributed to other units so I would not get much milage from them. And they were using a lot of  DD Shermans, but no Fireflys so they would not have fit my needs anyway. So I chose the Irish Guards for my tank formations. In that sense, I painted the halftracks to fit.
M5 Halftrack (front)

M5 Halftrack (front)

Now the passengers are by Victory Force Miniatures. I only bought enough for one carrier, since these were designed to it into a Corgi halftrack and I wanted to make sure they would fit this on first. Since they do fit like a charm, I will have to get myself two more sets of passengers from them in due time, as well as drivers and a passenger for the gunners position.
M5 Halftrack (passenger compartment)

M5 Halftrack (passenger compartment)

While we are talking about the gunners position. The M5 was supplied to the British with a full complement of .50cal and .30cal machine guns. Most British formations chose to remove these and did not use them. I chose to do the same here, so these are unarmed.
 

Dismounted Union cavalry trooper (Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge entry #12)

Now that we have come close to the end of the Challenge, I think there could be no more fitting theme than a last stand. I think there are many fitting examples of a last stand in history, be it 300 Spartans at Thermopylae (sadly I did not have the time to paint those) to the last defenders of Berlin. But I wanted something, that painted a universal picture. And one that really does it for me is an unhorsed cavalryman, left with nothing but his saddle and fighting attackers off at close range. And luckily Warlord Games did a lovely little vignette showing just that for Historicon last year. No I was not there myself (my last visit to Historicon was already nine years ago), but I found a fine gentleman, who had been willing to buy me a mini and send it to me. The annoying thing for me though was that Warlord sold the overstock through their website shortly after… so much for exclusive mini! :-(
Anyway, the mini itself is really nice in dynamic pose, accuracy and detail. Unfortunately I had the mother of all mould misalignments (2mm) so there was a fair bit of cutting and filling required to make it look fine. Anyway, here is the final result:  
Dismounted Union Cavalry trooper (front)

Dismounted Union Cavalry trooper (front)

Dismounted Union Cavalry trooper (side)

Dismounted Union Cavalry trooper (side)

Dismounted Union Cavalry trooper (rear)

Dismounted Union Cavalry trooper (rear)

For those of you wondering about the other entries, here is the link to the special page Curt set up for this fortnight theme and for people to cast their votes for favourites.
 
 
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