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American heavy metal

American heavy metal

Apologies for the silence in recent weeks. I have been working on a bit project recently and it is current not at a stage where it is worth sharing. Anyway it recently dawned on me, that there is something I had forgotten while catching up.

But let me tell you the story behind it first. I started wargaming WWII around 15+ years ago. While I basically made my best efforts to get everything right, a lot of it was a case of “close is good enough”. And with many things, it actually was. My first two nations were Germans and Americans. With the infantry for either side things went pretty well. Same for most of the German vehicles. Now the American vehicles were a completely different story.

I ended up with a black green colour and to be fair… it was not even close to the darker colours some vehicles were painted in stateside before the US entered the war. Over the years this annoyed me ever more. Even to the point, where I hard not plan any games using Americans for our monthly Battlegroup games. Which was a shame, since it essentially was an army that could be fieled to regulation. When I to have a game of Operation Cobra for Crisis last year it was clear that this had to change. So in addition to painting a few new vehicles (two 76mm Sherman’s and Motor gun carriage) all of the old stuff that I had painted in the wrong colour were repainted. I did not want to go through all the hassle to repaint the stowage and markings, so I carefully airbrushes to the very edge of them, only touching things up afterwards. This actually worked quite well, except for the ID stars which all had to be repainted by hand. But enough about that… here are the (mostly) tanks:

I am really happy with these now and they will see action far more often now.

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More shades of grey

More shades of grey

Do continuing my quest to build a large German army for the 1939 – 1941 period I tackled some more armour. Usually I am no big fan of using cell photo pictures, but when Intook these the other day (to show some of the guys at the club), I actually felt they turned out fine, so I decided to use them here as well. Only things that irritates me about these photos though is the slivering on some of the decals, since there is none in real live. Anyway… let’s get the party started.

Up first is a SdKfz 251 C from Blitzkrieg Models. Now this actually this is not meant for that period, but rather 1942up until maybe Kursk. Here I wanted a look of a haste camouflage job applied over a very faded Panzergrau. Since the model was assembled as it was and I was airbrushing grey anyway, I decided to mix it in. I simply went two shades lighter on everything, did some sloppy Dunkelgelb stripes and went heavier on the weathering. The sandbags were sculpted with green stuff out of necessity. The roof ring had been damaged in the mail and I found it more sensible to simply sculpt two sand bags on, rather than ask for a replacement. Crew and machine gun will be added later.

Up next is the SdKfz 232 in the six wheel version. This model is by Warlord games and one of only two in the whole early war German complement in 1:56th scale. Not

Much to say about it, except that it is a fairly nice kit, which suffered from a lot of bubbles on the fenders. Most of which I sculpted over, but looking at the picture, I seem to have missed a few of the smaller ones.

The Adler scout car is the other model in 1:56th scale and also by Warlord. Again a nice little kit, but a much cleaner casting.

Now this is a Steyr ADGZ. I always liked the vehicle for its looks, so I asked my friend Martin to print me one. Big downside to this is, that a) the file itself is very I detailed and b) this was one of the first models he ever printed and it shows. At some point I was close to not finishing it at all and simply throwing it away, but decided to carry on. Although I think it might not see that much tabletop use.

Up next is a Corgi SdKfz 7. The original paint job was quite OK, but the weathering was horrible (just a few strokes in a baby poo colour with a broad brush), sonI repainted the whole thing. It still. Red to be crewed and I will probably go for Warlord Games Plastic seared Germans.

This is a 3D printed Famo recovery half-track. I chose a covered version since I wanted this done quickly without having to paint a crew or load.

Horch Kfz 18 by Tamiya that will serve either as the overall command vehicle or the command vehicle for a non-armoured infantry platoon. I will later do another heavy car (this time a Steyr) in case I want to use both options at once. It still needs to be crewed and will probably receive the Tamiya minis that came with it.

Two Krupp Protze light trucks with PaK to serve in the light PaK battery. I have to say, having played mostly 1943 and later over the past nearly two decades, I was initially not too keen to even field one 3,7cm PaK, but after our first test game set in France 1940 I found that these actually were quite good for the period, so a whole battery became an option. Both of these are by Tamiya and will probably get the crews that came with them.

And a Schwimmwagen for the Kradschützenplatoon, finally completing that thing. The vehicle is by Tamiya the crew might be Company B, but I am not sure.

Flakpanzer II. The model is a 3D print, the FlaK and crew are Warlord games. The gun from the print was horrible and since I wanted to use the crew anyway, I decided to replace the gun as well.

A Bunkerflak. Again a 3D print. Not the best either but way better than the Scouts right above. The crew is a converted plastic Warlord Games mini.

A Acht-Acht FlaK by Italeri to provide some extra punch against those French heavies or Russian KV-IIs. Again, the crew are converted Warlord Games. I decided to build the model firing while limbered up, which it could do. When I was a young boy there was a very good multi part documentary co-produced by German and Russian TV stations. I seemed to remember seeing one fire while limbered up, so when I was building the model this winter I began by searching for pictures but could find none. So I looked at Wochenschau films and there were a lot of them firing while limbered. But the more war progressed, the rarer this became. I guess when you are moving fast through Europe and have all the advantages you do not spare the extra 2 ½ minutes to unlimber. But when you are outnumbered and have to fight from hiding you better spend that time to have a low profile.

And last there an AT-team completing the support options for the infantry platoon. I have to say I found the metal offerings on the market were all poorly sculpted, so when Warlord released their Afrika Korps Set with a Banzerbüchse I bought it and cobbled something together. The shooter is actually a Blitzkrieg body with Afrika Korps arms and the Spotter exactly the opposite. It also gave me the option to do a different position from the usual prone one.

 

Rounding off my Normans

Rounding off my Normans

Ages ago I started painting my Norman army for SAGA. For roughly four years now, they have been lingering around at two points of Warriors with a Warlord added later on. With the upcoming German Grand Melee this weekend, I finally felt noticed to finish them and here are the results:

Up first are the Levy archers. The minis are old ones by Wargames Foundry. Not sure who the sculptor on these was, but they have a certain Perry vibe to them. They are slightly on the burly side, but given that other minis in this army will be from Crusader, Gripping Beast and Conquest Miniatures, they will fit in quite well. Only the Footsore minis (see below) and the Warlord from Stronghold will be slimmer. But the animation on these is very good and at six different sculpts, they offer enough variety.

Up next are mounted Warriors from Footsore. Usually love Footsore minis, but these were a mixed bag. The sculpts themselves are really nice and the set offers lots of variety at eight different rider sculpts. But the horses were a huge letdown. While these seem to be new horses, they had lots of flash and took ages to clean. The other problem are the shields. As usual with round shields, they have a depression on the back (on the rear of the boss) and a corresponding nipple o the arm, that are meant to give them a spot where they can be glued on and withstand the rigours of play. Only with these minis, the poses are such that you can only get them to align on two or three of the set. All of the others will not fit. As a result most of the shields are fragile and you always run the risk of levering them off. I have now attached them with ultra strong two part epoxy and still only try to touch only the horses and not the riders.

Last are the mounted Hearthguards. These minis are plastics by Conquest Miniatures. Really like them for their really heavy horses, versatility and low price. They require some work filling the gaps between parts and so on, but otherwise they are great. I am not happy with all the shields (most of the ones turned away from the camera 😉) and might go back to these at a later date.

While not Normans as such, I also completed two carts. We will be playing the Ambush scenario at the Grand Melee and I felt it would be good to prove some models for that!

 

Tarkin, Krennic, Imperial Specialists and Death Troopers

Tarkin, Krennic, Imperial Specialists and Death Troopers

As you might have noticed, I am quite keen on Star Wars: Legion these days. So I continued to complete my collection.

Up first is Grand Moff Tarkin. The model is by Alternative Gaming Miniatures. So far he has. I stats in the game (although I hope we will see them one day), but Infound the mini too nice not to paint it.

Up next is Director Krennic. It is really nice to see that the character minis for the game are getting better. In the past I have often said that their Han Solo looks more like Nathan Fillion in Firefly and that General Veers looks like Gordon Ramsey, but this one looks the real deal and as a result was a real joy to paint.

Up next are the Imperial Specialists, namely the Officers. The one on top is by Alternative Gaming Miniatures, the lower by Fantasy Flight Games. The FFG offering is quite boring, so the AGM version will be a good substitute. I know that technically their uniforms should be black for Stormtrooper NCOs and officers, but I wanted some other colours on the table in addition to black and white, so they got the green-grey of the Imperial Army.

The two droids above are not the ones you are looking for. No honestly, the one on the left is the medical droid. Since there is no sample in the movies, I let myself be inspired by the interrogation droid in Episode IV, although I went for a metallic finish. The Astrodroid on the right was partially inspired by the R5 droids that can be seen in some of the scenic shots in both Episodes IV and VI.

The communications officer above is a bit bleak , frankly there is not much you can do to lighten him up with his dark uniform and equipment.

And last are the Death Troopers. I loved their sinister appearance in Rogue One and simply had to have squad or three 😗 of them.

They gave me some headaches. At first glance they appear to be wearing black body armour, but giving them a closer look, especially on still photographs, it becomes clear that it rather seems to be a grey or dark metal looks under numerous coats of black tinted varnish. So primed these in Panzer Grey, gave them a top down spray of Burnt Iron and followed this up with a coat of Black Ink. Personally Infeel it looks quite good. Unlike the communications Troopers they allowed for some more contrast with the green lights on their helmets.

Last is the group shot. I have to say, I am happy with them. Especially taking into account that they were about a weeks work (one Sunday and five evenings).

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2019 in Empire, Sci-Fi, Star Wars Legion

 

Lots of early war German vehicles

Lots of early war German vehicles

Work is still ongoing on my German early war (Poland to Barbarossa) project. It is amazing how many vehicles one actually needs for this fairly short period. Between all these and the ones Inposted last year, there are still lots to do. All of these were done over the fall to early spring period of this year.

Up first is the SdKfz 222 from Blitzkrieg models. Really nice model. The only thing that disappointed me a bit, is that it comes with sand tyres, which would fit a model for the Afrika Korps, but not Europe. Fortunately I had the SdKfz 260 not from ICM, which comes with two sets of wheels. Both with regular tyres and even though the plastic version is already great, there I a rubber set. So one of these was fitted to the SdKfz 222.

This is the above mentioned SdKfz 260. Unfortunately it has no place in the Battlegroup lists, but I simply liked it looks too much! We have already used it as the ride for the Luftwaffe liaison officer (who usually rides a half track) and it worked out fine.

And here is a bunch of PzKw II. The ones in the top picture have early turrets (commanders hatch) while the ones in the lower two photos have the late turret (commanders copula). In retrospect I should have asked the people at Blitzkrieg if they would sell me three hulls with two different turrets each, since it was lots of work painting six similar hulls, but one always has these ideas when it is too late.

And to round things off with the PzKw II family, here is a Flammpanzer II Flamingo. This model is also from Blitzkrieg.

And then there is the transport for the Grenadiere. Personally I prefer halftracks, but those are more expensive points wise and unavailable for Poland, so I needed some tricks. In this case a bunch of Opel Blitz from Tamiya. The drivers (mostly invisible on these photos) are by Victory Force, the soldiers themselves by Warlord.

And then there are the halftracks. The commuters halftracks is an old Bandai model (by now repainted for the second time). It is a SdKfz 251 B. Not sure if such a mix with the SdKfz 251 C models for the rest of the platoon is realistic, but I am thinking that maybe the unit got a small batch of earlier models first that were allocated to the commanders, while the rest of the troops got theirs later. The C models are by Blitzkrieg. The Grenadiere are by Warlord and the machinegunners are from Rubicon, but with Warlord heads to hide their slimmer shape.

To give the troops some supplies there is another Opel Blitz by Tamiya. The guard is by Warlord Games. The supplies are a mix of Tamiya and Bandai. Not sure if there are too few supplies. Maybe I need to add to it.

And last, a tripod mounted MG-34. The machine gun and gunner are by Victory Force, while the spotter and loader are Warlord Games.

 

Next batch for the Galactic Empire (Star Wars Legion)

Next batch for the Galactic Empire (Star Wars Legion)

Still in the process of catching up with minis I painted in recent months. This time it is Star Wars Legion.

Up first is the E-Web. The model did not really do to much for me at first, but once it was based I really liked it. Biggest problem was matching the colours to those of my Snowtroopers. I had never expected a heavy weapon for SW Legion and did not want a second set of Snowtroopers, so I had not written down the colours used. Still did not somit this time. So given my average luck, they will do another unit based on Snowtroopers one day. Still not 100% sure what to make of them in the game though. Played them twice. In the first game they got annihilated pretty fast due to a stinking to hit roll from my opponent and a botched Safe by yours truly. The other game they actually did pretty good.

Next are the Scout Troopers. Looks wide they were always my favourites in the original movies (Episodes IV to VI). In this sense I really liked painting them. Game wise the sniper team has been doing well, although I am still frustrated to see hoy much better the Rebel Commando Sniper team is. The saboteur team has not been doing as well due to their weak saves, but with the Red Guards and medical droids our now, I might give them another run.

While not part of the Galactic Empire and still without stats, here is my Yoda. The mini is by Alternative Gaming Miniatures. In real life he is nicer than he looks on these photos and I really enjoyed painting him. Really hope there will be stats for him with the Clone Wars expansion.

And last is my favourite mini of the lot. Probably even my favourite mini I painted last year (yes I am really doing a lot of catching up).

The model itself is gorgeous, which is only emphasised by the fact that is is completely poseable. I also used it as a test piece for my Early War German armour. I was very happy with all the fading effects on its paint, so it became a successful template for its historical brothers.

I wanted a very dynamic pose on this model with a raised foot. With its long legs the model itself became a little wobbly and I did not want any supportwires to show. Since my Imperial troops are based for a jungle planet anyway I decided to have him wading through water, with the water running off the raised foot and water splashing around the other foot.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2019 in Basing, Empire, Rebels, Sci-Fi, Star Wars Legion

 

Last Anglo-Saxons for SAGA

Last Anglo-Saxons for SAGA

These were actually painted last year in time for the French Grand Melee. But the lack of time to take some photos and problems with photoshop prevented me from posting them any earlier.

Nothing really spectacular here, but with the changes from SAGA 1 to version 2 it became moch more sensible to field four points of Levies for my Anglo-Saxons instead of three points of Warriors and just one point of Levies as I did in the past.

Since I wanted a unit of archers, this was all easy enough. Those three points of Warriors I used before were amalgamated into two points of Levies (since both added up to 24 minis). For the archers I picked up a set from Footsore Miniatures. I was really pleased with them. Mighty nice mini and a true joy to paint.

The biggest plus was that no two minis were identical. While there are only six different poses, each mini that shares the pose with another has a different face and head gear to make them all different. I kept the colours simple and subdued to make them appear like lowly peasants that could not afford any bright and expensive clothes.

In addition I had always fielded a Priest Warlord in the earlier edition to get enough SAGA dice. Now I felt I needed a fighter. Well or rather could afford one without having too few SAGA dice. I felt it made the most sense to pair him up with the Hearthguards, since only they can be sacrificed, instead of him taking wounds. Since all my Anglo-Saxon Hearthguards are mounted, he had to be mounted too, to keep up with them.

As with the Hearthguards, I used Norman cavalry from Conquest Miniatures modified with Gripping Beast plastic Anglo-Saxon parts to make them look the deal. The only thing I regret about them are the shields. I was running out of time ahead of the Grand Melee and simply did not have the time to paint the shields any nicer. And over the past few months, I simply could not find the motivation to repaint them or add more detail.

 
 

A game of Star Wars Legion

A game of Star Wars Legion

Last Friday night we played a game of Star Wars Legion. Not the first one, but I finally remembered to actually take a few photos.

For the mission we drew three random cards each and reduced them down per the rules. So we ended up with “Clear Conditions”, “Disarray” and “Intercept The Transmissions”.

Not the best scenario for my force which consisted of General Veers, three squads of Stormtroopers (with LMGs each and an Astro Droid in one of them), a Scout Trooper Sniper team, a unit of Speeder Bikes, an E-Web and an AT-ST.

Sven played a Rebel Officer, three squads of Rebel Troopers (with LMGs each and a Med Droid in one of them), a squad of Rebel Commandos with sniper rifle, two squads of Wookies and two AT-RTs.

On one flank one of my Stormtrooper squads, the Scouts, Speeder bikes and the E-Web faced off vs. the two Wookie squads and an AT-RT, which was later joined by another AT-RT.

The Stormtroopers moved into cover, but were outflanked by both squads of Wookies and died in the first turn, only dealing out a little damage of their own.

The subsequent turns turned into a shootout between the units, with one Squad of Wookies, already quite beaten up charging the the Speeder Bikes for little return. In the end the AT-RT was down to half it’s wounds (partially due to an orbital bombardment), one squad of Wookies destroyed and the at roughly half strength.

The Scouts perished when the second AT-RT charged them (it had been left weaponless by a goodby shot from my AT-ST when it moved to the other flank. The Speeder bikes and the E-Web had seen minimal damage by the end of turn four.

On the other flank the rest of our troops had faced off against one another.

This was a rather unenventful slugging match, where the high amount of dice from the Rebel LMGs took their toll.

This was off-set by the firepower of my AT-ST, but Sven was quite skilled at making the most of the terrain (pylons of the landing platform as well as the AT-AT docked to it), so that I could never concentrate my firepower from two units on any one of his and hardly ever was a given Rebel unit in a vulnerable position in two consecutive turns.

In the end this cost me both squads of Stormtroopers and Veers while my AT-ST was still I damaged by the end of turn four. At the same time the Rebel squads were all down to half strength.

But by the end of turn four Inwas down to the E-Web, Speeder Bikes and AT-ST, while Sven had only lost a squad of Wookies while virtually all his other units were at half strength. Since he was already well in the lead for objective points we called it a day here.

I have to say that if this had been a last man standing things would have been closer, but with the objectives it was a clear win. I was not too unhappy with the performance of my units, but they were never close to having a chance.

All that being said, it was a really fun game with quite a few lessons learned for me.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2019 in Empire, Rebels, Star Wars Legion

 

Star Wars Legion Royal Guards

To be fair… things have not progressed with the blog quite as good as I had hoped. Painted a lot, played a little but posted next to nothing. But I still want to keep it up, so let’s try to do some simpler posts now (although in the future I will try for some better photos).

So after a Holiday in Scotland earlier this month Inwanted something simpler to get back into the saddle and did some Royal Guards for Star Wars Legion this Sunday. As with the other Star Wars minis , everything was fast and simple. For a short time I had contemplated doing the armour, clothing and capes in different shades of red, but in the movies their tone for red looks quite monotone all over so I did them that way.

If anyone is wondering where there are five when the box comes with four minis… well I received two sets of legs for my heavy weapon trooper, but no torso. Fantasy Flight Games send me a replacement, but due to some computer error, that went to Ivory Coast. So they send another torso replacement but for the wrong trooper. Someone in a post office in Ivory Coast seems to have figured out that my address was in Germany and forwarded that package on (they both arrived virtually simultaneously). So I cobbled one of the pairs of legs I had together with the wrong torso, put on a lot of green stuff and painted it as well. I guess it will be largely useless in the game, since Incan not field that many troopers in the unit anyway, but I did not want anything going to waste.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2019 in Empire, Star Wars Legion

 

Merry Christmas

The last few months have been hectic, so I am more than happy that things are getting quiet now.

But I really hope that your Christmas is both merry and peaceful! Have a great time with the people you love!

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2018 in Uncategorized