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Author Archives: Burkhard

May 40 (early war) Fallschirmjäger review

So the time has finally come to do that May 40 Fallschirmjäger review I indicated some time ago. I was kindly given four samples of the first castings from the range.

Now first things first… the minis themselves. The anatomy is great. The proportions are accurate and the animation is realistic. What I really like is the level of detail. The level of detail is higher than the photos posted on the Kickstarter would suggest. There is lots of little details on both the uniforms and weapons. There is also little things strewn in, like the handgrenade tugged under the belt or the officer wearing extra long gloves. Especially the faces are great. They are sculpted well and strike a nice balance between detail and overdoing it. As such they should work well with classic painting and washing techniques. The equipment on the minis is period correct and placed realistically. The casting quality is very good. No mould misallignment and flash is minimal and will be easy to remove. At least on the samples I received, the flash is never running over the middle of the faces, which is a big plus in my book as well.

Four samples of the May 40 miniatures

Now how do they compare to other companies offerings. I had Warlord Games minis, both metal and plastic, as well the as the Heer46 Mediterranean Fallschirmjäger.

Size wise they compare very well to the Warlord minis (both metal and plastic), but are a little smaller than the Heer46 minis.

The heft though is compareable between them and Heer46. The Heft on the metal Warlord minis is thicker and on the plastic Warlord thicker again.

The detail is on about the same level as with the Heer46, slightly better than the Warlord metal and a good deal better than the Warlord plastic (which is no big surprise since this is one of their earlier plastic offerings).

When it comes to the size of the weapons, which is often the defining factor if you want to mix different ranges, May 40 and Warlord are virtually the same. Herr46 are smaller and shorter. But please bear in mind, that the equipment with the Warlord is is geared more towards mid to late war (although select minis could be used for early war as well). Heer46 is also geared towards later periods and the warm weather mediterranean uniforms.

All in all all ranges are close enough to be mixed with one another. Warlord even being close enough, that one could even put minis from the both manufacturers on one base. They would work with Heer46 as well, but I would recommend basing them seperately. But to be fair… the May 40 and Heer46 minis are for different periods anyway.

Left to right: Warlord plastic, May 40, Heer46, May 40 and Warlord metal

Now for those of you who think “this is all very nice, but it will be some time before I can buy them”… well May 40 is running a late pledge option in their store right now. Not sure how long that will be online, but right now you will still be able to get a pre-order in at Kickstarter prices.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2019 in May 40, Miniatures, Reviews, WWII, WWII: Germans

 

Early war Fallschirmjäger

As you will have noticed, I have been working feverishly on my early war Germans. Nowthis all regular Heer, but in the first years of the war Germany used their Fallschirmjäger as strike forces taking key positions during most offensives. Naturally this means, that I am also interested in sore Fallschirmjäger to complement my forces for those early campaigns. So far there have been no appropriate minis, as all minis on the market are geared up for the later years.

But there are some coming up in a Kickstarter:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/may40miniatures/german-fallschirmjager-1940-invasion-of-the-low-countries

If you want / need some early war Fallschirmjäger, I suggest you take a look.

Everything I have seen so far looks extremely nice, poses as well as detail. And there are some great vignettes as well.

They are also offering a DFS 230 glider as a pledge on the Kickstarter:

I would have loved to give you a detailed review of the minis as I was send some samples, but unfortunately they only arrived after we left for our holidays (thanks DHL), so the review will only happen after we return or in other words,after the Kickstarter has ended. Hope those pictures have caught your interest already.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2019 in Battlegroup, Blitzkrieg, WWII, WWII: Germans

 

Polish Army 1939

Polish Army 1939

As I have indicated before, I am currently working on a big project and that is building a Polish force for 1939. Our club always attends Crisis in Antwerp and our plans for the next six years is to host a game based on an 80th anniversary from the Second World War. So this year it will be Fall Weiß, the invasion of Poland.

So for the last six or seven weeks, I have been working on the infantry component for my Polish army. All the minis are from Warlord games. Some still sculpted by Paul Hicks for Bolt Action Miniatures (mostly those soldiers in normal uniforms) some by different sculptors after Warlord bought the range (those in greatcoats, guns and support weapons). I have to say I enjoyed painting the Paul Hocks sculpts the most. They are not as refined as his current work, especially the faces. But the newer models often have weaker details and some suffer from a huge scale creep. All in all they are all good models though and the army has been fun to paint. All that being said, I only have time to paint during the weekends, so I went for a quick paint job on these minis. Before Imget started on the minis themselves… yes I intentionally put white and red flowers on the bases. I felt they are a fitting decoration for Poles.

So, up first the regimental command team.

They are being followed by the regimental communication teams. A wire team and a radio team. I will later do a radio truck as well. BTW, Imhave no idea what kind of breed the dog pulling the wire spool is, but he seemed closest to a wolfhound, so that is the way I painted it.

So let’s go for something heavier. The artillery. The only guns available on the market are WZ 1897-17 75mm Howitzers. I shuffled some of the crew around between these and the Bofors 37mm AT gun. The loader for the Bofors was simply holding the shell too high to look realistic. The artillery spotter team are simply two normal infantrymen, one of them with binoculars. Nothing to special, but none of the other minis really looked like a spotters either or were more useful somewhere else.

Last for the support elements is a sniper team.

Up next is the infantry platoon. The platoon command actually packs a good punch. One of the men carries an AT rifle anyway and since I painted one soldier armed with a LMG to many I allocated him to this team.

Next are the company support elements… medic, mortar team, HMG team, AT rifle tram and a Bofors 37mm AT gun. The later required some tricks. As I said before, the leader did not quite fit the gun and was transferred to the howitzers. To make up for the missing crewmember I added a kneeling rifleman covering the gun crew. The other problem is that the gun shield comes in two parts. Mine was a poor cast where the two parts meet, but I only noticed that problem when I was close to painting it. Some that was covered up by some camp netting. Which is a real shame, since the weathering on the shield turned out quite nicely.

The infantry platoon itself is made up of three ten men rifle section and three nine men support sections. The later include a LMG each. I am not going to bore you by showing you three virtually indentival teams each, so here is one each.

All in all, there are almost 100 minis in total here. Quite happy with my output. Ironically I finished these today, on the 80s anniversary of the invasion of Poland. So I thought I should share these with you today.

Hope you enjoyed these. Now I will have to tackle around 20 vehicles. Not sure I am looking forward to that, but they will get done.

 

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.

 

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.