I recently realised, that my WWII American infantry only need very few additions to make them plyable as either an Infantry Division or an Armoured Division. So I started fleshing them out. The biggest problem though was (and still is) that virtually all my other Americans were painted nearly two decades ago. Since I mostly used self-mixed paints back then, which have long dried out, and my style of painting changed a bit, this was a challenge. But I think I have found colours that nearly match the old ones and have managed a style close enough not for them to stand out. Only when it came to the faces and eyes I stuck to my new style completely.
Up first is a two gun battery of howitzers. I always love to add some artillery to my forces and these were actually quite fast to paint.
Next is the .30cal machine gun team. Like the artillery before them, they are by Warlord Games. Really liked the composition of the minis, although the ammo bearer taking the knee feels somewhat strange with the rest of the Team being prone.
The .30cal, .50cal and mortar teams above were not painted now, but only rebased. Under the rules we used in the past, it made sense to base the teams as single miniatures. Under Battlegroup that is not necessarily the case and I rather want them based as teams these days. But, I think these minis (by Victory Force Miniatures) actually show, that the new ones blend in well with those painted almost two decades ago.
When I decided to paint and rebase these minis, my eyes fell upon the Greyhound above. It had been sitting assembled but unpainted on my shelve for years, so I decided to paint up up as well while I was on it.
Now on to the second large project for this summer and even a larger one, than the modern US terrain.
Over the past few years one thing became increasingly clear to me… I wanted build up areas, that actually felt like a village or small town, instead of just some MDF buildings tossed onto the table.
Now long term followers of this blog will know that I have never been too happy with my 4Ground buildings due to them being easily recognisable and their proliferation across the world. Other buildings rather have a feeling like they they fit a loose hamlet. Yet others by Sarissa simply lack the footprint to give the weight I would like to see on my gaming table.
While I do have a 3D printer that I use for terrain and vehicles, I often still prefer MDF over prints. Now over the years I have grown increasingly fond of Charlie Foxtrot Models for several reasons. Colins models are fairly cheap, yet well thought out and detailed. And most importantly they all have individual features and offer a realistic footprint. So for that reason, the majority of models for this project came from Charlie Foxtrott.
But let’s start with those that did not. The first is Sarissa Precision’s Café Gondree from the Warlord Games Pegasus Bridge set. The kit itself is nice, but took a lot of work to get painted, due to all the small trim and such. I left the majority of the shutters off. While the sheets had been complete, I was still missing one shutter. So in the end, I decided to leave most of, instead of a single half shuttered window stand out. Main problem for me is the size of the building. Having been there I know that the original building is not gigantic either, but this one feels just too small (and I think caters to the short ranges in Bolt Action). But it should make a nice addition to my Pegasus Bridge as well as serving as a generic building for many western European set ups.
The other one is by Sarissa as well, this time their La Belle Alliance for the Waterloo campaign. I bought this, when I still had the time to paint Napoleomics, but have now decided to use it as a rather generic building. Maybe for the edges of a village or as part of a farm complex. Anyway, not wanting to use it in its historical role, gave me some liberties. So I added a fieldstone foundation and door / window beams, plastered up the walls and gave it all a good weathering with oil paints.
Now before I start with the completely new additions, I also made some addition to the last buildings of Charlie Foxtrot Models, namely some backyards. Again, the walls were plastered up (where appropriate) and weathered using oil paints. The plaster and oil paints will be a feature on all the following models as well, so I am going to omit that from here on. The sacks are from Stronghold Terrain if I remember correctly. The pile of firewood is simply cut up twigs.
When I did the shops the other year, I only gave them some light airbrush weathering, But I liked the oil paints version better and wanted to tie them all together, so I brought their weathering up to date as well.
When I bought the first batch of Normandy row houses from Charlie Foxtrot, I left the Brasserie out. Not sure why. At first look I did not like the building, but in the end I decided to add it to the collection. Which was a great idea, since it is as great as the other shops.
What is left now are the row houses. Obviously every village needs space for people to live in and I really liked the row houses from Charlie Foxtrot. Getting four of these is supposed to give my village what I am aiming for… gravity.
Obviously using the same large building four times means that I run the risk of it all looking cookie cutter style. To reduce that effect I made sure that all the backyards look as different as possible. The outhouses and sheds are by Charlie Foxtrot, the cold frame and chicken coop, as well as most of the chickens, are by another of my favourite companies, Warbases. And yes, I know that brick walls were not too common in Normandy, but I simply liked the brick version so much better than the plain one.
My favourite part though, is the Desire Ingouf. Once I had started on it, it became apparent that this would be a special piece. So in addition to the plaster, I also added a stone base from pink foam (which replaces the original laser engraved ones), roof tiles and custom signs / roads signs (not designed by me though)
To round it all off, I added new roads to it all, which you can see all through those post. Almost exactly a year ago (funny side story… while also on holidays in Scotland and staying in the same place I am writing this now) I stumbled about really nice cobblestone roads by Slug Industries. They were originally a Kickstarter, but if you contact Phil, he still has the moulds and sells them. They are really nicely designed and were easy and fast enough to paint. I also made some connector pieces to allow me to connect them to my existing hardened and dirt roads.
So all in all, I hope to have achieved my goal… to create a village that looks substantial and has gravity.
The last few years have always been taken up by some big project that I wanted to paint in time for Crisis in Antwerp. As I said before, for the 80th anniversaries of WWII we want to do a game each commemorating a battle or campaign that took place 80 years earlier. So the last few years it was mostly early Germans and Poles for me. Now the Germans are done and two of my mates already have French so this year I am free to do whatever pleases me.
My project for this year is going to be mid to late war Fallschirmjäger. I decided to start of with the first batch of heavy weapons.
Up first is a PaK 40 from Warlord Games. I kept the paint job on the gun itself simple, with just a Sandgelb base and some green overspray on the lower half to mimic tall grass. I had seen a similar scheme on on a photo of a RSO in some museum and liked it. I actually painted a RSO like that and wanted the two to form a team.
Next is the artillery support. First a pair of LeFH 18. I found no manufacturer that does any with Fallschirmjäger crews in 28mm, so I created my own. The guns are from Warlord. I wanted them to look like horsedrawn guns. The original models came with the wheels for mechanised units. Since there were two types of wheels used for horsedrawn units (cast steel and wooden spiked wheels) I went for wooden wheels using some 1:48th scale wheels from Tamiya I still had at home. These make the guns sit a little higher than they should, but I actually like that look. The crews are mostly converted Warlord plastics, with the NCO from their metal range.
And last are two Nebelwerfer. These models are from Offensive Miniatures. Really liked these, since they came with lots of little items (ammo boxes and ammo) which allowed me to create two different scenes on the bases with little effort.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
So following up on the last post, some more Normandy really estate. First up two free-standing houses from Sarissa Prescisson. I have to admit, that while working on these, I could not decide if I liked them or not. They offered some nice details, like the brickwork on the ground floor level or the nicely laser cut shutters. On the other hand some things were a bit basic, like the very simple chimney stacks, the chimney of the destroyed house actually ending nowhere or the side walls and floors forming small ledges and buttresses. In the end though, one also has to see that they cost around 15 GB£ each and for that price tag they are fine, if you are willing to put some effort into these.
I added some filler to the walls, the bricks were painted in different colours to give them depth and I added a fireplace from Ainsty Castings (which I can unfortunately not find on their website right now). The thin spread of filler to mimic plaster shall now become a standard for MDF buildings, since I feel it gives them a more organic look and makes them look less like MDF.
These buildings are meant to specifically complement my earlier Normandy buildings that represent buildings at the edge of a town or larger village or small farms or hamlets. Now a couple of years back when I did the others I got a lot of fire from one user on The Wargames Website for doing the shutters and doors a bit more colourful. While to this date I still do not believe that every house in Normandy has them painted white, looking at photos from Normandy it seems that this is indeed the preferred colour for shutters and doors in that region of France, So I decided to paint them all white to raise the ratio.
But now on to the other set I work on last week and to be honest… I can not stress how much joy I had working on these. This is a set of French village buildings designed to form a row of houses / stores by Charlie Foxtrot Models. Now there are two things that made me like them so much. One is the level of detail put into them and the other is that they are all unique. You could have a street like this by designing a basic building and just adding different facades and signs to it and be done. But assembling them you already see that this was not the case. Each one is designed on its own. They all have slightly different dimensions and the windows and shutters are different, too. The angle of the roof is not the same on them all and neither are the chimneys. All in all this leads to a very natural as opposed to the very cookie cutter look we often get on the tabletop. And building these houses, it makes you want to see the end result, see it all come together. And this was a massive joy.
Row of French houses
Row of French houses
As you might have noticed, the roof on the Chapellerie is damaged. One side has a larger hole in it, big enough to provide a nice position for a LMG or HMG team (or gun if your Gebirgsjäger are in the mood to dismantle their gun and carry it upstairs), the other side a smaller one that makes any sniper happy.
Roog LMG position
Sniper in the roof
Now there is another building in the serials which is actually designed to form the left end of the row and which I will eventually get myself. If for no other reason, just because the end of the row looks rather blue right now.
Now there is one small “problem” if you like with these and that is that all the buildings extend to the left from the grocery. Now while you may think “what is the problem, simply put one on the right”, the grocery has an outside staircase, which would be blocked by the depth of the other buildings. I voiced that to Colin (the owner of Charlie Foxtrot) the other week and while he had previously not thought about it, he is now thinking about adding another building to the line that would allow the row to be extended to the right as well. So I guess we will see even more buildings in this line. If you want to see more details on these builds, please remember that these photos lead to larger versions.
Row of French houses
Row of French houses
Row of French houses (rear view)
Anyway, I think that these buildings should give me lot of mileage, since they could be used for virtually anywhere in France, making them suitable for both 1940 and 1944.