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Category Archives: WWII

Rounding off my Americans

Rounding off my Americans

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.

M 101 105mm Howitzer
M 101 105mm Howitzer
M 101 105mm Howitzer

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.

 

Two 12,8cm PaK 44

Two 12,8cm PaK 44

Turns out Corona did not have the effect on my blogging habits that I expected. While I did indeed play less in recent months, I did not blog as much either. But this was mostly due to most of the projects being bigger and taking more time.

One of the first one projects I tackled were two 12,8cm Pak 44s. The models themselves are 3D sculpts by the very talented Richard Humble printed in resin in 1:48th scale. (Anyone interested in these… the models are now being sold in 1:56th scale by Rubicon.)

Since these came without crew miniatures, I had to build some myself. I used plastic minis from different Warlord Games sets for them. These lend themselves quite well for these kinds of conversions.

12,8cm PaK 44 Kanone 81/2

Up first is the 12,8cm PaK 44 Kanone 81/2. This one actually saw action very late in the war. I wanted it to be manned by a Wehrmacht crew and to give them a look reminiscent of the last winter / spring of the war. So they are all wearing greatcoats.

12,8cm PaK 44 Kanone 81/2

The painting is also meant to represent this period of the war, with a Resedagrün base and Dunkelgelb and Schokoladenbraun camouflage. The camouflage was intentionally airbrush with a little too much pressure leading the feathering, to make it look like a fast and sloppy paint job.

12,8cm PaK 44 Kanone 81/2
12,8cm PaK 44 Kanone 81/2

The ground is meant to match with very muddy ground and dried out winter grass.

12,8cm PaK 44 Kanone 81/2
12,8cm PaK 44 Kanone 81/2

The other gun is the Rheinmetal version of the 12,8 cm PaK 44. Now while a few prototypes of this one were build, they never saw action (as far as I know), but it simply looks cool.

Rheinmetal 12,8cm PaK 44

For this one I chose an SS crew. Again going for a late war look they are wearing a mixed assortment of clothing. Greatcoat, regular uniforms (both in Feldgrau and Erbsenmuster), smock and Zeltbahn.

Rheinmetal 12,8cm PaK 44

The paint ob is quite simple. Just red primer for the gun and Dunkelgrau for the barrel. From what I have read, barrels were often primed grey, even till the end of the war, due to the grey paint being more resistant to the heat of the gun.

Rheinmetal 12,8cm PaK 44

The paint job got some streaking grime and rain marks to show that the gun was exposed to the elements. There is a tarpaulin hanging over the barrels to break up the guns silhouette. The tarpaulin was born out of necessity. When I had just assembled the gun, Sami accidentally swept the model off the table with his tail, breaking the gun. After I glued it back together , the barrel had a slight bend. Not much, but it was slightly noticeable where the barrels broke. But the tarpaulin is masking that quite well.

Rheinmetal 12,8cm PaK 44)

For the base I went with an urban look. This way it could the urban fighting seen a lot during the last few months of the war.

Rheinmetal 12,8cm PaK 44

That is it for today, but since we are off on holidays, I will have more time posting in coming days. So there is more to come.

 
 

Fallschirmjäger Heavy weapons

Fallschirmjäger Heavy weapons

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.

Warlord Games PaK 40
Warlord Games PaK 40
Warlord Games PaK 40

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.

Warlord Games Fallschirmjäger LeFH 18
Warlord Games Fallschirmjäger LeFH 18
Warlord Games Fallschirmjäger LeFH 18
Warlord Games Fallschirmjäger LeFH 18
Warlord Games Fallschirmjäger LeFH 18
Warlord Games Fallschirmjäger LeFH 18
Warlord Games Fallschirmjäger LeFH 18

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.

Offensive Miniatures Nebelwerfer
Offensive Miniatures Nebelwerfer
Offensive Miniatures Nebelwerfer
Offensive Miniatures Nebelwerfer
Offensive Miniatures Nebelwerfer
Offensive Miniatures Nebelwerfer
 

A Storch and a Stuka

A Storch and a Stuka

It has been a long time, but I have started to start posting again. We have been involved in a quite heavy car crash late last year and I had decided to spend more time playing and less time posting.

Now Corona has changed that. Suffering from asthma, I guess I will have to limit social contacts to a minimum in coming weeks and months, so I decided to return to my blogging (and maybe rekindle my interest in blogging). Not sure how frequent things will be.

There are a lot of minis I painted in recent months, but I am not sure how much will follow in the near future, since I am one of the lucky few to work through the crisis.

Anyway… let’s start with two models I finished this weekend. These are two 1:48th scale planes for WWII. Both are very old kits… one just slightly 1 ½ years younger than myself.

Up first is the older one, a Fieseler Storch from Revell. For a kit from the late 70´s the quality was pretty good and the decals were almost as good as new. Given that the offering from Tamiya that was released just a few years ago coast around 60 Euros, this was a very good alternative.

The connection between the fuselage and the wings was a bit wobbly, but once the support struts were glued on, the plane itself became surprisingly stable.

Now this plane will have to serve in many lists both from early to late war. So I chose colours for the camouflage that were used for most of the war from roughly 1941 to 1944 (and since not all planes were repainted possibly till 1945) to give me the most mileage. For the same reason the areas painted yellow for recognition were kept to a medium level with just the undersides of the wingtips and a band around the fuselage.

The other model is a Stuka by Monogram. Slightly younger than the Storch. The. model itself was nearly as good as the Storch, but the decals were a pain in the behind, with the glue being quite slimey and them requiring a lot of Micro Set and Micro Sol to work.

This one is supposed to be used for the very early period. From Poland to Barbarossa, possibly even longer. I went for the same colours as I did with the Storch. These will not work for Poland or France, but should be fine Greece or Barbarossa, which will see nearly as many games.

In this case I went for quite large yellow areas, since this plane will mostly see use during periods when the Germans had air superiority.

Both planes were weathered with oil paints. I replaced the propellers with clear discs made from blister packing (although I might replace the one on the Storch with which I am not entirely happy) and added aluminium pipes so I can mount them on my homemade flight stands.

 

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.

 

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.