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House Hunters Normandy Edition (Part 2)

House Hunters Normandy Edition (Part 2)

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.

Normandy houses

Normandy houses

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.

Normandy houses

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

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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House Hunters Normandy Edition (Part 1)

House Hunters Normandy Edition (Part 1)

Following up the quest for more terrain, here is some for Normandy.

Up first is the Church by Commission Figurines. I bought it as part of Walt’s Kickstater for the Berlin Buildings. I liked it at first glance for its nice clear Norman lines. When it arrived I was very happy with the detailing on it, including the fact that the mortar lines between the stones were actually engraved into the MDF instead of being just cuts between the stones. The stones might seem a bit large, but this engraving really makes sure they do not stand out. And looking at many (late) medical churches in Europe they often feature massive stones. The building itself is massive as well, making for a great centrepiece on the table. For those worrying about storage… if you do not glue the belltower to the base, you can lay it into the main building.

Norman style churchNorman style church

The large windows just screamed for stained glass windows. Which were easier to Donovan Inhad expected. I just looked online for a Kaleidoscopic pattern, printed it out on a sheet of overhead projector film (for those too young to remember… this is what us old people used before the spread of laptop computers and video projectors), cut it to shape and glued it on the inside.

Norman style churchNorman style churchBelltower

The church can actually be assembled in two ways. You get two different “back” walls. One with a door and two thin windows and one with the larger window assembly. Depending on which one you use for the front or the back either the door or the larger window will be covered up by the belltower. You could also decide not to glue it to the base and use it whatever way round suits you best in a given game, but I decided to have the large window all the time. One word of advice though. If you do it like I did you will only have a large entry to the front and none at the back. There is a small side door on one of the long pieces, so make sure that is to the end. I only noticed the doors once I was painting on the details and did not want to rip it all apart.

While we are on the topic of painting. I have always struggled with the realistic colours for stone buildings. This is part of the reason why I had left this one lying around for 4 or 5 years now. Looking at many stone churches here inGermany or stone buildings in the UK, I found that most of the stones did not really look grey but brownish with a grey hue. Some looked grey all right, some greenish, but the majority rather brownish. And that is the way I remembered these from Normandy as well. So I decided to take a different route now. Both the church and the barn below were primed in Vallejo IDF Sand Grey which is a rather brownish grey. I then airbrushed individual stones (small areas in case of the barn with its much smaller stones) in a light grey and concrete (which is greenish). Afterward it was all given a dusting of Ammo One Shot grey primer. For those who do not know this primer, it is designed to be applied in a number of thin coats (yes, I know this is irritating since it is called One Shot). This feature meant that the primer rather changed the colours below when allowed as a thin dust, than covering them up. This gave it all the grey hue I wanted.

Now to the next building, which is a stone barn by Charlie Foxtrot Models. As with theirrazed Russin huts seen the other day, assembly was quite fast and straightforward. Just like the church it features lots of details, but in a different way. There is literally hundreds of small odd shaped stones carved into the MDF here. They never run in straight rows, making the building look like it was assembled from the rocks a farmer had pulled from his field and not like stones a stonemason had worked on to build a church. Which gives the whole barn a nice nice rustic authenticity.

Normandy barnNormandy barn

The kit also comes with a second floor and a ladder leading up to it. With three windows for this second floor this makes for a nice sniper or LMG position. The kit also comes with seperate doors for the entrance and gate with a more intact and a more rotten version for the gate. I chose to leave the gates open to be able to place a small AT gun or a HMG inside, turning this into a real strongpoint. What surprised me, was the fact, that the floor was evens engraved with a flagstone pattern, which you rarely see on MDF buildings modules intact. So I felt obliged to add a little straw (fibres cut from a doormat) to both the ground and upper storey.

Normandy barnNormandy barn

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in Charlie Foxtrot, Terrain building, WWII

 

Hungarian WWII infantry anyone

Hungarian WWII infantry anyone

I hope most of you who are interested in the period have already seen this, but if not, I wanted to point you to a Kickstarter for Hungarian Infantry in WWII in 28mm.

I know there is already another company out there producing WWII Hungarians in 28mm, but to be honest… one can never have enough diversity. And I got some samples of their Hungarians when the minis from their last Kickstarter were delivered the other week and the quality is phenomenal.

So if this is your cup of tea, go and take a look.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2018 in WWII, WWII: Hungarians

 

House Hunters Russian Edition

House Hunters Russian Edition

While I have some houses set in rural Russia for the Napoleonics to WWII era, it seems there never were and never are enough. So some time ago I decided to beef this up. Buying the models had been the easy part, actually building and painting them took ages it seems. So in order of their purchase dates, here they are:

Up first is a Russian Orthodox Church. Now these days there are a number of extremely nice MDF kits out there and I would be hard pressed to decide which one to use, but back when I decided to beef the numbers up there were none. So I decided to take a different route and use the Perry’s ACW plastic Church kit. I scraped off the Christian cross above the entrance, which sounds easier as it was without damaging the wooden planks, and replaced it with one laser-cut from MDF. The cross is by a small UK company. Unfortunately I can not remember their name to give them credit. The regular roof on the bell tower was left off and the resulting square hole shut off using a piece of plastic card. The onion shaped dome is from Fenris Games. All that was left to do was paint it. In real life there is more contrast to the wooden planks and also some greenish stains, but it seems the natural light when so took the photos nearly soaked that up (same also applies to the other buildings in this post).

Russian church

Russian church

Russian church

Russian church

Up next is the windmill. In a way this is kind of a kitbash as well. The basic windmill is by Warbases. I replaced the original tool with coffee stirrers, since I wanted a real simple roof there. Since I wanted it to be raised and of a kind that was able to turn with the winds I constructed an under structure from wooden strips and Hirst Arts stones. To make it all accessible I added a ladder from the same company that provided me with the Orthodox cross. I know a set of stairs would probably have made more sense, but this is easier to store and there is a door up on the rear side for lifting goods into the mill anyway, so a ladder had to do.

Russian windmill

Russian windmill

Russian windmill

Russian windmill

Up Last are two razed buildings. These are extremely nice kits from Charlie Foxtrot (you are going to see a few more of their models over my next posts). I really love their chimney stacks. They really add something to the looks of these burned down buildings. I build these two sets pretty straight forward assembling the buildings and painting them. They come with lots of separate planks and so on to allow you to mimic rubble and I decided not to paint these. Since they were thin strips of MDF they already looked suitably scorched as it was. So these were just filed in after the painting. Now once it was I all glued together this proved to be a mistake, since they looked immensely different from the way I had painted the rest of the buildings. The original plan had been to give the edges of the buildings a quick black spray with the airbrush and give it all a light black dusting to back it blend, but I realised that this would not do the trick. Something else would be needed. So I treated it all with a candle, making sure it left soot marks over the building and rubble. I also noticed that the floors looked to clean and that there was too little debris there. Thank gods it is BBQ season right now so I took some coal dust from the bottom of a bag of coals, smashed up a small piece of charcoal to get some larger pieces of debris and files that over the floor and debris to enhance the looks. And I feel it worked. If you want to try this yourselves, please make sure you are working outside or in a well ventilated room (the heat from the candle combined with the paint could cause fumes) and that you have something on hand to extinguish the fire should you overdo it. Also, sealing it all with varnish afterwards is a must otherwise you will smear things and you and other players might get dirty using the buildings.

Razed russian house

Razed russian house

Razed russian house

Razed russian house

Razed russian house

Razed russian house

 

Panzerkampfwagen I Platoon and more

Panzerkampfwagen I Platoon and more

So to keep up the dark grey theme… here are some more.

They nice thing about the early war period is, that you can get virtually every vehicle in my preferred scale, 1:48th. There are a few exceptions and the PzKw I and it’s variants are one of them. Those are only available from small companies with small production runs and cost a lot. At first I had planned to use some 1:56th scale model after all, but when Martin got himself a 3D printer another option became available.

PzKw I platoon

PzKw I platoon

While one can see the layers and the detail could be higher on some parts, they still do a job, and to be honest… just looking at the cost of the material, these five tanks cost me less (probably half as much) than one of those from a small company would have cost me.

PzKw I platoon

PzKw I platoon

Martin was not sure if I wanted a command version with or without the antenna assembly, so he printed both and one hot pressed into service as an armoured ambulance.

PzKw I command and ambulance versions

PzKw I command and ambulance versions

Over all I was surprised by the 3D prints. I would have thought that the layers would have been more visible after the wash and filter. I know they stand out on these photos, but when not enlarged as much as they are on our screens you hardly notice.

PzKw I command and ambulance versions

PzKw I command and ambulance versions

 

Kradschützenplatoon (part 1)

When I was school, there was a real good 4 part documentary about the war on the eastern front on German television. One picture that stuck to my mind was a short clip of a  Kradschützenzug riding cross-country. So when I saw that Battlegroup gave the option have one for the Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa era, I was something I had to do.

In the end, it almost drove me mad. Just cleaning mold lines from all the minis and motorbikes / sidecars took the better part of a week. Do not get me wrong, none of these are bad minis, it is just that they all have so many parts that need to be cleaned up.

Kradschützen Platoon

Kradschützen Platoon

And in addition to the platoon not even being finished yet (I will need to do the command unit, an AT-rifle and HMG team each plus some rear seat riders for two of the current LMG teams). So lots of work here.

The minis are a mix of Warlord Games (the LMG teams and the mortar team) and Wargames Foundry. Scale wise they mix quite well and given the fact, that the Warlord bikes are all BMW R75s and the Foundry ones are all Zündapp KS 750s, minor differences in scale will not stand out.

Not much more to say really, so I will leave you with the pictures.

Kradschützentrupp 1Kradschützentrupp 2

Kradschützentrupp

Kradschützentrupp

Kradschützen mortar team

Kradschützen mortar team

Kradschützen messenger

Kradschützen messenger

Kradschützen medic

Kradschützen medic

 

 

Run out the guns

Run out the guns

For some time I have been a fan of artillery in our Battlegroup games. This was only enhanced last year when I tried out something new during a game set during Kursk when my heavy soviet artillery annihilated the German tanks virtually on its own. Unfortunately heavy artillery is hard to find for 28mm minis so my best option was the Schweres Infanteriegeschütz 33 (SiG 33) from Warlord which will have to stand in for other heavy guns.

SiG33 battery

SiG33 battery

The models are essentially out of the box, but I replaced some of the crew (at least those not holding the shells and charges, with those from the Warlord 105mm guns to add some extra variety to the bases.

There is also some AT-guns I did recently and those are a pair of 3,7cm PaK 36s. I was at first sceptical of the PaK 36 having played only mid to late war games over the past decade where the 3,7cm is not exactly the big start. But Martin wanted to give his French Army a game last year and I have to say I was more impressed by their performance than by the short barreled PzKw IVs. So while I had originally planned to do just one and use it as an AT-gun option for the infantry platoon, I now plan to use them both as a tank hunter unit of their own. Only need to finish their Krupp Protze tows.

One is the current Warlord offering, the other a vintage Bolt Action gun that was still sold by Bolt Action until about a year or two ago. With the later, you can clearly see that this is one of Paul Hicks earlier offerings, as the poses are more wooden and the faces less detailed than what he sculpts these days, but none the less, once based and on the table it looks just as nice as the new one.

And up last some fire support for the infantry platoon by means of a 8cm mortar. Again the minis are by Warlord. Not sure how good it will be in the game. Having to pay a n order to spot for just one mortar seems excessive, but maybe it plays out well.

8cm mortar team

8cm mortar team

 

German Infantry for Poland to Barbarossa

German Infantry for Poland to Barbarossa

Now this is part of a big project I have been working on since last fall. A complete German army for use with the Battlegroup rules for the period from the invasion of Poland (Fall Weiß) up until the first months of the invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa). Given that this would also make them suitable for the invasions of Denmark and Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and France and Greece, this will make them extremely versatile. That being said, this will also make them a huge project, since except for a couple of PzKW 38(t) and PzKw IV I have nothing suitable for it. This will mean, that I need command units, an Infantry platoon (there were extremely large for the invasion of Poland) with both truck and half-track transport options, a Kradschützenzug (motorcycle platoon), PzKw I, PzKw II (in two different versions), at-guns, artillery, specialist vehicles and aircraft. With such a daunting project you have to start somewhere. For me this was actually the Kradschützen, but since only the soldiers are finished but not the motorcycles, my second step will be the first shown to you… the infantry platoon (still without their transports). For these photos I have arranged them according to the TO&E that was in effect during the invasion of Poland. For later operations, some of these subunits would have been bigger or smaller, but there is enough models for all possible TO&Es. I would only have to rearrange some minis.

All these minis are by Warlord Games. Most of them plastics (some of them slightly converted) and a few metal ones mixed in.

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa infantry command

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa infantry command

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa medic

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa medic

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa light mortar team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa light mortar team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa light mortar team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa light mortar team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa spotter team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa spotter team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa spotter team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa spotter team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa sniper team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa sniper team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

The LMG team above is my personal favorite from this platoon. Most likely, since I converted it to look like this. I always loved the looks of the LMG being fired over the assistants shoulder from a kneeling position. Since there was no such model available, I had to build one myself. What I found very funny is, that the assistant is actually a running pose, but it turned out, this was the easiest to convert into a kneeling position.

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa MG32 team

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

Blitzkrieg to Barbarossa rifle squad

 

Workers housing

As some of you might know, I am living to the far west of Germany in the area that was on the western edge of the Ruhrkessel when the western Allies entered Germany in 1945. As such, I have always been interested in  playing games in that region. While much has changed in the last 73 years, there is one architectural aspect that has been there back then and can still be found today. Workers housing for those working in the coal mines or steel mills.

Workers housing

Workers housing

Workers housing

Workers housing

These usually are small row houses made from bricks with small gardens or backyards. I found some appropriate models with Timeline Models. These are actually meant for a Very British Civil War settings, but it seems workers housing in all parts of Europe were not that different. The only let down is, that htese are longer available. With all their bricks, they were too complicated and therefore too expensive to cut, so they have phased these out in favour of a plain version. Which I think is a shame. So I am still hoping that they will one day make them available again to those willing to pay a premium. Especially since I have three left hand versions and only one right hand version.

Workers housing

Workers housing

 

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2018 in Terrain building, WWII

 

A handful of StuGs and a StuH

A handful of StuGs and a StuH

One of me favorite German vehicles of World War II has been the Sturmgeschütz. Lots of punch, good armor, low profile and usually cheap to get. So a battery of StuGs was a must. I already had a G model with Saukopfblende from Tamiya, so when I decided to do a full battery I only ordered two more. But when I started painting them, I decided, that I would rather like all models in the battery to be the same. So I already have a third that I have not painted yet.

The models are by Blitzkrieg Models. I weathered them like the Jagdpanther and PaK shown the previous days. I added some converted plastic Warlord Miniatures German infantry as crew.

StuH 42

StuH 42

And while I was on it, I also painted a Sturmhaubitze. This one is also from Blitzkrieg, with a Warlord commander and weathered the same way. But I chose a slightly different camo pattern for this one.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2018 in Battlegroup, Rules, WWII, WWII: Germans