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Category Archives: WWII

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.

 

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.

 

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