Monday, December 30, 2013

Santa was a few days late, but he made it!

It's five days after Christmas, but a couple of packets came today!! Yay!!

The first was from Tumbling Dice in England. I noticed that they have 1/600 British 18 pounders in their WWI section. These were also used quite widely in WWII by the Royal Artillery in the Battle of France and the early stages of the war in North Africa
Unlike O8's, they don't come molded with crew on a small base, so I'll have to adapt some infantry figures, but it'll make a nice addition to the ever-present 25 pounders and 2 pounder anti-tank guns. Also, the modernized 18 pounders that were used in WWII looked different than the WWI version, but it's as close as I can get. 

I also got some of their Italian aircraft. Not too many companies make 1/600 aircraft, so I try to get the widest variety I can find. I bought a bag of Caproni Ca. 310's:
And some IMAM (or Meridionali if you prefer) Ro. 37 bis:
The landing gear and top wing are separate pieces and talk about fiddly to get them glued on straight and level, especially that wing!! More swearing!!

The second packet was from Stone Mountain Miniatures. Another bottle of their own "mud" paint, which I really like and use a lot of, as well as a 1/285 four-winged guildhall:
I've ordered buildings from them several times in the past and was always impressed. Never a bad casting and no clean up necessary. This time, there is a bit of obvious bubbling that needs filling in and a fair bit of "flash" to be cleaned off. Still, a very attractive and unusual building to add to my German city center. 

I also got a Tamiya paint mixing jar to make up the grayish sky blue on the undersides of East German aircraft, but that's hardly photo-worthy. 

Yay for St. Nick! He always comes through with the good gifts. Actually it was Mrs. History PhD, bless her heart!
I love you sweetheart :-*

More in the New Year!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

East German infantry stands, etc.

Well, as promised, my first East German infantry platoon stand is finished:
If anyone tells you the gem about 3mm infantry being the easiest scale to paint, loudly call him a varlet and a knave and soundly thrash him from your presence. As you can see, I make no attempt at details. Mono-color uniform, boots, weapon, helmet, and a dot of flesh for a face. That's it. Yet, they are SO tiny that even my 20/0 detail brushes are too big. Paint slops everywhere and I'm forced to tidy up paint messes with a toothpick!! Mrs. HistoryPhD says swearing is the rule and not the exception when I paint, but that I was in rare form tonight. Thank God I don't need hundreds of these damned things!

I also finished off my Italian AB40 armored cars for North Africa. Two platoons worth:
I think they came out quite well, given that they are the only 3mm Italian armored cars made and not the type I actually need. I'll have to make at least one command stand too.

That finishes off this weekend. More on New Year's Day!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

And now for something completely different....

"...a man with three buttocks." No, not really. 

On Christmas Day, just as a change of pace, I decided to paint a few 1/2400 ships that I've had sitting at the back of the "to be painted" queue for ages. So, in no particular order: a generic freighter. I can't remember who made it. Maybe CinC or Viking Forge
One of GHQ's American 4-pipe destroyers, painted in Cavite Blue
You can't tell it from the photo, but the deck is in early war gray.

After a LOT of research, my formula for Cavite Blue is two parts White Ensign 5-N Navy Blue and one part old-timey Testors 1163 Battle Grey. It's the closest to the real thing I've ever seen. 

And the French light cruiser Jeanne d'Arc from Viking Forge
All my bases are the really excellent resin ones sold by Bay Area Yards

Nothing irritates me more than wargamers who have what amounts to a placard of information pasted to their ships' bases. Have you ever seen a naval ship towing a barge painted with all the ship's details?  If you can't recognize and/or differentiate between your own ships, you shouldn't be playing naval wargames!!  The only understandable exception is multiple ships in the same class. So I put the merest info on the thin edge of the base. 

That tells me all I need. I have every ship I own indexed (it's well over 700). This is the third ship on the French list. 

Ok, hope you like the change of pace. More later in the weekend. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Platoon stands and a bit of converting

This weekend, I've started making my 3mm East German infantry platoon stands and I've made a bit of a scratch-built conversion. 

O8 makes a model of a Soviet ACRV-2
Which was based on the MT-LBu
Which in turn was developed from and bears a passing resemblance to an MT-LB
Where I'm going with all this is a battlefield surveillance radar called SNAR-10 
that was developed from the MT-LB. The NATO reporting name was/is Big Fred. Conversions to O8 models are fairly difficult, as I've said in previous posts, not only because of the small size of the models, but also because the alloy used is so dense and very brittle. There are models of both the ACRV-2 and the MT-LB, but only the first has the necessary turret to mount a radar bar on. So, without further ado:
The best I can do for a Big Fred until O8 actually makes one. That's it with it's East German base coat finished. This was an easy conversion, as all I had to do was add a radar bar to the top of the existing turret. I'll probably try again in future with an MT-LB and scratch-build the whole turret and radar bar. 

On to my East German platoon stand. Here it is assembled and primed, but not yet painted or flocked:
It's 3x PKM machine guns, 3x RPG-16, 1x SA-7, and 9x AK-74, for a total of 19 figures. Stand by to see the final product next weekend. 

Sunday addendum:

Here's my Big Fred stand, with a UAZ-469 just to make it look more attractive:
And I finished the other half of my Danish 105mm battery and a stand for the battery commander's M113:

That's it for this weekend. More on Christmas!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

East German motor rifle platoon TO&E

This weekend hasn't seen much painting going on, but rather, I've been trying to decide how to put together my 1981 East German infantry stands in 3mm for my LANDJUT campaign. I try to stick as close to 1:1 as possible, but I'm forced to confine myself to those figures O8 actually produces, so this is what I've settled on:

Historically, a platoon consisted of 3x squads (the platoon commander was also leader of one of the squads) and at company level there were 3x SA-7 Grail MANPADS launchers and their gunners which were cascaded down, one to each platoon.
There was also a separate section of 2-3x AGS-17 Plamyas
each with a 2 man crew at the battalion level.

Each squad was made up of an RPG-16 gunner
a PKM light machine gunner
and 5 men with AK-74's
Each squad also had the fire support of the BTR-60PB
or BMP-1
that transported it. 

One of the squads would also have had an SVD sniper rifle
in place of an AK-74, but I'll overlook that. O8 casts their PKM with a 2 man crew, so I'd have to fudge reality a bit and make each stand 5x AK-74 gunners, 1x PKM and crew, and 1x RPG. That's about as accurate as I can conveniently get. For each platoon, I'd also have to do a stand of 1x SA-7. Oh, and there was also an additional combat squad at company level made up from the HQ personnel. 

So, all that would mean an awful LOT of little squad stands littering the table during a game. In an effort to keep that problem under as much control as possible, I'm going to do larger platoon stands. 9x AK-74 figures, 3x PKM's, 3x RPG-16's, and 1x SA-7. The stands are, after all, just a graphic representation of a platoon, and not a real platoon. As the AGS-17's are a battalion asset, they'll have to stay on a single, separate stand. 

The only difference between a Soviet company and those of other Warsaw Pact countries was that the Soviets had a dedicated machine gun platoon at company level (an additional 6x PKM's and 2x BTR-60PB's) and the other countries did not. So if and when I actually do Soviets, I'll have to change things around a bit. 

If any of this sounds like I've missed something or misinterpreted anything, I'd appreciate your input. Stand by to see platoon stands next weekend. Today I ordered a pack of Soviet infantry heavy weapons from Picoarmor, along with a few other goodies! See you soon!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Odds and ends

As George Carlin once said: "If there are 24 odds and ends on a table and 23 fall off, what's left, an odd or an end?"

Anyway, on a bitterly cold weekend, I've not gotten any big project accomplished, though I have worked on my scratch-built 1/285 CNN truck:
A company called Ngineering makes satellite dishes in HO and N scales. The HO is perfect for a large dish in 6mm. As you can see, I also took the opportunity to build a Soviet Fire Can radar for my East German 57mm AA guns. The trailer began life as a Heroics & Ros WWII German command trailer. Not one of their best models, I must say. Here's the real thing:
In the same order, I also bought a couple of Soviet "Track Dish" radars, originally Skytrex but now H&R:

I've also tried to get some Italian WWII Bersaglieri based for the Western Desert 1940:
That's one squad. Italian army squads were twice the size of those in other armies, approx. 24 men, including command, plus a light machine gun and crew. 

Also finished a 3mm East German motor rifle company in BTR-60PB's and a BTR-60PU command vehicle:
I always put a couple of infantry on a command or FAO/FAC stand to help identify them. 

That's it for this weekend!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The holiday weekend's parting shot

Last day of my long four day weekend, so just a few miscellaneous bits and pieces that I've finished off. 

My Bersaglieri will be relieved to see that I've gotten them some support. A battery of 25mm anti-tank guns (captured French Hotchkiss guns):
A battery of 65mm infantry support guns:
And also a battery of Breda 20mm anti-aircraft guns, to keep the British Desert Air Force at bay:
I'm also working on batteries of Italian 75's and 105's. As you can see, I've yet to find a color of paint that really blends with the sand I use for basing. Damn!! Well, that's all for this weekend. More next time!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Painting Cold War Danes

In keeping with my projected 1981 LANDJUT campaign, I've already talked about my method of painting East Germans, so now let's cover the Danish Army. 

During this period, Danish vehicles were painted green with black bands:
Which looked very similar to British Army vehicles:
The difference being that the Danish green is a brighter shade than the bronze green used by the British. So I've chosen Vallejo Reflective Green (890), as it looks a very close match. Then the usual khaki-grey dry-brushing, painting of details, and bright bits of "bling".

In the early 80's, the Danish Army operated 12 American-built OH-6A Cayuse observation helicopters, which were painted an overall blackish green:
So the choice of color is easy, Vallejo Black Green (980). Beginning in the mid-80's, Danish helicopters were painted to match the vehicles:

Camouflage uniforms weren't issued to Danish troops until 1984. Prior to that, the official color was "dark olive green", but if you look at photos, it was more of an olivish dark khaki:
I find Vallejo English Uniform (921) to be about right. Danes were known for having helmets that were shaggy with grass, etc as camouflage, so I glue a bit of green flock to their helmets (in 6mm. In 3mm, it's not worth the bother). In 1981, Danish Home Guard units were still wearing an odd mixture of WWII British and US equipment; battle smocks and Bren guns mixed with M1 Garands and US M1 steel helmets. 

Here are a couple of my Danish stands. A section of 105's:
And a troop of Leopard I a1a1's:

I think the Danes are one of the most interesting armies of the period. Their equipment was a hodge-podge of West German, British, and American equipment. And as it wasn't all that large an army, it's easy to assemble the entire Jutland Division in 1/600!! More from me soon!!