Monday, 1 October 2018

T-72 with KMT-7 Mine Rollers

Since my last post I have been spending time on projects other than the siege machines I was working on last post. Part of that was due to my normal process of having several projects on the go - so I can work on something as the mood takes me, and partially due to having dropped the box with them in while moving stuff in the garage and the battering rams requiring minor repair before I proceed to undercoating them. Still these things happen.

I have earlier made the Trumpeter T-55 with KMT-5 Mine Rollers using magnets to attach the rollers to the tank hull, (Click here for details) so it seemed a natural progression to add some mine rollers to a T-72.

The completed beast.
 The base T-72 is a Deagostini die cast that has been given a slight repaint and a heavy brown wash,(Click here for further details on the process) while the mine rollers are a very nice Zedval resin conversion kit that I bodged the assembly of.

The very fine wire supports are missing...
 However, I'm not too concerned as the end product, even with my clumsy corner cutting looks good. In large part this is due to the excellent design of the conversion kit. Like all things excellence costs, and the conversion kit was not cheap! I have some more Zedval conversion kits to assemble, and hopefully they will turn out just as well!

More  Soviet engineering goodness!
The other Zedval conversion kits are for what I would describe as being a mine plough attachment set, and a dozer blade attachment. These seem to be the only T-72 engineering conversion kits that I can find - although I'm still hopeful that I will find a conversion kit to make a MTU-72 AVLB from a T-72 hull someday!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Siege Machines WIP

This weekend I had planned to build more urban terrain for use in modern era games. Instead I was sidetracked by the very nice Zvezda Siege Machine sets that I had been slowly stockpiling over the last couple of years.

A stockpile of siege equipment.
 The models come from the two  Zvezda sets that are reviewed at PSR here and here. Some of these models were included in a couple of the Zvezda Age of Battles games that pitched Russians in a wooden fortress against Mongols with Siege engines. These games included both sets of siege machines, so I have a combination of 3 lots of set 1, and 2 of set 2. I haven't included the cauldron for boiling oil, as intend to include them if I do a post on the collection of castles I have acquired over the years.

Hollywood style catapults.
I have included in all the photos one of the figures included in the games, a Russian knight from the set reviewed here at PSR. This hopefully gives a good sense of how big these machines are - especially the onagers and the ballistae! I have seen some of these models used with 25/28mm figures, so I wonder if they were designed to be compatible with the Zvezda 'Ring of Rule' series of figures.

Ballistae, based on the standard V&B artillery base.
The ballistae come with a choice of ammunition, a large bolt, or a round ball of presumably stone. I still have to decide on what figures to use as crew. Ideally I would be able to have a generic ancients type who could also pass as a medieval figure! So I need figures that could span roughly two thousand years... or I could permanently assign them to a given army/period:)


Battering Rams with knight for scale.
Suspending the ram from from the ceiling of the wheeled gallery was not fun. I used wire and harsh language on the first one to achieve an indifferent result. On the other one I used a much smarter approach consisting of two main steps: Step 1, Read and follow the assembly instructions, Step 2, Ask my lovely wife to attach the battering ram using thread. Following those two simple steps made assembly of the second ram a breeze!

I also removed around 25mm off the length of the shaft. While I have been told the length of battering ram shaft of a should be in proportion to the weight of the ram's head so the center of gravity will be in a useful place, the original length looked out of proportion, and was going to make the ram difficult to store. So the reduction was made.

Mantlets, loads of mantlets.
Finally I assembled up eight additional mantlets to go with the three I had previously made. I'm not sure I should base these as not doing so will allow greater flexibility across gaming systems. Still having eleven will provide a useful quantity for any game.

Monday, 15 January 2018

WIP Matchbox DAF Pontoon Carrier Trucks

A number of years back, Paul from Plastic Warriors, posted his conversion of the Airfix Thornycroft truck with Coles Crane, into the much more useful for wargaming Thornycroft pontoon truck (Click here to see it)
Matchbox Super King DAF Truck.
Inspired by this, I thought that I could steal the idea and use the Matchbox Super King DAF flatbed truck as the basis for a post war pontoon carrier. After all, bridging assets are always useful, and having a couple of pontoon trucks would make a nice addition to my wargaming 'tail' elements. The pontoons are naturally enough from the Airfix Pontoon kit, or one of the many Hong Kong clones of that set.

If I stack the pontoons this way, I will need to fill in the hollows on the bottom of the pontoons.
The DAF trucks came in a rather 1970s green colour, so I removed as much of the original paint as possible by soaking in a bath of cheap Dettol, followed by using a wire brush head on a Dremel, to remove 85% of the original paint on the first truck. This was followed by an undercoat of grey primer spray paint, followed by a coat of Vallejo Iraqi Sand, and lastly a brown wash. At this point the first truck languished as I hadn't quite decided how to attached the pontoons.

I am considering cutting up some of the pontoon decking to add to the load.

Two years later, I acquired a second truck. This one I disassembled and bunged through the dishwasher with some extra wash tablets for extra paint stripping power. This loosed up a great deal of the paint, and I wire brushed off some more, to result in a good 90% removal of all the original paint. I then spray painted it a sandy/tan/earthy colour and applied a brown wash. This was a much simpler process, and I have been subjecting the majority of Battle and Super Kings I acquire to this process in order to prepare them for repainting.

1/72 Esci/Italeri Figure for scale.

I still have a great deal of work to do before these are complete but I am happy with what progress I have made so far. The final cargo load for both trucks, and the means of securing the load still have to be determined, but I have a couple of ideas I am planning on experimenting with.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

New Trucks

 I have been rather remiss of late with updating this blog, but I have been busy with making  and painting various models. So I figure I should start by showing some trucks that I have recently acquired, some trucks I am currently working on, and some trucks that I have completed!

Chinese Tank Transporters with Fabbri T-72
 First up are a pair of Chinese made toy Chinese Tank Transporters. These were notionally 1/64 scale, but since they came with a cargo of three tiny tanks each, I suspect they are actually box scale. They bear a strong similarity to several different Chinese heavy trucks (such as the Shaanxi SX4400  or the Taian TA4360). Regardless, they seem to be about right for tank transporters, with a trailer that can take a T-72 quite happily.

Next up are some resin Ural office bodies from S&S models that I am using to convert some Fabbri BM-21s into command vehicles. While converting the Fabbri BM-21s required surgery with the Dremel, the results so far are very pleasing.

Yet another useful S&S product! Their conversion kits are very cool.
I hope to track down a couple of diecast Zil truck models so I can get the Zil office conversion kit from S&S models, as it would be a very nice addition to the collection.

I have found Shaun at S&S models to provide excellent customer service, so if you follow the above links you should have a look at the rest of his range as it is all very good!

S&S Models Man Kat 1 4x4gs truck, not an MHOV, but pretty close. 

I purchased the above resin Man truck kit as I thought I could use it as a substitute for the NZ Army Man HX 60 truck. I was hoping that between it and the Revel range of Man truck kits, Iwould have a perfect match for all the new MHOV trucks. They are very close, but not an exact match.

That being said, these models weren't intended to represent the HX range of Man trucks, but rather trucks from an earlier range - and they do a great job for representing those vehicles.

Side by side comparison.

Man truck on a heavy trailer.
Working on the twin principles of a) You can never have enough trucks (logistics is important!), and b) Close enough is good enough, I figured I should convert/repaint some 1/72 scale Mercedes trucks (That I got from S&S models) that could then be used as NZ Army Mercedes trucks, and as generic logistic elements for other forces.

Repainted Mercedes Trucks - great for use as logistic elements.
I have obtained a number of other trucks from various sources that I am in the process of repainting and converting into various logistics, command, engineering, or transport elements. With luck they, and some other interesting bits and pieces I've gotten recently, will be posted fairly soon.

Monday, 19 June 2017

And Now for Something Completely Different.....

A collection of oddments.
When I still lived in Christchurch, I was asked to help make some props by a local tourist attraction that could be used to help create a certain late 19th Century / early 20th Century atmosphere for one of their displays. The project was quite fun and was well received by the attraction.

Old bottles with  labels and contents added.
 From memory the items were to viewed through a window that allowed the viewer to peer into a dimly lit room.  As such, they only needed to give an impression, rather than provide an accurate  reproduction of actual items.

More old bottles and a repainted Altoids tin.
 The labels were in the main sourced via various sites on the web, and were printed out and given a wash of  various strengths of cheap black coffee. Many of the labels were chosen for  how well they would look on the item, rather than if the item would be found in an explorer's cabin.

The tin on the bottom right has yet to receive a wash of coffee.

Tinned goods were made by putting printed labels made in MS Word over various empty and full tins, that had the ends painted rusty brown, and then given a wash of coffee.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Lace Wars and Small Tables

A number of weeks ago I had the opportunity to have a small pick up game. Volley and Bayonet was agreed as being the system, and I decided to run a battle between two neighbouring fictional 18th Century nations.

The picturesque Lunn region - one of the breadbaskets of the Grand Duchy. 
The first nation is a recently established republic, which has recently been the scene of a great deal of turmoil. The old established order has been violently cast down, great estates split up as part of a program of land reform, and the nation militarised under the axiom "All political power stems from the barrel of a musket"


Army Commander; General Fournier

Army Troops (Exhaustion [][][][][])
Neuhausen Grenadiers (2-6) [][]
1st Field Artillery Demi-Brigade(2-5) [][]
2nd Field Artillery Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
Republican Velites (2x 1-5 Skirmishers) [][]

Left Wing (Exhaustion [][][][][][][])
Wing Commander: General Roux
1st Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
2nd Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
3rd Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
4th Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
5th Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
6th Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
7th Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]

Right Wing (Exhaustion [][][][][][][])
Wing Commander: General Mercier
8th Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
9th Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
10th Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
11th Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
12th Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
13th Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]
14th Line Demi-Brigade (2-5) [][]

The second nation is still organised along traditional lines and is a Grand Duchy which is nominally part of a loose confederation of states that in theory form an empire. In practice the Grand Duchy runs all its own affairs according the whims of the current Grand Duke.


Army Commander; Grand Duke De Blanc

Army Troops (Exhaustion [][][][][])
Von Donop Grenadiers (2-6) [][]
1st Heavy Artillery Regiment (2-5) [][]
Gaun Jagers (1-5 Skirmishers with Amusettes) [][]
Shire Jagers (2x 1-5 Skirmishers) [][]

Left Wing (Exhaustion [][][][])
Wing Commander: Baron Mort
1st Westshire Line Regiment (2-5) [][]
2nd Westshire Line Regiment (2-5) [][]
3rd Westshire Line Regiment (2-5) [][]
2nd Border Regiment (2-5) [][]

Right Wing (Exhaustion [][][][])
Wing Commander: Baron Lunn
Lunn Line Regiment (2-5) [][]
7th Ducal Line Regiment (2-5) [][]
9th Ducal Line Regiment (2-5) [][]
11th Ducal Line Regiment (2-5) [][]

1st Heavy Artillery Regiment and the Grand Duke.

The Grand Duchy has, like its neighbor the Republic, recently experienced a number of poor harvests. Food, or rather the lack of it, provides the source of the quarrel that has occasioned this conflict. The Republic's recent agricultural polices has left it rather vulnerable to poor harvests, and with masses of hungry citizens requiring food, it feels it has little recourse to seize what it needs from its neighbours as they have been less than forth coming with supplies.
The Grand Duke feels that what little surplus the Duchy has produced is best kept in the Duchy as a hedge against yet another poor harvest. Astute readers will note that both Orbats above lack cavalry. The sad matter is that neither nation has the required amount of grain to feed the large amounts of cavalry mounts required to support that arm. (Which is rather convenient as I haven't painted any 18th Century cavalry units yet...)

The game started with R. deciding to be the attacker, this meant that he was going to have to try and seize all the urban areas on the board (in order to seize whatever food stuffs were present). The more he controlled, the greater the Republic's victory.

The Baron of Lunn. Protect Lunn and the rest will follow....?

By default I became the defender. I had one job. Protect the towns and villages on the table and thus save the grain for the locals!

The Republican Army having seized Red Roof, bypasses South Keep as the left Wing of the Army attempts to drive towards Four  Points.
The small tabletop meant the forces would get into action quickly. The Republic could enter its forces from within 6 inches of any road enter point near the following settlements ; Red Roof, Four Points, and South Keep. The Duchy could choose to garrison any settlement using map deployment.

The Ducal left wing prepares to die hard.
This meant fighting began early in the township of Four Points as the Left Wing of the Ducal Army was holding the town preventing the Right Wing of the Republican Army from seizing it the first turn. The fighting at Four Points would be bloody.

The rapid Republican advance meant that both wings of their army were able to bear on Four Points. Baron Lunn keep the Right Wing of the Ducal Army out of the fray for several turns. During this time the Ducal Left Wing had fought its Republican opponents to exhaustion with heavy casualities on both sides.

The Republicans had managed to destroy the bulk of the Dukes army level assets, and bring their other wing into play.

The Ducal Left Wing Died hard, but it broke the back of the opposing wing first.
 This allowed R. to put considerable pressure on the other wing of the Ducal Army. As the casualties mounted on both sides, it became a race to see which army would become exhausted first.

Baron Lunn holds off a Republican advance, but his troops become exhausted by the effort.
Once the Baron's wing became exhausted, it seemed prudent to ask for terms, and give R. the victory. As a result the Republic is able to seize the necessary supplies, and annex Red Roof, South Keep, and Four Points - thus gaining additional productive farmland!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Of Magnets and Mine Rollers

Recently I have found that while I have been able to spend quite a bit of time making and painting models, I haven't been putting much of anything up on the blog - despite having every intention of doing so!

In an effort to correct this, I thought I should share my latest effort - the Trumpeter 1/72 T-55 with KMT-5 Mine Roller kit.

The finish model, painted green with a wash of brown.
I built the kit with the intent of using it as a test bed for an experiment with magnets. I have seen lots of other gamers use small rare earth magnets to allow for variable weapon fits on their wargaming models, so I wanted to see if I could do the same with mine rollers.

The installation of metal rods in the hull.
Part of the inspiration for this project was remembering that i had read that the French had purchased surplus former Warsaw Pact mine plows (some sources say ex-Russian, some ex-East German) for use with their AMX-30 tanks during the first Gulf War.

Holes to allow the magnets to recess into.
This made me think that if I used magnets to attach engineering gear, I could potentially use it across a wide range of tank platforms,without needing to reduce the number of gun tanks in the collection.

The rods were later replaced by pieces of thin metal plate.
The use of magnets would also make storage and transport easier, as engineering attachments are often prone to break at the point where they attach to the tank. Using this system would reduce stress at that point.

Magnets glued onto the attachment points on the rollers.
The initial concept had me using pins rather than metal plate inside the hull. Once I switched to using plate, the connection was significantly improved.

A test of the assembly. Additional tests lead to the use of plate before gluing on the top half of the hull.
I am now going to repeat the process on other tanks in order to have a wider range of platforms to attach the rollers to. At this stage I am planning on converting a T-62 and a T-72, with the possibility of a Leopard 1 and an AMX-30 to follow.

Completed model with detached rollers.
Of course, I am already thing of ways to improve the idea. One possibility is to reverse the location of the plate and the magnet. The magnet would be placed inside the hull, while the attachment would have the metal plate added to it. If this worked, then there would be no need to make holes in the glacis of the tank.