Monday, April 24, 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.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Holiday Napoleonics WIP

I started off the 2016 holiday season with another refight of Quatre Bras, using the same scenario reported on here. The three major differences were:

  1.  I brought along to the game extra figures, bases, and blue tack, to make skirmish stands as they were needed,
  2. I played the French, rather than the Anglo-Dutch forces, and
  3. The French didn't even come close to winning - but the butcher's bill was significantly less than the previous refight. 
During the game it was mentioned, that while the French were coming along in leaps and bounds, the Anglo-Dutch, were looking very much like the poor relations of my V&B forces.

The whole lot - in various stages of refurbishment.
With that in mind, and having some free time due to the holidays, I decided on a mass refurbishment of my British forces. I have been fortunate in acquiring over the years a number of painted and semi painted British figures from a variety of sources, so I figured I should start with these figures, and then if required paint figures from scratch.

Eight artillery stands. Guns are Revell and Airfix 9pdrs, figures are Revell Foot Artillery, and Airfix and Esci Royal Horse Artillery
 The figures are from a variety of manufacturers: Airfix, Revell, Esci, and even some Eagle Games figures.

Artillery and Revell 95th Rifles painted as 60th Foot and based as skirmish stands.

I still have to finish the basing by adding tussock, scatter grass, etc to the stands, and to touch up paint on a number of Airfix figures where the older enamels have flaked. I still have to add an ink wash to many of the stands. I have started to experiment with black and sepia washes.

Brown washed Revell and Airfix Infantry.

In the middle, a very thin red line is formed by Esci British infantry.

Another view of the Revell and Esci infantry stands.
 I still have a couple of stands of Airfix Highlanders to refurbish, and a few more stands of Airfix British infantry - but they (and some more command stands) will have to wait a little longer to finishing.
The Esci thin red line. I acquired a large number of nicely painted Esci British infantry, that were primarily made up of the standing and firing pose from the Esci British Infantry set (click here for PSR review). 
After the last game of V&B I really wanted to make sure that I had a pool of skirmish stands available for use. The 60th foot stands are probably of more use for the Peninsula War than Waterloo, but since I had acquired some already painted from Steve H., I figured I should just base them up.

Riflemen of the 60th Foot. Metal British 16th Light Dragoons in the background.
Essentially, if I had a painted British figure, I was going to find a stand to base it on in order to bulk up the number of British forces available for use on the table top.

Airfix figures that had been converted to Riflemen. I suspect the intent was to create a detachment of the 95th Rifles. My intent is to use these skirmish stands as generic Jager stands for Netherland and Prussian forces.

Esci skirmish stands with a couple of Revell figures thrown in to the mix on the center stand.
The other major weakness has been the hodge podge of command stands available for the British. While I do have some of the very nice Strelets British command figures from their Aliied command set  (PSR review here), and the Waterloo Napoleonic Mounted Line Officers set (PSR review here) - I am still in the process of painting those figures. So since I had some other mounted officers available, I decided to use those, even though strictly speaking they are in the wrong uniforms,

LtR (Left to Right): Airfix Highlander Officer, Italeri French Officer (repainted) Airfix British Infantry Officer.
 Another source of officers has been the Italeri French Imperial General Staff set (click here for PSR review). I can't remember if it was Frank or Steve H. who first alerted me to the paint conversion possibilities of this set, but the British and Prussian forces Steve H. gave me both had examples of the figures in use as officers.

LtR: Airfix Highlander, Eagle Games commander, Revell British officer, Italeri French officer (repainted)
 Eagle Games used to sell additional figures for their game 'Napoleon in Europe'(click here for the Board-Game Geek review and here for the PSR review of the figures). I bought a set these some time ago with the intent of using them to supplement my Prussian forces. I have re-horsed the mounted figures with Esci British horses, and have started painting up some of the mounted officers as British command stands.

Eagle Games British General on Esci horse - still a WIP as base needs finishing and sword needs to be painted,

 One very interesting event that did come about from the holiday Napoleonic fest was that I discovered my wife has a talent for painting miniatures. I hate painting Napoleonics - hence my great love of refurnishing older figures - and routinely bitch about it being hard. Katherine commented that it looked fairly straight forward, so I asked if she wanted to try painting some.

Katherine's first painted stand. She wants to add more to to the base before she finishes it.

Katherine said yes, and the next day I had another freshly painted skirmish stand at my disposal. I think she has done a very good job with these! I am currently negotiating with her to see if she wants to paint up some of the Netherlander command stands I need completed!