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.

Sunday 8 January 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!