Sunday, 24 July 2016

Zvezda Stuart "Honey"

I see that Zvezda have brought out (or are bringing out) a shed load of new 1/100 Art of ataxic related AFVs thus year. So far I've seen the Tiger, M3 Medium and M3 Stuart in our local model shop, but am looking forwards to the Soviet SP a Guns and Elefant. I was disappointed to see that the Tiger was priced at £6 like the Cold War Vehicles. This doesn't make it particularly good value in my eyes when compared to the alternatives.....
Simple to build, the instructions are on the back of the box.

The model is moulded in sand coloured plastic like many of the recent additions. The boxes no longer include the stats cards. These are now available to download on line.
All the 12 parts are on a single sprue and are easy to remove with side cutters.

The lower hull is assembled first. This fits together leaving a slight gap visible behind the track units. I filled this with a bead of polystyrene cement.
The upper hull is in one piece including the very finely moulded bow mg.
The turret is made from four pieces, but Looks the part.
The completed model is tiny, but is detailed and strongly made. This AFV can be used in so many theatres of action, ii is extremely flexible.
I chose a simple finish. Vallejo Russian Green substituting for British Bronze Green. Then a Sepia wash and finally dry brushing lightened Russian Green. I went back to my old way of painting tracks, light grey with black wash followed by flesh wash to simulate rust. Finally I based it on mdf and sprayed varnish to protect it. Just a few white allied stars finished things off.
Great little model.

Battlefront Pershing - finished article

Painted in Olive Drab, before sepia wash and then lightened Olive Drab dry brushing.
The decals were from QRF. I bought a couple of sheets  for a few pounds years ago. They seem to last for ever!! The vision blocks picked out in light blue to represent reflected sky light.
The model welcomes dry rushing with Iraqi Sand as there is so much fine detail to pick out. I based the model on mdf coated in sand and painted with cheap earth brown acrylic paint. After spraying with Army Painter varnish to protect the finish, I added some static grass in patches.

There you are, ready to go and take on the Tigers and Panthers!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Father's Day

My dear daughter swallowed her pride once again and visited Firestorm Games in Cardiff, to buy my Father's Day present.

And what a nice present it was!
A Pershing for my GF9 Tanks game.
You get a Battlefront Pershing Sprue which allows you to build a standard M26 or the up gunned "Super Pershing" with external recoil dampers and add on armour.
The artwork from the clam pack has pictorial assembly instructions for both options. The pack also comes with two vehicle cards for the game and four special skill/damage cards.
The models is very nicely mounded in dark green plastic. All parts free of flash and fitting together without issues. The turret has a seperate commanders turret hatch so you could put a command figure in if required.
The hull also went together very well and you have to option to leave off or fit mudguards.
There you have it, the finished article ready for painting.

An imposing vehicle that's almost a match for Panthers and Tigers. Lovely model to build, cannot fault it. Well worth giving these models a look.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Tanks - the WW2 Skirmish Game

The other vehicle that came with the starter set was Battlefront's plastic Panther kit.
Once again this was a straight forward kit to make, which offers parts for both the Panther gun tank and the 88mm armed Jagdpanther tank 

I opted to make both hulls and leave them loose so I could have to option to field either model.
I added commander figures from PSC spares as the turrets could all be modelled open.
The only criticism I have is that the set of bazooka plates on the Panther have very prominent sink marks from the moulding process. Sadly I didn't notice these until I'd painted the models.
Time to spray prime the collection. White paint forming a good neutral starting point.
The US vehicles were painted overall in Vallejo Olive Drab. Then followed with a sepia wash before a final Heavy dry brush with lightened Olive Drab.
I then deviated from my usual track painting technique and started with a base coat of orange-brown. This then had a sepia wash before a final dry brush with silver.
The German AFVs were given a coat of Vallejo Midstone followed by patches of Beasty Brown and US Camo Green. The sepia wash was followed by dry brushing lightened versions of these three paints. The painted upper hills fit the lower hull quite tightly, and don't need magnets or anything to hold them together.
Track were painted as above. There are no markings included in the set, so I used some old Dragon Balkan Crosses and QRF Allied Star transfers to improve the look of the models.

The final three steps were to paint in the tool sets, lightly dry brush Iraqui Sand to highlight the detail and then a spray of Matt varnish to protect all that hard work.

I base all my AFVs on sand coated mdf for two reasons;-
1. To avoid models sliding into one another and becoming damaged  in their storage box
2. I try to hold the base when moving the vehicles to avoid damaging the paint job!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Tanks - the WW2 Tank Skirmish Game

I treated myself to something new, that I thought I might be able to use to get my Grandson (4) into tabletop gaming.
I've seen some of the usual vitriol aimed at anything FOW online, and to be honest this draws me more towards their products! I bought Team Yankee as I'd read Harold Coyle's novel of the same name many years ago, and it's a great rule book. I'll use it in 6mm as I already have enough miniatures, but the 15mm offerings from Battlefront are excellent too.

Tanks is a steal at only £16.20 from Firestorm games. You get three models, which make up as two alternatives each (2x M4A3 75 or 76mm & a Panther or Jagdpanther) plus you get everything else to get you started - 2D terrain pieces, dice, cards, counters etc.

The games mechanism is simple but I can see it leaving you having to think before you act. Yes there's cards that give your crew members skills that owe a little to Hollywood. But it's a skirmish game after should be able to individualise your tanks!

One bonus is the deck of cards covers a dozen or more different vehicles, not just the Panther and Sherman that came in the box. This will allow anyone with a collection of 15mm tanks to get started straight away and enjoy multi-tank battles on their 3 foot square battlefield. I've got a sheet of flocked pvc left from my HoTT terrain boards that I will cut to 33" xx 33", which I think will be near enough.

I'm looking forward to playing a game.

Below are a few pictures I took while assembling the Sherman's.
These are nothing like the early attempts at plastics that came with the Open Fire box. They're easily on a par with PSC. Parts are flash free, precisely mounded and fit together faultlessly.
The hull is the late M4A3 with welded glacis plate and vertical Volute suspension.
You then have a choice of turrets, the older M4 with 75mm or 105 mm or the newer turret with the 76mm. You'll notice that I accidentally fitted the 17pdr barrel and broke the additional .30" mg barrel ..... Doh! The US commander figure came from the PSC Stuart kit.
The older turret has a choice of US or British cupolas and the earlier 75mm mount if you wish.
I built one up with appliqué armour on the sides and glacis, spare track links and an uprated mantlet that mounts a .50" mg.

Good models that I cannot fault.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Mars Attacks

Finally tried these out in a solo game.
Simple first scenario. Five Martian Grunts versus 8 Marines (2 with SAW) in the picture above the five Martians started at the top of the picture whilst the marines started at the bottom.

Each player can activate upto two figures per move . They  can move twice, shoot and move, aim and shoot etc. There are cards at can be played instead of activating figures, but I chose not to cloud things too much for this first foray.
The marines moved onto the board and as Martians appeared, used fire and manoeuvre to deal with them.
Shooting is simple. Most weapons have a range of 3-4 squares, only the SAW could fire out to 12 squares. To shoot you roll 3 D8 (+1 for aiming and another +1 for a clear shot - no cover) in most cases 5+ = 1hit. The target then rolls 3 D8 to survive, 5/6+ = survive one hit. Wearing armour automatically saves one hit.
The outcome is decided by comparing hits to survives. If the shooter wins the target is killed. If the target wins he will be rattled and takes cover.
The game moves fast and by alternately activating two figures, the player has the option to set up assaults. Firstly softening up with aimed fire.
Then moving into fight hand to hand.
Fighting is very similar to shooting, as described above.
Ultimately some pretty shoddy dice rolling by the marines improved and they managed to kill four of the five Martians. The surging alien legging it ASAP.
Good little game. Easy to learn (there are some very good YouTube videos that show how) and a good visual feasts boot.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

WOTR Dismounted Knights from Perry Miniatures

Still plugging away at these and I have finally finished all 38 figures.
I'm really pleased with them, especially the figures of Richard III and his Standard. The flag comes printed on the instruction sheet (along with a whole load more!) and I cut it out with a craft knife before folding in half and gluing it with undiluted PVA around the plastic flagpole. 
When dry, I touch up any white edges with either paint or washes and the bend to shape. When I spray the figures with varnish this finishes the job. I think they look just great.
I have painted two other figures as "Generals" for Bloody Barons and will be providing them with Standard bearers from the European Mercenary boxed set.
One as the Black Prince and another from the artwork that came with the box. I opted to give the impression of the details on their surcoats as time's to short to paint all those tiny gold lions and fleur de Leys.
I'm enjoying this period so much I think I'm going to get some light cavalry after the next box. The design and production quality of these figures is really excellent, I can't recommend them enough.