Saturday, 31 August 2019

Bad Squiddo Russian Sniper team

Bad Squiddo is a small company from the UK run by Annie, who is driven to provide "believable female miniatures" for gamers to use in their armies.  Some months ago, I placed an order with Annie, and I am finally getting some of the figures ready for the table.

The Red Army was definitely dominated by men, however there were many Russian women who put on uniforms and fought alongside their male comrades.  I've already done a post on Mariya Oktyabrskaya and her tank, War Bride.  Many more women in the Red Army served as snipers, and that's who are being portrayed here.

I've tried to represent the Russian "amoeba" pattern camouflage.  Of all the camo patterns out there, amoeba must be the easiest, as it's just a few brown blobs on a tan or khaki base.  Here they are, sniper, spotter and scout (with map).

I'm right pleased with these Bad Squiddo miniatures and recommend them to anyone looking to add some gender diversity to their armies!

PSC Russian Nurses and Commisars

Here are the next PSC figures to come off the painting table.  These come from the Russian Infantry box.  This box comes with 57 figures, so it will take me a while to get through them all.  

I've started with the 3 female figures and the 3 officer types in peaked caps.  The women are all going to be medics.  I had a vague idea that I could repurpose one or two of them in other roles such as signaller, but for simplicity I'm just leaving them as medics.  The faces on these ladies aren't quite as nice as I'd like, probably a restriction from the way they moulds were set up.  The bag should have a very visible red cross on it, however it is not as clear as it could be due to the position of the figure's arm.  I've just sort of squeezed it in as best I could - not quite accurate but makes the figure's role clear for gaming purposes.

I tried slightly different uniforms for the three blokes.  The uniforms are loosely based on suff I found in Osprey MAA 216, Red Army of the Great Patriotic War.  Depending on game needs, they can be Commissars, NKVD or another role.  The main idea being that they will stand out from the rank and file. 

PSC Russian Anti-tank Guns

For my WWII Russian army, I did a bit of research on my options for 28mm figures.  The best deal which combines low price with nice-looking sculpts has turned out to be from the Plastic Soldier Company, aka PSC.  PSC primarily produces their product in 15mm (or 1:100) and 20mm (roughly 1/72), but they have released three sets of Red Army soldiers in 28mm, including this 45mm anti-tank gun.  The kit allows two guns to be built, each with a crew of 4.  The guns can be the  45 mm M1937 AT gun, the 45 mm M1942 AT gun, or the 76 mm M1943 infantry gun.  As my goal is to build an army for Operation Barbarossa and the Battle of Moscow, which happened in 1941, I've elected to build the M1937.

The guns are easy to assemble, and they and their crews paint up easily.  The kit includes some nice extra swag, like ammunition boxes, spent shell casings and a few small arms (rifle and PPSh submachine gun).

Now that I've taken the photos, I see that I should have taken more care when building the models to ensure the barrel was laying horizontally.  As it is, it looks like they might be aiming up in the air.  Maybe they are getting ready to take on Hitler's flying tanks? (what would that be, fliegenpanzerkampfwagen?)  I can't fix them now - if I tried, I'd break the guns and would never get them right, but this minor error shouldn't be a problem with the guys I game with.  That is, unless they actually read this blog!

Tank obstacles

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by Imperial Hobbies for their customer appreciation sale.  Among other goodies, I picked up a set of 4Ground MDF tank obstacles comprising 3 "Czech Hedgehogs" and 3 similar pyramid-shaped barriers.  Easy-peasy to assemble and paint.  Black basecoat, drybrush rust brown, then heavy wash with Nuln Oil.

Here they are with AGNM tanks for scale.

On a related note, the Panzer IV that I recently finished came with some "brewed up" markers.  I very quickly assembled them, and here they are, ready for the next time my tanks get on the table (which will also be the first time they take to the table!).

A nice bonus from Warlord Games!

Saturday, 24 August 2019

The Hill (1965) What a great movie!

As I've been on a bit of a WWII kick lately, I've been putting on WWII movies for my background noise as I paint.  A lot of what I play is just background noise, but The Hill (1965), directed by Sidney Lumet, was just amazing, and pulled my attention away from my painting.

It's got a stellar cast, tightly controlled by an excellent director.  I think it's the best film I've ever seen Sean Connery in.  The film also has Harry Andrews, who never fails to catch my attention whatever role he plays. The rest of the cast is great, including Roy Kinnear, Ossie Davis, Michael Redgrave, Jack Watson (reminds me I need to rewatch The Devil's Brigade) and more.

Here's the trailer, find a copy (it's available on line) and watch it for yourself!

Warlord Games Panzer IV - winterized

One more tank, then I think I'll take a break from vehicles and get back to painting infantry.  This one is a Panzer IV Ausf. F1.  The model is one of the Italeri plastic models resized to 1/56 scale and distributed by Warlord Games.  I built this as the F1 version to fit with the goal of gaming the December 1941 Battle of Moscow - other versions possible with this kit weren't deployed until 1942.

I initially block-painted the same German field-grey that I used for the P38(t).  I wasn't so keen on that look, so I decided to winterize this one a bit.  I'm still not completely satisfied but I figure it's good enough.  This tank is crewed by particularly nasty Nazis - it proudly displays the insignia of 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich".  (boo, hiss!)

Gotta use those decals!  I copied the 623 number from a photo I saw, I've no idea whether it was an actual "Das Reich" tank!

Here are the bits.  Removable commander, but I chose not to have the turret hatch closeable.  The hatch ring fit very snug, whether open or closed, and I felt it likely snap off with more than one attempt to change from open to closed.

German tank forces to date.

Here they are with their Red Army opponents.

Bolt Action Order Dice

I've previously mentioned my enthusiasm for Too Fat Lardies and their games, particularly Chain of Command.  Unfortunately, while I'm keen on CoC, I've been frustrated in that it's been difficult to set up and complete a full game in a 2-3 hour session at the club.  So I've decided to try out Warlord Games' WWII skirmish game, Bolt Action.

Accordingly, I picked up the second edition rule book and started reading.  For activation each round, players reach into a bag and pull out an activation die and the colour of the die will indicate which team gets to issue an order to one of its units.  While the author of the rules makes it quite clear that coloured dice are NOT required, and that activation could be determined through pulling tokens or flipping cards, Warlord encourages using "order dice", which conveniently have the 6 standard orders printed on them, one on each face.  Warlord charges USD$20 for a set of 12 order dice (compared to USD$6.50 for 30 regular dice in Warlord's own webstore!).  In my opinion, the price is a bit rich.  So, rather than pulling tiddlywinks from a bag or flipping cards, I decided to make my own order dice.

I stopped by Michael's (big box arts and crafts shop) and picked up some supplies:

Sorry for the blurry photo.  Shown in the photo are two fine-point sharpies, two 24-packs of 1.9 cm wooden cubes and 6 sheets of coloured construction paper, 3 each in red and green.  Michael's always seems a bit overpriced to me; I'd probably have got better prices at the dollar store, but even the above was under CAD$25.  Materials to make 48 dice for less than the cost of 12 from Warlord.  And as it happened I only needed one of each coloured sheet, but at least now I have a few extra around for some other project.

I traced a 15 mm x 15 mm grid on the construction paper, and started cutting (borrowing Erik's scissors, I'm certain he wouldn't mind).

Using good old Elmers white glue, I glued one square onto each face of each cube.

And then used the sharpie to write one of each of the orders onto each face.  That's it, 48 dice done!  

Monday, 19 August 2019

AGNM Panzerkampfwagen 38(t)

And now here is the AGNM Panzerkampfwagen 38(t).  Once I decided that I was going to have WWII German tanks in my collection, I knew that the first one needed to be, well, not really German.  The (t) in the P38(t) stands for "tschechisch" (or Czech), as these tanks were designed and built at the ČKD factory in Prague, and fell under German control after the Nazi annexation of the Czech part of Czechoslovakia.  I'd consider this to be almost more of an interwar tank than a WWII tank, as it was designed before the war.  It was a pretty successful design, as it continued in front line service up to about 1942.  

It was a light tank, it's smaller than many other tanks of the early war, and definitely smaller than mid- or late-war tanks.  

Anyway, I don't have any more information to add, so here are the photos!

First, here are photos of the unpainted vehicle, in the raw resin as it were.  You can see the metal gun barrel and MGs, as well as the resin stowage.

And here is the tank with a basic panzer grey paint scheme.  The German balkenkreuz are decals, but I (obviously) hand painted the numbers.

Here are my two AGNM tanks side by side.

And here it is with a Valentine.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

T-34 mod. 1940

Inspired by Doug's enthusiasm for playing What a Tanker at the gates of Moscow in late 1941, I decided to place an order with Army Group North Miniatures in Ontario.  Yes, another Canadian company making 1/56 scale tanks!  I managed to get my order in just before AGNM went on hiatus so the owner could deal with some pressing personal matters (Andy hopes to have AGNM back up and running sometime in spring 2020).

AGNM vehicles are resin with metal fittings (things like MG and main guns).  The resin pieces are the hull and turret, and wow are they solid!  Each model has a nice heft to it.  The tanks have bases sculpted on, which adds to the heft, and will probably make them a bit more durable as well.  The masters were originally made by Tony Ashcroft of New Zealand, who I actually met when I lived in Wellington a dozen years ago.  I wasn't into WWII at the time, but I have several of his Great War models in my collection.

This post is about the AGNM T-34/76 mod. 1940, the earliest of the production versions of this popular Soviet tank.  It first saw action in Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941.  I'm thrilled to have this version, as most other T-34 models available tend to be later production versions (mod. 1941 or later).  Of course the T-34/76 is going to be functionally the same in WaT whether it is a 1940, 1941, 1942 or later, but I like that this one is "right" for the intended battle.

The tank comes with hull and turret in lovely butter-coloured resin, with metal gun barrel, MG and headlights.  It also came with some stowage.


Turret hatches are closed, so I don't have the opportunity to give this tank a removable commander as I did with previous tanks (and no, I have no intention of chopping or sawing away at the hatch to try to open it!).

I gave the tank a very basic paint job.  I'm not keen on mucking about with painting camouflage patterns; I would likely make a huge mess if I tried, so I'm quite happy that for the most part, Red Army tanks went into action with a basic green.  As you can see in the comparison photo, I wasn't able to match the shade of green I used on last year's T-34/85, which I will explain away with excuses like, "well, they were different batches of paint, they weathered under different circumstances, they're not even supposed to be on the same battlefield" and any other justifications I can come up with off the top of my head.

As you can see, I once again went overboard with the decals.  When I paint British or Canadian tanks, I will try to include all sorts of tank markings, but the Russians tended to use far fewer markings.  But I've got the decals and I want to use them!!!  And of course the red star is crooked :P

Here is a comparison shot with the Rubicon T-34/85.  Short of pulling out the calipers to try to measure some tiny difference, it's clear that the tanks are the same size.  

Here are the Red Army tanks to date.

Also, a few weeks ago my wife gave me a Zvesda 1/100 T-34/85 for my birthday!  It is teeny tiny compared to the 1/56 monsters, but was fast and fun to assemble and paint.

And here she is with her bigger sister, the Rubicon 1/56 T-34/85.