Sunday, 9 August 2015

Germany Strikes review

First up a bit of disclaimer, this book is written by a a friend and regular opponent of mine John Lambshead, so my opinion is biased. Doesn't help that early war is my favourite period to game with either, and I've been so, so looking forwards to this book...

So, what is Germany Strikes?

It's a book. To be more precise, the book is a supplement for Warlord Games Bolt Action. The book focuses on the very early period of WW2, with the main emphasis broken into the following areas:
  • Historical overview. This is the first part of the book, and provides a brief guide to what was happening in the world prior to the German invasion of Poland in September 1939. 
  •  Invasion of Poland, this contains 4 scenarios, 6 new Polish units, and 6 new German units. as well as 4 Polish theatre selectors, and 2 German ones. I really like the sound of the Danzig Militia personally, great source for some modelling options and a chance to potentially use some of your Volksturmm models in an early war themed game. This is one force I'd really like to try.  Also worthy of note is the Armoured Train selector that first appears here, more on the armoured trains later...
  •  Invasion of Denmark and Norway, again, more historical info followed by 2 scenarios. 2 additional units, the first being the horse drawn limber shown in Ostfront, and the second being the Panzer V Neubagfahrzeug. A very un-German multi turreted tank and very 1930's in appearance. Pretty cool though, however it only comes in inexperienced flavour. It is cheap in points though! Germany Strikes also adds a Danish army list, and theatre selectors for Norway that allow mixed forces containing British, French and Norwegian forces. 
  • France and the Low Countries. This is actually 2 chapters in the book, however significant is the 10 mission campaign that starts with the Battle of Eben Emal. Some of these 10 scenarios are unique to the book, however others are from the main rule book, with a few stipulations, and guidelines on what forces roughly to use. More theatre selectors, 11 in fact. Some of which contain information providing a guidline on what armour to use for which specific panzer divsion or French or British unit in the 1940 campaigns. Other selectors are again quite specific, with things like the Fallschirmjager attackers at Eben Emal, and Belgian fortifications, and 8 more new units for France, Germany, Italy and Belgium, including a few different command vehicles and Belgian and French bunkers
  • The final chapter introduces the rules for various units added to the book, including the armoured train, minefields, and how to clear them 

Stand out things for me are the options to take inexperienced SS units, I really want to try this out as they have quite a good amount of weaponry yet get monster expensive very quickly as veteran, this does alievate some of this. I also like the option to represent the early (and poorly equipped very late) SS units where training and knowledge was something that was lacking. 

I love the mixed defence forces for Norway too, and the Dunkirk perimeter force looks like an interesting very defensive force for those who like that type of play style.

Mention has to go the armoured train though, This looks like an absolute blast. Clearly designed with scenario play in mind, I really want to have a go at shooting one up. If you want a model armoured train, Company B makes one, and this can be purchased in the UK from The Wargames Command Post

In summation, Germany Strikes is very much the definiton of a campaign book. Tournament players may not find much, however those who like scenario play, campaigns and who are after a light and accessible primer to early WW2 from a complete newbies perspective will find much to enjoy here. 

If you order your Germany Strikes from Warlord Games you'll also get the free Mad Jack Churchill figure included.

As ever you can see more of my work at Volley Fire Painting Service


Sunday, 2 August 2015

The Redcoats are coming!

Believe it or not, most of my work time isn't spend painting projects from the second World War. Nearly a year ago now I was contact to paint a Fallschirmjager commission, and upon completion a follow up job was proposed, that of an American War of Independence commission.

 Cool I thought, it's a great looking period and I've never done any before. After a mixture of excitment and horror at seeing what was planned, the British element of the commission is now complete, and consists of the following units 

5 Command vignettes
7 Cannon
These regiments...
3rd foot
4th foot
10th foot
14th foot
15th foot
17th foot
23rd foot
33rd foot
43rd foot
45th foot
63rd foot
65th foot

As well as:
Dismounted 17th Dragoons
Dismounted Tarltons Dragoons
Grenadier command
Light command
Foot guards
Loyalist militia regiment
Mounted 16th Dragoons

And some civilian and character pieces! 

You can see more shots of the project, as well as future additions on my page, Volley Fire Painting Services



I've not seen the collection in its entirety myself, having sent the models off in contingents, however it's a project I'm immensely proud of , and would like to thank my friend Rob for giving me the opportunity to work on this awesome project, and also for the photos of the collection as a whole!

Warlord Games plastic 1/56 SDKFZ 251/D review

Another review today! Warlord Games have recently released an SDKFZ/251 Hanomag half track. Whaaaaaat??? I hear you cry, but they've had a plastic Hanomag in their range for years! Yes, but this time it's the later D version, as used from 1943 onwards, (and in a modernized, updated form by the Czech army post WW2). 

As you may expect this kit is very similar to Warlords 251/C kit, however asside from the difference in hull, the kit also comes with 4 seated passenger figures, which I think is frankly marvellous, and for me preferable to the standing gunner figure in the 251/C kit. 

I've not had a chance to paint my own crew figures yet, and they may become StuG passengers on one of my StuG horde...

 They are very nice, single piece figures and do add a lot to jazzing up the model. Warlord have pictures of the figures, as well as order the kit at this link Hanomag

The model is very, very simple to build, I think it took me around 20 minutes to get built, though I have built a lot of Warlords 251's and am very familiar with the build process. 

I did modify the kit slightly by opening up the rear door and have it hanging open slightly, I also added some extra metal stowage from one of Warlord stowage sets. 

I painted the vehicle using exactly the same procedures mentioned in my Panzer III review

I've attached a couple of comparative shots with Warlords old 251/C kit, as well as Rubicons 251/7 I reviewed a few weeks ago. You can read the review of the Rubicon kit here.

 Price wise, Warlords kit is cheaper, and comes with 4 figure, and is cheaper than Rubicons kit. The Rubicon model does come with more options and varients, however is quite a fiddly build with a lot of small parts. Built though both models do look good together. I think I found Warlords the simpler model to put together though.

In the pictures, Warlords D is the sand coloured one, the C is in Panzer Grey, and the Rubicon one is camouflaged with bridges. 

Excitingly, Warlord have got a 251/16 Flamethrower variant up for pre order too, so I'll try to review that as soon as it's available! 

As ever, you can see more of my work at Volley Fire Painting Services

Warlord Games 28mm plastic Panzer III Ausf M review

First off I'd like to start this review with an apology to Warlord Games who kindly provided the review model, I had intended to get this second stage of the Panzer III review uploaded a week ago, however have had some family concerns that have eaten into my work time. 

You can read the first part of my review of Warlords new 1/56 scale Panzer III Here, and all my comments regarding the build apply to this model as well, for obvious reasons. This time though I decided to build a later Ausf M vehicle, I was going to leave the gun barrel loose so I could swap it with a short barrel for an N, however I may have managed to damage the gun, and then loose it, so I simply glued the long 50mm anti tank gun and had myself an M...

It's worth talking about the Schurzen this time. The kit comes with a full length of 6 panels per side for the hull, however after a bit of digging I found the most common fit was to only have the 4 central plates, so I trimmed the end plates off with a sharp knife and job was a good un. 

The Schurzen panels can be a little fiddly to fit as they are very fine. Luckily the attachment points for the hanging rails are quite small parts, however if you clean them up properly and have ensured you follow the instructions and drilled out the appropriate holes, they fit perfectly and are very secure. As ever I'd recommend using a proper plastic solvent such as EMA plastic weld when building a plastic model. as the join is strong, although the drying time is fairly long so you have time to work with the parts.  
The safest way to protect your sanity when building Schurzen is to fit the hangers, and then let them dry for a few hours. Once they have set start by attaching the plates at one end of the model, and then working round to the other end of the model. I attached the turret Schurzen before painting, but whilst I attached the hanging rails, I didn't attach the hull Schurzen plates.

With the turret I started on the left side, glued on the first plate, skipped the hatch and attached the long curved rear piece, then did the right front plate. After letting the glue set for a moment I then attached the schurzen hatch. and added a tiny point more glue to help reinforce the joint.

The hull Schurzen followed much the same process, the attachment points on the Schurzen are much deeper than on the StuG or Panzer IV that Warlord do, and it was a matter of moments to fit them .

With Warlord's upcoming plastic Fallschirmjager, as well as the Perry's new line of tropical themed Fallschirmjager, I've been contemplating an Italian theater themed force, and so decided to paint my Panzer in a plain DunkelGelb, ostensibly to make a vehicle from 15th Panzer Division 

I paint my Dunkelgelb with an airbrush, starting with a grey primer, spraying black into all the recesses, white onto all the high points, and then misting on very light coats of Vallejo Middlestone, allowing the shading colours to shine through. 

With a simple single colour scheme I like to add some interest to the model with weathering, so added lots of chips using Vallejo Hull Red and Gun Metal applied using the packing sponge from a blister pack, dabbed aroudn areas of high use. To add final enhancement to the chips I use Vallejo Pale Sand painted around the edges to make them show and give a 3D effect.

Further weathering was added using a wash of artists oils burn umber painted into the recesses, and tiny amounts of brown, white and black oils painted in tiny dots onto the surface, and then worked into the finish to create subtle wear and fading effects. 

Final weathering came in the form of Mig Pigments painted around the running gear, tracks and lower hull. 

Foliage was created using Sea Foam sprigs, and some leaves that I think were designed for 15mm models, however I can't recall as I've had them for about 10 years and have lost the original packaging... You can get sea foam and some leaves from Artisan Quarters. The sprigs might seem expensive, but they do last for an eternity. 

As every you can see more of my work at Volley Fire Painting Services and you can order a (model) Panzer III for yourself from Warlord Games