Sunday 24 April 2016

Operation Sand Dune Part II

Been a month since my last update on this project, so here's a heads up! 

Carl, Sam and I have filmed another update that's already out on Youtube, and you can see that here

In that vid I'm actually building one of my Panzer III's, and now have put together the Panzer IV's for the force too bringing me up to a total of 2 Panzer IV F1's, and 3 Panzer III Ausf J which were very kindly provided by Warlord Games. On the subject of Warlord, I've produced a quick and easy painting guide for DAK armour. This isn't the sexiest paint finish, but it will give you a nice and quick force without too much effort, and I've also just produced a follow up article on adding stowage to models too, which should be available before too long.

Onto my own stuff. As I've mentioned so far I've got 5 tanks in total and have spent quite a bit of time scouring my boxes and spares bins for stowage for them, as well as pondering images of vehicles in use by the Afrika Korp. 

The most common theme is piles of gubbins on the rear decks, and hanging off turrets, with the occasional damaged fender appearing once in a while too.

Replicating the stowage was relatively simple, and I delved into the extensive range of Warlord stowage I've acquired over the years, probably too many to actually list which ones I've used as I'm not 100% sure where some of them even came from.

 With hind sight I do wish I had weighted my vehicles with some pennies or lead shot, however I did completely forget to do this in my enthusiasm to get the models done...  Lesson learned for next time (probably not).

Adding the battle damage couldn't have been simpler, as I simple used some sprue cutters to trim off the parts I wanted gone ( I do love the track detail on the Panzer III especially and I've wanted to show this off for a while now on a model).

Doing the chipping was just as easy, I again used my clippers, in this case an old Citadel pair and lightly gripped the fender in the jaws and lightly twisted the part  until it bet and twisted using pictures of the real thing as a guide on how far to go with it. The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes to do for all 5 vehicles (4 really as the first Panzer IV was undamaged...).

 I've reviewed both the plastic Panzer III and Panzer IV on my blog previously and I'm a fan of both kits. As I'm loosely tying my force to 1942 I'm relatively limited to which vehicles I can use in the force, and these will form the core of my army in a tank wars force, with the addition of a few squads of infantry. The Panzer IV's will fulfil their role of supressing infantry and gun teams, whilst the Panzer III's rove around hunting armour and machine gunning soft skins... at least that's the plan for now.

I'll be getting these painted up in the next week or two, and will do a step by step guild to how I airbrush them, and after this I'm tempted to expand the army now to cover the entire desert period as I really, really want to add at least a Tiger...  Next time I'll be adding some recce 222 armoured cars, and maybe a Panzer II if I can find it in the stash, as well as a Tiger to form the centrepiece of the collection. 

Thanks again to Warlord Games for their support in bringing this project to life, and as ever you can see more of my work at Volley Fire Painting Service

Finally, along with my friends Carl and Rob, we have started a historical gaming podcast named the Brit, the Yank and the Hobby, and episode one covers the history and gaming of the early part of the desert campaign, you can find us on Facebook, iTunes and for android or PC users 

Sunday 3 April 2016

Rubicon Models M5 Stuart review, and a special build

My friend Damon Anderson over at Tabletopbattle recently posted a plea to help his daughter Emma who is in need of some massively expensive surgery, and you can read Damon's plight and call to arms here, this sets the most important part of the build, which is that it was built as a fund raiser for Emma's operation. 

Following an auction to have a model that was to be kindly donated by Rubicon Models the very generous Tim selected to have the new M5 Stuart built for him, in the colours of the Desert Rats during the northern European campaign.

The M5 comes on two sprue, with a nice decal sheet and very clear set of instructions. The model allows you to build any of the main production variants of the M5, and also allows for the Kangaroo recce variant to be built as well. 

The model is very well detailed, with nicely defined tools 
and suspension especially note worthy.

 The only real weak spot in the detail is on the spare tracks on the turret, and I found them to detract a little from the over all finish, but this could be simply resolved with some sand paper, and once painted still look pretty good. 

The model is a quick and easy build, and slots into place very well. If you wish you could build it as both a Kangaroo or an M5 with careful building.

I painted the M5 using Reflective green as a base, and then airbrushing Golden Olive over as a highlight, before using AK filters and washes to weather.  Transfers came from my decal dungeon and are a composite of a few different sheets.

With the addition of the special girls name, the Stuart was done and will be winging it's way to the new home soon. 

Once again, thanks to Rubicon for providing the kit, and thanks to Tim for generously bidding, and finally here's the link again to Damon's article, and if you would like to get involved please don't hesitate to get in touch. 

Warlord Games plastic M10 tank destroyer review

Warlord Games have recently brought out another 1/56 scale, 28mm plastic vehicle kit as a product of their partnership with Italeri. They have very kindly sent me one to take a look at and share my thoughts with you.

Warlord have had a a resin M10 in their range for some years (I've had one in my stash for nearly 3 years, now built thanks to this kit!), so the biggest question is does it need replacing?

 Well, this is very subjective, however the plastic is a far simpler and more accessible build, the resin kit features some tricky fit due to the design of the vehicles hull, and also has some fairly fiddly metal parts for the lights. 

The detail is excellent and the crew are good, however personally I feel it's far easier to get a good result for anyone from the new model.

The new plastic kit comes on 2 sprue, with 2(!) well appointed transfer sheets, and an instruction sheet.

The Kit is moulded very neatly in the familiar fairly hard dark grey plastic. Options are limited to a choice of crew, with the kit coming with figures in US or British Army uniforms. 

Construction is very quick and simple, tracks went together well, I use Plastic Weld to assemble my models, and even the traditionally tricky spots such as the tracks were very a breeze.

 Fit was overall very impressive, with assembly of the interior parts easier than with the recent M8 Greyhound as well. 


The kit represents (I think) an early production version of the M10, though as the production lines were only open for a year this isn't an issue. I painted mine to loosely represent a vehicle serving in Tunisia in early 1943, though really it could be anywhere.


I used MIG productions Olive Drab Base for my green, and then weather this heavily, especially using AK interactive Dust and Dirt deposits. 

I really like this model, and it captures the look and feel of the real vehicle very well.

 I've included some comparison shots with my resin M10 too, the plastic is the one with the star on the turret. As you can see they fit together pretty well, and aside from being marginally wider and taller they look good together. 

Highly recommended!

You can get yourself one of Warlords new M10's from their website here, and you can see more of my work at Volley Fire Painting Service