I have been busy working on my final building for my Normandy village. After hunting around everywhere looking at purchasing a church for my village it was decided that the only way to go was to build my own. So here is L’Eglise de Moutarde Forte in all its glory. I made the structure out of 3mm foam board glued together with PVA. If you use dressmaking pins to keep it all together while the glue dries that will help.
Once you have built the shell with all the window and door apertures cut out, I gave it good thick coating of plaster. I use the ready made stuff from Bunnings and just slap it on with my hands. A good sanding down with sandpaper and then I laboriously carve the brickwork using my Chinese etching tool ($10 on ebay and a few batteries later…) It helps to leave the structure apart for this stage otherwise its hard to carve your stonework into the corners. This part was very time consuming and probably took me a week or more doing some scribing every day. Tedious. But worth it. I added some buttresses for extra detail. These were foam board coated and carved as before.
Now my one problem area was the windows. Making nice arches with delicate window settings was close to impossible. After a lot of research I found a company in the USA that does exactly the right thing in exactly the right size for my project. Rusty Stumps make all sorts of modelling goodies, I think aimed at model railway people more than wargamers, but still will give you many great options for building your own stuff! Walt, who runs the place was super helpful and even posted my chosen windows to an address in the states, as we happened to be there on holiday. I bought two sheets of windows, some thicker, some thinner, and used all of them in my church. They are super thin MDF and very delicate. So I was very careful in gluing them and their accompanying frames behind the apertures I had cut, after I had scribed all my bricks. Once they were glued in securely I went around and filled any small gaps with extra plaster. The Rusty Stump windows also come with thin plastic windows to glue behind the frames if you like. I didn’t bother as I was happy enough with the effect.
The spire roof, main roof and smaller front roof are all removable. Made out of thick card on foam board supports. Then its old Christmas cards recycled to make slates glued in strips. Again, another time consuming process, but worth the effort.
The whole thing was base coated in grey primer. Just make sure you have given any foam board edges a coat of PVA glue otherwise you may find spray paint dissolving stuff. I used various light brown, light grey, yellows and ochres for the stone work, and paynes grey in various shades for the roof. The roof was also given small stippled patches of yellow ochre and pale green for mossy bits, plus some weathering powders streaked in brown and earth.
Now he is finished and I can actually get on and set up my whole village ready for battle.
I finished off my Plastic Soldier Company 6 pounder anti tank guns to go with the Loyd carriers I completed a couple of posts ago. This really is an excellent box of models. You get two carriers, two guns and a total of twelve crew and plenty of shells, boxes and shell casings. The guns are simple but detailed little kits so go together very quickly. There are enough different poses of crew that you can use some or all of them and make up your own group.
I painted the crew and the gun separately with my usual British colours and mounted them on a square of 3mm MDF. The base was covered in modelling clay and then given a coating of find sand for texture. I painted the 6 pdr shells separately too before gluing them into the hands of the crew. This was much easier than trying to paint them already glued on. Once the gun was painted and glued to the base I added the crew men and some other bits and pieces to add a bit of variety. Some dusty powders were added to the gun wheels and the base in general. To finish off the base I added some flock and tufts of grass.
I can highly recommend these kits from PSC and they are an essential part of any British unit. I took a few pictures of the guns plus added in their Loyd carriers for one more picture too. Colonel M.
Another German vehicle finished this week, but this time one of their excellent eight wheeled armoured cars. This kit is from Roden, who do a good range of all the eight wheeled armoured cars and other lesser known vehicles. I bought this one from my friends at Metro Hobbies. Its a funny looking vehicle but will come in very handy for reconnaissance and scouting missions.
The kit is fun to build with most of the challenge coming in building the under carriage. The wheels and axles and suspension are done in this soft black plastic which I found quite tricky to work with. I manage to snap one axle without much effort, and found it difficult to get the wheel alignment nice and straight. Four wheels each side means there is a fair bit of aligning to do. Apart from that I lost a light to the carpet monster and struggled a little with the mirrors and other bits on the hull.
On reflection I think I should have painted this German grey and then done some highlighting to try and pick out more of the details on the vehicle. Doing a green camo stripe type thing seems to lose a lot of the detail and leaves him looking a bit boxy and flat. Anyway I have two more versions of this eight wheeler in the box so next time I will try something different.
Apologies for the fuzzy photos, blame my crappy camera phone……….
I completed another Dragon StuG kit this week. It coincided with another delivery from Dragon Models in the USA. I have found them a great source for cheaper Dragon kits and if you buy three or four kits the postage from the US to Australia is only USD 12. Great value I think. They always have discounted kits and promotions on their website, so its well worth checking out. You can usually find stuff at USD 8-10 per kit which is a bargain I think for Dragon Kits. Have a look at Dragon Models USA
So onto my latest StuG kit. Its one of the new Dragon quick build models, so very easy to put together. The tracks are one piece affairs which fit around the sprocket and drive wheels. The whole kit has minimal pieces, and being a turret less tank, even fewer than normal. I still feel a little disappointed with such an easy, fast build for a Dragon kit, but the end result is still a very nicely detailed vehicle. I guess I was happy to spend more time on the painting and decorating this time. If you can find these type of kits for less than USD 10 then I think its good value. If you want a more complicated and challenging model I would be buying Trumpeter or Unimodel versions.
I kept this one a plain dunkelb yellow, but tried out some more chipping affects with a sponge. I used a black, a brown and a rust colour, and ended up overdoing the chips. I think its very easy to over do it. So I painted over some of the panels with more dunkelb and it seemed to fix the problem. Every where I read that with chipping and scratching less is always more! I think I proved a point. Lots of mud and dirt and dust with various powders and pastes was added. I then lined up my new StuG with two other friends (one a Trumpeter kit and the other another Dragon). Nice looking unit read for action.
Bren carriers and Loyd carriers were a crucial small tracked vehicle in World War Two and were needed in my army to tow 6 pounder guns. There are limited options in plastic for these vehicles. Luckily the Plastic Soldier Company produce a box of Loyd Carriers with accompanying 6 pounders. They also make an excellent box of three Bren Carriers in a box, which I have waiting in line somewhere. Your only other options are the excellent IBG models who make a very detailed bren carrier, one of which I have stashed away for another day too. You could look to the old Airfix 1/76 scale version but I get the feeling they will look too small and a bit dated compared to anything else.
These are excellent, simple kits, but are packed with detail. You get a bunch of stowage and crew men which you can do whatever you want with. The canvas tilts are optional, so if you want to spend more time on the crew and interior you can, and leave the tilt off. I put three crew in each vehicle and didn’t glue the tilts on, so I can take them off if I feel like it! Everything fits together beautifully, except for the front tool box which takes a bit of guesswork as to where to fix it.
I used olive drab for the hull and khaki drab for the tilt. You do not get decals with the kit so I used some from my pile, including some Airfix numbers which are really handy. A brown wash, some dry brushing, then the usual powders for dust and dirt finished them off. Due to their small size I did mount them on 3mm MDF, but you probably don’t need to as they are pretty sturdy.
The two 6 pdr guns in my photos are actually from Early War Miniatures and not the guns you get with the Loyd carriers. I am saving the PSC 6 pdrs to put in firing positions with their crew on a separate base. When they are finished I will blog them too. These EWM guns I wanted to use when they are being towed around. I decided I really wanted anti tank guns in firing positions and also towing positions. It just doesn’t look right with a vehicle towing a fully crewed gun in a firing position!
For a comparison I also finished off two resin Loyd Carriers from the Ready To Roll range of vehicles from Rapid Fire. You can see how much smaller these are, and to be honest they don’t really match up to the accuracy and detail of the PSC kits. At four pounds a pop the resin kits are no better value.
Some more finished British Infantry for my Northumbrian division. It takes me so long to paint the little fellas, I have to write myself a step by step list to work through slowly. So this group of fifteen good men must have taken me two weeks to finish off.
First off is a group of six from my ever expanding AB figures range. These are my favourite to paint, the detail and sculpting makes it easier at this scale. I particularly like the officer, his sten gun thrown over his shoulder, pulling a pin out of a pineapple grenade. Great stuff. Next up are four guys from CP Models in the UK. Another great figure maker and also nice and clear to paint. One soldier is carrying a fuel can and another has pinched a panzerfaust from somewhere. I have a few more excellent British from CP which will be in my next painting batch.
The other figures are from SHQ Miniatures and a company i can’t remember the name of. SHQ are a bit smaller, but still fit fine with everyone else. Their faces are brilliant, but the rest of the figure does not quite match AB and CP. Still nice figures and good for padding out your platoons with some other poses. The figure that I cannot remember where i got him from does not measure up to the others standards. So you don’t need to worry about that then!
If you are looking for metal figures in 1/72 scale then AB Figures (i get mine from Eureka Miniatures in Melbourne) and CP models in the UK, are the best for you!
Another excellent publication from Pen And Sword’s Tank Craft series arrived for me before Christmas and it has taken me a while to sit down properly and give it my full attention.
The Churchill tank is another iconic armoured vehicle from World War Two. Its unique boxy shape and tracks make it one of the more unusual looking tanks from the war. It was also developed into various different engineering models, including a bridge layer and flamethrower version.
Dennis Oliver covers every aspect of the Churchill in great detail and this is a good book for anyone with a historical, modelling or wargaming interest in the tank. He goes through the use of the vehicle in all of its units at the back end of the war. I particularly like the details on individual tank names that were used and that’s something I plan to adopt when i am building my next Churchills. The historical details are accompanied by numerous excellent illustrations and photographs, more great inspiration for whatever you want to do.
There is also a comprehensive guide to the various choices modellers have to build their own Churchill kit in most scales. This is aimed more at 1/35 scale modellers but inspiring none the less for everyone. There are more great pictures of completed kits by highly skilful modellers. I love reading about and looking at tanks, so if you are like me you will like this book!