“Setting The Scene Volume 2” by Pat Smith

I was lucky enough to discover Pat Smith’s amazing wargaming blog a few years ago and also grab a copy of “Setting The Scene Volume 1” a while back. Pat’s work is just outstanding and inspirational for anyone with an interest in small scale modelling.

Volume 2 is jam packed with techniques and invaluable skills for the terrain making modeller. Accompanied by buckets of excellent photos Pat runs you through all sorts of building projects from large rocky hills, orchards, terrain mats, to roads, buildings and bridges. Even though the style of terrain is based around the Mediterranean region, it is totally applicable to anyone making terrain for wargames or railways or any small scale project in any geographical region or historical era. It is so much more rewarding to make your own terrain rather than buying it. A whole lot less expensive too!

The photographs are great and accompanied by easy to read text that make the jobs look simple to do, but give you amazing looking results. This is the kind of book that makes me want to run to the hardware store and craft store and then spend a week making new terrain! If you can still find a copy I would recommend getting one!

“The Falklands War There And Back Again” by Mike Norman and Michael Jones

Image result for there and back again 8901

As a teenager growing up in the UK in the 1980’s the Falklands War was an unforgettable time, for good, and obviously very bad, reasons. Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, Arthur Scargill and the miner’s strikes, the IRA, and not least the Falklands War, all hold huge memories for me growing up in the North East of England. The Falklands War and Mrs Thatcher’s fierce response to Argentina’s invasion of the tiny colony was something quite inspirational for a country that at the time was suffering various ailments. Sad but true that a country can be buoyed by a patriotic act of war, but also good that the defense of our nation, or a very small part of it, was so important. No one likes to see an aggressor, in this case Argentina, try and bully a small community.

Many stories have come out of the Falklands War, and I am fascinated by each and every one of them. This is a particular part more overlooked at the time, and even reported incorrectly, something the authors make very clear. It follows the story of Naval Party 8901 who were the tiny defending garrison of Royal Marines on the islands at the time of the invasion. Heavily outnumbered in men and resources, they did all they could to realistically prevent the Argentinian invasion. The British Government were caught out by underestimating the threat of such action by Argentina and therefore had neglected the size and capabilities of the British military presence in the Falklands. All the marines could do was try and give the invaders a “bloody nose”, which they did with some success. When surrender was unavoidable the whole action was badly reported in the press, and I think this book goes a long way to righting the unfair treatment of Naval Party 8901.

After repatriation to the UK, it continues the story of Naval Party 8901, who then joined the British forces sent South to retake the islands. They end up seeing the Argentinian forces surrender back to them, taking the story full circle.

It’s a great story and well told. Anyone with an interest in the Falklands should read it as it really sets the story straight, and shows us yet again the bravery and sacrifice shown during the conflict.

 

 

 

Sentry Models Ruined Terrace

My last building from Raventhorpe all done. Another awesome sculpt from Tony Raven. This one is a big piece, half intact and half demolished. The remaining roof and first floor is all removable for easy access of troops. I glued it onto a large MDF base and gave it the same treatment as the other ruins with plenty of smashed up bricks and MDF mini bricks. Painted with acrylics and then liberally weathered with all sorts of powders and charcoal dust. I added some flock and tiny leaves for the foliage and grass round the back.

Next time I am in the UK i will be filling my suitcase with a few more of these awesome models. Need a spare bag for 10kg of resin from Sentry Models!!! The last picture has all three of the buildings I bought together. I am excited to get them on a table and have some excellent house to house combat.

Sentry Models Ruined Building

I painted another fabulous resin building from Sentry Models I bought from Raventhorpe. Its a two storey and a one storey wrecked building. I made my own base from MDF and added heaps of extra rubble to the base to blend them in. The second storey is removable to allow a squad into the ground floor.

I used my normal cheap acrylics to paint over a spray paint undercoat of dark brown. Plenty of dirt and dust added to finish them off plus some flock and tufts.

If you do not want to build your own buildings these really are the best things since sliced bread. I am happy to mix them in with my home made stuff as they really add an extra bit of detail and realism to your table. The last photo has my first ruin and a Jagdpanther creeping around looking dangerous. I have a finished farmhouse from Sentry next up. Check out Raventhorpe on Facebook, there is a massive range. On their Facebook page there are heaps of inspirational photos of amazing looking table setups using these buildings. It’s a closed group but you can sign up.

Esci Pz.Kpfw.IV in 1/72 scale

Esci German Tank pz.kpfw.IV ausf.g 1/72 Scale Model Kit Tank NEW

I picked two more Panzer IVs on eBay just like this one. Costing less than $10 each, such good value, even if they are the kits with the nasty vinyl tracks. I am now confident I can defeat the horrible things with a good dose of super glue and patience. I needed a couple more Panzer IVs to go with my Zvezda troop that I built previously. These Esci kits still hold up nicely, you just need to give them a bit more love than more modern kits. These two I made quite a few alterations to get them up to scratch.

First up is to sort out the tricky tracks. I managed to totally snap one of the tracks trying to wrap and glue them around the running gear, leaving a missing section. My solution for both vehicles was to scratch build side skirts to cover up the top section of the tracks. This gave me free reign to use wire to connect the tracks to the top return rollers, knowing it would all be covered up by the schurtzen. I used thin plastic card and the Zvezda skirts as a template. I also needed to build turret armour using the same plastic card superglued to thicker wire so it would retain its curved shape around the turret. This worked out quite well as I basically just tried to copy the Zvezda tanks.

One of my old Esci kits had a malformed gun barrel, so i bought a nice new metal one for a few dollars and replaced it. This was a great improvement too. I also picked up a tow cable to add. I drilled some holes and glued in aerials as usual. These kits let you leave the turret open so I did that on one tank ready for my AB figures crew man.

Paint job was a black undercoat followed by a Tamiya dark yellow spray. I then hand painted the green camo which was followed by a light overspray of dark yellow again. Gloss varnish and decals is followed by a MIG dark brown wash to pick out details. I did some chipping and scratching to make it all look nice and work, using a sponge and even just sand paper to leave some marks on the paintwork. After a matt varnish i used plenty of dusty pigments for the weathered look. My AB commander was painted and added and you can see him relaxing in his hatch below.

I was happy with the end result with all my additions and they fit in nicely with the two Zvezda kits i had made previously. Overall these Esci kits are great if you can be bothered to give them a little more love and attention.

 

 

Zvezda Panzer IV Ausf H in 1/72 Scale

See the source image

Zvezda really do make some great kits in 1/72 scale. I have already made their Panther and also their Tiger. This Panzer IV is better than both of the big cats. I have built Panzer IVs from Esci, Dragon and Armourfast, but these Zvezda kits are better than any of them from all perspectives. The kits go together beautifully, have great detail, plenty of parts to keep you interested, and are decent value for money. This pair I picked up from the Ukraine via eBay at less than $15 AUD each. In my book that’s a bargain for something a lot better than a quick build kit.

After struggling for weeks with horrible tracks, these tracks are great and so easy to put together. The kit comes complete with side and turret skirts, which I chopped up a little, mainly inspired by the excellent box art. My one criticism is the commanders hatch is modelled closed with no option to open it. I added a couple of washing up brush bristle aerials just to finish the whole look off.

Painting was just a bright camo green on dark yellow plus some chipping and plenty of dirt and dust. I also built two Esci old Panzer IVs at the same time which I will post up next. They were a whole different ball game and gave me far more of a challenge to get up to scratch. If you need Panzer IVs for your German army run out and grab some of these!

 

Sentry Models Ruined House

So after quite a long time searching for Sentry Models fantastic buildings I stumbled upon them on a Facebook page. Very excited I ordered a few from Tony Raven who makes these great resin models. Not cheap to get them all the way to Australia, but to be honest they are so good, I really didn’t care about the postage. I picked up a ruined house, a big ruined terrace and another two storey ruin. Sculpting is just beautiful and the detail much better than anything I have managed to scratch build.

My first effort is the single ruin. I glued to an MDF base and then added a heap more of my own rubble to blend it in. This included some bought bricks and some home made rubble carefully crafted from smashing up house bricks with a ten pound hammer. A good coating of PVA glue and then a black and grey primer spray coat on top.

Painting was done using cheap acrylics and a couple of washes and highlights. I did also use some weathering pigments to blend things into the base. Oh and some charcoal for the charred bits here and there. Last touch was the flocking and a few tufty bits. I was very happy with how it turned out and cannot wait to get cracking on the others. I would recommend getting onto Facebook and finding Sentry/Ravensthorpe miniatures ASAP and picking up some of these for your table top.

I still haven’t managed to play a game in 2019, I guess I am just more of a modelling and painting nut than anything else……….