Airfix Matador Truck in 1/72 scale

Another venerable kit from Airfix that I found on eBay for pennies. It is worth it just for the nostalgia and you can never have enough trucks for your troops!

It is still a nice easy kit to build. I did not bother building the gun that comes with the truck and I had to replace awful driver with a better one. I also tried to add windows and a windshield to the cab with varying degrees of success.

The only other issue I came up with was adding decals to the uneven side panels. I think I need to investigate decal softener and see if that helps this kind of situation.

 

 

Armourfast Stug IV in 1/72 scale

You always know what you are going to get with a Armourfast kit. Two tanks in a box for something like seven pounds. Great value at about seven Australian dollars a tank for me down here in the Southern hemisphere. There are only a few parts to each tank, so they are super quick to build. Nothing wrong with a fast build tank. The detail is good enough for a wargame, and if you want a large number of tanks in quick smart time, then these kits are for you. You cannot beat value for money to bulk up an army.

I had a lot of fun doing a lot of weathering to my two Stugs. I really wanted to try the hairspray chipping effect on these two to add a bit more interest to them. So after building, and leaving the side skirts off, i sprayed everything with a red oxide and a dark brown spray can. Then i gave it three thin coats of hairspray, letting it dry in between each layer. Oh and do this outside….. It can get smelly. Once this was all dry i did the usual dark yellow dunkelbĀ  spray over the top. Once that’s all dry you can grab a stiff brush and a toothpick, wet a small surface of the tank and give it a rub and a scratch. The trick here is to do this in areas that would get worn out, like hatches etc, and also not to over do it. I was impatient as usual and went overboard. It’s a fun process and can look really good but you need to remember less is more. Next time i will take it easy.

I gave it all a gloss varnish and a dark wash. Plus some decals. You don’t get decals with the tanks so you need to source elsewhere. I added my favourite AB figure crewmen plus a home made aerial and also some camouflage foliage. These Armourfast tanks really do improve greatly if you take a bit of extra effort and make some modifications!

“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.