Sometimes i think that i enjoy making stuff far more than i actually enjoy playing games. A big attraction of this hobby for me is the never ending list of things to build and building techniques to learn. The list is endless and the challenge to improve my creations will never be satisfied, as there is always someone, somewhere who shows you something inspirational to aspire to! In the quest to improve my scenery and terrain, i found this book on an excellent web site called Book Depository and swiftly bought a copy. Published by Crowood Press i picked it up for under $30 delivered to my Australian doorstep.
What a great book. If you are interested in scratch building your own rural buildings then you should run out and get yourself a copy of this. David goes through every step of researching, planning, drawing and constructing various different types of rural building. Even though this is aimed at Railway People its application to wargamers is one hundred per cent relevant. Packed full of tips, tricks, reference material and step by step guides, it gives you all the tools to build your own very realistic scale models.
I had picked up various ideas and techniques from the internet, but this book puts it all together in one place and adds plenty of new ideas. Using foam board, modelling clay, cardboard and PVA glue is all you need to make some awesome looking terrain for your table. This is going to inspire me to rebuild my Normandy village from scratch, starting with a farm complex. I guess i am lucky to have the time to build my own, but ultimately its far more rewarding to see your own creations on the table in front of you.
I finished the second building i had bought from In The Greenwood and was very happy how it turned out. This was was the Victorian Terrace with some nice looking bay windows. Flat packed brilliantly into a small cardboard box these kits are really cool. They scale out quite nicely to my 1/72 scale stuff, i think being around 110 – 115mm high. Only costing around $20 on line, probably less now since Brexit, they are really good value compared to other MDF and resin model buildings.
Quite easy to build, i only struggled a bit with the bay windows, and didn’t get them totally square or straight….. next time i will do better. Although the designs are not necessarily for Normandy they fit in really well with all my other buildings, most of which are home made. The addition of some French looking adverts and signs will help the houses blend into the Normandy countryside. I have a corner shop left to build which i will get to next.
The backyards are particularly nice, with some sheds and outbuildings. I added a path and some grass out back to the rear gates. Just ready for some troops to hide out there ready for action…… Its turning into a smart looking MDF street.
You can never have enough Sherman tanks. Ever. There is always room for another Sherman in the far corners of your tank units. This one is the up gunned M4A3 with a 105mm howitzer from Dragon Models. This tank was mainly used by US forces and from what i have read sometimes showed up with Canadian tank units. Mine was going to join my British forces, probably on loan or stolen or something like that.
My experience with Dragon Models has always been great. It’s been a love love relationship. However, this little Sherman changed all that. Dragon kits are always more expensive than others but you get a better standard of detail and their kits are usually great to put together. This Sherman kit had a couple of nagging problems that made it hard work. First up the lower hull section is too long for the top half of the hull and the two do not fit together. I had to shave off at least 3mm off its rear lower hull to get the top half of the hull to fit. After sanding off the back the rear vent section did not have enough room to fit over the exhausts and so had to be cut in half. Annoying. My other gripe was that the tracks were too short, even after i stretched them by hand. The Dragon track do not stretch much, and they ended up around 1 track link too short. I added in bits of a Unimodel M10 kit which filled in the track link gaps i was left with. Please Dragon make your tracks a little bit on the long side, then at least you can cut them down.
My whining aside the kit turned out really well, great detail and everything else you would expect from Dragon’s usual offerings. I added a British tank commander from Battlefield miniatures but kept the decals from the kit with US markings. Confusing i know but i really liked the decals and the big yellow “15”. Painted in the usual olive drab with some muddy weathering and MDF base i was pretty happy with the final result. You can never have enough Shermans whoever you are……