CP Models, SHQ Miniatures and AB Figures British Infantry in 20mm

I finished one more platoon of British Infantry for my Battalion of Northumbrian Light Infantry. These guys made up of 5 figures from CP Models, 4 from SHQ and 1 from AB Figures. All great ranges of figures. My aim is to have a full 3 companies x 3 platoons and support without duplicating a single figure. I have about forty figures to go before completion, so getting there slowly.

The group of five men, including the waving officer with the SMG, are from CP Models. I love their range of figures. Great detail and interesting poses. They are especially easy to paint as everything is so clear. I keep faces simple with a basecoat, a red oxide wash, and then some lighter fleshy highlights. The officer has a nice blue bandana round his neck. My only criticism maybe is their legs get a bit chunky, but you do not really notice. CP do provide bases with slots but I usually cut off most of the slots and glue them into clay on 20 cent pieces. CP have a fab range, I have a bunch of Germans from them getting ready for camo smocks.

The group of four men are from SHQ miniatures, also a company I like. Their figures are cheaper than other brands and slightly smaller. The detail is not as clear as CP or AB but I still really like their poses and they fit in nicely with the other brands. Subtle differences but these differences just add to the look of the unit.

The last lonely man in front of the Brasserie is an officer with an SMG from AB Figures. I have written enough about AB Figures! Great figures and a fantastic range. My battalion is 50% AB figures, but the other manufacturers are very worthy accompaniments for them. All my plastic will now be consigned to storage or eBay as it has all been replaced by these excellent metal miniatures.

 

Charlie Foxtrot Models Houses in 20mm

So I have painted up the first three of my new houses, starting with three kits from Charlie Foxtrot Models in England. The Brasserie, Dormer House and Shed. These kits are pretty reasonably priced and come in pieces in plastic bags with a stapled cardboard header and a single sheet of instructions. The main structures are MDF with other bits and pieces being plastic, like chimneys, and balsa wood shutters.

My first impressions were excellent with nice clean bits of MDF which all fits together well. But the instructions are terrible. They could easily write and print much clearer and precise instructions. It must be the smallest outlay of the whole kit, one sheet of paper, but they have not given the modeller much help. So you kind of have to wing it. Luckily most buildings are just a box so you cannot go too wrong.

Armed with PVA glue everything fits together and the kits can be built quickly in an evening. Now as always with MDF kits i have to add and amend plenty of things to get them up to scratch. First up is a layer of plaster over all the outside walls. I did this on the Brasserie and the Dormer House. For the shed i coated in textured plastic sheet to look like stonewalls. You will need to sand the plaster to get it smoother. It covers up all those annoying MDF corners. I also added some tiled roofing, some pantile, some slate, as I really cannot deal with the MDF roof that comes 100% flat. You could also use cut up cardboard for the roof tiles. My last pet hate for MDF kits is the chimney pots. So i added all my own metal chimney pots I had purchased from an excellent model store in the UK.

Once I had made all these additions the buildings came up a treat I think. One last tip for doing gold letters for the Brasserie was to buy a gold paint pen from the newsagent. This made it much easier than trying to paint with gold paint which does not cover very well.

Even with all the additional work I think these Charlie Foxtrot kits are very good and measure up with other MDF producers like Sarissa. If you need buildings quickly and not too pricey check outĀ Charlie Foxtrot

 

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.