I finished another squad of the fantastic AB Figures British Infantry. I get these from Eureka Miniatures in Melbourne and what fine figures they are. Easily my favourite metal World War Two range out there. They have a wide selection which covers infantry, support, artillery and tank crews. Everything you could possibly need. The sculpting and detail are just amazing. It makes them very easy and a great pleasure to paint.
I have two more squads of these guys to paint up. Plus some other British i bought from CP Models and SHQ miniatures. Slowly phasing out my plastic squads as i am leaning towards metal being a better choice for painting and wargaming. Will do a comparison on those figures when i get to painting them up.
The Colonel has been on the road, traveling overseas the past few weeks, and only just returned to blog land. I had been working on some country roads as an alternative to my tarmac versions, and this week i finally got them finished. No Normandy battlefield would be complete without some good looking dirt roads.
Roads are one of the more simple terrain pieces to make, so i am not sure why anyone would buy any commercially made, expensive items, when you can make good looking roads for next to nothing. I am planning on playing a scenario from the “I Aint Been Shot Mum” rules so made enough roads for the map in the rulebook.
Its a very simple process. I drew my roads onto a sheet of 3mm MDF and then cut them out using a stanley knife and a handsaw. I made sure every horizontal cut was 8cm wide so all the road sections would fit together. I tried to avoid any straight lines as nothing is ever straight. Then a quick sand of all the rough edges and we are ready to decorate. I used a mix of PVA glue and a paint thickening medium to cover the road surface, and then a decent sprinkling of fine and coarse sand and some grit all mixed up. This gives the road a random texture. When this was dry i did add another round of the gritty mix down the middle of the roads as that is where the bigger stones etc could settle. The sand colours are pretty good but i did give them all a quick spray with a cream colour which blended everything together. The finishing touch was two different flocks along the edge and some random tufts. Check them out, you will see them in an after action report i plan on doing soon!
I have slowly been expanding my Normandy village with a mixture of buildings from various sources. I much prefer to try and build all my own stuff but it does tend to be very time consuming, so i do like to boost my output with some purchased structures too. The good thing about building your own is that you can create whatever you like and to size with your other scenery. I have found a big difference in heights of purchased houses, making some products unusable. For example i did buy a house from Loic Neveu but it was more like a 15mm building and looked silly with my other buildings. Shame as they are really nice models.
Anyway this Coaching Inn is a card model from the English company Metcalfe Models. They do not ship to Australia so i had to buy it through Antics On Line in the UK. Size wise this is over 120mm tall and fits beautifully with my existing buildings. Its a well designed tough card model. Not too much cutting is involved and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The acetate windows with details printed on are particular nice. Its not really a French looking building, but i think it fits well enough. They give you a choice of signs, of which i chose The Swan Inn, but i think i will print out something French to put over the top. I mounted my finished model onto 3mm MDF for extra strength. The edges of some of the card and also the building corners need a little touch up with a black marker pen just to tidy it up.
For around ten pounds i think this is great value for a really nice kit. I have a couple more other kits from Metcalfe which i will be making in the coming weeks. If you are looking for something other than resin, plastic or MDF for your table look no further. Some pictures below with the Inn flanked by a home made red brick building on one side and an MDF bought kit on the right. Then some shots of all my buildings quickly laid out.
Let’s face it we all love our tanks. I love building tanks, painting tanks, moving tanks around a wargames table, and also reading about tanks. From the imposing Tiger tank on the front cover i was immediately hooked and swiftly read this awesome volume from the top of its turret to the bottom of its tracks.
The first thing you notice are the abundant black and white photos of every kind of tracked armoured fighting vehicle. Every page has original images of vehicles in combat or lying wrecked on the battlefield. Accompanying the photos are specifications of each tank including armour, armament and speed. I figured these stats would be especially handy if i wanted to design my own wargames rules as they would supply all the relative information needed to come up with each tanks characteristics and abilities. All the photos are a great source of inspiration for anyone with an interest in tanks.
Mr Anderson begins with a brief history of tanks in World War One and the inter war years. He then goes through a chronological history of World War Two and how tanks developed in their design in each period. There is just enough text to accompany the photos to keep you engaged but not bore you with unnecessary information. The book is also grouped by theatre of war, as each had its own impact on the development and use of the tank. Some countries developed their tanks at different times and in different ways depending on how they were involved. Its all fascinating reading. He finishes by briefly touching on tank development after the war and onto the Cold War.
If you have an interest in tanks this book is for you. I would have like maybe some colour plates, plans or illustrations showing camouflage schemes or dimensions, but that would be my only criticism. Lots of great pictures, precise technical info and well written concise historical text. This is a must for anyone with a healthy appetite for a wider understanding of how the tank developed through the Second World War.
This classic British tank was on sale at BNA Model World for $12.50 a few months back so could not resist but pick up a couple of them. That’s just too good a bargain to pass up for a couple of Dragon kits. I needed some more Churchills to add to my Plastic Soldier Company versions and make up a full troop. Now i have four including the large calibre AVRE for support.
These are excellent kits and pretty easy to put together compared to some Dragon kits which can be fiddly. The best thing about them is the running gear which comes in a few pieces for each side but with the wheels already connected in two halves. So you don’t spend hours making and gluing individual wheels and then trying to align them. As we all know the Churchill has as many wheels as a centipede has legs. Well nearly as many. The detail is better and more delicate than the PSC Churchills. You can model the hatches open or closed, which allows you to add some tank crew. In my case i added a couple of excellent fellow from AB Figures, one relaxing against his hatch, the other carrying some kind of map case ready to get on the CB radio.
The only real problem i faced with this kit (both times i made it) was trying to get the upper hull to fit on the bottom hull straight at the back. Either side at the back remained at a funny angle. Not the end of the world and i probably need to get some clamps or something to keep it glued in place for longer. You get some decals with the kit but i used some other PSC decals i had. This gives me plenty of Churchills now. The only ones i had as a kid were from Airfix, and these Dragon models are certainly a great improvement on them. There is an Esci model Churchill out there which i will try and get my hands on too sometime.
Its always total fun painting any figures from AB. The details are so clear and sharp that they really paint themselves. Once you get the paint on in the right places the rest really looks after itself. They really are the best 20mm figures out there, and even though significantly more expensive than any plastic figures i think its well worth it for the difference in quality. I did recently pick up some more British from CP Models, which look really good, Wartime Miniatures and also SHQ, so i will do a comparison of all them sometime.
But back to these SS troops packing Panzerfausts and Panzershrecks. I did my usual German camo scheme in greens and browns the only difference was i had some cool new grassy tufts to try out on the bases. The poses from AB are just great, looking natural and realistic. I still have some loading crew, a trooper carrying the Panzershreck rounds and a couple more Panzerfaust firers, to paint next. But i am going to do a more Autumn camo scheme with them for a change. Anyway if you dont have any AB figures run out and get some, they are just brilliant!
Some photos of my tank killing team out on the Farm looking for Shermans.
My terrain projects continued with some more fields and hedges for my Normandy landscape. In recent weeks i have read a lot of excellent blogs and book articles on the use of Teddy Bear or faux fur so i was very keen to try it out for myself. One of the railway modelling books i have been reading goes into detail about how to use the fur in lots of different ways. The first one i wanted to try was just an open grassy wild field and also one enclosed by hedges with a dirt path running through it.
I picked up a large bit of beige faux fur from Spotlight for about $25. This should be enough for plenty of applications! I then cut out the size i wanted and glued each bit to 3mm MDF bases as usual with PVA glue. Then its attack the fur with a pair of sharp scissors and cut it to the length you want. For the wild grass fields i went pretty hard with a short back and sides and reduced the fur to 3-5mm long. You will see through experiment how long or short looks right for you. I tried using my beard trimmers on it too but they didn’t work. So stick to scissors! If i owned a comb i would have combed the fur to get all the cut bits out and also get it all pointing upright. I dont have a comb so i used my fingers which worked ok. For the path i just cut as close to the base fabric as i could removing all the fur where i wanted the track to go.
Then you can paint the fur using green, yellow and brown acrylics. Make sure you use as little paint as possible and use lots of different shades to get a natural look. The less paint you can use the quicker things will dry. I used a big paint brush (ie for painting walls) to blend all the paints throughout the fur and get a good covering so no original fur colour is left. That’s about as tricky as it gets. The path i just used PVA glue and sand and then some paint. I added little shrubs and weeds and tufts around the place. The hedges were made from horsehair and flock just like my bocage and trees. This fake fur is really handy and i was very happy with the results considering how cheap and easy the process was. I am planning to use it on some country road sides and also a canola field.
Check out my pictures below including the Sherman Firefly crossing the field (of Glory hopefully).