Wednesday 30 December 2015

Project F: Early Medieval Soldiers 1

Well, 2015 certainly turned out to be the year of changed plans. Not only did I have to adjust my planning for the Operation Winter Storm project to something more manageable, now there is also something big cooking that has forced me to reconsider some of my earlier plans. Originally I was going to spend the better part of December painting the remaining models for my long neglected Italian Wars project. But then I was drafted into this major and still secret project, master-minded by my good mate Dalauppror and those plans went out the window.

There are still some things to iron out before we can reveal more about this new project, but keep a close eye on our blogs and you will get all the details eventually.

For now, however, I can offer you a sneak peak at the first of my models to be finished for this project. The period is obviously early medieval, as is evident from the models but, as I said, the details of where and when will have to remain under wraps for a while yet ...

The models were kindly donated by Dalauppror and to return the favour I cruelly used them as guinea pigs for trying out some new ideas for painting techniques. I was mainly trying to find out how to cut down on painting time and still keep up a decent standard I can be happy with. As test-pieces go, I think they turned out alright.

The foot soldier is a Foundry model, originally released by Citadel in the early 80s. I really like these old Perry sculpts, they have heaps of character and are a joy to paint.

The cavalry model is from an unknown manufacturer. Anyone recognise it? It has lots of fine details, the casting is very impressive in some parts – eg the reins under the horse's head are separate, which is something I haven't seen before – but unfortunately one of the horse's eyes was slightly miscast.

For the past couple of weeks or so, I have been furiously painting my first proper batch and I'm just putting the finishing touches to these models, which means they'll probably – hopefully! – make the 2015 deadline. More in the next update!

Thursday 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas – God jul!

I just wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas – or "God jul" as we say in Sweden.

It seems the world is a bit bonkers right now so in the spirit of this holiday, if you have the means, please consider donating something to charity.

I hope you have a great Christmas however and wherever you spend it!

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Operation Winter Storm: Panzergrenadiers 11 – Sd.Kfz. 10/5

Well, this is it – the final German entry for the Operation Winter Storm project. It feels very nice indeed to have the first stage of the project finished.

For the finale you would have thought I'd painted something fitting, like a Tiger or perhaps a StuG, or any other iconic German WW2 vehicle. Instead I've gone the eclectic route and present to you the Sd.Kfz. 10/5.

The Sd.Kfz 10 was a half-track vehicle that was primarily used as a tower for smaller guns such as the 2 cm FlaK 30, the 7.5 cm leIG, or the 3.7 cm PaK 36 anti-tank gun. As with most WW2 vehicles, there were numerous variants produced throughout the war.

The Sd.Kfz. 10/5 carried the 2 cm FlaK 38 anti-aircraft gun on a special platform with fold-down side and rear panels. It had magazines for the gun fastened to the panels and usually towed an ammunition trailer (Sd.Ah. 51) with 640 more rounds, the gun's sights and its rangefinder.

Though the FlaK 38 was designed as an anti-aircraft gun, it was also used against ground targets.

The model is from Battlefront and required a fair amount of cleaning up, especially on the resin main body. The other parts were in metal and while the cast was clean, the tracks once again suffer from the softness of details which seems to be prominent on most of Battlefronts vehicles. The gun barrel is also very soft, and bends easily, which of course is very annoying. Other than that, it's a nice little kit I think.

Rather than paint the vehicle in winter camo, I decided to do it in Panzer Grey with the crew in regular Feldgrau uniforms to make it a bit more versatile.

Now with this stage finished, I'm going to let the Operation Winter Storm project rest for a while. But I've already thrown myself into the next project for which I'm frantically painting at the moment. Stay tuned for more about this.

As always, thanks for reading!

Sunday 20 December 2015

Operation Winter Storm: Panzergrenadiers 10 – Sd.Kfz. 251/C

Next up for the Operation Winter Storm project is some troop transport in the form of a half-track Sd.Kfz. 251/C, perhaps better known by the name of the manufacturer – Hanomag.

The Sd.Kfz. 251 was meant to transport the Panzergrenadiers into combat. Despite a fair number of vehicles being produced, they were always in shortage and most Panzergrenadier units had to make do with trucks for transport.

The Hanomag had room for one squad of men, who thanks to the armour of the half-track was protected against small-arms fire and to some extent artillery fire. In its role as troop transport, the vehicle was armed with at least one MG 34/42, with another mount at the rear, which provided close-support fire for when the soldiers had disembarked.

Once again this is kit from Plastic Soldier Company. As for the earlier kits I put together there were a fair number of components, and the instructions were very "bare-bones" to say the least, but it went together without any major hiccups.

Another step in the right direction for the weathering ...

Thank you for stopping by!

Next up: the final German vehicle for this project.

Monday 14 December 2015

Operation Winter Storm: Panzergrenadiers 9 – Panzer III

Here are some more German support for the Operation Winter Storm project in the form of three Panzer III J.

Introduced in 1939, the Panzer III was designed as the primary battle tank for the German forces intended to fight other tanks. They were originally equipped with a 3.7 cm KwK 36 L/45 gun, which proved adequate during the campaigns of 1939 and 1940. However, after Operation Barbarossa, the Pz III proved to be inferior in both armour and gun power when facing the heavier Soviet tanks such as the KV-1 and T-34. In a bid to counter these tanks, the Pz III was upgraded with a longer, more powerful 50 mm gun and more armour.

These upgrades proved somewhat effective for a while, especially against the T-34, but by 1942 the Pz IV and Pz III had effectively switched roles – the former was now the main tank fighter and the latter used in close support of the infantry – due to the better upgrade potential of the Pz IV. After the Battle of Kursk in 1943 the Pz III was gradually withdrawn from the frontline. Instead the chassi was used as the basis for the Sturmgeschütz III assault gun, the single most produced German armoured fighting vehicle of WW2.

Like the Panzer IV, these models are from Plastic Soldier Company and represent great value for money. They're nicely detailed – especially compared to the Battlefront kits I've done before, where the tracks in particular have been poor with soft details.

One difference between the Panzer IV kit and this one, are the one-piece tracks. A welcome change indeed, as I found the separate tracks on the Pz IV too fiddly for my liking with no apparent gain in details. And with these tracks there wasn't any risk of putting anything on in the wrong place ...

I've added some more stowage to these Pz III:s, where as on the Pz IV I kept it relatively clean. Painting was done in the same way as the other tank. As for the weathering I tried to keep it a little more subdued this time, but I'm not 100% satisfied yet – slowly getting there though.

Now I'm in the homestretch for the German part of this project: just two more vehicles left.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Operation Winter Storm: Panzergrenadiers 8 – Panzer IV

The first German tank to be finished for my Operation Winter Storm project is a Panzer IV G.

Introduced in 1937, the Panzer IV was the only German tank to remain in combat and production throughout the entire WW2 making it the most widely manufactured "proper" German tank. It was of course constantly upgraded and adjusted to fit the ever-changing fighting conditions of the battlefields in Africa, Europe and the Eastern Front.

The Ausf. G model was introduced in 1942 and the upgrades included an increased front armour of 80 mm and the new, longer, 75 mm KwK 40 L/43 gun. These were both direct measures to counter the new, heavier, Soviet tanks such as the T-34.

This model is from Plastic Soldier Company and was my first experience with this manufacturer. I must say that despite a fair number of fiddly bits and somewhat spartan instructions it went together very well. The only problem was the driving gears which I at first managed to glue on in the wrong places – I switched the front and back ones on both sides – but this was all my fault for not having checked the instructions properly. I had to slice them all off and glue them back in their correct positions.

Other than that, my main gripe was the separate tracks which was a bit of a pain to glue in place to be honest.

I can't really comment on the historical accuracy of the kit, but when it comes to value for money it certainly scores high marks indeed!

As this was my first time painting a vehicle in winter camo, I looked at some tutorials to get familiar with the different techniques employed to get this particular effect. However, it wasn't until I got some excellent pointers from fellow club member and all-round nice chap Sören, I felt ready to have a go myself. Now, Sören is a much more skilled painter than me and I of course managed to botch up his instructions. In trying to salvage the paint job I did some experimenting which in a roundabout way lead to a camo effect I was rather pleased with and intend to use on all my winter vehicles for this project.

As for the weathering, I'm not particularly pleased with it – it's more than a bit overdone. I find weathering is an art, and one I have yet to master. Still, it's "good enough" so I'll leave it at that.

Next up – more Panzers!

Thank you all for reading!