Friday, June 4, 2010

Kampfgruppe Gräbner assembled.

Not a lot to say here, the pictures mostly speak for themselves. They mostly fit into the frame of the post so no need to click (unless you *really* want to...).

Airfix Sd.Kfz. 222:

Nice little kit, comes with two identical SMG wielders and an officer type as well as a highly useful Kübelwagen to transport an OP team or officer around.

Fujimi Sd.Kfz. 250.

Only got one picture of this before the batteries died. I found this kit incredibly frustrating. Things refused to line up correctly and occasional details, like the driver's viewport just seemed to be seperate to up the part count. Furthermore, I now need to get an MG42 to replace the gun that came with it, as it was the wrong variant. On the plus side, I now have a slightly mismoulded BMW bike to use for something, and a model of Rommel to use for something (after the spectacular hole in his chest is filled...).

Finally, Hauptsturmführer Gräbner himself.

A simple conversion made by sticking the kneeling officer from Revell's German Infantry set into the commander's cupola of the Revell Humber Mk II. Looks pretty good to me, well happy with the result. You can see the glue residue on the front where I decided I didn't like the look of the spare wheel (and really, what're the chances of capturing a Humber II with all the spares?) and there's a few small gaps here and there. There's also the controvery over exactly what kind of Humber he used, but I decided this one made more sense from a gaming perspective, giving him a bit of personal firepower to add to the unit rather than just a simple leadership bonus.

Forgot to photograph the five infantrymen who hitch a ride in the Sd.Kfz. 250 and I still haven't got my hands on a Sd.Kfz.232 8-Rad which is the last vehicle needed. It's a really BIG recon Batallion... or I just got carried away with all the cool stuff he used (which is far more likely). This also marks the first named model for a historical participant.

Bonus image, only noticed this when processing the photos for posting. Perhaps some form of advance German spyplane? Click for original context.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First day of good sun.

Today was the first day I had some spare time AND the sun to take pictures in with my dodgy camera. It didn't last long before deciding the battery was dying but I managed to get through a bit of backlog before it died.

Anyway, here's my latest build: A Revell Panzer III Ausf L for the Fallschirmjäger Ersatz und Ausbildungs Regiment 'Hermann Göring' which was operating in the region of Son on September 17th and pressed into combat. The equipment was mostly old Panzer III and IVs with some eStuG D and Es and I plan to include one of each in the unit. Anyway, on to the pictures. Click for larger as usual:

As you can see, the tracks are multipart plastic rather than a stretched vinyl like on Airfix or other Revell kits. It was a headache to do and took the build time from an hour or so to two full evenings of work. They didn't line up particularly well either, although looking at other people's efforts I suspect that's my fault rather than a flaw in the kit.

The last image shows the internal view of the modified turret. I'm rather proud of this little mod really. I've got a thing for being able to elevate and depress the gun barrels on tanks, so I spent a few minutes working out how to modify this tank. Unlike the Cromwells and Achilles SPG kits from HäT this was not a quick mod, and required quite a bit of brace and counter-weight building. The end result is a gun which can move up and down, wiggle from side to side (unintentional...) and, best of all, bounces realistically when pushed across a rough table surface.

I really didn't enjoy building this one. 100+ parts for a 1:72 kit is excessive. Now that it's finished I like the end result, but I'm glad I don't need to build another one (or four....).

Friday, May 7, 2010

For your information

I've noticed that the Combat Tanks magazine has only been released south of the Equator recently, and having found this just now I think it might be of some use to those of you down there. Pass it on and make sure you know what's available to you, I know I'll be checking back regularly to see what's going to be on the stands next week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Airdrop recieved.

On the recommendation of Geordie I tried Models for Sale dot com for my Daimler Dingo needs and found them to have an interesting selection. After much weighing of options and careful consideration I ordered a Fujimi Sd.Kfz 250/3 halftrack (with bonus BMW bike!), three Monty's Caravan and one HäT Armourfast M10 Achilles fast-build box on Saturday night, paid by paypal on Monday evening and recieved my box of toys on Thursday morning making the stated shipping time of "three to five days" more like "two and a bit". Due to a bit of paypal weirdness there was some worry that the package was going to the wrong address but Vince was more than happy to discuss this with me via email and put my concerns to rest. The package arrived in perfect condition with good use of foam peanuts to protect the contents.

All in all, a highly reccomended site. Good prices, good service, good shipping. I'll be using htem again. Thanks again to Geordie for pointing me in that direction and to Models for Sale themselves.

PS: If anyone has suggestions for decent crew for the Achilles that'd be appreciated. I'm thinking the Revell M7 priest crew might be a good start but I'm not sure.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Taking stock a bit.

I've been working on this for quite some time now so I decided to sit down and start organising what I have finished, what I have in the works, what I waiting to start and what I have waiting to be bought. Mostly I've focused on the Guards Armoured Division as it was the spearhead and without it there will be no game. So, a list of what status each unit is in with extras from other units and "to buy" lists where relevant. A huge gap follows, I can't seem to make it go away for some reason.....

Guards Armoured Division
5th Guards Armoured Brigade
2nd Bn, Grenadier Guards (Armor) - 2 Shermans, 2 Sherman Firefly to buy.
1st Bn, Grenadier Guards (Mot) - Halftracks assembled and undercoated, Infantry 50% painted.
2nd Bn, Irish Guards (Armor) - Completed - - 3 Shermans, 1 Sherman Firefly.
3rd Bn, Irish Guards (Mot) - Infantry 50% painted, 1 truck in box, 1truck in the post.
32nd Guards Infantry Brigade
1st Bn, Coldstream Guards (Armor)2 - Shermans, 2 Sherman Firefly to buy.
5th Bn, Coldstream Guards (Mot) - Infantry 50% painted, 2 trucks in the post.
2nd Bn, Welsh Guards (Armor, Recon) - Cromwells, 2 assembled. 1 Cromwell and 1 Challenger to buy.
1st Bn, Welsh Guards (Mot) - Infantry on sprue, no trucks needed (yay! Tank riders!)
Royal Artillery
55th Field Regiment RA - 4 25lber + tractor kits to buy, 1 (captured) STuG III G for HQ transport.
153rd Field Regiment RA - 4 Sexton SPG to buy, 1 (captured) SDK 251 to buy for HQ transport.
21st AT Regiment RA - 2 17Lber + tractor kits, 3 M3 halftrak kits to buy, 2 Achilles M10 TD in the post.
94th LAA Regiment + 1st Independent MG Company - MG company 50% painted, AA guns to research + buy.
Royal Engineers - See Note at end.
14th Field Squadron^^
615th Field Squadron^^
148th Field Park Squadron^^
2nd Household Cavalry Regiment RA - 1 Daimler MKII, 1 Daimler Dingo undercoated. 1 Dingo in the post, 1 MKII to buy.

Note: all Engineer units I am assuming have moved to the front of the column, thus each Battalion's worth assigned to the corps is represented by one vehicle model with carried infantry (see here).

All in all, not a bad amount of work, but could be better. This doesn't include any of the German stuff I've been building but not photographing or blogging about or the Airbourne elements which have been somewhat on hold of late.

As a vague idea of the German units I have purchased the three Grenadier regiments of the 176th Infantery Division, the Panzerjäger Battalion and the Pioneer Battalion. The Artillery regiment requires one more box of Revell German Artillery to complete, and the Fusileers require me to track down some Nebelwerfers (one should do really, only a Battalion I need here).

Kampfgruppe Gräbner (and Gräbner himself, in his stolen Humber II) is waiting for the infantry Recon platoon's Sd.Kfz 250 to arrive in the post, and for me to swap the mudguards on a Revell Sd.Kfz. 234/2 "Puma" and an Airfix Sd.Kfz. 234/4 to make the second more accurate and the first into a stand-in Sd.Kfz. 232. It is otherwise completely assembled (you could say the vehicles have been rendered deliberately unservicable.....).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Last of the summer photos (except it's only spring).

This is the last of the units I got photographed during the brief sunny afternoon last week, a single view of one of two HäT Armourfast Cromwells I have built as half of the 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion.


I need to get one more Cromwell and a Challenger to finish this platoon off, and then some more British Infantry to ride the tanks as 1st Battalion and finish up the Welsh Brigade.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dingos ate my {blank}

The light was starting to fade when I was taking these, so they aren't of the best quality. At one point the flash decided to start working again suddenly, resulting in a rather impressive washed-out look to a side view. This will be joining the earlier Damlier MK II as part of the Household Guards Regiment Reconnaissance platoon. The kit is the Dingo that comes as part of the Revell "Monty's Caravan" double-pack kit, a rather nice little model.

You'll notice that the right headlight is a different shade and shape to the left. The original decided to go shooting off into the ether underneath the diningroom table and I replaced it by sculpting a new one from greenstuff. It looks alright when not at super-huge-photo size.

One more unit got photographed in the recent sun, I'll post it tomorrow.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Truckin' (sort of).

I'm still working and chugging along at a reasonable speed, mostly building vehicles but also painting infantry. Unfortunately my camera is so bad that images are extremely blurry unless I can get direct and bright sunlight. Given the time of year, that almost never happens. Anyway, onto the models. These represent the vehicles attached to the various Pioneer companies spread through the three divisions of XXX Corps, I've decided that they will all be represented by a single platoon of 20 men with two jeeps and a halftrack with trailers for simplicity's sake. All the kits are airfix, with various minor modifications. The pictures:


This is the standard Airfix kit, trailer and all, with a roof put on the driver's cabin. The (I am told) innaccurate mine-racks have been added and are used to hold jerrycans and a few other bits from the Jeep kit and some PIAT ammunition from the Revell British Infantry box. I didn't bother putting the cupola on and instead mounted the .50cal on a bit of wooden cocktail sausage stick stuck into a hole drilled in the bottom of the passenger compartment. Simple modifications, looks fairly cool, and gives a bit more of a "combat engineer" vibe to the standard kit. Very happy with this.

The Jeep:

This Jeep and another identical except for the layout of materials in the trailer are both Airfix kits build as standard without the roof or the .30cal machinegun mount except for the driver's heads, which have been replaced with spare PIAT crew heads from the Revell kit. The Airfix Jeep driver is ridiculously small compared to every other kit and I didn't think of replacing them with the Halftrack drivers I haven't used until they were glued into place, so I just changed the heads to make it look a bit less silly. Hopefully no-one will notice the spindly arms.

More to come in the next few days, I got some more stuff photographed in the sun this afternoon.