Friday, 29 May 2015

Current Works in Progress

 Somehow, it has been over two weeks since my last post. I would say I am not quite sure how that happened, but as is the way, real life has managed to get in the way of the hobby. To be fair, a major reason is that I had a few days away with the family, and I managed to bag a visit to the Tank Museum in Dorset, so I can't moan too much.

I figured I would chuck up an update about where my current projects stand. The only thing I have managed to do in the last few days is to finish the three guys who will crew my Hanomags:

The Hanomags themselves haven't progressed at all. They are awaiting a layer of gloss varnish before weathering commences, but all being well they are on course to be done by the end of next week.

Asidew from that, I have started the base coats on the first squad of assault rilfe equipped grenadiers:

Not much to look at, but it is progress. Again, I think there is a reasonable chance of these being done within a week.

So not a great deal to report but things are moving forward! Hopefully, the next week or two might bring several updates.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Heaven is a Halftrack Part 1

When I got back into the hobby many years ago, I remember being worried about painting vehicles more than anything. It was around the time Forge World was really taking off and all these awesome vehicles were popping up everywhere, weathered and beaten and ultra realistic. What's more, people kept talking about this fabled thing called an airbrush, so I bought one. And then it pretty much stayed in the gararge, unused and unloved.

I decided not long after getting into Bolt Action that this would have to change. I wanted my German vehicles to have decent looking camo and an airbrush seemed the only real way to do it. So I dug it out and dusted it down and when I had finished the infantry I decided it was all or nothing.

First step was to stowage up the vehicles (can't go wrong with a little stowage) and give them an undercoat. I don't know why but I find this stage very appealing as the undercoat really ties all the different materials used together by giving it a uniform caller.

When that was done, I got on with the airbrush. I used vallejo air paints, which didn't require thinning and speeded things up. Here you can see one with the base colour on and the first colour applied.

 By the time I had done with the airbrush, the three of them looked like this:

I learnt many things from using the airbrush. Some mistakes were made that I just about managed to cover up and I think I spent more time cleaning the airbrush down (especially at the end) than using it but I hope that this is something that will speed up with practice. I already have four more vehicles of my own to do and have volunteered to do three of a friends so should get plenty of practice in.

Once the airbrush was away it was an evening with the good old brush. I put the decals on first, weathered them in a bit and then chipped the hull down with some sponge work before doing the stowage. A few more bits and all three currently sit at this stage:

I am reasonably happy so far. The tracks need doing before I seal them with gloss varnish and then use some oils to weather them, before appplying pigment. All stuff that is new to me.

So, in summary things I have learned so far is patience with the airbrush and some rough techniques. I also need to get some Microsol and Microset for decal work. But other than that, what progresss! In my 40k days, using normal paints and brushes, a Chimera would have taken me about two weeks. This took my maybe 2 hours in the afternoon and three hours in the evening. So at least I am speeding things up!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Review: Warlord German Grenadiers

For my first review, I have chosen the much anticipated Warlord German Grenadiers. I imagine a lot of Bolt Action players were waiting for these - I managed to obtain my for free through a cracking offer to subscribe to Wargames Illustrated.

So first of all, value for money. You get enough parts to make 30 figures in box set that Warlord sells for £27. I imagine if you shop around you can get that down to under £25, if not further. So at well under a pound a model, I don't think you can grumble. 

In the box you get five of the above sprues. As you can see, there are 6 bodies on each sprue. Two of these are wearing the Zeltbahn ponchos. Used as tents they also provided valuable camo to wear in combat and are a distinctive feature of the late war. Weapons wise you get rifles, MG42's, plenty of panzerfausts and also several options for loaders. This is nice because the other late war German box set misses these extras so you can struggle to make good loaders of of it. There are of course loads of other extras, from heads all the way down to an Iron Cross. 

Of course the one thing everyone was waiting for is the assault rifles! Not overly common in real life but a staple of many a Bolt Action army, you get 15 in total, three on each sprue. Two are built onto arms and there is one free one to use as you please. 

Assembly wise they are fairly straight forward. I did find the ones with Zeltbahn were the hardest to attach the arms too, as the ponchos seem to push them forward a bit. The bodies also attach to the sprue by the collar so you have to cut carefully. I also found heads struggled to stay on (more than normal), but that could be me. 

Overall I woud give this kit a solid thumbs up. I was disappointed at the ratio of Zeltbahn as I think I would have liked half and half, and the posing can be a tad awkward. That being said the value of this box set I is awesome. You could easily buy just this box and squeeze a 500pt force out of it. 

I have so far put together one of them, but in the near future there will be two squads of five vets with assault rifles joining my little version of the Heer, and I hope to have them done in a couple of weeks. In the mean time, here is the one I have put together. 

In other news, please like my face book page for more frequent updates. If I can ever figure out how, I shall link the blog to the page! But for now, here you go:

Monday, 4 May 2015

German Footsloggers

As mentioned in my previous post, my current main focus is Bolt Action gaming. I decided quite early on that I wanted to do Germans to start with as the story of their military antics during the war always fascinated me. The less said about their politics the better, but their armies (and mainly there tanks I suspect), have a lasting hold on many wargames.

I decided after some casting about to base my force on the Panzer Lehr division. The reason for this was because it was a very well equipped division at the start of the Normandy campaign and had the latest kit so it naturally drew my attention.

Enough talking about my army, lets have some pics. These are the three squads:

Each squad is 8 veterans; an NCO with an SMG, two MG42's and two panzerfausts. It's based off a lot of historical research I did, which indicated the paper strength of a half track mounted Panzergrenadier squad was ten men, a driver, a gunner and 8 dismounts. It's worth noting two things. First, I wrote this list before I knew the rules for Bolt Action, hence why each of these squads will get half tracks (depsite them being a bit useless), and second, that I know they aren't wearing the correct Panzer Lehr short tunic, but no one makes multi pose plastic Panzer Lehr to my knowledge!

They have the support of a mortar, a medium machine gun and a Panzer Schreck team:

Finally, here is the officer. He and his escort are the most "gamey" part of my arm, as I took the chance to give them both assault rifles.

Next up I shall be tackling the vehicles. That will be three Hanomags, a Panzer IV and a Puma armoured car. Should be interesting as I intend to try out airbrushing the first time! Wish me luck.