Monday, April 24, 2017

Of Magnets and Mine Rollers

Recently I have found that while I have been able to spend quite a bit of time making and painting models, I haven't been putting much of anything up on the blog - despite having every intention of doing so!

In an effort to correct this, I thought I should share my latest effort - the Trumpeter 1/72 T-55 with KMT-5 Mine Roller kit.

The finish model, painted green with a wash of brown.
I built the kit with the intent of using it as a test bed for an experiment with magnets. I have seen lots of other gamers use small rare earth magnets to allow for variable weapon fits on their wargaming models, so I wanted to see if I could do the same with mine rollers.

The installation of metal rods in the hull.
Part of the inspiration for this project was remembering that i had read that the French had purchased surplus former Warsaw Pact mine plows (some sources say ex-Russian, some ex-East German) for use with their AMX-30 tanks during the first Gulf War.

Holes to allow the magnets to recess into.
This made me think that if I used magnets to attach engineering gear, I could potentially use it across a wide range of tank platforms,without needing to reduce the number of gun tanks in the collection.

The rods were later replaced by pieces of thin metal plate.
The use of magnets would also make storage and transport easier, as engineering attachments are often prone to break at the point where they attach to the tank. Using this system would reduce stress at that point.

Magnets glued onto the attachment points on the rollers.
The initial concept had me using pins rather than metal plate inside the hull. Once I switched to using plate, the connection was significantly improved.

A test of the assembly. Additional tests lead to the use of plate before gluing on the top half of the hull.
I am now going to repeat the process on other tanks in order to have a wider range of platforms to attach the rollers to. At this stage I am planning on converting a T-62 and a T-72, with the possibility of a Leopard 1 and an AMX-30 to follow.

Completed model with detached rollers.
Of course, I am already thing of ways to improve the idea. One possibility is to reverse the location of the plate and the magnet. The magnet would be placed inside the hull, while the attachment would have the metal plate added to it. If this worked, then there would be no need to make holes in the glacis of the tank.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Holiday Napoleonics WIP

I started off the 2016 holiday season with another refight of Quatre Bras, using the same scenario reported on here. The three major differences were:

  1.  I brought along to the game extra figures, bases, and blue tack, to make skirmish stands as they were needed,
  2. I played the French, rather than the Anglo-Dutch forces, and
  3. The French didn't even come close to winning - but the butcher's bill was significantly less than the previous refight. 
During the game it was mentioned, that while the French were coming along in leaps and bounds, the Anglo-Dutch, were looking very much like the poor relations of my V&B forces.

The whole lot - in various stages of refurbishment.
With that in mind, and having some free time due to the holidays, I decided on a mass refurbishment of my British forces. I have been fortunate in acquiring over the years a number of painted and semi painted British figures from a variety of sources, so I figured I should start with these figures, and then if required paint figures from scratch.

Eight artillery stands. Guns are Revell and Airfix 9pdrs, figures are Revell Foot Artillery, and Airfix and Esci Royal Horse Artillery
 The figures are from a variety of manufacturers: Airfix, Revell, Esci, and even some Eagle Games figures.

Artillery and Revell 95th Rifles painted as 60th Foot and based as skirmish stands.

I still have to finish the basing by adding tussock, scatter grass, etc to the stands, and to touch up paint on a number of Airfix figures where the older enamels have flaked. I still have to add an ink wash to many of the stands. I have started to experiment with black and sepia washes.

Brown washed Revell and Airfix Infantry.

In the middle, a very thin red line is formed by Esci British infantry.

Another view of the Revell and Esci infantry stands.
 I still have a couple of stands of Airfix Highlanders to refurbish, and a few more stands of Airfix British infantry - but they (and some more command stands) will have to wait a little longer to finishing.
The Esci thin red line. I acquired a large number of nicely painted Esci British infantry, that were primarily made up of the standing and firing pose from the Esci British Infantry set (click here for PSR review). 
After the last game of V&B I really wanted to make sure that I had a pool of skirmish stands available for use. The 60th foot stands are probably of more use for the Peninsula War than Waterloo, but since I had acquired some already painted from Steve H., I figured I should just base them up.

Riflemen of the 60th Foot. Metal British 16th Light Dragoons in the background.
Essentially, if I had a painted British figure, I was going to find a stand to base it on in order to bulk up the number of British forces available for use on the table top.

Airfix figures that had been converted to Riflemen. I suspect the intent was to create a detachment of the 95th Rifles. My intent is to use these skirmish stands as generic Jager stands for Netherland and Prussian forces.

Esci skirmish stands with a couple of Revell figures thrown in to the mix on the center stand.
The other major weakness has been the hodge podge of command stands available for the British. While I do have some of the very nice Strelets British command figures from their Aliied command set  (PSR review here), and the Waterloo Napoleonic Mounted Line Officers set (PSR review here) - I am still in the process of painting those figures. So since I had some other mounted officers available, I decided to use those, even though strictly speaking they are in the wrong uniforms,

LtR (Left to Right): Airfix Highlander Officer, Italeri French Officer (repainted) Airfix British Infantry Officer.
 Another source of officers has been the Italeri French Imperial General Staff set (click here for PSR review). I can't remember if it was Frank or Steve H. who first alerted me to the paint conversion possibilities of this set, but the British and Prussian forces Steve H. gave me both had examples of the figures in use as officers.

LtR: Airfix Highlander, Eagle Games commander, Revell British officer, Italeri French officer (repainted)
 Eagle Games used to sell additional figures for their game 'Napoleon in Europe'(click here for the Board-Game Geek review and here for the PSR review of the figures). I bought a set these some time ago with the intent of using them to supplement my Prussian forces. I have re-horsed the mounted figures with Esci British horses, and have started painting up some of the mounted officers as British command stands.

Eagle Games British General on Esci horse - still a WIP as base needs finishing and sword needs to be painted,

 One very interesting event that did come about from the holiday Napoleonic fest was that I discovered my wife has a talent for painting miniatures. I hate painting Napoleonics - hence my great love of refurnishing older figures - and routinely bitch about it being hard. Katherine commented that it looked fairly straight forward, so I asked if she wanted to try painting some.

Katherine's first painted stand. She wants to add more to to the base before she finishes it.

Katherine said yes, and the next day I had another freshly painted skirmish stand at my disposal. I think she has done a very good job with these! I am currently negotiating with her to see if she wants to paint up some of the Netherlander command stands I need completed!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Here Be Dragoons

As I continue to build up my Napoleonic forces for the upcoming summer campaign, I have found myself acquiring a number of metal Minifigs figures.

Various artillery crew. 3 French Foot Artillery, 1 French Horse Artillery, and 1 British Foot Artillery. The mounted officer I believe to be a French line Horse Artillery Officer, and the fellow with the telescope a French Horse Artillery Officer of the Imperial Guard. All corrections gratefully received.
At first it was just the odd command figure, but entire units of second hand painted figures have started being purchased - especially if I think they might be old 'S' range Minifigs.

French guns. The one on the right seems to have its wheels put on the wrong sides.
The main reason for this is that I find the figures have a great deal of character - much like I find the Airfix plastics have a certain charm to them, even though there are much better figures available now, the nostalgia value of Airfix figures will always remain high for me. So given that I believe the 'S' Range figures were originally designed to complement the Airfix range, and fill the large gaps in the Airfix Napoleonic line, it seems only natural that I should like  them as well.

These I believe are Minifigs S Range British Light Dragoons painted as the 16th Light Dragoons.

My most recent purchase has been some rather nice figures I believe painted as the  British 16th Light Dragoons (As always please feel free to leave corrections to my identifications in the comments!)

These will rebased  and turned into a V&B stand that will represent the British 4th Cavalry Brigade during the Waterloo campaign
The other group purchased is this rather interesting set of of what I presume are French Dragoons, with their metal helmets painted yellow rather than a more goldy/brassy/bronzy colour.

French Dragoons! These will require a little bit more effort in their refurbishment.
The figures are smaller and thinner than the Minifigs Dragoons I acquired earlier (click here for details), and the horses seem to be a much rawer sculpt, but never the less the effect is one I find pleasing.

Another view of the figures. One can never have too many Dragoons.
I'm still processing through the last purchase of Airfix figures, but I hope to have figured out exactly how I plan to base them up in the next few weeks. The British infantry have largely all been painted with white trousers which may reduce their utility for the Waterloo campaign. One possibility is to paint their trousers grey. I'm reluctant to do this for two reasons: Firstly, the original paintwork is very nice, and secondly, it does start to defeat the purpose of buying prepainted figures.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Logistics Vehicles

I finished these back in August, and I have been meaning to post these pictures  for a while. The bulk of the models are either Airfix or Airfix reissues of ex JB Models kits.

I decided on a nice generic olive drab scheme for the vehicles, so I can use the for variety of forces. I am finding that the Airfix reissues of the JB Models kits are becoming harder to find - particularly the 105mm light gun kit.

Hiding in the back - a Corgi Land Rover

The view from above.
The idea is to create a pool of vehicles to represent various logistics elements on the tabletop. The next additions to the pool will hopefully be a few Unimog or MAN trucks - the S&S resin models will probably be what I use.

Land Rovers and trailers.

A different view of the Land Rovers.

I still have a couple of moderns logistics vehicles to assemble and paint, and a few diecast trucks to repaint in a common paint scheme, but finishing this lot has made a major contriution to my motor pool.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

More Napoleonic Purchases

Recently I have been purchasing more second hand Napoleonic figures to refurbish and use for Volley and Bayonet. These figures have been a mix of 20mm plastic with some 25mm metals as well.

A vast horde of very nicely painted Airfix and Esci figures.
 The plastic refurbishment I hope to cover in another post, but the metal figures have been quite fun. While most are true chunky size 25mm Minifigs, some are possibly either part of the older S rnage of Minifigs that were a smaller 25mm figure, or even possibly from other manufacturer like Hinchcliff (or is it Hinchliffe?)

Back to Front: Minifig French Dragoons, Some Chasseurs?, and  French Cuirassiers.
 The Dragoons required little in the way of refurbishment, just touching up some paint, basing and and then given a brown wash. The Chasseurs (please feel free to provide a better identification) required a little more work, but not much more. The Cuirassiers will need some reinforcements before I can base them up.

Bare metal: Minifig French Lancers, Red circled figures discussed in the text below, and three Minifig French Dragoons.

I've circled a number of the figures above as I hope to use them as command stands for V&B. The rest should find an eventual home in the legions of the Archduke Piccolo. The encircled figures are I believe (from left to right), A French General, a Minifigs Murat, a Grenadier Officer, and a Dragoon Officer. Please let me know if I have misidentified anything.

Minifigs Murat. I had fun with painting the tiger skin.

Chasseurs? or not Chasseurs?

Nice big chunky Dragoons!
I'm quite looking forward to using these figures on the tabletop, as they have a nice heft to them. I suspect the Dragoons will eventually become a display piece as they dwarf my 1/72 plastic Dragoons, but they do have a great deal of charm about them.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Micro Machines Jet Bikes

 I had actually thought that I had posted this already, so if I have please let me know!  The recent (as in within the last 12 months or so!) release of Micro Machine Star Wars toys prompted me to grab some to add to my various Star Wars armies. Given that I am a big fan of speeder/jet bikes in Sci-Fi settings, grabbing some more was a no brainer!

From top to bottom: Old MM Rebel speeder bike , New Rebel speeder bike, Old Imperial speeder bike, New Imperial speeder bike.
The new bikes are quite nice, and are clearly a new sculpt rather than a re-release of the older models. Does this mean that the molds for the older models have been lost or destroyed? Or could it be that it was simply cheaper to make new ones?

Left to Right: New bike, Old bike, New bike, Old bike.
My plan is either put the new bikes into separate units, as both the rider and bike are sculpted in a quite different style to the originals (at least in my eyes). Still they are quite useable and it is nice to see Micro Machines back on the shelves.

Left to Right: Old bike, New bike, Old bike, New bike.
I have picked up some of the other figures in the new range, but the pricing in New Zealand has meant that without major discounting I am unlikely to buy more as they can be nearly twice the price (even allowing for a generous rate of exchange) of what I had seen them on the shelf at Wal-Mart or Target. This makes taking a punt on the mystery blind bags a little less attractive than it could be.

The new bikes will fit on the old stands.
Another factor has been that there have been no 'army builder' style packs released. Being able to buy a number of basic troopers at once is always quite useful. My hope is that enough people do buy the range that making packs of of the various troop types from the various seven movies is viewed as being profitable by Hasbro.
The new bike is more streamlined, but the paint job on the rider seems a little unfinished.
Of course, I am not the target demographic - so it is rather unlikely that this will happen! Fortunately I have enough figures to run the odd game, and to keep myself amused!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Keeping it Semple

It has been some time since I last updated my blog...real life has been keeping me rather busy! Recently I celebrated my birthday and amongst the various nice things I was gifted, I also received this very nice 1/72 Semple Tank from my mother in law, Elaine.

The Semple Tank has been a vehicle that has intrigued me ever since I first heard of it, so I was delighted to finally have one in 20mm!

The Semple Tank with Airfix WW1 British infantryman for scale.
To those unfamiliar with the awesomeness of the Semple Tank, I suggest a quick look at the Youtube clip below:

And of course additional information can be found at this rather harsh Wiki entry here, which at the time of making this blog entry has the final result of the project summarised as "In the end, due to their impracticality, the tanks were rejected. New Zealand has yet to create another abomination of this caliber." The Military History Now article here at least mentions the positive effect that the tanks had on public morale at a time when better alternatives were sorely lacking.

The model was designed by the very talented Fitz over at Shouting into the Void (click here for his post on designing the beast), and can be purchased at his Shapeways store here.

Now I just have to paint it, and give it some CD 3 statistics. I finally have some Allied armour that will make Japanese armour look awesome by comparison!