Sunday, July 14, 2019

Phase 1 German force completed.

Here is the completed Bolt Action German force in 1/72nd scale. They cost a total of £30 buying individual sprues from eBay, and that includes postage to Spain! They consist of 3 infantry squads, mortar team, medium machine gun team, panzershreck team, command team, a late model StuG III and a half track for reconnaissance or infantry support.

This is my first experience of plastic 1/72nd scale figures for probably at least two decades, so what's my verdict? Well firstly of course they represent great value, enabling one to get into different periods on a budget. The figures are slightly 'soft' on detail in my opinion, these are all by Plastic Model Soldier Company. Having said that I have seen some amazing examples in this scale by HaT industrie with detail to match even the best 28mm plastic figures. For this project though I will happily stick with PMSC and the next army will be on order this week, still trying to decide if it's to be British or American although I can see a lot of future mileage in this project, I have long wanted to build an early French army for example.

The figures have been quickly painted, undercoated with Vallejo Black -Grey and then picked out. I ran out of German Field Grey so went with a simple London Grey highlight for the time being, at typical gaming distance they look OK. Future Germans will include camouflage smocks to mix things up a bit. I tried a couple of head swaps to add caps and the bareheaded commander with blonde hair to make him stand out, very easy to do.

I tweaked the basing a bit more, using flat brown highlighted with beige brown and military Green highlighted with deep yellow. I took time building up the filler/PVA mix to get a bit of texture.

So, German force for Bolt Action, not pointed them up yet but a good selection of infantry with plenty of firepower including light machine guns within each squad and a tripod mounted MMG for that pinning fire, supported by a StuG in classic role and a half track.

Pictures appear a little on the light side here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Basing method and terrain plans.

I decided to try and establish a basing method for this project. I wanted to do something other than stone/static grass and slightly more old school using textured filler and paint, and after a bit of experimentation I think I'm about there. The result are bases that actually feel quite hefty when you pick them up. To record the shades used for future reference:

1.Basic filler mix used for my Peninsular Napoleonics, too light for WW2. Build up second coat for texture.
2.Military green for grass, deep yellow for highlights
3. Beige brown for 'earth' .

As mentioned previously the plan is to produce modular terrain boards to create a 3' x 4' size playing area, featuring roads, rivers, hills, fields, villages etc all fully textured and coloured by hand, the small size making this a realistic ambition and something I have long wanted to do again. Those basic textures/shades will be used throughout. I'm keen to avoid the bocage region as those hedgerows simply bogged every game right down - as indeed they did in reality!  Open ground with pockets of cover, hard and soft are what I plan with features breaking up line of sight. There will be no 'up and down the stairs' within buildings, when a squad occupies a building it's as simple as that, unit is in hard cover, worked for me before, and I really can't be doing with 'What window are they firing from'  type decisions, this will be Bolt Action at it's most basic and for me most enjoyable form.

So here are a few shots of the situation so far, two more squads and the StuG to go then I'll do a matching British force to begin with. I'm going with Brits as I have done Americans to death for BA and Flames of War and want to keep things fresh where I can, I also have the British BA book for all the stats I need etc. I have never built a Churchill, love to make one, but might need to research which tank would be most likely in the infantry support role to begin with (anyone know?). The main thing is that I'm really enjoying this and that's what I was looking for in this project.

8 man infantry squad including LMG and sergeant with SMG.

Half track is a nice little model, decals required.

StuG goodness awaiting assembly!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Progress pictures.

The first German squad is painted, plus command team and medic. Tripod mounted MG42 base, mortar base and anti tank base done. I'm now working on the command half track, not 100% happy yet with the cammo pattern as it's been quite a while since I painted one but it's coming along. I'll be painting the 4 seated crew the two standing machine gunners and the stowage etc while still on the sprues.

Bases: I'm still not sure on these yet, currently the individual figures are mounted on Spanish 2 cent coins as they are quite hefty and about the right size. I'm inclined to keep the support bases as they are rather than round bases, I think I'll texture them up and see how things look.

The micro dice is an experiment. As I like to keep battlefield clutter to a minimum I'm going to try painting a batch of these 6mm dice grey and green and re-dot them white. Clearly the huge Warlord BA order dice are way too big for this scale so a simple 1 to 6 chart representing the available orders is the way to go I think. I'm also thinking how best to represent 'pins' along the same lines or a more visual approach.

3 infantry squads, command teams, heavy weapons teams, half track and StuG all for £30..... now that's what I call a bargain and very much in line with the concept of this project. Everything so far by Plastic Soldier Company.

Friday, June 14, 2019

First Germans underway.

These are the Late War German Infantry from Plastic Soldier Company, and whilst they obviously lack the animation of the 28mm Warlord figures I'm very happy with them. As mentioned below I'm aiming to build 3 x 8 figure squads with command and weapons support teams. These got a fast drybrush paint job with more care taken on the flesh areas. I'm not yet decided how to base these as I'm drawn to square wooden bases rather than circular washers, I'll keep painting while I think about that. I do like the weapons teams on their multi bases and keeping track of casualties would just require the use of a 6mm micro dice on the base.

Once the Germans are finished I will move onto British at least to begin with. I'll probably add more contrast in the next batch of German uniforms and then mix them up at the end. The half track is now partially assembled for undercoating to allow access to the inner parts/drivers etc before final assembly.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

So why 1/72nd scale?

Apart from my introduction to wargaming 40 odd years ago with the Airfix Napoleonics I have somehow manged to resist 1/72nd scale figures, although I have painted many of them for others. I wanted to start again in WW2, but this time something a little bigger than 15mm which I had used for Flames of War, but smaller (and cheaper) than the Warlord Games 28mm. As my main focus is 40mm Napoleonics which is an expensive scale to collect, I needed to be more budget conscious for this one and when I saw the Plastic Soldier Company sprues on eBay it became clear that 1/72nd was the way to go.

The sprues have duly arrived and my first impressions are that it is the prefect scale for what I have in mind. The figures are large enough to be based individually and the vehicles are small enough to look right on a smaller table, but carry plenty of detail. I must say that the German half track sprue looks exactly like a scaled down version of the Warlord sprue, even the sitting figures look the same and in the same poses, could this be the case? I'm really not sure but it would make some commercial sense.

I have sufficient here to make the following 'starter' Mid War German force comprising the following:

Command: officer and 1 sergeant, medic, radio operator and observer.
Infantry squads:  3 x 8 figure squads each comprising sergeant with SMG, 5 riflemen, MG42 LMG and ammunition carrier/loader.
Support weapons: MMG (tripod mounted MG42) and crew, mortar and crew, anti tank team.
Half track with MG42's - just one to begin with, used to support the infantry.
Armour: StuG III

This will create a nice compact force with plenty of offensive firepower to begin with. I am currently in two minds whether to build a US or British force to face them, but I'm leaning toward the latter as it would be something fresh for me.

A word about the planned terrain before I get down to some painting. Again I have in mind budget, it being much more affordable for me to use 15mm buildings etc for 1/72nd figures, which will work just fine, I won't be looking for anything too extravagant and will take my time to look around and see what's out there as I go.

Time to get some some figures cut from the sprues and onto the painting desk.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Welcome to my new blog.

This is a new blog that will feature my return to wargaming the Normandy campaign, but this time in 1/72nd scale. I'm starting again from scratch, having sold off a my large 28mm Bolt Action collection a couple of years ago. I think that 1/72nd scale will be prefect for the small games I hope to play. In addition to Bolt Action I also intend to try Chain of Command (Lardy rule set), having seen so many excellent reports on other blogs. My aim here to produce armies that can be used on a small table of 4' x 3' to begin with, with flexible terrain that can be used many different scenarios.

On order to get me underway I have some Plastic Soldier Company sprues, German infantry (x2), heavy weapons ( MMG, mortar, anti tank etc), half track and StuG. Hopefully they will arrive this week so I can get started on them.

This is a side project to my main 40mm Napoleonic Peninsular collection, but will allow me to ring the changes when I fancy a break from painting the big figures.