US Armor for 75th D-Day Anniversary

I am working on creating a Normandy scenario for a What a Tanker© game that I plan to run at a monthly gaming session at both the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club and the Historical Gaming Club of Uxbridge.  With the 75th Anniversary of D-Day coming up in little more than a month, I thought that would be appropriate. 

My challenge was that I really did not have enough historically-appropriate tanks and tank destroyers for such a scenario.  I did have 9 plastic British Shermans and 2 Fireflies that I bought on eBay that were well-painted.  I also had 2 resin Shermans and 2 resin Stuarts that I got from a guy who makes his own models and sells them already painted.  The British stuff came with a bunch of infantry that I sold, so the nice plastic British armor ended up costing me net only $1.40 each!  The US tanks were OK for the tabletop, and for the price (about $5-6 as I remember), a relative bargain – but I wanted better.  I also had no Germans for that theater, so that is part 2 of the project.  For this part, I am focused on five US vehicles.  Together, I will have enough to make a joint US/UK force.

Three of the five vehicles came from Battlefront and were metal and resin and some plastic:  one M3A1 Stuart (#US003); one M4A2 Sherman (#US045); and one M10 Wolverine tank destroyer (#US102).  The other two were M24 Chaffee tanks that did not make it to D-Day, but replaced Stuarts starting in the latter part of 1944.  These two were 3D printed models from somebody on eBay – and not great detail-wise.  But, the M24 was the tank my grandfather, Marcus C. Delaney, drove in Europe during WWII, so I thought I’d work on those at the same time.  I used many of the same research books that I have cited before – and I did not take pictures as these are more recognizable to most gamers and modelers.

Above, you can see the group – below is a group shot after assembly.

1 all assembled
Ready for paint – 2 M24 Chaffee’s, an M3A1 Stuart, an M4A2 Sherman, and an M10 Wolverine – with its crew on toothpicks.
2 turrets
Turrets mounted for painting.

I mostly used my airbrush for painting – and on the M24’s I tried to minimize the 3D printer lines with paints, washes, and weathering.  I decided to try a few Vallejo weathering products that caught my eye – I made a test of them first.  Of course, these are applied with a brush!

3 weathering
I thought the brown mud was too heavy, and the industrial splash mus was too thin – so I went with the other three.
3a weathering
I really liked these three – very nice weathering products.  The white labels on the top are what I do to help identify them in my supplies.
4 turrets painted
Completed turrets.

It’s now time to share some eye candy of the completed tanks and the tank destroyer.  Of course, I am also using these 5 as the first entry for a monthly painting challenge from Australia’s own Azazel – this being “Mechanismo May ’19 Community Painting Challenge“.

5 M3A1 front
M3A1 Stuart in the bocage.
6 M3A1 side
Side shot of the Stuart in a field.
7 M3A1 rear
Rear shot of the Stuart – it’s not as shiny as this!
8 M4A2 side
My M4A2 Sherman – “Deuces Wild”.
9 M4A2 front
Nice shot coming through the bocage – I really liked the mud and grass effects.
10 M4A2 rear
Rear shot – beware lurking panzerfausts!
11 M10 in field side view
Side shot of the M10 Wolverine cutting across a field into a gap in the bocage.
12 M10 in field side view
Another side shot – this was a very fun model to build.
13 M24's front
My two M24 Chaffee’s.  They won’t be at Normandy, but they will be later in the war.  I do like that I was able to give them some better texture with the weathering products.
13 M24's rear
Rear shot of the M24’s.  
13 M24's side
M24’s in convoy.  They were mostly used as scouts, and were used (and some are still used) by many different armies worldwide.  My grandfather told me many stories about his service driving one.
14 All US painted
My 5 US tanks for this project.
15 3 Shermans
For comparison, here you see three Shermans – from left to right – my M4A2, a plastic British Sherman I bought already painted, and the resin one I bought pre-painted on eBay.  
16 2 Stuarts
Here are the two Stuarts for comparison.  Mine is on the left – and the eBay resin one is on the right.  I will treat the resin ones as M5’s, which are better in What a Tanker
17 all Allied ETO
My complete ETO Allied vehicles – there’s a couple of Fireflies in there too.  I will use all of these except the M24’s for Normandy.

Now I have 18 US/UK vehicles for Normandy – which should be plenty.  I also know that some folks are bringing some DD Shermans and a couple of Churchill’s.  I have 6 German tanks and tank destroyers for Normandy and 11 for the Eastern Front (all about 60% completed), with 3 more to assemble (plus 5 scout cars).  That should be enough for a couple of fun games.  Stay tuned as I’m hoping to complete the Germans soon.

Thanks for checking this out – below are the paints etc.  Let me know your thoughts if you would!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THESE VEHICLES:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  5. Vallejo Model Air “US Olive Drab”
  6. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  7. Battlefront “Black”
  8. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  9. Battlefront “European Flesh”
  10. Battlefront “Skin Shade”
  11. Vallejo Model Air “Bright Brass”
  12. Vallejo “Base Grey Primer”
  13. Vallejo “Neutral Grey”
  14. Army Painter “Military Shader” 
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  16. Polly S “Rust”
  17. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  18. Gorilla Glue
  19. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  20. Microscale Micro-Set
  21. Microscale Micro-Sol
  22. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  23. Microscale Satin
  24. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  25. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  26. Vallejo “European Mud” (Thick Mud)
  27. Vallejo “European Slash Mud” (Splash Mud)
  28. Vallejo “Crushed Grass”
  29. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  30. Aleene’s poster tack

 

 

 

 

Evil Nazi Scientists (and Nazi Zombies) battle Allied Commandos at Mass Pikemen Club

We had a very fun game of Pulp Alley last Saturday at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club’s April session.  Scott Howland did a smashing job at running his scenario.  It involved four WWII (well, sort of) allies trying to seize key control points from evil Nazi Scientists and their reanimated zombie troops.

I played on the Allied side along with Jared (running a squad of Russians) and his son Jack (running an eagle-eyed group of Americans – replete with an eagle-headed leader).  My squad was a retro-sci-fi group of heavily armed dudes with jet-packs (those of you who have seen my sci-fi games know I love troops with jet-packs!).

We entered the game on four corners – and needed to seize various control points by turn 6.  Anything we did not seize would default to the evil side – which in this case was Scott’s son Ethan (controlling the mad scientists in the building) and Mike (controlling the reanimated Germans).  The control points were multiple: gaining possession of two alien bodies in a lab; gaining possession of three crates by the UFO; seizing some electronic gear in one of the labs; and accessing and downloading information from a couple of computers in the lab.

Only Ethan had played before, and the game went smoothly.  There were cards that you could play to affect action, and you could play them for your allies which was nice.

1 Pulp Alley
Scott, young Jack, and Mike prepare for the game.  
2 Pulp Alley
A view of the courtyard and the adjacent building.  The three crates were objectives, as was the electronic equipment on the right.
3 my crew at Pulp Alley
My crew – the 27th Rocket Patrol.
3a my crew at Pulp Alley
My data chart for the game for my crew.
4 zombie Nazis at Pulp Alley
Reanimated Nazi Zombies
5 zombie Nazi Scientists at Pulp Alley
Evil Nazi scientists and henchmen
6 Eagle eyed troops at Pulp Alley
Jack’s Eagle-eyed squad,  aptly named.
7 Alien bodies at Pulp Alley
Another of the objective points – alien bodies on slabs.
8 electro room
A better view of the electronics – that were dangerous to approach.
9 moving towards the Nazi Zombies and their objectives
I jet-packed my squad in behind the trucks.
9a moving towards the Nazi Zombies and their objectives
I then dispatched two zombies – and one of my guys was hit but recovered.  Things started off very well for me.
9b moving towards the Nazi Zombies and their objectives
However, Mike was able to counterattack and kill one of my squad and delay my getting to the objective crates.  By the time that I did get there, it was turn 6, and I failed two rolls with two troopers needed to pick up two crates, leaving them in the hands of the German zombies.
10 Russians brawl
On the other side of the game, Jared’s Russians brawled with a couple of zombies before getting into the lab.
11 Scott GM's the fight in the lab
Scott adjudicating combat with Jack’s troops in the building, while Jared and Ethan ponder their next moves.
12 computers fight back
Jack got a couple of his troopers into one of the rooms with a computer terminal.  They tried to download data, but the computer was booby-trapped, and they failed their saving rolls.
13 Mike and Ethan are relievd that the tide of battle has turned
Ethan and Mike on the right are feeling close to victory after a very bad start.
14 young Jack gets the alien body
The only victory point for the Allies came from Jack – who seized one of the alien bodies.  Our poor saving throws at the other objectives doomed the Allies.

All in all it was a fun quick game.  The final was 6-3 for the Evil Nazi Scientists.  I liked the figures and the set up a lot – very cool and thanks to Scott for running such a cool game.

Our next sessions are on May 11th and June 29th – likely some What a Tanker and some Retro-Sci-fi Combat Patrol!

My HAVOC 2019 Recap

Battle Group Boston’s HAVOC 2019 (or HAVOC XXXV) is in the books.  This previous weekend in Shrewsbury, MA was a Friday-Sunday gaming marathon that saw me run two games (What a Tanker” in North Africa and “Attack of the Warbots” using Combat Patrol™).  I also played in three other games: a First Boer War scenario using Combat Patrol™; “Look Sarge we are Invading Russia” using Look Sarge, No Charts™and another “What a Tanker” game on Sunday.  I have not been blogging much recently as my prep for the event took a lot of time.  So, this post will share some shots of the events, with more focus on the games that either I ran as a GM or participated in as a player. 

Of note, it was very nice to have my West Point classmate and good friend Dave Wood from the Maryland HAWKS make it up to play in my games and run two of his own.   It was also great to see attendance and gaming from the Mass Pikemen, especially Mike Morgan, Leif Magnuson, Chris Comeau, and others.

On Friday, I ran “What a Tanker – North Africa” and had a full table.  I was able to roll out my new Bonus Attack cards that I created for the convention.  They were very popular in the game and I will be expanding my use of them in the future based on the scenarios I run and the historical aspects of the specific theaters and scenarios/battles.  I will adjust their use, and how I allow tank replacements going forward.  Still, the game went very well, and I earned an award for the “Best in Time Slot”!  The Axis battled back from early losses and defeated the British 104-58.

04062019 HAVOC What a Tanker North Africa Photo
My game announcement poster
Bonus Attack Cards
My “Bonus Attack” cards for the game.  They worked well, especially the Combat Engineers.
Overview
I mapped out the game board in my cellar beforehand.  I got a new 8′ x 4′ badlands/desert mat that worked very well for the scenario from Frontline Gaming.
Buildings with roads
Detail of the town I put in the middle of the battlefield
1 WaT starts
Friday night’s full crowd at What a Tanker – North Africa using 15mm tanks.
2 M11 39 burns after airstrike
The first use of one of my Bonus Attack cards – in this case an airstrike card on a hapless M11/39.
3 Panzer III rams A13
What a Tanker  – or in this case “What a Rammer” as a Panzer IIIE runs into an A13.  The Panzer IIIE got the worst of it from the Brit, but the A13 was subsequently knocked out by an Italian M13/40.
4 players
The game had a lot of action, but in the end the Axis prevailed.
5 Award
I was happy to earn this award, but the players’ enthusiasm carried the day.

Saturday, I played in two games, and ran a third.  The first one Saturday morning was “First Battle of the First Boer War” using the Combat Patrol™ rules system as modified for this era.  It was a fun game, with the Boers holding off the British as they attempted to seize a wagon.  In the end, the Boers prevailed.

1 Dave Wood first Boer War
Dave Wood briefs the players on the Boer War scenario.
2 Brits attack First Boer War
Boers are outnumbered, but hold the wall – each glass bead represents a morale check.  They held for a long time.

There were many other games – over 56 I believe, and I did not get a chance to take a picture of all of them, but here are some shots below.

3 ACW
A beautiful American Civil War board.
4 Palestine
Palestine in WWI.  Definitely a game I would have loved to try.
5 Wings of Glory
Wings of Glory.
6 Bolt Action
Bolt Action.
7 Trilaterum
A new sci-fi game, Trilaterum, had some beautiful scenery.
8 Test of Honour with OGRE in background
Test of Honor – and note a 1970’s classic return in the back – OGRE – a near future tank game.  I played that game with cardboard chits in the early 1980’s.

The next game went up in operational level and down in miniature scale.  Dave Wood ran “Look Sarge, We are invading Russia”, using the Look Sarge No Charts set of rules and 6 mm microarmor.  The Germans held off the Russian counterattack, and won the game.  Both of Dave’s games were very well-received.

9 Dave Wood's Look Sarge we are invading Russia
The Germans move down the road.

Skipping to Sunday, Leif Magnuson ran a nice What a Tanker game using 28mm tanks in an Eastern Front battle.  It was a lot of fun, and the Soviets eked out a win.  Leif also won an award for “Best in Time Slot” – well-deserved.  This meant that our club (The Mass Pikemen) won two awards – and both were “What a Tanker” games!

10 28mm WaT

“Ivan is a Tanker” run by Leif Magnuson.

Flashing back to Saturday night – I ran an updated “Attack of the Warbots” game.  The game was a success, as the players had a great time.

04062019 HAVOC Attack of the Warbots Photo
My game poster
04062016 Warbots setup pic
The game set up plan.
1 Attack begins
The tabletop is set – and the attack begins.
2 Attack on wall
The Warbots got slowed by the Aphids defense, but managed to advance a Mark 1 Sphere tank to the wall.
3 Space Roos try to spoil
On the other side of the board, Leif Magnuson’s Martians and Robot Peacekeepers press their attack against Chris Comeau’s Space Roos.
4 Space Roos try to spoil
Chris jet-packed his Space Roos into the heart of the Martian attack.  
5 SFC Mallard disables tank
The Star Ducks disabled a second Mark 1 Sphere tank with a satchel charge, immobilizing it and taking it out of the fight – a critical loss.
6 sprint to the finish
Biological forces desperately converge on the Mark 1 Sphere tank as it breaks through and approaches the captured tank and its Space Dwarf repair crew.
7 Robot Peacekeeper Banzai Charge
Meanwhile, the Robot Peacekeepers pulled a “Banzai” charge morale check and swarm the defending Space Roos on the other side of the table.

At this point in the battle, Duck Wader made a power leap with his Sith powers, and drove his light saber into the Warbot tank, resulting in its disabling just two inches from victory. 

Nearby, Roberker, a giant robot (with flame-throwing arms) was the Warbots’ last chance.  The Frinx shot Roberker a bit, and its resulting morale check caused a miracle result – apparently the robot lost face, ran away in shame, and blew himself up!

8 Suicide of Roberker
The suicide of Roberker.  I replace these “ancient” miniatures on the battlefield when they become casualties with homemade cards.
8a Suicide of Roberker
The card that did in Roberker.  Note the morale result at the bottom – I have the Warbots use the South Pacific deck from Combat Patrol deck which have different (WWII Japanese) morale results.

The death of Roberker was followed by raucous laughter from the table – even from the player who had it happen to his Roberker.

I was tired after the weekend, but it was a great time.  I want to thank all the players, as well as the GM’s, and especially Battle Group Boston for another fun convention!  

 

 

 

Looking Forward to HAVOC!

I have been very busy – too busy to effectively write blog entries lately.  I have been working on terrain and game support for the two games I will be running at HAVOC on April 5th and 6th.  Each will support 10 players – and its my goal that all have a blast!  So, in the interim, please enjoy these two announcements – hopefully I get some other stuff painted and blog-worthy for you dear readers!  The link for the convention is here.

I am looking forward to seeing a number of friends – including my old USMA classmate (and HAWKS member) Dave Wood who is also running a couple of games – so that’s exciting too.

I’ll be running these two games!  

04062019 HAVOC What a Tanker North Africa Photo

I updated this game with my Space Roos and have new terrain!

04062019 HAVOC Attack of the Warbots Photo

 

M11/39 Italian Tanks (and some US Steel for the 8th Army – a Grant and a Sherman), plus an Aussie! For What a Tanker

I have been heavily engaged hobby-wise since December at building out both 8th Army and Panzer Army Africa tank forces.  This blog post describes my last few tanks (well, for now) for What a Tanker© in WWII North Africa.  As I plan on running this scenario at HAVOC in April, my goal was to create a diverse-enough tank list so that the players could have a very fun game that also would reflect the wide diversity of tanks and tank destroyers used by both sides from 1940-1943.  I analyzed my respective armies’ 15mm/1:100 scale tank rosters, and concluded a couple things.  First, my Italians lacked some rivet-laden death traps, also known as Fiat Ansaldo M11/39’s. Second, my British could use another M3 Grant and an M4 Sherman to deal with the German’s Tiger I.  Upon further research, I learned that the Australians captured several of the M11/39’s – so that inspired me to build one for the 8th Army as well.  Therefore, I built 3 M11/39’s, one Grant, and one Sherman.

This overall North Africa project has been documented in this blog in five previous posts, (which you can read about here, here, here, here, and here) and I plan on a summary post as well in the near future.  There I will detail more about the game scenario and how I run it.  These 5 tanks brings me to a total of 46 tanks since December for this scenario.  

M11/39’s

The M11/39 designation meant that it was an 11-ton tank, built in 1939.  100 were built by Fiat.  It had a 37 mm hull-mounted gun and a turret with double 8 mm machine guns.  It did not do well in combat, due to its inferior design, especially the turret having no anti-tank capability.  For What a Tanker© games, this means that the tank’s turret is meaningless – it is like having a tank destroyer without the benefits of a tank destroyer.

I decided to try a different source for the tank models, and found that I could get three from Old Glory for $25, which seemed reasonable.  I also bought a few other vehicles for other scenarios.  I was surprised to see that they were completely made of metal – even with a lead warning on the package!  As a metal aficionado, I was pleased.

I did have however a concern with the quality of the castings.  They all had significantly problematic mold lines on the machine gun turret, and the details on the hull were much less clear than Battlefront models.  Still, the price reflected that, so it was up to me to make it work.  Which I did. 

Two of these would be for the Italians, and one would be an Australian-captured M11/39 tank.  While technically not a squad, they certainly could have started out that way in the Italian Army!  For that reason – and because my good friend Azazel runs a fun painting challenge each month (and is an Aussie) – these three will constitute a submission from me for March’s “Squad March” painting challenge.

3 turret mold line
The turrets needed a good amount of surgery and filing.
4 M11 39 assembled and filed
After assembly and a lot of filing.  I glued the machine gun turrets as it made no sense to have them be movable for What a Tanker games..
5 all three M11 39 assembled and filed
The three M11/39’s assembled.

For priming, I went with a brush, as these seemed to be very smooth castings.  I worried that it would be difficult to get the paint to “bite”.  They also were hollow at the bottom, so I needed to devise a way to mount them for painting.  I ended up using a small square dowel and poster tack on small plates.

I did not take as many pictures during the process as I wanted to get these done for a game this weekend, but unfortunately some snow took care of that, and they will get a chance next weekend.  I list all the paints I used at the end of the blog for those interested. 

8 M11 with poster tack
Poster tack on the M11/39’s as they are prepped for camouflage paint.  I use gauze on the spray booth filter to extend the life of my spray booth filters.
9 M11 with poster tack close up
Close up of the poster tack before painting.
10 M11s after camo
This is not a fine Italian meal by any stretch!
11 after pulling poster tack off
After the poster tack was gently removed, I got this result.

Then I used washes, pigments, decals, and other paints to finish them all up.  There will be an eye-candy section following the sections on the tanks.

12 M11's with book
My Italian M11/39’s with the model I used.  I ended up with more green, but I still liked the results.  In any case, I always want my tanks dusty and dirty.
13 Aussie M11
And here is the M11/39 the Aussie’s captured that will join the 8th Army forces.
14 Aussie M11
A nice comparison with a photo of the actual Aussie M11/39’s used.  I love the ‘roos.

I read that the Aussies used these until they ran out of diesel (their tanks had gasoline engines so diesel was rare).  Then they blew them up.  I believe that there are no surviving examples of the M11/39 in the world.

M3 Grant

I already had one M3 Grant painted, but with the Germans having a Panzer IVF2 and a Tiger I in the DAK inventory, I wanted to augment the 8th Army’s later war desert forces with another Grant and a Sherman.

3 Grant painted and washed
Awaiting decals, pigments, and varnish.
4 Grant with book
The completed model with the one I used as a guide.  There was no way I was going to be able to pull off the white and black outlines here on such a small model.   I do like how it came out – again dirty and dusty.

M4 Sherman

The major difference in painting here from the M3 Grant was the camouflage pattern I used.

3 Sherman painted and washed
M4 Sherman awaiting decals, pigments, and varnish.
4 Sherman with model in book
The completed model with the guide in my research material.
5 Grant and Sherman with model in book
Here are the two with images I printed out from Battlefront’s web page.

Please let me know any feedback in the comments section, I do appreciate your thoughts.  Now it’s time for…

Eye Candy

0 all M11's
Here are the three M11/39’s, with the Aussie on the far right.
1 M11 left front
Right front view of one of the Italian M11/39’s.  The main gun is the antitank weapon, and can only be moved with the tank itself as the turret had only machine-guns.
2 m11 left side
Left side view of the M11/39.
3 Italian M11's on road
The two Italian M11/39’s hit the road.
4 backs of Italian M11 39
Rear view of the two Italian M11/39’s.
5 Australian M11 39
The Australian M11/39 with ‘Roo markings so as not to attract friendly fire.
6 Australian M11 39 left side
Gotta say I love the ‘Roo.
7 Australian M11 39 right side
Other side.
8 Australian M11 39 drives by Panzer IV wreck
Aussie M11/39 driving by a wrecked Panzer IVD.
9 M3 Grant front right
M3 Grant with Desert Rat markings.
10 M3 Grant front left
Nice left side view of the M3 Grant.
10 M3 Grant front
Coming at ya!
11 M3 Grant rear angle
Rear view.
12 Sherman left side
The M4 all dusted up.  I also gave the M4 Desert Rat markings.
12 Sherman right front
M4 Sherman moving out.
13 Sherman driving by wreck
I don’t want to end up like Heinz!
14 Sherman rear angle
Rear view of the M4 Sherman.  I had to pin the bustle rack, and at certain angles it looks off, but at a distance its unnoticeable.
15 all 8th Army this project
The 8th Army additions all assembled.
16 all together at the wreck
All the tanks that were completed for this post.

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THE M11/39’s:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Vallejo “Dark Sand”
  5. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  6. Battlefront “Army Green”
  7. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  8. Battlefront “Monty Shade” (shade)
  9. Army Painter Quickshade “Soft Tone” (wash)
  10. Army Painter Quickshade “Strong Tone” (wash) – on Australian version only
  11. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  12. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  13. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  14. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  15. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  16. Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  17. Vallejo “Desert Dust” (pigment)
  18. Vallejo “Natural Umber” (pigment)
  19. Gorilla Glue
  20. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  21. Microscale Micro-Set
  22. Microscale Micro-Sol
  23. Microscale Satin
  24. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  25. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  26. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  27. Aleene’s poster tack
  28. Sponges

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THE M3 GRANT AND M4 SHERMAN:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Vallejo “Dark Sand”
  5. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown” (M3 Grant only)
  6. Battlefront “Tommy Green (M4 Sherman only)
  7. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  8. Battlefront “Monty Shade” (shade)
  9. Army Painter Quickshade “Light Tone” (wash)
  10. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  11. Vallejo Mecha Color “Dark Rust Wash” (wash)
  12. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  13. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  14. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  15. Secret Weapons Washes “Armor Wash” (M4 Sherman only)
  16. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  17. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  18. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  19. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  20. Vallejo “Desert Dust” (pigment)
  21. Gorilla Glue
  22. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  23. Microscale Micro-Set
  24. Microscale Micro-Sol
  25. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  26. Microscale Satin
  27. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  28. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  29. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  30. Aleene’s poster tack
  31. Sponges

Thanks for looking and for sharing your feedback!

ON MY RESEARCH MATERIALS

As for research materials, I used the same ones as I cited in previous posts plus Google searches and Battlefront’s website.  Here the books are in case you are interested – you can find them on Amazon and I highly recommend them all:

  • Jean Restayn:WWII Tank Encyclopaedia, 1939-45
  • Smithsonian/DK: Tank: The Definitive Visual History of Armored Vehicles
  • Michael Green:Axis Armoured Fighting Vehicles of the Second World War (Images of War)
  • Robert Jackson:Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles Visual Encyclopedia

I would again easily recommend all of these books as really good resources for gamers and modelers.  Thanks for looking and for sharing your feedback in the comments section.

Now I might go back to retro sci-fi for a bit!  Still have many more tanks to do, but those will be for other scenarios.

Do you have a favorite tank of the ones here?  Why?  Let me know!

 

Terrain for What a Tanker: Making a Panzer IVD Wreck and Blast Markers

I have been trying to amass and put together more desert terrain and terrain markers for running What a Tanker© games set in North Africa in WWII.  A few months back I received a defective Panzer IVD model from Battlefront Miniatures –  in that it came with two left tracks.  Battlefront did a nice job in rectifying that situation and sent me a brand new model.  I finished that as a DAK Panzer IVD and wrote about it here.  But, I still had most of a Panzer IVD model that I could use for something.  I decided to make it into a wreck  – that would also be a nice addition as a terrain feature.  As I will be running a WaT game at HAVOC in April, so I decided to knock out four more smoke/blast markers to support that as well.  Both of these projects will be covered in this post.

These projects are my February submissions for Azazel’s February Community Painting Challenge, which he supplemented to include terrain.  This week I also started a new job!  So, I wanted to wrap up these projects this weekend.

Panzer IVD Wreck

I decided to base the wreck on an old CD that was surfaced with play sand and Elmer’s (PVA) glue.  To cover the hole, I affixed some leftover polystyrene bits.  Then, I used sandpaper to lightly scratch the CD, then applied the glue, then the sand, and let it harden overnight.  I removed the front and rear sprockets from one of the tracks and cut away some road wheels, so as to be able to flip them on the CD and make them available for the right side of the wreck in the correct locations as debris.  I carefully cut away the road wheels and part of the track and some fender, and washed everything to prep for painting.

After all the pieces had dried, I then I assembled the model to look “messed up”.  I put the gun and mantlet on slightly crooked.  The turret and bustle rack were put on a bit akimbo as well.

I took a 1/8″ drill bit and drilled a hole into the hull between the missing road wheels to simulate the impact of a hard shot into the weaker flank of the tank.  In my portrayal, that shot hit ammunition, causing an explosion.  I scattered the resultant debris on one side of the tank to simulate that, affixing everything with E6000 epoxy.  I then mounted the CD onto a disposable plastic plate using poster tack for ease of painting.  I applied a coat of Citadel “Imperium Primer” as the E6000 was a bit rubbery and smooth – and I was worried that it would not hold paint well.  To double up on priming, I then airbrushed on another primer coat – Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”.

4 Wrecked primed
My initial basing and priming 

My next thought was to do a bit of the original Panzer IVD paint on the wreck before I changed it into a wreck, as perhaps some of it would survive (I don’t think much eventually did, but I thought, better safe than sorry).  This consisted of the same basic pattern I followed on my previous German tanks.

5 base coat (first)
First some grey…
6 base coat (second)
…and then some more DAK colors.

My concept at this point was to portray the Panzer IVD as having been hit, having caught fire, then after being abandoned, rusting away.  The fire would have destroyed all or most of the original paint on the hull.  Any metal debris would have rusted afterwards in my opinion, so I decided that decals would be a waste here.

7 early rust
Here, I worked on rusting things up with several different rusting products (all listed at the end of the post).

The sand and PVA glue texture was insufficiently granular for the base, so I used Citadel “Armageddon Dunes” to roughen up the landscape.  It also allowed me to make the doomed German tank’s last tracks in the desert at the rear of the vehicle.  I darkened them up with Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”.

8 after Armageddon Dunes on base
After using the Armageddon Dunes texture paint to gain a better surface on the base.

Then I went into using various Vallejo weathering pigments to create soot, smoke, and dust on and around the model.  I especially like the soot!

9 pigments and weathering and rust, impact side
Impact side, after weathering but before varnishing.
10 pigments and weathering and rust, left side
Opposite side of the tank before varnishing.
10 pigments and weathering and rust, top side
Top of the tank before varnishing.

For varnishing, I used two coats.  First, I applied a Vallejo “Satin” varnish with my airbrush.  After that had dried, I applied a light coat of Vallejo Mecha Color “Matt Varnish”.   I did not want to overly dull the tank, but I definitely did not want it too glossy.

12 after varnish, front
After first coat of varnish.

I am reasonably happy with the final results.  Here are some eye-candy shots on my desert game mat – you be the judge!

13 on mat complete, impact side
Completed Panzer IVD wreck model, impact side.
14 on mat complete, rear side
Completed Panzer IVD wreck model, rear side, showing the track marks in the sand before its final moments.
15 on mat complete, left side
Completed Panzer IVD wreck model, left side.
16 on mat complete, impact side
One of my favorite views.
17 that could have been us
An intact Panzer IVD crew drives by the wreck, thinking it could have been them!
18 that could have been us
Let’s be careful Heinz!  We don’t want to end up crispy like that one!
19 holding it
A little different angle – plus my hands for scale.
20 holding it top
Nice view of the top – some of the original paint can be seen here I think.

Smoke/Blast Markers

The next project was making some more (and better) to put on the tabletop when tanks meet their demise – or for any explosions in general.   I took tea lights, and hot glued thin strips of pillow batting to them in a “closed lily” type of shape.

1 unpainted smoke markers
After building the markers, but before painting them.
2 unpainted smoke markers lit up in dark
Lit up with the lights down.

I then painted them black and grey, trying to make them less dark thank my previous attempts.

3 painted smoke markers
Completed and lit in the light.
4 painted smoke markers lit up in dark
Look much better in less light!

Thanks for looking at these – and I hope that perhaps these give you some ideas.  In any case, I hope you enjoyed seeing them and my processes.  Please share any feedback you have in the comments section!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THE PANZER IVD WRECK:

  1. Play sand
  2. Used CD
  3. Elmer’s Glue
  4. Battlefront model #GE040
  5. E6000 epoxy
  6. Gorilla Glue
  7. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  8. Citadel “Imperium Primer”
  9. Polystyrene bits
  10. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  11. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  12. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Light”
  16. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Hull Red”
  18. Vallejo Model Air “First Light”
  19. Vallejo Model Air “Brown”
  20. Citadel “Armageddon Dunes” (Texture)
  21. Battlefront “Monty Shade” (shade)
  22. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  23. Vallejo Mecha Color “Dark Rust Wash” (wash)
  24. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  25. Vallejo “Dark Sand”
  26. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  27. Vallejo “Titanium White” (pigment)
  28. Vallejo “Carbon Black” (pigment)
  29. Vallejo “Pigment Binder”
  30. Citadel “Typhus Corrosion”
  31. Citadel “Ryza Rust”
  32. Vallejo “Desert Dust” (pigment)
  33. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  34. Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  35. Vallejo Model Air “Satin Varnish”
  36. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  37. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THE SMOKE/BLAST MARKERS:

  1. Tea lights (battery operated)
  2. Pillow batting material
  3. Hot glue from glue gun
  4. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  5. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  6. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  7. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”

GASLANDS Game at Mass Pikemen

Last Saturday Jared Burns ran a very fun game of GASLANDS at the February meeting of the Mass Pikemen gaming club. For those of you not familiar with the game, it involves an apocalyptic race/gladiatorial battle using Matchbox cars. The cars are armed with different weapons such as rams, machine guns, and armor, and in the scenario they were racing through three gates with the first car to finish all three as the winning car.

Each of us had two cars. Jared brought his car collection which he had very effectively weathered. Also, Scott Howland brought his cool GASLANDS cars, so we had a nice selection. Jared had also made some very nice dashboards which made play much easier.

1 gaslands feb
The game set up – it was nice as several of us were able to contribute terrain to make a fun tabletop.
2 gaslands feb
Scott Howland made a couple of very cool billboards that were very fun – including this Johnny Cab one from “Total Recall” and…
3 gaslands feb
…this one showing spaceship service to Mars.
4 gaslands feb
These are the two cars that I had in the game. The cab (from Scott) had a ram and a machine gun. The rusty car (from Jared) had a machine gun and a limited ammo mortar.

We all started at gate one, with no firing weapons to be active until we crossed the first gate. Several cars, including my cab, never made it through that first gate. My rusty car did, and turned back to attack Jared’s similarly-armed orange car. I rolled well, and Jared did not, with the result being I destroyed his car. Unfortunately, his ammo sympathetically detonated and both of my cars took damage from that blast.

5 gaslands feb

The first kill – but the ensuing explosion damaged both of my cars.

At the same time, Mike Morgan had been sidelined due to a starting box collision that left one of his cars just getting going. His other car was speeding dangerously towards the stadium wall (the edge of the tabletop), so he was not being engaged. Scott and Jared were both heading to the second gate and taking shots at each other along the way. Scott’s other car was in front of my rusty one, so I shot at it, and the dice were with me again. Boom.

At the top of this shot you see Scott’s (silver car) and Jared’s (blue car) doing a NASCAR run while heading towards the second gate. Mike’s cars are on the far right and far left trying to get back into the fight.
7 gaslands feb
Jared, Mike and Scott ponder their next moves.

Unfortunately, the act of shooting Scott’s car also caused an explosion that wrecked my rusty car, leaving me with only the cab.

8 gaslands feb
My rusty car, a victim of its own murderous aggressiveness!

This left Mike with two cars, and Jared, Scott and I with one, and mine could only ram. I saw them headed for gate two, so I headed there.

9 gaslands feb
My cab goes at the two survivors.

I did damage to Scott’s silver car, causing it to flip and hit the post, and explode. Both my cab and Jared’s blue car were caught in the explosion. This action took all three out of the game, leaving Mike with the only remaining cars and victory!

10 gaslands feb
The mashup that took out three cars.

The game ended and I think we all had a blast (pun unintentional) even though I inadvertently succeeded in destroying my own cars. Thanks to Jared for running a great game.

Our next session is on March 2nd at 2 PM during which we will be playing What a Tanker in North Africa!