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!

Italian Armor for North Africa

I have been really enjoying building armored forces for the tabletop war game What a Tanker©.  This, my latest group, rounds out my Panzer Army Africa forces with Royal Italian Army armor from 1940-1943.  This post will show these tanks and tank destroyers, as well as a German Panzer IVD that was left off from my last group that I previously detailed here.  These are all 15mm (1:100) tanks, which are very small (1-3″). 

My ultimate goal is to have an excellent game that I can run at conventions or club meetings.  I now have that, but will probably add some Marder III’s, M3 Grants/Lees, and M4 Shermans to be complete.  

I will share here both the Italian vehicles and the Panzer IVD – and some of their in progress photos.  Then, you will get a chance to view some eye candy shots!  Because I have been very busy seeking new employment (and it looks good on that front!), I was able to finish the tanks and run a couple of play tests before I could finish this post.  So there will be a few shots of the play tests I have been running with these tanks.  I also share the materials and research used at the end for those interested.  

Royal Italian Army Armor

The vehicles I assembled for the Italians make up about 2/3 of the list of the models in the What a Tanker© rule book.  I already had 5 Italian tanks from Wargame Models in Ohio that are very affordable (but not as nice as those from Battlefront Miniatures).  My current Italian Army consists of 12 vehicles:

M14/41 Tank

This tank is basically the M13/40 with a better engine and slightly better armor.

I used a painting scheme that attempted to match the one example in the Bovington museum.

7 M14-41 after decal
After applying decal and varnish, but before adding weathering powders.
8 M14-41 with photo of actual tank
The completed M14/41 tank model next to one in the book.

Semovente 47/32

In the WaT rules, this vehicle is interesting.  It is small (tougher to hit), low profile (tougher to acquire), fast (can move every turn), and a tank destroyer (can aim easier).  It also is, like the Panzerjager I, open-topped, so never buttoned (and more vulnerable).  Each blister had two vehicles, and I bought two at the 50% off sale!

3 Semovente 47-32 primed and base coated
The tiny tank destroyers primed and base coated.

Semovente 75-18

I had two of these, with one being a command model (carro comando), that had a range finder (called a goniometer).  I used a slightly different camouflage scheme with these and love the triangle vehicle marking decals that these got.  

6 Semovente 75-18 rear view after camo and decals
Hey, matching licence plates!
7 Semovente 75-18 with image
I used this color scheme, and went with the decals anyways.

Panzer IVD

My previous Panzer IVD did not make the last project group as it came with two left tracks.  Battlefront sent me a replacement, and I plan to use the defective one soon as a wreck project.

Italian Repainting

For my Wargame Model in Ohio tanks, I decided to give them a makeover with paint and decals so that they were less different than the newer Italian vehicles.  They are still not perfect, but I decided to stick with what I have done with them now.

2 Wargames Models of Ohio repainted
My repaint of the other Italians

I hope you liked the in progress stuff above – and now…it’s Eye Candy time!

Eye Candy

1 M14-41 front shot
Front view of M14/41.
2 M14-41 rear shot
Left rear view of M14/41
3 M14-41 side shot
Right side view of M14/41 on the road
4 Semovente 47-32 convoy
Little Semovente 47/32’s in a convoy
5 Semovente 47-32 front shot
Front left view of Semovente 47/32
6 Semovente 47-32 rear shot
Rear right view of Semovente 47/32
7 Semovente 75-18 side shot
Semovente 75/18 right side view.
8 Semovente 75-18 right side shot
Left front view of Semovente 75/85
9 Semovente 75-18 rear shot
Rear view of the Semovente 75/18 tank destroyer
10 Semovente 75-18 Carro commando rear shot
In comparison, here is the Semovente 75/18 Carro Comando version from the back
11 Semovente 75-18 Carro commando right side shot
Semovente 75/18 right side
12 Semovente 75-18 Carro commando left side shot
Semovente Carro Comando  75/18 right side.  Note the goniometer on the top in front of the crewman.
14 Semovente 75-18s
The two versions of the Semovente 75/18’s together
15 Pz IVD right side
Panzer IVD left side
16 Pz IVD left side
Panzer IVD left side
17 Pz IVD rear side
Rear view of the Panzer IVD
19 All Italian AFV's
Italian Group shot!

Lastly, I am thankful to Chris Rett, Ryan MacRae, Frank Ramsay, and Mike Morgan for helping me to start to play test the scenario and rules tweaks that I will use to make this work at HAVOC in April for up to 10-12 players.  Here’s a few shots!

1 Great Stories
At Great Stories in Uxbridge, MA – Chris, Ryan, and Frank have fun.  The Brits made a comeback and won here under Chris’ command.
3 Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan maneuvers his Brits to a narrow victory at my house.
3 Kill Rings
One of my innovations – Kill Ring Cards!

Thanks for looking – and I hope that you found this post interesting and fun.  As I add more tanks/tank destroyers, I will share them.  I also hope to add better pics from future games.

Please let me know your thoughts and feedback – as always – in the comments section!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THIS TANK GROUP:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Citadel “Imperium Primer”
  5. Battlefront “German Camo Orange Ochre”
  6. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  7. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  8. Army Painter Quickshade “Mid Brown” (wash)
  9. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  11. Battlefront “Monty Shade” (shade)
  12. Army Painter Quickshade “Strong Tone” (wash)
  13. Battlefront “Army Green”
  14. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  15. Battlefront “Panzer Gray”
  16. Vallejo “Neutral Grey”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Green Brown”
  18. Vallejo Model Air “Light”
  19. Vallejo Model Air “Cam. Grey Green”
  20. Battlefront “Black”
  21. Battlefront “Battledress Brown”
  22. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  23. DecoArt “White Pearl”
  24. Army Painter Quickshade “Light Tone” (wash)
  25. Battlefront “European Skin”
  26. Battlefront “Skin Shade” (shade)
  27. Vallejo “Dark Flesh”
  28. Vallejo “Dark Prussian Blue”
  29. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  30. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  31. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  32. Vallejo “Desert Dust” (pigment)
  33. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  34. Gorilla Glue
  35. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  36. Microscale Micro-Set
  37. Microscale Micro-Sol
  38. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  39. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  40. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  41. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  42. Aleene’s poster tack
  43. Sponges

Thanks for looking and for sharing your feedback!

ONCE MORE – ON MY RESEARCH MATERIALS

As for research materials, I used the same ones as I cited before – but for completeness here they are in case you are interested (you can find them on Amazon):

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

Building a Panzer Army Africa Tank force for What a Tanker

January has been a busy hobby month.  After I had built a significant number of 8th Army British tanks for What a Tanker© games set in WWII North Africa.  Subsequently,  I really needed to build out an opposing and suitably-sized group of Panzer Army Africa tanks and tank destroyers.  This post focuses on my January efforts on German forces.  I will augment these with Italian tanks and tank destroyers on my next project.

OVERVIEW

I finished a total of 17 tanks/tank destroyers this month.  These were all 15mm scale and from Battlefront Miniatures.  Thirteen of these were for North Africa, while four would augment my forces for my France 1940 scenario.  The largest single number were nine Panzer II variants.  I had purchased a box of five Panzer II’s previously, and built one for France 1940, but the box was short one tank guns.  Battlefront made good on this, and sent me another entire box of five tanks!  This allowed me to convert an extra British A10 gun I had lying around into one for a Panzer IIC.  It’s not perfect, but should work on the tabletop.  I also had a Panzer IVD from Battlefront, and discovered that it had two left tracks.   Battlefront has done right by me on that too, and replaced that entire tank as well.  I will probably take the extra Panzer IVD and make it into a wreck later on.  So this post will review these 17 tanks I built and painted:

  • 2 Panzerjager I’s (one for France 1940 and one for North Africa)(15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE100)
  • 3 Panzer IIC’s (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX108) for France 1940
  • 6 Panzer IIF’s (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX108) for North Africa
  • 2 Panzer IIIE’s (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE030) for North Africa
  • 1 Panzer IIIH (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE031) for North Africa
  • 1 Panzer IVF2 (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE042) for North Africa
  • 1 M3 Stuart “Honey” tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR006) –  one captured by the Germans for use in North Africa 
  • 1 Tiger I (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE070) for North Africa 

I will review each briefly, and give bigger shots in the eye candy section.  Of course, I list the paints and other materials I used at the end for those interested. And there were 61 decals!

PANZERJAGER I’S

Images that I used for modeling.

In the end, I chose a camouflage pattern for my Panzer Army Africa version similar to what you see on the Marder II image.

PANZER II’S

There were nine Panzer II’s!

I modeled my Panzer IIF on this image.

PANZER IIIE’S

I had two unpainted Panzer IIIE’s left over from France 1940. They were not easy to put decals on – so that was minimal.

PANZER IIIH

Panzer IIIH assembled
After camouflage applied.

PANZER IVF2

After camouflage – Panzer IVF2.
I modeled this tank on this image.

CAPTURED GERMAN M3 STUART “HONEY”

The Germans did a good job of recovering all kinds of AFV’s in North Africa. This included enemy vehicles – so I decided that an M3 Stuart would be a good addition.

I saw this and had to give the Germans a little American-made steel.

TIGER I

The last tank that I will share here is the centerpiece of the collection – a true behemoth – the early Tiger I. I modeled this one on the famous #131, which was captured virtually intact by the British in 1943 in Tunisia. A lucky British AP round lodged in the Tiger’s turret ring, and its crew abandoned it. Today, it is the only functional Tiger I on the planet and is at the Bovington tank museum.

Assembly of this model was NOT easy. There were 21 pieces and no assembly instructions, which is amazing given that Battlefront has assembly instructions for much simpler models. I also had issues with getting the tracks to fit the hull as there were no slots for the detents on the metal tracks.

Turret close up after decals and crew added.
One of the three images I used to finish the model.
The second image showing the rear of the actual Tiger 1 #131.
The third image.

I wanted to install a radio aerial, but in the end I decided that it was impractical due to the size of the model and the likelihood of future damage. I also wanted to include this Tiger as my “centerpiece model” in the January monthly painting challenge that I participate in – run by Azazel (whose blog is well-worth following).

So now, its time for…

EYE CANDY!

Panzerjager I, right side
Panzerjager I, left side.
I completed two Panzerjager I’s – one obviously needs to get a paint job for North Africa!
Rear view showing the crews of this early tank destroyer.
The three Panzer IIC’s that will be for France 1940. The one on the far right has the converted gun.
The six Panzer IIF’s for North Africa.
Panzer IIF convoy.
Front close up of Panzer IIF.
The two Panzer IIIE’s.
Rear view of the Panzer IIIE’s.
Panzer IIIH, right side.
Panzer IIIH, left side.
Front view of Panzer IIIH, with nice view of DAK decal.
Panzer IVF2, right side.
And the Panzer IVF2, left side.
Front view of the Panzer IVF2.
Captured German Stuart “Honey”.
Other side of the German Stuart.
AND THE TIGER I!
Tiger I, left side.
Tiger I, right side.
Tiger I, rear view.
German motor pool! The 13 German tanks for Panzer Army Africa.
All 17 German tanks for January! Bigger motor pool!

This was a big project – and now on to the Italians (and my replacement Panzer IVD).

I thank you for looking and hope this was enjoyable for you. What tanks are your two favorites (I know the Tiger I will be a big favorite!). Please share your thoughts and any feedback in the comments section!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THIS TANK GROUP:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  5. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  6. Secret Weapons Washes “Armor Wash” (wash)
  7. Battlefront “Panzer Gray”
  8. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  9. Vallejo “Neutral Grey”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “Green Brown”
  11. Vallejo Model Air “Green Brown”
  12. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Light”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Cam. Grey Green”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Bright Brass”
  16. Battlefront “Boot Brown”
  17. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  18. Battlefront “Black”
  19. Battlefront “Oxide Red”
  20. Army Painter Quickshade “Light Tone” (wash)
  21. Battlefront “European Skin”
  22. Battlefront “Skin Shade” (shade)
  23. Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
  24. DecoArt “White Pearl”
  25. Army Painter Quickshade “Mid Brown” (wash)
  26. Army Painter Quickshade “Strong Tone” (wash)
  27. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  28. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  29. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  30. Battlefront “Rommel Shade” (shade)
  31. Battlefront “Bradley Shade” (shade)
  32. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  33. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  34. Gorilla Glue
  35. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  36. Microscale Micro-Set
  37. Microscale Micro-Sol
  38. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  39. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  40. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  41. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish
  42. Aleene’s poster tack
  43. 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 before – but for completeness here they are in case you are interested (you can find them on Amazon):

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

I would easily recommend all of these books as good resources for gamers and modelers.

More 8th Army tanks – A10’s, an A13, Valentines, Crusaders, a Grant and a Churchill!

This week I was able to finish off my 8th Army tank force for What a Tanker© games.  The group was composed of 9 Battlefront/Flames of War 15mm scale tanks – two A10 Cruiser Mark IIA’s, one A13 Cruiser Mark IVA, two Valentine tanks (a II and a III), two Crusader tanks (a II and a III), one M3 Grant, and one Churchill II.  These would add to my previous two A9 Cruiser Mark I’s and my two M3 Stuart “Honeys” tanks that I finished in November (those are discussed here).  Including a  couple of prepainted Matilda II’s that I had bought from Wargames Models in Ohio, my 8th Army force now has 15 tanks.  Noticeably absent from this group of course are the Sherman tanks that arrived in time for the British push at the Second Battle of El Alamein, but I am sure I’ll get to adding them eventually.  I wanted to have a group of earlier war tanks ending with the Grant and Churchill for now, as most folks are less familiar with them.

I did not take as many pictures in the assembly and painting processes this time as I wanted to get these done.  I need to move onto the Germans and the Italians!  My goal is to run these in What a Tanker© games at gaming club meetings and at local conventions.  I do feel that these, as well as my last tank project attempts, have been fun and have stretched my hobby skills a good bit.

I’ll cover each of the types individually, then some eye-candy shots at the end for your (I am hopeful) enjoyment.  Of course, I will list my paints and materials at the end for those interested.  I used my airbrush and standard brushes on all of these.

A10’s and A13

I finished three more cruiser tanks –  two A10 Mark IIA’s and one A13.

I find that cleaning, filing, and general preparation of these models does take a bit of time.  I know that washing the resin parts is very important.  My last step in cleaning the resin involves a gentle brush wash/application of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol to some of you) to it.  This has been helpful I think – you just need to let that dry before handling or you may leave fingerprints on the resin.  I also added radio antenna aerials with 24 gauge wire if the model would withstand the drilling and mounting process structurally.  Sometimes, I just could not add one without damaging the model.

3 a10 final with book (2)
One of the two A10’s as completed.  I went with a sandy look compared to the Caunter scheme I used on the A9’s, mainly for tabletop identification.  This is what I was aiming for, but of course I add pigments and dirty up my tanks!  Note that either the book or my model has a different skirt, possibly because mine were A10 Mark IIA’s.

During the war, compared to the A10’s, the A13’s were much faster due to the Christie suspension and a better engine.  Combat wise, they were not much better, and are not better in the game rules either.  They are adequate foes for Panzer II’s and some Italian light AFV’s.

On all of my tanks I tried to use different FoW decals that seemed to make sense – they are so small! Of course, getting the decals to look sand-worn was important, and the pigment helped.  Getting the decals to conform to the curved surfaces took many slow applications of Micro-Set, Micro-Sol, and Liquid decal film. Our hobby blog-guru Azazel mentioned using barely-moist sponges to lightly apply pigments, so I gave that a shot, especially on the decals.  While I think I got a darker look, it did made the decals look less out of place, and I liked the effect.

1 a13 final with book
My A13 and the painting scheme that I went with, minus the remnants of the blue Caunter camouflage pattern  – as I thought that bluish tinge would be nearly impossible to see at 15mm scale.

Valentines

I picked up the two Valentine infantry tanks on sale at two different hobby shops.  The track treads were a bit different.  Of note, the Valentine II needed significant reinforcing with green stuff to come together as it was either poorly designed or not well made.

For the Valentine II, I chose a Caunter camouflage scheme that was more bluish than what I had done previously with the A9’s or the Honeys.  That would help on the tabletop as well – and the biggest difficulty was masking the appropriate parts of the tank for airbrushing the blue.

5 valentine ii prepped for caunter
Valentine II masked for airbrushing the blue Caunter camouflage scheme.

I am not sure how effective the blue scheme was in WWII combat, but as the British abandoned it my guess is not very.  Still, it does look striking and different.

6 valentine ii final with book
My Valentine II versus its model in the book.  The red and white markers were too small for me to mask and paint, so I went with decals.  Also, the sides of my model differed a bit as well.  I chose to have a lighter blue – it was tough to bring myself to paint that bright of a blue on a tank!

For the Valentine III, I went with a camouflage scheme that was more brown and sand.  I also added two aerials to this one.

7 valentine iii final with book
The Valentine III and the paint scheme I emulated.  Once again, my pigment use darkened it, but in the eye-candy section below, you can see it better.

Crusaders

I definitely wanted to have a couple of Crusader cruiser tanks in my force.  They do look good, though in combat their armor was not effective enough against their Axis counterparts.

I decided to use two different painting schemes here as well.  The earlier Crusader II would get a sandy look, while the Crusader III would get a brown camouflage pattern.

4 crusader iii ready for camo
My Crusader III awaits the airbrushing of the brown camouflage.  Poster tack works great for this kind of masking.

5 crusader ii final with book
The finished Crusader II and the book version.

6 crusader iii final with book
The Crusader III was for me a mix of two images – first this one…

7 crusader iii final with book
and secondly this one.  Again, I want dirty tanks that look like they have been driving in the desert and not off the show room/museum floor.

M3 Grant

The British were not happy to get American tanks at first.  They did invent the tank after all in WWI, and they were proud of them.  They wanted the US to build British designs, but with the risk of the UK losing the war early on, we Americans balked and said we would only build US designs.  That way, if the British lost, we would not have our factories tooled for non-American designs.  One of these was the light tank M3 Stuart, another was the medium tank M3 Lee.  To placate the Brits, a different and more rounded turret was made than that of the American M3 Lee, and that is the major difference between a Grant and a Lee.  So, my tank is a Grant.  In doing my research, it was interesting to learn that the sponson-mounted 75mm gun was more prized (eventually) because it had an HE round.  That meant that the Grant 75 was far better able to deal with anti-tank gun crews, like the dreaded 88mm, than a solid shot AP round would have been.   In the turret, a 37mm gun was the main anti-tank weapon (though certainly the sponson gun was used in that role as well).

If the chassis looks familiar, yes, it was used as the basis for the M4 Sherman as well.

3 grant final with book
My Grant with its model – the light green was interesting to apply – better pictures in the eye-candy section below.

Churchill Mark II

The Churchill infantry tank made its unhappy debut in the costly Canadian forces raid at Dieppe (these were Churchill Mark I’s).  The Churchill Mark II was first used by the “Kingforce” detachment (6 Churchill II tanks) in North Africa in October 1942, and Churchills were used in that theater and in Western Europe throughout the rest of the war.

1 churchill ii in blister
The Churchill in the blister – I chose to make it a Churchill II as the Mark I was only at Dieppe.

2 churchill turret mounting
How I started painting the turrets – I later transitioned my approach to using drill holes in wooden blocks instead of styrofoam.  That approach worked much better.  The #14 2″ screw held a magnet and a steel washer, and the magnetized turret stayed on top for painting.

I then masked this big behemoth (for 15mm).  The effort on this tank took some doing – I needed a lot of poster tack.

3 before camo
Churchill tank awaits its desert camouflage paint job.

4 final with book
What I was going for – and again more dirty on mine.

Now my force was – as you Brits out there might say – “proper” in terms of game-worthiness.

1 lots of tanks
All of the 8th Army tanks I painted since November.

That concludes the history/what-I-did section – now for the…

Eye Candy

2 a10's right side
Right side view of the two A10’s.

3 a10's rear
Left rear view of the same A10’s approaching the village.

4 a13 side
The A13 patrols a village.

5 the 5 cruisers
Just for fun, I lined up all of my early Cruiser tanks in a convoy.

6 valentine ii by the well
The Valentine II, with its blue Caunter camouflage scheme, guards a well.

7 valentine ii by the wall
Opposite side view of the Valentine II.  I do like the muted appearance of the blue.  The decals were practically microscopic to work with!

8 valentine iii left side
The Valentine III with its brown camouflage pattern approaches a road.

9 valentine iii front facing
Head on view of the Valentine III.  For perspective, the front of this tank is little more than an inch wide, so this image is 3-4 times the size of the model.

10 the two valentines right sides
My two Valentines (soon to be a romantic comedy perhaps on the BBC?).

11 the two valentines facing front
Nice view of the fronts of the Valentines.  I had a bit of a concern with the tracks of the Valentine II on the left .  As you can see they are a slight bit off – and this was the one Valentine that I needed to reinforce during assembly.  Again, these are the things you notice when your picture is 3-4 times the size of the model!

12 crusader ii
Crusader II right side view.

13 crusader ii rear left view
Crusader II left rear view.

14 crusader iii side view
Left side view of my Crusader III with its camouflage scheme.

15 crusader iii rear view
Right rear view of the Crusader III.

16 two crusaders in front of the dune
The two Crusaders, not caped like Batman and Robin though…and this is not Gotham City…

17 grant in front of wall
Frontal view of the M3 Grant.  As a nod to its possible Canadian forces use and/or manufacture, I gave it a Canadian unit marking.  Many of the Grants were made in Montreal, at a locomotive plant.  AND I did this as a Bruins fan (its a hockey thing)!

18 grant side view
The light green camouflage is a little more visible here.  I did not want it to be overwhelming, but it is tough to photograph.

19 grant rear view
Entering the village.

20 churchill right side
My Churchill II, left side.

21 churchill left side
Right side of the Churchill II.  The camouflage painting on this and the others was fun.

22 churchill front side
Front view of the Churchill II.

23 traffic!
For even MORE fun, I convoyed all of my painted 8th Army tanks.

24 parking lot
Is this a motor pool or what?  Nice group shot – my Matilda II’s did not make the shot, but I only touched them up so they hardly deserve to be in this shot.  Still like them though, but they are kind of adopted…

Now it’s onto the Germans and Italians – which I hope to finish soon.  But never soon enough…

Thanks for looking, and I very much hope that you enjoyed seeing these.  Any favorites?  Feedback?  Winning lottery numbers?  Please leave me your thoughts in the comments section!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED ON THIS TANK GROUP:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  5. Citadel “Imperium Primer”
  6. Battlefront “European Skin”
  7. Battlefront “Skin Shade” (shade)
  8. Vallejo “English Uniform”
  9. Battlefront “Crusader Sand”
  10. Vallejo “Desert Sand”
  11. Battlefront “Worn Canvas”
  12. FolkArt “Champagne”
  13. Battlefront “Black”
  14. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  15. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  16. Vallejo “Dark Sand”
  17. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  18. Battlefront “Wool Brown”
  19. Battlefront “Boot Brown”
  20. Battlefront “Rommel Shade” (shade)
  21. Battlefront “Bradley Shade” (shade)
  22. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  23. Battlefront “Dark Leather”
  24. Battlefront “Oxide Red”
  25. Battlefront “Tommy Green”
  26. Gorilla Glue
  27. Green stuff (kneadatite)
  28. Tamiya masking tape
  29. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  30. Microscale Micro-Set
  31. Microscale Micro-Sol
  32. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  33. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  34. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  35. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  36. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sky Blue”
  37. Aleene’s poster tack
  38. Vallejo Model Air “Blue Grey”
  39. Secret Weapons Washes “Armor Wash” (wash)
  40. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  41. Sponges
  42. Army Painter Quickshade “Light Tone” (wash)

Thanks again for looking and for sharing your feedback!

RESEARCH MATERIALS

As for research materials, I used the same ones as I cited before – but for completeness here they are in case you are interested (you can find them on Amazon):

  • Two by David Fletcher:
    • British Battle Tanks: British-made tanks of World War II
    • British Battle Tanks: American-made World War II Tanks
  • One by Jean Restayn:
    • WWII Tank Encyclopaedia, 1939-45
  • One by the Smithsonian/DK:
    • Tank: The Definitive Visual History of Armored Vehicles
  • One by Michael Green:
    • Axis Armoured Fighting Vehicles of the Second World War (Images of War)
  • One by Robert Jackson:
    • Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles Visual Encyclopedia

I would easily recommend all of these books as good resources for gamers and modelers.

French Chars defeat German Panzers (again!) at Mass Pikemen

The monthly gaming day for the Mass Pikemen featured a rematch between panzers of the German Wehrmacht and tanks of the French Army.  The scenario was one of May-June 1940, where equally-sized forces meet using the What a Tanker© rules and points system.  The players each got 8 points per player to acquire a tank of their own.  They deployed on opposite sides of the river, which also acted as an objective for the game.  The deploying sides were determined at random, and were roughly similar in terrain.

Poker chips were used for accounting and for tallying the score.  Points/chips were awarded for tank kills, and for having your tank at the end of the game on the enemy side of the river.  If your tank was knocked out, you re-spawned as a tank of the same value on the next turn, and the side of the player who killed you got chips equal to the value of the destroyed tank.  These chips could be used in several ways.  The team with the most chips would win, and chips could be used to purchase another tank, a tanker card, or upgrade an existing or re-spawning tank.  Alternatively, you could keep the chips towards your victory points.

This was a rematch from a previous session as it was new for several of the players.  The French started with two R35’s, and the German’s with a Panzer IIC and a Panzer IVD.  Two late-arriving players also got/purchased two more AFV’s, a French SOMUA S35 and a German Sturmgeschutz Ausf. A.

1 the board
The game tabletop – with some changes (notably roads) from the last run of the scenario.

2 the board
The game table before the battle.

On one flank, a shootout occurred between a Panzer IIC and an R35 over a bridge on the French left flank.  Initiative and the dice rolls went to the French R35, with the Panzer IIC taking temporary damage and being pushed back to its starting point, without damaging the R35.  The German light tank barely managed to survive, exited the board, and re-spawned on the opposite flank to join the battle there.  The little R35, a slow tank, had a long drive to rejoin the fray there.

3 this bridge ain't big enough for the two of us
This bridge ain’t big enough for both of us…

On the other flank, the other French R35 took up position at base of the other bridge.  Eventually, it got a few flank shots on the opposing Panzer IV, causing damage, and pushing it back.  The R35, smelling blood, advanced over the bridge, and took up a protected position by the farmhouse.  The Panzer IV had lost most of its command dice, and was heavily damaged.  Eventually, the R35 knocked it out.  At this time the newly-re-spawned Panzer II from the other flank deployed nearby, as did the StuG.  The Panzer IV was also re-spawned here, and the R35 was in deep trouble.  The new French player got his SOMUA S35 and hurried to relieve the R35.  The battle eventually became one of both sides driving around the farmhouse and trying to get advantageous shots.

4 r35 maneuvers against pz ivd
The R35 takes up position, and would hit the Panzer IV in the side multiple times.  Eventually it would cross the river and take up position by the farmhouse…

5 r35 kills pz ivd
…where it would finish off the Panzer IV.

6 r35 between a rock and a hard place, or a stug and a pz iic
Seeking revenge, a StuG III and a re-spawned Panzer II surround the R35.

7 r35 between a rock and a hard place, or a stug and a pz iic
Things are looking desperate for the R35.

9 somua s35 to the rescue
Here comes the cavalry in the form of the SOMUA S35, a fast cavalry tank.  The StuG is forced to take its aim off of the R35, and joins the re-spawned Panzer IV to face off against the SOMUA.

The Panzer IV got first activation, and missed the SOMUA!  The SOMUA then drove like a bat out of hell, taking up position behind the Panzer II that was menacing the R35.

10 tables turned on the pz iic
The tables turn as the SOMUA gets behind the Panzer II.

The Panzer II got activation next, and decided to avenge its comrade.  A flank shot destroyed the R35.  The next turn arrived with the SOMUA getting activation first, and lit up the Panzer II.  The Panzer II re-spawned on the other side of the board, hoping to get some victory points by driving to the other side of the river.  However, the R35 player re-spawned as well, and decided to use some of the French poker chips to get an upgrade, a heavy tank – the Char B1 bis – to confront this action.

11 char b1bis arrives
Here comes the Char B1 bis!

The Panzer II crossed the river at a ford by the bridge, and turned to face the Char B1, who had crossed the bridge.  As you see below, the Panzer II rolled a “10” for activation, while the Char B1 rolled a “7”, so it activated first.

(A side note here – in the rules, D6 are used for activation, but I have found that this leads to way to many “dice-offs” and slows play.  Instead, I use D12’s, and if a player banks a command die “6” for the next turn’s activation, he/she gets to add two to the roll, so the math works out the same as the original game).

Back to the standoff between the German David and French Goliath…the Panzer II hits the Char B1 with a double -six roll, allowing it to get two extra strike dice – great news for the Panzer II.  Unfortunately for him, the Char B1 is very heavily armored, and the hit fails to do any damage (well, maybe the paint).

12 a mismatched standoff
The face-off!

The Char B1 returned fire, and you can guess the results…

13 standoff ends
The Panzer II is destroyed by the Char B1 bis.

The surviving R35 finally made it to the other side of the board and took up position behind the StuG, who was more concerned with the SOMUA.  The R35 rolled well, the StuG did not, and the German assault gun brewed up into a ball of flame and smoke.  This left the Germans with only a Panzer IVD, and even with re-spawning, the game had gone too far in the French team’s favor.  The final score, with all the points for being on the other side of the river, kills, and purchase debits, was 58-14 in favor of the French.  I think the scenario is still balanced, but in the end maneuver and use of terrain both really matter in this game, and the French did better job of both in this game.  They also got some bad luck for sure.  I may add some points to the German side the next time I run this scenario.

14 the end
Mike Morgan and Chris Smedile survey the battlefield.

Hope that you enjoyed this post!  Please let me know your feedback in the comments section!

The next Mass Pikemen game will be on February 16th at 2 PM at the East Brookfield MA Senior Center (110 Pleasant Street), East Brookfield, MA.  We will be having a GASLANDS game run by Jared Burns.

8 the players having fun
Leif Magnuson, Chris Smedile, Chris Comeau, Jared Burns, and Mike Morgan having fun at Mass Pikemen!

CASUALTIES:

  • French:
    • 1 R35
  • German:
    • 2 Panzer IIC’s destroyed
    • 1 Panzer IIC evacuated
    • 1 StuG III Ausf. A
    • 1 Panzer IVD

 

 

2018 Hobby Activity Roundup

2018 was a busy year for me for hobbies, my busiest ever in fact.  My activities and projects were mostly involved with supporting either Combat Patrol™ games or What a Tanker© games.  So what did I do?  Well, I helped to found a local gaming club and I started running games at small conventions (and won “The Al” at HAVOC last year – photo above).  All of my hobby activity and efforts focused on creating and building what I needed for my games to be successful.  I also joined some community painting challenges which helped to focus my efforts as well and got me to try new techniques (thanks Azazel!).  I also followed many other blogs which were very inspiring.

Some of the items on the activity list below could be fairly called double-counting, but hey, no blood no foul!  I tend to count projects in terms of their distinctive nature, ie the building/assembling/creating processes to me are different than painting, as is converting figures.  I did not cast anything this year or make any molds as I still have plenty of figures to paint, and my hope is to knock out more of them in 2019, as I will not need to make as many game pieces/game aids.

This list, which is a separate page on my blog, helped me to stay focused.  The adding of the hyperlinks that you see on the items below helps me to review past projects as prologue for future ones.

Thanks for checking this out – and good luck to all in 2019!  Hope I keep you amused and entertained!

2018 Total Projects:  2,036

  • 244 figures painted
  • 0 figures cast
  • 47 figures assembled
  • 33 terrain pieces made or assembled
  • 28 terrain pieces painted
  • 10 figure conversions
  • 867 creations or components sculpted or scratch-built
  • 0 molds made
  • 807 game pieces/game aids made and/or painted

January: 91 projects

  • Creations/components sculpted or scratch-built (91):
    • 91 unit placards sculpted/made from Apoxie Sculpt

February: 645 projects

  • Figures painted (36):
  • Creations sculpted or scratch-built (375):
    • 185 blank game placards made for Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi use
    • 185 decals made for game placards or Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi use
    • 2 long arc weapon (breaching) templates for Mark III Warbot use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
    • 2 short arc weapon (breaching) templates for Mark III Warbot use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
    • 1 plasma ball template (breaching) template for Mark III Warbot use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (234):
    • 8 Armorcast ACFX034 Grenade Blasts Cinematic Effects Bits painted
    • 36 casualty cards made for the Hurraku Space Phraints
    • 185 placards made for use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
      • 50 wound markers
        • 15 1-wound markers
        • 15 2-wound markers
        • 6 3-wound markers
        • 6 4-wound markers
        • 4 5-wound markers
        • 4 6-wound markers
      • 25 stun markers
      • 10 critical hit – optics/sensors markers damage for Mark III Warbots
      • 10 critical hit – mobility damage (“STOP”) markers for Mark III Warbots
      • 10 critical hit – CPU damage (“ROGUE”) markers for Mark III Warbots
      • 20 out of ammunition markers
      • 60 jet-pack use markers
        • 20 for one use of jet pack in the game
        • 20 for two uses of jet pack in the game
        • 20 for three uses of jet pack in the game
    • 5 game aid templates painted for use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
      • 2 long arc weapon (breaching) template painted
      • 2 short arc weapon (breaching) template painted
      • 1 plasma ball template (breaching) template painted

March: 74 projects

  • Figures painted (40):
  • Figures assembled (1):
    • Critter Commandos Frogbot
  • Creations/components sculpted or scratch-built (33):
    • 33 unit placards sculpted/made from Apoxie Sculpt

April: 144 projects

  • Figures assembled (2):
  • Terrain pieces made or assembled (12):
    • 12 tea light smoke plumes made
  • Terrain pieces painted (12):
    • 12 tea light smoke plumes painted
  • Game aids made or painted (118):
    • 39 casualty cards made for the F.R.O.G. Commandos
    • 6 flame circles made
    • 25 chits for Combat Patrol™ made (pulling card forward chits)
    • 48 unit and vehicle data cards made for Combat Patrol

May: 6 projects

  • Figures painted (2):
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (4)
    • 2 casualty cards made for Roberker and the second Juggerbot
    • 2 unit data cards made for Combat Patrol™

June: 95 projects

  • Figures painted (57):
    • 32 Texican Space Rangers from Archive Star Rovers line
      • 6 Travis B. Crockett figures (#2225)
      • 26 Armando Garcia figures (#2226)
    • 11 Robot Peacekeepers from Mega Miniatures Salvage Crew Robots & Vehicles Range 
    • 14 figures painted for my Space Dwarf Assault Squad
      • 11 Long Gone Jones Space Dwarfs from Archive Star Rovers line (Archive #2211)
      • 3 Agribot (S1L1) from Archive Star Rovers line (Archive #2204)
  • Game aids made or painted (38):
    • 32 casualty cards made for the Texican Space Rangers
    • 6 unit data cards made for Combat Patrol™

July: 66 projects

  • Figures painted (15):
  • Figures assembled (5):
    • 5 Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodon from Archive Star Rovers line (Archive #2042)
  • Figures converted (6):
    • 6 Frinx riders converted with Bombshell Miniatures Arc Weapons (#36013)
  • Terrain pieces made or assembled (13):
    • 5 large Woodland Scenics evergreen trees
    • 8 small Woodland Scenics deciduous trees
  • Game aids made or painted (27):
    • 11 casualty cards made for the Robot Peacekeepers
    • 14 casualty cards made for the Space Dwarf Assault Squad
    • 2 unit data cards made for Combat Patrol™

August: 54 projects

September:  566 projects

  • Terrain pieces made or assembled (3):
    • 1 Armorcast T-Section
    • 1 Armorcast Building Corner (#ACRB008)
    • 1 Armorcast Building Corner (#ACRB009)
  • Terrain pieces painted (11):
    • 5 ruined building corners
      • 1 Armorcast T-Section
      • 1 Armorcast Building Corner (#ACRB008)
      • 1 Armorcast Building Corner (#ACRB009)
      • 2 Armorcast Building Corners (#ACRB013)
    • 6 battle-damaged sci-fi walls
      • 1 set of 2 Armorcast High Tech Walls 2 (#ACW007), each set includes 2 walls so 2 pieces
      • 2 sets of High Tech Walls, each set includes 2 walls, so 4 pieces
  • Creations sculpted or scratch-built (368):
      • 184 blank game placards made for Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi use
      • 184 decals made for game placards or Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi use
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (184):
    • 184 placards made for use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
      • 72 wound markers
        • 20 1-wound markers
        • 20 2-wound markers
        • 14 3-wound markers
        • 6 4-wound markers
        • 6 5-wound markers
        • 6 6-wound markers
      • 24 stun markers
      • 24 out of ammunition markers
      • 64 jet-pack use markers
        • 22 for one use of jet pack in the game
        • 20 for two uses of jet pack in the game
        • 22 for three uses of jet pack in the game

October:  113 projects

  • Figures painted (28):
    • 28 Space Roos painted (converted figures that I cast)
  • Figure conversions (4):
    • 2 Space Roo weapon conversions to RPG’s
    • 2 Space Roo weapon conversions to grenade launchers
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (81):
    • 45 small (1/8″ diameter) placards made and painted for improved identification of the Mars Aliens on the tabletop
    • 28 small (1/4 and 5/16″ diameter) placards made and painted for improved identification of the Space Roos on the tabletop
    • 8 dashboards built for What a Tanker games

November:  160 projects

  • Figures painted (43):
    • 5 KV-1a Soviet tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio)
    • 2 T-26 Soviet tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio)
    • 2 BA-64 Soviet armored cars (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio)
    • 1 BT-5 Soviet tank, (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#SU021)
    • 1 BT-7 Soviet tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#SU023)
    • 2 Soviet Gaz trucks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio)
    • 1 Panzer IIC tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX108)
    • 1 Panzer IIIE (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE030)
    • 3 Sturmgeshutz IIIA assault guns (15mm/1:100 scale), from from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX109)
    • 2 German Panzer IVd tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 1 German Panzer 38(t) tank (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 3 Italian M13/40 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 2 Italian L6 light tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 2 British Matilda II tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 2 German Hetzer tank destroyers (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
    • 2 German Panzer IIIN tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
    • 2 Renault R-35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR030)
    • 3 SOMUA S-35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR050)
    • 2 French Char B1 bis tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
    • 2 US M4 Sherman tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
    • 2 US M3/M5 Stuart tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
  • Figures assembled (25):
    • 5 French tanks assembled:
      • 3 SOMUA S-35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR050)
      • 2 Renault R-35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR030)
    • 2 British tanks assembled:
      • 1 A10 Cruiser Mark IIA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR023)
      • 1 Valentine II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR060)
    • 2 Soviet tanks assembled:
      • 1 BT-5 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#SU021)
      • 1 BT-7 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#SU023)
    • 16 German tanks/assault guns assembled:
      • 5 Panzer II C’s and F’s) (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX108)
      • 3 Panzer IIIE’s (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE030)
      • 3 Sturmgeshutz IIIA assault guns (15mm/1:100 scale), from from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX109)
      • 3 Sturmgeshutz III Ausf F8 assault guns (15mm/1:100 scale), from The Plastic Soldier Company, Ltd. (#WW2V15005)
      • 2 Sturmgeshutz III Ausf G (late) assault guns (15mm/1:100 scale), from The Plastic Soldier Company, Ltd. (#WW2V15005)
  • 2 terrain pieces made or assembled (two fields)
  • 2 terrain pieces painted (two fields)
  • Game aids made or painted (92):
    • 28 casualty cards made for the Space Roos
    • 36 bonus cards made for What a Tanker©
    • 3 unit data cards made for Combat Patrol™

December:  18 projects

  • Figures painted (4):
  • Figures assembled (14):
    • 14 British tanks assembled for What a Tanker© in North Africa:
      • 2 A9 Cruiser Mark I tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR020)
      • 1 A10 Cruiser Mark IIA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR023)
      • 1 A13 Cruiser Mark IVA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR026)
      • 1 Valentine III tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR061)
      • 1 Crusader II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR032)
      • 1 Crusader III tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR034)
      • 1 M3 Grant tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR100)
      • 1 Churchill II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR070)
      • 5 M3 Stuart “Honey” tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR006) – Brits will get two,  I am saving one for future Soviet Lend-Lease, one for future captured German use in North Africa, and one as an American M3 for future captured Japanese use in Burma or the Philippines. 

 

8th Army Tanks for What a Tanker – and so it begins…

The epic struggle between the British 8th Army and the German/Italian Panzer Army Africa (which grew out of the Afrika Korps) has always interested me.  In fact, the very first war game I ever owned was a used 1964 copy of Avalon Hill’s Afrika Korps!  I got this in 1972, and still have it.

Afrika Korps
My old Afrika Korps game – still complete!

I played this game many times, and of course it uses cardboard counters to represent divisional and brigade-sized units.  Avalon Hill did publish Tobruk in 1975 as well, and I also have that (second hand), but I never played it (a common fate held by many of my AH games as finding opponents was not easy back then for a teenager).  So I have wanted a tank-on-tank game for a while.

My first game of What a Tanker© at BARRAGE in September was a North Africa scenario, and was just what I have longed for all of these years.  Needless to say, I was a bit hooked on the game – and some of the scenarios for which I have been collecting Flames of War tanks are for North Africa campaigns from 1940-1943.  I wanted to get a blog post in to close 2018 for the first four of these tanks.  This also counts as my submission for Azazel’s December Community painting challenge, “Dauntless-Diabolical December”.  As for the British/Commonwealth 8th Army tanks, these are two A9 Mark 1 Cruiser tanks, and two M3 Stuart “Honey’s.

To research these tanks (and other future tank projects), I bought several books from Amazon that I found very useful as background information and for modeling purposes.  To be sure, many of the images are conflicting, but my guess is that the differences represent actual historical differences in camouflage schemes.  The books I got (and you can find them on Amazon) were:

  • Two by David Fletcher: 
    • British Battle Tanks: British-made tanks of World War II
    • British Battle Tanks: American-made World War II Tanks
  • One by Jean Restayn:
    • WWII Tank Encyclopaedia, 1939-45
  • One by the Smithsonian/DK:
    • Tank: The Definitive Visual History of Armored Vehicles
  • One by Michael Green:
    • Axis Armoured Fighting Vehicles of the Second World War (Images of War)
  • One by Robert Jackson:
    • Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles Visual Encyclopedia

I would easily recommend all of these books as good resources, and they will be my sources for this and future tank projects.  Again, these 4 are just the start of my 8th Army tank build (never mind I still need to get to Panzer Army Africa!).

A9 Cruiser Mark I Tanks

The first pair I worked on this month were A9 Cruiser Mark I tanks.  These were involved in the Battle of France and were in the desert in North Africa in 1940-41.  The British tactical doctrine had infantry tanks (to support infantry) and cruiser tanks (to engage other tanks).  That doctrine failed to impress the Wehrmacht.  Still, the British crews fought bravely and eventually better tanks arrived from the UK and the US.  The A9’s were not great, and one of the few that if captured that were not reused by the Germans.  For a camouflage and painting scheme, I used a picture of an A10 Cruiser Mark II with a Caunter camouflage scheme (see below), and differentiated the two with some Battlefront decals.  I wanted to use units that I could identify, but in the end I went with the ones that you see.

1 A9 Mark I's in blister
The pair in the blister

As you can see, I drilled out the crew bases and glued them to toothpicks for ease of painting.  I initially ran out of Battlefront “Crusader Sand” and used Vallejo “Desert Sand” which was too German-looking.  I found a conversion table and switched to Vallejo “Dark Sand” which was a better match.  I mounted the turrets to washers, affixed to magnets, affixed to large screws in styrofoam.  Later, I would switch to using holes in wood for better durability (the styrofoam was not sturdy enough to hold the #14 screws, magnets, washers, and turrets!).

5 A9 MarkI's base coated
On left, Vallejo “Dark Sand”, on the right, Vallejo “Desert Sand” which I thought was too panzer-like.

I drilled out holes for the radio antennae and used 24 gauge wire for the aerials.

The masking I used was a combination of Tamiya tape and Vallejo “Liquid Mask”.  This was my first use of the Vallejo mask, and I will be judicious in its future use.  It does ruin the brush you use, and at this scale (15mm) its not a really useful way to create chips.  Lesson learned – I was able to wash over the patches I put the mask on and it did give the tanks more of a dirty look.

Not a bad match – it was an A10 in the book, but I liked the scheme and I have other plans for my A10’s – stay tuned.  You can see more photos of the A9’s in the eye candy section below!

M3 Stuart “Honeys”

The M3’s came in a box of five, but I only wanted a couple for the North Africa scenarios.  The rest will be going to the Soviets (as a Lend-Lease), the Germans (captured in North Africa), and the Japanese (captured in the Philippines).  The painting scheme was mainly the same except for the grayish Caunter scheme.

 

I used a different resource for the camouflage, and I like the way it came out.

6 Honey after Caunter scheme with mask removed (spots)
Awaiting spot washes, and decals, and varnishing.

So now they were all done – and it’s time for some glory pics!

Eye candy

It’s eye candy time!

3 A9's in village
A9 Cruiser Mark I’s in the village.

4 A9 front view
Nice frontal view close up – you can see the details pretty well for such a small model.

5 A9's Moving out
Nice view of the left sides.

6 A9's rear view
Nice view of the right sides and the backs of the tanks.

7 A9 in defensive posture
A9 in a defensive position

8 A9's hitting the road
Heading out to find Germans and Italians.

9 Honeys move out
M3 Stuart “Honeys” on the road.

10 Honeys defend
Nice side view showing the grayish Caunter scheme and the decals.  I used different ones for ease of identification on the tabletop.

11 Honey rear view
Patrolling the village.

12 Honey's in village
Tight quarters patrolling.

13 group shot moving out
The four all together head out.

These tanks all served in North Africa, but it was probably rare for A9’s to be alongside M3’s time-wise.  Still, for What a Tanker© games, these will do fine on the ladder.

As discussed, I will be adding more British cruiser and infantry tanks to my 8th Army fleet. 

I am dedicating this post to all my British and Commonwealth friends!

I hope you enjoyed seeing these and reading this post.  Do you have a favorite tank?  I appreciate hearing your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.  Thanks for looking, and Happy New Year to you all!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED ON BOTH TANKS:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  5. Citadel “Imperium Primer”
  6. Battlefront “European Skin”
  7. Battlefront “Skin Shade” (shade)
  8. Vallejo “English Uniform”
  9. Battlefront “Sherman Drab”
  10. Battlefront “Crusader Sand”
  11. Vallejo “Desert Sand”
  12. Battlefront “Worn Canvas”
  13. FolkArt “Champagne”
  14. Battlefront “Black”
  15. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  16. Vallejo “Dark Sand”
  17. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  18. Battlefront “Wool Brown”
  19. Battlefront “Boot Brown”
  20. Battlefront “Rommel Shade” (shade)
  21. Battlefront “Bradley Shade” (shade)
  22. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  23. Battlefront “Dark Leather”
  24. Battlefront “Oxide Red”
  25. Gorilla Glue
  26. Vallejo Liquid Mask
  27. Tamiya masking tape
  28. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  29. Microscale Micro-Set
  30. Microscale Micro-Sol
  31. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  32. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  33. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  34. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

UNIQUE TO THE A9 MARK I CRUISER TANKS:

  1. Vallejo Mecha Color “Sky Blue”
  2. Vallejo Game Air “Red Terracotta”

UNIQUE TO THE M3 STUART “HONEY” TANKS:

  1. Aleene’s poster tack
  2. Vallejo Model Air “Blue Grey”
  3. Secret Weapons Washes “Armor Wash” (wash)

Thanks again for looking and for sharing your feedback!