My Hobby Origins – and Wow – I’m on The Imperial Rebel Ork Podcast!

Last weekend I had a lot of fun being on the Imperial Rebel Ork podcast.  It was a lot of fun, and I really appreciated the opportunity.  Though the Imperial Rebel Ork himself (aka IRO) apologized for the audio quality – I thought it was fine.  Hell, we had to have our chat over quite a few miles:

Map

All 10,463 of them.

The podcast is fun (and NOT just because I was lucky enough to be on it).  Here is the link where you can access the podcast on Apple – though it’s on other platforms as well:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/imperial-rebel-ork/id1508066553

And of course IRO has an excellent blog that is well-worth following – he’s amazingly creative.

If you listen to the podcast (and YOU SHOULD ūüėĀ), it’s clear that there are some background details of our discussion that might be of some interest to you.  Basically, it’s about how I got into the hobby back in 1982 or 1983, and how I got back into it in 2015, plus where I’m at now.  So, I will share some anecdotes, pics, and links that many of you may not have seen before.

I described how I was a traditional board game wargamer – I really got my first wargame – Avalon Hill’s Afrika Korps – probably when I was 10 or 11.  Others followed, like Waterloo, and War at Sea.  Finding opponents was not easy – most of my friends and family thought these games to be uninteresting at best.  Later, at West Point, fate got me as a roommate the irrepressible Dave Wood – who was a wargamer as well!  We spent hundreds of hours playing the aforementioned games, but also especially Victory in the Pacific and Panzer Leader.

Afrika Korps
My first wargame – and I still have it ready to play after nearly 50 years.
Waterloo
Always loved this classic.
VITP & WAS
Dave Wood and I played these games hundreds of times.
Panzer Leader
A great platoon level game with decent realism.  I even acquired the France 1940 expansion.

A major influence on my hobby was to come through Dave – and that was an introduction to Buck Surdu, who was at West Point in the class behind me and Dave.  Buck had already written and had published his own sets (sets – not a set) of rules for different wargames.  My first meeting with Buck was when Dave brought me up to a session that Buck had set up in the Department of Foreign Languages classroom – it was a giant fantasy miniature battlefield covered with old 25mm Ral Partha, Grenadier, Minifig, and other miniatures.  This was set up on desks put together and covered with old US Army OD blankets as mats.  I had never seen anything like this before – and I was stunned – and hooked.  Buck had written the rules for the game as well.  Before long, both Dave and Buck were lending me figures to paint for them as I wanted to try that too.

The first units I painted for them still exist!  One was a group of Minifig halflings that Dave had that he let me paint for him.  I did not really know anything about painting with highlights, washes, or dry brushing back then.  Kindly, Dave gave them to me a few of years ago that I described here.  I flocked their bases and varnished them, but left them unchanged otherwise.

8-halfling-battalion
The Halflings!

A second unit was one I painted for Buck – a group of pig-faced Orcs that I think were from Minifig.  I decided to give them a pretty gaudy paint job – with a Captain America theme.  They were the “All-American Orcs”.  Buck still has them and took a couple shots to show them to you in all their ancient “glory”:

All American orcs 1
The All-American Orcs

All American orcs 2

Mind you, these were painted before my class graduation in May 1984, but I used no varnish back then so there are chips, and no flocking (washers were enough for me then) – but I’m happy to see them again, and humbled that Buck has kept them around.

Another unit (that I don’t have pictures of but Dave has somewhere) was a punk/new wave blue, red, and green mohawk-wearing group that I called “Paddy’s New Wave Bar and Grill Conscript Militia”.  Yup, that was a thing back then.

Also, I, Buck, Dave, Doug Morris (’85), and another ’84 classmate Ken Thrasher also had Sunday night campaigns of Tunnels and Trolls (a role-playing game that competed with Dungeons & Dragons back in the day).  The campaign I ran focused on a Balrog wizard who had dimensionally transported himself to the US in the 1960’s – and used LSD and other drugs – and then returned to rule a mountain lair replete with monsters, traps and puzzles with a 1960’s theme.  The Balrog’s name?  Why Purple Haze of course…

T & T
And I still have this too!

After graduation, I still puttered around with painting my own figures, as well as casting some in Prince August molds using – of all things – fishing lead weights.  I was deployed to Germany, and got to host Buck and a friend of his in 1987 for a couple of gaming weekends and a side trips to Paris via Verdun.  They were stationed in Italy.  Buck recently shared this blast from the past with me – a big game using Buck’s Fantasy Miniature rules with some edits that I made.  You cannot see a lot, but I made the game analogous to a Bastogne 1944 scenario – with sprites, dwarves, halflings, orcs and more.  We used stuff like lichen and Styrofoam as terrain.

game 6

Me and Buck’s friend Mike at the game in Hagenbach, West Germany.  I am wearing my 249th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) t-shirt.  I still have the card table in the back!
November 1987 Buck, Me, Ellen
Buck, myself, and my daughter Ellen.  I was a single parent 1LT in Germany.  Ellen was 2 here.  Now she’s a mom with a three year old!

Then my hobby activities slowed to a crawl.  I was a divorced single parent, then remarried, then divorced, then remarried…in the Army, then out…in many parts of the US, then more this and that…fast forward to 2015…

I had always saved all my miniatures and paints.  I knew I would eventually get back to the hobby, but when?  Well, a chimney fire required us to move a lot in the cellar during a rebuild, and my wife was moving my minis – and I said, “I’ll take care of them”.  Next thing I know I’m painting again, gaming again, and blogging about it starting back in 2015.  My first project was “The Nightmare Legion”, which only took more than three decades to complete – and was the subject of my first blog post in March of 2015,

12 Ma'kcon
Myself, Buck Surdu and Dave Wood at “Ma’k Con” (in my basement) back in 2017.  If the hobby is a crime, these are my bad influences!

On the podcast, IRO discussed a few aspects of my hobbying that you may not have seen before if you are a relative newcomer to the blog.  So, here are a few links if you want to take a gander if you’d like some context:

Casting

Duck Wader and the Star Duck Platoon

Aphids

Mark 1 Sphere Tank

Aztecs

WWII tanks using poster tack

I hope you enjoyed this romp down memory lane in conjunction with the podcast – if you have similar memories, or completely different ones – feel free to comment.

Oh yeah, if I follow or comment on your blogs, or you on mine, you all inspire me. 

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

Wars of Ozz game and Kickstarter Coming June 27, 2020

Dorothy, this definitely ain’t Kansas…

This looks to be an exciting new game!  My buddy Buck Surdu has teamed up with Old Glory and Sally 4th on this project Рthe link is here.  It launches on June 27th, 2020.

There’s a great description at Beasts of War here’s a snippet from that page:

Wars Of Ozz Kickstarter Coming Soon

The idea is that the rules here take Baum’s world and give it a little bit of a post-apocalyptic Earth twist. Things then get even more quirky with the addition of the “Madness Bomb” which got dropped into the mix during the “Last Great War” where survivors were mutated and chaos reigned until the Wizard finally arrived.

This then all distills down into a new mass battle game with miniatures sculpted and cast by the team at Old Glory. All of the miniatures are cast in lead/tin and are you’ll be able to buy armies to build up your mass of troops as well as characters to lead them into battle.

There is more there to check out, and the miniatures look amazing.¬† Here’s a shot of the Pumpkin Men:

5ef317e2b3408-5ef317e2b3409Wars-Of-Ozz-Armies-3-Sally-4th.jpg

I love the Tin Men:

5ef317dd82253-5ef317dd82254Wars-Of-Ozz-Armies-2-Sally-4th.jpg-1024x519

And whatever these are – they look cool!

Wars-Of-Ozz-Armies-4-Sally-4th

Just to be clear, I have no financial stake in this whatsoever, though I will likely be diving in to get some of this stuff, as well as the rules.

Thought my followers would enjoy checking this out, what do you think?

An Eagle Has Landed…On My Scorecard!!

Well, yes Рa golf post for a change  (this blog is titled Life, Golf, Miniatures & Other Distractions after all)!

Please note that normally I would not just post a mundane golf story about myself.  So, apologies in advance if I seem to be a bit self-focused here.  I would not want to be too narcissistic, but some background for the reader may help.

I have been playing golf, mostly as a hacker, since I was 12.   My late grandfather (who drove an M24 tank in WWII and was a hero of mine) got me started.  He was absolutely terrible Рhe would be lucky to break 110 or even 120 for 18 holes.  He did imbue me with a love of the greatest game Рand I carry that with me to this day.  I still have golf balls of his that I carry in my bag to honor his gift to me.

In the Army, I played when I could, and even joined clubs at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, at Ft. Belvoir, VA, and even the Canadian Forces course at Lahr in Germany.  That Canadian course was fun as for one you had CF-18 fighters zooming overhead (quite low) and secondly it was the only place to be able to get Canadian beer like Labatts (the Germans would not allow it to be sold and the US had only American and German beer for sale at the Class VI store).  I left the Army in 1992, and I did not play very often until 1998.

At that point I had moved to East Brookfield, MA, and was happy to discover that there was a golf course 0.3 miles away!  The first tee was closer to my house than it was to the first green!  That was Bay Path Golf Course Рand I was a member there for 21 years.  I was playing nearly 70 rounds a year (mostly at Bay Path), which is a lot when you consider that our Massachusetts weather is only good for golf from April to October for the most part.  I kept a spreadsheet of all my scores, just to track progress and focus on improving. One goal eluded me, that being getting an eagle.

For those of you non-golfers, an eagle (not to be confused with my Eagle Warriors) is a score that is two shots under par.¬† On a par three, it would be a hole-in-one.¬† On a par 4, it would be a 2, etc.¬† At Bay Path, it became a running joke that I had not gotten an eagle, even just from luck.¬† I came close several times, only to be denied.¬† I even hosted a pool for charity where members could bet whether I would get an eagle that year or not.¬† Most all bet “not” by the way.¬† Last year, Bay Path closed (sadly), forcing me to join a new club, Quail Hollow in Oakham, MA. It’s about a 15 minute drive from home.¬† It’s a nice club, but a much more difficult course than Bay Path.

According to my spreadsheet, by last Tuesday, June 9th, 2020, I had taken 115,136 plus strokes since 1999 with never an eagle.¬† That equates to 1,293 rounds – not including any scrambles by the way,¬† So effectively, that’s about 5,172 hours of golf – or 215.5 days of golf!¬† Many birdies, but no eagles!

stats (2)
Data as of the morning of 6/9/2020

Even more sadly, play was delayed here because of COVID-19.¬† So while normally I would try to play in March or April, I did not get to play or even practice until late May.¬† My game does not rely on any real talent – it’s based on hard work and practice.¬† I also track my golf progress here for myself on the blog (see the main menu as well).¬† So I had little expectations about early play and knocking off any rust.

There is a group that plays on Tuesdays at Quail that I joined up with called “Pit’s Crew” after the guy that runs it, Pit Caron.¬† We play a 4-man scramble.¬† On June 9th, we approached the 3rd hole, a par-4, 249 yard hole.¬† I was the “B” player, and drove my ball right next to the green on the left fringe – maybe three feet off of it.¬† For me this was a very good result as the fairway is quite narrow and the green is guarded by a deep bunker in the front.¬† I then used my 56 degree wedge and chipped my second shot – it went up, up – it rolled – and plunk, it dropped in nicely!

EAGLE!!!!!

I was happy that one of my teammates was a fellow former Bay Path golfer, Jim Kularski, who was our “A” man.¬† It was gratifying that he got to see me accomplish something that he knew well that I had been trying to get for so very long.¬† I also had on lucky golf gear from my West Point reunion last year.¬† While it was a scramble, I played the same ball (a found Titleist Pro-V1 that I was using so as not to lose one of my preferred Titleist ProV1X’s), from the same position, so I am counting the eagle as having been my first.¬† After all, at this pace, my next one will be in 2060 when I am 98…

Oh yeah, we also came in first place out of 18 teams.

So here’s some pics (thanks to Jim Kularski for the pictures – again, more to commemorate than to brag – but like I always say – it ain’t braggin’ if ya do it!

1 Eagle in!
IT’S IN THE HOLE FOR AN EAGLE 2!¬† (note the mask too!)¬† I am holding my putter along with my wedge – no need for the putter on that hole that day!
2 Get the Eagle ball!
Get that ball for safekeeping!
3 Get the Eagle ball!
I was sooooo happy to pull this ball from the hole!  And nice Army hat huh?
4 it's a 2!
It’s a two!
5 HAPPY!
Unfortunately I could NOT stop smiling for days!

Thanks for indulging me by looking!

Views From My Windows – Sort of…

Greetings from the Massachusetts lock down!  I hope all of you are safe and that soon life will be returning back to normal for us all.  If you have lost a loved one, a friend, or a job, or just been stressed out, my thoughts and prayers with all of you.  This will eventually pass.

I have not been doing much on the blogging front except trying to keep up with others’ posts.¬† At the beginning of April, the projections for death in the US were for 100,000 to 200,000 if we were lucky and did everything correctly in terms of mitigation.¬† Frankly, that floored me and I went into a bit of a focus on the news, keeping up with my family (Mom and daughter/granddaughter).¬† My Mom is on her own, and I worry about her.¬† My daughter lives nearby and has taken walks with our 3 year-old granddaughter so we have gotten at least to see them.¬† It kills us not to hug them both, but as my daughter works in a cancer radiation treatment clinic at a hospital in Worcester, we have painfully practiced “social distancing” during these brief but welcome visits.¬† Of course there is communication via phone and Facetime, but it’s not the same.

The death toll has been mercifully less, but still very bad.¬† Here in the US, as of this writing there have been over 48,000 US deaths, and approaching a million cases.¬† In Massachusetts the surge/peak is coming up – and we have had 42,000 cases and nearly 2,000 deaths.¬† I know that all of you are dealing with this and it’s horrible.¬† I have some strong opinions on this, but I don’t want to get too political on my blog.¬† My thoughts could be summarized by the article here.

My wife has been home on paid leave, but who know what will happen on this front.  I have still been looking for a job, but with millions of Americans out of work and the understandable difficulties with interviewing РI have been staying home.  I did fly to Virginia on March 9-10 for a face-to-face interview Рwhich was an eerie experience.  By the end of the week, everything was shutting down and we were in lockdown.  And then the job did not come through.

Needless to say, tabletop wargaming is at a halt – and golf is impossible as all the courses are closed as nonessential.

I kept busy researching and working on a supplement for Buck Surdu’s upcoming game of Feudal Patrol‚ĄĘ – basically a new game similar to his Combat Patrol‚ĄĘ WWII card-based gaming system.¬† It will cover the pike and shot era and earlier.¬† My project was based on the Spanish Conquest of the 15th Century – so Aztecs, Maya, Inca, Tlaxcalans, Mixtec/Zapotecs, and of course Conquistadores.¬† This has been on my “bucket list” – and I will share some more of that in future posts – but it did consume a lot of time (which I had to spare).¬† I started painting Aztecs as well – but more on that later as well.

By the way, Buck redesigned his website Рand it is an incredible free resource for unit organization and equipment for WWII.  Here is an example.

Also, besides watching the news and the business channel, I watched TV, played cards (a rummy type game) with my wife, and did the grocery and pharmacy shopping.  Thankfully I have a respirator that I use when I airbrush Рso I wore that on these infrequent trips out of the house.  It reminded me of my Army days with the old M17 gas mask.

I have a treadmill, and that helps with exercise too.

Earlier this month maenoferren22 at Bogenwald posted a challenge to share the view out the front window.¬† I’ve enjoyed looking at others – so I thought I’d join in.¬† It took a bit longer for me to get involved – as we are in early spring and it’s been cold and rainy.¬† So. here’s some shots of my East Brookfield, MA home from inside and outside.

View 1 looking at porch
The front of our home – daffodils are out and grass is just turning green.
View 1 porch
A look from the front porch towards our church across the street (St. John the Baptist).¬† We last were able to attend on March 15th – and since then (including Easter) – we have watched the Bishop of Worcester’s Masses on TV.
View 2 house
The other side of the house.¬† It’s a “Dutch Colonial” and probably dates to the 1930’s or 1940’s.
View 3 house
Right side of the house.
View 4 house pond
The backyard – my garage (which is not great) on the right.¬† The pond in the back has a nice view – and a lousy name “Mud Pond”.¬† There is a beaver lodge in it – and I have seen many Great Blue Herons hunting here.¬† I have seen a bald eagle as well, and many hawks and falcons.¬† There are raccoons, bobcats, snakes, turtles, and bears as well.
View 5 pond
A little closer view of the yard and pond.
View 6 house
A reverse view from the pond towards the house.
View 7 porch
View from the back porch.
View 8 upstairs window
The view from the upstairs bathroom window.

That’s it.¬† Oh yeah, I do also listen to a couple of podcasts.¬† Many of you know IRO (imperialrebelork).¬† Along with his buddy Big Waz in Australia – he has The Fly on The Wall Podcast.¬† He also just started a nice hobby podcast named, Imperial Rebel Ork podcast.¬† I enjoy both – and TFOTW has been around a year now.¬† Helps to get over the pandemic a little bit.

Here is my little promotion pic, with my Australian-descended friend, Caesar (who is 26 years old now).

FOTW me and Caesar

Stay safe and more to come, I’m back!

Goodbye Dad, RIP

I have been dreading writing this post.

As you can tell, I lost my Dad, Anton (Tony) Patrick Morin, on February 7th at the age of 81 years, 6 months, and a day.  His obituary can be seen here.

I am Mark A. Morin.  The A is for Anton.  I have his name.  Dad was a proud Air Force veteran. His obituary has a lot of that information.  I guess this post is my way of breathing Рand finding peace.

Dad declined quickly.¬† He was sent by ambulance to the hospital on Thursday, January 30th after he fell and had a mental break during which he was confused and yelling and just out of it.¬† He had resumed a degree of normalcy (such as it was) by the time I saw him that morning/afternoon in the hospital.¬† It appeared that he might have had a mass on his lung, but no explanation for the cognitive issues.¬† We did not know what was going on medically, and still do not (he had a lot of health issues).¬† My Mom was exhausted physically and emotionally, so I sent her home and I stayed with Dad.¬† He was in pain, but we did get to have some conversations.¬† He prayed aloud in pain and was worried about his soul and Heaven.¬† His own Dad abandoned him in the 40’s – and was absent in his life.¬† I got to tell my Dad that I wished that he had had a great Dad like I had.¬† And despite his pain, he smiled.

I knew he was dying, but one never knows how soon.  Ten years ago, he nearly died (he was hospitalized for months).  Thank God he lived another ten years.  This time, I waited until my Mom left and asked the nurses to get him a priest.  Father Jose came later around 7 PM and Dad was finally asleep.  He began to pray over him and Dad gently woke up.  Dad spoke with Fr. Jose and even in Spanish a bit (Dad was a multi-lingual guy).  He gave him The Last Rites and I got to pray The Our Father with my Dad.  He then went to sleep, and I left.

The next day (Friday February 1st) he was scheduled for a lot of tests so I did not go to see him.  I went Saturday morning and by then pretty much his mind was gone.  He could not communicate in any effective way and was totally confused.  His mental state never got any better from then on, and the cause of his condition remained a mystery.

Six days later, at 2:15 AM on Friday, February 7th, my Mom called to tell me that the hospital had called her to tell her that it would not be long.  We got to the hospital, and he was unconscious, on oxygen, but struggling to breathe.  His family was with him.  He was given some morphine for comfort, the oxygen mask was removed, and I held his hand as he took his last breath.

His funeral was at St. Camillus, our old family parish in Fitchburg, MA, on February 15th.¬† I got to speak and give a remembrance of Dad.¬† I was honored to do so and share what my Dad meant to me – about his Work Ethic, his love for his family, and his Faith.¬† It’s tough now, for sure.

However, I have Faith, the greatest gift he and my Mom ever gave to me.  I feel especially blessed that I got to pray with him the last time he could with me.

I will go on to blogging about the significantly less important aspects of life, but I felt that I needed to have a blog entry about Dad before I moved on.  I also held back posting from late January onward as all this was going on.  Dad loved history and loved seeing my miniatures, especially the tanks.  We all lose our Dads someday, and our worlds get smaller as a result.  But I believe Dad has earned his Eternal Reward and we will be together again someday.

I am not looking for pity Рjust needed to put this down in a brief way.  Thanks to all who reached out to me and my family РI will never forget your love and your compassion, and your friendship.

Love ya Dad, thanks for everything.¬† I’ll do my best to honor your memory and what you meant to me.

Dad and Ellen circa 1995
My Dad and my daughter Ellen 20 years or so ago

Dads Mass Cards

Dads hat
The US Air Force hat I bought Dad that you see in the pictures.  I now display it proudly.

2019 Hobby, Gaming, and Blogging Roundup

2019 was a bigger year for this blog and my gaming and hobby activities.¬† I was able to run several games of Combat Patrol‚ĄĘ¬† and What a Tanker¬© at HAVOC, BARRAGE, the Fort Devens Games Day, The Historical Gaming Club of Uxbridge, and monthly sessions of the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.¬† I managed to get an award at HAVOC – and attend HUZZAH for the first time in Maine.¬† It was a busy gaming year.¬†¬†

Always happy to get this type of recognition!

In support of all these activities, of course I had a number of projects in terms of assembling, painting, and creating. I documented these here. Being an analytical type of guy I kept a spreadsheet of my hobby activities (below) and listed them on a page of this blog with links (also below).

My hobby activities tracker

The entire list and links are at the end of this blog which will refer to each project. These links are very useful to me in reviewing previous projects as to what paints I used, what techniques, etc.

The building and painting of tanks and support materials made up the largest part of my 775 project activities in 2019 (106 tanks I believe – 43 German, 23 UK, 18 US, 15 Italian, and 7 French), and the remainder were models for retro sci-fi games (around 50 or so).

The blog itself grew by a lot, and I was very pleased about that. In 2019, there were 20,965 views (versus 13,743 in 2018) by 13,819 visitors (versus 8,295 in 2018). I managed to get in 36 posts, 3 more than in 2018. I must say a huge thanks to all of my readers and followers of my blog!  I especially appreciate all of you (and you know who you are) Рwho took the time to give me feedback Рit was great to hear all of your perspectives. THANK YOU!

So what’s next for 2020? My goals are always changeable (hell, its a hobby right), but here is my current list:

  • Games:
    • Run convention games at TotalCon, HAVOC, HUZZAH, BARRAGE, and the Fort Devens Game Day (and a few more maybe)
    • Grow the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club with new members and new GM’s
    • Support the Historical Gaming Club of Uxbridge¬†
  • Models:
    • Build a suitable force of French and German tanks for the Battle of France scenario for 80th anniversary of this event
    • Build 2 or more new platoons for retro sci-fi games of Combat Patrol
    • Start the Nomonhan project
  • Other:
    • Complete a supplement for Feudal Patrol for Mesoamerican warfare (Aztecs, etc)
    • Be productive, but never sacrifice quality
    • Grow the blog and find new ones to follow!
    • Entertain my audience!
  • Golf:
    • Get my handicap below 14 (if I have enough non-gaming time!)

Thanks again for reading this and making my little hobby blog a part of your day!  Here are the massive details of 2019 below:

2019 Total Miniatures & Projects to Date: 775

  • 153 figures painted
  • 57 figures cast
  • 86 figures assembled
  • 28 terrain pieces made or assembled
  • 36 terrain pieces painted
  • 1 figure conversion
  • 2 creation or component sculpted or scratch-built
  • 2 molds made
  • 410 game pieces/game aids made and/or painted

January: 52 projects

  • Figures painted (26):
    • 9 British tanks painted for What a Tanker¬© in North Africa:
      • 2 A10 Cruiser Mark IIA (Desert) tanks (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 II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR060)
      • 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)
    • 17 German tanks/tank destroyers painted for What a Tanker¬© in North Africa and France 1940:
      • 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” tanks (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
  • Figures assembled (10):
    • 10 German tanks/tank destroyers assembled:
      • 2 Panzerjager I’s (one for France 1940 and one for North Africa)(15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE100)
      • 5 Panzer IIC’s and F’s (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX108) 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 Tiger I¬†(15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE070) for North Africa
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (16):
    • 16 dashboards built for What a Tanker¬© games

February: 71 projects

  • Figures painted (13):
    • 12 Italian tanks/tank destroyers painted for What a Tanker¬© in North Africa
      • 1 M14/41 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#IT040) for North Africa
      • 4 Semovente 47/32 tank destroyers (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#IT101) for North Africa
      • 1 Semovente Carro Comando M41 75/18 tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#IT110) for North Africa
      • 1 Semovente 5/18 tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#IT111) for North Africa
      • 3 M13/40 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Wargame Models in Ohio for North Africa (repainted)
      • 2 L6/40 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Wargame Models in Ohio for North Africa (repainted)
    • 1 German tank painted for What a Tanker¬© in North Africa
      • 1 Panzer IVD (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE040) for North Africa
  • Figures assembled (8):
  • Terrain pieces made or assembled (5):
    • 1 German Panzer IVD tank wreck made for North Africa as a terrain piece using a defective tank (15mm/1:100 scale) from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE040)¬†
    • 4 smoke/blast markers made
  • Terrain pieces painted (5):
    • 4 smoke/blast markers painted
    • 1 German Panzer IVD tank wreck made for North Africa as a terrain piece using a defective tank (15mm/1:100 scale) from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE040)¬†
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (40):

March: 138 projects

  • Figures painted (5):
  • Figures assembled (5):
    • ¬†3 Italian tanks/tank destroyers assembled for What a Tanker¬© in North Africa
      • 3 M11/39
  • Terrain pieces made or assembled (19):
      • 8 ITC Terrain Series Damaged Urban Barricades assembled
      • 11 smoke/blast markers made
  • Terrain pieces painted (23):
    • 4 berms painted for use with my Wasteland mat
    • 8 ITC Terrain Series Damaged Urban Barricades painted
    • 11 smoke/blast markers painted
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (86):
    • 22 dashboards built for What a Tanker¬© games
    • 64 “Bonus Attack Cards” built for What a Tanker¬© games
      • 18 Infantry Assault Cards
      • 12 Combat Engineer Cards
      • 12 Artillery Support Cards
      • 12 Anti-Tank Gun Support Cards
      • 12 Air Support Cards

April: 16 projects

  • Figures assembled (16):
    • ¬†11 German tanks/tank destroyers assembled for What a Tanker¬© in Normandy and the Eastern Front
      • 1 Marder III tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE104) for Normandy
      • 1 Panzer IVE¬†tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE041) for Normandy
      • 5 Panzer IVH¬†tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX121)¬† (2 for Normandy, 3 for the Eastern Front)
      • 1 Panzer IVF2¬†tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE042)¬† for the Eastern Front
      • 1 Panther tank¬†(15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE060) for Normandy
      • 2 Tiger I¬†tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX107)¬† (1 for Normandy, 1 for the Eastern Front)
    • 3 American tanks/tank destroyers assembled for What a Tanker¬© in Normandy¬†
      • 1 M3A1 Stuart tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#US003) for Normandy
      • 1 M4A2 Sherman tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#US045) for Normandy
      • 1 M10 Wolverine tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#US102) for Normandy
    • 2 American tanks/tank destroyers assembled for What a Tanker¬© in the ETO
      • 2 M24 Chaffee light tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from some guy on eBay (magnetized turrets and cleaned up model)

May: 25 projects

  • Figures painted (22):
    • 3 American tanks/tank destroyers painted for What a Tanker¬© in Normandy¬†
      • 1 M3A1 Stuart tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#US003) for Normandy
      • 1 M4A2 Sherman tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#US045) for Normandy
      • 1 M10 Wolverine tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#US102) for Normandy
    • 2 American tanks/tank destroyers painted for What a Tanker¬© in the ETO
      • 2 M24 Chaffee light tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from some guy on eBay
    • 17 German tanks/tank destroyers painted for What a Tanker¬© in Normandy and the Eastern Front
      • 1 Marder III tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE104) for Normandy
      • 1 Panzer IVE¬†tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE041) for Normandy
      • 5 Panzer IVH¬†tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX121)¬† (2 for Normandy, 3 for the Eastern Front)
      • 1 Panzer IVF2¬†tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE042)¬† for the Eastern Front
      • 1 Panther tank¬†(15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE060) for Normandy
      • 2 Tiger I¬†tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX107)¬† (1 for Normandy, 1 for the Eastern Front)
      • 1 Elefant/Ferdinand tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE132) for Normandy
  • Terrain pieces painted (3):
    • 3 fields painted

June: 190 projects

  • Figures painted (14):
    • 8 German tanks/tank destroyers/armored cars painted for What a Tanker¬© in Europe and North Africa¬†
      • 5 German armored cars painted for What a Tanker¬©¬†in Europe and North Africa
        • 3 SdKfz 231 (15mm/1:100 scale), from The Plastic Soldier Company (#WW2V15031), 2 for North Africa, 1 for Normandy
        • 2 SdKfz 233 (15mm/1:100 scale), from The Plastic Soldier Company (#WW2V15031), both for Normandy
      • 1 Jagdpanther¬†tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), Zveda model – (#Z106) bought from The Plastic Soldier Company
      • 1 Jagdtiger tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), Zveda model – (#Z105) bought from The Plastic Soldier Company
      • 1 Tiger II (King Tiger) tank¬†(15mm/1:100 scale), Zveda model – (#Z101) bought from The Plastic Soldier Company
    • 3 American armored cars painted for What a Tanker¬© in Europe
    • 3 British armored cars painted for What a Tanker¬© in Europe
  • Figures assembled (14):
    • 5 German armored cars assembled for What a Tanker¬©
      • 2 SdKfz 231 (15mm/1:100 scale), from The Plastic Soldier Company (#WW2V15031)
      • 3 SdKfz 233 (15mm/1:100 scale), from The Plastic Soldier Company (#WW2V15031)
    • 3 German tanks/tank destroyers assembled for What a Tanker¬©
      • 1 Jagdpanther tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), Zveda model – (#Z106) bought from The Plastic Soldier Company
      • 1 Jagdtiger tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), Zveda model – (#Z105) bought from The Plastic Soldier Company
      • 1 Tiger II (King Tiger) tank¬†(15mm/1:100 scale), Zveda model – (#Z101) bought from The Plastic Soldier Company
    • 3 American armored cars painted for What a Tanker¬© in Europe
      • 3 M8 Greyhound armored cars (15mm/1:100 scale), Old Glory/Command Decision (#CD207) bought from Old Glory Miniatures
    • 3 British armored cars painted for What a Tanker¬© in Europe
      • 3 Daimler Dingo (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR310)
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (162):

July: 28 projects

  • Figures painted (9):
    • 9 British tanks/tank destroyers painted for What a Tanker¬© in Normandy campaign/ETO
      • 1 Cromwell Mark IV Cruiser tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR041)
      • 5 Cromwell Mark IV Cruiser tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BBX31)
      • 2 M10 Achilles tank destroyers (15mm/1:100 scale), from Old Glory Miniatures (#CD-111)
      • 1 Churchill IV heavy infantry tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR074)
  • Figures assembled (16):
    • 9 British tanks/tank destroyers assembled for What a Tanker¬© in Normandy campaign/ETO
      • 1 Cromwell Mark IV Cruiser tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR041)
      • 5 Cromwell Mark IV Cruiser tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BBX31)
      • 2 M10 Achilles tank destroyers (15mm/1:100 scale), from Old Glory Miniatures (#CD-111)
      • 1 Churchill IV heavy infantry tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR074)
    • 7 American tanks/tank destroyers assembled for What a Tanker¬© in Normandy campaign/ETO
      • 5 M4A1 Sherman tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BBX42) – British Shermans to be used as Americans
      • 1 M10 Wolverine tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), from Old Glory Miniatures (#CD-111) – Achilles with US gun to be used as an M10 Wolverine
      • 1 M36 Hellcat tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#US106)
  • 1 terrain piece painted
  • 1 figure converted
    • 1 M10 Wolverine tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), from Old Glory Miniatures (#CD-111) – Achilles with US gun converted as an M10 Wolverine
  • 1 creations or components sculpted or scratch-built

August: 49 projects

  • Figures painted (7):
    • 7 American tanks/tank destroyers painted for What a Tanker¬© in Normandy campaign/ETO
      • 5 M4A1 Sherman tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BBX42) – British Shermans to be used as Americans
      • 1 M10 Wolverine tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), from Old Glory Miniatures (#CD-111) – Achilles with US gun to be used as an M10 Wolverine
      • 1 M36 Hellcat tank destroyer (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#US106)
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (40):
    • 40 tank destroyed/blast markers made for What a Tanker¬© games
      • 20 brewed up tank burning markers
      • 20 knocked out/disabled tank smoke markers
  • Molds made (2)

September: 72 projects

October: 23 projects

  • Figures painted (5):
    • 5 classic movie monsters painted for Halloween diorama piece
      • 1 Ral Partha 25mm “Dracula” (#01-014) from the “Personalities and Things that Go Bump in the Night” line, circa 1976.
      • 1 Ral Partha 25mm “The Mummy” (#01-020) from the “Personalities and Things that Go Bump in the Night” line, circa 1976.
      • 1 Ral Partha 25mm “Were Wolf” (#01-061) from the “Personalities and Things that Go Bump in the Night” line, circa 1979.
      • 1 Ral Partha 25mm “Werewolf” (#98-003) from the “The Adventurers” line, circa 1979.
      • 1 Ral Partha 25mm “Frankenstein’s Monster” (#98-003) from the “The Adventurers” line, circa 1979.
  • Terrain pieces painted (4):
    • 4 slag mounds on old CD’s.
  • Creations or components sculpted or scratch-built (1):
    • 1 Halloween Diorama
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (13):
    • 11 casualty cards made for “THE MIND AND THE MACRON”
    • 2 unit data cards made for¬†Combat Patrol‚ĄĘ

November: 7 projects

  • Figures assembled (7):
    • 3 French tanks assembled for What a Tanker¬© in France 1940
      • 3 FCM 36 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Old Glory Miniatures (#CD-608)
    • 4 figures for my Retrovian Platoon
      • 3 “The Bra’sheer” three-legged Retrovian vehicles, 28mm scale, from Wargames Supply Dump Miniatures Dirk Garrison line (#DG-07)
      • 1 “Garkkon” monster, 28mm scale, from Wargames Supply Dump Miniatures Dirk Garrison line (#DG-11)

December: 104 projects

  • Figures painted (41):
    • 7 French tanks painted for What a Tanker¬© for France 1940
    • 34 figures for my Retrovian Platoon
      • 3 “The Bra’sheer” three-legged Retrovian vehicles, 28mm scale, from Wargames Supply Dump Miniatures Dirk Garrison line (#DG-07)
      • 1 “Garkkon” monster, 28mm scale, from Wargames Supply Dump Miniatures Dirk Garrison line (#DG-11)
      • 2 “Retrovian Captain” figures, 28mm scale, from Wargames Supply Dump Miniatures Dirk Garrison line (#DG-50)
      • 3 “Retrovian Trooper Aiming Blaster” figures, 28mm scale, from Wargames Supply Dump Miniatures Dirk Garrison line (#DG-54)
      • 15 “Retrovian Trooper Advancing with Blaster” figures, 28mm scale, from Wargames Supply Dump Miniatures Dirk Garrison line (#DG-55)
      • 4 “Retrovian Sniper with Vision Enhancer & Needle Blaster” figures, 28mm scale, from Wargames Supply Dump Miniatures Dirk Garrison line (#DG-56)
      • 6 “Retrovian Two Man Sonic Cannon Team” figures (6 figures total), 28mm scale, from Wargames Supply Dump Miniatures Dirk Garrison line (#DG-58)
  • Figures assembled (10):
    • 10 French tanks/armored cars assembled for What a Tanker¬© in France 1940
      • 1 Hotchkiss H35 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront (#FR020)
      • 2 Hotchkiss H39 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront (#FR020)
      • 1 Hotchkiss H39 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Peter Pig (#PP33)
      • 3 AMC 35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Old Glory (#CD606)
      • 1 Char D1/D2 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from QRF (#FFV10)
      • 1 FT-17 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Peter Pig (#PP252)
      • 1 Panhard 178 armored car (15mm/1:100 scale), from Peter Pig (#PP25)
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (53):
    • 7 dashboards built for French 1940 tanks in What a Tanker¬© games
      • 3 FCM 36 dashboards
      • 1 H35 dashboard
      • 3 H39 dashboards
    • 6 unit data cards made for my Retrovians use in Combat Patrol‚ĄĘ retro sci-fi games
    • 3 vehicle data cards made for my Retrovians use in Combat Patrol‚ĄĘ retro sci-fi games
    • 3 vehicle data cards updated for my Mark 1 Sphere tanks use in Combat Patrol‚ĄĘ¬†retro sci-fi games
    • 34 casualty cards¬†made for my Retrovians use in Combat Patrol‚ĄĘ¬†retro sci-fi games

 



French Armor for the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of France: Hotchkiss H35 and H39 Light Cavalry Tanks

Amazingly, this upcoming May-June 2020 will mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of France.¬† I am curious as to how it will be remembered – if at all.¬† Certainly I would think that both the French and the Germans will likely shy away from commemorating the event for diametrically opposed reasons.¬† Yet, it is definitely worth remembering it as a seminal event that without question fashioned all of the world’s history since.

I have studied this battle since my days at West Point.¬† I was fortunate there to study with the then-USMA Department of History Chair COL Robert A. Doughty (now a retired Brigadier General).¬† I was able to participate in a class (HI498 – a colloquium) with him and just one other cadet during my second semester senior year as part of my concentration of studies in French.¬† A side note – my class – 1984 – was the last class not to have majors – we had concentrations.¬† This meant we could choose 8 classes outside of the 44 classes in the core curriculum.¬† As I love military history, especially French military history, this colloquium was a great opportunity.¬† We studied Alistair Horne’s works among others.

BG Doughty has authored many books (just check out this list on Amazon), many that focus on France from WWI to WWII.¬† I recently got two excellent books on the subject that he published after I graduated that I have not read:¬†The Seeds of Disaster: The Development of French Army Doctrine, 1919-39, (which discusses how the French Army came to set themselves up for disaster) and The Breaking Point¬† (dealing with the pivotal Sedan breakthrough in 1940).¬† I also plan on rereading Alistair Horne’s To Lose a Battle: France 1940 as well.

The reason for all this reading and research is (well, besides for pure pleasure) to prepare myself to be fully knowledgeable ready to run several tank battle games set in France in May-June 1940 using the What a Tanker¬©¬†rules.¬† Obviously, the games will be, at best, an abstraction of what happened.¬† However, I wanted to have requisite knowledge of the battle and to prepare and build suitable models for both sides to give a proper flavor to the conflict that shocked the world.¬† I did get an A- in the colloquium, but that was 35¬Ĺ years ago, I want to refresh!

Previously, I have built French and German tanks and run several France 1940 games described in this blog – but my 15mm/1:100 scale tank inventory was quite lacking in terms of the wide variety of vehicles used.¬† I aim to remedy that.¬† I am currently planning on running a game at TotalCon in February, and at HAVOC in April.¬† I may do others as well, plus club gaming sessions.¬† This blog post describes the first chapter of my preparation and force building upgrades for those events – four Hotchkiss light cavalry tanks (one H35 and three H39’s).

I will go over a bit of history of the Hotchkiss tanks and then show some WIP shots of the models.  I will then share some eye-candy shots of the finished models.  Lastly, as per usual, I will share the paints and materials used in this project.

The H35 tank was originally rejected by the infantry, who chose the R35 instead.¬† It was intended to be a light cavalry tank, though it did equip some infantry tank units as well.¬† Hotchkiss built around 1200 H35’s and H39’s, with the majority being H35’s.¬† The Hotchkiss company was actually founded by an American from Connecticut, Benjamin Hotchkiss.¬† He was a Union ordnance engineer at Colt and a munitions builder during the American Civil War.¬† Finding no US business after that conflict, he moved to France and set up his own company.

The H35 and H39 both had the same¬† 37mm SA18 gun that many French tanks had though the H39 had a longer barrel with better armor penetration (30mm vs 23mm of armor with the shorter barrel).¬† Given that a Panzer IIIE of the time had 30mm of armor all around, this was not adequate to be sure.¬† It had a crew of just two, which made it challenging to operate effectively in battle.¬† Three out of four of the armored divisions’ tank regiments had Hotchkiss tanks (the other one had SOMUA S35’s).¬† The armor was adequate, but with a range of only 80 miles and a top speed of 17 mph, it was not very cavalry-like.¬† On top of it all, it was tough to drive and mechanically unreliable.

After France capitulated, both Germany and Italy got Hotchkiss tanks.  Some of these Italian vehicles faced US Army Rangers in Sicily.  After the war, some Hotchkiss tanks served on with the Israeli Defense Force until 1952.

I acquired a 3-vehicle packet from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR020) and one single H39 vehicle from Peter Pig (#PP33).¬† The Battlefront ones could be either H35’s or H39’s.¬† In the end, one of the H35 guns was unsatisfactory, so I ended up with one H35 and three H39’s.¬† In the game, there are no differences statistically between the two types.

1 Hotchkiss tanks at start
Here are the models Рthe Peter Pig one was all metal.  The Battlefront ones had two different engine hatches depending on what version was to be built.  These were relatively easy to assemble and prep for painting.

2 Hotchkiss tanks assembled
Assembled and magnetized Hotchkiss tanks.¬† From left to right, Peter Pig H39, Battlefront H35, and two Battlefront H39’s.¬†¬†

3 H35 assembled
The Battlefront H35 gun was drilled in and affixed with Gorilla Glue.  Later, the drill holes were filled with kneadatite (green stuff).

4 H39 Bottom Peter Pig assembled
The bottom of the Peter Pig H39 model.  For reinforcement of the tracks, I added green stuff under the chassis.  I also added a magnet to the inside of the turret so my knocked out tank blast markers would stick to an otherwise non-magnetic model.

5 H39 Battlefront assembled
H39 showing green stuff around the longer gun.

6 Hotchkiss tank chassis painting mounts
My mounting arrangement for the tanks.  I did paint and varnish the tracks first.

7 Hotchkiss tank turrets painting mounts
Turrets ready to paint.

8 Tracks first!
This shows the H35 after the tracks were painted, washed, and lightly varnished.

9 Double Primed showing metal exposure
Then the models were mounted and primed.  I had a challenge priming the exposed metal parts as you see here РI needed a few thin coats.

9a Double Primed showing metal exposure
The priming issue (exposed metal) was more difficult for the Peter Pig model as it was all metal.

10 H35 masked for airbrush
After priming, the H35 awaits set up for base coat painting.  Protecting the already painted tracks with poster tack was the first step.

11 H35 masked for airbrush camo
I was not thrilled with the yellow, but I darkened it.  Here, I applied more poster tack to apply a camouflage pattern.

12 H39 masked for airbrush camo
The H39’s got their base coats, and then I used an Iwata Micron airbrush to blend in some browns on the green.¬† As I researched tanks of this era on the French side, I found that there was no standardization of tank painting schemes.

13 H35 masked for airbrush camo after
The H35 under the poster tack for a camouflage scheme.  

14 H39 close up after camo
The Peter Pig H39 model showing the added brown color airbrushed across the tank.

15 H35 close up after camo
After removing the poster tack from the H35, this was the result.  

16 H39 close up before decals and weathering
I then washed the vehicles with Army Painter Military Shader.  All that was left was adding decals, weathering, and final varnishing.

18 Tiny decals
Battlefront decals Рso tiny.  I still do not understand why the roundels are two piece decals.

Now, I would like to share the finished vehicles – eye candy (at least I hope you find them nice to look at).

Battlefront H35

1 H35 left side
Right side view, Battlefront H35

2 H35 frontside
Front view, Battlefront H35

3 H35 right side
Left side view of the H35.  The number is helpful for tabletop ID, but is historically correct.  The unit insignia is from the 4eme regiment de cuirassiers, part of the 1st Light Mechanized Division (DLM).

4 H35 rear view
The roundel on the back right.   

1a H35 left side
How I planned the paint job РI am hoping to get better tan/yellow tan paint for future French use, but after washing/shading, I think this is fine.  Do you?

Battlefront H39’s (two)

5 H39 (B model) left side
Battlefront H39 “#8” left side.¬†¬†

6 H39 (B model) left front side
Battlefront H39 “#8” left front side.

7 H39 (B model) left rear side
Battlefront H39 “#8” rear view.

8 H39 (B model) right side
Battlefront H39 “#8” right side.

5b H39 (B model) left side
My plan for the “#8”.

12 H39 (D model) right side
Battlefront H39 “#64” left side.¬† This was the only Hotchkiss tank I built with a number on the right side of the turret.¬† Again, markings were definitely not standardized.

13 H39 (D model) right front side
Battlefront H39 “#64” right front side.

14 H39 (D model) left side
Battlefront H39 “#64” right side.

15 H39 (D model) rear view
Battlefront H39 “#64” rear view.

12a H39 (D model) right side
How I modeled the vehicle.

Peter Pig H39

9 H39 (C model) left front side
Peter Pig H39 “#21” front left view.

 

10 H39 (C model) right side
Peter Pig H39 “#21” right side view.¬† After weathering was added, the side looked similar to the Battlefront models.

9a H39 (C model) left front side
I did not have a #41!

11 comparing Peter Pig vs Battlefront
This is a side-by-side comparison of the Battlefront (left) and Peter Pig (right) H39’s.¬† I like both – though my preference is for the Battlefront models – which are resin and metal.¬† However, many of the models I need for this project are hard to find and not made by Battlefront, and sometimes with some manufacturers you need to buy up to five vehicles.¬† With Peter Pig, I can just get one¬† vehicle (QRF with metal models sells one at a time as well – and you’ll see some of their vehicles soon too).¬† Old Glory usually sells 3 vehicles (all metal) in a pack.

Group Shots

16 Group Shot16a Group Shot

This concludes my very last post of 2020 Рand the beginning of this project.  (I will be doing a 2019 round up of course Рbut that will be coming later this week).

More Battle of France vehicles (French and German) will be coming and I hope that you will find them interesting.  If you have any feedback, good, bad or otherwise, let me know in the comments section РI do appreciate knowing what you think.

Thanks for looking and Happy 2020!

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

  1. Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol 91%
  2. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  3. 1/8″ neodymium magnets
  4. Green stuff (kneadatite)
  5. Gorilla Glue
  6. Poster tack and ¬ľ‚ÄĚ square wooden dowels on plastic plates
  7. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  8. Vallejo “Black Grey”
  9. Vallejo ‚ÄúSurface Primer ‚Äď USA Olive Drab‚ÄĚ
  10. Vallejo ‚ÄúFlow Improver‚ÄĚ
  11. Vallejo ‚ÄúAirbrush Thinner‚ÄĚ
  12. Vallejo Model Air “Pale Green”
  13. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  14. Battlefront “Army Green”
  15. Army Painter ‚ÄúMilitary Shader‚ÄĚ (shade)
  16. Battlefront ‚ÄúDark Gunmetal‚ÄĚ
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Rust” (71.080)
  18. Vallejo Model Air “Matt Varnish”
  19. Vallejo Model Air “Sand Yellow” (H35 only)
  20. Battlefront ‚ÄúArmy Green‚ÄĚ
  21. Vallejo Model Air ‚ÄúDark Brown‚ÄĚ (H39’s only)
  22. Battlefront ‚ÄúOxide Red‚ÄĚ
  23. Vallejo Model Air ‚ÄúGlass Varnish‚ÄĚ
  24. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  25. Microscale Micro-Set
  26. Microscale Micro-Sol
  27. Vallejo Weathering Effects ‚ÄúEuropean Thick Mud‚ÄĚ
  28. Vallejo Weathering Effects ‚ÄúEuropean Splash Mud‚ÄĚ
  29. Vallejo Weathering Effects ‚ÄúCrushed Grass‚ÄĚ
  30. Vallejo Mecha Varnish ‚ÄúMatt Varnish‚ÄĚ

French FCM 36 tanks

During the Battle of France (May-June 1940), there was an amazing variety of vehicles on both the German and the French sides.¬† At this same time last year, I began putting together a collection of period 15mm/1:100 scale vehicles for this period.¬† These were discussed here.¬† I have previously posted about a couple of games (December 2018 and January 2019) that I ran using the What a Tanker‚ĄĘ rules from the UK’s Too Fat Lardies.¬† I have been hoping to return to this period and add more vehicles to both armies.¬† I am starting this augmentation by adding 3 FCM 36 light tanks to my fleet.

The FCM stands for Soci√©t√© Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la M√©diterran√©e, a shipbuilder in Toulon who manufactured this 1936 design – and delivered about 100 to the French Army up through 1938.¬† Cost and industrial manufacturing concerns limited further purchases.¬† They were a little more than 12 tons, with a crew of two.¬† The armor was fairly good – welded, and very sloped for tanks of the day.¬† It also had a diesel engine and reasonable range unlike many other contemporary French tanks.¬† However, like many other French tanks, it was armed with the weak Puteaux SA 18 37mm gun which definitely had challenges fighting German armor.¬† Notably, two battalions of FCM 36’s tried to repel the bridgehead that the Heinz Guderian had established across the Meuse, but they were too little and too late.¬† After the surrender of France, some of the FCM 36 chassis were converted to Marder I’s or self-propelled artillery.¬† Some of these conversions were involved in the Normandy Campaign of 1944.¬† Today, only one FCM 36 survives at Saumur.

I thought these would be a good addition to my French early-war tank collection.¬† In What a Tanker‚ĄĘ, these are the cheapest tanks to buy point-wise.¬† The only source I found for these models was Old Glory.¬† They are metal, and quite small of course.

1 FCM 36 in package
The 3 FCM 36’s in the baggie.

2 FCM 36 before filing
I did need to do a bit of filing and cleanup of extraneous molding material and molding lines as you see here.  Yes, these are small!

3 FCM 36 before filing showing turrets pins
The turrets had a small molded pin for mounting on the molded hole on the chassis.¬† I needed to slightly elevate the turret or the underlying paint on the chassis would be worn off, even with a good varnishing.¬† I decided to drill out the pins and the holes with a 1/8″ drill bit.¬† I then used green stuff to fill in underneath the hollow chassis between the tracks and provide a “floor” for the magnets.¬† The magnets were put in place with Gorilla Glue in the chassis and the turrets.

4 FCM 36 after priming and base coat
You can see here my hodge-podge mounting scheme of the FCM 36’s for painting.¬† I used a 1/4″ square dowel and poster tack to mount the chassis for painting.¬† I primed these, and the used a German green-brown as a base coat.¬† This shot here is after the first camouflage color (blue green) was applied with my Iwata Micron airbrush.¬† Also, I only put the turrets on a tank when I am painting camouflage patterns.

5 FCM 36 after priming and base coat and more camo
Next, I applied the third color (brown) to the camouflage pattern.

6 Turrets after decal but before varnish
When I paint turrets, I find this helpful (as the magnets in the turrets hold the turrets to the magnets on the washers).  Also, I can easily apply the decals this way, and airbrush on the final two coats of matte varnish.

Lastly, I thought I’d share some group and individual shots and a bit about their debut on the tabletop the day after they were completed.

 

12 FCM top view
Top view showing the sloped octagonal turrets.

 

7 FCM 36 left sides
Left side of the FCM 36’s.

8 FCM 36 frontal armor view
Frontal view.

 

I used a blue diamond, a red heart, and a red club as decals which would also help identify these as different individual tanks on the tabletop.¬† From my research, FCM’s did not seem to have as many markings historically as other French tanks.

As stated above, these made their game debut this weekend at the December session of the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.

13 First FCM 36 roll
My buddy Mike Morgan was on the French side, and chose the blue diamond FCM 36 as his tank.  He then rolled a perfect roll of 6 sixes!  The odds on that were 0.01286%!

14 FCM 36 Blue Diamond moves onto the board
Mike’s FCM 36 moves on the road.

15 FCM 36 Blue Diamond duels with a StuGA
His FCM 36 was stalked by a StuG A (player Chris), which kept missing it.

16 FCM 36 Blue Diamond duels with a StuGA, misses
Mike successfully maneuvered his tank to the German’s side, and shot point blank.¬† The dice deserted him as the StuG A took only minor damage.

17 FCM 36 Blue Diamond duels with two StuGA, who miss it
Smelling an easy kill, the Germans (Chris’s teammate Christine) brought up a second StuG A in the hunt.¬† It also missed the FCM 36.¬† Note – as there were only 15 StuG A’s in the German invasion force across France, this would have been highly unlikely!

18 Now the Panzer IIIE joins the fight
Then the Germans brought up even more to the hunt with a Panzer IIIE…

19 Panzer IIIE brews up FCM 36
And Mike’s plucky FCM 36’s luck finally wore out with the Panzer IIIE (Christine) knocking it out.

On the other side of the table, Mike’s teammate Tom managed to kill Christine’s Panzer 38(t) with a SOMUA S-35.¬† Mike got another FCM 36, and that was killed by Christine’s teammate Chris’s StuG A (in the shot below on the left).¬† Mike replaced his lost tank with an R35.¬† Tom drove his SOMUA around the building but frustratingly could not take a point-blank shot at the Panzer IIIE (as his dice roll failed him).¬† Mike had to leave, and my wife Lynn (no gamer just watching) took over the R35.¬† Lynn drove the tank to the side of Christine’s Panzer IIIE, and rolled three critical hits – and Christine failed to block any.¬† This knocked out the Panzer IIIE!

20 R35 avenges the FCM 36 after SOMUA misses
Lynn’s R35 avenges the burning FCM 36 (on right) by knocking out the Panzer IIIE.

21 Lynn is happy
Happy wife, happy life!  Tom and Lynn are all smiles here.

22 SOMUA is hit in rear by StuG A
In a final act, Christine maneuvered her remaining StuG A for a rear shot on Tom’s SOMUA S-35.¬† She successfully knocked out the SOMUA.

That ended the game, with the French winning a very narrow victory 32-31.  If Lynn had not rolled so well in killing the Panzer IIIE, the Germans would have won.  Thanks to the players for a great and fun game!

I have plans for more French and German tanks for this scenario.  I hope that you enjoyed this post, and feel free to share your thoughts and feedback with me in the comments section!  I have been behind on my blogging efforts and hope that I can share more with you soon!  Thanks for taking a look!

Also, as these were mostly done in November, I would add them as my contribution to Azazel’s MechaNovember painting challenge!

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

  1. 1/8″ neodymium magnets
  2. Green stuff (kneadatite)
  3. Gorilla Glue
  4. Poster tack and ¬ľ” square wooden dowels on plastic plates
  5. Vallejo ‚ÄúSurface Primer ‚Äď Black‚ÄĚ
  6. Vallejo ‚ÄúFlow Improver‚ÄĚ
  7. Vallejo ‚ÄúAirbrush Thinner‚ÄĚ
  8. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  9. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green Blue”
  10. Vallejo Mecha Color “Brown”
  11. Battlefront ‚ÄúBlack‚ÄĚ
  12. Battlefront ‚ÄúDark Gunmetal‚ÄĚ
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  14. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Dark Rust” (wash)
  15. Army Painter “Light Tone” (shade)
  16. Vallejo Model Air “Satin” (varnish)
  17. Microscale Micro-Set
  18. Microscale Micro-Sol
  19. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  20. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  21. Citadel “Typhus Corrosion”
  22. Citadel “Ryza Rust”
  23. Army Painter “Strong Tone” (shade)
  24. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  25. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  26. Vallejo “Pigment Binder” (pigment)
  27. Vallejo Weathering Effects “European Splash Mud”
  28. Vallejo Mecha Varnish ‚ÄúMatt Varnish”

 

Allies Defeat Germans at Fort Devens Game Day

On October 19th, 2019, the Fort Devens Gaming Day was held at the Fort Devens Museum.  This was our monthly gaming day as an “away” game day for the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.  Our club sponsored two games as Scott Howland ran a pulp game in another room which was very well-received. I believe it was similar to this one.

This was my second time attending this small convention and my first time as a game master there.  For nostalgia alone, I really looked forward to the event as I was stationed at the old Fort Devens before it was closed in the 1990’s.   It has since been converted to commercial uses and some US Army Reserve functions.  Running a game here was fun.

10192019 Normandy Breakout with contact info

Mike Morgan graciously helped me set up my game in the museum among the exhibits (as you will see below)).  Thanks so much Mike!  Mike also supported Scott as a player in his game, and that was very cool.  I ran my Normandy Breakout game for What a Tanker¬©.  We had seven players – including several from the Mass Pikemen.  On the German side were Chris, Peter, and Steve.  On the Allied side were Leif and Walter (US), and Evan and Alex (UK).

Both sides started with 150 points/chips to use during the game.  The Allies started with a 40 points worth of vehicles.  For the UK, they bought a Dingo scout car and a Churchill “TIM” (nicknamed for theimperfectmodeler aka TIM), along with an M5 Stuart, and an M8 Greyhound for the US.  The Germans spent slightly less, choosing to buy an SdKfz 231 scout car, a StuG IIIG, and a Panzer IVH for 36 points.

1 Set up
The players prepare for battle among the museum exhibits.

The Germans took up very good ambush positions – especially the Panzer IVH, which was hull-down behind a stone wall.  The M5 Stuart successfully reconned it, and the German fired point-blank at the light tank, missing it.  The Stuart then prudently backed up behind the hedgerow.  The Churchill “TIM” then moved up the road, to be also shot at, and again missed by the Panzer IVH.  Amazingly, the Churchill immediately reversed the bad German die rolls, and miraculously hit and knocked out the Panzer IVH for its first kill ring of the day.

2 Churchill takes out Pzkw IVH
The first exchange goes badly for the Germans as the Panzer IVH missed its first two targets (the M5 Stuart and the Churchill).  The retreating M5 is at top behind the hedgerow.  The Churchill “TIM” drives past the knocked out (with crew surviving) Panzer IVH.

The Allies then successfully reconned nine possible German positions at 2 points apiece, adding to their score.  They also successfully crossed the tabletop with an M8 Greyhound, gained the points, and respawned as another M8.  The Germans spent some points and respawned the destroyed Panzer IVH crew into a Panther D which drove up next to the burning Panzer IVH.  The Churchill “TIM” went Panther hunting.

Meanwhile, the Germans tried to put an end to the Allied reconnaissance successes.  The StuG IIIG ambushed both the M5 and the Dingo gaining them crucial points, which they used to buy a Marder III.  The Allies respawned both losses with similar models.

3 StuG IIIG takes out M5, while Churchill moves around Panther
The Churchill “TIM” at top maneuvers to attack a Panther in the rear.  In the foreground, The StuG IIIG takes out the M5…  

The Allies spent some chips to respawn the Dingo as a Cromwell IV nicknamed “IRO” aka imperialrebelork.  The Germans dropped some obscuring smoke in front of the Cromwell.

4 StuG IIIG takes out Dingo, while Churchill moves around Panther
…and then the Dingo.  The Germans dropped smoke to protect the StuG from the Cromwell IV “IRO”.  The Churchill “TIM” at top hunts the Panther D.

“TIM” continued its winning ways and managed a flank shot on the Panther D.  Its good dice rolling (and the German bad dice rolling) yielded a second kill ring for “TIM”.

5 Churchill gets second kill ring against Panther
The Churchill “TIM” takes out the Panther D.

The Germans were aghast at this expensive loss and vowed revenge.  The SdKfz 231 managed to call in a rare Luftwaffe air strike on the Churchill, which destroyed “TIM” after it had been so effective.

The British mourned this loss, and respawned it as an Achilles 17-pounder nicknamed “Per”.  The British also bought another Dingo and a Cromwell IV nicknamed “JNV” or justneedsvarnish.  The US bought an M10 Wolverine.  The Germans went for broke and bought a Jagdpanther and an SdKfz 233.

The StuG IIIG went head-to-head with the Cromwell “IRO”, and took it out.  The Jagdpanther caught the Achilles “Per” in the open and made short work of it.  In the meantime, the Allies successfully crossed a Dingo and an M8 Greyhound.  This resulted in denying the Germans any end of game bonus points for preventing more than two Allied vehicles crossing the table.

To make matters worse for the Germans, the respawned M5 Stuart knocked out a well-hidden Marder III with some help from a supporting infantry assault (see how I use bonus attack cards here) and well-placed 37mm rounds.  As the game was winding down, and it was clear the Allies had a commanding edge in the score, The Germans bought a Tiger I and converged all vehicles on the plucky M5.

6 Marder III taken out and other Germans seek vengeance
The Marder III burns, and the Tiger I and SdKfz 233 hunt the M5 Stuart… 

7 Stuart will not die
…and are joined by the Jagdpanther!

8 Traffic jam
This traffic jam at game’s end yielded no damage on the M5 Stuart – the dice had completely deserted the Germans.

At games end, the final score was Allies 193, Germans 142.  This game yet again delivered a different result.  Player choices, and player luck all made this game fun and unique.

This is my 12th post about my development and running of this scenario and the models that went into making it.  I started back in May 2019, so it’s been a lot of work, but one project that I really am proud of now.

I wanted to honor the history and the struggle of the Allies in the days after the D-Day landing 75 years ago.  I will continue to run the game, and at this point I really only need to add a StuG IV to be really complete vehicle-wise (and I have one to build!).  To read about previous games and related posts, see the following:

Thanks to the Fort Devens Museum, Peter Lowitt. and the guys at Fencing Frog Gaming Adventures for running the event.  I hope to see you next year, if not sooner.  I also hope that some of the players join us at The Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.

I hope you enjoyed this post and would love to read your feedback!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween Diorama with Classic Movie Monsters from 1970’s Ral Partha

When I was young boy, the local TV station would show an old monster or horror movie on Saturday afternoon.¬† Sometimes these were the of the 1960’s Japanese Godzilla et. al. genre, other times they were the B-movie sci-fi stuff from the 1950’s.¬† Even the British Hammer remakes would be shown.¬† Those were all cool, but the best ones were the classic 1930’s and 1940’s films like “Dracula” (1931), “Frankenstein” (1931), “The Mummy” (1932), and “The Wolf Man” (1941).

My dad would enthusiastically watch these films with us and I have really special memories of those occasions.  Now of course every movie ever made can be had immediately, but back then you had to wait and hope that they would be coming on Рand that made their rare showings quite eventful.  The subjects of those movies have seen numerous remakes, but the originals remain classics and have had a huge impact on popular culture.

One of those influences was in the creation of games with monsters, such as Dungeons and Dragons (and others) – and the miniatures that were used with them – such as 25mm scale figures from Ral Partha.¬† For US folks unfamiliar with 25mm scale – this is the common Ral Partha scale in the 1970’s and 1980’s and it means that each figure is only about 1″ tall.

I first was exposed to Ral Partha miniatures in 1982 – and have loved them ever since.¬† Sculptors such as Tom Meier, Julie Guthrie, and Dennis Mize made fantastic creations that were true scale, not “hero scale” as many of today’s miniatures are.¬† Ral Partha figures are still made today in Cincinnati by Iron Winds Metals.¬† When I returned to the hobby in 2014, I acquired many of the old figures in various lots of figures on eBay.¬† Among these of which I came into possession were several of the old classic movie monsters.¬† They often were encrusted with the types of thick enamel hobby paint that was commonly used back then.¬† I stripped many (with some damage), and put them away for future consideration.

That future consideration arrived this month.¬† A local hobby store, Great Stories in Uxbridge, MA, has gaming and other hobby events that you can read about here.¬† ¬†One of these events was “The Great Pumpkin Halloween Hobby Challenge”.¬† The store had a pumpkin patch for figures to be displayed – and the only rules were that there needed to be a pumpkin (provided for $5 as entry) as part of the figure – and that it needed to be submitted by October 28th.¬† I decided that my filed-somewhere Ral Partha monsters would make a nice diorama for the challenge.¬† I dug into my stash, and found that I had 5 suitable figures, two werewolves, one mummy, one Dracula, and one Frankenstein’s Monster.¬† I wanted to push myself with the mini-diorama – as I have been admiring many of those by theimperfectmodeler for years (check one of his recent dioramas¬†here).¬† I am nowhere near his creative league (he is award-winning) – but his work is inspiring and I wanted to see if I could accomplish something of which I could be proud.¬† I decided to use an old DVD and card as a base and a Woodlands Scenics rock as elevation.¬† The edge of the pumpkin patch would be on the DVD so I could line it up on the display at the store.

The effect that I wanted was that of having these classic monsters coming from off the pumpkin patch and moving to prey upon the unwary townsfolk beyond.

1 4 bases
1976 and 1979 figures’ bases.¬† From left to right is Frankenstein’s Monster (1979), Dracula (1976), The Mummy (1976), and one of the two werewolves (both were 1979).

2 cd and stone and card
The base was an old DVD sanded down – and a Woodland Scenics resin stone.

3 cd and stone and card painted
I decided to brush paint the base with primer to keep the stone pristine (and away from any airbrush mistakes).  I also wanted to have a great bond between the stone and the DVD so I affixed it prior to painting along with a piece of polystyrene card to cover the hole.

Again, these are 25mm figures so they don’t stand out like larger models.¬† This is what we had back in the day!¬† I will share details of each of the five models, and then the completed piece.¬† As is my custom, I will list the paints and materials I used at the end of this post for those interested.¬† I did use many Citadel Contrast paints as base paints.

Dracula

The Dracula/vampire model was #01-014, a Tom Meier sculpt from the Personalities and Things that Go Bump In The Night¬†line.¬† The base had “Ral Partha 1976” on it.¬† I probably over-cleaned it – but the details on it – especially the face – were not great.¬† Trying to get the right skin tone for Dracula was a challenge – and the lack of detail did not help.¬† I wanted Dracula to be the highest model on the diorama – like he was sending his evil minions forth.¬† The rock had a nice place for me to place Dracula’s base as its size and shape were considerations as well (it was not a removable base).

1 Dracula unpainted
Dracula after cleaning – I probably got aggressive trying to remove the old enamel (note the scratches).

2 Dracula mounted for painting
Dracula mounted and ready for airbrush priming and traditional brush painting thereafter.  I did use many of the new GW Contrast Paints on all of these models, but ended up needing other paints and products as well.

3 Dracula painted
Dracula painted and varnished.

4 Dracula mounted
Dracula mounted on the diorama.

The Mummy

The Mummy model was #01-020, another Tom Meier sculpt from the Personalities and Things that Go Bump In The Night line.  It was also from 1976.  This was the easiest to paint and I thought it came out as desired.

1 Mummy unpainted
After cleaning and stripping, there were still remnants of the old paint job, but these were not an issue.

2 Mummy prepped for painting
The Mummy, mounted for painting.

3 Mummy painted
After painting and varnish – looking very old school Egyptian.

4 Mummy mounted
The Mummy mounted on the diorama.

The Were Wolf (crouching model)

The were two werewolf models that I used.¬† The first werewolf was in a crouch.¬† This model was “Were Wolf”¬†#01-061, (two words) – yet another Tom Meier sculpt from the Personalities and Things that Go Bump In The Night¬†line.¬† However this one was from 1979.¬† I wanted to have this one climbing up the back slope of the rock, giving a little more depth to the piece.

1 Werewolf crouching unpainted
Some of the original paint can still be seen.

2 Werewolf crouching prepped for painting
The Were Wolf mounted for painting.  The detail on this model was still in good shape.

3 Werewolf crouching painted
A close-up shot of the model after I painted and varnished it.

4 Werewolf crouching mounted
The mounted monster climbs the back of the rock.  Here again, I needed to deal with the base.

The Werewolf (standing model)

This is the second of the two werewolf models that I used.¬† This model is standing (and this one is wearing pants).¬† It is “Werewolf”¬†#98-003, (one word).¬† This could have been sculpted by Tom Meier, Julie Guthrie, or Dennis Mize, as the Lost Minis Wiki is not clear on that.¬† The sculpt is from the The¬†Adventurers¬†line and has 1979 on the base.¬† I wanted this beast standing in the front of the diorama.

1 Werewolf standing unpainted
The Werewolf cleanup up – I do not think this model was previously painted.

2 Werewolf standing prepped for painting
The Werewolf mounted for painting.  The size of the small base was helpful in mounting to the diorama.

3 Werewolf standing painted
The figure after completion.

4 Werewolf standing mounted
The Werewolf moves forward on the diorama.

Frankenstein’s Monster

Often called “Frankenstein”, this is actually Frankenstein’s Monster (created of course by Dr. Victor Frankenstein.¬† The model is another one from The Adventurers line and has the designation #98-003.¬† The detail on this was also fairly good for a model from 1979.

1 Frankenstein's Monster unpainted
The model after I cleaned it as best as I could – some old paint remnants remain.

2 Frankenstein's Monster mounted for painting
The Monster mounted for painting – I did not want to take away any detail here as I thought it was pretty good.

3 Frankenstein's Monster painted
The painted Monster.  I went with heavy eyebrows as before I did the effect of the brow was not what I wanted.  Close up it has a little Groucho Marx look Рbut at a distance it worked Рat least for me.

4 Frankenstein's Monster mounted
Moving to the attack!

The Pumpkin

The pumpkin was a from a Reaper sprue -and had to be part of the contest submission.

Basing the models after painting them required a bit of landscaping.¬† To fit better on the hobby challenge table, I made a field edge with Citadel “Stirland Battlefield” on the field and “Agrellan Badlands” on the rest of the ground.¬† I added autumn leaves from 4Ground (now available from Warlord Games here) to the still-wet texture paints and some matte varnish droplets on the rock.¬† These were placed as how I thought they would naturally collect – as well as to break up the form of the flat mini bases that were mounted on the rock.¬† Then, I used a handheld hair dryer to dry the terrain (and crack the Agrellan Badlands a bit).¬† ¬† I added some grasses from Shadow’s Edge Miniatures.¬† These also helped to hide Dracula’s base a bit.

6 Dracula and crouching Werewolf mounted
The Dracula figure and the crouching Were Wolf are mounted on the rock here with Gorilla Glue.¬† For better adhesion, I scraped away the black primer where I was going to mount the other three figures.¬† This also allowed me to mount them sequentially.¬† Doing this made it easier to paint and hide the figures’ bases with the texture paint products.

7 figures mounted, front side
The texture paints are still wet here.¬† I created the pumpkin patch edge with “Stirland Battlefield”, the rest with “Agrellan Badlands”.¬† I put a few dots of matte varnish on the low spots on top of the rock for the leaves.¬† While the paints were still wet, I sprinkled the autumn leaves about as you see here, then used a hair dryer to dry and crack the ground.

8 figures mounted, left side
A right side view of the same as previous.

9 figures mounted, rear side
A rear view of the previous.

10 figures mounted, right side
A left side view of the previous.

Once it all had dried, I removed the piece from the poster tack.

11 finished
Finished piece.

I then drove down to Great Stories to get it entered.¬† There are a lot of nice pieces there, so we’ll see how it does – and of course most folks who will vote are not used to wee 25mm scale!¬† It did mesh well with the edge of the pumpkin patch.¬† At the least, I’ll have a Halloween decoration for many years!

12 on Hobby Challenge table
The Pumpkin Patch is alive with creatures!

12a on Hobby Challenge table
Side view of the previous shot.

Thanks for looking – and I always love getting feedback and any opinions in the comments section, so feel free to post there.

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS, FLOCKING, GLUES AND MORE USED ON THESE FIGURES:

On the base:

  1. Gorilla Glue gel
  2. Poster tack
  3. Used DVD
  4. Polystyrene card
  5. Woodland Scenics resin rock
  6. Vallejo ‚ÄúSurface Primer ‚Äď Black‚ÄĚ
  7. Citadel “Stirland Battlemire” (texture)
  8. Citadel “Agrellan Badlands” (texture)
  9. 4Ground Loose Copper Foliage
  10. Shadow’s Edge Static Grass Tufts
  11. Vallejo Mecha Varnish ‚ÄúMatt Varnish”

Commonly used on all figures for mounting, priming, and varnishing:

  1. Poster tack
  2. Vallejo ‚ÄúFlow Improver‚ÄĚ
  3. Vallejo ‚ÄúAirbrush Thinner‚ÄĚ
  4. Vallejo ‚ÄúSurface Primer ‚Äď White‚ÄĚ
  5. Vallejo Mecha Varnish ‚ÄúMatt Varnish‚ÄĚ

On the Dracula figure:

  1. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Gulliman Flesh‚ÄĚ
  2. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Medium‚ÄĚ
  3. Vallejo “Light Flesh”
  4. Army Painter “Flesh Wash”
  5. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Black Templar‚ÄĚ
  6. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Basilicanum Grey‚ÄĚ
  7. Vallejo “Black”
  8. Citadel ‚ÄúNuln Oil‚ÄĚ (shade)
  9. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  10. Citadel “Astrogranite” (texture)

On The Mummy figure:

  1. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď ‚ÄúApothecary White‚ÄĚ
  2. Citadel ‚ÄúNuln Oil‚ÄĚ (shade)
  3. Citadel ‚ÄúLongbeard Grey‚ÄĚ (dry)
  4. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”

On the Were Wolf figure (crouching):

  1. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Gore-Grunta Fur‚ÄĚ
  2. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Volupus Pink‚ÄĚ
  3. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Medium‚ÄĚ
  4. Vallejo Mecha Color “SZ Red”
  5. Citadel ‚ÄúPrayeti White‚ÄĚ (dry)
  6. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Space Wolves Grey‚ÄĚ
  7. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  8. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Black Templar‚ÄĚ
  9. Citadel ‚ÄúNuln Oil‚ÄĚ (shade)
  10. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď ‚ÄúApothecary White‚ÄĚ
  11. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  12. Citadel “Astrogranite” (texture)

On the Werewolf figure (standing)

  1. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Gore-Grunta Fur‚ÄĚ
  2. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Volupus Pink‚ÄĚ
  3. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Medium‚ÄĚ
  4. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Dark Angels Green”
  5. Vallejo Mecha Color “SZ Red”
  6. Citadel ‚ÄúPrayeti White‚ÄĚ (dry)
  7. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Space Wolves Grey‚ÄĚ
  8. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  9. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Black Templar‚ÄĚ
  10. Citadel ‚ÄúNuln Oil‚ÄĚ (shade)
  11. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď ‚ÄúApothecary White‚ÄĚ
  12. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”

On Frankenstein’s Monster figure:

  1. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď ‚ÄúPlaguebearer Flesh‚ÄĚ
  2. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď ‚ÄúOrk Flesh‚ÄĚ
  3. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Basilicanum Grey‚ÄĚ
  4. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Militarum Green‚ÄĚ
  5. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Wyldwood‚ÄĚ
  6. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Dark Angels Green”
  7. Citadel ‚ÄúNuln Oil‚ÄĚ (shade)
  8. Vallejo “Black”

On the pumpkin:

  1. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď Gryph-Hound Orange‚ÄĚ
  2. Citadel “Astrogranite” (texture)
  3. Citadel ‚ÄúContrast Paint ‚Äď ‚ÄúOrk Flesh‚ÄĚ
  4. Citadel ‚ÄúNuln Oil‚ÄĚ (shade)

Thanks for looking!