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.

French defeat Germans at Mass Pikemen

Last Saturday, December 1st 2018, the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club held their monthly gaming session with a lively game of What a Tanker© by The Too Fat Lardies company.  The scenario we used was one from France 1940, with available forces from that time frame.

Each team was given poker chips to represent available points to choose and deploy their tanks.  In this scenario, each had 25 points to choose three tanks.  If a tank was destroyed, the winning team would get that many points in chips – which they could use to either upgrade a deployed tank, buy a new tank, or purchase a Bonus Card.  The destroyed tank would respawn in the game.  There was a river in the middle of the board, with roughly equivalent terrain on both sides of the board.  I said that any tank on the opposite side of the river at the game’s end would count for two times as many points for victory.  This gave each side an incentive to move forward.

For initial forces, the Germans chose two Panzer IVD’s (2 for 14 points) and a Panzer 38(t) (one for 9 points), leaving them with 2 chips extra. The Germans passed on choosing a Panzer IIC.  The French chose two R35’s (2 for 14 points) and one SOMUA S35 (1 for 10 points), leaving them with one extra chip.  While there were StuG IIIA and Char B1 bis vehicles in the inventories, I did not allow either to be chosen initially for reasons of play balance.

1 board
The game board set up.  The Germans chose to enter on the right side.

2 board
The Germans initially deployed from here, with the French deploying on the opposite side.

3 R35 knocks out Pz 38
In early action, a Panzer 38 (t) was knocked out by a flank shot from one of the R35’s as it hid on the left behind the bocage.  A Panzer IVD and the other R35 watch it burn.

4 R38 hides
The previously successful R35 runs behind the bocage.  Another Panzer IV crosses the river at a ford (minor obstacle), but by this time it had been hit multiple times and was down to one Command Die…

5 dice
…and the French SOMUA rolled this!  An example of the French Command Dice rolls.  Each 6 is a Wild card and each 4 is a firing die.  Basically, this allowed the loaded French SOMUA to fire 3 times in that turn, contributing to the demise of the Panzer IVD.  Unfortunately, the Germans’ rolls were hardly ever this good during the game.

6 Scott and Ethan
The previously mentioned unlucky Panzer IVD burns on the left by the bocage.  Scott and Ethan Howland are maneuvering another Panzer IVD and a Panzer 38 (t) against the SOMUA S35.

7 SOMUA showdown
The SOMUA activates, and moves to the rear of the Panzer IVD, but is unable to get off a shot.  The Germans were able to subsequently knock out the S35 in their only kill of the day.

8 R35 and Pz IVD showdown
On the left French flank bridge, a duel went on between a Panzer IVD and an R35.  The French were lucky and activated first, hitting the German in the side.  Subsequently, the German reoriented, but was hit again and forced back.

9 Pz IV burns
The Panzer IV was dispatched by the intrepid two man crew of the R35.

At that point the game was called.  The French crossed one R35 to the other side of the river and got 14 points.  The final score was France 38, Germans 12.  It was a good rolling day for the French and a bad one for the Germans.  The best tanks did not get to deploy, but both sides needed to use terrain well, and they did.  It was nice to have some new players (Leif, Ethan, and Scott), thank you for coming.  Everyone had fun, and I will run this scenario again.

Score Breakdown:

French 38 chips:

  • 1 chip left over from initial deployment (1 chip)
  • Two Panzer IVD’s knocked out (14 chips)
  • 1 Panzer 38 (t) knocked out (9 chips)
  • 1 R35 on the other side of the river at game’s end (14 points)

Germans 12 chips:

  • 2 chips left over from initial deployment (2 chips)
  • 1 SOMUA knocked out (10 chips)

Our next session will be on January 5th at 2 PM at 110 Pleasant Street, East Brookfield, MA.  Please follow us on FaceBook at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.