A Preponderance of Panzers

For May, I was hoping to complete a diverse German 15mm/1:100 scale armored force to use for a What a Tanker© game D-Day scenario.  Last month saw my completion of a good-sized US force – and I already had an 11-tank British contingent of Shermans and Fireflies.

As for the Germans, last year I had bought and assembled a 5-vehicle Plastic Soldier Company StuG III kit that could be completed as either F8 or G variants.  I assembled and primed them, but put them aside, as they did not fit in with either my France 1940 or North Africa scenarios.  From Battlefront Miniatures, I had bought several resin and plastic models to include a Marder III, 7 Panzer IV’s (E, F2, and H’s), 2 Tiger I’s, and a Panther D.  Additionally, I was able to acquire a Battlefront Ferdinand/Elefant from Chris Rett in my gaming club – which was fortunate as this model is now out of production.  This made 17 tanks/tank destroyers available to assemble and paint, but too big a force for just a Normandy scenario.  Plus, from my research, the StuG F8 was more of an Eastern Front vehicle.  So, I decided to proceed to complete these 17 for two different scenarios, some for the Eastern Front and some for the Normandy scenario.

Researching the camouflage patterns for these two groups showed me very different patterns of painting – and in each case I would need to expand my skills and tools to be able to achieve a good historical representation of each vehicle.  In particular, I needed an airbrush that could do the finest lines and make these tiny tanks look appropriate.  I found a solution in an Iwata Micron B airbrush.   This was not inexpensive, but in the end turned out to live up fully to my expectations.  As an aside, I had been struggling to have enough time to finish all of these tanks in May.  Work this month had been hectic, I attended HUZZAH in Maine (more to come on that in a future post), Memorial Day ceremonies, and the Boston Bruins have been in the Stanley Cup playoffs (and now the finals!!) so my hobby time has been constrained somewhat,  Unfortunately I got a bit more time as I was unexpectedly laid off this week!  I am sure that if I did not have a job, I would not have bought the new Micron B airbrush, but who knew that would happen?  Not me, but at least I was able to finish these in time to be my second entry in Azazel’s “Mechanismo May” community painting challenge.

Given that I was so busy, I took fewer WIP photos than normal – so I decided that this post I will go through some points on assembly, then share in turn the Eastern Front vehicles, the Normandy vehicles, and lastly the paints and materials that I used.  This means the eye-candy shots will be interspersed this time throughout the blog.  As always, let me know your thoughts and feedback – and which one you like the most, if you are so inclined of course!  There are links on the headers and elsewhere if you want more background, albeit from Wikipedia.

Notes on Assembly

2 Tigers
Tiger I kit innards
3 Tiger and washers
I wanted more heft in my tanks – so I added steel washers to the Tiger’s. I filled the hulls afterwards with PVA glue.
6 Panzer IVH with ball bearings and BB's
I remembered that I had some ball bearings from Jeff Smith and some BB’s – so the Panzer IV’s got these and PVA glue on top as ballast.
4 Assembled grouping less Pz Iv's and some StuG's
Some of the tanks, some primed, some not yet.  The Elefant in front had been given an Elefant trunk and ears with green stuff by Chris Rett’s daughter.  I did my best to remove the excess kneadatite before repriming.

Eastern Front

Here are the vehicles I built for a future Eastern Front scenario.

StuG III F8

1 StuG F8 base coated
StuG IIIF8 base coated
2 StuG F8 painted red
I made three F8’s for the Easter front.  Two had the two-toned reddish/brownish camouflage.
3 StuG F8 painted 3 color
The third F8 I experimented with the Iwata Micron B to make a three-toned camouflage pattern.
4 StuG F8's in wheat field
The three StuG IIIF8’s completed deployed in a wheat field.
5 StuG F8's in wheat field left side view
Left side view of the StuG IIIF8’s
6 StuG F8's in wheat field rear view
Rear view of the F8’s.  I used the Vallejo “Thick Brown Mud” on my Eastern Front vehicles to simulate the effects of Mother Russia.

Panzer IVF2

This model was a resin/metal combination.

4 Panzer IVF2 complete right side
Completed Panzer IVF2, left side.
5 Panzer IVF2 complete left side
Right side of the completed Panzer IV F2.

Panzer IVH

3 all 3 Panzer IV H's
I painted one Panzer IVH in a reddish/brown two-tone, and the other two in a two-tone yellow/green pattern.  Here they are with different decals.  I tried Armorcast decals in addition to my Battlefront ones – and the sizes of theirs (crosses) work better for small areas like you see here.  Give them a look if interested.
4 all 3 Panzer IV H's in a field
Patrolling a field.
5 all 3 Panzer IV H's by a wheat field
Left side of the Panzer IVF2’s.  I also varied adding crew or leaving the tank buttoned up to make it easier for tabletop identification and play – in addition to the different decal numbers.

Tiger I

4 Tiger in wheat field left side
Eastern Front Tiger I, left side, crossing a wheat field.
5 Tiger acquiring target
This was a fun model – and the weathering products worked well.
5 Tiger in wheat field frontal view
Acquiring a Soviet target.
5 Tiger in wheat field rightside
Right side shot.
6 Tiger in wheat field rear
Rear angle on the Tiger I.

These are going to be fun to use and see used in future games.  I previously had built a Battlefront resin Tiger I for North Africa, and I must say that the plastic ones are really nice models too (less weighty of course – which is why I added ballast).  Of course, I was primarily focused on getting ready for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.  So let’s get to those AFV’s!

Group Shots

Here are some group shots all of the German AFV’s for Eastern Front scenarios that I did this month.

1 Group shot 1 Eastern Front2 Group shot 2 Eastern Front

Normandy Campaign

Here are the Normandy Campaign tanks and tank destroyers I built this month.  These all have three-toned camouflage pattern, though I tried to be true to the examples I found in my research.

Marder III

This was a resin and metal model.  I painted the crew separately before adding them to the model.

4 Marder III complete right side
Marder III in ambush position.
5 Marder III complete left side
Left side view.
6 Marder III rear
Rear view showing Marder III crew.

StuG IIIG

This version had the “schürzen” spaced armor – which was also on the Panzer IVH.  All these are plastic models.

2 Stug G's by wrecked building
Advancing past the ruins.
3 Stug G's in field
Moving into ambush position by the bocage hedgerows.
4 Stug G's advancing down road
Moving up.

Panzer IVE

This model is the least powerful of the Panzer IV’s I built for Normandy, but it was deployed in Normandy and in good numbers.

3 Panzer IVE by building
The Panzer IVE by a building near a Panzer IVH – the Vallejo “Crushed Grass” worked well along with the “European Thick Mud” and the European “Splash Mud” for weathering.

Panzer IVH

I built two plastic Panzer IVH’s for Normandy.  The side armor (schürzen) were not easy to affix, and made painting a challenge on both these and the previous Eastern Front versions.  Their camouflage patterns were slightly different.

1 Panzer IVH's and Panzer IVE in field
The two Panzer IVH’s and the Panzer IVE (for comparison) on the right in the hedgerows.
2 Panzer IVH's facing front
Frontal view of the Panzer IVH’s for Normandy.
2 Panzer IVH's turn corner
Patrolling the ruined village.

Elefant/Ferdinand

I really enjoyed bringing this monster tank destroyer model back to the tabletop.  It is out of production, so I was very happy that Chris sold it to me for a song.

4 Elefant in field
Elefant right side.  
5 Elefant facing front
Nice view of the front – the crewman was already mounted when I got this model.  I prefer to paint them separately, but this worked out fine – they are just so tiny.
6 Elefant rear
Good look at the rear of the vehicle – I liked that it had the zimmerit on it too.

Panther D

I’ve been wanting to build a Panther since I saw the Panther A at the American Heritage Museum last year.  This is 30 miles from my house!

15A PANTHER
Beautiful restoration of this Panther

Mine is a Panther D, and it was a resin/metal model.

Note the road wheel on the turret.  It came in the kit, and I put it there as there was a nub to hang it.  Unfortunately, it interfered with the turret being flush on the hull.  Luckily, I was able to remove the road wheel.  As I had an extra track section, I was able to affix it over that space on the turret.  The model was also missing on of the two exhaust pipes – an iconic part of a Panther.  I was able to drill the resin hull and build a replacement with a cut-down paper clip.

3 Panther in field
Panther crossing an open field.
4 Panther left side
Nice left side view showing the muddy tracks.
5 Panther right side
Right side view with track section on the turret.
6 Panther acquiring target
Target spotted!  Schnell!  Feuer!

Tiger I

I think you’ll be pleased with this one!

 

3 Tiger in field left side
Left side of the Tiger I for a Normandy scenario.
4 Tiger in field rear side
Tiger I rear view.
5 Tiger in field right side
Right side view of the Tiger I.
5 Tiger in open acquring target
Nice frontal shot.

Group Shots

Here are some group shots all of the German AFV’s for Normandy that I did this month.

1 Group shot 1 Normandy Germans

2 Group shot 2 Normandy Germans

3 Group shot 3 Normandy Germans

Thanks for looking and I hope that you found this interesting !  I have more to do now – next up:

1 Next models

D-Day is only 5 days away!

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

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. Testors Plastic Cement
  3. Elmer’s white glue
  4. Steel washers
  5. Ball bearings
  6. BB gun BB’s
  7. E6000 epoxy
  8. Aleene’s poster tack
  9. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  10. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  11. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  12. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  13. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  14. Battlefront “European Skin”
  15. Battlefront “Skin Shade” (wash)
  16. Polly Scale “WWII German Armor Dark Olive Green”
  17. Vallejo Mecha Color “Grey Green”
  18. Vallejo Model Air “Olive Green”
  19. P3 “Bootstrap Leather”
  20. Vallejo “Neutral Grey”
  21. Polly Scale “WWII Luftwaffe Uniform Gray”
  22. Vallejo Model Air “Panzer Dark Grey”
  23. P3 “Sulfuric Yellow”
  24. DecoArt “White Pearl”
  25. Army Painter “Military Shader” (wash)
  26. Vallejo Model Air “Dark Yellow”
  27. Vallejo Model Air “German Red Brown”
  28. Vallejo Mecha Color “Olive Green”
  29. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  30. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  31. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  32. Army Painter “Strong Tone” (wash)
  33. Vallejo Model Air “USA Olive Drab”
  34. Army Painter “Soft Tone” (wash)
  35. Vallejo Model Air “Rust (71.080)”
  36. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  37. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  38. Vallejo Model Air “Bright Brass”
  39. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  40. Microscale Micro-Set
  41. Microscale Micro-Sol
  42. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  43. Appropriate decals from Armorcast
  44. Vallejo “European Mud” (Thick Mud)
  45. Vallejo “Brown Mud” (Thick Mud)
  46. Vallejo “European Slash Mud” (Splash Mud)
  47. Vallejo “Crushed Grass”
  48. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

 

 

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.

 

Happy Tanksgiving! 2 Soviet, 5 French, and 5 German tanks get off the November painting table for “What A Tanker” games

November 2018 for me has been a month of armor, culminating in a fine “Tanksgiving” – a fine output for me of early WWII 15mm (1:100) scale armor.  I intend for these to be used in What a Tanker© games.  Certainly, my mid-November visit to the American Heritage Museum played a role in spurring this direction in my hobby efforts.  You can see my current 2018 production here, and there are a lot of tanks.

My focus continued to be on early war vehicles.  I had enough forces for an early Eastern Front game between the Axis (Germans and Italians) and the Soviets, but I wanted to have more variety in terms of tanks available.  My KV-1 platoon needed some help, so I added some BT-series tanks.

My other goal was to build German and French forces for a France 1940 scenario.  For the Germans I added a Panzer IIC, a Panzer IIIE, and three StuG Ausf A assault guns to my fleet.  For the French, I added two Renault 35’s and three SOMUA S-35’s.  All of these came from the Flames of War line from Battlefront Miniatures.  I really like their tanks, even though I don’t play Flames of War!  I think that I can get some crossover between the early-war German forces for such a scenario and use some on the Eastern Front.  Long term, I am also planning on designing a North Africa scenario for the British and the Germans, and some of the figures I got from Battlefront will serve nicely after I paint them in desert colors.

Regarding colors, I also acquired some of the Battlefront paints so as to understand the colors that they recommend.  The current Battlefront “Colours of War” line mixes sets of 20 ml and 12 ml dropper bottles, as compared with Vallejo’s 17 ml bottles.  It appears that at least some of their paints may have been made by Vallejo, at least in the past.  I found them to be good paints that worked well either thinned in an airbrush or a regular brush.  At the end of this post, I will share the paints and materials that I used for those interested.

In this post, in order I will discuss the Soviets, the French, and the German models I worked on in November.  I also am submitting these as part of a Mechanical November community painting challenge run by Azazel (which is very fun to be a part of – check him out!).

Soviet

The two Soviet tanks that I added were the BT-5 and the BT-7.  An advantage of adding these will be that they also were used against the Finns in the Winter War and against the Japanese at Nomonhan in 1939 and during the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria in 1945.  So, I can use them in different scenarios for sure.  I followed the same procedure to paint these as I did my previous early war Soviet tanks.

For assembly, I again chose to magnetize the turrets by drilling out the hulls and the turrets and using rare earth magnets.  I weathered all of the tanks, as I prefer my tanks to be muddy.  I also left the crews out, as I did not like the way they fit in the turrets.  Of note, their Christie suspensions (an American invention) would be reproduced with the T-34 series.

Overall, I am happy with the way these turned out.  In What a Tanker© their fighting characteristics are exactly the same.

6 BT5 and BT7 front
BT-5 (left) and BT-7 (right) frontal view
7 BT5 and BT7 back
BT-5 (left) and BT-7 (right) rear view

 French

I have always had an affinity for the French Army, as I have a French name (albeit of French-Canadian extraction), speak French, and spent time with three different Regiments du Genie (Engineer Regiments) back in the 1980’s.

For my France 1940 scenario, I already had two resin Char B1 bis tanks from Wargame Models in Ohio.  I added two light infantry tanks (Renault 35 or R35) and three SOMUA S35’s for a balanced group.

Assembling and painting these would require new uses of poster tack, plastic plates, and wood screws.  This allowed me to both safely handle the tanks in production but also to get the right look of the camouflage.  I decided to leave the crews out, as I had little confidence that they would survive the tabletop for very long as the models were designed.

I also got to play with some decals from Battlefront.  These did require retreatment with Liquid Decal Film from Microscale Industries before I used their other products to affix their decals.  I could not believe that the French roundel decal came in two pieces (the blue dot was separate and had to be affixed after and onto the red-ringed white circle).  That was annoying!

9 French forces for 1940
My new French tanks with my old Char B1 bis tanks
10 SOMUA's front
The three SOMUA S35’s, frontal view
11 SOMUA's left side
SOMUA side view showing the card-suit designations on the turret backs

12 SOMUA's right side

13 R35 front
Renault R35’s

14 R35 moving

15 Defenders of France
Nice group shot

German

For the Germans, I chose to use the Panzer IIC, the Panzer IIIE, and the Sturmgeschutz Ausf A.  The Panzer II’s came in a box of 5 – but was missing one tank gun.  Battlefront has promised to make this good (and I expect it soon).  I chose to make one of the Panzer II’s a France 1940 candidate, saving the other four for a North African scenario that I will complete later on.  The Panzer IIIE came in three separate blisters.  Ironically, the Panzer IIIE was the worst of the Germans to assemble.  One gun was almost split, and the turrets were nearly three different sizes.   There were a lot of mold lines to correct as well, especially on the tracks.

I repaired the one gun with green stuff, and chose it for the France 1940 group, saving the other two for North Africa.  Lastly, historically it seems that very few StuG III’s made it to North Africa.  Therefore, I added all three of the assault guns for my France 1940 scenario.

12 Panzer III prepped for camo
The Panzer IIIE prepped for camouflage
14 PzIIC right side
Panzer IIC complete, left side
15 PzIIC left side
Panzer IIC, left side.  The 14 is for my wife – her and my lucky number!
16 PzIIC rear
Rear view of the tiny Panzer IIC.
17 Pz IIIE front
The Panzer IIIE completed.  The brown camouflage doesn’t really show up as well here (so I guess it works!).
18 Pz IIIE back
Panzer IIIE opposite view
19 StuGA's front
Sturmgeschutz III Ausf A, frontal view
20 StuGA's left side
Sturmgeschutz III Ausf A, left side view
21 StuGA's right side and rear
Sturmgeschutz III Ausf A, right side and rear view
22 all German fronts
My Germans for the France 1940 scenario

I was glad to have finished these in time for our club’s monthly session (which I will post about shortly).  I will be adding more to my fleet, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed these.  Do you have a favorite?

I appreciate hearing your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.  Thanks for looking!

 

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

COMMONLY USED ON MULTIPLE TANKS:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  4. Battlefront “German Camo Black Brown”
  5. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  6. Vallejo Mecha Color “Green”
  7. Battlefront German Camo Black Brown
  8. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  9. Vallejo “Burnt Umber” (pigment)
  10. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  11. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  12. Vallejo “Natural Umber” (pigment)
  13. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (weathering)
  14. Vallejo Mecha Color “Oil Stains” (weathering)
  15. Battlefront “Oxide Red”
  16. Gorilla Glue
  17. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  18. Microscale Micro-Set
  19. Microscale Micro-Sol
  20. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  21. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  22. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (shade)
  23. Citadel “Nuln Oil Gloss” (shade)
  24. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  25. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”

UNIQUE TO THE SOVIET TANKS:

  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Russian Green”
  2. Vallejo Panzer Series “Camouflage Olive Green”
  3. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Green”
  4. Citadel “Biel-Tan Green” (shade)
  5. Citadel “Athonian Camoshade” (shade)
  6. Secret Weapons Washes “Sewer Water”
  7. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”

UNIQUE TO THE FRENCH TANKS:

  1. Battlefront “GI Green”
  2. Battlefront “Flat Earth”
  3. Battlefront “Sicily Yellow”

UNIQUE TO THE GERMAN TANKS:

  1. Battlefront “Panzer Gray”
  2. Battlefront “Rommel Shade”
  3. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown”
  4. Battlefront “European Skin”
  5. Battlefront “Skin Shade”
  6. Vallejo “Medium Skin Tone”
  7. Battlefront “Black”
  8. Green stuff

Thanks again for looking and for your feedback!