Normandy Breakout Game at Mass Pikemen

Last Saturday (August 24th) we had a very action-packed game of What a Tanker© using my Normandy Breakout scenario at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club.  I have been tweaking the scenario, some rules, and improving the terrain and markers – and I believe the gamers who played really noticed all of the upgrades and changes.  I have been fortunate to get valuable feedback from the gamers which has been invaluable, and this game was no exception.  I have acted as a Game Master for this game a couple of times (discussed here), and this, the third iteration, was another great game that had the players highly engaged.

For this post, I will show some of the photos that tell the story – though simultaneously being a photographer and a GM are not always easy.  I appreciate the generosity of both Chris Rett and Ted Salonich helping with some photos – as well as playing of course!

The game scenario is:

After a successful D-Day landing and consolidation, the tanks of the Americans and the British are stymied in the hedgerows of Normandy. German armor has set up effective defensive positions in favorable terrain. However, the Allies do not know the exact locations of the German tanks, and the Germans have limited knowledge of where the Allied armor will be coming from and the direction to which they will try to break out. New rules that allow reconnaissance and the effects of other combat forces will challenge both sides in this action-packed game.

The Germans are in secret positions (basically ambush positions) that they choose in advance of the Allies arrival – which is also secret in terms of the exact vehicles that the Allies choose.  Both sides get to secretly select their vehicles (with some restrictions), and poker chips are used for the scoring.  The Germans here did stop the Allies from breaking out – though the Allies were able to gain more points by both effectively recon of enough blind positions and knocking out enough valuable German vehicles.  The final score was 117-109 in favor of the Allies – with the game score turning on the Allies knocking out a Jagdpanther on the last turn.  The casualties were:

  • Allies – 5 vehicles:
    • UK – 3 vehicles:
      • 2 Daimler Dingoes
      • 1 Firefly
      • 1 M10 Achilles
    • US – 2 vehicles:
      • 1 M3A1 Stuart
      • 1 M10 Wolverine
  • Germany – 3 vehicles:
    • 1 Sdkfz 233
    • 1 Panther D
    • 1 Jagdpanther

Let’s see what the day looked like!

4 map at session
The Allies moved on from here.  The British had the far left road, and the Americans had the far right road.  The middle road could be used by both Allies.  The wooden discs are possible German positions to be reconned.
5 map at session
A side view of the tabletop that better shows some of the (blind) possible German positions.
6 map at session
The view from the German side of the board that the Allies needed to cross.
1 Me as GM
Your properly attired GM.  (Photo by Chris Rett)

The Germans effectively used a Bonus Attack card to draw first blood – calling in a rare Luftwaffe attack on a Daimler Dingo.

7 Dingo hit by Luftwaffe
The Daimler Dingo hit by the Luftwaffe – my new blast/knocked out tank markers looked pretty amazing (and I am biased of course).
4 Jagdpanther hunts Stuart
A Jagdpanther prepares to engage an M3A1 Stuart from an excellent ambush position.  The Stuart decided to run around the corner and recon the disc on the left…(Photo by Chris Rett)
5 Surprise!
… and the Stuart “successfully” reconned the position – it went around the bocage to find the Elefant in the room. (Photo by Ted Salonich)
5a Surrprise
The Stuart fired its 37mm at the frontal armor of the Elefant.  No effect.  The Elefant returned fire, and blew away the Stuart.
9 Firefly knocked out by StuG G
A Panther D and a StuG G combine forces to knock out a Firefly near the burning Dingo.
10 Panther D knocked out by Achilles
An M10 Achilles fires at and knocks the Panther D into a ruined building, damaging it.  It gets a second shot, and rolls well enough to torch the Panther.
11 M18 Hellcat moves up to help British
The Americans move up an M18 Hellcat to help the Brits – it ended up moving behind the Jagdpanther and was able to destroy it.
8 Gamers
The gamers ponder their moves.
13 Last shot
The Allies called in a lot of artillery-delivered smoke to protect their vehicles.  It was effective.
6 Panther burns and Tiger I arrives
Here comes the Tiger!  Note the StuG G that ambushed the M10 Wolverine.  The crew of the M10 survived – as denoted by the black smoke versus the fiery smoke.  Also shows the Allied smoke screen in front of the Jagdpanther.

As the German vehicles are worth, in general, much more points, the loss of their expensive vehicles made a big difference.  Both sides played well, but I have to say the Germans were not very lucky with their dice at times.  

I will be tweaking the game scenario in a couple of ways:

  • Adding stopping bonuses for the Germans:
    • A 20-point bonus for the Germans if no Allied vehicles are able to breakout across the tabletop.
    • A 10-point bonus for the Germans if only one Allied vehicle is able to breakout across the tabletop.  If 2 or more cross, no German bonus.
    • Award the Germans 2 points for each unreconned point.  This will incentivize recon, but force the Allies to choose what is most important.  (The Allies already get 2 points for each reconned point.)
  • Allow a “banked 6” to be used for either an advantage on the next activation (per the rules) or as an automatic “6” on the next activation roll (determined by the player on the turn he banks it). Thanks Ted Salonich!

Thanks again to the all of the players.  And for those who follow this blog who wondered if their named vehicle got fried, only one Cromwell (“IRO”) deployed and did not get into action.  However, the M10 Achilles “Per” (named for Per from Roll a One) did get knocked out by one of the StuG G’s.   Sorry my Swedish friend!

Hope that you enjoyed this – and I will be running this game on Saturday at BARRAGE in Maryland (September 28th) and at the Fort Devens Game Day on October 19th.  I may also run it at other upcoming gaming cons if possible.  Thanks for looking!

 

 

US Tanks and Tank Destroyers for Normandy Breakout Scenario

Welcome back dear reader for the latest installment on my US armored forces!  I needed to add more US vehicles for my Normandy Breakout scenario which uses the What a Tanker© rules by the UK-based company Too Fat Lardies.  I do modify these rules for the scenario.  For those who missed them (like some of the HAWKS did because I used the wrong hashtag!), the posts about the other vehicles and playtests for this scenario can be found at these links:

Vehicle Posts:

Playtest and related gaming posts:

I am planning on running this scenario at three upcoming events:

  • August 24th at the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club in East Brookfield, MA
  • September 28th at BARRAGE in Havre de Grace Maryland
  • October 19th at the Fort Devens Game Day at the former Fort Devens, MA

This project, with the possible exception of an additional stray German vehicle or two, completes the list of vehicles I need for the scenario.  In looking for vehicles, I wanted to add some Shermans, another M10 Wolverine, and an M18 Hellcat.  I found a deal on a box of 5 plastic British Shermans M4A1’s with cast hulls that would work.  I would have preferred getting models like my M4A2 – but that one is OOP and even the American Shermans that Battlefront is selling now are basically M4A1’s.  So these British ones, properly assembled, at 15mm scale, is just fine.

For an M10, I converted an Old Glory M10 Achilles by using a leftover gun to make it look like an original version.  Technically, is that a conversion of a conversion?  After seeing how John at Just Needs Varnish! added a plastic card underneath his models to make them easier to paint, I was inspired to add a small steel base under my M10 chassis.

The M18 Hellcat I found was really nice – and I wish I had another as well.  This one had a slightly broken front fender, but its hardly noticeable.  In any case, I used enough mud and dirt to obscure that problem.

I also decided to use the Battlefront naming decals on all of these to help differentiate them on the tabletop – as well as by adding spare road wheels, spare tracks, and other accouterments to all of the vehicles.  Thanks to my good friend Jeff Smith, the Shermans got some real steel in them by means of ball bearings in the chassis.

I decided to weather these slightly differently by adding pigments – inspired by Pete’s blog and a Merkava he built.

After a few in-progress shots, I will describe the vehicles alphabetically by name and type.

M4A1 “Betty”

1 M4 Betty, left side, crosses a field
“Betty” crossing a field.  

2 M4 Betty, right side, in a field

M4A1 “Blood ‘N Guts”

1 Blood N Guts completed, left side
“Blood ‘N Guts” crossing an opening in the bocage.

2 Blood N Guts completed, left side, crossing the opening in the bocage

M4A1 “Destruction”

1 Destruction after decals
“Destruction” early in the weathering process right after decal application.
2 Destruction after pigments
“Destruction’s” chassis after weathering
3 Destruction in the hedgerows
“Destruction” moving down the road between the hedgerows.
4 Destruction completed, left side
“Destruction” left side – as an experiment I used Citadel contrast paint on the tarp.

M4A1 “Let ‘Er Buck”

1 Let 'Er Buck after decals and some weathering
“Let ‘Er Buck” chassis early in weathering.  I chose this name/decal in honor of Buck Surdu, though as an infantryman he may object…

2 Let 'Er Buck finished, left side3 Let 'Er Buck finished, front side

4 Let 'Er Buck finished, right side
Note on all these that I used different gear in different stowage to differentiate the tanks.

M4A1 “Polly”

1 Polly completed, left side
“Polly” by some ruins.  As I have a pet cockatiel named Caesar, this is as close as he gets to an avatar tank.

2 Polly completed, right side3 Polly completed, right side, at crossroads

M10 Wolverine “Demon”

1 M10 Demon after weathering
“Demon” getting dirtied up.
2 M10 Demon crosses field, left side
“Demon” crossing a field.  I did not buy crew for this one.

3 M10 Demon crosses field, right side

4 M10 Demon crosses field, front side
Nice view of “Demon’s” front showing the replacement gun.
5 M10 Demon and other Battlefront M10
On the left, “Demon” from Old Glory, on the right, my previously built M10 from Battlefront for comparison.  I used more mud and dirt on “Demon” as it was a much less detailed casting.

M18 Hellcat “Lucky Tiger”

1 M18 Hellcat Lucky Tiger after some weathering
M18 Hellcat “Lucky Tiger” chassis all dirtied up.  I chose the name/decal as I am sure sometime it will face a Tiger I or Tiger II, and it will need to be lucky!
2 M18 Hellcat Lucky Tiger right side on road
“Lucky Tiger” completed and moving down the road.

3 M18 Hellcat Lucky Tiger right side on road4 M18 Hellcat Lucky Tiger left side on road

5 M18 Hellcat Lucky Tiger aerial view on road
Aerial view of “Lucky Tiger” showing the ID decal to keep away friendly air attacks.

6 M18 Hellcat Lucky Tiger front view on road

Group Shots

1 Shermans aerial view
Shermans in convoy on road.

2 Shermans aerial and side view

3 Shermans front shot
Frontal view of the five Shermans.
4 All US front shot
My complete American armored troops (currently) for the ETO.  Front row left to right: two M4’s (Wargame Models in Ohio); the five Sherman M4A1’s of this blog post (Battlefront); one M4A2 (Battlefront).  Second row l-r: M10 Wolverine of this post (Old Glory); M10 Wolverine (Battlefront); M18 Hellcat of this post (Battlefront); three M8 Greyhounds (Old Glory).  Third row l-r: two M5 Shermans (Wargame Models in Ohio); one M3A1 Stuart (Battlefront); two M24 Chaffee’s (eBay 3D printed acquisition).  I built and painted all but the Wargame Models in Ohio models.

5 All US side shot

The US vehicle menu for the scenario looks like this now.

US Army Menu

I hope that you enjoyed this post – and thanks in advance for your feedback in the comments section!

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

  1. Gorilla Glue
  2. E6000 epoxy
  3. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  4. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  5. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  6. Vallejo Model Air “US Olive Drab”
  7. Extra .50 cal machine guns from Battlefront kits for the M10 and the M18
  8. Extra 3″ gun from Battlefront kit for the M10
  9. ½” steel base from Wargame accessories for the M10
  10. Steel ball bearings from Jeff Smith’s fairway mower
  11. Daisy Air Rifle BB’s
  12. Reaper MSP “Black Primer”
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Dark Brown”
  14. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  15. Army Painter “Military Shader” (wash)
  16. Battlefront “European Skin”
  17. Battlefront “Skin Shade” (wash)
  18. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  19. Citadel “Contrast Paint – Militarum Green”
  20. Battlefront “Oxide Red”
  21. Secret Weapons Washes “Armor Wash”
  22. Microscale Micro-Set
  23. Microscale Micro-Sol
  24. Microscale Micro-Satin
  25. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  26. Vallejo Game Air “Satin” (varnish)
  27. Vallejo “Gloss Varnish”
  28. Appropriate decals from Armorcast
  29. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  30. Vallejo “White”
  31. Vallejo “European Mud” (Thick Mud)
  32. Vallejo “European Slash Mud” (Splash Mud)
  33. Vallejo Weathering Effects “Crushed Grass”
  34. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  35. Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  36. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish

US Armor for 75th D-Day Anniversary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Looking Forward to HAVOC!

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

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

I’ll be running these two games!  

04062019 HAVOC What a Tanker North Africa Photo

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

04062019 HAVOC Attack of the Warbots Photo

 

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

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

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

Panzer IVD Wreck

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

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

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

4 Wrecked primed
My initial basing and priming 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12 after varnish, front
After first coat of varnish.

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

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

Smoke/Blast Markers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Italian Armor for North Africa

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

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

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

Royal Italian Army Armor

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

M14/41 Tank

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

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

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

Semovente 47/32

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

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

Semovente 75-18

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

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

Panzer IVD

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

Italian Repainting

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

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

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

Eye Candy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for looking and for sharing your feedback!

ONCE MORE – ON MY RESEARCH MATERIALS

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

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

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

Building a Panzer Army Africa Tank force for What a Tanker

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

OVERVIEW

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

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

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

PANZERJAGER I’S

Images that I used for modeling.

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

PANZER II’S

There were nine Panzer II’s!

I modeled my Panzer IIF on this image.

PANZER IIIE’S

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

PANZER IIIH

Panzer IIIH assembled
After camouflage applied.

PANZER IVF2

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

CAPTURED GERMAN M3 STUART “HONEY”

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

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

TIGER I

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

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

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

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

So now, its time for…

EYE CANDY!

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for looking and for sharing your feedback!

ON MY RESEARCH MATERIALS

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

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

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