Η λίστα ιστολογίων μου

Πέμπτη, 29 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

BEF, France 1940, Part I

After much though of how to do France in 1940 for Blitzkrieg Commander (I have the first edition, a second has been in print for a couple of years now but I don't know if I will eventually buy it), I finally decided on what I know best; 1/72-76 plastics. Admittedly, not everything I wanted is available in plastic so some allowances would have to be made, but I can live with them.

While I was window-shopping for infantry, I decided to start on my artillery. I chose the Airfix 5.5" gun with Matador tractor. While the 5.5" did not make it to France (it came into service one year later), it will double as a 60-pounder or 4.5" gun. The Matador is a neat little model than needs some reworking to turn it into a perfect replica of the actual truck, but I build it as is. Paul from Plastic Warriors has done a couple of them and changed the wheels but I did not. However, I decided to do something about the rear tarp. Not having another model to rob, I decided to use an older solution. I took some toilet paper (not imprinted with any fancy designs mind you), placed it on the rear of the truck and impregnated it with large amounts of crazy glue. After the glue set, I trimmed it to fit the outline of the rear of the truck and painted it. Looks good enough for me.

I also changed the driver, using a seated figure from the HaT WWI British Artillery Crew set. Looks pretty good in there. Much better than the Yank that Airfix put behind the wheel.

The 5.5" gun suffers from some sink marks than need puttying, but it is easy to put together. I added crew from the HaT set I mentioned. It's for the First World War, but it will look good for the fields of France in 1940.

The other kit I finished is the absolutely lovely Airfix Matilda. This is a little gem of a kit that took only a couple of hours to put together. It is not perfect for France as there are some changes that need to be made. The early Mk. IIs carried a water-cooled Vickers gun with a different shroud, there was only a single exhaust, and a wedge was attached to the back in order to help it move over trenches. Of all these, I only changed the shape of the machine gun shroud, using a small piece of q-tip handle and some putty.

The kit was then finished in a two-green camouflage typical of the era and white recognition panels. Most of the tanks carried names, but I doubt I would be able to write Agamemnon with a paintbrush on both sides. I added a commander from the Matchbox British Infantry set and the kit was done. I have to make 3 more of these, but it was such a pleasant experience that I am eager to repeat it.

I have a 25-lbr I am also working on, but this is a real dog, especially the crew. Still, I like it better than then Italeri one (which is excellent for the desert). I also picked up a set of WWI Highlanders that will be painted as a couple of companies of Cameron Highlanders. Tartan in 1/72 promises to be an experience.

That's all from festive Athens and the Greek Geek household where everyone is suffering from indigestion yet again.

Δευτέρα, 26 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

List of completed projects for this year and plans for 2012

After eating too much for Christmas (which apparently is the only universal custom for this particular holiday) I sat down yesterday to see what I managed to complete in 2011, a difficult year in terms of the "Real Life". So, here are the totals:

15mm infantry figures: 49
15mm cavalry: 10
20mm infantry: 88
20mm crew-served weapons: 7 (artillery pieces)
Vehicles: 10 completed, 7 more assembled
6mm figures: app. 250

All in all, not a bad year. As an average it comes to a figure every 2.5 days and a vehicle every month.

So, what's planned for next year? I have to complete my Soviet rifle platoon for my mid to late-war skirmish game. I also need to finish the vehicles for them and their German opponents. I am starting two battlegroups for Blitzkrieg Commander; Germans and British for France in 1940. I'm going mostly old school for them (Matchbox, Airfix and Esci). Both battlegroups are limited in scope (for now at least) so I think I may be able to complete them in 2012. Another project that I will start is Ancient Greeks and Persians for Basic Impetus. One of my friends gave me a box of Zvezda Persian Cavalry so that propelled me to this (new) direction. I have at least 6 more warbands for Song of Blades and Heroes waiting in the lead pile so I hope I'll do one or more of these. Maybe add some more options for the ones I have already painted (Orcs, Dwarves, Undead, Lion Men). I want to paint a group of Napoleonic French to fight my British Rifles in Song of Drums and Shakos (not surprisingly the figures have been bought, based and primed for at least 6 months now). And finally finish my 6mm High Elf army and get started on the Orcs for Battles of the Silmarillion, which I am planning for Fantasy Rules! 3rd Edition.

So, even if I don't buy a single 6mm figure for the next year I have more than enough to keep me busy. Heck, With my glacial painting pace, I have enough to keep me busy for the next 2 or 3 years.

That's all for now from (pleasantly) chilly Athens.

Τρίτη, 20 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

Why thank you honey!

Father Christmas arrived early in the Greek Geek household, at least as far as the young master and myself are concerned. He got a great garage from grandma for his cars (including his beloved McQueeno) and I got some stuff from the mrs. for my styrene addiction. Thank you honey, you got me just what I wanted (me doing the picking helped quite a bit). The stash got increased by two Pz-38s (I have almost two companies by now), a command Pz. I, a Ceasar 15cm infantry gun and an Airfix Bofors. With these, my Blitzkrieg Commander-France 1940 is starting to shape up quite nicely. I've decided to cut down on the costs by not using any metal figs if I can avoid it (thus you will probably see some WW I Highlanders and assorted figures fighting with the BEF) but I still haven't figured out what I'll do with the 25mm or 2-pounder guns. Paul at Plastic Warriors has scratchbuilt both, but I don't know if I can trust my skills that far. We'll see.

In the meanwhile, work on the bench continues. I'm not sure I'll be able to finish all that I have assembled and primed by the New Year's but I'm giving it my best. I finished painting some additions to my dwarven SOBH warband; scouts and bear cavalry. With these, I'm almost done. Some dwarves with 2-H weapons, runeguards and maiden guard from Splintered Lights may be in the plans, but I have not decided yet. What I definitely need to get is some berserkers (either from Blood Dawn or Splintered Light) and definitely a general riding a winged saber-tooth tiger (from Blood Dawn). Blood Dawn figures are a bit overscale for 15mm, but this is a winged saber-tooth tiger we are talking about. The coolness factor is off the scale. I also started on my BEF British with a Matador and 5.5-inch gun. I know that 5.5-inchers did not make it to France so it will double as a 60-pounder. Looks close enough in my book. Hopefully I'll post them in their finished state before the New Year.

That's all for now from the Greek Geek household. Thanks Mrs. Greek Geek. You're the best.

Σάββατο, 10 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

Screaming Meemie and Anti tank guns

I finally managed to get some stuff finished this week. I made a resolution to finish everything that has been primed and assembled so far until the New Year, but with the young Master being ill all the time, work (at last) picking up and the Mrs. having demands on my time (have you ever tried to use the IKEA kitchen design program? Don't) I find this highly doubtful. Still, I'll give it a try.

First of all, the SHQ Nebelwerfer, otherwise known as the Screaming Meemie. I don't understand why I see so many of these on gaming tables as they were usually Divisional or Corps level artillery assets, but I had to build one. Not as good as the old Esci model (whatever happened to those molds?) but serviceable. Comes with 4 figures; two reloading, one officer with binoculars and a guy carrying what seems to be a mess tin. Oh, well. Duly finished and based.

Next up, the new Italeri PaK-40s. These are new molds, not part of the old (and still highly serviceable) set. The box comes with 2 guns, 2 boxes of ammo and 6 crew for each gun. Unfortunately only 5 crewmembers are useable. I don't know if anyone has found out what to do with the peg-handed sitting guy, but I kept him as a potential driver. The figures are done in the usual excellent Italeri style and are good for late war.

There are some ejection pin marks, but the set is cheap (under 10 euros), the guns are put together very easily and you get an almost complete crew. You can't possibly lose. Now, if only someone would make a 50mm PaK-38 in plastic, I'd be very happy.

That's all for now from Athens, where the sun is yet again shinning.

Δευτέρα, 28 Νοεμβρίου 2011

Hare reports to Boyar: Fascists spotted

While visiting my usual plastic crack dealer (Fasma Models in downtown Athens) I came across the new Zvezda Art of Tactics kits. Russian and German Recon teams and German motorcycle combinations. They are truly excellent kits and especially the Russian recon team covers a subject not seen before in plastic. All are multi-part models (the figures are 3-4 pieces each) and have exceptionally life-like poses. One minor peeve is that they are all armed with PPSh submachineguns. No rifles, scoped or otherwise, or machineguns. The figure with binoculars (perhaps the best of the whole bunch) could have any kind of weapon placed on its back, so a sniper conversion would not be too hard. Still, some variety would have been welcome. The figures were painted in one of the "Amoeba"-style camouflage pattern as seen in kamouflage.net. You can also paint them in white or the other available Amoeba patterns. Lovely figures and highly recommended.

If the figures are great, the bike is truly a masterpiece. The sculpting is the best I've seen from Zvezda and everything fits together perfectly. Some Mr. Surfacer was used to hide seams, especially where the arms join the body) but that's a minor problem. HaT and Italeri have also motorcycle combinations (although the Italeri ones are more suited to the African theater of operations) but this simply blows them away. There is nothing more I can say about it. For a bit over 3 euros, they are a steal.

So, thank you Zvezda for some more excellent models. I can't wait for the Russian motorcycle and the Naval Infantry set due to come out soon. I'll be sure to get these as well. Now, if only they would make a 1/72 Aerosan model... But that's wishful thinking.

That's all for now from sunny yet chilly Athens and the Greek Geek household where everybody is (once again) ill.

Παρασκευή, 11 Νοεμβρίου 2011

Works in progress

With the young master being ill almost every week (yeah, we pay for daycare and he spends 2 workdays a week at home) I can't paint as much as I like. Sure, the compressor for my airbrush is quiet, but my workspace is right next to the little one's bedroom. So, I glue and fill and sand and hope that his immune system will help me finish some of this stuff soon.

I have some Italieri Shermans and Priests all ready for paint. Some small seams need sorting out but it won't take me more than half an hour with a cotton bud and some nail polish remover. The Italieri T-34 was another story entirely as the amount of filler can demonstrate. Stay away. Italieri has been hit and miss lately and this is (unfortunately) one of the misses. The other T-34 needs no introductions. Although part of the gun assembly is damaged (Revell or Matchbox must have done something wrong to the mold) it fits together like a dream and its a great kit. People might complain that it's 1/76, but I can live with that.

The contents of this box are familiar to all of us. The lovely Airfix Matilda (with small modifications to help it appear more suitable for the fields of France in '40), 5.5" gun and assorted tractors. I still haven't finished the 25lbr but I think I'll be done with it before the week is through.

Here are some more figs and guns. Italieri PaK-40s with crew (Italieri) and a SHQ Neberlwefer and crew. After I'm done with the ratmen, they will be next on the paint block. I have the trucks waiting to carry them ready for almost a year now. And finally the Irregular ratmen and some GW rat swarms. The Irregular figs "paint up well" as does a lot of Irregular's stuff. And they are cheap. So, no complains.

That's all that's cooking in Athens this windy and chilly evening. Apparently, fall, if not winter, is finally setting in.

Τρίτη, 25 Οκτωβρίου 2011

Russian Tank Park

With the young master being ill almost constantly (the first year of kindergarten or day care or whatever you call it is hell on kids and parents alike), I've spent a good amount of time home working on my Russians. I had a bunch of different Russian tanks in various states of assembly (some still in the box in fact) and I decided to finally do something with them. Three weeks, five tanks.

First of all, the Pegasus BT-7s. Great little models and they've been assembled and ready for paint for the last year or so. If you are into early war Eastern Front they should be definitely in your "to buy" list. Easy to build, great detail, cheap. What's not to like?

Chronologically next is the Zvezda T-34. It's a 1943 model T-34 and one of the best snap together kits out there. Yes, no glue required, but I went ahead and glued it anyways. It's not particularly cheap (10 euros), but it looks great and there is absolutely no hassle involved. Italieri T-34 is about a euro cheaper but the amount of filling and sanding somehow detracts from the whole experience. The Armourfast T-34s are half the price but they look like crap. I think that next to the Matchbox T-34, this is the best one (with a 76mm gun that is; Pegasus and Revell have superlative T-34/85s)

Next up, the JS-2 (fast build) and ISU-152 (normal build) from Italieri. Don't. Seriously, don't. The normal build ISU was not so bad, other than the six-piece auxilliary tanks (6 pieces? 6? and they still look like crap?) and the the link-and-length tracks that don't really fit. The fast build kits look like they have a permanent erection. They're OK to bulk up your forces, but Pegasus stuff is just so much better and at almost the same price (about a euro's difference per tank). The only thing that I like about Italieri is their decal sheets.

Right now I'll go back to fantasy for a spell (I have some 15mm Irregular ratmen ready for paint) and then go back to WWII, probably to paint the hordes of Russian infantry I have based. Plus I'm running out of space. IKEA didn't have any more of those cool boxes I picked up last time and now my Russians are sharing space together with Cylons and Elves.

That's for now from Athens, where all hell is probably about to get loose.

Πέμπτη, 6 Οκτωβρίου 2011

The Red God of War

Reading WWII history will vividly illustrate the importance that the Red Army placed on artillery. The weapon densities, especially in the last part of the war, were mind staggering. Unfortunately Russian artillery was not well served in 1/72 plastic, up to now. The Art of Tactics series by Zvezda has done quite a bit to rectify this shortage.

First up is the Zvezda 122mm howitzer. An easy kit to build, comes with a premade base (duly discarded) and 2 figures. I added one more from the old Revell Russian set (a tanker if I am not mistaken, but he looks cool with the map and all).

Next is the 45mm anti-tank gun by Plastic Soldier Company. This is one of the best gun models out there. It's simple, pretty well detailed, but most importantly, the crew poses are excellent. They look exactly like a gun crew in action, preparing to fire at a German tank or strong point.

Finally, the Zvezda Katyusha model. Yes, it is a 1/100 model, so I'm technically cheating. However, since this will be used only as an off-table asset (having anything over a 75mm IG on the table is overkill in my view) so nobody should care much about it. This is a finicky model to assemble (I ruined one making some dumb mistakes). The soft plastic doesn't help much either. I also had some problems with the mat varnish as well, but nothing to worry about.

That's all from Athens, were fall is surely setting in.

Τρίτη, 27 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011

Italeri fast build ISU-152

One of the good things about the financial crisis in Greece is that it forces you to go back to old projects and trim the stash down a bit. I had build a couple of Russian tanks a couple of months back but never got around to finishing them. The first was an ISU-152 quick build from Italeri. I prefer the Russian fast builds by Pegasus as the detail on the Italeri ones is a bit soft, but this came with a normal ISU kit, so I got it. It's an easy kit that gets build in about half an hour tops. Some filling was needed in the rear joint of the upper and lower hull pieces but that was pretty much it. My major problem was not the softish detail but the fact that the barrel of the main gun is stuck at the position seen below. It looks as if the ISU got a couple of extra blue pills (if you know what I mean) and its not really attractive. Still, its a free kit. Instead of painting in the normal Russian Armour Green, I went for a Green-Sand-Brown camouflage that would make it at least a bit more interesting. I used a black/burnt umber wash and dusted it with Dark Earth. All in all, it took a couple of evenings and it was done.

I have quite a few things waiting to be completed. Another Italeri fast build (an IS-2), a Zvezda T-34 (a real gem of a kit), and Russian support weapons. Hopefully all of this will be ready by the end of next week.

That's all for now from Athens, where once again nothing really works.

Πέμπτη, 15 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011

6mm Fantasy Project

I had started on a 6mm fantasy project a while back but, unsurprisingly, I got sidetracked on other projects (including my 2-year old son). Still I kept at it and so far I have 9 bases of elves and 3 bases of orcs for Fantasy Rules! I plan to fight battles in early Middle Earth so I'll do elves and orcs and eventually humans and dwarves. Most of the figs are from Irregular Miniatures with the only exception being so far the High Elven pikes which come from Baccus.

Here are the pikes. They'll form the backbone of my battle line. Lovely figs, easy to paint. I don't think I did them enough justice as the amount of detail is phenomenal.
The other options for the main battle line are archers and swordsmen. I have a lot of Irregular archers but I've only painted one base so far. I also have some Baccus archers that I'll use for the elite regiments of the King's guard.
The Irregular Cavalry is also superb. I'll only use 2 bases for now as I want an infantry-heavy army. I might get some Baccus horsemen to use as heavy cavalry and Irregular Wood Elves to use as light cavalry. We'll see.
Finally my monsters: ents as heavy monsters and giant eagles for small flying monsters. One ent and two eagles per base look pretty good in my eyes.

In its final form, the army will have another 3-5 bases of archers, 2 bases of swordsmen, 2 ballistae, 2 heavy chariots, 2 bases of small monsters (giant eagles) and one of large (ents). This, together with characters and sundry stuff will give me up to 1300-1500 points, large enough for large battles and some mixing and matching. Hopefully the elves will be done before Christmas this year.

Have a great day from (yet again sunny) Athens.