Η λίστα ιστολογίων μου

Κυριακή, 10 Ιουνίου 2012

Rot scheint die Sonne!

Summer has truly set in over here in Athens, so I decided to continue with another project that is both Greek and summery; a Fallschirmjager battalion (later to be expanded to a complete regiment). I have not lost interest in my BEF project, but with the political and financial situation in Greece being what it is, I cannot find all the necessary components. I'm done with infantry and most of the arty, but vehicles are a problem for now, especially my Panzer companies.
Although we are spoiled for choice when it comes to late war Fallschirm, there are only two sets that are suitable for the early days of the war and some of the greatest moments of German paratroopers (Norway, Belgium and of course Crete): Airfix and Revell. Both are out of production but since there is a set of Airfix available, and a good one at that, there was really only one choice. I sourced three boxes and set to make my battalion. The Blitzkrieg Commander rule book gives a simplified TOE giving me 3 companies (9 platoons), 2 MG platoons, one mortar platoon, one assault engineer platoon and of course the command element.
 The command element was a simple thing to put together. The main problem is that there is only on command figure (but two radios) per box, so I might need an extra box or two down the road. One commander, one radio operator and one wounder paratrooper and done. 
The platoon stands include a variety of the lovely poses included in the set. This was one of Airfix's better efforts and together with the Mountain Troop set, one of my favorites.
The MG stands were a bit of a problem, since there are no suitable figures. The only ones that come close have the FG42, a weapon that was (obviously) not used in Crete. Not being able to scratchbuild a MG34, I did what I used to do back in the day; I simply ignored the fact. Yes, it's not historically accurate, but quite acceptable for me. 
I scratch built an 80mm mortar and modified one of the figures to look as if it tossing a mortar bomb down the tube. Italeri has some mortars in their newest Fallschirm set, but the size and style looked off. Some sprue and plastic card, two pins and it was ready.
The assault engineer platoon was a bit more complicated as there was nothing that would even resemble a flamethrower in the set. Since this battalion was going to Crete, where there was little in the ways of mine removal and forcing troops out of concrete bunkers, I simply used 2 suitably energetic figs with Schmeissers.

There are other sundry elements in the TOE (a battery of 75mm infantry guns and a battery of 28mm antitank cannons) but I don't think these made it to Crete and either way I'd have to buy metal for these, defeating the spirit of the entire project.

That's all for now from sunny and hot Athens and the Greek Geek household.

Δευτέρα, 28 Μαΐου 2012

German Early War Battalion Support

In addition to the three companies of line troops and the heavy company of machineguns and mortars, I've added some support elements. These were sourced from the excellent Zvezda mini-sets, with some additions from the venerable Esci Wehrmacht.
Here are three platoons of combat engineers. In order to differentiate different classes of troops, I've opted for basing two instead of three figures per base, so that it is readily apparent that these guys are special (and thus a great target for artillery fire). The two bases are mine detector teams, using one figure from the Zvezda set and one from the Esci Germans. The Zvezda miniatures are exceptional and although more petite than their Esci counterparts, they look OK on the same base. The third base is an Esci flamethrower and a simple infantryman.
Anti-aircraft support (where's the bloody RAF poms?) is a 20mm gun from Zvezda. Not much to say, except that the fit is so tight that I prefer to assemble the model and then run some Tamiya extra thin cement along the join lines. Capillary action takes care of the rest. This will probably spend more time shooting at infantry than planes.
The ubiquitous early war doorknocker provides the battalion with some much needed anti-tank firepower. Granted, it won't penetrate a Matilda, but other than an 88, nothing else is available 'till they invade Russia. Again the model is from Zvezda, with an extra crew from the Caesar 150mm howitzer.
Finally these guys. Nope, they aren't Wehrmacht. Any idea where they're heading?
That's all for now from cool, evening Athens.

Κυριακή, 20 Μαΐου 2012

German Early War Battalion

I've finally found some time to write up on my projects. Real life and the renovation of my old apartment have taken up too many hours of the day for me to blog. Still, I've been painting steadily and my early WWII German battalion is finally complete. It's been complete for a while now, but SWMBO has had other plans for my time. Kitchen appliances, bathroom fittings, you get the idea. Anyways, back to the figures. I used classic Esci and Revell for these. The Esci figures (reboxed by Italeri) were as perfect as when I used to buy them in my (very early) teens. The Revell stuff had a lot flash. I did not remove all of it, lazy sod that I am. After lots and lots of Feldgrau they were ready.
  Here are all nine platoons. The figures mix well together and have great detail as all of us know. There are still enough figs left over for another two companies or so.
The machinegun platoons were Esci and Zvezda. Zvezda are a bit more accurate with their sustained fire tripods but I like the old-fashioned stuff as well. 
Mortar platoon is Zvezda. Great little kit, not at all fiddly.
And  finally the command stand. All Esci. Radio man, officer (for once showing some common sense and wearing a helmet) and NCO.
This was a surprisingly pleasant experience. I thought that I'd be bored to death after all this feldgrau, but it was very zen in a way. No worrying about what design to paint or which colours to use. Just plain old field grey. Eventually all of these guys will get transport. I'm thinking about a mix of 251's, trucks and motorcycle combos. With the crisis in Greece its getting difficult to find a lot of stuff so I'm stuck with only 2 Opels, one for the battalion AA (a 20mm gun) and one for the AT battery (one door knocker). Still, better days for styrene are bound to come.
This is all from the Greek Geek household and a pleasantly cool Athens evening.

Σάββατο, 28 Απριλίου 2012

Immortals Complete

Sorry for not posting in almost a month now, but real life has kept me too busy to shoot photos and type. Needless to say, I've kept up with my painting and some of the projects that I decided on for 2012 are well on the way to completion.

 I finally completed my first base for Basic Impetus Persians. A total of 10 figures, half being archers, half being armed with melee weapons. I chose to portray the Yellow Regiment of the Immortals, that's why most figures have a yellow-purple tunic. As much as I tried, I could not paint the delicate patterns on the back of the Zvezda box. Even this took a respectable 15 hours to complete. I have another 6 bases of Persians to complete, but I expect only the two bases of medium cavalry to be as much of a hassle.

That's all for now from the Greek Geek household.

Πέμπτη, 22 Μαρτίου 2012

By Your Command

Sunday night was always a bummer when you're a kid. But for a while at least we had Battlestar Galactica to take the sting off. I always used to watch it before dinner and talk about it with my friends in school come Monday. I found that Studio Bergstrom had some great BSG miniatures so I ordered some about a year ago. With my usual glacial pace, it took about 4 months I think until I finished them, although the castings are sublime and real easy to paint. Here is a Cylon Basestar from the original series with some Raiders. I chose 1" starfighters as I can use them both as squadron tokens and starfighter games). The Basestar is excellent but needed quite a bit of glue. It's hefty too. I went for a light gray color with red lights on the landing bays and light blue trim. I could have done a better job with Raiders, but I'll live with those.

Hopefully I'll have some more Basestars and Battlestars (with associated fighters) on my bench before spring is out. Until then, these will have to do for my playtesting for Song of Voids and Stars. That's all for now from warm and sunny Athens.

Δευτέρα, 12 Μαρτίου 2012

Pike Completed.

Say what you want about Airfix, they sure build them simple. Only took a total of 4 hours of work and my JS-3 is complete. Trumpeter and Roden may have newer and more detailed models, but you can't beat this old warhorse when it comes to simplicity. I decided to go for a simple Russian Tank Green scheme. I've used everything from Humbrol 30 to 117 (116 and 90 included) in the past but I used 117 in this case. Mix of brown and black wash, drybrushing, dustying with British Dark Earth and voila, she's ready. Did some work on the crew and added some simple red stars from the spares box. If you have spare 122mm barrels, by all means get one. Cheap, fast and easy. Makes for a perfect date.

That's all for now from Athens, where winter just doesn't want to give up.

Πέμπτη, 8 Μαρτίου 2012

Stress Relief

Apparently painting the Persians is a bit too much stress for me these days. Considering it takes about 90 minutes to finish one figure (and that this particular base has 10 figures on it) this is understandable. I visited my usual haunt in downtown Athens to see the new Airfix stuff that's available. I picked up a box of the new Airfix Brits (not too bad, but could have been better) and a JS-3. An old mold but an interesting subject.

The kit was put together in less time than it takes me to paint one Persian. I changed the barrel (perhaps the only weak point of the kit) from a spare 122mm gun from the Italeri ISU-152. The machinegun came from the Matchbox T-34. Not entirely accurate, but looks better than the kit one. I also added a crew member from the Orion set. Some more corrections were made and so far, the only thing missing is the retaining straps on the spare fuel tanks. I'll add these tomorrow from some Tamiya tape and the "Pike" will be ready to hit the paintshop. Hopefully it will be ready by Monday.

This has been a pleasant break so far. After all, this is supposed to be fun and not work. That's all for now from the Greek Geek household.

Πέμπτη, 1 Μαρτίου 2012

This is Sparta!

My first unit of Spartans for Basic Impetus is completed. I went for the 8cm frontage and 10 figures per base for the phalanx part of the army. All the figures are Zvezda Spartans, but I think I will add some of their older Ancient Greeks on the following bases.

I've also completed my first company of early WWII Germans (who will doubtless see action in later war battlefields as well). After the glorious colors of the Spartans and the kilts of the Highlanders, these seem kinda boring, but at least they are easier to paint. All are Italeri (ex-Esci) and Revell.
And for something more vibrant, here are the first of my Immortals. The Spartans have to have someone to fight (although Thebans will eventually be added to the list). I think after the German battalion and Immortals are completed, I'll do some vehicles just for a change of pace.
That's all from chilly (for once) Athens. Oh, I almost forgot. Blogger has been acting up and I can't post on other people's blogs, or even my own for that matter. Am I the only one with this problem?

Τρίτη, 21 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

BEF: Black Watch Battalion Completed

It's been a while since I managed to post, mainly due to lack of a working camera. They make the damn things waterproof, shockproof, probably bulletproof, but I haven't come across a kid-proof model yet. If you do please let me know. As a result of the young Master being left unattended for about 90 seconds, my wife's old camera has the lens knocked out of alignment and is currently in the shop. I got a new Cybershot (ever since they came out with 14.1 megapixel cameras the 10 and 12 megapixel ones can be had for a song) so the learning curve is evident in these photos.

I finally finished my Black Watch battalion for Blitzkrieg Commander. The nine platoons came from HaT's excellent WWI Highlanders and the mortar platoon from the venerable Matchbox WWII British infantry set. I wanted something different for the machinegun platoons and the command element, so after much searching at Plastic Soldier Review and debating whether to make do with plastic or spend some money on metal, I bought a box Revell's Scottish 8th Army. It comes with a bagpipe-playing miniature, a pretty good commanding officer and three Bren guns on anti-aircraft mounts (strangely employed on the sustained fire role). I would have loved some Lewis guns (more in the spirit of the BEF) but I couldn't find any that I liked. Perhaps not totally realistic (these guys would have to carry a lot of spare mags and barrels), it looks different and fun.
So my Scots are finally done. Took about a month but I hope that the Germans will be quicker, at least in terms of infantry. No plaid (as poorly as it may have been done). Now, as breather from all things khaki, I'm working on my Basic Impetus project: Greeks vs. Persians. For the Greeks I chose Zvezda's Spartans. This is perhaps the best ancients miniature set I've ever seen. Ever. My only problem is the lack of much variation in shield decoration (too many scorpions) but the miniatures themselves are excellent. Sculpting, proportions, detail, casting, all are top-notch. If you have to buy and paint one set of ancients this year, this is it. Here is the (incomplete) first base.
In the background, faintly visible is a weirdly painted Fallschrim. This is young Master's first miniature. Admittedly orange, yellow and red would be suitable for Mars only (if eventhat) but his brushwork was pretty good. That's all for now from strangely cloudy Athens and the Greek Geek household.

Κυριακή, 15 Ιανουαρίου 2012

BEF Part III: 25-pounder

Work continues apace on my British Expeditionary Force project. Last week I completed the first of my medium artillery. In my wish to keep costs down and give my army an old-school look, I chose the Airfix kit. I've built several of these in the past but all have found better homes over the last few years. Unfortunately I had forgotten that the molds have been to hell and back.

The actual gun and the trailer carrying the ammo are not too bad. The Quad is so and so, with the roof piece looking a bit ragged. The crew however looked as if they had been worked over with a 4-barreled 20mm flak. The only one that was usable was the driver who had been shot in the back (in typical Jerry fashion). The crew was substituted again by the HaT WWI British Artillery Crew set. Considering I have one more 4.5" and 2 more 25-pounders to complete, the set I got will be enough, but barely.

Meanwhile, the second company of Highlanders is getting some paint on, while I am debating whether to complete a base of ancient Greeks or Persians for Basic Impetus as a change of pace. The lovely Airfix Bofors and tractor are also getting along nicely and hopefully will be ready for paint by the middle of next week.

This is all for now from chilly Athens.

Σάββατο, 7 Ιανουαρίου 2012

BEF, 1940, Part II: The Black Watch

First post for 2012 and apparently the new year got me motivated. I finished the first company of my Black Watch battalion for my BEF 1940 Blitzkrieg Commander project. Instead of going all out and using metal miniatures for these (SHQ Miniatures has some lovely Highlanders) I chose the cheap way. HaT has recently issued some WWI British Highlanders that seemed quite the part and Revell re-issued their Scottish 8th Army. HaT would provide the bulk of the miniatures, Revell the command and probably the machine gun stands (they have some lovely Bren guns on anti-aircraft mounts) and Matchbox the mortar. Old school type army, with some choices different than the usual British suspects. After all, I'll be doing a more traditional battalion as well.

The main problem with Highlanders is always the tartan; what to chose and how to paint it. I went with the Black Watch since they served both in France and later on in Greece. Google and Wikipedia provided me with examples of what the tartan looked like. There were two approaches I used to paint it.

This is the first one. The kilt looks as if there is a pattern, but I didn't paint an actual one.

Here I painted the actual pattern. Well, as close as it is possible considering the scale. Both look OK in my eyes, but the actual pattern, although too coarse compared to reality, looks more the part in wargaming conditions (when the 3-foot rule is in effect).

I really like these miniatures. They are well-sculpted, with good detail and proportions. The only let-down is the material. I wish that HaT would stop using this soft plastic and prefer harder ones like Zvezda and Italeri. But all in all, these are excellent. Nine down, 18 (plus assorted stuff) to go.

Thats all for now, from sunny Athens.