Sunday, July 31, 2011

Building the Zvezda BT-5 1/100

While I was putting the previously reviewed Hanomag kit together I thought to myself, "What the heck, I'll do the BT-5 as well". And here it is. Another gem, this went together without any problems.

don't do this! the lower hull also connects to the track units 
and should be joined to the chassis before the tracks are put on
sometimes I should actually read the instructions

Building the 1/100 Zvezda SdKfz 251

    Looking for something quick to build before the Saturday game my eye lighted on the Zvezda kit of the Hanomag sitting on my workbench's "in" pile (which, by the way, is a pretty big pile). I thought to myself, "Ah, that would be fast". Well I wasn't wrong. As has become the trademark of Zvezda kits this one is a sharp bit of work. I did encounter one problem and one oversight. The problem I will explain in the building pictures, the oversight (and I can't think of how I missed it in the sprue shots earlier) is that the top-mounted mg is not present in the kit and the shield is also gone missing, an AA mg is provided but it should be mounted at the rear of the vehicle, not the front. An odd oversight for a company that put lug-nuts on the wheels of it's models. But on to the build;

the chassis and track units 

these went together very tightly

AK-47 Republic update, These little piggies went to Africa

     Pat T, one of the moving factors behind the AK-47 Republic project, has built his armies around the boxed sets offered by Peter Pig; who also happen to be the publishers of the rules. I have a fair number of Peter Pig minis in my collection and have always thought them to be excellent. This line holds true to that tradition. Elegantly molded, realistically posed and cast in high quality metal these are some darned good miniatures. During a recent game I snapped some shot of Pat's troops, enjoy.

a militia unit with HMGs moves into the woods

The fearless leader stops by in his 4x4

Building the Zvezda Katyusha BM-13

Having spent last weekend building and painting a towns worth of 28mm buildings I decided to take it easy and give the Zvezda 1/100 scale kits a try. I was interested in the BM-13 in particular as I had a great deal of difficulty with the Battlefront model that I had attempted. As noted earlier the Zvezda kit is a snap-together model and is very cleanly cast. I decided to start with the part that had given me the most trouble before, the launch-rails and elevation frame. This went together like a dream, despite being made of four tiny parts. The fit was perfect and the parts snapped cleanly into place (I glued them anyways).

the frame and elevation post
be careful to push the frame tips all the way trough the launch-rails
 the pins pop out the top and form the locators for the rockets

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wargames Factory Persian Cavalry

     I acquired these at the same time that I got the Infantry and the Normans from Michigan Toy Soldier  but have only just got round to typing up the review.

      These are done to the same idea as the infantry with the model divided into many separate bits (many of which they share with the infantry set), this is taken to a higher level as the horses come complete with far more heads than any dozen horses could rightly use. They did manage to get the number of figures correct on this one with a dozen riders and horses present. The weapons sprues seem to be an odd admixture of items, there aren't enough shields (or spears for that matter) to do a unit of spear-armed cavalry, and not enough bows to create a unit of archers, there are three long kontos-like lances and four shorter spears, four war-hammers and a whole bunch of different swords. It is almost as if they just grabbed a handful of sprues out of a mixed bin and chucked them in the box. All of the bits are done to the same high standard that the infantry box showed, as are the horses and riders, it just seems that there was little plan as far as what type of unit this was intended to produce. Odd.

     The box-art is some of the best seen from Wargames Factory in a long while but the box is an end-opening affair made of shabby, weak paperboard. Not to be trusted to protect the minis during shipping (so order from somebody that will overdo the packing, or better yet, go to your local hobby shop and buy them there). The contents is much like the infantry box so I will use the same approach and simply present the product with occasional notes.

click on the pictures for a close-up

the box

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wargames Factory 28mm Persian Infantry

     With everybody and their brother making Greek Hoplites I was thrilled when Wargames Factory announced that they were going to do Persian Infantry and Cavalry. Well, Wargames Factory had some problems (the details of which I know next to nothing) and seems to have emerged intact, this delayed the introduction of the figures but they are now in my hands fresh from the shelf at Michigan Toy Soldier. The box art is better than in the past but still pretty grim, the box on the other hand is nice and sturdy and will protect the minis from all but the most aggressive shipper. Here is the box;

the back is blank cardboard

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Battle of Newville

     Having built a village in the course of a couple days work we decided that we needed to break it in properly with a battle as quickly as possible. Kris created a scenario wherein many factions were operating in the town with different objectives that may or may not conflict. These factions were either resident in the town (the Police, the Garrison and the Pasha's men) or entering from outside (the Raiders, the FFL and the Germans). We used a variant version of my Wild West Rules that allows for posse members to act at the character's behest, in a limited sort of way (these will be published here as soon as they are perfected).

the town from the west

the town from the west, 
the heavily-armed civilians and military contingents peacefully going about their business

Conquest Miniatures 28mm Norman KNights

     Just in from Michigan Toy Soldier I have these Norman Knights from Conquest Games. Famous for conquering Saxon England under William the Conqueror the Normans were active for a period of several hundred years and as far away as Byzantium and Spain. These figures will have many uses.

     They are very nicely cast in a solid gray plastic with excellent detail and many options. They avoid the "giant hands and faces" syndrome that afflicts so many 28mm figures these days and the horses are quite good. From a wargames standpoint I could happily pass on the downed knight in favor of a couple more usable minis. The box art is lamentable and I overlooked the box on the shelf even after I was informed of their presence by a store employee. Anyways, on to the review.

first we have a look at the high-tech Anton's Blog photo studio


Painting the town red, well, actually, everything but red.

    Having completed the construction of our little village and having given it time to dry the working group re-convened to finish the project. Two mediums were used to paint the village (no, we did not hire a couple of mind-readers, we used different kinds of surface finish), let me restate that; two different form of media were used to paint the town, the first was normal everyday latex house paint, the second was a mixture of modelling paint and PVA (40/60).  Both work well with the house paint having a slight edge in coverage.

      I returned to my bin of cheap brushes (I hope that the rest of the world has their equivalent to the US style "Dollar Store", I would hate to pay art-store prices for brushes that I know are going to get ruined) and secured a set for us to use. Thus armed Dan, Kris and I confronted the monster we had made. At first things went well (this should have been a warning) paint flowing. walls rapidly filling with color, lively banter, but then we came to a dreaded turn of events; we had to paint the window and door jambs. All those window and door jambs. Grimly determined to complete the project with time to dry before the Saturday game we attacked this task with the relentless energy of a Roman legion hacking its way through a Celtic warband. After hours of squinting and cramped necks we were done, or so we thought. Interiors....AARRGHHH!!!!
I have to confess that at this pint we wimped out and just gave them a quick "go-round" with a single coat of paint (sometimes even the same color we used on the outside) with a promise to return to the matter later.

with the first coat you can be pretty sloppy

painting the shutters you have to be more careful

NEWS FLASH! Three men build village in under twenty hours!!

      In an amazing display of ingenuity and energy three men built an entire village housing hundreds in under twenty hours of labor. This bodes well for the ongoing housing shortage currently afflicting 28mm miniatures world wide. Now back to that thrilling plane crash.

     OK, now that I have got the TV media thing out of my system it really went something like this; A while ago Dan A. had mentioned that he wished to put together some African/Mediterrainean buildings for 28mm wargaming and also said that he had the foam-core in hand and ready to go. I was on vacation and the weather was far too hot for doing anything out of doors so I said (foolishly), "Why not". Little did I know that Dan would show up with Kris (his brother), a bushel basket full of precut foam-core, a bucket of wallboard spackle, a gallon of PVA glue and ready-to-use template for making generic buildings. We quickly cleared the game table, fired up the hot-glue gun and set to work. Tacking stuff together with the hot glue gun was quick and fun once I learned (once again) not to touch the hot part, we banged out the rough shells of more than a dozen buildings in the blink of an eye.

all the building were constructed using this basic template

we added vestibules to some buildings to break up the cookie cutter look

Thursday, July 21, 2011

AK-47 Republic Update & review

Now that I am almost finished with the Cuban forces I feel that a review of the figures is in order. The figures that I am using to build my army are exclusively from Old Glory I picked them from the Post WW II range. I built the army using one bag of African Irregulars  (CDMOD-09), one bag of African Irregulars Command and support (CDMOD-10) for the militia and part of the Regulars and for the balance of the Regulars and the Professionals I used one bag each of Mid-East Regulars w/AK-47s and Mid-East Regulars Command and support (CDMOD-05 and CDMOD-06 respectively), The tanks and APCs were T-54s and T-55s (PW-702 anf PW-703) and the BMP-60s were (PW-742A and B- open and closed top) while the technicals are pick-ups from the modern range (CDMV-01) with African crews ( CDMODC-03). The artillery I used Russian 76mm guns (CD-407) from the WWII range with kidnapped mortar crews acting as gunners. I got them all from Grandiosity  for under $150.00US. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Warpaint; Zvezda 1/144 aircarft

      Here are the previously reviewed 1/144 aircraft models from Zvezda. I confess to being to lazy to dig out my airbrush and being too busy to take them to my buddy's house who isn't too lazy to set up his airbrush. I brush-painted them. Not the best job ever but you will get an idea of what they look like in the flesh.

      I can happily report that the decals are very good, thin with a very small surrounding film. The Soviet marking did suffer from register problems the red star being slightly off-center on the white background. I painted my JU-87 and ME-109 for service in the North African or Italian theaters rather than the Eastern Front.

the group shot, they compare well size-wise

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

AK-47 Republic Update

At long last I have completed the infantry and heavy weapons, my Cuban Professionals, trained regulars and raw militia now stand ready to face all comers. To silence the nay-sayers I offer the picture below. Weep before the might of my Superpower-Backed Client State army and we may offer mercy.

Actually I hope to finally pull off a win now that they look so much better than the coat of khaki spray paint that they were wearing earlier.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Saving Shavanje (well, almost)

     First let me apologize for the shortage of entries over the last week, time has escaped me, summer is like that for me.

     This is one of the scenarios that we played when my buddy Tom was in town. It was a battle to rescue the legendary rebel leader, Garfield Shavanje, from the hands of the Rhodesian Police. He had been wounded and captured in an earlier battle after a heroic resistance along with a few other rebels. Rumor was that they were being held in the local Police Station.

a view of the table from the western end

Monday, July 4, 2011

The shot of the day

       Over the weekend we had a little game-fest in honor of our friend Tom's visit from the wild south-west of San Antonio Texas. We didn't get in quite as many games as we had planned and the schedule got pretty well FUBARed, but it was a blast.  There were many memorable moments over the weekend but the topper was this one; late in a game of B'Maso where the scenario was the attempted rescue of captured ZIPRA guerillas from the custody of the Rhodesian Police, the Police were hauling the guerillas away in an armored Crocodile APC when Tom turned his sole remaining RPG loose from across the table. An unlikely shot in the best of circumstances it promptly struck home disbaling the APC and forcing the Police and their captives to bail out. This led to some exciting moments as the ZIPRA tried to free thier colleaugues and the Police tried to escort them from the table. The Police succeded in the end, but only just.

   I will be posting a few more photos of games soon.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Still More from Zvezda 1/100 or 15mm Katyusha, BT-5 and SDKFZ 251

Just in from the fine folks at Michigan Toy Soldier three new items from the prolific Zvezda.

Yet again the fine folks at Zvezda have provided gamers with more tasty morsels in the form of a BM-13 Rocket Launcher (more commonly known as a Katyusha) a BT-5 light tank and a German SDKFZ 251 halftrack. These are up to the usual standards with rivets and lug-nuts crisply cast on all of the vehicles. At 26 pieces the BM-13 is probably pushing the limit on snap-tight models but I care little as I will be gluing mine together. The pictures will speak for themselves so I will stop now.