Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To the Blue Foam Beyond Part IIa revetments & duckboards

      Having finished with the shell holes I popped by Lowe's (a local big-box DIY store) and searched through the "mistints" pile in the Paint Department. I found a gallon of paint in a suitably gray color for chalky downland and paid the whopping sum of US$5.00 for it. I quickly painted the entire surface a dismal shade of gray. This left me thinking about how to model the revetments and duckboards, I had little desire to build them stick-by-stick from balsa of bass wood. To save myself from such a fate I called a co-worker who does model railroading, he suggested that I use embossed paper to get the planking effect that I was looking for. This was a great idea but none of the local railroad shops carried thesort of planking that I needed and to order sopmething through the mail did not meet with my desire to get on with it NOW! So I decided to make my own by drawing the planks onto stiff card using a fine-point pen and a soft worksurface. I then set about gluing and staking into place my revetments and duckboards. The results of this frenetic activity you can see below. The jury is still out as I am not sure that this is enough to satisfy me.

       This just might hit the balance between detail and playability that I have been looking for, plus it saves me from trying to build this stuff out of stick balsa. Anybody with other ideas please feel free to fire away. Thanks.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

To the Blue Foam Beyond Part II ......Shell Holes

     Having constructed my trench lines the next step was to add the contributions of the opposing side; a thorough shelling! I spent a bit of time going over photos of WW1 battlefields and was impressed with the accuracy of the gunners, almost all of the shell holes were in and amongst the trenches with rather few being in "No Man's Land". The times that I found significant numbers of shell holes in the space between the trenches was where there had been significant back-and-forth between the trenches and there had been shelling to stop counter attacks or where there had been a failed offensive that only advanced a short distance and thus Incorporated portions of the old, shell marked, enemy trenches. I decided to make rather fewer shell holes in my "No Man's Land" ( this went well with my desire to get on with things as I did not relic\sh the idea of doing 24 sq ft of shell holes).

      This being a game surface and not a diorama another significant concern was maintaining playability. Too often in the past I have made good-looking terrain only to find that the minis could not stand on it. I tried to keep a careful eye on the modelling process to ensure that the surface remained usable. To get a random placement of shell holes I took a handful of pennies and nickles and tossed them at the playing surface from about four feet away. The pennies marked the location of the smaller caliber shells, the nickels the larger ones. If a nickle landed face down it was a medium shell, face up indicated a heavy shell. I marked the locations with Sharpie and got to work. Below you will find the step-by=step on how I made the holes. Following the photos are two (crappy) videos of me making more holes, I lost my tripod so I ended up shooting these freehand with my left hand while trying to do the work with my right, the results are as bad as you would expect. They do seem to get the idea across, but I am buying another tripod!

     Click on the photos for a larger view

enough holes to look embattled, not too many to play over (I hope!)

I made some of the holes breach the edges of the trenches, I will add rubble later

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Entirely Off Topic

  Turn your speakers on.

       This has nothing to do with wargaming but I really like this guy's attitude so follow the link!

WARNING!!   This may not be entirely suitable for work (he says "I like guns", out loud, a lot).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Building the Plastic Soldier Company Panzer IIIh 1/100 15mm

     I thought that I would get this review up ASAP as I now have a ton of other items to get posted. Here we find the final version of the PSC Panzer III this is the version with the short 50mm gun but the updated suspension. As I expected the model is cleanly and crisply molded in a light olive plastic with nearly no trace of mold lines. It went together easily with no warpage of the parts.

A Weekend at Tom's

      Back from the trip to San Antonio and more than a little shell-shocked from the experience I am still sorting through the 400+ pictures that I took. I am going to do a full work-up on this event but I thought I would throw a few of the tasty bits up right now to give everybody a sample.

      Tom's new job will see him moving to New York City which leaves him with a very nice house in San Antonio that he will have to sell or put to other uses. His thought is to open a US Wargames Holiday Center sort of thing. He has literally tens of thousands of figures spanning the era from Classic Greeks to modern combat and doesn't fancy their chances in the loving hands of "the movers". This raises the question, Is there enough interest out there to support such an enterprise? He isn't looking to make a killing, just cover the house payments.

      Reply in the comments section if you could see yourself spending a weekend/week in San Antonio playing with toy soldiers and seeing the sights. There are plenty of amusements for the whole family so bringing the whole gang would be a great idea.

the Battle of Borodino about to begin

Justice & Rule's glory, holding the left flank against innumerable Russian Corps while Anton and Dan took the Great Redoubt and the Flèches.

Tom has ACW as well

and Italian Renaissance as well

the Axis and Allies 1/2400 scale models are neat, and the rules play lightning fast

a shot from the Black Hawk Down game

the building is the Game Room, the pool is very nice
(if a little cold for swimming in February)

the house overlooks the pool and Game Room

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


     I will be out of town at my buddy Tom's place until Tuesday. I hope to have some pictures when I get back, but if I can score some computer time I might generate a post or two of the games in progress.

We will be doing Borodino in 15mm over a table of almost 200 sq ft.

It promises to be epic.

Monday, February 13, 2012

To the Blue Foam Beyond.....World War One trenches in 20mm UPDATED

     Have you ever had one of the those moments when you say something and then think twice as soon as the words leave your mouth?  That sort of thing happens to me more than I would care to admit. My current situation is the result of one such moment; during a game Joe and I were talking about one of my favorite periods, The First World War, he stated that he was currently painting 20mm figures for the war and, aware that I had quite a collection of First War minis in 20mm, asked about a certain model. At that point I said that if he was going to paint the minis Iwould build the terrain (I very much prefer building terrain to painting). I had made many similar offers in the past (even going so far as to give the  minis to other players if they would undertake to paint them and bring to games) with very few takers. I thought I was safe.

      Well, in a few weeks Joe showed up at another game with a box of painted British soldiers and four Mark IV tanks. I knew I was had and the next day went to Lowes and bought a couple of pack of foam insulation to start on the terrain. The very next day Joe showed up again with a pile of blue polyfoam insulation off-cuts from a job that his company is working on, these were destined for the dumpster when Joe rescued them. Swiftly casting aside the white styrofoam I began to arrange the peices on my game table to see how they fit. I quickly found an arrangement that covered the table but still allowed for some variety, the stage was set.

there really is quite a lot of the foam

quite a lot

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Building the Plastic Soldier Company Panzer III g

        Now we will look at building the g version of the Panzer III. This up-gunned version saw use in the Western Desert and invasion of Russian. As in all PSC kits the molding and detail work is superb and the parts fit is excellent. The instructions are very poor despite being prinited in color on top-quality paper. I have alteady covered the hull and track assembly in the article on the Panzer III f so I won't go into it here, just follow the link.

turret parts ready to go, pay attention to the escape hatches as they are side-specific,
the vision block is on the side toward the front of the turret

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Building the Plastic Soldier Company Panzer III f

      Back again with a build of the latest product from my favorite 15mm tank company, PSC. Today I will be building the Panzer IIIf. this was the main medium tank that the Germans went to war with, armed with the (then adequate) 37mm cannon, this was the tank of the Blitzkreig. This is a boon to anyone contemplating an Early to Mid war German army as you will be able to build a sizeable force at reasonble cost. As with all previous PSC kits the molding and detail was excelent and the instructuions were (to be charitable) poor.

parts removed from the sprues, awaiting clean-up

Friday, February 10, 2012

Someplace you should all know about (and visit)

Michigan's Own Military and Space Museum

Not really a wargaming topic but a really cool place to visit. Located at the southern edge of Frankenmuth Michigan, just off the I-75 . The museum has made huge efforts to collect as many Medal of Honor winners memorabilia as possbile. Every display has a history of the award and how it was won. It also has a lot of the souveniers from Michiganians (Michiganders? heck I have lived here my whole life and I am not sure which is proper) that have been involved in the Space Program. Very interesting, and inexpensive to boot!

They also have a large collection of items from the "Polar Bears" the US troops that fought in Russia after World War One ended in an effort to stop the rising tide of Communism

Take the significant other (they can go shopping - unless your significant other is REALLY cool and wants to see the museum as well) spend some time, the restaurants are good and the beer at brewery is excellent.

Go there, ya bum!

Here is their website;  http://www.michigansmilitarymuseum.com/

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Diamonds are Forever.........B'Maso Goes Blood Diamond in Central Africa

        Many years ago the Government sold the Imperial Mining Company mineral rights to the Omovodo Range, a series of small mountains in the far north. At that time there was nothing to be found there but some poor-quality iron deposits, recently extensive research by IMC has found that the area contains vast, rich fields of diamonds.

      The IMC has quietly been developing the infrastructure to begin exploiting the resource but word has gotten out (it always does) and the Government has demanded a re-negotiation of the terms of the mining rights contract and has threatened nationalization. Needless to say the IMC is not happy about this development and has "taken measures" to ensure the security of their investment.

      The government, always looking for a foreign "boogey-man" to rabble-rouse against, has mobilized the army nearby citing "rising unrest" in the area and the need to "secure the national endowment". Rumors abound of mercenaries and military equipment moving into the area from surrounding nations, the powder keg has been opened and only awaits a spark.

the scene of the trouble, the quiet town of Emmetsville in the west
 (near end of the table)

a view from the north, the sawmill in the center lower edge

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dystopian Wars, The Battle of the Sundering Straits

          A few weeks ago we played another game of Dystopian Wars, with the Prussians and Japanese facing off against the Federated States and the Covenant of Antarctica. The scenario was that the Prussians had pursued the Federated force through the Sundering Strait only to find further F.S. ships awaiting on the other side with CoA forces rapidly moving to lend a hand to the F.S. fleet. The shoe was now on the other foot and it was time for the Prussians to fall back and seek help from the Japanese fleet that was sailing to the rescue. The F.S. fleet smells blood in the water and wants to close and crush the Prussians before the CoA units can join in.  Here our drama opens;

pleased with the opportunity to chase the Prussians the FSA ships close
taking long-range shots with their powerful main guns

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Building the Plastic Soldier Company Stug III g late and 105mm Haubitze 1/100 15mm

 OK, OK, I promise to stop after this one.........

     This is the final installment of the series on the Stug model by PSC, I will cover the late G model as well as the 105mm howitzer version. The Early G model can be found here and the F/8 version can be found here. Again I have to say that this is a very good model, both from the technical aspects of molding such a tiny kit cleanly and crisply and from capturing of the feel of the actual vehicle. This kit complements the other kits from PSC and bodes well for the much anticipated Panther release (coming soon!). I again will pass on the track assembly as it has been covered in the section on the Stug F/8.

the side-skirts can't be assembled wrong without a lot of effort
as I pointed out in the build of the Panzer IV 
the schurtzen are sooooo much easier to build than the ones from Battlefront

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Building the Plastic Soldier Company Stug IIIg early model 1/100 15mm

   Having completed the F/8 I turned my attention to the next version represented by the PSC kit, the Stug IIIg early version. I will forgo the track assembly as you can find it here in my earlier note on the F/8.  In all the kit went together easily and cleanly, parts fit was exemplary with all parts cleanly cast and no trace of warping.

I decided to try joining the upper and lower hulls as a first step,
 this worked fine and made handling the tiny model a little easier