Sunday, 23 August 2015

Quick T34 Painting

Three views of Hat Industries 1:72 plastic T34/76 in various stages of undress. You get two in a pack for about eight quid as of today's prices give or take. They are good workmanlike kits, easy to build and fine for larger units where you need a shed load.
If you are doing a temperate colour scheme then slap on some green paint. Make it light/mid green because the dark or bronze green colour scheme was a short lived Finnish War colour scheme...as far as my potted reading has taken me.

And 'slap' is the word. Expand the first group of three pics and you'll see it's a rough, fast paint job. Then, put 50/50 paint and water in your tin lid, jar, pallet or what have you and QUICKLY line everything. Where barrel meets mantle, hatches, grills, wheels, exhausts, joins, weld lines and anywhere that dirt might gather....look at the next three pics expanded.

Then the best technique you'll ever need...the dry brush! No,no stop crying, there, there it'll be OK....blow your nose and wipe your eyes it's easy...trust me, I'm a modeller.
Take the brush, large and soft (no, put that down. It's a roller) and dip it in very light grey paint, any really light grey reasonable quality paint. Then wipe of nearly all the paint on a cloth or paper towel....no, it's not a waste...the result is exquisite (good). Once you've done that draw a line on your thumb with the nearly dry grey brush and you should see your thumb print clearly highlighted (if you can't..too little, if you paint your thumb completely grey..too much). Once you see your print, bingo, you're ready. Turn the model upside-down and start on the bottom tracks (that's easier to hide if you've miscalculated) and then scrub the vehicle all over. Yes, all over and don't forget the end of the barrel as it makes everything with detail stand out....see the last three pics. You see, you get detailing and weathering in one. Easy. Looks like you spent hours detailing. TIP: Use acrylics, it's just quicker.
OK, questions?....if not then get on with it.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Stalingrad - Part three; They think it's all over!

The final couple of moves went as expected in this the opening gamut of the Stalingrad campaign. A historical result is always most gratifying...
The Russian battalion closest to the German encircling forces is forced into the open and decides that a quick 'Huzzah!' across the ground towards the flank of the next nearest enemy is their last option
 The flank Coy turns to face the threat...
 ...and the mortars get shot in over open sights...
 The Wespe 105's also put in cross fire at short range too
 The anti-tank rifles get lucky for the last time before being wiped out by and infantry supported tank attack
 It's not a good day to be in this particular Bn.
 Meanwhile, half the available Panzer-grenadiers cross the skyline where the ill fated recce Bn got chewed up...and take a bit of punishment themselves from the pre-zeroed 82mm mortars
 Alas, there wasn't anywhere for the last T70 to hide...
 The maxim riddles the exiting crew of the 251/1 as it begins to cook off...

'Hey, Germans! Berlin is that way, comrade!'
 Better news for the Bn in the collective farm buildings as they see off the Germans before them
Yet for many, surrounded now and cut off from the road East, a cruel captivity awaits...

So, the first game of the campaign ends historically enough. The Germans can't move fast enough nor fully cut the Russians off from flight. The Russians suffer two thirds of their force (7 inf and 1 tank Bn's) destroyed or captured. The Germans lose perhaps 20% of a force less than half the size of the Russians but it is still seen as too much loss for too little gain.

My thanks to the chaps for an interesting few evenings.

Next - Into the city!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Stalingrad - Part Two; Oh, that's gotta hurt!

The Recce Battalion finds Russians and gets that warm fuzzy feeling you get from close proximity to high explosives..
'So, hah! my frau says if I cheat on her in Russland a giant hand will come out of ze skies und get me in my sidecar....'

'...I mean, can you believe zat woman!'
 Crossing the skyline they expose themselves to the desperate Russians in among the crops
 All at once the cereals snap, crackle and pop with small arms fire
 Out manoeuvred and out gunned the Russians let the Germans have it
 At the same time the Germans are trying to close the door on the Russians and surround them
 ...but they pop up from all over the place and the Germans are faced with point blank fire from almost every point of the compass...
 Their battle drills kick in. Surprised by the enemy in close proximity they attack
 Some Russian units, without orders, just wait and watch...
'Otto! Your wife was right!'
 The recce Bn is virtually wiped out by 82mm mortars firing in unison...
 Air support comes to the rescue...at this stage in the campaign the Wehrmact is very impressed by the Luftwaffe's command of the air...so far...
 One consequence of the struggle up to now has been...
'So my wife says "Machine gunner Ivan Ivanovich if you ever cheat on me a giant hand..."'
 ...heavy casualties all round...
 Damaged and outclassed tanks try to break away from the cauldron...
 The spearhead of panzers spread out to hold what the have gained...
 ...making way for the panzer-grenadiers...
 Red units just continue to hold their ground awaiting orders
 ...and suffer for their immobility...
 Rich pickings for JU 87B's...
 ...more suffering for the footsoldiers.
 STAVKA has dropped the ball on this one. As the Battalion's watch, the Germans manoeuvre for their next punch
 TAC HQ directs the fight as far forward as is needed...
 The Russian mortars are the most active element. They have a 'target rich' environment.
 'Not one step back' is being imposed very literally on the men by the political commissars.
 The Russians don't lack bravery, just good leadership...some things never seem to change.
 The Germans are efficient in the things they turn their hands to...that hasn't changed...only the 'things' have.
 The lone survivor!
'Come on! engine , hold on!'

'Enemy front. Load AP. Target 400m....'

 Fire! Another BT7 bites the cotton wool...
 ..the Panzer-Grenadiers are up...
 ...the panzer spearhead is refocussed...
 ...acceptable casualties so far...
 Movement...but is it too late?
 Surprises still abound...
 ...but the Germans are coordinating well...
...and having their effect...
 ...and the Russians go on paying for poor command and control.
 What can save these Russians, if anything?
 The German secret of success is never far away....radio communication...
'Night Mary-Ellen, night John-boy'
Though it won't do this lot any good....

Next time; Can the Germans be stopped? Is Mother Russia doomed? will we run out of casualty figures?

Watch this space...