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aerials!

2 posts in quick succession? Well, reviewing my latest post upon publication (as I always do, to check for typos and such) a problem is slapping me straight in the face. The radios are barely distinguishable as radios – because they don’t have antennae. Doh!

This is pure oversight: I always put aerials on radios and radio vehicles – the models actually look better’ plus it helps identify the stands as command, staff, recce or whatever. Martin Goddard customarily puts a little starter ‘dimple’ on the models to guide your drill in, so you can ‘post fix’. Hands up: I forgot. Totally.

So I’ve had to go back. Checking my sources first, I can identify the radios Martin has modelled as Torn model E Bs. They have a whiplash type aerial on the left side of the front guy’s box (see pic) … and indeed, close inspection shows there is a tiny dimple where the drill should go. My drill was a bit big, though, so it wasn’t quite plain sailing (but I pressed on with what I had to hand).

(15mm modelling: Eeek … drilling a hole for the aerial turns out to be micro surgery)

Still, I’m just about there on all 3 models. My ‘go to’ for small aerials is brush bristle which tends to the right sort of thickness, is easy to cut and fit (and flexes more or less like the real thing in the case of accidents). Fortuitously for the photo exercise, the brush I snipped a few off had pink bristles which show up nicely for a ‘how to’ picture.

(next stage: fitting aerials made of bristles cut from a pink household brush)

As the material for these is virtually free, I tend to fit a longish mast, then trim it back after the glue has set.

I guess, including a coat of paint, going back and fixing this problem took half an hour or so. Photos and blogging the fix is the bigger job! That said, I think the fix illustrates my earlier point: I think these bases now look better – and look more like recce!

I was particularly pleased, mugging up on the radios, to find a photo of one being used by a team with a bicycle. Not the poses in my version, of course, but somehow ticking a box anyway.

(real life: Wehrmacht team with radio and bicycle)
(P.B.Eye-Candy: Wehrmacht team with radio and bicycle)

So, going back over the same job again doesn’t get the lead pile tackled but it did make me look up the details for the radio – so I have leant something in the process.

As many regulars will know, my WWII collection is dual purposed … for tactical as well as operational wargames. The figures for 198 ID are ‘borrowed in’ from my PBI company, and just as there is a consequent ‘fill out’ in progress for all the impedimenta that goes with the Divisional Level formation (recorded here, as it joins the collection, under German Horsedrawn – for such most of it will be), there are also some components that need to be added to the basic blocks or that would be ‘nice to have’.

15mm figures by Peter Pig

So, in addition to an extra combat stand and support stand, I needed some recce for each of the regiments. I also decided (‘nice to have’) to add some boats to represent the river crossing and bridging capacities. Of course all divisions would have the facilities, but in game terms it is nice to have appropriate makers through which to channel the player’s attention (thinking forward; sending the boats to the right place; not leaving things behind etc.) …

Some Useful Boats

So, we saw the basic boat model on its trailer in the last update … added to this, now, is one in action – a Sturmboot 39 – and a couple of inflatables. These will come out at the sharp end … for most of the time the Division is moving around the theatre, the potential of these craft will simply be represented by the transit model, of course.

Also in the picture is a ‘downed Luftwaffe’ dinghy and a waterline Schwimmwagen which I already had (so this is now what I have got, as far as riverine assaults go)

The asault inflatables are by Quality Castings (with a couple of extra crew which are Peter Pig. The Sturmboot 39 is adapted by me from one of the resin boats from The Square (i.e. – and appropriately enough – it’s the same boat as the one on the trailer … I’ve just added a modicum of detail, given it a scratchbuilt outboard and a PP crew figure … and chopped it sufficient to have the right, ‘sturm’, attitude in the water).

P.B.Eye-Candy’s 15mm scale Leichtes Sturmboot 39

It has (seemingly always) an MG34 mounted in the bow and a very chracteristic motor (again, always the same power plant) which appears to be a Kovats type K4R4 … although highly simplified, I’ve tried to follow the basic shape and configuration in the scratchbuilt version.

The characteristic Kovats K4 R4: powerplant of the Sturmboot 39

As standard in my collection, the various watercraft are mounted on clear bases …

The scouts

Yesthatphil’s 15mm German recce stands

The recce stands with my PBI Aufkalrungsschwadron all use pretty fancy kit. Of course, 198 would have its fair share of motor vehicles, but that wasn’t the balance I wanted to strike. So I’ve made 3 new stands for this purpose … basic infantry going forward to scout without the luxury of armoured cars and half tracks. Consequently, I gave one a bicycle, one a motorbike, and one a horse.

Again denoting them as PBIs sent forward, I’ve given them the white wafenfarbe (uniform piping) of the infantry (rather than of specialist reconaissance unit).

(figures by Peter Pig, bicycle from model railway supplies)
Wehrmacht 198 ID scouting parties

Each of the bases is completed with a Peter Pig 2-man radio team in greatcoats (to which I’ve swapped a couple of heads for variety) …

The box of divisional assets and support ehelons is filling up.

Somewhere in RussiaAssault troops from 198 ID make an improvised river crossing prior to bridging operations

So this is the first set of pictures as the models begin to get painted and based, ready to fill out the rear echelon of the infantry division. This batch has a small limber, a heavy supply wagon, the Machinegun Flak cart and a boat.

The boat is intended as a generic marker – possibly marking assault boats, possibly bridging equipment, depending on the demands of the scenario. It is an upturned ‘The Square’ resin boat on some BPM 3D printed wheels.

The gun represents a divisional anti-tank unit, notionally equiped with a 50mm Pak 38.

(gun and limber by BattleFront, figures by Peter Pig, horses by Museum Miniatures)

This is modeled as my usual combination of the gun (BattleFront) on a metal shim with a ‘limbered’ base and a ‘deployed’ base, each of which has a magnabased patch for the gun.

The deployed gun (again, figures by Peter Pig)

1:100 scale/15mm models on P.B.Eye-Candy

Heavy Supply Wagon (Schwere Feldwagen Hf.2)

Wagon and Horses by Quality Castings, driver by Peter Pig

And finally, the little flak cart … (Maschinengewehrwagen 36)

Limber, wheels and weapons by Battlefront, cart scratchbuilt. horses by QRF and crew by Peter Pig

The vehicle typically is armed with MG34s, whereas I had MG42s in my spares – however, some pictures I have seen do suggest MG42s were used. I have simplified the gun sights.

Maschinengewehrwagen 36: details

So far, so good. Hopefully I can get a little shift on with the next batch.

1:1200 ships

A friend of mine recently posted pictures of a model of Bismarck that he had recently completed and I immediately browsed through the files here so as to share pictures some of my own smaller models with him. It turns out that although I have some pictures of the Bismarck and others from the battle of the Denmark Strait campaign in (Big Ship) action, the only ship I had posted individually was the Vittorio Veneto …

P.B.Eye-Candy Fleet Action: Bismarck and Scharnhorst engage Hood and Suffolk
P.B.Eye-Candy Profile: 1:1200 Vittorio Veneto from Revell

So this post is a gratuitous corrective post. It reminds me that I have a lot of work to do on the rules and on the collection – but it also puts up some more pictures.

The War for the North Atlantic

1:1200 Airfix and Revell: the pride of the Kriegsmarine …
Bismarck
Scharnhorst
Prinz Eugen

The inspiration for taking these pictures was my friend’s Bismarck, so mostly I took a lot of pictures of the Kriegsmarine’s capital ships … but, hunting them down, of course, would have been the Royal Navy …

KGV, POW, Ark Royal, Hood, Suffolk and one of several destroyers
P.B.Eye-Candy: the search for Bismarck … long range missions, and Swordfish from Ark Royal
P.B.Eye-Candy: eager to close the range, Hood hunts down Bismarck

Merry Christmas everyone. An unusual year. And I’ve been up to something unusual (for this blog, anyway) over the evenings leading up to the 25th – but which I thought you might enjoy.

My friend’s daughter recently lost her grandfather, who had been an enthusiastic warplane buff and modeller, though latterly affected by old age. She was able to retrieve some of his models which she wanted to keep for sentimental reasons – the only problem being that they were broken (so she wasn’t sure what to do with them). A job for Uncle Phil, then … and I determined to get them ready by Christmas (so, a gift of time and attention for her, rather than something off Amazon!)

The box contained a couple of WW2 biplanes and a more recent helicopter. In varying states of repair (but all had had their wheels broken off, and not all the wheels were in the box). The Kaman Seasprite looked the bigger challenge as I was going to have to find or fabricate one of the main rotor blades and the entire rear rotor. As it happened, that significantly underestimated the problems I would have with the Stranraer’s upper wing.

Anyway, despite a very long night or two, I got them done, and I think they ended up looking very tidy. Pretty much back to their former best, so the (surprise) box opening on Christmas Day was a magical moment (a wave of emotion that easily justified the time that had been taken).

FAIREY SWORDFISH (1/72)

This was the easiest of the three. Other than fixing some loose wing parts and struts, all I had to do was fabricate a missing wheel and fix both wheels on. Miliput to the rescue. I was intending to make a press mould but the wheels on the Stringbag are so basic I was able to make one freehand.

Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber

The refurbished Swordfish model.

A favourite of mine. Hero of the attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto, Swordfish attacks also helped cripple the Bismarck in the struggle for the North Atlantic shipping lanes.

SUPERMARINE STRANRAER (1/72)

Look at the rigging on that! Unfortunately the broken off top wing and struts had warped, and the tangle of attached rigging prevented an ‘in one’ reassembly (I had to work my way out from the centre, section by section with elastic bands to give the glue a chance to hold the wing in line). This one also had a missing wheel and a broken propeller.

This model also had snapped machinegun barrels, so I had to drill them out and replace them with brass wire.

The floats proved particularly tricky, as the plastic was aged and brittle. It didn’t want to be glued, and the compression necessary to achieve the bond snapped the struts.

Although I do frequently use plastic kits for vehicles, I have long advocated the ‘metal parts for guns and fittings approach’ and shake my head at the current fashion for hard plastic figures. So it was ironic for me to be dealing with precisely the issues I have warned others about with ageing hard plastics. Ah well. I got there in the end.

I have to say that, although the crews apparently disliked it, as a plane of its era, the Stranraer is a very cool machine.

Supermarine Stranraer

SEASPRITE ASW HELICOPTER (1/48)

The big problem with the Seasprite was the missing rotor blades. In the end, I cut the missing main rotor blade from a scrap plastic takeaway box. It took 2 layers to get the thickness, but I wanted that soft plastic to match the droopiness of the other blades (which were themselves made of a softer plastic than the rest of the model).

I know that it is a bit ‘rough and ready’ (it’s not an easy material for fine modelling) but you have to get quite close up to see that one of the four blades is a hand cut replacement rather than a moulded component from the kit.

So, all in all, a different project for Christmas and, it turned out, a job well done.

By my standards, these were quite big models to work on, and made out of my least favourite material. They look great, but it reminds me that I do need to get back to the (mostly metal, 1/100) German and Russian horsedrawn project. And some wargaming.

2021 beckons.

White-Laffly AMD50

November’s output on 20th Cent. wargames projects hasn’t been that photogenic – but I thought you might like the painted version of that Laffly armoured car Butlers released last month.

I’ve added a crewman (a Peter Pig French motorised crewman cut at the waist) and a mast aerial (there probably should be 2 – a further one on the front) otherwise it’s fresh out of the pack.

Butler’s Printed Models: 15mm Scale White-Laffly AMD 50 armoured car

With the naked eye, the printing striations don’t really show up at all. I will probably replace the guns with metal Piggie ones in due course – but for now, I wanted to make it as supplied.

Regards the aerial, the bedframe types were more common (or none at all) but some photos do seem to show mast types …

Yesthatphil’s 1:100 White-Laffly AMD50

Painted with my usual mix of enamels, acrylics and inks. All I would say is be careful of the direction when you dry brush in order not to accentuate the printing ridges.

One more picture from my researches to end the post. It doesn’t really help modelling or painting the AMD50 but it has an airship (in 1930s Morocco!) in the background (so it automatically makes the cut!)

More on the horsedrawn projects next month.

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(restored museum exhibit flak cart in Normandy)

During October I have been putting in small blocks of work on the horsedrawn support echelon units for 198 ID … I expect to complete these next month but can’t resist a preview (below)

But there have been distractions

NEW ACCESSIONS

First amongst which would be a new release from Butlers Printed Models … the earlier (AMD 50) version of the Laffly armoured car:

These were much used in the North African colonies under the Vichy regime so will be very popular with collectors with French armies.

The characteristic striations from the printing process are not too bad, the guns are much better than with some of the earlier BPM releases (so too the wheels) and the size looks spot on. Here’s how it compares:

The AMD 50 and AMD 80 were just about the same size, and the model checks out very clse to the optimal 1:100. And (see photos) matches very well with the Old Glory/Command Decision AMD 80 which was previously the only option for this generation of French armoured cars.

As I was ordering from Butlers, I also picked up one of the very neat little Italian Dovunque trucks …

… and some jerry cans.

I think the truck speaks for itself, and the comments about the sharp detail on the wheels etc. apply. The Jerrycans are slightly smaller than the Peter Pig ones, I think (closer to the Skytrex/CD stowage) but I think they will look good (and are £1 for a pack of 10, which is hard to beat).

All good.

Horsedrawn WiP …

I think the limber came from old Battlefront, and the horses from QRF … add a cart and some machineguns …

I don’t think anyone makes anything like this in 15mm/1:100 and it will provide some light AA support for the horsedrawn columns.

I have been putting off this build for a while now, but it went together more easily and smoothly than I would have expected.

It will require a little more tweaking, and having fixed the (FoW) guns in on their pintles, I will make the cradles for them out of post-fixed miliput. That should leave them both looking correct but being robust enough for wargame use.

Einmarsch in das Sudetenland. Truppe auf dem Vormarsch (Gefechtstross). 5.10.1938 Abschnitt Kreuzbuche. Sudetenland

More progress next month.

198th ID Staff

(15mm Piggies against a Ukraininan landscape by Arkhip Kuindzhi)

Just diverting from the horsedrawn theme to tidy up the staff component for 198 ID.

The commander at the start of Blau was Albert Buck, whom we met in the last episode. Here’s a bit more:

The command figure is a Piggie Russian with reprofiled cap and jacket. He almost seems to be giving a Nazi salute, although this was clearly not the designer’s intention. I also can’t claim this to be portraiture … we are adding a generic General to represent the man who commanded the division. Of course, given what happened, even at Operational Level, it seems appropriate to have a figure for the man himself, and the unarmoured staff car he would have been driven around in …

The car is an adapted resin Franklin Olympic from Peter Pig’d Spanish Civil War range … I have chopped it about a bit to make it look a little more like it belongs to the Wehrmacht on the Russian Front. It is quite generic, but based on the type 320 (with a touch of Hogan’s Heroes, maybe)

I painted it that greasy green colour, rather than Panzer Grey because of those ‘Operation Barbarosa’ colour photos we used to see a lot of in the 1970s, in which a lot of the vehicles looked quite green – whether this was because of the colour filters used, or was early colourization by technicians who didn’t know the real colours, I am unsure. But it looks right to me.

Anyway, good on general Buck … commanding from (at least near) the front, where wargamers put their generals – and getting killed in an ambush by grenades being lobbed at an unarmoured staff car. If you now more about the attack on Buck’s staff car (and, indeed, more about the car), please add somecomments below.

ID 198 01

What, no horses?  Well, I’ll start my project with an Infantry Division.  Let’s call it ID 198.

It would not have been entirely mechanised.

I need quite a bit of ID 198 for the battle of Rostov scenario, and, in the past,  have drawn suitable components from my PBI company force (as shown in the pictures) … but I’ve added supporting equipment for the higher levels on a somewhat unsystematic basis (i.e. cobbled it together).

As I need to add some typical German horse-drawn equipment to my German collection (and some tows for my 105s), it seems sensible to flesh out a generic infantry division with artillery and supports.

I’m tagging it ID 198 as providing units for 198 will be part of its job, although my intention is something more generic than 198 itself (which was often chronically understrength) and it won’t exactly mirror any specific formation.  Even, say, at Rostov, 22nd Panzer was supported by around a division’s worth of ‘leg’ infantry (mostly 198) but it wasn’t exclusively from ID 198 and not all of 198 was there (reality being a little more ‘ad hoc’, sometimes).

ID 198 02(another way of looking at a German Infantry Division)

The footsoldiers notionally form 3 regiments of 3 battalions each … for 198, they were 305, 308 and 326 (although 326 was heavily depleted by 1942, and by the time the division was redeployed from Russia, all the regiments were down to 2 battalions).

The 3 infantry regiments were supported by Artillery Regt 235.

ID 198 03(the footsoldier bits of the Infantry Division)

At this scale, each battalion is represented by a command stand and an infantry stand, the regimental HQs have some support stands.

ID 198 04

These paired PBI stands take up the same basic space (*wink*) as the wider stands Chris now uses in his NQM set up (so he would call this scale ‘1 base = 1 battalion’, counting PBI ones as half-bases).

So the next phase will involve me basing up lots of horse-drawn limbers and equipment to provide the guns, carts, ambulances etc. to allow all these soldiers to operate in the field effectively.  Hence the title of the post … German Horse-drawn etc. … that’s the job in hand.

Those of you who have followed this blog for some time, now, will know the one element already in place:

ID 198 05

This will keep them in good spirits.  I’m planning to add a bakery and an ambulance to make 3 recovery stands.  But more of the ‘to do’ list will appear in Part Two.

Edit: I should have included that, for Fall Blau, the Divisional Commander was Albert Buck.  He sounds like a wargamer’s general to me: he was an internal promotion, previosly commanding Regt 305 … and he died in action in the Causasus battles in September 1942.

Nebeltruppen 01

German rocket launchers, basically … ‘smoke troops’, but offering lethal HE support from their towed, six barrel, Nebelwerfer 41s …

Surprisingly, my miniature Germans have not previously had this equipment.

The models and figures are by Peter Pig, assembled without and fiddling or adaptation.

Nebeltruppen 02(Peter Pig 15mm Nebelwerfers)

The crew are for reloading … the launchers were fully loaded, then remotely fired with a ripple salvo of all 6 barrels.  They would then often need to be moved as their firing location was visible for miles from the smoke trails …

Nebeltruppen 03

So, in reality, you would be unlikely to have seen men with ammo standing around a nebelwerfer.  But PP do a nice pack of crew figures, and I will use them as ‘deployed’ markers in Operational Games.

Nebeltruppen 04(Nebelwerfer battery assembled and painted by Yesthatphil)

The rocket rounds I have seen seem to be a white-ish alloy colour (although internet searches do show variations) – anyway, I’ve gone with what I’ve seen.

The waffenfarbe for Nebeltruppen was ‘bordeaux’ apparently (a variation on the burgundy/murrey/wine colour?) and I will add some epaulette piping in due course.

Nebeltruppen 05(German rocket artillery on P.B.Eye-Candy)

The launchers are towed by a half track (Sdkfz 11, modified) and a captured Gaz 6-wheeler, both by Skytrex.  Depending on the game scale, there is a Zvezda Opel Blitz available for additional logistics.

Nebeltruppen 06(Skytrex, Zvezda, Skytrex)

Nebeltruppen 07

Nebeltruppen 08