Monday 27 June 2011

And Here Is One She Made Earlier...

Like many of the female of the species SWMBO likes crafting. However, of late she has forgone the delights of card making, encaustic art (painting with an iron!) and parchment craft for the joys of jewellery making and as you can see from this nice little Blue Chalcedony bracelet she's pretty good at it (so much I think this could be a good sideline for Wessex Games - think of them as weregild to take home to the wargames widow after a show!).

Unlike most hobbyists she is very good in that her entire hobby is kept neatly stored away in a 16" x 12" box when she isn't making bracelets, earrings and necklaces. Pointing this out to me, I responded I keep all my hobby material in a single box - the house! :-)

Normal service is resumed tomorrow...

Sunday 26 June 2011

Der Kampfflieger 3D Printed Austin Osprey

When I ordered the Der Kampfflieger Sopwith Triplanes via Shapeways I also picked up the Austin Osprey they produce. Only one prototype was produced in 1918 as a replacement for the Sopwith Camel, but the Osprey was beaten by the Sopwith Snipe so never went in to production, however, I thought it would be nice to have one for use in 'what if?' dogflights as it is a nice looking plane.

As previously stated the model is 'printed' in a plastic resin (described by Shapeways as 'white, strong & flexible'). It has a slight rough finish and is apparently porous and will absorb paint like a sponge, however a good undercoating (I used the trusty old GW Skull White aerosol) and I didn't have any problem painting the PC10 Catchan Green fuselage etc. The model doesn't come with a pilot so I used a Reviresco one but he seems a bit 'big-headed'. Decals are, as usual, from Dom's Decals.

Overall I am very pleased with my first paint job of a 3D printed model. The detail is good, it is very light and the end result more than acceptable. Hopefully Der Kampfflieger will produce some more 3D prints of less common WWI planes in the future...

W E John's Airco DH4

Having decided to repaint the Wings of War Airco DH4 because I didn't like the PC12 chocolate brown finish I had to decide on what paint scheme to use. By and large British bombers of the late war period are extremely boring and although the history of 55 Squadron, Independent Force is interesting, their overall PC10 planes aren't.

Aside from my interest in the Independent Air Force formed in June 1918, like most air wargamers I love Captain W. E. John's  Biggles books and as John's served in 55 Squadron being shot down after six weeks of active service in September 1918. At this time 55 Squadron's planes only sported national markings and an individual plane identifying letter. Unfortunately whilst we know John's plane was serial no. F5172 we don't know what letter it sported so as some squadrons used the officer's initial I have gone with J.

Painting The Black Flight

Having undercoated and painted the undersides of my Sopwith Triplanes I've had to decide on a paint scheme for them. Despite there not being a lot of choice with British planes they can sure give you a headache! :-)

The RNAS were the primary users of the Sopwith Triplane and the most famous users the legendary Black Flight of No. 10 Naval Squadron. As you can see from the picture below quite a simple but neat scheme with distinctive black cowlings and wheels...

But as ever ascertaining the fuselage colour is a problem. RFC planes are generally painted PC10 which can be reasonably portrayed with either GW Catachan Green or Tamiya NATO Green (the shade does vary due to the mix, field service conditions and weathering).

RNAS planes are normally painted PC12 and this is a contentious subject of much debate. Is it a chocolate brown, a red brown, a more earthy brown? Who knows, the situation is further confused with new late war colours used in the tropics being mistakenly identified as PC12 on fabric samples.

"Popular opinion" suggests that Tamiya's Flat Earth or Flat Brown are the best colours for PC12 but one post I read about the IWM RNAS Camel is that the colour can vary from green to brown depending on the angle viewed at! Also, the picture above looks like Catachan Green to me! :-)

Saturday 25 June 2011

Armed Forces Day 2011

Today is Armed Forces Day in the UK, a chance for us to honour our armed forces past and present. There are a number of events across the country and I noticed a Challenger II was parked on College Green in Bristol (well, I assume it was there for Armed Forces Day and not in preparation for the Teacher's strike demo on Thursday!).

This is the first Armed Forces Day my son-in-law has actually been on active service in a war zone, being somewhere off Libya in HMS Liverpool, though this is probably less hazardous than last year when he met the PM on HMS Ark Royal who promised to revisit the carrier for the 25th anniversary (strange he didn't keep that promise).

Tuesday 21 June 2011

3D Printed Sopwith Triplane

You may have seen on Steel on Sand's blog about the 'not' Blake's 7 ships purchased from Shapeways and co-incidentally my first order from Shapeways arrived today courtesy of UPS. Tempted as I am by the Blake's 7 ships (and I will not be able to resist, the Liberator is such an iconic image of my childhood), my first purchase was a couple of 1/144th Sopwith Triplanes and an Austin Osprey designed by Kampfflieger (more noted for their wonderful paper kits).

I was expecting to receive a pack of several pieces and was surprised that the models are one piece castings and nicely detailed enough that they will fit in with my metal and plastic WWI collection. I must confess to still not being able to quite get my head around the process, but then I don't really understand how the TV works, so will just accept that it does. The models are in a plastic which I am not sure how it will react to paints, glue, cutting etc, but I'm not anticipating any problem even though I picked the cheapest material (you can upgrade) but whilst slightly rough I think they will look fine after undercoating and painting (the pictures here are blown up about 3x actual size so the effect looks exaggerated).

I must say I'm really taken with this whole idea and want to find out more about 3D printing as it seems a great way of getting obscure planes into production with less cost than traditional methods (and yes, I was thinking about aeronef, ships, experimental tanks etc, etc!)

Monday 20 June 2011


You may remember I said I wasn't starting any new projects but I confess I have weakened (a bit...) For some time I've been pondering on converting Panzerfäuste/ColdWar: 1983 into a straight historical WW2 set. I have used Panzerfäuste for the Russian Front before but appreciate WW2 gamers don't feel easy about having their Germans firing Dwarf smgs and there are some parts of ColdWar I'd like to pull over as well. So in between things I've been planning out WorldWar: 1940... Not sure when it will be ready, I could do a quick job cut and paste but I really want to spend some time on the various armies and cover a lot of the smaller ones (the great thing about section/platoon level games is that one-sided wars become distinctly less one-sided).

Rather than just cover the usual suspects in the rulebook, or concentrate on NW Europe 1944, I've decided to put the primary focus for the rulebook on the period September 1939 to May 1940 with future supplements covering the Eastern Front and Balkans, the Western Desert, South-east Asia and the Pacific, NW Europe and Italy and the end of the war. So having drafted out what I want in the first book I've been looking into 28mm miniatures as I like the idea of raising a section plus some support weapons for a number of the countries over the course of the project (especially some of the unusual ones), with maybe the odd AFV here and there.

For the Blitzkrieg period BEF produce early war British, Germans and Belgians and Warlord Poles and French (boxes of which I have ordered from Wayland). Other smaller nations are a problem, Norwegians used to be available from Valkyrie Miniatures but the best bet now seems to be useBrigade Games Austro-Hungarians and a bit of Green Stuff, not sure about the Dutch and Danes...

Sunday 19 June 2011

Father's Day To The Rescue...

With a heavy work schedule and a loss of painting mojo I've come to a grinding halt on anything to do with wargaming hence the complete absence of posts. However Father's Day has seen a nice little present from Saul which is getting the fingers twitching again in the form of two packs from Design 28 Miniatures wonderful Steam and Steel range which I will be adding to my simmering Victorian Gothic project.

First off is V6 Jack The Ripper set, which contains four nicely sculpted figures including a police constable, newspaper seller and Jack himself (I can see SWMBO influenced this present given her fascination with Victorian detectives and crime).

The second set is very steampunk in the form of V8 Lord Fecitt and Hunting Party with a hunter on steam powered penny farthing and robot dog! Very Pax Britannica!

There are some wonderful miniatures in this range and I can see myself becoming a loyal and frequent customer of Design 28 Miniatures...

Sunday 5 June 2011

Tanks For The Pressies...

Another year older last week and SWMBO* bought me some really nice wargaming pressies in the form of a box of the new 20mm Plastic Soldier Company PzIV and a box of the T34. Both sets contain three models and allow for a number of variants. The T34 has separate turrets to allow you to make T34/76 or T34/85 (indeed change them from game to game as required), the PzIV contains various bits to allow you to make either Ausf F1, F2, G or H variants (as you can see from the sprue layout below).

I haven't had a chance to make up the models yet but the sprues are crisply moulded and details well defined, I am especially impressed with the PzIV Ausf H with its skirt and turret armour. I must say I am really enthused by these kits and am looking forward to making them up, they offer good value, the two piece track assembly is really clever and the ability to make up a number of variants from one box very welcome. I can see myself buying many more PSR AFV kits...

* SWMBO would like it commented that PSR customer service was top notch and they were very helpful...

Wednesday 1 June 2011

I Am Spartacus!

The 'Real World' put painting on hold so the remaining squads for the Russian and American platoons are sat in a state of semi-completion. Hopefully I'll get a good couple of hours tomorrow or Friday to get them to dipping stage. The BTR's arrived today so once the figures are finished we're good to go (ok, I want to dirty up the Bradleys and add some S&S stowage but that doesn't stop them getting some gaming action assuming I can find the time).

My mind has been flitting with ideas for Basic Impetus and having become addicted (against my better judgement) to Spartacus: Blood and Sand I remembered I had a box of Orion 20mm plastic gladiators which I initially bought to use for a gladiator game before buying em-4's Ludus Gladiatorius. I've got the WAB supplement somewhere but I have also picked up Lewis Grassic Gibbon's novel Spartacus which is apparently a great read. I'm not sure how many figures I'll need for a Basic Impetus army and as I don't have any 20mm Republican Romans I'll need to get some for an OpFor but given the way that Impetus bases are mini-dioramas as much as unit bases, the appeal of something a little different is very appealing and the Spartacus slave rebellion ideally suited for such a mini-project...