Thursday, August 31, 2017

Painting Progress pt 2

I finished off three rowboats today. Also four sailors rowing. Below are some pictures of how they look.

The small boat is a Sea Dog Studios Dinghy. The middle one is an Old Glory Shipyard sailed rowboat. The large one is a Sea Dog Studios barge or whaleboat. I can't remember which. I am very pleased with how they have come out. Need to finish some more actual pirates but the crew were too tempting.

Painting update

I managed to get some stuff done last night and this morning. I have painted the last 8 of my Spanish Regulars. I also have found a lost movement tray that I was missing. Once the base from Litko arrive, I will be in business to wrap up my Spanish. So far the force is just three groups of militia and three groups of regulars. They are a rather static force. I have a suitably painted up priest to accompany the force and a few big men to run around with them.

In terms of pirates, I had 58 of them on the painting table this morning. I managed to knock out four fellows rowing that i plan on putting in some of the rowboats that I have finished. Now if I were the industrious sort, I would glue magnets to the boats and to the rowers so I could move them around. But alas, I just don't feel like doing it.

A quick trip to the cabinet showed that I have plenty of unpainted Row boats that need attention. I brought up two Sea Dog Studios ships. one a larger rowboat and another that is a tiny dinghy. I also grabbed up one of the sailed Old Glory boats. Once the ink dries on the sailors, i will test fit them on these ships and see how they look.

All of my pirates are at least base coated now. I need to figure out what I want to paint next. Probably some officer types and a gun crew. I was surprised that I really enjoyed painting the uniformed Spanish. I didn't enjoy painting the 8 pirates that I have finished so far. Trying to make them look unique was a chore and doubled the painting time. I need a way to speed this up and get these figures on a table soon.

I hope to post some pictures later today.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

New Toys

In researching the Second Battle of Kharkov, I came across some toys that I "needed". These included some T-70s, T-60s, Matilda IIs and Valentine IIIs for the Soviets and some Panzer III Js and Panzer IV F2s for the Germans. I have not looked close enough at the Hungarians and Romanians to see if they had any armor in the area. Thus far, I think not.

Anyway, I went shopping. My first place was a new vendor. Well, they were not that new. Turns out I had bought some German trucks from them off of eBay before but then forgot about them. They now have their own website and offer a fantastic range of painted 15mm vehicles. Check them out: My first order was still from their eBay store as I had not found their website yet. I grabbed up three Panzer III Js and two T-70s.

When I opened the box, I was pretty pleased with the overall look of the models. But the Panzers looked short to me. IN the picture below, you can see a Command Decision Panzer III hiding behind the back left tank. It is indeed slightly shorter. But, in the 3 models that I ordered of the same model, all three have different stowage on the back of the model! I thought that was pretty nice. It came painted with some mud on the tracks. A basic paint job but one that will work. I can throw on some markings and call them done. The T-70s I have nothing to compare them against so they are fine in my eyes.

One thing that is noticeable is the pitting in the surface of the vehicles. It is very noticeable in the T-70s in the front. I could take the time to fix it, but to the naked eye on the table, it won't be as noticeable as it is in the pictures. At $5/tank with no shipping through their eBay store, these are a great value.

But like any manufacturer, they don't have everything. I still have Matilda IIs and Valentine IIIs to get, as well as the Panzer IV f2. Cruising on over to my other favorite site, Gaming Models, I saw that Craig has both the Valentine and Matilda's that I want. Wargame Models of Ohio only has the Matilda II and the close support Valentine III. I sent him an order for three of each. I asked about the Panzer IV f2 and he said there was little difference between it and the G model. To prove it, he said he would chuck one in the box for me to check out for free. Great guy and excellent service. He has made models for me in the past and added them to his inventory. Anyway, those are still on order.

Lastly for me, I ran out of bases for my pirate miniatures. I have been basing my new Sharp Practice stuff on 20mm round bases that fit a Litko sabot base for them. Only using Sabots for the Spanish as my pirates will be not be able to take a formation. The good news is that I have now finished two groups of Spanish regulars and three groups of Spanish Militia. The bad news is, I ran out of the bases and can't complete them. I put in an order to Litko yesterday to fix that.

While I was basing things, I worked on some Soviets for my Cold War Chain of Command. I painted up six infantry wielding Aks with the under slung grenade launcher. I only had bases for 4 of them. The other two remain stranded on their painting stick. I am basing those guys on 10mm square bases. I have also finished out an AGS-17 team and a heavy MG team for the Soviets as well. I have more support options waiting in a drawer for bases to arrive before I start working on them.

Lastly, I had posted about a package of toys from England a few days ago. I saw that Warbases made their announcement about their new 15mm line of Roman buildings. That is what I received. I picked up the Mansio and a villa. They look great. However, there are a ton of parts. It will take some time to get those together. Until then, they reside in a drawer.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

WIP Pictures

I managed to get some bad photos of my current works in progress. First up is the pirate project. All of these figures are from Peter Pig's Pirate range.

This is the second group of Spanish Militia that I have finished. They came out OK. The picture without the flash was way too dark. This one made them look shiny. Not sure why. They don't appear shiny when I look at them.

Once based, this will give me two complete groups for them. Only have 8 more of them to paint. Then it is on to the regulars.

Next up is two test pirates. I want them to look motley and unorganized so I am basically painting them as individuals. May change that if it becomes too annoying.

These two fellows need an ink wash and matt varnish before I am done with them. So far they are OK.

Then I finished a couple of Cold War Tanks. A T-55 and a T-72. They came out pretty good.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Experiments in Ink Washes

When it comes to paining miniatures, I know very little. But i recently decided to play around with two new ink washes from Vallejo. I bought the Black Model Wash and the Brown Model Wash to see what they would do to my miniatures. I had been using the Windsor & Newton Black india Ink but it was too dark even watered down. So I thought this could be a cool experiment.

So on the seven Spanish Militia I am currently painting for a Pirate SP campaign, I did two in the Brown Wash, Two in the undiluted black wash and the rest in a black wash with 50% water added. It is still drying but I think I like how the brown wash turned out. The white pants didn't come out well on any of them. But the Brown is my current favorite. I will keep this in mind going forward.

If I can get these based, I will be 2/3rds done with my Militia force. I still need to undercoat my remaining regulars. But the problem is, I have new Cold War minis that are distracting me from completing a project. Just picked up some really nice Soviet Infantry support elements that should go really nicely with my existing force. Also got some US support troops as well. I don't know of anyone that does engineer support elements in 15mm for the Cold War. Anyone have any ideas? Specifically mine clearance troops and the like.

Anyways, It feels good to be painting again. Even if I have to use reading glasses to do it. Getting Old sucks. Avoid it if possible.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Second Battle of Kharkov

I found in my research an interesting potential scenario for Chain of Command. On the first day of the Russian Offensive (May 12th, 1942), the town of Nepokrytaya was the headquarters of Gruppe Winkler. Most of the infantry had abandoned the town due to the approach of Soviet tanks (Actually British Matilda IIs and some Valentines) that their poor quality anti-tank weapons could not damage. What remained in the town were the Regimental Headquarters and two German 1.FH 18 howitzer batteries. These were 10.5cm guns. These directly engaged the approaching tanks and disabled six of them causing the Soviets to break off their attack.

I thought this could make for an interesting encounter. I have been searching the web for appropriate maps of the area. My go to spot does not have maps of the area east of Kharkov. It does have situational maps for each day of the battle though. Here is an excerpt of the May 11th, 1942 map that covers the general area.

You can clearly see the 6 AOK position in Kharkov and the bridgehead at Staryi Saltov.

I did find a new site today. It is a Russian site but it has fantastic maps. It may have what I want in a 1:25000 scale which would be perfect. The problem is, I have to translate them to figure out what I am looking at. I have the general area M 37-062. I just need to find the right subpart.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Back Among the Living

Just had another issue with my Ulcerative Colitis and spent the weekend in the hospital. Had to get a blood transfusion but am now well on the mend.

Being bored out of my skull did get me working on another project, the Second Battle of Kharkov in May 1942. This one is interesting as it involved a wide variety of units that are all worn out from the winter battles of 1941-42. The Soviets have hastily rebuilt units that are rushed to the front with bare minimum training that lack fuel, food and ammunition for an offensive that they launch anyway. The Germans are building up for their own offensive and are not much better situated logistically. The Germans rushed a rear area security division to plug holes in the front lines that features Czech equipment (MGs, rifles and the like) rather than German equipment. Provides some interesting modeling opportunities. Also Romanian and Hungarian units were used in prominent front line positions.

The Germans lacked sufficient anti-armor capabilities. The 3.7cm PAK and the 5cm PAK were still the main anti-tank weapons held by the divisions. Some Luftwaffe 8.8cm guns were availible. German armor was mostly older gear but some Panzer III Js and Panzer IV F2s were availible that were capable of dealing with the Soviet KV-1s and T-34s.

The Soviets fielded lend lease equipment in at least one of the Tank Brigades (90th Tank Brigade) that was equipped with Valentine and Matilda II tanks. Most of the equipment availible to the offensive was still older T-60 and T-70 tanks.

So the campaign is interesting in that it features two competing offensives. The German Operation Fridericus and the Soviet pincer to recapture Kharkov. The Soviets got their campaign under way first but they ran into a prepared German Army that was able to counter punch and deal a devastating blow to the Soviet Armies in the SouthWestern Front.

I have about 10 pages of notes that I wrote in the hospital that I need to transform into something usable. The background to the campaign will probably be done in a few days. The problem will be in picking units for the Chain of Command Campaign(s). The thought is that I would do it similar to my First Kharkov Campaign and offer multiple campaigns in the supplement to cover some of the action. But I have NO CLUE which units to cover yet. I am thinking of having at least one that features an Axis Ally such as the Romanians or Hungarians.

I have been busy shopping for books and came up with several useful tomes. One issue I have is that I am finding conflicting information out there. The Osprey book on the battle has some bad data about vehicles. It lists the Marder II with the Soviet 76.2mm gun as being present when they didn't reach the front until June.

Anyway, just a brief update. I have managed to paint one M1 Abrams tank for a Cold War project as well.