Yesterday I finished the Panzer 38(t). It's the third model kit I paint up, and I wanted it to be a little more fun than just panzergrau, all day every day. So I took some paints, washes and Tamiya weathering powders that I bought a long time, and added some dirt and grime.
I first stippled some red-brown on to some of the wheels and gears to represent rust. I added some brown, red and black washes to represent oil and grime. Then I went over the wheels, threads and lower parts of the hull and the turret with powders that I brushed on, with a lighter shade higher up (where the mud would have a chance to dry up) and trying to get a darker shade where the mud would be fresher.
The end result wasn't perfect, but I prefer it when comparing it to a pristine dark grey tank. The important part to me is to try out new things, and learn from it so that you can improve on your next item. Now there's a truck and a kübelwagen waiting to be painted, we'll see which one it will be!
Oh, and I finished the Italian Rifle Platoon reference sheet, which is up on the downloads section.
There are quite a few things to keep track of when playing a campaign: the rise and fall of leaders, the casualties in your troops, and the damages on your tanks. For our Stalino campaign we use the Chain of Command campaign handbook as a basis for the campaign rules, and it requires a bit of documentation. Wounded soldiers come back later on and leaders gain or lose standing with the brass and the troops depending on how ready they are to sacrifice lives to gain battlefield objectives.
In our previous campaign we kept track with just pen and paper, but during that campaign we only had six platoons in total, one for each player. There were also no way to move units betweend different fronts and keep track of who is where, at what time. Since the Stalino campaign is going to feature several platoons, it will require a little bit of extra organisation, so I started to make platoon cards, which are meant to track all relevant information for the individual platoons. Each card can then be represented on a map with a single chit of cardboard, and hopefully this will prevent too much chaos as we get going.
The first platoon reference card I made was for the German Barbarossa 1941 Rifle platoon:
I will put up full sized PDF and JPG versions of the cards in the Rules section, free to use in your own CoC campaigns. I put in data that are useful for our version of the campaign, but if you have feedback on the cards (of if you'd like a similar card for a platoon that isn't featured in our campaign), feel free to get in touch!
I've been thinking about small things to add to the terrain collection for Stalino, and what we're missing. And look at the top picture of this blog: what railroad is not accompanied by a poles holding up telegraph or telephone wires? In street view pictures of Stalino, there's also all kinds of telephone and power wires.
There are several different kits both for complete poles and for just the insulators that holds the wires in place. I decided to try to make mine from scratch, as I had all the required materials: bamboo BBQ skewers, wire, green stuff (kneadatite), balsa wood and metal washers.
I made three different types of poles as prototypes. According to reference photos these would vary a lot, even along the same power line. I drilled holes with a pin vice where I wanted to put the insulators, either directly on the poles (as in the left-most version) or along a horisontal balsa stick (as in the picture second from the left). Some poles got a diagonal support board. These would actually often be attached almost to the top of the pole, so in future versions I'll change this design slightly. Some poles got two horisontal planks, some got one.
I cut off short bits of steel wire and glued them in the drilled holes. I bent the wire 90 degrees with a plier if it was attached horisontally directly into the pole. When cured, I made small balls of green stuff that I scored in the middle with a knife, and then placed on the wire to make insulators.
The poles were attached to metal washers with a liberal amount of green stuff. The poles that were going to get diagonal support boards were put on strips of MDF board, which I drilled holes into to keep the pole in place. Finally I glued some sand on the bases.
The wood parts were painted Oak Brown (Vallejo Game Colour), and the insulators were painted Stonewall Grey (VGC) and then highlighted white. The bases were painted like I paint my German bases, with a mix of field grey and dark brown.
That's it. A terrain piece that is very simple and cheap to build, and quick to paint. I believe that it will add realism to our roads and give a more urban feeling suitable for the fighting inside Stalino. As a final bonus they can also be used to mark zones if you have a scenario that requires those. It's a bit more interesting to have to infiltrate your troops beyond those four telegraph wires, than to get them aross those four yellow dice, right? Hey, where did those dice go? Did someone just take the infiltration zone markers to roll for armour saves again?
Midsummer weekend meant that I had Friday off from work, and the rainy weather kept me safely away from frog dances and other traditional Swedish celebrations. Instead, I took the time to finish the water tower.
I painted the brickwork with Terracotta (Vallejo Game Colour), and then washed it black. I went back and touched up the terracotta, and then added a few pinkish and dark grey bricks, jus tto add some variety. Finally I took some light grey and sand coloured pigments, and brushed them over the lower parts that would be most likely to get dusted by vehicles and people passing on the roads.
The green, red and black wood was inspired by a picture of an surviving water tower, and that's also where I got the small roofs over the windows and the latticework. This is an advantage of having reference photos, as I doubt I would have come up with these things on my own. I also find that these small details add a feeling of realism when you see the finished job.
The insides were more improvised, and I had no pictures to go from. The main idea was to just have some empty areas to put miniatures in. I added a few extra stuffs to the walls but not so much that it got in the way for playing. Then I gave all the corners a liberal coat of brown wash.
So here is the newest addition to the growing collection of Stalino terrain. Next up I'll see if I can make some telegraph poles to go with the train tracks, and we'll see if Shirty gets started on the main train station. ;)
Then I cut the insides of each part of the chimney so that they will fit accordingly. You can probably skip this part and just adjust the size of the "front" and " back" to get it right. I came up with this when I used textured foamboard for chimneys for another project, and then the corners would end up ugly if you didn't cut them like this! Yes, I have some problems doing things in new ways.
Then I glue them together with PVA glue. Other glues may be better, but one good thing with the PVA is that you can fix them along the way (repositioning the parts). I try to make them in turns as they need to dry a bit before you put the next part in place. It's perfect to do several at once when you are up to grabs with these little bastards!
To get your houses to look real it is, in my opinion, very important that they have chimneys. As these are quite fiddly to build, many just skip them. I have promised myself to not do this again. Here is how I did it for my Stalino residential buildings.
First, align foamboard to your roof to get the right angle. Then pencil out the "sides" of the chimney, plus front and back. I made the first one a little to big, and then adjusted for that in my second pair of chimneys. As there are two apartments in each house I need four in total.
Foamboard is such a simple material to work with so I trimmed the chimneys a bit at the corners, then I glued them on the roofs! Here is the result:
I surprised myself today and painted up the last infantrymen that were waiting for a paint job. Normally I would have bought more miniatures to put on the lead pile way before this happens! Now I have to decide if I'm satisfied with the amount of infantrymen, or if I should add even more.
Until now I had painted all my troops with both pants and jackets in feldgrau, so I wanted to start to mix things up a little bit, and break up the monotomy. In a fit of complete insanity I started to paint black pants as well! We'll see if the clubmates survive this radical shift from the normal uniform.
The Pioneers are from the German Pioneer box from Warlord Games. It's a great box that consists of the normal Blitzkrieg plastic box and a bunch of metal bits to convert about a dozen engineers. My only gripe is that gluing metal bits to plastic bodies is a mess, which required me to pin several heads and arms after they refused to bond or fell of during painting. The extra plastic that was left after the Pioneers served well as additions to our infantry platoons.
Shirty had a bunch of the older Warlord Games Late War infantry sprues, and here I used up the last ones that I had, as well as some of the Blitzkrieg sprues. The older sprues are not even close to match their newer kits, so it's great news that they released a new Grenadier kit that kind of replaces the previous Late War kit.
Anyway, that's 37 more infantrymen painted in a month, not a bad thing. As for the paint jobs, it's quite simple, straight forward and pretty old school. IFor tabletop level painting like this I usually go by the proven method of base coat, wash, basecoat, highlight. I thought I would write the paints down, if only so that I remember them myself if I go back to add more to the collection later:
Priming: the minis are primed black first.
Skintones: faces and hands are painted with Midlund Flesh (P3), and then washed with Reikland Fleshshade (GW). I then do a new coat of Midlund, and finally a highlight of Midlund + any white.
Dark grey cloth: this is painted German Fieldgrey WWII (Vallejo model colour), and then washed with Nuln Oil (GW). I then do a new coat of field grey, a first highlight of field grey mixed with Highlight German No. 1 (Vallejo Panzer Aces). Finally I do a highlight with just Highlight German No.1.
Black cloth: painted with Coal Black (P3), a paint I find extremely useful. Then I wash with Nuln Oil, a first highlight with Coal Black, and then a highlight with Coal Black mixed with Magic Blue (Vallejo Game Colour).
Black leather: painted with Matt Black (Lifecolour), then highlighted with Matt Black mixed with Stonewall Grey (Vallejo Game Color).
Dark metal: a mix of Matt Black and Runefang Steel (GW), washed with Nuln Oil, and then highlighted with Runefang Steel.
Brown leather: Bootstrap Leather (P3), washed with Agrax Earthshade (GW), first highlight with Bootstrap Leather, and final highlight with Bootstrap Leather and the yellow that is closest in hand, this time surprisingly Top Coat (Baccus Basing System).
Olive cloth: (engineering backpacks etc.) are painted Loren Forest (GW), washed with Nuln Oil, and then highlighted with Loren Forest and Ushabti Bone (GW).
Wood: parts like rifle stocks varies, but in this case I painted them Oak Brown (Army Painter), washed them Agrax Earthshade, and then highlighted with Oack Brown mixed with Ushabti Bone.
That's pretty much it for today's effort. Remaining goals for this months painting are primarily the water tower and the 38(t), so expect one of them in my next update.
We decided early on to make the Stalino railroad station a center of the campaign. We had some railroad cars and tracks from earlier on, and an almost built (but not painted) station already. Focusing on the railyards meant that we could look for interesting features to add to our collection, and still be sure that anything extra we built would be compatible with the other terrain. One thing that we wanted to add to the railyard was a water tower.
I volunteered to build the tower gathered up a bunch of reference photos with the help of the clubmates. When I make terrain I like to have reference photos, as I find that it's simpler to try to recreate buildings than to invent something from scratch that's still supposed to look realistic. I can improvise the general shape of the building, but the detail work usually turns out much better with actual references.
For this project we use a combination of old WW2 photos (to see which kinds of buildings existed back then) and modern photos of surviving buildings or buildings built in a similar style. When paired up, you can learn a lot about both design and colours.
I wanted something historically correct yet a bit unusual, both to learn more building techniques and to make a terrain feature that sticks out on the table. This octagonal type of water towers existed prior to WW2, and are still seen in many places. The lower half is usually made out of bricks, and the upper half out of wood. This would be a great opportunity to try to make brick texture for the first time, and the octagonal shape is quite unusual. I guess we have a winner!
My first step is to study the reference pictures, and make some assumptions about measurements. I often end up measuring with a ruler on the screen, as silly as it sounds. Then I try to calculate what would be a reasonable size for 28mm scale. In this case, as you can see in the photo, I ended up measuring the actual size in centimeters on a photo of a tower, and realized after some calculations that I could multiply it with 3 to get how big I should make it for 28mm scale. The best point of reference in these cases are usually the doors, as they are kind of human-sized.
Often you can make the buildings a bit smaller than their full scale counterpart, so that they do not take up too much room. It's more important to keep the proper proportions, so that it looks right.
Also pictured is the first attempt at making brick texture out of black, pliable foamboard. It turned out decently, so I set out to cut out all the pieces I needed and glue together the tower.
The octagon is assembled. Windows will be built out of balsa and cedar wood sticks. The base is also foamboard, and turned out to be too small, so I replaced it. Never be afraid to reconsider your measurements and re-do a step or two if it turns out to look bad in real life. I must have measured the lenghts of the octagonal sides wrong a dozen times.
Second floor in assembly. It will be covered in balsa wood, so no reason to make brickwork texture on those sides. Still a lot of detail work left, and it still has the old, small, base. I decided to take a lot of liberties with the inside of the building, so it will not look like an actual water tower. To make sure that it is still usable as a terrain piece, I decided to leave the second floor open, so that you can place at least a sniper, a machine gun team or such in it. In reality there would probably be enough room for a small combat team even with a big water cistern in it, but with 25mm bases it would be impossible. Sometimes form wins and sometimes function, but usually it's about finding a good compromise.
First layer of paint on the brickwork, with Vallejo's Terracotta paint. I'm going to experiment a bit with some different paints and washes, and see how it turns out. Notice the new and improved base!
Let's maintain the pace and build the final vehicle kit in the pile. And surprise, it's not a Tamiya kit! This is an Italeri 1/48 kit of the Kfz. 305 3 ton truck, a.k.a the Opel Blitz. We haven't used trucks in our games of Chain of Command yet, so we are planning to give an incentive to field some of them by giving both sides some free trucks. Free trucks! I just had to build one. In worst case it's always useful as terrain.
The Opel Blitz was meant to streamline German logistics at the end of the 30's, as it was riddled with problems from having too many different kinds of vehicles. The Opel Blitz was used by the Germans in all their theatres, with over 70 000 trucks built. Oh, and unlike every other German vehicle it was pretty well built, but suffered from reliability problems in the harsh terrain of the Eastern front because of complicated design. Or wait a minute...
The first challenge from the kit came in the metal undercarriage. It's really nice and even coated in brown paint, and it ensures that the truck will be very solid. However, it also meant mixing super glue and plastic glue, and making a big mess. However, after a while I had most of it built without too much of a problem.
Notice the real tires! They're in soft rubber and super, super nice.
Next up I built the cabin. Since it's enclosed with transparent windshields I had to paint the interior first before gluing the parts together. I painted everything panzergrau, since it will barely visible anyway.
Some of the parts didn't fit perfectly in the end, and the paint prevented the glue from forming as good a bond as possible. But I guess it's good enough for now.
I still have to decide how to finish the kit, as it comes with parts for both a covered and an uncovered truck bed. But it's mostly done, so I'm happy with the evening's work.
We've been joking a lot at the club about the army list entries for tiny cars, especially when they have names like "kübelwagen". So when I was looking over the gaps in what we have for the German army, I could not resist ordering one of these.
This is a Tamiya 1/48 scale kit of a German Kübelwagen, which was used by both the army and air force. It was built by Wolkswagen and pretty much a military version of the famous "Beetle". The name is short for Kübelsitzwagen, or bucket-seat car. It was used similar to the Jeep, a workhorse transport car for everything from pilots to officers.
The kit is for the Afrika Korps, but I assumed that I could just use it right off for the Eastern front. The crewmen are in desert outfits, but it's the same car, right? Guess who was wrong! Turns out, the Afrika Korps used balloon tires instead of normal tires, to avoid getting stuck in the desert terrain. The kit does not come with alternative tires.
In the end I can live with it, as I doubt most people will a) notice it and b) be bothered by it. But be prepared if you plan to get this kit for anything outside Africa/Middle East. The kit is available in another version with normal tires, but then you miss out on the driver and get two clueless pilots looking at maps instead.
So, lesson learned, as well as a bunch of facts about kübelwagens. Not a bad Monday night.
The kit itself was extremely simple, and I built it in just an hour or two. The windshield will be assembled once the car itself is painted. Oh, and I also provided the obligatory blood sacrifices, so the driver conversion should go just fine.
Joke aside, I just bought a bunch of new blade cutters, and even just a small cut will bleed a lot if you have new, sharp blades. But that is a good thing, as you can cut with less force with a sharp blade. So you are less likely do cut deep, and the cut will heal almost immediately. So don't cheap out on new blades, and replace them regularly.
Oh no! An old tabletop gaming friend came by today to try out Chain of Command. But someone had locked the old cabinet where we keep miniatures without telling anyone, and apparently thrown away the key! After looking everywhere we decided to deal with it as we usually solve subtle tactical problems on the battlefield: with brute force. A few whacks with a chisel, and the game was on again.
I took the opportunity to take a quick snapshot of our German and Soviet armies, to give an idea of where we are in the preparation for the campaign.
Quite a lot of the German vehicles are at various players' homes, but most of the painted infantry was there. At the end of last campaign we only had enough infantry to field two weakened platoons, with three squads of ten infantrymen in each. Since then I've been busy painting more infantry, and by now we have enough to field two full platoons with four squads in each. The end goal is to be able to field a full company at the same time, which means three platoons with four squads in each. After that, I can not see any reason to get any more German infantry.
Oh who am I kidding, I'll probably be painting press-ganged Kriegsmarine infantry squads after that. In the picture you can also see some of the support options, some mortars, MMGs and anti-tank cannons. We have most of the options in the army list covered. The vehicles are the tiny Panzer II and Sd. Kfz. 222, they are cute as a button.
These are not all the Soviet miniatures, but most of the infantry. Hopefully Shirty will expand about his cavalry platoon later! Soviet platoons are 30% larger than German platoons, so I don't even think that these cover two full platoons. A full company would take up an immense amount of space. There are also a bunch of support options such as anti-tank and anti-infantry guns, mortars, and enough SMG troops to make separate SMG squads, the terror of close combat.
So, on the to-do list are to expand the German and Soviet forces to top off the platoons for two-player games. We're also planning to field light tank platoons, which means that we need some extra light tanks for the German forces. Which means I should be painting, not blogging!
WW2 Campaign Blog
This blog follows the second Chain of Command club campaign, set in the intense fighting over Stalino in October 1941.