Saturday, August 5, 2017

15mm Sdkfz 231 series heavy armored cars



At the start of the year I was lured into building a German late war armored recon force using the new Battlefront 234's and PSC 250's. You can read more about that here. 

To compound the evilness, PSC released a box set of five Sdkfz 231 series armored cars. This really tugged at my sense of nostalgia. One of the first model kits that I really did well was a Tamiya kit of the Sdkfz 232 8-rad with the box antenna and spaced armor shield. I've always liked the look of the 6-rad and 8-rad armored cars - the functional, angular armor and fenders are the stereotype of German automotive engineering.  So how could I not pick up a box?

The Sdkfz 231 series had a long history in WWII serving from the Poland campaign, through the end of the war. There's a good overview here on Wikipedia.

This weekend was the assembly phase. Opening up the box, we find five (5) identical sprues with the parts to build a one (1) model of a Sdkfz 231 series 8-rad heavy armored car.

The basic sprue with all the parts to build a 231 series car



This is a really well thought out kit. Yes, there are a number of parts, but there's a lot going on here. Unlike a Zvezda kit, it doesn't feel like there are detailed parts just for the sake of having detailed parts. The parts build up into functional assemblies which all fit together into a function model designed to be used as a gaming piece.

There are two wheel assemblies. Each consists of the axle assembly and four (4) wheels. The transmission details are modeled on the frame and fit into the transmission details on the lower hull. Wheels snap onto the posts. A little ABS cement and we're on our way. 



The lower hull part with the wheel assemblies attached. 

The 231 series upper body attached to the lower hull. The front and rear hull parts each mate with a headlamp assembly before being attached. Once that is done, the side fenders are attached. 



The 231 with the retrofit armored shield. These were refit onto the first generation of the 231 to improve protection. The later generation of 231 had additional armor as part of the hull from and rear.  The shield was easy to attach, though it is a four part assembly. 

Side view of the 233 version of the model. This model uses a different upper hull and requires the gun and gun pedestal to be installed before attaching the upper hull to the chassis. 

I'm starting to realize just how ubiquitous the 75L24 gun was in the Wehrmacht. These guys mounted it on almost everything. 

Last up - a group shot featuring some members of my armored car force. From left - Sdkfz 222 (Zvezda), Sdkfz 233 (PSC), Sdkfz 231 (PSC) and Sdkfz 234/2 (Battlefront). 



Thursday, July 27, 2017

1/144 Maurice Farman Shorthorn in the painting queue



I've been making progress on the model of the Maurice Farman Shorthorn that I acquired from Shapeways.com. I wanted it to build a collection of models of the planes used in Mesopotamia during the Great War. The Shorthorn was used in 1915-1918 in various capacities, though it was phased on to training/utility duties at the end of it's service. A slow and stable craft, it's small payload and lack of speed limited it's useful combat life once the Turks began receiving capable fighters like the Fokker Eindekker. But for Mesopotamia, you make do with what you have, so here we go.

The model was printed in Black Strong and Flexible (BSF). Shapeways did a good job on the print and the surface grain was what I expect from BSF. Of course, as with White Strong and Flexible, the first step is still surface preparation to reduce that surface grain. My standard method is to apply several coats of Krylon acrylic gloss matt to the model. I don't like one heavy coat as the varnish can pool on the surface. So repeated thinner coats will eventual yield a surface that is relatively smooth.  The below picture depicts the upper wing and shows the surface texture after painting and a top coat of gloss. 



The Shorthorn with the paint job completed. 

The wings of fuselage were painted in several coats of paint. The base coat was a Folk Art craft paint color called linen. This was over-painted with coats of Vallejo game color 'bone white').  The struts are painted in a medium brown. (I used a craft paint color called 'Teddy Bear Brown'). The metal joints in the skids and the metal around the engine were painted with Vallejo Sky Grey.




Early war markings looked very different than the roundels we see in the mid and late war periods. Initially, the RFC and RNAS used the Union Jack flag as a marking. When it was discovered that it was confused with the Maltese Cross from a distance, the RFC and the RNAS moved to the classic blue-white-red roundel. But for this early war 'leftover' pressed into service, I wanted to retain those early markings. The Union Jacks are decals from I-94 Enterprises.



This shot shows the flag applied to the side of the fuselage. 

Here's a close up. You can see the surface grain of the Black Strong and Flexible material on the side of the fuselage. It's tough to get good coverage on a vertical surface.  You can also see the detail on the landing skid. The sky grey paint is used to depict the metal joints connecting the braces. 

Good shot of the port side of the model.  Once thing I notice at this distance is I've failed to paint the wheels. 

Remember when I mentioned how hard it is to paint the vertical surfaces? You can see this if you look closely at the struts.  There's still some graininess present. Fortunately, at typical war game table scales, this is not noticeable.




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

That moment when...

...you discover the box in the basement that you thought was full of model trains turns out to be full of 1/144 models of Great War airplanes for Wings of Glory.




Okay...That might be enough pl....oh, who am I kidding!

Release the kraken!

More 1/144 float planes ready for action

I've managed to finish a couple of additional plane models for use with Ares Games Wings of Glory game system. The recent planes are all German floatplanes - a Hansa-Bradenberg W. 29 (the second of the collection) a Rumpler 6B and a FF.33E. All are maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The Rumpler is a single seat patrol fighter while the W.29 is a robust two-seater that served later in the war. The FF33E served from mid-war to the end of the war.

All three models were acquired from Shapeways. All were printed in either WSF or BSF material. I'm partial to BSF until something better comes along.


The Rumpler (on the left) and the new W.29 model. Decals on he W.29 by Tin-soldier.com

Rumpler in the front with FF33E in the back. 

Rear aspect of the Rumpler.







Folks over at the Aerodrome knocked out a customer plane card that matches the model.
Thanks guys! 






Sunday, June 11, 2017

New balloon section joins the action at the front for...

...1/144 Great War aerial gaming

I've completed a project that has languished on the modelling table all spring - a 1/144 model of the Avorio-Prassone kite balloon produced by Daryl at the Reduced Aircraft Factory shop within the Shapeways 3D printer

It's a nice three piece model consisting of the two halves of the envelope and a one piece assembly of the basket and harness. There's a hole for mounted. I inserted a steel screw and glued a magnet to the a base post so the model can be placed on a stand. 

As always, when it comes to the models, I believe a picture is worth several paragraphs, so without delay - enjoys these pictures! 

The front end of the balloon with the basket and harness attached

Nice side view. The base is from Litko Aerosystems. 

The left side. The balloon was printed using Black Strong and Flexible. 



Here's a shot of the balloon under attack by a Albatros D.III. Albratros from Ares Games Wings of Glory line.


Good shot showing off both the texture of the envelope and the detailed section lines on the model. 





Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Manassas prepares to sail...

Earlier in the year I had acquired a 1/600 scale model of the Confederate ironclad ram Manassas from Bay Area Yard. You can read about the assembly of the model here.


View down the bow showing off the covered 32 pounder and the twin funnels. 



For painting, I went with something with a little more interest than the basic black scheme that I've used for years. This time, I'm allowing the sun and salt to do their worst and let the initial coat of black paint fade to a sun-bleached gray. Only the funnels and some of the deck fittings would retain their blacker appearance.

Manassas in profile. The gray hull contrasts with the muddy brown Mississippi and the burnt black of the funnels. 




An overhead view. Debating if the hatch covers should be painted or reflect a more subdued appearance. 





Once the gloss coat dries, I'll hit it with a Matt coat and then brush on some gloss coat to return the water to a wetter finish. Then it will be time to get this model on the table and let the Yankee's feel the wrath of this fully operational ironclad! 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Spring in to painting II...

okay got most of the models assembled and broke out the airbrush today. Got a good base of colors on many of the models.

Now for the detail work!

A mixed bag of Battlefront and Plastic Soldier Company models (and a few Zvezda trucks!) went under the brush today.  I was attempting to model the 'ambush' style camo. Some of it worked, some of it, well, lets just say the crew understood the idea, but not the execution...

By 1944, application of camouflage varied with availability of paint paste and the appropriate gas to mix with the pigment. Results varied from one tank to the next.