Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Getting a broken Panzer IV model back on the gaming table

I may have mentioned that at FAll IN 2016, I purchased a batch Panzer IV H from a guy in Wally's basement. The were assembled, basecoated and given a heavy coat of weathering, which covered the basics of what I wanted. Given closer inspection, these appear to be Plastic Soldier Company Panzer IV kits.  I say this because one of the tanks is clearly a Panzer IV F1 with the 75L24 gun.

The remainder appear to have been done up as Panzer IV H with the 75L48 gun and schurzen skirts.
Unfortunately, one of the models was missing a gun barrel. A bit of a bummer as it's otherwise a nice tank model and was the only one with the tank commander modeled as exposed in the cupola.

The Panzer IV missing the barrel. The original owner never painted the tank commander.

Alongside one of it's Pazer IV H compatriots. One odd note - the cupola hatch is correct for the G and earlier, but not the "H".
But having knocked out a number of the Battlefront kits I wondered if I could find a spare part. Scrounging the used sprue trees, I found a couple of guns intended for Stug III G models. Now the Stug III G mounted the 75L48 - same as the Panzer IV H, so good news! 

Two spare barrels, but one is for a 105 howitzer! 

Selecting the 75mm barrel and removing it from the sprue, I used a Zona saw to cut the barrel of at the manlet. But looking at the resulting barrel after being cut off the mantlet, it was shorter than the barrels on the Panzer IV H models.  Sigh.

Anyway, pressing ahead, I used ABS cement to attach the barrel to the turret. A little care is needed to have the muzzle brake aligned correctly.

Here you can see the new barrel glued to the turrent of the table. Looks a bit shorter, yes? 

In this overhead view, we can say - yes, yes it does look shorter.
So I've got a tank with a barrel a little shorter than the 75L48. Looking at the data archives we find a happy coincidence, the Panzer IV G model (also known as the Pzkw IV F2) mounted the 75L43 gun - just a little shorter than the L48. This could work! Late in the G model production run, the Shurzen began to be fitted - that fits too!

Good news everyone! The model actually works out nicely as a late model Pzkw IV G refit with Shurzen. This will make a nice somewhat unique model for the battle group.

Goes to show you, there are no problems, only solutions waiting to be discovered!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Panzer Vor!

On this beautiful fall day, I fired up the airbrush and proceeded to paint up a mess of late war German AFV. Most of these are meant for use with Gale Force Nine's new game TANKS, but I'm also getting the urge to play Command Decision again.

Here's the force lined up after painting. A Panther,  Pzkw IV and two Sug III G. 

This is the stock Battlefront Panther and I gotta say - it's a nice kit! 

Late model "G" on the left with the early model on the right.  Still need to attach the side skirts (Shurzen)

A trio of Pzkw IV H models. Think I went a little overboard with the brown.. These are models I picked up at Fall In! already assembled and base coated in Armor Yellow.  I added the green and brown. I need more practice with the airbrush! 

These are two Battlefront Pzkw IV H sold in the awesome two pack.

There was a panzer IV F2 included in my purchase. Feeling a little out of place for late war.

Practicing painting on the schurzen.  That third one in just went SPLAT! 

A bit more prototypical! 

Of course, now I'm dusting off all the stuff that's been sitting in boxes for the last ten years (or more!) . This includes today's project - a trio of Old Glory M36 Jackson tank destroyers.

There's not too many pieces, which is good. 

One of the models was already assembled.

The other two required...some assembly.

Okay, After assembling a bunch of the Battlefront plastic models, I just want to say - lead miniatures suck!  After working with the plastic models and seeing the detail done with the plastics, assembing these lead models was a real drag. Getting out the CA glue, getting the CA glue on my fingers. Gluing my fingers together.  Trying to glue the barrel in a tiny hole that doesn't seem like a good fit.

Yeah, yeah, I know - these were state of the art ten years ago. But that was then and this is now. It's a golden age for 15mm WWII gaming. That's all I'm saying.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Achtung, Panzer!

Picked up a copy of TANKS by Gale Force 9. Fun little game. Very stripped down WWII game with total focus on tank combat.

Yes, it's a game, but this is clearly designed as an introductory WWII armor miniatures game. The game provides two Shermans and one Panther as plastic model kits (the same 15mm kits produced by Battlefront). The models are clean, well cast and easy to assemble. All pluses that will hook the budding model builder. Heck, I've been building models for decades and I enjoyed putting the models together.

As a game, it's well written and easy to pick up. At the same time, there's a good degree of strategy and planning required. It's initiative system is reminiscent of Star Wars or X-Wing. High initiative units move last and shoot first. You get data cards for a variety of tanks for the major powers - the United Kingdom, Germany, the Soviet Union and United States of America.  No Italian, French or Japanese tanks at this time.

There are modifiers in the form of crew and equipment cards.

Game play is straight forward. The game may start to bog down with more than a couple of platoons of tanks on each side. Terrain and cover are both represented with simple easy to grasp rules.

Overall this is great for casual play by grognards and veteran gamers and as noted above a great intro game for gamers new to tabletop gamers.