Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stal! Stal! Stal!

"Steel! Steel! Steel!" The radio-signal, attributed to Lieutenant General P. A. Rotmistrov, launching Soviet armour into the infamous July 12, 1943 tank battle known as "Prokhorovka".

 Warning: 
The author of this post is a victim of 'Kursk Pocket Syndrome',
a contagious wargaming phenomenon. 



Steel! Steel! Steel!

Serving up a storm of Soviet armour is a big part of the appeal of gaming the Ostfront. But you have to be ready. If you want to play Red, you best be willing to build up an appropriately large collection.

Having aready established a basic foundation of infantry, support and logistics units for my summer Soviets, it was time to get serious about armour.

By Steven Zaloga, a must have!
I had done my research. Most importantly, I searched and sifted through the WIP logs at The Guild, over at SoGG and even on the Braille Scale forums. Work in progress posts are goldmines of hobby learning. I read these and chose a painting plan I knew I could already do, not one I needed to master.
I also added Steven Zaloga's T-34 in Action to my collection. Squadron books are my go-to references for wargames unit markings and paint schemes. Squadron 'In Action' books kick ass.
Basing would follow and build on work that had created the other units of this army. Simple...

So, a plan of action for building, painting and basing my first wave of Soviet armour was clear in my mind and ready to put into play.

I need a lot of T-34 model '43, please..

1/72 scale Plastic Soldier Company T-34/76.
The 'Tank Brigade Deal' from The Plastic Soldier Company was exactly what I needed. Well, in truth I split a fourth box with a buddy, leaving me with a total of TEN T-34/76 tanks to work with. Exactly what I needed.
Double bonus: These kits include separate turrets for the T-34/85, so you get twice the potential for play from each box!



Fast Build T-34/76 in 1/72 from PSC.
The PSC T-34 goes together quickly and features the right amount of detail for a good looking and solid wargaming piece.

Importantly, these models can build-up into paintable sub-assemblies; the chassis, tracks and turrets all separate. This allowed me to get the most out of my airbrush while keeping up an efficient assembly-line productivity.


Great! Building and painting this way I could easily achieve the goals of my 'Stash Reduction Programme'.

Ready to roll! T-34/76's for 20mm gaming fun.
There was one tiny bugbear: the early production PSC T-34/76 kit had a gun barrel that was way out of scale. To solve that problem I ordered the excellent 1/72 scale turned gun barrels from RB Model.
Piotr of RB Model provides super service and an excellent product.

A turned aluminium barrel from RB is inexpensive, looks sharp on your model and is a very durable alternative to one of the most fragile bits on a kit.

Please note, that as of November, 2012 the PSC T-34/76 kit was re-tooled to get that 76.2mm F-34 gun looking just right.

Painting was straightforward, making use of Vallejo Surface Primers, Tamiya Acrylics, Future/Klear, Aleran Decals, AK Interactive Washes, Gamblin Oils, and Vallejo Satin Varnish.

This company of T-34/76 tanks benefits from advance planning and research.


A platoon of T-34/76 tanks from PSC.
But my company is in conflict with history! A point that kept coming up as I read about Soviet armour at Kursk is that unit markings and turret numbers were rare... And yet the sort of games that I enjoy require that I track the status of each vehicle.
Rather than trying to build and play with an authentic force, I decided to create a company's worth of tanks featuring clearly readable markings drawn from my chosen reference material. A most acceptable gamer's compromise.

As with every project, I learned a lot and improved my skills. That's always satisfying. Best of all, the stash was reduced!


20mm T-34 Stal! by Peabody
These 20mm gaming pieces have already seen some serious action on the table, some fighting through to victory and others brewing up spectacularly.

Excellent wargaming goodness, as it should be...






Until next time,
Peabody Out!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Keep on Truckin!

Truckin' to Victory!

The GAZ AA truck is one of the 'Weapons of Victory' in The Great Patriotic War. 

 

A licensed copy of the Ford -AA model 1929 truck, the first GAZ production models built in Russia hit the dusty Soviet byways in 1932.

This was a durable, easy to maintain vehicle that performed well in extreme conditions and regardless of fuel quality.

 

Perfect for 20mm Gaming.

GAZ-AA Trucks from Moonlite Modelwerks
The GAZ AA earned itself a popular nickname; the Полуторка - 'Polutorka' or 'One-and-a-half Truck' due to its rated cargo capacity of 1.5 Metric tons.

These rugged trucks served in a host of capacities; Cargo, Troop Transport, Ambulance and as Anti-aircraft mounts.




Moonlite Modelwerks resin GAZ-AA Trucks
Hundreds of thousands of these vehicles were built between 1929 and 1950. The chassis became an important foundation for a variety of heavier trucks and vehicles.

Today's brief post features resin GAZ-AA Trucks from Moonlite Modelwerks.

These are very fine examples of this most useful vehicle; perfect for 20mm Eastern Front gaming.

Highly Flexible

The 'One and a Half' was used in so many different rolls that I decided to base these to work in a variety of ways. Each base has enough room to easily hold a squad of infantry, so they make great transports. Load cargo in the back and they are logistics / supply vehicles. Pair them with a gun and crew and they become tows.

The Moonlite vehicles are good value, so I'll be ordering more of these to support my infantry as a Mechanised Corps. If you want to contact Moonlite and order a couple of these, email them HERE.

Back soon with more Wargaming Goodness...

Peabody Out!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Radio, Radio....

Respect for Moonlite Modelwerks


Calling all gamers!

This broadcast is for anyone who appreciates gaming with a finely made mini, great value and awesome friendly service.
I'm talking about the quality products of Mr. David Reasoner, the talent behind 'Moonlite Modelwerks'.
 

Moonlite offers a select line of vehicles and guns for the historical 20mm gamer. 

 

Soviet Gaz-AAA Radio Van by Moonlite Modelwerks
The subjects David has chosen for his catalogue all fill a niche that has been neglected or poorly served in our gaming community.
In the Moonlite catalogue you will find trucks, tows, signals vans, howitzers and field-guns for the U.K & Commonwealth, Germany, France, Poland, Netherlands & East Indies, the U.S. as well as a useful selection of generic, 'Universal' cars and trucks from the late 30's and early 40's. 

Soviet Gaz-AAA Radio Van by Moonlite Modelwerks
If you like to game out of the way theatres, Early WWII, the Inter-War period or if you play a rule-set that emphasises the importance of Command and Logistics units, then Moonlite has some very interesting pieces for you to game with.

If you want a copy of the Moonlite catalogue, or to order any of David's fine products, email him AT THIS LINK.


These kits just beg to be painted.

 

The beauty of the Moonlite product is that they -the vehicles at least- really are "paint and play"! The examples I'm showing here arrived, faultlessly cast, carefully packed and ready to paint.

Soviet Radio Van & Generic Staff Car by Moonlite Modelwerks
Over the last year, very few of the resin kits I ordered for this Soviet project have come close to the quality of casting that these models offer.

Each model has a definite style and charm. The level of detail is remarkable. And yet these are wargaming kits. Some of the detail is fine and fragile; the headlamps on this Gaz radio van are beautifully done! But these are robust resin models and intended for our gaming fun.

Just a great guy. 

 

1934 Ford Car (generic) by Moonlite Modelwerks
I really look forward to placing my next order with Mr. Reasoner. He is just a super person to do business with.
A one-man operation, Moonlite is often in demand, so I don't place orders when working to a personal deadline. This is one operation that keeps open lines of communication, so I've never had any trouble scheduling an order.



A Happy New Year and much Gaming Goodness to you all!

I'm proud to wrap up this last post of 2012 with a plug for a great guy and a good product. But I really want to wish you all a happy, healthy and fun-filled 2013! Build! Paint! Play! And do it with friends.

Well met! Peabody Out!

Monday, December 24, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Old Peabody is an Icelandic dog!

A quick note to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy new year.


To everyone who has so kindly decided to support Peabody up on his soapbox, following these infrequent posts, thank you

Many of you are bloggers who contribute tremendously to the hobby and I both admire and appreciate what you do for the community.

Blogger or enthusiastic Gamer, I hope Santa has some hobby goodness in his bag for you this year. Failing that, I hope you score big at your FLGS Boxing Day sale....

A Big Year

2012 has been a good year for Peabody; less blogging but more modelling and much more gaming with good friends was accomplished.

I feel lucky to have learned from some fantastic talents out here in the world of blog as well as on my favourite forums. To those fine folks at The Guild, at The Society of Gentlemen Gamers and at The Trumpeter Tabletop Gaming Society; my sincere thanks for helping to make this a banner year for hobby fun.

Stay Tuned

Peabody will be back shortly with more Summer Soviets, more rambling and more wargaming goodness.

Monday, December 3, 2012

From Strength to Strength

To have a project -a plan- and at the same time to feel like you are part of a group enthusiastically  working together to complete the job will further anyone's 'Stash-Reduction-Programme'. 

At the end of last year I had the good sense to commit to the year-long "Group Build 2012" at The Guild, and wow, did that ever help with my focus issues.


The whole is more important than the individual (figure or vehicle...)

To meet each of the five deadlines throughout the year I would have to get work done; to approach each task with a "get ready; do; clean-up and put away" plan. No faffing about and no crazy new techniques.

Ironically this committed, 'keep up with the group', approach resulted in some significant hobby satisfaction! 
Not only did I get a lot more work done, I also developed speed, honed skills and built an army to crush my foe.... Er, yeah, I mean I built up a fine collection of historical minis in 1/72 scale... 

I remain truly grateful to those Admins at The Guild who gave up their free time to organise this activity. Must have been like herding cats, and just as rewarding. Respect.

Anti-Tank, Field Guns and Ack-Ack too,

This particular task of the group build remains one of my favourites because of the way it brought together models, minis and basing. Ok, very basic diorama work, yes. But for me satisfying because I was building on lessons learned working on the Heavy Weapons teams.

Going from strength to strength...


45mm M1942 (M-42) Russian Anti-Tank Gun
These are guns and crew from the Plastic Soldier Company  1/72 Russian 45mm Anti Tank Gun box.

The set allows you to build up two varieties of 45mm AT-gun; your choice of the M1937 or the M1942, as well you can build the M1943 Infantry Gun.

You are quite literally spoilt for choice.



1/72 Scale Plastic Soldier Co. Gun and Miniatures

 The gun models have enough detail for the gaming table and build up very quickly.

The crew figures are nicely done and in the same semi-posable, multi-part style as other PSC minis.

The abundant ammunition and spent shell-casings add a nice touch to the set. You will find shells enough to detail your bases and to save some for a future project.


'Keep Firing! They'll Notice Us Eventually'
So, these may not be the deadliest guns in Red Army history, but wisely used, they will ring bells in the right places.







 


76mm Regimental Gun M1943 (OB-25)
This box of four guns has already provided some good fun on our table, especially this handy little 76mm field gun, which has managed to harass and suppress artillery spotters, snipers and infantry over several games.










A Super Little Infantry Gun...

All in all, these were great fun to build, paint and base.

I am tempted to pick up another box, just to build up more of these useful 76mm guns!

 

ACK!

I  feel much safer with at least one real AA Gun on the table.
Our games feature infrequent, random, and devastating aircraft attacks.
Best to plan for the worst!
This classic Airfix kit of the 40mm Bofors does a bang-up job standing in for the 37mm Russian knock-off of that famous anti-aircraft gun.

 

 


Still haven't decided what I'll do with the Morris 6x4 that comes with the Airfix gun; it is a very nice looking kit and clearly a joy to paint, but staying focused on my group build means that the tractor must wait for another day.
Meanwhile, with one of these on overwatch, I'm a bit cooler under the collar.




As I said before, this was one of my favourite tasks during the year long build. It was good to draw on a classic gaming resource like Airfix as well as make use of the practical economy of new-comer PSC.
The results are nice to look at, and useful on the table too.

Until next time,
Peabody Out.

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Liebster is calling...


This thing is gone Viral!

I'm honoured that Close The Ranks saw fit to tap me for this darling award.


The best thing about Liebster is that I get to draw attention to a handful of blogs that both genuinely deserve notice and have yet to gain a strong large following.

I have combed through my list of 'Better Blogs' -which continues to grow almost any time I poke about the web these days- and have chosen five super deserving blogs. I'm surprised Peabody will be passing on this Lieb-bug to these five, because they really are good blogs and I thought someone else would have gotten here first...
Anyhow, my picks are chosen because they feature inspirational painting, useful tutorials and solid hobby advice.

Allow me to introduce you to:

Jacksarge's Wargames Ramblings This chap has great style and terrific talent with a brush. Clocking in 77 lovely posts since 2011, Jacksarge covers a lot of territory and includes some practical tutorials as well.

20mm and then some... Brought to us by the prolific 'Gunbird'. Another 2011 vintage blog, but this time with 136 posts to savour over your next few pots of Keemun. This is a fellow with great imagination and excellent modification / kitbashing skills.

The Aircav Saga Come follow the exploits of a wonderful painter and all around great guy. At 51 posts to date, this blog features a variety of excellent projects well documented by some very useful WIP posts.

The Winter of '79 Gripping stuff! Begun in spring 2010, this incredibly detailed and documented alternate history blog offers rich gaming insight into Britain during the Winter of Discontent.
Mark, of Dropship Horizon fame, presents the rulesets and resources you might need to game revolution and urban uprising in the heart of cold war England -and elsewhere! Well over 300 posts of wonderful reading.

Take The High Ground Brought to us by Airhead, this blog, begun in 2008, features close to 200 posts on great terrain projects. Many posts feature WIP shots, using ordinary wargamer junk, that inspire you to do something. Really just a super resource for the ordinary gamer looking to make their games that little bit more lovely.

Lastly I'm going to include ClearHorizon which is a cheat, because Mr. Harold has already been 'Liebstered' at least once lately. Hell, he deserves it. This is 15mm Sci-fi goodness. Go check him out.

Peabody out!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Soviet Saga Continues... Heavy Support!

Needs More Weapons!
Woah. Long post. Best get the kettle on...
SO the groundwork had been laid for my Soviet force with the infantry company. We even got down to playing some games, which turned out to be important.

Over on the workbench my wet pallet was up and running and I had found my figure painting 'groove' but I knew I needed some staying power to work my way through the lead ahead. Getting in some fun skirmish games with the minis I had already completed did a lot to keep enthusiasm and momentum going.

We played Iron Ivan's Disposable Heroes, using the Russian and German lists as well as Point Blank. We even tried out some home-brewed mods for the excellent but sadly OOP Kampfgruppe Normandy. All great fun gaming.

Anti-Tank Rifles and Maxim MG Teams on the move.
Meanwhile the painting queue demanded action! Support weapons were necessary to keep the fascist foe on the run and the Plastic Soldier Company 'Russian Infantry Heavy Weapons' box was clearly the way forward.

Keep in mind this Summer '43 ETO project began entirely as a classic gamer's 'oooh shiny' moment. One day I was content doing 15mm sci-fi and some 20mm Vietnam, and then wham! - "Welcome to The Party, proletariat comrade".

To complicate things I was completely naive and ignorant. My understanding of WWII Soviet stuff was nil. So as soon as I realised the Plastic Soldier Co. box-sets were Platoon-Strength that really helped me to commit to this project. Building up a Soviet force this way is pretty darn easy.

82mm Mortar Teams. Ammo crates from Britannia.
The Infantry Heavy Weapon box contains 39 nicely detailed, multi-part figures that build up into fifteen weapon teams as well as three individual figures on the move.

These are 'multi-part', not 'many-part' figures; very easy to assemble, not too fiddly and offer a degree of customisation.The experienced plastic figure modeller will find good fodder for conversion here.

Basing. Little dioramas of hobby joy!


Inspired by the scale of play and modelling work of friends playing Kampfgruppe Normandy, it seemed the right time to try something new; to put some effort into basing these weapons teams.
 
50mm Mortar Teams
My old habits from skirmish gaming; the flexibility of single basing every figure and weapon, were just not going to cut it for the bigger 'Kursk themed' games to come!

So I took stock of my situation, had a good look about my favourite forums and made sure I was ready for what lay ahead.

I had some hexagonal bases on hand from that super chap, Murray, at Warbases. Those would play a part. The hex itself has naught to do with any rule-set I play, I just wanted to use them up!

As for scenic-décor, I had plenty of rocks on hand, previously cast using a selection of Woodland Scenics moulds. I knew I wanted to use Tufts, Static Grass and various types of Clump Foliage; typical gaming ground-cover, so stopped by the FLGS to stock up on those supplies, too.
Maxim MG Teams laying down some fire.
As always, the goo that binds everything together when I do basing work of any kind is High Solid Gel (Matte) from Golden Acrylics. I texture this with Woodland Scenics fine turf, and tint it with raw sienna acrylic paint plus some ochre pigment. Where I live, this combo is both cheaper and easier to customise for basic ground-work when compared to the Tamiya Texture Paints or the Vallejo Gels, both of which are just super.


Anti-Tank Rifle Teams in Ambush!
I do not own many Citadel products, they are usually high cost for the quality that you get. However, I have been working on a tub of Citadel Modelling Sand for a long while now, and it just won't quit.
I lock down and tint the sand with a coating of home made 'Dip' consisting of Matte Medium and Daler-Rowney  Antelope Brown and black acrylic inks.
In fact, I use Matte Medium, straight-up to glue down sand, tufts, static grass and clump foliage; anything and everything that lies 'on top' of my ground-work is held in place with this most versatile medium!

Groundwork ties it all together. Very satisfying.
 My collection of toys was growing by leaps and bounds...
As this Red Russian project began to pick up steam it quickly became clear I had an opportunity to push myself, not only to do better hobby-work, but also to come to grips with a huge aspect of WWII that I knew nothing about.

Is Peabody actually a Bee?


Ok, big post.
My humble thanks if you took the time to read all the way down to here. I hope you at least refilled your teacup and got a biscuit along the way.
Maybe the next post will be more brief!

Until then,

Peabody out!