What a Tanker
I haven't been to the club much this year due to a clash with family activities on a Tuesday night but I'm hoping to put that right as far as I can this Autumn. The sprog who is now 17 has started to go to play Warhamster with his college friend, so I've been giving him a lift up to the club and dropping him off, before nipping back to pick up my daughter from ballet class. However, I've now been able to re-arrange things so that I can stay on at the club for a game, not every week but at least once or twice a month.The sprog is keen on trying out What a Tanker!, so that's definitely on the cards but I also would like to set up a game of Fistful of Lead for him, as it's a great game and I haven't played a scenario for ages. I have quite a lot of new terrain and buildings for it as well, which I haven't used before, so there's a real incentive to dig out the figures, dust them off and set up a gunfight or two. In fact, I really could do with another posse to supplement my lawmen and banditos, if I can find the
I finally finished building the last PSC StuG's for Operation Blackcock this morning, so have now cleared the decks ready for some 28mm Congo figure painting, which I'm hoping will be fairly straightforward. I've run out of Halfords Untra Matt Khaki spray paint, so the StuG's look a bit rough and ready, but once I've got some more I'll give them an overall toot so that they are properly undercoated. Incidentally, the commander figure is a cut down crewman from the PSC PaK38 set, as the StuG's were manned by artillery crew not tankers.
I've recently won a couple of old ESCI kits on eBay, both of which are Jagdpanzer IV so ideal for the Operation Blackcock project. I'm planning to kit bash these with the tracks from the Armourfast Panzer IV kit, in order to avoid having to build the whole chassis with its numerous fiddly wheels, especially as the old flexible polythene tracks look a bit rubbish. I may have to adapt the Armourfast track units with metal road wheels at the front end but I don't think anyone will be bothered, so will probably just use them as they are. I love these old ESCI kits as I used to make them when I was a kid and the original box art is pure nostalgia!
It's slow going here at the moment, as work is starting to ramp up, so I've had little time today for modelling. However, here's the second of the PSC StuG III's for the Operation Blackcock What a Tanker! game, albeit in a rough and ready look, as I've run out of Halfords Ultra Matt Khaki Camo spray paint (again). I've made this one a bit more battle worn, in the shape of a dislodged schurtzen plate, but I might add some more special effects if I get the time including a bazooka strike and some splash damage.
It's been a very busy day but I squeezed in some model tank building this evening, although I've only managed to build one of the three StuG's before being dragged away to do other things. The PSC model is easy to assemble and looks a good deal more sophisticated compared to the Armourfast equivalent, as you can see in the photos. Unfortunately, I've run out of Halfords Ultra Matt Khaki spray, otherwise I'd have given it a toot to cover up all the grey plastic bits and resin stowage. I'm hoping to get the other two done tomorrow.
I have now built and base coated the British tanks that I need for the Operation Blackcock project, although I am still thinking of adding a troop of Shermans, so it's time to move onto the Germans. I already have three Panzer IV's, a couple of Panther and Tigers, together with a single StuG IV, so I could just use those. However, as most of the German AFV's were self propelled anti-tank and assault guns, it would be better to build some instead.This weekend I'm going to assemble three StuG IIIG late model assault guns, using the excellent Plastic Soldier Company kit, which I'm hoping won't take as long as the various conversion jobs I've done of late. The kits are based on the PSC Panzer IV sprues, so I'm pretty sure they'll be simple to construct and look really good. After that, I should be ready to start painting both the British and the German armour, which will move the project a little bit further toward the finishing line.
I've now built and base coated the last of the PSC M4A4 Shermans, this time an unmodified 'out of the box' 17 pounder armed Firefly, to complete a troop of the 7th Armoured Division for Operation Blackcock. This is as many as need for a game of What a Tanker! but I am tempted to add three Armourfast M4A2's and the last remaining PSC Firefly to have a troop of the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards of the 8th Armoured Brigade.4th/7th Dragoon Guards in Operation BlackcockThe 4th/7th Dragoon Guards were involved in Operation Blackcock, being temporarily under the command of the 7th Armoured Division, and played a key role in following up the main assault to outflank the dug in German defenders. I even have a spare M4A2 sprue somewhere in the kit pile, so would only need to buy one new kit, as there are two models in each box. I've even modelled the unit before in the same scale for Rapid Fire but, unfortunately, sold off the whole lot on eBay ages ago!
Here's today's output for the What a Tanker! Operation Blackcock project, in the shape of a Sherman Crab flail tank, bashed together using a plastic PSC M4A4 and white metal conversion bits from S and S models. The turret caused be the most grief, believe it or not, as I couldn't get the %$£"%& mantlet to fit and had to fill in some nasty gaps at the back end. It's all done now and ready for painting, so it's on to the Sherman Firefly next, which will be a straight out of the box assembly job. After that I'm going to take a break from tanks and actually paint something for a change!
I've now finished the assembly of the Churchill Crocodile, so it's ready for painting. The Airfix flame fuel trailer went together quite easily despite some fiddly bits and I've left it detachable from the tank so that it's not damaged during games and can be safely stored away. I also glued he flame projector on upside down at first (d'oh!) but I've now corrected it, in case you spotted it in the photo. I now need to build the PSC Sherman Firefly and possibly a Sherman Crab, if I can summon up the courage to tackle the S and S white metal conversion kit.
It's not often I post something on Friday but, as I got home from work a bit earlier than usual, I had the time to assemble the turret for the Airfix / PSC Churchill Crocodile mash up. It's a bit of a bodge job to be honest and I couldn't be bothered to add the armoured lip on the turret base, but it will have to do. As I've nailed the turret, all I now need to do is assemble the fuel trailer, add the plumbing and fit the flame projector, then it's ready for painting.
I've now assembled the hull with the track units, side skirts and mudguards, leaving off the smaller components for the moment so that I can crack on with the turret. This will require quite a bit of surgery and may take longer to do, especially as I will need to add a lip to the base of the turret and get the various Airfix and PSC parts to match up. I'm planning to get this done at the weekend alongside the armoured fuel trailer.
I started on the PSC Churchill Crocodile kit bash today, with the two side skirts modified with circular escape hatches cut from the Airfix kit parts and the hull retro-fitted with the Airfix exhaust and frontal hull plate. The circular hatches were surprisingly easy to do but the exhaust system was a pain in the bum, as I had to cut away the existing exhausts to make it sit properly on the engine deck. The front plate was also a bit of an involved job as the Airfix part is too small for the PSC hull, so some filling was required to make it look right. The guidelines that I posted a link to last time were very helpful, however, and it's easy to make the relevant modifications without having to work it out!
After all my attempts to locate the Airfix Churchill Crocodile kit in my stash up in the loft, it turned up at the bottom of a box of kits right where I had put it. Typical. Anyway, I now have a 1/76th scale Airfix Crocodile that I can bash together with the PSC 1/72nd scale Churchill. Huzzah! Luckily, someone has tried this before and has produced a very useful 'How To?' which will be my template for the same operation, albeit cutting a few corners to keep it simple:https://mostlytanks.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/kit-bashing-a-churchill-crocodile-part-i-the-tank/I've also managed to re-purpose the Sherman Firefly hull to add another Sherman M4 to the late war Battle of the Bulge US tank force. I had a spare turret from an earlier job, so just plonked it onto the hull, assuming no one would notice it's from an M4A3. If they do I can just pass it off as a field repair but I may add a bit of stowage or camo netting to hide the loaders hatch anyway.The hull front had a British pattern long storage box glued to it,
Here's the end result of the experiment with medical gauze, PVA and the excellent tutorial on The Tactical Painter blog. I think it's not too bad, if not as crisp as the original version, so I'm happy with the overall look. I added some finer pieces of gauze over the top of the blobs that I originally applied and this has worked well to give the scrim netting effect. I'm going to leave the rest of the tanks as they are, however, as I want to see what this one looks like when painted up and because they are destined for a winter whitewash paint job, which negates the use of camo netting to a certain degree. I'll definitely use this method again though. A big thanks to the Tactical Painter for the idea:https://thetacticalpainter.blogspot.com/2019/08/172-cromwell-with-camouflage-netting.html
I finished assembling and undercoating the remaining Armourfast Cromwells yesterday, adding various bits of stowage to make them a little less boring. As I had a spare kit left over, I thought I'd have ago at some scrim camo netting on a turret, following the very effective but very simple technique used here: https://thetacticalpainter.blogspot.com/2019/08/172-cromwell-with-camouflage-netting.htmlI'm not sure mine will look as good in the end but it will hopefully work, although I'm only trying it out on the turret at the moment in case I screw it up. I've mashed the gauze bandage a bit more and gone for overkill with the PVA but I think it will look fine, once I've left it to set and sprayed it with Ultramatt Camo Brown. It's certainly better than my old green stuff and oregano method!If it does look good I may well add some netting to the tanks I've already assembled, leaving the spare hull for conversion into an ARV recovery vehicle using the S and S white metal conversion kit. I'm sure I can t