Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Zvezda 1/100 (15mm) Pz II.. a review

...so following on from the review of the Pz 38T here's the other model, the Pz II...
 

Once again just a single sprue - but even less component parts than the Pz 38T..



This time however, I have another model in the same scale to compare it to - the kit goes together very easily - it really does just clip together -in the picture below it's (clearly... ) on the right - the other model is a  Peter Pig metal model..


Top down view... interesting, eh? I'd say turrets are exactly the  same, but the body of the PP model is noticeably wider..  DG thought this was down to the width of the tracks on the PP model which were wider...  either way, they are close enough not for it to make a difference in my view...


Side by side comparison...  I far prefer the early war years for my wargaming, when the tanks were slightly more esoteric, and small.. before the behemoths took over... these early war German tanks/half tracks will be ideal for France 1940...

Another good model...  if I was a total perfectionist I would fill that gap along the front of the Zvezda model where the two hull components join, but happily .. I'm not!

Another cracker...  Steve the Wargamer rates this one 8 out of 10.... (strike 1 for it being plastic, and 1 for the gap/join )

Friday, November 23, 2012

Warfare 2012

Rivermead Leisure Centre - venue for Warfare - picture
shamelessly blagged from Legatus's blog post on the
same show
So this weekend was perhaps my favourite wargame show of the year - yes, I know they're all good when push comes to shove, but of the three shows that DG and I typically attend in a year, Warfare shaves it for me because the atmosphere is always so good - I think it's also to do with the time of year that its held..  you can almost, just about, sniff Christmas when this show is held...

This year was no different, and after a slightly later start than normal (DG and I were playing the concluding game in the Raid on St Michel campaign the night before and were having such fun I don't thnk we finished until well after midnight - watch out for a post soon) we hit the road on a beautiful sunny day - you can see what it was like in Legatus's picture let - clear as a bell, with the autumn foliage in full display...

Hour and a half later we were there having set the world to rights and taken a scenic tour of Basingstoke on the way....

First impressions were that the show was a little quieter this year - it was the second day, but it wasn't quite as busy as usual, but the same culprits were displaying in the traders area, and certainly seemed to be doing good business....  as a small show you would normally expect it to stretch over 2 days, but Warfare has always been primarily a competition event and that drives the number of days it's on...

I didn't have a shopping list this time, as I'd stocked up at Colours on most things I wanted - I had a few "nice to haves" though which I enjoyed checking out - a few things I didn't buy () were:

  • Zvezda 15mm kits - there were a number of four for £10 deals going, and there was one 5 for £12 but I resisted - that project is primarily skirmish orientated too many vehicles will just drag me into a different scale of game....
  • TSS Terrain tiles - I had a yen for some long ridge lines as per those you sometimes see in Charles Grant's teaser replays [clicky] but he'd sold out the day before... never mind I said - no doubt you'll be at Salute in April? Not on your life he said - we make more money by staying away and running a sale on the website...   interesting......  a portent of things to come perhaps???
  • 15mm artillery for the WSS project - I just needed a few to use as abandoned gun markers, and to put on the back of limbers....  but at average £2.70 a gun I thought that was a bit steep when you could buy an entire limber and horses for the same amount!
As a competition event the display and participation games have always seemed to me to be secondary - which is fair enough - if I want display, pomp, and four part shading I look for the games at Salute and Colours, but I thought that this year there was an even greater paucity of games to drool over....  such that my top 5 this year is a top 2....

I'll say straight off that I ignored the hex based games, and I also ignored the 6mm/1:300 games, sorry guys it's my blog, and hexes and 6mm are the spawn of the devil....

In second place then - and it would have placed highly irrespective of how many games there were there I'm sure - is this effort by the Malvern Games Club or possibly the Society of Ancients (I've checked my notes and I think this was put on by "Malvern Old Wargamers" who seem to have no web presence at all!)..

All in 28mm and what first caught my eye was the deceptively simple terrain - this is old school Ancients wargaming with a modern twist - very plain cream coloured cloth, a few low hills, and then lots and lots of brightly coloured, well painted, figures....


Looked like the rules were Armati (I didn't want to interrupt, though they were happy to chat)


...and it looked to me like 1st Crusade? Western troops with kite shields (a la Normans) against large numbers of Arab types...


I loved the flags...


In first place though was this little game put on by the Wessex Wyverns [clicky] which despite not being the advertised Sudan game (the guys told me that they weren't happy that t was a ready as it should be so they've held it over for another show) was absolutely lovely...

Rules were Muskets and Tomahawks [clicky] and this time what got my attention were the lovely Indians (Native Americans??) - the war paint had to be seen to be believed - superb!


Just look at that war paint!
Nice looking game I think you'll agree..


Table as a whole...
..and that was it - brilliant day out - but do you know?? I didn't buy a single thing.... 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Zvezda 1/100 (15mm) Pz 38(T).. a review

So just before I went to the Warfare show at Reading this weekend I turned my attention to the two Zvezda kits that I'd taken in replacement for the out of stock Opel Blitz's..

Lest you think this is turning into some kit bashers geek fest, worry not... the Zvezda kits are purpose made for wargamers... This is what you get when you open the box..  the Hanomag experience continues...  just one sprue...


...and when you take the relevant bits (carefully) off the sprue you get the following - even less parts!

I do like these kits, the parts are sharply defined, clean, and lack any flash...  a simple scalpel craft knife is all that's needed to get a clean cut from the sprue...


..but the best bit, is that they don't need any glue..  they quite literally just snap together..  and at the end of it you get this..


Very nice looking tank... 37mm main armament (so a baby compared to the later German tanks), and with twin machine guns..


Nice!! Steve the Wargamer rates this as a very definite 9 out of 10.. next post will show it painted..

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Catching up....

Been a few days since the last post so I thought it time to bring the blog up to date...

Much time has been taken in the interim with a fairly important transaction in Steve the Wargamers life...  some of you who have been round here for long enough will know that in those few hours when I'm not thinking about little metal men I also like to sail....

Back in April 2009 [clicky] I bought "Papillon" and since then have had huge amounts of enjoyment sailing here here and there, repairing her (), blogging the results [clicky] and generally acting Jack Sparrow....

"Papillon" back in February 2009 when I first bought her...
After four years though, and with huge reluctance, I decided it really was time to move on - so I prepped her for sale and shoved her on eBay, where she sold just over 5 days later......   the money's in the bank, I'll start looking for a new, slightly bigger, one next February with the aim of having a boat ready for the start of next season...  in the meanwhile Pap will stay in the sailing club I'm a member of until next March when her new owner will probably then take her to her new home....   not a dry eye in the house that day.. you do get attached to them...! Either way, that's all taken some time - physical and emotional!

So what else is on the go.....

The second two Zvezda kits are set for completion this evening - the online trader I was buying from didn't have the Opel Blitz trucks I ordered so rather than wait I went for a swap and got a Pz 38T [clicky] and a Pz II [clicky] instead. They were washed in a light detergent last night, the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer is at work this evening, so it seems an opportune time for a little modelling....! I'll post separately when that's done....
Pz 38 (T) & crew in France (June 1940) - superb picture - you can just feel the tiredness of that crew..... courtesy Wikipedia and the Bundesarchiv

Then after that it's time to think about shopping lists as this weekend is Warfare at Reading [clicky] once again though, I don't think I really need that much as my lead piles are largely intact due to a slow painting schedule this year (summer = sailing, so hopefully my output will pick up now winter is here, and the boat sold)....  I'm still enthused by the news from Newline Designs [clicky] of further expansions to their 20mm Sudan range, but I have to say that I'm not overly smitten by the new Dervish casts..  I'll hold fire on making a decision on whether to change the entire Sudan project from 15mm to 20mm until I see a few more in the range... and I'd like to see these in the flesh...

Newline Designs - new Hadendowah from their Sudan Colonial Range
They do have a 25% off  (!) sale though so I may be tempted by some stray bags of American Civil war stuff...!

Other than that, it's basically an opportunity for a damn good mooch., and also time to catch up with DG...  not sure we're going to get a game this time as he's busy..  fingers crossed for Saturday night, where if he can make it it will be finally time to finish the St Michel campaign [clicky] it's only taken us 3 years... 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Zvezda 1/100 (15mm) SdKfz 251 "Hanomag".. completed

 The Hanomags are complete.. and I'm very, very pleased with how these turned out...

The paint job was simplicity itself - undercoat in black, heavy damp brush in dark grey (suitable for early war use), then some bolt gun metal for the tracks and MG's...

I also added some stowage for the campaign look - blanket rolls, jerry cans and a wooden box (containing plunder...??  )


I've put some crew in one of them - these are Peter Pig 15's from my skirmish collection...


Last of all a comparison showing the Peter Pig model alongside the Zvezda...



My thanks to Keith Flint [clicky] for the heads up that they are Ausf A version, so the gantry MG is correct (see following)

SdKfz250 Ausf A - piccie courtesy of Wikipedia
Wikipedia advises me that there were basically four types, or models, Ausf A through D - the first two models were produced in small numbers from 1939. A and B models are basically the same - the B model didn't have side vision slits, pictures I've seen also show the forward facing MG with the shield (I think the PP model is an Ausf B).

The C model, which started production in mid-1940, featured a simplified hexagonal-shaped forward armoured plate for the engine but was quite complex to build, as it had many angled plates that gave reasonable protection from small arms fire.

From early 1943, the D model was developed with the purpose of halving the number of angled body plates, simplifying the design and thus speeding up the production. D models can be easily recognized by their single piece sloping rear (with flat doors).

Piccie courtesy WWII Database [clicky]
Next stop the Pz. II and the Pz. 38T