Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Polish Tankettes

I finally got around to painting up 3 more Polish Tankettes aka TKS.  I decided to make one more 20mm Tankette and 2 LMG Tankettes.  The models I used are from Warlord Games and are cast in resin in 1/56 scale.  They are pretty nice models and only need a little cleanup.  My main criticism is the metal parts on the model, especially with the MMGs as they may of been as a result of a cold cast as they were extremely brittle and even part of one of the MMGS broke away.

I like the colour scheme I have chosen for my Polish Armoured Vehicles.  I use the following colours all by Tamiya and applied via airbrush:

Desert Yellow
Olive Green
Flat Brown

I didn't bother with my usual modulation, I just sprayed it on.  All in all there is probably about 2 hours work in getting these Tankettes out and onto the table!

All we need now is some Polish tows and transports in 1/56 and I will be a happy gamer.

I have already used these in Battlegroup and no doubt they will make their debut in Bolt Action soon.  They will be used in my next Bolt Action Solo Play scenario which is currently a work in progress.  Stay tuned.

1/56 Polish Tankette TKS
Warlord Games 1/56 Polish Tankettes TKS 

1/56 28mm Polish 20mm Tankette TKS
20mm TKS

Polish tankette machine gun TKS
2 x MMG Tankettes

Polish Tankette comparison
Polish Tankette next to a Polish Infantry NCO

1/56 Polish Tankette, 28mm infantry

Polish TKS colours colour paint
The old brush painted colour scheme next to the new colour scheme

Polish 7TP and Tankette TKS comparison
A 20mm Tankette next to its bigger brother the Polish 7TP Light Tank

Polish Armour WW2
A couple of Tankettes with a 7TP
Make Poland Great Again

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

3D Printing Napoleonic Movement Trays and Bases

Napoleonics? For those of you who follow me on twitter you have seen this new and fascinating period pop up in my feed. I thought the day would never come, yet alone feign any interest in the subject however it is slowly getting me hooked.

I will go into my decision to start Napoleonics as I paint up some infantry. Napoleonics is extremely new to me and I am learning ever so much.  The whole rank and file thing is new to me!  Without over thinking what forces I wanted I simply went for the rule of cool and really liked the look of Warlord's Polish (an obvious choice) Vistula Legion and Perry Miniature's Austrian Plastics.  They just look so good!

The next drama I had with my new adventure is how on earth do I base these guys.  There are loads of good resources online however I decided to utilise my 3D Printer and take advantage of some of the great designs on thingiverse.  I decided not to go with MDF or anything commercially available.  I love tinkering with my 3D Printer.

I decided to go with 20mm bases.  This allows me a lot of flexibility and I can customise and use these trays for a variety of systems. Please note the files I have used to print are not my own and links have been provided.

Here is the final result and this article will discuss how I got there...

Warlord Polish Vistula Legion Left, Perry Austrians Right

The Files

There is a brilliant set of movement trays available here.  The beauty about this file set is it gives you so many options for movement trays, anything from a 1x1 to a 10x10!  This will not limit me at all and can use these trays for a variety of rule sets and genres.  I decided to do my test print with a 4x4 setup.   Of note the 4x4 tile comes in at 41.9mm x 41.9mm.  This is great and certainly not as big and clunky as MDF would be. 

Here is a sample of the 8x2 file:

Cura Slicer

The next challenge was finding bases suitable to fit the movement trays.  I used a calibration cube and re-scaled it in Cura (my slicing software).  Here is the calibration cube I used.  It was pretty easy to resize it to 20x20x2mm.  I like the 2mm thickness of the base, not too thin and not too chunky.  It is also very strong and durable.

I played with a whole lot of prototypes that failed!  Below is some of my concept stuff that just didn't work.  I used square magnetic inserts, 1mm tall bases and butchered minis but successfully repaired a couple of test miniatures.  I will not go into this too much.  Here is some of the prototypes.



More Experiments

Failed experiments
After a couple of hours trial and error and trying all sorts of techniques and combinations, the following is what I came up with:

First things first I printed off a nice new 4 x 4 Movement tray and 4 bases.

Fresh bases printed

Fresh Movement tray and some bases

I sanded the bases slightly so they were not as tight fitting to allow paint etc to be applied without hopefully rubbing off.  Surprisingly the walls of the movement tray are quite durable.  

Bases slightly sanded and fit snugly

I drilled 4 holes into the movement tray where a 2mm x 1mm rare earth magnet would be fitted. I used a power drill with a 2mm drill bit.  The holes only had to be roughly in the middle of each square.

Holes don't need to be perfectly symmetrical 
Using the same polarity, I inserted the 2mm diameter magnets.  Of note I did not need to use superglue as they were a nice tight fit.  I used a knife to separate the stack of the magnets.  Ensure the bottom of the movement tray does not allow magnets to not be flush with it.  You want everything nice, flat and flush, one of the advantages of having a well tuned 3d Printer and printing with precision.

The magnets fit in nice and tight. I did not use superglue
I used the cutting mat as a guide to roughly find the centre of the bases and drilled a hole with a 2mm drill bit.  From there I flipped it over to the bottom side for ease of cleaning up and used a 5mm drill bit to make the hole bigger so I could drop a 5mm x 2mm rare earth magnet into it.

5mm drill bit enlarging the 2mm hole

I simply dropped the 5mm magnets on top of the 2mm magnets to ensure polarity was correct and consistent.

I place the base over magnets and push down slowly. Once it digs in I remove it and bash it in with a flat object, I used the base of a white board marker.  Keep it nice and flush!

The four magnatised bases in the tray
Nice and flush
I glue the figures straight onto the top of the base with minimal superglue for a nice strong bond.  Using some watered down tiling grout and a toothpick I blend the plastic base of the figure into the 3D printed base

Was most happy with the result

Once flocked and static grass applied these should look great

Hanging upside down on a metal ruler

pushed up against the prototype tray

Final Thoughts

So this is what I have come up and am pretty happy with the results.  It took about 20 minutes to make four bases for one small movement tray however I think I can get this down quicker now I know what I am doing.  

I now have the flexibility to not have my figures permanently attached to one movement tray.  Storage and transportation is also going to be extremely easy.

For now I will move this to the side whilst I complete my small backlog of whats on my bench which is mostly WW2 stuff.  I will then try and come up with a fast yet aesthetically pleasing way of painting all of these troops!  That is the real challenge!

Till then...

Monday, 2 October 2017

Foundry Miniatures Blitzkrieg German Infantry

As part of my clear the bench challenge, I had to paint up 8 Foundry German Infantry (WW2027) as they were left incomplete from my 100 Days of Hobby Challenge.  These will be used for my Blitzkrieg Germans.  They are great sculpts and extremely easy to paint. They are older figures and are sculpted by the infamous Alan and Michael Perry. I decided to try "speed painting" these guys and are not my best result but I am pretty satisfied with how they came out and will look good on the table.  I think they took about 5 hours to do (maybe).  Not really speed painting I guess!

Something of note.  The NCO's are not carrying the MP38 or MP40.  This was quite common during the invasion of Poland and subsequent early campaigns.

They are slightly smaller than the BTD sculpts however mix well.  They are nearly on par with Warlord Plastics.  I will do a comparison in the future so stay tuned.

Of interesting note, my Blitzkrieg Germans are now my largest Army and I have only painted them this year! This is of course including their huge armoured support that they have. Without their armoured support they still come in at 34 painted infantry alone. My 1939 Poles are still the largest figure intensive Army, followed by my Fallshirmjager. This certainly wasn't intentional but there is something so cool and unique about a Blitzkrieg force, not to mention they are almost always overshadowed by the ever so popular late war German forces ( I am my own best critic here! )

Check out my Foundry Kradshutzen here

WW2 Blitzkrieg German Miniatures 28mm
Foundry Miniatures WW2027 German Infantry

Foundry Miniatures Germans
Some riflemen

WW2 Blitzkrieg German Miniatures 28mm
Easy details to pick out

German NCO with rifle
NCOs without MP38 or MP40

coming soon...

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Jumping In Part 2 - Not so Easy

Part 1 Here

I have painted up my first 10 men for my 101st Airborne D-Day Paratroopers.  As previously mentioned I have no intention of an Easy Company theme because every 101st Airborne Army is Easy Company (well not all... but most)... however that is not to say that they may recreate some of their famous actions.  They will be generic 101st Airborne Paratroopers.  Offensive miniatures model some of the infantry with the BAR which was not equipped when parachuting in due to the size of the weapon however Glider Companies carried them and it is well known that Paratroopers looted many a weapon.

I keep playing around with some post editing using the program Gimp.  Gimp is free and easy to use and there are a large amount of video tutorials etc online.  A simple google search will direct you to Gimp.

28mm US Airborne
28mm US Airborne Paratroopers - Offensive Miniatures

Easy Company Miniatures
Decals by Warlord Games

Offensive Miniatures US Airborne Paratroopers
What's that rustling over there?  Meh... probably just the wind

Offensive Miniatures
Fresh off the painting queue.  Offensive miniatures 28mm Metal US Airborne

There you go... an Easy Company Reference for you

Monday, 18 September 2017

Early War German Panzers

My latest offerings are some units that I wish to use in my Blitzkrieg German Forces for both Battlegroup and Bolt Action.

These Panzers will be used for the Battlegroup Scenario "Orlik's Cockroach" (page 47 Battlegroup Blitzkrieg - Iron Fist Publishing 2015).  I also intend on writing a solo scenario for Bolt Action in the way I interpret how the action went down.  This is a work in progress.

On September 18, 1939, in the Kampinoska Forest a Panzer IV Ausf B accompanied by 2 x Panzer 35Ts were ambushed by Edmund Roman Orlik in his 20mm TKS Tankette with two MMG armed TKS Tankettes.  The Panzer IV was commanded by Lieutenant Victor IV, the Duke of Ratibor.  All three Panzers were destroyed however  I will give more background to this engagement when I write the Solo Scenario regarding this in the near future.  It is a fascinating engagement.  

The Panzers were from Panzer Regiment 11, 1st Leichte Division.

The models depicted are from Warlord Games.  The Panzer IV is actually a Panzer IV Ausf D, however I can be forgiven for this.   The crew are from Warlord Games and are the early variant.

The Panzers were painted with an Airbrush using AK Interactive paints and weathering products.  The crew, stowage and details were done with Vallejo Paints.

1st Leichte Division Panzers
A Platoon from Panzer Regiment 11, 1st Leichte-Division, Poland 1939

Warlord Games Panzer 35T
Warlord Games Panzer 35ts
Warlord Games Panzer IV Ausf D

1/56 Panzer IV D

Warlord Games Panzer 4
28mm Panzer Crew from Warlord Games

The second Panzer 35T I painted up recently. I painted the IV and 35T together.

Prince Victor IV Duke of Ratibor