Monday, 28 November 2011

Over Here...

I've managed to paint up some of the US Tank Riders from HAT, they came up pretty nicely I think.

Lounging around a Pre-painted Dragon Sherman
Probably whistling at the local serving girls

They share pretty much the same strengths and weaknesses as the Brits: the gates for the plastic are all placed on the helmets, which makes removing them tricky, and the plastic is very soft, but the equipment carried by the models is well chosen, the poses look natural and each sprue makes a complete squad (plus tankers).  If anything these are even more nicely equipped than the Brits; a number of  squad members have grenades hanging from their webbing and there's a mix of weapons, with most having Garands, but also some carbines spread amongst the NCOs and those with heavier loads.  I particularly like the inclusion, as well as a trooper with a bazooka, of his second carrying spare rounds; it's this kind of thought that's evident throughout the set.  One of the kneeling figures also comes with a choice of either thompson or grease gun (and the appropriate ammo pouches too), which is a nice touch, even if the sculpting on the separate hands makes him look like sergeant banana fingers!

Sgt Banana fingers in person...

All in all, another good little set and very reasonably priced, at 44 models to a box!  Perfect for filling out half-tracks, trucks and scattering over those Shermans.

I'm working on the German set now, more on that at a later date.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Here comes the cavalry

A few more updates tonight.  My Brits now have some armoured support in the form of an armoured troop of 2 Cromwells and a Firefly from Armourcast.  As with the Stugs, assembly was really easy.  The only remotely tricky bit on both was the gun, which could sit a bit more securely and took a couple of attempts to sit right on both the Fireflies and Cromwells.  Paint is thanks to FoW British Armour which, for some reason, looks lighter on the Firefly...

Crew are from the HAT British Tank Riders set.  The Cromwell hatch is pretty tight and a little trimming was needed!

For fast build models they look pretty good.  The Cromwells are the better of the two, the Firefly does look a little basic next to a more detailed model.  Not sure why they couldn't have sculpted on some of the normal tools at least (Spade, crowbar and mallet!), I might add some stowage later.  Here it is next to a Dragon Pre-paint for comparison.

When ordering them I hadn't realised that the Firefly kit can also be used to make a 75mm armed Sherman, so I'm going to get another box, then I can use the spare from this one and have two typical British armoured troops.

I'm also getting cracking on some of the other HAT models.  Here's some Work in Progress on the HAT mortar and Vickers MG.

I think they'll make pretty good additions.  However, I would point out that the sculpting on some of the models is a little 'chunky', and the plastic is very soft (the MG legs in particular are very flexible, making them tricky to paint and flaking easily), so they won't be everyone's cup of tea (or other suitable relaxing beverage) but as a cheap way to ad some decent support weapons, they work for me!

I'm on the hunt for scout cars and Universal Carriers now!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Wherever I lay my HAT... and an offer

More parcels!  This time some more reinforcements for my WWII Brits, US and Germans.  The plucky Tommies get some tank riders/crew and some heavy support in the form of Mortars and the Venerable Vickers HMG.

There are also some Armourfast packages on the way; a box each of Cromwells and Sherman Fireflies, and some German Mortars.

I've managed to paint up some of the Brit Tank Riders so far.  My plan is to use the riders to mark vehicles that have passengers (taking them out when not needed).  Each box follows a similar pattern: 4 sprues of 11 poses, usually including two tank crew suitable for hatches and a couple of kneeling poses that could also be mixed with foot troops as officers/NCOs.  The seated models are mostly armed with the standard type small arm for their nationality, plus one support weapon (a Bren, BAR and MG34 for the sets I have).\  Sculpting and detail is good, but the plastic is soft, so I'm a bit worried about peeling paint.  One very annoying feature is that most of the models are attached to the sprue at the head, so separating them without flattening the helmet requires care and some tricky trimming.  These were painted up in the same way as my other brits.  They also look good lazing about, probably waiting for a brew...

And here they are in those Italeri Half Tracks from a couple of posts ago.

Now, I seem to recall I mentioned an offer in the post title...  When I checked the box of US tank riders, I found that I actually had three sprues of US troops and one of Soviets!  The three correct sprues are more than enough to meet my requirements, so I don't have much to gain by trying to get the box changed at this stage.  Instead, if anyone out there could make good use of 11 assorted Soviet tank riders and crewmen, just leave me a comment below and an email where I can contact you, and they shall be yours!  (first come, first served!!!)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Caesar Brits

Nearly finished my first batch of Caesar's WWII British Infantry.  Really nice models, great poses, generally loads of fine detail except, oddly, when it comes to the weapons.  I also have Bren and PIAT Gunners painted up, but they're going to need custom bases made as they're prone, firing their weapons.

Painting was done mostly with the FoW British paint set (basically Vallejo colours, although the FoW branding certainly reduces fiddling around finding the right colours for the WWII novice like me).  Spray undercoated black, then basecoat of British Uniform, with the webbing and helmet picked out in Khaki and Russian Uniform respectively.  Faces were GW Tallarn flesh, boots GW chaos black (has anyone else found that particular paint has horrible coverage on bare plastic?), weapons GW bestial brown and Boltgun metal.  All were then given a wash of GW Devlan Mud wash, then highlights picked out again in the original colour.  I think the bases took longer than the models overall!

Friday, 4 November 2011

40 plus 40 equals trouble

Finished the crew or the Italeri Pak40s.  6 crew for each gun, all in good, convincing poses, half of them hefting ammo about and the rest lining up and aiming.  It looks like they're modelled for colder weather, with greatcoats and parkas, but they paint up nicely in camo (my attempt at the 'splinter' type camo, not great, but at this size and tabletop distance I can live with it) and won't look noticeably out of place on a Normandy battlefield.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Fast build done, um, fast...

Recently picked up a box of Italeri fast build half tracks.  Turns out they do exactly what they say on the tin!  After a spray with FoW US Armour, and picking out some details like the seats and tyres, they went together in a matter of minutes without any need for glue.

I also found the time to do a quick re-spray of one of my die-cast Sherman 105s.  These are pretty good models, but a bit too dark in colour.  Now, I know when I started getting into the Normandy thing I said I was going to keep things simple and not obsess about painting and accuracy but what were the odds of me ever keeping to that!  It's come out pretty well, so I'll probably do the other one as well now (the original colour's on the right, by the way...)