Sunday, December 15, 2013

Simple Technicals (15mm Moderns)

A while back I bought the Old Glory African Pick Up Crew with HMG pack, but hesitated to mount the MG and gunner in my pick-ups, as I also needed them as transports for my games.  So I ended up mounting them on styrene plastic bases, cut to fit in the beds of the pick-ups.  I had minor concern that they would tend to fall out of the trucks during movement, but they turned out to be pretty stable.

The bases were cut to allow the gun to face forwards or to the rear, and allow the machine guns to be used independent of the trucks in static positions such as bunkers and whatnot. 

Eventually I will buy a few more pick-ups and light vehicles and make a some more dedicated technicals, but in the mean time, these give me a little greater flexibility when using the pick-ups.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Weak W(h)ine, no Cheese

Been a tough Couple of weeks.  Two major car repairs have radically altered the holiday  plans and now my US forces for Vietnam received a devastating setback.

I went down stairs a couple of days ago to work on some 15mm moderns, and found a box of 20mm Vietnam vehicles and helicopters sticking out edge-on from behind a set of shelves.

I guess that I should be happy that only the M113s and UH-1s took a beating, the others are okay, other than a few scratches.  But the M60 MGs on the M113s are trash, I'm going to have to scratch-build a master and cast replacements.  Never even got them onto the table.

Oh well, where's my glue...

Friday, November 29, 2013

My First 15mm M60A2 Starship Completed

While I still don't have a production model, I did manage to paint a single M60A2 casting from my first try reject mold.  I plan to field a company of these in the same MERD-C pattern as my M113s.  Here are a couple pics:


It looked really dusty prior to clear coating it.  May have to go back and dirty up some more, once I get more castings painted.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

My Old 6mm (1/285) Middle East Buildings

As I've been going through my stuff and finishing some old projects, I've also been rekindling some of my old interests.

I am  a long time micro armor player (some modern C-n-C miniatures being the first purpose manufactured historical miniatures that I bought), enjoying both WWII and Cold War games.  Several years ago, I made a number of simple Middle East buildings based on those in photos from the '67 and '73 Mid-East wars. 

The idea was to make simple masters that could be easily cast, and allow me to customize the buildings, hopefully yielding a diverse city in a relatively short period of time.  Like all of my projects, this is still waiting to be completed.  Here is the first batch of completed buildings:

As soon as I had some castings, I realized that I really should have made some ruined/battle damaged buildings.  So I got to work on that as well, and quickly had a set of damaged buildings.  I took some of the buildings and made minor variations as originally planned.

More of the damaged buildings below.

As soon as I had a set of damaged buildings, I started working on composite buildings made of two or more of the originals.  The building in the lower left of the above photo was the first example.

The composite building was made from the two other buildings shown above with a partial base added to it and some detailing with styrene strips.  Working backwards, I then completed the pre-battle damaged building.

Another example of  a composite building below.

The second batch of buildings includes a couple more complex shops, a mosque, and three more houses.  After digging out the unfinished models, I think I will finally get around to completing them in a coming months.  Though I will probably finish them as solid models, as I would rather have a little greater detail and am not concerned with placing infantry stands in the buildings, as I was a few years ago.

It was my intent to add some of these models to my site this past January, but never got around to it.   I will add the damaged buildings (or at least some of  them) to my sale site in the next few days.  Also, I'm going to re-visit the original building models and rework them into more detailed solid models to make them more interesting, ease casting, and add them as well.  I think that I can get this done in December, as I am supposed to have some time off.  Wonder how may day job will derail this one...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

15mm M1115 Humvee TOW ATGM

Among the kajillian (hah!, spell checker thinks that isn't a word, silly gizmo...) unfinished gaming projects that I have setting around is an unfinished chassis for an unfinished M1167 Humvee Tow model.  As part of my now never-ending "clean up and finish unfinished projects that have been setting around my basement for way, way too long" effort, I started making a TOW missile launcher for the M1167.  Along the way, I got distracted and ended up with a TOW turret for the M1115 armored Humvee.  Don't worry, the M1167 is still going to happen, but I still need to make that goofy armored turret.  It will turn up around here soon.  Really.  What?   In the mean time, I figured that I'd post a few pics of my M1115 contraption.  So here goes:

The unit comes with an open hatch and a tub to fit into my Humvee model, and it may get "tweaked" a little before it is available.  But that is more or less what it will look like.

 In addition to the M1115 TOW vehicle, I will have the M1167 in the near future, and the M150 (M113 TOW) soon after that.  Now... where is that turret for the Leclerc?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Panhard M3 Personnel Carrier with TL-2i Turret in 15mm

Here are a few pics of my Panhard M3 APC.  It is just about done here, only needing to have the axles added before making the molds.

As shown above, the M3 is a rather small vehicle, but can carry a ten man squad.  The kit will include seven pieces; hull, turret, and five tires.  A spare will mount on the right side door.

Monday, October 14, 2013

M60A2 Master in 15mm

Here are the latest pics of my 15mm M60A2 master, more or less done.  The bottom shot is with my M113A1 for size reference.


I'm pretty happy with the Starship, and it has felt good to be working on something again. 

I'm continuing to work on old projects, and eventually my "space bubble" will get painted, but I want to get a couple more vehicles done first.   The M60A1 turret is moving along and will be done soon, and the Panhard 3 VTT personnel carrier is shaping up nicely as well.  I'll post pics of the new stuff as soon as I can.

As always, thanks for looking.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Little Progress on my Earthbound Starship ( i.e., a 15mm M60A2 Main Battle Tank Master)

Work has taken over my life once again, but during the few moments of free time that I've had, I've been working on another old project, my 15mm M60A2 master.  I've only made a little progress on the hull and tracks, but the turret is almost done so , I 'd thought that I'd share a few WIPs.

This was originally one of several vehicles for last year's Cold War project, which is now looking more like 2016's Cold War project.  Anyway, here are the pics:


Currently, it is set to be a five piece model; turret, hull, two track units, and searchlight.  I've had to make some compromises on the detailing of the stowage basket on the rear of the turret for casting purposes, but overall, I'm pretty happy with it. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

M35 truck Model Comparison for 20mm: Academy 1/72 vs. Britannia 20mm

I received a couple 1/72 scale Academy M35 2.5 ton truck kits a couple of years ago, and only recently finished them (well, finished enough to game with).  And thought I'd offer some comparison pics with the Britannia 20mm M35 that I painted some time back.

The Britannia model is a solid model with a removable rear canvas, built for gaming.  I finished mine in OD and painted the canvas in some horrible green that suggests that I might have been drinking my paint water at the time. 

The Academy model is a finely detailed plastic model kit with quite a number of finely detailed fiddly pieces.  It builds up into a fine looking model, though may be a bit too delicate to handle  for some gamers.  It comes with a canvas top for the cab (which I did not use), but does not come with the canvas for the cargo bed. 

The Academy kit is a little longer than the Britannia model and the wheels look noticeably larger, but  either is obviously recognizable as an M35.  Here are the pics:

The Britannia model is to the left in the photos above, the Academy model to the right.
The Academy model is at the top in the photo above.
The Britannia model on the right with canvas cover on the cargo bed.

The academy kit comes with benches for the cargo bed, but I did not assemble them.  They are very fiddly by gamer standards. I also left the rear view mirrors off and removed the exhaust stacks from the right front fender during painting, as these parts had no hope of surviving my handling on the table top.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

AAR10: Air War Over Mugabia (African imagi-nations at it again)

While Mugabia's three pronged advance was taking place on the ground, its air force took to the air.  For the first time, orders dictated that the troops on the ground would officially be supported by their comrades in the air.

Uwanda's air force had already offered a little support to ground units, but Mugabia would be the first to  make a major strike in enemy territory.  With the Uwandan  airbase at objective A-60 so close to the border, it was an obvious target, and soon would be a smoking wreck after Mugabian Vautours got done with it.  They would be escorted by a few Migs to fend off any Uwandan interceptors that might get off of the ground.  Additionally, Mugabia would send fighters to support the operations at objectives 55 and 58.

It was known in Uwanda that Mugabia troops were advancing, so strikes were ordered at the advancing troops and at airbases most likely to support these operations at objectives B-23 and B-19.

In the map above, Uwanda is located to the left of the black border line, and Mugabia to the right.

Timing is everything, and as neither nation was able to meet their schedules, the result was  a series of strangely lopsided battles:

Though the attack on the base at objective B-23 took off first, the air battle there, took place last, with the most southerly encounters taking place first. Somewhere east of objective A-55, six Uwandan F-5s discovered four Mig17s.  The F-5s had a distinct advantage as they carried some of the very few AIM-9L air to air missiles possessed by Uwanda.  In just over a minute, all four Migs were hit.  Though they were all claimed as killed, one did manage to limp home to fight another day.  Other Migs directed to intercept desperately searched for the Uwandan intruders, but could not find them.

The tip of the spear, a Uwandan F-5E. 
Uwanda operates a small number of F-5Es as well as F-5As

A flight of four Strikemasters were originally to hit the base at B-19, but were re-directed to support troops fighting to hold onto objective A-55.  After some confusion, they did eventually arrive at the end of the battle, making a decisive, if brief appearance.

Slightly north of the dogfight above, a pair of F-5s found two Mig21s with similar results.  Both Migs were quickly lost, demonstrating the impact of the more austere training of the Mugabian pilots.

The Mig21, mainstay of Mugabia's air arm.

As the primary strike force for the base at B-19 moved east of objective 58, their fighter escort of two F-5s were intercepted by a pair of Mig21s.  The Migs quickly discovered that their AA-2s were maybe not as effective as claimed, and after a couple minutes of churning dogfight, found themselves on the losing end of the exchange.  With the F5s having expended most of their ammo and missiles, the Magisters of the strike group were redirected to destroy Mugabian artillery that was pounding friendly forces at objective 58.  For now, the base at B-19 would remain undamaged.

One of Uwanda's Magister light light support aircraft.

South of base B-23, six Mugabian Mig 17s intercepted the Uwandan strike group, consisting of two F5s, three G91s (which were flying essentially as fighter excort), and six strikemasters. 

As he turned to make his third pass, Amri thought to himself, "These western trained pilots are no good.  They do not see the battle, as I see the battle."  Already with two kills, he fired another burst and a Uwandan Strikemaster became a cloud of debris.  "Three kills! And now for another!", but number four would not come, as his last few rounds only damaged the next Strikemaster.  Still, Amri would return home out of ammo, and a hero.

Fate would finally smile upon Mugabia's air forces, the Migs got jump on the two F5s escorting the group, and only 3 damaged Strikemasters would return to base.  Uwanda managed to shoot down two of the Migs, and damage a third, but the surviving Strikemasters made it home only because the Migs ran out of ammo.

Uwanda's G91s proved that they are not interceptors.

The last air combat of the day involved the Uwandan group sent to support the troops at objective A-60, which intercepted the Mugabian strike group targeting the airbase on the west side of the city.  Mugabian Mig21s, escorting three Vautours, fell victim to Uwandan F-5s. One Mig was damaged , another killed, as the group turned tail and ran for home.

Without Mig protection, and little hope of success,  
the Vautours turned for home.

With the F5s having cleared the area of Migs, the G91s were free to attack Mugabian forces advancing on objective A-60.


The battles of the first day of air war, resulted in 8 of 31 Uwandan aircraft being lost and 10 of  19 Mugabian aircraft being shot down.  A number of damaged aircraft returned to their respective bases, but would take time to repair.

The day would have been a total disaster for Mugabia, had it not been for the group of Mig17s out of base B-23.  President Upepomfuko realized, as did his Uwandan counterpart, that protracted air war was not affordable, and that this war would have to be won on the ground.  Uwanda was nearly out of their advanced Sidewinder missiles, and the F5's success could not hope to continue.  Mugabia out-numbered Uwanda in aircraft, so the situation could get ugly quickly.

Though much feared by Uwanda,
 Mugabia's Il28s saw no action on this day.

The battles were fought using very simple home-brew rules, that I wrote many years ago, designed primarily to support micro-armor battles. The results of these first air battles were quite surprising, with Mig21s having particularly bad die rolls resulting in disproportionate losses to the F5s.  Then the devastating success of the one Group of Mig17s balancing the numbers a little.

Uwanda's F5 success is unlikely to continue as they soon lose the all aspect capability of the AIM9L (and probably the crazy good die rolls too), and will face Mugabia's Mig21s and Mig17s with AIM9Bs in the future.  Thus, I expect future battles to be much more balanced, and maybe a little less terminal. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mugabia's T34/23-2- A 15mm Conversion for an African Imagi-nation

Sometime back I  posted a WIP photo or two of a completely fictional conversion I was doing of a couple of  T34/85s, making them into self propelled anti-aircraft guns. These are for the army of my African Imagi-nation, Mugabia.

Finally, here are a few pics of  one of the AA conversions and their ammo carrier.

The conversion consists of a slightly modified T34/85 hull, and a scratch-built  ZU-23/2 23mm towed mount adapted to a traversing mount to replace the original 85mm turret.

The ammo carrier is similarly converted, with the turret replaced by a large ammo/cargo box with canvas top.  It will make a lovely target if nothing else.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Wings for a Hawker Hunter

Several years ago, I bought a bunch of 15mm QRF moderns and aircraft from a shop that was closing out the line.  Among the many items I picked up that day was a  Hawker Hunter, which  I went to work on, shortly after getting home with the goodies.

I didn't notice prior to purchasing (not that it would have stopped me from buying it), but the Hunter looked to have been damaged, repaired and re-bagged.  Maybe it was a return to the shop, not sure.  Anyway, it needed more attention than I was willing to give it at the time, and ended up setting on my work table for the last few years in the early stages of repair.

During my recent cleaning binge, I decided to put it together, rather than just throw the lose parts into a box with countless other odds and ends.  Like the QRF Strikemasters that I have (another really cool plane from QRF), the Hunter has a resin fuselage and metal wings.  On the Strikemaster, the main wings are a single piece that glues firmly and securely into the bottom of the fuselage, but the Hunter's different geometry does not permit that arrangement. It's wings are each separate pieces that attach to the wing roots/jet intakes mid fuselage with a small metal tab.

Since the Hunter is somewhat larger and the wings heavier and less secure when mounted, I had reservations about the durability of the model when completed.  Not so much a complaint about the casting, as commentary about how brutal I can be with my miniatures.

After brief consideration,  I decided to replace the metal wings with styrene plastic wings.  As it turned out, a relatively quick and simple job.  The job required a few basic tools; a hobby knife, Squadron Flex-file sanding stick, a small ruler/metal cutting edge, a Tuff-Grit metal filing/sanding stick, and a pair of flush-cut nippers.

I started out by completing the repair to the fuselage that I started years ago with some putty (the fuselage had been cracked and badly repaired with some sort of glue).  In this case, as in most, I use automotive glazing compound.  It is an inexpensive, soft, fast drying, red/orange putty that comes in a squeeze tube, and can be found at automotive parts suppliers such as Advance Auto Parts or NAPA.  Dynatron and Duraglass are two manufacturers of the product.

In addition to the repair, I touched up some blemishes in the fuselage casting.  Then I used the metal wings as patterns and traced replacement wings onto a sheet of .08 inch thick styrene.  Below you can also see the landing gear that come with the kit to the right and below the fuselage.

I cut out the basic wing shape by scribing and snapping the styrene, using the metal straight-edge and hobby knife.  The shape was refined with the nippers and by filing/sanding the edges and roughing the cross-section of the wings with the Tuff-Grit file.  The wings were then cleaned up with the Squadron Flex-File sanding stick and puttied with the glazing compound as seen below.

The Tuff-Grit file will leave some divots in the plastic, but these are quickly filled with the putty.  By the time I finished puttying the tail section, the first wing was just about ready to sand.  Drying time was in the area of seven minutes.  The replacement wings are shown below with the original metal wings.

I replicated the panel lines from the original wings by scribing them with the back side of the hobby knife blade, and attached the plastic wings to the resin fuselage with super-glue.  Once the glue was dry, the joints and slot for the wing tab on the underside of the model were filled with the glazing putty and sanded.  It took two applications of putty to fill the tab slots.

The entire investment of time to replace the wings and assemble the model was less than an hour.  The model was then primed and painted with acrylic hobby paints.


This model is going to be used by the as yet, un-named, third country in my African Imagination campaign.  I ended up choosing a camouflage pattern inspired by one used by the Indonesian Air Force, but can't put the national markings on, as they haven't been designed yet either.

The completed model weighs significantly less than it would have with the original wings. mounts more easily on my aircraft stands, and is less likely to break, when I do eventually drop it.  And, I now have one less item setting on my table, holding up space bubble progress.