Sunday, September 26, 2021

A Visit to My Miniatures Junkyard

As I sat down yesterday to start painting 6mm WWII French infantry, I felt very cramped at my paint table, as it had grown rather crowded with various odds and ends that had been accumulating on it for quite some time, again.  Mostly waylaid miniatures, some with broken or missing parts; things that I'll get around to, eventually.

I figured I'd clear the clutter off my table, gather them up and put them in the wooden box that has become my catch-all box for  things like this, but as it turned out, all six of the box's trays were already overflowing, mostly with micro-armor.

There are some old GHQ tanks that have long been re-sculpted and don't match the newer models I've gotten over the years, a handful of Cold War Soviet tanks with broken barrels, damaged 26 years ago, when we moved into the house (revealed along our front walk, a month after moving in, when the snow had melted).  A batch of T-55s that I bought on E-bay, that arrived as Chinese Type 69s with side skirts.  Some old CinC T80s that I've been meaning to sell, various bags of less than obvious contraptions that needed assembled, and on and on.

I ended up sorting out a lot of the stuff, threw out some things that I no longer "couldn't live without", and deciding that "eventually" had finally arrived.  I selected a number of models for assembly and/or repair.  Most notable was an GHQ Mi-8 helicopter bought in the 1980s, never assembled as it arrived missing the front landing gear.  There were 15 AFVs in need of repairs, mostly barrels, a BMP needing a new turret (miscast), a bunch of Sherman oddballs with parts all mixed up in a bag, etc.

So the day was spent recovering 16 broken models, and assembling a similar number of other odds and ends.  In the end, I cleaned up my paint table a little, emptied about one and a half of the "miniatures junkyard" trays, and enjoyed a nice relaxing day.

Most of the tanks needed new barrels, made of brass wire and tube.  The GHQ BMP now has a spare CinC turret, The Mi-* sports new wheels, Sherman Calliopes and mine rollars finally assembled, along with some un-mangled Soviet 100mm ATGs, and some H&R (or maybe Scotia) 85mm Soviet guns assembled.  That reminds me, I'm out of primer...


Friday, September 24, 2021

The Battle for France 1940

My first wargame was Avalon Hill's "The Game of France 1940", and for my entire 45 or so years of wargaming, I've been fighting battles set in 1940 France.  In the early 1980s, I made the transition from counters to miniatures, first in 1/285 scale, and eventually with 15mm miniatures.

More recently, while considering setting up a 6mm scale 1940 France game, I began considering that I had never rounded out my infantry for the period, particularly lacking command and infantry support elements, so I decided to remedy this before playing any more battles.

Most of my 6mm 1940 WWII miniatures

One thing lead to another, and I found myself inventorying all of my 1940 forces, resulting in an order to GHQ for various tanks, transports, and armored cars.  Today,  took it a little bit further, placing orders with H&R, Scotia, and I-94, with the intent of filling in more gaps, especially in air power.

The heart of the German forces.

The British.

And the French.

There are still a few items that I have yet to order, but in a few weeks my 1940 forces won't be wanting for much.

Most of the aircraft.  I have a pair of Bf109s that are missing, 
but the Germans are still lacking, and the British are non-existent.  
This will soon change.

I didn't really intend to work on a big 1940 project right now, it just sort of happened.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Rice Paddy Progress

Here are a few pics of my 20mm rice paddies.  I should have done the flock in two stages, but tried to rush them (so that I can clear my table and play a game).  They need dusted off, touched up and another application of some fuzz.  

WIth a Britannia 20mm PAVN fig for a sense of scale.

With some Britannia GIs,

With the paddies separated to show the two free standing pieces
and the three sided additions.

The modular approach sort of works, but I think they are still too uniform in appearance.  In time, I expect that I will add a few pieces with a little more character.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

6mm British, French, and German Infantry for 1940 (and Then Some)

A couple of weekends back, while paint was drying on my 20mm rice paddies, I finally started work on my 1940 6mm infantry.  I already had a fair number infantry painted, some dating back about 30 years, but missing some command, support weapons, etc., such that I could not field a complete company of anything.

Earlier this year, I placed a large infantry order with H&R, and I finally sorted and based them.  For the British, I  had enough troops to also base some units for 1944-45, and for the Germans, enough figs for some mid-war units for Russia.  More recently, French figs arrived from GHQ.

US, Soviet, and late war Germans will come later this year to be added to the US and Soviet figs that  already have.

I'm still hurting for a source for French bicycle and motorcycle troops, as I can't find sources, with the exception of possibly using German motorcycles as stand-ins.

The British Dilemma

Paint choices have been a struggle, particularly with the British, as the paint I used previously  was from the old Pactra line,  is too green and long gone.  

The British problem: Everywhere I look, the recommended color is distinctly brown, as opposed to a greenish color.  But, I've surveyed  collections of over 25 British uniforms or blouses from the period, and despite everything on the internet telling me the uniforms should be a brown, 84 percent of what I've seen look green(ish) to me.  These are all British issue, not Canadian or something other that would be more green.  

Now, they aren't by any means a New York Jets sort of screamin' kelly green or anything, they are all a brown green, but lean to the green more than the brown, and otherwise are not close to say, Vallejo English Uniform.  A small number of the items that I saw were closer to the brown, but we are talking roughly 1 in 7 examples.

In looking at color period photos, I find a much higher percentage of brown uniforms, but it was still closer to 50/50, and many of the photos have a distincly brown cast to them, leading me to think that some of the brown uniforms may be less so, than they appear in the photos.

The second British problem:  I have a lot of British that were already painted, about three company's worth of figs in the old Pactra color, maybe a little less green than Vallejo Refractive Green.  Clearly wrong, but so many figs.  I feel goofy painting new figs the wrong color, but have this nostalgic thing about the old figs, plus, don't want to spend the time repainting them.

The British compromise:  I decided to put old green figs in 1940 units, painting the small number of new figs filling out their ranks to match the old figs, and repaint the remainder of old figs scattered among the later war figs a more "accurate color", consisting of a mix of Vallejo British Uniform and Refractive green.  

My survey may involve too small a sampling, or just be anomalous in some other way, but this mix seems to more realistically represent what I've seen. 

My British figs as in their current state of paint.


The Germans

My Germans were largely painted somewhere between 1987 and 1991 with a ModelMaster gray.  I think it might be Gunship gray (haven't actually verified the color yet).  Regardless, I can either match the old color, or I can repaint the old ones, and add the new figs all with "proper" colors.

In retrospect, I didn't have as many painted Germans as I had remembered, and didn't have any complete German units at company level, missing command, anti-tank, or supporting weapons stands throughout, so I think everything will get new paint.

The Germans awaiting attention.

The French

My French were painted more recently (i.e., not much nostalgia for them), and are too light and too green. I don't have a ton of French troops painted, and since they were never flocked, they will be easy to repaint.  

After looking at examples on the internet, in books, and at a couple actual in person uniform examples, I am left with a similar view towards the French uniforms, as the British.  They were frequently more green and less brown than most hobbyists and/or hobby sources suggest.

Again, not that they were overly green, but I would describe them as generally being a yellow-brown-green.  I have seen some that were more brown, leaning more toward a yellow brown, than a red-brown, but brown is a distinct minority.  

I haven't completely settled on colors yet, but will likely start with Vallejo Green Brown 879 and tweak it a little, with Olive Grey 888 for the helmets, and maybe a tweaked Yellow Green 881 for the canvas bits.

The recently based French troops.

In any event, two weeks into it, the British are painted and in the process of receiving flock, and the French and German figs are mounted on bases, and awaiting their turn under the the brush.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

WIP: 20mm Rice Paddies for Vietnam

It had been almost a month since I last got downstairs to work on the hobby, and not surprisingly, the rice paddies were still waiting for me.  They're still not done yet, but I made some good progress on them.  Here are some pics of the work done thus far:

There are eight modular paddies, 2x four-sided units, 
and 6x three-sided add on paddies.

This view shows the modules in the first photo separated.

The bases are .06 inch styrene sheet. 
The blue foam profiles were cut on a band saw.

The paddies after sanding, to make 
them a little less uniform.

The paddies as they currently sit.

They may still be a little too uniform, I'll have to what they look like when done.

I need to order more tufts, so it will be another three to four weeks, before I can get these done.