Monday, November 16, 2009

Everyone needs...

The forces of darkness, evil and despair.  If only to provide a target-rich environment for waves of T-34/85's.

So here is the start of Kampfgruppe Kunersdorf.

Click to enlarge- warts 'n all.

While rifling the boxes at the back of my closet, I came across some half-finished kits, including an ESCI Brummbar that was in fact finished, and which I had already given a base coat of Tamiya's German Armour Yellow spray paint.    Another was the Opel Blitz HQ truck by Britannia.  Just the thing for planning a futile defence, getting yelled at on the phone by the Fuhrer in the privacy of your own bunk, and as a centre for researching cheap one-way tickets to Argentina or Paraguay.

The later war German armour & vehicle camouflage is interesting,   colourful, and makes a nice change from Soviet drab green.  But it is a sunnuvabitch to paint, especially around the running gear.  Next time I undercoat the vehicles in black first, and then spray the top with dark yellow.  This should give me natural shadows to save a lot of painting.  

I had tried spray painting the reddish-brown on with card templates attached to the truck, but it was difficult to avoid over-spray, and  the result was messy and unsatisfying.  So I ended up just brush painting the camouflage directly on and blending in highlights, which I think looks just fine.  

I used my favorite Ceramcoat acrylics for the highlighting.  Interestingly, the Ceramcoat Olive Yellow is a bang-on exact match for the Tamiya Dark Yellow.  I also found that Ceramcoat's Georgia Clay (sounds like the name of a boxer or jazz singer, but is in fact a light reddish-rust colour), when highlighted over a dark reddish-brown, gives a really convincing effect which complements the yellow nicely.

The original Esci kit of the Brummbar did not come with a Zimmerit finish, so I had laboriously added it using model putty, a small hobby screwdriver, and the occasional shot of Bourbon for sanity.  The final effect looked cool, but I chickened out with the Shurtzen armour, which looked to be a pain to put together.   

I'm not so particularly anal about historical markings (these are only  Hitlerites, after all), and having misplaced the kit decals I added some from a Fujimi Pz-III kit.  These had to be bullied and cajoled into position, using what seemed like a litre of decal softener; I don't know how effective Zimmerit was at repelling magnetic mines, but it does a pretty effective job at resisting decals.  I had my wicked way with it in the end, though, and the decals are fitting nice and snugly now.

I also black-lined in panel and door lines with a fine draughting pen, as I find this makes the model stand out more on the tabletop.  It also matches the effect I use on the miniatures.  The effect is much less garish on my desk than the poorly-lit photo would suggest.

I still have to work on painting the left-hand track of the Brummbar as well as the stowage and wheels of the Blitz.  I will use the airbrush to give a light coat of dust to the lower chassis.

I have to admit this has been fun- I haven't painted a German armour kit since I was in high school!

The officer- my first attempt at the Hun- is dressed in pea-pattern trousers and a faded field grey blouse.  A Battlefield miniature IIRC.

One of the nice thing about doing the losing side is that by the end of the war all those splendid organization charts were going by the board.  A deteriorating supply situation, manpower and fuel shortages, and steady casualties at the hand of Uncle Joe's Great Peoples' Armoured Juggernaut (with some token help from the western Allies),  all resulted in formations which by 1945 were increasingly ad-hoc.  

Which is good, as so is my collection of Germans!  I have everything from Marder II's, Wirbelwinds, the usual Big Cats and Panzer-grenadiers in their halftracks, all the way down to platoons of Volksturm, Hitler Youth and even policemen holding the line depending on the scenario.

Meanwhile,  my battalion of Soviet T-34/85's nears the first stage of completion. I  applied putty to the gaps and seams, and I drilled out the gun muzzles.  I have been laboriously putting the road-wheels together.  Tedious, but a less of a pain than trying to assemble the roadwheels for Pz-IV's and Churchills!

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