On the workbench
Posted 28 June 2021 - 09:18 AM
The two Nevada models in the preceding posts are are a good example. Comparing/counting the casemate positions reveals a significant discrepancy The Viking Forge model includes thirteen, while GHQ has eighteen (possibly twenty-one, if those are guns adjacent to the conning tower above the forecastle deck, and I can't see if she includes the stern-mount). The 1919 edition of Jane's reported that nine five-inch were "removed from upper and main decks during War and ports plated up." The schematic in the 1919 edition, however, shows seventeen five-inch casemate positions. Silverstone's U. S. Warships of World War II reports that Nevada "originally mounted 21 - 5 in./51 guns as secondary armament but this was reduced after W. W. I". Stille's US Standard-Type Battleships 1941-45 (1) reports that "the secondary battery was reduced from 21 to 12 5-inch guns" shortly after completion.
For game purposes, the FAI ship's log cooks it down to six (three per side).
Posted 03 July 2021 - 10:04 AM
Viking Forge 1/2400 casting, guitar-string masts, ODGW etched base.
HMS Seaham was launched in June, 1941, built using funds raised by the townspeople of Seaham, a seaside village on the Durham coast. I hadn't realized that this sort of thing went on in Britain, but a bit of further reading revealed it was quite common, numerous vessels being built with town sponsors.
According to James Colledge, the Bangor-class was intended for a coastal minesweeping role, but was soon pressed into other duties including sea patrols and convoy escort. Being substantially shorter in length than either the preceeding Halcyon-class and succeeding Algerine-class, the Bangor-class was said to be a dreadful ship in heavy seas.
Seaham had a pair of reciprocating steam plants that drove twin screws to a top speed of around 16 knots. She was sent to the Mediterranean where she toiled for some 18 months, having a hand in the capture of an Italian submarine. In the months leading up to Normandy, she returned to Britain where she was converted to a rescue tug. All of her minesweeping gear was removed and her aft 20mm was moved behind her funnel amidships.
After the war, she was allocated to the Fishery Protection Squadron (today's Overseas Patrol Squadron), then sold to Burma in 1947 where she reportedly served as a tug and buoy vessel, then was converted back to a minesweeper. In 1948, some three years after the end of hostilities, the ship (now the Burmese Chinthe) was undone by her old nemesis, running afoul of a drifting Japanese mine, and sunk. Seaham's war was finally over.
Posted 10 July 2021 - 09:24 AM
I've taken a break from the fleets for a bit to paint a few tanks for a mate of mine. After a recent MP game where the OB was run light due to a lack of models, he asked me if I'd help him add a few. His collection is an assortment of 15mm (1/100) stuff he's painted himself, stuff painted by mates, or stuff he's acquired "pre-painted", and it's comprised of models he's accumulated over many years. A few are plastic, some are resin, with the bulk being white-metal/pewter/lead castings. As you can imagine, the quality over forty years varies wildly, so I figured I couldn't embarrass myself (never a safe assumption).
He needed French tanks, primarily the light (H-35, H-39, R-35, R-39, and others) and a few medium (primarily Somua S-35). I offered to help out with the light tanks, of which he needed the largest number. His requirements regarding schemes and markings were minimal, just such that vehicles could be individually tracked on the table. That's pretty wide-open, playing into my anorak tendencies, lol.
Finding models was somewhat problematic. A quick run through my domestic suppliers turned up little, but it was worse than that. I soon discovered that quite a few of the old "go-tos" were no longer in the trade, some not even around anymore. The same with a number of the guys in the UK, and what models I could find there, the shipping cost was a deal-breaker. An effort to run down some NOS FoW turned up nothing, but that would also likely have proved too expensive. Having recently bought some ships from folks on Shapeways, I looked there to see if anyone was 3D printing versions of these tanks. That turned up nothing, but I hit pay-dirt on the online auction sites, finding a few sellers pushing out some very nice 3D models.
I needed to track down some reference materials on paint schemes and markings/numbering. There's a lot of information out there, much of it contradictory. Looking at photographs, I realized the schemes were pretty wide-ranging, with some relatively simple and others very complex. Markings were similarly highly variable. Since I wasn't tied to specific unit markings, a general description of French camouflage schemes and marking was all I needed...imagination would suffice for the rest. I have a copy of Zaloga's Blitzkrieg: Armor Camouflage & Markings, 1939-1940 and decided to use that for inspiration.
I started with the Hotchkiss H-35, a prewar two-man light tank that proved largely worthless on the field. They were originally designed primarily as support for the infantry, but would instead find use in the French "cavalry" outfits (although some would find assignment to the infantry as originally conceived). The prewar paint schemes, according to Zaloga, were pretty complex, primarily irregular bands of dark tan, red-brown, olive, and light tan, outlined in black. Shortly before and during those few months of the war, schemes became much less complicated as tanks were built, painted, then rushed to the front. Tanks assigned to the infantry, however, were typically just an overall olive drab, and I decided that, at least on this first attempt, the H-35s would get the infantry-support scheme.
French unit markings are complicated, leaning heavily on graphical representations instead of simple numbering. You've probably seen examples of the French "playing card" symbology that was developed during the First World War and carried forward to the Second. This, together with a liberal use of geometric shapes, roundels, and numbers makes it a bit hairy Fortunately, Zaloga provides a decent run-down of the logic.
Finding decals was pretty easy. I reached out to I-94 Enterprises and picked up sets FR-100 and FR-101. With FR-101, there's enough individual markings to outfit quite a few tanks, but only two or three of each section (French equivalent of a platoon). If you're planning to paint all of the tanks for each section of a company, you're going to need multiple sets. They are relatively inexpensive, so not a big deal. Set FR-101 also includes a few tank names, something sanctioned by the French military and seen often in photographs. Zaloga doesn't go into great detail as to how naming worked, but based on photos I've looked at, it seems there was some logic to it, at least occasionally.
The number of tanks in a section seems to range between 3-5, so a company of four sections had anywhere from 12-20 tanks at full strength. Units that have seen any significant action, typically less. French mechanical reliability was poor, so vehicle attrition was high, even without a shot being fired. In view of this, the numbers vary widely. The ODGW MP data-book and the GHQ website offer some decent TO&E info regarding what things would look like ideally.
So I ordered a bunch of tanks from different printers. Some are hull-and-turret two-piece prints, others are hull-turret-tracks/bogies four-piece prints. I'm using Loctite GO2 for assembly, which seems to work well. Paint is pretty much whatever is in the cabinet. It ranges from Humbrol and Testors enamels to Tamiya, Vallejo, and Howard Hues acrylics, along with some pretty generic acrylic craft paints from Michael's (I've had decent results using craft paints, but I use the pigment-rich more expensive ones). I have a number of Vallejo water-based washes which I use with a drop or two of Vallejo matt medium (70-540). I use an old (ancient) bottle of MicroSol for the decals, and when everything is done, it gets an overspray of Tamiya clear matte.
So that's it. I'll post a few pics of stuff as I progress. First up, the H-35 in 15mm (1/100):
Posted 10 July 2021 - 02:44 PM
Your French tanks look great, Healey! So, all the decals are available through I-94? I may have to get some if they are.
I actually have a fair number of GHQ WWII French tanks including Renault, Hotchkiss, Somua, and Char B types as well as their other vehicles and even have some infantry. I admit that doing a France 1940 project is pretty far down on my priority list right now but who knows. I am currently working on some things for Barbarossa, NW Europe 1944, and eventually back to North Africa as well. That alone should keep me busy for quite a while.
Thanks for sharing you work. Hopefully it will inspire others to paint and play more Mein Panzer.
Posted 10 July 2021 - 08:26 PM
Yes, I used I-94 sets for these (FR-100 for the roundels, FR-101 for the section markings, and RU-106 for the numbers, all 15mm-1/100). I have a 1/285 set from GHQ (D-14), which I’ve not yet used. I’ve got some 1/285-scale French stuff painted and detailed, with many blisters untouched.
My favorite part of the war is the first 24 months or so, a time when the tanks were less well-armored and the main guns were still relatively light. I gravitate to the somewhat esoteric, as you probably have figured out, lol.
Posted 22 July 2021 - 01:18 PM
From a 1/100-scale 3D-print, miscellaneous acrylic paints, decals by I-94.
The camera is ever so unforgiving...
Posted 28 July 2021 - 08:43 AM
Completed the two-dozen French tanks for my mate, so I'm back onto the lead-pile, upon which I'm beginning to make some progress.
My feelings for the Monmouth-class cruisers may only be surpassed by those for the Invincible-class battlecruisers, three ships that put up an impressive war record. They were the first manifestation of Fisher's battlecruiser concept and, to my mind, were the loveliest of the lot. Simple, fast, and horribly flawed...
I've had a Viking Forge casting in the lead pile for ages, and I felt like trying my hand at adding top-masts and spars. For obvious reasons, manufacturers include the tripod mast and nothing more, which leaves a ship model looking quite incomplete. Using a bit of guitar string (steel), I cut a pair of uppers and a single cross-bar for each (historically the foremast had multiple spars). Drilling holes in the fire-directors proved difficult but ultimately successful. War Times Journal offers a jig for making masts/spars, but these I made by hand using little more than the wire and a spot of Loctite Super Glue.
Granted, the spars are in the wrong place, but I used the top of the director for convenience (and ease). The base coat is Krylon (Matte Shadow Gray SCS-085), the deck is Tamiya (Desert Yellow XF-59), life-boats and launches Vallejo (Off-White 70820), washed with diluted Vallejo (Black 76.518), then an overspray of Tamiya (Flat-Clear TS-80). The base is an etched ODGW with a homemade label affixed with a sliver of clear cellophane tape.
I chose Inflexible, as she survived the war (as did Indomitable, but unlike Invincible, blown in half by a magazine explosion at Jutland). Should she ever hit the table, I wouldn't expect the masts to last past turn 1. For today, at least, she looks complete.
Posted 24 August 2021 - 08:03 AM
A ship that will likely never see the game table, but I had to have her in the collection, SMS Fürst Bismarck:
The Kaiser's first armored cruiser, she is just a lovely ship. Considered obsolete in 1914, she was relegated to service as a barracks, then a depot ship (or possibly the other way round) throughout the war. A number of German ships on the cusp of obsolescence would serve in the Baltic, but not Fürst Bismarck. She survived the war, but was scrapped immediately thereafter.
This is a 1/2400-scale 3D print from War Times Journal on an ODGW etched base. Mast positions are typically provided, but for whatever reason, WTJ didn't include them here. I used a pin-vise and a no. 75 bit to drill a small hole at the top of each director position, then a bit of steel guitar string for a mast. I was surprised not to have broken off the aft position as it was pretty fragile. I did not drill all the way through, just a couple millimeters at most, enough to hold the mast in place. Cemented them in with a bit of Loctite GO2.
I couldn't find a good image of FB in her wartime paint, only her prewar foreign service scheme, so I had to make a few guesses. The hull, which is a bit too dark, was painted with a base-coat of Krylon Matte Shadow Gray. I reverted to MSP's Khaki Highlight for her deck (09123), some Vallejo Off White (70820) for her launch and lifeboats, and a dab of flat black craft paint for the tops of her funnels. Slathered on a wash of one part water, one part black Vallejo Model Wash, and one part Vallejo Matt Medium (70.540), then a dusting of MSP's Khaki Highlight with a dry brush. After that dried thoroughly, an overspray of Tamiya Clear Matte.
I am gradually getting this acrylic wash recipe/application in a form I think works, although the results can still be a bit random at times. Using the matt medium has made a huge difference.
Posted 25 August 2021 - 10:48 PM
Hi Healey! Very nice work on those ships as well as the 1/100th Renault tank. I have 3 models of the GHQ Invincible class and will need to paint them. I also have the Monmouth and one or two of her sisters as well. I have plans of doing Coronel and Falklands one of these days but have lots of WWII infantry and other things on the workbench right now.
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Posted 02 September 2021 - 07:10 AM
Thanks, Peter. Did you pick up the GHQ Otranto yet? WTJ has a nice 3D-printed version as well.
Those 1/100 R-35s I painted were nice little figures, but pretty rough as a 3D-print (to be fair, the maker advertises them as game-quality, not scale model quality). Lots of flash and highly visible layering in the print process. In light of that, one doesn't feel so bad when they are reduced to ashes on the game table.
Posted 13 September 2021 - 11:34 AM
She had a number of camo-schemes over the years and this one, following her 1942 refit, looked the least oppressive. I'm not happy with the tops of her funnels...they could stand to be darkened up a bit.
Posted Yesterday, 02:20 PM
Wallace was a Shakespeare-class destroyer launched in October, 1917, continuing in service through WWII following an update of her armament in 1936. Her AA armament and radar sets were further upgraded during the early years of WWII. Her service record is extensive, including her 1943 assignment to Operation Husky (invasion of Sicily), the period during which Philip served aboard as XO.
The GHQ casting required a bit of modification to approximate Wallace, primarily in shortening her forward funnel and adding a mast. Her forward funnel should be a bit heavier and shorter, approximating the dimensions of her aft funnel, and I contemplated replacing it with a bit of brass wire of a more correct circumference. That, however, proved a bit fiddly, so I relented to simply shortening the forward funnel.
I'll leave the editorializing behind, but I will say that Philip, for many reasons, was far and away my favorite of this crop of royals. He seemed to have lived his life with a sense of "just do your damn job". Given everything, that's to be admired.
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