Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Zvezda Matilda I quick build

I'm loving the Zvezda Art of Tactic range. These models are selling at under £3 and are great to build. Here is a particularly nice kit, and very useful for Blitzkrieg British - the Infantry Tank Mk I, A11 Matilda I

As with all the Art  of Tactic kits, the box is pretty standard with the instructions on the back

The actual kit is a single sprue, with only six parts

The bits clean up pretty well with only the track units needing care
And the whole thing went together easily and quickly. In theory these are snap together but I use a small amount of Liquid Poly "just in case"
The finished article! The camera angle makes the mould line on the hull look more pronounced than it actually is. For the next one I think I will leave the track units off until after I paint it.

All in all a very nice little kit. From a wargaming perspective the only issue is the turret hatch is modelled closed (as on all Art of Tactic kits) so you would have a problem trying to fit a commander. To balance that, these cost about half the cost of the equivalent metal \ resin versions and are at least as detailed.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Ongoing Projects

I have a series of ongoing projects which I will detail here, mainly to provide comfort to similar souls who have too much unpainted toy soldiers and not enough time, so here in no particular order..............

Battlefront WW2 (Fire & Fury) in 15mm
Still the best Battalion level WW2 game out there, and much beloved here in the Kommisar House. I have a number of 15mm projects either stalled or making slow progress. I'm building up a couple of Manoeuvre Elements (ME's in BFSpeak, or Companies in English) using the rather nice Zvezda 1:100 Art of Tactic plastic models for the Blitzkrieg period, with the aim of doing a Panzer Battalion for France 1940 that can also double up with some replacements to be used in Russia in 1941. Then there is the much delayed Cromwell Squadron, and the other "Funnies" to finish the Breaching Team, and the Recce Squadron.....

.....and the Katyusha Battery (more Zvezda, with some Peter Pig crew). This one is pretty much 95% done, but has been for over a year.

Moving away from the figures and stuff, I have two outstanding scenarios to finish, Operation Clipper, which is a full on Regimental attack scenario, and The White House, a follow up to a scenario I wrote re the assault on the Administrative Building at Stalingrad

Phew this is cathartic :-)

Then I have some stuff to paint for Chain of Command. I have to finish up some British support options - mainly a 6Pdr and crew from Valiant Miniatures and some Rapid Fire \ Ready to Roll Universal Carriers. Then I have a platoon or so of German infantry, and then a US Platoon, and finally a platoon of Finns from the Baker Company Winter War Kickstarter. I'm sure more of that will come later.

Dropzone Commander
My current priority is to get some more games of DZC played and finish painting my Scourge Army. My UCM Army is about done, at least until the next new toys arrive...

I really like DZC. The pace and urban setting are so unlike other games, and the models are very nice

Impetus - 28mm Ancients
Not a lot to do here ;0) Finish my Hussites - these need another 4 war wagons painting, and some crew (memo to self get some female Hussites from Kingmaker Miniatures). Then the Thracians. These started out well just after Christmas and I got 31 of the target 100 painted, but then distraction has set in. We have a tournament in November that these guys are entering so I may have to revive that particular production line. Then finish my War of the Roses "Uncle Dicky" army - basically add another 100 points or so

We like the lunacy that 7TV creates. My cast is based around the bad guys from Big Trouble in Little China. Currently got enough basic Wing Kong thugs painted, plus a version of David LoPan as my villain. I have another Avatar of LoPan to paint, plus some serious Martial Arts guys. Then I need to build the warehouse that acts as a cover for their underground secret lair.............

So as you can see I'm pretty busy, or rather I have a lot of plans. Just about all the lead needed for everything mentioned is bought and currently resting gently. If I can complete a couple of these projects by the year end I think I will be content.

Unless of course something else grabs the attention of my butterfly like mind..............


Wednesday, 5 March 2014


This is something else I like, just to show I have other interests.................

Turning Japanese Part 3

The part where I stick my fingers together a lot!

These models are not quite as bad to put together as I feared. I've always rated Evan Alan as a model designer (and a thoroughly nice chap to boot) and the detail is excellent. They also fit together fairly well and mostly are idiot proof as far as part fitting goes - even those pesky tail skids went together without too much fuss. They do however show the limitations of  the mixed metal & resin components, in that the BF Type 89s have 10 metal parts and 2 resin (plus optional commander). I happened to have an old Quality Castings Type 89 spare that I never finished so I dug it out to compare. QC managed the same model with broadly equivalent detail in metal alone in just 5 parts - mainly because they cast the trench crossing tail as an integral part of the hull and covered it with stowage. What really surprised me was just how close both models actually are. You would have to look very close at them on table to see the difference. Here is a pic of a completed BF one and the QC one from the spares box. I'm not sure which I prefer - I suspect that pesky tail skid may well be a weak point on the BF model, but there are some areas on the QC one that are not as good as the BF - the insides of the front track units are blank for instance.
Anyway, 5 Type 89s assembled without too much fuss, so I called it a night there.

Turning Japanese Part 2

Closer examination showed that the components on the trench crossing tails are all pretty much miss-moulded to one degree or another, nothing too serious but something that will need cleaning up a bit.   Not sure if this is just me, or something to do with models bought in the US, but the metal does seem pretty poor quality??? Here is one of the tail skids
 I also noticed one of the Type 95s has lost its exhaust, snapped off but still in the packaging, but this should be easy to fix, and a couple of the mudguards on the Type 89s had snapped – again easy to fix.

So all the resin has now had a quick bath to remove any residue from the moulding process, next step, assembly.

Turning Japanese Part 1

On occasion I paint on a commission basis. I’m making no claims as to any particular skills, but I’m flattered that some people like my work enough to pay me to paint. It also raises much needed ££ that can be converted to more toys!

I’m currently working on a WW2 Japanese tank unit in 15mm for a client. The models are Battlefront Flames of War.

Anyway here’s a start on the long trail that will hopefully result in a nice unit and a happy client. I say long because I paint between by real world job, wife and World of Tanks commitments, so this could be a while.

Stage 1 – unboxing – or WTF have I let myself in for here!

I received the models through the post from Tim (the nice gent in the US who wants them painting). My first thoughts on opening the boxes are “Sh*t – that’s a lot of fiddly bits”. I’m looking at the rear trench-crossing tail on the Type 89s and feeling my heart sink. I was also a bit put off by the quality of the metal components which look tarnished and had a lot of flash between the wheels etc.  This is the metal contents of one box which will eventually become 5 Type 89s