Monthly Archives: March 2019

Some WWII Tanks

Buck

This weekend we were supposed to see my son’s Ultimate Frisbee tournament, but it was cancelled due to weather, so I had a chance to knock out some vehicles that have been in the project queue.

The first was a Churchill Mk. VII Crocodile.  This is a Tamiya 1:48 scale kit.

The second was a Sherman “Easy Eight.”

Finally, I completed two Dingo Mk. II scout cars.

In addition to these WWII vehicle, I also completed an AT-ST.  Like all Bandai kits, this one had nice, clear instructions and assembled quite easily.

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M11/39 Italian Tanks (and some US Steel for the 8th Army – a Grant and a Sherman), plus an Aussie! For What a Tanker

Mark A. Morin

I have been heavily engaged hobby-wise since December at building out both 8th Army and Panzer Army Africa tank forces.  This blog post describes my last few tanks (well, for now) for What a Tanker© in WWII North Africa.  As I plan on running this scenario at HAVOC in April, my goal was to create a diverse-enough tank list so that the players could have a very fun game that also would reflect the wide diversity of tanks and tank destroyers used by both sides from 1940-1943.  I analyzed my respective armies’ 15mm/1:100 scale tank rosters, and concluded a couple things.  First, my Italians lacked some rivet-laden death traps, also known as Fiat Ansaldo M11/39’s. Second, my British could use another M3 Grant and an M4 Sherman to deal with the German’s Tiger I.  Upon further research, I learned that the Australians captured several of the M11/39’s – so that inspired me to build one for the 8th Army as well.  Therefore, I built 3 M11/39’s, one Grant, and one Sherman.

This overall North Africa project has been documented in this blog in five previous posts, (which you can read about here, here, here, here, and here) and I plan on a summary post as well in the near future.  There I will detail more about the game scenario and how I run it.  These 5 tanks brings me to a total of 46 tanks since December for this scenario.  

M11/39’s

The M11/39 designation meant that it was an 11-ton tank, built in 1939.  100 were built by Fiat.  It had a 37 mm hull-mounted gun and a turret with double 8 mm machine guns.  It did not do well in combat, due to its inferior design, especially the turret having no anti-tank capability.  For What a Tanker© games, this means that the tank’s turret is meaningless – it is like having a tank destroyer without the benefits of a tank destroyer.

I decided to try a different source for the tank models, and found that I could get three from Old Glory for $25, which seemed reasonable.  I also bought a few other vehicles for other scenarios.  I was surprised to see that they were completely made of metal – even with a lead warning on the package!  As a metal aficionado, I was pleased.

I did have however a concern with the quality of the castings.  They all had significantly problematic mold lines on the machine gun turret, and the details on the hull were much less clear than Battlefront models.  Still, the price reflected that, so it was up to me to make it work.  Which I did. 

Two of these would be for the Italians, and one would be an Australian-captured M11/39 tank.  While technically not a squad, they certainly could have started out that way in the Italian Army!  For that reason – and because my good friend Azazel runs a fun painting challenge each month (and is an Aussie) – these three will constitute a submission from me for March’s “Squad March” painting challenge.

3 turret mold lineThe turrets needed a good amount of surgery and filing.4 M11 39 assembled and filedAfter assembly and a lot of filing.  I glued the machine gun turrets as it made no sense to have them be movable for What a Tanker games..5 all three M11 39 assembled and filedThe three M11/39’s assembled.

For priming, I went with a brush, as these seemed to be very smooth castings.  I worried that it would be difficult to get the paint to “bite”.  They also were hollow at the bottom, so I needed to devise a way to mount them for painting.  I ended up using a small square dowel and poster tack on small plates.

I did not take as many pictures during the process as I wanted to get these done for a game this weekend, but unfortunately some snow took care of that, and they will get a chance next weekend.  I list all the paints I used at the end of the blog for those interested. 

8 M11 with poster tackPoster pack on the M11/39’s as they are prepped for camouflage paint.  I use gauze on the spray booth filter to extend the life of my spray booth filters.9 M11 with poster tack close upClose up of the poster tack before painting.10 M11s after camoThis is not a fine Italian meal by any stretch!11 after pulling poster tack offAfter the poster tack was gently removed, I got this result.

Then I used washes, pigments, decals, and other paints to finish them all up.  There will be an eye-candy section following the sections on the tanks.

12 M11's with bookMy Italian M11/39’s with the model I used.  I ended up with more green, but I still liked the results.  In any case, I always want my tanks dusty and dirty.13 Aussie M11And here is the M11/39 the Aussie’s captured that will join the 8th Army forces.14 Aussie M11A nice comparison with a photo of the actual Aussie M11/39’s used.  I love the ‘roos.

I read that the Aussies used these until they ran out of diesel (their tanks had gasoline engines so diesel was rare).  Then they blew them up.  I believe that there are no surviving examples of the M11/39 in the world.

M3 Grant

I already had one M3 Grant painted, but with the Germans having a Panzer IVF2 and a Tiger I in the DAK inventory, I wanted to augment the 8th Army’s later war desert forces with another Grant and a Sherman.

3 Grant painted and washedAwaiting decals, pigments, and varnish.4 Grant with bookThe completed model with the one I used as a guide.  There was no way I was going to be able to pull off the white and black outlines here on such a small model.   I do like how it came out – again dirty and dusty.

M4 Sherman

The major difference in painting here from the M3 Grant was the camouflage pattern I used.

3 Sherman painted and washedM4 Sherman awaiting decals, pigments, and varnish.4 Sherman with model in bookThe completed model with the guide in my research material.5 Grant and Sherman with model in bookHere are the two with images I printed out from Battlefront’s web page.

Please let me know any feedback in the comments section, I do appreciate your thoughts.  Now it’s time for…

Eye Candy

0 all M11'sHere are the three M11/39’s, with the Aussie on the far right.1 M11 left frontRight front view of one of the Italian M11/39’s.  The main gun is the antitank weapon, and can only be moved with the tank itself as the turret had only machine-guns.  2 m11 left sideLeft side view of the M11/39.3 Italian M11's on roadThe two Italian M11/39’s hit the road.4 backs of Italian M11 39Rear view of the two Italian M11/39’s.5 Australian M11 39The Australian M11/39 with ‘Roo markings so as not to attract friendly fire.6 Australian M11 39 left sideGotta say I love the ‘Roo.7 Australian M11 39 right sideOther side.8 Australian M11 39 drives by Panzer IV wreckAussie M11/39 driving by a wrecked Panzer IVD.9 M3 Grant front rightM3 Grant with Desert Rat markings.10 M3 Grant front leftNice left side view of the M3 Grant.10 M3 Grant frontComing at ya!11 M3 Grant rear angleRear view.12 Sherman left sideThe M4 all dusted up.  I also gave the M4 Desert Rat markings.12 Sherman right frontM4 Sherman moving out.13 Sherman driving by wreckI don’t want to end up like Heinz!14 Sherman rear angleRear view of the M4 Sherman.  I had to pin the bustle rack, and at certain angles it looks off, but at a distance its unnoticeable.15 all 8th Army this projectThe 8th Army additions all assembled.16 all together at the wreckAll the tanks that were completed for this post.

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THE M11/39’s:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Vallejo “Dark Sand”
  5. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  6. Battlefront “Army Green”
  7. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  8. Battlefront “Monty Shade” (shade)
  9. Army Painter Quickshade “Soft Tone” (wash)
  10. Army Painter Quickshade “Strong Tone” (wash) – on Australian version only
  11. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  12. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  13. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  14. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  15. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  16. Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  17. Vallejo “Desert Dust” (pigment)
  18. Vallejo “Natural Umber” (pigment)
  19. Gorilla Glue
  20. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  21. Microscale Micro-Set
  22. Microscale Micro-Sol
  23. Microscale Satin
  24. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  25. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  26. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  27. Aleene’s poster tack
  28. Sponges

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THE M3 GRANT AND M4 SHERMAN:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Vallejo “Dark Sand”
  5. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown” (M3 Grant only)
  6. Battlefront “Tommy Green (M4 Sherman only)
  7. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  8. Battlefront “Monty Shade” (shade)
  9. Army Painter Quickshade “Light Tone” (wash)
  10. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  11. Vallejo Mecha Color “Dark Rust Wash” (wash)
  12. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  13. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  14. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  15. Secret Weapons Washes “Armor Wash” (M4 Sherman only)
  16. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  17. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  18. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  19. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  20. Vallejo “Desert Dust” (pigment)
  21. Gorilla Glue
  22. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  23. Microscale Micro-Set
  24. Microscale Micro-Sol
  25. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  26. Microscale Satin
  27. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  28. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  29. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  30. Aleene’s poster tack
  31. Sponges

Thanks for looking and for sharing your feedback!

ON MY RESEARCH MATERIALS

As for research materials, I used the same ones as I cited in previous posts plus Google searches and Battlefront’s website.  Here the books are in case you are interested – you can find them on Amazon and I highly recommend them all:

  • Jean Restayn:WWII Tank Encyclopaedia, 1939-45
  • Smithsonian/DK: Tank: The Definitive Visual History of Armored Vehicles
  • Michael Green:Axis Armoured Fighting Vehicles of the Second World War (Images of War)
  • Robert Jackson:Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles Visual Encyclopedia

I would again easily recommend all of these books as really good resources for gamers and modelers.  Thanks for looking and for sharing your feedback in the comments section.

Now I might go back to retro sci-fi for a bit!  Still have many more tanks to do, but those will be for other scenarios.

Do you have a favorite tank of the ones here?  Why?  Let me know!

from Mark A. Morin https://markamorin.com/2019/03/03/m11-39-italian-tanks-and-some-us-steel-for-the-8th-army-a-grant-and-a-sherman-plus-an-aussie-for-what-a-tanker/
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Play Test of “Tales of the Gold Monkey” Game

Buck

Last night at the club meeting I play tested my Tales of the Gold Monkey game for Cold Wars in two weeks.  For this game I am using the G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. rules, but I gave all the extras a Save as well as the Main Characters.  The game began with most of the board blank, covered with palm trees.  As the different groups of explorers and adventurers pushed into the jungle, they discovered different sources of treasure, from a native village to idols with jeweled eyes.  These were, of course, guarded by natives, animals, or monster.  Each player had a “cut” card they could use for one free re-roll.  In addition, each player had three dirty tricks cards they could use to slow down other players.  The players were not allowed to shoot at each other at first.  Once a team had a jewel they were a legitimate target.  Units could return fire once fired upon.

Jake Cutter’s gang and the Sergeants Three gang move out.

The table at the beginning of the game.  The players began near the trading post on the lagoon.

A closer view of the trading post.  You can see the Italians and the On the Road gangs on the beach.

Bing, Bob, Dorothy, and the Andrews Sisters of Mercy climb a ridge to find a lizard idol with jewels for eyes.  Later in the game, Bing and Bob killed a couple of Italians with golf balls.

A giant spider has other ideas for Bing and Bob.

It’s a grim day for the Andrews Sisters of Mercy.

And then to add insult to injury, another player played a dirty tricks card that had a herd of oryx stampede through them.

Despite all their setbacks, and the death of Dorothy being gored by an oryx, Bob and Bing were able to retrieve one treasure.

The Italians found the lost elephant idol — but it was guarded by pygmies.

The Italians lost many men to pygmy attacks but were able to get a treasure at the elephant idol.

A much-reduced Italian contingent is attacked by an angry elephant (another player’s dirty trick), but they managed to secure a second treasure at the raptor excavation.

The French Foreign Legion ran into apes guarding an idol.

There seemed to be a never-ending supply of apes!

The foreign legion found a treasure after defeating a LOT of apes. They also found Amelia Earhart and a boat and were headed down the river to the lagoon when they were attacked by giant tentacles of some unseen monster. In a “Von Ryan’s Express” moment, the last Legionnaire tried to leap into the boat as it floated past. He rolled a 20, fell into the water, and was eaten by the crocodile you can see in the bottom right of this picture.

Teddy Roosevelt, two “dangerous dames,” the lady photographer, and his band of fearless adventurers ran into natives guarding an idol. As Kurt was the first one to find a treasure, players played FOUR dirty tricks cards on him, stacking up natives. But Kurt has perennial kid luck and easily swept them aside.

At this point, the Easter Island heads at the lagoon turned around and started to cut off Teddy’s path back to the lagoon. Teddy and his group tried to cross the river to avoid them but ran into some trouble.

The Sergeants Three found a native village where they were preparing to sacrifice a white woman for some purpose.

It took some time, but in the end, the Sergeants One (as two died) freed the woman and advanced on another idol.

The Sergeant One approaches the idol to get a second treasure, but Jake Cutter and Professor Challenger beat them to it.

Jake Cutter and the American infantry ran into a giant scorpion defending the lost temple. Almost all the American infantry were killed, but Don was able to grab the treasure and also find Professor Challenger to add to his party.

The game was sufficiently chaotic and bloody, so I don’t plan to make any changes before Cold Wars.  I think all the players had a really good time.  This will make a good Saturday night game at the convention.

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A Battle Near Dale

Rob Dean

Last Saturday (February 23) was a busy gaming day.  After the Ghost Archipelago game and a lunch with elder son Norman, I came home and played out a battle on the new table.  My brother Norman (yes, it can be confusing at family gatherings) called in by FaceTime to help me out.  We played Dragon Rampant using two armies composed entirely of vintage Minifigs Mythical Earth (ME) figures.  The MEs were the first fantasy figures I bought, and I think of this as an effort to do things the way I would have wanted to 40 years ago, had I been able to paint…
On one side we had the Orc King (a three figure “reduced model unit”) as elite foot, a unit of elite foot bodyguards, a pack of wolves (regular war beasts) , and two units of orcs, a lesser unit of light for, and a better unit of light foot with mixed weapons (i.e., having some bows and shooting capability).  On the other we had the allies of the Lake region, led by the Elf King (a reduced model heavy foot unit).  The elf king commanded two units of elvish light foot with mixed weapons, a unit of the men of Dale (light foot), and a unit of dwarves of the Lonely Mountain (elite foot).
Sketch of the opening moves

Overview of the start of the battle

We rolled for sides, and I ended up commanding the allies.

Aggressive as ever, the orcs rolled forward, with the wolves and bodyguard engaging the two units of elves, while the lesser orcs advanced to threaten the men of Dale, and the better orcs headed around the woods in a flanking maneuver.

The wolves attack the elves
The battle on the orcish left was bloody on both sides, and, at the end, the elves and the orc bodyguard both broke on the same turn.

That left the kings to engage each other.

Meanwhile, on the orcish right, the lesser orcs formed a hedgehog to deal with the appearance of the dwarves out of the woods on their flank.

The dwarves eventually drove the orcs from the field, but the flanking maneuver finally culminated in the arrival of the better orcs within shooting range of the men of Dale.  Unprepared for the volleys of arrows, they withdrew.

That left just four units on the table, and we rolled for game ending in accordance with the scenario instructions.

Position at end of game

That turned out to be the last turn, and, with more points left on the table (and in better condition, though it wasn’t a scenario criterion), we deemed the orcs to have won.

The total time elapsed was about an hour and a half.  It would probably have been half an hour shorter if we hadn’t been compelled to discuss the moves over FaceTime.  Nevertheless, it was a fun little game, and I look forward to getting a few more units done so that we can add a bit of variety to the encounters.  Two years of auction haunting have left me with a generous pile of these figures awaiting my attention.

via The Sharp End of the Brush http://sharpbrush.blogspot.com/2019/03/a-battle-near-dale.html
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2019 Ghost Archipelago Campaign Game 2 — Spider Island

Rob Dean

     We played the second game of our 2019 Ghost Archipelago campaign on Saturday, 23 February.

From the log of the Manticore:

     Word reached us of a place called the Island of Spiders.  Spider eggs are said to be of value in certain alchemical processes, and I thought it might be prudent to put in and collect some, the state of our treasury being of some concern.

     We landed and passed on toward the center of the island, finding ourselves near a ruined temple of the Dricheans.  As we approached the temple, I took several of the crew with me around to the left, toward a smaller structure visible through the underbrush.

Our area of operations
Our Warden, Quartz, Thorn the archer, and a pair of crewmen started around toward the right-hand side of the temple, attempting to take some cover among a patch of tree stumps.
Taking cover among the stumps
Suddenly, advancing on them from the distance, several of the tribesmen making up the crew of the Heritor Arkhan appeared.  We had run into them recently, and Quartz was naturally concerned. 
     Ali, one of the crewmen with me, had found an interesting chest concealed in a thicket, and I ordered him to carry it back to the Manticore.  Ahead of me, I saw an archer pop up out of a thicket, and I threw a heavy rock at him.  He staggered, and Thetis (our pearl diver) ran forward to finish him off.  She stood for a moment afterward, considering whether she should enter the small structure (which had proved to be flooded) and dispute the ownership of a treasure being recovered by a pair of halflings.  As she did, an enormous fellow appeared and attacked her with an axe.  Despite the axe, we later learned that he was a Warden serving with the crew of Barley Gibletberrysauce, or some such outlandish halfling name.  She barely escaped with her life, and perforce left the treasure to the little people.  
     The crewman Redhand, spying some remaining gold work in the upper reaches of the temple, had carefully scaled one of the ruined columns.  Dislodging the golden carving, he dropped it to the ground, were the wounded Thetis picked it up and started for the ship.
     I heard the sound of swords clashing within the ruins, and clambered up to see what was afoot.  I found two of my crewmen attempting to drag away a large chest.  They had been set upon by the Heritor Arkhan himself.  Both of them were knocked out, and while I briefly stunned Arkhan with another rock, I thought it best to quit the area while I still could.
     As I dropped back to the jungle floor, I met Quartz and Thorn retreating hastily around the temple corner.  Arkhan’s tribesmen had laid low the two crewmen who had accompanied them.  Moreover, a prodigiously huge spider had been attracted by the commotion.  We heard screams from the enemy crewmen, and had no interest in getting any nearer to the beast. 
     Once all were gathered, I signaled for a retreat.  Redhand was nowhere to be found.  He later showed up at the Manticore carrying a knapsack full of spider eggs.  It seems he was trapped in the upper works of the ruin, and escaped by waiting for nightfall and the departure of the monster spider.
     We waited for some time, and were rewarded by the sight of our wounded crew members straggling in.  Eventually all members of the landing party returned, although two of the crew were seriously wounded.  
     While the treasure found was meager, at least no hands were lost, and it is to be hoped that the experiences will prove to have imparted a useful lesson or two.
Those left to retreat

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