Monday, 2 December 2019

Out of depth...

As the Hex Terrain Toolkit is used rather intensively, there is bound to be some wear on the parts... The first piece to show this is the depth cutter. More precisely, the bit that's used to cut the Hexes in half... These half thickness Hexes are used for rivers, risers and snowflakes, this means it gets used a lot...

It might have something to do with the fact I use a table cutter instead of a hand held model. This means the hot wire is in contact with the same spot of plywood kit for longer periods of time, the high temperature of the wire burning into the wood and glue. Or maybe it's just the increased power of the table cutter when compared to a hand held model...

Either way, the module is damaged to such an extent that the precision the whole system relies on, is lost...

The wear on the Toolkit... 
I came up with a solution to this problem...

A piece of MDF board with two pieces of wood, glued on top as guides. The wooden guides are 9mm tall (at least, they were supposed to be). So I glued a sheet of 1.5mm plasticard in between them. As this proved to be insufficient (as the wooden guides were closer to 9.5mm) I added a layer of 0.5mm plasticard. Now this little contraption gives me the 7.5mm of depth I need.



This picture shows the two layers of plasticard...
I could have asked for a replacement, and in time I probably will, as the regular depth cutter is beginning to show signs of wear, too... But for now, this solution works as planned and results haven't suffered.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Zu bewaffnen! Mustering the army... pt. I

At Crisis in Antwerpen I picked up my pre-ordered package filled with GHQ Micro Armour... While I had previously bought a sample pack, which gave me an idea of the scale and level of detail, the quality of these miniatures continues to amaze me.

This is no review, there are already enough of those, but I will say that these models are among the very best I ever had the pleasure of working on... Extremely sharp casts, little to no flash and highly accurate.

I ordered several different vehicles, all suited for the Early War period, 1939 to 1941. These models will represent my Blitzkrieg Germans, fighting in Belgium, France and Holland. They will also form the basis of the force invading Britain in our what-if Seelöwe campaign.



Over the coming months (or even years, depending on the speed of the project) this force will be expanded, reinforced by infantry (probably  Fallschirmjäger) and newer vehicles.

So far I have the folowing vehicles from GHQ:

SdKfz. 221
SdKfz. 222 Leichter Panzerspähwagen
SdKfz. 231/232 Schwerer Panzerspähwagen  6-rad/8-rad
SdKfz. 9 Famo
SdKfz. 265 Kleine Panzerbefehlswagen
Panzerjáger IB
StuG ausf. B

I also have several Panzers, ranging from the smallest, the Panzer I to the Panzer IV... The main reason to start off this project with Early War peroid is the wide selection of lightly armoured vehicles you van choose from. I aim to include as many different vehicles as possible in my collection!

To make this collection as complete and diverse as possible I will be adding 3D-printed models as well... The first few have already arrived (as can be seen in a previous post) and more will surely follow.

I also placed an order at Heroics&Ross... They have some interesting vehicles, too. And at a nice price...

Below are some pictures that serve as inpiration...

A column of Panzer III...
Panzerbefehlswagen... I really like this vehicle...
8-Rad with bed-frame antenna...
Panzer I... As far as tanks go, it's pretty damn small...
Panzer II ausf. C... One of the best looking tanks in my opinion...
Panzer IV ausf. A... Armed with the short 75mm cannon...
My army will include a few of the, very similar, ausf. D...
SdKfz. 221, 222 and 232... 
The SfKfz. 232 6-Rad... This is one of the reasons I wanted Early War Germans...





Friday, 22 November 2019

Laying the foundations... pt. II

Expanding the Hex terrain means I need more snowflakes. A lot more...

As I mentioned before, these are rather time consuming to cut. However, they are also indispensable if you want tight fitting Hex surface.

Over the last couple of days I managed to complete nine sheets of snowflakes (54 snowflakes in total, the sheets measure 2x3 snowflakes, glued together for improved cohesion).

These will be enough to expand the surface from the current 6x2 to 7x3 sheets (for a total of 126 Hexes)... This will easily be enough for a regular sized game or battle. This surface is just under a quarter of my total table surface, so there's still a way to go...

The recent expansion...  Now we're getting somewhere!

The landscape is taking shape... Mind the gap though...

The expansion of the snowflakes has overtaken my stock of terrain Hexes... I am going to make more basic Hexes to fill all the gaps.

The added space gives me enough room to deploy the entire river set. I like the meandering nature. In combination with the hills, the result is oddly organic, despite all the Hexes...

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Hexes, Hexes everywhere... pt. VII

With the completion of the new batch of hill Hexes I rearranged the set-up to include a large hill...







I rerouted the river to make some space for the hilly terrain. I think it 
certainly adds a bit more variety and visual interest.

Waking up on Hell's Highway...

This weekend we spent the night at a hotel overlooking Hell's Highway, the route between Nijmegen and Arnhem...

Dawn over the Waal bridge...
Our hotel room was situated on the 13th floor of the hotel, looking south over Nijmegen... In the distance you can see the Waal bridge, barely visible in the early morning light.

3D-printed reinforcements...

To augment the GHQ Micro Armour I picked up at Crisis last week, I placed an order at Shapeways... For those who aren't familiar with this company, they offer a wide range of 3D-printing services... Primarily, you can get your own designs printed, but you can also order prints from their well stocked store (filled with products from various designers)...

In the past I have purchased several 15mm vehicles for my FoW Late War Germans, but these were the first 6mm miniatures I ordered...

While not cheap, these small models are a lot more affordable when compared to larger scale printed miniatures... Due to the difference in cost, I will only use 3D-printed miniatures to get my hands on vehicles that are otherwise unavailable...

First on the list was a mixed set, containing two of each: Dicker Max and Sturer Emil...

The 3D-printed miniatures in their delivery form...
Dicker Max...
Originally designed as a bunker buster to tackle the French Maginot line, it later served as a tank destroyer... Armed with a 10.5 cm cannon it is a fearsome weapon.

Sturer Emil...
And when the 10.5 cm cannon of the Dicker Max isn't enough, there's the 12.8 cm gun of the Sturer Emil... Both of these vehicles were built in very limited numbers. In fact, only two were built of each type.

I also purchased a set of 8.8 cm (SFL) auf Zukraftwagen 12t (Sd.Kfz 8), better known as the Bunkerflak or Bufla...

One of the more interesting vehicles of the period, in my opinion...
The 3D-printed miniatures in their delivery form... 

The Bunkerflak, as the name suggests, was originally designed to tackle bunkers, in particular the Czechoslavakian border defenses. As these were bypassed without any real fighting, the vehicle later also served as tank destroyer. Most German anti tank guns of the time had little to no success tanking on the heaviest enemy tanks like the British Matilda and French Char 2B. The mobile 8.8 cm had no difficulties with those targets...
By no means a small target, these pack a serious punch... While they have little to no defensive capabilities (the halftrack is only lightly armoured and the gun's crew is very exposed indeed), offensively they can take on anything the enemy has to offer, be it bunkers or tanks...

Speaking of the enemy... For my battle buddy I ordered a French Char 2C...

Bigger than a Tiger II (but slightly lighter), with a crew of 12 or 13, depending on the variant...
While these saw only very limited, if any, use, this tank is too cool to pass up... A product of the First World War, only ten were ever constructed. These landships were, and still are, the biggest tanks ever built!
All were destroyed by the French to prevent them from falling into German hands...

The Char 2C in it's delivery form... 
The 3D-printed models are as crisp as I expected them to be from my previous purchases. They might be more expensive than GHQ metal models, but it's the only way to get these less mainstream vehicles... And when ordered in small numbers I can still get away with it...

The miniatures are nicely detailed but lack the finer touches that can only be achieved in metal casting. Even so, this is the first order of many, I suppose... There are a lot of other, less used tanks and vehicles I want to add to my collection...

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

What's that coming over the hill... pt. II

I have finished the hill Hexes I started the previous week...

All grassed up...

To fit in with the rest of my Hill Hexes I decided to put some trees on some of them... There is something about wooded sloping hills... I tried not to make them too densely forested so there still should be enough space to move models around.


The finished Hexes... 
I used a few tufts of the grass I purchased at Crisis. I like the look of them, but they might be a bit too tall... I think I may shorten them a bit

Didn't have the time yet to build a  set-up with the new Hexes, but will do so as soon as possible...