I’ve been taking a break from painting Winter Soviets as I burnt myself out getting my army ready for the Panzerschreck tournament earlier this year.
With Bulge: American hitting the shelves shortly Victor started making comments suggesting that I’d taken a long enough break and that if I wasn’t going to paint any more Soviets in the short term, that I had to start a new Winter themed American army.
I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to jump into a new winter army… but Victor surprised me the other day by posting on Instagram to ask the community if I should do it… and the next thing you know is I’ve been convinced to start a new army.
Since Victor instigated this new army, and is the American expert in the Big Four, I asked him to design me a 100 point single formation list that maximises the number of new models while keeping the overall model count low. Here’s what he came up with:
Veteran Sherman Tank Company.
Veteran M4 Sherman (Late) Tank Company HQ (14 Points)
1x M4 Jumbo (75mm)
1x M4 Sherman (late 76mm)
I think the list is quite solid, and I’ll be able to paint up all of the extra turrets for the M4 Sherman and Jumbo tanks to give me a few options.
Like my winter Soviets, this isn’t the first time I’ve attempted to paint an American winter themed force. The last time was many years ago during a 24 hour painting challenge, where I really wasn’t happy with the results…the basecoat was too dark and the whitewash went on too thick.
For this army I’m going to take my time and do it properly. There aren’t that many photos of whitewashed American tanks around, but one thing I am going to do is paint one of the Jumbos up as Cobra King, First In Bastogne.
Like my Soviets I’m going to be going for quite a work whitewash look, and am particularly inspired by Cody Kwok’s larger scale Thunderbolt VI.
Here’s the last of my AFV’s I plan to do for my Hungarian force. These are all the German supplied vehicles, so it was fun to do a mix of different looking units to go along side my Zrinyi’s.
The Panthers were the first ones I painted, and I’d say the ones I’m least happy with. I applied too much green camo, as I was trying to tie them in with the Zrinyis. I think this was a mistake and made them too dark, but otherwise they turned out ok.
I’m much happier with the StuGs. They’re very simple, but I find the plain dunkelgelb suits the models.
For the big numbers on the shurtzen, I used the Gulf War number decals from the WWIII: Britsh pack. I made the “7” using part of an “A” trimmed down and painted the top line.
Lastly was the Hetzers, which I went for a mix of the above two, using a simple green camo but with plenty of dunkelgelb still showing.
I now have a lot of options for running different assault gun formations (or even two at once!). Later down the road I will add infantry to this army, as well as some recon. But for now, it’s time to get back to my Americans…
With Panzerschreck well and truly done for the year I figured I should stop being a softie, put on my comfy pants and head out to the (fairly cold) garage and finish off my Romanian half-tracks and recon elements.
With everything that is going on at our factory in Malaysia right now I don’t have my infantry so the half-tracks are looking a little bare – I’ll go back later and add one or two figures to each one just to give them a little more life. But even without some figures I like how they are looking!
My Sd Kfz 222 recon platoon is my only non-plastic unit (so far) but is an absolute no-brainer. Cheap machine-gun carriers that can also take out other armoured cars and light armour.
On both units the use of the Michael’s Cross really adds some colour and pop to the vehicles which have other been airbrushed Vallejo Olive Grey (888) with some drybrushing to help the colour pop a little more.
I can’t wait to see how they look on a table alongside my German Yellow Panzers!
Next up on my list are the HS-129s and (maybe) a pair of Stukas for when I want bombs. I figure that if I am painting two planes, then four can’t be that much extra work…
The ability (and freedom) to travel to a tournament, hang out with friends and play some games has been something that most gamers have been able to take for granted. After a year (or more) of lockdowns, cancelled events, and the need to maintain some sort of social distance here in New Zealand, things are returning to normal and events are happening with a little more regularity. One of our favourite events of the year is always Panzerschreck – the oldest Flames Of War tournament in the world. There is no one reason as to why it is great, it really is the combination; the road trip down with friends, the short stops to shop, climbing over tanks at the National Army Museum, hanging out with resident sculptor Evan, catching up with friends, too much eating, winning (or losing) some games, and then finishing it with a post-tournament “what went wrong, what are we doing next year” cathartic road trip back home!
Road Trips, Shopping, Eating and Tanks!
This year the four of us crammed in to a rental Jeep Cherokee, which should have been big enough but thanks to a small pile of orders we were taking down for customers we ended up filling every available space with gear, miniatures, or clothes. I think next year we are going to need a bigger boat… I mean car! The road trip really is all about hanging out, talking about work, gaming, life and everything else going on. There is also time for a fair amount of pre-tournament smack talk! Our trips each year take a similar course (unless snow gets in the way) with a stop in Hamilton (about 90 minutes in to our journey) to swing by one of our favourite gaming shops (Games Centre) for a chat and to pick up any “essentials”. Short on space this year some of those essentials kept falling from their precarious perch in the back of the car on to Victors head… Hamilton is also a good spot for a coffee and sausage roll (an NZ delicacy!).
Back on the road we then have a quick 2 hour sprint down to Taupo in the middle of the North Island. Marking the halfway point it is a great chance to have lunch (yes we do always stop at the same Turkish restaurant each year!) and swing by our next hobby shop; Taupo Hobbies. We didn’t end up adding to the load this time (which was a surprise) but it didn’t stop us having a really good look and contemplating the idea of building some rather larger World War II naval models!
Next stop is Waiouru and the home of the New Zealand Army Museum. We normally arrive too late to hit the gift/book shop but we are always prepared to brave the cold to check out some of New Zealand’s tank history parked out the front. There is nothing like climbing up on a Centurion (or even the Scorpion) to give the models that we play with a real sense of scale. With this taken care of it is the final push to Palmerston North and Evan’s house… A total trip of around 512km (318 miles) in a very leisurely 11 hours!
Stalin Approved – Casey and Chris’ Experience
The weekend turned in to a glorious mess of dice, explosions (some on the table and some in our heads), great opponents and fun games so I can’t give a breakdown of the individual games… and based on our performance I am not sure anyone wants my tactical advice. So what went right or wrong? Casey’s army was fantastic to play with, not only was it really well painted but it was a great combination of models. In hindsight though we really could have dropped one of our infantry units and replaced it with a template delivery device. Any sort would have done; Katyushas or SU-76 assault guns being my preference, but anything would have been useful. The IS-2s were great at knocking out dug-in troops IF they hit. I spent most of the weekend looking for 5’s and often 6’s to hit. In one game I literally got 2 hits in 6 turns, with 10 tanks. The IS-2’s did excel in surviving however with their armour allowing them to stand up to any opposition and hang around, and what they hit generally stayed hit!
Casey’s T-34/85 company found itself doing a lot of the heavy lifting over the weekend, rushing flanks, having gun-fights, being assaulted (and counter-attacking) and generally being in the mix. Of course this meant that they didn’t tend to survive! Casey may have wished once or twice over the weekend that they still had the front armour 7 of the “good old days!”
Favourite Game: Too hard to pick… our loss to Tom and Alex with their Elefants was a hard fought game of manoeuvre and thrust that could have gone either way, whilst our narrow victory vs Bob and Steve could have just as easily been
a loss if not for the resilience of the IS-2 and their ability to go head-to-head with Tigers.
Hungarian Hooves and Howitzers a.k.a. Triple H – Victor and Wayne’s Weekend
Wayne has always been a fan of Hungarians in Flames Of War, and I’ve caught the bug too, especially with the Zrínyi. The release of Bagration: Axis-Allies was going to fall shortly before Panzerschreck, so it made sense to take my new Zrínyi force, and Wayne being my usual team mate, I knew he would have plenty of Hungarian units to build a force to go with mine. Then Wayne said “But I want to paint something new for the tournament”, and I said something silly like “You should paint a full Huszar Squadron!” Thus our team was formed. We knew it wasn’t going to dominate the tabletop, but we were hoping for some funny moments and glorious cavalry charges.
Unfortunately when it came to the games, we found ourselves defending against heavy tanks, or attacking elite MG infantry. This isn’t to say the games weren’t fun, just that there weren’t as many chances for a good cavalry charge as we would’ve liked. It’s lucky Wayne painted the dismounted versions of his platoons too, as they were great in defence. The Zrínyi’s on the other hand did great work, and their bombardments were quite effective. The Panthers kept our opponent’s tanks cautious, which kept our Zrínyi’s alive in most of our games.
Overall the tournament was a lot of fun, and was great seeing familiar faces that we missed out on last year.
The Long Road Home
With the weekend’s gaming over and done with (and after a good nights rest) we headed home on the Monday morning, stopping for a coffee and a tank of gas. Based on the comments from the back seat the coffee may have been made by Baldrick during World War I so next year we might find somewhere better than going with “hey Google, where can we get a coffee?”
The drive north is a lot like the drive south, just with different stops (the Army Museum book shop which is now open, Subway, since everything else was busy in Taupo, and Gaming DNA in Hamilton) and conversation that revolves around what went right, what went wrong, and what we are taking next year (140 points, Mid War, doubles! Oh yeah!). Stay tuned for some initial thoughts over the coming months on what we might like to build.
As always Panzerschreck is a blast and this year was no different. Roll on 2022!
Panzerschreck is only a week away and we are getting ready for a big weekend away! In preparation we thought it would be a good idea if we actually played a game with our armies… and best of all we thought it would be a great idea to invite you all along to watch and give us some tactical feedback!
Casey and Chris… Stalin Approved
Wayne and Victor – Hungarian Hooves and Howitzers
We thought it would be fun to play the Counterattack Mission as it really gives us a chance to maneuver the armies and have some fun. Plus it means one team will need to make hard decisions about what to put into their Reserves!
Over the past 8 weeks I’ve been working hard to finish the army that Chris and I are going to take to Panzerschreck, and they are finally ready to show off.
The bulk of this was 10 IS-2s. I actually painted up an extra Platoon of IS-85s as well for a total of 13 (you can never have enough IS tanks painted). I also painted a mix of early and late hulls so I’m covered for when the next Soviet book comes out.
The last two units in the army were the Lend-lease ZSU Quad .50 cals and the captured Sd Kfz 251 half-tracks that go with my reconnaissance platoon. I’m especially happy with how the Sd Kfz 251s came out. I chose to paint the mid war versions just because I think they look cool.
I think the different vehicle colours look quite cool and adds a bit of colour variety, at the same time the whitewash helps tie everything together.
It’s a bit of a shame that I didn’t think to add Valentines to the list, then the force would have equipment from all four of the main nations.
All I have left to do before next weekend’s tournament is finish the objective markers.
The Big Four Of Late War are back on Twitch this Sunday for a Flames Of War Battle! New armies. New terrain. New experience for us as we bring you a live battle. Casey will be storming his white horde toward Victor’s newly raised assault guns (and cheeky Panthers). Who do you think will be Victorious?
I liked the idea of doing a winter table but didn’t want to make a completely white table, as it would make the table too specific, so I decided to make it in a transitional period, either autumn or early spring, so quite arid but with a scattering of snow. This added a lot of extra work though.
I’ve always felt that railways are a significant feature, but tend to get lost, or just slapped down on a table as decoration, which is why I decided to build them up and have a junction worth fighting over.
I wanted the hills to represent undulating terrain, rather than slab sided hills, so when I was designing them I started with quite large pieces of MDF, glued some polystyrene to it and then shaped it so that the highest point wasn’t much taller that a large tank. Since they are representing undulating terrain rather than just hills, I also decided to build forests/woods onto the hills to make them more dynamic, and because I don’t think area terrain should only be one thing.
It’s taken a lot of short bursts over more than a decade to make… but I think it has been worth it, and I’ve learnt a lot along the way and intend on taking that experience on board and starting a summer table next year to go with it.
I’m looking forward to christening the table against Victor’s Hungarians on Monday. I’ve chosen to take a relatively balanced list that I would be happy to take to a tournament for our battle, rather than design a list to counter his force… given that I know exactly what he has painted and available.
Tomorrow we will take a look at our forces!
In the meantime you can enjoy a few close up shots of the table from some of our recent books!
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