It probably sounds like a broken record by now, but good riddance 2020! I have a lot to be thankful for, but on the flip side this has been a really trying year for me personally, and I’m sure many of you out there. This has affected my Big Four painting output, so I’ll be using the new year to get back on track. There was some assembly and painting going on in the background, but here is the only platoon I manage to complete for my Americans; some M12’s.
The painting project from the year I am most proud of is my WWIII: Soviet army. This was done very quickly by my standards, but it turned out well and gave me almost 150 points. Although it’s not my Big Four army, I’m still calling it a win for this year.
I have big plans for the first half of 2021. It’s no surprise that Bulge: American will be released next year, and I’m currently doing the graphic design and photography for it. Of course in my downtime there’s been some list noodling, and I’ve come up with a bit of a shopping list of what I’d paint from the new book, and what I still need to tick off from D-Day.
Complete my Cavalry Recon Troop
Complete my Armoured Rifle Platoon
6x M4A3 105mm
7x M4A3E8 Easy Eight
4x M4A3E2 Jumbo
4x M26 Pershing
1x Super Pershing
5x M24 Chaffees
5x Calliope Turrets (as an option to upgrade my existing Sherman 105’s)
4x M15/M16AAA halftracks
4x M36 Jacksons
8x M18 Hellcats
I’m excited about this list, as they’re all new plastics and just so cool. I should give me a solid core to build many different lists with. The Easy Eight is one of my favourite tanks, and I know the Hellcats will be popular. I think American players will get a kick out of the new book.
See you all next year and I hope you stay safe over the holidays.
Thinking about the Big Four Of Late War project I’ve both achieved more and less than I expected, which is probably how a lot of us are looking back on the year.
Looking back, I managed to paint quite a lot this year:
A full-strength Cromwell Squadron (less the 3-4 tanks I painted in advance for the D-Day: British book photography.
A mid-sized Churchill Company with AVRE support.
A pair of Daimler and Dingo Recon Platoons (and HQ)
A Motor Platoon (will have photos of this up next year along with some of the other infantry and 6-pdrs… assuming I finish them over Christmas)
Two Universal Carrier Platoons.
And a pair of Objectives!
Strangely, it is the last item on the list that I am most pleased to have completed this year. I love painting objectives for my armies, even simple ones like these, but they always get pushed to the bottom of the list, or forgotten in favour of another project.
So, what is in store for next year? I am hoping to get some time over Christmas to work on a few projects including a little Big Four Of Late War action. In a perfect world I would get my 3” Mortars, Vickers HMGs, 6-pdr AT guns, Bofors AA guns and a second Motor Platoon finished. The reality of it is I think this might be a little too hopeful, but I do love a good stretch goal! I’ll update you in the new year on my progress and with any luck I’ll convince Casey or Victor to take some photos of my completed Cromwells as I just realised there aren’t any images of these bad boys on the blog yet.
Thinking longer term next year means the release of the 2nd Late War British book and it is pretty safe to assume (if you have played one of the previous editions) that we are likely to see Comets (will be needing a Squadron of those!), Challengers (big guns = big yes from me!) and presumably some other “late” British toys like Archers! Sounds like another big year on the brushes for me!
I hope you have enjoyed keeping up with our collective progress this year and ask you all to stay safe over the coming festive season. Catch you on the next Live Stream in 2021!
You are probably sick of hearing about how much Covid has really made a mess of schedules this year but how about hearing it one more time…
Because of Covid lockdowns I havent been able to take photos of everything that I have finished over the past year, as our photo studio has been super busy playing catchup, so here are some photos of my recently finished Katyushas and, BA-64s and T-34s.
Very early on in the Big Four Project I painted up a platoon of Crocodiles for my British army. They were a great model to practice my technique on but ever since they have been crying out for some friends. After our first Lockdown period I managed to squeeze in a little garage time and get these big boys painted. With an HQ and two platoons, along with the obligatory AVREs (and Crocodiles) I feel like I have the start of a decent Churchill based force. For completeness sake I would like to paint a third Platoon and a Company of the earlier Churchill III tanks, but that’s something to aspire too….
The HQ Platoon
One of the things I really enjoyed, and you may not be able to see it from the photos, is that each tank is different in the two platoons – one uparmoured “late” Churchill, one 6pdr armed Churchill and one 75mm armed Churchill. This means I can run the platoon with all the options, but I don’t feel like the complexity I can keep it to myself and not worry my opponent. I will say though, if you plan on doing the same thing, to be very diligent with your planning and assembly… lets just say I may have gotten mixed up at least once and had to remove parts and glue new ones on…
I’ve had my SU-85’s almost finished for a few weeks now, and managed to spend some time last week doing the finishing touches like the saws and exhausts.
I’m very happy with these have come out. When I was painting them I though I had gone a little bit heavy with the final white oil paint step and thought that I had lost a lot of the colour depth that the earlier stages added, but the matt varnish brought it all together and darkened out greener areas and added some of the contrast back in.
For those of you with eyes for details, you’ll notice that there is a mix of SU-85s and SU-85M tank killers here. I deliberately painted a mix of models for 2 reasons.
1. I thought it would be more interesting to paint slightly different models.
2. It fit my overall theme of a cobbled together regiment of whatever was found at the depot.
Besides, they look so similar that I feel comfortable fielding them as either/or and will just tell my opponent what they are on the day. With these completed I’ve now started working on the core of my force, my T-34s, and should have the first platoon finished in a couple of weeks.
It feels like it has been a very long time since I’ve put up a post talking about what I’ve been painting and with such a big gap it would make sense that whatever I’m showing today should be impressive, have lots of models, and be very complex!
Yeah… well… about that. Today I am happy to share that I have finally finished my Universal Carrier Platoon. Yep, that’s right, a whole Universal Carrier Platoon of three vehicles. Now it isn’t that these were hard models to build or paint (quite the opposite in fact) but rather I’ve kept having other projects pushing in front.
These three models are a definite must have in any British force so I really should have knocked them out a bit sooner but I was getting distracted by all the tanks.
Now that they are done I can look forward to painting some more Churchills – everyone needs a company of them right. Of course I will need to paint up another Platoon of Carriers at some point because the D-Day: British book and Command Cards have some interesting options that mean I will want another unit.
Since I finished my first platoon and finalised my painting process, my painting has become a bit quicker.
I really enjoyed painting these T-70s, they are a beautiful kit to but together and have lots of detail, with some nice large areas for streaking and weather effects for such a small tank.
Game-wise the T-70s fill the same role in the Soviet army as Stuarts do in American Armies, they are there to harass light armour and infantry. With Front Armour 4 the enemy has to dedicate some decent anti-tank to take them out, which means that they aren’t shooting my T-34s. With Side Armour 2 they will also be okay in assaults as well as long as I’m careful.
At only one point each its quite easy to fit a small platoon into an army.
In my list I’m going to take a Hero T-70 Platoon of three as support. I would take them in my formation except that I am going to fill out all of my tank options in my formation with Hero T-34 Tank Platoons.
Hero T-70 platoons only have the option for three tanks, but I ended up painting four as that’s what came in the Soviet Starter Set. I’ll probably make the fourth tank into an objective at some point.
Over the past couple of years I have been playing a lot of Team Yankee and one of the things that I’ve found quite fun, is building and painting aircraft / helicopters. They give you a chance to paint something quite different, use (generally speaking) a new colour pallete, and try out some different techniques.
For the British, the aircraft of choice in Fortress Europe is the good old P-40 Warhawk. For me, this did not feel like an iconic aircraft choice (for the British) which meant I could either, paint something else in the short term, or, paint something in advance…
I decided to paint something a little early, grabbing a pair of Typhoons (which are in D-Day: British) and putting my much delayed Carriers on hold for a bit longer. The Typhoons (or Tiffy / Tiffies) pack a lot of firepower with 20mm cannons as well as rockets that are more than capable of taking care of heavy armour.
The models were fun to paint, especially since I was able to play around with some masking tapes to try and get the invasion stripes on the wings and fuselage vaguely straight. Having painted them there are a few things I would do differently if I were to paint some more, but overall I think they add a really interesting unit to my army.
For many years these terms have struck fear in to Flames Of War opponents as British artillery pounded them in to submission – I even recall a play test game around 10 years ago where my artillery gun line spent 90 minutes plastering the opposition. Oh what fun we had – “we” being me, and a couple of people watching!
The 25 pdr battery represents the last models I need to paint for FlamesCon, as well as the first 100 points of my official list!
I’d be lying if I said I was 100 percent happy with how these turned out – the guns and limbers look great (if I do say so myself), but of course they are not that different to tanks and I’m really happy with how my process is working for those.
The bases has come out better than expected. Combining two of the the plastic Rural bases together to make gun bases worked out well, and thanks to some thin plastic card and milliput they are nice and durable. I really like all the cool details on them (tree stumps, tire marks, fences etc), and they made the detailing of the bases very simple.
I was initially a bit unsure about my selection of flocks – I like to mix up custom mix for armies and I was going for a darker tone to represent the coming winter months at the end of 1944. In the light of day though I was quite happy with how the colours (a dark green static grass, and a couple of GF9 flock blends) all came together.
The weak point is certainly my painting ability when it comes to the gun crews. Ales, our sculptor, did a lovely job on them and I don’t think I have really done them justice. However I am very happy with the overall result and think that the whole army will look great on the table.
Time to get my Universal Carrier crews painted and I’ll be able to put another unit in the “Done” column…
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