Red Steel Rising

It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally finished my first platoon.

As I said one of my previous posts, I’ve decided to tackle my own personal white whale – a winter washed army. I’m really happy with the results (despite the rest of the Big Four painting 100 points in the same time) and I think that it sets a really good standard for me to keep whilst I work on the rest of my army.

For me though its all about the journey, and I don’t mind spending a lot of time on a few models.

I had a lot of fun painting these and learnt a lot, which should make painting the rest of the army faster.

I’ve put together a painting guide for how I completed the whole whitewash effect and will post it up later this week.

The next platoon on my painting table will be some T-70s.

~ Casey

Thunder In The Skies

My American army is growing nicely and I have a few unit options now for list building. To add something new to the arsenal I decided to complete some air support; a pair of P-47 Thunderbolts!

As with most historical painting projects I tackle, I first spend a lot of time in Google image search. I hadn’t looked into American WW2 aircraft much before, and only really had the Flames Of War box cover examples to go by. I wanted to see what else was out there, and found quite a few examples with a simple yellow canard and not many other markings.

I liked the bare metal look which made these a nice break from painting olive drab vehicles.

I did however learn that the anti reflective strip down the top of the fuselage was sometimes olive drab instead of black, so this was a nice way of tying them in to the rest of my force.

I’ve never used aircraft in a game before so I’m looking forward to trying them out and seeing if they can help me deal with those pesky Tigers!

– Victor

Div Arty, All In!

When working on my 105mm Howitzers I wanted to give them a lot of spent shells to show they’ve been busy!

Here’s how I did it.

I decided to use plasticard rod as it’s easy to cut to the length I need. You could instead use brass rod. This would have advantage of being the right colour so wouldn’t require painting, but the downside is it’s a lot harder to cut (especially when doing a lot of shells!) and the cuts will often need to be filed smooth.

I used the loader figure that comes with the guns to approximate the thickness of the rod I’d need, and how long to make them. You could be extra expert and convert the real world measurements to 1/100!

To make them easy to paint, I mounted them to a popsicle stick with double sided tape. This holds them fairly well along as you don’t go too heavy with the brush work.

To paint them I brushed on black primer (but you could spray them) and then did two coats of Vallejo Brass.

Once dry I removed them from the mounting, and painted the end that was stuck down with black, to emulate the hollow end of a spent shell. I also went around the edge with brass again.

All that’s left to do is glue them onto the bases with superglue. I chose to do it after flocking and really push them into the grass.

Hopefully this helps you get your artillery teams looking the part on the table. You could also use this method for spent shells on mobile artillery engine decks!

Click on the image to the left for a much bigger version…

~Victor

Whiz-bang! It’s the 15cm Nebelwerfer Battery!

The last unit I have painted from my Panzerkampfgruppe German Starter Force box is the 15cm Nebelwerfer Battery with 3x 15cm Nebelwerfers. This is worth 9 points and is a capable unit, giving good artillery stats against non-armoured targets like guns and infantry, as well as providing a Smoke Bombardment.

To fit the 9 points of Nebelwerfers in a 100 points game I’ll look at either trading the 8.8cm Heavy AA Platoon (6 points), the Panzergrenadiers’ Panzerfausts (2 points), and the Lucky Card (1 point), or more fundamentally changing the structure of my force by removing the Tigers (24 points), retaining the 88s and Panzerfausts, and making up the points with another unit of 3x Panzer IVs (16 points).

So I better look at painting that extra platoon of Panzer IVs then!

~Wayne

All American, All Finished!

At the beginning of our Late-War Journey Wayne and I split a Hit The Beach box to give us extras to add to our Starter Army boxes. I’ve slowly been chipping away at the plastic Paratroopers and I can finally show them off!

I had a lot of fun painting these Paras, even though it took me a long time. I’ve accepted that my infantry painting speed is lacking but the end result makes me happy.

Since my American army is being planned to cover all of the Late-War period, I decided to go with the more green uniform introduced after Normandy. This means they’ll look at home for battles during Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge, and the push across the Elbe River. I used Vallejo US Dark Green and added Buff for highlights.

Painting the flag and unit patches was a fun challenge, but actually easier than I anticipated. I spent a while debating whether to go with ‘Screaming Eagles’ or ‘All American’. After polling the fine folks following us on our Instagram account, I went with the 82nd Airborne Division. The added bonus is that their patch uses the same colours as the flag on the opposite shoulder. I used Vallejo Deck Tan, Flat Red, and Dark Blue.

The basing was done using the plastic Rural bases, and a combination of Gamer Grass tufts, and GF9 Winter/Dead Static Grass.

With a basing style established I already have plans of doing an Armoured Rifle Company, but for now I need go paint something other than infantry to cleanse the palette.

~ Victor

Twelve Flavours, All Of Them Churchills

Having finished my Shermans I found myself with plenty of painting options sitting on the table, from the 25 pdr artillery, to a Motor Platoon and the Churchill tanks in the Army Deal. A smarter person would have picked the 25 pdrs to work on, primarily because I am planning on taking them to FlamesCon in a couple of months, I however picked the Churchills.

The Churchill frame is packed with options when it comes to how to assemble it. I decided to plan ahead and go a little off script and build them as Crocodiles. Having been terrorised by a friends models, I thought that having some of my own would be fun – their impossibly heavy armour, deadly flamethrower, and useful 75mm gun makes them a powerful weapon in arsenal.

Of course they are of limited use right now, since they are not included in Fortress Europe… I solved that issue by not gluing the flame trailers on to the model. This way I can leave the trailers in my box for the next few months and just field them as the 6 pdr armed versions in the book. None of the team in the office will mind and I get some great tanks right now.

With these complete I now need to turn to… the 25 pdrs and (more importantly) figuring out how I am going to paint the crews.

~Chris

p.s. stay tuned for some step by step photos and how-to guide for my British  tanks.

Wayne’s 100 Points Ready For Deployment

I’ve now complete my initial target of 100 points (actually 101 but whos counting!).

This is by no means the end of the journey for this force. At the moment I’m just finishing off my three 15cm Nebelwerfer rocket launchers.

I also plan to paint another four Panzer IV tanks so I can swap these with the Tigers as I feel the need. D-Day: German sees the release of some great new models that are pretty hard to resist, so I plan to add at least one Panther Tank Platoon, as well as an Sd Kfz 250 Scout Troop.

Of course I also have some Support options to round out the Force.

Other tempting developments include expanding my Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon into a whole Armoured Panzergrenadier Company by painting an HQ and one or two more platoons, and heavy weapons units.

It is the great thing about building Germans, units can be moved about several different forces.

I’ll keep you posted,

~Wayne

Wayne Rolls Out With Infantry and 88’s

Progress is on my Panzer IV Tank Company has reached a climax. I’ve completed the last two units I need to bring my force up to 100 points (well, actually 99 or 101 points).

The first new unit is the Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon (see page 50, D-Day: German). This unit consists of seven MG42 teams, a Panzerschreck team, and four Sd Kfz 251 half-tracks. I also plan to run them equipped with Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons. Most teams have one miniature armed with the Panzerfaust.

These are made from the plastic Panzergrenadiers that come with the Starter Army Deal. However, as I actually also split a Hit the Beach with Victor, I have a lot of these guys, so I may have mixed them up a bit during clean-up.

For the half-tracks I went with a green only camouflage to keep them a little different to the tanks. I painted the vehicle crew separately and glued them into the half-tracks before varnishing.

The second new unit is an 8.8cm Heavy AA Platoon (see page 65, D-Day: German) and consists of a pair of 8.8cm AA guns. I keep these pretty simple and didn’t bother with any camouflage. I painted the crew separately, then glued them to the base, before texturing and painting the bases. I placed the guns on the base, but not glued to work out where I could place tuffs. I didn’t want to place any tuffs where the gun might go, which would make it hard to glue down later after the flocking was done.

Afterwards I realised I had painted one too many crew, as I only need to place five crew on each gun. I had painted six, forgetting the seated gunner in my count. One less crew would have made it a little easier to position the gun on the base, but in the end it fitted anyway.

~Wayne

The Raging Bull of the 11th Armoured!

Phew! That is a lot of Sherman tanks to have finally finished and I can tell you I feel a real sense of accomplishment about how they look, especially when I put them on the table alongside my M10s and Stuarts. It is starting to look like a really legitimate army.

First up is my HQ Platoon – two Sherman tanks, easily identifiable thanks to their fairly clean look, no stowage, and (obviously) the Company Commander sitting up high, talking on the radio.

Next is First Platoon, once again looking clean and tidy, with Allied Stars on the engine decks of the two 75mm armed Shermans. I am really pleased with how the counter-shading of the Firefly 17 pdr guns turned out.

Second Platoon has stowage on the engine decks to help identify the unit. These were made by gluing stowage items to the deck, then pressing a piece of aluminum foil over and super gluing it in to place.

The Third Platoon knows that there are some nasty tanks lurking among the other Big Four armies so have added extra track links to the front of their tanks in the hope that it will help slow down a high-velocity round.

Last, but certainly not least, the Fourth Platoon is clean as well, but instead of having the Allied Stars on the engine decks, they are on the turrets of the 75mm tanks.

Like the rest of my models, I’ve had a few decal issues that are really exacerbated by the flash photography here at the office, but damn (if I do say so myself) the colour palette of the yellow 11th Armoured Division Markings, Bridge Weights and Squadron Markings, with the splash of red from the Regimental Marking along with the white from the Stars and Serial Numbers really add to the whole look and feel.

Looking at the whole army sitting in my tray here at work there are a couple of things I would have done slightly differently with the benefit of hindsight, but as a whole it looks really good and I cannot wait to tackle the Carriers, Churchills and Guns (and Infantry) to get the first wave finished.

~Chris

Wayne’s Panzer IV Tank Company Progress Report

With only a month or so until my deadline of getting 100 points finished in time for the release of D-Day: German, I think things are going well.
I have now finished my four tank units.

Panzer IV Tank Company HQ
2x Panzer IV
Panzer IV Tank Platoon
4x Panzer IV
Panzer IV Tank Platoon
4x Panzer IV
Tiger Tank Platoon
2x Tiger
That’s 79 points already!

As you have seen, if you are following our bigfouroflatewar Instagram account, I’ve started on my Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon. I’ve got the Sd Kfz 251 half-tracks ready for crews and have the infantry teams underway.

After that there is a pair of 8.8cm AA guns and crew to complete the force.

I’m quite pleased with the tanks, and I’m looking forward to painting some more. I thought I might paint another four Panzer IVs that I can swap out for the Tigers when I feel the need.

You can check out Wayne’s first platoon of Panzer IVs here…

Mistakes were made
I discovered a couple of things I would do differently. First off, when assembling your Sd Kfz 251 half-tracks glue the drivers in before completing assembly. Secondly, don’t try and trim decals after you have removed them from the backing paper while wet, they are slippery and hard to cut.
~Wayne