An army that started life 7 years ago as a small Panzer force has now grown to 140 points with lots of options to bring to the battlefield.
I’m really proud of this army as it showcases all the painting techniques and tricks I’ve accrued over the years, in contrast to my Late-War American force which was more of a “get the models on the table” paint job.
Each unit has a lot of care put in to it, and seeing all 35 models together makes it all worth it.
Check out the all units below (click on the images for larger versions).
Like Chris said there’s always more that could be added (Infantry, Captured 25 pdrs, long barrelled Panzer IV’s) but for now it’s time to move on to the next “Big” project…
The following year I added Panzer IV’s, Panzer II’s, 88’s, and 222 armoured cars. The plan was to have units that could swing between early-war and mid-war, so the Panzers were all earlier versions.
This left me with a good mix of units, but it never really felt like a complete army. The release of North Africa gave me the motivation to move this force into Version 4, and skew it more towards mid-war by adding some cool new units.
Apart from a few touch ups due to showing their age, here’s what I’ve currently got painted from years ago:
6x Panzer III J
4x Panzer IV D
5x Panzer II C
4x SdKfz 221 & 222
2x 8.8cm FlaK36
And here’s what I’m planning to add, which will give me 140 points to work with!
One day I’d like to do some infantry, captured 25 pdrs, and long barrelled Panzer IV’s, but for now I’ve got a lot to keep me busy!
Chris’s Fighting First
When we released Fighting First I, for some reason, fell in love with the idea of a full company of M3 Lee tanks. I guess it was just a combination of a wierd looking tank, a decent stat line, and a points cost that let me field a lot of them and still have room to pack some extra units in.
As is often the case, the army started with a hiss and a roar, getting most of it built, painted and decal’ed. But like so many projects I hit a point where army stalled… when I had to paint a massive pile of vehicle crew.
Part of my reticence was that not only did I have a full company of Lee’s in the force, but also a (for me) massive number of halftracks with M4 Mortar Carriers, converted T19 105mm HMC’s, M3 75mm GMC’s, and T30 75mm HMC’s. Each of these vehicles needed crews painted up and I failed my last stand test and retreated…
Fast forward a few years and I’m in my peak painting condition having done so many models as part of the Big Four project that finishing this army actually seemed like a holiday from everything else!
My baseline list looks pretty straight forward.
But for some variation, and for the ability to add a few extra points I have the T19’s and M3 GMC’s that I can add. These are both Community Cards that have been created by players out in the world so whilst there aren’t models for them currently I managed to convert them using existing halftracks and guns.
I’ll be finishing off everything that I started (way back when) and then moving on to a few new units, like the Stuarts and T28E1 SP AA… I might even set myself a stretch goal of some infantry and Shermans but we will see how everything else progresses
Follow along with us on Instagram as we finish our units, and who knows, we may have a battle to decide who’s king of the desert!
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…
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!
Here’s my finished Zrínyi Assault Gun Battery. I love this little assault gun. It’s like a Semovente on steroids, or a StuG trying to hide behind a wall…
I chose to go with plain green as I thought the shape and details of the kits are interesting enough (glorious rivets!), and I think it helps the markings stand out. However, part of me is still tempted to do a second formation one day in 3 colour camo…
I’ll do a future article about some of the research I did, and some of the unique markings and details on the Zrínyi, but for now, here are each of my units.
I’ve painted two HQ options, one with the long 75mm barrel. There was only one prototype built, but I’m glad we included it in the kit. It’s a cool option for the HQ to have an extra direct fire threat.
You can see some work in progress pictures on our Instagram. My next step is to add some Panthers and either Hetzers or StuGs, and challenge Casey to a game!
My first book as a Graphic Designer at Battlefront was ‘Stalin’s Europe’ back in 2010. This was the first book to introduce Hungarians to Late War, and they were my first Flames Of War army.
That army has since left my collection, so with the new Bagration: Axis-Allies book, my painting improving, and models now being in plastic, there’s 3 good reasons to recreate a similar army.
The new plastic Zrinyi is a great plastic kit, and the Zrinyi formation is the most flexible of the assault gun formations in the book.
I want a full allotment of 10 Zrinyi’s, and I’ll also paint an extra one with the 75mm barrel option. This will give me a second HQ when I choose to run two formations.
As for what to add next, I’ll repeat history and go with Panthers and StuGs again. Panthers are always good and give me some decent guns, while the StuGs add a good direct fire option when I want to use the Zrinyis as artillery.
With those two black box units added to my Zrinyi formation, I end up at this as my first 100 point list, and if I want a little more anti-tank, I can add the 75mm barrel to the HQ, and swap the 3 StuGs for 4x Hetzers.
If I want to go all in with assault guns, I can drop the Panthers and run two Zrinyi formations. It might not have the punch to deal with some lists, but it looks like a lot of fun!
This means my first batch of painting will be:
11x Zrinyi assault guns
5x Hetzer assault guns
3x StuG assault guns
3x Panther tanks
Later down the road I want to paint 3 PaK40’s, and also a rifle platoon to give me the option to swap them into a Zrinyi formation using the ‘Assault Artillery Rifle Platoon’ command card. I’d also like to do Csaba armoured cars, but maybe not in blue this time…
The Big Four of Late-War are getting excited about Bagration: Axis-Allies. We’re preparing new armies, add-ons to old forces, and even some terrain. Join us over the next few weeks to see our progress on Instagram, and stay tuned for some live content on Twitch.
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.
With this force I toiled for a while about whether or not to do camouflage or plain green. There are some really cool camo schemes out there for Soviet tanks, and it was very tempting. However when my army lists started to contain more and more vehicles, I settled on plain green to ensure I’d get them all finished in the time frame. But what shade of green?
As you may know there no one green to rule them all. I’ve painted plenty of drab olive greens before, so I aimed for something more vibrant.
I started by airbrushing a dark green, and then panel fading with a pale green, intentionally going quite light. Next was a dry-brush and a wash to tone it all down, followed by a second dry-brush to bring back the edges. This is a really quick way to get a lot of tonal depth on your tanks quickly.
The result is quite an intense green, more towards blue than yellow. It won’t be for everyone tastes, but I’m quite happy with it and it pops on the table.
I chose to paint the rubber parts to add another colour to break up the green. In reality they would likely be painted the same time as the tank, but there are examples with bare rubber. Same goes for the wooden un-ditching logs, tools, and exhausts where paint might have come off and rusted over time.
Another additional colour I used was an olive drab, which I used for anything consumable (MG ammo tins, fuel drums, missile canisters, etc).
So even with a “green horde” I’ve managed to get some other colours in there which hopefully add some visual interest without looking too patch work.
That’s 34 vehicles completed in 18 evenings, the largest army I’ve ever painted, and the fastest. Time for a break before I work on the infantry to ride in the BMP-3’s. I’m looking forward to using these all in a game soon!
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