Friday, 14 January 2022

Pzkpfw III Ausf L in 1:72 scale

Been a while since I last posted anything because I was working on two projects simultaneously. One of them is now ready and is a Panzer III Ausf L from Dragon in 1:72 scale on a resin diorama base from Black Dog. According to Dragon's leaflet, it bears the colours and markings of Panzer Regiment 33, 9th Panzer Division, South Russia in Spring of 1942.

Since the base is moulded with deep-set AFV track markings I thought to give a fresh mud look - the kind after all the thick Russian winter snow has melted away and leaves a quagmire behind. So I dished out a generous splashing of AK Fresh Mud weathering on the underside, wheels, lower hull, and the road base itself. Ak's product remains glossy to give that wet, muddy impression so I tried to avoid hitting the muddy areas with the final matt coating as much as possible to retain their wetter look. The kit itself was built straight from the box and I only modified the turret handes by replacing them with 0.3mm wire. The extra tarpaulins, sandbags, oil drum and spare tracks are from Black Dog and I feel they give a bit more 'oomph' to the end result. The resin base is an excellent rendition of a Russian hovel. I wanted to give a plain, weary look with wooden planks weathered by the elements.

I enjoyed making this one and hope you will enjoy the pics as well. Until next time!

Forgot to paint the tail light!

Turned around to view starboard side

Friday, 8 October 2021

28mm HYW Front Rank MAA

The recent visit to Innsbruck and the armour displays there have inspired me to pay a quick visit to my medieval war chest where I have a number of Perry and Front Rank miniatures still awaiting the Brush treatment.  The choice fell on a 28mm charging mounted Man at Arms from Front Rank, which was an easy choice really as these minis are always a joy to paint with their beautiful animation and flowing lines. The ample horse caparison also allows for the intricate heraldry we all love so much and after tons of deliberating the choice fell on a quartered design with a central shield bearing a continental type of chevron. Anyway, here it is. Apologies as some of the pics don't have optimal exposure but I hope you can appreciate it nonetheless.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

A few days in the Sexten Dolomites and Innsbruck

Being grounded with all the travel restrictions since March last year (pretty much like everyone else), my better half and I decided it was high time to run the Covid gauntlet and risk a quick dash overseas.  The choice fell on the open air of the Sexten Dolomites in the Italian South Tyrol -  a world heritage site - and later a few days in the lovely city of Innsbruck.

The cool alpine air made such a refreshing change from the suffocating summer heat of home which even now persists and shows no sign of abating. A few days of hiking in wide open spaces like those of the Alps is a luxury which we do not even dream about on our miniscule island, so it was with particular gusto that we took to our walking boots and sticks.  And once in Innsbruck there was the added pleasure of the Andreas Hofer gallery and the medieval exhibits in Ambras Castle, a veritable treat for military history buffs. Hofer was the innkeeper who organised Tyrolean resistance against the French in 1809-10 and is highly regarded as a folk hero in the Tyrol.  He managed to engage and defeat on various occasions Bavarian troops but was ultimately betrayed by a fellow Austrian, captured and executed.

A room with a view.  Our hotel high in the Sexten alpine meadows commanded breathtaking views   

A cable car ride up to the Rotwand brings you to easy hikes with marvelous views

The old city centre of Innsbruck as seen from across the river Inn  

The Andreas Hofer Tyrol military museum contains a nice array of hardware
A marvellous rotunda painting celebrates Hofer's struggles against Lefebvre's Bavarians in 1809

Late medieval jousting armour at Schloss Ambras

A nice selection of 15th & 16th century armour at Ambras

There's more to Innsbruck than just museums !


Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Panzer 38(t) Ausf G in 1:35 scale

Even though this is supposed to be a wargaming blog, I'm really into these larger scale tank models now. I have to admit it is a very nice facet of our wonderful hobby which until now I had only touched upon occasionally. My latest model is a 1:35 scale Panzer 38(t) Ausf G from Hobby Boss. These early tanks proved to be very resilient and even though production was discontinued around 1942 (they had become hopelessly obsolete by then), they continued serving practically until the end. The 38(t) hailed originally from Czechoslovakia - the "(t)" in its designation stands for tschechisch which is german for czech according to wiki - and even though it stopped being used as a front line tank mid way during the war, it's hull and chassis formed the basis of the Marder, Hetzer and Jagdpanzer 38. It's four large road wheels are unmistakable! 
This kit from Hobby Boss is extremely well produced. Parts fit perfectly, are extremely well moulded and highly detailed. It's a pity that the only interior detail is in the turret and the interior of the hull is completely devoid of detail. I even had to scratch build a partition in case light from one end of the hull would be somehow visible at the other. Seems to me a bit nonsensical to put detail in the turret but not in the hull as going for an open turret hatch would surely reveal the empty hull interior below. The version I opted for is a 1944 Bulgarian army vehicle painted entirely in dark yellow as was also customary for the Wehrmacht in the later war years. It seems the Bulgarians had only ten 38(t)'s delivered during the war. I was not aware the Bulgarians used a black cross insignia on their tanks, very similar if not identical to the markings the fascists used in the Spanish Civil War in pre-WW2 years. So you see, you also get to learn stuff apart from enjoying the build!
The extensive riveting on the wheels, hull and turret made for a lot of painstaking washing and highlighting (each rivet was individually washed with oils and highlighted in a buff colour) but it is such an outstanding feature on the model that it seemed a shame not to invest some more time on it. In the end I was quite pleased with the way that turned out.  Weathering and general polluting was with the usual AK pigments and washes.


Sunday, 29 August 2021

The Emperor returns?

History tells that Napoleon Bonaparte landed in Malta in June of 1798 on his way to Egypt and in the seven days he stayed here he revolutionised the entire legal and social systems and abolished slavery. He was so ahead of his time that some of the laws he established then are still in force today! Bonaparte sailed to Alexandria on 19 June, never to return. 

Or so you thought.

Some local newspapers this week reported that famed director Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Black Hawk Down, The Duellists, gosh the list is endless!!!) is shooting his new movie Kitbag in Malta.Or parts of it at least. The subject? Napoleon’s early years and his ascent to power culminating in Austerlitz.  The Emperor returns! Huzzah!

Scott shot most of Gladiator here in Malta back in 2001 or therabouts with Russel Crowe and Joachim Phoenix so it’s not too surprising that Phoenix will be returning to Malta as well interpreting the part of Napoleon. When shooting Gladiator Scott enlisted hundreds of locals as extras for crowd scenes and such so it’s logical to expect that a similar number of people if not more will be needed to re-enact Napoleonic  troops and civilians. With this in mind me and my mates - most of whom are very experienced Napoleonic re-enactors and have travelled most of Napoleon’s battlefields - will be keeping our eyes and ears open for opportunities to take part in the film. One thing is certain - at 5’5” or thereabouts don't expect to see me as a Grognard!

If this materialises filming wouldn’t start before next year probably. In the meantime, watch this space......