IKEAGRAD

Having knocked IKEAGRAD together in 30 minutes without even the obligatory screwdriver and Allen Key, I began painting windows¹. this took rather longer, but even with my rough and ready style, the end result is still convincing enough in a sort of Art Naif style². I haven’t counted the windows on this one yet.

  1. There was still a screw left on the table when I finished. I have no idea where it came from.
  2. Sounds better than “can’t paint straight lines“.

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Finished foil canopies and Ikeagrad

After painting, the previously mentioned aluminium tape gave quite a passable finish, as did the PVA. the contrast with the tighter radii on the mudguards can be seen.

These are both Works In Progress with only the two main camouflage colours on. Next time though, I think I will try João Peixoto’s method of two layers of varnish. He is producing some impressive finishes over at JP Wargaming Place

The lovely Mrs K received two gifts from a friend recently – card models of Neuschwanstein. This left a series of sheets of 1mm foamboard that previously framed the cutout castle¹.

“Looks a bit like a city skyline,” I thought.

So with a 150mm square base (6″ for PBI fans) I was soon layering up cut out bits of foam board to make a tolerable city block. Usually, contact adhesive makes a good join, but on this occasion I used a hot glue gun for speed, and finished the job in 30 minutes or so. Hey Presto, one instant flat pack city – IKEAGRAD!

Just Needs Windows
  1. Suzanne made it on her own. I just kept the tea and biscuits coming.

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Contour lines

Contour lines are jolly useful on a map, but a complete pain on FDL printed models. I’ve tried a couple of ways of removing them, but have settled on a combination of filing, painting with PVA adhesive and then repeating the process until smooth enough.

I say smooth enough, because some contour lines are more stubborn than others. Convex contours are easy enough to manage, but some concave ones are more difficult to eliminate. Fine detail on top of contours is also a nuisance, as it forces one to file the detail off, or leave the contours in place.

For canopies, tissue paper soaked in PVA adhesive works well enough, as does 40 thou aluminium foil tape. This stuff is really designed for sealing the gaps in insulating foam, but is excellent for modelling, having good adhesion properties, and conforming well to surfaces. Mine was leftover from building the Den. Fifty metres will probably last a lifetime.

None of this is a problem with resin printing, as the lines of filament are absent. In the log run, I think that resin printing will gradually squeeze FDL printing out, despite resin’s slightly higher cost. I was, however, certain that Betamax would become the media of choice over VHS, so don’t bet money on any predictions that I might make!

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NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 16) – 2nd OREL

P&GM STZ-5 with PP crew and metal 122mm M1931-37

 As he pondered his operational maps,  XXXV Korps commander had an insurmountable problem to solve. To both north and south, the Soviets had established bridge crossings and was holding them in strength. His only armoured reserve was heading south to try to stem the flood of Soviet armour heading east. Even if this succeeded, he had the depleted remains of two divisions to hold off six, with half the city of OREL lost already. If he delayed ordering an evacuation, his divisions would be cut off, with Soviet air superiority dashing any hopes that his garrison might be supplied by air. If he withdrew, he would be falling back on his lines of communication and might hope to counterattack when the Soviets reached the limit of their supply chain.

2 Tank Army heavy armour moving forward

2 Tank Army heavy armour moving forward

 17 Panzer fortuitously failed to intercept 16 Tank Corps, with its T-34s, and hit instead  19 tank Corps, still equipped with T-70s. The lighter tanks were no match for 17 Panzers‘ Pz IIIs and attached StuG IIIs,  and suffered heavily. The stream of Soviet armour  heading west lost momentum and stalled as it reached the limits of its fuel.

Retreat Begins

The order to withdraw had been issued by XXXV Korps Commander, knowing that it would probably cost him his career, but judging it better to save his troops. Headquarters and artillery began to crowd westward as pioneers and infantry began a systematic destruction of anything that could not be carried with them. As 1 Guards Artillery Division arrived at the front and began to pound the west bank, it was already clear that the Austrians in front of them were withdrawing.

Being short of engineers, it took the Soviets some time before bridges in the city centre were able to take heavy enough traffic for supplies and vehicles to cross. As they pursued the fleeing Fascists, a cat and mouse game of rearguard ambush and retreat developed, with the Wehrmacht strewing booby traps and mines in the path of the advancing Soviet tanks. This timely account of the Battle of OREL makes interesting reading

It can be seen that far fewer forces were involved in my battle than the real operation.

Game notes:

  1. Nowadays, OREL or ORYOL (Орёл) appears on Google map as RAZGRAD.
  2.  I set the morale of the two Wehrmacht divisions to 4, and the Soviets to 2, meaning that each Soviet Division would be able to conduct two attacks and each Wehrmacht division four defences before becoming exhausted and disorganised. The early successes of the Soviets meant that these limits were not tested, and OREL fell without much of a struggle.
  3. Another solo game, with the dice deciding a number of things:
    • Would the Soviets reinforce the north (1,2) or south (3-6) crossing site?
    • Would the breakthrough armour swing north around the west of OREL (1-3) or make a deeper breakthrough (4-6)?
    • How much air support would both sides get, one, two or three sorties (1d3)?
    • Will the garrison be surrounded (1-3) or escape (4-6)?
  4.  With an active pair of players, most of these actions would have been decided or gamed by the participants themselves. I could have Skyped or Zoomed the game, but as previously mentioned, I’m pretty much all screened out by work at the moment.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Eastern Front, Soviet Army, Soviet War Diary, Wargames, Wehrmacht, WWII

NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 15) – 2nd OREL

102 and 106 Rifle Divs assault 262 Inf Div

262  Infantry Division was raised in Austria, having fought through the Ukraine. As Soviet 102 and 106 Rifle Divisions attacked the eastern approaches to the city, with heavy artillery and Sturmovik support, 486 Infantry Regiment and the divisional HQ on the southern edge of the suburbs caved in under pressure, letting 106 Rifle Division into the outskirts.

106 and 140 Rifle Divs assault 262 Inf Div

A fierce counterattack from 482 Infantry Regiment restored the situation for long enough for the division to withdraw to the west bank, but  with four Soviet divisions curling around the flanks, holding the east bank was out of the question.

262 Div counterattack and withdrawal

262 Pioneer Battalion conducted an exemplary bridge demolition. Nevertheless, the east bank had been lost relatively easily.

Bridge Demolition

Further north, ariel recce had observed activity on the river OKA. A substantial pontoon bridge was being thrown across, with a tank corps and infantry massing behind it.

3 Tk Corps 132 211 Rifle Divs on the E bank of the OKA

17 Panzer Division was despatched north to attack the bridgehead without delay from its staging area just west of OREL. Whatever the failings of their infantry brethren, the panzers fell upon the bridgehead, scattering armour and motor rifle troops, and destroying the bridge.

3 Tk Corps is caught at the N bridge by 17 Pz div

Undaunted, the Soviets were also bridging to the south of OREL. The first inkling that XXXV Korps Commander had that the river line had been bridged, was when infantry from 175 Rifle Division were sighted on the west bank, to the south of OREL. 17 Panzer had been recalled to their original staging area in a central position against just such an eventuality, but the Soviet attack began before they had reorganised and refuelled.

175 and 162 Rifle Divs on the E bank of the OKA

Now it was the turn of 293 Infantry Division to feel the weight of the assault as 175 and 162 Rifle Divisions attacked the southern edge of the city. Raised in Berlin, the “Bear” division fared no better than their Austrian Cousins. 175 Rifles drove the infantry back onto their artillery line before counterattacks from the reformed Austrians restored the situation.

293 Div Counterattacks

At this point, casualties had been heavy on both sides, with both Wehrmacht divisions down below half strength. Although they could not know it, the Soviets were fast outrunning their supply lines and needed more river crossings.

262 and 293 Div HQ and Signals

17 Panzer set off again in a wide sweep to the south, the plan being to catch the Soviet infantry in the rear. As they did so, fresh ariel reconnaissance intelligence was coming in: The second crossing had been located, and at least two tank corps were streaming west. To add to XXXV Korps commander’s troubles, the northern bridge crossing had been rebuilt and was being held by at least two rifle divisions with armoured support.

3 Tk Corps Rebuilds the N Bridge

Orders were hurriedly amended on the move, and 17 Panzer had a new target; the stream of Soviet armour  heading west.

to be continued …

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Eastern Front, Soviet Army, Soviet War Diary, Wargames, Wehrmacht, WWII

NQM Soviet Spring Offensive 1943 (Part 14) – 2nd OREL

70 Army and 2 Tank Army Advance to OREL

The first battle for OREL was fleeting as the Wehrmacht swept east. This time the Soviets were on the offensive heading west. The land around OREL is largely flat,  fertile, grain-producing country, with OREL itself sitting astride the OKA river running north-south. The picture above shows the OKA running through OREL with north at the top of the picture.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking West into the Centre of OREL

For this game I used the Front Scale Orbat, with a stand representing a single regiment of two or three battalions. Below, we see Soviet 211 Division, with the divisional HQ front left, two regiments behind, and an artillery regiment to the right. The squares on my board are 150mm (6″) to a side.

211 Rifle Division

262 and 293 Infantry Divisions backed by 17 Panzer Division were facing 2 Tank Army less 9 Tank Corps, comprising 3, 16,19 Tank Corps, and 70 Army, comprising 28 Corps (132, 211, 280, 102, 106, 140, 162 175 Rifle Divisions, 1 Guards Artillery Division). Additional Support included 16 VVS.

70 Army was ordered to advance on a broad front to pin the German Defenders whilst 2 Tank Army bridged the OKA and cut it off. Engineer crossings were planned for the north and south of OREL.

OREL West Bank looking North

 

28 Corps HQ and 162 Rifle Division

As Soviet Army level recce advanced, the shape of the defence became clearer.

70 Army Recce advances

To be continued …

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New Uniforms for the Jägers

For Barbarossa, the Wehrmacht raised mountain, light and Jäger divisions. By 1943 all light divisions had been renamed as Jäger divisions, in the same way that motor rifle divisions had been renamed as Panzergrenadier divisions. Much sexier! My light division has always been at the back of the queue for toys, fighting with my Gebirgsjägers and Fallschirmjägers for the limited number of Kettenkrad Sdkfz 2s that I had. Reinforcements of 6 Krads from Syborg 3d Printing have allowed me to swap out Raupenschleppers that had been standing in with the 7.5cm mountain guns in all 3 divisions, with spares for the Luftwaffe ground crews.

The original intention of the light divisions was that they would be the link between mountain divisions and more ponderous standard infantry divisions, fighting nimbly in wooded and built up terrain. Barbarossa, and the Soviets did not oblige in that respect, and they often found themselves thrown into the line, where the terrain did not cooperate, and where they needed as much artillery as their line infantry brethren.

My light division is a mix of troops of varying levels of painting and vintage. Nowadays, my painting style wavers between minimal1 and comic book2, depending on mood and energy levels. The light Division got the Comic Book treatment.

pioneer

Given that Waffenfarben can be almost invisible in the field, even close-up, it didn’t stop me putting meadow green/grass green (grün) splotches onto the shoulders of the figures.

… and if camouflage makes everything the same colour at a distance3 , anything that gives the viewer the sense that “wow, he’s put a lot of detail into those figures” is a toy soldier conceit. If I’m only doing it to pass the time, and for pleasure, then it makes sense to exaggerate the colour differences of different bits of equipment, to separate them out on the figure. You can blame Old School or the Sci-fi and fantasy painters for leading me down this route. Take your pick 🙂

NQM Jaeger Regiment CSO

… so here are the Jägers, resplendent in their new box, and with very little paint chipped off them. I’ve also updated the Orbat page.

Wehrmacht NQM Light Infantry Division  Corps scale Orbat

The drop off in my regular postings is entirely due to having to waste time learning the new block system, now that the default classic editor has been turned off. Still, it’s free. Oh, and two days in, I’ve just discovered where the classic editor has been hidden. Excellent!

  1. Basecoat, face, Ink shading, then perhaps guns and helmets. In 15mm this counts as “realistic”.
  2. Think four-colour Eagle or Judge Dredd comics, with brighter colours for visibility.
  3. Vallejo #0038 Really Hard to See 🙂

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Slapping Paint onto Stuff – Poles and Steyr 1500A Kfz. 70

The Cloister

The painting and modelling plan has taken a bit of a hit this year and last, for reasons that are obvious to everyone. Work has taken priority, and still is, with overstretch and under manning taking its toll on my spare time. At the end of the day, I don’t feel like logging onto a Zoom or Skype wargame, even though there have been some good ones that I could avail myself of. So apologies to everyone whose invitations I have turned down, or not replied to.

Party Central

Weekends have been spent outdoors. There is nothing quite like spending 10 hours in a mask to help you appreciate just how good fresh air tastes. Shed 24 was completed this week, although I will probably continue tinkering with it for fun. The Cloister is now roofed and painted in Fairground-pattern dazzle camouflage, with party lights in anticipation of post-lockdown garden meets in our reliably inclement summer weather. Caunter had the right idea, but never carried it fully through IMHO.

Caunter Fairground Palttern Dazzle Camouflage

Indoors, I managed to slap more paint onto these Steyr 1500A Kfz. 70 heavy cars from PSC. The finish of the kits is lovely, the jigs horrible as you need to cut and shave the side panels to fit. If you don’t, they keep springing off before the solvent sets.

Aircraft modellers will be looking on, unimpressed.

“We do this all the time”, they say.

PSC Steyr heavy car sidecut assembled

” …. and this. It’s part of the fun”, they say¹.

So the end result was this handsome pair of kits. Was it worth it? Yes. Will I do it again now that resin printed models are available? No.

Plastic Soldier Company 15mm Steyr 1500A Kfz.70 with Peter Pig crew

  1. Don’t google anything with “clamps” and “fun” in the same sentence unless the family filter is on. Just saying.

 

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Filed under Modelling, Off Topic, Shed du Soleil, The Workshop, Trucks, Wehrmacht

Magnetic Storm

You have to be of a certain age to remember Roger and Martyn Dean’s Magnetic Storm, but youngsters will be familiar with Avatar, their phosphorescent Love Child.

Rare earth magnets

My personal magnetic storm is much less flamboyant: For the past since whenever, I have been sticking magnabase onto figures and models, and steel paper into boxes to stop stuff sliding around. It doesn’t hit the headlines , so this is a short post.

He 111

Neodymium (rare earth magnets) are starting to keep my aircraft in flight. Time will tell if contact adhesive is strong enough to hold them in place.

Macchi C200 Saetta conversion from a Zero

Roger Dean’s colour schemes will have to wait for a Dieselpunk project. Express your inner Hippy! Artistic link that you probably shouldn’t play at work!

 

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Not Quite Apocalyptic

I have been following Imperial Rebel Ork’s post-apocalyptic tree house  (yes really!) with some interest. So as the UK virus apocalypse is not quite as exciting, and needs fewer handguns, I thought that it was time for Shed du Soleil to get an upgrade.

Essentially, this is just a long-winded way of saying that I have extended the veranda canopy by a couple of feet, and run a cloister along the side of the wall. It is a proper cloister, with spandrels and a tension half-hammer beam that is only possible due to the lightweight polycarbonate roof, and which is there to provide stiffening under tension if wind tries to get under the roof and lift it off.

As usual, cowboybuilders.co.uk did the job by moonlight, with their wobbly ladders. A neighbour was throwing a front door away, so it went down to the Tank Shed (Shed 24). I’m in the process of moving the French doors to the front of the sitting out area to make it weathertight. The hobbit next to the shed is under scale aged about 7. With true-scale modelling, your bits box just takes up more space and the figures won’t stand still to be photographed.

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