Thursday, January 28, 2021

Project Stalingrad: Middle Section Done


The middle section of the table is now fully built.  I still need to add some weathering pigments and a few details but I need to order some more and like to let the base terrain fully cure for a few days before weathering.
I like how it came out

Now two pictures from the German table edge - The train station in the lower right corner 
I think the table is shaping up nicely.

When embarking on a project like this, doing some prep-work and planning really makes it easier to accomplish.  I made a mockup of the table in powerpoint which has been used to guide the build out.  The section in today's post is within the "black box" on the chart.  The section to the right was finished a few month ago so all that is left is the roughly 2' x 6' section on the left.

Here's a picture of the right side section
and another one of it all packed up
Just a few weeks ago central Stalingrad looked like this, I'm very happy with the pace of the project.

Once the table is fully built the really fun part of the project starts - scatter terrain and super detailing the table.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Stalingrad: Terrain Texture Saturday


The terrain workbench if all set up to add texture and sanded tile grout to each of the hexes.  This is the last step in terrain making and really is best done in a production line manner.  I'll do a more detailed tutorial in a future post.

There will also be a good bit of building painting today.  One of the drawbacks of laser cut terrain is the burn marks that show through on the tabs and edges.  Because these are end grain and soak up paint it can be hard to get rid of them.  I like to just cover them up with moulding using my favorite hobby glue - Eileen's Tacky Glue (it's just super thick PVA)
I use plastic angle stripe (from Evergreen) to cover the corners.  Boom - no edges.
I also cut some thin stripes of mat board to add along the sides - its a nice detail to add to a model building and they cover up the construction tabs.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Stalingrad Project: Trundling Along


A good bit of progress on the central part of Central Stalingrad was made over the past few days.  The base layer of tile grout has been applied to most of the hexes and the building placement is finalized.  Also the most tedious part of the project - the rail tracks are mostly done.  Hand cutting all of the railroad track ties was a pain in the , well you know where.  I still ned to add the rails - which is just 1/16 inch square plastic strips painted black grey - that's really easy.  The first picture is taken from the east along the Volga River.  All the river embankments are cut out and I'm still playing around with how to do so of the details such as supply depots and ferry wharfs.  As these hexes are along the edge of the table, adding details really helps "sell" the whole concept.

Looking from the west.  I am cheating a bit - rather than making a custom model of the Train Station, I'm using the large factory model from Terrains4games as a stand-in.  It worked out to be about the right size.  I may end up replacing it and using the factory in another spot (that's one of the benefits of hex terrain) but it looks good for now.

The next step is to paint all the buildings and then add texture / rubble to all the hexes.  Once this section of the table is completed there are another 5 hex rows along the right side that need to be built.  Most of the iconic buildings that are located in those 5 rows (the Nail Factory and the Univermag Dept store have been rough built.  There also a lot of open space from Red Square so building those rows should be pretty fast.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Soviet Armor and the Tyranny of Sharpies


New 15mm scale Soviet tanks are rolling of the production line in preparation to face the German onslaught.  4 T-70's, a pair of T-34's and one Katyusha rocket launcher.  These are are plastic models from Battlefront and I really like them.  I did mess up and purchase some later war T-34's - these dont have the single large top hatch but they'll do.

There are also some KV-1's to build.

I've been bouncing back and forth between painting mini's and building terrain.  The road network for this section of the table has been built and painted up.  1/16" square styrene strip is used to make the curbs so laying out the streets is a bit time consuming but it really looks nice all together.  Once the curbs have set the streets are painted concrete using a mix of Apple Barrel craft paints:

1/3 Pewter Grey
1/3 Country Tan
1/3 Country Grey
The road network is a bit more complex and there are several crossroads that I expect will be hotly contested in the games to come.

With the exception of the Soviet Bank building (upper left in the 3rd picture) all of the building placement is temporary - I'm still playing around with building placements.

I did make a really dumb mistake.  When rough marking where the street would go, I couldn't find a pencil so grabbed a black sharpie marker.  Craft paints are great for terrain making and very economical but do not cover sharpie markers all that well.  You can see it showing through the paint on this cross roads hex.  Still visible after three coats of "concrete" paint.  Dohhhh!!!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Stalingrad Phase 2 Commences


It's time to return to terrain making for the Stalingrad project.  I packed up the north section and started to layout the hexes and draw in the roads for the Central section of the map.  The overall map will be 10ft x 6ft.
As you can see I ran out of hexes and need to cut another 140 or so to complete the full table.  Outside of the Soviet Bank building (lower right corner in the first picture) all of the building placements are just tests.  Once I get the road grid in I'll figure out how to best place them to balance historical locations and gamability.

I'm working of a scale map I drew in power-point.  This diagram has proven to be really helpful in keeping track of the project as it's really easy to let such a large scale project like this overwhelm me.

The terrain design principal is historically important buildings such as the Univermag Department Store or Pavlov's house are located where they were historically, especially relative to one another.  You can see them on the diagram as either green (built) or red (to be built).  All of the other buildings (in light grey) will be a bit generic and placed more to simulate building density rather than actual historical location.

The northern section all packed up.  When I get the all clear from my lovely, yet fierce, Dr Wife I'll be bring this bin up to the club to start doing some test games with the rules.  I'll end up with three of these bins for all of the terrain - which is a lot but still transportable.  

Reassembling the terrain will be fun.  I did mark the bottom of each hex with its corresponding row number and put them back in the bin in a somewhat organized fashion.  I suspect the first time I try to "reset" the terrain will be a disaster.  We'll find out.

One concern I have is that given the size of the table at 10 x 6 can players easily reach units in the center?  Yes, I am fearful of the dreaded gamer "belly smash" were players with ample "provision storage" accidently crush figures and terrain features along the table edge as they lean over.  I have committed this sin many times in the past and will likely do so again.  It shouldn't be a problem along the soviet side as it has the Volga river so there really isn't any elevated terrain features.  It might be an issue on the german side  but we'll have to see.  I may need to shorten the width to 5 feet which the design will allow without too much compromise.  One of the benefits of a hex terrain design is it pretty easy to make adjustments like that one.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Painting Challenge Submission 5: Minefields, River Monitors and Panzer IIIs

My 5th submission for this year's Painting Challenge is an eclectic mix and contain my first two projects related to the "Chambers' of Challenge" aspect.

First up are 6 minefield hexes - the mines are visible if you look hard and that's the point - players should stumble upon them rather than see them

Nothing to fancy here - justs a standard rubble hex with about 10-15 "mines" attached

The mines where made with a tiny hole punch I used to make rivets back in my model railroading days.  I used black 1.5mm thick matt board for the mines.

The next chamber related submission are two 15mm scale River Monitors from Battlefront's Vietnam line.  The hulls and turrets are resin and the gunbarrels and other details are plastic.
These models are being painted up for a fellow club mate and you may see them on You-tube in the distant future.
Lastly, as I was organizing my hobby space, I stumbled on a box of Panzer III J's from Plastic Soldier Company.  Knowing these would be most handy for my Stalingrad project, I built and painted them up.
These models are not as detailed as the more recent Battlefront plastic kits but their at least 7 years old and where pretty ground breaking in their day.

I am supposed to receive an order from Battlefront today which has a lot of early war Soviet tanks and AC's so expect to see a lot of Russian armor over the next few weeks.

With this submission, my total points for the Challenge stands at 1,233 out of a total target of 2,500.  I'm feeling pretty good about my "productivity" but the points accumulation pace may slow as the next few projects are related to Hex terrain and that requires a lot of steps so progress will slow.  Still I'm feeling pretty confident I'll beat my target.

This year's challenge is off to a blazing start and I really do recommend you go over and check it out.  Most of the painters participating this year have skills way beyond mine and the quality and breadth of their submissions is most impressive.

Lastly, as announced on our You-Tube channel, the club is kicking off a ancients campaign based on the Pyrrhic campaigns of 280 to 275BC.  The Romans "senate" will choose which players from the club oppose Pyrrhus and his allies.  Who is the senate - the patrons of the channel so it should be fun to see what roles we all get to play in the campaign.  You might even get to see my Republican Roman army on the table top.  Who is playing Pyrrhus and his allies - that's a secret, for now.


Friday, January 8, 2021

Russian Infantry Company and Supporting guns, AHPC XI entry 4

Some Troops for Stalingrad - a Soviet Infantry Company and some supporting guns.  15mm scale and the figures are all from Plastic Soldier Company.  To be honest the casting quality isn't the best but the price can not be beat

An infantry company of 3 platoons of 4 squads.  As mentioned earlier, I am working on a new set of WW2 company level rules to use during the game where one base = 1 squad or AFV.  I'm writing the rules to be basing agnostic so players can use really any basing the want.

Some support options in the form of 4, 45mm AT guns and 4 76mm artillery pieces.

I've got a lot more Soviets to paint up...

Monday, January 4, 2021

Return to the Stalingrad Project

After a bit of a break and a dalliance with 6mm ancients, it's time to return to the Stalingrad project.  I'm really excited to get back to work and decided to begin by painting up some Soviet Infantry and artillery.

All of the figures of from Plastic Soldier Company

I've also been working on the CAD design for some new Central Stalingrad historical buildings so there should be some interesting progress over the next few weeks.  At least that's the plan! 


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Parthian Army in 6mm - Done (Challenge Submission 3)!

My third submission for this year's Painting Challenge is complete - a 6 6mm Parthian army in 6mm.  The figures are from Baccus (of course) and where a lot of fun to paint up.  Looking forward to getting these chaps on the table top when the lock downs begin to ease.

As with the earlier Republican Roman force these are all based for the Age of Caesar rule et and use 40mm square basing.

While one first thinks of cavalry when considering Parthians, they did field some infantry.  My little force has 8 bases of foot archers and 2 bases of skirmishers.

and 4 bases of medium, spear armed infantry.  Maybe not the most fearsome of foot borne troops but they'll be effective speed bumps.
The workhorse of any Parthian force are mounted archers and this little army has 20 bases of them.

The armored fist for the Parthians are cataphracts and this force can field up to 10 bases.
Lastly, just for a bit of fun, some armored camel cataphracts - because who doesn't want camel borne cavalry.

I'll add to the infantry when the Baccus cart opens up.

Next up for the Challenge - a return to work on the 15mm Stalingrad project