Tag Archives: Zvezda

A Long Delayed Update

It turns out that the 10th and final semester of Architecture school is also the most intense and demanding of my time. So…very little time spent on miniatures, other than grabbing 30 minutes here or there. I’m also completely off-track on my schedule that I set up at the beginning of the year. That’s no surprise to me, but disappointing, nonetheless.

Napoleonic Digression

I have painted a few 1/72 plastic Napoleonic 95th rifles as well as some French Voltigeurs in the same scale and of the same material. My 95th Rifles have been shown before, and the Italeri sculpts remain a joy to paint. My Voltigeurs are by Zvezda, and have proved to be very unsatisfying to paint. The models look great in bare plastic, but the detail turns out to be quite shallow. I’m not the greatest painter in the world at the best of times, but these Voltigeurs have resisted even my most tender ministrations, and are sloppy and flat in appearance.

They’re certainly not worth breaking out the tripod and backdrop, and thus only get the crappy iPhone photo treatment.

Voltigeurs in Disarray

The Dragoon that has snuck in is by Italeri, and was quite fun to paint, though he turned out a good deal more dull than I had hoped.

Voltigeurs in Less Disarray

Back on Track

I have, at long last, started a terrain board for an initial game of I Ain’t Been Shot Mum III. A company of British infantry, supported by a platoon of Shermans will be facing off with a company of Heer infantry in a country village, who happen to have a bit of support in the form of a Pak 40. That’s a bit beside the point, though. Here’s the board.

Terrain Board

The board is 2’x4′ in total dimension, and is made up of part of a sheet of 3/8″ masonite (hardboard), 1×2’s, and 3/4″ blue rigid insulation. The 1×2’s shore up the masonite, which is dimensionally stable over time. The blue foam rigid insulation fits perfectly into the ‘reservoir’ created by the 1×2’s, the actual dimensions of which are 3/4″x1.5″. Do you have nominal vs. actual dimensions in Europe? If not, the previous sentence likely makes absolutely no sense. Here’s a shot of the ‘sandwich’ detail.

Terrain Board Construction Detail

The cool thing about the blue foam is that it’s extremely easy to sculpt and can quickly be formed into sunken roads, ponds, streams, and hills. It’s my intention to COMPLETE (yes, complete) my terrain board by the end of the week, seeing as how this is that most venerable of American collegiate traditions: Spring Break.

So, more later in the week.

The Workbenches of August

All apologies to Barbara Tuchman, but these are the things I’m furiously working on at the end of August:

Toeing the Line

I must admit, a bit of gamer ADD has set in over the summer, but I haven’t been totally irresponsible to my stated WW2 skirmish goals! I’ve been putting together Academy’s 1/72nd “Light Vehicles of the Allies and Axis” over the past week. The kit includes a Jeep (w/.50 cal machine gun mounted), Kubelwagen (top up, or down), a funky motorcycle with treads, and a ton of 55 gallon drums, ammo boxes, and jerry cans.

Academy’s “Light Vehicles of Allied & Axis” is a beautifully made kit.

This is an inexpensive kit, but even so, you don’t get a tremendous amount for your wargaming dollar. I’m used to getting a couple of tanks with my Armourfast and Italeri quick-build kits, and even though there are three light vehicles in the Academy box, somehow they don’t measure up. I’m guessing it’s because the kit doesn’t really contribute to completing a combat unit.

I do think the kit is a good bargain for a scale modeler. You can build one jeep, one kubelwagen, the motorcycle thing, and then you’re given enough of the stated accessories to adorn the vehicles and contribute significantly to a diorama or two. The kit is extremely well done-flash is almost non-existent, instructions are clear, and everything fits together marvelously. The vehicles are maybe a little fiddly for wargaming-I don’t see the mounted .50 caliber on the jeep surviving very many games, for instance. I have my doubts about some of the lights and other bric-a-brac on the kubelwagen, as well. I typically don’t base vehicles, but I’m considering it for these guys, just to try and keep them intact.

All that said, the only real problem with this kit is that no drivers, passengers, or crew are provided. You’ll have to source them yourself and hope they fit. HaT does manufacture various sets of ‘tank riders,’ which might prove useful. I’m going to order a set of the Americans, which are my most immediate need, and see how they work. Looking at the sprue, I’m going to have to kitbash a driver, somehow, as all the figures are carrying some sort of weapon in their hands.

I could have been a bit more careful in planning the build and making painting easy on myself. For instance, I never should have mounted the seats in either of these vehicles before painting. I don’t anticipate TOO much trouble, though. It will all come out in the minwax wash. Ahem.

Waste of Time, or Time’s-a-Wasting?

So, I bought these beautiful metal 28mm Vikings nearly a decade ago. I purchased the things over E-bay from a seller in England, and I can’t, for the life of me, remember who the manufacturer was. Maybe Wargames Foundry? In any case, they were never painted (I never managed to get anything painted back then), and have been languishing in a cardboard box for the better part of this century. The recent spate of Dark Ages games like Saga and the two Dux has inspired me to dust them off. They’ve been cleaned and primed, and may actually get painted before my other projects. It would be nice to have a short break from olive drab and dunkegelb! It’s satisfyingly easy to get chainmail to look good!

I’ve had these 28mm Vikings for years, but have never painted them. The time has come.

I’ve ordered some Perry Brothers Crusaders, which will serve as Normans, and I may use Song of Blades and Heroes by Ganesha Games to do some skirmishing with these guys until (and if) I settle on a set of Dark Ages rules. I’m pretty excited to put my hands on sculpts by the vaunted Perry Brothers, though the sculpting quality may be wasted on my meager painting skills.

A Dysfunctional Relationship in the Making

Napoleonics. I don’t know much of anything about the Napoleonic era, except for what you can learn by reading the Aubrey-Maturin and Sharpe novels, but looking around the blogosphere, I find the panoply of brightly colored figures to be nearly irresistible.

Scratch the ‘nearly’ part, as I’ve bought a couple of boxes of Italeri 1/72nd Napoleonics, and I plan on doing some skirmish gaming with them using either Song of Drums and Shakos by Ganesha Games, or Sharp Practice by Too Fat Lardies. I’m sure I’ll be starting out with SoDaS, because working up to the number of figures that Sharp Practice (which I’m really really really excited to try out!) is suited for is going to take a significant amount of time. I can’t imagine how the hundreds of grognards that game at division or corps level manage it!

Lovely Italeri 1/72 Napoleonic French Dragoons

In any case, I’ve cleaned up a few 95th rifles and French Dragoons, and I have a box of Zvezda Voltigeurs winging their way towards me as I type.  Maybe I can get an opponent interested in this era with some SoDaS play.

The detail on these Italeri British 95th Rifles (1/72) is amazing.

I think it may be somewhat frustrating to do Napoleonic skirmish in 1/72. The figures don’t have a tremendous amount of personality, and I haven’t found a good source for individual figures. An immediate problem is that there are no decent dismounted French dragoons in plastic, and they’re essential for the Sharp Practice scenario book. I’m sure there are some good 1/72-20mm metal figure makers out there, though, and I’m guessing/hoping I could use them to fill in the gaps.