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My wargaming buddy Carlos recently bought the Italeri Battle of Rorke's Drift set which comes with a very nice MDF version of the hospital and supply depot.



Image from www.italeri.com



Image from www.italeri.com


Carlos had put the buildings together but said he wasn't in the mood to paint it, so I was more than happy to give it a go.

The walls were first given a thin coat of Vallejo "Sandy Paste" to give them more of a gritty look.



Then once the sandy paste was dry, the buildings were given an undercoat from a cheapo spray can of matt black paint bought in a local tack shop (here in Spain there are thousands of these tack shops, affectionately known as "chinos" as they are generally owned and run by people from China).

After the undercoat was dry, the walls were "whitewashed" with a few thin successive coats of acrylic paint.



The buildings were then detailed, and finished off with some dry brushing, washes and given a good dousing of pigment powders.






Enjoyed painting these, it was a nice change from tanks and figures, and I'm pleased at how well these laser-cut MDF building look once they're painted. They're also very sturdy but lightweight at the same time.

Anyhow, Carlos now has the buildings back and hopefully he'll finish the roofs soon - he's going to use some fake-fur to give them thatched roofs - we'll post some pictures when they're finished. 

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Removing paint from plastic figures

Ive used this technique with old models and figures, even those that have been covered in two or three coats of thick enamel paint. It works equally as well with hard and soft plastic plus its a technique that's not just limited to smallscale modelling.

You'll need the following items :

Household oven cleaner
Plastic gloves
Plastic bag
Plastic bucket
Toothbrush
Detergent (washing-up liquid)




Household oven cleaner in a spray-can form is cheap and readily available in practically any supermarket. Its used to dissolve thick carbon and burned fat deposits from off the inside ovens and off frying pans. Luckily for us modellers it also dissolves enamel paints without affecting plastic.

In this example well use a couple of old soft-plastic polythene figures. They're all in good condition, but have been painted with thick blobs of enamel paint.



A word of warning oven cleaner is caustic and may cause burns to the skin or eyes or respiratory problems if not used correctly. I would stress that it be used with caution. Minors should never use these products themselves,they should ask a responsible adult to do it for them.

Start by laying out the plastic bag on a flat surface and place the model or figures onto the bag.

Put on your gloves. Make sure you use plastic gloves to protect your hands as oven cleaner can burn the skin. Don't use latex gloves as the oven cleaner may dissolve the latex.

Hold the oven cleaner spray in one hand, and spray the model liberally. With the other hand you can turn over the model while holding it over the plastic bag so as to get into every nook and cranny.



Close the plastic bag with the model inside and tie a knot, place into the plastic bucket and leave overnight. The plastic bucket is so that if any oven cleaner leaks out it will not stain the floor.

Rinse any over cleaner off your gloves and put them away and leave over cleaner to work overnight.

24hrs later, get out your plastic gloves again and take the bucket to somewhere you have access to a cold water tap and a sink.

Put on your gloves, take the model out the plastic bag you'll find a huge gooey mess. Throw the plastic bag away and put the model into the sink.



Turn on the cold water and you'll find the paint will fall off as you rinse it. Now with the toothbrush and with a little detergent you can remove any stubborn remnants of paint stuck in little nooks and crannies.





Give them a final rinse and leave to dry. Rise your gloves and don't forget to clean out the bucket or container.


Once dry that's it, finished. Shiny new figures, ready for painting.
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My wargaming buddy Carlos recently bought the Italeri Battle of Rorke's Drift set which comes with a very nice MDF version of the hospital and supply depot.



Image from www.italeri.com



Image from www.italeri.com


Carlos had put the buildings together but said he wasn't in the mood to paint it, so I was more than happy to give it a go.

The walls were first given a thin coat of Vallejo "Sandy Paste" to give them more of a gritty look.



Then once the sandy paste was dry, the buildings were given an undercoat from a cheapo spray can of matt black paint bought in a local tack shop (here in Spain there are thousands of these tack shops, affectionately known as "chinos" as they are generally owned and run by people from China).

After the undercoat was dry, the walls were "whitewashed" with a few thin successive coats of acrylic paint.



The buildings were then detailed, and finished off with some dry brushing, washes and given a good dousing of pigment powders.






Enjoyed painting these, it was a nice change from tanks and figures, and I'm pleased at how well these laser-cut MDF building look once they're painted. They're also very sturdy but lightweight at the same time.

Anyhow, Carlos now has the buildings back and hopefully he'll finish the roofs soon - he's going to use some fake-fur to give them thatched roofs - we'll post some pictures when they're finished. 

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Removing paint from plastic figures

Ive used this technique with old models and figures, even those that have been covered in two or three coats of thick enamel paint. It works equally as well with hard and soft plastic plus its a technique that's not just limited to smallscale modelling.

You'll need the following items :

Household oven cleaner
Plastic gloves
Plastic bag
Plastic bucket
Toothbrush
Detergent (washing-up liquid)




Household oven cleaner in a spray-can form is cheap and readily available in practically any supermarket. Its used to dissolve thick carbon and burned fat deposits from off the inside ovens and off frying pans. Luckily for us modellers it also dissolves enamel paints without affecting plastic.

In this example well use a couple of old soft-plastic polythene figures. They're all in good condition, but have been painted with thick blobs of enamel paint.



A word of warning oven cleaner is caustic and may cause burns to the skin or eyes or respiratory problems if not used correctly. I would stress that it be used with caution. Minors should never use these products themselves,they should ask a responsible adult to do it for them.

Start by laying out the plastic bag on a flat surface and place the model or figures onto the bag.

Put on your gloves. Make sure you use plastic gloves to protect your hands as oven cleaner can burn the skin. Don't use latex gloves as the oven cleaner may dissolve the latex.

Hold the oven cleaner spray in one hand, and spray the model liberally. With the other hand you can turn over the model while holding it over the plastic bag so as to get into every nook and cranny.



Close the plastic bag with the model inside and tie a knot, place into the plastic bucket and leave overnight. The plastic bucket is so that if any oven cleaner leaks out it will not stain the floor.

Rinse any over cleaner off your gloves and put them away and leave over cleaner to work overnight.

24hrs later, get out your plastic gloves again and take the bucket to somewhere you have access to a cold water tap and a sink.

Put on your gloves, take the model out the plastic bag you'll find a huge gooey mess. Throw the plastic bag away and put the model into the sink.



Turn on the cold water and you'll find the paint will fall off as you rinse it. Now with the toothbrush and with a little detergent you can remove any stubborn remnants of paint stuck in little nooks and crannies.





Give them a final rinse and leave to dry. Rise your gloves and don't forget to clean out the bucket or container.


Once dry that's it, finished. Shiny new figures, ready for painting.
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I wanted to share some pictures of two new toys the postman brought direct from China a couple of weeks ago.


They're sturdy little models that go together quickly.

I found that the little steel pins that are used as axles for the wheels are too long.


Fortunately I was able to cut them down with some strong cutters.


Next to an Academy 1/72 scale M35 Truck (on the right). They size up ok


The box-art is little surreal. Apart from being a mirror image of the truck (and now a right-hand drive model), it seems to be parked in the smouldering ruins of some old central European city.



A nice model that will most likely find its way into some modern skirmish games.

You can see some more information about this kit on Ey's excellent "1/72 Multiverse" blog on the following link :

http://72-multiverse.blogspot.com/2019/05/4d-quick-build-models.html
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Remembering D-Day today, I dug out some old photos from a game we played on this date back in 2004 on the 60th anniversary of the invasion.













Our good friend Alberto (the flaming red-haired Celtic-Iberian below) designed, built, and spent the whole week before the game putting together the boards.




And on the morning before the game we all pitched in to help him put the finishing touches.... these are pictures taken just about an hour before we started.



I remember the game was good and we had a great time - fortunately the only victims who died in this battle on that 60th anniversary were just little toy soldiers.

I also remember, to stop us feeling so smug, it was pointed out later that we made the same mistake as Spielberg in Private Ryan and put the beach obstacles the wrong way around.





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Some photos below of an attempt made a few years back at to get a set of “fighting” bailed-out Panzer Crewmen.



Figures are a mixture of Airfix Luftwaffe Ground Crew, USAAF Personnel and Afrika Korps with new arms sliced off figures from other German 20mm sets.



The uniforms don’t stand up to close inspection, but on the table they look the part and hopefully make them identifiable as Panzer Crewmen.



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These are figures for the first scenario in our Ardennes campaign, "Retreat Through The Mons Pocket" from the Osprey Bolt Action Battle of the Bulge campaign book,

This scenario involves Belgium partisans and retreating Germans with a truckload of looted art.


The Belgium partisan figures are a mixture of Orion, Caesar, Esci, Italeri and Pegasus.

There are a couple of simple conversions, the guy with the Panzerschreck is a Caesar figure who's had his Sten-Gun replaced and the second and third figures from the right with greatcoats are Italeri Germans with new heads. 




Hope you like the pictures and any input or suggestions are always appreciated.
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Some pictures of things currently on the workbench at present, all US Ardennes campaign related stuff.

A few old Shermans for repair + various Esci / Italeri / Revell sprues that have been sitting in a box for years waiting to be assembled. Even an old set of resin sandbag protections that have been added to an Armourfast Sherman.





Final flocking on the bases of some new US troops. Vintage Matchox, old Revell and some new Italeri.


An armoured Jeep. This is an S-Models kit. I don't really like photo-etch, I thought this kit came with the shield made out of plastic so I was disappointed that it came in flimsy brass. My mate Carlos offered to make it for me however, (good stuff Carlos)


The Stuart is another S-Models kit and the Greyhound next to it is a die-cast that needs weathering.


Finally, a last photo showing the size differences between an old Matchbox 1/76 figure compared to Revel and Italeri G.I.s 



The Italeri fellas are heculean in comparison.



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We finally got around to starting our Ardennes campaign last week with our first practice game and in the process baptised our new "sand" table

When were looking around for ideas for a Battle of the Bulge campaign last year, we bought a Battlegroup rules downloadable pdf supplement called "Wacht am Rhein" by Warwick Kinrade for gaming the Ardennes from the plasticsolder.co.uk website.

We used a scenario taken from this supplement called "Ambush at Ligneuville".

It's based on events that took place on December 17th, when Peiper's spearhead encountered their first serious American resistance as they raced into the village of Ligneuville to secure the small stone bridge over the river Amblève.

In the scenario, the Amblève crosses the width of the table east to west across the board with the bridge in the centre. The river is lined with dense bushes, scrub and trees, with various buildings on either side of the bridge.

The scenario we used is part of the larger campaign from the book, so a previous game, and this scenario's result are geared to points later in the scenario book's campaign itself.

This was just a one-off game, so we kept the scenario's main German objective to secure the Bridge by turn 5.

Another of the objectives was to stop the American Brigadier-General "Timberlake" from escaping off the table.

The Americans had to delay the Germans from taking their objective by turn number 5, and in the process either get the Brigadier-General off the table or avoid his capture or elimination.

Over the years our group has gamed with various rulesets, all of which have their pros and cons, but we decided that for this new Ardennes campaign we'll be using the Bolt Action rules by Warlord Games which we've found are ok for fast-action skirmish scenarios like this.

All the vehicles and troops used in the game are as per the published "Ambush at Ligneuvile" scenario, and even though the scenario is geared to the Battlegroup rules, it migrated well for use with Bolt Action.

The game was played on a 1.60 x 1.20m table, and we got to use our new sand table and used four or five bags of cheap table salt sprinkled over the surface to represent snow on the ground (see previous post HERE)

GENERAL VIEW OF THE TABLE



The road leading into the village is the German entry point, top centre is the small stone bridge over the river, and to the left, the large building represents the hotel where the US commander is staying.

TURN 1

The German spearhead thunders into town via the main road, led by "Obersturmführer" Werner Sternebeck in his Panzer IV passing by parked up transports of the American HQ.



Following close behind is a second Panzer IV + two SS Pioneer squads, each in a SdKfz 251.

Brigadier-General Timberlake's jeep was parked out in view of the oncoming Panzer IV so he decides to make haste with his two aides out the back door of the hotel and try and escape on foot.



The rest of the Americans are some 20 odd rear-echelon troops divided into small rifle and BAR teams, a .30 cal MMG and an M4 Sherman.



TURN 2

A bazooka team try and take out Sternebeck's Panzer IV. These are green inexperienced troops and miss miserably (also due to a terrible dice throw). The M4 Sherman also makes a brave attempt to take out the leading Pz IV but misses too.



SS pioneers dismount from the leading Sd.Kfz 251 and head away from the road towards the bridge from behind the cover of the building where the bazooka team are lurking.



The second group of SS pioneers dismount and take out the Sherman with a well-aimed panzerfaust.



Sternebeck's Pz IV blasts at the hidden bazooka team and makes mincemeat of them.

A Panther tank rumbles onto the table from the road and heads toward the bridge following behind the leading tanks.



TURN 3

Reinforcements arrive in the form of two Shermans and an M10 Wolverine coming in from the road on the US side of the river.



Firefights break out between US troops and the SS pioneers heading on foot toward the bridge.





Timberlake meanwhile makes his way through the bushes and rough ground along the riverbank. The Germans spray him with machine-gun fire and his two aides fall, leaving him alone.



Another German half-track appears on the table on the road toward the village, carrying Peiper himself.




TURN 4

As Sternebeck crosses the bridge he meets a Sherman waiting in the middle of the road on the other side.



Both tanks exchange fire, the Sherman hits but fails to penetrate. The Panzer IV returns fire, hits and completely destroys the tank.



Back on the other side of the river, Timberlake is still pinned in the brush on the riverbank and miraculously escapes unscathed from numerous volleys of shots from the Germans.



TURN 5

Sternebeck rumbles into town past the burning Sherman. The small groups of green rear-echelon US troops in the surrounding buildings are powerless to stop him.



The remaining Sherman and the M10 Wolverine both make a vain attempt to take out Sternebeck's Panzer IV, but the "Dice God" intervenes again and both miss the target completely.



The Pioneers secure the bridge while the Panther gives covering fire from the riverbank.



At this point the bridge is now secured and Timberlake, still pinned and unable to escape, finally falls under a hail of fire.


CONCLUSION

Victory for the Germans and a crushing defeat for the US defenders (until the next time that is .... )

Sternebeck and Timberlake discuss the finer points of the rules 
The game played out well, the Germans took the bridge, as they did in reality.

Timberlake didn't escape, though in reality he drove off in his jeep when he heard the German tanks approaching and escaped, The fact that he tried to make it off the table on foot was a big mistake.

The Americans had the disadvantage of being classed as "green" and the Germans had the positive modifiers associated with SS troops and it was going to be difficult for the Americans to win a decisive victory.

That said, the Americans could have at least done a little better, but on this occasion the dice throws meant they didn't have the ability to hit a barn door.

Even though we gamed on a heavily snow covered table, when this skirmish took place on 17th December 1944, from all accounts it wasn't snowing at that point in time.

The scenario was well written and it plays out well. It was easy to use "as is" using all the vehicles and figures mentioned in the scenario, and adapts well to the Bolt Action rules. It would be nice to play again maybe with some other ruleset.

All in all, a very enjoyable time with two of my regular gaming mates Alex and Carlos who aptly played the winning Germans.

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