Thursday, October 29, 2015

4D Model JSU-152, Part 2

I got my hands on the Italeri ISU-152 kit I ordered today, which gave me the decals I needed to finish my wreck.

The 4D model is smaller than the Italeri model, which meant I had to cut one digit off the decal to fit it to the facet I wanted. After applying the decals, I tried to depict paint scratching off by gently sanding the decal - I wasn't too successful. To create the shell hole I took a pointed file and punched the point through the hull from the inside out, then sprayed some black paint around it, and finally dabbed some brown paint around the hole.

I also dabbed some black paint onto the decal and over the hull to represent some wear. The wheels and mud guards were also dabbed with a light brown paint.

This is probably as much work as I will do for this model. The next models I have lined up are a Dragon Panther wahj passed me (excellent kit which will require some attention; I haven't decided what camouflage pattern I want to paint it) and the Italeri ISU-152 kit. After looking at the parts I think I will attempt to build the "standard" kit (with link and length tracks, which I hate), and if I can't do a good job with that I will fall back onto the "quick build" kit instead. If I do manage to build the "standard" kit, then the "quick build" kit may just end up in one of my giveaways... maybe even built or as a wreck?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Boardgame Weekend

We decided to have a boardgame session on Sunday, and since it was the weekend before Halloween, we played something with a spooky theme.

The first game was Super Dungeon Explore, with undead!

Yes, it's called a Grabbing Hut.!

The game components are really good, but play turned out to be a little laborious and repetitive as it was quite difficult to kill the boss monsters and zombies could be regenerated. Still, it gave fg the idea of playing chibi Frostgrave...

The second game we played was Munchkins, in the Deluxe edition which wahj had just bought. The board and cardboard standees were not essential to the game-play, but the basic game was still a lot of fun despite its age. I certainly wouldn't mind playing this again with an expansion deck or two added.

Following that we played Exploding Kittens (the NSFW edition). The game was surprisingly a lot more fun than I had expected, since I have written it off as a game with little depth that was riding on the popularity of Oatmeal to become the most funded Kickstarter ever. The mechanics are actually quite clever, and combines the excitement of defusing a bomb with the fun of throwing your friend under the bus. Definitely recommended.

Yes, there is a Zombie Cat, so this counts as a Halloween game.
Finally, here is a picture of the JSU-152 I am working on, taken from the top and in daylight, because I really like how the rust looks in this view.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

4D Model JSU-152, Part I

OK, it's technically a self-propelled gun and not a tank, but this counts as my Tanktober story...

It began when my brother spotted a range of 1:72 scale plastic armoured vehicles at a 7-11 going for about US$2 each. He sent me a photo of the boxes. Out of the five he showed me, only one was usable for WW2 - the rest were post-WW2 vehicles. Thinking it would be a cheap gamble, I asked him to get me two of the JSU-152 so I can build one as a gaming model and wreck one for terrain - I mean, look at the box art, right?

Well, as it turned out, the model bears only a slight resemblance to the depiction on the box art and thus the actual vehicle. Thanks a lot, Xi Jinping.

You can find a picture of how the model looks like built 'as is' on google, but this is what I ended up with on my first attempt. I had to fill in holes on the sides of the gun mantle which were there for no apparent reason, add a plate to the top of the gun (the white plastic card), add a vision port (couldn't figure out an easy way to add a convincing headlight), and shave off the extra material on the side of the crew compartment that passed for the grab rings and the entrenching tools.

"That's no JSU-512..."

The model had the general shape of the JSU-152, but a closer inspection shows that the front of the mud guard extended too far forward, the front drive wheels are too far back, and the extra fuel tanks are too short and didn't rest on the correct brackets. There was no attempt at modeling the crew entry hatche. The wheels are of course all wrong in shape, size, and even numbers, and the tracks lacked any detail. My brother correctly guessed that the lower half of the model is in fact common for probably all the models in the series, as further googling showed. On that thought I decided to check the dimensions, and found that the model is a little too wide by scale, and almost a full cm shorter once I cut off the excess mud guard.

After some thinking I decided I cannot use such a model as a gaming model, but I could still use it as a wreck. To that end I cut off the stubs for the fuel tanks, removed the hull MG, and removed the excess wheels and tracks. I also scored along the engine access at the rear and cut the hatch off and then glued it back slightly ajar.

Again, the keys to modeling a wrecked or damage vehicle: doors or hatches open, MGs removed, and something awry with the wheels or tracks.

I thought I would model it as a wreck that has been exposed for a while, so I decided to try my hand at salt weathering again. This time round, I made it a point to create a more varied rust appearance than I did in my first attempt.

I sprayed the whole model red brown, then dabbed a different shade of red brown and a dark brown all over it, and finally some orange on the edges. This was the end result.

It looks like it is more at home at the bottom of a coral reef than a battlefield.

After some salting, I sprayed it Olive Drab, and when the paint was just about dry I scrubbed the salt off and then washed it under a tap. The washing gave the paint a rough finish.

Looks almost good enough to be on the end of Dr Pym's keychain, don't you think?

So now the wreck is half done. Needs a black wash and some brown stains.

But to go back a bit, after I found out how poor a representation this model was of a real JSU-152, I decided I had to get a better kit. My choice was the Italeri boxed set that comes with two models: one "standard", and the other a quick-build wargaming model. The set will come with three sets of decal, which will give let me apply one set on the 4D model. At the urging of my gang, I will attempt to depict an anti-tank round damage on the model by putting a hole on the hull and then spraying some black paint as soot around it. I will do this after applying the decals, which means this project will have to wait a couple of weeks before I can finish it. In the mean time I will muddy up the wheels to further disguise their inaccuracy.

Stay tuned for Part II.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Chain of Command: Crimea Campaign Game 2

T34-85 rolls onto the battlefield

We played a quick game of CoC on Sunday. wahj wanted to try out a tank rider platoon and T34, and fg played the Germans.

We played the Delaying Action scenario. I set up a village using the three Russian buildings fg passed me, and deployed about 9 feet of fences which I recently painted.

fg did better in the Patrol Phase and managed to get Jump-Off Points across the middle of the table.

wahj advanced in two prongs, and rather early in the game sent in his T35-85. Knowing he was going to pick a tank (I cheated), fg had chosen a Pak 38, which took it out in one shot.

It came to to an infantry fight, and that's when we realised that the SMGs weren't much good in a non-urban setting.

After an exchange of fire, two of the sections broke and fled. The platoon commander, knowing that failure is not an option, sent the final squad in a suicidal charge against the Germans, but it was a foregone conclusion.

The final charge.

Perhaps in our next game we can try fielding Green Russians, which will give wahj the option of fielding more than one tank, or a tank plus other supports.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

October Giveaway

For the month of October I am giving away a copy of the Impetus rules plus King David, a set of rules for Biblical warfare also from Dadi & Piombo.

The rules for the giveaway, once again:

Let me know if you are interested by leaving a comment, and I will draw a recipient on the 15th of the month. This is not a first-come, first-serve offer.

The offer is free; once I let you know you have been drawn, do let me have your email and mailing address and I will mail it off to you. You don't even have to pay for the postage. I am doing this not to get some money back, but to give these rules a good home. If you want to pay back somehow, I ask that you make a small donation to a local charity, or consider doing the same thing I am doing and give some rulebooks that you no longer use a chance for a new lease of gaming life.

Good Luck