Monday, 12 March 2018
From MartinN: Bring on the Armour! (75 points)
Having had a few days off this last week I decided I'd would probably make best use of it by painting up some of the armour, that was sitting unfinished on my shelf for months now.
While I generally like painting armour I need to be in the right mood for it, as firstly I actually quite hate airbrushing and secondly I'm always worrying about overdoing the weathering.
First off is a 'liberated' M8 Greyhound to be used (as all the other vehicles in this post in fact) with my Fallschirmjäger force. Sadly it doesn't count towards my points total as I already started to paint it during last years challenge.
I simply love to use Beutepanzer and Beutefahrzeuge (loot tanks/ vehicles) with my Germans as it gives you a chance to model something 'unique' and tailor it to your own force.
This model is from Warlord Games and is quite a nice kit. Only the suspension is a little fickly, which is the reasons why this model got a base. I cut off the skirts and swapped some of the original kits wheels for some from a Warlord Sd.Kfz. 222.
I was quite sure to have seen pictures of captured M8's with exactly this modification, but alas I must have dreamed it.
Be that as it may, I also added some stowage and a crew figure to further 'germanize' the vehicle. The original, rather thick antennas were substituted with thin broom bristles.
The M8 saw first action in 1943 in Italy. Only few of these vehicles were ever captured by the Germans and thus it never got an official German designation but was simply referred to as the Panzerspähwagen M8(a) - the (a) stands for american. Unlike other captured vehicles these seem never to have been officially issued to the specialized Beutepanzereinheiten (special units in which, for ease of maintenance, captured tanks and vehicles were concentrated) but instead directly used by those units which had captured them.
This gave me the perfect excuse to integrate one into my Fallschirmjäger force.
Next is an early production StuG III from Rubicon Models. Not much to say about this one, except that it went together nicely. The tank commander is from Perry Miniatures.
The Sturmgeschütz (assault gun) was originally developed as a close support vehicle for the infantry. Its task was to engage fortified positions and only to a lesser extent armoured vehicles. Despite this, due to Germanys desperate need for tanks, the StuG's found themselves ever more often employed in an anti-tank role. As the muzzle velocity of the original short barreled 7,5-cm-StuK 37 L/24 wasn't adequate for the task the StuG was up-gunned with the longer 7,5-cm-StuK 40 L/43 and later with the even longer L/48.
Next in the queue is a StuH 42 (short for Sturmhaubitze or Assault howitzer). This actually is a bastard made from a Warlord Games StuG III and the Rubicon StuG. It started life as a straight out of the box StuG III. I think it was during the one before the last challenge that I messed up the paint job that badly that I almost threw it in the bin. Some time last year, when I built the Rubicon StuG, I decided to strip it and give it another try.
During the stripping process I damaged some of the parts badly. As the Rubicon kit comes with quite some options I hadn't used I carefully disassembled the Warlord kit.
First the 7,5-cm-StuK 40/L48 gun of the stock kit was replaced with the 10,5-cm-StuH 42 with Saukopfblende from Rubicon. Later the roof of the fighting compartment was carefully cut away and replaced with the corresponding Rubicon part. I actually preferred that one anyway as it has the typical very late war remote controlled MG-34 and a Stahlabweiser (literally steel deflector) in front of the command cupola.
Next I cut up the Schürzen of the kit and re-applied them in a field mod common later in the war.
Last but not least I added the rear stowage rack from Rubicon.
As the StuG's with their new main armament weren't really suited for infantry support anymore the StuH 42 was introduced. It sported a 10,5-cm-StuH 42 cannon, which was a development of the 10,5-cm leichte Feldhaubitze 18, one of the standard light artillery pieces of the Wehrmacht. As the name suggests it was introduced in 1942 and 1,317 were built until the wars end.
Last of the vehicles is the Opel Blitz, which is a Rubicon kit again. Already owning a pair of Warlords Resin version of this vehicle I've got to say what a beauty the Rubicon kit is, both in ease of assembly and accuracy. I didn't really invest much time into painting the cargo bed as I'll add some passengers at a later point. Probably not during this challenge anymore. Maybe the next ;-)
The Opel Blitz was one of the (many) standard lorries of the Wehrmacht. It saw service on all fronts and was produced until the end of the war. As Fallschirmjäger units never (and I mean really NEVER!) were equipped with the far from ubiquitous Sd.Kfz. 251 or 250's the Blitz was issued as primary means of transport for these elite troops. I do have two more of these waiting to be painted finally.
Last but by no means least are some markers I built for Chain of Command. These are so called 'Jump off points' and in effect are the entry points for my troops to enter the table. They were built using various bits and pieces from the bits-box, but mainly Rubicon models American and German stowage kits.
These pieces are probably to small to score any points, but I wanted to submit them anyway.
So, that's been a somewhat lengthy post. My sincere apologize to all of you, who actually read the whole blather. It got a little out of hand I fear.
This submission definitely sees me safely reach my 400 points target with 45 points for the three eligible vehicles and 5 points for the two crew.
An amazing submission, Nick, and a terrific way to power through the last week of Challenge VIII. I love the way that these units fit together so well as a result of your painting and converting style. The Stugs and the Opel Blitz are magnificent, and really versatile in any game - but the pride of place really goes (in my humble view) to the M-8(a) Greyhound. You've really made this into a perfect little model: individual, unusual and really memorable. I love the way that you've added the stowage, and the German balkankreuz to the Beutefahrzeuge. Really some lovely touches, there.
Both of the Stugs are terrific, especially the conversions and reconstruction work - it's often the case that when something goes badly wrong on a model, I decide the only place for it is in the rubbish bin. Your great patience and fine skills show that, even when the worst happens in modelling, there is always the chance for a model to be recovered or resurrected!
The jump-off markers are little works of art. Don't write them off! I'm so pleased you added them. It's bits and pieces like this on a wargames table which really bring a game to life!
As for points, I make that four vehicles (60 points), two crew (5 points in total, with half points for half figures), and I'm adding a further 10 points overall for the jump off points and the lovely detailing throughout. That makes a hugely well deserved total of 75 points for this submission - driving you, with the ease of any M-8 Greyhound, over your points target for Challenge VIII. Tremendous work, Nick, and a magnificent achievement accomplished in fine style.