Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Plastic Soldiers, Birthdays and Christmas

Well, it's about midway through the first week of 2011, and with the silly season winding down I'm managing to get some painting done. A bit of drama in the leadup to christmas, and then the crazyness until new years has meant that the brushes have been gathering dust in the corner for the last while.

So, first off, i've been getting on with my latest commission work, the Late Roman infantry. These guys are still a WIP, so no pics yet, but hopefully soon.

In the meantime, my 20mm D-Day Sword Beach project has been gaining steam. I've managed to get a whole swag of great stuff for this between my birthday and Christmas, Laura even surprised me with a triad of resin buildings from the German company Najewitz Modellbau. These are great, very crisp detail and go together well. I've only assembled the two story house as yet, but i've also got a Boulangerie and a Boucherie to do. I'm planning to have a representation of Ouistreham / Riva Bella in the setup, so these will look great and save me some scratch building :).

So, besides the buildings, I scored a load of vehicles from Britannia, Cromwell, Skytrex, Raventhorpe and RTR, a bunch of 'tobruk' MG bunkers from Defence in Depth along with a leavening of Britannia and AB figures. Topping it all off was a box of the new Plastic Soldier Company German infantry. Needless to say I'm well chuffed indeed.

For the initial project, which will revolve around the assault on the Riva-Bella Casino strong point, I'll need to build up the following force:

German 716th Infantry Division forces

2 x German platoons + support. (~ 60 figs) - Plastic Soldier, Britannia and AB.
2 x PaK 38 on fortress mount and crews Britannia
1 x 2cm Flak 38 and crew Britannia
2 x 10.5cm leFH guns and crew Britannia
2 x Marder III - Skytrex

British / Free French forces

2 x Free French Commando sections + support (~ 60 figs) Britannia
1 x Centaur Mk IV close support tank Cromwell
3 x Sherman DD tanks Britannia

Quite a lot of painting, especially considering I'll be juggling ongoing commission work. Anyway, i've managed to paint up the first pieces for both the axis and allies over the last few days, as well as making some progress on the Riva-Bella Casino board. Painting in 20mm is a lot faster than 28!

I've completed the basic structure of the casino strongpoint, which will be armed with one of the 10.5cm field guns and a 20mm flak, which i've placed unpainted on the roof in the pics below. I've also completed a H644 bunker with an armoured MG cupola along with a generic infantry shelter. I've also scraped out the AT ditch and the basic trench system, but the trenches need to have sides and bottom added from balsa. I've also had my first trial of using teddy bear fur for grass, and think it's looking pretty good. I've also started on the interiors of the bunkers and casino, as I'm going to have all of the roofs as removable.

As far as the figures go, i'm basing these up on 5c pieces and have stolen the idea of painting the unit name on the rear of the base. See the picture of the French 'Big Man' below to see what i'm talking about. This ties the units together without taking away from the aesthetics too much. So, as far the Germans are concerned, i've completed the first of six 8 man squads, along with a Leutnant 'big man' to lead the first platoon. The Frenchies have got Commandant Kieffer himself, a sniper, 2" mortar team and a 5 man Bren gun team, which together with an 8 man assault team makes up a subsection. Suffice it to say that Commando organisation is very confusing.

The plastic soldier Germans are great. The sculpting is very crisp, if some of the poses are a little odd and require a bit of cutting to make look right to my eye. I've hacked away at two figures to use as crew for the first of the two Marder IIIs. I based them on 5c pieces, to add a little weight, and painted them up in the Vallejo field grey. After seeing the infamous field grey picture, i've decided that I'm going to paint up squads in different variations, then mix them all together to give a good mix-match look to the force.

The casino board has come along in leaps and bounds, inspired but the magnificent work by alcal over on the guild forum.

So, enjoy the pictures, leave a comment, and as you can probably tell from the picture of some of my goodies, there'll be a lot more coming, including some 21st Panzer and 11th Armoured stuff.