Thursday, December 4, 2014
School is done and dusted for the year, and the 5th Annual Painting Competition begins in just over seven hours. I've set myself the insane target of 1500 points, and have side duels going with Curt and Tamsin. This is going to be fun!
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Pro Gloria's Indiegogo campaign to fund a box of plastic Landsknechts is ticking along pretty well, with over 12.000 Euros of the 30.000 target raised and 24 more days to go. If you haven't seen these already, check them out - the greens look stunning.
Imagine, if you will, a mass of these guys tramping across your tabletop in their wonderful gaudy costumes. And think of how with the money you save buying them in plastic you can support them with lovely metal figures from the likes of Artizan. Personally, the moment they get funded I will be buying a bunch of gendarmes and archers from Eureka.
I'm pretty keen for this to get funding, so hopefully I've caught some of you in a weak moment. Here are four steps to a wonderful weekend.
1. Play some loud 'Landsknechty' music. In Extremo will put you in the mood, but basically anything that implausibly blends metal and medieval with some growly German vocals will do fine.
2. Drink some German bier.
3. Find your credit card.
4. Look at all the shiny things! You want them!
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Having finished morphing my Battle Group Kursk Soviets into a late war force, I've now pretty much done the same for Barbarossa. Adding to the 20 T-26 tanks I finished painting last week, I've just finished 7 BT-5s and a monster T-35.
All the models are 15mm Zvezda kits from their Art of Tactic game. These are great little kits. Very easy to put together and with lovely crisp moulding. The biggest down side is the lack of open hatches and crew figures, and all the tanks look very clean and Spartan, with no stowage items. Of course, I could have just added tarps etc made from Greenstuff, but decided not to on these as Soviet vehicles from 1941 generally do look pretty lacking in clutter from most photos I've seen.
Nice stuff, Zvezda. And what a beast the T-35 is!
Monday, November 3, 2014
Just in time for the end of Tanktober I finished this platoon of IS-2s for Battle Group Fall of the Reich. With the replacement 85mm turrets I did for my T34s and a few SU 85s and 100s completed, that pretty much finishes off what I needed to do to adapt my Kursk Soviets for 1944-5, although I will add some more infantry.
As always, these PSC IS-2s are ajoy to whack together, and should scare the fascist vipers quite a bit.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
One great thing about Tanktober has been that it's given me the opportunity to discover some terrific Soviet and Russian movies. Chief among them so far has been Liberation (Osvobozhdenie), a five part, over six hour epic of the war on the Russian front from Kursk in 1943 to the fall of Berlin. The films were shot between 1969 and 1971, and were the most expensive war movies ever made in the USSR. I'm only half way through part 2 so far, but enjoying them immensely.
Compared to the sorts of movies being made in the west around the same time, Liberation really has to be seen to be believed. The sheer scale of the battle scenes of Kursk and the crossing of the Dnieper are extraordinary, with rows of Zis 3 guns and T-34/85s and SU-100s tearing across the fields. There are inevitable inaccuracies, such as the use of T34/85s at Kursk, but they have certainly made a big effort to make the films as realistic as possible, with some pretty convincing Tiger Is and less convincing Panthers based on IS-2s taking the field, although always in panzer grey.
One of the most interesting features is the propaganda in the film, and particularly the portrayal of Stalin. He gets a fairly sympathetic treatment, but is shown as largely deferring to his generals, with some of his decisions like that to treat Soviet POWs as traitors shown to be counterproductive. The Western allies are shown as dragging their heels somewhat with the second front, with some subtle distortions like the landings in Sicily being described as a response to Soviet success at Kursk.
Get hold of a copy if you can - Liberation really is very good.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Tanktober is a magical time of year. Today I realised just how special it is. On Monday I went to Hobbyco in Sydney on a whim, strode purposefully into the shop and said 'I would like to get a remote controlled tank, preferably a T34.' The chap behind the counter said 'turn around - that came in half an hour ago'. Sitting on top of a bunch of shipping boxes was this beauty. I handed over $50, and took my pet back on the bus to his new home. He has accompanied me to school, and I'm enjoying taking him for walks.
Today, my friend Sian decided she wanted the Tiger I in the same series so we could have a battle (the tanks have infra-red guns in them). I rang up Hobbyco to see if they had one. The bloke I spoke to claimed the shop had never sold such a tank as the one that was sitting on my lap being patted while I spoke to him. Sian and I went to investigate instead of facing the horror of exam marking. Even in person Hobbyco claimed no knowledge that such a thing ever existed. 'No, we don't have those. We have some for $200 but they're smaller. We're not even sure tanks even exist. What's a tank? Who are you people? What do you want from us? Take some Lego and go, for god's sake, just go!' and so on.
Eventually it turns out that my tank was something a rep from the distributor had added to a shipment because it came from a shop that had closed down, and they don't even make these anymore, and certainly wouldn't for $50 if they did.
Or so they said.
But we know what really happened, don't we? The god of tanks has smiled on Tanktober, and given me this wonderful blessing.
Stal! Stal! Stal!