Monday, May 04, 2015

Erkenbrand, Lord of the Westfold

Getting back to some LOTR painting, and I have recently completed Erkenbrand, Lord of the Westfold of Rohan, to compliment my growing Rohan force.


Erkenbrand's name is possibly derived from the Old English 'eorcan' meaning precious, and 'brand' meaning sword.


Erkenbrand was the Lord of the Westfold of Rohan at the time of the War of the Ring, at the end of the Third Age.

He is largely missed from the movie trilogy by Peter Jackson, with a brief appearance in Return of the King.

In the books, during the battle of Helms Deep, it is he and his Eored, that Gandalf seeks out as reinforcements to the beleaguered defenders of the Hornburg, and not Eomer, as in the movie. In the books, Eomer is already in the Hornburg, as one of the defenders...




Again, in the books, after the battle of Helms Deep, when Theoden leads the forces of Rohan to Gondor's aid, Erkenbrand remains behind to manage the Dunlending prisoners and make repairs to the fortress.


After the War of the Ring comes to an end, Éomer makes Erkenbrand Marshal of the West-mark


In the game, Erkenbrand is a potent hero of Rohan, allowing me to field another warband of 12 Riders of Rohan. What attracts me to using him though is his special rule "Red Shields". For 1pt per model, Warriors and Riders of Rohan can have their Fight skill increased from 3 to 4.

That doesn't sound much but when their traditional foes are Uruks with Fight 4, that brings the Riders back to parity... and with the extra mounted attacks a cavalry charge brings, that should start scattering the evil forces, especially against any lowly Fight 3 orcs in their forces...


Looking forward to giving Erkenbrand a whirl, alongside Eomer and Theodred...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Panzer IV's, Mobelwagons... and the 'Panzer Bums!'

The last weekend's long holiday in remembrance of ANZAC day here in NZ, allowed me some time off, to finish off, a project I have had on the the go for several months now...

The first part of which was completing another box of PSC panzer IV's...

I made 4 in the Ausf H variety, to complete the missing platoon command and platoons tanks, by turret numbering, giving sufficent for an HQ and 3 combat platoons of 4 tanks each...

Panzer IV Ausf H
The remaining Panzer from the boxed set of 5  I turned out an Ausf G... no side Schurzen armour for this fellow... but still a nice big gun, which in the MidWar setting he is destined for, should be ample...

Panzer IV Ausf G

Back to the core project and I needed 4 Mobelwagons... These are Battlefront resin and metal...and were a bit of a sod to put together! The worst part was the gun mount,  which once assembled then sits off centre on the mounting point, and wouldnt rotate properly without hitting the hull sides... Darm it! I was going to drill and pin it so it could rotate... but after buggering about for a while I gave up, cut off the mounting lug from the base of the gun and just glued them into position so they sat centrally and glued the base of the front gun shield to the hull front side for extra strength and stability...

Mobelwagons

I glued the side walls in the lowest position as I hope these will be shooting up ground targets as well as their original AAA role! I have added decals to the hull sides but you cant really see as they are hidden under the lowered side panels.

So this completed the require platoons for me to field... "The Panzer Bums!"

"Here come the Panzer Bums" (hummed to the tune of Men In Black...) ;-)

I read a battle rep a few months back on the WWPD site where they described a force of Reluctant Trained panzers from the Blood Guts and Glory book as the 'Panzer Bums'. Intrigued I read the report and laughed it off...Reluctant Trained was a little out of my comfort zone, being more used to the Confident Veteran German troops... but then a little comment in the report said that while they typically take horrendous casualties, theres frequently still enough left to get the job done and the list had proved to be quite successful on the whole...


The 'Panzer Bums'...

...that got me thinking... and playing about on EasyArmy... and sure enough... at ~1750points you get a ton of armour... 20 medium tanks, 4 AAA and 14 halftracks and two platoons of MG/faust infantry. Thats a shit load of firepower! Even if half of it gets destroyed there's always going to be something to fire back...






So there we have it, the Panzer Bums ready to rock and roll in Lorraine... the only fly in the aspic is no recce... so ambushes are no doubt going to hurt... but with 14 halftracks zooming ahead they could be the forced 'recce' of the main tank force... whatever pops up in ambush is probably going to catch a ton of return fire... oh and no artillery...so no smoke either!

The Panzers in the above list are admittedly Ausf J's... which just means they also have slow traverse on the turrents, but I dont think anyone is going to mind too much me proxying them with the Ausf H.

I recall a mate telling me that Trained armies are usually 'shooty armies' ... well yep I think that's certainly the case here... and since this force is Auto-Attack you'll always all the guns on the table...

PanzerKompanie from Blood, Guts and Glory

Of course, being Reluctant Trained...its going to hurt!... So I also made a whole load of burning tank markers recently too - gulp!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ANZAC Gallipoli Diorama workers featured in the evening news on TVNZ

Above picture and below link courtesy TVNZ

All the efforts made by the hobbyists who have taken part in the painting of the 5000 figures for the Gallipoli Diorama, funded by Sir Peter Jackson, and to be displayed at the Dominion Museum in Wellington, has been featured in a news bulletin on TVNZ news...

Follow link below...

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/sir-peter-jackson-developing-multi-million-dollar-wwi-exhibition-video-6288901

I was lucky enough to be briefly featured in the footage, as it opens with a close up of me filing away, and then you can spot me throughout the feature, wearing a grey top, working under my little light rig.

Sam stole the limelight and rightly so with the amount of work he has contributed.

Well done to all for taking part, and thanks to TVNZ for their coverage.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

More Anzac work...at WETA

Well I thought I had seen my last of 54mm Turks and Anzacs... how wrong I was... I volunteered for a weekends help at one of the Weta warehouses as part of the hobbyist crews sorting the models that had been returned from various clubs round the country, getting them ready to mount on to the Diorama board itself, now positioned in the Dominion Museum in Wellington.

It was rather cool, as we got to see some of the other models and gear the WETA folks were working on, for other movies.. but having had to sign confidentiality agreements while being there I cannot elaborate... but lets just say it was certainly eye opening!

I was anticipating a day touching up paint chipped models from the packing and delivery returns... or maybe getting to help out sticking clump foliage to the diorama board ... how wrong I was...

On opening some of the returned boxes of figures from the various clubs, one box contained the entire Maori battalion of about 200 figures that hadn't even been touched. 200 shiny silver figures needing filing, trimming and assembly! And then painting... So I was quickly involved with that... it was just a fluke I'd brought my knife and files along too... just as well!

We quickly got our selves positioned and I had brought my little portable work station with attached light to work by, so I got power, and set to...

All pics on this post courtesy Roly Hermans official blog - "Mustering the Troops" :

Rhys Jones, left,  (Retired NZ Senior Defence force) inspects our progress...


Yours truly hard at work, but has a moment to grin for the camera...


Mid morning a TV1 news crew also showed up to film us and chat to us. I think my little portable light rig caught their attention as they seemed to have the camera pointing my way from time to time. So who knows, I maybe on the news, indirectly at some point!


So I spent most of Saturday helping with the trimming , filing and assembling the Maori battalion figures. Towards the end of the day I also got to start doing the Kiwi HMG teams, which were rather fiddly as you had to assemble the crews and HMGs themselves with their slender fiddly little tripod legs... yes super-gluing your fingers together is always great fun!

Other guys near me were hard at work with painting duties, either doing touch ups, or starting fresh figures that guys in the spray booth had been spray under coating en-masse... this was turning into a real paint-a-thon...



The assembled crew at the end of Saturdays work...



Things wrapped up that night at 5pm and many of us then met afterwards in town with the Perrys for beers and nibbles. I stayed for a short while but felt I had abandoned family long enough for one day so headed home after a short time.... I got to enjoy some pizza, wine and a movie together, once I got home. Simple pleasures...


Evening out at Macs in Wellington...



Sunday was more of the same... though a slightly later start... I had more machine guns to sort out and a steady stream of models that needing fixing with broken or missing parts, or gaps that hadn't been properly filled with model putty...

The painters were often hard out, either painting up new figures, or many were doing re-work, where submitted figures were judged as being too bright and needed toning down, or too dark and needed dry brush highlights so they would all work well en-masse together...

Lunch time on Sunday I got the chance to go round the full exhibit at the museum that was still very much in progress, not just our diorama board, but the whole museum is being kitted out in PJ's vision of an immersive visitor experience in all matters WWI... It's going to be truly mind blowing when finished ... and not just visually, but also sound effects and even smells... fascinating!

After the museum visit we were back to work for the afternoon... and I continued my filing trimming and prep work until I called it a day at 4pm...

There's still lots to do, but there's guys that can devote more of their time through the week... but for myself I am back to my own mundane normal working life, so wont have any more time to be involved...

Its been a fascinating experience... and I really can't wait to see the completed exhibit!



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Go Go German Sherman!

'Operation Midnight Panzer' has continued and five more hulls roll off the assembly line... they were assembled during the painting challenge,... but at the end of the evening, when I had had enough of painting for the evening, I'd spend the last 20 mins or so, of the night, assembling one of these tanks... and so on...


They are 15mm scale Panzer IV Ausf H, one of the later models of the Panzer IV with the long barrel high velocity main gun, and sporting side armour Schurzen skirts...


They are plastic kits from Plastic Soldier company, which I continue to find easy to assemble and cost effective... and once again painted in a late war 3 tone came pattern. No airbrushing, just block painted, shade wash and drybrush. A little detail work picking out tools etc. Do the tracks... a little HB pencil to denote worn parts on tracks, some drybrushed weathering, a little rust effect on the exhaust.. and finally decals.


Now I know the turret numbers are not sequential so these are not from the same platoon. This is because the first time I put turret numbers on the first PzIVs I got, I had not understood their significance and went with a mixture of assorted numbers. Thankfully I found the left over decals so have started to bulk out the original formation with the 'missing tanks'! If you get my drift?


So that's 10 Panzer IVs ready, and the plan is to complete one more box of five PzIVs, featuring a few commanders peaking out of their hatches, and that will give me three combat platoons plus the HQ panzers... enough for a horde of 'German Shermans' to confront the allies, ... perhaps in the Lorraine region...? Hmmm, wonder what list I'm looking at?  :)

German Panzer IV H: (FOW)
FA6, SA3, TA1.
Main gun, range 32", AT11, FP 3+
Co-Ax and Hull MGs
Side Armour Schurzen, and Protected Ammo.




Saturday, March 28, 2015

Kiwi (Fernleafs) Casualties, finished.

Managed to get the 10 Kiwi Casualties finished today.

Apparently, New Zealanders were not referred to as "Kiwis" back then, they were called "FernLeafs", hence the post title!


These were metal figures again and this time fully formed all the way round, so there was no getting away with only painting one side on these!

Three different poses, and I decided to vary the shirt colour between them.. as from what I have learnt, at the time of the attack, the troops were ordered to attack in shirt sleeves, so their tunic jackets were not worn. The troops had also by this time received clothes parcels from home so many were wearing differing coloured shirts, with anything from off white to light grey and light blues, hence the variety.

I left the pants the typical dark khaki colour.

The webbing I followed the painting instructions and did them with the light GW 'nuggling' green... (thanks to Roly for loan of his pot for this!) with a shade wash. I was a little curious at this colour choice though as most of the colour examples for this show it as a yellowy/tan colour...?

The other chaps were wearing off white braces.

Finally these guys being casualties, I ummed and arred about adding some subtle blood effects to their wounds...in the end I decided to add just a little... the pose to left of top picture I didn't add any, as there was no obvious wound site. The centre pose is raised up on one elbow clutching his side with other hand. I put some blood effects around the clutching hand, though he's lying on it so there's not much to see. The last pose is a little more overt... and this pose also had an oddity... no left ear! Not sure whether this was deliberate or a casting error... and if the latter, my green stuff skills are not up to sculpting ears!

So I decided he's been hit twice... one shot has taken his ear off, the other has hit him in the hip, so I put some blood effects on the missing ear, and round the hand on hip.


So that's my efforts concluded for this project. 50 figures done, which was 10 more than I anticipated.

Its been an honour to be involved with this project and I for one can't wait to have a look at it, once it's all done.

I'd also like to extend my appreciation of all the other folks who answered the call and picked up their paintbrushes, for a good cause. Well done, one and all.

Hopefully the display will last the test of time, and act as a permanent reminder of what our forebears endured, all those years ago... as ever... We will remember them...

Mustering the Troops

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