Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Plush Foam Fields (TMT)

This is the 150th blog post issued on the 3rd anniversary of this blog. Some of the blog posts have been better than others – some of them I am actually even proud of (especially the two that were written by the Little One).  Like most of us I have limited time to spend on the hobby and very often the blog updates goes out without too much second/proof reading but I hope they serve some purpose. 

The first blog post was Saga in 6mm – Part 1 (16th May 2016) – it seems like a long time ago – it is still being read on a regular basis.

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The first picture on the blog – An Anglo-Danish warband.  I now have a massive amount of pictures in the blogs media library.

I will have a cake this evening and maybe even a beer. Whether this is the first time you are here of you have been before, thanks for checking it out!

If this is of any interest to you please engage by leaving a comment, follow the blog (you can sign up for e-Mail updates) and engage here, or on Twitter (@Roll_a_one) or Facebook (@rollaonepage).  These interactions really makes a difference and it keeps me going! I love this hobby and this blog is my open door to what I am doing with it – use it as you wish!

Thank you!

Enough of that – some time ago I read Iain Fuller’s excellent blog (link here) Tracks and Threads where he had found some interesting looking material from Hobbycraft.

“I’ve recently started visiting some Facebook pages after resisting them for ages and apart from the odd silly comment (usually from people not reading the OP properly) it has not been too bad. The other day on one of the pages, 6mm Miniatures and Wargaming, a lovely bloke called Ricky posted that he had found (or more correctly his missus had) some A4 sized ‘Plush Foam Sheet’ that are perfect for fields whilst in a Hobbycraft shop. Upon checking out their website I saw that they do ‘Corrugated Foam’ sheets too so with my ‘Club Terrain Chap’ hat on I duly ordered some – Beige, Dark Green and Yellow ‘Plush’ and Brown ‘Corrugated’ and they arrived the next day, and they are ace: look good, great texture to the ‘plush’ ones and will drape over hills nicely and seem pretty durable to boot. Oh, and they cost 80p a sheet!!”

From the Tracks and Thread blog post “Nice 6mm internet terrain find”, 1st October 2018.

Note: Following some research Ricky is Ricky Bell who produces some fantastic 6mm Napoleonic stuff and posts frequently on the “6mm miniatures & wargaming” Facebook group.  I also think the price has gone up to 99p per sheet.

In the run-up to Christmas last year I found myself at a hobbycraft shop with a gift voucher and bought a fair few of these sheets, I was very excited at the time but then stuck them in a drawer – passing them to the myths and legend of the terrain material mountain – a lighter but more colourful lump of stuff (compared to the lead mountain) that will never transform into nice looking terrain on the table. But faith would have another outcome for these plush sheets.

Last year I incorporated some fields into the terrain mat for the Horka battle, but there were two issues with it: (I) It added to the time to do the mat and (ii) the bushes around it were only indicative as they were built into the surface – it was ok, but I wanted to do something different this year.

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The Mat from last year, this year the mat will be 4 feet longer!

So I thought I do some field tiles instead that I could place on the mat that would create a similar illusion to that achieved last year.  I remembered those Flush Foam sheets. I ventured to the room of many things, rummaged through the boxes, found a lot of things I had forgotten I owned, some of it I had even bought twice, I even found some of the very rare purple lichen (!?) and then in the end I had the sheets in my hand and work could truly begin.

 Here is a series of pictures that I hope will explain how I made some field tiles.

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These are the Plush Foam sheets. They could be used to quickly create some fields just like they are.
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I marked up the tiles I needed on some 6mm mdf sheets I had lying around (these were 2 by 2 feet square) from some previous projects.  I used to make my tables from 2 by 2 boards but have now gone over to the mat concept.
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I then made sure I had enough material and that all the fields would fit in a A4 size (the dimension of the foam sheets) sheet.
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Then I cut out the tiles, sanded the edges (to avoid the flat 6mm edge on the boards – this will further be off-set by adding the clump foliage – as shown later), and cut out the pieces of foam and glued them on (using Grip Adhesive), trying not to have the same colour on two adjacent fields (note the darkest brown is a corduroy type of floor tile I had left over from another project, this sheet is slightly better than the corrugated sheet produced as part of this series).
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It ended up looking like this – a little bit to artificial for my taste.
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I started dabbing in some colour in straight lines, that would match the original colour to create some depth.
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Creating a little bit more depth, but some of the old colour shining through.
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Then I added some clump foliage to the sides and I think the aerial shot has wastly improved. Dabbing on the extra colour in lines gives the illusion of depth and the sheets more looking like fields.  I made the clump foliage myself a few years back for the Saga project and had a fair amount left.  I basically bought a large bag of foam off-cuts, put them with water in a blender to shred them into small pieces. Mixed them with PVA and green paint, spread them out on a flat surface and let them dry. Then, when dry, I ripped them up smaller pieces. You could use some off- the shelf foam, but the method I did creates “firmer” form due to the PVA glue.
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At ground level it is not looking bad either. Here we can see some Russian Dragoons spying on some Ottomans riding through the Country side. Maybe it is during the Pruth campaign in 1711. (6mm Miniatures from Baccus)
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The dark brown part being the floor tile mentioned above, the others the Plush foam.
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Really happy, with the benefit that I can use these for a lot of other situations. Will add a little bit of static grass here and there on the edges and drybrush the bushes before finalising them and then add some matt spray varnish.  But this more or less battle ready.

Hope that was of some interest!

 

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Playing with Matches (TMT)

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The accounts of the Poltava Battle and the Siege of the town itself states that the houses/village outside the city were burnt down in a measure to avoid them being used as hiding places for the Swedes as they laid Siege to the town (the rather big model of the Poltava itself can be found here).  This was a very common measure as a clear area was needed in front of the defensive walls.

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Poltava Town

I wanted to mark this on the mat for the battle by doing some ruined/burnt down buildings.  I checked quickly what was available to buy from various sellers but found mostly WW2 biased stuff in the scale, like bigger buildings and in general two storey buildings – it did not really fit my 18th century rural Russian theme.  I reckoned I could have a go at building something myself that would do the job, here is a rough guide showing how I made them.

This is a very simple project and I hope it is of some use! It is very quick to do! – provided you have some glue and matches. You could of course use tooth picks as well.

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I took some bases and basically cut some matches and used some PVA glue to build these kind of structures. I did the first level complete but then proceeded to some random parts.
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When it was dried I put some black ink (mixed 50/50 with water, the ink works better than paint giving that kind of coal glow – if you know what I mean) on the wood and some brown sand (or any sand just painted brown) for ground cover. I also added some additional matches, to represent collapsed beams etc.
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Grey dry-brush and a little bit of dead grass. I guess I could have added a little bit of more grey here and there to add to the effect.
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I then added them to some tiles that I decorated to blend in with my normal ground cover.
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Good enough! – no Swedes will hide here
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I also made a few tiles for the Villages not burnt down. The buildings are from Timecast Miniatures (http://www.timecastmodels.co.uk/) and the Churches from Battlescale (https://battlescale.com/). Both companies doing some really nice 6mm stuff.

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Some Riders from Nylands Cavalry Regiment! (these and the other miniatures are of course from Baccus, https://www.baccus6mm.com/)

That was all for now, Please play with matches carefully!

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By the way, you can use them for other periods too 😉

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Redoubts and Casualty Markers (TMT)

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In an earlier blog posting I showed my prototype Russian redoubt for the Poltava Battle (see link here, that also describes how they were made). These were hastily fortifications that caused the Swedes a lot of trouble during the march up to the field where the main Battle was fought.

You can read more about the redoubt battle on the eminent Tacitus webpage here.

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Screenshot from the Tacitus page (link above)

In this update we will cover:

  • The finalised redoubts
  • Some casualty markers to show whether a redoubt has been taken or not.
  • A few Swedish Siege Artillery pieces

All scratch built  with Baccus 6mm miniatures, using a lot of their dismounted dragoons and casualty figures from the WSS and GNW range.

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Here are the final Redoubts, note that one is empty as the units were on a toilet break at the time.
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Some of the redoubt were not completed when the Swedes attack, I have added digging engineers to these.
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Another angle.
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Each of the redoubts comes with two markers, this one showing it having been taken. In essence a glorified casualty marker.
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…and the one showing it fully defended.
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Some more casualty markers.
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One with a Dalregiment solder waving the regiments standard. This one actually not a Baccus miniature but a converted Peasant from Microworld Miniatures (I have since rectified the chocolate cake look around his mouth).
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The first six, these are 40 by 40mm bases.
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Some additional ones done from left overs, 60 by 30mm bases.
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The last four, 40 by 40 mm bases.
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Another close up of one of the bases with a Swedish Officer, perhaps reflecting on the horrors of war.
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I also did some Siege Batteries for the Poltava Siege
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Guns and Mortars
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Close-up of the Mortars

Hope that was of some interest!

Let us see that Dalregiment gentleman again! – the flag with the Dalecarlian bolts is waiving in victory. Wish it had gone like that on the day though!

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Background to your Miniatures – a little trick

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This is a little short blog update to discuss a little trick you can use to add a little bit of extra interest to your miniatures photos. Nothing revolutionary in my view but some appreciation at Twitter, when I have revealed the method, has lead me to believe that perhaps someone else may find this useful.

Here are a few pictures I took of some of the Eastern Horse I will be using for the Poltava 1709 Battle.  They are all 6mm models from Baccus form various codes from the Great Northern War and Ancient range.

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Some of these models look better in the flesh than others, but I hope you agree that we can roughly see what is going on and that the background enhances the picture. It becomes a few blokes riding around the country side as opposed to a some miniatures on a 60 by 60 base. You may even wonder what they are up to!

There are many ways we could achieve this, including (1) having a fully “terrained” up table and using that as a backdrop, (2) using a background picture on a board (like the long side panels used for railway set-up with rolling terrain) or (3) using some green sheet in the background and then photoshop in a background.

I used neither of these methods, I just found a picture I liked on the internet, turned my coffee cup upside down (make sure it is empty) and placed the miniatures on it in front of the picture on the screen and snapped away – quick and easy.

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My little rig!

 A few things to note is that this works great for a few miniatures but it may be difficult to line up your whole army and get them all, I suppose you could set something up against you wide screen TV – I let you explore further.

This is a 54mm figure, so I guess it is not just a 6mm thing.

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An early 19th Century Swedish Infantry man!

/ I hope that was of some use, a little cheers from my Paradise Island!

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..or is?

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Have fun..

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Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Getting some Heavier Support, Part 1

 

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I have had the strawman of this blog post in my draft folder for a long time as I have stalled this part of the Swedish 1943 Invasion project until I sort out some decals etc. I have been working on the opposition though (here is a link to the last blog post on them). I do get the more than occasional question on what tanks to use for this project and what proxies are available.  Therefore with an apology in advance for the tanks presented here being 80% complete lacking the final wash, drybrush, decal and weathering. The stripy painting will be subdued by this process – I promise and hope, but looks good at the right distance as it creates some depth. The final garage will be presented in a Part 2 together with some Swedish Armoured Cars, it may even contain a little mini campaign for what a Tanker in the What-if Swedish 1943 Invasion context.

More on this project in previous blogs here (links below):

I am doing this project in 15mm and have not explored what options exists in other scales.

In essence we need 4 different tanks for Sweden in WW2, here they are (the two first models would be available in an earlier war campaign, my focus is Summer 1943 when all these models are available/in service. Each links to the relevant Wikipedia page if you want to know more about them):

Strv m/37 (available from the start of WW2) – This was the AH-IV Tankette the Swedish Army in the inter war years bought from the Czech company ČKD (Českomoravská Kolben-Daněk) company, it was produced under licence in Sweden.

The tankette was strongly modified, including the suppression of original driver’s machine gun, this variant was heavier and larger, than the AH-IV. On the turret, was placed two Swedish-made machine guns, the 8mm Ksp m/36 Strv and a commander cupola.

– Wikipedia entry “Stridsvagn m/37”

To achieve something looking similar to the Swedish version I had to do a rough conversion of a Battlefront / Flames of War model (how I did it is included in the Appendix below, with the code reference RO005) of the Romanian R1 Tankette.  I just made one of these, but they came in pack of 3, so I may do a few more of them.

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Strv m/38-39-40, generally known as the L-60 series (available from the start of WW2) – This was a Swedish tank developed in 1934, a few were exported and one of the versions is the Hungarian Toldi tank . My version is a 3D printed Toldi. They can be bought from Butlers Printed Models (BPM) in the UK – I got mine from a friend. They are a little bit of rough models, compared to other manufacturers.  You could buy a Toldi in 15mm from Battlefront as well. I did no modification on these.

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Strv m/41 (available from Dec 1942) – Licence built 38(t) a common early war tank used by the Germans. I got some Plastic Solider company (PSC) 38(t)s and did some minor but I think effectful modifications (included in the Appendix below).

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Strv m/42 (Available from April 1943) – The mighty m/42 with a 75 mm L/34 gun. I bought one from Shapeways, it was bloody excellent.  I think I will buy two more of this one (PV112B Stridsvagn m/42 (1/100) is the Shapeway reference, they cost £25 each – ouch!).

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Appendix – conversions

Stridsvagn m/37 

This was a Swedish-built version of the Czechoslovakian CKD AH-IV Tankette, it was also sold to Romania.  Battlefront does a model of this version (R1 Cavalry Light Tank Romanian, code RO005), however there are a lot of notable differences between the versions.  The Green model in the picture below is the Battlefront model whilst the black and white photos are the actual Strv m/37.

Key differences:

  • Machine Gun on the right-hand side (did not exist on the Swedish model, so I did not install it)
  • The detail on top of the tracked wheels in front is different, there is a smaller box on the Swedish version (I reshaped this part – see below)
  • The Swedish version had two MGs in the front, not one barrel (I re-did this part – see below)
  • The Swedish version had a cupola in the hatch (I added one on my version – see below)

This is how I did the conversion, a quick job as usual looking for something impressionistic and that looks more like the Swedish than the Romanian versions.

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First I hacked away a little bit of the front part (shown on the second model) ….
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…so I could shape a little box instead as seen in the picture.
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Then I removed the cannon and sanded the front of the turret flat.
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Got a piece of plastic
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Drilled two holes in it (as shown in the picture below)
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Put in two pieces of a paper clip to represent the 8mm MGs and glued a part of a plastic sprue on to of the turret to represent the commander cupola.
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Wrong order – but you get the idea.
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Piece of blue tac – I suppose you ought to use something more sturdy like green stuff – but this is Roll a One modelling – no finesse.
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Stick it on top – conversion done. The Cupola is too tall but you get the idea. I am redo this later.

 

Strv m/41

I more or less used these as they came in the box from Plastic Solider Company, however I wanted to add some spare wheels, because it looks very iconic on the n/41 and also the  hatch opened forward.

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First I cut out a wheel from the track section
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Trimmed it as good as I could
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I used instant mould – it is a plastic that goes soft in warm water and you can use it to make simple moulds – like this one.
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I pressed the plastic on the shape
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Then I used some cheap 2 part epoxy resin and put it in the mould – you do not need a lot.
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Reasonable result
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Changed my mind and drilled a whole in the original and made a new mould
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Looking better
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To reverse the hatch direction I just cut of the front and the back bit on the cupola and glued them on in the opposite way.
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Job done, looking more Swedish

/ Hope that was of some interest.

 

 

 

Featured

25th Panzer Division for the What-if Swedish Invasion 1943 – Part 1

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Some time ago I fancied doing some Swedish WW2 era soldiers for fun, originally thinking I would do some kind of border skirmish scenario or something similar. It grew in scope somewhat, I have recorded the progress so far in a number of blog posts (here, here and here).

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From the Book “The German Northern Theatre of Operations 1940-1945” by E. F. Ziemke, you can download an excellent copy of the book here. For this particular project it in the pages 252 to 264.

Current I am planning a few Scenarios based on the 1943 Swedish invasion plan made by Adolf Schell. Part of this plan had some of the lines of advance going through Dalarna (the county where I was born) in Sweden and it would be interesting to place some of the action here. So having some units for the Swedish side I really needed some suitable Germans and decided to start by doing some tanks representing the 25th Panzer Division as it was in the Summer 1943 when it was stationed in Norway.

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From the book reference above, page 262.

So from this we know that the division had the following tanks:

  • PzKpfw II
  • PzKpfw III
  • PzKpfw IV
  • Hotchkiss H39 (captured French tank)
  • Suoma S35 (captured French tank)
  • Self-Propelled assault Guns

As the Swedes on the other side did not have a very strong tank force and anti-tank capability at the time, this list is still challenging but not as devastating as a list with Tigers and Panthers for example.

In addition the division would have a number of other supporting units like Panzer grenadiers, scouts/recon, artillery etc. I will get to these later, however as this is a Chain of Command project, I am not interested in some of the heavier stuff and/or supporting companies, but it would be fun to include some scout types as I read somewhere that they were mainly on Motorcycles and did not have armoured cars, etc.

However back to the focus of today – the tanks.

First I had to decide on how to paint them, my initial idea was to just make them Panzer Grey but since the directive was to paint them in dunkelgelb  was issued earlier in the year, I asked people on twitter for some advice and got may helpful hints, like this one from Petri Niemenien (thank you):

To be specific, Feb 1943: Dunkelgelb RAL 7028 base coat + Rotbraun RAL 8017 and Olivgrün RAL 6003 stripes 😉

So, and I noted this down mainly for myself, this is the process I used (it creates some reasonable and quick results, it works for my table):

  1. I used Plastic Soldiers Tank Spray Dunkelgelb (link here) cans – awesome product to be honest, saved me a lot of time. But you could of course use a brush.
  2. Then I dabbed/stipple (use a thin wasted brush) on the Olive Green mixed with the Dunkelgelb paint (4:1 mix to tone it down) forming some 2-3mm stripes – I used the paints in the picture below, but anyone will do. The MIG paints are a little bit runny and work great for this, if you use other paints water them down somewhat, I want to have some of the primer shining through.
  3. The same with the Rotbraun (reddish brown).
  4. Then I highlighted the green stripes with the Oliver Green unmixed, tried to do a line in the middle kind of – do not paint stipple it on.
  5. For the Rotbrown stripes, use the colour again but mix in some dark brown (I used burnt umber).  Again highlight the middle.
  6. Let it dry
  7. Wash the tank with a light brownish wash – I used Army Painter Quickshade – Soft Tone.
  8. Let it dry
  9. Drybrush with the Dunkelgelb
  10. Do the details as appropriate.
  11. Put on Decals (I used Plastic Soldier Company Decals for mine).
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(I) Army Painter Quickshade Soft Tone, (ii) Vallejo burnt Umber 941, (iii) Mig RAL 7028 DUNKELGELB AUS ’44 DG III (for highlighting, this is paler than the mid-war version, so get one of those if you are not using the army painter spray), (iv) MIG RAL 6003 OLIVGRÜN OPT.2 and (v) MIG Red Brown Shadow.  

I will do some further weathering but will perhaps add some division insignia decals (I will do these myself later) and decide what time of the year the actual invasion “happens” so will wait with that and do it when all is completed.

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Divisional Insignia, 25th Panzeer

I really fancied the idea of including some of the French captured tanks – as they are rarely seen on a wargames table unless it is depicting France in 1940. I went to the Tank Museum in Saumur in 2016 and really enjoyed the French tanks in the collection.

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Wonder if the other ones in the Platoon were called Athos, Porthos and Aramis?
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This is the Somua S35
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This is the Hotchkiss H39

 

I bought three each of these French tanks from Peter Pig (link here) and they are brilliant metal models with limited parts, just ensure you use either 2 part epoxy glue or some milliput or equivalent when you assemble them to ensure strength and durability.

The French tank had cupolas instead of hatches on top and in many cases the Germans added hatches on top.  I did not modify the H39s but on the S35 a used a modelling knife and did a cut in the middle of the cupola to represent a hatch on two of them and a tank commander with some improvised hatches (I cut some plastic Sherman hatches roughly from a Plastic Soldier Company sprue the Little One had not used).

Here are the H39s (Peter Pig)

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..and the S35s (Peter Pig)

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Note the cut on top of the Cupola, creates the illusion of a double hatch, also the DIY hatches on the one with the visible commander.

Then the standard German tanks, first out PzKpfw II.

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Then the PzKpfw III.

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So now we have some options, and good progress overall on the tank front.

  • PzKpfw II (done)
  • PzKpfw III (done)
  • PzKpfw IV
  • Hotchkiss H39 (done)
  • Suoma S35 (done)
  • Self-Propelled assault Guns

I guess next I will do some PzKpfw IVs and StuGs but fancy including some early other Self Propelled Guns as well – but that will be the next binge batch some other time.

By the way I also did some Hanomags and command vehicles… (all from Peter Pig, except the Befehlswagen that is from Skytrex, this is the last vehicle in the second Picture)

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If you have any information about the 25th Panzer Division that could be relevant up to them leaving Norway in 1943 I would be more than interested. Also any books that may include some coverage of the Division or the individual regiments/battalions that formed it, etc.

  • Panzer Regiment 9
  • Panzer Grenadier Regiment 146
  • Panzer Grenadier Regiment 147
  • Panzer Artillery Regiment 91(undersized)
  • Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion 25
  • Motorcycle Battalion 8
  • Panzerjäger Battalion 87(Tank Destroyer Battalion)
  • Panzer Engineer Battalion 87
  • Panzer Signal Battalion 87
  • Panzer Pioneer Battalion 87
  • Feldersatz Battalion (Field Replacement Battalion)

 

/ Hope that was of some interest

 

 

 

 

Featured

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – the Swedish Camp (TMT)

In the last update on the Poltava project that will be laid out at Joy of Six in July this year I presented Poltava itself and I wrote about it here.

As I have stated on a number of occasions, this is just one of the many features I want to capture on the Battle Field.  In an earlier update I showed some plans I had in doing the Swedish camp.

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I had no idea whether a tent was standardised or not (but since everything else was I assumed it would be) and got some input from Oskar Sjöström who works at the Swedish Army Museum (and also wrote a brilliant book on the Battle of Fraustadt 1706) in the form of photos of tents from re-enactment groups (the one below representing enlisted tents).

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In addition I came across this old document from 1699, showing an officers tent. It is signed by the King himself (Carolus, Charles XII) – straight on top of the drawing.

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Another prominent feature of the camp are the Swedish Supply wagons, these were based on another design from the Period (I wrote a blog on how I made these wagons for the Lesnaya project here).

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The overall design of the camp is based on how a battalion camped during the era, and I used the following picture as an inspiration (from the book Poltava 1709 – Vändpunkten, by Moltusov and Lyth).

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Inspiration
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Initial thoughts and planning – tents are from Baccus 6mm
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Some further work – note the Supply Wagons discussed above. The blue foam is a perimeter wall around the camp. I made the camp on a 6mm mdf board, about 2 by 1 feet in dimension.
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The Tents – I made these on separate bases to allow some flexibility.
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Another angle…
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Some camp followers
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Some fires
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The tents in the Camp
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Some meat is being prepared

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Adding some supply wagons
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The final spectacle with enough space for some troops. Putting it away until the show, there is much more to do.

/ Hope that was of some interest