Welcome to April’s hobby progress report! Having spent the first three months of the year painting Team Yankee, I finally fell sway to peer pressure from Mike to paint some WW2. Lockdown is on the verge of ending and he was keen to get some ww2 wargaming in, having fallen back into the Flames of War fold.
Honestly, I have a *lot* of unpainted WW2 figures so it didn’t take much convincing. I decided my priority should be Germans, we had more than enough allies, and that I should really polish off the stuff I had picked up in the last year’s lockdown sales, a box of Pak43 and a box of Hummel’s, plus a box of Wespes Eddie had got for me. I also set a stretch goal of six Pumas and six Jagdpanthers from existing stocks, anticipating the return of the latter in the Bulge book. Finally, I find what I presume is an old Skytrex Panzer III OP lurking in the bottom of a bitz box and added that to the to-do list.
I had painted my fair share of Dunkelgelb Germans but, to make things interesting, I wanted to try out pre-shading the Dark Yellow coat. I also felt confident enough in my abilities to try and do some freehand airbrush camo too.
Not too much to report here. I raided my bits box for storage so that all the vehicles had a collection of cam nets, tarps, personal gear and the like. The Plastic Soldier Company stowage box was very useful here. It’s just a shame the useful bits are in such short supply (needed far fewer crews and three times as much personal kit).
I also built both the SdKfz 234/1 (2cm) and /2 (5cm “Puma”) turrets so I could swap them out as needed. The Company Command vehicle had its turret modified by splitting it down the centre so it could be modelled open.
This was pretty straightforward. The black and white element of the pre-shade was as per the previous efforts. The Dunkelgelb was Vallejo Model Air (VMA) Dark Yellow applied in multiple thinned layers, building the colour up so that the black edges were at least somewhat yellow. I was quite pleased with the look at this point.
I did a bit of google image searching for schemes I liked for each of the units, with a preference on those associated with 2nd Pz in Normandy. The self-propelled guns seemed to often sport three tone camo, along with the Jagdpanthers of Schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 654. On the other hand, the Pumas and Pak43 seemed to sport two-tone (Green on yellow) schemes.
For the green, I went with VMA Medium Olive and was generally happy with this. The brown was VMA German Red Brown. This seemed to work well for the Wespes which had the brown bound in patches of green…
…but, when I got to the Hummels, the same colour seemed to come out far too red. I wasn’t sure if I hadn’t shaken the paint enough but it certainly wasn’t the same shade as on the Wespes.
The Pumas and PaK43, lacking the brown camo, gave me some time to assess a way forward.
I decided to switch shades to VMA Tank Brown for the Jagdpanthers and was much happier with that shade.
Chipping and Tracks
I started off the detailing phase by doing some light chipping of the paint using Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) Black Brown applied by a torn sponge from a blister pack. This was applied to edges, undersides and areas of wear such as around hatches. A little goes a long way.
Next, I painted the tracks using VMC Flat Brown to give a suitable red-brown look for the red-oxide finish on German tracks. This was then heavily dry brushed VMC Black Grey to represent wear. I also picked out the road wheel rubber rims in Black Grey too, as well as the tyres on the Pumas.
Vision blocks were picked out in VMC Luftwaffe Uniform and driver lights were painted with a disc of VMC Black Grey, then the lower half painted in VMC London Grey with a smaller arc of VMC Sky Grey and a small dot in the top.
I picked out all the tools, stowage and machine guns in VMC black first, to help them stand out.
Ammo Tines, Jerry Cans and Uncovered Helmets:
VMC German Camo Dark Green base > VMC Field Grey highlight.
Some Jerry Cans and Helmets were painted:
VMC Green Brown base > VMC Middlestone > VMC Buff highlight for variety.
Backpacks and sacks:
VMC Brown Violet base > VMC Khaki > VMC German Camo Beige highlight
Either as per Backpacks/sacks or VMC Bronze Green base > VMC Field Grey > VMC Green Grey highlight.
Either way, Straps picked out in VMC Stone Grey
Canteen bodies, Wooden crates and tool handles:
VMC German Camo Medium Brown base > VMC Flat Earth > VMC Tan Earth highlight. Straps picked out in VMC Stone Grey
Tool Heads and MGs:
VMC German Grey base > VMC London Grey > VMC Sky Grey
Camo Smocks/Poncho Rolls/Covered Helmets:
VMC Khaki base > VMC German Camo Beige highlight then irregular VMC German Camo Medium Brown jagged lines with parts filled in with VMC Bright Green
The crews were something of a headache. Not so much the painting of them but actually working out what colour to paint them.
The Wespe and Hummel were relatively easy; field grey uniforms (painted using the same sequence as the “tarps” above) with red piping for “artillery”.
The Pak-43 was similarly straightforward; field grey uniforms with pink piping for Panzerjaegar. Again, gear was painted as per the colours in the “stowage” section.
The Jagdpanther crew sprue I had painted in black overalls, using Citadel Contrast (CC) Black Templar over a Vallejo Primer Grey base coat. The flesh areas were painted with CC Guilliman Flesh. However, further research by Duncan revealed it was only Elephant crews and Panzerjaegar in panzer divisions who were issued black overalls so I went back and repainted some of the crew in Field Grey overalls, retaining the pink shoulder board trim.
I couldn’t find anything definitive on the Puma’s crew so left them black with pink trim.
As noted in the intro, this was something new I was trying on the insistence of Coxer. A filter is basically a really thin enamel wash/glaze that is applied to subtly shift the tones of the paintwork and, allegedly, helps tie camo colours together. I used Mig “Brown for Dark Yellow” and carefully applied it to the camo areas of the models.
I still haven’t quite worked out what the filter is bringing to the table. It’s subtle for sure. As I write this, I’ve just done similar with British armour and a modulation technique and the filter seemed to be more apparent in its impact.
Markings, Transfers and Pin-Wash
The Wespes and Hummels had their Balkankruez painted on by hand. I then sealed the surface with Vallejo Mecha Gloss.
Once dry, I then started applying the decals. It was at this point I found the Puma’s had an issue where their Balkankruez was in negative. I ditched those and went back and painted them by hand, but kept the divisional markings for 2nd Pz and the number plates.
I then liberally applied Citadel Nuln Oil wash to the lower hull and tracks of the vehicles, then switched to Citadel Nuln Oil Gloss to apply the pin wash, carefully placing it on recesses and panel joins and the like. I find the gloss version of the wash works very well for this over a gloss finish, achieving much the same effect as an enamel pin wash.
Once that was done, I watered down Tan Earth and applied it liberally over the lower hull and tracks and then carefully in any places where dirt would become trapped.
The models were given the last coat of Vallejo Mecha Matt varnish and the AFV were given a light drybrush of VMC Iraqi Sand, concentrating on the lower surfaces and tracks/wheels.
The Hummel and Wespe crews were clipped from their metal tabs, save a small sliver which was kept in place to act as a pin. I used my Dremel to drill small holes for these pegs to locate in.
Tank crew were also glued in place on the Puma and Jagdpanther.
The PaK 43 crews were based much like previous infantry, though with the addition of 88 cases and rounds!
SdKfz 234/2 Puma and 234/1 2cm
Note, the Panzer III OP is a pretty awful model so couldn’t be bothered to photograph it. I’ll likely try and get hold of a PSC or BF plastic PzIII and make a replacement at some point.
Another busy month, with both stretch goals achieved in addition to the core target.
In terms of the 2021 count we can add:
Twenty AFV (though it’d be cheeky to count the two variants of 234 as separate vehicles) and four gun teams.
Bringing the running total to:
184 figures (40 AFV, 120 infantry, 14 helicopters, 6 fixed-wing and 4 gun teams)
182 pts – though we are mixing LW WW2 with TY at that point!
We also took three boxes off the shelves of shame, plus emptied a shoebox of Jagdpanther sprues! Sadly the shelves did gain three boxes as my friend Tom off-loaded some surplus Soviet; a box of BMP1/2 and two boxes of Shilka. They’ll find a home in the Syrians when I get to them.
The intention had been to do some more Germans, namely some PzIV/70 plus the other half of the Pumas, with a stretch goal of the replacement TOS-1 (which had a much better fit – thanks to Battlefront UK for the quick turnaround). However, the delivery of the PzIV/70 was delayed and something else caught my eye.
Catch you next month!