July wasn’t the most productive for painting so August was going to have to pick up the slack. I needed to get the M10C painted, plus the Stuarts. I also set myself the stretch goal of trying to get the Crusader AA troop painted and some Carriers (with a Wasp platoon as a priority.
One thing I did manage to get done in July was layering up the paper strips on the M10C that will form the Burlap camo. I went into the process of creating this effect, based on Evan’s original tutorial, in a previous episode and the M10C used the same process, albeit applied to a much larger extent on two of the hulls!
One thing I did change was the way I did the camo on the barrels. Instead of just layering paper strips straight on the barrel, I first wrapped some scale appropriate camo net onto the barrel (gauze bandage would also work) a couple of times. I didn’t want to go too thick. Next, I dipped the ends of individual strips of paper in super glue and attached them around and along the barrel, but kept it sparser than on the tank itself. These stick out at off angles to begin with but, next, I wet them with watered down PVA glue and nudged them downwards so they all sagged towards the ground.
I also did a similar process to the stowed camo nets, gluing small strips onto the Skytrex metal moulded camo nets.
Priming and Modulation
The issues that had plagued the Carriers largely kept occurring to a lesser extent on this batch. I was still getting a very spluttery finish, though it did improve after the first Crusader AA turret.
For the first time in this project I broke the transfers out! The M10 sloped turret front gave some good real estate for the top surface start that British AFV sported as a minimum. I used some Battlefront Allied Star transfer sheets that I’ve had for awhile and thankfully encountered no issues with old transfers breaking apart. I used Vallejo Decal softener to help the transfer follow the lines of the turret surfaces.
As with the last AFV, I hand painted the divsional badge, arm of service number and bridge number. The Stuarts and Crusaders were both from 3RTR so got a red “52”. The Divisional Anti-Tank units were number 77 on the Royal Artillery’s Red and Blue divided square whilst the Wasps are from the Monmouthshire’s Battalion Carrier platoon so got a number 62 on a green background.
Stowage and Burlap Camo
The Buralp camo was painted as on the Churchills. As mentioned then, it really should be three colours (khaki, green and brown) but the multi-colour test piece didn’t work for me.
There was no great shake up on stowage either. I was largely happy with the results on the Carriers so stuck with the recipe that I had come up with for that.
There were a couple unique aspects introduced by the M10Cs. Firstly the grousers mounted to the side of the tanks were painted up much like the tracks. I blocked them out in VMC German Camo Medium Brown, then drybrushed VMC Black Grey over it.
The stowed rounds I painted up as Anti-Tank rounds (because, you know, tank destroyer). I painted the whole round with VMC Brass, then painted the shell VMC Black, highlighted with VMC Black Grey. Finally I painted a VMC white band then carefully added a red band in the centre of that, leaving the white showing at the edges.
Contrast Machine Guns
I tried something new with the 0.50 for the M10C. I sprayed the guns (still partly attached to the sprues) Vallejo Surface Primer Grey then, when dry, applied Citadel Contrast Black Templar all over. I then added a edge highlight with VMC Sky Grey. This gave, to my mind, a very effective looking “blued” finish to the M2 0.50s for very little effort. I then picked out the charging handles and spade grip in VMC Flat Brown and painted the ammo tin VMC Black Brown, layered on VMC Olive Drab (now called Olive Brown) and applied edge highlights of VMC English Uniform. I added some yellow lettering with Citadel Yriel Yellow and painted on an ammo belt in VMC Brass with a VMS Black Grey stripe down the middle for the disintegrating links.
The MIG “Brown for Dark Green” filter was applied as per the process on the Churchills and Carriers though I took the time to take some photos of the filter (greshly applied and fully dried) against a non-filtered example, just to show the subtle difference it makes.
I had taken the M10s from a US starter I haven’t gotten around to yet so the first issue to deal with was a lack of British crews. Thankfully, you don’t play Flames of war for 15 years without building up a surplus of tank crew figures! The only real issue was that the tank crew were all wearing berets. I expect that the M10 crews, in an open topped metal box, would likely have worn a helmet of some sort (likely either the UK or US AFV helmet) in combat.
The M10C fell under the auspices of the Royal Artillery. In the 11th Armoured Division this was the 75th anti-tank regiment.
The modern Royal Artillery wear a dark blue beret, but this was not issued until after the war. Thankfully, for the sake of modelling, the crew would have been issued the Service Cap, a large, floppy, beret-like cap that was universally despised by those issued it.
The crews were painted much like the Carrier crews from last month. The berets were painted English Uniform like the rest of the battledress. The Royal Artillery places a red/blue segmented cloth diamond behind the cap badge but an attempt to replicate this at 15mm was not a success. They did receive the dark blue shoulder names of the Royal Artillery though.
Pinwash, Weathering and Finishing
Gloss varnish was applied via airbrush to the vehicles to seal the filter and assist the pinwash. Next Citadel Nuln Oil Gloss wash was applied as a pin wash to panel lines, rivets, etc to add definition whilst the normal Nuln Oil was applied to the tracks and lower half of the hull.
Once that was all dry, a wash of thinned VMC Tan Earth was liberally to the tracks, lower half of the hull and then as a more targeted wash to any crevices or recceses where dirt would build. It was then left to dry overnight.
The final stage was to apply a couple coats of Vallejo Mecha Matt (having shaken the bottle vigorously; I had noticed my matt was more satin on the last models and shaking fixed that) then drybrush on VMC Iraqi Sand to simulate dust.
M10C Tank Destroyer battery, 75th Anti-Tank Regiment, 11th Armoured Division, France
Crusader AA Mk.2 Platoon, 3RTR HQ Squadron, 11th Armoured Division, France
M5A1 “Stuart VI” Recce Troop, 3RTR HQ Squadron, 11th Armoured Division, France
Wasp IIC Platoon, The Monmouthshire Regiment, 11th Armoured Division, France
Fighting Withdrawal vs Nathan’s B(r)est Defenders
Whilst I was getting the Stuarts and Wasps painted, I met with Nathan for a game. I went with a two-formation force with Infantry (including Carriers, MMG carriers, 3″ mortars and a small MG platoon to use points) and a Churchill formation with some Crusader AA. A battery of M10C rounded the army out.
We played Fighting Withdrawal with the British defending. My M10C went in ambush and the Churchills were split evenly between the two flanks.
The right flank came under pressure straight away, with StuG and long range PaK-40 harassing the Churchills in the cornfield and bailing the 6pdr armed one on the first turn which then failed to remount until destroyed a few turns later.
On the left flank, my Churchills surged forward in the same way Tortoise don’t. But the slow, relentless pace saw them munch through Nathan’s flank, killing his Beach Defenders, a FJ platoon and a platoon of stummelwerfers.
The right flank just about held under the pressure whilst my Churchills on the left flank stopped Nathan from committing his PaK-40 to supporting the push. The British were victorious on their first run!
Friday Night Searchlights – 75pt Games
Friend of the blog and podcast, Mike, has been hosting some games of Flames of War in his barn and an offshoot of that was doing an evening of smaller point games to get the rookies (to v4 at least) up to speed. Duncan and I headed over to help run them through their paces.
My first game was against Mike S’s Desert Rats and I was using a German Panzergrenadier force. We rolled “No Retreat” and that and the River made the game tough for Mike’s Cromwells. Still he made a daring left hook whilst one platoon pushed the centre and fought his way towards the front most objective but ultimately ran out of tanks.
The second game was versus Iain’s Hungarians (posing as Germans as we didn’t have the Axis Allies book to hand) as he defended his Bridgehead against my Churchills. I put most my weight on one flank but left one platoon on the other flank to make a distraction run onto the right most objective. The game descended into quite a brutal slog as my distraction force, reduced to one Churchill held off Iain’s StuGs and the rest of the force pushed his grenadiers out of the buildings and back from the objective.
Last month we talked about a notional 100pt force and, with these units done, that 100pt force is now fully realised.
I thought it was worthwhile taking stock of where I was with my Brit force.
Given I started from a standing start (well, save the well established air landing force from v2 days!) its surprising how much I have got done since starting it with the Churchills in May! That’s 158 points in four months!
In terms of the 2021 goals, we can add 12 AFV teams and a healthy 31 pts to the year’s output. That brings the running total to:
172 figures (73 AFV, 79 infantry/gun teams, 14 helicopters and 6 fixed-wing aircraft)
346 pts – though we are continuing to mix LW WW2 with TY points!
The only box we really cleared out here was the Crusader AA platoon box as the Stuarts and M10 had been raided from a US starter set and the Carriers were from last month’s building. On the plus side, no new boxes added so its still a net reduction of one! Shame adverted.
The question now is where to go next. I think some 6pdr to full out the Rifle Company would be a good move. Similarly I have lots of 25pdr waiting to paint (a v3 hang over but who doesn’t love 25pdr). There also lots more Carriers to paint.
But all that may go by the way side because the two Mikes’s Cromwell have made me somewhat jealous and 11th Armoured’s recce regiment is sitting there to be done…