This week, Lee and Mark tell us how the first 50pts of their German forces from “Leopards” are going.
“Good, good. Everything is going according to Plan.” – The Emperor, Return of the Jedi. Right before he realised that exposed walkways are a health and safety nightmare.
Facing facts that, without Panzer Grenadiers, a 50pt Leopard 2 army is impossible, I have decided to get 60pts done in the same time. 5 Leopards was 55pts which left enough spare to get two Gepards in. I figure anyone who would have played a 55pt game is just as likely to play a 60pt one!
Building the first Leopard 2 for the review had revealed a few things that could be done better when it came to mass production. It was clear that the skirts were going to hinder painting the tracks so I left the tracks off to be painted separately. The turret mould line would be easier to clean with the smoke launcher panels off (it was) and spending a bit more time cleaning the sprue points off the smoke launcher panels would improve the fit (it did). I planned to blitz the last four tanks in one go, building each tank up to the same level before moving to the next stage. I was curious how quickly I could achieve that so I plonked myself down in front of the TV for England/Slovenia game (probably the first time I have watched a “round ball” game in a while) and started at the whistle. Game on!
Assembly and cleaning was pretty simple to achieve. I knew that the tracks would be easier to paint off the tank so I left them alone. I built the lower hull up fully, including adding the skirts. I then built up the turrets, cleaning the mould line before I added the launchers. As I predicted, it made cleaning the tank up easier. All that was achieved a little before full-time so I added some stowage to the bins (raiding a Plastic Soldier Company stowage set for MG ammo bins, bed rolls and tarp rolls). It was all a lot more satisfying than the game (I’ll stick to Rugby and Hand-egg in the future!).
Unlike the English side, I could complete something (is that a football thing? it sounds like a football thing)
With some time to spare before calling it a night, I had to decide how I wanted to paint the kit. The mid-eighties is a bit of a transition point for German schemes, much like the US. Some (most?) tanks were still in the old Gelboliv (Yellow Olive – basically olive drab) scheme. But the army was transitioning to NATO tri-colour, a unified colour scheme to be adopted across NATO so that the Russians didn’t get an easy time working out who they were facing by the expedient that the tanks were painted a certain way! As with most NATO standards, it was haphazardly adopted. I think only the US and Germany ever committed to it in any meaningful way.
Thanks to this new colour scheme, there will be no way to tell this apart from an M1. Other than all the differences…
I knew I wanted the 60pts painted by the first Brighton Warlords gaming night of July, (every Monday, so the 4th July) which gave me a little under two weeks with twio busy weekends limiting time. So Gelboliv made the most obvious sense, with Vallejo US Olive Drab surface primer making this really eas….
NATO Green on everything!
Ha ha ha. Of course I didn’t take the easy route. NATO Tri-Colour for everyone! Thankfully Vallejo have a NATO Green surface primer so the green stage was pretty easy to accomplish.
and I do mean *everything*…
I’m going to do a separate article on the painting process. But to summarise, the rest of the process consisted of searching various sources for the correct Vallejo model air colours for NATO tri colour (Black Grey and Rust Brown), realising that I didn’t have the correct brown (amazing considering how many shades of brown I seem to have these days) and then knuckling down and getting on with it. I put a few hours in each night (losing Saturday night to sitting on a hill manning a check point for the London to Brighton walk) and made slow and steady progress.
Freehand airbrushing – because masking is too time consuming.
(ironically, Ben gave me the German Team Yankee paint set this weekend *after* I had finished painting the first batch. Will give them a go on the Marders and helicopters in the 75pt step)
As I sit here and write this on Sunday 3rd, the turps is drying on the weathering pigments and I need only drybrush some Iraqi Dust on the tanks before sealing them with Matt Varnish.
I tried to write “Wäre mal nur meine Frau so verdreckt*” in the pigment but it was beyond my ability
First game is scheduled for the Friday at Dice Saloon vs regular opponent, Nathan so I’ll report on how badly I got beat in the next report!
BF gave me a box of Marders (I kept 3 with the remaining two going on to Mark) so I’ll be painting them and the BO-105 next whilst I wait for the Infantry and Gepards to be released and turn up at the shop (hopefully; we never did get any US Infantry in Brighton…). That should get me up to 75pts, per the plan.
Auf wiedersehen, pet!
*I hope that’s correct. I checked it in google translate but my German is so rusty it could be sending me dimensions on Playmate of the Month…
(actually, thanks to Lou and Friedrich, via Mike, for providing the correct translation. Maybe I’ll work it onto one of the Marders…)
Well the core of my list is going to be the infantry so that seemed a pretty good place to start, so I have spent the last week doing the 2 x Panzergenadier platoons and the 6 red eye launchers. I wont spoil the review which will be up on Friday, but I was really impressed with them and they required little in the way of prep. Thanks to the fact that 1985 Germans don’t have camo patterns they were actually quite quick to paint, especially with the uniform colour coming via an airbrush. I am pretty chuffed with the results, I look forward to getting some transports for them and seeing how their scary milans perform.
As I don’t have any plastics at the moment assembly of my other units has been very quick. Again i’ve be universally impressed with the sculpts all of which have been crisp and clean. I did have one issue with a Tornado, I thought the superglue holding the magnet was dry when I put the flying base in. Unfortunately it wasn’t and now I have a stuck flying base. Lesson learnt….
BF has just sent through a few more toys, so i shall be assembling 2 Rolands and some Jaguars next week. As well as some Leopard 2s for my later list. If they all arrive in time and I can smash through the assembly I shall attempt a mass airbrush session to get the tri colour camo done all at once. A tall order indeed. I have purchased some Mig tank putty as a new form of masking medium so i am looking forward to giving it a whirl.
Also Mustang Games is currently making me up some German flags in 15mm for the shoulders of the inf. I painted a couple and they look a bit wonky so I thought decals would save a lot of time and frustration. They have also been kind enough to do some custom decals for my 617 Sqn Tornados which should be pretty cool.
Finally I have also indulged in an HO scale Aldi supermarket and car park for the full authentic German battlefield experience.