Miniature Ordnance Review looks at the world of historical and fantasy miniatures wargaming and model building. From 15mm Flames of War, to Warhammer 40K, to 1/35th scale tanks, with some potential surprises on the horizon - you'll find them here!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

502 Schwere Panzerabteilung - Early Tiger I Progress

In addition to the initial production Tiger I tanks fielded by 502. Schwere Panzerabteilung, there were also a few of the more standard early production vehicles.  The Battlefront miniature represents this type well, and fixing them for the specific vehicles of this unit is generally easier.  Well, sort of.

The first change was the removal of the shovel from the front top hull.  The other change is the unit's tanks lacked the characteristic side-skirts seen with the Tiger I.  The challenge for me was to find an easy way to replicate the hanging studs for the side-skirts (which were present - unlike on the initial Tiger I).

Ultimately I found a source that worked flawlessly.  Archer Fine Transfers has a line of surface details.  These surface details are resin on very thin, high-quality decal film.  Their catalog can be downloaded and has true size scans of the various details.  I found a set of rivets that looked to have the right spacing for the studs - granted they're round, not square, but at this scale it is going to be hard to tell the difference. 

I drew lines with a straightedge to guide placement of the decal rivets.  I ended up using set AR88083 which seemed to have the right spacing for the side skirts. 

I cut out the rivets in groups of four cutting the decal with a very sharp hobby knife near the top and bottom of the rivets.  I also didn't leave much space at the ends.

Placing the individual rivet decals was a bit challenging, but it went fairly quickly using the normal techniques you'd use for high-quality decals.  I did use a little diluted Solvaset to make the film snug down properly.


Before priming the studs looked a bit large, but after a prime coat they look pretty good.  The beauty of the Archer system is it is literally designed to be primed and painted over. 


I'm sure they scale out a bit large, but even up close they have the distinctive 4 sets of 4 studs look of the actual Tiger I.  They should paint up and weather nicely.  I'm still hoping to field this army in late October, and have a LOT of work yet to do... as always!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tournament Organizer

One of the biggest challenges at any gaming tournament is quickly and easily moving your army from game to game.  If you pack everything back into the carrying case, you frequently lose precious gaming time because you have to get it back out again, for me frequently in multiple levels of a battle foam box.

Chris Fretts came up with a really nice tournament box option for flames of war.  The top of the box has ample room for your army and even some ground work to show off your nicely painted army when the painting judges come by.  The box includes a drawer and a couple of slots that can hold you small rulebook, army lists, PDF's, dice, templates, and markers.

I decided to do mine in a generic U.S. Army paint scheme of Olive Drab with a few stencils.  I've been experimenting with various sprays and stencils and this gave me another chance to try out a few techniques (pictures below).  I'll likely end up hitting it with a final protective coat as well.

Had to add the gag about "allow for expansion" because who really has enough FoW miniatures?  Really? 

So far I think he's only done one batch of these, but if he ever does another batch I strongly recommend any tourney player think about picking one up - or building something similar themselves. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mystery Project Update!

So here's some more photos of the first of the two mystery projects...  At this point people should be pretty close to getting it.



The basic hull is together, but I still need to do some clean up - I'll get it posted later this week... :D

Building the 39(H) OP

A while back I built a 39(H) OP vehicle for the 21. Panzer Division Beutestug list for a friend.  I was building one for myself at the same time, but other projects ended up taking priority and I never ended up finishing it.  I received several requests for additional ones, but didn't have the time to hand build each one, but I may have found a way to make it work.

Here's the original I built a while back:

I'll be posting some pictures of the "new and improved version" - along with hopefully a cast - later this week. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

502 Schwere Panzer Abteilung Update

I'm finally making progress on my 502. Schwere Panzerabteilung army... since I have a MW tournament coming up in October.  The point value is a bit different than I've run in the past at 1675, but I'm going to go with it.  I'm modeling the unit in early 1943 before the organizational changes characteristic of that year take effect.  As such I'm going with a purely winter themed army. 

The list I'm going with is here:

HQ: Command Tiger I E + Sd Kfz 9 (400 points)
Combat 1: Tiger I E, Panzer III N (495 points)
Combat 2: Tiger I E (385 points)


Grenadier Platoon = Command Panzerknacker SMG team, 8X Rifle/MG Teams (205 points)
Rocket Launcher Battery = Command SMG Team with field car; AT section with 3.7cm PaK36 with Stielgranate, 4X 15cm NW41 launchers with 4X Sd Kfz 11 half-tracks. (190 points)

Total = exactly 1675 points 

Yes - I know it isn't great, but any time you take a Tiger list you're dropping nearly 1200 points in your compulsory choices before you get to add the gravy.  Given the list lacks recon I figured I'd just go with some smoke and some decent infantry to cover the tanks.

Here's a couple of pictures of the first Tiger I going for its final priming:


The initial Tiger I's used by the unit didn't even have the hangers for the side skirts.  I'll have a total of two initial production and one of the early production variants (which also requires a little work).  I'll post photos of the early Tiger I later this week once I get some of the detailing supplies I need to finish it up.

Guess the Mystery Project!

So I have my equivalent of the skunk works going here at home and have a couple of secret projects I'm slowly working through (in between finishing up that castable 39(H) OP, which is actually fairly close now!).  Rather than simply spill the beans and say "hey - this is what I'm working on" - I figured it would be more fun to do  a slow reveal on the project.  So here are a couple of pictures of the plans and the initial pieces of styrene sheet cut to shape. 


If anyone can guess it from this, I'll eat my hat, but as time goes by I'll post more photos.  I don't think it'll take too long once the hull starts coming together for people to get this one!

Sorry for the Absence!

Things have been more than a little crazy around here.  I have been working on a lot of Flames of War stuff, but not anything I could post to the blog.  Some of it I still can't!  As to some of it, unless you've been living under a rock you know that Battlefront is getting ready to release a small supplement covering the 1967 Arab-Israeli War with Wargames Illustrated.  Given this is how the Viet Nam range started, I have high hopes for the future!

The chaps over at Model Dads Blog did a nice video review of it.  I wrote an overview of the 1967 War and another article covering the armor of the Six Day Conflict for the magazine.  Needless to say that cut into my painting time, but any time I get an opportunity to actually write, I take it!

I've got a MW tournament coming up in late October and I've taken the opportunity to try and get my 1942 Schwere Panzerkompanie together.  This is a project I started back in January and I'm now actually finally getting around to finishing it.  Look for a separate article soon!