Finally I have some photos of the Carro Celere Sahariano (M16/43 or M18/43) in 1/300 scale, based and ready for their hypothetical battles in North Africa. I also made some photos of them, side by side with the British Crusader Tank, the Italian M13/40 Medium Tank and with 6mm Bersaglieri infantry.
The Carro Celere Sahariano (available from Dragonman) compared to some A15 Crusaders (Heroics & Ros).
A comparison with some M13/40 Medium Tanks (Heroics and Ros)
Side by side with Bersaglieri Infantry (Irregular Miniatures).
Here is some more work in progress on my new Carro Celere Sahariano experimental battalion (see previous post). After washing the models, I glued the turrets in place with cyanoacrilate glue, then I glued the guns, made from 5mm sections cut from a thin iron wire. This step was rather fiddly, but the material of the models takes well the cyanoacrilate glue (I used the gel type) and with a pair of tweezers, and some patience, the result is passable and not too much fragile. I then glued the unpainted models on mdf bases; I always do this with 1/300 and smaller vehicles, because it gives me something to hold during painting.
I am not Michelangelo or Rembrandt, I must admit, and my painting technique is rather basic. First I paint overall the basic colour (in this case a sand khaki; I am not a purist and I tend to use the first pot I find in the box... in this case, GW Bubonic Brown looked adequate).
Next step was painting the tracks with gun metal, then I washed the whole model with a black ink wash. My personal recipe is 1 drop of ink / 20 drops of water, carefully try on one model and if it is too dark, add some water drops.
Last step is a drybrush with a very light sand colour (almost white...); I use this over every colour and in all theatres, with the double effect of weathering the model and helping the details to stand out.
After that I let everything to dry very well, and apply a protective hand of clear varnish. Stay tuned for the final part of the article... texturing the bases.
After the first disasters in North Africa, the Italian FIAT planned a new tank called "Carro Celere Sahariano" (Saharan Fast Tank) or M16/43 or M18/43, that was heavily inspired by the British Cruiser tanks design. Like the M14/41, it was armed with a 47mm gun, but was provided with a Christie suspension system and sloped armor. Only one prototype was made, with a weight of 14 tons and a road speed of about 60 km/h. The project was abandoned after the withdrawal from North Africa and the surrender of Italy... but what if the "Sahariano" would have been produced and used in battle, against the 8th Army?
A colour plate of the Carro Celere Sahariano from the excellent website WW2 Drawings.
Fascinated by this obscure and never made tank, I started investigating if I could add it to my 1/300 Italian army. At first I contemplated a conversion or even to make it by myself, but luckily a member of the 6mm_Miniatures Yahoogroup kindly offered to produce the model.
Karl Heinz Ranitzsch runs a shop in Shapeways, that is a website where you can create and sell models with rapid prototyping from a 3D file that you make, or something like that (I think). In just some weeks the Carro Celere Sahariano was ready to ship... oh joy! If you give a look to the Dragonman's Depot you can see other interesting models in 1/300 scale, and you can ask to the designer to make wargaming models that are not commercially suitable.
I must say that these models from Shapeways are not cheap. I ordered ten of them (enough for one hypothetical battalion with 1 model = one platoon) in a material called "White Detail" and the total cost, including shipping was $ 36,63 ( 29,54 euros). Anyway I really wanted these unique toys and when they arrived, I was not disappointed.
The models in their envelope. Shipping is made by courier, in a very well protected package.
The models out from the envelope. Manufacturing is 100% perfect, details are very fine (maybe too much fine... I will see after painting). Turrets are separated and come attached to a sprue, but snap off just with fingers. You are supposed to add the gun by yourself, using a fine metal or plastic wire.
The material used is rather greasy, so I decided to wash the models in warm water
with some drops of dish detergent.
(to be continued...)
Recently I have been fiddling with a two pages set of Ancient & Medieval wargame rules (early draft can be downloaded from the Pz8 Yahoogroup) and its Fantasy variant. I did some first games with card counters in lieu of miniatures, but then I remembered that I had an assortment of 2mm ancient strips and blocks from Irregular Miniatures, somewhere in my bits box.
After a first inspection I realized that I would not be able to make some proper historical armies, but I could make some Fantasy forces instead. I am not very found of Irregular 2mm blocks of infantry in close order - they look like, ehm, "blocks" to my poor old eyes - but there are many different strips in open order that can make for excellent fantasy hordes, and the cavalry strips are very nice.
Since I wanted something really quick, cheap and playable on a minimal surface, I glued each single strip on a 20x10mm base, that gives something to hold while painting. Two bases make a 20x20mm unit, that is just a little smaller than my usual microarmour 25x25mm bases - so still handy to move on the table. A flexible system, since I can make bigger units (say 40x20mm) placing 4 strips together, etc.
When I paint the 2mm microbs, I start from the bases. Texture with fine sand and PVA glue, than paint brown. After it, I paint the little men, horses and chariots with black undercoat. This is the most time consuming phase; painting the actual miniatures is just a matter of a quick drybrush in a basic colour, than I add some details that stand out, like shields in a contrasting colour, and / or a flag. I am not able to paint faces, bows, spears or other details in this scale and to be honest, I think that they do not add too much to the final effect. I rather spend some more time on the base, drybrushing them in different shades of green and sand, and adding a small clump of static grass on the rear side (this helps to understand where is the unit facing!)
Here is a small painting guide for the 2mm races I have done so far, with the strips code from the Irregular Miniatures 2mm range:
DWARVES: Gun metal with red shields and flag, bronze helmets.
ABG13 Peltast/Auxiliary Infantry = Axemen
BG3 Skirmish Infantry = Crossbowmen (these are kneeling skirmishers, so make good 1mm high Dwarves!)
HUMANS: Gun metal cavalry, blue/purple/green infantry, all with gun metal helmets.
ABG14 Lancers Cavalry ABG12 Light Infantry Archers
ELVES: white tunics, horses, chariots, with silver helmets.
ABG7 Two Horse Chariots
ABG24 Loose Order Bowman
UNDEAD: Light sand with brown chariots and engines, black horse armour and flags.
ABG3 Regular Peltast Infantry
ABG6 Barbarian infantry
ABG9 Light Horse Archers
ABG10 Light Cavalry w javelin
ABG19 Four Horse Chariot
ABG25 Siege Engine
I spent some evenings painting the tiny 4mm miniatures from Tumbling Dice (see my previous article). I took some photos with my cell phone, in the dull light of winter afternoon, but I hope that at least you can have an idea of how they look when painted.
Those on the left are the Japanese, in dark blue uniforms, while those on the right are the Russians in a yellowish khaki. I used 25mm wide bases that accomodate one strip in close order, each with 8 figures; I cut the loose order infantry in strips of 6 figures, and used the remnants to make some skirmisher bases.
Cavalry bases have 8 figures each, with some loose mounted figures representing HQ. Artillery and machine guns are one on each base, with some figures from the support weapons strips to represent crew. Gun models (British 18 pdr guns) are not really appropriate for the period but... I am not a perfectionist. I simply painted them in grey or green to represent the nationality, and they will be "artillery" in my games...
To paint the figures, I followed the usual technique for painting 6mm miniatures: black undercoat and drybrush of basic uniform colour, then details. I managed to paint the gaiters, the blanket roll over the backpack, and even the red trousers of the bold Japanese cavalry. An exaggerated blob of flesh for faces, was the final touch.
With one "WW1 Infantry Brigade" pack I was able to make two small armies, that I am planning to use with different rules: Pz8 WW1 Divisional, Belle Epoque (both downloadable from the Rules page) and Simplicity In Practice, two pages horse & musket rules by Neil Thomas, modified for early 20th century.
Indeed these small figures could be used for other obscure conflicts, like the 1911 Italo-Turkish War in Lybia, or the 1912-13 Balkan Wars. I wish that Tumbling Dice would one day expand the range to include some useful troops type, like infantry in fez, in colonial helmet, and early quick-firing artillery. Or maybe, given the really small scale, it is only a matter of using a different paint scheme, or even modifying the headgear in some simple way?
Pierre Laporte was so kind to send me a .bmp file with a whole set of top-down scenery for the Pz8 WW1 rules.
There are 6 trench and 4 barbed wire sections, 2 cratered squares, 1 village, 1 wood and 2 bunkers in the set, sized for a 75x75mm squared board. Just print 6 copies on picture paper, cut them and you are ready for the Great War.
Pierre and his friends use 20mm plastic figures, including the glorious WW1 Airfix range... but this scenery will fit be in scale with my 2mm WW1 armies, too.
You can download the file from the Rules page, just scroll down.
I made some Japanese bunkers for my WW2 Skirmish games. Here is how I did:
- take some old CD for the bases and model a rough hill shape with DAS clay; cut the frontal section with a knife or spatula, then let dry for 2-3 days.
- cut some cocktail sticks to measure and build the frontal section with PVA glue.
- paint the embrasure black, then paint the sticks brown and dry brush with a light sand.
- paint the CD and the bunker with yellowish sand, then texture with sand and static grass, and add some bushes etc.
I used the spare DAS clay to model a couple of sandbags emplacement. Make some long and thin roll, flatten them a bit, make some cuts at regular intervals and curve the roll. Place 3 rolls one over the other and let dry. Glue with PVA over a card base, paint the sandbags brown and drybrush light sand, texture the base.
Now I am ready for a new Pacific scenario... except that I must paint my Airfix Marines... "Operation Nostalgia" continues!
I am posting some photos of my scratch build spaceships. They are made from disposable razors handles, cut in sections, with added bits like wall anchors, again cut into pieces, 6mm plastic bullets, plastic caps, drawing pins, metal washers... and sci-fi decals I found on e-bay. Do you like them?