dinsdag 14 oktober 2014

Battlegroup Aircraft

While sorting out the attic I refound my plastic kits collection, which is rather extensive (+300 kits and counting). I've put quite a few aside for sale next year, but hoarded quite a few others cause they fit in with my build plans.

Some of these are aircraft. Now aircraft in Battlegroup are a fickle thing. You can pay for a scheduled attack by a fighter, fighter bomber and sometimes even a bomber so that it attacks a certain point at a certain time. If I understand the rules correctly they can be driven off by AA guns or even destroyed when they take too many hits. Or you can pull a aircraft chit and roll a 5+ for it to arrive, and then roll again to see what type of aircraft arrives. Again, these can be driven off by AA guns  but give you more flexibility in their attack mode. Buying a Forward Air Controller raises the chance that a aircraft arrives when you pull the chit (and grants you a extra offcier), so that's very helpful too (and another great modelling oppertunity

As I will be focussing on these rules, it would be nice to pick up my old hobby of model airplanes again, I made quite a few when I was a kid....I just never painted them. These days I do paint them and modify them with a wall plug and a magnet inside that so I can use them on my flight stands. It is the best of both worlds really, model aircraft that actually get to be used on the table.

So what do I need? Well, the focus lies with Germans (Early to Late), Russians (Early to Late) and British (Late), so I will need all of the books.

Fall of the Reich

Barbarossa first then. The Germans get the Ju-87D Stuka, the Fiesler Storch and the Bf-110. All 3 are in my collection, ready to be built. The Russians get the I-16, the I-153, The SB-2 and the Il-2 Sturmovik. I have all of these except the SB-2, and I keep eyeing ICM kits of the model on Ebay, but this is not in any hurry.

Kursk. The Germans get the Ju-87D and G Stukas, the FW-190F, the HS-129B, the Fiesler Storch, the FW-189A Uhu, the HS-126 and the He-111.I can reuse the Early war Ju-87D. The rest I have in stock, apart from the Uhu, but I'm chasing that on our local Ebay. For some reason I feel like swapping out the He-111 with a Ju-88, but I have both kits so maybe both will get built, who knows. No rush again. I would like to use the Bf-110 strike fighter here as well, plus a Me-109E strike fighter as they would be fun to build for the Hornisse Zerstorer Gruppe. It is not too hard to make stats for the 109E. I have a Bilek Hs-129B but it doesn't feel right, like it is a underscale model, but it does come with a 50mm cannon pod. The Russians get the Il-2, now with a backseat gunner, the Pe-2, the Yak-1 and -9, the P-39 Aircobra, the Po-2 and the Il-4 (the book calls it a 4 engined aircraft while in fact it only has 2). The Pe-2 I picked up recently in the shape of the excellent Hobbyboss kit, I might have to source another Il-2. I don't have a Yak-1/-9 but the prices on Ebay don't seem very high so we'll see. A  P-39 i have several, 1 in progress, the Po-2 I'm trying to aquire but sofar no luck, and the same goes for the Il-4. I'm eyeing both on the local Ebay but sofar my bids have not been accepted or even replied to.

Overlord. The Brits get a Spitfire or a Typhoon, with an Auster as AOP. The Spitfire would be a Mark IX or Mark XII, and I have neither. Looking at Ebay, the Italeri Mark IX one seems nice and cheap too. A Academy Typhoon has been with me for years, so it is time it gets built. Austers tend to go for silly money, and I'm not sure if the Antartica one builds the same aircraft. The Germans get the Me-109G and the Fw-190 G. Neither I have in stock and unless I trip over one, won't be bought this year unless I can trade some of my kits for one.

Lastly, Fall of the Reich. The Brits get the Typhoon and Auster again and a Tempest. Since the Academy Typhoon is so cheap I'm tempted to build 2, one with and 1 without D-Day markings. I have no Tempest, but plenty of those on Ebay right now. The Germans get the Fw-190G, the Ju-87G and the Me-262. I can reuse the Fw-190G from Normandy and the Ju-87G from Kursk, so I will only have to build the Me-262 with bombs. I'm tempted to stat out the Arado Blitz and the Ju-188 just because I have the models and give the Germans the option of a 20-30 Point bomber strike, albeit one that is Unique cause by then fuel is scarce.

I have no plans for American aircraft yet other then the L-4 as a placeholder for the Auster. That doesn't mean I won't build them (I have plenty of the models in stock) but starting US forces isn't on the cards yet till 2016 or 2017, if ever.

Also, refinding German wunderwaffe kits like the Flying Wing, Panther F turrets and even the first helicopter makes me dream about things 1946, though a book like that will probably be all fan based. Maybe later.

donderdag 9 oktober 2014

Catch of the day

...or, more precisely, of the week.

I've been spending the proceeds of my sale on items that will help me with, or are part of my projects. A great help for this Ebay and Marktplaats, a local Dutch variant on that theme. Ebay has the minor issue in that it clashes with the 2 weeks rule. Auctions tend to run for a week, so that doens't really work, hence I just made a list of items that I want, made searches for it on Ebay and saved those. If there are new items posted that fit the bill I get a signal. If after 2 weeks I no longer require the item, I delete the search, easy as that. Marktplaats is easier, people put stuff on that stays on for a month. More then enough time for me. But I have to be honest, I sometimes break that rule if there is a very good deal to be had. On Ebay, this means sellers offering low or free shipping, or a very low opening bid. On Marktplaats this means making a low bid and then just seeing if the seller responds, or not. If after 2 weeks I still want it and there is no reply, I can always raise my bid.

This week I received and won the following items:

On Marktplaats, I made a bid of 2,50 euro for a 1:72 Revell Me-262. This was accepted after a few days. As I didn't need the box or the instructions, the seller agreed to mail it to me in a brown unmarked envelop instead of a package, making the total cost a mere 4,75 euro. I'm going to combine this with a 1/72 Quickboost resin starboard engine that is partially dismantled (which I won for 6,50 Pounds incluyding shipping from Australia recently) and base it wheels down as a late war German forest plane on a wooden platform. A piece of scenery for short :) I still have plenty of aftermarket decals in my stash so that is covered too.

On Ebay, I used Buy it Now to buy a early example of the engine used in the Me-109, amongst others. This set me back 10 Pounds including shipping, plus I bookmarked the store for the future as shipping from the UK to me was a mere 60 pence. I can't even mail a average envelope inside Holland for that. They send out normal kits for 1.65 Pounds shipping, normally this is 5 Pounds minimum for most Ebay sellers from the UK to Holland. I don't know how they do it, but I like it. The engine will be used in my casting experiments, and the casts (if they succeed or not) will be used in the Me-109 wrecks I'm planning on building. A few years back I got a great deal on a stack of old Matchbox(?) Me-109E's for 1 euro a piece from Italy, and besides making Crimson Skies planes out of them, they have not been used yet. Since I like making wrecks, this one should be fun.

On Marktplaats again, I ran into a seller who was liquidating his Ho train collection, and had quite a few lots of scenery items as well. He was selling each of the items you see for 3 euro per lot, the normal store price for this lot is well over 35 euros new online. 17,50 Inlcuding shipping, and a nice addition to my forest which I refound last week in the attic. The Kohl & Salat (Cabbages and Salad) is especially welcome, as in one of my pre orders for the Crisis show I have 2 greenhouses and 2 smaller ones. These will mix very well, and so I can do back gardens for the Wikkywok houses.

Marktplaats, I picked up this for a mere 5 euros, and I only had to divert my ride from work by a little bit to pick it up. Now, wait a minute, I don't have a American army, right? That is correct, but there are 2 reasons I've picked it up. I do want to make an American army, but that probably won't be till 2016 before I start it. Secondly, the British army I want to start needs an Auster, and these are hard to find and go for high prices (usually). This will be a nice stand in. The price helped a lot too.

Back to Ebay, I was browsing the shop were I bought the 109 engine, and found this Pe-2 for 9.20 Pounds including shipping. I already have a Pe-2 kit from a obscure Russian company which is a dramatically bad piece of engineering. I've read stellar reviews about the Hobbyboss one, and the price was very good so hey, another kit for my Mid to Late War Russians. On opening the kit I was pleasantly suprised at the low parts count, which is perfect for me. It will be easy to modify to take a flight stand.

I've been watching the old Matchbox Churchill AVRE ever since I picked up 4 boxes of PSC Churchills, as I think these will make a great add-on piece for one of them. Problem was that whenever I was watching, these went for 10-15 Pounds plus 5 Pounds shipping minimum. I made some bids here and there and was always outbid. Till last week. My opening bid of 4.99 turned out to be the winner, and for 10 Pounds including shipping this one is mine. Now I just want the bridge, and the add on parts, so I have no idea yet what to do with the complete tank. Maybe sell it, or build it as a wreck, who knows. A great find, this one. The decals are still crisp too, very nice.

I also picked up some Oyumaru plastic clay from Ebay, from Hong Kong, for casting purposes. I'm a bit late to the party, I believe this hit the scene 1-2 years ago, so I won't bore you with details on who and what. This has been explained in better detail by many Blogs, like this one. I want to use it for the engine block, and wheel rims that I will use for burnt out wrecks, and other engines that I can find, as these tend to be pricey online. If I can make my own casts for private use, the better. I'll probably will do even more things with it, who knows. Anyway, 30 sticks put me back 20 Pounds including shipping, but those should be enough to last me quite some time. I'll grab a few boxes of Milliput when I'm at the Crisis show.

I have a commission running with Wikkywok at the moment, and he shown me some lovely photos of the first testhouse he made for me. Aside from 1 or 2 minor points, I was quite happy with it already so I'm looking forward to having all 4 right here with me. More on that at a later date.

Lastly, a purchase arrived from mid August :) For some reason, mail from Canada is incredibly slow at best and glacial at its worst. Dunno why. But I received 2 Blue Steel books today, namely Civil Wars: The Gun Trucks and Blue Steel IV: M-50 Sherman tanks and APC's in South Lebanon. These were, with shipping included, quite pricey, but that is normal for such a specialist publication. The Gun Truck book gives descriptions of photographs of various gun trucks used, also explaining to which faction they belonged, very handy! The M-50 book gives details about the M-50 and the APC variants, and lots of detail shots of rusting hulks. Both books will come in very handy for my Lebanon project as these were used by the SLA, one of the militias I will focus on.

Of course, this has been quite the expense, so it is back to selling again, as I still have a lot of micro armour to sort for sale. Back to that right after posting this :)

zondag 5 oktober 2014

Old Crow Order - well reccomended

On the 20th of September I made an order with Old Crow. I did this cause I read on the Lead Adventure Forum, that although the site had not reopened, Jez was taking orders if you sent them to his emailadres. >> Jez at Old Crow

I wanted to make an order for over a year, I had selected a range of his 15mm turrets for Sci-Fi defences, but with his site offline, I didnt order them. I know many more people are doing the same due to the current state of the site.

After my email to Jez i got a reply in the evening of the same day, telling me the store was open and what the costs plus shipping would be for my order. I ordered:
 1x 25mm Comcen Turret (2.50) (2.50)
1x 25mm Fixed Turret base (3.00) (3.00)
7x 15mm Turret Base (1.00) (7.00)
8x 15mm Point Defence Turret (2.00) (16.00)
2x 15mm Multi Missile Turret (2.50) (5.00)

(small error on my part, the Point Defence turret name only applies to the 25mm model. I actually meant the Support turret in 15mm. Jez sent me a link the next day to his old site on the Wayback machine from which I got the correct name as I managed to confuse him)

The next day I got a Paypal request that I paid and in that same day again I got a message telling me my items would be cast and shipped next week.

My order arrived on friday the 3rd of October , 14 days after making initial contact. For a company that casts to order I find this to be extremely good, factoring in the week it takes  most packages to ship here from the UK.

My order:
The individual parts were packaged in zip lock bags, namely 1 bag of turret bases, 1 bag of Support turrets, 1 bag of Multi Missile turrets, 2 bags of Support Turret weapons (miniguns and large calibre guns) and 1 bag of Comcen turret bits. The 25mm Turret Base was unpackaged, and I don't see a point in bagging it so no problem there.

This gives me the following:

(I already own  3 turret bases I got in a 2nd hand 15mm Old Crow lot a while back)
2 Light SAMs, 8 Support turrets (which will be 4x Anti Personel and 4x Anti Vehicle) and 1 large Radar system.

Everything was cast to perfection, like I am well used to from Old Crow. Bubble free, the only ones remotely visible are on the sanded undersides and will be invisible once bits are glued together. I'm always amazed how good the quality actually is, I handle a lot of resin stuff for the hobby and Jez is always the best.

What am I going to do with these. Well, as you might have seen, Sci-Fi is not in my 12 Focus points lits and I have said I will not do Sci-Fi for a while. I am however now buying stuff for the future with the money from my sale, so I don't have to spend anything for most of 2015. Having said that, the Support turrets with the gatling guns would do nicely for my Stalker project, and the 25mm Radar can easily be used in Modern games as a objective.

Also, as you can see in the picture, a 20mm model shows how well these 15mm and 25mm items actually work in 20mm. The smaller ones work as unmanned, automated turrets, the larger 25mm Radar has a stairway that could easily be 20mm. I might add some details like panels to it to tie it more into the scale, but really, it  is good enough as it is.

In the future I'd like to pick up more 25mm bases and 25mm Tank Turrets and Support Turrets as they fire nicely overhead of the troops and are more in scale with 20mm tank turrets. But that's for another time and day.