Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mexican War Flag Bearer

As regular readers of this blog will know, I don't like the dead. These figures from the Imex Mexican American War are the wounded flag bearer on the left and the dead infantryman. The guy in the middle is an unmodified soldier and the flag bearer on the right is my conversion.

I converted the swordsman into this flag bearer by cutting the flag and arm off of the wounded flag bearer and cutting off the sword arm from the swordsman.

Using regular model glue, I glued the new arm in place. Since the swordsman had his sword drawn, there was no sword in his scabbard. I cut the hilt off of the sword from the dead infantryman and glued it onto the top of the empty scabbard. This gives me an advancing flag bearer for the Mexican War.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Projects In Progress

There are just tons of new figures out there ready to take my money. If this keeps up I am going to have to get a job! The new Italeri DAK although a bit of a disappointment in terms of being a little too big, I am still getting four boxes of them. Three mortars per set, and a total of four mortars, they will be my mortar company for my Esci / Airfix infantry battalion.

The Imex Mexican American War US Infantry are a very good set. I suspect we won't be getting artillery or cavalry so I plan on taking the Imex / Revell American Civil War cavalry and artillery and doing a few head swaps make my own. My plan is to get at least four of these sets for infantry and then a couple more to do the artillery and cavalry. Eventually I will probably get somewhere around a thousand infantry for a regiment and then about fifty cavalry and a dozen guns.
Caesar Miniatures are making sports figures. I want to get enough to field two baseball teams, two soccer teams and two basketball teams. I am about half way there. While I don't really care much about sports, I do know that wherever the American Army has gone for the last 100 years baseball has gone with them. I also know that soccer was played all over the world, including Nazi Germany, so those guys are needed for my Battle of Berlin game.
In addition to the new figures, I am converting old figures. I took the Strelets and Orion cossacks and started converting them into WWII German allies. I will post photos of them in a while when I get farther along.

Italeri DAK

The new 1/72nd scale Italeri DAK set is very good, but a bit too large IMHO. The figures are a full 25mm tall and are a chunky style. They are a bit large when compared to everyone elses DAK sets. Airfix, Revell and Esci all make very good DAK sets and making a fourth good set would be difficult, had this set matched the others in size it would have been as good as the others. As seen in this photo with the Airfix DAK, their weapons are rather chunky.

The Italeri mortar crew is a huge improvement over the Esci mortar. There is a bipod and two man crew for example, but the bipod sort of hangs in the air. Revell makes a great US Army mortar set, even Airfix Russians made a decent mortar in the early 1960's! There is no reason for this problem.

Even with the thicker base the Esci figure is still smaller than the Italeri. This scale creep is a real problem.

Here is the Esci grenade throw and the Italeri grenade thrower. As you can see the Italeri guy is very animated and most all of the Italeri figures are well sculpted. There is no flash on the set and the only two part item is the bipod for the mortar. The plastic will not accept glue and the bipod does not attach solidly without it.

The Esci officer is in a good pose, but the Italeri figure is very nice, the detail is fantastic. He is an excellent figure. My intention before I first saw them was to buy about 12 boxes, but since I have seen how large they are I will probably cut that down to four. They will be used as the mortar company for my Esci DAK battalion.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Police Panel Truck

While I was out shopping for my 1955 Chevy, I picked up another of those great panel trucks from Athearn. This one is marked as a police vehicle. In HO 1/87th scale, it is a great addition to my 1950's police department.

Panel trucks like this served police departments all over America in many roles. This was well before the advent of paramedic services and many were rescue ambulances. They would carry a variety of hand tools (no jaws of life back then) and pry people out of crushed cars and perform other rescue duties, afterwards they would transport the victim to the hospital while performing little or no first aid on the injured party.

These trucks also served as Paddy Wagons, picking up drunken Irishman, "Paddies" and taking them to the drunk tank to sleep it off. Or if things go too hot on a Saturday night and a few too many people got "Paddy Whacked" that is beaten up by Irish gangs, the riot squad would ride out to the neighborhood and knock a few heads together.

A fine example of a police panel truck and I suspect more of them will find their way into my arsenal of law enforcement tools. Couple this with the Pegasus spaceship, "One Adam Twelve, take the paddy wagon, pick up the riot squad and respond to the field just out of town for a report of a flying saucer just landed..."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

1955 Chevy

When I was a little kid my dad drove a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, and the other day at the hobby shop I found an HO one in the same blue and white colors as my dad's car. It was awesome and I just had to get one.

They come in this little plastic display case. The model is held in by a twist knob on the bottom, half a turn and it unlatches from a hole in the bottom of the model. Very clever and holds the model in place when not in use.

This will go well with my Cold War American city. I may have to get a couple and perhaps even paint one up as a US Army car, remember the most recent Indiana Jones movie had one of these in US Army markings.

A great little model, all assembled, painted and ready to go out of the box.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Wagon

Another of my HO 1/87th scale wagons. This one was added to the collection two weeks ago.

In late WWII tens of thousands, if not millions of people moved west to avoid the advance of the Soviet Red Army.

This blue farm wagon is typical of many used in Europe, some, even today.

This particular version has the rear panel removed and placed in the bed of the wagon. These Preiser wagons are ready to go right out of the box. I will take these wagons and add refugee items with them for my Battle of Berlin project.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Some of you will recall this mass of wrecked aircraft from a while back. I have been working on them and managed to pull about 33 more planes out of the junk pile. They now all have a canopy, spinner and propeller blades.

I am building a Gruppe of WWII German Me109 aircraft. That's four Staffel of 16 aircraft each, I have almost got three of them done with initial assembly and three of the four HQ aircraft. The gray ones are kits I have been building and are mostly not part of the junk pile box.

The airplane in the lower left corner has had the spinner and prop painted and the canopy painted up and the entire plane gloss coated. It looks much better compared to the others that still need that procedure done on them. These are all part of my Battle of Berlin project. The planes are in 1/72nd scale.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Work Bench

What's on Mike's workbench? It has been a busy work week. In the lower left corner of this picture you can see the rust brown Pegasus 1/72nd scale Gold Rush figures. I have trimmed them off the sprue and have been sorting them out. Those with tools, shovels, picks, etc, will end up in the Wehrmacht. The others will go to the Wild West box, with the exception of one who is going to my "Creek Expedition" unit. It is a civilian role playing group I have been putting together for an adventure game.

In the center is the Sd.Kfx. 247 from Bill Jr's Custom Military Models in 1/87th scale. This is a nice resin kit and I will post more on it soon. Also visible in there are some of the bits of the HaT 37mm ATG and 76(r) guns. These are very nice 1/72nd scale wargame models with crews. I am assembling them and mounting the guns of bases.

You can also see some of the bits from my Paul Nipkow TV station I am working on as well as some Luft Hansa bits too. There are also parts from some Me109 airplanes I am working on. Those rather crappy ones I showed a few weeks ago, I am still plugging away at getting them back in service. I have made good progress on them, they all have canopies and propellers now. I ended up with three with no canopy, no propeller, no spinner, no horizontal tail surfaces, not sure what to do with those; they may end up as crashed.

A busy work time on the work bench, and more left to do, as always!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bombed Out but Not Knocked Out

Often when the cities were bombed out, the Germans continued to use the buildings, if they were not in immediate danger of falling down. I have taken my J&R Miniatures building and built two rooms of furniture to continue to use the damaged structure. This is the office. Included is a safe. Ration coupons for fuel to fly the planes, money from people buying plane tickets all have to be safeguarded. Sometimes I like to toss in a role playing element or two and so such details can be very useful in an otherwise standard wargame.

I took sheets of styrene and cut them to fit around the bombed out rubble inside the two rooms. The front room is the lobby with polished wooden floors. There are benches for people to wait on and a ticket counter for them to buy tickets from Luft Hansa. As you can see the floor sits on top of some of the wreckage, but it is flat and it simulates having either a crawl space or basement.

These are the two inserts standing alone. The one of the left is the office. I painted the floor gold to simulate a gold carpet and then dull coated it so it looked more like fabric and less like metal.

Here is the lobby from the outside looking in. I made the furniture on styrene removable to make the use of the buildings more flexible. Of course the Nazi posters will tend to make it a WWII European building, but I can use if for more than just a Luft Hansa office. Note how good the 1/72nd scale figure looks with the 15mm scale building. I try and keep my eyes open for buildings of all kinds because often you can use buildings that are not the exact scale. I have buildings that are HO, 15mm, O scale, and 25mm and 28mm in size and they all work together well.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You Can Break Our Bricks...

JR Models makes some great models of buildings in several scales, including 15mm. This Stalingrad building is molded in gray resin and it has been shown on this blog in the past in unpainted condition. Now that I have painted it, I figured it was a good time to post new photos. I am using this building for my Battle of Berlin as a Luft Hansa building. Notice the poster on the wall. I got this off the Internet, reduced the size and printed it out and pasted it on the wall using white glue. It is one of the many organizations that conducted civil defense in WWII Germany.

This poster is for the NSFK, the National Socialist Flying Corps. They were a Nazi organization that promoted flying sports in the pre-war years. In WWII they conducted training for the Luftwaffe. Despite being 15mm building, it works really well with 1/72nd scale figures. Much of the Stalingrad range workes will with 1/72nd scale figures, and I will be showing more of them as I continue this project.

I used a Vallejo Model Color Saddle Brown recommended to my by Master Modeller, Erik the Manager from Pegasus Hobbies in Montclair. It was an excellent choice for these broken bricks. I dry brushed them with both a light gray and a black wash.

I used light grey for the building fronts and a dark brown for the columns. A gold decoration at the top of the pediment finishes this model.

All of this is part of my Luft Hansa project for the Battle of Berlin. This final photo for today is another view of my stairway to enter and exit aircraft. All made from scraps in the spares box. As the American and British bomber attacks were destroying German cities in WWII, life, commerce and war continued. Factories were often moved underground or dispersed; and the war went on. "You can break our bricks, but not our hearts."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Car 54

One of the things I like to do when building a collection is to have the complete force, not just the military but the civilian infrastructure behind it. As part of that I like to have the paramilitary forces that the nation fields. For the US Army and American society, that means I need local police forces.

Scale Master makes a set of two very nice police cars in HO scale. They are carded and come painted and assembled and decaled. These nice little cars can escort my Army convoys, respond to suspicious circumstances near the Army base and get killed soon after the UFO lands. These are some very nice police cars and at only $10 a set of two are a good value.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Luft Hansa and Furniture and Walls

As part of my Battle of Berlin and Luft Hansa project, I had to build a ramp to get the passengers on and off the airplanes. I scratch built this ramp using some fencing, sheet styrene, and some resin cast jeep wheels. I like to develop a theme and carry it forward. My Luft Hansa has figures, security guards, luggage carts, waiting rooms, offices, mechanics, aircraft, all the things a small terminal might have to service the customers and planes.

I made a guitar out of resin and placed it on the luggage wagon. If you go on line you can find places that have photos of propaganda posters. Then you can downsize them, print them out and glue them to your walls. They are glued with regular white glue. Just a tiny drop and then paint it on like paint.

The luggage is a collection of Preiser luggage, Roco packs and bags, and various other boxes, crates and containers.

The figures are a mixture of Preiser and others. I gave a couple of the security guards MP40 SMGs. The radios are standard WWII era German radios. The interior doors are the same material as the floor. Sheet styrene with a wooden board pattern, just a closer pattern, and painted a darker color.

The compressor and some of the other tools are from Roco. The prop is from the spares box. The poster is common for WWII from both the US and German, it shows scientist and laborer working together fighting the industrial front while the soldier fights in the field. This room interior will go into one of my hangers. Building interiors are easy and very cheap to build. Sheet styrene does not cost much and the other bits were mostly from the spares box. The luggage and luggage carts were from Airfix and Prieser and others. Model train shops are great places to go to find models of tools and luggage and industrial commercial items. The main thing is don't throw stuff away, you will almost certainly use those left over model parts for something eventually.

Monday, November 17, 2008


In WWII the Germans used many wagons and had many that were very well advanced. This is the HF7 wagon. It was made out of steel and had rubber tires. In Western Europe these were excellent wagons, they needed a good road network, as they were quite heavy and had somewhat poor cross country ability.

This excellent model is the latest release from Paul Heiser Models in HO 1/87th scale. It is a resin cast model, but as you can see it is highly detailed.

The model comes with a vehicle tow bar. As the war progressed, these were typically towed by vehicles, rather than animals. I have seen photos with both horses and men towing them due to the weight. This is the standard production model from PHM, they will not come with horses, they are very hard to cast in resin.

There is a very limited edition of these wagon that will have a set of horses, it will only be sold by Fidelis Models. This is an excellent model and it is an important vehicle that has not been done in this scale before.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Luft Hansa AA Guns

The German Labor Front in WWII organized German workers into anti-aircraft units to help defend their work places against air attack. I have organized my Luft Hansa employees into crews for two 37mm AA guns.

These positions are dirt, sandbags, and wooden crates with a wooden base for the guns. The guns are Roco from the SWS halftrack kit. I have a zillon of them and dismounted these two and added a bit of styrene plastic to make seats for the crew.

These two guns will be located on the edge of the airfield, near the Luft Hansa facility. In the event of an attack, the Luft Hansa employees can scramble out to the gun pits and defend the airbase.

One of the things I have tried to do for my Battle of Berlin units it to obtain a flag for each one. This is the Luft Hansa flag. The pole is from the Alamo Accessories set. Print the flag, wrap it around itself, and glue with white glue. I fold a bit of the middle flat so it will fit on the flagpole and glue it with CA glue.