Thursday, April 30, 2009

More Caesar WWII French

The Caesar WWII French set is in stores now. It is a great set. I plan on getting enough for at least a company, probably a four set minimum.

Troops shooting the MAS 36 rifle. These are great figures with both the great coat and without.

Grenade thrower and 24/29 Chatterault machine gun. Gunner is in a prone firing position.

Soldier with submachine gun and an additional rifleman. Good variety in the set, including an officer, machine gun, submachine gun and a variety of action and static riflemen. Thanks Caesar for a great 1/72nd scale soft plastic set.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

VP & Parade 3

Off duty sailor from the Atomic Testing Base views the parade of armored cars.

The armored car is used for police duties on military bases, and also for scouting purposes. Their high speed and armor protection make them excellent for this work.

More troops on the march. The rifle is for long range work and the submachine gun is for close up, inside buildings or dense forests. Their large magazine capacity and big slugs make short work of any Communists unlucky enough to face these weapons.

Many military bases support small towns outside the base that cater to the needs of both locals and the soldiers. In the Western states they often look just like towns Wyatt Earp could have visited.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Caesar WWII French Set

Caesar Miniatures have released their new WWII French Infantry set. This is another great set from Caesar. There are 37 figures in the box, which is a few less than the industry norm, but every one of them is a gem.

These two excellent figures certainly capture the spirit of maneuver demonstrated by the French army when faced with the onslaught of the German blitzkrieg. Hard to believe these are one piece figures.

These are very helpful figures. I like the marching guy, I look forward to seeing other people do dioramas of a large number of these guys in formation. They would be terrific. As usual, these figures are flash free and come with a little nub on them that needs to be trimmed. I pulled them off for the photos but did not trim them yet.

This is a great officer figure. My friend Jim said it looked like the officer can't decide if he wants to shoot the pistol or surrender. More in a couple days.

VP & Parade 2

The Secret Service provides protection for the Vice-President. This Agent is armed with a Thompson submachine gun. The Secret Service has to be ready at any time for an attack on the principal members of the Executive Branch of government.

Marching in formation used to be necessary to conduct combat operations. Back in the American Civil War troops marched in formation to concentrate the firepower of their single shot weapons against the enemy.

Now the ability to march in formation shows troops as well disciplined, and highly trained.

The long straight lines of the two formations is well displayed in this photograph.

The same photo with a different focus shows the detail of these fine soldiers. These are Marx and Tim Mee and MPC figures; a mixture of both original 40- 50 year old soldiers and recasts.

Monday, April 27, 2009

VP & Parade 1

Vice-President Nixon is reviewing the troops at the small town just outside the main gate of the Atomic Testing Base. One of his Secret Service team is visible behind the tent. Military police supplement the Secret Service as they guard the reviewing canopy.

Modern, high technology armored cars participate in the parade. These armored cars are brand new.

The news crew covers this event. Around here, this is a big deal and many people took time off of work to see the soldiers marching, the armored cars and maybe a glimpse of the Vice-President.

Soviet spies are everywhere. Sometimes they are East Germans, or from Poland, or even Bulgaria. The East Germans are the most reliable of Moscow's puppets.

The soldiers march in review past the Vice-President. A visiting General is visible in the lower left corner of the photo.

Armored cars by Tim Mee, Nixon and General and MPs by Marx.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hobby News

Randy at Fidelis Models tells me he has a big crop of Roco in and that it is selling off fast. If you are interested in Roco HO scale plastic military vehicles, then this could be a bargain for you. He also has a massive collection of Trident civilian HO scale trucks. No two trucks are the same. Most are police and fire department, but many are FEDEX and other civilian companies. He is offering them at a huge discount too.

Fidelis Models has been around for over 10 years, and does a great job. Randy makes his own line of resin HO scale vehicles and sells a huge selection of HO military and civilian vehicles. He tells me he has big plans for expansion in the coming months.

Randy has also upgraded his website to include "content." He has had several noted authors write short articles and reviews for his customers. You may what to check that out when you visit his website.

Larry Pegasus has told me that his new KV tank kits not only have two tanks per box but two different turrets per tank kit. The KV I and II tanks went through several modifications and rather than make two kits of each, he simply gives you both turrets. This is super good news because the KV turrets were also used on railway trains as mobile artillery. So you can build your tank and then scratch build and armored train with little additional work.

The sort version would be to take a gondola car, plate it over with a thick sheet of styrene, and then put a KV turret at each end. Not exactly prototypical, but it would work in a wargame. I think these turrets were also used on river monitors. I know they used T-34 turrets and I think KV turrets too, maybe someone can confirm or deny that rumor on the comments section.

HaT Industrie has announced 15 mm plastic figures. This will be a first for them in that scale and follows on the heels of their recent announcement to make 28 mm figures too. HaT is trying to be innovative despite poor economic conditions. I wish them well in these new plans.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Change of Command Concludes

As the sun rises on a new day the change of command ceremony is concluded.

The troops prepare to march in review for the new Commanding General and his staff.

The Chaplain give a short closing Word as the troops march past in full battle array. Ready to fight the good fight against the Godless Communist Aggressor.

The high technology radio portable systems gives the American Fighting Man a critical advantage in battlefield communication.

The ceremony is concluded and work may resume on the tools needed to keep us all safe and free.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Pegasus In Stock

I just got an email from Larry Pegasus and he says they just got in their newest Russian WWII model releases. T-34/85, BT-6, BT-7, KV-1 and KV-2 as well as some other items. The KV sets come with two tanks and a choice of two turrets per tanks! So two tanks, and four turrets! Keep those extra turrets handy because the Soviets used KV turrets on armored trains. So the extra ones are still usable.

These are sturdy, easy to build models in plastic in 1/72nd scale.

The arrival at Pegasus means they should appear at a hobby shop near you any day now, along with at three new sets of WWII Soviet soft plastic infantry from Pegasus. There are two sets of Soviet Infantry in glueable plastic and a combination set in soft plastic!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Atomic Testing, New Generals

A special change of command ceremony is taking place at the Atomic Testing base. Three new generals have arrived to take over operations. As the pace of the Soviet Unions atomic programs as accelerated, the President has made atomic testing a higher priority.

The new General officers will be Army General Clay in command, with General O'Donnell from the new Air Force as his second in command. The third general is another Army general, a medical doctor, General Snyder. He will be supervising the medical aspects of exposure to atomic radiation. Most scientists think the danger to troops from radiation is slight, but it does not hurt to study the situation to gather more information.

More troops are being assigned to the base as well. Army and Marines both will now serve here. Special vehicles are being assigned to the base that will serve as extra security.

More speeches have to be made to welcome the generals and the new troops. A large number of civilians employees for both fire prevention and materials handling have also been assigned to the Atomic Testing base. This is big goings on for a usually quite research facility.

The medical staff has been increased too, with a chaplain attached to the base headquarters as well. No godless Communists here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wargame Scenarios

People always seem to want wargame scenarios so here are a few tips on how to generate some. There are several classic military maneuvers and wargame scenarios based on them are sure to please. These work for any era, any scale using the figures and terrain you have on hand.

Defend the bridge. Rivers have been barriers to military operations forever. Defending a bridge with whatever scratch force you can put together is always a good game. You can select any variety of troops and vehicles and place them on the "enemy" side of the river. They have to hold out for X number of turns or they lose. Typically such a force is composed of any solders that were able to be scrounged up and told to hold the bridge until some other forces could make their escape, then the holding force could cross over and get away. Attacking force can be any size, the larger they are less time the defenders should have to defend the bridge.

Coup de main, the attacking force is huge and has overwhelming numbers and firepower. They must capture the radio station, the bridge, the power plant, the telephone exchange, the gas works and the presidential palace as rapidly as possible. The game is all about speed. The defending force should be small and scattered all over the playing area in small outposts, but the longer they hold the longer the enemy will have to waste time fighting. Causalities are not relevant, but time is your enemy. Every turn the defenders hold is a loss to the attackers.

Meeting engagement, two sides of equal strength stretched out along a roadway that ends at each end of the board. Who can get their forces on the board and deployed the fastest and then attack the enemy in strength? A double ended meat grinder with forces fed in from each end. Race to the high ground, the bridge over the small stream, the small forest that blocks your view. Husband your forces at the entry point or move to capture key terrain? It is your call.

Monday, April 20, 2009

One Ceremony After Another

The awards ceremony concluded, the troops and civilians are released to their usual job duties.

Sarge, nobody in the Engineers answers the phone, they are all at the awards ceremony. Why all the urgency? Why do we have all the extra security on any way? How cares if a bulldozer sits here for a couple days?

We got all the extra men on duty for security. There is a Top Secret visitor visiting the base, haven't you heard the news?
Sarge, if it was Top Secret, how would I have heard the news?

The base in on special lock up, for one very good reason. We got machine guns and armored cars and streets blocked off for a very important person who is going to visit the base. That's why everything is locked up tight as a drum. That's why I don't want no bulldozer here at the north gate.

As one awards ceremony ends, another formation begins with a benediction from the base chaplain.

Himmler's Crusade

Remember the first Indiana Jones movie where the Nazis were fighting Indiana's girlfriend in her bar in Tibet? Were there all that many Nazi's in Tibet before WWII? Were they looking for secret amulets to lead them to the Lost Ark of the Covenant? Did they carry submachine guns and dress in leather overcoats?

This new book by Christopher Hale, HIMMLERS'S CRUSADE, The Nazi Expedition to Find the Origins of the Aryan Race, 2006, Castle Books, New Jersey, will give you those answers.
The short version is there were five Nazi's in Tibet and they were mostly looking for birds, sheep, grain seeds, and measuring the magnetosphere and the people who lived there. It is an exciting adventure story, one filled with spies, and intrigue and eventually war and death.

There are some good wargame scenarios in the book. The various British Empire officials that they encountered often tried to keep the Germans out of India and Tibet. They carried a few bolt action hunting rifles, but what if they carried better weapons and actually had to fight the British? They had large caravans of several different kinds of animals carrying tons of gear and food. They also considered plans to wage guerrilla warfare during World War Two as a way to keep British troops defending India. Check it out.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Award Ceremony From Hell

Okay, call the base Engineers. They use bulldozers. They must have ordered one and it just got dropped off here for some reason. I bet that's it. Yes, I am sure they will take it off our hands.

"...and so in recognition of the fine work done here by a great patriot and lover of freedom..."

"...a great scientist that we can all respect and admire for his magnificent work up to today..."

"Dr. I it is my great privilege to present you with this award today."
"Thank you, but what I really want is enough men to do the job and a bulldozer!"

A near audible sigh of relief falls over the several hundred men drawn up in this company to witness this event. Standing around while someone makes a very generic and boring speech to give another award to someone who has a drawer full of them can be very trying. At least it was not a hot day.
MPC slot and ring hand figures, with a few from Carzol and a few others. Armored car by Tim Mee.

Even More Sticky Stuff

Epoxy glues are two part glues, with a resin and a hardener. The two parts are mixed together and then applied like regular glue. I take a small square of heavy duty aluminum foil and mix the glue on that using large tooth picks or BBQ skewers. I usually squirt two equal amounts about the size of a small coin and mix them together. The resin is very clear and the hardener is a little cloudy. When mixed there is a subtle color change. Apply with a toothpick, a sturdy one.

This is a five minute epoxy, meaning it typically will stay usable for about five minutes. Longer if it is colder, shorter if is it hotter. Expoy is very good for soft metal kits and resin kits. It gap fills well, especially if you wait for four minutes before applying. Both surfaces should be a little bit rough for best adhesion, even just a tiny brush with a fine sandpaper is fine. It holds very well and I also us it to fill air bubble holes in resin models.

There are many brands, and many price ranges and they all work a bit differently. Most cure slower than five minutes, 20, 30 or even 60 minutes being typical, but I find when model building I want the parts to join quickly so I can go on to the next one.

GOO from Walthers is sold at model railroad stores. It is a very strong rubber cement. It will hold soft plastic figures reasonably well for years but is it a brick brown color and looks bad unless the glue and figure are painted over. It is cheap and very sticky, so it grips very well. This also works pretty well for larger resin parts. Goo can be used as a contact cement, put a bit on both parts, press them together, pull them apart, wait 30 seconds and then press them together exactly as you want them because they are not coming apart again easily! Very good for large metal or resin parts that you want stuck together without much holding.

Insta-cure, odorless, gap filling super glue is very helpful. It is very good for small resin parts and very good for soft plastic figure conversions that are made of plastic that does not glue with regular model glue. Gap filling helps to fill in spaces between to parts that don't match up well. Odorless is nice because I hate the smell of superglues.

While the tube was purchased at Brookhurst Hobbies, in Garden Grove, CA is is actually distributed by another company that re-marks the package. Bob Smith Industries has a great website that will tell you more about superglues than you ever want to know.

The rumor is that the superglues made for plastic use an activator made of N-Heptane to prepare the surface and then a regular formula superglue can affix the two plastic parts. I purchased some Bestine solvent at an art supply store and used it with my superglue on plastic and it worked fine. Simply paint on the odorless, colorless, clear, very flammable N-Heptane on both parts, using a cheap brush, in the spot to be glued. Then apply the superglue as normal. Seems to work fine. It is way cheaper than the special plastic glue.
As with all these glues, read the directions, heed the precautions, wear eye protection, get plenty of ventilation and be careful of fire, pets and little kids. Finally keep this hobby prayer in mind when working with glue: What has just been joined, let no man put asunder.