LAH Kampfgruppe – Finished

LAH Kampgruppe finished pictures …..

Final shots of the completed Kampfgruppe Peiper themed Ardennes battlegroup.

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Project ’46 Panther Ausf.F R/6 – MAN interim field mod wip4

Surely not another post on this ……

But yes, another few progress shots. Lined everything ready for weathering, streaking etc. Reasonably happy with how it’s coming along now, even the lighter wheels look better now.

On a downside I wished I’d built her a little better. It started out more as a prototype test piece. looking at it now I wished I’d replaced the grab rails and handles and the Tiger cupola really is a piece of shite. I really wasn’t paying attention when I slapped that on top!

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Project ’46 Panther Ausf.F R/6 – MAN interim field mod wip3

A little more shading ….

Darkened and blended the tones some more. It might not look much different in the pictures but it’s significantly better in R/L and a good base for the next steps. Coloured the roadwheels too for some variety but I’m unsure if I like them. The plain Dunkelgelb probably gave more artistic contrast but kinda didn’t fit with that well thematically with late war and ’46 colour schemes. I shall have to ponder the wheels a little more. Apart from that it’s onto the lining and weathering ….

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Groups and Compilations – volume 1

Commission Battlegroup collections …..

I think I mentioned a few posts back that I was cleaning up some old pics. I’ve sorted out a few which show only groups of vehicles, all commission projects. While some are re-posts and appear in the blog under separate headings, I thought it might be interesting to see them all together …… I’ve probably got enough pictures to make three of these posts so bear with me.

ps all 20mm unless otherwise noted ….

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Some 1/48th groups …..

148th 11th armd Shermans 900grp 1

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Project ’46 Panther Ausf.F R/6 – MAN interim field mod wip2

Some progress on the paint ….

Finally made a start on the camouflage on my PantherF R6. Ever since I saw piccies on the web of Adam Wilders fantastic E-75 I’ve always wanted to have a go at the camouflage he used. While I’m not normally a fan of strong modulation Adam is the master of it and this build is spectacular (as are all his builds).

So as usual I’ve ended up trying to replicate a thinly sprayed layered camouflage using my trusty brush. Acrylics are a little tricky to layer as even though it’s dry the preceding or lower layer can get pulled up, running a lot of work. Ideally I think a quick varnish between layers is the key to stability and now I’ve got this far I’ll give it a dusting of Dullcoat before going any further …..

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Baby steps, the first thin layers go down …..

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I’d say I’m about 2/3rds done with the camo now. Still gotta both darken it and massage the tone a lttle more then it’s onto the normal finishing process, pin lining, streaking and weathering ….

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And my inspiration, Adam Wilders superb E-75 (posted here for discussion purposes only)

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LAH Kampfgruppe – wip4 final painting

Finishing and detailing ……

Base colours are completed on the halftracks. All are subtle variations of the late factory scheme although evidence for the use of the dot or Hinterhelt scheme on 251’s seems scant. The 251/9 Stummel is a bit artistic licence and just to provide some colour relief and the AA halftracks got older style single colour disruptive camouflage.

The actual colours I used are hand mixed and although hard to tell there are actually 2 different shades of olive-green (Olivgrun) and 2 shades of red-brown ( Rotbraun also sometimes called Schokoladenbraun) on the 251s. I’ve had a few criticisms in various fora on my choice of shades for German camouflage, particularly the brightness of the olive-green I tend to favour. Apart from the massive variations in shade and density to be found due to the different effects of application, thinning medium used (everything from thinners, to petrol, sump oil and water) and effects of weather, I often chose my colour shades based purely on the final look and whether it’s pleasing to the eye or not.

I also have an extensive collection of book scanned and web sourced pictures, as I’m always on the look out for new information and interesting tones and camouflages. Included below (I believe from the collection of Mr Mirko Bayerl and posted here for discussion purposes only) is a genuine surviving Panther side skirt plate. Of particular interest are the shades of the three colous in evidence and alos the vibrancy of the olive-green.

Panther side plate - Mirko Bayerl

And back to the builds. After laying on the base colours which takes several coats with acyrlics, I lighten the camo by adding a little cream to the colour and drybrush/stipple into the centre of the solid colour. This lightens the middle areas and leaves the edges darker, all to help build up colour variations and add interest to the final look.

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Ref from Duel in the Mist (copyright here for discussion only)

Late camo ht DITM 2

The next stages start with blocking in any details, tools, the interior seating and any stowage/weapons. Then pin washing (lining) the edges and hatches. I used oils for this (Van Dyke Brown cut with a little Raw Umber). Next the first round of streaking is applied. Usually I do 1 pass with white/cream, let that dry then one pass with browns. I use very thinned paint for the first passes as the plan is to build up the effect by layering rather than a few harsh streaks.

Everything is then sealed with matt varnish (Testors Dullcoat rattlecan). Decals go on next. I apply a small amount of satin varnish only onto the area where the decal is going to be positioned. I prefer this to clear-coating the whole vehicle and then trying to matt the finish down again.

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With the base weathering, detailing and decals complete the halftracks are ready for the final stages of weathering (not shown here, finished pics will be posted in the next instalment). Here pigments and some dust is applied to the lower hulls and running gear. The decals are blended into the finish with a little thinned Desert Yellow and a final round of streaking is applied. Another varnish and they are complete.

And with the haftracks finished the tanks get their final finishing. I applied a light pea green filter to the yellow – Dunkelgelb areas on the TigerII purely to get a slightly different finish to the Panthers (read artistic faffing about).

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The first stage weathering on the tanks involves a subtle blending of the camouflage with a very light and careful drybrush. You don’t want to introduce any uncontrolled streaks at this stage so it’s important that the brush is very dry. You should see a “clouding” of the camouflage finish and nothing more.

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From here the process follows the same steps as with the halftracks. The tanks get alternate white/cream (I use acrylics for this) and tan/brown (oils) streaking, allowing each pass to dry before making another and building up the finish. Note at in these pics the detailing of the tools etc has not been done. Usually I would have completed that earlier but as you can see there’s some flexibility in that it they can be blocked in at any stage prior to the very last round round of pigment weathering.

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Here the Panthers are ready for decaling and final pigment weathering. Note the tools and details have also now been completed !

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An AB Miniatures figure was selected to command Panther 151. I chose it for the resemblance to the famous picture of Sturmbannführer Werner Pöetschke during the battle of Stoumont, where he dismounted from his Befehls Panther to “encourage” his troops during the stalled attack. The possibly apocryphal version told by Joachim Peiper after the war was that Poetschke threatened to fire a Panzerfaust at his own stalled Panthers! Maybe it was even the one he is seen running to retrieve in this picture ……

Poetschke in Stoumont

Poetschke - AB miniatures

1/48th Wargaming Aircraft

Just for a change of pace …..

Must be on some sort of nostalgia trip as I’m trolling through my hard drives sorting out old pics and projects. Here’s a bunch of 1/48th aircraft (20 years old or more) that we use for airwargaming and over table support for our ground games. Due to their age they’ve had some hard use and have the odd bit missing. Like everything else I do they’re brush painted and because back then I knew nothing about laying down decals the edges are a little silvered in places.

However after digging out these pics I must admit I’m feeling the itch to make another aircraft soon ……

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Spitfire 485-0

FW 190D-000

ME109F - Priller

Spitfire-610-1

ME109 - Galland-1

P51-00

Zeke-1

ME109F - Molders-1

Spitfie V-1

LAH Kampfgruppe – wip3 painting Factory 3 colour, Dot and Disc camouflage

Late camouflage madness ….

Three different types of late factory camouflage were required for this project. Normally I freeform my camouflage using a variation of greens and browns over the traditional Dunkelgelb or “mustard yellow” base however for this project I decided to have a stab at “proper” late war camouflage and in particular those associated with late ’44 production Panthers.

Background

Around August ’44 Panther factories received a general instruction that all machines were to be finished in a standardised camouflage scheme prior to shipment from the factory. The various plants involved in Panther manufacture (DB, M.A.N. and M.N.H.) all produced schemes with variations based on differing interpretations of this order which also included two well known but short-lived variants, the dot (otherwise known as the “ambush comouflage” or “Hinterhalt-Tarnung”) scheme and the disc scheme. Also around this time (although officially from November ’44) all machines were to receive a base colour of Olivgrun, replacing the Dunkelgelb used since early 1943.

My sources for the camouflage I selected were based on those in the excellent Duel in the Mist volume 1 book. While many black and white pics abound on the web and it’s easy to search and find various modellers interpretations, the Duel in the Mist books (4 volumes) combine detailed and meticulous research with invaluable colour plates. I’ve included some of the plates I used here (for discussion purposes only) and highly recommend purchasing the books to anyone with an interest in the Ardennes battles.

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And so on to my attempts at late camo ……

Late Factory

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Ref from Duel in the Mist (copyright here for discussion only)

MAN late 3 colour 211

Variations even existed in machines produced from the same factory. Here 2 M.A.N. Panthers, 327 and 154 of SS.Pz.Rgt12 knocked out near Krinkelt-Rocherath, show similar but subtly different applications of the scheme.

237 and 154 MAN late camo SS PzRgt 12

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Dot Camouflage (Ambush or Hinterhalt)

A variation of the “std” factory Panther camouflage was produced by Daimler-Benz and consisted of dots of contrasting paint within the broader disruptive patterns of Olivegrun, Dunkelgelb and Rotbraun. It is a shortlived pattern however it can be seen on other armoured vehicles, most famously TigerBs.

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Ref from Duel in the Mist (copyright here for discussion only)

DB Ambush camo p1

Famous pic of an IR test Panther in Dot camouflage (source Panzer Tracts 5-3, here for discussion only)

IR test vehicle PAnzertracts 5-3

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Disc Camouflage

And finally the disc camouflage which is a variation used by M.A.N. at the same time as DB used the Dot scheme. It is produced by a stencil overlay which uses approx. 6 different sized discs with the interlocking sections cut out. The pattern is then lain over the standard factory scheme and a lighter contrasting colour (probably dunkelgelb) is then sprayed or applied with a roller.

As you can imagine trying to replicate this while brush painting had some challenges!! I tried several methods including stamping and when that didn’t work, painting the cut out sections. Both looked naff so I resorted to brush painting the discs and then joining up the outer pattern. Surprisingly it was relatively easy, and pretty tedious!

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Ref from Duel in the Mist (copyright here for discussion only)

MAN disc camo p1

Panther 131 of Oscha. Thoma knocked out by air attack near Cheneux. Notice the clearly visable disc pattern. (source Axis History Forums, here for discussion only)

131 Disc bulge

LAH Kampfgruppe – wip2 Halftracks

2nd instalment in the LAH Kampfgruppe build …

The halftrack component of the LAH build was to comprise 2x 251/1 SPW, 1x 251/2 81mm Mortar, 1x 251/9 75mm SPG and two AA halftracks.

The 251’s are all Dragon kits and are pretty straightforward although reasonably involved builds. I always assemble the roadwheels and tracks first so the when adding the steering wheels I can adjust the sit and height so that they all sit square on the ground. The interior seats require some care along with other details so these kits are not designed for the casual builder. While they have the best details if an easier wargame build is what you’re after I would recommend the Hasegawa 251. However, I like the details so onwards …….. The only (slight) mods were required to produce the two support platoon tracks. I used the 75mm gun assembly from the Hasegawa 251/9 and made a mortar using bits from the spares box.

The two AA halftracks were vastly different in terms of build quality and detail. The Hasegawa SdKfz7/1 2 cm flakvierling 38 kit is old and lacks detail by todays standards. It basically falls together though and with care to set the track properly the trick with this one will be to shine it up using the paint.

The ACE SdKfz 10/4 2cm Flak 38 is a whole lot trickier. ACE kits in general are shorter run and thus some of the modling is a little soft and requires a lot of cleanup. They make up for this by offering unusual and interesting subjects. There is no one really difficult part about this kit as it all requires care and attention to get it right. The track assembly in particular though is difficult and I drilled out and replaced the front axel with brass rod. No mesh is supplied for the side folding fighting platforms and I sourced some from the spares box. The 2cm Flak is well detailed but delicate and also needs care while building …..

Once assembled all halftracks received the standard base coat/primer of Tamiya TS3 rattlecan Desert Yellow.

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My (easyish) method of painting wheels and getting a good defined wheel rim is to first run a very thin pin wash upto and around the tire/wheel rim edge using a fine brush. Filling in the sidewall is then much simplier and should be a bit easier to get a good clean edge. Note I always paint my wheels a blueish grey rather than black …..

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‘Bar’ Grille 30.5cm (Grw) L/16 Morser – Project ’46 Cromwell Models 20mm

Finished ……..

All done and dusted. Another beastie finished for our Project ’46 wargaming – the Grille 30 by Cromwell.

Brush painted with a mix of GW acrylics and Humbrol enamels, pins washes and weathering done using both acrylics and oils and both MIG and homemade pigments on the tracks and lower hull. Crew fig is AB miniatures currently sold by Eureka in Oz. I made few mods to the Cromwell model including, tow cable from Eureka XXL, tools, headlight and AA mg mounting from the spares box, mounting blocks for lower hull mudguards, foliage mounting studs, crew access ladder, spare track mounting lugs and a working rear ammo loading jib and recoil spade.

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The original kit by Cromwell

30-5cm Bar Morser 000

‘Bar’ Grille 30.5cm (Grw) L/16 Morser – Cromwell Models 20mm wip

Almost finished ……

Made a little more progress on the Bar. The first round of pigments and weathering is on. A few details to finish such as mufflers and I might still add a few grab handles to the top deck yet. Gonna search the decal stash tomorrow for a name to put on the barrel and I might add a decal or two to add some spot colour ….. close to being finished though – finally!!!!

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LAH Kampfgruppe – wip1 Panthers

Apologies for the long drink between updates, we had some unexpected R/L things to deal with. I’m back modelling and posting regularly again so it’s time to get this blog back on track ….

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Enough waffle – I recently finished the last bit of an Ardennes themed LAH Kampfgruppe and instead of posting the finished stuff I thought I’d take the time to put up the wips pics first. The whole thing is 11 vehicles, 3x Panthers, 1x TigerII, 4x 251’s, a couple of AA haltracks and a Kubel. The kits are mostly Dragon with the AA tracks being from Hasegawa and ACE and the Kubel is an old Nitto offering.

The rough plan …..

One of the requirements was for the three Panthers each to have a different type of late camo, “std” factory finish, Daimler-Benz “dot” or ambush and M.A.N. “disc” camouflage. Additionally one Panther was to be all steel wheels and another was to represent the Befehls or command Panther G 151 of SS-Sturmbannführer Werner Pöetschke, the commander of I./SS-Pz.Rgt. 1 of Kampfgruppe Peiper during the offensive. So this meant some juggling of schemes, tank numbering and a dash of artistic license to meet these requirements.

Panther 151 was the easiest as it had to have the std factory scheme. There were no steel wheel machines with disc camo and the only commonly identified disc machines were in the first company. Also the few steel wheelers the LAH were supplied (only approx. 22 were produced) seemed to have been issued to the platoon and company leaders. So the steel wheel machine got dot camo and was numbered 232 and the disc Panther got numbered as 131.

The halftracks had no requirements so I chose to finish the 251’s in varitions of late factory camouflage and the AA halftracks which were earlier vehicles (the SdKfz10/4 20mm in particular is a very old survivor) got more general schemes. The TigerII also got a more artistic finish in that I wanted to try a scheme with a more greenish hue to the dunkelgelb inspired by another modellers finish.

Befehls Panther G 151 of SS-Sturmbannführer Werner Pöetschke destroyed and abandoned in La Gleize after running out of fuel, a fate that awaited many of the Kampfgruppes vehicles towards the end.

Panther 151 in La Gleize

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Panthers and Tiger assembly

All pretty straightforward builds with only a few typical issues. Two of the Panthers (Gs) are metal hulled offerings and the fit of the rear hull plate in particular needs attention to get it right with trial fitting and filing required. The DS tracks are easy to work with but the “black” vinyl tracks are harder to glue and stretch to length if required.

Panther Stash p1

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Basic assembly completed, Panther 151 gets the extra aerial mountings and the co-ax mg port plugged. As Panther 232 is a late build it gets the ost-kompass mounting plate in the top center of the turret and the three gas detection panel mounting plates added to the turret top also. Some solid handles were also replaced with wire at this stage.

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And I primed a solid green base colour on the two vehicles that will have the “std” late and “dot” factory camouflage. Because I brush paint, the “Disc” camo Panther will require a different approach and will have a plain “dunkelgelb” or tan/yellow base …

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note : some pictures have been taken from available web sources and/or scanned from books and have only been posted in this topic to support the discussion . Should any pics by your own copyright and you wish them removed please contact me and I will do so.