Empress Miniatures – T90A conversion wip15 and Navy Combat Divers

A little more …

Small steps closer to finishing. Base weathering started and crews greenstuffed and base painted.

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And a bit of fun. As a change from basic black I decided to paint the Empress Navy Divers up as French Commandos from Operation Pork Pie. So officially they are French Commandos, disguised as Navy Seals, disguised as retro French Oceanographers, and all to try and fool the NZ Police Force (which they failed at by the way). Now I need a few 28mm Zodiacs ….

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Empress Miniatures – T90A conversion DV wheels and OKB tracks wip14

Wheels and tracks fitted …

I finished base painting the new wheels and tracks and they’re now fitted permanently. Started making the unditching log and mountings to go on the rear hull plate but will leave the final shading and weathering until the crew are done. Have to greenstuff some lower bodies for them and do a little scribing work to sharpen them up, apart from that it’s just trying to match the Russian camouflage pattern.

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Empress Miniatures – T90A conversion DV wheels and OKB tracks wip12

Quicky update …..

Finished the second track run today and fitted them to the T90A conversion. Had to do a little more relief grinding due to the rear sprocket being wider and a tad higher but it’s all looking pretty good I think. Should be able to get some paint on them tomorrow and then start thinking about finishing the crew …… it’s nice to see this bad boy on the home stretch finally.

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Empress Miniatures – T90A conversion DV wheels and OKB tracks wip11

More track action ….

Got one suspension unit fully upgraded today with replacement T72 wheels from Djani Vrsalovic (contact via Track48 forum) and recently released resin T72 tracks from OKB.

So the steps to get to this stage were to first grind off the outer roadwheels. While nice looking and sharply cast they don’t really look like the Russian 8 hole wheels. Not much else to say, much grinding with a full face HEPA filtered mask.

Next the track was removed, ground down tight against the front idler sprocket and the rear drive sprocket was cut off as a fab looking replacement, complete with PE mud scraper ring comes with the OKB track set. I also cut a recess into the remaining Empress resin wheels to ensure that the track centre guide teeth had clearance as I wasn’t entirely sure where they’d end up sitting.

The rear sprocket was fitted by trimming a section of the inside sprocket teeth off so it could fit recessed and spaced correctly onto the rear mounting plate.

The OKB tracks are a superb piece of work and the first time I have handled a set (ohhh I’d love some for my German tankie projects). They are cast from a flexible resin and are close to the sharpest resin casts I’ve ever seen and I’ve handled a lot of resin. You get 6 single length runs and 10 individual links (plus 2 PE mud scraper rings) so you can either bend the long lengths or use the individual links around the drive and idler sprockets and there’s plenty of spare left over. I used a bit of heat from a hair dryer to carefully work them into shape, dipping them into cold water to help set the shape. I also trimmed down the guide teeth on the links that were shaped around the front idler. Overall it was a very easy process taking around 10-15mins to do both although I recommend not rushing, using the heat on low and in small bursts, continually checking the fit and being careful not to overheat them and soften the detail.

I should point out that yes they are a little overscale, being 1/48th vrs the smaller 1/50th Empress kit. And the wheels are late 6 spoke T72 and the tracks are the T72 RMSh type and quite a bit different from the T90 tracks which can be fitted with rubber insert blocks.

But I don’t care. They are such a vast improvement over the stock gaming running gear (not dissing those, just one is designed for gaming and these are kit AM parts) that even my OCD can cope with the size and technical differences …. 🙂

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Empress Miniatures – T90A conversion wip10

A little xmas progress …

My new replacement wheels for the T90A conversions arrived from Croatia yesterday care of Djani Vrsalovic (via Track48 forum or FB 1/48 Armour Forum). As it was either mix and converse with the family, gouge out an eye or sneak in a little work on my project, the project was a clear winner.

Basically the process is to grind off the outer roadwheels and fit the new ones. The new wheels, actually late T72 6 spokes, are 1/48th and the spacing is a little cramped but I’m pretty sure the much improved look hides the slight increase in diameter. If I really want to I could always reduce the size a touch if it bugs me but at the moment I think it looks pretty good.

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Empress Miniatures – M1A2 Abrams TUSK CROWS Ref pics and wip9

CROWS finished ….

The CROWS is pretty much finished and ready for painting I think. Very hard to photograph due to the bits being mostly white so I had to faff around with the colour to show some of the detail. The pics are still not the best and it does look somewhat better IRL …..

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Some CROWS (XM153) reference pics from the interwebs (and included for discussion only). As you can see the are several detail differences (and more in the pics in my stash) in both gun shield and overall fitting between various installations. I took some liberties with my version partly because of scale and my ability to scratchbuild and partly as it’s for wargaming use, not for diorama or competition entry.

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Empress Miniatures – M1A2 Abrams TUSK and M2A3 Bradley BUSK wip8

Bradley and CROWS wip ….

Made some mesh grills for the Bradley air-conditioning units from thin wire, superglue and lots of “bleep” words.

Then while the iron was hot I cranked out the base shape of the XM153 CROWS remote weapons station. Still got a fair bit of detailing to do on it (apart from tidying that is) such as adding the cartridge collection shopping baskets, various rivets, gun cradle mounting gubbins, remote firing adaptor, ammo feed chute – lid and latches and the rain covers for the optics.

The base shape is pretty repeatable now I have dimensions I’m happy with so I should be able to make a few more, some for the other Abrams and one “swappable” for the MATVs.

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Empress Miniatures – T90A & M2A3 Bradley BUSK wip6

Shading and lining …..

Base lining and shading done on the T90A and Bradley. There are some details now to add as some were left off during the handling/painting process then it’s decals and final weathering.

The next lot of ERA blocks were shipped so late next week I can start on the Abrams and second Bradley.

And so what’s left to do on these guys ….

T90A
Periscopes for the TCs hatch
Covers for the Shitora system laser detectors
Aerial
Cross wind sensor
Unditching log (mandatory on all Russian AFVs)
Tow cables
IR lamp (on top of the LH turret top smoke dischargers)
Front mudguard springs
Crew
Left hand turret bin footrest
Side plate footloops
MG ammo belt
Replacement wheels (and maybe tracks)

Bradley
Armoured TC glass
Mesh over gunners primary sight
Crosswind sensor
Pioneer tools
Clamps for tow cable
Headrest for TC hatch
Mesh for air conditioning units
IFF panels (maybe as I haven’t seen any fitted on BUSK Bradleys)
Crew
Towing shackles

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Empress Miniatures – M2A3 Bradley BUSK wip5

Base camo on the Bradley ….

I know, I know …. I said the BMPs would be the last of the Modern vehicles for a bit however I couldn’t stop without completing the base paint on the Bradley. So the NATO camo (or my version of it) is laid on and ready to weather/tone down ….

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Empress Miniatures – Modern Vehicles T90A, M2A3 Bradley, BMP3 wips

Current vehicle batch primed …..

Well decided that these guys are ready for paint and so gave them an enamel primer undercoat. Pretty pleased with how much more “tank” like they look with a uniform base paint on. Next step is to decide on the correct shade and then lay on the basecoats with acrylic. The primer has shown up a few areas that need some tidying up and smoothing of some of the file marks so after fixing those it’s painting action …. at least until my next lot of parts shows up 🙂

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Group goodness

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M2A3 Bradley …

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BMP3s …

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T90A …

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And a couple of on table shots …..

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Empress Miniatures – BMP3 wip

BMP3 progress ….

Fortunately not much to do to these boys compared to the Bradley and T90 although I may add some side ERA to the third vehicle when that arrives later to make the numbers up to a platoon. Add ons are just really cosmetic goodness, front MG brush guards, a few grab handles, wiring for the turret laser and searchlight and thickening up the hatches which are quite a bit more prominent on the real vehicle.

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And some final detailing on the T90 and Bradley which are now pretty much ready to undercoat. The remaining final detailing will be added after most of the painting is completed …

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Empress Miniatures – T90A conversion wip2

T90 conversion progress ….

The T90A (welded turret) conversion is almost ready for paint. A raft of small changes have been made in addition to the major part of the job the welded turret itself. The welded turret sides were built up using 2mm styrene. Gaps were filled with Milliput and smoothed off before adding the Kontakt ERA blocks from 1.5mm sheet.

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Some useful T90A reference pics from the internets (from open web sources) and included for discussion purposes only.

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And the latest progress. Almost finished and ready for paint. Still a few very minor things to add (springs for the front mudflaps, port for the loaders hatch, unditching log and inner ring / second breather hose and cover flap for the fuel tanks …. I might still try and correct the road wheel spokes too but I’m not so sure about that yet.

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Airfix Jackals – take 2 …. or more

More Airfix modern goodness …..

We have some more Airfix Moderns on the bench (including a Coyote, Warrior and hopefully with a couple of WMIKs thrown in later). Got a few resin and PE goodies for them so they are getting the royal treatment for a change vrs just some nice paint 🙂

Not too much to see as basic assembly is underway. Lower hulls are in place, replacement resin wheels on and the side PE screens attached, enough to allow the next steps which pretty much need the crew positions to be sorted out first.

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Modern Rules Testing – v01

New rules set testing …..

haven’t posted for a bit as we’ve been working on a new modern Battlegroup/Company rules set which is currently at the concept proofing stage. Craig managed to scam some time of work, cam up for a visit and we did some rules thrashing. Can’t go too much into details yet but basically we started with a platoon infantry game to make sure the basic worked and escalated into tanks, MICVs and Platoons.

ps the pics are raw as they are straight off a phone but they should give an idea of the scale and movement etc.

Game 1

A meeting screening engagement between Russian and American Infantry platoons. Each platoon is split into sections which are further each split into two fire teams.

The first turns saw the cunning Americans moving two sections up to a tree and scrub covered ridge while the bulk scarpered along using the ridge as cover to move into a small village. For their part the brave Russians advanced up to a ridge line commanding both a view of the opposite ridge and a valley in front of the village.

Fire was exchanged with some teams being pinned but recovering and little effect until Big Willie Apiata (attached to a US team for morale purposes to give it some “extra stiffness”) stood up to taunt the Russians. The Russians were offended then changed tack and focused the fire of three teams onto Willies Team, causing first one, then two casualties and finally wiping it out in the crossfire. The second team (same section) watched Willie go down and panicked, dropping their packs and legging it back towards the Company CP (which was unfortunately off-table).

The remaining US teams stood firm but the longer range fire from the more spread out US infantry was sporadic, variously suppressing or pinning but failing to cause Russian casualties. In desperation the US brought on an MATV to try and stabilize the line but it was targeted by three RPGs from the Russian Infantry teams who had gone on overwatch. Before it’s M2 could lay down some pain two rockets had whistled close by with the third catching it squarely and ending the US hopes.

Game 2

The second game was an escalation to test the vehicle and AFV rules in concert with a decent amount of infantry. Each side had 4xMBTs, 2xMICVs and 1 Infantry Platoon.

The US infantry drove into the village and debussed from their Bradleys which then took up blocking positions on the flank. Two Abrams slowly moved through the village to provide support while the infantry took to the buildings and walled gardens. Two Challengers (on attachment) moved onto a ridge on the opposite side of the start line to provide a balanced threat.

The Russians balance split their forces with two T90s, a BMP3 and Infantry moving into an elevated farm complex. The other BMP3 and Infantry (plus HQ) advanced onto the central ridge line while the T80 section tried advanced into hull down positions on the flank to try and prevent the Abrams down the valley moving out of the village.

The Challengers advanced up onto the ridge into hull down positions and rapidly made short work of the T80s, the Riussian dice appartently having been tampered with during a coffee break. One Challenger stayed on Overwatch to engage the T90s across the valley and one advanced to close with the infantry and flank them. The Russian infantry RPGs couldn’t penetrate the advancing Challenger and resorted to harassing fire trying for a miracle hit (lucky 12’s always hit). A Konkurs team attached to the platoon HQ got off an ATGW shot but as the Challenger had moved around a ridge ending out of sight it could only score a glancing hit, pinning the Challenger.

The BMP on the ridge debussed its infantry and engaged a Bradley which had broken from the cover of the town but at long range and partially behind some cover it missed. It then had to back off the ridge as to avoid both the flanking Bradleys and Challenger. On the other side of the table shots were traded for a bit but due to positioning the 2 Abrams managed to trade with the T90s one at a time, eventually knocking both out in turn while suffering only 1 pin.

The BMP on that side had a lucky escape when an Abrams shot ricocheted (a double 1 is always a miss) when it only needed any roll over 2 to hit. It was pinned and popped smoke to cover itself until its crew could recover and move back. Infantry on both sides exchanged fire but with the Americans and Russians in buildings the cover and range prevented any real casualties. Eventually with their armour gone and the Russian infantry now getting flanked they brave green men had no choice but to pull back under the cover of a smoke screen and plot their rewenge.

Tamiya 1/48th Panther and Wargaming vehicle roundup

Just some wargaming tat ……..

A mix of 1/48th (Mostly Tamiya) vehicles completed for wargaming use and now mainly being used for Bolt Action. Various styles but primarily all in my older and darker finish. Just posted for a bit of fun but it makes me want to pick up and paint a few more, especially now I can improve on some things. Heck maybe even push them around over the fur table as well 🙂

Its probably easier just to list those that aren’t Tamiya ….. so all are Tamiya except;
– The Wespe and Opel Maultier are Bandai
– The Opel Blitz’s’ are some unknown Chinese diecast off E-Bay
– The lone M4A3 76(W) Sherman is from Hobbyboss
– There’s a Skybow Tiger1 late
– And the 3 SdKfz251 SPWs are from WGNZ, the only vehicles (along with the Blitz’s)
that aren’t really kits (just 12 parts)

cheers
Brent

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M26E4 Super Pershing – Tamiya conversion for Bolt Action

Super Pershing finished …

Got a few finished pics to post over the next day or so and here’s the first of them – the 1/48th Super Pershing Tamiya conversion. Pretty happy with how it finished up, damn difficult to photograph though with that bloody great gun! 🙂

And a bit of spiel, Tamiya base kit, Blackdog stowage, scratch built gun and armour package. The stowage was nestled down onto the back deck (a pet hate is “floating” resin stowage) using the Dremel and a layer of greeenstuff. The amour plate was guesstimated using ref pics of both the real thing and other models and the gun was made using a piece of sprue, trimmed to length and with a tapered breech end piece and the original Tamiya muzzle brake at the business end. Finished as usual mostly with GW acrylics over an enamel primer base. The big star on the turret is handpainted and the rest of the markings (ficticous) are from the Tamiya kit.

It’s now on it’s way to it’s new home and should make an appearance in a tournament game of Bolt Action over Easter weekend.

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Tamiya 1/48th Super Pershing conversion – triple project wip6

Base camouflage on …

The “Beast” has it’s black camouflage is now on and she’s ready for the fun stuff – lining, streaking and weathering. After the tedious job of painting the tracks though …. oh my aching brushes 🙂

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