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.

emp-t90-145-8-1100

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 ….

ns-012-850

ns-010-850

ns-014-850

ns-016-850

Advertisements

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.

Q

emp-t90-140-2-okbt72-tracks-1150

emp-t90-142-okbt72-tracks-1150

emp-t90-144-okbt72-tracks-1150

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.

Q

emp-t90-130-okbt72-tracks-1150

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 …. 🙂

Q

emp-t90-120-2-okbt72-tracks-1100

emp-t90-128-okbt72-tracks-1250

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.

Q

emp-t90-110-800

emp-t90-112-800

Xmas and New Years Wishes – plus bonus E75 and T90 wip pics :)

Xmas and New Years Wishes ….

Firstly Xmas and New Years Wishes to both regular visitors and those who occasionally drop in or stumble in here by accident! I’d like to especially thank those who took the time to comment, I know it’s not easy to do so when browsing blogs and time is short but I do really appreciate it. Have fun over the next couple of weeks and equally importantly – stay safe, wherever you are located and especially if you are in harms way somewhere.

And yeah, same I guess to the ones I can’t shake off (family, friends close enough to insult me, pets and the Spawn of Flick (my kids) etc etc ).

It’s kinda fitting that the couple of pics posted are both Project ’46, which is a real passion that unfortunately I didn’t devote enough time to this year and 28mm Combined Arms Moderns, which has taken us in a new direction and at speed. The E-75 has had a few more details blue-tacked on and I crayoned some tac numbers onto the T90, both as a little xmas pressie to myself today.

Both of these projects should get a decent push next year along with some overdue customer stuff that my health very regrettably delayed for far too long and not to forget hopefully a few new/interesting projects thrown in also. So looking ahead 2017 should have a little something for everyone to look fwd too ……. have fun, stay safe and like and subscribe … oh wait … that’s utube ….

cheers
Brent / Q

mc-mp-e-75-88l100-054-1100

mc-mp-e-75-88l100-052-1020

empt90a-135-1020

rb-hetz-030-2-1020

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

Q

emp-t90-090-1020

emp-t90-091-1020

emp-m2a3brad-120-1020

emp-m2a3brad-121-1020

era-blocks-v3-600

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 🙂

Q

.

Group goodness

emp-grp-050-1400

M2A3 Bradley …

emp-m2a3brad-093-1020

emp-m2a3brad-095-1020

emp-m2a3brad-092-1020

emp-m2a3brad-096-2-1020

emp-m2a3brad-094-1020

BMP3s …

emp-bmp3-040-1020

T90A …

emp-t90-070-1020

emp-t90-071-1020

emp-t90-073-1020

And a couple of on table shots …..

emp-grp-052-1200

emp-grp-054-1200

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.

Q

emp bmp3 021-2 1020

emp bmp3 025 1020

emp bmp3 023 1020

.
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 …

emp grp 040 1400

emp m2a3brad 080 800

emp t90 061 900

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.

Q

emp t90 032 800

emp t90 0229 800

emp t90 031 cl 800

emp t90 030 800

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

ref t90a 22

ref t90a 20

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

ref t90a 23

ref t90a 26

ref t90a t72 28

ref t90a 30

.
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.

emp t90 050 1020

emp t90 054 1020-0

emp t90 052 1020

emp t90 054 1020

Empress Miniatures – Vehicle conversion project

Assembly wips ….

Decided to post all the various wips from the project into one series but give them each a separate “feature” once final painting is finished.

T90A Welded Turret conversion

First step was to prepare some scale plans for the base T90, the T90A welded turret and the prototype T90MS Tagil. I reduced some reference plans until hull width matched a scale 1/50th. The Empress T90 was within a mm or so width wise but a little short in overall length. Not much I can do about that but I’m planning to fit extra fuel tanks on the rear so the length wont be an issue, not that it is, just covering it off from a completeness point of view.

Tracks

The tracks fit inside the upper hull track guard and against a chamfered edge and with a lip to provide fore/aft location. I had to file off the upper outer edge to get them to sit down properly. I also relieved the inside of the front idlers to simulate the bearing housing because the wheel sits so far forward of the front plate and is visible.

Turret

The first step was to remove the turret bins, ERA blocks and fittings using a razor saw. I then ground the turret into the basic welded shape using a bench grinder, the dremel and files. Next the shape will be tuned then flat plates made from plasticard attached. Any gaps will be filled and the whole thing sanded and filed into the final profile. Last steps will be to add back in all the removed details …..

emp t90 0011 1100 conversion planning

emp t90 0015 1100 turret conv

emp t90 0019 1100 turret conv

emp t90 0020 1100 turret conv

emp t90 0021 1100 track fitting

emp t90 0023 1100 front idler

Abrams TUSK conversion

The only work so far was to grind out the tank commanders hatch so a crewman can be fitted to one of the tanks.

emp m1a2 015 1100 hatch

Bradley BUSK conversion

One vehicle is going to have the twin air-conditioning units fitted and so I removed the rear stowage bins with the trusty razor saw. Both vehicles had their front headlights removed so that the front BUSK ERA plate can be fitted. The headlights will be put back in place on top of the new block. I also started grinding down the inside of the hull turret ring. I’m planning to build up the base of the turret so that it fits better/more securely. In the past I’ve just drilled and pinned the turret on but as the ring is so shallow it was difficult to seat properly. I’ll probably grind this down about the same distance again and if the experiment works all vehicles except the BMPs will get the same treatment.

emp brad 016 1100 hull fittings

cheers
Q

Empress Miniatures – Modern Vehicles

Modern battlegroup project ….

The start of what will probably an on-going period or project for us, large scale moderns. We have the troops (gee almost 200 or so Empress Modern Infantry from various nations), we have the rules (almost anyway, the set is currently being worked on in collaboration with the Empress Ladz) and now we have the tanks, or at least some of them!

We put together what is basically a “starter” set of vehicles for both the Russians and Americans to fight out some “what-if” conflicts on the table. We’ll probably push the numbers up to correct platoon establishments as both time and more importantly funds, allow. For now though we have 2x M1A2 Abrams and 2x Bradley IFVs for the Americans, and 3x T90s and 2x BMP3 IFVs for the Russians.

The bulk of these will be modified in some way as you should now expect 🙂 For the Russians I’m toying with updating a T90 into a T90A with the later welded turret and maybe even taking another a step further to try a T90MS, although I’m not sure about that one. The BMP3s will pretty much be a straight paint although they will probably get a few small details added such as added grab handles etc.

The American vehicles will both be updated to the present armour and equipment standard with the Abrams getting a TUSK II or III outfit including side ERA blocks and probably a CROWs remote weapon station and the Bradleys will get the same, ERA, CITV etc. I’d like to do one with the rear air conditioning units but they wouldn’t be on Europeans Bradleys, although maybe one could have been “transferred” from hotter climes and the units not removed …..

Q

emptks 010 cvr 1450

emp t90 010 cvr 1250

emp bmp3 010 cvr 1250

emp m1a2 010 cvr 1250

emp brad 010 cvr 1250

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 off work, came up for a visit and we did some rules thrashing. Can’t go too much into rule mechanism detail yet but basically we started with a platoon infantry game to make sure the basics worked and then 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 overall 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 at first offended but 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 advancing into hull down positions on the left 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 apparently 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.

Finally the BMP in the farm complex 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 the brave green men had no choice but to pull back under the cover of a smoke screen and plot their rewenge.

Q

01 rusinf 010

01 rusinf 332

02 usinf 331  2

03 rus inf 33 2

03 rusinf 4556

03 rusinf 4557

04 usinf 33

07 usi twn 11 2

08 usi twn 12 2 2

09 rusinf 338

10 usinf 33

11 rusinf 4555

11 usinf 333

12 dice

13 Bigwillie

13 usinf 339

14 matv  3  x1 2

SPETSNAZ – Empress Miniatures 28mm conversions for FIRETEAM

Spetsnaz conversions …….

Some wicked Spetsaz in Gorka (mountain – windproof) uniforms which hopefully will see use in our Fireteam skirmish games. They’re being made by our friend Jon (and are from his collection) who’s also a superb painter and a bit of a Soviet nutter. The figures are made from Empress Modern Russians with head swaps (plastic from the Perry Africa Corps set) and the odd equipment embellishment made from greenstuff.

They’re painted in the universal windproof Gorka combat suit which comes in quite a range of tans and olive greens and now often with a camouflage patterned shoulder section. I’ve attached a few reference pics filched from the web (for purposes discussion only).

And a quick word about the Spetsnaz as it can be quite confusing knowing who’s who.

In general Spetsnaz is a term globally used to encompass Russian (and Russian and ex-Russian states) special forces. Spetsnaz literally means Special-Purpose (spetsialnogo naznacheniya). Broadly speaking Spetsnaz units fall under the command of three branches;

Spetsnaz GRU – Soviet (Russian) Ministry of Defence special forces
These include Ground Forces, Naval and Airborne Spetsnaz units.

Spetsnaz FSB – State security (KGB-FSB) special forces
Counter terrorist specialist units such as Alpha Group

Spetsnaz MVD – Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) special forces
Internal policing troops such as Special Rapid Response Units (S.O.B.R.) and various local named OSNs (Special Purpose Detachments) such as the 25th OSN Merkuriy (Smolensk).

I might expand on these guys a bit more later as Special Forces are something we’re planning as a FIRETEAM supplement, when we get organised that is, maybe a kickstarter would help, or a kick in the “a….s” more likely 🙂

Q

jspn gk 022

jspn gk 038

jspn gk 030

jspn gk 023

jspn gk 024

jspn gk 036

jspn gk 037

.
Some Gorka equipped Spetsnaz reference pics (from open source web sources and included for discussion only)

modsov spgorka 22-2

modsov spgorka 222-2

modsov spgorka 233

modsov spgorka 236