Heating Season #12 – All Quiet on the Desert Front

The New Year is upon us – high time to clean up a few things long overdue. Thus, you might already have taken a glance at the pieces on display today. But here they are in full glory.

Admittedly, it’s become suspiciously quiet on the desert front. The Italians tested the British defence but somehow lost impetus after initial – and all too easy! – success. Also, German troops haven’t properly formed up yet, and consequently all participants have settled down in winter quarters for the time being.
Bustling activity before that, however, saw a couple of reinforcements arriving. Being outnumbered by Italian riflemen (and shamefully outgunned by their Bredas) British headquarters conceded the deployment of a Vickers heavy machine gun.

Vickers01_alt+neuOPT

Sad but true, once again, I was disappointed by these Perry metal figures. The casting is rough as usual but the sculpts themselves appear to be somewhat rushed. Animation and historical accuracy are fine (to my eye), yet the sculpting of faces, hands and equipment or even the model’s fitting accuracy are badly finalised. Of course, Perry fans want these ranges to grow fast and steadily – but I for one would rather prefer the Perries to take their time (and a better casting service!) in order to maintain quality standards we’ve been used to.

Vickers01OPT

Meanwhile, sightings of German recce operating along the border have been confirmed. Light vehicles were sent out right after the Afrikakorps had landed in North Africa. Predominantly these scouting parties are made up of armoured cars like the Panzerspähwagen Sd.Kfz. (or Psw) 222, its turret bearing a 2cm gun along with a MG34.

Sdkfz222_02OPT

Almost iconic for the desert campaign (despite its technical flaws) I had to have that SdKfz 222. The model by Warlord Games consists of a resin body with metal turret, guns and wheels. I had to rebuild its rear cover which was slightly miscast. Removing/remodelling this whole section would have been preferable for the (earlier) version used in the desert, which lacked that rear armour. However, there are a few inaccuracies anyway, because it clearly is a wargaming piece, not a modeller’s kit. Hence I limited scratch-building to the humble addition of a wing mirror (no “Winker”), number plates and an antenna. Other pieces of equipment were taken from Warlord and Perry kits. Painting was pretty straight-forward as there are countless examples and tutorials available on the web. Main inspiration was drawn from this thread (in German, but photos are plenty), and I experimented a lot with heavy dry-brushing, chipping and oil paints. E.g. I used a sponge (found in blisters) to dab grey paint onto the edges of the vehicle, or dotted in oil paint (sienna and umbra work great) which was then drawn out with thinner to create streaks of rust and dirt. Have to say, I’m quite happy with the results!

Sdkfz222_06OPT

Finally, to enhance our gaming experience I cobbled together a few markers. In Chain of Command these indicate so-called “Jump-Off Points”, from which your troops may deploy. The signs are simple designs inspired by period photographs – the one which translates as “Stop! Whosoever proceeds will be shot” was actually displayed by German military rebels in 1920 – while barrels and jerry cans were drawn from the ever-so-useful Tamiya 1/48 set. I only added covers made of paper tissues soaked with white glue and, once dry, inked with diluted paint. No effort at all!

JumpOff01OPT

And there you have it, my wrap-up of all things Desert War of 2013. It has been a great project so far, however the new year ahead will see me curbing my efforts there.  Nevertheless I’m sure my partners in crime will continue with another round of models – and game reports, possibly? – very soon.

And for everyone who’s wondered or directly ask me what setup I used for all the photos in this series, here’s the unveiling of my “photo-booth” (if by now dismantled and stored away):

SetupOPT

As you can see, nothing too fancy. Just a small mat (kindly donated by Lt. Hazel), a blue background, two daylight bulbs (sandwich paper in front for diffusion) and my good old table tripod. Add to that a few scenic items, and you’re done. Most of the shots above came from there without further editing.

Well, folks, that’s it from me for now.
Wish you all a happy New Year and all the best for 2014! 🙂

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12 thoughts on “Heating Season #12 – All Quiet on the Desert Front

  1. Spectacular work! The weathering on the SdKfz. 222 and the signposts etc. is stunning.
    Sad to hear about the bad quality of some of the Perry castings again.

    • Thanks a lot.
      There’s a growing amount of complaints about casting quality, and people have indeed told the Perries about these issues. But they rather prefer to avoid rising prices to changing for better yet more expensive service. In this case, however, sculpting wasn’t that neat either. Hopefully that won’t backfire some day.

    • I have, but thanks for the heads-up, anyway. 🙂
      Would’ve wished, though, TFL had started their desert project a bit earlier. Playing against a homegrown Italian force list with lots of Bredas and huge sections was no joy! 😀

  2. Very nice work! It’s true clean up on the Perry’s can be a pain, but this is the first I’ve heard of the sculpts themselves also taking a hit. They are releasing metal mounted American AWI Dragoons this year and while I can live with the clean up I would be very surprised and disappointed if the sculpts are sub par.

    Christopher

    • Only supposing, but either it’s down to the sheer workload that comes with the constant expansion of Perry ranges. Or it’s just Michael’s sculpting style (though haven’t noticed such flaws on his ECW minis) – since Alan did all the AWI stuff, no cause for concern. 😉

      • This is a grand post, Sire! Thank you for the tips on

        @The casting:
        I’ve also had quite a few misscasts when buying metal miniatures from our two favourite twins. Sadly this is the fault of the caster the Perrys have been using for ever and ever and they are even aware of the problem. Unfortunately the argument for that caster is the low price (which is understandable). I was hoping that after talking to Schilling Miniatures last February they might decide to improve some things, but I am afraid that’s not coming any time soon.

  3. Very good painting work and photos
    I will agree with your comments about the substandard quality of the recent perry releases. I bought the Italians in Christmas and I’m truly disappointed about the faces, hands and weapons sculpting. This is a good way of easily destroying one’s reputation

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