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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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):
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! 🙂