Forthcoming new WW2 Dutch releases

1

May ’40 Miniatures have released pictures of some of their forthcoming WW2 Dutch models, including two anti-tank guns, an armoured car, and a massive building.

The first model is the Böhler 47mm anti-tank gun (above). Böhler guns would prove effective during the intensive fighting in 1940. The 9th Panzer Division lost about 25 tanks, including Pz.III and Pz.IV medium tanks, due to Dutch anti-tank guns at Rotterdam and Dordrecht. 2

3

Next is the Solothurn S18-1000 20mm anti-tank rifle (above). It was a variant of the Solothurn S-18/100, featuring a larger cartridge and higher muzzle velocity for better armour penetration. Its firepower was adequate against light tanks and other soft-skinned vehicles when it was first introduced, but it was insufficient to deal with newer and heavier tanks by 1940.

4

willemsbrug w Maas Hotel ann

In collaboration with Paul Deeming from WOW Buildings comes the National Life Insurance building in Rotterdam.

During the attack on Rotterdam in May 1940 this building was occupied by 40-50 Germans who had become isolated from the rest of the German forces. All Dutch attempts to seize the building failed, but so did all German attempts to resupply or reinforce the occupants.

The model measures 27x17x40 centimetres, not including the chimneys. So, as Trump would say, it’s huge!

5

6

Finally, there is the Landsverk armoured car, which I’ve described more fully in this previous posting. I understand that Mad Bob Miniatures will be moulding the resin parts and doing the initial casting run.

Sources for info in this article: War Over Holland and ASL BattleSchool SitRep.

1 Comment

Filed under Mad Bob Miniatures, May 40, Uncategorized, WW2

My WW2 Dutch army in 28mm

IMG_5288

“Klaar voor actie!” After a several weeks of painting, my small WW2 Dutch army is finally ready for action!

small-logo

These 28mm figures are all produced by Dutch company May ’40 Miniatures, whilst the Carden-Loyd tankette is by Reiver Castings.

IMG_5282

The small force is organised for the Bolt Action wargaming rules, and consists of three infantry sections, and a three-man HQ group. They’re supported by a machine gun and a mortar, and have a medical team with them. There’s also a dinky little Carden-Loyd tankette (click on the picture for a closer look).

IMG_5293

The three infantry sections consist of twelve men each, including an NCO. Each section also includes a two-man Lewis machine gun team. The Dutch introduced the Lewis light machine gun  in 1920, and designated it as the machine gun M.20.

My painting style is quite impressionistic, using lots of dry-brushing and ink washes. Whilst the result won’t win any painting competitions, from the distance they are viewed at on the table the figures look perfectly serviceable.

IMG_5294

My force has one three-man Schwarzlose M.08 machine gun team. The gun is complete with its hose and drain bucket. The Schwarzlose was produced in the Netherlands under licence from Austria. In May 1940 the Schwarzlose machinegun was quite outdated. Still the machine guns proved to be highly reliable and robust, and the number of break-downs was extremely low.

IMG_5285

My infantry are supported by an 81mm mortar. They are quite lucky to have it, as the Dutch army was in fact very poorly equipped with infantry support weapons, including the availability of mortars in front-line units.

IMG_5290

Whilst the medic has a role in the Bolt Action rules, I’m not sure how much use the stretcher-bearer team will be. But they look good – and knowing my generalship skills, will probably be in high demand by my little lead Dutchmen …

IMG_5301

I’ve painted one of the miniatures to represent my late father, who was a medic in the Dutch army in 1940 (read my father’s story here). He joins another family member who has also been memorialised in miniature, my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Pierre van Dooren, trumpeter in Napoleon’s 12th Dragoons (read Pierre’s story here).

IMG_5283

So there we have it, my Dutch army … for now, anyway. There are further plans afoot: I have a section of Marines (the famous ‘Black Devils’) to paint. And I am waiting for the forthcoming models of the Landsverk armoured car and the Bohler antitank gun.

IMG_5284

1 Comment

Filed under May 40, Reiver Castings, Uncategorized, WW2

Work-in-progress on WW2 Dutch

18221639_10213333698604763_8340438603306068820_n

On the morning of 10 May 1940 the Dutch awoke to the sound of aircraft engines roaring in the sky. Germany’s invasion of the neutral Netherlands had begun. Seventy-seven years later my friend Sander van der Ster, owner of May ’40 Miniatures, was part of a reenactment group commemorating the invasion.

20170513_161738

At the same time, I was busy on the other side of the world painting a batch of Sander’s 28mm WW2 Dutch figures, as shown in this ‘work-in-progress’ picture. The group includes a couple of sections of infantry, a mortar crew, and the gunners for a medium machine gun. There are also a medic and a couple of stretcher bearers.

20170513_161714

Although I’ve been detouring into Japanese samurai terrain, my Dutch project has continued steadily. I’ve been slowly working through the remainder of my figures to join the first dozen I’d already painted.

20170513_161939

In the above picture, the previously completed figures are shown on the left, and some of the current work-in-progress batch on the right. So far I’ve completed their uniforms and flesh, and started blocking in the weapons and equipment.

20170424_203352

Once the rest of the painting is completed, there’ll still be some ink washes to make the details stand out. These examples from my  previous batch show what the finished figures will look like.

So far the only armour is the kooky little Carden-Loyd tankette (made by Reiver Castings). But hopefully soon I’ll be adding a Landsverk armoured car, which is in its final stage of production by May ’40 Miniatures.

Maybe not the most fearsome of Bolt Action armies, but it certainly will be unusual …

 

1 Comment

Filed under May 40, Reiver Castings, Uncategorized, WW2

Japanese house – a blotz on the landscape?

IMG_5278

I guess I have to finally admit that I’m not really a wargamer, but a terrain enthusiast! The most enjoyment I get out of my hobby isn’t playing wargames, nor painting figures. It is making scenery. Not big messy projects like terrain boards, but small features to decorate the table, especially buildings.  I’m no scratch-builder, either. I prefer taking an existing kit and embellishing it.

And so it is with the project that has been entertaining me for the last few nights – building another model house to add to my burgeoning shogunate Japanese village. This MDF kit is from a British manufacturer I hadn’t tried before – Blotz (as in Buildings, Landscapes and Other ThingZ).

IMG_5280

Making this Japanese house kit felt quite familiar, as it uses many similar concepts to 4Ground’s kits, whose buildings form the major part of my Japanese terrain. For example, the walls from both companies are formed of a frame with inserted panels and separate inner walls.

However, unlike 4Ground, the Blotz kit isn’t pre-coloured, so it requires some painting.  I found this easier to do before breaking the pieces out of their sheets. The only parts that required some care were the interior walls, where you have to paint straight lines between the white and natural wood parts.

A particularly nice feature of this kit is that there is only one place where you can see any of the interlocking joins or tabs that so often mar otherwise attractive MDF models. And even this one visible join is on the inside, and so can’t be easily seen, especially when disguised with a little bit of paint.

18254645_1651652154864624_1365852515_n

The sliding doors work (though they are a bit tight). I glued some tracing paper onto the back of the frames. This looks really good from the outside, and adequate enough for the few times you’ll ever see the inside of the house.

Another feature that often gives away such kits is the use of teddy-bear fur for thatch. However, I find that if you slosh the finished thatch roof with heavy washes of watered down dark-coloured paints, then dry-brush it with lighter colours such as yellow and white, the fur ends up looking more like thatch … well, at least not so much like it came from a skinned teddy bear!

So there we have it, yet another Japanese house for my samurai games – if I ever get round to actually playing one!

IMG_5279

5 Comments

Filed under Blotz, Samurai, Terrain, Uncategorized

Painted 28mm WW2 Dutch figures

IMG_4126

May 1940: a squad of Dutch infantry cautiously follow a Carden Loyd tankette into a war-torn village.

Yep, I’ve finally started painting my May ’40 Miniatures WW2 Dutch infantry at last!  (The Reiver Castings tankette, by the way, was covered in a previous posting).

IMG_4099

As I always find when photographing anything painted blue, the uniform colour in some of these pictures has come out a lot brighter than it is in reality.  The figures are actually a blueish-greenish-grey, rather than the bright light blue they appear in the photos above. The picture below is the most life-like depiction of the actual colour I painted them, though the photo itself is a little dull.

IMG_4141

The miniatures were sculpted by Michael Percy for Sander van der Ster, the owner of May ’40 Miniatures. Michael has made a good job of capturing the somewhat old-fashioned appearance of the Dutch infantry of this period. The figures are festooned with equipment, and wear the distinctive Dutch helmets.

IMG_4106

Posing is generally good, with all the sorts of stances you need for a ‘Bolt Action’ wargame. I glued the figures onto 25mm washers, and as you can see, the fit is good.

IMG_4119

I particularly like this Lewis gun crew (seen below). I wouldn’t fancy being the guy holding the stand, with the gun yammering away just beside my ear!

IMG_4094

So far I’ve painted just one section of 12 men and their NCO. I have two more sections to paint, along with a heavy machine gun team and a mortar. I also have one section of Dutch Marines, who will look distinctive in their dark blue jackets. And of course not to forget my medical team, who I’ll be painting up in memory of my father.

IMG_4137

Following that, once May ’40 Miniatures launches their Landsverk armoured car and Böhler anti-tank gun, I’ll be adding these to my army of course. And, then, who knows – motorcycle-mounted machine guns, cyclists???

If you are interested to know more about May ’40 Miniatures, check out their website or their FaceBook page.

16681677_1379017905506372_4304133326722232703_n

4 Comments

Filed under May 40, Reiver Castings, Uncategorized, WW2

A Japanese castle complex at last

IMG_0286

Ever since I first started collecting 28mm samurai figures, I’ve yearned for a Japanese castle to go with them. That dream is finally starting to come true!

Over the years I’ve seen a few castle models advertised on the internet, but they were either too expensive, or didn’t quite capture how I thought a Japanese castle should look. But when I spotted the latest new models in Plast Craft Games’ Fukei range, I realised straight away that they would fit both the traditional appearance and the affordable cost I  was after.

Even better, I found out that my local friendly wargaming shop (The Hobby Corner of the Paraparaumu Beach Pharmacy) could obtain them – and so the deal was clinched!

IMG_0195

I’ve previously bought some Plast Craft models, and have been very pleased with them. But they came unpainted, whereas these latest offerings are fully coloured. I especially like the weathering effects on the white walls, which really look like they have faced the rigours of the weather. The stonework isn’t just a monochrome grey, but gets more ‘mossy’ the closer it is to the ground.

The new models also use a wider range of materials, including pre-cut plastic, MDF, very heavy card and flexible rubber sheet. There are no printed assembly instructions – instead, you download them from Plast Craft’s website.

IMG_0199

These models took me only a couple of evenings to construct. The pieces pop out easily, and can be attached with super-glue. The fit of the pieces was good, but I did have some difficulty putting together the first level rafters, roof, platform and balcony of the corner tower. You need to be very careful to make sure the many separate sub-assemblies that make up this part of the model all fit together snugly.

The roofs are made of a flexible rubber material, which means they shape quite well. This material is quite springy though, so you need to use superglue to hold them in place. [I noticed after I posted this article that one of the upper roof corners of the sumi tower has come unglued!] 

IMG_0198

The main thing I did to improve the models was to hide the visible joints and to paint any bare MDF. For the former, I painted the exposed sides in colours as closely matched as I could get, and marked in the stonework or wooden planks with a fine black felt-pen, as you can see in the close-up picture above.

For covering the bare sides of the MDF, I quickly learned that the easiest way was to paint the back of the whole sheet before popping out the separate pieces. I used a chocolate-coloured acrylic paint that stained the bare surface, but was translucent enough to not show if it splashed onto any of the pre-coloured surfaces.

I also added some bits of vegetation around the bottom edges of the stone walls to further disguise some of the joints, and to merge the buildings into the terrain.

IMG_0200

As I mentioned above, I was initially captivated by how much these models really look like my impression of a Japanese castle. But to be honest, I don’t know much about the architecture of Japanese castles. So if what follows looks like I know what I’m talking about, it is only the result of an hour of googling! But this quick research shows that my initial impressions of the models’ accuracy seem to be correct.

Sumi tower

PCG-FK031

IMG_0202

The tall sumi yagura (literally ‘corner tower’) is constructed in the sotogata (‘multi-leveled’) style, and has a hip-and-gable irimoya roof. It is built on a stone base constructed in the haphard ranzumi pattern.

This model unfortunately has three quite visible tabs on each side of the lower wooden section. I’m pretending these are extra yasama, or rectangular arrow slits. But in hindsight, I should not have popped out these holes at all, but removed the corresponding tabs on the supports behind the walls – these tabs and holes are really not necessary.

Castle gate

PCG-FK027

IMG_0192

The gatehouse is in the watariyagura style, where a low protective tower spans the gap between the two stone buttresses. The doors open and shut (but are sadly only coloured on one side). Not depicted on the model is the trapdoor sometimes found in the floor above the gate that could be opened to drop stones or oil on attackers.

Castle walls

175070222

IMG_0188

The two walls of stone and dobei (white mud and clay over a bamboo lattice) are crowned by simple pitched kirizuma roofs. They are pierced by rectangular sama (loopholes) for arrows, and triangular sama for guns. The model does not depict the inside of these loopholes, which should be shaped like hourglasses in cross-section.

Behind each wall is a wooden ishi uchi tana (or ‘rock throwing platform’) on which the defenders can stand.

So, my verdict? Well, I think these models definitely do meet my requirements of looking Japanese at a reasonable cost. Assembly is fun, and (apart from the complex lower roof of the sumi tower) is relatively simple. Most of the visible joints that disfigure so many MDF models are easily disguised. And the models look particularly impressive posed together.

It is fair to say that for wargaming purposes these models may have some drawbacks, which may or may not be minor depending on the rules you use. There are no interiors – and the complex roof assembly means that it would be hard to convert them to have interiors. Also, there aren’t any obvious doorways to get into the buildings!

IMG_0287

But, hey, these drawbacks are nothing to the sheer ‘cool’ factor that these models will bring to any wargaming table, even if just arranged as a scenic feature along one edge! So I am more than happy with these models, and thoroughly recommend them.

Missing from this range is, of course, the centre-piece of any castle: the multi-storey tenshu or keep. Maybe it is on Plast Craft’s radar? It would certainly be an impressive model if they ever did make one!

8 Comments

Filed under Plast Craft Games, Samurai, Uncategorized

Sneak peak of my latest Japanese terrain

20170408_182639.jpg

Just a very quick peak at what I have been spending my hobby time on this weekend – the building on the left. More info to come soon when I have completed this little project. Sayonara for now!

7 Comments

Filed under Samurai, Terrain, Uncategorized