I found this OOP kit at a local hobby shop in Connecticut while visiting home called Branford Hobby. This kit is something I have been seeking out and unable to track down— so a major victory for my allied armies!! I hope that Italeri decides to reproduce the kits it has taken off the shelves, most notably: the 2x M7 priest, and the M8 greyhound. I would also like to see the return of the 2x jeep pack. Hope you enjoy!
Lauren, my fiancee has enjoyed participating in my hobby and has shown a lot of interest in building the air forces for our armies. To date she has built a Typhoon and a ME 109. I help her when she is stuck, but most of the work is all her. She does everything from assembly, painting, to decals. She has a real knack for this stuff!
Hope you enjoy!
Last month I took on a major project of building realistic bocage. I wanted to make enormous bocage that would completely block line-of-sight and look the part. While some folks scale down their bocage models so they don’t overpower the board, I wanted a realistic looking hedgerow country scenery. I found a superb example of what I was trying to achieve at this site:
I would recommend reading through Mr. Marshall’s tutorial and looking over his pictures. I modified his technique to suit my materials and skills.
I decided I would try this method out to make 12 ft of realistic bocage for my table.
I also used this site from Mr. Marshall’s tutorial for measurements:
The supplies I used are as follows:
1 inch thick sheet of styrofoam (any type/density will do) – I cut it into 1.75-2 inch thick segments 6-12 inches in length to create the bases/mounds the hedge grow up on. These also help simulate the actual height with the sunken nature of the lanes between the hedges.
2 lightweight Filler to help shape the mounds
3 fine earth-blend flock from woodland scenics to flock the bases
4 static grass flock (color to your individual requirements-( I used medium green)
5 clump flock of varying colors
6 lichen of varying colors
7 hot glue gun with plenty of glue
8 PVA glue
9 Scenic Cement
10 tree armatures
11 metal washers for weight
12 Spray paint (earth colors for bases, brown for furnace filter and tan to highlight the filters)
13 Michael’s blend from craft store of dried moss
15 small rocks from the yard and twigs, other scatter material to add realism to the bases
Here are some shots of the furnace filter I used.
And the white styrofoam I used (it is 1 inch thick)
Below is the step-by step process:
1. The first step is to shape the furnace filter. I wanted hedges that are 6-12 inches in length for ease of storage. and I wanted the bases to be roughly 2 inches wide. Once I had these basic cuts to add up to 12 ft I started to carve out chunks and shape the bases to reduce square edges and make the bases look more realistic. I used a serrated knife and sandpaper to achieve the shapes of the mounds. I tried to make a lot of little culverts and areas to hide.
2. The next step is to cut the furnace filter to match with the bases that are already made. I cut lengths of filter from 1.5-3+ inches and contoured them to the tops of the mounds made of styrofoam. This is really hard to create a seamless look which I eventually used the dried moss to cover the gaps that occur between the mounds and the furnace filter. At this stage I make sure to keep the mounds and filter sections together so they are not mixed up later when you will connect the two parts.
3. Next you shape the filter by teasing out the top portion to the desired shape. The bottom which attaches to the bases will likely stay compacted more tightly, but this is totally your call.
4. After the filter is shaped you thoroughly spray them with the brown spray paint. Once this is dry lightly spray with the tan to create a highlighted effect similar to dray brushing.
5. After this I return to the bases….. I used the filler/spackle to cover the entire top of the mounds. This step helps to strengthen the styrofoam and creates texture for the earth. If you are attaching woodland scenics armatures I glue them to the styrofoam with the corresponding weighted pieces (i.e. washers) before spreading the filler. Once each mound is completely covered and texturized you must wait until each segment is completely dry.
6. The following day (I allowed the bases to dry overnight), I sprayed the bases an earth color. Once this coat is dry I flocked the bases and glued any scatter materials to the bases. After flocking with earth blend, and static grasses, and adding any other scatter (i.e. small rocks, kitty litter, pebbles, and twigs) I spray liberally with scenic cement to lock it all together. Allow this to dry rock hard, then proceed to attach the furnace filter.
7. I use toothpicks and hot glue to attach the filters to the bases. below are two pictures of the furnace filter uppers painted and highlighted and the drying bases which have just been coated with the filler in the 3rd picture.
8. The next stage is to flock the filter. I used a hot glue gun to attach the dried moss as seen below. I use lichen, dried moss, and clump foliage on the top of the hedge leaving some of the filter bare to look like a brambling mess. I interspersed trees in several lengths of the hedge.
Below is one of two boxes that I store the bocage— this box hold approx. 6 feet.
Hope you enjoy!
On monday Evening we finalized our game from Sunday. Starting with turn 5, the destruction and mayhem was neck and neck. Below are some pictures which convey the heavy action as both German and US forces battle in and around the village.
Here is a table view from the South/German Deployment Area
A likewise a couple shot from the north/American Deployment zone….
The US Armor makes a flanking maneuver on the westside and through the field towards town center
A Panther and Stug IV race west in the bocage to meet the flanking attack…..
….While an 88 awaits the onslaught of US Armor down the main road
Off Table 120mm Mortar Fire destroys a M10 and a halftrack and pins the squad riding along
Shermans on the flank take shot at the Panther holding the town and pin it
One of the Shermans knock out a Puma that is protecting the flank
Meanwhile Panzer Grenadiers race the the front to meet the platoon of US infantry attempting to link up with their comrades caught in the belltower…
The Sherman’s and Panther exchange hits… the SdKfz 250/1 is destroyed by mortar fire
While a sherman blows up the 88’s crew…..
and a 3rd sherman finally destroys the panther tank in the town centre
US infantry finally make an assault on the town…..
While the german armor in the bocage is destroyed on a lucky attack from a P47 wielding rockets…. preferring to live to fight another day, the germans retreat and the battle is over before the BR is reached for either side. It has been a real battle of attrition and after counting battle counters the US win a marginal victory inflicting the German’s BR down to 17 remaining with the US holding onto 28 BR at the finish. A great game and the recce screen is a great situation for a narrative battle. Looking forward to our next engagement… perhaps a 500 pt game at Kursk?
Last night Lauren and I played a portion of a recce screen scenario I designed from the Battlegroup Overlord ruleset. We have both really enjoyed this system and I has a real WWII feel and flavor to it. I am really looking forward to their releases of Fall of the Reich, and Blitzkrieg as well as the free online content called “Dispatches.” Warwick, Piers Brand, and Will Townshend from Plastic Soldier Company/Iron Fist are producing first rate war gaming books, and I wish they had been available when I first started this hobby. This is probably our 10th game using the BG system and each time has been more and more enjoyable with infinite possible scenarios and ability to customize the battle forces. We are hoping to do a Russian/German Game soon from the BGK, however we are playing on an 8’x 4′ table and really could use the 2 extra feet of width to provide enough room to flank. With our current space constaints living in NYC, I will have to wait for my dream table 10×6 until we move to a bigger space!
Tonight’s game was a real tense and fun action and because of a late start we will finish the action today. Below are the lists:
we went for roughly 850 pts a side, with both commanders starting with a platoon on foot, and two recce vehicles. Germans had a Puma and an SdKfz 250/1, while the Americans had a M-20 utility car, and an M8 greyhound at its disposal. The scout phase lasted 3 turns with the Puma destroying both US scout vehicles. However the US squads captured the first objective which is the bell tower of the church. The German’s won the die toss after the recce phase and would have first crack at the board. The germans rolled a high die number and were allowed 10 units to enter at the beginning of turn 4 and got all but the Panzershrek team and supply column on the board. The armor moved into the town center and pounded the remaining American troops holed up in the church and the squad flanking the South East side of the board. Below are pictures from after turn 4 was completed with the US armor reinforcing and flanking the town trying to push the germans out and capture the 2nd objective in the bocage on the southern portion of the table.
US armour moves up the road into town…
A towed 88 has been rushed to the town center to prevent Armor from entering the town’s cross roads
Some german recce elements are at the vanguard awaiting attack. … they have stayed to help provide spotters for the off table mortars and the medium mortar at the rear. Also is the FAO in the kublewagon.
Some more pics of the 88 and crew. I have converted figs from various sets to provide a crew for this hasegawa 88 and old airfix Sdkfz 7 tow.
A view from the eastern edge of town to the town centre…. the church is still held by pinned US recce troops…. will the US link up their forces and hold on to the objective?
An Sdkfz 251/1 is catapulting a squad of panzer grenadiers to the front on the eastern flank.
The Panzershrek team is awaiting a ride to the front to stalk some US armor in the hedge rows.
The Supply column and Panther HQ sit back and await their next orders….
the initial platoon command squad and StugIV guard the last objective in the bocage on the southern portion of the table.
The German Medium mortar team provides support to the german attack….
South western approach road into town….. there is no action or forces here and it is open country for a flanking maneuver.
A pair of shermans flank the town on the western edge.
….. While an MG covers the rear from a copse
US Armor is massing for a big push into town to link up with their comrades
A US halftrack carrying a squad advances onto the crossroad. ….
Tonight we will finish this game and it is the beginning of turn 5 with the germans initiative. It will be exciting to see how it concludes!
Hope you enjoyed!
Here are some shots of some pioneers by revell and and ESCI flamethrower from the DAK set and some recce by Ace the Sdkfz 250/1 Neu and zvezda recce set. Crew for the halftrack is from Orion and the gunner is an old ESCI MG 42 pose.
….. And a shot of my nearly finished corner cafe which I build from scratch out of balsa, foam core, and card. The mansard roof posed a serious challenge for my architecture skills and the roof is a little askew.