Monday, February 4, 2019

A New-ish Blog for T2K and Why It Deserves Your Attention!

Ok folks,
 Deep thought time. I found this new blog, The Savant's Rants, and some of the stuff on this site is phenomenal to say the least. I was especially taken by the articles on starvation and food in Twilight: 2000, as well as foraging..but one article is of great importance to miniatures players, at least from an army construction point of view. It's entitled "Crossrant: Feeding the Horde (Armies and Starvation in Twilight: 2000)"

 In short, the article is brilliant. and it explains well that there is an upper limit on the size of armies in Twilight: 2000, because well, you have to feed them. And worse, how much you're gonna short the locals to do just that.

  So what does that leave us? New fodder for scenarios of course! A couple that rapidly come to mind are:
  • An "organized" military force is travelling through a relatively fertile area relatively untouched by the war. The locals aren't too keen on having an extra few thousand mouths to feed and are willing to make life miserable for this force. (Campaign fodder if I ever saw it).
  • A force is sent by one side to raid another side's farms, and take as much as possible, and burn the rest.
  • An enemy force has had amazing crop yields, find out why, and either steal it..or destroy it and make sure they can't have it either?
And these are just a few ideas that come to mind at 8AM on a Monday. I am sure more will hit me as time goes on. But this is what I mean, food for thought is great scenario fodder, and this blog article is no exception. Give it a read, and see if you don't get your own ideas?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Trumpeter 1/72 scale Russian BTR-80 (review)

Welcome again gentle reader to another post apocalyptic edition of "It's 500 Miles to the German border"

In this installment we will be looking at Trumpeter's 1/72 scale BTR-80 kit.

Trumpeter's quality so far has worked out very well,  with excellent detailing, and ease of assembly. Most of the parts in their kits fit very well with good overall sculpts. The instructions are pretty easy to follow with minor vagaries in comparison to say Revell (which feels more like Lego instructions).

This model I would say is "deceptively simple". As easy as it was, it was just as easy through my own ineptitude to frick it up.

Putting together the wheels:
The rubber tires and hubs easy- fitting the wheel assembly to the axles was a little trickier. Next time, I should try dry fitting not gluing then sticking on like I did. I wound up twisiting on of the wheels right off and it was a bit of a pain getting it filed and lined up right to go back on. Maybe a bit of work with a knife or pin vise to hollow out the inside before fitting might have helped with the fit.

Pro Tip- always dry fit before gluing. Another point on suspension- its a two parter on this model, avoid rushing through it. Make sure it fits together properly then glue with a "thin cement". Even though you could do this model in record time it helps to take the time to ensure it gets done well.
The instructions would have you add all of the components to the top of the hull after doing the undercarriage, and THEN putting both halves together. 

That's never worked out for my clumsy fingers in the past and wound up snapping off little pieces everywhere.

On this one I would recommend putting the hull together then going for all of the extra bits and bobs.

The light assemblies on the forward deck where a nice touch and came in three parts and was very detailed. Again dry fit then glue. The rest was pretty much straightforward. I would, of course, reference real life pics of the BTR-80 just to make sure I had it right.

Painting: I didn't go above and beyond in this one and pretty much stuck to the standard script- prime, dry brush white for details then pick a cam scheme and go for it. I did go back over the cam scheme with lighter shades of the same colours to make it stick out a bit more (the irony is not lost on me lol).

At this point I decided to use the decals from the kit as in this case I thought it would add to a model that doesn't really have a lot of room for stowage and modifications.

Other than that after decals placed and dried I went with inking and weathering using some mud and dust effects etc.

In the end, its a good model with good representation and ease of assembly and should be a fine edition to anyone's gaming table or display shelf.

Thanks for tuning in.

Sincerely, Evil von Scary 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Dressing For The Apocalypse - 28mm: more Soviets

Empress miniatures (as mentioned in a previous post) has a small range of figures for the Chechnya conflict. You do have to be careful, as the figures are a bit variable in size.

These three figures are from CWR007 "Russians Fighting".

Other figures by Empress, such as the Insurgents are useful. This is the PK GPMG figure from the INS03 set that is useable.
This figure is based on the illustration of a South Ossetian Irregular in the Osprey publication "Elite 197: Russian Security and Paramilitary Forces since 1991".

Dressing For The Apocalypse - 28mm: British Army

Currently Under Fire Miniatures have a range of Cold War figures comprising Soviets, East Germans, West Germans (police and army) and US. Unfortunately there are (currently) no plans for adding British figures to their range (but there is a possibility of a compatible range from another manufacturer).

In the meantime, I want a set of figures representing British infantry that are a nice match with the Under Fire and Empress figures that I currently own.

Luckily, I have a number of figures from Crooked Dice that will fit the bill.

Crooked Dice publish the 7TV skirmish rule set designed for games based on the film and television output of a fictional British production company (and their American subsidiary). They have a matching set of figures for a number of their productions.

There are two main ranges that will be the source for my British infantry.

The first is their Army figures.
This is one of their Army Privates with Rifles.
The figures are supplied with tabs and (25mm diameter) slot bases. In this case I cut off the tabs, filed the soles of the boots flat and drilled, pinned and superglued it to a 25mm diameter Renedra plastic base.

He is armed with an L1A1 FN SLR battle rifle. The range also includes figures with Sterling SMGs, a recoiless rifle and a medium machine gun.

The rifle is a bit anachronistic, as by the time of Twilight 2000, the standard British infantry weapon was the L85 (SA80) assault rifle. However, when the original weapon was issued, there were a number of significant issues with it, and it was not until its first use in infantry combat in the 21st century were they fully overcome. For Twilight 2000 purposes, the UK would still have a stock of L1A1s, so they may have been issued to units.

I do have a pack of Hasslefree miniatures L85 rifles that I may try and use as a replacement of the L1A1s. I also might try changing the heads to ones with helmets.

The second is their Department X range.

This is one of the X-Commandos from the X-Commandos 1 pack. They are supplied with a head with a beret. I used one of Empress Miniatures British helmets with extra camouflage (BRIT13).

The figure has rather bulky body armour, similar to that seen in use in that period.

To base the figure, I used a Warlord lipped 25mm base and added a couple of strips of plastic card to make a slot for the cut down tab on the figures feet.

I added a Warlord British Commando rucksack on the back.
Greenstuff was used to add straps and a scarf.

Here it is painted with a Woodland DPM pattern.

Dressing For The Apocalypse - 28mm: Bundeswehr

As mentioned earlier, Under Fire Miniatures do a range of Cold War period 28mm figures.

I bought a set each of Soviets, East German (NVA) and West German (Bundeswehr).

Having assembled (converted) and painted the Soviets, I started on the West German infantry.

This is Bundeswehr pack 1, comprising four infantry armed with G3 battle rifles.

For my use I used Renedra 25mm round bases. I drill a 1mm hole in the figure base and a matching hole in the round base and use a piece of 1mm Evergreen rod to pin the two together and then glue it with superglue. Milliput is then used to smooth the two together.

There was then the decision as to what colour to paint them.

For my reference, I had a look at a contemporary Osprey book "Nato Armies Today".
I also  had the Tankograd book on "Bold Sparrow '87".
I decided to go for the simple grey green colour scheme (I have Flecktarn to look forward to on the Empress modern Bundeswehr).

The figures were undercoated black with Citadel Chaos Black followed by PSC German Field Grey.

The webbing and packs are Vallejo USA Olive Drab.

The figures were dry brushed with Citadel Dry Nurgling Green.

The figures were then shaded with Citadel Athonian Camoshade (it came out a bit shiny so I used some Humbrol 49 acrylic varnish).

Group shot.
I have an Empress Miniatures M113 APC which is undergoing conversion to an M113G to provide them with some mobility.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Academy 1/72 Modified HEMTT With Custom Made Cargo and Tarp - By Evil Von Scary

Academy 1/72 Modified HEMTT with custom made cargo and tarp

Hi again folks.
My latest project for Twilight 2000 is a modified 1/72 scale HEMTT. Lots of attention gets paid to the frontline combat vehicles in modelling but just as important are the logistics vehicles that get the fuel, parts, ammunition, food and water to those units.

Academy has a good grip on quality control and so far Ive been really happy with their quality (in 1/72 scale) and the price is usually within most modellers budgets.

Now on to the model. Through and unfortunate incident involving house pets a BTR-70 was destroyed so I gathered the parts that I could find and those went into the extra box. The turret is from that incident.

Overall the model was easy to put together and the parts were well detailed and the instructions very straight forward. There was minimal fuss getting everything to fit together. I added some ad hoc armor using polystyrene (.040 thickness) and cut to shape.

 I tried something a bit different painting wise and started with a very darkish red/brown paint
as a base (instead of primer black). I wanted a very rusted out look with this one. Also wanted to try something with cargo and making a tarp.Mostly painted the base model with a very rusted out look then used a Tamiya olive drab paint over the model allowing the rust to show through. Inks and weathering for greater effect is helpful.

The cargo was from some oil drums I had in spare parts, modelling clay and an old usb stick cap. It rested on a piece of egg carton, measured and cut out before hand to ensure it would all fit into the truck bed. Also by doing this separately from the model it allows for other mods and makes sure all the gear fits comfortably. 

The modeling clay was put into a rough shape resembling a bundle of gear. The tarp was tissue paper (from an old gift bag), cut to shape then soaked in a 50/50 solution of white glue and warm water. Laid out onto wax paper, carefully smoothing out excess moisture and glue. Place over the cargo carefully while still most and allow to dry. My first attempt ripped but the second one worked out. Allow to dry. Then paint with a base darker green color and build up details with progressivly lighter greens and finally a dry brush with a darker yellow. Use inks to  highlight folds and creases and do a few dabs of weathering (mud, dust,etc) to make it stand out better.

The tarp and cargo for me stole the show on this build and was a first for me trying this tissue paper technique and Im pretty happy with the results and will be using this quite a bit in the future.

Thanks for tuning in!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

American Mechanized Forces - A Contribution by a Reader

Editor's Note: Matt has been very kind to provide a couple of "how to" articles on his 15mm Twilight: 2000 armies. May I say I am honored to host them here for the readership!

American Mechanized Forces (ETO) by Matt Weaver-Uzelac

When I design my wargaming armies I try to make them as flexible as possible, so what started out to be elements of the 5th Infantry Division’s Cavalry Troop ended up being much bigger but have so many more options. This philosophy allows me to use the troops and vehicles to represent almost any American unit that a scenario might dictate. All of the units are 15mm in scale and everything is based on magnets. The vehicles are on magnetic sheets cut to size, and the infantry is based on ½ inch round magnetic buttons I found at the Lakeshore teaching store/website (they sell them in a 300 count pack for around $9). Heavy and support weapons as well as sniper teams are based on 1 inch magnetic buttons.

Available Forces (Pictured)

Infantry: I have approximately 60 infantry troopers wearing the 3 color camo pattern worn in Europe during the 1980’s (The type always pictured on the front of the adventures) A large majority of the figures are from Battlefront’s Team Yankee line, but with some Khurasan, Peter Pig and Rebel Minis.

To help Identify individual equipment during the game, I paint the edges of the bases specific colors for support weapons. I paint AT “penetrator” type weapons yellow (the color of RPG rockets in movies). Things that generally cause HE damage (like Grenade Launchers and mortars) I trim the base in red. For high rate-of-fire weapons I paint GW Jokero Orange (the same color I use for the plastic magazines on the AK74 family of weapons), If anyone is carrying a special weapon (like 9mm SMG, Sniper Rifle or shotgun) I paint the base blue. I have additional empty ½ inch bases I have painted blue that I stick to the bottom of the figures base if they need to have a modified weapon during a game. Finally I have Metallic-painted bases that I can stick to the bottom of a figure to designate it as a “Commander” or a Sergeant (something I use to organize my units in game-1 per squad))

Vehicles: My “motor pool” consists of the following vehicles and their makers:
• 2 M113 (Battlefront)

• 1 M106 (Battlefront)

• 1 M163 (Battlefront)

• 1 M109 ITV (Battlefront)

• 1 “LAV-75” (Battlefront body and the turret of an M5 Stuart with a rectangular “main gun.” It doesn’t look much like the pictured LAV-75, but since none of my players know what the prototype looked like, they can’t complain).

• 1 “other” LAV-75 For this one I used the hull of a Battlefront M551 Sheridan with a rigged up turret. Since I made this one I will “Re-convert the other LAV-75 into something else.

• 1 LAV-25 (QRF)

• 1 5-ton Gun Truck (Old Glory-an M113 ACCV mounted on the back of a 5-ton truck)

• 3 M35 2 ½ ton Trucks (Old Glory)

• 3 HMMWV (Khurasan)

• 2 FAV (QRF)

• 1 M2 Bradley (Zvezda-Not Pictured)

• 2 Abrams “Kits” I used the Battlefront M1 kits and built 2 “active” M1 kits with 4 Turrets (1 M1, 2 M1A2, 1 M1A3 and 1 M691 Dana). I use two hulls and just choose the turret for the battle. A third hull I made to look like it was broken down and turned into a checkpoint Bunker. The fourth I left turretless and turned it into an appropriated Training tank with a Mocked up fighting position used by my North American Marauders.

• 1 M728 (well… this one is actually a prototype M60 printed by a friend of mine. He accidentally made it a little too big so he gave it to me. I used some Leman Russ Parts to rig up a damaged crane, and the 165mm Gun and a dozer blade. I painted a smiley face on the front and named her “Happy Homewrecker. “ As I just finished her last week, I haven’t had a chance to have her go into battle.)

• I also have a ton of horses, bikes and motorcycles. I don’t have any actual models (which would be a pain to paint anyway) so I cut half inch wide magnetic strips in to 1 inch lengths and simply spray painted them (brown for horses, chrome for motorcycles and bright red for bicycles). When a model is mounted, I attach the magnetic base to the strip and count it as “riding.” This way if I wanted my units to be from 4-12 Cavalry or any other mounted unit I can.

My pretend LAV-75

The Happy Homewrecker

Delta Team/Convoy Escort Gun Truck

3 of my favorite vehicles in the Game, The HMMWV, The FAV and the M35

Examples of the Color bases

“Look ma…” Magnets are a brilliant idea for your Army (or gang/fleet/team/tribe/crew).

“My Better” LAV-75

M1 AAA Tank

M1A1 (complete with barrel rings) and the M1A2 (remote turret version)

My M1 “kit”

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