Sunday, August 16, 2015

Summer Project - 6mm Late War Germans

My forum of choice is the german-language Tabletop Welt, although it started to struggle about year ago after a sub-optimal software update and a change of ownership which came with a new staff of admins and moderators, too.

Anyway, some of my favorite things about this forum are the Project 500 and the Summer Project.

Both are friendly painting competitions aiming at motivating gamers to finish a project within a given timeframe. The Project 500 usually runs from November to April and includes 4 "blocks". Each block is 6 weeks long and participants are supposed to paint at least 500 points of miniatures within each period. So after 4 blocks you'll have painted 2000 points. There are slightly different point limits for different systems, but over all the 500 points work for most games.

There is nothing at stake, you just do it for fame and glory and the motivation.

The Summer Project is a "Project 500 light" and only runs from June to August with three blocks of one month each. And because people are less likely to spend a lot of time painting when it is 35°C outside, you only have to paint any 6 miniatures to pass a block.

My summer project for this year is 6mm late war german armor for Blitzkrieg Commander (or Spearhead, which seems to be more popular around here). More precisely Kampfgruppe Peiper of Battle of the Bulge "fame".
The local wargaming club bought a huge collection of 6mm WW2 miniatures from somebody and sold it to the members for very little money, so I was able to get around 120 vehicles for 25 US-$. And they still made a bit of profit from that! The quality ranges from GHQ and CinC to things somebody might have carved out of a block of lead with his bare hands.
But after some sorting and paint-stripping I am very happy with this purchase ;)

So painting six 6mm vehicles in a month isn't much of a challenge, especially when it is not 35°C outside (I live in the southern hemisphere and rather have the problem that I can't go outside to use spray cans due to rain and/or frost). Anyway, it is a nice motivation to sit down with a brush at least every other week and get some painting done.

My project is roughly based on the marching order of Kampfgruppe Peiper. It was lead by the 1. Abteilung SS Panzerregiment 1 with Panthers and Panzer IVs, followed by the SS Panzergrenadierregiment 2 and all the way at the end, the Tiger IIs of Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 501 (Peiper didn't believe that these massive tanks could navigate the narrow forest tracks with sufficient speed and was actually not too enthusiastic about having them in his force).

The first two blocks are finished by now:

Block 1 consists of a CO element (Panther and Sd Kfz 251), three Panthers and six Panther IV H/J.

Block 2 has a HQ element (Sd Kfz 250 and Schwimmwagen), 3 Sd Kfz 251, 3 Maultier halftracks and 3 Grille SPGs.

The final block will be another HQ element (Tiger II and Kubelwagen) and 6 Tiger IIs.

I quite enjoy painting those tiny miniatures. In the past I painted modern Syrians and IDF as well as some 1980s BAOR in 6mm, and it is much more fun than one expects!
Another interesting part is that late war german vehicles offer quite a lot of variety in color. Base color can be sand, olive green or oxide red, depending on production date. Most vehicles show a simple striped camouflage or the rather elaborate "ambush" pattern, but mixing in some less often used schemes is a nice way to make painting more interesting and challenging (all patterns shown are "authentic", although some have been borrowed from Eastern Front units).

Half way through the final block I only managed to put base color on the Tiger IIs, partly because I spent some time trying to replace the rather "bendy" gun barrels (don't try it. It is a horrible idea and you will curse yourself for even trying...).

Also shown are three Wirbelwind AA tanks and a Kettenkrad. The turrets are not primed yet, but I will paint seven Krupp-turrets and three additional Porsche-turrets for variety.

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