Friday, 17 January 2020

Kaboom!

Hot on the heals of the Pak 40, I am delighted to share with you the mighty 8.8cm FlaK 37, again from ‘Rubicon Models’.  Another hard plastic kit this one was much more involved from the point of view of construction and took considerably longer to assemble than the smaller Pak 40.  Part of the problem was my inability to stop small pieces of plastic ‘pinging’ across the art room and landing on the floor, which just happened to be a similar shade of grey to the plastic sprue.  This resulted in much scrambling and swearing*, but eventually the behemoth was tamed!  Once again, I am impressed by the quality of these kits, which have good, clear instructions.  With this particular piece there were options for different shields depending on when, or where, you wanted your model to serve and although some of the smaller details feel fragile, I can testify that they are quite forgiving, even to the thickest of fingers.
*Obviously a model kit to assemble when the pupils are not around!
If the sight of a Pak 40 wasn’t bad enough the knowledge that the infamous 88, as it was known by the Allies, was in the vicinity of Schloss Inter would have been a truly terrifying prospect.  Designed originally as a flak gun, the 8.8cm FlaK 37 went on to become an effective anti-tank weapon, capable of launching high velocity rounds great distances and slicing through most allied armour.  The distinctive sound of its shells screaming overhead would be enough to send an icy chill down the spine of any hard pressed tank commander.  
It is an instantly recognisable piece of ordnance and the model kit comes with the option to have the gun mounted on the SdAh 202 carriages.  I understand that the weapon could be fired in this state, but that it was more usual to have it dismounted, giving greater elevation and stability.  Practicality might be all well and good in the real world, but I just loved the look of the mounted gun and so managed to persuade James to cut me an oval shaped MDF base to mount the fully assembled kit on.  As with the previous models there are a good selection of extras in the shape of shells, spent cases, ammunition boxes and even the battery commander’s binocular periscope along with a useful set of waterslide transfers.  There is also a full compliment of crew, but again I have decided not to use these for this encounter, keeping the model as a static piece to be crewed by the attackers if they so wished.
With regards to the Battle of Schloss Itter, the 88 had been spotted barely 800 yards away to the North West of the Castle on the day of the engagement.  Only too aware of the potency of the weapon, initially it was hoped that it was being deployed to counter any relief column that might come to the aid of the defenders, but when a round slammed into West side of the keep’s third floor, as seen below**, any optimism evaporated.  It does seem strange, however, that the barrage didn’t continue, unless of course that the attackers were keen that some part of the Schloss remained standing after the onslaught?  
**Former Prime Minister, Paul Reynaud & General Maurice Gamelin put their differences aside to remonstrate over the intrusion to their petit déjeuner!
For the purposes of our game crewing the 88 should clearly have a big impact on the game play.  We have arbitrarily allocated dice and damage to the piece, again deemed a ‘Special Item’, but we may need to revise this when play testing continues.  Perhaps there needs to be a greater number of miniatures in base contact to ‘crew’ the weapon, making it harder to manage?  I was quite taken by the comment of Terry Silverthorn, of 'Miniature Mayhem' fame, on the previous post who suggested that on a given dice roll, the gun would be deemed ‘out of ammo’ and therefore no longer serviceable.  This would then mean that the attacker would have to reconsider their plan for neutralising the defenders.
Regardless of its use in the game, this has been a fabulous piece to work on.  I thoroughly enjoyed the assembly and wanted to give it the best paint job I could.  I decided to embrace the camouflage pattern attempted on the Pak 40, this time going for a little more subtlety along with some wear and tear.  The base was designed to tie in with the previous piece, and indeed the game boards, and was great fun to do, especially hinting at tracks in the mud.  I have to confess that I am thoroughly enjoying the period and whilst I still have a lot to learn, feel that I am making progress all the time.  Given the scale of the piece, and how thrilled I am with how it turned out, I shall have to add it to the ‘Command Stand’ page.

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60 comments:

  1. Fantastic work Michael, will definitely add another element to the game, depending on how complex you want to make the rules you could add in chance elements like weapon jam, which would take a turn to clear, or even round exploding in the barrel causing wounds on the crew

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    1. Thank you Dave, really enjoyed this piece. Nice ideas on the rules tweaks too, great stuff.

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  2. Breathtakingly good, Michael. Simply stunning piece of artillery :-)

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    1. Now stop it you'll make me blush. Thank you though Simon, I really appreciate it.

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  3. Cracking job Michael, cracking job...

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  4. Fabulously monstrous piece of kit Michael! Nice painting and basing :)

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    1. It really is a beast, but a lovely kit to put together.

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  5. Looks great, and I agree on the choice to keep it mounted; rule of cool before all.

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  6. Lovely work on this behemoth Michael. I've had similar experiences with grey plastic bits but mine hid in carpeting.

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    1. Thank you Peter. Ah yes carpet, that's not good, you can't hear the piece fall either! :)

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  7. Splendid work a fine model I have the Warlord version waiting in a box, but to be honest it is so powerful in game play I haven’t got round to it. 88’s and early British armour don’t mix !

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    1. Thank you Matt and interesting to hear that the 88 is a problem in Bolt Action too.

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  8. That looks lovely (and terrifying from a defenders point of view)

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    1. Thank you Tom, must have been a horrible moment when they saw this pull up!

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  9. Fantastic looking 88! I like it on wheels, lovely painting and basing !
    Best Iain

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    1. Thank you Iain, like you just love the look of it as a mounted piece.

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  10. Excellent work!

    Yeah, I wonder if whoever fired it at the castle decided that was too much and didn't want to cause further damage? Or was it a technical glitch that silenced it? Could be a variety of reasons, from technical to practical to ethical to who knows what.

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    1. Thank you. It certain is a mystery, given that the attackers were the 17th SS Division, I wonder whether there would have too many ethical concerns, but surely at 800 yards this would simply have brought the place down?

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  11. Flippin love this! Such a cool diorama and wonderfully painted too. Those poor defenders in the Castle!

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    1. Thank you Dai, such a great kit too, thrilled that you like it.

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  12. Fantastic piece well done!

    Cheers
    Matt

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  13. That's a cracking piece of work Micheal!

    Christopher

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    1. Thank you Christopher, really enjoyed putting this together.

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  14. Wonderful work on the flak gun, Michael. Sure to wreak havoc in the skies.

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    1. Thank you Dean, it has been really interesting reading just how versatile, and long staying, this gun was. Not to mention deadly!

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  15. It all looks pretty good, I'm working on persuading Mrs Vagabond to go to London with me for a few days, it's looking promising so I might get to see this in person, personally.

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    1. Thank you John and what wonderful news about the potential visit to London! More incentive to pull my finger out and get everything finished! :)

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  16. Amazing!! The painting and basing are very nice indeed. I can't wait to see it in position on the boards. :)

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    1. Thank you James and despite my best efforts the barrel still elevates and traverses! It is certainly going to be a focal point, just got to keep plugging away.

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  17. Superb looking piece of kit Michael! You‘ve really got the knack of it it seems.

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    1. Thank you Nick. I am starting to feel a bit more confident about going back in with a brush, after having used the airbrush, to pick out details. Before I would simply stop and say that's finished.

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  18. Another truly inspiring bit of work Michael & a good insight to the power of the weapon.

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    1. Thank you Frank, learning so much on this adventure.

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  19. In my experience, the existence of an 88 on the other side of the tabletop is a brilliant motivator for building more terrain.

    Looks fantastic.

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    1. That made me roar with laughter, thank you Kieron!

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  20. Awesome as ever! Oh and you're being mentioned in WI as well, congrats!

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    1. Thank you Sander, that's very kind. Mentioned in WI, really? It what capacity?

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  21. Fantastic work on this one Michael. What a monster an 88 is! Those MDF bases look great with the small rim. Definately will make its placement on the table look better! Just remind me to be on the far side of the Schloss when it engages!

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    1. Thank you Terry, I have had to make sure that there is a matching flat surface on the board so that it sits properly on the table, but hopefully it will look ok when the two are placed together.

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  22. One wouldn;t wish to be on the recieving end of that beautifully deadly piece.
    Great looking model and all the bits really set it off - great realistion of this piece.

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    1. I couldn't agree more Joe, a fearsome bit of kit.

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  23. Fabulous work my friend. I love that you did it on the less common, but far more visually interesting, wheeled carriage. What a triumph!

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    1. Thank you Curt, like you I find it sitting on the carriages just that little bit more interesting.

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  24. Fantastic! Really love the weathering!

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  26. Very impressive, and it does look good mounted on the trailer. I like the ideas for gameplay as well, interested to see how that turns out.

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  27. Nice bit of weathering on the big gun.

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