Soviet artillery clone wars

Continuing with my preparation for Moab 2019 I now have my 3d printed soviet medium howitzer painted up and ready to go, what it is missing is anyone to actually fire it. Being a 3D printed model of course it didn't come with any miniatures so off I went to the wargaming store to purchase Zis-2 anti-tank miniature (that I didn't really want) and team in order to get the crew miniatures because you can't buy the crew by themselves. 

Once I get them home, scraped off and ready to start painting I wondered if in fact being such a large gun it was only supposed to have 3 crew like the Zis 2 so I went to the rule book and had a look in fact it needed 4. Oh, there's a problem, in fact needed 5 because one of the main reasons that I took this unit over another Zis 3 was that it can have a spotter*. While I was on the job I had a quick look at my Zis-3 and to my surprise this unit actually has 4 crew as well even though only 3 come with the model!
Looking over the rest of the build I notice that my medium mortars have the required three guys but again no spotters soooo… in fact for my entire army including the Zis 2, Zis 3, medium artillery and 2 medium mortars (not that I would realistically use all of that at once) I am actually missing a total of 8 crew and spotter models so what's a man to do? Bear in mind at this point it's a week till the event and I still have to assemble paint and base all of these!

Solution; clone wars.
Obviously, I wouldn't do this to sell and honestly if I could just purchase the guys I would but I can't so out with mould making silicone and resin and "a while" later I have my 8 extra. I don't have a casting pressure pot and degas chamber so there are some small holes, and a few miscasts for the bin but at least now I'm ready to paint. 50 minute demold allows for a pretty quick turnaround.

The saga continues, now I only have 3 days to paint all of this and finish the rest of the army and "a fun challenge" is starting to wear a bit thin, more to follow.

Images below:

50% of the mould made
Completed mini, just needs a few holes filled and ready to paint
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DIY medium artillery piece - 3D printing

I have always wanted a 3D printer just the same as I have loved the idea of making a mold and casing things. That concept of "Xeroxing" something in 3D really gets me going, perhaps it's the wargamers "more, more, more miniatures" thing where your army is never big enough and certainly one army is never enough. Sadly, I don't have a 3D printer, its not that I couldn't afford to get one I guess, its more like a recovering alcoholic shouldn't have "just one drink". I already have enough in my personal life plus wargaming plus photography plus wargaming-photography, now plus blogging and podcasting and videography as well I really don't need another hobby…. do I…?

However, the 3D printing came in handy in preparation for the Sydney MOAB 2019 wargaming event in which I decided to take an artillery heavy soviet WWII force to play bolt action.

I went to purchase a medium artillery piece from Warlord games, hmm nothing there... OK what about Rubicon, hmm nothing there either. Finally, a general web search for 1/56 scale soviet medium artillery models revealed exactly …. Zero.

With time running out what is a man to do? One thing that my web search did uncover was a free 3D print model of a Soviet A-19 122mm gun.

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2774391/

Now, even though I don't have a 3d printer I have a good mate Nathan who has one at his work, and being a fellow soviet player I though an offer of a free gun for him might entice him to print one for each of us, he took the bait and in a day or so I got a message to say the first one was done (sort of).

Now this is Nathans first try with the 3D printer and I don't know how good the free model was as well so I wasn't expecting too much but when I received the model, I was really pleased even though I could see there was a bit or work to be done and that plastic is HARD.

I got stuck in with scraper and sandpaper and a small grinder and some plastic putty and a few hours later I had something was passable. (See the progression of images below.)

So how did I go with my first impression of 3d Printing. On the plus side, in 4 hours I had a completed model exactly what I wanted, for exactly zero dollars. No postage no purchase and no waiting. Looking at the quality well its hard to just because this was a first effort, in the end the quality is passable, but it took a fair amount of work. Nathan says the second one looks a lot better and I assume different printers would give a better (or worse) result. 

I'm looking foreword to the future, if I could have purchased one (with crew) I would have done that instead, but if I need 2 or 3 (or 10!)... rock on 3D printing.

So now I have the gun the next thing I don't have is any crew, the story continues… 

THANKS Nathan!

More images below...

Continue reading
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Friday Photo: Rex's MOAB 2019 army

Historical background:*
Despite the losses it suffered in the defensive phase of the battle of Kursk, the Red Army managed to go over to a very successful offensive within two weeks, pushing the Germans back to the Dnieper and towards western Ukraine, overall Kursk campaign was a disaster for the Germans.

The Kursk campaign was a decisive Soviet success. For the first time, a major German offensive had been stopped prior to achieving a breakthrough.

In the morning of 3 Nov 1943, German 4th Panzer Army stationed in Kiev, Ukraine was surprised by a massive artillery and aerial bombardment, followed by advancing Soviet troops. After two days of action, Soviet troops entered a city not yet recovered from the battle in the previous year, and now further damaged by both the intense Soviet invasion and the scorched-earth German retreat. Kiev suffered 7,000 buildings, which included about 1,000 factories, plundered or destroyed at the hands of the Germans. 200,000 civilians were killed during the course of the war. 100,000 civilians were sent to concentration camps during the occupation. What resulted was a city with only 80,000 survivors, a mere 20% of its pre-war size.

Erich von Manstein of German 4th Panzer Army was able to convince Adolf Hitler to release German 48th Panzer Corps to conduct a counter attack, though his request for the inclusion of German 40th Panzer Corps was rejected. German troops drove forward, but they were halted by Soviet 7th Guards Tank Corps near Fastov. Similar scenarios played out all around Kiev with German troops fighting fiercely but unable to halt the Soviet juggernaut. The Germans caught their break with the arrival of German 48th Panzer Corps containing the elite 1st SS Panzer Division, retaking Brusilov and Zhitomir, two towns that the Soviets had recently captured. Large scale tank engagements ensued with heavy casualties on both sides over the course of the following month.

Outcome:
Although the Soviets emerged victorious, they failed to achieve the important objective of enveloping German Army Group South. Nevertheless, they were able to deal heavy damage to German 4th Panzer Army, and the morale boost for gaining Ukraine was substantial.

*According to some guys on the internet...

You didn't really think I was going to give away the army composition did you? ;-)
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Trucks, lots of trucks

Trucks, lots of trucks, multi use USA and soviet lend lease. Finally finished except the pintle-mounted MMG's (and perhaps some paint). These are from https://rubiconmodels.com/. Just one hint if you are planing to purchase the Studebaker truck make sure you get the Katyusha kit instead as it comes with the truck deck anyway.

Three trucks. The Katyusha is magnetized so it can be swapped out with the truck deck.
The truck chassis showing magnet.
The full set, all the truck chassis are more or less the same so I can swap in the Katyusha, open decks which will have the MMG permanently mounted. Also eventually the covered decks representing trucks without a gun.
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Friday Photo: Soviet troop transport

 Moab 2019, yes I am...

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Latest podcast

Podcast EP8: "A new hope":

The latetst podcast persode is live now. This should appear in your podcast app if you have subscribed (Search for valhallagames podcast in your app) or you can listen on the web player here

Episode 8:

Join both Dan and Rex as we look back on the D Day 75th and Fortress Budapest Events respectively. We also do a hobby round up and our usual segments.

We hope you enjoy this and remind you to check out both our blog and Youtube channel.

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