31 May 2008

Paint-fest: Day 8 progress

The usual weekend domestic caveats (gardening, taking kids to football & scouts, family time etc) account for the reduced productivity:
  • NVA HMG and crew painted and detailed.
  • Started sorting out my USMC weapons platoon...only to find that I either don't have enough figs in the pack, or that the TO&E in the FP rulebook isnt correct...
  • Washed the Duster and PBR
And because I'm really pleased with the way these have come out, here is some pre-emptive eye-candy (just for you evil voice in my ear). Click for larger pics - Peter Pig Vietnam range US Snipers, pictured on a jungle terrain section by Miniature World Maker.

30 May 2008

Guide to painting windscreens

from the FoW website:

Guide to painting windscreens

from the FoW website:

Paint-fest: Day 7 progress

Most importantly, my last Uni essay has been finished and lodged, so thats out of the way now - huzzah! Sadly, that didnt leave much of the day...
  • Second US sniper stand (in Tiger Cammies) finished! Unike the first stand, which was a sniper and spotter, both kneeling - this one is a lone sniper in the lying position. The problem will be not losing them in the terrain when the camo actually works...
  • Undercoated and basecoated the NVA HMG, crew and stand
  • Basecoated the M42 Duster and one PBR
  • Progressed one of the jungle terrain sections as a test case

29 May 2008

Paint-fest: Day 6 progress

  • NVA Rifle Platoon finished!
  • First sniper team finished!
  • Undercoated, basecoated and detailed the second sniper stand
  • Undercoated (in black) the M42 Duster and PBRs
  • Started a NVA HMG emplacement
  • Started some jungle terrain sections using my plastic palm tree collection
  • Started painting up my latex roads
  • Caught up with my mate Owen again!

In the excitement of completing my first NVA platoon I completely blew off my Uni essay, which is due tomorrow. Getting that finished will sadly cut into my day and my model productivity...

28 May 2008

Paint-fest: Day 5 progress

  • NVA - now that the reshaped fig bases fit, they have been glued onto the bases. I should be able to complete the basing tomorrow.
  • Mounted my first Sniper team and started another. Initially I was a little disappointed with the Tiger Cams but they dried a different colour and I like them more each time I see them now. Again, I should be able to finish off the basing tomorrow.
  • Cleaned up the Duster, PBRs and the Zippo M113 for undercoating
  • Planned some individually mounted peasants (to inhabit the hootches I've just done)
  • More time grudgingly expended on frivolous 1:1 painting and Uni requirements...

Also, I've just realised its been a year since I started this Blog and only twenty hits shy of achieving 7,000!

27 May 2008

Paint-fest: Day 4 progress

  • reshaped all remaining NVA figure bases - I can now base the whole platoon tomorrow
  • Major filling, grinding, shaping and sanding for the domestically imposed 1:1 scale project work (grumble...)
  • progressed the insanity of 15mm Tiger Stripes: what was I thinking?
  • received my QRF order (M42 Duster, OH-6 'Loach' Recon Helo, M113 Zippo, and a 2.5ton Truck) so I played with the new toys for a bit.
  • caught up with my good mate Owen (up from Melbourne) - generally inspected all items, discussed modelling, developed cunning scenarios and planned further purchases. Over a few coffees and cold refreshments of course!

And more work on the Uni essay - I shall be free from that burden (one way or another) by Friday.

25 May 2008

Paint-fest: Day 2 progress

  • 3 Hootches finished, the other 3 are half painted

  • NVA rifle platoon - flesh, boots, weapons and webbing painted. Awaiting basing

  • LVTPs - basecoated, washed and highlighted.

  • US Sniper team (rifleman and observer) cleaned-up and basecoated

Also ordered some decals for vehicle markings and watched Apocalypse Now...well, the good bits anyway :-D

24 May 2008

Paint-fest: Day 1

I've got 2 weeks off work starting today with an ambitious modeling agenda in mind.
I also have a Uni essay to knock over (the last one!) and the usual domestic considerations but lets see how we go.

To maximise productivity, I'm going to add a few comments each day (mostly for myself) on what I've gotten done and leave eye-candy photos until the end.

The 'to-do' agenda:

2 NVA Rifle Platoons (1 squad done)(Flashpoint figs)
4 Downed aircrew/objectives markers (Peter Pig figs)
US Special Forces and snipers (Peter Pig figs)
2-3 Peasant stands (Peter Pig figs)
start some local force VC units (Peter Pig figs)

2 LCVP (Peter Pig)
2 PBRs (Peter Pig)

6 resin Hooches (Flashpoint)
complete my modular Brown Water river sections and bridge
Make more jungle sections with all the new plastic treees I just got delivered
Cam up my other VC Bunkers
make some weapons cache/supply dump objectives
Paint up my rubber road/track sections

Sort out flying stands for my Helos and aircraft
Make some arty/airstrike impact markers

If time permits
USMC Weapons Platoon (Flashpoint figs)
2nd USMC rifle plt (Flashpoint Figs)
Assemble revell 1/100 AH-1 Cobra Gunship (Revell plastic kit)
PACV (Gomi)

Day 1 Progress

  • Cleaned up and undercoated (in white) the resin hooches
  • Undercoated the LVTPs (in black)
  • base coated 3 NVA rifle squads

23 May 2008

More Acqusitions!

Spurned on by an evil voice in my ear (you know who you are!) I went to Olympian Miniatures today....I now own Flashpoint Miniature's USMC Weapons Platoon - and the evil voice owns the ANZAC Company HQ, Rifle Platoon, Support Company, SAS Patrol and a Local VC Force Cell too!

Not that I needed more lead to paint right now, but since when does that count? :-D

22 May 2008

Allied Air Defence Vehicles in Vietnam

Among other bits and pieces, I've just ordered a M42 'Duster' AA vehicle (from QRF) for my US forces. When the expected North Vietnamese MiG threat failed to materialise over the DMZ, this vehicle was used extnsively in the ground support role where the twin 40mm Bofors cannons (firing AP and HE ammo) were quite nasty.
This wesbite shows not only the Dusters, but other Air defence Artillery units used by the US in Vietnam

20 May 2008

Battle for Hue, 1968

Some very interesting reading here, rearding the USMC's use of Armour in Hue during Tet

During this final phase, M-48 tanks and Ontos antitank vehicles were paired together. This tactic provided an effective combination for dominating the close-in fighting along the tight streets of the Citadel. The tank was used for pinpoint fire and to draw-out the enemy. The Ontos provided an area fire capability as all six tubes unleashed canister shot at close range. This method forced defenders to ground and negated any resistance prior to Marine assaults across streets or open areas. This technique proved so effective that when tank ammunition was exhausted on 17 February, there was a pause in the fighting. Mounted firepower was critical in sustaining the dismounted assault.

For a more detailed account of the battle of Hue, see this:

18 May 2008

LVTP-5 Project commences

Long delayed, I finally got his project started ahead of my imminent two weeks off. I've been looking forward to doing these for ages and after getting a technique I'm happy with with the M48s and Ontos, I'm ready to have a crack at these large beasts. Detailed pics of AMTRACS in country are somewhat hard to find, but I'll generally be going for a look like this one.

The models are by Peter Pig, are resin and come on a precast base (which I'll replace to match my other vehicles). I've cleaned them up and added the usual gear hanging off - 44 gallon drums, jerry cans, crates and stowages are metal by Skytrex, plus some plastic sand bags around the forward turrets too. One beef is the blocky front of the main turret. A metal barrel insert would have been much nicer. I've left one as-is for comparison and carved one off as an expriment.

Here is the review from the Eleven-Barco site (reproduced here in full now that the site has been taken down)


Peter Pig (AKA Martin Goddard and team!) have recently expanded their already comprehensive 15mm Vietnam range to include the LVTP-5 (Landing Vehicle Tracked, Personnel) AMTRAC amphibious tractor/APC used extensively by the US Marine Corps in Vietnam. The model is available in two versions – a full sized vehicle and a "waterline" version representing the vehicle in the water. The full model costs £4.80 while the waterline version sells for £2.50

I have recently updated my 15mm collection to include US Marines and I took the opportunity to buy a couple of the full size LVTP-5 models. I started collecting Peter Pig Vietnam models in 1990, when the company first started up and, over the years, Peter Pig have gone from strength to strength, in both quality of models (which are, in my opinion, some of the best detailed and sculpted available today) and in the extensive range available. The LVTP model is a worthy addition to their Vietnam range. However before looking at the model I must point out that I am primarily a wargamer and not a fine scale modeler. I am not overly bothered if a model is not 100% accurate as long as it looks right when it is painted and placed on my wargames table. In the case of the Peter Pig LVTP-5 cannot vouch for the scale accuracy of the model, firstly because I do not have any scale plans to check it with, and also because the resin casting medium may suffer from some distortion. So, allowing for this, on to the model itself....

The LVTP-5 Model

In their catalogue Peter Pig claim it is a big model and when compared to a 15mm figure it certainly is. The model is a one piece resin casting 85mm long, 35mm wide and 30mm high. The model is cast with an integral base. Although I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the dimensions the model itself certainly looks right when placed next to some model soldiers and it really does give the impression of size, which is obvious in photographs of the real thing. Details are cast or engraved onto the model. In addition the detailing looks absolutely right, particularly the positioning of the hatches, cupolas and other external detail. My only real quibble is that the engraved line indicated the front hatch door and one of the side access panels (LHS) are not straight and look as though Martin was having a bit of an "off" day.

The model represents the standard APC version of the LVTP-5 and is modeled in a "clean" configuration with no external stowage or clutter and all of the hatches and doors closed. The level of detail is good, particularly around the area of the running gear/tracks and the MG turret and driver's/commander's cupolas. I particularly like the way Martin has modeled the vision blocks/episcopes on the machine gun turret. The models were very cleanly cast and required no cleaning up other than a bit of sanding to level the base and reduce it's thickness slightly.

Customising the LVTP-5

Although I was a bit disappointed to find the model had no stowage clutter included I realised that this was not necessarily a bad thing, as it allowed me to customise the model easily to what I wanted. Most photos of LVTPs in Vietnam show the top deck cluttered with sandbags, C ration boxes, fuel or oil drums, plus lots of marines. To produce this effect I decided to modify my two models with the addition of some sandbags, a few C ration boxes and some troops as passengers. I also added several radio antenna from thin steel wire as I think these really add to the overall look of a model armoured vehicle (actually the wire was from an old top E string off my guitar – it is very thin, flexible and strong enough to withstand the handling which most wargame models have to put up with).

The sandbags were simply made from Milliput, rolled into thin sandbag sized strips and then pressed into place with a couple of dental tools. The C ration boxes were made from balsa wood and superglued in place, while the soldiers were selected from my spares box (and are a mixture of figures from Peter Pig and QRF Models). I also wanted to show the passengers standing up in an open top hatch so I first needed to modify the model as follows:
  • Using a scalpel and file I removed the raised hinges/ribs on one of the two long upper hatches.
  • After referring to several photographs, I then cut a new hatch from plastic card, and glued it in the open position, adding the hinge details from plastic strip.
  • The figures selected as passengers were then (with the exception of the kneeling M-79 gunner) cut in half at the waist and drilled to accept a thin wire pin. The kneeling M-79 grenadier was cut from his base and drilled under the groin (ouch!) to accept a wire pin.
  • I then decided how the passengers were to be positioned and drilled corresponding holes in the open hatch and deck to accommodate the pins inserted in the models.

Painting the LVTP-5

Once I had added all the detail I wanted I glued the models to card bases and, once the glue was dry, I undercoated the models with a matt black acrylic spray paint.
Painting the models was simplicity itself. The detail is good enough that they almost paint themselves. The sequence was as follows:
  • Black undercoat.
  • Dry brush coat of olive drab, leaving the black showing in the engraved detail.
  • Cover the entire model with a wash of sepia/dark brown acrylic ink and leave to dry.
  • Dry brush with olive drab, progressively lightening each coat to highlight the detail.
  • Paint the tracks dark brown. When dry cover with a wash of sepia/dark brown acrylic ink. When dry drybrush with a steel/ gunmetal colour to represent worn/exposed steel.
  • Paint the vision blocks/episcopes with a light blue-green (to represent the armoured glass) and highlight with spots of white.
  • Paint on any unit markings, graffiti, or "artwork" (many LVTPs were adorned with paintings of scantily clad ladies – but these were beyond my ability to paint in this scale!).
  • "Weather" the vehicle by drybrushing the model with the same yellow ochre colour with which I would paint the base. Lighten subsequent coats with white to again highlight the detail.

Final Touches

Once the vehicles themselves were painted I drilled holes in the appropriate spots and glued the antennas in position. I also glued the passenger figures in place using the holes I had drilled earlier (the figures themselves had been painted earlier and were thus ready to be installed with no further effort).

The card bases were then given an undercoat of green paint and a sand/fine gravel mixture glued onto the base to blend the base and model together. The sand mixture was then painted with yellow ochre and lightened with white to highlight the detail. As a finishing touch the base was decorated with "static grass".
All in all there was quite a lot of work involved for what is essentially a simple model but I think the end result was worth it.


Conclusions? A good, solid no-nonsense model from Peter Pig which looks the part and is very easy to prepare and paint but which also offers great scope for conversions and modifications (I wouldn't mind building one of the engineer versions with a big plough/bulldozer blade on the front!). They are not cheap at £4.80 for a resin model but I think that they offer good value and Martin and his team are to be congratulated on producing an excellent model of such a useful vehicle.

Now Martin, what about a stowage and deck clutter pack for the Peter Pig M-48 and LVTP-5, plus a vehicle crew/passenger set (with crew members in t-shirts/flak jackets and AFV crew helmets, and passengers in various sitting/lying/sprawling positions)?
The full range of Peter Pig 15mm models can be found on-line at http://www.peterpig.demon.co.uk
Barrie Lovell
July 2000

13 May 2008

Vietnam veterans honoured in Canberra

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson acknowledged that Australia didn't necessarily treat soldiers returning from the Vietnam War with the respect they deserved.

At a Parliament House reception for the veterans of the battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral, Mr Rudd paid tribute to the men who took part in the battles, described as some of the most hazardous of the war.

Twenty-six Australians were killed during the fighting at Coral and Balmoral, which took place during the "Mini-Tet" offensive by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces in May 1968.
"Tonight, as prime minister of Australia, I want to pay tribute to your service to Australia in this great battle of the Vietnam War," Mr Rudd told the veterans.

"For those whose service to the nation through this terrible war has not been properly honoured by government, I express regret.

"We can never repay the price that you have paid, but tonight I say that we will properly honour the memory of those who fell in the actions around Coral and Balmoral."

Dr Nelson, a former defence minister, said the treatment of diggers upon their return from Vietnam was one of the things Australia had got wrong as a nation.

"There are many things in our country of which we are immensely proud but there are some things that we have got wrong," he said.

"The way in which significant elements of Australian society responded to your return to our country at the end of your service and at the end of the war is one example of something we got wrong."

To rousing applause Dr Nelson said: "Whatever we do as a nation facing our future we must always make sure that we work tirelessly to honour the service and sacrifice of men and women who, in our uniform, serve the policies and views of the government of the day of our country."

On Tuesday there will be a national commemorative ceremony at the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial in Canberra to mark the 40th anniversary of the battle.


10 May 2008

Realistic smoke tutorial

Realistic Palm Trees

Personally, I love my plastic palm trees- quick, easy and hard to destroy (though it IS possible I've discovered...)

But if you want an ultra-realistic palm tree, I found this great how-to here:

05 May 2008

Eureka Miniature Indochine Range

Nic of Eureka Miniatures has his 15mm Indo-China War range developed from the 300 Club and ready. Its a comprehensive range and Mike Broadbent has done a great job with the sculpting.

French Foreign Legion Indo-China War
Click for bigger pics
(I particularly like the deployed FM24/29 figs)

The figure in brackets denotes the number of variants in the code.

300FFL01 Legionary in helmet with MAS 36 (6)
300FFL02 Legionary in helmet with MAT 49 (2)
300FFL03 Legionary and No.2 in helmet with FM24/29 LMG (1)
300FFL03a Legionary in helmet with FM24/29 LMG (1)
300FFL04 Legionary Officer in helmet (2)
300FFL05 Legionary Radio Operator in helmet (1)
300FFl05a Legionary with radio telephone in helmet(1)
300FFL06 Legionary 30.cal HMG team in helmet 2 figs (1)
300FFL07 Legionary 80mm Mortar team in helmet 3 figs (1)
300FFL08 Legionary 60mm Mortar team in helmet 2 figs (1)
300FFL09 Legionary 57mm recoilless rifle team and 2 crew in helmet (1)
300FFL10 Legionary in helmet with M1 Carbine (2)
300FFL11 Legionary in bush hat with MAS 36 (6)
300FFL12 Legionary in bush hat with MAT 49 (2)
300FFL13 Legionary and No.2 in bush hat with FM24/29 LMG (1)
300FFL13a Legionary in bush hat with FM24/29 LMG (1)
300FFL14 Legionary Officer in bush hat (2)
300FFL15 Legionary Radio Operator in bush hat (1)
300FFl15a Legionary with radio telephone in bush hat (1)
300FFL16 Legionary 30.cal HMG team in bush hat 2 figs (1)
300FFL17 Legionary 80mm Mortar team in bush hat 3 figs (1)
300FFL18 Legionary 60mm Mortar team in bush hat 2 figs (1)
300FFL19 Legionary 57mm recoilless rifle team and 2 crew in bush hat (1)
300FFL20 Legionary in bush hat with M1 Carbine (2)

Viet Minh
Click for bigger pics

300ICW30 Viet Minh with rifles- MAS36, SMLE and Type 99 (8)
300ICW31 Viet Minh with SMG – MAT49, Type 50 and Thompson (4)
300ICW32 Viet Minh with DP LMG (2)
300ICW33 Viet Minh Type 92 HMG -2 fig (1)
300ICW34 Viet Minh Bazooka team – 2 figs (1)
300ICW35 Viet Minh mortar/artillery crew (3)
300ICW36 Viet Minh Bugler (2)
300ICW37 Viet Minh Standard Bearer (2)
300ICW38 Viet Minh Officer (2)

You can find Eureka Miniatures here: http://www.eurekamin.com.au/

Now to go find some TO&E info so I can build some French Platoons!

01 May 2008

Online Book: USMC in 'Nam, 1968

US Marines in Vietnam: 1968 The Defining Year
Tet, Hue, Khe Sahn, its all here, 770+ online pages. Some great reading here

Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A190400Marine infantry advance cautiously under support of the 90mm gun of a M48 tank in street fighting in Hue. Even with the tank support, the Marines found the enemy resistance difficult to overcome in the first days of the operation.