Friday, November 15, 2013

Snow Cats - Winter Panthers, WW2 15mm

15mm German Panther tanks in winter paint
More 15mm winter WW2 stuff for this post.  This time, some big cats - German Panther tanks. These are 15mm models, three Panther "A"s from Battlefront, and one Panther "G" from Plastic Soldier Company. We had the chance to get a couple of these on the table during a "Chain of Command" game last night at Dallas' place.  He kindly set up his excellent Optex light studio so I could take some propaganda-worthy photos for the blog. 

Panther "G" from Plastic Soldier Company

I'm a certified tank tool, and the Panther is of course one of my favourites.  I have a few of them done up for non-winter fighting, but couldn't resist doing up a bunch in worn winter paint to go along with the other recent 15mm Winter WW2 stuff I've been doing. Reading about formations like Panzer Regiment Bäke, which saw most of its fighting in the winter of 43/44, was an inspiration in this regard - fun to have German tanks on the table attempting some sort of against-the-odds drive at any one of the many winter crisis points on the Eastern Front in the winter.

The two antennas are meant to present this as a command tank - "300" would be a company command tank (I think...)

These will also do nicely for games set during the Battle of the Bulge, once I get some 15mm winter Americans painted up.

Battlefront Panther "A" - again two antennas for a command tank
I want this to be a Regimental Command tank, but I can't find an "R" decal in 15mm yet...working on that. So he's "01" for now...
The details on the Battlefront models are so impressive - I love the chipped zimmerit and spent shells on the deck

The Panther "A"s are from a Battlefront box set, and they are just awesome castings.  These are a LOT of fun to paint.  The little details on them are amazing - damaged fenders, chips in the zimmerit finish, helmets hanging with the stowage, and my favourite, the spent 75mm shell casings sitting on the engine deck.  It is very fun to get cracking on them and they really are a joy to paint.

Another Panther "A" - again, the zimmerit is chipped and give the tank a "lived in" look.

The Panther "G" is from Plastic Soldier Company's box set. Those sets are very flexible - you can assemble your Panthers in any mark, either "D", "A" or "G".   The downside is that they don't have zimmerit on them (which is not the end of the world - not every tank did) and as I have observed previously, the detail on Battlefront castings is crisper.  But it is still a very, very nice box set, and you get great value. 

This Panther is covered in lots of extra tracks...do you ever have "enough" armour?

I am always keen to weather the tanks a lot, and these were no exception. I was reading about the attempted relief of the Cherkassy Pocket in Jan/Feb 1944, and the reported weather conditions caught my eye.  It was freezing cold, with a lot of snow, and then would suddenly rain (!) in February as the thaw started, but still freeze at night. This is a weather pattern I am quite familiar with growing up in the Canadian Prairies (a climate not unlike that around the western Ukraine/Russia).  It sucks, and I can't imagine being in a war (in any conditions), much less with that kind of weather misery.

The zimmerit finish adds a very spooky aura to some of the German tanks, particularly the Panther, which already has a fairly menacing silhouette

A Panther tank in that situation would have received a very rushed white-wash when the snow came, sometime in November/December 1943.  Then fought all through the winter into the new year, facing freezing temps, snow storms, woods, fighting etc.  THEN the rain, the mud, more freezing, flooding creeks...I figured it would be really, really messy, so that's what I had in mind when painted these.

Rear view of the Panther "G"

My cars are always a mess here at home in the winter.  And I (mostly) stay on the road, and don't have any T-34s and Sturmoviks to deal with (although Winnipeg drivers do have their moments).  So I thought the Panthers would be a real mess. I painted the tanks to a panzer-yellow type base as I would with any WW2 German vehicle of that period, and even applied the decals, but then stippled many layers of different shades of white.  I followed that up with sponge-chipping and spotting of mud, ice etc.  I did some "bird-poop" style runs of titanium white in different spots as well to show the paint and/or ice running off from the rain.

I like the helmet hanging off the turret on this vehicle.

My plan is to finish nine of these beasts for winter fighting.  That is plenty - likely too many - for any kind of Flames-of-War type game, but just right to represent a Panzer battalion in a game of Spearhead. 

Ready for winter fighting
 From the hopeless breakthrough attempts of Regiment Bäke, to the drive through the Ardennes, to desperate rear-guard actions in the Ukraine, to last stands along the Narva line and near the Baltic, to "Sleepwaking in Kurland", there are many different scenarios for these tanks. It was fun to see them on the table last night, and tread-head that I am, I will hatch more tank battles soon. 

Thanks again to Dallas for setting up the light box for these photos! I really do need to get one of those things...and stay tuned for a report on the "Chain of Command" game...

12 comments:

Andrew Saunders said...

stunning work, the detail is amazing

Phil said...

Beautiful work!

Dallas said...

Ausgezeichnet!!!

Ray Rousell said...

My my, they really do look superb!

Curt C said...

Fabulous work Greg!

DeanM said...

Masterful work on these - the weathering and field accessories make them look like 1:35th scale work.

Ian said...

THESE ARE EXCELLENT, THEY LOOK SO DETAILED AND WELL PAINTED
IAN

Curt C said...

Ian, they're awesome but you're shouting. You're hurting my blog-ears...

Phyllion said...

These are brilliant - love the grubbyness

Jim Hounslow said...

Your distressed snow washed Panthers look fantastic. I love the snow covered bases with the mud tracks. What are you basing them on?

Dan said...

This is an old post, but thought I would comment anyway, these are brilliantly done, I have a large stash of 15mm WWII stuff in my lead pike, but also aren't keen on FoW, this will give my the motivation to do some 15mm modelling, thanks.

Greg B said...

Thanks Dan. Your comment brought me back to this post, and to thoughts of the pending winter here in the Canadian prairies...