Sunday, August 30, 2020

Customized Diecast Vehicles for 28mm China Wargaming Part 2

I'm back with some more customized Lledo Days Gone vehicle for  28mm Back of Beyond and WW2 Chinese wargaming.  Part 1, which also covers decal creation, can be found here.

Lledo Diecast Vehicles for Wargaming 1920's,1930's and WW2  China in 28mm

For this round, I used several protation vehicles:  Hershey's Chocolate, Standard Oil, and a local wholesale company, J J Brodsky & Sons. The last vehicle only had stickers instead of decals, so I stripped them off at the start.  Sadly some paint came off with them.

Lledo Days Gone Diecast DG20, DG16, DG18

DG20 Ford 1934 Model A Stake Truck

Lledo DG20 Ford 1934 Model A Stake Truck , Sean You Zoo Company, Hangchow, China, 28mm WW2 Bolt Action Wargaming

This truck took its inspiration the Sean You Zoo factory vehicles from Hangchow.  The included barrels can be popped out of the bed, so I too the opportunity to drybrush them and paint in a wooden floor for the truck bed. 

Sean You Zoo Company Truck , 1930's Hangchow, China. Source: Madspace.org
Source: Madspace.org

Sean You Zoo Company Truck , 1930's Hangchow, China. Source: Madspace.org
Source: Madspace.org

DG16 Dennis 1934 Parcels Van

Lledo DG16 Dennis 1934 Parcels Van , Tai Choi Company, Shanghai, China, 28mm WW2 Bolt Action Wargaming

This van was based off a van from the Tai Chong furniture company out of Shangai. As mentioned previously, the van had suffered some paint damage during preparation, so the weathering was really ramped up to hide that. I think this particular vehicle was slightly undersized when compared to the other two, but it's still not too bad looking.

Tai Chong Company Van , 1930's Shanghai, China. Source: Madspace.org
Source: Madspace.org

DG18 Packard 1936 Van

Lledo DG18 Packard 1936 Van , Kuomintang Party 國民黨, Shanghai, China, 28mm WW2 Bolt Action Wargaming

This particular customization was a completely original idea. When I saw the announcer horns, it reminded me of old election/political rally vehicles, so I though it would be perfect to roam the streets and whip up patriotic fervor for the Kuomintang and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

Lledo DG18 Packard 1936 Van , Kuomintang Party 國民黨, Shanghai, China, 28mm WW2 Bolt Action Wargaming

The size of these vehicles were again comparable to the Warlord Games 1/56 Morris 15cwt Truck.

Lledo Vans Compared to Warlord Games Truck

As before, I am including the decal designs here for personal use, but they are not allowed to  to be sold.

Chinese Decals for 28mm Wargaming by Chris Schuetz.  Free for Personal Use Only.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Allied Air Support for China

 The Bolt Action rules do not technically allow aircraft to be used by Chinese armies, but since I've expanded into the southern Chinese theater and have American allies working with them, I thought I could make the argument to include some American air support as well. While I would have loved to use a B-25 Mitchell (my great uncle flew them over China), it would be too big for 28mm wargaming.  Since they were escorted by P-40s, I thought that would make a suitable alternative.

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E 23rd Fighter Group, China, 1942

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E 23rd Fighter Group, China, 1942

This particular kit was a P-40E produced by Hasegawa. It came with the options for the 23rd Fighter Group based in China and the 49th Fighter Group based in Australia. The kit did not include a pilot and was only configured for the landing gear to be down.

Hasegawa 1/48 P40-E

Since it would look odd to have a flying plane without a pilot, I had to locate a separate pilot kit. Unfortunately, it proved fairly difficult to find options in 1/48; I only found a single 1/48 American Army pilot, which was produced by PJ Productions out of Belgium.  My order was not large enough for them to sell it to me direct, so I was forced to use eBay to locate one.  The final price and shipping was more than I wanted to pay, but what are you going to do.

1/48 PJ Productions Belgium USAF Pilot WW2 #481103

The figure was displaying a thumbs up sign, which made him challenging to fit in the cockpit, as I had to make sure his arm could clear the side of the cockpit. I ended up having to glue him up off the seat bottom to get the needed clearance, and also had to cut out part of the control panel to make space  for the legs. He was well cast, with only a couple of small bubbles on the visible areas of the figure.

1/48 PJ Productions Belgium USAF Pilot WW2 #481103

Even though the plane was in the wheels down configuration, I wanted to be able to fit it to a flight stand for gaming purposes. I normally like to drill a hole for the stand somewhere under the front of the wings, but the position of the bomb rack did not allow for this. As such, I drilled out a space behind the cockpit.

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Flight Stand for Bolt Action

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of not checking the inside of the fuselage when drilling my hole, and ended up going through a space that was not flat underneath. A second hole was drilled, and a section of tubing was glued in to guide the rod  through the undercarriage into the upper hole.

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Flight Stand for Bolt Action

The final construction ended up fairly sturdy, and not too detrimental to the visual appeal of the underside.

 Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E 23rd Fighter Group, China, 1942

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Flight Stand for Bolt Action

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Flight Stand for Bolt Action

The last part that gave me some difficulty was attaching the canopy components. The front canopy was not able to clear the cockpit's control panel, so I had to try and shave the panel down in situ without breaking anything. Luckily, I was successful and I don't think it's obvious.

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Cockpit Details

The top canopy had to be glued on in the open position to accommodate the pilot, which really limited the contact points with the plane. It broke off shortly after the initial attachment, but seemed to do better after attempt two.

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Cockpit Details

Overall, I am very happy with the Hasegawa kit and give it a thumbs up.  The molding was good, assembly fairly easy, and the price and detailing level work for wargaming.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Customized Diecast Vehicles for 28mm China Wargaming

 I wanted some more scatter terrain for my Back of Beyond and WW2 Chinese wargaming, so I though some appropriate 1920's and 1930's vehicle would fit the bill nicely. 1/56 civilian vehicles designed for 28mm wargaming are hard to come by, so your best bet is to look for diecast cars and trucks that are relatively close in scale (as I did for VBCW).  As I only knew of one truck specifically intended to represent a vehicle of that era in China, so conversions of American and British branded vehicles were called for.

Lledo and Matchbox Diecast Vehicles for Wargaming 1920's,1930's and WW2  China in 28mm
Lledo and Matchbox Diecast Vehicles for Wargaming 1920's,1930's and WW2  China in 28mm

First up was the aforementioned ready to use truck, a Matchbox Yesteryear Tsingtao Great Beers of The World 1920 AC Mack (YGB23).

Matchbox Yesteryear Tsingtao Great Beers of The World 1920 AC Mack (YGB23)
For modifications, I only weathered it and added some clear plastic for a windshield. It was nicely detailed for a toy truck and cost me around $15 US with shipping. No scale was listed on the box, but collector sites have given it a nominal scale 1/60, so fairly close to target.   When compared to a Warlord Games' 1/56 Type 97 Isuzu truck, they looked reasonable together.

Matchbox Mack Compared to Warlord Games Truck
Matchbox Mack Compared to Warlord Games Truck
Next up were some Lledo Days Gone vehicles that seemed suitable for conversion.  The Lledo cars were not as detailed as their Matchbox rival, but at $7-10 US with shipping, they were a good deal (with lots of color variants to choose from).

Lledo Days Gone Diecast DG51, DG56, DG13
In addition to weathering and added windshields, I decided to update these with customs decals based on period photos from Shanghai. I had never made custom decals before, so did a lot of online research in hopes of not completely screwing it up.  For what I wanted to do, it appeared white decal paper was going to be more useful than the clear version. I tried locating the Testors paper in the US, but could find nowhere selling it (and it's proprietary sealant) for a reasonable price. In the end, I went with Sunnyscopia inkjet decal paper from Korea (available on Amazon).  It's a general crafting decal sheet rather than one specially designed for model makers, but the price was right for experimenting.
Some of the reviews cited problems with the images bleeding when submerged in water, or decals not releasing easily from the backing.  I experienced none of these issues after following the directions.  I printed my decals at 300dpi photo quality on an HP Deskjet 1510 and gave them one hour to dry before spaying them with Rust-Oleum Universal Clear Topcoat Satin. I chose satin over gloss, as it was easier to see where the spray had landed on the glossy paper.  The Rust-Oleum wasn't designed for model makers either, so the spray mist wasn't as fine as I would have liked.  This made me nervous about good coverage, so I ended up applying 4 coats (5 minutes in between), rotating the paper for each application. The decal paper was allowed to sit for one hour, then dried with a hair dryer on low for 5 minutes.

The application was rather straightforward, with the decals releasing easily from the backing (though they did have a tenancy to curl in the water), and able to stick to the glossy paint (I didn't pretreat the vehicles with anything). The one major thing to be aware of with these decals is that the film was much thicker than professionally made decals. As such, you could see and feel the decal edges after application.  It may be less obvious with the clear version, but the edges of the white backed decals required touching up when printing darker colors. The white of the decals was also not completely opaque, so if you had large areas of white on your decal, it's best if you had a uniform color underneath it.
Decal edges before finishing touch ups
DG51 Chevrolet 1928 Box Van 
Lledo DG51 Chevrolet 1928 Box Van , Western Branch Market, Shanghai, China, 28mm WW2 Bolt Action Wargaming
For this van, I didn't find an image of a particular vehicle, but used a reference photo of a sandbag emplacement being built in front of a Shanghai market in 1937.
DG56 Ford 1930 Model A Raised-Roof Van
Lledo DG56 Ford 1930 Model A Raised-Roof Van, Socony Motor Gasoline, Shanghai, China, 28mm WW2 Bolt Action Wargaming
Though the Lledo van was already marked with Standard Oil livery, I opted to convert it over to the Chinese branding seen in this image from 1931. Standard started the Atlas tire brand in the 1930's, and though I don't know if they were sold in China, I decided to keep the sign.

Socony Motor Gasoline Truck, Shanghai, China, 1931. Source: Madspace.org
Source: Madspace.org

DG13 1934 Model A Ford Van
Lledo DG13 Ford 1934 Model A Van, Sin Wan Pao Newspaper, Shanghai, China, 28mm WW2 Bolt Action Wargaming
Sin Wan Pao (新聞報) was a Chinese newspaper firm in operation from the 1890's to the 1940's.

I have not be able to find a scale guide for the various Lledo vehicles, But I think these models looked reasonable with a Copplestone Chinese figure and against a Warlord Games 1/56 Morris 15cwt Truck.

Lledo Vans Compared to Warlord Games Truck
Lledo Vans Compared to Warlord Games Truck

One additional Lledo vehicle I purchased that did not look good for 28mm wargaming was the DG42 1934 Mack Tank Truck. It should have been similar in size to my Matchbox Mack, but was woefully undersized.


As I think the 1934 Mack variants share parts, I would avoid all of these.

Overall, these came out much better than I thought they would.  I've placed some eBay orders for additional Lledo vehicles, so fingers crossed they will look good as well.  If you would like to do any conversions yourself, here's the decal designs I made.  They are free for personal use, but I don not give permission for them to be sold.

Added 30Aug20: Part 2 of my conversions can be found here.

Chinese Decals for 28mm Wargaming by Chris Schuetz.  Free for Personal Use Only.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Star Wars Legion: Tank and More Troops

I'm back with some more upgrades to our Star Wars forces for Legion.

Star Wars Legion

First up is the TX-225 Occupier Tank from the Rogue One film. While the design itself is awkward and completely impractical as a tank, the kit itself is well done. The pre-assembled body and most of the details are hard plastic, with only the crew and heavy blaster being the same soft plastic used for the infantry.

Star Wars Legion TX-225 Occupier Tank

Some people have painted theirs in subtle camouflage schemes, but I've opted for the common Imperial grey tones with a bit of wear.

Star Wars Legion TX-225 Occupier Tank

Next up are the Imperial Death Troopers. Being all black, it was a bit of a challenge trying to make the paint pop, and I'm not sure I completely pulled it off. To get a variety of black tones, I opted to highlight the armor with dark sea blue, the leather items with dark brown, and the underarmor with dark grey.  They look fairly decent under sunlight, but most of the detailing differences get lost under standard interior lighting.  Oh well.

Star Wars Legion Death Troopers

The Rebel Trooper Upgrade Pack gives you some nice new aliens and weapons to add to your standard rebel units.  You get an Ishi Tib captain, Gran specialist with a standard blaster, Theelin sniper and Ithorian with a shogun style scatterblaster. If you don't want the specialist weapons, alternative arms with standard blasters are available for the last two figures. Overall they figures are well cast, though the arms attach with round rather than fitted pegs, so I ran into a few issues with alignment during assembly.  This resulting is some of the guns flexing a bit at the end, particularly with the sniper (though I may have used the wrong left arm for her). Luckily I don't think it will be be too easy to spot on the table unless you're looking for it.  

Star Wars Legion Rebel Alien Troopers Upgrade Expansion


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

My Chinese army is expanding again, this time with some armed civilians and a few more recruits for my conscript squad.  These were built from the Copplestone bandits and bandit chiefs packs.

28mm Copplestone Bandits as Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

As I wanted my guerrilla cell to look more like people from everyday life rather than some gaudy tong members, I've used mostly subdued tones with a few splashes of color.

28mm Copplestone Bandits as Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

28mm Copplestone Bandits as Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

28mm Copplestone Bandits as Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

My conscription squad was short 4 men per the Bolt Action rules, so a few of the bandits were converted into poorly equipped military troops. 

28mm Copplestone Bandits as Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action

Here they are with two of the Pulp Figures/Crucible Crush militia miniatures. The commander looks pretty hefty compared to them, but I think the standard troops will blend in well.

28mm Copplestone Bandits as Chinese Guerrillas for Bolt Action