Balls! New tanks for the League of European Nations….

So the last time we visited 1950s Germany (1956 to be precise), the villainous Holy Soviet Empire had overrun the crucial Skalk Point plasma reactor facility – and with Buffalo 2-7 having suffered close to 100% casualties (not for the first time in their careers), it’s time for the League of European Nations to step up and take care of business!

And to do this, they’re going to need every bit of help they can get – so far, I’ve got an infantry platoon and a support laser painted up, and that’s not going to be enough to unseat Task Force Polikarpov!

So first out of the blocks, an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while – the infamous Kugelpanzer, or ball tank. These things seem to be staple of retro sci-fi, without really having a defined role, so I figured they could work as an armoured recon troop- with a bit of a twist! These things would be packing laser cannons- three each. These will be capable of rapid fire against infantry and light vehicles, but by combining their fire together they will be able to fire a single high intensity laser blast capable of obliterating even a Soviet Colossus or IS-6 Rampager!

It’s actually a bit of a challenge “feeling out” the character of this army – sandwiched between the lumbering juggernaut of the Holy Soviet Army and the elite, hi tech but short on numbers feel of the Atlantic Alliance, it’s a bit of a challenge to find where the European League should sit. So we’ve gone for a slightly ragtag, heterogenous feel – bizarre clunky specialised units that are very good at one thing, but suck at everything else. Kind of like a 1950’s Eldar to the AA’s Space Marines or HSE Guard, if you’ll allow the metaphor.

Anyway, enough waffle – on to the build!

We begin with (drumroll please)…. ping pong balls! A bag of 20 off eBay for a couple of quid. I googled “ping pong ball diameter” – seriously – and discovered that international regulations – seriously – specify 40mm. Thus reassured, I cut out 40mm x 15mm strips of thin card which I aligned as centrally as possible. These would serve as mounts for the tracks, which I cut as 5mm wide strips from IDE cables (a trick learned from master scratchbuilder Zrunelord)

You might notice the crosses sketched on the balls – this was my attempt to measure out a centre point and give myself a line to place rivets along (done with tacky glue, a fast-acting mix of PVA and isopropyl alcohol, applied with a cocktail stick)
Tracks and rivets added

After that, all that remained were the guns! 3 laser cannons per tank, one per side and a centrally mounted top one. I made these by chopping up a 1cm length of cocktail straw and then supergluing a 5mm length of drinking straw to each end, like so:

Laser cannons ready!
Hole punched thick card superglued to the hull as spacers/ weapon mount points
All done and ready for priming!

A coat of white primer and a base coat of Crafter’s Choice Fawn later, I added lines of brown and Vallejo Russian Green (irony!) to create the WW2 “Dunkelgelb” style camouflage pattern. The whole thing then gt a thinned wash of brown ink, an unthinned in wash of Vallejo Smokey Ink in the crevices, before a final drybrush with bine craft paint to catch the rivets. I applied sponge weathering using both black and gun metal, and then knocked up a texture paste from sand, PVA and dark brown paint – this got smeared around the tracks before being drybrushed with a lighter brown and blended around the tracks (in truth I think I got a bit carried away here, but oh well – northern Europe can get pretty muddy..)

Anyhow – pics!

The Kugelpanzer troop lead League infantry through a ruined urban landscape

Looking forward to getting these on the table soon – can they beat the fate of all painted models, or will they cover themselves with glory taking down Stompy Uncle Joe? Stay tuned, stay thrifty, see you soon!

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6 thoughts on “Balls! New tanks for the League of European Nations….

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