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Thread: Poll time! Decisions on my first round of Ground Target samples...

  1. #1

    Default Poll time! Decisions on my first round of Ground Target samples...

    Too bad the boardware won't let me post a multi-question poll. So I've narrowed it down that my first test and review samples of Ground Targets will be more for a "D-Day to Operation Cobra" timeline, and I've distilled that down to a handful of decisions as I prepare to order tanks and paints for a batch of test samples.


    Scale?
    --GHQ or similar 1/285-1/300 (more exaggeration, less "altitude effect")
    --Pico or similar 1/600 (less exaggeration, more "altitude effect")

    Bases?
    --Yes
    --No

    Number of figures per base, if any?
    --I said no bases
    --Single tank
    --Complete section (2-3 tanks, half US/UK/German platoon)
    --Complete platoon (4-5 tanks)

    Individual ID markings on German tanks?
    --No Numbers No Deal! (greater cost, takes more time)
    --I can decal my own! (faster and less costly)

    And for any Tank Nerds among us, which version of the Panzer IV should I plan on if I'm aiming for Mid-1944 France as my "baseline"? (Other pairs will follow if this is successful, but I have to start somewhere.)

    I should note that if I can find a supply source, my plan is to) ship each platoon in its own tiny little ammo can, which will increase the cost but hopefully better protect the miniatures. (Note, my girlfriend and I have been discussing the idea of her opening a second line for Canada/Europe orders if my proof-of-concept work pans out, which may not have this "extra armor" available.

    My planned test samples would be...

    If GHQ:

    If Pico:

    Sample quantity would be one complete platoon, structured as a Command tank and two 2-tank Sections (US) or a four-tank Platoon (German).


    Company Packs, if expanded to that level, would be:
    US: 3 platoons plus HQ Section (2 tanks, plus a Sherman 105 and Jeep) German: 4 platoons plus HQ Section (2 tanks, 3 motorcycles and 1 staff-car)

    German Tank Markings (for reference)
    Example #134
    1 Company
    3 Platoon
    4 Tank

    Regiment: R01-R04
    1st Bn HQ: 01-04 (note, Panther battalion = 1 less platoon per company)
    1st Bn, 1st Co: 101 & 102 (HQ), 111-114 (1 Co), 121-124, 131-134, 141-144
    1st Bn, 2nd Co: 201 & 202 (HQ), 211-214 (1 Co), 221-224, 231-234, 241-244
    1st Bn, 3rd Co: 301 & 302 (HQ), 311-314 (1 Co), 321-324, 331-334, 341-344
    1st Bn, 4th Co: 401 & 402 (HQ), 411-414 (1 Co), 421-424, 431-434, 441-444
    2nd Bn HQ: 05-08
    2nd Bn, 5th Co: 501 & 502 (HQ), 511-514 (1 Co), 521-524, 531-534, 541-544
    2nd Bn, 6th Co: 601 & 602 (HQ), 611-614 (1 Co), 621-624, 631-634, 641-644
    2nd Bn, 7th Co: 701 & 702 (HQ), 711-714 (1 Co), 721-724, 731-734, 741-744
    2nd Bn, 8th Co: 801 & 802 (HQ), 811-814 (1 Co), 821-824, 831-834, 841-844

    As you can see, JUST for June '44 German tanks, if I fully pre-mark 'em that's THIRTY-TWO different products I'd need to keep track of just for individual Platoons plus 8 more when you add the Company HQ sections, and that's just for one particular PzIV variant! Add all the gazillion other PzIV's, the PZ II's and III's, the Panthers and Tigers, and the various other timeframes and I think you see why I'd rather just arrange a decal sheet and provide a "base" for you to apply your own ID to like an Ares squadron-pack plane.

    Formations:
    US Arm Div
    --3x Tank Bn
    ----3x Med Tank Co (M4) 2x M4, 1x M4(105) HQ Sec and and
    ------3x Platoons of 5 tanks
    ----1x Lt Tank Co (M3/M5) 2x M3/M5 HQ Sec and and
    ------3x Platoons of 5 tanks
    --3x Arm Inf Bn (halftracks)
    ----3x Rifle Co (4x M3, about 12 personnel each)
    --3x SP Art Bn
    ----3x Art Battery (6x M7 Priest SPH and 6x M3 halftrack)
    Ger Pz Div
    --2x Regiment, each containing
    ----1x Panzer IV Battalions, each containing an HQ Co w/8 tanks (3x Panther/5x PzIV) and
    ------4x Companies, each containing an HQ section w/1 tank and
    --------4x Platoons of 4 tanks
    ----1x Panther Battalions, each containing an HQ Co w/8 tanks (3x Panther/5x PzIV) and
    ------4x Companies, each containing an HQ section w/1 tank and
    --------3x Platoons of 4 tanks


    Please try to stick to direct answers to the questions at the top, or clarifying questions related to them so we can avoid threadcrap, help me try to develop something worthy of offering to this august assemblage. If you were going to be the recipient of one of my Review Sample sets based on these criteria, what would you want made for you?
    Last edited by Diamondback; 08-04-2020 at 12:09.
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  2. #2

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    PzKpfw IV Ausf H (Sd. Kfz. 161/2) was probably the most numerous version for the time period, based on production levels from June '43 to '44. As an uneducated guess. These had Zimmerit and armored skirts, but at the scale you are considering, the Zimmerit could be left off.

    Link: GHQ Stock # G548 - PzIV H
    Mike
    "Flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss" Douglas Adams
    "Wings of Glory won't skin your elbows and knees while practicing." OldGuy59

  3. #3

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    Mike is spot on DB. On D-Day most of the 748 P.IV with the nine Panzer divisions in France were Ausf H. (According to Chamberlin & Doyle's Encyclopedia of German Tanks of WW2)

    "He is wise who watches"

  4. #4

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    Yes, the tiny handful of C and D variants, plus a few F1, F2 and G, would not translate well to model representation on bases.
    Plus the F2 and G would have probably been retrofitted with side skirts, making them indistinguishable from the H.

  5. #5

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    As to your questions, I think it depends on the type of air -> ground interaction intended.................

    Ground troop support/tank busting

    Scale - 1/285
    Bases - yes (quicker and easier to move around, universal target size for players to 'hit', no lost pieces in the terrain!)
    No. of figs - Section (2-3 tanks) ; five 1/285 tanks on a single target base gets heavy and a bit unwieldy
    ID marking - no (not required for air->ground interaction)


    Area/Strategic bombing (rail/road intersections, bridges, buildings)

    Scale - 1/600
    Bases - yes (DEFINITELY needed, to avoid scattering and loss of tiny models!)
    No. of figs - Platoon (4-5 tanks)
    ID markings - no (DEFINITELY not needed at tiny scale, particularly if an entire Platoon is represented on a single target base)



    Also, you can drop one Panther Platoon per Company fielded - production shortages led to the full Panzer Kompanie establishment being set at 4 Platoons in PzKpFw IV Companies (max vehicles 22), but only 3 Platoons for the Panther units (max vehicles 17). ("Panzers in Normandy - Then and Now")

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Helmut View Post
    As to your questions, I think it depends on the type of air -> ground interaction intended.................
    Tim, I was operating on the assumption that any "plane on vehicle" interaction would be a CAS situation. Bridges are a challenge determining size, B-25 guys loved whacking them from low level in the PTO and CBI.

    PzIV-H it is, and I'll edit the unit composition accordingly on Panthers--most of that stuff is just notes for my own reference on planning.
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  7. #7

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    And we've now hit a snag... pricing. Minimum cost of raw materials on each platoon from GHQ is eighteen bucks including hardside case, not including shipping from them to me or me out. That doesn't even take into account paints, basing materials or anything else, which means each set of pre-production samples is thirty-six bucks out of my pocket before even starting the game.

    On the other hand, if we do a dry run with Pico Armor, all the costs go WAY down, at the cost of losing "Bigger Tanks!" coolness.

    Question 1: What would you guys consider a fair "target price" that's a make-or-break to determine whether this even has the possible Return On Investment to be worth proceeding with? Remember, in order for this to work there has to be Overhead (paint/glue/etc) expenses covered, I have to make some money for my labor (I'm donating the research time; stuck on hold waiting to hear from Ares before I can do any more on Cactus AF for them anyway, so this helps keep my skills sharp), the cost of shipping each batch from Seattle to Colorado Springs and Keith has to make some for the Aerodrome Store to justify his inventory time.

    Question 2: Would it be better to do the pre-production samples at smaller scale just to work out the time and techniques, and get samples into reviewer hands with less "take a bath" factor?

    Question 3: Would it be better to just do production, assuming Keith is game for this, having the store take preorders and as soon as a minimum number is met I order the miniatures and begin the run?
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  8. #8

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    Seems like a load of your hard earned at risk DB.
    What's the market for this ? I'm not sure I see the demand being great enough to make it worth your while. I can see non modellers going for it but most of the modellers amongst us will do it themselves rather than pay another.
    Though the 1/285 look really cool I'd go with the 1/600 for the perspective/altitude effect anyway - having watched some footage of the real thing I always find it difficult to spot the target !


    An option would be to offer a painting service. Ken (Shadowcat) may be able to give advice on that angle.

    "He is wise who watches"

  9. #9

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    GHO are far and away the best models in 1/285 and 1/300 scale, but they ARE expensive!
    I buy all mine on ebay, or at convention Bring'n'Buy stalls, to offset the huge cost.

    All things considered, I'd suggest a PICO 1/600 approach (or Skywave 1/700 plastics - I have bucket loads of these, and they're not bad at all)
    You can place a whole platoon on a single WOG size target card, which many players are already familiar with targeting/bombing.
    Down side is you'd lose being able to base infantry targets.

    As to your questions,

    1) I'm afraid I have no idea on this - I have never painted commercially (though I have been asked!) so I don't know a reasonable "hourly rate", and also I can't comment on probable US Postal charges.

    2) YES - this would be the way to go IMO; limit the initial workload, and by doing so limit the possible financial hit.

    3) NO - too risky without identifying a confirmed Market first. If the 'minimum number' ordered is not met for several months, you'll be left with a number of dissatisfied buyers who have paid in advance and not received anything (and we all know how certain 'Dromers can WHINE!)

  10. #10

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    What Tim said...

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Helmut View Post
    All things considered, I'd suggest a PICO 1/600 approach (or Skywave 1/700 plastics - I have bucket loads of these, and they're not bad at all)
    You can place a whole platoon on a single WOG size target card, which many players are already familiar with targeting/bombing.
    Down side is you'd lose being able to base infantry targets.
    I love Skywave, used to have a ton of their ships--problem is the unreliable supply-chain. Infantry were never in the cards from me anyway with my hand tremors. Tanks, trucks and maybe artillery are about it for me, and even that depends on the camo schemes required.

    As to your questions,
    1) I'm afraid I have no idea on this - I have never painted commercially (though I have been asked!) so I don't know a reasonable "hourly rate", and also I can't comment on probable US Postal charges.
    2) YES - this would be the way to go IMO; limit the initial workload, and by doing so limit the possible financial hit.
    3) NO - too risky without identifying a confirmed Market first. If the 'minimum number' ordered is not met for several months, you'll be left with a number of dissatisfied buyers who have paid in advance and not received anything (and we all know how certain 'Dromers can WHINE!)
    Good points. Looks like Pico for proof-of-concept and launch it is! Raw materials there would be about two bucks a platoon to-my-door.
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