Sunday, 31 December 2017

Christmas 2017 builds

Over the holidays, I lose my painting corner of the kitchen table as it reverts to its design function as a place to sit and eat.  So I took the opportunity to search through the unmade model stash for nice things to build, thereby hoping to reduce the number of boxes stored away and making some room.

So here are the results of my holiday builds.  The front row is the contents of a Plastic Soldier Co 25pdr box, 2 Quad tows, 2 limbers and 4 guns, 2 25pdrs and 2 18/25pdrs.  The 18/25pdrs are crewed by 8th Army crewmen, while crewmen for NW Europe are shown on the far left.  Their helmets seem really big and more like the kind of skrim covered helmets worn in the 1980s - not sure what I'll use them for.  On the right are 6 Armourfast Crusader IIs ready for my 8th Army.  The second row has 4 Opel Blitz trucks, again from Plastic Soldier with a light grey Airfix Austin K2 ambulance from the emergency set.  The third row are 2 Plastic Soldier Co Panthers, donated to me by club members from their free models, I think supplied with Battlegroup Overlord BTB.  The middle of the third row are 3 A9 tanks from Plastic Soldier Co that I picked up at the Derby/Bruntingthorpe show.  At the very back are 4 15mm Zvezda Opel Blitz trucks and 4 Forged in Battle Kubelwagons that I picked up at the Recon show.

The Plastic Soldier Co 25pdr set, built as suitable for the desert, with open topped Quads and 8th Army crew.  The 18/25pdrs can be used for early scenarios and were allocated to some Australian divisions as AT weapons in later scenarios as they pack quite a reasonable AT punch.

The Crusader IIs from Armourfast, a nice Christmas present from my wife.  I modified the two command tanks by cutting the hatch in two and adding spare crewmen from the Plastic Soldier Co A9 kits.  I will add some stowage before painting.

The Opel Blitz trucks, on the right 2 with tarpaulin covers are trucks, the open topped vehicles are Maultiers.  The Airfix Austin K2 will be an addition for larger Battlegroup Tobruk scenarios.  The big hat NW Europe crews are on the left.  Behind are the 2 PSC Panthers and 3 A9s, built for the desert.

The 15mm Zvezda Opel Blitz trucks; my aim is to add these to the early war 15mm German force I'm slowly assembling.  On the right are the FIB Kubelwagons, which will probably be allocated to my 15mm Late War and Desert War forces - any spares will find themselves in the early war force.

Santa also bought me various boxes of plastic figures, including Strelets new WW2 Indian heavy weapons and their slightly older Indian infantry for the desert and various late war winter Germans from Italeri and Caeser.  There were also boxes of Strelets Arab Revolt Foot, Polish Blue Army, WW1 Tropical Turks and WW1 German Hussars and Uhlans and Russian Hussars, all to swell the ranks of my Andreivian forces.  With the release of the Blue Army figures, combined with assorted Russian and Austro-Hungarian infantry, there is the core of a Czech Legion force - I can see me scouring toy shops for suitable train models to uparmour.

So, lots to get on with in the coming weeks.  Have a very Happy New Year, all the best for 2018 and thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

20mm North Africa Italians

As Battlegroup Tobruk allows you to field 25% of an Afrika Korps force as Italian allies, I thought I'd take the opportunity to add some Italians in the shape of an Italeri 90/53 AA gun, an impulse buy at a model shop in Chester, and an Early War Miniatures M13/40 tank from the bargain bin at the Derby/Bruntingthorpe show in October.

First up, the 90/53 AA gun.  The gun itself comes with two seated crewmen as well as 6 standing/kneeling crew.  These should allow a crew of 3 or 4 to serve the gun, plus a 3 man loader team with a spare kneeling figure with binuculars, who will make a great artillery observer.

The gun is painted in desert yellow, washed with Agrax earthshade.  The figures are painted in khaki grey, dry brushed yellow ochre.

The M13/40 needed some bubbles filling with Miliput.  Apart from that, it was good to go out of the bargain bin.

The model was painted desert yellow with an Agrax earthshade wash.  Unit insignia were added by hand to represent the 2nd vehicle of 1st platoon, 1st company (red bar with single white stripe and number 2 in red above).

Nice models, the gun was pretty straightforward to assemble and the tank needed no assembly at all.

I can feel the need to add to this force at some point.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Clearing up some 20mm WW2 mini-projects

This is a resin Panther that I bought from Paul at the club, probably a Britannia Miniatures casting.  I need to get a suitable commander figure for it.

Then, these are from the Zvezda German High Command set, in winter clothing.  These clip-together figures went together quite nicely, with little need for glue.

These figures are from the Zvezda 1939-43 British medical team.  These guys are painted for the western desert or Crete.  First up is a stretcher party retrieving a wounded infantryman.

And a British medical orderly with first aid kit.

Then, to finish off my early war Fallschirmjager, here is a Kelly's Heroes (Grubby Tanks) stretcher party with wounded man.

Also from Kelly's Heroes, a Fallschirmjager medic with wounded man.

Some additional pioneers for the Fallschirmjager, all four are rifle armed and carrying satchel charges.

And finally, a pair of Fallschirmjager armed with man-pack flamethrowers.

Hopefully, I have a few more things to post before the Christmas break.  Thanks for looking.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Recon 2017

Last Saturday saw me travelling to Pudsey near Leeds for the Recon show.  Will very kindly offered me a lift and I spent quite a bit of the day mooching around the Lance and Longbow stand, being made to feel very welcome by Will, Steve and David and even throwing some dice and moving troops in their participation game, a hypothetical Battle of Chester 1318, using modified Pikemans Lament rules.

Both times I found myself as overall commander of the Kings forces attempting to breakthrough to Chester, beyond the low hill in the distance swarming with rebels.  In the first play through, the rebel leader was killed and his forces thoroughly routed, while in the second play through roles were reversed.  Never underestimate the ability of youngsters to roll double 1 when required.

There were several other games including 10/12mm moderns, a WW1 Cambrai game in 20mm and something involving pirates IIRC.  The highlight, and by far the biggest table set up was a Battlegroup Overlord game based on Operation Goodwood.

The centre of the battlefield towards the end of the day, allied tanks streaming forward shoulder to shoulder having shredded the initial German defensive line.

The Allied table edge, plenty of British armour still available in the force pool.  Lots of tank wrecks too.

The German table edge.  Not a lot of bally Jerries to be seen, but what they have are streaming forward through the embankment bridges, ready to have a go at the plucky Brits.

The guys playing this looked like they were having fun, but it would have been a lot of hard work moving all those vehicles and keeping track of orders.  For my taste, the British armour density was too high for such a long narrow table and my vision of Goodwood was a much more open battlefield.

I also managed a rummage through Andy Grubbs 20mm offerings, giving me some more troops to finish off little projects underway.  The Bring and Buy was interesting, with a tray of 20mm vehicles being tempting, but in the end too many Panthers to be of interest as a job lot.

A great day out and a really nice way to end my 2017 show season.  Next one should be Vapnartak in February, that's a whole 2 months away, but Christmas is coming with the inevitability of an express train.  Can't wait!  Thanks again to Will, Steve and David and, as ever, thanks to you for looking.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

20mm Afrika Korps project

Inspired by the release of Battlegroup Tobruk, I took the plunge and invested in some 20mm WW2 western desert forces for British/Commonwealth and DAK.  I've been working on these off and on for the past few months.  Here are some pictures of the DAK kit.

First up the venerable Airfix 88 with a Britannia DAK crew.

Britannia DAK sniper team

Britannia/Kelly's Heroes Wehrmacht stretcher bearer team, painted as DAK.

Britannia/Kelly's Heroes Wehrmacht medic and casualty, painted as DAK.

Early War Miniatures Sdkfz 265 Panzerbefehlswagen.  Various bits of stowage from Sgts Mess and EWM.

EWM 47mm Panzerjaeger 1, stowage as before.

Britannia Miniatures Opel Blitz radio truck.  For some reason, this casting was awful.  I tried filling with Miliput but decided it was too much effort to make perfect, so it is what it is.  Let's call it battle damage.

The Britannia Horch staff car.  Not a bad kit, although the axles and subframe assembly, although a nice idea, was not easy to assemble.

Photos in the pipeline for the DAK collection are for Pz IIIs and IVs, infantry and support weapons.  Then there are the British and Commonwealth forces.  I'm still on the lookout for affordable/suitable Pz IIs and Crusaders.  Thanks for looking.

Friday, 1 December 2017

20mm Zvezda 88mm Heavy AA

At the Derby/Bruntingthorpe show, I picked up a Zvezda 88.  A nice looking model but a bit tricky to build.  Not least, the sighting telescope flatly refused to come off the sprue intact.  Apart from that, it seemed to go together pretty well.

The crew supplied are very smartly turned out in classic Wermacht uniform with jackboots and look a bit stiff, so I may at some point replace them with some more natural poses.

Looking forward to fending off the Soviet hordes or lighting up a few Ronsons with it in future games.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

20mm 1979 Very British Civil War/Winter of 79

Last Thursday Ian, Will and I played out a couple of games of Black Ops.  We used the ideas from Winter of 79 as a starting point for an SAS raid on Border Farm, on the outskirts of Pont-y-Pandy.  The town was held by the British Army and the SAS mission was to investigate reports of armed Welsh separatists in the vicinity.

The SAS numbered 6 figures a leader (Ace), 2 man sniper team (King), and 3 troopers (Jacks), one a medic and one an RTO.  The Welsh Separatist fanatics included a Big boss and local cell leader (Aces), GPMG and Charlie G figures (Kings), 2 big boss bodyguards and a demolitions expert with large IED (Queens) and 15 terrorists (Jacks).  One third of the Welsh forces were awake and patrolling the farm.  The SAS could call up a British infantry section from the town with a Humber Pig, Saxon APC and Landy ambulance, plus an infantry section, leader and medic.  The Welsh were waiting on some additional muscle in the shape of a contingent of coal miners from the valleys, so they could mount an attack on Pant-y-Pandy.

The first run through saw Will's SAS approach close enough to toss hand grenades into the farm buildings and gun down any defenders outside the buildings, tearing into Ian's Welsh and breaking them.  The survivors slinked away as best they could under cover of darkness.

In the second run through, Ian's SAS had much less luck, with one of their troopers being stumbled upon by a sentry, who proved remarkably resilient in the ensuing fisticuffs and raising enough noise to ensure several other figures became embroiled, waking Will's Welsh garrison.  The Welsh kept up a steady GPMG fire on the SAS sniper team, gradually whittling them and the surviving troopers down to the point where the SAS leader called up the British Army reserves.  These guys piled out of the town towards the farm, only for the Pig to be shot up with Charlie G fire and the Saxon and dismounts to be caught by the IED detonation.  By this point, the Welsh figured they had done enough and retired from the farm through the woods.  No doubt they would be trying to get a message through to the contingent of coal miners to abandon the rendezvous, thereby buying the British garrison of Pont-y-Pandy some time.

The farm layout.

British security checkpoint outside the town manned by police and MPs.

The British Army relief column passing through the check point.

The scene of the ambush.

The surviving SAS and British Army take possession of the farm, but the Will-o-the-Wisp Welshmen have scarpered leaving only the dead, who somewhat obviously tell no tales.

These were fun games - the rules need a little bit of modification from the RAW as the nuances of dealing with IEDs and such are not fully explained.  However, it did give an exciting game and looked pretty cool on the table.

Thanks for looking.