Monday, 14 August 2017

Back to 25mm WW2 figures again.

This afternoon/evening has been very productive. I don't know why but I have been painting and basing like a mad man and finished off quite a lot. Everything here has been in my unpainted pile for several months/years, so it's been quite good to get some of it done.

First up is a Warlord Blitzkrieg German infantry platoon, less the officer and mortar as I don't have them. All told it's 30 figures, all plastic and all finished.

They are organised in 3 squads of 10 men, each with an NCO with MP40 SMG, a 2 man MG34 team and 7 riflemen. I really like these figures, they are nice to put together and paint up well even if you slap it on like I do. These have even had the helmet decals and NCOs rank badges added. They may well end up on eBay though, I am not doing 28mm WW2 anymore...........

I could keep them to do a Operation Sealion game though, using my VBCW figures as opposition.......

I could.......

Couldn't I?

Hmm, do I order a command pack, 5cm mortar and AT rifle team then, just to complete the platoon?

Decisions decisions. ;-)

Yes, I know I have no willpower thank you.

I also finished off a conversion of an old pre-Warlord Bolt Action Universal Carrier. I always liked the fact that the Germans used pretty much everything they captured from small arms up to warships.

I decided to make a 3.7cm PaK 36 auf Selbstfahrlafette Bren(e), which is a long and complicated way of saying "We put a PaK 36 on the captured carrier". I got the PaK from the Rubicon Sd251 kit I made a while ago, the crew are cut up Bolt Action German grenadiers and the stowage is from my bits box and a mix of plastic and resin items.

I think it came out pretty nicely, with the crew looking a bit more dynamic than the ones in the Bolt Action kit you can buy. It's another "Should I keep it or sell it" conundrum though.

 I reckon I'll keep it as it is a one off and I like how it turned out. I can always blag it into a Sealion game as captured after Dunkirk and used against it's former owners.

Last but by no means least, I also finished off some winterised Germans I made up with Russian greatcoat figures from the Winter Russians box by Bolt Action. A simple job of using German heads, arms, weapons and webbing and voila, a 10 man squad of troops fighting in the snow. The snow is simply a PVA and bicarbonate of soda mix, applied quite thickly and left to dry. I think it works and it is much cheaper than buying any sort of special snow basing material.

So that's it for now again. I am off to do something less productive so have fun folks.

Last few 15mm Cold War for now, plus a few ladies

I have nearly finished the last of my Cold War forces that I have here, the last few bits are painted up now and that's the lot...........until I get some more. 

Firstly we have a minor conversion to an Armies Army YPR-765 PRI. To give my small Dutch force a bit of long ranged anti-tank capability I decided to add some missile firepower.  A bit of research and I discovered the Dutch converted some YPRs with the TOW launcher turret from the US M901 ITV. At the time I looked nobody made this in 15mm(more on this later) so a bit of modelling was needed. Luckily Team Yankee do the ITV as a plastic add-on for their M113 kit and you can buy a sprue of bits individually. One quick order later and a sprue duly arrived. The modification is simplicity itself, just switch the IFV turret for the ITV turret and it's job done. 

Slap some paint on, add some netting and here it is, ready to support my Dutch troops against the Soviet horde.

As is typically the way with these things, just after I had stuck all the bits together and started slapping the paint on I received an email from TSS/QRF. Amongst their new releases was, you've guessed it, the YPR-765 PRAT! Typical. Ah well, I've made it now and I am happy with how it came out.

In addition the the YPR I used a spare M577 to make up an aid-station objective/jump off point marker. A few mixed figures from my Dutch, ANZAC and US spares and here it is. Its also my first attempt at the US MERDEC camoflage, hopefully it came out ok. 

Finally I ordered another Fv432 from Armies Army to carry my Milan teams around, as well as a few figures to make the teams up to 3 men each. Here they are in all their DPM glory, that's my BAOR force done, until I get some Scorpion/Scimitars for them anyway.

The last pictures are of a Dead Man's Hand gang of "Daughters of the West". These are for a nice chap in Germany for his wife to use against his gangs. Nice figures that made a change from all the Cold War stuff I have painted lately. If you read this Carsten, I hope your wife likes them and doesn't beat you too badly.

Anyway, that's it for now. I have nearly finished a few more things so there may be another update soonish.

Take care folks and I hope your dice are good to you.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The BAOR arrives......well, a small bit of it does anyway

 It brightened up yesterday so I managed to varnish my Cold War British contingent. These are all from Armies Army again and yet again are lovely models with no issues that I have found. I got these last year but the painting mojo for them didn't arrive until recently, so I have finally got around to painting them all up.

First up is the Mechanised Infantry platoon. Three squads of 8 men each with a GPMG and Caarl Gustav led by a 4 man command team with a 2" mortar.  All ferried about in four "mighty" Fv432s. Unlike Team Yankee these are available either with or without the peak turret, I decided on 2 of each just to mix it up a bit.

A closer look at some of the infantry and my attempt at 15mm DPM camo. I am fairly happy with the way they turned out but they are much more work to paint than Russians.

A closer look at the battle taxis, the Fv432. A similar design to the M113, basically a box on tracks, the 432 differed in being steel rather than aluminium and also being decidedly British by having a BV or "Vessel Boiling Electric". Basically it is a hot water system but I guess it wasn't military enough to call it a kettle. Still, +1 morale for having a cuppa in the middle of a firefight?

Now we come to the support options. At the front are a pair of Milan teams, a pair of Blowpipe SAM teams and a tripod GPMG team. I really need another Fv432 to carry the Milan teams about, along with a couple more figures to fill the ranks. Behind them are a Spartan APC for the Blowpipes and a Landrover for......well, I like them! Finally the heavy stuff, a trio of Chieftains ready to slap some T-72s around. I love the look of the Chieftain, it looks like it's going to ruin your day.

A closer look at the Milan teams with the Blowpipes behind them.

The Landrover is a lovely vehicle, I still want one if the boss ever lets me. I added the camo netting in the same way I did for the dutch, but didn't add the flock this time. I am not sure which I prefer yet so these "may" get flocked later. It's dwarfed by the Chieftain though, like most things are I guess.

Finally, for now, we have the Spartan and a Chieftain. The Spartan is a small APC, only able to carry 4 or 5 soldiers, but it's quick. It was used to carry specialist units like SAM teams and recce troops while the bigger Fv432 carried the infantry about. Behind it is the command Chieftain, given away by the open hatch and commander figure.

So that's the lot for now. I still need to add a few things, some Scorpions and/or Scimitars, an Fv438 Swingfire carrier and possibly some more infantry to make an Infantry Combat team. Hmm, not just yet though cos we is skint. Apparently a new microwave and flowers for the garden rank much higher than figures for me. Good job I love her innit. ;-)

Anyway, that's it again. Catch you later.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The Soviet Infantry arrives and so do some Dutch

I am still painting away at my 15mm Cold War forces. As I stated previously, my intention is to have a platoon with a few support options from several nations. So, without further ado, here is my Soviet Motor Rifle Company.........
Soviet MR Company, because I could!

Yes, that's right, my platoon purchases got a little bit excessive and now I have enough figures to field a full company with support options.

I now have 3 platoons each made up of 3 squads of 7 men plus 2 platoon command figures.  Then there is a 3 man Company Command group as well, making a total of 72 figures but that is not all of them, oh no there are more!
A closer look at my painting efforts. :(

Soviet Support Sections and plenty of them!

These are the support options I have painted up as well. First are two sections of 9K111 "Fagot" (AT-4 Spigot) ATGWs, 2 teams per section. Then we have two sections of AGS-17 "Plamya" grenade launchers, again with 2 teams per section. Add in a PKM machine gun section with 3 LMG teams and finally a SA-14 air defence section with 3 teams again. That's another 42 figures all told, making 114 in total for a game that I planned a platoon a side for. All these are Team Yankee figures that I picked up cheap here and there over the last few months.

I have no willpower at all. Now I need some more BMPs as I don't have enough for the figures I have.  

Dutch Infantry and Armour
Close up of the YPR-765s
In addition to the Soviet infantry I have also finished off my Dutch platoon with it's rather more limited support.  The Dutch organisation is a bit different to the previous German platoon, with three sections of 8 men lead by a command section of 7. Each rifle section has an FN-MAG lmg and a Carl Gustav rocket launcher while the command section has 2 M47 Dragon anti-tank missile launchers. These are carried around in 4 YPR-765, an improved M113 with more armour and a 25mm rapid-fire gun in the turret. A bit more capable than a basic M113 I think. Support is limited to a trio of Leopard 1 tanks which are technically the wrong version for the Dutch but they will do.

The infantry and YPR-765s are from Armies Army and are really nice models.  The detail on them all is great and the castings are clean and paint up nicely, even if your a bit ham-fisted like me. ;)

The other YPR-765s
The "Big Cats", but not that big
The Leopards are Team Yankee and are also nice, but why are they resin and not plastic like all the others? 

The camouflage netting is made from dyed bandage sections, cut to size and fixed with watered down PVA glue, then painted up and finally flock was glued on.  I am not sure how durable the flock will be, but a few coats of varnish should increase the longevity.
Armies Army Dutch infantry

Now all I need is a set of rules for them.  Initial plans for a Chain of Command variant are now in other hands as there will be an "official" version at some point, hopefully soon. Also there is going to be a Battlegroup set at some point as well. That's in addition to the copy of Force on Force that I have as well. Hmm, decisions decisions.

So that's it for now.  The British are done, just waiting on varnish but it's a trifle damp today to spray them. Up next....who knows? I sure as hell don't! Have fun folks.

Friday, 30 June 2017

15mm West Germans

I have returned yet again, after another week of excitement and adventure.

Ok, I lied, it was another week of paying bills and running about after the family. I did manage to get a bit of painting and a small bit of gaming done though, so it's not been a total waste. On Monday night I managed to get out of the hospital early enough to pop around to Zobs to see what was going on. Nathan and Zob were playing Command and Colours Ancients, Romans vs Carthaginians. They seemed to enjoy and were on their 3rd or 4th game when I left.  Panjo and Andy were trying out The Walking Dead game from Mantic, yet another kickstarter that Panjo went for.  They were good enough to let me watch/join in and I ended up pulling the cards while they ran around with the survivors. Seems like a decent game, nothing amazing but a decent system for escalation of the zombie threat and zombies reaction to noise. Good enough that we are giving it another go next week anyway, without Nathan as he is getting married on Sunday and still no Colin as he is on holiday somewhere warm and sunny.

Painting wise I have been cracking on with my 15mm Cold War project. The Russian vehicles are all done as seen in my last post, so I turned my attention to the West German platoon I had planned. No Marders for me though, instead I am doing an M113G equipped platoon, just to be different.

The German platoon seems to have been quite small, with just a small 5 man command squad and two 7 man grenadier squads. Less than 20 men all told, way less than the British platoon of about 30 men. Anyway, all the resources I could find gave the following organisation

Command Squad - 1 Officer and 4 Soldiers all with G3 rifles,1 also has a Panzerfaust 44.
Grenadier Squads - 1 NCO and 5 soldiers all with G3 rifles, 1 also has a Panzerfaust 44 and 1 has a HK69 GL, plus 1 soldier with an MG3 LMG.

These are all transported about in 3 M113G APCs(although I painted 4 for some reason), 1 per squad. I also sorted out a couple of "extras", a 2 man Milan team and a 2 man Redeye SAM team. Finally I made up a jump-off point/objective with a couple of spare figures and an M577 command vehicle.

Battlefront have supplied all the vehicles and figures for this small force, the M113s being Vietnam models bought in their last sale. Only alteration was to replace the M2 50cal with an MG3, or MG42 to be exact. Luckily I had a few spares from the Sd251 kits I made a long time ago.

I need to add some armoured support for them, but again I want something different. I have some Leopard 1's but plan to use these for my Dutch Platoon from Armies Army, when they finally arrive. I don't want Leopard 2s as they are too new and shiny for my M113 platoon, so the options are either a couple of M48A2GA2s or some Jagdpanzer Kanones. Nobody does an M48A2GA2 although I think the Battlefront Israeli Magach would do, it has the right gun and a reasonable cupola. Only QRF do a Jagdpanzer Kanone, so that at least is an easy option. But which do I go for? Decisions decisions.

I have also been painting up my British vehicles from Armies Army.  This force will be a bit larger as the platoon is bigger. No pictures yet though as they are not quite finished. I have Chieftains, Fv432s, a Spartan and a Landrover plus the necessary figures. All I need now is a couple of Recce vehicles, either Scorpions or Scimitars.

That's it for now. I am off to Nathans wedding on Sunday and we have family plans for tomorrow, so sod all will get done this weekend. Hopefully after that I will be painting either Russian or British infantry.....unless the Dutch arrive! Have fun folks

Saturday, 24 June 2017

15mm Cold War

Not content with just painting tribal types, I have also started painting some of the Cold War collection I have been gathering for the last year or so. Last year I picked up a bargain pile of 2nd hand Soviet kit at Firestorm Games table sale. The box I had was fairly packed with vehicles, so I have been painting green like a mad man.  

The box I bought had a mix of 9 T-80, 3 T-72, 3 BTR-80 and 8 BMP-2s. All except the BMP-2s were base coated in a reasonable base colour, so a quick spray and then washes, several drybrushes and such made it job done on them. I also added some aerials. The BMP-2s are a shocking colour, it looks like bronze green or similar and is way too dark, so they are currently sitting in paint stripper in the vain hope that they will be recoverable. Luckily they are metal so won't be hurt by the paint stripping efforts.

Here are the T-80s, 3 with ERA and 6 without. These were a bit battered and bent but all were repairable and look ok now I think.  I believe that these are QRF models, but don't know for sure.

The 3 T-72 models are Zvezda, a bit lacking in details such as the cupola MG but good enough to make a platoon.

The BTR-80s are also Zvezda models, decent enough for the job of carrying a Soviet MR platoon.

I also had a box of Team Yankee BMPs included, so set about with the modelling cement.

So here we have 5 BMP-1s, the original Soviet IFV. Vastly more capable than the M113s and Fv432s used by most of NATO, these really are nice kits. One nice touch is that each sprue contains both the BMP-1 and BMP-2 hulls and turrets, but only one chassis. So out came the thinking cap and a bit of sneaky chopping and gluing resulted in this

Some chopped up plastic bases from various boxes of figures and a 1 cent Euro coin(the ideal size and magnetic) in the chassis, then a couple of magnets glued onto the underside of the hull resulted in removable BMP hulls.

Here are the BMP-2 versions, better armed than the earlier version with an improved missile and a rapid fire 30mm gun instead of the 73mm smoothbore of the BMP-1.

I went in on the pre-order of T-55s from Plastic Soldier Company. I like the kits they make, really good quality and usually with a range of options.  The T-55 box was just great with options to make T-55, T-55A or T-55AM versions.  I went for the AM version, upgraded with extra armour and a laser rangefinder.
So finally the 5 T-55s finish the current force. I am now sat here looking at a small mountain of 15mm Soviet infantry. I have enough for 2 platoons but need some ATGW teams to complete the force. Hopefully I will get a bit of paint on them this weekend, but family duties are calling. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Death in the Dark Continent/Congo figures

I am back again with more plans and schemes that will remain my focus for about 10 minutes, before something else grabs my attention.

I recently bought the re-released Death in the Dark Continent rules from Northstar.  I went in for it because........well, it looked good and I had no figures for it and I have no will power, at all.  The rules came and caught my interest immediately, so all I needed was some figures.  On our recent trip to Partizan I spent a bit of cash and ended up with a selection of figures from Wargames Foundry, Copplestone Castings and Northstars African Range.  All told I had a mixed bag of over 80 figures by the time I had finished.  I figured that would be plenty, stupid of me I know. I decided to base them on pennies (UK 1 pence coins) as they are magnetic and would also allow me to use the figures for Congo games.  So sabot bases were needed for DitDC, which were easily arranged by emailing Supreme Littleness Designs and asking if he could knock something together for me.  In less than 24 hours he had done so and I had ordered them.  Top service from a nice chap who does exactly what it says on the website.

So, I started slapping paint about in a random manner and eventually ended up with a load of painted(sort of) figures.  So here they are in their glory, sort of.  Well, at least they are painted and none of them have been in my possession for more than a few months!
 Here are 20 warriors, all with wicker shields and spears.
20 more warriors, some with fancy headdresses.
 10 more warriors, 5 musket armed types and some porters.  This lot include the freebie figures that came with the pre-order of the rules book.
 24 Pygmies, because who doesn't like a pygmy!  They are right sneaky little blighters in the rules, very hard to hit if they are in cover.
Finally for now are some disorder bases.  Disorder is the normal unit killer in the rules, it takes a very lucky shot to actually kill a base so they tend to run away rather than get wiped out.

So there they all are.  The planned force is a Cannibal Tribe list coming in at a nice 298 points made up of the following units.
One unit of 4 Elite Warrior bases including the Chief
Two units of 4 Warrior bases
Three units of 4 skirmisher bases armed with spears
Two units of 6 pygmy bases with bows
The Surprise stratagem, so they can all set up in ambush
Some pitfalls to force the enemy into the rough and slow them down
 Here are the figures on the sabot bases.  First up is 2 units of 4 bases of warriors.  I need another 12 warriors including a chief to complete the fighting arm of the force. Also shown here is the baggage base, 3 bearers.
 These are the 3 units of 4 bases of skirmishers.  Only 2 figures per base, so easy to tell apart from the fighting types.
Finally (for now), these are the sneaky pygmies.  These are all the pygmy figures that Wargames Foundry make, so that's all there will be I think.

As I said, I need to get a Chief type and some more warriors, so Northstar will get an order as soon as my finances have recovered. In the future I plan a Naval Landing Party force using the Perry Miniatures Sudan figures.  They can have a gatling gun......

So that's it for Africa for the time being, although I have also painted up some other things for another plan, more on that tomorrow.

Adios for now.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Nathan's Stag Do

It is with a heavy heart that I have to report the forthcoming loss of free will that my mate Nathan, aka Stumpy, is about to undergo. After many years of dodging the bullet he has finally been cornered and is marrying his long time partner Linda. My condolences to her as well, but she must know what she is letting herself in for after 20 odd years with him. 😉

In an attempt to alleviate his fear of the approaching doom it was decided to put on a wargames day for him with a few of his "friends".  Any rumours that they were paid to turn up are false news and should be ignored.  The venue was the party room at his sisters local hedgehog rescue center, Prickly Ball Farm. The room was big enough for a 14'x4' table so there was plenty of room for the 10 invited players.  Sadly one had to cancel as he is away in America seeing the sights. Food and drinks were provided as well, so all we needed was a game to play. 

After our recent trip to Wargames Foundry, reported in Jon's blog, I decided that a multi-player ACW skirmish would work nicely using Sharp Practice. I sorted out briefings and forces for 8 players with yours truly herding cats, I mean running things. Terrain and figures were gathered and I roped Andy and Panjo, two of Nathan's longest suffering friends, to help me set it up the afternoon before.  Nathan knew nothing about, being mislead by his betrothed with a family breakfast at his sister's cafe. 

 Here is the table, set up and ready to go.  Each side had 4 forces of 36 to 38 points, 2 each of cavalry and infantry.  Each had it's own mission to attempt to complete but, as is usual with these things, they seem to have been forgotten as soon as the enemy were spotted. 

As the morning progressed the players all arrived by the allotted time of 10am, with Nathan due at 10.30.  He was so surprised that he was speechless for a few minutes, a rarity as anybody who knows him will attest too.  A quick welcome chat was had and then we went off for a very nice bacon and egg roll in the cafe.  Except for Chas, who is special. He had bacon, egg and avocado because he's a celiac person!  I thought he was just from deepest, darkest North Devon.
 The players then assembled back in the room and chaos ensued.  Andy, Colin, Chas and Steve were Confederates, with Nathan, Vince, Jon and Panjo getting the Union troops. I played about with the camera and took this attempt at a panorama shot. Need more practice I think.
Below are a selection of shots of the game, it seemed to play well and everybody had a good time I think(and hope). Steve is moving Reb cavalry forward in this one. He had to burn the barn, which confused him as there were two of them so he just went for the closest one.

Right flank action as Reb skirmishers engage dismounted Union cavalry.
 Reb infantry advance towards the approaching Union cavalry.

 Confederate cavalry "search" for a Union spy. 
Right flank, with dismouted Reb cavalry being supported by infantry as the Union infantry advance towards them.

Left to right, Nathan, Vince and Jon.  Union command at it's best, ish, sort of....maybe!
 Reb infantry push through the woods, driving Panjo's dismounted cavalry back.
 The other side of the wood, with Jon's Union cavalry trying to retrieve the lost cannon as the Rebs advance on them.
 Chas' engineers move towards the bridge, preparing to destroy it.
Right flank again as the Reb infantry and cavalry are gradually being outflanked by the Union troops.

Reb cavalry in the rear of the Union lines alleviated the pressure somewhat though.

To finish it all off we had a cake made by my daughter, a bit short for a French Napoleonic shako but it looked and tasted good.

A final panorama shot of the room with everybody getting into their slab of cake.

All told it was a cracking day and I would like to thank everybody who was involved. Lin and Juliette for organising the room and food. Andy and Panjo for helping me to set it all up the day before and keeping an eye on me throughout the day. Chas, Jon, Steve and Vince for making it a fun game and finally Nathan for the excuse to get us all together for a days gaming.  We even had a flypast by several aircraft as the Torbay Airshow was on, it was nice to see a Catalina go by. 

Jon will have an update on his blog at somepoint, including a group photo of us all.