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.