Thursday 19 December 2019

Off to Singapore - well, not really

Despite the intrusion of real life, such as job, family, medical issues (sigh!) I have been making fairly steady progress on the next major project, forces to fight the Malaya Campaign using Chain of Command.

I am choosing to build a generic Japanese infantry platoon, and a platoon from 2nd Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders; of course, some support options plus, more intimidatingly, the terrain - jungle, roads, paddies, buildings, etc.. The two Chain of Command lists for the campaign are linked from the Too Fat Lardies blog. My only modifications will be to not rate the ASH as 'Elite' as this should be highly restricted, and while they were certainly a better jungle trained and hard-fighting unit, it would be difficult to justify Elite status.

For supplementary information and ideas for replicating the fighting in Malaya, I would highly recommend the Pint-Sized Campaign in the Lardies 2015 Christmas Special. It is focused on the Australian effort, but the background and content apply to all the forces fighting in Malaya.

I confess, I do feel somewhat guilty about the 28mm Italians from Empress, languishing in the shed, but each time I haul them out, I think about whole new sets of terrain, plus the vehicles and so on. I can comfort myself that I have finished an AB41 armoured car:

And I still haven't got my 3d printed M13/40 from a bloke at work..  etc. Ok, I confess, I'm a little intimidated by the quality of the sculpts and I want to really make them look good.

One recommendation from 'Setting the Scene 2' - a terrific modelling guide, and one of his guest painter Nick's, aka (Moiterei)  tips, was to use the Andreas colours Field Grey set as one of the base colours for Italian uniform, and so I tell myself I have deferred painting the figures till I can justify €18.5 for the colour set.

Enough excuses. Progress on the Malaya Campaign kit. So I have now assembled and undercoated some Warlord bargain vehicles, (Lanchester, Universal Carrier and Type 97 Chi-Ha), and I have a Vickers VI Light Tank (Blitzkrieg) that will do double duty as an India Pattern Light Tank, yet to be assembled. I still want to get a Type 95 Ha-Go, as these seem to have been a staple of the Japanese campaign, but in reality, I suspect I would need to get a couple of them. I am still looking for a good cheap source for these.

All my aquarium plants have arrived but I need to get a clear day with a few hours to do the MDF bases cutting, chamfering and cleaning up required...  so in the meantime I have been focusing n the infantry..

2 Batt, A&SH, after cutting and head swaps
These are the Perry figures, with Woodbine head swaps on a select few. Standard British platoon organisation of three squads each led by a corporal, with a Bren team and a rifle team, platoon HQ is 2nd Lieutenant, plus platoon sergeant, Boys AT rifle team and 2" mortar team.

'Goop' a mix of Mocha paint and Grout
Just add Goop!.  ok, so first layer of goop, sprinkled with grit (kitty litter), undercoated with car spray primer, and a second layer of goop on the bases.

And now it's on to assembling (literally!) dozens of plastic Warlord Games Japanese that I picked up in their sales. I ended up with a box and 5 sale sprues, giving me a total of 60 figures. A Japanese Platoon is 3 thirteen man squads, a knee mortar squad, plus platoon HQ, so a total of 54 men. I also picked up some TAG Japanese supports (MMG on tripod, flamethrower and sniper teams) during their recent sale.

Steady progress
These guys should be assembled today. I have glued them (using Tamiya Extra Thin Cement) to Perry bases from their Africa Corps and Desert Rats sets, as this gives a pretty sturdy bond, and then the Perry bases will go on to my standard 2p coins for weight.

I am still thinking about how best to do 'jungle' basing on figures, I suspect involving herbs, so if anyone has any bright ideas, pass them on in the comments section!


Sunday 15 December 2019

Action in the Ukraine

So I finally managed to get out the Eastern Front toys for a game of Chain of Command at the club today.

Pretty simple scenario, with the huge encirclements of the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa, a Soviet platoon is trying to evict the German defenders who have captured a critical rail junction.

Funky dice trays, courtesy of a very cheap deal from Wayland Games.

Sleepy quiet, on the left Soviet scouts push forward

What's this - a KV1? 

Making short work of the wire, in the background a firefight between Soviet and German squads

The view from the Soviet end of things

Soviet Maxim guns plus another squad follow up.

The KV goes manhunting!

The other flank, and shots are exchanged

Oops..  Scratch one Pz IV
A good fun game, and looks like at least a few Soviets made it out of the pocket. In my lists the KV is a list six choice, which seems absurdly cheap for something virtually indestructible in period. I think I am going to have to staff up some BT fast tanks, and T26 light tanks, as there is nothing in the German 1941 lists that can touch the KV.

Steve's Force Morale hit 0 though surprisingly for us, leader casualties were quite light. I'm looking forward to another Eastern Front game, but I will need to work on more scenery. 

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Always More Toys

one of the traps of the Chain of Command rules is that you look at the available support options in a list, and think 'yeah, that would be a very cool vehicle' although there's actually pretty good odds for most, they will be used once, if at all.

But I'm a sucker for cool vehicles, especially when they are free, cheap secondhand, or available heavily discounted. So here's the latest batch to roll out of the painting shed.

Rubicon Sdkfz 250

Rubicon Sdkfz 251 

Italeri AB41 (1/48)

Resin PzIV unknown make - could not get this one to work.
I'm thinking I might drape some foliage over the PzIV. I just could not get this one to 'feel' right. The model itself isn't great, and I just couldn't get the paint to work for me. It's still a Late War Pz IV, but the quality of this and the Rubicon Panzer IV D/E I have to paint is light years apart. 

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Where am I?

So despite the fact it's going to require a whole new set of 28mm Terrain, and that I already have about 6 or more platoons waiting for paint, I couldn't resist something different.

I had already, almost by accident, picked up a few bits and pieces, such as a Type 97 Tank, some Woodbine Company heads from Gripping Beast, a Sarissa hut..  Then with the Black Friday sales, and Warlord offering discounts, it would almost have been rude not to..  So - a Lanchester, etc..

First steps
This shows the Lanchester before detailing. It's not a bad model. (I am wondering what junk to put in the back). Plus the HQ for the platoon, 2nd Lieutenant plus Sergeant, Boys AT Rifle and the 2" Mortar. 
Sergeant & Second Lieutenant

Unfortunately, the picture quality isn't great. These are Perry 'Desert Rats', with Woodbine heads. I wasn't sure how well the heads would fit, and in some of the pictures, such as the foreshortened one below, they do look slightly large. Looking at the side shots though, it's certainly well within the range you will see on wargames figures, even if slightly larger than the Perry originals.

I still have to add green-stuff sock flashes, as these seem to have continued to be worn, but overall I am pretty pleased with the conversions, and I am looking forward to getting some paint on these. (I confess, I am tempted to give the officer a cricket jumper..)

And of course, these are for a platoon from 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Malaya 1942, for the Fall of Singapore. Beware masses of incoming plastic aquarium plants to build jungle... 

Sunday 24 November 2019

Weekend WIP

The weekend was a quiet one, so in between various household chores, I managed to get some model building in, and then a brief session with the airbrush. Unfortunately, I have been having problems with the new Iwata, so it was back to the trusty old Chinese knock-off...  So these are airbrushed, and some detail work started.

First up was the Italeri 1/48 AB41 armoured car. A bit of an oddity this kit, 'rubber' tyres, and a partly metal chassis. I reckon it looks pretty good. Obviously still needs further detail work, decals and weathering, but a good start.

Next up, a pair of Rubicon half-tracks. The Sdkfz 251 Engineer vehicle was a £10 pickup at Targe, and the 250 was heavily discounted from Wayland Games.

And a Pz IV. This was given to me, and I have reassembled and repainted it, adding some Milliput stowage. It's not a great model, not sure of the original manufacturer.

This one, again a pick up at Targe from a fellow club member, and again, not sure of the provenance. It's a 3d print, and includes a crashed Me 262, which I am going to disguise somehow so it has wider applicability. Lots of detail on this one, so a lot of work still to do.

An Airfix resin kit, I think originally badged as a Polish Bank. I had to add a lot of debris from MDF offcuts, chopped up cork and so on. Again, there's a whole lot of detail to be added.

So on the whole, some good progress, and I also made up some bases for my Victrix Late Republican Romans that I am going to put together for the Lardies new 'Infamy, Infamy' ancients rules.

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Soviets Urrah!

Finally completed my Soviet platoon plus basic supports for Chain of Command.

It's been a lengthy process, and I had already completed the armour, but here they are; not the greatest paint job ever, but very serviceable.

Leaders & Support Options, Commissar & Medic

1st Squad, including two scouts

2nd Squad, including two scouts

3rd Squad, including two scouts
4th Squad, including two scouts
Junior Leader and AT Gun

Medium Machine Gun

Infantry gun & Junior Leader
All the supports - mortar, sniper, AT rifle, MMG and KV1 & T34

The figures are a mix of PSC Plastic 28mm Soviets, Crusader figures and some odd BTD picked up second hand. The artillery, mortar and MMG are PSC, while the tanks are Warlord Games plastic.

Monday 11 November 2019

Targe 2019

Saturday 9th November was the date for the annual Targe Show organised by the Kirriemuir Wargames Club. Unfortunately, this year, the dates clashed with Crisis in Antwerp, which is generally acknowledged to be one of the best shows in Europe. This meant that some traders, particularly Warbases and Dave Thomas, chose to attend Crisis instead. A couple of late cancellations also meant that there were fewer traders than usual.

Regardless – the show was well attended, with a couple of hundred on site over the day, and particularly pleasing, we saw quite a few families and younger folk among the Grognards. The bring and Buy seemed to be doing good business, and unusually, a lot of books were sold.

The quality of games was generally good, with some interesting display and participation games. There seemed to be a bit of a Japanese theme down the back of the hall with the Last Samurai game, and two separate Pacific War games run by Iron Brigade and SPIT. 

Iron Brigade

SPIT, set on the island of 'Lavipan'
It’s not too many shows where you get to see multiple renderings of the Kurogane Type 95 car and a Japanese APC. I think the APC is a resin cast from Anyscale Models.

The timing of Targe, late in the calendar year also means that some of the games have already done a tour of the shows via Carronade and Claymore, but their appeal is undiminished and they are all well worth a second, or a third look.

Special mention to Warhogs (Glasgow), who brought along an expanded version of their Stalingrad game. Apparently several hundred new figures had been added, and the board extended by another six feet. I’ve seen this several times before, but it is still a spectacle with loads of lovely little detail, and fantastic scenery. When I did a quick run around early in the day, there seemed to be guys scattering literally thousands of scale bricks all over the boards.  

Another unusual game, the siege of Rome, with the French pushing a sap forward while their siege batteries engage a Vauban fortification. 

Honourable mention to the Bay of Pigs game by the Gothenburg Gamers, using an adaptation of the Bolt Action rules, and included some very appealing (and big!) aircraft duelling over Cuba.

Given the number of games with a jungle setting, there were plenty of examples of unusual and interesting way to use aquarium plants for terrain. I shall certainly be using some of those ideas for inspiration for next year’s projects.

Iron Brigade

Iron Brigade
Iron Brigade hit the Beach!

Winner of the best game was a lovely Star Wars game by Aberdeen Wargames Club, it used a variety of interlocked boards covering several environments, with plenty of eye candy in the form of very attractive figures and models. 

Overall, while it was disappointing that some of the traders couldn’t make it, it was still a very good day out.  Oh, and the bacon roll van did a roaring trade!