Monday, 22 May 2017

20mm Winter Russians

I'd completely forgotten about these winter Russian figures.  I painted up a sprue of Italeri Russian Infantry (Winter Uniform) last year in case they were needed for the Korsun Pocket game, although it turned out we had plenty of Russians..

Nice, detailed figures.  I did have to cut the bipod off the Maxim MG and reattach it in the correct orientation, but other than that there was very little excess plastic to remove and they took the paint really well.

At Gauntlet, I also bought a single sprue of Orion Soviet Assault Group 1945, depicting assault engineers in their Amoeba camouflage suits.  These guys were relatively easy to clean up, although one or two had quite a bit of flash to remove, but this came away cleanly with a sharp blade.  I've left the bases as bare sand, so I can use them with my winter and summer troops.

Still got lots of Italeri and Pegasus winter Russians to paint and all those cheap diecast Russian tanks from The Works that need weathering and frosting.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

More 20mm WW2 Winter Germans

To add a bit of variety to all the desert kit I've been working on for Battlegroup Tobruk and by way of a complete contrast, here are various bits and bobs of winter gear I've been working on for about 18 months now.

First up, some samples of German ski troops from Lancashire Games.  These are basic sculpts, with very little flash or venting and only required a minimal clean up.  The ski sticks are a little fragile and required quite a bit of straightening, with one of the pair of free standing sticks (figure in helmet on left) breaking off before I could stabilise it.  Once painted, they look pretty cool and appear to represent the subject well.  There are 20 figures in a pack and, if multi-buy packs pre-ordered at shows, work out at less than 50p/figure.

Next up is a single sprue of Strelets' German Army in Stalingrad.  I picked these up from Will at Gauntlet last year.  They look a bit chunky before painting, but have some nice raised detail which takes paint well and have a real "rag tag" look to them which matches period photos nicely.

A more recent addition is this PAK 40 with SS crew from Britannia Miniatures.  I posted earlier ( on the painted model, but here it is with snow effects added.

Then this is a Zvezda PAK 36 with liberal dusting of frost, crewed by figures in winter camo smocks.

And finally, a white metal IG75 with crew that I bought, again from Will, at the Gauntlet show last year.

So, those are the last of my winter diversions for now.  I have a Panther, Tiger I and Panzer IV earmarked for winter, as well as a troop of Stug IIIs and some Sdkfz 251s, but these will have to wait in the queue while I finish the desert project.  So far, I have two platoons of desert British and a platoon of DAK, plus another one on the way.  Then I have a troop of Matilda IIs, two of Panzer IIIs and some assorted Crusaders, Mk VIs, Panzer IVs and some odds and ends.  The plan is to get some transport for both, fill out a troop of Crusaders and add some infantry heavy weapons and artillery.  So much to do and so little time/money.  Hey ho!

Thanks for looking.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Waltzing Matildas - Battlegroup Tobruk scenario

Last night Will McNally and I played out the Waltzing Matildas scenario from Battlegroup Tobruk.  The scenario represents the outskirts of the village of Pervolia on Crete, which is defended by a platoon of Fallschirmjaeger, plus supports, against an attack from Australian infantry supported by Matilda II tanks.

Pervolia is to the left in the image below, while the attackers come on, on the right hand table edge.

A Stuka's view of Pervolia.

Olive-lined roads, groves of oranges or lemons and vineyards form the terrain across which the attackers advance.  Plenty of concealment, but very little cover.

The Fallschirmjaeger platoon is supported by a 75mm recoilless rifle and 2 MG34 in the sustained fire mode, all with additional loading teams, plus a 2 tube battery of 80mm mortars and observer team, a roadblock and minefield.  Both houses adjacent to the road on the edge of town are considered heavy stone-built and therefore fortified.

The attackers comprise 2 platoons of infantry, one in bush hats.

The other in tin hats, supported by two Matildas with make-shift inexperienced crews.

Turn 1 and the Aussies come on in an extended line in the far distance.

Turn 2 and the Aussies continue to advance on both flanks.  Jerry has put a section with MG32 forward on the left adjacent to the stone wall, with another section further back on the right, again behind a stone wall.  Both fortified buildings house the sustained fire MG32s, the other buildings housing the command group and third section as a back stop.

On the far right, the 75mm recoilless rifle waits dug into a prepared position.  The Aussies on the German right are trading shots with the 75mm gun.

On the left, Jerry and Digger face each other across the open space, trying to win the firefight.

More Aussies moving up on Jerry's right.

In turn 4, a timed mortar strike hits the 75mm recoilless rifle, with stunning lack of effect.  Shortly, the regular Aussie mortar support ran out of ammo and the mortar tubes fell silent.

The Matildas move up using their MGs to try and suppress the plucky Jerrys, but the section on the left, plus some mortar support, mangle large numbers of Aussies behind the stone wall keeping up a steady attrition.  When Jerry switches his mortars to the right, the Aussie platoon is pinned in the vineyard.

The Fallschirmjaeger squad on Jerry's right wait for their moment.

More mortar fire rains down on the Aussies on the German right.

On the left flank, the Aussies break cover and push towards the village supported by the two Matildas and 2" mortars from both platoons.  Despite some pinning hits and the loss of the squad in the forward position behind the stone wall, when the two Fallschirmjaeger sustained fire MG32s open fire, they destroy the attacking infantry.

On the German right, the remnants of the Aussie section in the woods finally manage to knock out the 75mm gun crews, leaving 1 man standing.

At this stage, we ran out of time and Will, the Aussie player, offered a draw.  The German player, me, grudgingly accepted.  Having agreed the draw, we revealed that I had taken 19 out of a possible 20 break points, while Will had only taken around 14 of a possible 27.  One more loss for Jerry and he'd probably have been running.  This was an enjoyable game and with some nice challenges for both players.  It was quite enjoyable watching the Aussie commander debating whether to try a rush across open ground or sit tight and shoot it out.  While the Matildas were virtually impossible to kill, they were pretty ineffective in pinning, although they were getting more effective as they got to real close range.  I had a little bit of bad luck drawing break point chits, as I managed to take 3s and 4s in just about each selection, mostly driven by removal of pinning.  Both players used sound WW2 tactics and it would be fun to try this again to see how it works out in another iteration.

All of the figures and scenery are from Will's collection and looks truly spectacular on the table.  I'm sure my camera phone doesn't do it justice.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

20mm WW2 British infantry

I've been trying to find figures suitable for the British Commandos for the Vaagso raid in late 1941.  The contemporary photos show then in battle bowlers and looking like pretty standard infantry of the time, but noticeably without the gas mask case "at the ready".  This means that BEF figures aren't suitable and neither are any of the 8th Army/Mediterranean infantry types, as shirt sleeves and shorts were definitely not worn on the raid, more like gloves, scarves and balaclavas.  Looking at the SHQ 1943 and later British infantry, these seem to be just about perfect.  The only bit of kit the Commandos carried that isn't represented is a length of coiled toggle rope, but these are close enough for me to feel happy using them.

First up a 10 man section of three man bren team and seven man rifle team, plus one sten gun, including NCO on round base.  A Thompson SMG would have been better for Vaagso, but the Sten is good too.

Part of another section with NCO, bren and three riflemen advancing.

Platoon HQ with officer and 2 man 2" mortar team.

2" mortar team in more detail.

Running officer.

Company commander, consulting wrist watch, with NCO pointing and rifleman runner.

Engineers clearing mines with mine detector, lifting an identified mine with a bayonet and carrying up a box at the back.

Engineers (l-r) satchel charge, roll or fuse wire and clippers and a man pack flamethrower.

So, I've ordered enough of these figures to complete 2 troops/platoons for now, plus some Vickers MMG supports and 3" mortar teams.  They will also double up as true late war British infantry.  More on these as they are finished.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

20mm SS PAK 40

I've had a busy couple of weeks, with a US business trip to Houston and a holiday visiting family in Plymouth, as well as playing a big game (Crisis Point) over in Sheffield.  So, just beginning to get back to normality now.

Here are some pictures of a Britannia PAK 40 with SS crew, ready for winter.  I will be adding snow to the base and frosting the gun and crew when I start work on the Gebirgsjaeger basing.

I've spent this week assembling Pz IIIs from PSC and Italeri, plus Pz IVs from Armourfast, ready for my Battlegroup Tobruk DAK force.  More on this later.  I've also tested some SHQ British infantry with the intention of using them as commandos for the upcoming Vaagso game at Gauntlet and I'll post some pictures of the test figures shortly.

As ever, thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Crisis Point 2017

Crisis Point 2017, organised and umpired by Richard Crawley at the School Hall in Dungworth, near Sheffield, returned to Andreivia, the fictional Black Sea country, set in April 1918.  The Bolsheviks have just signed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk and are evacuating the country, while White forces are keen to continue the fight.  British and Empire forces have managed to place a small military force in the capital Tcherbevan, ostensibly to guard the military stores unloaded there.  Andreivia has declared independence from both the Russian and Turkish empires and the fledgling state is attempting to maintain the front line in the Caucasus, secure the capital and ease the passage of British and Empire forces into the country to help stabilise the new country.  The Central Powers, especially Turkey under the Ottomans, are keen to see Andreivia return to the Empire, while the Germans are keen to support the Turks and keep as many British and Empire forces busy as possible.  Apart from the action in the museum, all actions are played out using the Arc of Fire rule set.

A British Ford Model T patrol sweeps ahead of the main force (Woosterforce) advancing into Andreivia from Mesopotamia.  

Meanwhile in Tcherbevan, the Museum of Antiquities is the scene of a struggle to obtain the Golden Fez of Andreivia, a potent symbol of Andreivian nationalism.  Andreivian police, the local Andreivian mafia and the famous jewel thief Arsene Lupin III all attempt to steal/liberate/protect the artefact in a Pulp Alley game.

The British commander, wearing the hat of initiative, apparently behind Arsene Lupin III's attempt on the Fez.

Arsene Lupin III's team peer into the room occupied by the Andreivian mafia (German-backed), while Andreivian police advance from the furthest room.

Andreivian mafia knocked down and out by the police sergeant in a brawl.

The game was heading for stale mate with each team securing a plot point, until in the last round of the game a police constable knocked down the mafia leader, securing his plot point, while Arsene Lupin III retired through  skylight, leaving the Fez to Andreivia.

Meanwhile, on the Caucasus front, the Turks (to the right) launch a major advance on the sparsely held Andreivian lines.

The Turks appear to have won the preliminary artillery duel and their troops advance out of the trenches in an extended line.

The Andreivians can only reply with rifle fire, having lost their MMG to artillery fire.

Meanwhile, behind the lines, a German gunboat descends on the coast to clear the way for a landing, interrogating the local Arabs and intercepting an arms carrying Dhow.  Having interrogated the crew and determining they are harassing the local Andreivians, the German captain allows the Arabs to get on with their business.

The most excellent gunboat was scratch built by Richard Crawley.

The captain calls in the first wave of troops, landing sailors on the coast.

Meanwhile, "White" Russian Cossack cavalry tries to interfere with the local Arabs, only to be completely overwhelmed in the close assault and routed.

Unfortunately for the Germans, as the barge advances on the coast, the gunboat runs down one of the barges, causing total loss of life to the troops on board the stricken vessel.

The Arab caravan, bearing a secret weapon, plods off in the direction of the interior.

The surviving German sailors reach the beach.

It's almost all over at the front as the Turks close with the Andreivian front line.

The German barge captain has spotted the missing submarine, beached in a creek on a recce mission, and goes in to retrieve it.

Towing it back out to sea.

The road to Tcherbevan, with villages garrisoned by Andreivians.

Including a most impressive lighthouse, built by Richard Phillips.

The British Woosterforce, in overnight laager on the road from Mesopotamia to Tcherbevan.

The Germans land their crack infantry, while the gunboat trades shots with an Andreivian armoured train.

The Germans bring up mountain guns.

And close assault the armoured train, which has a knocked out turret and another turret and engine neutralised and temporarily inoperative.

The mountain guns advance to take the bridge on the road to Tcherbevan under cover of their guns.  To the right, Turks have punched through the Andreivin lines and mopped up, with the few survivors in pell mell retreat towards the capital.  They will find their retreat cut off by German infantry and guns.

To the east, the British have dealt with the Turkish pursuers and rendered them ineffective and so the way to Tcherbevan is open.

The view of the British from the defeated Turks in the east.

Australian Light Horse scouting for the British as they resume the advance.

So, the game ended with British and Russian forces skirmishing with Turkish militia and each other in the capital.  In the east, a British force was free to advance on the capital.  In the west, a combined Turkish and German force was advancing on the capital.  The scene is set for a future game involving a substantial scrap between Britain and her Empire, supported by free Andreivian forces, with a combined Turkish and German force.  What role the White and Red Russian forces will play remains to be seen.

Thanks for looking.