Thursday, 28 April 2016

20mm Humber Pigs

These are Humber Pig models in 20mm from Sgts Mess.  I picked up a platoon's worth of transports, 4 vehicles worth.  I painted these up quickly to get them ready for the Crisis Point game earlier this month, although they never made it onto the table then, unfortunately.

Nice crisp castings and simple to put together.  Just the wheels to fit and the front fender/bull bars.  I painted the bull bars separately so that I could put more detail into the front grill and lights, although there isn't a lot to do in that area.  Just the lights and an ink wash for the grill.

All four vehicles ready to crash through a barricade or improvised road block.

Nicely detailed rear doors.

I'm not a big fan of some of the other BAOR vehicles from Sgts Mess, especially the FV432 which looks somewhat squashed to me, but that's just me.  These I really like and I'm looking forward to getting a glimpse of the new Landrovers that are being released as well as putting in a plea for the Saracen and Saladin when I saw them at Triples.  Well worth a look at their web site if BAOR vehicles are your thing or drop them an e-mail if you fancy the Saracen or Saladin.

These are going to find themselves on the streets in my Winter of 79 games.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

20mm card buildings

Following a couple of visits to model shops in Northwich and Chester, I took the plunge and picked up some Metcalfe card model buildings in HO/OO scale.  Here are the three kits covering the Manor Farm complex, the farm itself and a workers cottage, barn and tractor shed, and modern barn, silage pit and chicken sheds.  I've spent around 3 or 4 hours assembling these, they aren't perfect, but are pretty robust.  I'll finish them off by darkening some of the fold lines, adding some plastic tube chimney pots and basing them. I've photographed them with some RH Models 1980's British infantry for scale.  I think they will also work well with 15mm scale troops as well.

First up, the Manor Farm House itself, showing the front porch and side lean-to building.

Rear view with extension and rear lean-to buildings.

The farm set also comes with a workers cottage, shown here from the front with side lean-to.

Rear view of the cottage with side and rear lean-to buildings.

The large modern barn set with side building cow byre.

With the barn comes this pair of chicken sheds.  These need to be based on some plastic strip wooden runners when I come to base them.

On the left is an empty silage pit, which also comes with the modern barn complex.  On the right is an older style barn with hay loft, showing the front entrance.

With the older-style barn comes a tractor shed, perfect for storing your ... err ... tractor.  Or possibly your bomb factory, bank robbery haul, transmitter, etc.

I also picked up a couple of terraced houses, a corner shop, library and a small factory complex; more on these later.  Once I complete them, I'll have enough buildings for a small town or the edge of a larger town or city suburb.  So, I have some simple Winter of 79 scenarios in mind based around the farm complex to try out my copy of the Living on the Front Line rules.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Flames of War D-day landings

I managed to get these off my phone at last. A game from back in February, 10 players, four Brits, one US and 5 Germans on 20ft of table.  A straight up beach assault.  Looking along the table, I had the German left flank, closest to the camera.  I placed my two 75mm PAK40 bunkers on each flank facing inwards, covering the two sea wall 50mm PAK38 bunkers.  With some wire and entrenchments scattered about, there were lots of obstacles for the attackers.  I also had a couple of 88mm AA guns back in the village (lower right).

The view for the Allies from the landing craft!

The beach view from the opening of the extreme left hand PAK40 bunker.  Dennis is sitting in the middle distance working out how densely he can pack his assault armour - unfortunately, he managed to lose or immobilise most of this while straying in the minefields.

The empty rear of the German defences.

The scene about 3 turns in.  Ian's AVsRE have knocked out the closest PAK 40 bunker and eliminated the entrenched infantry, but a pair of Stugs are engaging them from the flank, knocking one out in the first round of firing.

The whole length of the table.

Here come the Stugs!

Dave's armour in the next sector, pretty much stalled at the HWM and largely reduced to Priest SPGs.

Dennis with his troops also pretty much hung up at the HWM.

The action was pretty intense, but a fun game.  My Stugs got the range of the AVsRE and knocked one out before we ran out of time.  Ian's infantry were gradually working their way off the beach, but weren't likely to have much armour support as the Stugs were about to have another crack at the surviving AVRE.  However, Ian's AVRE made the deepest inland penetration of the game, so he felt fairly happy.
We were pretty pleased with such a great looking table set up in around an hour, although the rate of play was quite slow, as is usually the case for such a big game.  Lots of fun though and nice to see it all laid out.  It was also the first chance for me to use my bunkers since I bought them, more years ago than I care to remember.
Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Crisis Point 2016 - second game

The second Arc of Fire game that I played in on Sunday was set in the capital city of Tcherbevan, separated from the airport by the Krupnehr River.  This involved NATO, Andreivian Govt, Armenian rebels and Russians and was once again very well umpired by Richard P, which made the game really flow smoothly.  The airport dominated the northwest, while to the east were the railway marshalling yards, shown below.

This view shows the airport (the runway was laid down between the two lines of trenches as the game started.  The hanger is a converted Thomas the Tank Engine toy building.

The Turkish quarter - scene of bitter fighting last year between Turks and Armenians.  The white building on the left is the Italian Embassy, seized by a British helicopter assault in the last move of last year's game., with the Culture Ministry beyond.

The Andreivian TV tower, occupied by Italian Special Forces in last year's game.

Tcherbevan viewed from the Armenian quarter.

British troops, deployed in the Italian embassy, fire on an Armenian terrorist group which just offloaded from boats just off table.  Unfortunately, this was right under the noses of the British and also several units of Andreivian paramilitary police and militia manning BTR-40s used as road blocks.

The terrorist group are severely mangled by intense small arms and Charlie G fire.

Russian BMDs and BTRs plus a squad of Spetsnaz on foot make a move on the railway bridge, via the marshalling yards, and the footbridge.  The Spetsnaz are closely watched by the Italian sniper team in the ATV tower.

The Armenian technical brews up under Charlie G fire from the Italian embassy and the squads bottle goes and they flee.

Andreivian police in a BTR-40 move in front of the USMC base in the old Ottoman fortress in the Turkish quarter, while the USMC AAVP-7 moves up on another group of Armenian terrorists who have been rash enough to leave the relative security of the supermarket behind the English Church.  The marines have just intercepted an ambulance on the Culture Ministry Boulevard, which was carrying AT-4 missiles for the Armenians.

Italian special forces in the ATV building rip in to the Armenians, who are having a truly terrible day.

The Andreivian police are now being reinforced with an Andreivian militia unit in a locally converted T-34 APC, which is also crossing the Culture Ministry Boulevard..

The British had despatched a rifle team in a Saxon APC to search the Mill, across the river from the marshalling yards, acting on a tip off from a reliable source.  They debussed the Saxon at the railway station and crossed the lines to enter the Mill, finding the UN Special Envoy, the Dane, Anders Blix, cowering in the basement.  Taking him in tow, they then head away from the river to rendezvous with the Saxon, which had to survive a wild shot from a Sagger missile mounted on a Russian BMD across the river.  Anders tells the Brits that their two SAS men, captured in a previous game, are being carried into the city by Armenians in a civilian 4x4, which they radio through to their commander and this is subsequently broadcast to other NATO units in the vicinity.

While the British rescue Anders Blix, the Spetsnaz attempt to cross the footbridge (centre right), but the Italian sniper team has called in a NATO artillery strike on the approach to the bridge.  Next to the boat moored on the river, a green SUV approaches.  This vehicle was stopped earlier by an Andreivian APC, but the crew decided not to debus and search the vehicle, just speaking briefly with the Armenian accented driver and waving him on!!

Meanwhile, the British usher Anders along the railway lines, careful to hug the cover of the buildings.

The Saxon waits patiently for the infantry with Anders Blix to move up the railway.  Beyond the level crossing, a bus has been stopped by the AAVP-7 and dismounted USMC have searched the bus, discovering the Andreivian Govt agent who has rescued the data from the crashed satellite.  He is taken into protective custody and loaded into the APC.  In the background, Andreivian police and militia try and muscle in on the action, but are still out of reach.

The Andreivian militia T-34 APC can be seen chugging around the front of the English Church.  With NATO's help, the Andreivians have eliminated the Armenian terrorists operating in the area.

The USMC stop and search, right under the noses of the Andreivian police BTR-40.

The Spetsnaz cross the river, despite taking losses from NATO artillery and Andreivian and British fire from the riverfront buildings.  They stop and search the SUV and discover two bound and gagged figures in the boot.  Before they can act, fire from the remaining Andreivian police in the Culture Ministry and the British HQ in the Italian Embassy kills or drives off all the surviving Spetsnaz, leaving the bound captives lying in the street..

The British rifle team with Anders Blix reach the Saxon APC.

Next action they mount up and the Saxon speeds off towards the British commander in the Italian Embassy.

So, a fun game, the Andreivians cleared the city of Armenians and kept the Russian on the airport side of the Krupnehr River.  NATO assisted the Andreivians in clearing the city and in rebuffing the Russians.  NATO also managed to locate Anders Blix and the British evacuated to him to safety, while the USMC were able to intercept the agent carrying the satellite data into the capitol and took this and the agent into custody, just ahead of the Andreivian police.  Unfortunately, the game ran out of time with the two SAS captives lying in the street outside the Culture Ministry, in full view of Russian forces around the airport opposite.  However, it is to be hoped that, if not before, during the hours of darkness, the British in the Italian Embassy might be able to bring them under cover.  The Andreivian police in the Culture Ministry and Italian Special Forces in the ATV tower both have their hands full dealing with wounded policemen and soldiers.

It was a great weekend of gaming in some good company, along with some great pies and beer at the local pub, The Royal in Dungworth.  We're already planning next years weekend, which currently looks like it will explore events in Andreivia after the Great War.  This should include elements of the British Empire and other western nations, the Ottomans, the Red Army, local Andreivian militias and anyone else we can provide a back story for.

As ever, thanks for looking.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Crisis Point 2016 - First game

My first game of the weekend was an Arc of Fire game umpired by Richard Phillips.  It featured a four way struggle to locate and secure a NASA satellite which had crash-landed in the Eastern Hills of the fictional Black Sea country of Andreivia.  This troubled country, one of the UN's youngest countries in 1992, was facing a struggle for it's existence with the legitimate government, bolstered by support from NATO (mainly the USA, Great Britain and France), fighting a vicious civil war with Andreivian rebels of Turkish and Armenian decent, further complicated by a Russian peace-keeping mission (or invasion) in the north of the country.

The satellite had crashed overnight and local foreign fighters (Mujahedeen) had located the crash site, but had no means to move it readily to hand.  A platoon of British infantry mounted in Warrior APCs would enter the search area from the lower left corner of the board, while a platoon of VDV Russian paratroopers in BMDs would enter from top left.  Later, an Andreivian force with infantry mounted in locally modified T-34 APCs and Chieftains would enter from the lower right.  The local Mujahedeen held the central village and had reinforcements coming from top right.  A surprise was the JS III the Mujahedeen had in the village, along with an armoured car, and the two more JS IIIs in reserve.

The day before the satellite landed and Andreivian Govt paramilitary units in BTR-40s patrol the village with nothing unusual to report.

Crop fields, possibly hemp for the rope industry, that or cabbages!

The satellite we were all looking for.

And we're off.  The Warriors, three with infantry sections and one HQ and a support unit of Milan ATGMs.

The JS III lurking in the centre of the village and the armoured car on the edge of the village.

NATO push a Warrior team out to their left to keep an eye on the Russians.

And deploy their Milan teams on a hill overlooking the centre of the table.

The HQ section deploys on a hill overlooking the approaches to the village while another mounted section approaches the woodland at the edge of the village.

The last Warrior team swings out wide to NATO's right and takes up a hull down position watching the armoured car.

A tank, looming out of the heat haze in the distance, is mistaken for a JS III and is struck by a volley of Milan ATGMs, causing it to erupt in flames.  Only when the dismounted infantry crossed the railway line did they realise this was a Russian T-62.

Moments later the lead Warrior opens up on the armoured car, with similar results.


Secondary explosions rip through the light armoured vehicle as the ammo cooks off.

The infantry in the lead Warrior dismount and advance over the low hill towards the village, only to be cut down by a storm of AK-47, PKM and Dushka HMG fire.  Six dead and two ijured being the result.

The lead Warrior comes under JS III fire from through the village archway, with AP shot flashing past, while the right flank Warrior in the foreground observes civilians advancing down the road from the right, clearly ignoring the obvious shooting going on in front of them.

A Russian BMD appears behind the JS III in the village.

The rest of the Russians seem to be content to secure the railway cutting and stay out of harms way.

The lead Warriors luck finally runs out and the third shot from the JS III KOs it for good.

The Mujahedeen receive two more JS IIIs as reinforcements.  On arrival, these brew up the BMD that was threatening the JS III in the village.

Andreivian Govt Chieftains and T-34 APCs locate the satellite crash site and the Chieftains attempt to fend off the JS IIIs while the T-34s hook up the satellite and attempt to drag it to their own table edge.

The JS III in the village moves to the crest of the low hill and fires on the HQ Warrior, which is immobilised.

The excitement must have been too much as I stopped taking photos at this point.  This may have been a "no witnesses" action, as the right flank Warrior found it necessary to turn its autocannons on the civilians who kept advancing toward it.  At the same time, a Challenger 1 reinforcement advanced down the road to the village and traded shots with the JS III, eventually brewing it up.  Russian reserves included a T-55 and BRDM-2, which advanced along the road towards the village under the noses of silent, for now, British Milan teams (they were too close for the Milans to arm in flight).

The Andreivian Govt lost both their Chieftains to the JS IIIs that came on from reserve, but the T-34s dragged the satellite to the edge of the table.  They thought it was in the bag, until the British Challenger appeared and they received radio messages from the president of Andreivia instructing them to co-operate with the British in securing the satellite.

This led to partial victories for the Andreivian Govt and NATO, and, surprisingly, for the Russians, as their orders were to stay out of trouble and keep out of the way (despite the loss of their T-62 and a BMD.  I'm not sure what the Mujahedeen player was ordered, but have to assume it was to prevent recovery of the satellite.

In all, I think we completed 13 or 14 full turns on the Saturday, which was treble the usual rate and a real tribute to the great spirit in which all the players participated, especially the two youngsters commanding the Andreivian Govt forces, and the excellent umpiring by Richard.  So a great first game, lots of fun and some real challenges.

Thanks for looking.