Saturday, 11 August 2018

20mm WW1 Turkish Camelry

My WW1 Turks were clearly in need of some Camel Corps troops and with Strelets releasing a set recently, they were a must have.

The complete set, 9 camels and riders plus three dismounts.

There are 9 figures on camels, six in helmets and three in desert headgear.  Then there are three dismounts, one holding a leash, presumably to attach to the head of a camel, and two infantry figures, one in helmet and one in desert headdress.

I presume the dismounted figure on the right is meant to be used as shown holding the head of a camel.  The sitting camel adds some variety, but for a wargaming unit, he is going to be of marginal use.  The two infantry figures are a bit of a waste as they will just be added to my existing infantry - I couldn't make out anything to distinguish them as camel corps troopers.  Overall, I'd have preferred an extra camel and rider in place of the three dismounts or maybe a pack camel in place of the two infantrymen.

The eight rider figures in action poses.

I use the term "action" but with one rider drinking from his water bottle, the commander figure and another shielding his eyes from the sun, there aren't that many "action" poses.  However, as they weren't really expected to fight from the backs of their camels, this isn't such a big problem.  The guy shielding his eyes would make a great scouting figure!

Guy drinking from water bottle.

Guy shielding his eyes.

Commander.  I put him on the standing camel so I can use him as a senior officer as well.

Group shot, some actually in focus.

I like this pose.  However, many of the figures like this guy have their heads turned at 90 degrees to the front, looking directly along their shoulders.  While this is great for casting, in reality it puts a heck of a strain on the neck if you try it, and doesn't look too realistic.

So, not a perfect set, but no one else does it in 20mm plastic, and it fills that gap nicely.  I might add another set if I see a bargain box, just to add some variety to my WW1 Turks (or should I say Ottomans, as Turkey is largely a post-WW1 creation from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire).

Thanks for looking.

Monday, 6 August 2018

20mm Afrika Korps project part 2

This week I have mostly been working on some more 20mm Afrika Korps vehicles, mostly resin castings from Andy Grubb (Britannia Miniatures), which I picked up mail order and at various shows.

First up, a pair of Panzer IIs.  The troop commander is a Plastic Soldier Company figure - he's obviously finding the hatch a tight squeeze, so must be very broad shouldered.  In addition to the stowage modelled on the original castings, I've added some tools and tarps from Sgts Mess.

I went with a Vallejo dark sand base colour, washed with Agrax Earthshade.  Tracks, metal tools, rubber tyres and MGs are in black grey.  Tracks are Tamiya metallic brown and Vallejo flat brown mixed.  Tarps are medium grey or field grey.  The commander's uniform is yellow green mixed 50:50 with Iraqi sand.  Black grey for headphones and wires.  Pink (white with a hint of red) and khaki grey for the Waffenfarbe.  I used Vallejo old rust pigment to distress the exhaust pipes and silencers.

Decals are I-94 for the iron crosses, vehicle numbers and air recognition flag, Plastic Soldier for the Afrika Korps insignia.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with the final look to these.  Sadly, I'd planned to complete the platoon with a diecast vehicle that I picked up at the bring and buy at a show - forget where now.  Sadly, the colours are so different (and the diecast colours are hard to find a readily available match) that I shall allocate the diecast vehicle to recce duties and add a third Britannia vehicle, so the platoon retains a coherent look.

Next up, an Early War Miniatures Horch staff car, picked up for £1 from the miss-cast bin at the Phalanx show.  It's missing the front bumper and windscreen and needed some TLC to restore a large hole in one of the wheels, but some Milliput worked wonders.  The seated crew are from Britannia.

Decals were again Plastic Soldier for the Afrika Korps insignia, but Skytrex for the vehicle licence plates.

Next, some light AT guns in the form of 2 PAK 36s plus a single Kettenkrad to tow one of them.

The two PAK 36s are Britannia Miniatures, as too are the crew.  I found assembly of the guns a bit fiddly and it would be great if Grubby added some assembly instructions on his web site.  The figures were lovely and really straightforward to paint.  I've tried to show some variability in shirt colour, reflecting fading in the sun, while hats range from desert yellow to ivory, to indicate "old hands".

Finally, this is the Linberg Kettenkrad kit (ex-Hasegowa?) that was being sold last year for a fiver, along with a Schimmwagen, at Home & Bargain across the U.K.  This was a nice little kit, lots of swearing as it's pretty fiddly, but I wish I'd bought some Britannia crew for it, as the figures supplied look really stiff and unnatural.

Decals are again Plastic Soldier for the insignia and Skytrex for the number plate.  Front number plates are hand painted.  I might order a pair of Kettenkrad from Britannia to tow the PAK 36s and add a trailer to this one to transport a signals unit.

Lots more in the pipeline.  I've finished a company of DAK infantry - just need to take some pictures, and still have to photograph the DAK Panzer IIIs and IVs.  The painting table is currently split between some bargain Battlefront 15mm DAK and US vehicles, a box of PSC US Shermans and the first of my new Strelets boxes of Ottoman camelry.  I can feel the need to paint some camels coming on swiftly, so need to make way for them soon.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

20mm German panthers

I built 2 Plastic Soldier Company Panthers at Christmas and have been painting them off and on for several months.  The command vehicle, with commander standing in the turret, is in the standard late war three colour German scheme with a base of Dunkelgelb and splodges of Grau-Grun and Rot-Brun.

I used some rust and earth pigments to stain up the exhausts and wheels/tracks, which worked well.

The buttoned up Panther is in a basic Dunkelgelb factory finish.

Finally, this is an old Britannia Panther, slightly smaller than the PSC version.  I've added a PSC crew man and some decals to finish the vehicle off.  No divisional insignia as I've not decided what unit these belong to.

I'm pleased with how these have turned out and relieved that they are off the painting table as they have taken up a lot of room.  However, I will add another box of PSC Panthers to complete a platoon.

Thanks for looking.

15mm WW2 Battlefront German vehicles

Yet more of the discounted Battlefront vehicles.

First up, an S307 (f) (Pak 40).  One of Alfred Beckers conversions of a French Somua MCG half track mounted with a Pak 40 AT gun.  The crew compartment armour was thin, designed to withstand basic small arms and shrapnel, but open topped and so still vulnerable to plunging fire and tossed grenades.  However, the extra mobility allows it to emerge from cover and fire off a couple of rounds, with a reasonable expectancy of pulling back behind cover again.  Not a tank, but a useful mobile AT weapon.  Used by 21st Panzer Division in the fighting in Normandy.

This one is painted in dunkelgelb with grau-grun stripes, with lots of Iraqi sand dry brushing to simulate dust and dirt.

Then an Sdkfz 250/1, the final vehicle I need to complete my armoured recce platoon for Battlegroup Wacht Am Rhein.

An Sdkfz 250/7 with an 81mm Granatwerfer mortar, a specialist support vehicle for the armoured recce platoon.

More of these to come as I wrap them up.  Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Joy of Six 2018

Last Sunday,15th July, saw Ian and I cross the Pennines, bright and early to get to Sheffield for 9am for the Joy of 6 show.  If you've never heard of it or not been, it is a fantastic show dedicated to all things 6mm.  It's organised by Sheffield-based Baccus and Wargames Emporium and frequented by traders such as Heroics and Ros, Leven Miniatures, Brigade Games, etc.  It's a relatively small, but friendly show held at the Sheffield Hallam University in Hallam Hall.

The Cold War Commanders had got together to set up a big modern game in 6mm, but this time, we decided to make it difficult for ourselves by putting on the same game with the same scenario, but set in three different time periods.  Our scenario was set several days into a Soviet incursion across the inner German border, with Soviet forces attempting to seize control of the town of Wesel in northern Germany, close to the Dutch border.  We decided on a Soviet Motor Rifle Regiment taking on a British battalion of cross-attached mechanized infantry and armour.  The games were to be set in 1959 (ATGMs in their infancy), 1973 (the death of the tank from ATGM, based on experience in the Middle East) and 1989 (new ERA and Chobham armour to defeat ATGMs).

This was to be my table for the game set in 1989.  The outskirts of Wesel to be defended by the Brits and the Soviets coming on from the right.

Looking into the past, 1989 in the foreground, 1973 in the middle and 1959 in the far distance - the pink ribbons mark the game boundaries.

The passage of time, Wesel suburbs in 1989.

The urban sprawl from Wesel just beginning to extend into the playing area in 1973.

1959, an urban planners dream, undeveloped land around Wesel.

Even in 1989 it's still safe to say "Well, they came on in the same old way, so we beat them in the same old way".  Here Ian's T-80s try to look menacing as they approach the river, which Soviet planners believed to be a track.

The Brits dropped smoke on the Soviet air defences and then called in fast air.  The first available Jaguar, with iron bombs, was lucky to get some minor hits on the T-80s.

The Soviets were badly mauled by a troop of Challengers in the woods just visible on the extreme right of the view.  They were also hit by long range ATGMs called in from the woods in the foreground, until the CO made two blunders, both resulting in cross-fire in 2 successive turns.  The first caused hits, but the second caused both FV438s and the Striker to brew up.  The Challengers would have to do the job on their own.

Wesel had been selected as the site for a forward medical post and REME unit, as well as being garrisoned by 2 companies of infantry and their Warrior IFVs.

A pair of Jaguars streak across the battlefield in search of the last vestiges of Soviet resistance.

In the end, a single Challenger 1 squadron in the centre of the table was able to bring the Soviet advance to a halt.  With two troops engaging the T-80s on the British left, supported by the ATGM units while they were still around, and a pair of Lynx Milan armed helicopters was enough to halt the Soviet tanks.  Another two troops of Challengers firing into the Soviet centre effectively wiped out the Soviet anti-air assets and one of the BTR-80 battalions.  Over on the right, another BTR-80 battalion was decimated by NATO artillery (3 Abbotts and 3 155mms) and, when they got in range, direct fire from Warriors on the end of Wesel.

Apart from the 3 ATGM launchers destroyed by blunders, the Brits lost a single Warrior IFV.  The Soviets lost over half their starting force.  Challenger Is with 6 attacks out to 100cm, 6 hits and a save on 3 are really hard to deal with - as I found out in the Landjut game at Slimbridge when my Polish marines were on the receiving end of some punishment until they got within RPG range.

On the other tables, the heavy tanks in action in 1959 allowed the Conquerors and Centurions of the British to effectively deal with the Soviets, while in 1973, the British Chieftains were being badly used by the Soviets and destroyed by the end of play.

We concluded that CWC appears to reflect many of the changes in weapons and tactics that came about during the 45 years or so of the Cold War and appear to suggest that the Soviets had a "window of opportunity" in the mid- to late 70's to deal with NATO effectively using conventional forces.  Whether this is a true representation is, fortunately, something we will never know.

There were loads of great looking games on display, but this one of the Zeebrugge raid in 1918 really grabbed our attention.  1/300 scale ships - what's not to like.  The modelling of the canal entrance and mole were superb.

A fun day out.  Not too much retail therapy.  I picked up some odds and ends from Leven and some 15mm Stugs and a 1/72 Bristol Fighter from the Bring and Buy.  Heroics and Ros were busy all day, so I'll order on-line and pay the postage - I can feel a revamp of my WW2 British airborne coming on, especially as H&R now do some lovely jeeps and variants, plus the Morris airborne gun tractor.

As ever, thanks for looking.