Wednesday, 30 August 2017

To wash or not to wash ....

No, not my dear old mum's advice to always wash behind my ears.  Frighteningly, I find myself saying the same thing to my 9 year old son every morning.

It's taken me a while, but I've finally taken the plunge and tried an enamel wash.  I picked up a bottle of AK Interactive enamel wash for DAK vehicles.  Following various internet methods, it seemed that the idea was to paint the vehicles with acrylics, add an enamel filter if needed and then acrylic gloss varnish the whole vehicle.  Once the varnish is thoroughly dry, pin wash the seams, rivets, folds, creases, etc with the enamel wash.  Once the wash has hardened, excess can be removed with a white spirit dampened brush, wiped off on kitchen paper.  Once the desired effect is reached, the whole lot is left to dry and then matt varnished in acrylic.

The photos below show pairs of vehicles which have been gloss varnished, with the model on the right washed and the model on the left untouched.  I think the effects speak for themselves in terms of the greater depth and detail shown by the detail washed vehicles.

Britannia Miniatures 8th Army light trucks.

Armourfast Panzer IVDs.

The sad thing is it now shows up the shortcomings of the vehicles that I've not washed, so there could well be a program of retrospectively washing some of those most in need of detailing.  So, now to try out some other techniques that I've found on the web, such as chipping, streaking, etc.

These also give an idea of some of the projects I have on the go at the moment, which include 8th Army and DAK in 20mm, additions to my 15mm DAK and NW Europe US forces, and some ventures into 28mm Darkest Africa!  I've just invested in a Harder and Steinbeck airbrush, which has been well worth the expense, making it really quick to undercoat and basecoat figures and vehicles.  I still need to develop some subtlety in covering smaller areas for cammo patterns etc.  It's all in the trigger action,so I'm told.

As ever, thanks for looking.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Battlegroup Overlord Push for Caen

Back at the start of the month, we organised a large game of Battlegroup Overlord, based on Scenario 7 from  the Rapid Fire D-day Supplement.  We pitted two British infantry companies from 2nd Shropshire Light Infantry, commanded by Steve H and I, plus a Sherman squadron from the Staffordshire Yeomanry, commanded by Will, against two companies of German infantry, commanded by Dennis and Ian, with support from 4 platoons from 1st Battalion Panzer Regiment 22.

The view south from Perriers Ridge (we marked the edge of the ridge with a line of low hills in the foreground), with the villages of Bieville on the left and Perriers on the right.  The low hills and woods around Lebisey are in the distance.  The British objectives were to clear the woodland and exit the far table edge en route to Caen, as well as prevent a German victory.  The Germans had to exit troops in good order off the British table edge, heading for the landing beaches, as well as prevent a British victory.

The view south from Perriers Ridge, but further west.  The hedges provide cover for infantry, but don't block line of sight.  I have a platoon in Perriers and the rest of my troops are coming on.

The road to Caen.  Steve has a platoon in the village and the rest are following up coming on table.

Anticipating an armoured counterattack, the British deploy their AT resources with a good view of the open ground in front of Perriers Ridge.

The British in Perriers consolidate their hold on the village and engage in a firefight with dug in Panzergrenadiers beyond the wheat field.

Accounts of the battle refer to a natural AT ditch, which we interpreted as a ravine with a stream, which is impassable to vehicles except on the road.

Ian's Panzergrenadiers and a dug-in 88mm AA gun, the target for a lot of suppressing hits from British artillery.


The British infantry and their artillery support dealt with the dug in German infantry around Lebisey, resulting in the remnants pulling back into the woods to avoid direct fire.  The British Sherman Squadron arrived just ahead of the German counter attack with the Panzer IVs advancing in alternating bounds firing from stationary.  At long range, tank fire was pretty ineffective, but resulted in a stand off with neither side wanting to close the range.

Infantry platoons continued to advance, drawing German mortar fire.  But a beyond the call of duty test resulted in a rifle section close assaulting the nearest Panzer IV and brewing it up.

Lots more long range shooting while the infantry move to get to grips with the remnants of the Panzergrenadiers.

The final scenes on the battlefield littered with wrecked armoured vehicles.  Both sides had reached a standstill so both failed to achieve their objectives, resulting in a draw.

 This was quite a large game, one of the biggest we have played so far using Battlegroup and it gave us some useful insights into allocation of orders dice and breakpoints for individual company-sized Kampfgruppes.  All in all a fun game, lots of twists and turns, leading to a suitably historical conclusion. 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

15mm Late War Germans based for Battlegroup

I've put together a German armoured recce platoon from the Wacht am Rhein book, to form the core of a mobile armoured division battlegroup.  Vehicles are, from left to right, an optional support Sdkfz 251/1 transport for a tripod mounted MG34 or MG42, an Sdkfz 250/1 transport for a bipod mounted MG34 or 42, an Sdkfz 250/10 command vehicle with 37mm AT gun, an optional Sdkfz 250/9 20mm armoured car and finally another Sdkfz 250/1 transport for a bipod mounted MG34 or 42.  Dismounts in front are, again left to right, an optional tripod mounted MG34 team, two 4-man bipod mounted MG34 teams, a two man command team and optional 2-man Panzershreck team, an optional support PAK40 AT gun and two more 4-man bipod mounted MG34 teams.

I still need two Sdkfz 250/1s to mount two of the MG34 teams and I'll use an Opel Blitz Maultier as a tow for the optional PAK 40.  Other support options include an Sdkfz 250/7 with 81mm mortar, an Sdkfz 250/8 Stummel 75mm infantry gun and, as an alternative command vehicle, an Sdkfz 250/11 with Panzerbuche.

This platoon organisation has a lot of firepower.  Dismounts provide 4 MG34 teams with another 4 MG34s available from the vehicles themselves and the command half track mounts a 37mm AT gun.  Then support options I'm most likely to include are an MG34 in sustained fire mode, the PAK 40 AT gun, 20mm autocanon on the A/C and a Panzershreck team.  I might even indulge the command team with some off board mortars as they can spot for them too.  On the downside, the teams are small and they are likely to be quite brittle, needing some back up from other infantry and armour.

Sdkfz 250s are Plastic Soldier, 251 and PAK 40 are Peter Pig, infantry is a mix of Battlefront and Peter Pig.

The armoured recce infantry platoon provides the core of the battlegroup.  To this, I've added a Gepanzert infantry platoon in Sdkfz 251/1s.  In the photo below, the rear row shows, left to right, an optional Sdkfz 251/9 Stummel with 75mm infantry gun, an optional Sdkfz 251/1 transport for a tripod mounted MG34, an optional PAK 40 with Sdkfz 251/1 tow (I might replace this with a Maultier), and a quad 20mm AA gun with Sdkfz 11 tow.  The middle row comprises three Sdkfz 251/1s, which provide transport for three 5-man rifle squads and three 3-man bipod MG34 teams.  In front is a command Sdkfz 251/10 with 37mm AT gun, a 6-man command team and an optional 2-man Panzershreck team.  Sdkfz 251s and PAK 40 are all by Peter Pig, the AA gun and Sdkfz 11 are by Battlefront.  Figures are a mix of Battlefront and Peter Pig.

One of the Sdkfz 251/1s with dismounts, a 5-man rifle squad and 3-man MG34 team.

The Sdkfz 251/9 Stummel and Sdkfz 251/1 with tripod mounted MG34.

PAK 40 with Sdkfz 251/1 tow.

The quad 20mm AA gun with Sdkfz 11 tow.

Command Sdkfz 251/10 with 6-man command team and 2-man Panzershreck team.

As an option to give the battlegroup some real strength, here is a Panther platoon.  These are from  Plastic Soldier Company and are excellent models, although the long barrels are a little brittle - I notice the command vehicle has a broken barrel already.

And finally, for now, some additional firepower in the form of a battery of Stug IIIs.  These can provide some less expensive (compared with the Panthers) teeth for the battlegroup in smaller games or some additional firepower in larger games.  Models are, I think, all Battlefront.

So, in addition to the missing vehicles for the recce platoon, I plan to create a lorried Panzergrenadier platoon mounted in Opel Blitz trucks and a Panzer IV platoon.  I'll also add some heavy mobile AT guns in the form of some Jagdpanthers and at least one Jagdpanzer IV.  Some Volksgrenadier infantry are also on the cards.  Most of the infantry will come from cannibalising some of my Flames of War infantry, as we are playing this a lot less at the club these days.  I've also just invested in a better airbrush, so hope to get some vehicles painted up using it shortly.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, 4 August 2017

A couple of random games

Two weeks back I played in a Napoleonic Black Powder game in 28mm.  Two British infantry brigades and a cavalry brigade took on two French infantry and one cavalry brigade for ownership of a pub in the centre of the table.  I commanded one infantry brigade and some Dragoons, while Mike took the other brigade and some heavy cavalry.  Ben and Owain took command of the French.

I took these pictures to highlight the English Riflemen on the left flank (a small 6 figure unit) who took on the best part of a brigade of French infantry, including a large unit of Voltigeurs - and won.  They advanced to take up positions on the edge of the wood, shooting up an infantry column in flank.  In response, the French general decided to sweep them aside, but although shaken, the riflemen kept holding on or retiring, before rallying again.  Eventually, they shook and routed the Voltigeurs, which broke the French brigade due to losses elsewhere as well.  This shows the situation near the end of the game where they were swinging around to take another infantry battalion from the flank - tough guys these Riflemen.

Then last week I played a game of Battlegroup Blitzkrieg at a new venue for me, the Wargamestore at Brimstage on the Wirral (  They have a late gaming night on a Wednesday.

This game, set in 1940, saw the Germans deploy 2 motorized infantry platoons, 2 platoons of Pz 38ts, 1 platoon of Pz IIs and some recce against dug in British infantry supported by cruiser tanks and some Vickers light tanks.

The Germans advance - my infantry and Pz IIs advance on the left, Phils Pz 38ts and infantry advance on the right and centre.

The British tried to use their Vickers tankettes to catch my PzIIs and infantry.  Using a reserve move and their 24 inch speed, they swept through the defences and around the trees, destroying a Panzer II.  The surviving PzIIs tried to take the Brits in the flank and failed to penetrate at all.  The infantry debussed and close assaulted the Vickers tankettes with ATMs, knocking onhe out for no loss.  In the following activation, the Vickers shot up the remaining Pz II and pulled back behind the wood.

By the end of the evening, both sides had taken losses bringing them close to their break limits.  We called it a draw, which was pretty much a victory for the plucky Brits holding the line.

Two very good, fun games, with lots going on.  Sorry the pictures are a bit disjointed and sparse.

Thanks for looking.