sci fi

sci fi

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

AK47 Winter Quarters [2]

I finished off the two swamp boats today, with the crew figures painted in the standard Foundry Phlegm Green scheme and the boats suitably weathered using Foundry Tan to add the requisite rusty steaks. The bases were painted in a combination of GW Enchanted Blue and Hawk Turquoise with some white highlights for the wake and bow wash, before being overcoated in GW gloss varnish. Job done.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

AK47 Winter Quarters [1]



It's stretching thr bounds of belief to label this project as an Autumn Assault, so I've re-invented it as a Winter Quarters wind down exercise. I have a few tail ends to take care of but I'm hoping that the whole thing will be done and dusted by the time I depart for France at Xmas. However, I have now given myself additional stuff to tackle in the form of three rather neat and very inexpensive 15mm landing craft for the fledgling Mbote Coastal Defence Force.

They're from Kerr and King (http://www.kerrandking.co.uk/) and at £20 for three are extremely good value for money, even allowing for the postage. I ordered them yesterday and they arrived this afternoon, so I'm ready to get them cleaned up and painted in double quick time. They have quite a bit of moulding flash but nothing that can't be sorted with a bit of cutting and filing. They'll take three or four 30 x 30mm bases, although I had to overlap them for the latter.

This will save me the hassle of scratchbuilding some landing craft out of lego and plasticard, which I quite fancied doing but just haven't got the time to do. They'll go well alongside the existing patrol boat and the swampboats, which are nearing completion and should be done by the end of the week. This will wrap up the riverine flotilla for the moment, assuming I don't tackle a second diecast PB before the holidays?

Monday, 28 November 2011

AK47 Terrain [3]


I had a crack at a test piece of railway track this evening, using an old 9'' length of TT gauge track, a 1 1/2'' wide strip of cork tile and some ballasting material. I spread thick PVA over the shaped trackbed then pressed down the piece of railway line into the glue. This was then sprinked with the ballast.

I left it to set for half an hour but one end of the track had lifted, so I soaked some liquid superglue over the top to fix everything down firmly. I then added liquid PVA to the edges of the trackbed and sprinked on my usual sand and fine gravel mixture to form the verges.

The whole thing was then oversprayed with Humbrol Matt Earth to seal it in and act as a basecoat for drybrushing. I think it's OK but it was quite a labourious process and took about twice as long as the road that I made and painted yesterday. It'll need painting too, which I'll tackle tomorrow.

AK47 Terrain [2]

As part of the terrain scratchbuilding I'm hoping to use my existing collection of old TT gauge railway track to create some modular rail sections. This shouldn't be too difficult using 1.5'' strips of cork tile as a trackbed then gluing the rail sections in place with PVA before adding some ballast.

The actual trains and rolling stock are a bit more of a problem. The TT gauge stuff on ebay goes for quite a lot and much more than I'm willing to pay for just a bit of scenery. I have some old Thomas the Tank Engine diecast carriages but they're a bit crude and would need quite a lot of work to look decent. I also have some old Matchbox wagons but they're a bit too big for the track and the loco is more 1/72nd scale than 1/100th.

As a result, I was pleased to find this Siku 1/120th scale diesel locomotive and wagon set in my local toy shop yesterday while Xmas shopping for the kids. It scales out well against 15mm figures although the wagon is a bit narrow. It also looks like the sort of thing you'd find on an African railway. You can get extra wagons on their own as well for £2.50 or so, making it easy to have a whole train if you want.

 I have ordered a couple more wagons from an online toy shop to make up the numbers. When they arrive the whole train will get an undercoat in black then a rust streaked and dirty coat of paint in suitably African looking colours. I might have a go at adjusting the wheels first, though, as they don't quite fit the TT 12mm gauge track, not that you'd notice.


These are Malawi Railways locomotives originally built in Birmingham but now mostly rusting away on sidings up and down the eastern half of Africa. I like the paint scheme so will try to replicate something similar for the toy locomotive and the wagons. The wagons will also get some removable loads and, perhaps some modular crew bases with HMG's, turning them into the equivalent of trucks for transport purposes.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

AK47 Terrain [1]


Nbuto regulars on patrol...get off the road!

I went to Homebase today, on the way back from rugby practise, to get a new shower hose for the bathroom. As usual, I had a bit of a browse for wargame related items that I could sneak back into the garage on my return. I happened upon a pack of 12'' x 12'' cork tiles on the bottom shelf of a display unit and thought that they'd be perfect for terrain scratchbuilding, so popped them in the trolley.

I've been wanting to scratchbuild some terrain for AK47 for ages with roads, railways and river sections at the top of the list. The cork tiles seem to offer the perfect combination of price, flexibility and ease of use, so I had a go at knocking up a 12'' x 3'' section of road this afternoon. It was very quick and simple to do, so I'll be making some more over the next few days.

AK47 Patrol Boat [7]




I finished off the patrol boat with a base today, using a combination of plastic card, filler and PVA painted with various GW shades of blue. The base was gloss spray varnished and the boat stuck in place before I added the bow wave and wake with some stippled white paint.

I also dismantled and stripped down the second patrol boat diecast that I won on ebay, ready for conversion into a Panga Class PB when I can find the time. I have a third ship arriving in the post this week but it's the air sea rescue launch version so will require a lot less work to be ready for action.

I've also basecoated and drybrushed the two swampboats that I assembled yesterday. These won't take long to complete and have already had their wash in future based gunge ready for the detailed painting tomorrow. I have three more of these in the pipeline to complete my rivrerine forces, so I should have a decent sized amphibious contingent in no time.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

AK47 Patrol Boat [6]





I finished off the ex-Dinky patrol boat this evening with a little bit of detail painting and some decals from an old Airfix P38 Lightning model kit. I've cut a base for it from plastic card and textured it with a mix of PVA and filler but it's not ready for painting yet so will need be tackled tomorrow.

AK47 Autumn Assault [30]


I've neglected the painting over the last week or so, mainly due to lack of time and loads of work. This is a shame, as I have the bit between my teeth at the moment especially when it comes to the AK47 project. As a result, I'm trying to catch up this weekend and make some progress with the remaining bits and bobs.

To kick off, I've assembled a couple of the boats that I bought from The Scene at Attack! in Devizes:


They're really simple little kits but build up into neat little models, complete with soviet style whitemetal HMG's. I've reversed the armoured wheelhouses, as I think they look better this way round and have added a couple of Peter Pig HM crew. They will be classed as boats in the rules, armed with HMG's and capable of transporting two bases of figures.

I have a cunning plan to build some landing craft / assault boats out of lego and plastic card to use alongside these fire support swamp boats. They will be capable of lifting the full complement of four bases, if I ever get round to scratchbuilding them that is? I also have a second Dinky patrol boat and an air sea rescue launch diecast to convert, so it's all hands on deck.

Home Waters MTBs and MGB's At War

I finished reading Brian Perrit's excellent Gunboat the other day and decided afterwards to rummage in my coastal forces book collection for something in a similar vein. As a result, I'm now re-reading Home Waters MTB's and MGBs At War by  L.C.Reynolds which, aside from his autobiographical account Motor Gunboat 658, is perhaps the best of the three books he's written on the subject.

It's got me thinking once again about a participation style multi-player game for the club, using larger scale models in 1/350th scale and a set of roleplay style rules. I had a rare moment of inspiration this morning, which gave me a new idea for rules, in the form of an adapted set based on the old but rather good boardgame Battlecars.

This needs a bit more thought but I reckon it would be a definate possibility.

Friday, 25 November 2011

AK47 Game Report - Skirmish at S'Mosa (Part Three)


Turn 7

It was all or nothing in the penultimate turn of the game. The long awaited reinforcements finally arrived for the hard pressed Zumatans, in the form of two regular armoured cars, while the defenders were supplemented by a unit of regular T34/85 tanks that rumbled onto the table edge.


The Mbote commander, Major Mnuva, sensing ultimate victory slipping from his grasp, launched the professional jeeps and scout cars toward the principal objective, in a co-ordinated pincer movement with the militia technicals. It was hoped that this would overwhelm the Zumatan SAS and allow the Mbote infantry to take the objective under covering fire.


In the ensuing firefight, the exposed technicals and jeeps were pinned by heavy Zumatan suppressive fire, effectively distracting them from their aim. The Zumatans were unscathed but the technical convoy took a morale point hit as a result of the Zumatan crossfire. 

Turn 8

With only four spaces left on the game countdown, it was obvious that desperate measures were required by both sides to win the game. The Zumatans piled their armoured cars and SAS onto the objective, while the Mbote tanks advanced in support of the infantry. The key thrust was made by the technicals, however, with a high speed gun run up the main road and over the river crossing.


It was no surprise that this ended in a bit of a pile up, especially as both sides were able to call in artillery strikes at the last minute due to some double six dice rolls. The lead technical was reduced to a pile of scrap in the first missile salvo from the Vigilant equipped armoured cars, followed by the destruction of the second truck once the Zumatan FOO had got the column zeroed in.


Not to be outdone, the soviet trained Mbote artillery bracketed the SAS and pinned them down before they could take the objective, with a follow through from the jeeps and scout cars ending in the elimination of one base and the pinning of a third. A final roll of the dice and darkness descended on the field of battle, allowing both sides to withdraw and lick their wounds.

The Victory Points

Zumata = 12 + 30 + 7 + 3 + 3 = 55

Mbote = 17 + 5 + 20 + 14 = 56

The result was a 'damn close run thing' and a clear draw between Zumata and Mbote. The Zumatans had secured the main objective and had destroyed the militia unit, thus gaining a marginal points advantage over the Mbote defenders, who had destroyed more of the enemy but didn't hold the main objective by the end of the game.


Overall, it was a really good game with plenty of dodgy moments and some enjoyable randomness for good measure. The Mbote army will definately be investing in some more cheap but hard hitting militia technicals, while rumour has it that the Zumatans will be providing some softskin transport for their naval troops. There will be another game at some point in the new year, in which I might actually get to use my helicopter gunship!

Thanks for watching.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

NEWSFLASH - Mbote militia to be re-equipped (Reuters)

From our military affairs correspondent in Npungwe

Following the virtual destruction of the Mbote militia in the battle for S'Mosa, the Mbote Minister for War, Colonel Banga B'oum, has declared his intention to re-equip the surviving militia units as the nucleus for an enlarged local defence force.

To this end, he has committed state funds of over 456,908,4567,000,000 Banana (Mb) for the aquisition and armament of a number of so-called 'technical' improvised vehicles. This investment represents a quarter of the official fiscal budget for the Ministry of War, which in itself suggests a heavy commitment to the reconstruction of the militia as a fighting force.

The speed at which this re-armament plan has advanced is evident from the arrival of a number of technical vehicles at the docks in Tchumba, many of which have already been converted in army workshops by the addition of AAA and machine gun armament. It is highly probable that these vehicles will play a significant part in the rumoured counter attack by Mbote forces against the Zumatan offensive.

(in other words, I've just ordered a couple of new trucks from QRF...)

AK47 Game Report - Skirmish at S'Mosa (Part Two)


Turn 5

Following the departure of the AT guns and mortars, the Zumatans were able to bring on reinforcements in the shape of a somewhat bemused but very enthusiastic unit of naval militia, who appeared on the far right corner of the table.


The Zumatan SAS meanwhile had hidden themselves in the jungle as their transport chopper dusted off and disappeared over the horizon. The Zumatan armoured cars moved up to support the SAS with their vigilant A/T missiles ready to engage any targets of opportunity.


The Mbote technicals continued their advance up the road toward the border post. The jeeps and scout cars also advanced from the other direction in order to enfilade the advancing Zumatan naval infantry. In the subsequent fire phase, they opened up on the naval infantry and succeeded in pinning them down.

The Zumatans attempted to fire back at the advancing Mbote units but with no effect, thereby ensuring a severe knock to the morale of the militia naval ratings.

Turn 6

This was the turning point in the game as the advancing Zumatan naval infantry got severely hammered by the combined fire of the Mbote jeeps and scout cars, destroying three bases and sending the sailors packing in a headlong rout.


At the same time the Mbote militia techinicals opened up with their recoilless rifles and AAA on the hapless Zumatan SAS, who were pinned and could offer only ineffective small arms fire in return. In retaliation, the Zumatan armoured cars launched a vigilant A/T missile barrage on the technicals but only succeeded in breaking down due to yet more dodgy doubles on the D6.


Things were looking pretty shaky for the Zumatans but it would all be decided in the next turn.

...to be continued.


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

AK47 Game Report - Skirmish at S'Mosa (Part One)


Yesterday, Jon and I played the first game in what will probably be an extended, if irregular, AK47 mini-campaign. The protaganists are the People's Democratic Republic of Mbote (me) against the Zumatan Dictatorship (Jon). The conflict kicked off with a skirmish at a crossing point on the Npungwe River.

Political Phase

Jon was the attacker and gained four groups upgraded to heavy weapons (regular mortars) while, as the defender, I gained a +1 firing for my regular infantry unit plus a professional upgrade for my fast raiding unit of jeeps and armoured cars.

Initial Deployment

The initial deployment for the Zumatans consisted of a unit of professional heliborne special forces, a mixed  AT / mortar regular unit with APC's and a regular unit of vigilant AT missile equipped scout cars.


The Mbote force consisted of a unit of militia techinicals with RCL's and AAA, a unit of regular infantry with RPG's, mortars and a towed AAA gun, together with a unit of professional HMG armed jeeps and armoured cars.

Turn 1

The first turn saw a cautious advance by the Zumatans toward the border post at the table centre, while the Mbote forces adopted a broad frontal approach covering all three of the dispersed objectives. The Zumatans seized the high ground on their side of the table and positioned an AT and mortar equipped unit to cover their assault.


The unit of Zumatan armoured cars advanced on their right flank, screened by the unit of Mbote armoured cars on the opposite side of the table. The Mbote militia technicals were positioned on the right flank of the Mbote side of the table, ready to sweep around the Zumatans left.

In the table centre, the Mbote infantry began an advance on the border post, while a Zumatan transport chopper hovered onto the battlefield opposite very, very slowly.

Turn 2 

In turn two the firefight kicked off when the Zumatan mortars opened up on the Mbote infantry unit opposite but a series of whacky dice rolls ended up with mechanical breakdown of their accompanying APC's, confusion in the ranks and a +2 firing bonus.


Luckily for the advancing Mbote regulars this resulted in no hits but, for their part, the supporting militia technicals advancing on the flank failed to dislodge any of the Zumatans from their hilltop position. This meant that the following turn would see a hard fought firefight for control of the centre ground.

Turn 3

The third turn saw an intensification in the battle, as both sides attempted to knock out opposing units from long range. The Zumatans succeeded in blowing up one of the technicals with some well aimed mortar fire and the AT guns destroyed the towed AAA gun that was attached to the Mbote infantry.


This was at the cost of yet more double 3 breakdown rolls for the Saracen APC's, raising a few eyebrows back at Zumatan HQ. The Mbote AAA gun did manage to pin the AT guns and mortars before it was wrecked but the accompanying Mbote regular infantry were pinned by the barrage and had to go to ground.

Turn 4

In the fourth turn, the Zumatan chopper landed and debussed a unit of Zumatan SAS professional troops next to the objective in the table centre. Meanwhile, on the far side of the battlefield, the Mbote technicals advanced at speed to close the range with the Zumatan artillery units pinned on the hill.

Next, the Mbote infantry unit decided to re-deploy in a backwards direction, leaving it's attached mortars in place to fire on the pinned Zumatans. Things were looking a bit sticky for the Zumatans, who had already suffered some crippling morale point losses in the previous turn.

In the subsequent firefight, the Zumatan mortars managed to pin the Mbote regulars for a second turn but the armoured cars failed to inflict any damage on the infantry unit, despite the use of Vigilant AT missiles in a direct fire role. The Mbote mortars were more successful, however, with a concentrated barrage wiping out one mortar and pinning another, together with the AT guns.

In the subsequent morale phase, the battered Mbote infantry managed to hold on despite losing two morale points but the Zumatan mortars and AT guns had had enough and made a rapid withdrawal from the battle in a headlong rout after losing their final remaining morale point.

....to be continued.

NEWSFLASH - Mbote militia blunts Zumatan spearhead (Reuters)

Abandoned Zumatan APC in S'mosa
From our correspondent in Wanga Wanga

A Zumatan armoured assault on the Unyunbaji bridgehead was severely mauled yesterday by the resistance of Mbote militia units supported by elements of the Mbote Territorial Defence Force.

In an attempt to outflank strong Mbote defensive positions adjacent to Unyunbaji bridge, an elite task force of Zumatan special forces backed by naval troops and artillery, launched a surprise attack on the border post of S'mosa, downstream from Unyunbaji.

Despite fierce fighting and extensive use of mortar fire, anti tank guns, wire guided missiles and an air strike, the Zumatan forces were unable to take control of the river crossing and suffered severe casualties in the attempt. A number of Zumatan military units were routed or destroyed in the action, whilst Mbote losses were comparatively minimal.

 The use of local militia units armed with heavy weapon equipped technicals was key to the defence by the MTDF. Although the militia technical convoy was destroyed in the action, it blunted the Zumatan spearhead until armoured reinforcements of the MTDF arrived.

Mbote militia advance during the attack on S'mosa
The Mbote Minister for War, Colonel Banga B'oum, has issued the following press statement via MBC radio broadcast:

'The brave resistance of the Mbote militia, at severe cost in men and equipment has ensured the resilience of our great nations borders in the face of unprovoked attack by the malevolent Zumatan forces of aggression'
Bunga Bunga!

As yet, there has been no official response from the Zumatan military or government but sources close to the president, Dr Kenko Gold, have indicated that a broadcast on ZBC TV has been scheduled later today.

Monday, 21 November 2011

NEWSFLASH - UN Peacekeeping CRAP troops pull out of Unyunbaji

CRAP peacekeepers on patrol

From our correspondent in Wanga Wanga

A press release from UN regional headquarters in Wanga Wanga has confirmed the withdrawal of UN peackeeping forces from the disputed border zone bewteen Mbote and Zumata. In a short statement to the international press, Major Short-Cummins, liason officer for the UN mission, acknowledged the removal of CRAP (Combined Regional African Peacekeeping) patrols from the Npungwe river area.

The Npungwe river bridge at Unyunbaji
In his statement, Major Short Cummins, clearly suggested that UN patrols of the key strategic river crossing at Unyunbaji would no longer be in place, thereby opening this arterial route to a potential Zumatan strike along the axis of Highway Seven:

'The deterioration of the security situation in the Npungwe border zone places units of CRAP at a distinct risk of military engagement. In order to ensure strict neutrality all CRAP troops will be withdrawn from the Unyunbaji forward operating base to the UN compound in Wanga Wanga, pending a full and thorough investigation of the tactical situation on the ground'  

NEWFLASH - Tension rises in Npungwe border zone (Reuters)


Zumatan convoy on route via Highway Seven

From our correspondent in Npungwe
Heavily armed units of the Zumatan army have been moving into positon along the border with Mbote over the last forty eight hours. Although there has been no confirmation from the Zumatan government, in what has been interpreted as a media blackout, it is clear that an offensive by the Zumatan army is being prepared along the Npungwe River. The units involved have been unidentified but it is clear that they well equipped with both transport and weaponry, sufficient for a strike across the border into PDRM territory.

Mbote Territorial Defence Force on patrol
In repsonse, the Mbote Territoral Defence Force (MTDF) has deployed both regular troops and local militia units to defend the Npungwe border zone. These units have dug in along the southern banks of the Npungwe River and have been conducting regular patrols of key crossing points. Although tension remains at a high level, there have been no reports yet of any clashes between these troops and the Zumatan forces on the northern side of the border.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

AK47 Autumn Assault [29]





I've finished off General Mpongo's GAZ 69 staff car this evening, give or take a little texturing and base painting, so that's one more element of the Mbote army completed. I also had a crack at painting up the militia technical diecast conversion that I put together the other day but only tackled the cab and the flatbed, leaving the rest until tomorrow. I think I overdid the rust but who knows...

I assembled another landrover for the miltia yesterday, complete with a large recoilless rifle, which will allow me to field two militia units now if I want to, once it's painted up. If I can, I'll add a couple more diecast conversion jobs to the militia in the long run, which should fill out the units to something a little more effective in terms of points value and hitting power.