Sunday, 31 March 2019

The Black Devil's March


A second hand book added to the library yesterday, once again from the Oxfam charity shop in town, this time being an illustrated history of the First Polish Armoured Division in NW Europe, primarily from D-Day to the occupation of Germany. The author is from Winchester, so I suspect that's why it ended up in the local bookshop, but it's a valuable addition to the collection either way. There's lots of black and white photographs, some of which I haven't seen before, as well as an overview of the campaign, so very useful for scenario development and scale modelling, with obvious relevance to What a Tanker!, IABSM and Chain of Command, amongst other things.

Armourfast Sherman Firefly








Now with pedal power!

I put together a Sherman Firefly for my 1st RTR, 7th Armoured Division troop yesterday, using the Armourfast kit as the basis but cutting off the sand skirts for a more appropriate appearance. The Armourfast kit is based on the M4 not the M4A4 (Sherman V) but you can't really tell the difference if you're not a tank rivet counter. The sand skirt removal is a bit of a pain but not too difficult, once you've cut away the plastic and scraped it down, requiring only a bit of sanding to get the profile right. The stowage is a combination of resin pieces and white metal parts, along with some spare road wheels from an old Italeri kit. I'm quite pleased with the end result...although I wasn't so sure half way through!

Saturday, 30 March 2019

S and S Models Accessories


I followed a link on the Wargames Website to S+S Models yesterday, only to discover that they do a whole range of add-on accessories and conversion bits for 1/72nd scale model AFV's. I knew that they did figures and vehicles but didn't realise that this included WW2 stuff and not just post-war or modern kit. It looks like a much better option than Early War Miniatures, whose accessory sets are definitely more 1/76th scale than 1/72nd scale.


Anyway, amongst a whole range of interesting things I found a stowage set for the Armourfast Cromwell kit and some detailing parts for the rear end of the Armourfast Sherman M4's, so these have been duly ordered for the British tanks I'm currently working on. As a result, I've left construction of the other two Cromwells for the moment, so that I can do the Sherman Firefly instead, while I'm waiting for the packs to arrive in the post.


There is also a range of resin applique sandbag armour and, best of all, a set of resin HVSS track units for the Armourfast and PSC Sherman kits. It's a bit late now that I've already built my late war US tanks but I'm tempted to get some to add another couple of Sherman M4A3E8's to the collection. It'll have to wait until after the holidays though as I'm now out of pocket money. In the meantime, I'll aim to get the British tanks built and ready for painting.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

What a Tanker! PaK 38's

 


Unfortunately, the Plastic Soldier Company PaK 40's on sale at NorthStar have sold out, so I replaced them with a box of Valentine tanks to use for the Soviets. Not wanted to give up on the idea of anti-tank guns, I also ordered a box set of four PaK 38's, which were on sale and hopefully still in stock? These are actually a better deal than the PaK 40's, working out at only three quid per gun, so I'm actually rather pleased rather than disappointed. There's also the option to build the PaK 97/38 variant which used captured French 75mm gun barrels, so firepower won't be an issue. The only downside is that the crew figures aren't in smocks, so won't really fit the winter theme, but I can live with that if I do some conversion work with green stuff or find some alternatives.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Sandbox Skirmish


I'm reading this now, in a nod to my 15mm post-colonial Sandbox Skirmish project, which I'm planning to pick up again in the Summer. It's a really fascinating account which includes both military patrols in Somaliland and the actual fighting in Oman, the latter being something that I've read quite a lot about but the former being more akin to something out of Kipling or Kitchener. It's all good stuff and, hopefully, will give me some more ideas for my 'Imagi-nations' take on the retreat from Empire. I was quite taken by one of the modern skirmish games at the Lard Day, which used Chain of Command with some tweaks, and I think it could be another rules option for the Sandbox Skirmish project with only a light dusting required to make it fit? Just an idea.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Armourfast Cromwell






Here's the first of what will be a troop of three Cromwells and a Firefly for my Operation Blackcock What a Tanker! project. It's a neat little kit but I did have to fiddle about with the turret hatches to get them to sit properly and the EWM white metal engine cowl I was planning to use just didn't fit, so I replaced it with one from a Revell Cromwell kit which I bought cheap in a Hobbycraft sale ages ago. I've added some stowage but it still needs some additional clutter to look the part of a 7th Armoured Division tank in January '45.

Monday, 25 March 2019

WAT! Operation Blackcock


The weekend's Lardy event has got me thinking about a What a Tanker! participation game with a historical theme, based on some of the ideas set out in recent issues of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy by none other than Mr Backhouse himself. I had been thinking about the potential for historical scenarios in WAT! already but Mark's articles have pushed me further down the road and have given me some ideas for an Operation Blackcock game, using a series of linked scenarios with a ladder of outcomes to tie them together.






As a result, I've pushed the Cruel Seas project to one side for the moment to concentrate on building a troop of three Cromwells and a single Sherman Firefly of the 7th Armoured Division. These are all Armourfast kits, which I already had in the stock pile, with some extra detailing bits from Early War Miniatures and resin stowage to soup them up. I have a couple of weeks before Easter to get them built and, if possible, painted up in winter camouflage, ready to use against my existing Tigers, Panthers and Mark IV's, which are a good match for those used by the German forces around St.Joost in January '45.

More Photos from the Lard Day




















A bit of a random mix but lots of nice terrain and figures. I had to grab some photos in the tea break, so didn't get round all the tables, which was a shame. My favourite was the Boshin Wars Sharp Practice game, which looked lovely and was really original. I'm hoping the event will run again next year and, if it does, I'll definitely be back to run a game of Bag the Hun or What a Tanker! or perhaps just take part.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

What a Tanker PaK 40's


As I had a cracking but very intense day at the Lard event yesterday, I felt like rewarding myself with a box of Plastic Soldier Company PaK 40 anti-tank guns, complete with tracked tows ( I'm not even going to attempt to spell rauchhensplhefh...I give up!). 

These were on sale for a tenner on the Northstar site, so I decided to get them for my Russian Front What a Tanker! set up, adding to the Zvezda PaK 40 that I bought a few weeks ago. I still need to glue that one together but it's a neat little kit.

There are plenty of suggestions on the various web forums for using AT guns in WAT!, so it shouldn't be difficult to set up a defensive PaK Front type scenario. I think this would be a lot of fun and a challenge for both the attackers and the defenders.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Come and Have a Go if you think you're Lard Enough














I had a great time at the Lard Day, superbly organised by Mark Backhouse at the Sarisbury Green club today, running two Bag the Hun games back to back and admiring the other games that were on show. The players who took part in both games were really positive and I think they enjoyed it, so I'm more than happy. I took some photos of the other games, which I will post tomorrow, but here's a selection of images of the two games I ran, as that is what took up most of my time today. A cracking day and one which I hope will run next year too.

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