Tuesday 31 January 2012

Thunderbolts over Rangoon

I'm a big propellor head at heart and so I always evaluate any prospective wargaming project in terms of aircraft rather than interesting units, tanks, colourful uniforms or other such emphemeral distractions. So when I was flicking through a book this afternoon and saw this picture of P47's over Rangoon in November 1944, I thought I might just add a little bit of extra ground support for the Arakan. The result is a rather neat looking and cheap Airfix 1/100th scale P47 pre-painted minikit, which will get a re-paint into a SEAC scheme and should fit in really well alongside the diecast Hurricane IID that I've already got.

Monday 30 January 2012

The BIG project...ooh er!

The new 15mm birthday present inspired WW2 project has finally landed on the doorstep. As if you hadn't worked it out already, this will be the later stages of the campaign in Burma, with a particular focus on the Arakan in late 1944 to early 1945. This is something I've been thinking about for a good twenty five years so it's not exactly 'spur of the moment' but, nonetheless, a bit out of the blue.

I'm going to use IABSM3 as the ruleset of choice because it's ideal for the size of game I'm after and because I'm a big fan of the TFL approach to the 'fog of war', especially the use of blinds to add much needed randomness and unpredictability. The latest edition of the rules covers everything I require for platoon to company level action and is very well put together, not to mention the great back up from the regular specials and supplements.

The figures are by the equally splendid Peter Pig and are based around a PBI 14th Army battle pack with some added extras. I have some QRF M3 Lee tanks on the way and a second installment of Peter Pig Japanese troops in the post to complete both sides in the set up. I even have a 1/100th scale diecast Hurribomber as air support and some rather splendid Peter Pig resin jungle huts, so all the angles are covered alongside my double purpose homemade terrain.

The plan is to tackle the whole thing over the coming year, in the same slow burn strategy that I adopted for the AK47 army. The first stage will begin in a few months, once I've completed both the 10mm BKC Italians and the 28mm Darkest Africa Nkonde, with the Easter and Summer holidays set aside for basing up. I'm really looking forward to this, both as an opportunity to improve my painting technique and as a venture into solo gaming, at least to start with.


Sunday 29 January 2012

BKC Aegean Campaign [8]

A little more progress on the BKC Italians today, with the first battalion speed painted and base textured ready for the finishing touches tomorrow. I still haven't got the extra paratrooper and WW1 figures that I ordered from Pendraken but, in the meantime, I'll be cracking on with the armour plus a bit of artillery.

Wargames Illustrated 292

I'm not a big fan of Wargames Illustrated  these days, much preferring Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy to be honest, but the current issue (February 2012) has some excellent articles by Chris Peers on Darkest Africa, together with some additional articles on warfare in Africa by other people.

Also, the WI website has free pdf downloads of most of Chris Peers original articles on Darkest Africa from the old verison of WI, including his original rules and campaign system, as published later in the Foundry Compendium. There's also a couple of scenarios and some background stuff that would be well worth a read.


Saturday 28 January 2012

AK47 SPAAA [4]

I finished the ZSU this evening with a quick three stage Foundry Rawhide wet and drybrush on the base, some static grass and a little flock to complete the job. It's now ready for the game on the 21st as a regular APC with mounted AA. I'll mix it in with some infantry or armour bases as added firepower, so it should be a pretty effective piece of kit. Unless it gets blown to smithereens in turn one that is?

Reading Up and Up

I popped into Waterstones today and had a look for some further reference stuff for the 15mm project that shall not be named. As a result, I have some additional reading material for the half term holidays, which will give me a good historical grounding in the period. I never hesitate to spend my hard earned wages on books as they're always worth it and never a waste of money, even if my bookshelves are terminally overloaded and my bank manager less than chuffed.

Friday 27 January 2012

Salvaging Shermans

I have some M3 Lee tanks on the way from QRF for the up and coming 15mm project but, after a bit of a rummage in the dusty boxes under the workbench, I found these old Peter Pig M4A2 Shermans which I originally painted up for a long dead project many, many years ago.

It was so long ago that they're actually (really badly) painted in Humbrol enamels (arrghh!). Anyway, once stripped, cleaned and re-assembled, I'm sure they'll be useable as tank support for the 'as yet un-named' project, even though they're not M4A4's, or Sherman V's to be pedantic about it.

I can get away with it as there were some Sherman III equipped units around at the time, although in relatively small numbers. They're nice models either way and look the part with all the extra stowage, applique armour and whatnot that covers the hull and turret.

Thursday 26 January 2012

Reading Up

This is the one that I read twenty five years ago and which got me interested to start with!

I've been rummaging in the bookshelves and adding to the reading list for my latest 15mm big project. I think you can guess what it will be but to give you a few hints, here's some of the titles that I'll be reading over the next few weeks as part of my background research.

I have made the most of my birthday Peter Pig voucher and have added some extra bits to the order to get the project off the ground. It'll be a long term effort but will begin with some cleaning up and basing in the Easter and Summer holidays.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

AK47 SPAA [3]

I finished off the ZSU 57-2 this evening with a few decals, some light weathering and the crew figures painted up to match. The whole thing was then sprayed with Army Painter matt varnish ready for the base texturing and painting tomorrow.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

AK47 SPAAA [2]

I've also been farting about with the ZSU and have given the beast a wetbrush of Foundry Phlegm Green followed by a drybrush highlight in Phlegm Green and Moss Light. The crew got the Phlegm Green three stage treatment and then the tracks were painted in Foundry Bay Brown Shade and highlighted in Foundry Spearshaft Shade. Next up will be a wash in Future based gunge and then the crew will get some much need attention, finishing off with some weathering and detailing of the fiddly bits.

BKC Aegean Campaign [7]

I have finally made a start on the Italian infantry for the BKC campaign, with a simple wetbrush of Foundry Granite Shade followed by a drybrush highlight of Foundry Granite. They look a little too light in the photo but actually match quite well with the colour plates in the Osprey book.


The next stage will be to give the faces, arms and rifles a basecoat of Foundry Tan or Chestnut Shade, followed by a highlight of some sort. My aim to to get a whole battalion painted up in no more than one hour, although it'll be spread out over a few dis-contiguous evenings.

I reckon this is feasible and will definately avoid any mucking about on my part with un-necessary fiddly farty bits.

Monday 23 January 2012

AK47 SPAAA [1]

I found this old Roskopf 1/100 scale ZSU57-2 on ebay last week, put in a half serious low bid then ended up winning it. It arrived today so I decided to get it sorted for a quick paint up. I removed the bendy gun barrels, drilled new locating holes and replaced the barrels with some brass rod, adding the original flash suppressors to the ends.

I then added some Peter Pig hardened militia crew after having chopped them down a bit to fit into the turret. I thought about swapping the hull for an old T34 chassis that I had in the spares box but it looked a bit silly, so I kept the slightly underscale plastic one instead, which I think looks quite good as it is. I based the model then gave the whole lot an undercoat of Halfords Matt Black.

I'm not sure how it will work in AK47 terms but I reckon it'll look pretty good once it's painted up.

Sunday 22 January 2012

BKC Aegean Campaign [6]

I had the usual frenetic Sunday so have only managed to clean up a paltry and rather pathetic five bases of 10mm Italian stuff. These consist of three Pithead L6/40 light tanks, a Pendraken 20mm AA gun with a crew headswap and the 25mm circular HQ base for the regular battalion. A bit rubbish really.

Nonetheless, they're now undercoated and will be ready for painting this week, along with the rest of the stuff I've already sorted out. I've also ordered the WW1 Italian figures for the MVSN blackshirt or coastal defence battalion, whose exact identity hasn't yet been decided upon but will be the 'green' element of the battlegroup either way.

AK47 Objective Marker [4]

I've been feeling a bit rough the last couple of days, hence the absence of post and the lack of work on the workbench. However, I felt a bit better yesterday so finished off the last of the AK47 objective markers, an oil storage tank thing complete with some crappy oil resin oil drums and a section of pipeline from some bits of plastruct. The oil tank itself is made from a couple of diecast model T ford toy car tanks glued back to back.

I have another objective marker to finish but don't need it for the moment as I have the requisite three. I also have a game on the 21st February, so hope to get a bit more terrain done by then to go along with the markers. In the meantime, I need to crack on with the much neglected BKC Italians, now that I have no other distracrions and plenty of nice laser cut mdf bases to stick them on.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Birthday Presents

Unfortunately, real life has caught up with me over the last three days or so and, as a result, I've not made the progress I hoped for on the BKC Italians. On the plus side, the laser cut mdf bases have arrived from ERM and they are very good indeed, with none of the old fluffliness or dodgy geometry of the old bandsaw cut version.

This means I can crack on with basing up a second infantry battalion and the HQ's for the first one. When the Pendraken paratroops turn up I can get them sorted too. I'll put in another order for some WW1 Italian figures for the green coastal defence battalion later on.

Another plus is the arrival of my birthday present from my father, which is a Peter Pig voucher for £55. Thanks Dad! This will be put towards something new rather than adding extra bits to my existing 15mm stuff. I'm not sure what yet but, if I can get extra mileage out of the AK47/ MOCB terrain it'll fit in with that, so some 14th Army or Japanese might be on the cards to use with IABSM 3.

I've also been tasked with buying my own birthday present from the wife and kids, as they have no idea what to get me. This means I'll be able to add some extra bits to whatever I order from Peter Pig or, perhaps, get something else from one of my other favourite manufacturers.

Nice :O)

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Nbuto Independence Day!

Today is Nbuto Independence Day!

Long Live the Independent Republic of Nbuto!

It's also my 44th birthday, so Happy Birthday to me!

Tuesday 17 January 2012

I Aint Been Shot Mum 3

It's my birthday tomorrow and, as an early present from the Ministry of the Interior, I was allowed to buy a brand spanking new copy of IABSM3, complete with a card deck and the little plastic tokens that are used as in game markers. I've had the old set of IABSM on pdf for a few years but somehow never got round to trying it out, mainly due to a lack of figures and opponents.

However, the new version may well get me moving in the right direction, although not in 20mm as I originally intended. An article in the 2011 TFL Christmas Special has got me thinking about the potential of 10mm as a scale for IABSM or perhaps 15mm using some of the figures that I have in the leadpile. In fact, it would work very well for my 10mm French Indochina war project.

As it's flipping freezing in the garage tonight and as I only got home at 8.00pm this evening, I've abandoned plans for painting any figures. I should finish work earlier tomorrow so will aim to get started on the WW2 Italians as soon as I can, with a good drybrush to kick things off!

Monday 16 January 2012

AK47 Objective Marker [3]

Having said that I wouldn't be sidetracked into anything this week, I've wandered off to finish a second objective marker for AK47 rather than getting on with the BKC Italians. I did undercoat three M13/40 tanks earlier this evening, so I think I can get away with it.

Anyway, here's the end result.

The BKC Italians will get the full on treatment tomorrow night, although I may be a little late starting as I have a series of tedious meetings to endure at work.

Sunday 15 January 2012

BKC Aegean Campaign [4]

I started on the Italian battlegroup this afternoon and have claened up, based and undercoated the regular battalion minus it's HQ (which will be based on a 25mm mdf circle when they arrive from ERM), nine L3/35 tankettes and an AB41 recce armoured car. The 65mm IG is also missing from one of the support company units but should arrive from Pendraken in the not too distant future.

I was using some old bandsaw cut 25 x 25mm mdf base that I had left over from the previous BKC French project, so they weren't exactly square but have done the job well enough. I've now run out, however, so will have to wait until the nice new laser cut ones arrive sometime this week. ERM are usually lightning fast on delivery times, so I won't have long to wait.

In the meantime, I'm going to paint up this lot using a minimal range of shades and some simple speed painting techniques. I reckon I can get them done by mid-week if I crack ahead and avoid the usual diversions? They'll be painted in European colours as I can then use them for the Italian campaign or against my existing early war French battlegroup.

Saturday 14 January 2012

BKC Aegean Campaign [3]

I've decided to make the BKC Italians the project for January, leaving the 28mm Darkest Africa figures on the shelf for two or three weeks, while I push ahead with the 10mm stuff in an attempt to 'speed paint' most of the army by the end of the month.

I've also decided to use 2mm mdf bases for the Italians, with 25x25mm squares for everything other than vehicles, artillery and command bases. This is similar to my existing BKC French battalion sized force and makes it easy to use the units for other rules, should I wish to do so in the future.

I've ordered a shedload of mdf from ERM and should get the bases in a couple of days. In the meantime, I have a few spare bases that I can use to start the ball rolling. This weekend has been a bit of a washout as we've had people visiting but I'm hoping to get at least one battalion and possibly two based up by this time tomorrow.

I'm also hoping to tackle another A47 objective marker by the end of the day, assuming I don't get sidelined into the usual family related things?

Monty's Ironsides

I picked this up for peanuts at the local Oxfam bookshop yesterday, so thought I'd read it sooner rather than later. I'm a big fan of Patrick Delaforce and have read several of his books, so this was a good find and will be an equally good read. It will no doubt encourage me to crack on with the Rapid Fire! project, especially as I now have a copy of IABSM3 as an added incentive to get it finished.

Friday 13 January 2012

BKC Aegean Campaign [2]

I've been working out what I need for the club BKC Aegean Campaign and have put in a small order with Pendraken for the various additional bits to fill in the gaps. Apparently, each army in the campaign will consist of the following:

Four battalions (airborne / mountain / regular / green) of nine infantry bases, with three support MG bases attached to each battalion.

Each battalion will also have a support company of four bases (mortar / AT gun / IG / engineer).

There will also be an armoured battalion of light tanks, tankettes, armoured cars and recce vehicles to a total of 600 points.

If you add in the HQ bases for each battalion and the overall CO base, this lot totals out at about seventy individual bases of figures and another fifteen to twenty vehicles. In other words, quite a lot!

I have parachute infantry for the airborne and normal infantry figures for the regulars but need to find something to represent the Alpini mountain troops and the green battalion, which will probably be blackshirts. The Pendraken SCW range looks promising for the blackshirts but the Alpini will probably end up with just some different bases to mark them out from the normal infantry.  

QRF 10% Off Sale

I made the most of the current 10% off sale at QRF and have ordered a few vehicles for a speculative British equipped colonial settler army for AK47. I have rhe figures for this already, most of which are Peter Pig professionals with some Vietnam ANZAC's and US special forces thrown in. I also a couple of landrovers, some Unimogs and a few Bulldogs but not a lot else.

As a result, I thought I'd add some light machine gun armoured cars (Ferrets Mk2's) and some heavy tank gun armoured cars (Saladins) to kit out the force. I have a couple of each which should be sufficient to provide armoured support for the small arms regular and professional units. They go into the leadpile when they arrive but hopefully will get tackled at some point this year, if I can squeeze the army into the schedule.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

BKC Aegean Campaign [1]

I was having a chat with the chaps at the club last night about an up and coming WW2 10mm Blitzkrieg Commander campaign that is currently under development. The orgamisers have set up a multiplayer infantry focussed campaign based in the Aegean involving about six players, half of whom will represent the Axis and the other half the Allies.

As I hadn't been to the club for ages I'd missed out on the inital discussions about this so was very interested to hear about the progress to date. I also realised that it would be a great opportunity to make use of my, as yet unpainted, 10mm Pendraken and Pithead Italian army, which was started back in mid 2010 but barely advanced beyond the initial basing before slamming into reverse gear and disappearing in a cloud of dust.

I have everything I need for three or four battalions of infantry, a support battalion and some attached paper thin armour. The campaign seems like a really great chance to finally get my head around BKC and to shift some more lead from the pile. It also requires a minimal outlay on my part and will be a quick project to get based up, painted and ready for action.

I'll have to decide what to move out of the way to fit the 10mm Italians in but, at the moment, I'm hoping to get them based up and undecoated alongside the other things I have on the go at the moment.

Too much stuff and so little time....aaargh!

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Back of Beyond Campaign Turn 4

The Turn Four clash between my Texan oil prospecting expedition and David's Indian Army flying column went a bit pear shaped tonight, mainly due to my totally inept tactical manoevering and lack of a decent plan. Although things started well they soon went downhill and the end of the game saw the obliteration of my White Russian mercenaries and the rout of what was left of the Texans. It was a good game, nonetheless, with lots of dodgy dice rolling, some funny moments and more than a few hair raising incidents.

I'm beginning to think the expedition is doomed to failure, as it hasn't got the numbers to take on the larger armies but, equally, has insufficient durability when faced by smaller, well-equipped forces. It's fun to juggle things around to see what works though. The erstwhile chocolate teapot trucks did stirling work tonight, for example, by acting as bullet magnets and very convenient barricades. However, I'm now at the bottom of the league results wise so need to pick up my act if I'm going to avoid a humiliating last place.

Monday 9 January 2012

AK47 Objective Markers [2]

I finished the first of the objectuve markers this evening, although it was done in a bit of a rush and will need a bit of tidying up at some point. I originally scratchbuilt this one for my Nbuto colonial settlers army, hence the big 'N' on the front of the plinth. I'm sure General Mpongo won't mind.

The figure was a Salute freebie while the rest is made out of odd bits of wood and an old CD. I toned down the desert effect on the base with an overbrush of Foundry Rawhide Shade and Rawhide then painted the figure in GW Tin Bitz followed by a GW Chestnut Ink wash. I think the latter spoiled the effect a bit so I may go back and sort it out with a bit of drybrushing. The static grass was added then some green scatter sprinkled on top to create an overgrown weed effect. I added a few clumps of Army Painter Swamp Tufts to break up the base and cover up some patchy bits where the CD surface was shining through.

I have a Back of Beyond campaign game at the club tomorrow night, so won't have the time to get any more done on the other objective markers but I have given the UN APC a dodgy basecoat of Foundry Arctic Grey in the meantime.


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