In the post last week I discussed the Project the Little One and I are doing to play the 29 Let’s Go Pint sized campaign from Too Fat Lardies (link here if you are interested). The German platoon and supports have not yet been delivered as an item is on back-order, so we have pressed on with other stuff. One of the most pleasing aspects of a WW2 Skirmish is a nice looking table that sets the scenes alive. If you look at any of the Too Fat Lardies games there is plenty of character in the table itself – nice buildings, trees, hedges but also those additional things that makes it look real, like Green houses, planters, sheds, benches, telegraphs poles, pissoirs, statutes, monuments, civilian cars, old advertisement on buildings, etc.
Warbases have a nice range suitably called Chain of Command that has some very nice item including two garden sets (link here), they have been developed with Too Fat Lardies. The only problem for our project is that they are all in 28mm – if I did this in 28mm I would definitely get these.
I contacted Warbases and said something in the line of “Hey Lets Go 15mm?”. They told me they do not do them in 15mm, but that perhaps the stuff that Scenic Route Models could fit my needs (link here). Now these model are in OO scale that technically is 1/76 whilst 15mm is about 1/100 (most of the time) – in reality I feel that most of the Battlefront miniatures are bigger than 15mm. However, I thought to myself, I could throw a few pounds in their direction in the interest of research. So I ordered the following sets this Tuesday and they were delivered this Saturday.
And of course their Green House (well I got two).
I got them and as I suspected felt that there were a little bit on the large side (as they are design for another scale), this is the Greenhouse door vs the doors on the houses I am using (more about those below).
However I got out my good old razor saw and cut of a few layers on the bottom on all the pieces before assembling (you could use a knife and cut carefully as well) – A relatively easy modification.
And, I did similar modifications to the other stuff – always modifying the height. The only further modifications I did to the buildings where adding roof ridges (cocktail sticks), and gluing on 80 grade sandpaper on the shed roofs, and adding some glass to the plant boxes and green houses – this was from some sheets from some thin plastic from packaging for strawberries (I ate them and cleaned it up first). After I painted them I added some flower tufts to the planters and green houses. And, I almost forgot, I also added some detail to make the opening to the Green house look more like a door.
I am very happy with the results (the 15mm Americans from last week making another appearance).
I have made a second order for some more stuff (mainly repeats, but trying out one or more other things) and also ordered some other things from some other suppliers I hope will work as well – but will write about those in future updates here on the blog.
I also stumbled upon the following during an eBay search for something completely different. I thought it looked like some kind of stone pattern.
So, I got myself a piece of it to try out – it is called Faux Leather Python Pattern Upholstery Fabric and is sold in 1 meter lengths (1.4m wide) for £12. I got it and did a quick dry-brush and detail and this is how it turned out – not 100% satisfied but it does work.
Finally I bought a whole bunch of 15mm Normandy houses/structures (16 No. in total) from Empires at War – they are pre-painted stuff and are very good (link here). We only built a few and will only need about 5 No. for the 29 Lets Go campaign and only applied a little bit of additional paint mainly to hide the brown laser cut mdf sides – if you look at the pictures you can see the before and after look – they do work well without any modifications as well.
I will show more of the houses when I finished them.
I have bought all of the Too Fat Lardies Pint sized campaigns for Chain of Command to date, but I have to admit of not yet played any of them. I have used Chain of Command for some very fun Games in a Finno-Russian Winter war setting and for the Continuation war period. I am currently struggling with time to do any bigger gaming ventures apart from some gaming with the Little One as I spend more time than I would like away from home due to work. He had up to recently not been to interested in Chain of Command but now, out of the famous blue, he would like to do some Normandy actions, so I thought the first campaign Richard Clarke did could work well (and I have to admit I fancied painting some Americans and Germans).
I really enjoy the format of the “Pint Sized” campaign books and you can find this one and others on the Too Fat Lardies webpage (link here), you would need the Chain of Command Rules as well as At the Sharp End campaign supplement for the full experience – but I dare say you could use this with any WW2 plutoon based rules and have fun they are great products. The campaign covers the advance of the US 175th Infantry Regiment and their struggles in linking the Omaha and Utah beaches.
To play the scenarios you basically need a platoon or US Infantry and a Platoon of Germans, with some support options.
I am also using this project as an opportunity to get the Little One a little bit more involved in the terrain making aspect of the hobby, this time we did some roads and telegraph poles – which was great fun and with immediate gratification (at least for us) in the pictures below.
We also did some Telegraph poles that we bought from e-bay, they are laser cut MDF but I think they work very well and saved us some building time and 24 for a fiver (£5) is much cheaper than some alternatives – that perhaps look better, but for us this was perfectly adequate.
We did not use the base it came with instead installed them on top of thin washers with superglue (some of them on bases) and made a few damaged ones.
We also have a set to winterize for some other theatres, but that is for another colder day.
American Rifle Platoon
The American Rifle Platoon and the support options is more or less completed – there are a few I have not done yet and I will pick these up from Peter Pig at SELWG. The basic Platoon is based on the Battlefront US Rifle Company pack – this is not the plastic one they are currently selling but the old metal version, it gives you everything you need for the campaign except for some Shermans, Flamethrower, 50 cal. HMG and some Engineers (the new plastic box should do the same too).
Here are the models…
And then two mortar teams finished today (apart from gun metal colours – I realize now),
That is all we need for the American side, next the Germans….
This is a holding blog post for yet another diversion and show the bare bones for playing a Swedish Platoon in WW2 using Chain of Command (or any other Platoon based WW2 rules). It is a work in progress but as there is some recent interest on Twitter for this I decided to do write-up to get us started in doing some men and machines for the table top. This will be fleshed out with further blog updates moving forward, including:
National characteristics to be added to the platoon list – see notes below on this process.
Suggested ‘what-if’ scenarios for using the Swedes – potential German invasion in 1940 or 1943, the Swedish Army fighting the Soviets in Finland (early or late war, in an official capacity), an Allied attack in Northern Sweden on the iron ore mines, etc.
Modelling the Swedes – a note on what models can be used for Proxy Swedes and Equipment. In general Italians, polish and Japanese can all be used in some form or another for this purpose. There is some great inspiration out there as some people have already done some spectacular projects and others are in process.
Some more detailed presentation on Swedish weapons and vehicles available during the war years.
Vilken Stridsvagnsfanjunker! – a What a Tanker list for the Swedish bidding panzer ace – even more done just for fun.
Before I forget a big thank you to the ‘Swedes’ on twitter (you know who you are) who has helped this along.
This post seek to present a typical Swedish Rifle Platoon that you can use during the war years for some “what-if scenarios”. I have organised this in the way Too Fat Lardies does their platoons for Chain of Command – however, you should be able to transform this to whatever rules you are using. As for support options I have gone full in and based it on what was available at various times. Some of the options may not be logical from a geographical location, but I have left it for you to have some fun – it is a what-if situation anyway. If you do specific historical scenarios you may have to do some research on where different regiments were stationed (e.g. for armoured units) and modify your support options accordingly.
On the Too Fat Lardies webpage there is an article about designing platoon lists for Chain of Command and so far we have achieved the first two steps required (the organisation and the support), but I have not yet developed national characteristics for the platoon.
“Finally we need to look at national characteristics. This is a more time consuming process as it involves significant research into the way that the troops were trained and fought. Only with this research can we allocate characteristics to our forces which are based on the way they actually fought, rather then on some rather dodgy stereotypes.”
I mentioned in an earlier blog update that Too Fat Lardies have their new Blitzkrieg supplement on pre-order (link here). Have a look at the large amount of platoon lists available and the statement “ the manuals that the armies of the period issued to their troops. The French Tableau d’Effectifs de Guerre, the German KsTN lists, the Dutch Handboek vor den Soldat and Officier series and many others issued throughout the 1930s and up to 1940. These manuals tell us not just how troops were organised, but how their training prepared them for war and their doctrines.” Hard work has gone in to that supplement and if you are interested in gaming the early war give it a go.
So given this and to get a better understanding of the Swedish Platoon, I have ordered some old Swedish manuals and books from the 1930s and 1940s, that I hope will give me some further insights to develop some characteristics and a note on tactical doctrine. I want to avoid doing some national characteristics like “The Spirit of Gustavus Adolphus” or the “Tactical Brilliance of Charles XII”, in lieu of reading through these – but they are yet to arrive and then it is a matter of finding the time to review them.
Anyway, I have a word file and the pdf file for download here, that you may use as you wish. These are version 2 of this list as I will update the list and will make further versions available on this page. Please, if you do have any corrections or views let me know. As indicated, I am interested in how these men would have fought as a unit. The infantry tactica available on the Too Fat Lardies webpage here is an example of what would be ideal to have in a Swedish context – that is our target.
I recommend that you read the first part from last week (link here, that contains a little bit of an intro) as this is a rather short update if you have not already and if you are interested in the context of this.
I learned this week that Major General Earle who died at the Battle in 1885 is standing outside George’s Hall in Liverpool (where he was born in 1833). A very elegant statue that was unveiled in 1887 by Lord Wolsey, the Commander of the British Forces in Egypt.
Earle had started his career fighting in the Crimean War and fought gallantry at Alma and Sevastopol rising to the rank of Lieutenant. He later served in Gibraltar, Canada and India. In 1880 he was granted his Major Generalship and was sent to Egypt in 1882. Here he was the commander of the garrison at Alexandria. In 1884 he was in command of a campaign (the British Nile Column) to support General Gordon in Khartoum (Sudan). The city was under siege by Mahdist. Earle and his soldiers did not arrive in time and Khartoum fell in the beginning of 1885.
On the 10th February 1885, Major Earle, and part of the British Nile Column stormed the hills at Kirbekan and routed Mahdist force. Unfortunately Earle, as stated above, was killed in the battle together with about 60 British soldiers, including Lieutenant Colonel Philip Eyre of the First South Staffordshire Regiment.
So, to hang on to Lt Col Phillip Eyre for a moment, this week I did the second large British unit at the Kirbekan Battle 1885.
The South Staffordshire Regiment
The regiment was sent to Egypt in 1882 as part of the invasion and in 1885 it travelled as part of the unsuccessful column to lift the Siege of Khartoum, but came to play an important part in the battle at Kirbekan. Following Garrison duties it was later sent to fight in the Boer War. I let you read more about the regiment and its further adventures during the Great War and World War 2 on Wikipedia (link here).
As I did last time I used the excellent Perry Painting Guide from their webpage (link here). I made six bases (40 by 20 mm) with firing poses and six bases with Marching poses – as the British did a lot of marching and I fancy a long column of soldiers in the end. Of course when I checked this out I realised that the South Staff Regiment and the Black Watch were ordered to wear red at the Kirbekan Battle – I painted mine with the grey/blue uniform last week – Oh well perhaps the Scots did not listen to the English commander, or I have to do another set of them in red!
14. South Staffordshire Regiment This regiment and the Black Watch were ordered to wear red to storm the ridge at the battle of Kirbekan, 10th February 1885
From the Perry Painting Guide
Anyway, here is how the South Staffordshire gentlemen turned out (they are 6mm Baccus from the their colonial range, link here).
/ Hope that was of some interest, next time I will do some Mahdists I think.
My friend Peter Riley who has written a number of Wargames rules, including the Polemos American Civil War (ACW) and the Franco-Prussian War (FPW), sent me a copy of his unpublished colonial rules “A Steady and Deliberate Fire” a long time ago to try out and give him some feedback. Doing something and giving them a try is long overdue.
By the way Peter is one half of the Wargamer Collection Calculator Crew that I have talked about before on this page, check them out here.
In addition they are doing a Little Big Horn Project in 6mm that I have been following with some interest (here is a good starting point).
I did acquired a large amount of 6mm Baccus Colonial miniatures in a “bring and buy” sale many years ago and have wanted to find some inspiration to do something with them. I did some colonial stuff using the Men Who Would be King rules for 6mm Skirmish (link here, here and here). That was really fun and The Little One and I have had fair amount of fun table time with those.
However, I wanted something for bigger battles – and skimming through the rules Peter had sent me last week I found the Kirbekan Battle in 1885 (link here) that would require about 30 bases to play on a 6 by 4 table using 60mm frontage, and with 40mm bases it could be played on a normal kitchen table, on a 4’6″ by 3″ table.
The rules are extensive and although I have not yet understood them I have decided, as a little side project, to do the two sides of the battle and use it as a vehicle to learn the rules. In future posting I will write more details about the actual Battle and these rules.
With regards to basing (from the rules):
a base of Infantry represents an Infantry Company, about 65 to 180 men.
A base of Cavalry represents a Cavalry unit of about 65 to 130 men and horses.
Support Weapon bases represent and group of 1 to 3 guns.
According to Donald Featherstone’s excellent Khartoum book (published by Osprey) The British General Earle had the following force available at the battle (the book also contain the typical Osprey 3D map of the Kirbekan battle):
The Black Watch – 437 men.
South Staffordshire Regiment – 556 men.
A squadron of 19th Hussars – 83 men.
A half company of Egyptian camel company – 47 men.
Egyptian Camel Battery (2 guns) – 24 men.
This translates to the following set-up in the rules:
The Black Watch – 437 men – 6 units (bases)
South Staffordshire Regiment – 556 men – 6 units (bases)
A squadron of 19th Hussars – 83 men – 1 unit (bases)
A half company of Egyptian camel company (Camel Corps) – 47 men – 1 unit (bases)
Egyptian Camel Battery (2 guns) – 24 men – 1 unit (bases)
I thought I start with the British Side and from the top..
The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
The regiment was created in 1881 in an amalgation of the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot and the 73rd (Pertshire) Regiment of Foot (more here and here).
The regiment fought extensively in the Anglo-Eqyptian and Mahdist wars at the Battle of Tel el-Kebor 1882, Battles of El Teb 1884 and the Battle of Kirbekan 1885. The regiment also fought in the Second Boer War.
As for painting them I consulted the very good resource on Perry Minatures webpage written by Michael Perry about the Sudan 1883-85 (link here). It has a uniform guide that includes the Black Watch (the grey I have used is perhaps too blue, because I used blue).
Each base represent a company of men, I made them in Marching and Firing poses on 40 by 20mm bases.
Next up the South Staffordshire Regiment, at some point in the future.
Soviet Platoon/Company for Chain of Command (Finnish Continuation War)
Bersaglieri Platoon for Chain of Command (Greek 1940-41)
My lighting solution(s) for my travel rig
Soviet Platoon for Chain of Command (Finnish Continuation War) with Support
Had some marathon sessions last week to paint up a company box of plastic Russians/Soviets from Battlefront (Product code SBX33 Strelkovy Company in Plastic, at £28, but I got mine cheaper on ebay), with some additional miniatures from Skytrex (LMG second men, AT Rifles), Mortars from Peter Pig and further SMG men from Battlefront. I did the photos after having based them so there is still some static grass on the figures in some places – sorry!
These guys will fight the Finnish Platoon I made earlier (link here).
Using the list from the Chain of Command book we find the following information for a Russian Rifle Platoon.
So let us start with that Leytenant
Add two more squads and we have our Rifle Platoon (I did 4 or these Platoons)
Some of the support options I made this week (in addition I have plenty of tanks from my What a Tanker stuff I made earlier this year, just need to add some Infantry Gun and Anti-tank Guns:
Having placed all that on the table I still had this left.
So there is enough for more Platoons for a large game of Chain of Command, or even a IABSG.
Bersaglieri Platoon for Greece 1940-41 with some Supports
Whilst I was on holiday in Rhodes, Greece, I painted a Greek Platoon that I had lying around on the lead mountain (here is a link to that one). Below some picture of this platoon.
I got really inspired and decided to paint up a platoon of Italian Bersaglieri – Italian light elite infantry with those cool black feathers (actually capercaille feathers). To fight these brave Greeks. By the way Bersaglieri means marksman.
I love the intensity in this video showing them in action in the beginning – it is a propaganda video and I have no idea what they are saying and I especially like the part where they are pulling the AT Gun up the slope about 30 seconds in – quality.
I have seen these previously on the wargames table in the North African Theatre with the tropical helmets and light coloured uniforms and later in the war during the Italian campaign with a light khaki top and brown trousers. However for the Greek campaign the sources I found suggest a much darker uniform at this point and I have gone for this in doing these. I guess this uniform would work for the attack of Southern France in 1940 as well as for Barbarossa.
I got the models from Battlefront and I used the following packs (unless stated otherwise stated in the text) to make the platoon and the supports (prices in british pounds from Battlefronts webpage, I got mine about 10% cheaper from ebay). I really like the models but there is some flash especially on the two firing rifle poses and some of the rifles are a little bit weak so be careful.
I need to get some more infantry Guns and perhaps a small tank, anyway this is the platoon and the support option at this point in time.
As a basis for the platoon I used the list from the Too Fat Lardies webpage (link here), however this is a list for a Fucilieri platoon in Africa so may not be correct (if yoy know it is not and are reading this could you please let me know through the contact or comment on this blog). Anyway it is an assumption for now.
By the way Too Fat Lardies are soon to issue a new supplement for Chain of Command that maybe will contain further information on the Bersaglieri at this point in time. I am very excited about this as I have painted platoons for Germans, French and BEF (and a few on the lead mountain). In addition they will include rules that will be useful for my Continuation War scenarios as there will be rules for bikes (remember Lt. Eero Perkolas platoon in the movie Ambush [ Rukajärven tie] ) and boat assaults (see this link, if you do not understand why I am excited about this).
So really looking forward to this one, for many reasons.
…back to the Italians.
Let there be light!
Earlier (link here) I wrote about my current work situation requiring me to stay away form home in hotels a few evenings every week and about taking back the hobby time in bringing a “painting and basing rig” with me.
However there was an issue and I made a promise.
Light is a problem in hotel rooms and I have invested in a travel led lamp that will be a very welcome addition to the “rig!” but it is waiting for me in the house at the moment. I will get back to you with my verdict.
I find it difficult to focus if I paint in a poor light environment and I quickly get tired – affecting both quality (can’t see properly) and output (can’t do it for long). So something needed to be done.
I actually “splashed” out and bought two slightly different lamps and what follow is a little bit of a discussion or a review if you wish. I did not do any research prior to buying these so there may be better and more cost effective ones – this is just my view on the two I did buy. I have no technical knowledge of light and it is just based on my opinion and what seems to work for me – have I caveated myself sufficiently?
First out is Ideaworks super bright portable LED lamp, I call this one Gimli.
Gimli – £9.27 from Amazon UK
This one folds into a little compact box (13 X 7 X 4.5cm) and is powered by 4 No. AA batteries or by USB cable. I have only used this one using the USB cable so I do not know how long the batteries will lasts. There are also three levels of light that can be used 30%, 50% and 100%.
Second is the taller but with more sleek design, MoKo Portable LED Desk Lamp, I call this one Galadriel.
Galadriel – £22.99 from Amazon UK
This taller but slimmer lamp (23 x 5 x 2.5cm)has an internal rechargeable battery and can also be powered via USB cable. The battery can also be used as charger for your other gadgets (2800 mAh, this in theory is more than sufficient to charge an iPhone from 0 to 100% once) – so a handy additional feature. Further the battery lasts for about 7-8 hours according to the product blur (but there is a deterioration of strength during use).
So overall I am most happy with Galadriel as the light is better, but in addition she takes less space (they both weight about the same, when Gimli has the 4 AA batteries added) and further she has the added feature as a back-up power bank. I recall one of my University Lecturers saying that price is an information carrier and in this instance it is correct. I used it whilst on holiday and I am more than happy with the product.
However, as I now have them both I think I will use them together as this gives the even a better light experience. They are my two Towers.
“Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-Dûm in Elder Days before the fall of the mighty kings beneath the stone. She looked upon Gimli, who sat glowering and sad, and she smiled. And the Dwarf, hearing the names given in his own ancient tongue, looked up and met her eyes; and it seemed to him that he looked suddenly into the heart of an enemy and saw there love and understanding. Wonder came into his face, and then he smiled in answer.
He rose clumsily and bowed in dwarf-fashion, saying: „Yet more fair is the living land of Lórien, and the Lady Galadriel is above all the jewels that lie in the earth!
from the Two Towers by Tolkien
The point is whether you are painting at home or roaming the land, make sure that you have good light as it make the experience easier, more enjoyable and less tiring.
/ Hope that was of some interest, time to put on a few colours and then switch off the light. By the way here is a picture from the movie I referred to earlier Ambush/Rukajärven tie showing the Finnish soldiers with their bikes.
I often see posts like “What movies/books inspires you to Wargame” on forums and it is an interesting question and very often the answers leads me to find new and interesting potential projects. As I have mentioned on a number of occasions I went to the Cinema when I went “home” to Sweden over Christmas last year to see “Unknown Soldier” based on the book by Linna. It is one of the most famous Finnish books and is set during the Continuation war (you can read more about the book here) 1941 to 1944, between Finland and the Sovietic Union (or Russia if you prefer) – you can find out more about this war here.
One of the scenes in the Unknown Soldier movie shows a Finnish attack using assault boats – I really found this scene inspiring and have been thinking about doing a scenario starting with reinforced infantry platoon (with a half Machine Gun platoon) in six boats pushing forward after the Finnish Barrage on the opposing side (with unknown effect), with chances of the boats being hit by enemy fire, but also some possibility of doing the Russian side some further damage with the Machine Gun or perhaps even Rifle fire, getting off the boats and then play the scenario as a normal Chain of Command (or Bolt Action or whatever platoon based rule set you prefer) scenario with the possibility of having lost units on both side before the actual engagement.
Here is a screenshot of the scene from one of the movie trailers on the net.
I recently did a Finnish Rifle Platoon in 15mm (here is a blog write-up) and have got all the miniatures to do another one, however in doing this I ended up with a pile of Finnish Soldiers I did not need. I also had a few boats I had made for another project some time ago (do not ask, but it involved making molds and using clear resin). These boats are not based on the Assault Boat in the pictures and the men, as you will see, on then are more dynamic and all-over the place than would be the case in reality. but I felt inspired yesterday so they had to do – and what the lack in historical or procedural accuracy I think they make up in looking cool!
Here are a few pictures on how they ended up, for anyone interested there is a little discussion after on how they were made and the painting (more for me if I want to do more).
Here we go… (all miniatures by Battlefront, from their Finnish range, 15mm scale). I think they are good enough for a game.
Thanks for hanging on so far, now some notes on how their were made and some notes for me on the painting as I may do a few more at some point.
Assault Boat Notes
I had six boats I had made previously lying around and I still have the mold somewhere to do more if I need – I used a clear casting resin I had used for some water effects. I cut off the bases on the miniatures and bent some legs when required and tried to get a look of some action maybe just as the boat enters the “final destination” and the section are ready to jump off and attack.
I then glued each boat on a plastic base (I used two dvd covers) with the front end slightly elevated. I then added some filler around and tried to give it some irregular shape and waviness!.
Next priming black. let dry and get on with it.
/ that is all for this time, hope it was of some use.
Spending a few days in Greece, so I thought I would do a Greek Rifle Platoon based on some Burns 15mm miniatures from the lead mountain, I also had bought a pack of Flames of War Greeks in the past (there is a HQ pack or something). In trying to make what I had into a platoon with some supports, I bought some Italian LMGs (walking and lying down) and AT Rifles and an AT Gun from Peter Pig. Although not strictly the same type of uniforms it did not bother me so I lived with it. As for all these Platoons I am doing I have decided to get them done quickly and the painting is done in that fashion – 2 to 3 sessions per platoon and support – that is it.
I based my painting on some great re-enactor images I found on the net (link here). The uniform I painted was basically Vallejo US Olive drab highlighted with Brown Violet.
The platoon composition I found on this (link here) really good source that contains a lot of different platoons.
Here is the one for the Greek Platoon.
And here are the models I made…
The Platoon HQ – Lt. with a gun and I did a second in command as I did not read the list correctly (ignore him for now).
One of the three squads.
All of the squads
Lying down LMG teams
Some extra rifle-men
Anti-tank Rifle teams
Good enough for the table!
/ Hope that was of some interest, now I am doing s##t all for a while.
Next up some Russians to fight the Finns, then perhaps some Italian Bersaglieri to fight these Greeks.
This week, actually the last few days, I have been working on a 15mm Scout/Recon Platoon for Chain of Command to fight the Finnish platoon I did last week (see here). The organisation of the platoon is based on the list found in the Too Fat Lardies Christmas Special 2016 (link here). They are all from the Peter Pig (link here) range and are in 15mm scale. I really enjoyed painting them and I think they are really nice models. If you are not familiar with Peter Pig, go and have a look at what they do – they have a very comprehensive WW2 range and a lot of specials like different type of Uniforms, Sniper, engineers, etc.
In addition Peter Pig has a lot of ranges covering War of the Roses, Samurai, English Civil War, Pirates (and even small 1/450th pirate ships), American War of Independence, American Civil War (and again some naval ships in smaller scale), Vikings & foes, colonial, wild west, great war, Spanish civil war, Vietnam and Modern Africa. Further they sell Scenery and some fantastic rule sets (http://www.peterpig.co.uk/).
I could have painted the Scouts in a one colour uniform but were keen to have some kind of camouflage to make them look a little bit cooler. Artizan design have some very useful Painting Guides produced by Mick Farnworth on their webpage (link here), I found one showing Russian Leaf Patterns that I liked (link here) with only two nice contrasting colours. I then found two good colour matches (Vallejo 886 Green Grey and 887 Brown Violet – it may be called US Olive Drab nowadays).
Then I painted the Uniform in the 887 and made small random dots with 886 on top and I think it looks good from the distance they will be looked at.
Anyway, here are the completed miniatures.
Leytenant, Senior Leader, with Pistol
Serzhant, Junior Leader, with SMG
3 Squads each consisting of;
Serzhant, Junior Leader, with SMG
Light Machine Gun (LMG) with 2 crew
4 No. Submachine Gunners
4 No. Semi-Automatic Rifle Men (SVT40, not sure the models are, but hey!)
Anti-tank rifle teams
50mm Mortar teams
Generic Engineering team (more a marker)
Commissar, to give the troops a kick in the arse (sorry, I meant to increase their morale)
Mid-week Paining Solution – Getting my Hobby time back
Due to work I currently spend about 2 nights every week in hotels – it is a little bit of a change but I thought I make the best of it. I am already getting tired of hotel bars. I have decided to do some painting on these evenings, if I can, and have set up a little “paint-rig!”. Not very high tech and based on three old VHS boxes, and the system is modular as you can add more boxes ;).
Light is a problem in hotel rooms and I have invested in a travel led lamp that will be a very welcome addition to the “rig!” but it is waiting for me in the house at the moment. I will get back to you with my verdict.
With regards to Podcast there is a new one out from the Wargames Soldiers and Strategy team that I enjoyed whilst painting yesterday, it is about participation games (link here). I wrote a blog a few weeks back that relates to this about engagement at wargames shows (link here). Give it a go.
I also plan to do 4 No. platoons of normal Strelkovy/Russian Infantry and I won a new box of Battlefront plastic 15mm Russians for £18 including postage from Ebay (they retail at about £26). I checked them out and I like them and think they will paint up nicely. I also looked at Plastic Soldiers company pack but decided to start with the Battlefront ones – perhaps I get a PSC box in the future. Since then I found out that the Battlefront ones are bulkier than the PSC ones and may not work together that well (thanks Ignacy Kurowski).
To do 4 No. Platoons I will need:
4 No. Senior Leaders with Pistol (there are 6 No. in the pack)
12 No. Junior Leaders with SMG (there are 12 No. in the pack).
12. No. LMG with 2 crew (there are 12 LMG soldiers in the pack but I would need 12 more Russian riflemen. I have some lying around I think).
84 Riflemen (there are 84 No. in the pack)
In addition it comes with 6 No. MMG. These should keep me busy for a while!, but I will not start it until my Greeks are done (another story) and I have enjoyed a few weeks of leave.
If you follow this blog you are aware that most of my projects end up getting some kind of Nordic twist in the end. The Little One and I have enjoyed the What a Tanker rules (link here). We have been playing this during the 1944 Summer offensive of the Finnish Continuation war. In two earlier blogs I wrote about a Finnish Career ladder based on tanks actually available as well as tanks that could have been (more in the links here and here). In doing this I felt that I wanted more continuation war so I have painted up a Platoon of 15mm Finns from Battlefront (the same guys who makes Flames of War) and some supports, that I intend to use for playing Chain of Command by Too Fat Lardies (link here, but I suppose that the platoon can be used with any WW2 Platoon based rules).
Incidentally Osprey’s book vote this month offers the following potential title (with only a few days left).
Soviet Rifleman vs Finnish Infantryman: Continuation War 1941–44
From June 1941, Finnish troops fought alongside German and other forces against the Soviets. After recovering territory lost in 1940, the Finns participated in the siege of Leningrad before facing a renewed Soviet onslaught in mid-1944.
In my option there is far too little produced on the Continuation War in English – if you find this period interesting please click and vote here. Back to the platoon.
From the excellent Jaeger platoon webpage (link here) we find the following information on the Infantry Company from 1943 to 1944 (there is also information there if you would like to run a Machine Gun platoon or an Anti-tank platoon, both these could offer some interesting battles):
Gas Protection Section
3 Rifle Platoons (4th Platoon usually only on paper), in each rifle platoon
– 8 men (light machinegun + submachinegun + 6 rifles)
Relatively straightforward, here is a Rifle Squad.
and all of the squads
…and finally the company command (note that the runners are not included as per normal Chain of Command praxis).
In a discussion on the Too Fat Lardies forum the potential of more Submachine Guns in the squads were discussed (link here), so I did a few more submachine gunners (some of them have very big hands!).
In addition the Finns were equipped with both Panzerfaust and Panzershreks in the Summer of 1944.
I also some did some other supports,
Some Medium Machine Guns
A medic (a artillery chap with a green stuffed bag on the front)
An anti-tank gun
I will try to get some more types of anti-tank guns and also some Anti-tank rifles, but in combination with the tanks I already have (see the link above) the force is ready to go and try to stop the Russian Onslaught.
Here are the contents of the various platoon packs from Flames of War (to build the platoon above you need to get FI703 and FI702) :
FI703 Jääkari Platoon – 1 Officer with a Pistol, 1 Officer with SMG, 5 No. NCO men (I think, 3 Rifle and 2 SMG), 1 No. SMG man with AT Grenade, 8 SMG Men, 24 Riflemen
FI702 Jalkaväki Platoon – 3 officers (one with pistol, the other with binoculars), 5 NCOs (I think, 3 Rifle and 2 SMG), 1 SMG man with AT grenade, 4 LMG, 29 Riflemen.
FI706 Pioneer Platoon: 1 officer, 5 NCOs (I think, 3 Rifle and 2 SMG), 13 Pioneers with AT grenades, 18 Riflemen, 2 Flame-throwers.
In addition I got the following packages for supports:
You can buy this directly from the Flames of War website, your favourite retailer (like element games) or occasionally get some good deals on ebay. The total cost for the above, excluding the Pioneer Platoon, is about £55, excluding postage. This gives a lot of spare miniatures but I have a cunning plan for those at a later date – it is from one of the scenes from the recent Finnish 2017 blockbuster “The Unknown Soldier”.
Here is a trailer that contains the scene in question., 54 seconds in.
I actually bought the Pioneer Platoon pack, but as for variety and uniqueness it only offers the flame-thrower model. For £12 to £14 for a pack it is perhaps not really worth it, anyway here is a flamethrower team.
I also have some gents carrying Anti-tank mines, they can also serve as an engineering team, or part of a anti-tank hunter section (with the Panzer knockers! above).
The platoon can now report for service, where is the enemy?.
Ok, ok, I only have painted one of the opposing side yet. I thought I start out with some Russian Scouts and make a Recon Platoon (as presented in the Lardies Xmas special 2016). But in writing this I have only done a test miniature. This one is from Peter Pigs excellent range of Russian Scouts (link here). But that is for next time…
I have attended Joy of Six every year since 2011 and have presented a game on the show since 2012 with the Wyre Foresters spearheaded by Nick Dorrell (except in 2016 when Neil Shuck and I was running two tables of Saga in 6mm) presenting various battles from the Great Northern War. We have done Fraustadt 1706, Klissow 1702, Kalisz 1706, Gadebusch 1712, Lesnaya 1708 and this year Horka 1708 (I wrote about that one in the last blog update here). Next year will be a very special game for us as we will do Poltava 1709. The Welsh Wizard called me Lord of 6mm the other day on Twitter, if that is so, then the Joy of Six should really be referred to as the House of 6mm Lords.
The show has grown over the years and so has the quality and range of games on offer. I know it is a typical thing to say, but I truly think the latest show was the best to date. I was scared about the move to the new location at the University but if felt like it was coming together nicely and I believe there is room to expand. The food arrangements were brilliant. I did not have/took the time to get involved in any of the other games but I took a few pictures that I will share (however contrary to my earlier post about shows – link here – I did not really do what I preached, but to my defence is the fact that I did put on a game). At the end of this short post are a few links to some very useful blog posts to get a better overall impression of proceedings – I suggest you have a look at these.
First a big shout out to a few of the people I met up with including Commodore Rob, Pete, Dan, the Wyre Foresters, Derek & Son, The Wargames Calculators, Vlad, Mike (Welsh Wizard), Neil Schuck, “6mm Sceptic” Dave, Dave Luff, Trevor Crook and the Other Mad Gamers and Simon. Some of these I had only known through the blog or twitter and it is really nice to put a face to a name. It honestly makes my day every time. I have inevitably forgotten a few, and I am sorry for this as my mind was somewhat spinning during the day. It is after all a little bit emotional to put your baby up for public display, especially as I had not done it before.
The Baccus/Wargames Emporium crew (i.e. people involved in the event, spearheaded by Peter Berry but with strong support) are always nice to see and they do a hell of a job. Also to the Little One who hanged around the table most of the day and joined in managing the Russian Elite Infantry (Golitzins Brigade/Command). Also to my daughter who has helped at Joy of Six for the last few years and the Better One of Course.
I thought the bring and buy was handled well and I managed to sell a few GHQ stuff, some board games I never play and even a few Flames of War StuGs. There were a mixture of scales on offer and some books, etc.
As for traders I think it is nice to have such a good number of specialised vendors in one place allowing you to see what the scale has to offer, traders attending were (with a link to their webpage):
Special mention to our new friends who came all the way from Poland, GM Boardgames, as promised here are some of the Polish Forces, including Winged Hussars, Pancerni and the Polish Camp we used for the Klissow and Kalisz battles.
Dr Mike’s painting clinic could not make it due to some logistical issues which is a shame because apart from showing you how to paint 6mm miniatures, Mike has the warmest smile on the wargames circuit and was sorely missed by me and I think many others – hope to see you next year Mike.
The first seminar was about Baccus itself and what the plans are moving forward. I did not go to this one but an overview is provided in one of the links below.
The second Seminar was a panel moderated by Peter Berry, with three brilliant panelists being Neil Shuck and Mike Hobbs from the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast (link to them here) and John Treadaway who is the editor of Miniature Wargames (here). The initial question was whether 6mm had a bad reputation, but I think the general conclusion was that it did not have a bad reputation but a low profile. Both the 6mm manufacturers, wargames press, and most importantly the hobbyists themselves have a shared responsibility. What I took away personally from it, with my afterthoughts added to it, was:
Spread the Joy of Six – blog about it, write articles and send them to the wargames press. John Treadaway left his card for anyone interested to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org , and I suppose you could try the others too, you know who they are. Nick and I decided to do a write-up on the Horka table and see how it goes. With this blog I have tried to highlight some different approaches and uses for the scale – mostly mass battle but also space efficient and easy to set-up skirmish gaming. As Neil Shuck says be passionate about it! It will shine through and people will get it.
Show others what we can do – take your stuff to other events – I have put up two 6mm tables at Salute. It was a different experience than Joy of Six and the average interest is somewhat different but there is enough interest for you to have a good day and if it looked good at Joy of Six it will look good on another show. We will make sure Horka get some other outings.
Enhance the signal by supporting each other – there is a 6mm community out there and I think we could encourage each other more and trying to do links in blogs, mentions on Facebook, retweets on twitter etc to make sure that we enhance the signal of the smaller scale stuff. This hobby is far from a competition, it is a co-operative game – if you like 6mm it is in your own interest to promote the hobby on a wider scale – more interest, more sales, more ranges, more Joy of Six (these things of course applies to other scales and aspects of the hobby).
In addition the issue of taking photos of 6mm games were raised and I agree that it is difficult. However, what are we taking pictures off? – men or battles?. Remember the painting from the last blog (here) – it provoked a life-long interest for at least one little boy I know very well.
Yesterday, the Wyre Foresters and I had the pleasure of presenting Horka 1708 at the Joy of Six. We have discussed the background to the battle before and I have attached a handout that contains some background on the idea of the battle, the rules we used (Twilight of the Sun King) as well as an list of the forces used on the day:
It could be useful to read this one before pushing on.
Following a nice family Saturday in the Derbyshire Dales, visiting the impressive Crich Memorial for the Sherwood Foresters Regiment and the nearby Tramway village, we went to Sheffield and attended the famous BBKBCE – Baccus Balti King Beer and Curry Evening. This is a chance to meet some old a new friends on the eve of the many battles being fought at the Joy of Six.
The Doors at the Joy of Six opened at 10am, but by this time I had been trying to set up the table since 8.30am. It took me a few minutes more – I always mess up some of the regiments in terms of placement and being pedantic with regards to these things knock-on effects on the schedule are inevitable. The mat worked reasonably well, but I had some issues with the sides and I may want to use some duct tape when I roll it out again. I am still in two minds on how I will do the Poltava battlefield next year as it has some interesting elevation – perhaps reverting back to boards or a mix of elevation pieces and a mat – I have a few more months to worry about that.
Having put it all on and taking a step back I have to admit that I said a little “wow”, and reflected on the fact that this is why I do this. Not to stare at an individual miniature being nicely painted (because that is not really my forte, but I do like nicely painted larger scale stuff), but to stare at something that resembles a battle when you take a step back – a battle from one of those many pictures the old man used to show me when I was a little boy and an aspiring General.
Admittedly not your average evening game weighing in at 12 by 5 feet, more than 3,700 miniatures on more than 270 bases – but at Joy of Six – why not! Here is Horka 1708. I dedicate this game to my Dad, who I hope is feasting in Valhalla!
The squares (65mm) are “Command Cards” – 5 for the Swedes and 10 for the Russians. I printed these on sticky labels and put them on MDF bases. It adds a little bit of flair to the game – I think – and also indicates the rating of the Commander. From Poor (+0) to Exceptional (+3).
The actual battle worked out great for the Swedes. The Russian left cavalry flank collapsed under the pressure of Major-General Creutz relentless cavalry attack on the other side of the river, combined with the strong push of the centre. The Tsar himself died heroically in the Battle. Surprising Field Marshall Rehnskiöld with the finest of the cavalry regiments was struggling on the Russian right. It was a decisive Swedish victory. In a re-fight setting we would probably consider making the Russian position stronger with defences and perhaps treat the waterway as more treacherous. So the next refight may be more desperate for the Swedes than this first go indicated.
However, for now, the Swedes won at Horka in 1708.
I will do a general update about the show itself later this week – but I actually did not have time to do very much. It is how it works out when you have table to attend to. There are however some things I need to mention, a few shout outs to people, the seminar I attended and a few of the tables that caught my eye (and I actually took some photos but only a few) but that is for another time.
/ Hope that was of some interest, a few more pictures of the battle.
Many thanks for passing-by, next year we are doing Poltava 1709.
Following on from some discussions I have followed on twitter recently (@Roll_a_One) I wanted to write a short note about two things about wargame shows that triggered a little bit of deeper thought than I normally allow myself. Also helped by the fact that I have spent more time than I ever wanted on delayed trains this week and have had no chance to do anything practical hobby wise, here we go.
1. The Show walkthrough
2. Demo vs. Participation Games
The Show Walkthrough
I had the following amusing situation (well at least in my view) at Salute a few years back (it was when Nick Dorrell and I demonstrated the Fraustadt 1706 game):
“Do you mind if I take a picture of the table?”, a middle-aged man with a beard that would be called trendy nowadays with a smart looking camera asks politely.
“Not at all!, are you familiar with the Battle of Fraustadt or the Great Northern War?”, me leaning in and hoping for some kind of interaction.
“Not at all!”, the man says taking a few shots form above and then moving away from me trying to zoom in on one of the Saxon infantry bases and his camera takes some time to autofocus (the lighting being unforgivable in the Salute hall).
“The models are from Baccus and they are mostly from their Great Northern War range, they are 6mm. Those Saxons are from their War of Spanish Succession range as the Saxons wore similar uniforms to the Western Europeans”, me moving closer and leaning even deeper.
“Couldn’t paint anything so small”, moving onto the Swedish side and taking another quick succession of shots and then a close-up of some of the cavalry bases, with the same issues with the autofocus.
“This is the decisive Battle of the Saxon campaign of the Great Northern War and as a direct consequence Charles XII managed to obtain a peace treaty with Augustus II the Strong of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin was Elector of Saxony, Imperial Vicar and elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. after 6 years of war”, me getting very excited and with sweeping arm movements I am set up to transfer this essential knowledge of history to the man with the camera.
“Sorry not really interested, I am just taking pictures for my blog. Do you mind moving a little bit so I can take a picture showing the name of the Battle”, he interrupted me, I moved surprising swiftly out of his firing arc, he took his snap and then proceeded to the next table repeating the procedure.
I put my waving hands behind my back and carried on! I reflected on the fact that he would never know that the marshland on the Saxon/Russian left flank was moss from my garden baked in the oven then soaked with pva glue, that the hedges around the field were made from green scourers, that the reason the line was not straight were due to a miscalculation on the available space between the two villages by the Saxon Commander, that the Saxons/Russian had been standing in their position for ages and were freezing their balls off, that the reason I painted the Russians in Red Coats was that they had turned their coats inside out to look like Saxons, etc.
I was interrupted in my thoughts as another a middle-aged man with a beard that would be called trendy nowadays with a smart looking camera came towards the table. I got my lean-in position ready.
The incident above made me laugh and I reflected on these unsung heroes rushing around taking pictures of stuff not for themselves but to share with other people who may be interested but not able to attend themselves – it s a great service and sacrifice! So to the Man with the Camera – thanks for doing this and sorry for retelling the story in what may be confused with irony or some kind of bitterness.
I find myself invariably drawn into a wargames table (yes we are drifting back towards that kind of thing again) and I am keen to understand what is going on and very often how things have been done and how it works – I am kind of into this hobby you see. It is not always obvious and I like it when a table either gives a nice history/story lesson and/or gives a great game – I love it when it does both. I also like nice terrain and clever solutions mainly with regards to decluttering the table of makers and instead using inventive markers that blend in with the table – it helps the immersion.
It is a lot of hard work and research behind most of the games that are presented at shows and my best advice when going to a show is to stop and talk to people and learn more. If you are shy just stand next to someone who seems to be part of the group until they are free and I bet someone will start talking to you. Grab a handout and ask, they did not just come to show of their game as a flashy post card in an album of many – let them give you its soul and perhaps you will fall in love with it to. Perhaps you could share this experience to the world with a little write-up and maybe a picture or two trying to convey what you felt about the game as a whole – not just what it looked like. I think we need a few more Walkthrough Reflectionists too – the slow walkthrough. Beauty, it is said, is only a paint layer deep!.
Are Demonstration Games the Opposite to Participation Games?
Some groups putting on games seem to treat shows as an outing and any passers-by as a distraction. They face inwards and normally seem to have entrenched themselves with everything they need for the day within reach – they are there to play their game with themselves. Luckily, I think these ones are in decline.
When Nick (Dorrell) and I do our Great Northern War battle we do them as demonstration games, but you can participate for as long as you like. Perhaps to try out some of the mechanisms of the game, we never expect to play the game to its conclusion – although, as a notable exception, we managed to finish Klissow 1702 a few years back at Joy of Six. The game is there as a discussion point in our case about the Battle itself, the rules we are using, the origins of miniatures and terrain, how we painted it and built it, etc. We have roles – I talk about the terrain and the miniatures (having painted and built it), Nick does the rules questions (having developed the latest set of the Twilight of the Sun King rules), we both talk about the Great Northern War (both being passionate about it). Anyone else helping gets a role depending on what they know, normally they will keep the game going.
Some time ago I heard, or perhaps read, Richard Clarke (one of the Too Fat Lardies) saying that he does not run dumbed down versions of the rules at shows to make it easy – he runs his rules as they come. I think it is important to reflect on this in how you want to present your game. I have had a lot of fun playing some game specific rules in 30 minutes at many shows, but we cannot run the Battle of Fraustadt in 30 minutes with the rules we are using – Sorry! Therefore we need to engage in a different view.
They key with a show game, in my opinion, is that it is should be there to engage with others should they want to. Have handouts to give out or to refer to, bring some books about the period (it always looks impressive) or props. We want people to get a feel for whether this kind of game, period, miniatures used, etc is something for them. Scaring people away will not showcase your particular niche of the hobby and to be honest it is at your own detriment.
Demonstration games should not be the opposite to participation games – you actually have to work as hard, or perhaps harder, interacting with the visitors. What the hell are you demonstrating? It is your flippin’ job on the show mate!, you may not get paid but you are taking up space.
Let me know what you think!
By the way, you have a chance to see whether this engagement talk is just bullshit at Joy of Six next week as Nick and I are putting on a table. You are free to ignore us, come by and take a photo and just go, or to stay around and ask a few questions if there is something of interest, or even stay and roll some dice for a while. We are happy to engage with you at any level you want.
We will be putting on a 9 by 12 table with 250 bases of the finest Russia and Sweden had to offer in 1708! – Horka 1708.
Check it up here. And here some background on the table we are putting on, but there are 22 other games ranging from ancients to sci-fi and pretty much anything in-between.
It has been some busy weeks since the last update on this mat business. Had time to go to a 50th birthday party, visit the Tower with the kids, Father’s day celebration, some relaxation by the river and starting a new Job. However I have done some progress on the 12 by 5 feet battlement, or the hairshirt as I call it, that I will march my soldiers on at the Joy of Six on the 15th July.
I managed to do the dry brushing for most of the mat, I use the normal three colours on top of the chocolate brown I have used for the last 10 years or so. It may not be the best combination but serves to tone down the cholate brown and the final light yellow is very effective. All my stuff, terrain, model bases, etc. fits together, it is done with the same colour and even the static grass (I use the two tones of green that Kalistra sells).
Here is my best advice for doing the dry brushing of the mat, use a small brush (not a paint brush) and take your time, change direction, small brush strokes. Dry brush to scale!
I prefer a little bit of patchy application of the grass areas as I want parts of the base mat to be seen, you may like it differently. This is a messy process as it is difficult to turn around the mat to shake the excess of with this big mat without causing major mayhem – with static fibres flying everywhere. When I did my 2 by 2 boards I used to shake them in a large plastic bag. Now I use a bagless vacuum cleaner (make sure it is empty before you start) but it is not a perfect process. I also detailed up the river and used some high gloss varnish on top. This is how it ended up (note the darker grass areas are to be filled with trees on the day) and I am very happy – apart from the real estate, bridges and trees it is all in the mat.
So apart from making some bridges (5 No.) I think we are ready to go and I can fit the roll in the car….
the trees are ready….
and so are the men…
Joy of Six 2018 we are ready for you, I hope to see you there (link here).
In a previous blog post I presented a career ladder for a Finnish What a Tanker player for the late continuation war period (see link here) based on known tanks used by the Finns (I also updated this blogpost on the 2 July 2018 with some more pictures of tanks I have made). We are still missing the T-50. As indicated the Finns did capture a lot of Russian tanks that were pressed into service. This is an optional list and shows other tanks (and TDs) that were used on the front that theoretically could have ended up being used by the Finns (but were not).
If the Russians had ’em the Finns could nick ’em (all 15mm)
Valentine III – Plastic Soldier Company
Matilda II – Zvezda 1/100
M3 Lee – Zvezda 1/100
SU-76 – do not have any yet but are waiting for plastic soldier company to release their set (this is from a press release earlier in the year). Or perhaps Zvezda who also has a model in the pipeline.
I should have pressed on with my GNW Horka Project but seem to have drifted off doing Finnish Continuation War tanks – I started doing some of these a very long time ago and base painted six tanks in 2016 but had done nothing since (see this old blog post). But as always in this hobby we do come around to things one day, one day…
The reason for this sudden diversion is of course the excellent What a Tanker game from Too Fat Lardies (link here) – it is a fun game and plays quickly. The Little One and I have set of German and a few Russian Tanks to play with and the two small games we had to date were a blast. However, like with most things I do, a Nordic angle seems to motivate me more. The Finnish tanker career is a limited one but there are some interesting Vehicles on offer – some are absolutely hopeless and others as good as they get – but tell me who needs a Tiger when you have Sisu?
I have the spent the last few days painting a large number of tanks relatively quickly (about 30 including some Russians). I do not have the ability or time to do much more but I think overall the impressionistic approach with washes and mud effects gives a reasonable look. All of the models used are 15mm and from Zvezda apart from the T-28, StuGs, BT-42 and the Landsverk that are from Battlefront. I have a few tanks I need to add to this post at a later date for completeness – the T28s and the T34/85.
What follows is a Finnish Career list for the later part of the Continuation War and covers the major Karelian Offensive in 1944 (from June to September). The career ladder can be used against a Soviet Opponent using the Soviet 1944 list from the What a Tanker rule book. Of course there are mistakes in it because nothing is perfect – if you find any I welcome them. I am an enthusiast with regards to this theatre not an expert.
I may extend this to include a few scenarios based on some of the actual encounters I have come across whilst reading about the offensive. However, this should be a good start,
Finnish Continuation War – A 1944 Finnish Career Ladder for What a Tanker (Karelian Offensive / Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive, link to Wikipedia here)
At the start of the Soviet offensive in June of 1944 the Finnish Army only had one Armour Division (Panssaridivisioona) that that was mainly equipped with the more or less obsolete T-26 tanks. The only tanks able to take on the Soviet onslaught were a handful of captured T-34/76 and KV-1s in addition to 30 No. StuGs (StuG 40 G) that had been bought from Germany in 1943. During the conflict further StuGs were delivered, and some more tanks captured including the T-34/85 and the ISU-152. In addition, and just before the armistice, some Pz IV J were delivered. It was a desperate time for the Finns and the young nation’s independence was yet again severely threatened by the eastern bear.
Notes on the list: If I found any mention that at least one tank of a type was used in combat, or ready to be put in service during this period I have made the tank available in the list. Stats for each vehicle can be found in the WaT rulebook apart from the BT-42 and the Landsverk that are provided below. Most tanks are of Russian origin apart from the ones marked with an asterixis (*) that are German.
The list does not include Armoured Cars or Small tanks like the T-37 and T-38. Also the Finns did capture both T-60 and T-70 tanks during the 1944 campaign but they were never put into service. If you want to run a more what-if campaign you could just assume any Sovietic tank were successfully captured and used. Alternatively in a campaign setting you could have any Sovietic tank not destroyed but lost, i.e. where the crew has bailed out, being available as an option for the Finnish player in the next game on a roll of 5 or more (or whatever seem reasonable). This would to some degree simulate what actually happened during this particular conflict due to the limited armoured resources of the Finns. Anyway, here we go…
Level 1 – T-26 (any version, declared obsolete in July 1944), BT-42 (separate stats below, only used in the beginning of the offensive and as for the T-26 declared obsolete in July 1944. It was not a very good piece of kit but the only “Finnish” vehicle of the period), T-28 (either type – go for the best one, also declared obsolete in July 1944), Landsverk L-62 (not really a tank or a assault gun, but perhaps a successful commander could start his career in one after using the AA gun against a tank successfully, or perhaps more adequate to use the word, miraculously. Again, added for Novelty and I did paint one!).
Level 2 – T-28E (see note with regards to obsolescence above)
Level 3 – T-34/76 M41-42, T-50, Pz IV J* (did not arrive until the end of August 1944 so not really in play during the main fighting of the offensive).
Level 4 – KV-1, KV-1a, StuG 40 G*
Level 5 –T34/85 M43 (7 captured vehicles were captured during the offensive and put into service during the offensive)
Level 6 – ISU-152 (only one of two captured vehicles during the offensive were used in combat).
To play Bag the Hun (as well as a number of other air wargames) a hexagon mat is required, I do not have one so I decided to buy one. Yes, I hear you saying “…there are ways around it, and why don’t you make one yourself!”. However occasionally, and contrary to popular belief, I do go with that famous flow and just get something off the shelf. I looked around but could not really find anything suitable. I could not really see the cliffs of Dover representing the Karelian Isthmus, neither would Kentish countryside do nor the desert or anything else that I found for that matter. I suppose that some of the Eastern Front battles would have been fought over some forested areas that could pass for what I needed, but none of these seem to be readily available.
What I really was after was an image showing two things – forested areas and lakes. I went on Google Earth Professional (that you can download for free) and realised, probably as the last person on the (Google) Earth, that you can get rid of all the overlays and plainly look at the picture and capture images at relatively high resolution.
Maximum resolution is 4800 by 3288 which proved more than adequate for my purposes. I found a piece of southern Finland I liked and saved the picture. I then resized it to a 3 by 5 ratio (as I wanted to get a mat I could throw on the dinner table) and sent it to Tiny Wargames (link here) and asked (i) if the image was good enough to print on one of their 3 by 5 mats, (ii) if he could add a 30mm hexagon pattern on top and (iii)how much it would take me back – the answer was (i) no problem, (ii) of course and (iii) £50 (that inclusive of delivery within the UK). Further he said it would take them 4 days to do it. Incidentally the cost is the same as it would cost to buy a mat with the same dimension of any of their existing mat designs – I suppose if you can provide a picture with sufficient resolution they will print a mat for you.
I also note that they can do more bespoke mats as well, like taking an old air photo from say D-day and make it into a stylised and coloured mat. However I do not know the cost of doing this as I suppose it would take some time to do – but if you are interested drop them a line.
A small note you need to specify how you want your hexagons printed on the mat – I sent a screen shoot from a Bag the Hun scenario map and told him my hexes should be aligned in the same way as those on the map. Very often the hexagon size is about 1½ inch, but since I went with a small mat (3 by 5) I also condense the hex from 38.1mm (1½ inch) to 30mm. The reason for the smaller mat is that I can quickly put the mat on the dining table and fly, with minimal fuss.
This is the map I sent them.
And this is what turned up.
Really happy in the way it came out (note the colour difference is due to the lighting when I took the picture of the mat on the table), I ordered it on a Monday afternoon and it arrived safe and sound on the following Monday. More than pleased and this is how it looks with some Russian and Finnish aircraft flying on it.
On reflection I should perhaps had taken a lower altitude picture, but I do like it and gives the feel of forests and lakes I was after.
Note on flight stands
With regards to flight stands the best way to manage it is if you do not attach each plane on a stand permanently but instead magnetise the plane and the base. There are several reasons for doing this, I think these are the key ones:
Base set of stands – you are very unlikely to use all you planes at the same time on the table, so consider what the maximum size your aerial engagements are likely to be. This will determine the number of flight stands you make. For example if you are playing the Check your Six rules more than a handful (that is about five) per player is about right, for Bag the Hun (in my case) where you fly sections a few more would be required – I went for a total of 40 stands (overkill, but what the hell).
Changing your mind – If you change the size or type of the base you are using for whatever reason this is easily accommodated as you just need to make some new bases – if you want to revert back you just use the old ones.
Storing your flyers – Storing small 1/600 on individual flight stands will take unnecessary space and when my current project is complete I will probably have in excess of 200 aircraft. Without the bases they take hardly any space. If I want to fly some planes for another project, I just use these flight stands again.
I made my flight stands using some transparent acrylic bases (30mm, 2mm thick) that I drilled a hole in and some and acrylic rod (2mm), I also used Neodymium magnets (2mm by 0.5mm). Remember the polarity when you glue the magnets to allow you to use the same flightstands for all your planes.
Big shoutout and thanks to Tiny Wargames (link here again)
First a big thank you to all of you who either come by here by chance, occasionally, have registered as followers of the blog, likes the Roll a One page on facebook and/or follow the Per at RollaOne account on twitter (@Roll_a_one). Please feel free to get in touch here, on Facebook or Twitter if you have any questions or comments on this or anything else. Just doing this for fun, thanks for making it more so. Now without further ado…
It has become a tradition in doing a battle board for Joy of Six as a start of the Summer in our house. For the last few years I have made 8 by 4 feet tables for my GNW stuff, but this year I came to the conclusion that I needed a 12 by 5 feet beast (more on the battlefield and how it was derived can be found in a previous blog post, click here).
For the first generation of boards (Fraustadt 1706, Klissow 1702, Gadebush1712 and Kalisz 1706) I used 8 No. 2 by 2 feet mdf boards with underfloor heating boards (blue styromfoam) on top that could be shaped to rivers and hills, etc. This created more sturdy individual blocks but it takes a lot of space, especially when you start getting a fair few of them. There is also a question of warping and its impact on the gap between the boards, unless you make very sturdy ones.
In the process of needing to make two smaller tables (4 by 3 feet) for running Saga in 6mm at Joy of Six in 2016 I tried out a method I had seen on the net. This used a canvas sheet covered in a mix of paint, acrylic sealant and sand (see my notes from then here). This worked really well and creates a mat with some nice texture on top that can be dry brushed and decorated very much in the same way as I would do with the boards (and you can also incorporate roads and rivers directly into the mat).
This is the mat I did last year and apart from the houses, trees, bridges, some small elevation markers and miniatures, all the features are in the 8 by 4 mat and it makes set-up very quick (here are some notes on that process here , here, here and here) – no gaps!
I decided to have another go with the mat approach this year and got myself some backed dust sheet from Screwfix here in the UK (I did get some before but it was not backed, so I kept this for some other day). The reason I use the backed version is that the backing (a layer of plastic/poly) stops the paste going through the sheet when it is applied and I also think it strengthens the actual mat, compared to using a non-backed dust sheet.
The “innvoation” for this year was that I had some paper backed grass sheets lying around that I cut out some fields from and glued straight onto the mat (I used gripfill for this purpose, still not sure they will stay on!) – the colours are very sharp so far but I think it may work better once the shit (sorry, I meant chocolate brown) colour is dampened by my normal 3 colour dry brushing and the static grass is being added. Here are a selection of photos from the work so far.
The issues I have found (so far) in making and using this kind of mat are:
It is physically harder work to make one than you think – it gives a good workout! My Doctor told me that I need to gain more height so I think this is a good exercise for that purpose – there is a lot of stretching involved!
It is very difficult to manage a 12 by 5 sheet when you make it. I do not have a big enough space to put the whole sheet down on a flat surface. So I tend to work on it in sections and then roll it up again, meaning that you have to wait for it to dry which means that works have to be done in short burst and then wait for 12 to 24 hours. If you have a flat surface for the full size of the mat then this is not a problem at all (however if the surface is not totally flat this can effect the shape of the acrylic you apply and also the effect of the dry brushing as any edges will show through very well by the technique – something you may not want. I did mine in the lounge but this is honestly not the ideal place if you are not on your own. It is not just the space you occupy but other impacts to consider. I try to use low odour stuff but this does not mean no odour so ensure you have your windows open and create a draught. Health and safety for you and yours are more important than a bloody wargames mat – just be sensible. Luckily, I have a more than understanding family when it comes to these kind of things. They are more than happy to spend the weekend with breathing apparatus in their own rooms (that was a joke, sorry!).
The sheets seem to be 4 feet standard width. The 12 by 12 sheet I bought from Screwfix was made of 3 no. 12 by 4 feet sheets, it means that there is a border to be dealt with for any greater widths than 4 feet. I covered it with some gripfill before I got the mix on top. This mediocre mitigation is more than likely going to fail in the future but I am ignoring it for now. In general it does crack in places but normally looks decent when it lies flat – be prepared to do some repairs the first few times you roll it out.
Although I did iron the sheet before I applied the paste (properly I thought, but being mindful not to melt the backing), very often some of the folds seem to reappear and this is less than ideal. I will try to hide this as part of the drybrushing stage by avoiding to make the fold stand out to much by being careful with the brush – you do not want to highlight the fold, it does not look very natural.
It does not allow you the same artistic freedom compared to a fixed board. Hedges are more difficult to incorporate into the design and rivers obviously can not be filled with resin (but if you apply some varnish it at least gives some reflection to the surface that fools the eye, at least from a distance.
It goes without saying that the mat is not very versatile with the features built-in (rivers, roads, etc.). This is not an issue for me, and it was the same when I did the boards, but worth considering with regards to how much specific stuff like roads and rivers you incorporate into the mat, especially as it is an investment in money and time to make one.
Looking back some of the features of those boards some are very difficult to beat using the mat. Maybe some boards next year!?
Obviously none of the points above were showstoppers for me this time, but I hope this discourages you unless you are prepared to get into to something heads on and improvise along the journey. The rest of the family laugh at my swearing and screaming when I mess things up, so if nothing else it is some cheap entertainment – maybe that is why they tolerate me doing this in the first place?
[To be continued when appropriate level of progress achieved]
/ Hope that was of some interest, keep toy soldiering on!
In other news I had the opportunity to see the fabulous Tiger Lillies (the forefathers of Brechtian Punk Cabaret!) last week and it was absolutely brilliant! More on them here. I stumbled upon them a few years ago as they had done an album called Mountains of Madness as a homage to H.P. Lovecraft.
A little bonus blog post because I think I am one behind my one a week average, but nonetheless a nice little story.
Some time ago I cleared out some of my books and a amongst the mess I found two old ones about miniatures from the 1970s. I had no idea where they came from but thought that perhaps Henry Hyde would be interested in them. Maybe he would even give them a place in that famous Hyde book shelf!
One of them had a nice passage saying that…
“Materials for constructing the terrain are very easy to obtain in the model shops. Quite simply it is a matter of plundering the lore of half a century or more of railway modelling. The cheapest and the best ways of making realistic hills, valleys, roads, bridges, cottages and the like were developed long ago by our fathers and elder brothers.”
Henry said yes and I sent them to him. They seemed to arrive safe and sound.
The next scene is a flashback to my more younger self and having just bought my first Baccus 6mm GNW models. I was frantically looking for some guidance on how to paint them. A friend of mine gave me a some sheets of paper he had ripped out of a Battlegames magazine – the painting guide was of course overkill for the scale but this was my guiding star for those very first 6mm I painted.
Anyway and zooming back to more or less the present time and a few days after this a little box arrived from Henry and I could not believe my eyes when two very familiar gentlemen were in it.
They are now on permanent guard duty protecting my Great Northern War books.
A few notes:
The article “A brush with musketeers” can be found in the Battlegames Magazine, issue 7, and was written by Dave Robotham who also painted the miniatures. The miniatures are from the old Musketeer range sculpted by Bill Thornhill (not sure what happened to them?).
Henry Hyde is of course that guy who wrote the Wargames Compendium, edited Battlegames and Miniature Wargames amongst other things, and is now running a Patreon project (is that what you call it?) where you could join in – Battlegames the Spirit of Wargaming! There is a link to it here for you to check out.
Thanks again Henry!
In other news I have been doing some flight stands (completed some more planes) and ordered a hex mat for my winter and continuation war project. Here are some pictures. Links to previous postings on this subject can be found here and here.
Will write more about this project once the mat arrives.
In the last blogpost the Swedes inspected their forces in preparation of the Horka battle at Joy of Six this year (more here). The Russian spies were in attendance and following their report a few brushstrokes had to be done, but now I dare to say they seem to be ready for inspection and eventually to welcome the attacking Swedes.
There is a total of 91 cavalry 60 by 30mm bases of 9 No. riders (apart from the irregular elements on 60 by 60mm bases of 8 riiders) and 64 infantry 60 by 30mm bases of 24 No. infantry in this army as well as Command bases and artillery bases. Tsar Peter himself has inspected the various infantry detachments – General Golitsyn flying column with the elite regiments who may be ordered to March behind the cavalry and attack the Swedish left flank on they day!. The three other Generals Sheremetev, Hallart and Repnin are ready as are their men. A few rounds were fired by the artillery to mark the occasion. I have included a few of the sketches that the scouts manage to deliver to the Swedish King.
In other news I progressed my Bag the Finn project (more in the last blog post, link here) adding two more aircraft types:
The Fokker D.XXI that was the Finnish primary fighter aircraft during the Winter War (I painted it in the simple paint scheme used during the winter war – the more elaborate camouflage pattern used last time was used during the continuation war).
The Polikarpov I-16 that was one of the three fighter planes used by the Russians in the Winer war (ther others were I-15bis and I-153). The I-16 was the most common type and about half of Fighters were of this type at the start of the Winter War.
Below are two relevant titles from Osprey and contain a lot of useful information on the fighting during the Winter War era. I really enjoy doing these 1/600 scale planes from Tumbling Dice.
A short one this time but I think there are one or two important points hidden in it all, I let you find them.
Bag the Finn
I am currently working on some Tumbling dice 1/600 aircraft models with the intention of doing some games involving the The Lentolaivue 24 or LLv.24 (24 Fighter Squadron) fighting throughout Finland’s three wars during WW2. I intend to use the Bag the Hun rules by the Too Fat Lardies (link here) and the campaign system Squadron forward. I got the aircraft a long time ago but it has taken some time to get this started. However Mike Hobbs Malta project inspired me to get this going – thanks Mike.
Postscript: There is a useful article in the Lardies Summer Special 2009 called Blue Swastika with background and scenarios for the Finnish Winter War for Bag the Hun. This article can also be found in the Scramble supplement (Thanks Jim for reminding me).
I have been buying a fair few books about Finnish and Soviet Airforce of the Period. But my starting point is the suitably titled Lentolaivue 24 from Osprey (link here). As with any book there are several places where you may get the book cheaper and sometimes the second hand market can be very favourable.
As I have mentioned before the family on my mother’s side are Finnish and this is why I have an interest in this particular theatre of the Second World War.
I have heard many stories from the Finnish war period – some heroic but most of them being about the sad realities of war and the people that had to endure them directly and indirectly. For example one of my relatives, a pioneering educationalist working in the Finnish border areas, had to take home his two sons in coffins during the war – both of them were volunteers and the youngest was 17. With a Finnish sense of dark humour the story was retold with the afterthought that the only good thing was that he only had to do one trip as they fell at the same time.
My hobby is very much related to war – in doing miniatures, models and gaming various conflicts sometimes in a seemingly light hearted way. However I think it is important to remember that in reality it is far from a game. This awareness does not take out the fun of it but adds respect to how I deal with it.
One of the things are symbols used by the various belligerents during the War and as you can see on the picture above the Finnish Aircraft carries a Swastika symbol. The Swastika had been used on Finnish Aircraft since the early days of the Finnish Air force in 1918, following independence from Russia and therefore its use is different to that used by the Nazi regime. Finland were allied with Germany but through a common enemy in the fight against the Soviet Union – it did not share the overall objectives and world view of the Nazi regime.
I will paint and decorate these aircraft as close as possible to the way in which they looked at the time, not out of disrespect for anyone but out of respect to the historical records of the period.
This is a slow burning project and I will write a short note on each aircraft type, what paints I used and some pictures as I complete them. Starting with the Finnish ones and the, to me, most Iconic of them all the Brewster Buffalo. It is a little bit fiddly, but if you can paint a detailed 28mm miniatures then this should not be a problem.
The Flying Beer Bottle (Lentävä kaljapullo)
The Finns bought the Brewster Buffalos (B-239E) from the United States in 1939 and they were first flight tested by the Finnish Air force in early 1940. A few were combat ready before the end of the Winter War in 1940 but none of them were used in combat.
However during the Continuation War the Brewster became one of the most successful aircraft of the Finnish Air force. The Lentolaivue 24 got them at the end of the Winter War in April 1940 replacing the Fokker D.XXI they used successfully during the Winter War. During the 14 months before the start of the Continuation War the pilot trained hard with their new machines and during the Continuation war they successfully destroyed 459 No. Soviet warplanes by these at a loss of 15 Buffalos (a 26:1 victory ratio) until they were replaced by the Messerschmitt Bf 109G (in May 1944).
I used the ISA240 F2a Brewster Buffalo x6 from the Tumbling Dice shop, it can be found in the 1/600 range, link here. I do not know what the best way is to paint these are and you may want to do some further research, this is how I did mine.
Clean it, magnetise it,
Make sure you clean it up with a scalpel (be careful) or a small file as there is some flash but not excessive. I then glue a 0.5mm * 2mm magnet under the aircraft. This is a little bit fiddly and you may have to redo a few but that is all part of the fun! In addition make sure you align the polarities – i.e. glue them in the same direction. I will take some photos of how I manage this when I do the next set of aircraft. This allow you to mount them on flight stands that you can magnetise too. You may end up with a collection of hundreds or aircraft but you may rarely use more than a dozen on each side in a game – therefore you can have a set of flight stands you use for all your aerial dog fights. It also means that you could have different set of stands, perhaps if you have different rules ets, and so on. But more on this later.
As I wrote last week I got myself a few pots of the paints from the Finnish Aircraft colour paint set. In retrospect I probably had all the colours I needed already as part of my base set up, however I put the ones I got to use in this project.
Priming – I used a Vallejo White Polyurethane Primer (mainly because I normally use grey or black for my miniatures, and had it lying around). It has a nice thin consistency that works deceivingly well. I thought white would work best as I was not going to use the primer as part of the shading.
Let it dry (a few hours should be fine)
Paint undercarriage light grey – I used the Lifecolor Light Grey UA 541.
Paint top green (do not paint the front bit that will be yellow and avoid the yellow part behind the cockpit, not critical but makes it easier to achieve a good yellow later on) – I used the Lifecolor Olive Green UA 540.
Let it dry (if you are doing a large batch like I did there is no reason to wait, just do step 6 for the next).
Paint top with Black camouflage patterns (avoid the parts that will be yellow) and do the front propeller part. I used Vallejo Model Color Black 950.
Let it dry (see note above on large batch)
Paint the propeller hub/top with a flat brown/light rust colour (I have seen some different colour for this, most of the time it is black but I wanted some contrast so mine have this colour).
Paint the Yellow parts, also under the top of the wings – I used the Lifecolor UA 544.
Let is dry (see note above on large batch)
Paint 80% of the Black camouflage parts in Vallejo Model Color Medium Sea Grey 870. I kind of left a black outline of the pattern.
Paint 80% of the Green with a 50/50 mix of Lifecolor Olive Green UA 540/Vallejo Model Color Yellow Green 78.
Let it dry properly (a few hours should do fine)
Use Windor & Newton Nutbrown ink, be generous and process to 12 immediately before doing the next plane. This is an old 6mm painter trick Dr. Mike taught me many years ago. You may want to use some other wash/ink type of thing or skip this step if you want a neater look. I think it adds depth to the colour and make it look better painted than it is.
Dab a piece of toilet paper carefully on the model to take away excess ink, do not rub – this was sourced from Modelling Supreme Industries and is sold by the sheet (Sorry, but at least humour me with a smile!).
Let it dry
Give the yellow parts a little bit of more paint on the top sides (using the same colour as above, looking at the colourized picture above and some others they tended to be relatively dirty quickly so leave some of that ink stain. It does not make the model look prettier but more real).
Paint the glass part of the canopy in blue carefully, let the non-glass part shine through – I used Vallejo sky blue or something similar.
I suppose you could highlight them further and perhaps put a dot of white on each window – however I just did the 18 steps above.
Next it is time for some decals and this is requires some patience to get right. I got the decals from Dom’s Decals some time ago, link here. He has a warning of a current backlog on his webpage (April 2018) so I suggest you send him and e-mail and ask him about the current status. Some of the best of the wargames industry are the small players (mostly one person bands) and I have found most of them more than happy to engage in some conversation upfront as to what the expectations are with regards to getting your orders sent to you. Dom does a fantastic service to the hobby with his decals – give him and others like him a fair chance to continue doing so.
You need the set 1/600 Finnish Hakaristi Markings (1918-44).
Basically I cut out every decal neatly and then stick a few of them in a small bowl of water for a while lift them out and wiggle the off on a plastic (sometimes they fall of in the bowl) I use a scalpel (gently) for this . I used 4 transfers for each plane (I did not do the underwing ones), two on the wings (second smallest ones) and two on the sides (the smallest one). This is my high-end set-up.
This is the result, I really like they way they turned out and from a distance they look decent enough for my gaming table.
When I have finished (no pun intended) all the aircraft for this project I will do some custom transfers (I bought a sheet for this purpose) to allow some further markings to be done like tail markings etc. This is probably overkill and I do not know if I will be able to do these yet so it is currently just a plan – but if it is possible I will do them like this. After this I will seal them with a matte varnish.
Swedish Army for Horka 1708
The Swedish King and his Generals mustered the forces for the Horka Battle to be fought 15th July in Sheffield at the Joy of Six show (more here).
The King was seen smiling and the mood amongst the ranks was very good. They Russian position was strong but so was the Swedish morale. Here are some colorized sketches from the event. There are a total of 72 cavalry bases and 28 infantry bases as well as a few leader bases and artillery bases. Here we go….
“…but in summary of Salute I can say “a lot of people, met some new and old friends, the games looked great, got some gifts(!), picked up some stuff and bought some more, What a Tanker from Too Fat Lardies looked fun, a fantastic GNW battle from Michael Leck – from my perspective the Show rolled a Six.”
From about a week ago!
We have been busy with the Little Ones year end Rugby Tournament the last week so I have not been doing that much hobby wise lately. We went to Isle of Wight and had a blast – it is a wonderful part of the world.
I realise that it is now about 10 days ago since Salute 2018, so I think there are plenty of better places for an overview of Salute – I suggest you try Big Lee’s most excellent blog here. Alternatively, or as well, you could go to youtube and watch the terrain tutors very nice video of the show (press play below) – if you have not checked out his other stuff do that as well.
What follows are just a few snippets of things from my personal experience.
Twisting the Dragon’s Tail
On St George’s Day! 100 years ago the Royal Navy attempted to block the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. The idea was to block the canal entrance by sinking obsolete ships – this to stop U-boats and light shipping from leaving port.
The game presented by the Maidstone Wargames society showed the actions of the HMS Vindictive that carried a troop or royal marines that were to take out some German Gun positions. It was a beautifully presented game and the ship was a thing of beauty and scratch built (using a lot of tomato pure tubes as sheeting material – that is hard core in my books – “What a we having for Dinner today?”, “It is another round of Pasta with Tomato Sauce!”).
Mission Command: Normandy
Mission Command is a new set of WW2 rules that promises to capture the essence of tactical and operational combat for company level to division level. It captures the way in which different armies (nationalities) operated in practice in terms of tactical and operational command, control and communication. It was a pleasure to have a chat with the guys. I found it intriguing – more information here. It is currently at the final stages of playtesting and a relatively inexpensive beta ruleset can be obtain through the link above. The game is Umpired and orders are given at the beginning of them game but can be modified. However the changes to the orders have to be achieved within command structures where the fog of war, imperfect information and confusion can cause unintended outcomes.
The Battle of Foy
Most of us remember this from the phenomenal Band of Brothers book and TV-series. This table was a joy to watch and the group presenting it was passionate about sharing their enthusiasm. I have a special place somewhere for snow terrain and this one was inspiring. The miniatures used were 20mm and it was played using the Bolt Action rules. The tall pine trees are made with the same technique as I used from my trees earlier in the year (more about how to make them here).
Tumbling Dice and another Diversion – Bag the Finn!
Paul at Tumbling Dice (link here) have a nice range of 1/600 aircraft and I bought myself a bundle of his nice aircraft that I want to use for some aerial dogfights between Finland and Soviet. They are very nice and they are relatively easy to paint them and it will not cost you a fortune to get started. I have some already that I used for Battle of Britain 1940.
I also got myself a selection of books from Amazon recently about the Finnish and Sovietic air force of the period – mostly second hand from Amazon at a not too heavy cost.
I will be using the Too Fat Lardies rules Bag the Hun for these (link here). The Scramble supplement have a little piece of using the Rules for the Finnish Winter War to get me started, but I think I will focus on the Continuation War period – those Brewster Buffalos looks far too cool!.
I was not going to but I got some of Lifecolors nice paints for this project (I got all the colours individually, from their paint set pictures below a part from the black as I thought I could get away with it!). This is a perfect on the move project as it does not take a lot of space – a handful of paints and a handful of planes and you can take off anywhere!
The only question is what playing surface to use. It would be really good have a aerial picture with good resolution of a winter land scape from above. Have not seen anyone doing one and I do not know where to get a good resolution picture from – any ideas gladly taken?
With some help from the Welsh Wizard, Mike Hobbs, we manage to order for a sufficient amount to get a healthy discount from Eureka (more here) – who did their annual trip from down under to Salute. They have a good selection of stuff and I got myself a lot of 15mm (some WW2 Australians with Great Coat and Russian Partisans) and some 28mm stuff (for my Mutant 1984).
I will show these in a later post as I have no intention of doing anything with them at the moment. Big shout out to Nic and crew – see you next year!
What a Tanker!
Too Fat Lardies were demonstrating their What a Tanker game and it looked great. Go and do yourself a favour and buy the book from here. If you need a little more convincing check out the stuff below. Had a good chat with Rich, Nick and Sidney – thanks for your time!
For more on the game if you do not want to take my word for it.
A video by the Lardies themselves:
Also check out these links for podcast whilst you paint your tanks:
The Veteran Wargamer (Jay) have gone Tank Mad in a wonderful way – check out his two podcasts for more here and here.
We are hopefully doing a game of What a Tanker this weekend using some 15mm German tanks vs Russian or American tanks – preparations are underway more to come.
However 6mm may be a good option and I spotted Baccus Shermans and Panzer IVs at Salute – they look very nice and the Sherman is due out very soon.
Michael Leck and friends, as have become tradition, presented yet another stunning table with a historical battle with a Swedish denominator – this time depicting the battle of Stäket 1719 (more here). This is a small battle at the end of the Northern War with with the King having been shot in Norway in 1718 and with the Russians and Cossacks terrorising the Swedish east coast with a fleet of Galleys (this was know as the Russian Harryings (Rysshärjningarna). The attack was repulsed but the Russians managed to escape without any damage to their fleet allowing them to continue their harrying the following year.
The galleys and the terrain boards (and a few of the miniatures) were made by Jan (who is another exile Swede living in the UK). The rest of the miniatures were flown in with Michael and chums.
As I have declated before Michael, and I, used to roll dice and use our imagination in the same role-playing club many moons ago. It is always nice to see him and his latest stuff – he actually brought me two presents, a giant stag beetle and a Swedish king. Many thanks Michael!
How much is your collection worth!
I also had a nice chat and a coffee with good friend Peter Riley who is running the Wargamer Collection Calculator (I have discussed them before on the blog, here) that now features a wargames directory with more than 1,000 traders, clubs and societies – is your club on it? Their base offer is in effect a collection manager where you can log you wargames collection in words and pictures with some high level estimate of its potential worth – perhaps for the purpose of using this as a basis for a separate insurance of your collection. Even if you do not want to insure your collection you could perhaps use it as a collection manager. Registration is free. Check them out here.
…I think that represents a biased but still fair sample of Salute goodies! I forgot the Daleks, here we go.
Horka 1708 update – Swedish Infantry and Artillery thoughts
I have been working away with the Horka project and here is the Swedish Infantry contingent. 28 bases (compared to the 64 Russian ones, presented earlier here).
I am also working on Artillery and have come to some kind of compromise for artillery. The Russian used a lot of smaller artillery pieces – battalion guns. In the accounts of Poltava once of the key elements is the Russian Artillery ripping away the advancing Swedes, changing to shrapnel for the last 200 meters. Placing a few cannons on the sides, as is the typical set-up, where the cannons representing 8 to 16 pieces of something like are shown as two bases on the sides, that does not really convey the story. So I will use thin frontage bases (15mm wide) and put them between the Russian battalions to illustrate these pieces. It may be overkill from a ratio vs model count – but we can deal with this and having a quick glance at the way it looks I do not think there is a way back. More about artillery in a later post. This was just me getting carried away!
I had a very nice day at Salute yesterday, but have decided to reflect on that next week as I think his blog post is long enough – but in summary of Salute I can say “a lot of people, met some new and old friends, the games looked great, got some gifts(!), picked up some stuff and bought some more, What a Tanker from Too Fat Lardies looked fun, a fantastic GNW battle from Michael Leck – from my perspective the Show rolled a Six.” More next week on this and some further on the progress on the Horka Project.
back to the main theme….
I decided to start this blog on the back of doing a participation game of Saga in 6mm with the gentlemen from the eminent Meeples and Miniatures podcast (link here) for the Joy of Six in 2016. The demo game was Saga in 6mm and I went all out and did starter armies (4pts) for the 12 factions from the three first books for the Age of Viking era (a total of 15 official Age of Vikings factions were produced for the first edition rules, if we exclude semi-official ones like the Skraelings, Revenant and Steppe Tribes).
This is the 100th blog update since the start and I felt it appropriate to do an update on Saga on the back of the Second edition being published earlier this year. It is a long one but I do hope you will find it of some interest.
For this special occasion I asked Neil Shuck for a few words as a kind of preface (thank you Neil).
“When I had a conversation with Dave Luff on the podcast about the possibility of gaming Saga in 6mm, we had no idea of the forces we were about to unleash.
Dave was on one of his ‘it’s only a counter’ monologues, and with the fact that that very nice Mr Berry had just brought out some more of his Dark Age range, we were discussing the idea of being able to play Saga in a smaller scale, and what impact that might have on the game. As with many of our ideas, it never got close to the painting table, so imagine our surprise when Per contacted us to say that he had taken our idea and moved it to the next level.
We may have planted the seed, but Per is a force of nature when an idea takes hold, and the rest is, as they say, history. Per did a fantastic job creating all the forces, plus building the tables, and the games were very well received on the day. More importantly, the game still works – if anything, the grander scale created by the smaller models gives it a more epic feel. Congratulations Per, you have done a fantastic job with this.”
– Neil Shuck, from the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast (link here).
Here is a link to that very first blog post with a postscript that makes a few notes and links to the other relevant posts. Note that the Factions are presented again in the text that follows, I will not repeat the information in the Part 6 to 8 sections about terrain, buildings and painting.
We had a blast on the day of the Joy of Six 2016 Show and Neil wrote about his experience on the Meeples and Miniatures webpage here and my report on the Roll a One blog is here.
It was a nice project to get done and all-in-all I did 2,474 miniatures in a total on 324 bases (25mm square). Each base contained between 3 to 10 miniatures depending on type, but in general:
Mounted – Warlord 5, Hearthguard 4, Warrior 3
Foot – Warlord 10, Hearthguard 9, Warrior 8, Levy 4
After the show the Little One and I played a fair few games of Saga and we really enjoyed it. We then drifted away to other things and the models have been left standing relatively still for a while (apart from a few sessions using the eminent Dux Brit rules from Too Fat Lardies, a test of the Sword and Spear Rules and a few games of Saga here and there). In the beginning of the year (2018) Studio Tomahawk released the updated edition of Saga (I will call is Saga 2) – where there is a core set of rules and then a book for each era (e.g. Viking, Arthurian, Crusade, etc.). I was debating on whether to get the new rules or not as we found the old ones more than satisfactory, but as I stated in an earlier blogpost.
I have all the old Saga books and I am aware this version will probably not blow me away in the same way as the first set, but it is on the basis of that very first set I bought the second edition. Saga is a fantastic game and I, and especially the Little One, want to be part of the ongoing process of making it even better.
I got the basic rule book for £8.50 (this contains the basic rules) and the Age of Vikings (this has the Viking factions and 12 battle boards) supplement for £25.50, which I believe is very competitive, from Dark Sphere (link here) with free postage (as at 14/03/18). That is a total of £34.
The original Saga Rules were typically sold for £25 and gave you 4 battle boards, three additional supplements (actually four if you count the campaign supplement) were produced cover the Viking Age at a typical total cost of say £42. This gives a total comparative cost at £67 vs. £34. So this new packaging is more cost effective, although the start-up cost is higher (£34 vs £25) as you need some battle boards to play the game.
The only thing that slightly irritated me is that there is only one base scenario in the basic rules – Clash of the Warlords, and that there are no specific scenarios in the source books either – instead there will be a specific scenario book. I really hope that this scenario book is something really special as I honestly think that some more scenarios could have been included in the basic rulebook or in the supplement(s) – so the comparison above is not fully a like for like.
On the back of having read the rulebook and the Age of Viking supplement and had a few games, I personally think it was worth the upgrade. I can use all of my existing models to play and the Saga Dice are the same (I have two sets of each type of dice as I used them for demo gaming and that allowed a higher number of combinations to be played over two tables at the same time) with one exception (the Last Romans, see below).
On the other if you have the old rules I am not sure I would be a position to strongly insist you should do or feel the same. It is still Saga after all. However, I do hope that more supplements covering other Ages will be developed and made available on the back of this re-release. The pictures of some Samurai warriors in the rulebook gives an interesting hint.
This blogpost will re-introduce the factions presented in those old blog posts, with what I hope are better pictures. In addition there are some changes to the composition and I have now enough figures to do starting warbands for the 10 of the 12 included in the Age of Vikings supplement. I will further include some notes on changes to the rules (that only makes sense if you know the first edition) and finally show a few pictures of from some of the games we have played over the Easter Period with some friends and family. I hope it is of some interest – it was nice to get them on the table again.
Factions (4 pt Starter Armies)
Anyway let us look at some of the miniatures (again!, note I do not have miniatures for two of the factions but are repeating the advice I gave in Saga in 6mm – Part 12). All models, with the exception of the Irish Dogs, are from Baccus 6mm (link here) and the codes are from their catalogue to indicate what miniatures have been used. The original picture showing the whole 4pt warband have been reused here, but I have also included close ups of each unit. I am in two minds about this as I think 6mm is best shown in mass not as individual close ups (well I let you form your own opinion). When you paint bulk and fast like I do for my projects it does not always look that great in a close up – but then why not. All are on 25mm square bases, you may want to refer to that as an inch at your own peril of being 0.4mm out!
A few changes are noted in the text basically:
Reduction of a Battle Board (-3)
The Welsh and Stratchclyde Welsh now share a Battleboard
The Normans and Bretons now share a Battleboard
Their is no longer a Pagan Prince board, but I assume this one is now assumed included in the Pagan Rus board (as one of their heroic options are a Pagan Prince)
Renaming of Battle Board (+/-0)
The Frankish board is now renamed the Carolignian board
The Byzantine battleboard is now renamed the Last Romans (and actually needs a set of dice I do not have (yet!) – the Roman/Briton dice that were introduced with the Saga Aetius and Arthur rules.
Anyway here are the Warbands:
Irish Starting Warband
Welsh Starting Warbands
I have two Welsh starting warbands as there were two separate boards in the first edition – one for Welsh and one for the Mounted Strathclyde Welsh.
Scots Starting Warband
Viking Starting Warband
Norman / Breton Starting Warband
As for the Welsh this is now one Battleboards for what used to be two – the Normans and the Bretons. The difference is that the mounted Hearthguards have Javelins.
Anglo-Danes Starting Warband
Anglo-Saxon Starting Warband
Carolignians / Franks Starting Warband
Norse-Gael Starting Warband
Jomsvikings Starting Warband
The Last Romans (Byzantines)
Did not make this faction, but here are my ideas (I have the miniatures and just need to get them done).
Starting Army: Mounted Warlord (CIS01 – Seljuq Turk Heavy Cavalry), Mounted Hearthguard (CIS01 – Seljuq Turk Heavy Cavalry), Mounted Hearthguard with Bow (ASS02- Armoured Horse Archers), Warriors (EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen), Warriors with Bow (ALR05 – Archer).
Did not make this faction either, but here are my ideas (I have the miniatures and just need to get them done).
Starting army: Warlord (EMV01 -Armoured Spearmen), 2 No. Hearthguard (EMV01 -Armoured Spearmen), Warrior (EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen) and Levy with Javelins (ALR04 – Lanciarii)
Starting Army (Rus Princes based): Mounted Warlord (CFR04 – Turcopoles), 2 No. Mounted Hearthguard (CFR04 – Turcopoles), Warrior (EMV02 – Unarmoured Spearmen) and Warrior with Bow (ALR05 – Archer).
Playing the Game
Changes to the 2nd Edition Rules
You may want to skip this sections if you have no interest in what the changes are between the two versions, as this only makes some sense if you are familiar with the rules.
When reading the two rules again side by side (pun not intended) a few changes can be noted between the versions. In addition to what I will cover here the battleboards have changed but I have not yet analysed them and probably will not. I have played most of the old battle boards at least once but would felt it a step too far for the purpose of this. Doing this review/rough notes took me longer than I wanted it to take, I do not pretend I believe it is complete and may have missed or misunderstood something:
The Warlord model (base in our case) can no longer use the side by side ability
Resilience ability now allows 1 fatigue to be taken instead of 1 hit up to its limit (see below – but to lower your suspense it is now 3 fatigue markers for all units).
Only a Hearthguard model/base (within (S)hort distance) can be used to sacrifice/taking damage on behalf of the Warlord.
We obey ability now allows free activation of any action – not just movement.
The Warlord now has 8 attack dice (previous he had 5) and only generate one Saga Dice (previously it generated 2 dice)
Heroic units gets the warlord abilities as well.
Levies now generate Saga Dice if the unit has 6 or more figures – previously they did not generate any at all.
Warriors generate Saga Dice if the unit has 4 or more figures – this avoids the 1 man warrior unit being withdrawn to generate Saga dide.
The Saga Dices left on the battleboard from a previous round does not affect how many you roll in your next turn (unless the total of dice on the board + allowed Saga dice from units is higher than 8. As 8 Saga Dice is still the maximum in play at any given time).
In combat you can use 2 fatigue to cancel an enemy activation
You can spend 1 fatigue to reduce the movement of an unit activating to S(hort)
In shooting you can spend more than 1 fatigue to decrease the defending units armour, and in melee the same and also for increasing the attackers armour.
All units are now exhausted when it has 3 fatigue markers allocated to it (3 is the maximum accumulation allowed), this gives -1 to all attack dice.
All units in a group fight if they are engaged with another unit.
Movement is done in straight line (including charges/attacks)
Models (bases in this case) in a unit to stay within S(hort) from the first unit being moved – this technically means that levies at 12 models cannot create a long line. For our purposes not a big problem, we tend to play the units as 2 deep by 6 frontage (levies), 2 by 4 warriors and 1 by 4 for hearthguards. This to simulate some kind of depth in shield wall concept typical for the “Age”.
Movement is free (cost no Saga dice) if you are at L(ong) range away from any enemy and movement ends up L(ong) range from any enemy.
Shooting – combat pool maximum at Step 1 at 8 dice, final maximum at Step 3 16 dice. There is no limit on the number of defence dice that can be applied (previously twice the number of hit was the maximum).
Meele – a unit can only be engaged with one enemy units. There is no longer a step 0 (the reaction abilities are no longer being used). Maximum combat pool is now 16 at Stage 1 and double at Stage 3. As for missile there is no limit for the number of defence die than can be applied. Defending unit may choose to Cl