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More Platoons (Soviet and Italian) for Chain of Command and Lights

Three things this week:

  • 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).

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This is an overview of some of the Poses (go back to my earlier posting here as there is a link to a review of these miniatures there from another blog highlighting some issues – I agree with this review). Great models to paint.
FOW Soviet paint set
I used this as a guide for the painting for the helmets, the two uniform colours (drybrush it first then highlight with the same colour) and the boots. However for the bedrolls I used German Camouflage Beige (821 Vallejo) and the for the bread bags (Plague Skin from Warpainter).  I gave them a light wash of brown at the end.

Using the list from the Chain of Command book we find the following information for a Russian Rifle Platoon.

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Screen capture from the Chain of Command Rulebook

So let us start with that Leytenant

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A Leytenant
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A Serzhant
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A 2-man LMG team (the ammunition carrier is an old Skytrex miniature I had lying around – they are cleary from different districts of the Great Motherland – but it works. Try it by standing up and carefully taking 5 steps back and have a look)
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The rest of the Squad, the Seven Riflemen

Add two more squads and we have our Rifle Platoon (I did 4 or these Platoons)

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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:

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A Commissar team
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Some extra Sub-Machine Gunners (these were from a separate Battlefront Pack)
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An anti-tank rifle from Skytrex
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Heavy Machine Gun from Skytrex
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Medium Machine Gunners (from the Plastic Company Box)
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Mortar teams (Peter Pig and Skytrex)
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Flamethrower team (Peter Pig and the pointer from the Platoon Box)
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Anohter Anti-tank rifle from Skytrex with the pointer from Battlefront (I had lying around)
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Forward Observer

Having placed all that on the table I still had this left.

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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

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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.

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I had this picture on my laptop but not sure where I got it.  It is the colour I was after but I made the shoes in a lighter brown.  For the uniform I dry brushed heavily the uniform with Vallejo German Camouflage Dark Green (879) and then highlighted with the same colour mix with Stone Grey (884) at a ratio of 2 to 1 (2 parts 879 and 1 part 884). I painted the helmet in German Field Grey (830).  The bread bag was painted in Khaki (988).  This is similar to what is advised by Battlefront.

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.

  • [IT762] Weapons Platoon (Bersaglieri), 23 Figures [Products] – £8
  • [IT763] Rifle Platoon (Bersaglieri), 22 Figures [Products] – £8
  • [IT765] Assault Engineer Platoon, 27 Figures  – £11.50

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.

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Overview Picture

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.

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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).

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So really looking forward to this one, for many reasons.

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…back to the Italians.

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The Tenente and one of the Sergente.
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Two Light Machine Gun teams
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A Caporale with his Rifle Group
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The Platoon with the two Squads (sorry for the half second squad and the missing Sergente.
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Anti-Tank Rifle,  I made by cuting the head of the normal Italian AT Gun from Peter Pig and replace with one of the head from the battlefront models, and added a Battlefront as a number two.
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Some SMG armed gents – for later war?
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Medium Machine Gun team (not very good picture)
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Flamethrower team
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Mortar
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Another Anti-tank rifle
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Sniper team (kind of)
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An AT-Gun made from a Peter Pig AT-gun and then some left over figures from the packs. Not very happy with this one, but good for now.

 

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.

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From the earlier blog

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.

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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.

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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).

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Side by Side – brutal vs elegant (however Galadriel may be a little bit unstable on uneven surfaces).
This picture sums it up – Galadriel is the brightest and the most pleasant light – the key criteria for me.

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.

Two Towers in action – great stuff.

“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.

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Finnish Assault Boats for Chain of Command

 

 

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“Direct your fire over there Pössi!, the clearing is full of Russians”

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.

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Here is the picture.  Looks very scary.

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.

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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.

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I made six boats (yes one is missing), two representing a machine gun team and four representing rifle squads.

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!.

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I also added the driver and an very crude engine (using some very thin drinking straws).  I will work out something that looks better at some point.

Next priming black. let dry  and get on with it.

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Boat painted in Chocolate brown (rough brush or wet brush). I had also added some boxes and bags in the boat and painted these Chocolate Brown too.
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Mix down the brown a bit and make some detailing making it look a little bit more like a wooden boat. Make rough lines on the side.
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Add some brownish wash.
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Drybrush the soldiers with Grey Green (Dark Grey that will be the base for the jacket, be the trousers and the hats).  Avoid the boots (let them stay black).
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Paint the Jackets in a lighter grey.
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Paint skin in US field drab.
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Paint leather and rifles brown (note the bread bag  is not leather – see notes below).
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Paint Helmet and breadbag Green (or Brown Violet!).
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highlight flesh with Flesh
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Highlight Leather and Rifles with Flat Earth (lighter brown really)
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Highlight breadbag in Khaki
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Gunmetal on Rifles and SMG, also the makeshift engine.
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Paint the base in a dark blue.
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Next I mixed Mod Podge (but perhaps PVA will do), some white colour and chinchilla sand.

 

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Apply the mixture to represent the “disturbed water”. The Sand creates a little bit of an effect that could be mistaken for some foamy water (if you have a good imagination).

/ that is all for this time, hope it was of some use.

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Greek WW2 Infantry Platoon for Chain of Command

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

Support options

Some extra rifle-men

Anti-tank gun

Mortar Teams

Anti-tank Rifle teams

Sniper Team

HMG 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.