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.