Following on from the last blog about terminators, the Little One and I have been doing a few more games of Terminator Genisys and we are still enjoying it. I actually ended up buying two more miniature sets, the T1000 (the liquid metal one from the second movie or to be correct mimetic polyalloy) & Infiltrator as well as the Special Endoskeletons set. I have also dusted off the old movies and although the first one (here) feels a little bit dated, with regards to the CGI, it is still a damn good movie. The second movie (here) I think is brilliant and the Little One is looking forward seeing the rest.
I have realized that if I want the Little One to get into this hobby it is not by trying to force feed him with 18th century linear tactics battles where we abstract the unit with a few models representing many or elegant mechanisms with built-in firing, damage, moral etc. Instead I think I need to, as well, offer him simple skirmish type of rules where each model represents a man, or a woman or in this case a machine, in a setting that excites him and he understands (the key here is ..as well!). It is fantastic when he gets it and we have not had so much fun since we first played X-wing or Saga together.
Finnishing (and Sovietic) touches
However, science fiction aside, I did feel obliged to continue my Chain of Command Finns and Russians so I could get some games of Chain of Command under my belt – I added some snow flock to the bases and made an entrenchment with some floor insulation blue polystyrene and a plastic base from a DVD cover (Terminator 2 – who needs covers anyway!) – I think I will make more like this. I covered it with glue and added sand, painted it chocolate brown and dry brushed it white and then added some snow around it (actually a mix of snow flock, matte modge podge and a few drops of off-white paint). Here it is.
Here is the first picture in Colour (I need to add some snow to that roof, to make it look authentic).
Chevaux de Frise
I got a question through to the blog last week that I thought potentially had some general interest. The question was about how I did the Chevaux de Frise (link to Wikipedia here) shown in some of the pictures in the Polemos Great Northern War rulebook (link here). These were shots based on the armies I did for the Fraustadt 1706 battle where the whole Saxon/Russian front line was standing behind these mobile defensive structures.
Peter Berry kindly included some pictures taken by my daughter of Swedes battling Saxons and Russians in wintery conditions as well as some Polish Panzerni and Winged Hussars in a more summery setting.
This is a high level, but I hope sufficient discussion, on how I made them (but first a few notes):
They are based on 60mm by 10mm bases, these are 2mm thick (the same thickness I use for all my bases)
They are not to scale, i.e. these are in fact large compared to the models. However, in my opinion, it does work visually.
Be careful when if you embark on trying to make these. Plan your work to avoid drilling or cutting your fingers. Also when you cut brass rod pieces make sure you are careful as small pieces may fly all over the place and cause direct damage whilst in flight or indirectly when they plant themselves into your foot at a later date. I speak from hard earned experience on (all!) these matters.
They are basically done by using model making matchsticks (That are about 5cm x 2mm x 2mm) – you can buy about 1000 of them at ebay for about £4. You need one matchstick for each base. You also need round brass rod (0.5mm) or equivalent. You will need a more than you think – normally they are sold in lengths of about 30cm and each will give you 25 pikes/spears at 12mm. Each chevaux de Frise base will need 28 pikes. 10 No. 30cm rods will give you enough to do 8 to 9 bases.
Mark up the matchstick in the middle and make seven lines with the same distance from each other and make a mark on the line in the middle.
Flip the matchstick 90 degrees and extend the original lines and make a mark in the middle between the original lines (I used a red pen to do this).
Cut it in half (do the same mark-up for the other side, or do both at the same time) – use a razor saw and cut it gently to avoid damage – do not use clippers.
Drill the holes using a 0.6mm drill bit with a model drill. It is tempting to use a sharp object and pierce through a hole but it more than often damages the matchstick, so go for the drill approach.
Cut small pieces from the brass rod. I made mine about 12mm long and stick them in your holes.
Then do the rest and slab on some PVA/White glue to make it sturdy and avoid the rod pieces to slide off, then paint it and base it up and you are done.
This is a continuation from the last post.. but first some reflections – it is that kind of time of the year after all…
I started this blog to help to promote the Saga game I ran with the help of Neil Shuck et al at the Joy of Six 2016 show about 35 weeks ago (as this is the 35th blog update and I think we have done one per week!). I continued running the blog for three reasons – (i) I actually enjoy doing the blog posting and it does not take very long to do, (ii) it helps me being more productive, and finally (iii) it seems that people do end up on this blog and the average visit ends up in more than one entry being viewed.
The blog has been running for about 8 months and I have mainly covered 6mm projects and it is likely that it will be like that moving forward. I think the scale is very rewarding when you have limited time to work on each project and want to create a visually stunning representation of a big battle. I have also tried to show this year that you can take 6mm to ‘another level’ in my Saga and Sharp Practice examples. I will be doing some more 15mm WW2 era stuff and I may even do some Halo Stuff that I have been eluding to for the last few months – but it depends on how hard pressure the little One will apply.
With the Saga project I wanted to show that for some games we can just replace the individual based with a base with a few 6mm soldiers and still run a very pleasing game. For the Sharp Practice stuff I have just scaled down everything I am playing with half inches instead of full inches. We have now done a few games and it plays really well – and set-up time is very quick. But the main reason for doing them was that they are good and solid games and I have enjoyed playing them. The drop in scale did not affect playability.
As for the main activities for next year it will be the preparation of the first installment of the Great Northern War Towards Moscow Trilogy – Lesnaya 1708 – at Joy of Six in July. It seems like ages away but I know that it will come thundering like a Swedish Gå-På attack but I think my progress so far is promising – failure, however, is not an option. There is also the dusting off to be done for the Kalisz 1706 game at Salute in April, but all is already more or less done so I am not worried about that. We will be running these games using The Twilight of the Sun King (see a little write-up here) or the Polemos GNW Rules (see here). In the background I am slowly getting on with the supply column and will show these in a future blog.
I bought a copy of the Dawns & Departures campaign supplement for Sharp Practice 2 and would like to use my 6mm FIW figures to do a campaign. This is an excellent supplement and I suggest you buy it even if do not use Sharp Practice (you can find further information here), I think it would be useful for anyone considering running a wargames campaign. I will also enjoy my finished Finnish and Soviet platoon and play some Chain of Command – I noted the useful stuff for the Winter War in the Lardies Winter Special 2016 I just bought (again from the Lardies site, here).
I will also do some forces for IABSM (see here) in 6mm and maybe some more Chain of Command Continuation war stuff in 15mm. I also have a few more lead mountain leftovers, that on reflection may trigger renewed interest – there is still some veins of good lead to be found. I may also put up some action shots as well next year, because we do play some stuff not just paint the buggers.
With regards to playing games, in addition to those mentioned above, I will try out the new Basic Impetus 2 rules (see here) and Sword and Spear (see here) using my 6mm Saga War Bands.
I think this far exceeds what I will end up doing, so as an ambition this is absolutely brilliant!
It is about having fun with your toy soldiers at the end of day. And so we have… thanks for having stopped by.
Please leave some feedback if you want, sign-up here or like the page on face book – and you will be updated on new postings!
For more on the Toward Moscow Trilogy Project, click here.
Now back to the Chain of Command Finnish Platoon for the Winter War (if you have not read the first part you should perhaps go back to the last blog, you can find it here).
The Finnish Winter War Platoon for Chain of Command
You can find the army list here from Too Fat Lardies (The Platoon Force Rating is +0 for regular and +7 for elite, 5 command dice for regular and 6 for Elite).
NOTE: As before the bases are in desperate need of some modelling snow flock – not done yet.
Platoon Headquarters – Vänrikki Ruotsalainen (Senior Leader with Pistol), Kersantti Hautamäki (Senior Leader with Rifle).
Section One – Alikersantti Linna (Junior Leader with Rifle), Rifle team (four riflemen) and SMG Team (one man with SMG and four riflemen).
Section Two – Alikersantti Paasilinia (Junior Leader with Rifle), Rifle team (three riflemen) and LMG Team (LMG with two crew one rifleman). Painted skulls on two of the helmets based on some pictures and original helmets from the war.
Section Three – Alikersantti Torvalds (Junior Leader with Rifle), Rifle team (three riflemen) and LMG Team (LMG with two crew one rifleman).
Section Four – Alikersantti Aalto (Junior Leader with Rifle), Rifle team (four riflemen) and SMG Team (one man with SMG and four riflemen).
Medical Orderly – a artillery crew member with a box painted with a cross and as by magic a medical orderly.
Engineering team – mine clearance, wire cutting, etc. This is a mix of standard and converted models.
SMGs to allocate – These are from Legion East, Resistant Rooster and Battlefront.
For the Satchel charge, Molotov cocktail and Captured SVT-38 I make a note before play (runners are not represented on the table). Terrainy objects once I get some pictures from an actual game.
I do not have a model carrying a Russian LMG (Captured). May have to do one.
AT Defense Team – these are from left to right – converted Legion East Grenade Thrower with a log, Battlefront log carrier with Peter Pig Head, Battlefront Original, Resistant Rooster Molotov Cocktail man, ditto from Battlefront and finally a grenade thrower from Legion East. A Motley Crew and mix. However they are more than ready to mess with your tank.
Anti-tank Gun, MMG and AT Rifle Team, 5 men (three with rifles) from Battlefront (not sure where the AT Gun is from though).
Sniper Team – Legion East helper and a Peter Pig German Sniper.
I am currently working on the Bofors Gun and the captured Soviet Gun – I got these from Battlefront (the 37mm beautifully designed Bofors Gun can be found in the Polish range, just get some Finnish Crew).
Forward observers – two German models from Peter Pig.
Next I need to figure out what playing surface to use, but that is for another time.
I considered just putting up some old pictures and change the titles – I might get away with it for individual units but I am afraid it would fail en masse at the Joy of Six in July next year. Anyway, joke aside and in line with the promise I solemnly made to myself I did force myself to complete a few more bases for the Project. This time 3 No. Russian Dragoon regiments (As before these are from Baccus 6mm).
Winter War – Chain of Command
A little bit of an intro
The Winter War was the invasion by Soviet Union of Finland in 1939 (30 November) to 1940 (13 April) in order to protect its interest as it, amongst other things, perceived Leningrad’s proximity to the Finnish border being a security issue. This short war showed the difference between a bad & overoptimistic plan, inadequate equipment & training for the theatre of war, unmotivated & badly led men (remember Stalin’s 1936 t0 1938 purges of the Red Army leadership) against a disciplined, trained and mobile force of highly motivated soldiers who used the arctic conditions to its advantage. Although the Soviet Union won the war it was not the quick and total victory that had been expected.
Onlookers marveled at the Finnish resolve but more importantly the incompetence and seemingly badly preparedness of the Red Army was noticed by the Germans and this is traditionally seen as one of the contributions to the start of the Barbarossa Campaign in 1941. However, although the lesson was correct in 1940 it did not consider that the Red Army had learned a few lessons too. The sobering and embarrassing experience of the War led the Red Army High command to review its performance and from this implement a number of reforms including changes to tactics, logistics, communications and training of officers. It also introduced the wider use of field mortars to support infantry, toned down the role of the political commissar, as well as the wider use of submachine guns. Although these changes were not fully implemented at the start of the Barbarossa campaign, the Red Army in 1941 was not the same army that invaded Finland in 1939.
The family on my mother’s side are Finnish and I have heard many stories from this 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. My hobby is very much related to war and 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.
I recommend you read more about the conflict here and why not get a copy of the Talvisota/Winter War movie while you are at it. There is a good youtube video with Sabaton’s Talvisota with clips from the Talvisota movie – you can find it here (this is a good one, did I say that?). Other sources on the net that are worth checking out to start with are:
Sami Korhonen’s Battle of the Winter War webpage, here (lots of links to other useful stuff) – very good source.
The Jaeger Platoon webpage – weapons, formations and some battle write-ups as well as links to other information, here.
Some war stories can be found here. It forms part of the Axis History Forum’s Winter and Continuation war forum (here) with over 1800 topics.
And three relevant and good papers:
New approaches to the study of Arctic warfare by Pasi Tuunainen, here.
Elimination of pockets in Western Lemetti during January – February 1940: Use of German Experience with Storm Troops by the Finnish VI Army Corps, by Pasi Tuunainen, here.
Finland in the Winter War by Ville Savin, on the Lardies website, here.
I find the following books useful and a good start:
The Winter War: The Russo-Finnish War of 1939-40 by William R. Trotter, link to the publisher here.
Finland at War: The Winter War 1939-40, by Vesa Nenye, Peter Munter and Toni Wirtanen (the second in the Series about the Continuation War is good too). Link to the publisher here (but could perhaps be bought cheaper elsewhere).
From a Wargaming perspective I intend to use the Chain of Command rules from Too Fat Lardies (they are really good and you can find them here). I also have a few other resources including the Skirmish Campaigns book Finland 39-40 The Winter War (This was not written for the Chain of Command rules but can easily be used for the system, and this have been discussed to some extent at the Chain of Command forum, here search for “Skirmish Campaigns and Chain of Command”).
I decided to do this project in 15mm and got myself a few packs of miniatures from Battlefront (yes 15mm Flames of War miniatures, sometimes you can find packs on ebay and other alternatives but if this fails buy it directly from Battlefront) as they were doing early war Finns and Soviets for their Rising Sun supplement (Well I got a fair few actually). The packs are still for Sale and I think they are ok – in addition buy some loose heads from Peter Pig of the German WW1 helmet and you could even buy some Japanese helmets without netting (to simulate the Swedish helmets worn by some units, the Swedish M-26 helmet is being used to make fake Japanese helmets being sold on the collectibles markets), and some German field caps and fur hats and you have some headswap options to create some variety with the same poses. Similarly for the Russian side you can get some early Sovietic helmets (known as the M-36, these were replace by the more iconic SSh-39). Your winter war Russian looks best with the pointy hats and/or the M-36 helmets.
Peter Pigs head range can be found here – snip off the head and drill a little hole, put some superglue and attach the new head (be careful and you will be fine, it is worth it).
I have added some additional things using more Peter Pig (main page here) stuff, some old Resistant Rooster stuff (here) as well as a few really old True North stuff (here, but I am not sure they are still in business?). But this is really for variety – the only issue with the Battlefront miniatures are the lack of LMGs.
Battlefront Finnish Packs Used
FI721 Jääkari Rifle Platoon (Winter) – main pack
FI722 Jääkäri SMG Platoon (Winter)
FI724 Machine-gun Platoon (Winter)
FI727 Tank-Hunter Platoon (Winter)
FSO113 Finnish Anti-tank Gun Group (Winter)
FSO112 Finnish Artillery Group (Winter)
FSO115 Finnish Sissi Troops (Winter)
SU500 45mm obr 1937 gun
FI570 76K/02 (76mm gun) (x2)
Battlefront Soviet Packs Used
SBX28 Strelkovy Company (Winter) – main pack
SSO120 Greatcoat Command & Komissar Team
SSO152 Artillery Group (Winter)
SU560 76mm obr 1927 gun (x2)
SSO153 Anti-tank Group (Winter)
SSO192 Soviet Dismounted Tank Crew
SSO151 Flame-thrower Platoon (Winter)
SU766 Sappers (Winter) Upgrade
SU002 T-26S obr 1939
SU422 Zis-5 3-ton truck (x2)
Now to some more detail on the platoons, the Soviet Platoon this week and the Finnish Platoon next.
The Soviet Platoon
You can find the full army list from Too Fat Lardies here (The Platoon Force Rating is +6 for Regular and -2 for Green, 5 Command Dice when regular and 4 when Green. The Winter war forces are regarded as Green during the initial phase (Nov-39 to Jan-40) and can be regarded as Regular after that). These are not elegant maneuvering elements – this is brute force! UHRAAAAH!
I tried to go for some variety to the coats but painted the pointy hat in the same colour (with the red star) using a field bluish colour – it gives a somewhat uniform look to the units. It works for me. I got some inspiration from some nice photos from this site – it shows some reenactors of the conflict – both Finnish and Russian.
NOTE: The bases are in desperate need of some modelling snow flock – not done yet.
Platoon Headquarters – Leytenant Tretiak (Senior Leader with Pistol), Starshina Fetisov (Senior Leader with Rifle). The Starhina is from Battlefront and the Leytenant is from Peter Pig.
Squad One – Serzhant Kasatonov (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen. All are from Battlefront.
Squad Two – Serzhant Krutov (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen.All are from Battlefront I added a flag bearer to each squad for show, not sure this is realistic – but it looks good.
Squad Three – Serzhant Larionov (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen. All are from Battlefront.
Squad Four – Serzhant Makarov (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen. All are from Battlefront.
SMG upgrade – PPD SMG – I made a few SMG armed ones based on Peter Pig winter war Russians with headswaps (using heads from the Battlefront Peaked cap miniatures or the Early Russian Helmet Head packs from Peter Pig). Not a very common weapon at this time of the war.
SVT-38 Semi-auto rifles – did not do specials for these. They were being tried during the Finnish Winter War. If they are used we just make a note and get on with it. Slightly longer than the normal rifle and a with a cartridge magazine. The initial reaction of the troops to this new rifle was negative as it was felt it was cumbersome, difficult to maintain and the magazine could fall of the rifle.
Engineering Teams – 3 men for each (Mine clearance, Wire Cutting, Demolition or what ever). These are from the Battlefront Sappers pack.
Other more terrainy stuff have to wait until I do my next battle (Minefield, Barded wire, entrenchments)
Mortar teams using the 50-PM 38 (50-mm company mortar model 1938), comes in the base winter infantry pack.
Flamethrower team, armed with the ROKS-2 Flamethrower designed to be easy to conceal on the battlefield (22.7kg, effective range 25 meters, but could fire up to 30-35 meters). The Finns captured some of these and they were later put in use as the Add to dictionary M/41-r. Nasty weapons. The are from the Flamethrower platoon pack.
For the pathetic but charming T37 see picture below, do not have a T-27 Tankette or a BA-20.
Sniper Team – this is just a standard infantry model from Battlefront without the bayonet and his spotter.
M1910 Maxim MMG (Will do a few more) – very dark picture again from Battlefront.
Political Commissar/Officer – I think this is a headswap story with a Peter Pig body and a Battlefront Peaked hat head. He is screaming out communist propaganda whilst running into the sights of the White Death.
For the T26 see the tank picture at the end. These are Battlefront.
Another infantry squad – Serzhant Pushkin (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen. This time with the early War Russian helmet bodies from Battlefront and heads from Peter Pig – Early Russian helmets.
I need to paint the 45mm AT Gun and the 75mm infantry gun, I got both these from Battlefront.
For the Kht-26 flamethrower tank and the T28 see the tank picture at the end. The Flamethrower tank is from Zvezda and the T-28 from Battlefront.
T28E (using the T28 again), see the picture below.
I hope this was of some use, I will show the Finnish Platoon next week…
/ All the very best, and seasonal greetings! Keep toy soldiering on!