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Some Platoons for France 1940 and a kind of a review by the Little One of Airfix Battles

I have finally finished my France 1940 15mm Platoons I have been working on.  I intend to use these with the excellent Too Fat Lardies France 1940 supplement I bought some time ago (link here).  I have talked about the book before and it is a fantastic resource for any Platoon based WW2 Gaming.  Here they are, I used Skytrex (link here) and Peter Pig (link here) miniatures.

I bought the Little One a copy of the Airfix Battle game for us to try out over Christmas and we took it with us to the holidays in Sweden. He rather likes it and I thought why not ask him to write a short review/reflection of the game I have added it at the end of this blog post.

British 1940 Regulation Platoon (Skytrex and Peter Pig)

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Platoon Structure with support (note that I made prone Bren Gunner Teams as well as walking, with the same for Boyes Anti-tank team and the 2″ inch mortar team).
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I think these relatively old Skytrex Models are just fine.
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I did base them eventually – part of Machine Gun Team and a 2pdr AT Gun (these are Peter Pig)
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Peter Pig Anti-Tank Rifle Teams
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2″ mortar teams
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A British Squad (All Skytrex apart from the Bren Gunner from Peter Pig) on the left and the Platoon Sgt and the Lt on the right (both from Peter Pig)

German First Wave Platoon (Peter Pig)

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Some regulars and a Sniper
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Infantry Gun
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Platoon Structure with Supports
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Based up Squad on the Left and Platoon HQ on the left

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Mortar and Anti-tank Rifle Teams
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Nice weekend of basing

 

Airfix Battles – A review by the Little One

I find Airfix Battles a good game because everything you need sits in a small box – flat miniature soldiers, tanks and guns. The rules are simple to understand for a 10-year old wargamer. However I have played a lot of games before so maybe they are a little bit more difficult for you.  There a paper sheets that are used to play on and some terrain features you place on the mat. These are ruins, hedges and difficult ground.  It takes on some things that I like with WW2, such as Tigers, Bazookas and Pak-40 guns.  However, it is a little bit unrealistic as you can shoot in a curved trajectory (kind of) and mortars and artillery do not seem very powerful – I read in a book that artillery was the biggest cause of death in WW2. Also the ranges are a little bit strange, the MG-34, Browning and Sniper Rifle has the same range.  My Papa, that is what I call my dad, tells me there should be figures with the game, but we have plenty at home and the flats works well for travel.  It also shows how dangerous war is – so you have to manage your units carefully and protect your commanders as they are important to allow you do things like getting cards and playing orders.  You can also use the set to play other games on while you travel, we played What a Tanker using the Panzers vs the Shermans – that was fun!

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The Game comes with two thin sheets of paper you can use instead of a battle mat, they look ok.
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Here are some of the unit cards, showing a lot of useful information like the number of stars (this is how much the unit is worth), how may are in the unit, what the units skill is (the dice), how much it moves, what weapons it carries (with range and damage) and any special abilities.
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I like this game.  Our games have taken between 20 minutes to 2 hours.
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I think the rough terrain markers are funny – maybe they could have used something less boring like some stony ground of something.  My Papa hates markers like this – I am less bothered and just get on with things.  That is clearly one of his rolls by the way.

The other day we used miniatures to play the game, it made my Papa a little bit happier and we had a very good time.  He does not like this game as much as I do.  I really like it.  There is also a way you can play against yourself in Solo mode – I like it and it is harder than playing against Papa because I roll very well for both sides.

I really like games and I think I have learned a few things from this one that I will try to use in my own rule set I have been working on.

As Papa would have said, I hope that was of some interest.

– The Little One (you can read more about the game here)

Below are some more of the pictures we have taken of our games.

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2018 is almost over…

I had a lot of fun with the hobby in 2018 and this is my year end account of a lot of the things that has been and some things to come.  I really hope that your 2019 will be great and I am really grateful for all of you who visit this blog on a regular or occasional basis. One of the best things, this year, is that the Little One is getting more interested and involved in the hobby – thanks Mate!

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Also a big thank you to Nick Dorrell, who I did the Horka Battle with at Joy of Six in the Summer, also all the Twitter people (it is a very nice place to be, I call myself Per at Roll a One there), and all the fantastic hobby related podcasts I listen to in between the audible books whilst I try to put paint in the right places. These include, the Too Fat Lardies Oddcast, the Veteran Wargames, the Grognard’s Files, the WSS Podcast, Henry Hyde’s Battlegames (not strictly a podcast but he has done a lot of great ones this year), Wargames Recon, and Trouble at T’Mill.

I also regularly listen to the Meeples and Miniatures podcast and inspired by them the Little One and I thought we would do our own top 5 games we played this year, in no particular order.

  • What a Tanker – this is so much fun and it inspired me to do a lot of Russian and Finnish tanks during the Sovietic Summer Offensive 1944. I also did a List for the Finnish Tanker (see more below). A brilliantly simple, but not simplistic game, that I really recommend anyone to try (link to the rules here).
  • Bag the Hun – Provoked by some of the Twitter chums, you know who you are, but again got me a reason to explore some of the Finnish connection. The Finns basically flew the shit of the machines they had and painting those tumbling dice plane has been great fun (see more below). We only did a few games to learn the rules – we will definitely fly more next year (link to the rules here).
  • Maurice – we just pulled this out for our Christmas game but ended up playing another two games in the last few days. I had forgotten how good of a game this is, it really gives a very nice feeling of the larger battle with the cards adding that narrative feel and grand excitement to the outcome of the battle.  I wrote about this battle in the last blog post (see here) and a link to the rules here.
  • Saga – we have had fun this year using the Second edition of the rules (see more below) and we recently got the book of battles that is a fantastic product – that could be used for other games than Saga (link to the rules here).
  • Mutants and Death Ray Guns – In the quest for rule sets for my Mutant 1984 project (see more below) we have had some fun games using these rules. Perfect for smallish skirmish (link to the rules here).

Next year we are looking forward to playing all of the above, but also a few other games:

  • Star Wars Legion – the Little One got a fair amount for this game over Christmas. Looking forward to see if the force is with us or not. I am not a great fan in doing 28mm painting because it takes too long and I am crap at it – so I think we have more than our hand full with this project.
  • Chain of Command – I want to finish the Swedish platoon write-up and do a few Scenarios based on the 1943 Swedish invasion plan made by Adolf Schell.  Part of this plan had some of the lines of advance going through Dalarna (the county where I was born) in Sweden and it would be interesting to place some of the action here. I also would like to do some scenarios based on some of the fighting in the ‘Unknown Soldier’ book/movie during the Finnish Continuation war (I made some assault boats I really would like to put in a scenario). I also need to finish the Germans for the 29th Lets Go Pint sized campaign.

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Other stuff – I am excited about the Rebels and Patriot Rules, as we have enjoyed playing Pikeman’s Lament and the Rampant rules.  I also think the Little One is getting ready for a few more involved rulesets, like Twilight of the Sun King and some higher level WW2 rules.  In addition I will do the final battle of the Towards Moscow Trilogy, Poltava 1709, at Joy of Six, but plenty more of that next year.

Here are a summary of the projects I have been working on this year….

Kirbekan 1885 – 6mm Sudan/Egypt Colonial Project

This project was started this year to try out Peter Rileys draft “A Steady and Deliberate Fire” rules.  It has been fun to paint the Baccus colonial range. I will need to get some terrain together so I can have a go with the rules next year. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

Mahdist War, Battle of Kirbekan 1885 – making a start

Mahdist War, Battle of Kirbekan 1885 – a little more effort (Part 2)

Kirbekan 1885 – (Mostly) Some Mahdists

Kirbekan 1885 – End of the Beginning (Part 4)

Bison Riders – 6mm Armies of Dragon Pass Project (or something similar)

Rapier Miniatures are doing some fantastic Glorantha stuff in 6mm and 28mm, I could not resist to get a few of their Bison riders. They painted up really well. Here are few pictures and a link to the relevant blog posting below.

Riders on the Storm Bull

WW2 Platoons, 15mm for Chain of Command (or any other platoon based game)

I painted a fair few Platoons with supports this year, including a Swedish what-if platoon (with some initial notes on the composition to do a list for Chain of Command). Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – the bare bones

Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Part 2 fleshing it out

29 Let’s Go Pint Sized Campaign for CoC – the American Platoon

29 Let’s Go Pint Sized Campaign for CoC – Houses and Battlefield Clutter in 15mm

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

Russian Scout Platoon for CoC, Painting Rig and Strelkovy

Greek WW2 Infantry Platoon for Chain of Command

Finnish Continuation War – Infantry Platoon for Chain of Command

Finnish Assault Boats for Chain of Command

Winter War Terrain, 15mm Chain of Command

I also did a full set of markers etc, to use for winter war gaming of Chain of Command. I especially enjoyed doing the patrol markers and the tall pine trees. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

Markers for Winter War Chain of Command, Marching Colours and Henry Hyde

The Winter War effort continues – Making tall pine trees

More Markers for Chain of Command and Command & Colors Romans

Vulgar Display of Power – Just a little bit of progress on the Winter War Stuff

Boxing up the Winter War for a while

What a Finnish Tanker – Mikä tankkeri!, 15mm

Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below. We have played a lot of games with these rules and made a list for the Finnish Tanker so we could play Continuation War scenarios. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

Who needs a Tiger when you have Sisu? – Finnish Late Continuation War Career Ladder for What a Tanker

More options for the Finnish Tanker

Finnish Aircraft – Bag the Hun, 1/600 Tumbling Dice Airplanes

Excellent fun painting these, putting decals on and exploring this ruleset.  Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

Finnish Aircraft and a Swedish Army

The Russian Army at Horka and some more 1/600 aircraft

Got myself a Hex Mat

Horka 1708, 6mm Great Northern War, Twilight of the Sun King

This was this years grand project, the biggest one we have done to date.  Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

The What-if Battle Horka 1708 at Joy of Six 2018

(TMT) Horka 1708 – Making the Battle Mat – Part 1

(TMT) Horka 1708 – Making the Mat – Part 2 and ready and steady for Joy of Six 2018

Mutant 1984, 28mm Post-apocalyptic madness

This is my old 1980s RPG nostalgia project. I let you read up on it, I even built a 28mm log cabin. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.

Older blokes in robes! work in progress and the Grognard Files

Limited progress, but bear with me!

Pushing forward towards Moscow and Nekropolis

More Mutant 1984, other RPGs and all is the Dice’s Fault

Painted Cabin and Snowmobiles – Mutant 1984

Järnringen / The Iron Ring (Mutant 1984) – Part 1 Opening Scence

Järnringen / The Iron Ring (Mutant 1984) – Part 2 – The Attack of the Robots

Saga in 6mm

Have a look at this massive blog post.

GNW Horka 1708 update, Tiny Tin Troops, 2nd Edition Saga and Helion Books

/ I hope that was of some interest, I will be back next year at some point.

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Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Part 2 fleshing it out

His shoes are too big and his hat is too small,
His trousers are tight and his coat is too long,
But it does not matter, because he is my soldier,
Somewhere in Sweden!
– Translated from the 1940 Swedish Song “Min Soldat” (My Soldier), performed by Ulla Billquist and written by Nils Perne.

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Here is the link to the Original Song.

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Some of the Swedish Troopers and a slightly Converted 38(t) from Plastic Soldier Company

A few weeks back I presented an initial stab at a Swedish Platoon Organisation for the WW2 era (here is a link to the earlier posting) for Chain of Command.  Since then I have been working on some miniatures for the platoon and some of the support options – I will present the work to date in this blog update.  I will leave out the work I have been doing on vehicles (armoured cars and tanks, I think that will be a good one on its own) as I have not yet finished the tank markings/decals – but I am working on it with some help from some friends.

I want to state how grateful I am to the community when doing something like this, the support from all kind of places with encouragement, the research and offers of help.  I even got a fair few of 3D printed models for a Swedish Tank type sent to me by a friend on Twitter.  Good stuff!

Later blog updates will also show/discuss jump-off markers and some terrain features to make the battle field having a touch of Scandinavia – making it look as Scandinavian as a wargames table with Snake rail fencing looks American!

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Here is a clue!

I would like to do an what-if Scenario based on the operational plan developed by the commander of the 25th Panzer Division (link to Wikipedia here), Adolf von Schell, to attack Sweden with a handful of divisions from Norway.  This is described at high level in the book “Andra Världskriget och Sverige (2002)” (that translates to: The Second World War and Sweden) by Jan Linder, and contains the following picture.

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The side note states “Map showing the German Operative study against Sweden the Summer 1943”. Sketch from Ny Militar Tidskrift 1961.  The Heading of the Map states “Study of a Operation against Sweden in 1943”.  The Map show airborne attacks and the movements of divisions, the two top arrows for the “Operation II” goes through the County were the Roller of Ones was born – therefore I find this potential scenario interesting.

I have not been able to find any more information on this operation and if you are reading this and know more – please let me know.  It would be fun to do a linked campaign of fighting in some of the areas I know very well from my childhood.

It is interesting to note that the 25th Division was issued with outdated French Tanks and according to the Wikipedia entry above the following was the combat strength in 1943:

..21,000 men and fielded 14 Panzer II tanks, 62 Panzer III, 26 Panzer IV, 40 Hotchkiss H39, 15 Somua S35, and 15 Self-propelled assault guns, such as the StuG III.

It would give a nice opportunity to get some French tanks and do them in German “livery”.  However that is for the future and I have yet some research to do…

The Swedish Platoon Organisation and Models Used

In reading the old manuals there are a few changes required to the original list that are summarised below.  I will update the Platoon document at a later date.

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1940 Platoon – More pictures below

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(i) Due to allocation of runners, I have reduced the number of Riflemen in each section with one.  I need to verify this so I did 4 extra models just in case!

(ii) The first Section/Grupp had an SMG armed rifleman in the Rifle Team/Gomgången.  However, due to shortages this was not always possible, especially early in the period.

(iii) The manuals indicate the presence of two Teams/Omggångar and that there are situations when they fight as two elements – one K (Kulspruta / Light Machine Gun) and one G (Gevär / Rifle). Therefore I have re-organised the Platoon organisation in the picture to reflect these changes.

This is still work in progress and may change as I read more stuff. For the 1943 to 1945 Platoon I have made the same changes to the organisation.  Again, this is an aspirational platoon, and as you can see it offers a significant increase of fire Power with 2 SMGs per section and the M/42 Semi-Automatic Rifle, and in addition the Platoon 47mm mortar and the Anti-tank rifle.

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1943 Platoon – More Pictures Below

Part2_2I decided to make enough miniatures so that I could field a platoon at any stage of the WW2 period.  Following some discussions on twitter and a few other similar projects the 15mm Italians from Flames of War seemed to be a good match for the m/39 uniform.

This assumes the M/37 helmet and the M/39 uniform, at the time the latest equipment available.  Some units would be equipped  older uniforms and helmets, like the earlier helmet M/26 and older uniforms.

If you are doing this project in 28mm you could use the fantastic Ådalen Range that depicts interwar Swedes, these are just troops that have not had new kit – the range covers all that you need for the early war (limited poses, and there are no SMGs and the Machine Gun is perhaps a bit dated, but I think it would work and if you even use some of the earlier uniforms in the mix you may get a motley crew of ill-prepared 1940 soldiers), more information here (I have not ordered any, but they do look good.  I suggest you contact them first before you make your order – I always do).  

Anyway back to my 15mm project.

I bought the following from Battlefront

  • 1 pack of ISO101 Italian Artillery Group – gives you crew for your guns as well as some SMG armed gentlemen.
  • 2 packs of IT702 Fucilieri Platoon – your bulk infantry
  • 3 packs of ISO131 Italian Fucilieri (Late) – again gives some SMG armed soldiers and some more LMG (for simple conversion)
  • 2 pack of GSO517 7.5cm GebK15 howitzer – for the infantry gun option (more below)
  • 1 No. PL510 37mm wz.36 gun – this is the famous 37mm Bofors Anti-tank gun, used by the Poles, Finns and the Swedens (and others).

I also had some Polish Machine Guns from Batttlefront and bought the WW1 Austrian Machine Gun from Peter Pig.

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This is a picture of an enactor I found on the net, with an older helmet than the M/37.

I used the following paints for these:

  • Jacket and Trousers – Vallejo German Field Grey 70830
  • Helmet – Vallejo 70895 Gunship Green
  • Bread bag – Vallejo 70886 Green Grey
  • Leather / Belt – Vallejo 70875 Beige Brown
  • Water Bottle / Gaiters – Vallejo 70988 Khaki

I tend to use Field Drab, then Medium flesh tone for skin, saddle brown for the rifle buts.

I put a wash of army paint quick shade on top – soft tone.

The Swedish 1940 – 1943 Platoon

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The full platoon with the Platoon HQ and the 4 Sections
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Platoon HQ
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1st Section (with the SMG, he is the kneeling Soldier in the middle of the left team, from the Artillery Group Pack)

 

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2nd Section

 

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3rd Section

 

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4th Section

The Swedish 1943 to 1945 Platoon

This is the same models as above but with some swaps and the Mortar Section.

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The Platoon with the HQ, Mortar Section and 4 Rifle Sections
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Platoon HQ – note the Platoon Sergeant now has a Submachinegun.
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1st Section – As before but now Sergeant also has a Submachinegun. Note that two of the Rifel

 

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2nd Section – as the 1st Section

 

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3rd Section – as the 1st Section

 

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4th Section – as the 1st Section

 

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Mortar Section – built from a casualty Polish miniature and 2 Polish anti-tank crew from the 37mm AT Pack.

 

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The 47mm Mortar again!
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Before paining – mortar built using a paper clip and a thin spaghetti!

In addition there is an anti-tank Rifle for the Platoon, I made two of these conversions.

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The are based on a kneeling rifleman and I did the simplified rifle from some plastic coated paper clips, it shows better in the picture below.

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It also shows the simple Snipe Conversion.

Some support options

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A Sniper
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Three blokes on a base, the Engineering Team for now. Will do some conversions at some point from Peter Pig Engineers.
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Bofors 37mm Anti- Tank Guns, mix of the Italian and Polish Crew to create these dynamic bases! Perhaps they were not Camouflage painted, but his is a little bit of a what-if so I may perhaps be forgiven.
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Same as above
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Same as above

The next one was a little bit trickier, but once I found a reasonable proxy the conversion was simple, using some very thin cocktail straws I bought may years ago. I wanted to mode the Bofors 75 mm Model 1934 Mountain Gun.

It looks like this,

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Battlefront makes the GSO517 7.5cm GebK15 howitzer, it looks like this.

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I hope this sequence is self explanatory

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Again, using the models from the Artillery Group Pack!

And finally some Machine Guns, one using an old Polish MMG set and the other head swapped Austrian WW1 MMGs from Peter Pig.

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I am really enjoying this project, it is not a Labour of Love, just Love
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/ Hope it was of some interest!

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29 Let’s Go Pint Sized Campaign for CoC – Houses and Battlefield Clutter in 15mm

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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).

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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I will show more of the houses when I finished them.

/ All the best

 

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29 Let’s Go Pint Sized Campaign for CoC – the American Platoon

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Holy Shit!

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).

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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.

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The Little one dry brushing a road with great care and precision, I wish I had that dedication but I do not have the time. Joke aside he was a great help and it is nice to have some company doing this kind of stuff.

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.

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The one we bought, but I battlefront, Galeforce 9 and I believe Peter Pig does versions too.

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…

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One of the three Rifle Sections, those Shermans will also come handy for the Scenarios.
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An extra Bazooka Team taking a careful aim

 

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Some 30 cal. MMG teams in a little bit of an awkward position.
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A Sniper Team – taking out a Tank Commander
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Three Sniper teams

 

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Some extra BARs
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The Whole Platoon with the Options

And then two mortar teams finished today (apart from gun metal colours – I realize now),

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That is all we need for the American side, next the Germans….

/ Hope that was of some interest, take care

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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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Featured

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.