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Grognard Files, Swedish Radio and Dalarna 1943 – More Progress

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Writing this after another day working from home during the Corona lock-down in Greater London – I am happy to report that my immediate and extended family are all ok. It all feels very surreal, and I hope as always that this blog will give you a few moments of being away from it all in a safe place.

Today,

  • More pictures from the Dalarna 1943 Project and being contacted by Swedish Radio
  • A note on my appearance on the Grognard Files

Dalarna 1943

I was contacted by the Swedish Radio last week, their regional Dalarna branch, about this project and recorded a short thing for their morning show today. It made me happy, I hope I did not come across as too much of an idiot whenever it is being aired.

Here is a sound file containing the segment (in Swedish, aired 03 Apr 2020)

A lot of recent progress on this project as I have finished the third batch of Prints from Sabotag3d (link here).  I am really happy to see that Paul has been shipping some round pole fences (gärdsgård) over to Sweden and consequently me not being the only one fascinated by this type of Fence. So if this appeals to someone get in contact with Paul and see what he can do for you, he makes these fences in 1/100 scale (15mm size miniatures) as well as for 28mm miniatures. But I suppose you can get them in any scale you like – it really takes us straight into the Dalarna landscape of old (and new) without to much leap of faith. We should also add that Paul also did a few damaged sections for me, to be used to illustrate the impact of an explosion or that a tank has driven through them.

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A similar piece to that used in the picture above as delivered by Sabota3d

Last time around we had done the basic village tiles and the round pole fences and it allowed to create something like this (there is a link here to an earlier blog that covers this is some detail and talks about the Falu Red colour used for the houses, etc).

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For further detailing I wanted to have some mail boxes, typical of the Swedish country side. So I sent Paul the idea and as always he returned a fantastic little print (truth is that the state post box may not have had the colour scheme and the symbol at that time, but I felt it just needed to look that way).

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I miniaturized some documents to represent some kind of messages having been posted up (perhaps about what to do in case or war, or the latest football results!), a Proganda Poster and an old Film Poster (this one a homage to my Dad, as it was the first movie he remembered seing on the big screen at a matinee viewing sometime in the 1950ies, it is the Sea Hawk with Errol Flynn – Slaghöken in Swedish), these were just printed small on a normal laser colour printer on normal print paper and cut out and glued in place.  The label on the yellow post box was made using a lable paper for a laser printer (Model by Sabotag3d)

Milk of course was collected differently in those days and milk churns would be standing on tables alongside the road, ready for collection on the morning.

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(Model by Sabotag3d)

The centre of the village is the Lanthandel that would sell you the supplies you needed.

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Ready for business (Model by Sabotag3d)
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Again some posters from the time used to add some immersion to it all. Some of the brands are still popular today.

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And finally a little petrol station, probably not that operational due to rationing, but again a not to uncommon feature in the Sweden of 1943.

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Petrol Station (model by Sabotag3d)

On top of this I have spent some time doing further features to add to the landscape and increase the immersion factor on the table.

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Made from various stuff tt scale benches (railway stuff), MC from HQ Pack, some cycles from Peter Pig, the wood piles are just cut matchsticks and looks great, and some other stuff.
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The table from a Peter Pig command set and the tools from some railways set I bought ages ago.
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Bikes from Peter Pig
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The wagon wheels and wall from Peter Pig the other stuff from the kit box

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That drawer has some Kurbits – a popular art form in my home county (Dalarna)

We laid out another table and had a game with the Little One last weekend (using the Chain of Command rules by Too Fat Lardies, link here) and then we did a lot of shots of vehicles because we could.

A Little Game

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Some random shots of Swedish WW2 Vehicles

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First out the L-series of armoured cars developed in the 1930s (1/100 model from shapeways).
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The Pansarbil M/39/M/40 was a better solution for the need of the Swedes, with improved off-road cability and maneuverability and double drive. I find it beautiful (1/100 model from Shapeways).
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Perhaps the most iconic Swedish vehicle the Terrängbil m/42 KP. It was a domestic development and allowed the infantry to keep up with the tanks and provide protection from artillery and small arms fire. You can read more about this vehicle and how this 1/100 Shapeways model was modified slightly and the riders added in an old blog post (link here). Still in trials in 1943 and sent back due to inadequate armour plating but if the Germans invade we take what we got.
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Finally we will look at the Swedish Tanks available in 1943. First the Tankette Stridsvagn m/37. There is a previous blog here that shows the how this conversion was made from and the details for the other tanks below (link here).
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Next “beast” is the M/40 Light tank Stridsvagn M/40 – many models and versions. I used this as the Generic one – an early print by Paul Edwards.
I love them. (Formed the backbone of the Irish Armoured force in 1937 and developed into the Hungarian Toldi)
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And in the medium tank class we have the M/41. These were licence built TNH Tanks (perhaps more known as the 38(t) and used by the German army in the early War Period. Later a lot of them were rebuilt for other roles)
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Finally, In the almost heavy weight class (well big medium) we have the M/42 – My favourite with – like the M/40 a domestic development.

 

The Grognard Files – First, Last and Everything

See the source image

For you not familiar with the Grognard files here is Dirk’s own summary what it is all about (stolen from his webpage).

I’m Dirk the Dice and this is the GROGNARD files podcast, talking bobbins about table-top RPGs from back in the day and today.  The Armchair Adventurers are small FRPG group that meet monthly in Bolton. We first got together thanks to a ‘small ad’ in WHITE DWARF in 1983.  We got back together in 2010 to play Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep monthly for 3 years. Playing again reignited our passion for RPGs, so we returned to some more classic campaigns from our teenage years: RuneQuest BORDERLANDS, Traveller ADVENTURE, RuneQuest GRIFFIN MOUNTAIN and Call of Cthulhu FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH. Our interest began to shift towards what had happened to RPGs during our period away from the hobby.

See the source imageI have been, in a friendly way, been pestering Dirk to do a podcast about the Middle Earth Roleplaying Game for a long time (check out #grogmerp on twitter if you do not believe me).  Last month he released part 1 of the MERP (Middle Earth Roleplaying) show and he asked me to do a “First, Last and Everything” segment for Part 2 – that is a presentation of my first, last and overall favourite RPG games.  I went for (because it is true) the first being the old Swedish RPG game Mutant (from 1984) that I have written about here on a few occasions (link some of it here, here, here and here), MERP as it is the last one I played and you can find out more about it in the two Episodes below, my everything is the classic Call of Cthulhu Rpg.

See the source imageHere are the links to the two parts of Episode 36 – Middle-Earth Role Playing (MERP) with Liz Danforth:

I did write a script for my part and it is appended below would you be interested, it may be cool to listen to it first though.

 

/ As always I do hope that this was of some interest, stay safe during these and any other times

First, Last and Everything

Hi, My name is Per and I am delighted to deliver my first, last and everything. You can find me on Twitter as Per at RollaOne or on my blog rollaone.com.

It was 1984 and I was 12 and my slightly older cousin Mika was visiting us in our little provincial town in the heartlands of Sweden, Dalarna, where if you take the wrong fork you may come upon a lonely and curious country, in areas that remind you of some Lovecraftian environment – desolate, quiet and with the occasional character sneaking around, or looking through the windows with empty stares and some doors hanging on rusty and consequently noisy hinges blowing in the wind. These are places where they say shoot-dig-keep quiet – that kind of thing. I mean all that Nordic Noir crime stuff must have come from somewhere? But most of it are quaint red houses with white trimmings, surrounded by, wait for it, round pole fences.

He, my cousin, cajoled me into buying this new game that he had played called Mutant, a game set after the catastrophe in a future Scandinavia. You could play as mutated humans & animals or be a robot from the old time (but with a messed up memory bank, with a tendency to obey orders from pure humans or those who had not too obvious mutations – later I learned they were programmed to follow Asimov’s 3 robotic Laws). You could also be a PSI-mutant with mental powers, shunned by most people with or without fur. They were like magic users but very often with defects like madness or confusion triggered by failing to use a mental ability – making it very frustrating at times, or pure (non-mutated) humans considerable sturdier and more clever than we are today and with a patronising at best to a disrespectful view on mutants. The society that had risen was roughly at the technology level of the early 19th century – you could arm yourself with a musket if you had the cash but equally common were a baseball bat and an old bin lid, or traffic sign with a moose, as a shield. It was a more organised society than in movies like Mad Max – things had calmed down. There were forbidden zones to adventure in and the dungeon equivalent were old research labs or other underground facilities with the chance of finding old tech, crazy cyber computers, frozen people from the old times or mutated beasts – sometimes all at once. The dragon equivalent were giant beetles and land sharks that swam through the earth It was my fist role-playing game and we had never heard about anything like it and it also came with some funny looking dice, but no gaming board. Just a little cardboard sheet that was used to resolve whether the character understood what the old tech item he has just found was. My cousin had never GM:ed before and actually as it turned out he had never played the game – however he spent a day reading it and the following evening a few friends and I made some characters – mine a mutated moose, a hunter, with a big club and a musket – then he very ably played us through the introductionary scenario “Mission in Mos Mosel” until the small hours ….it was love at first play….

This game has evolved to what today is known as Mutant Year 0, and a number of the modern products has given more than a nod to the old modules and adventures.

However we quickly advanced to non-Swedish rpgs – it was not as cool to play the Swedish games – at least not in those days.

We went on a School trip to London in Year 9, this was 1987, and the trip was funded to not a small part of us selling loaves of home baked breads outside a local shopping centre and we also set up a school show and invited all the parents and students – I and yet another cousin and fellow gamer Sebastian played two drunk characters and we made some crap jokes pretending to be pissed and we had a grand finale with the song “Shut uppa you face”, by Joe Dolce. In London we, equipped with a Summer of earnings from working for the local council’s real estate department cutting lawns, bushes and collecting rubbish, delivering leaflets at weekends or selling the Sunday issues of a broadsheet newspaper, bought a lot of RPG games and modules from Orcs Nest (still on Earlham Street today), Games Workshop and The Virgin shop on Oxford Street. We got Judge Dredd, MERP (Middle Earth Roleplaying Game), Call of Cthulhu, and “who ya gonna call” Ghostbusters, Top Secret, Chill, Timemaster, Paranoia and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying and god only knows what else, I remember the only non-rpg stuff I bought was the God Save the Queen single by Sex Pistols and Bob Marley’s Exodus (movement of Jah people).

But also a shout out to the Amazing swedish shop Hobby Huset in Uppsala – they had an amazing selection of RPGs in their catalogue and excellent shipping service. We sometimes even took the 1.5 hour train trip and visited the cellar it was located in and got some strange stuff from the bargain bucket. It was this shop that really opened up the hobby for us country boys.

We played so much RPG games in our youth, in people’s houses but eventually in a shed with a heater that made it bearable. We hated splitting up the group as we had to stand outside in the bloody cold freezing our Dirks off (remember this was Sweden when we had proper seasons). Later we asked our school if we could use one of the class rooms in the evening and weekends and the head teacher gave us a key and we had a hell of a good time. We had a good group with a few changes along the way, but then playing in death metal bands, national service, university education, and moving abroad split the old gang. We had our ups and downs but now 30 years or so later I can only recall the positive aspects, so to my old Grogsquad Jonas, Petri, Sebastian, Tommy, Thomas, Magnus, Micke, Reidar, Erik, Petter, Christer, Anton, Fredrik and the guy who only came once and played Pendragon with us and anyone else I forgot, but also to my new Grogsquad the Adventurers Club led by Dirk, Blythy, Ed, and the Daily Dwarf, I raise my glass of vodka to you all!

Although there was a lot of fear mongering around the Rpg hobby in the mainstream media at the time, thinking we would become too introvert, turn into extremists or jump from buildings imagining we could fly, I think our parents were grateful for the fact that instead of being out drinking moonshine vodka, a speciality of the region, and making the town unsafe, we instead sat in the shed telling each other stories and rolling dice. I think we all turned out ok in the end.

In the day we shared the burden of Game Mastering in our Little but Merry band, but the longer campaigns were usually game mastered by myself or Jonas and one of the first games he ran was MERP – Middle Earth Roleplaying. Jonas was amazing with regards to preparing for campaigns and game sessions and his knowledge of Middle Earth was very deep – he had even read the Silmarillion and the Lost Tales! Later Jonas were to run a very long AD&D campaign (2nd Edition) and although I never really liked the system, his overall campaign with a mixture of shorter episodes, long running plots and reappearing protagonists was probably the best one I ever played. However back to MERP. The rules today feels old-fashioned, being a Lite version of the bigger Rolemaster System but at the time offered us some kind of balance between the always fragile characters in the basic Roleplaying system kind of game and rise of your AD&D characters toward immortality – with MERPs open-ended rolls there was always a chance that an opponent could score critical hits and do some substantial damage whatever the differences in character levels, armour class etc. You had to be careful and not every encounter would be a question of drawing a sword. And the magic system was definitely not Tolkienesque but then Jonas did not allow us to be wizards. But what was more on top of this and perhaps the real legacy of MERP was the many fantastic modules and not the rules. The modules had some fantastic drawings and amazing covers that shaped our vision of this amazing world. There were many talented artists contributing to these modules but for me there are two I would like to mention especially – first the legend Angus McBride who did some exceptional cover art for many of the MERP modules. The second artist is of course Liz Danforth who created an outstanding visual presentation of the various characters, races and creatures of this wonderful world, and by the way a big thanks to you Liz for your support to the #grogmerp campaign on Twitter. But there was more, the modules contained information about the people and lands and it felt like it stayed true to the lore but expanded where there were white spots. Herbs, requires a special mention, and were like modern mobile phone apps – there was an app, sorry I meant a herb for that. It is actually my last RPG, I played and a big part of my recent interest in the hobby.

However, there was only one game that I really really immersed myself into in the day and it was the Call of Cthulhu rpg – I guess it does not need any deeper introduction. The first time I played it was at the RPG club in my hometown that some of us used to go to and play as well as playing with the core group, the club was founded by Magnus Seter and Dan Algstrand who today are well known characters in the RPG Industry. It was an excellent way in getting to know likeminded and try out a wider array of games. The club even run a few conventions and I wrote the Call of Cthulhu Scenario for the first two – with the imaginary titles of – the Shadow in Darkness and the Dweller in the Shadow (You can actually find these on the net, but mind you they are written in Swedish). Our little band played some of the epic campaigns like the Fungi form Yuggoth (later more adequately renamed the Day of the Beast), the Spawn of Azathoth and even the Horror on the Orient Express – although our campaign derailed after a few stops. But for me it was the Arkham county series of books that really made the game come alive – we played scenarios in the Miskatonic Valley – in places straight from the Lovecraft stories like Arkham, Dunwich, Innsmouth and Kingsport. The players included Professors working at the Miskatonic University, a PE teacher who could throw a javelin like no other, a retired Major from the British Army (yes he was a hell of a Marksman with his Webley Revolver), Private Investigators, a daredevil pilot and a Medical Doctor at the Arkham Asylym. The scenarios both readymade and homebrewed focused on local events – it made it more scary and intense when reoccurring NPCs asked for help, suddenly disappeared, ended up at the Asylum, or were found dead. When you could weave in characters family trees into the scenarios with the realisation that great grandfather Elijah Waitrose was a Cthulhu cultist or that Great Aunt Tess Collie was an adventurer lost in Dreamlands. As For anyone who may not be familiar with the literature I really recommend that you read the wonderful but not for the faint hearted stories like “The Call of Cthulhu”, “The Dunwich Horror”, “Escape from Innsmouth”, “The Whisperer in Darkness” and “The Colour out of Space” to name some of my favourites. Yes, having moved on more than 30 years from that initial fascination, I know that H.P. Lovecraft probably was a man I would end up arguing with in the pub – he was a racist, homophobe etc, revealed by studying his letter and analysing some of the stories – I get it! But I was never in it for that, I was in it for the chill, sense of hopelessness in a world full of unknown things that humanity at best had a very limited understanding of, the desperate fight against overwhelming odds of getting either permanently insane or ending up dead. The sheer joy of game mastering a group of seasoned investigators in gathering clues from libraries, local newspapers, speakeasies, weird locals, etc. They, the characters, were never flashing heroes with shiny armour and glimmering swords or caped crusaders flying the flag , they were mostly normal people who endlessly fought on. Call of Cthulhu is my everything!

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Dalarna (Sweden) during the 1943 Invasion (What-if) – tiles, cars, a table and a small game of Chain of Command

If you have followed this blog you may recall that I have been working on a project relating to a “What-if” German invasion of Sweden in 1943 through the Dalarna County – where I “incidentally” was born and grew up. There is a good summary of where I got to with this project to date in a previous blog post (link here).

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Dalarna, Sweden in 1943 does not look like Normandy or the Eastern Front and one of the challenges to create the immersion is to create an overall look that feels right. A lot of the existing wargames buildings and terrain are not suitable for this theatre – the Normandy buildings looks totally out of place whilst the typical eastern European houses, whilst in wood, does not neccesarily have the right look (the common thatched roof on many of these houses are not really suitable). However I have found a few houses, barns etc that will fit.

  • The house on the left in the picture and the excellent round pole fences are made by Paul Edwards. Paul does some amazing work (Sabotag3d.com) and future blogposts will show more of the stuff he has been doing for me once I have painted them up.
  • The other houses shown in the pictures above and below are from Timecast (Eastern European 15mm buildings, link here) and Ironclad Miniatures (link here).

I have also, previously, talked about the typical red colour that was predominant, and still is, in the area – The Falu Red Colour (Falu Rödfärg).

Although the paint fell out of favour in the Urban areas during the 18th century the paint still survived and in the countryside, even today, is still the dominant type of colour.

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The origins of the pigments used for this paint was a rest product from the process of calcination of copper ore at the Mines in Falun, in the Dalarna county.  In the 16th century it was found that these pigments mixed with lineseed oil and rye flour worked as an excellent anti-weathering and preservative when applied to wood.

The Falu mine itself deserves a mention as it operated for 2000 years and at its most productive phase in the 16-17th century it produced more than 60% of the copper in Europe.  It even had its own regiment (with some infantry and cavalry units) during the Scanian War and Great Northern War era.

Every School child in the county visits the mine to learn about its glorious past – today it is not longer a working mine but a fantastic museum with a permanent exhibition as well as the opportunity to travel down to the depths of the mine.

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Farm tiles and Gas Wood Cars

As easy way to integrate your built up sections is to make tiles for a building or a set of buildings.  This allows a more defined look on the table and makes the buildings blend in better in your layout. I made mine from adhesive floor tiles from Poundland (they are made from vinyl) some acrylic paste (caulk) and sand.

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Start by marking up where you want your buildings to go. I also consider the size of the fencing around the farm.

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Then it is time to start the messy bits, with acrylics, sand and paint.

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Leave some space for the buildings but otherwise do whatever seems to fit – make sure there are paths and roads, etc.
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Paint it all brown
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Start drybrushing the surfaces. I work from a pale brown, the terracotta and then finally a pale yellow. The same as I use for all my non-desert and witner bases.
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Add some static grass and tufts

 

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With a little bit of clutter it creates small dioramas instead of putting the houses directly on the mat. it took two short evening session to make them.

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But what about these strange cars? Well if you study cars during this era, not just in Sweden you will notice the strange burners on other arrangements attached to the cars. These are utilising wood gas to power the vehicle due rationing of fossil fuels. I have rarely seen these on WW2 tables but very often in pictures so I made a few (based on some Kinder Egg vehicles I bought off ebay).

 

A game of Chain of Command

A few weeks ago the Little One and I had a small CoC (Chain of Command) infantry vs infantry game (with a tank each) mainly to test out the terrain and how it all looked together, we have a blast and we were really happy with the overall look.

I will let the picture talk for themselves.

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Whilst I love playing in Normandy or the Eastern Front I have to admit that there is something special for me with this project in terms of passion and immersion.  For this table all it really took was a type or Fence and the colour of the houses to transport us straight to Dalarna 1943.

Yes the whole thing is made up but I am trying to make the rest of it justice. As you may have figured out by now immersion is very important for all the projects I do.  It takes an extra effort, but an effort I am more than happy to make.

If you have a what-if idea or a project based on some obscure location spend some time reflecting on how things looked – study photos and find those key elements that immediately gives it away – that is your primary focus for your wargames table. If these items do not exist – consider making them yourself or contact someone like Paul who has the talent to design something in 3d for your, make it printable, print and send it to you! (Sabotag3d.com).

I hope that was of some interest, toysoldier on!

 

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GNW, Little One, Sweden 1943, Mutant 1984 and Podcasts – a review of 2019

It has been a little bit of a strange year with a lot of pressures making it difficult to devote as much time as I would like to the hobby – but in retrospect and upon reflection I seem to have been doing a lot more than I thought. I had lots of fun with the hobby and that is what it is there for!

This is a summary blog of the year and contain some additional pictures not covered in any published blogs.  I hope you will find this review interesting.  I take my hat off for all of you who engage with the blog directly, follow the roll a one page on faceboook (Roll a One, @rollaonepage) or the Per at RollaOne feed on twitter – It really matters to me – so thank you very much. I had as an unwritten rule to do a blog every week, this year I have managed to do 41 blog posts – so I failed the objective but I am happy with that. I could easily have dragged this one out over a few blogs with the extra material but wanted to make a long one of this last one.

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This is my Twitter Feed and probably the best place to follow the going-ons!

The most popular blog post this year was this one detailing how you can enhance your 6mm, or any scale, pictures using your computer screen.  Bleeding obvious to me but a lot of people have found it useful!

Background to your Miniatures – a little trick

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This blog post has a lot of pictures and links (these are the underlined sections, they lead directly to the blog post I am talking about) and basically covers:

  • Poltava 1709 and Joy of Six 2019
  • Battle of Lund 1676 project
  • Gaming with the Little One and a book from Henry Hyde
  • WW2 What-if Invasion of Sweden in 1943 and roundpole fences
  • The Mutant 1984 Project and our Christmas Mutant Dinosaur Hunt
  • Being on Podcasts and some other stuff

Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six 2019

This was the culmination of a three year project covering the Russian Campaign of the Great Northern War and this year I presented Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six show in Sheffield.  This has been a fantastic project and this 16 by 5 feet table actually made me somewhat emotional when I first put it up on the Show (but then each one is pretty special at the time). I did plenty of blog posts about the project this year, you can find them below.  We will put up the table again in 2020 at Salute in April.  This project was done using 6mm Baccus miniatures.

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Overview of Poltava, the Monastery and the Swedish Camp
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Overview of the Redoubts and field outside the Russian Camp

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Detail of the Swedish Camp
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I was really happy with the Poltava model

Here are some of the blog-posts covering this topic ( The last few are the finished article the others about how various elements were done).

Some progress on the Poltava Battle and Grand Thoughts (TMT)

Poltava Town done (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – the Swedish Camp (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Redoubts and Casualty Markers (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Playing with Matches (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Plush Foam Fields (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Total Battle Village Tiles (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Trees, tree Bases and small rocks (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Siege Lines and the King (TMT)

All revved up and ready to go to Joy of Six (2019)!

Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six 2019 – the Grand Finale of the Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT)

Passing through Joy of Six 2019

What is up next? Great Northern War, Scanian War and some Bonus Pictures of Poltava 1709

Battle of Lund 1676

My next bigger 6mm project is the Battle of Lund in 1676. This is one of the most famous battles of the Scanian Wars.  I am doing this using the fantastic Wars of the Sun King range by Baccus 6mm.

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Rauch’s Geworbne Cavalry Regiment
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Prince Georg’s Regiment – a Danish regiment looking more Swedish than meatballs!

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Sea, Six and Scanian War – and a few Podcasts

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 1 – Danish Cavalry

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 2 – Danish Cavalry

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 3 – Danish Cavalry and a note on Winter Basing

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 4 – Danish Cavalry and some Aerosans

Gaming with the Little One and a book from Henry Hyde

I have had immense pleasure in engaging with the Little One yet again this year in painting, playing games and going to a few events together.  He even wrote a review of the Airfix Battles Rules and about his day at Salute on the Blog.  When I asked him about the highlights this year he told me that it was the book he was sent by Henry Hyde, the day we had playing Mike Whitaker’s Omaha game and doing the Star Wars Legion miniatures (more in the links at the end of this section).

The Little One and I met Henry Hyde at Salute (who of course wrote the Wargames Compendium, was the editor for Miniature Wargames & Battlegames and now runs the Battlegames Patreon Site that I am a supporter of, see link here https://battlegames.co.uk/patreon-supporters/ . Please check it out as there is a lot of good stuff there in terms of podcasts, videos and articles – whether you are a supporter or not).

On the way back Max realised that the Henry we had met was the same guy that had written the Wargames Compendium, a book he really loves, and said that he should have asked for an autograph.  I mentioned this to Henry and a few days later, to our great surprise and delight, a parcel arrived with a letter and a book.

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It is was an enormously generous gesture and one of those moments I think the Little One will carry with him for his whole life – many thanks Henry!  The Little One then read the Featherstone book and wrote a letter he sent to Henry that made me really proud.

Dear Henry,

Many thanks for sending me the Donald Featherstone book, it was very kind of you and it made me feel very special. I like the words you wrote and I will keep this book forever. It has taken me some time to finish the book as I have had a few other things going on.
I enjoyed the introduction where he writes about ‘what wargaming is’ and also the overview of the different periods for wargaming – my favourite period is WW2. You have so many different aspects of things going on – on land, in the air, on and under the water and you are not sitting around in a trench for four years as in the Great War. At the very end of the book he writes something I really liked!
“General Sherman, of American Civil War fame, is quoted as saying, ‘War is Hell’. So it is, and perhaps the wargamer, seeing just how helpless his little plastic figures are against the dice simulated effects of cannon and muskets, will appreciate more than ever the utter futility of real war.”

I also have a copy of your book, The Wargaming Compendium, and I think it is the best book a wargamer can get as it covers everything you need to know. In particular I like the chapter on understanding sizes, scales and chance. I love the picture on page 17 showing the different scales.

I hear you are writing another one and I hope it is going really well!
I know you like the Horse and Musket period so I thought you might like this Kings Carabineer from the Battle of Blenheim 1704 and a book about the Battle of Poltava.

Hope to see you again soon,

Max

We also went to Mike Whitaker’s house and played on his fantastic Omaha Beach board, and we wrote about it here https://rollaone.com/2019/11/18/omaha-beach-iabsm-with-the-little-one/ .

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It was an absolute privilege playing on Mike’s table

We also painted up a lot Star Wars legion miniatures and terrain that we wrote a few blog posts about (more in the links below).

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The Little One’s review of Airfix Battles

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

Star Wars Legion:

Painting Star Wars Legion with the Little One

Painting Star Wars Legion with the Little One – Part 2 (+ Basing and Mats)

Readers Digest version Feb-19 – Star Wars Legion and Great Northern War

The Little One’s review of Salute 2019

Salute 2019 by the Little One

 

WW2 What-if Invasion of Sweden in 1943 and roundpole fences

Some further works was done for the 1943 German invasion forces and defending Swedes. Making some transports for the Swedes with some tanks (including conversions) and a large number of German soldiers and vehicles. I also updated the Chain of Command list for the Swedes. More in the blog posts below (that is also including a note on the visit I did to Dulwich playing Chain of Command at the Warlords Lardy Day – thanks Iain!).

One of the best things that happened to this project this year was the roundpole fences developed by Paul Edwards (@Amaz_ed on Twitter if you want to contact him, or let me know and I will pass it on) that will enable me to give that special feel of gaming in Scandinavia/Nordic much in the same way as Snake Rail fencing indicate a wargame in North America.

How is this relevant to you if you do not play anything in Norway, Finland, Sweden or Estonia (where these fences are common) – well according to some theories they were in use during Viking times so if you are doing Dark Age wargaming (or Colonials as we Norse call it). So if you want to create that little Norse settlement in your Saga game or some other game including some Vikings and want to make it feel a little bit special than maybe this beautiful fencing will be an idea.

Roundpole fencing (picture borrowed from Wikipedia – link here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundpole_fence )

I asked Paul if he could help me out and quicker than I could say Gärdsgård – the name of the fence in Swedish – I now have 4-5 meters of it and I hope you agree it looks good.

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A Mechanised Platoon is getting into position to defend against advancing Germans in 1943 (the KP-bil, was not taken into service until 1944 as the initial batch was rejected due to the weak armour plating – in this what if whatever was available was pressed into service – as they look too cool to not be part of this project).

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Some tanks in support!
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Troops embarking and jumping over the roundpole fences – it does not get more Swedish than this!
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Tysken Kommer! (The German is coming!)

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Granatkastargrupp i Position, skjut mot skogsdungen! (Mortargroup in position, fire against the trees!)
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Target Spotted! Get ready to Fire!

The ones I have has been made for 15mm but Paul can make some in 6mm and 28mm too.

These are the ones I will be using for my Scanian War project.

 

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These are a few in 28mm with some Mutant 1984 characters.

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Paul also does some gate options.

I have also found a reasonable Vallejo mix for Falu Rödfärg.

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50/50 of Bloody Red and Burnt Cadmium Red…
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…gives that dark red old style colour that was more common around 1943 than the brighter red colour being popular today…
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I think if works really well….
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Beautiful design by Paul Edwards

Here are some postings for the Swedish WW2 project (as in all my posts there is plenty of pictures in each of them).  The next step is to produce two half-sized campaign for Chain of Command (or any other Platoon based set of rules).

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The two half-pint campaigns

Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Getting a Ride

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25th Panzer Division for the What-if Swedish Invasion 1943 – Part 1

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Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Getting some Heavier Support, Part 1

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Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Updated Listzz1

German Infantry Platoon(s) for the What-if attack of Sweden in 1943

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Germans for the Swedish 1943 Tourist Season and CoC in Dulwich

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The Mutant 1984 Project and our Christmas Mutant Dinosaur Hunt

This project is my Post-Apocalyptic homage to the old 1984 RPG Mutant – anything goes.

Järnringen / The Iron Ring (Mutant 1984) – Part 3 – Nordholmia Infantry Regiment

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A Sharp Practice Force for the Mutant 1984 project and Colour Sergeant Bourne from Zulu

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Border Skirmish at Hammering – Mutants who would be Emperors (Mutant 1984)

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Mutant (1984) and Death Ray Guns – from Ganesha Games!

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In addition we had a special Xmas game this year based on a vote we did on Twitter where the Mutant 1984 Dinosaur won the Day (beating Winter War, Swedish invasion 1943 and a “proper” GNW battle!).  We used a variant of the The Men who Would be King rules (the same as in the Border Skirmish above) and it was a fun game with two factions of soldiers and hunters trying to take out as many Monsters as possible (2 Dinosaurs, a Giant Beetle, a Four armed Gorilla, 2 Swedish Tigers, a Dark Young of Stubb-Nigarakan) whilst fighting each other. I did not do a write-up but instead I have included a bunch of pictures from the game.

The Swedish (Sabre Tooth) Tigers are based on the Swedish Wartime information Poster stating “En Svensk Tiger” that means both “a Swedish Tiger” and “a Swede Shuts-Up”.

See the source image

Being on Podcasts and some other stuff

Any regular reader of this blog will know that I have a few wargaming podcasts that I like to listen to whilst I paint and model – these are in no particular order the Veteran Wargamer, The Lardy Oddcast, Meeples and Miniatures, Havoc Cast Podcast, Wargames Soldiers and Strategy, Wargames Recon, Henry Hyde’s Battlechats and God’s Own Scale Podcast.  They are all excellent and whilst I occasionally listen to others, those are my solid ones I will try to listen to every time (I listen to a fair few more non-wargaming stuff like the eminent Grognards RPG Files and We have ways and Audible books).

This year I have been humbled by having been asked to come on three of these shows and talk about stuff mainly relating to the 6mm work I have been doing, but also about wargaming with children and my great passion – the Great Northern War.

A few weeks ago Neil Shuck announced that he will stop the Meeples and Miniatures podcast as he has reflected on the time it takes to do the show and other priorities like gaming with friends etc. Meeples and Miniatures has, in my opinion, become like a wargaming (and Meeples) institution and its legacy is enormous and Neil and the other presenters (Mike, Mike, Dave, Rich and all the guest presenters) should be enormously proud of having created this. I felt so honoured to be asked to attend the show and had a blast – so much that it was enough to fill two episodes (sorry!, but thanks Neil and Mike for having me).

Meeples and Miniatures, Part 1

Meeples and Miniatures, Part 2

When I listened to Sean Clarke’s episode 0 and he declared that one of his inspirations to starting his blog (focusing on 6mm an history) was the work I have been doing with this blog – it made that and many days last year. I contacted him and asked if I could come and talk to him and we had a great time talking about the 6mm stuff I have been doing but also getting an idea of Sean Clarke’s upcoming WW1 project for Joy of Six in 2020.  This is another excellent show and I really like all the episodes to date with many friends from the 6mm trenches.  The show with Robert Dunlop (No 3.) is one of the best Podcasts I heard last year.  Thanks Sean for my second outing this year – I had an absolute blast.

God’s own Scale

Henry’s Battlechat has very quickly built up an impressive catalogue of podcasts with a wide range of guests from the industry, rules designers, miniatures producers, artists, book publishers, academics, etc. I have stolen parts of Henry’s intro for this:

“Per is a wonderful ambassador of the hobby, friendly, approachable, intelligent and with a dry sense of humour that you might only notice when you’re halfway out of the door after meeting him! (Watch out for his comment about the Dark Ages being “Scandinavian colonial”!) Here, then, is this Swedish superstar of the hobby in full flow, waxing lyrical about 6mm gaming, the Great Northern War and other Scandinavian conflicts of the 17th and 18th centuries, making snow-covered terrain and the joys of being a wargaming parent.”

Thanks for having me Henry!

Henry Hyde’s Battlechat

Finally I would like to say that my favourite wargaming thing this year was the visit I did to Evesham and OML7 (Operation Market Larden No. 7) – Thanks to Ade et al for this. I met so many nice people and had a fantastic time playing some great games.

Lardy Da!, not La-Di-Da, my day(s) at OML7

I think it is over and out now!

Well almost…

The Winter War

80 years ago Finland was fighting for its independence against Soviet Union in what has become known as the Winter War.  The war has a personal connection to me as the family on my mother’s side is Finnish. We have therefore fought a few battles using the Chain of Command rules to honour and remember the people on both sides who fought and died in this war.

The war started with a Soviet Invasion of Finland without a declaration of war on the 30th November 1939, the war ended 105 days later on 13th March 1940.  More than 25,000 Finnish died and many were wounded. At the end of the War Finland was still an independent state but had lost about 10% of its territory and 12% of the population lost their homes and where re-settled.  The Soviet Union’s losses were far higher and somewhere in the order of 150,000. The campaign was badly planned and conducted by the Soviets and the Finns fought bravely and with great skill.

Here are few pictures from one of these battles, somewhere along a country road…

That was all! See you in 2020.

Germans for the Swedish 1943 Tourist Season and CoC in Dulwich

I based the two German Platoons I made last week for the Swedish 1943 Tourist Season (this being the What-if German Invasion of Sweden in 1943) on Sunday evening. These are the Skytrex 15mm ones that form part of the first part of the Campaign – the Northern Approach through Dalecarlia. This part of the Campaign will be infantry vs infantry with limited options for heavier support (perhaps an armoured car for the Germans, etc). I have a few ideas that I think will work well in a setting like this. Anyway here they are:

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Focus of the two Planned Campaigns

On Saturday I was invited to play a game of Chain of Command in Dulwich by Iain Fuller. This was one of the South London Warlords Saturday game days – they run these on the second Saturday every month – on this occasion a few Too Fat Lardies games were played. It was a really good game and although I lost I had the best of times.  It was tense and hang in the balance more than once, more than a few bad rolls but then again a few good ones too.  Chain of Command is a very enjoyable game! Below a few pictures from the day. it was nice to meet up with Iain Fuller and his chums, seeing Dave Brown again and having a chat with Rich Clarke.  I may have a solution for playtesting the Swedish Campaign stuff thanks to Iain and Des – I will get back to you shortly.

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The table for the Day – I and Iain were playing the Germans – we had a Panzergrenadier Platoon with three squads with 2 No. MG-42 each, we also had a Panzershrek team and Tripod MG-42 team as well as a Pz IV tank. We played against Dan and Glenn who had an American Platoon and a Sherman tank for Support. We were defending.
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The Americans quickly got a squad into the forest threatening the defensive position. A squad of Germans were sitting on the first floor with their LMGs aimed at the forest – a dash would be daring and deadly.
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Then came the tank
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The MMG was set up in one of the houses covering the approach road.
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All the Germans deployed in buildings at this moment
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The Americans sent out a scout platoon provoking an activation of another squad.

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A fierce fire fight broke out between two sections over the field.

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In spite of overwhelming fire power the rolls did not favour the Germans this time and they ended up withdrawing to the forest to recover some Shock.

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Glenn rolled really well at times! 5 and 6 to hit!

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I rolled less well!

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My favourite moments was the Pz IV shot…

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….that made the Sherman smoke
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What is superior firepower worth when you roll like this?

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Americans advancing down the road towards the objective of their success.

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Overwhelmed, unlucky the Germans slowly weakend!

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Seconds before the Americans overran the Jump Off point and ended the turn! – game over.
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IABSM
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General D’Armee
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Playtesting of the upcoming O-Group rules!

Lardy Da!, not La-Di-Da, my day(s) at OML7

I had the pleasure of attending the wargaming event Operation Market Larden 7 (OML7) in Evesham last weekend. I was going to go to OML6 last year but things conspired against me. Luckily, it was whispered, this one was the best one so far.

I arrived the evening before and caught the end of the drinking session at the hotel where the day would be held and a small contingent of us ended up in a pub for far too long – but good times were had.

OML7 is one of the many Lardy Days that are being arranged by various Lardy Ambassadors in the UK and also in many places abroad. Basically there were 12 games being played on the day and each participant played in two games (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). I did take some random shots but have to admit that I was a little bit like a child in sweetshop on the day and focus on the games. I had none of the stresses of a show where I put on a table or where my compulsion forces me to run around and find new shiny. The only thing to purchase were an excellent collection of old books that were being sold to support the Combat Stress charity – I bought a few.

The games played were, of course, all using the Too Fat Lardies excellent rule sets and although the lion share of the Games were using the Chain of Command (CoC) or Sharp Practice 2 (SP2) rulesets, there were also individual games using; I aint been shot Mum (IABSM), Bag the Hun (BtH) and Dux Britanniarium (DB).

I played in an excellent game of WW1 East Africa action as Lt Beaverton in charge of a supply dump on the Shore of Lake Victoria and a force of some Kings African Rifles, a few regular british and a Vickers Team. I was further supported by a platoon of Belgian Force Publique.  The Supply dump was being attacked by a company of German troops. Very well Umpired by Bob Connor and the table looked stunning.

In the afternoon I played a Bag the Hun scenario controlling some mighty machines of the Italian Airforce in a joint German and Italian attack on a convoy (somewhere near Malta in 1942) defended by Hurricanes Our side had B109s and Stukas (with bombs) and Machis/CR42s and SM79 (with torpedoes). It ended up with classic dogfighting, bombs immobilising the ships and some torpedoes in the water hitting home but not on the main objective – the tanker –  but it was great fun. This game was put on by Geoff Bond and we flew Mike Hobbs wonderful 1/600 Tumbling Dice aircraft – some excellent decaling going on there.

The day was excellent and I met a lot of people which whom I have had interaction with on Twitter and other social media – I did not manage to have a proper chat with all but I really appreciate the ones I had. I do think our little Twitter corner is a wonderful place. Normally, I judge an event on how many “arseholes” in the allegorical sense I meet, and I have to admit I met none. Just some excellent games being put on and people having a bloody good time playing them.

The evening entertainment offered a nice curry and later some more beer drinking at a local pub with a small but cheerful crowd.

A big thank you to Ade Deacon, his family and friends who arranges the event, and to the Too Fat Lardies crew (Nick, Rich and Sid) and all the other wonderful people – good stuff.

I need a pretty good reason for not coming back to OML8.

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Bye for now, see you next time!

Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Getting some Heavier Support, Part 1

 

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I have had the strawman of this blog post in my draft folder for a long time as I have stalled this part of the Swedish 1943 Invasion project until I sort out some decals etc. I have been working on the opposition though (here is a link to the last blog post on them). I do get the more than occasional question on what tanks to use for this project and what proxies are available.  Therefore with an apology in advance for the tanks presented here being 80% complete lacking the final wash, drybrush, decal and weathering. The stripy painting will be subdued by this process – I promise and hope, but looks good at the right distance as it creates some depth. The final garage will be presented in a Part 2 together with some Swedish Armoured Cars, it may even contain a little mini campaign for what a Tanker in the What-if Swedish 1943 Invasion context.

More on this project in previous blogs here (links below):

I am doing this project in 15mm and have not explored what options exists in other scales.

In essence we need 4 different tanks for Sweden in WW2, here they are (the two first models would be available in an earlier war campaign, my focus is Summer 1943 when all these models are available/in service. Each links to the relevant Wikipedia page if you want to know more about them):

Strv m/37 (available from the start of WW2) – This was the AH-IV Tankette the Swedish Army in the inter war years bought from the Czech company ČKD (Českomoravská Kolben-Daněk) company, it was produced under licence in Sweden.

The tankette was strongly modified, including the suppression of original driver’s machine gun, this variant was heavier and larger, than the AH-IV. On the turret, was placed two Swedish-made machine guns, the 8mm Ksp m/36 Strv and a commander cupola.

– Wikipedia entry “Stridsvagn m/37”

To achieve something looking similar to the Swedish version I had to do a rough conversion of a Battlefront / Flames of War model (how I did it is included in the Appendix below, with the code reference RO005) of the Romanian R1 Tankette.  I just made one of these, but they came in pack of 3, so I may do a few more of them.

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Strv m/38-39-40, generally known as the L-60 series (available from the start of WW2) – This was a Swedish tank developed in 1934, a few were exported and one of the versions is the Hungarian Toldi tank . My version is a 3D printed Toldi. They can be bought from Butlers Printed Models (BPM) in the UK – I got mine from a friend. They are a little bit of rough models, compared to other manufacturers.  You could buy a Toldi in 15mm from Battlefront as well. I did no modification on these.

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Strv m/41 (available from Dec 1942) – Licence built 38(t) a common early war tank used by the Germans. I got some Plastic Solider company (PSC) 38(t)s and did some minor but I think effectful modifications (included in the Appendix below).

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Strv m/42 (Available from April 1943) – The mighty m/42 with a 75 mm L/34 gun. I bought one from Shapeways, it was bloody excellent.  I think I will buy two more of this one (PV112B Stridsvagn m/42 (1/100) is the Shapeway reference, they cost £25 each – ouch!).

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Appendix – conversions

Stridsvagn m/37 

This was a Swedish-built version of the Czechoslovakian CKD AH-IV Tankette, it was also sold to Romania.  Battlefront does a model of this version (R1 Cavalry Light Tank Romanian, code RO005), however there are a lot of notable differences between the versions.  The Green model in the picture below is the Battlefront model whilst the black and white photos are the actual Strv m/37.

Key differences:

  • Machine Gun on the right-hand side (did not exist on the Swedish model, so I did not install it)
  • The detail on top of the tracked wheels in front is different, there is a smaller box on the Swedish version (I reshaped this part – see below)
  • The Swedish version had two MGs in the front, not one barrel (I re-did this part – see below)
  • The Swedish version had a cupola in the hatch (I added one on my version – see below)

This is how I did the conversion, a quick job as usual looking for something impressionistic and that looks more like the Swedish than the Romanian versions.

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First I hacked away a little bit of the front part (shown on the second model) ….
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…so I could shape a little box instead as seen in the picture.
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Then I removed the cannon and sanded the front of the turret flat.
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Got a piece of plastic
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Drilled two holes in it (as shown in the picture below)
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Put in two pieces of a paper clip to represent the 8mm MGs and glued a part of a plastic sprue on to of the turret to represent the commander cupola.
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Wrong order – but you get the idea.
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Piece of blue tac – I suppose you ought to use something more sturdy like green stuff – but this is Roll a One modelling – no finesse.
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Stick it on top – conversion done. The Cupola is too tall but you get the idea. I am redo this later.

 

Strv m/41

I more or less used these as they came in the box from Plastic Solider Company, however I wanted to add some spare wheels, because it looks very iconic on the n/41 and also the  hatch opened forward.

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First I cut out a wheel from the track section
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Trimmed it as good as I could
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I used instant mould – it is a plastic that goes soft in warm water and you can use it to make simple moulds – like this one.
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I pressed the plastic on the shape
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Then I used some cheap 2 part epoxy resin and put it in the mould – you do not need a lot.
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Reasonable result
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Changed my mind and drilled a whole in the original and made a new mould
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Looking better
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To reverse the hatch direction I just cut of the front and the back bit on the cupola and glued them on in the opposite way.
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Job done, looking more Swedish

/ Hope that was of some interest.

 

 

 

Featured

25th Panzer Division for the What-if Swedish Invasion 1943 – Part 1

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Some time ago I fancied doing some Swedish WW2 era soldiers for fun, originally thinking I would do some kind of border skirmish scenario or something similar. It grew in scope somewhat, I have recorded the progress so far in a number of blog posts (here, here and here).

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From the Book “The German Northern Theatre of Operations 1940-1945” by E. F. Ziemke, you can download an excellent copy of the book here. For this particular project it in the pages 252 to 264.

Current I am planning 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. So having some units for the Swedish side I really needed some suitable Germans and decided to start by doing some tanks representing the 25th Panzer Division as it was in the Summer 1943 when it was stationed in Norway.

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From the book reference above, page 262.

So from this we know that the division had the following tanks:

  • PzKpfw II
  • PzKpfw III
  • PzKpfw IV
  • Hotchkiss H39 (captured French tank)
  • Suoma S35 (captured French tank)
  • Self-Propelled assault Guns

As the Swedes on the other side did not have a very strong tank force and anti-tank capability at the time, this list is still challenging but not as devastating as a list with Tigers and Panthers for example.

In addition the division would have a number of other supporting units like Panzer grenadiers, scouts/recon, artillery etc. I will get to these later, however as this is a Chain of Command project, I am not interested in some of the heavier stuff and/or supporting companies, but it would be fun to include some scout types as I read somewhere that they were mainly on Motorcycles and did not have armoured cars, etc.

However back to the focus of today – the tanks.

First I had to decide on how to paint them, my initial idea was to just make them Panzer Grey but since the directive was to paint them in dunkelgelb  was issued earlier in the year, I asked people on twitter for some advice and got may helpful hints, like this one from Petri Niemenien (thank you):

To be specific, Feb 1943: Dunkelgelb RAL 7028 base coat + Rotbraun RAL 8017 and Olivgrün RAL 6003 stripes 😉

So, and I noted this down mainly for myself, this is the process I used (it creates some reasonable and quick results, it works for my table):

  1. I used Plastic Soldiers Tank Spray Dunkelgelb (link here) cans – awesome product to be honest, saved me a lot of time. But you could of course use a brush.
  2. Then I dabbed/stipple (use a thin wasted brush) on the Olive Green mixed with the Dunkelgelb paint (4:1 mix to tone it down) forming some 2-3mm stripes – I used the paints in the picture below, but anyone will do. The MIG paints are a little bit runny and work great for this, if you use other paints water them down somewhat, I want to have some of the primer shining through.
  3. The same with the Rotbraun (reddish brown).
  4. Then I highlighted the green stripes with the Oliver Green unmixed, tried to do a line in the middle kind of – do not paint stipple it on.
  5. For the Rotbrown stripes, use the colour again but mix in some dark brown (I used burnt umber).  Again highlight the middle.
  6. Let it dry
  7. Wash the tank with a light brownish wash – I used Army Painter Quickshade – Soft Tone.
  8. Let it dry
  9. Drybrush with the Dunkelgelb
  10. Do the details as appropriate.
  11. Put on Decals (I used Plastic Soldier Company Decals for mine).
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(I) Army Painter Quickshade Soft Tone, (ii) Vallejo burnt Umber 941, (iii) Mig RAL 7028 DUNKELGELB AUS ’44 DG III (for highlighting, this is paler than the mid-war version, so get one of those if you are not using the army painter spray), (iv) MIG RAL 6003 OLIVGRÜN OPT.2 and (v) MIG Red Brown Shadow.

I will do some further weathering but will perhaps add some division insignia decals (I will do these myself later) and decide what time of the year the actual invasion “happens” so will wait with that and do it when all is completed.

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Divisional Insignia, 25th Panzeer

I really fancied the idea of including some of the French captured tanks – as they are rarely seen on a wargames table unless it is depicting France in 1940. I went to the Tank Museum in Saumur in 2016 and really enjoyed the French tanks in the collection.

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Wonder if the other ones in the Platoon were called Athos, Porthos and Aramis?
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This is the Somua S35
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This is the Hotchkiss H39

 

I bought three each of these French tanks from Peter Pig (link here) and they are brilliant metal models with limited parts, just ensure you use either 2 part epoxy glue or some milliput or equivalent when you assemble them to ensure strength and durability.

The French tank had cupolas instead of hatches on top and in many cases the Germans added hatches on top.  I did not modify the H39s but on the S35 a used a modelling knife and did a cut in the middle of the cupola to represent a hatch on two of them and a tank commander with some improvised hatches (I cut some plastic Sherman hatches roughly from a Plastic Soldier Company sprue the Little One had not used).

Here are the H39s (Peter Pig)

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..and the S35s (Peter Pig)

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Note the cut on top of the Cupola, creates the illusion of a double hatch, also the DIY hatches on the one with the visible commander.

Then the standard German tanks, first out PzKpfw II.

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Then the PzKpfw III.

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So now we have some options, and good progress overall on the tank front.

  • PzKpfw II (done)
  • PzKpfw III (done)
  • PzKpfw IV
  • Hotchkiss H39 (done)
  • Suoma S35 (done)
  • Self-Propelled assault Guns

I guess next I will do some PzKpfw IVs and StuGs but fancy including some early other Self Propelled Guns as well – but that will be the next binge batch some other time.

By the way I also did some Hanomags and command vehicles… (all from Peter Pig, except the Befehlswagen that is from Skytrex, this is the last vehicle in the second Picture)

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If you have any information about the 25th Panzer Division that could be relevant up to them leaving Norway in 1943 I would be more than interested. Also any books that may include some coverage of the Division or the individual regiments/battalions that formed it, etc.

  • Panzer Regiment 9
  • Panzer Grenadier Regiment 146
  • Panzer Grenadier Regiment 147
  • Panzer Artillery Regiment 91(undersized)
  • Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion 25
  • Motorcycle Battalion 8
  • Panzerjäger Battalion 87(Tank Destroyer Battalion)
  • Panzer Engineer Battalion 87
  • Panzer Signal Battalion 87
  • Panzer Pioneer Battalion 87
  • Feldersatz Battalion (Field Replacement Battalion)

 

/ Hope that was of some interest

 

 

 

 

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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!

Featured

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

Featured

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).

Compacted versions
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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