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.

 

 

 

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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

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

Three things this week:

  • Soviet Platoon/Company for Chain of Command (Finnish Continuation War)
  • Bersaglieri Platoon for Chain of Command (Greek 1940-41)
  • My lighting solution(s) for my travel rig

Soviet Platoon for Chain of Command (Finnish Continuation War) with Support

Had some marathon sessions last week to paint up a company box of plastic Russians/Soviets from Battlefront (Product code SBX33 Strelkovy Company in Plastic, at £28, but I got mine cheaper on ebay), with some additional miniatures from Skytrex (LMG second men, AT Rifles), Mortars from Peter Pig and further SMG men from Battlefront. I did the photos after having based them so there is still some static grass on the figures in some places – sorry!

These guys will fight the Finnish Platoon I made earlier (link here).

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

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

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Screen capture from the Chain of Command Rulebook

So let us start with that Leytenant

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

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

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Some of the support options I made this week (in addition I have plenty of tanks from my What a Tanker stuff I made earlier this year, just need to add some Infantry Gun and Anti-tank Guns:

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

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

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So there is enough for more Platoons for a large game of Chain of Command, or even a IABSG.

Bersaglieri Platoon for Greece 1940-41 with some Supports

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Whilst I was on holiday in Rhodes, Greece, I painted a Greek Platoon that I had lying around on the lead mountain (here is a link to that one).  Below some picture of this platoon.

 

I got really inspired and decided to paint up a platoon of Italian Bersaglieri – Italian light elite infantry with those cool black feathers (actually capercaille feathers). To fight these brave Greeks. By the way Bersaglieri means marksman.

I love the intensity in this video showing them in action in the beginning – it is a propaganda video and I have no idea what they are saying and I especially like the part where they are pulling the AT Gun up the slope about 30 seconds in – quality.

I have seen these previously on the wargames table in the North African Theatre with the tropical helmets and light coloured uniforms and later in the war during the Italian campaign with a light khaki top and brown trousers.  However for the Greek campaign the sources I found suggest a much darker uniform at this point and I have gone for this in doing these. I guess this uniform would work for the attack of Southern France in 1940 as well as for Barbarossa.

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

I got the models from Battlefront and I used the following packs (unless stated otherwise stated in the text) to make the platoon and the supports (prices in british pounds from Battlefronts webpage, I got mine about 10% cheaper from ebay).  I really like the models but there is some flash especially on the two firing rifle poses and some of the rifles are a little bit weak so be careful.

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

I need to get some more infantry Guns and perhaps a small tank, anyway this is the platoon and the support option at this point in time.

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Overview Picture

As a basis for the platoon I used the list from the Too Fat Lardies webpage (link here), however this is a list for a Fucilieri platoon in Africa so may not be correct (if yoy know it is not and are reading this could you please let me know through the contact or comment on this blog).  Anyway it is an assumption for now.

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By the way Too Fat Lardies are soon to issue a new supplement for Chain of Command that maybe will contain further information on the Bersaglieri at this point in time.  I am very excited about this as I have painted platoons for Germans, French and BEF (and a few on the lead mountain).  In addition they will include rules that will be useful for my Continuation War scenarios as there will be rules for bikes (remember Lt. Eero Perkolas platoon in the movie Ambush [ Rukajärven tie] ) and boat assaults (see this link, if you do not understand why I am excited about this).

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

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…back to the Italians.

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

 

Let there be light!

Earlier (link here) I wrote about my current work situation requiring me to stay away form home in hotels a few evenings every week and about taking back the hobby time in bringing a “painting and basing rig” with me.

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From the earlier blog

However there was an issue and I made a promise.

Light is a problem in hotel rooms and I have invested in a travel led lamp that will be a very welcome addition to the “rig!” but it is waiting for me in the house at the moment. I will get back to you with my verdict.  

I find it difficult to focus if I paint in a poor light environment and I quickly get tired – affecting both quality (can’t see properly) and output (can’t do it for long).  So something needed to be done.

I actually “splashed” out and bought two slightly different lamps and what follow is a little bit of a discussion or a review if you wish.  I did not do any research prior to buying these so there may be better and more cost effective ones – this is just my view on the two I did buy.  I have no technical knowledge of light and it is just based on my opinion and what seems to work for me – have I caveated myself sufficiently?

First out is Ideaworks super bright portable LED lamp, I call this one Gimli.

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Gimli – £9.27 from Amazon UK

This one folds into a little compact box (13 X 7 X 4.5cm) and is powered by 4 No. AA batteries or by USB cable. I have only used this one using the USB cable so I do not know how long the batteries will lasts. There are also three levels of light that can be used 30%, 50% and 100%.

Second is the taller but with more sleek design, MoKo Portable LED Desk Lamp, I call this one Galadriel.

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Galadriel – £22.99 from Amazon UK

This taller but slimmer lamp (23 x 5 x 2.5cm)has an internal rechargeable battery and can also be powered via USB cable. The battery can also be used as charger for your other gadgets (2800 mAh, this in theory is more than sufficient to charge an iPhone from 0 to 100% once) – so a handy additional feature.  Further the battery lasts for about 7-8 hours according to the product blur (but there is a deterioration of strength during use).

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

So overall I am most happy with Galadriel as the light is better, but in addition she takes less space (they both weight about the same, when Gimli has the 4 AA batteries added) and further she has the added feature as a back-up power bank. I recall one of  my University Lecturers saying that price is an information carrier and in this instance it is correct.  I used it whilst on holiday and I am more than happy with the product.

However, as I now have them both I think I will use them together as this gives the even a better light experience. They are my two Towers.

Two Towers in action – great stuff.

“Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-Dûm in Elder Days before the fall of the mighty kings beneath the stone. She looked upon Gimli, who sat glowering and sad, and she smiled. And the Dwarf, hearing the names given in his own ancient tongue, looked up and met her eyes; and it seemed to him that he looked suddenly into the heart of an enemy and saw there love and understanding. Wonder came into his face, and then he smiled in answer.

He rose clumsily and bowed in dwarf-fashion, saying: „Yet more fair is the living land of Lórien, and the Lady Galadriel is above all the jewels that lie in the earth!

from the Two Towers by Tolkien

The point is whether you are painting at home or roaming the land, make sure that you have good light as it make the experience easier, more enjoyable and less tiring.

/ Hope that was of some interest, time to put on a few colours and then switch off the light. By the way here is a picture from the movie I referred to earlier Ambush/Rukajärven tie showing the Finnish soldiers with their bikes.

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Featured

Finnish Assault Boats for Chain of Command

 

 

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

I often see posts like “What movies/books inspires you to Wargame” on forums and it is an interesting question and very often the answers leads me to find new and interesting potential projects.  As I have mentioned on a number of occasions I went to the Cinema when I went “home” to Sweden over Christmas last year to see “Unknown Soldier” based on the book by Linna.  It is one of the most famous Finnish books and is set during the Continuation war (you can read more about the book here) 1941 to 1944, between Finland and the Sovietic Union (or Russia if you prefer) – you can find out more about this war here.

One of the scenes in the Unknown Soldier movie shows a Finnish attack using assault boats – I really found this scene inspiring and have been thinking about doing a scenario starting with a reinforced infantry platoon, and a half Machine Gun platoon, in six boats pushing forward during a Finnish Barrage off the opposing side (with unknown effect) and with a chance of individual boats being hit by enemy fire, with some possibility of doing the Russian side some further damage with the Machine Gun or perhaps even Rifle fire. Then the boats would be used as initial Jump-off Points and then the scenario would play as a normal Chain of Command (or Bolt Action or whatever platoon based rule set you prefer), with the possibility of having lost units/men on both side before the actual engagement.

Here is a screenshot of the scene from one of the movie trailers on the net.

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Here is the picture.  Looks very scary.

I recently did a Finnish Rifle Platoon in 15mm (here is a blog write-up) and have got enough miniatures to do another one, however in doing this I ended up with a pile of Finnish Soldiers I did not need.  I also had a few boats I had made for another project some time ago (do not ask, but it involved making molds and using clear resin).  These boats are not based on the Assault Boat in the pictures and the men, as you will see,  on them are more dynamic and all-over the place than would be the case in reality.  but I felt inspired yesterday so they had to do – and what the lack in historical or procedural accuracy I think they make up in looking cool!

Here are a few pictures on how they ended up, for anyone interested there is a little discussion after this on how they were made and  the painting (more writtten as I guide for myself, if I want to do more).

Here we go…  (all miniatures by Battlefront, from their Finnish range, 15mm scale).  I think they are good enough for a game.

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Thanks for hanging on so far, now some notes on how they were made and some notes for me on the painting.

Assault Boat Notes

I had six boats I had made previously lying around and I still have the mold somewhere to do more if I need – I used a clear casting resin I had used for some water effects.  I cut off the bases on the miniatures and bent some legs when required and tried to get a look of some action maybe just as the boat enters the “final destination” and the section are ready to jump off and attack.

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

I then glued each boat on a plastic base (I used two dvd covers) with the front end slightly elevated. I then added some filler around and tried to give it some irregular shape and waviness!.

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

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

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

 

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

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