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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.

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

A few more completed bases of the Danish Cavalry at Lund. All models from the Baccus Sun King range, link here.

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1. Fynske Nationale Rytterregiment – 3 squadrons (Col. Kristof Otto Schack)

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2. Sjællandske Nationale Rytterregiment – 3 squadrons (Col. Ditlev Rantzau)

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1. Sjællandske Nationale Rytterregiment – 3 squadrons (Maj-Gen F. Arenstorff)

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Soon 80 years ago the Winter War started

In other news it is soon 80 years ago the Winter War between Soviet and Finland started (30th November 1939). The 30th November this year is on a Saturday so the Little One and I plan on running a Winter War battle on that day.  I am not sure we will need these excellent 15mm Aerosans from QRF (link here). They are excellent little models and I have had them on the soon to be finished shelf for far too long.

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A few picture to get us in that Winter War mood! (miniatures from Battlefront).

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/Hope that was of some interest

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2018 is almost over…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kirbekan 1885 – 6mm Sudan/Egypt Colonial Project

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

Mahdist War, Battle of Kirbekan 1885 – making a start

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

Kirbekan 1885 – (Mostly) Some Mahdists

Kirbekan 1885 – End of the Beginning (Part 4)

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

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

Riders on the Storm Bull

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russian Scout Platoon for CoC, Painting Rig and Strelkovy

Greek WW2 Infantry Platoon for Chain of Command

Finnish Continuation War – Infantry Platoon for Chain of Command

Finnish Assault Boats for Chain of Command

Winter War Terrain, 15mm Chain of Command

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

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

The Winter War effort continues – Making tall pine trees

More Markers for Chain of Command and Command & Colors Romans

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

Boxing up the Winter War for a while

What a Finnish Tanker – Mikä tankkeri!, 15mm

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

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

More options for the Finnish Tanker

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

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

Finnish Aircraft and a Swedish Army

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

Got myself a Hex Mat

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

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

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

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

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

Mutant 1984, 28mm Post-apocalyptic madness

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

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

Limited progress, but bear with me!

Pushing forward towards Moscow and Nekropolis

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

Painted Cabin and Snowmobiles – Mutant 1984

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

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

Saga in 6mm

Have a look at this massive blog post.

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

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

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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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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.

Featured

Russian Scout Platoon for CoC, Painting Rig and Strelkovy

 

 

This week, actually the last few days, I have been working on a 15mm Scout/Recon Platoon for Chain of Command to fight the Finnish platoon I did last week (see here).  The organisation of the platoon is based on the list found in the Too Fat Lardies Christmas Special 2016 (link here).  They are all from the Peter Pig (link here) range and are in 15mm scale.  I really enjoyed painting them and I think they are really nice models. If you are not familiar with Peter Pig, go and have a look at what they do – they have a very comprehensive WW2 range and a lot of specials like different type of Uniforms, Sniper, engineers, etc.

In addition Peter Pig has a lot of ranges covering War of the Roses, Samurai, English Civil War, Pirates (and even small 1/450th pirate ships), American War of Independence, American Civil War (and again some naval ships in smaller scale), Vikings & foes, colonial, wild west, great war, Spanish civil war, Vietnam and Modern Africa.  Further they sell Scenery and some fantastic rule sets (http://www.peterpig.co.uk/).

I could have painted the Scouts in a one colour  uniform but were keen to have some kind of camouflage to make them look  a little bit cooler. Artizan design have some very useful Painting Guides produced by Mick Farnworth on their webpage (link here), I found one showing Russian Leaf Patterns that I liked (link here) with only two nice contrasting colours. I then found two good colour matches (Vallejo 886 Green Grey and 887 Brown Violet – it may be called US Olive Drab nowadays).

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It is great to have these kind of guides. I just place paints until I find matches.

Then I painted the Uniform in the 887 and made small random dots with 886 on top and I think it looks good from the distance they will be looked at.

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Very happy with the test model. It certainly looks like he has some kind of camouflage on him and it looks good enough from here (yes I have since sorted the moustache from that skin tone).  Black boots, some gun metal, light brown on dark brown for leather details and the rifle.  US field drab on skin, highlighted with Medium Skin tone.  Relatively quick to do but be careful with the dots – I used a fine detailed brush for this.

Anyway, here are the completed miniatures.

Platoon Headquarters

Leytenant, Senior Leader, with Pistol

Serzhant, Junior Leader, with SMG

3 Squads each consisting of;

Serzhant, Junior Leader, with SMG

Light Machine Gun (LMG) with 2 crew

4 No. Submachine Gunners

4 No. Semi-Automatic Rifle Men (SVT40, not sure the models are, but hey!)

Support Options

Anti-tank rifle teams

50mm Mortar teams

Generic Engineering team (more a marker)

Commissar, to give the troops a kick in the arse (sorry, I meant to increase their morale)

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Mid-week Paining Solution – Getting my Hobby time back

Due to work I currently spend about 2 nights every week in hotels – it is a little bit of a change but I thought I make the best of it.  I am already getting tired of hotel bars.  I have decided to do some painting on these evenings, if I can, and have set up a little “paint-rig!”. Not very high tech and based on three old VHS boxes, and the system is modular as you can add more boxes ;).

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The three VHS Boxes
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The set-up! – (1) basing box on the left. The dark brown base, the three tone for dry brushing on top of the base layer, pva/water mix for static grass, superglue for tufts, tufts and 2 colours of static grass in bags under the paints! (2) Colours needed for current paint project in the middle box (10 Vallejo bottles can easily be fitted) and (3) the brushes and miniatures (magnetic sheet in the bottom, magnetised washers for bases, primed grey and black washed, ready for painting).  Piece of plastic for the paint, a little bowl of water and some paper, and your favourite podcast or audiobook on the iPad.

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.

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With regards to Podcast there is a new one out from the Wargames Soldiers and Strategy team that I enjoyed whilst painting yesterday, it is about participation games (link here). I wrote a blog a few weeks back that relates to this about engagement at wargames shows (link here).  Give it a go.

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Future Plans

I also plan to do 4 No. platoons of normal Strelkovy/Russian Infantry and I won a new box of Battlefront plastic 15mm Russians for £18 including postage from Ebay (they retail at about £26).  I checked them out and I like them and think they will paint up nicely. I also looked at Plastic Soldiers company pack but decided to start with the Battlefront ones – perhaps I get a PSC box in the future.  Since then I found out that the Battlefront ones are bulkier than the PSC ones and may not work together that well (thanks Ignacy Kurowski).

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To do 4 No. Platoons I will need:

  • 4 No. Senior Leaders with Pistol (there are 6 No. in the pack)
  • 12 No. Junior Leaders with SMG (there are 12 No. in the pack).
  • 12. No. LMG with 2 crew (there are 12 LMG soldiers in the pack but I would need 12 more Russian riflemen. I have some lying around I think).
  • 84 Riflemen (there are 84 No. in the pack)

In addition it comes with 6 No. MMG. These should keep me busy for a while!, but I will not start it until my Greeks are done (another story) and I have enjoyed a few weeks of leave.

/ Hope that was of some interest!, back in a bit.

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Featured

Finnish Continuation War – Infantry Platoon for Chain of Command

If you follow this blog you are aware that most of my projects end up getting some kind of Nordic twist in the end. The Little One and I have enjoyed the What a Tanker rules (link here). We have been playing this during the 1944 Summer offensive of the Finnish Continuation war. In two earlier blogs I wrote about a Finnish Career ladder based on tanks actually available as well as tanks that could have been (more in the links here and here).  In doing this I felt that I wanted more continuation war so I have painted up a Platoon of 15mm Finns from Battlefront (the same guys who makes Flames of War) and some supports, that I intend to use for playing Chain of Command by Too Fat Lardies (link here, but I suppose that the platoon can be used with any WW2 Platoon based rules).

Incidentally Osprey’s book vote this month offers the following potential title (with only a few days left).

Soviet Rifleman vs Finnish Infantryman: Continuation War 1941–44

From June 1941, Finnish troops fought alongside German and other forces against the Soviets. After recovering territory lost in 1940, the Finns participated in the siege of Leningrad before facing a renewed Soviet onslaught in mid-1944.

In my option there is far too little produced on the Continuation War in English – if you find this period interesting please click and vote here.  Back to the platoon.

From the excellent Jaeger platoon webpage (link here) we find the following information on the Infantry Company from 1943 to 1944 (there is also information there if you would like to run a Machine Gun platoon or an Anti-tank platoon, both these could offer some interesting battles):

  • Command Squad
  • Gas Protection Section
  • Antitank Squad
  • 3 Rifle Platoons (4th Platoon usually only on paper), in each rifle platoon

Command Squad

– Lieutenant/2nd Lieutenant (pistol and/or submachinegun)

– Platoon Sergeant (submachinegun)

– 2 men (messengers) (rifles)

4 Rifle Squads, 9 men in each squad

– Corporal (submachinegun)

– 8 men (light machinegun + submachinegun + 6 rifles)

Relatively straightforward, here is a Rifle Squad.

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The Finnish squad, the Alikersantti (Corporal)  in the Front with a Suomi Submachine gun, leading his squad of six rifle men,  submachine gunner and a light machine gunner (the domestic Lahti, that was relatively unpopular but since I do not have any with captured Russian LMG this will have to do).  The LMG comes in the Jalkaväki Platoon (FI702), this is standard infantry, see more below of what the pack contains (however I have had some variation in the content for the packs I have bought). To get sufficient amount of SMGs you need to buy the Jääkari Platoon (FI703).  This will give you what you need.

and all of the squads

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I made all the squads the same combination of miniatures.

…and finally the company command (note that the runners are not included as per normal Chain of Command praxis).

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Vänrikki Ruotsalainen and Kersantti Pössi

In a discussion on the Too Fat Lardies forum the potential of more Submachine Guns in the squads were discussed (link here), so I did a few more submachine gunners (some of them have very big hands!).

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Some extra Submachine Gunners

In addition the Finns were equipped with both Panzerfaust and Panzershreks in the Summer of 1944.

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Some punch against those Russian Monsters! (They were being used from June 1944).  The Panzershrek was called Panssarikauhu by the Finns and the directive was to repaint them in Finnish Camouflage Colours before being used – I need to rectify that or pretend it was pressed into service without a repaint.  The Panzerfausts were called Panssarinyrkki. Before this (and after) the Finnish infantry man would have used Anti-Tank Mines, Anti-Tank Rifles, logs and Molotov cocktails in trying to stop the metal machines.

I also some did some other supports,

  • Sniper Team
  • Some Medium Machine Guns
  • A medic (a artillery chap with a green stuffed bag on the front)
  • An anti-tank gun

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I will try to get some more types of anti-tank guns and also some Anti-tank rifles, but in  combination with the tanks I already have (see the link above) the force is ready to go and try to stop the Russian Onslaught.

Here are the contents of the various platoon packs from Flames of War (to build the platoon above you need to get FI703 and FI702) :

  • FI703 Jääkari Platoon –  1 Officer with a Pistol, 1 Officer with SMG, 5 No. NCO men (I think, 3 Rifle and 2 SMG), 1 No. SMG man with AT Grenade, 8 SMG Men, 24 Riflemen
  • FI702 Jalkaväki Platoon – 3 officers (one with pistol, the other with binoculars), 5 NCOs (I think, 3 Rifle and 2 SMG), 1 SMG man with AT grenade, 4 LMG, 29 Riflemen.
  • FI706 Pioneer Platoon: 1 officer, 5 NCOs (I think, 3 Rifle and 2 SMG), 13 Pioneers with AT grenades, 18 Riflemen, 2 Flame-throwers.

In addition I got the following packages for supports:

You can buy this directly from the Flames of War website, your favourite retailer (like element games) or occasionally get some good deals on ebay.  The total cost for the above, excluding the Pioneer Platoon, is about £55, excluding postage.  This gives a lot of spare miniatures but I have a cunning plan for those at a later date – it is from one of the scenes from the recent Finnish 2017 blockbuster “The Unknown Soldier”.

Here is a trailer that contains the scene in question., 54 seconds in.

 

I actually bought the Pioneer Platoon pack, but as for variety and uniqueness it only offers the flame-thrower model.  For £12 to £14 for a pack it is perhaps not really worth it, anyway here is a flamethrower team.

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I also have some gents carrying Anti-tank mines, they can also serve as an engineering team, or part of a anti-tank hunter section (with the Panzer knockers! above).

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The platoon can now report for service, where is the enemy?.

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A lonely man is observing the advancing Finns
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He stays hidden and signals frenetically towards the Roller of Ones

Ok, ok, I only have painted one of the opposing side yet.  I thought I start out with some Russian Scouts and make a Recon Platoon (as presented in the Lardies Xmas special 2016). But in writing this I have only done a test miniature.  This one is from Peter Pigs excellent range of Russian Scouts (link here). But that is for next time…

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Привет (Hello), Roller of Ones,  Now get you act together and do my platoon!

/ Hope that was of some interest…

Note to self, paint used for the project.

Paints