These ruins do not look very good Papa, do they?

If you have followed this blog you know that I have been doing some Terminator stuff to get the Little One a little bit more involved in the non-electronic side of the gaming hobby.  Initially I wanted to get the box, paint a set and get a few games of it before going on to more things.  Last week I finished painting another starter set worth of miniatures as well as 7 specialized machines and a handful of resistance specials (this includes the ones with the headswaps from Badsquiddo Games (link here) I showed in the blog last time, see link here). Basic quick paintjobs based on the little ones preferred uniform colours and ready for the table!

I also converted an old German Paratrooper set to a resistance mortar (as these are no longer for sale) and did a headswap from a celtic dog handler to avoid the German look, I then used the three dogs in the set to do some sniffer dogs for the game (Again, these are also sold out. These are dogs that can identify a robot infiltrator and consequently the model can be attacked – in game terms the model can sneak around freely until (1) a dog handler challenges it or (2) it attacks).  I felt the game needed some sniffer dogs as well as some mortar support for the resistance.

This was based on the following two packs from Warlord Games (link here).

Obviously the ones originally produced for the game look much better (but this solution works for us!). If they are offered again the resistance of course will be futile, but until then here we are.

The game comes with some cardboard terrain, including some flat ruins as shown in the picture below.  On inspection and reflection the little one looked at me and said “These ruins do not look very good Papa, do they?”. I agreed that they didn’t but instead said, “They are ok, we just use our imagination!”, thinking that I had other things to do, like this years installment of the Towards Moscow Project that needs to be ready for the Joy of Six or, even closer, the Kalisz Battle for Salute.  I seemed to have wiggled myself of the hook!

 

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Nothing wrong with these but I find mixing 3D (like minatures) with 2D is, let us be honest, far from appealing in any sense.

 

Later that evening when the Little One was visiting Neverland I packed up the stuff from the game we had played and looked at those ruined tiles again – Nice artwork aside, they did not look that good.  I went on ebay and ordered some mdf ruins (yes I could have used 6mm floor insulation foam and cut my own shapes) but I this stage I thought I just get some mdf ruins and paint them black and drybrush them in grey – job done!

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This is what I got! I used about half of the stuff I got in doing the four ruins presented later. I, as always unless I mention it, have no affiliation with this seller and can really recommend these. It is very good value for money!

 

After a few days they arrived but when I had assembled them I got second thoughts about how to finish them and instead of just painting them after assembly I pimped them up a little bit before priming. I cut out some bases from some vinyl floor tiling material I had lying around (left over from the Saga table I did last year) and glued the ruins on top (I used hard as nails adhesive).  I then applied some PVA glue on the ground and added sand. For the walls I applied a thin, but rough coat of modelling paste on the walls. I took some stones from the garden, cut some cocktail sticks and matches into small pieces, cut up some pieces of plastic into small squares and mixed it all with PVA glue and applied it here and there. I also added some small stones on the edges of collapsed flooring and wall sections. In addition I added thin sand on top of each wall (using PVA) that was not broken (to take away the evenness of the laser cut). I also had a few crates etc I added here and there.  I ended up with this!

Once it was properly dry (With PVA it takes a while) I primed it in Black Gesso, painted the ground brown, then drybrushed it with a light brown. For the walls and rubble I just dry brushed it with a dark grey followed by a light grey. I added a few dry tufts.

I got thumbs up from the Little One and they have already been put to use in a skirmish today.  I am just waiting for him to tell me “This game mat does not look very good, does it!” (It is made of paper and from the basic box!)..

Here are some shots from the opening of that game.

So until I get the mat request, I will now fully dedicate my modelling hours to the Towards Moscow Project.  Here is the current progress, mostly thanks to Chris at Marching in Colours! A few more models to be inked, detailed, flagged-up and based.

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I also got some table flags that I will use when  I do Winter War gaming. I thought it added a nice touch, although I did surprise a friend of mine when he came over and noticed the Soviet flag. However, the explanation about using it when I played with toy soldiers seemed to make him think I was more weird than what the flag itself implied. I have also ordered a King’s Colours flag (or Great Union flag, that was used by England and Scotland up to 1801) and a Nouvelle France flag for my French Indian War Battles, and a Swedish and Tsarist Russian Flag for the Towards Moscow Battles.

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/ All the best, and although “I will be back!”, there will be no terminators next time, I promise.

 

Double Joy at Six, Tiger Lillies, bare winter trees and headswaps

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A little bit longer blog this time…

Neil Shuck doing Sharp Practice in 6mm at Joy of Six

There are some very good news indeed with regards to Joy of Six this year, from my and I believe many others perspective, as Neil Shuck will be running some Sharp Practice in 6mm using my French Indian War stuff I did last year. You may recall that I and Neil did the Saga in 6mm last year. Neil will be developing a scenario so we are not yet fully sure what will happen on the day, but we will let you know as and when the mystery unfolds.

Most of you, I suppose, know that Neil Shuck is the man behind the, in my opinion, best wargames podcast available called “Meeples and Miniatures”.  If you have not listened to Neil and his co-host give it a go, it is more than worth it (there is a link below).  I have been listening to it for years and it has given my joy, inspiration as well as sound investment advice.

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There are of course other podcasts out there, including the new, and equally, addictive Veteran Wargamer as well as the long running Wargames Recon show that are also very good.  As I have said before listening to podcasts and audiobooks is my way of keeping my hands free to do painting and modelling.

Joy of Six is a show that from one perspective could be seen as an exclusive 6mm event but that would be a very (did I say very) narrow view, instead I, and perhaps you should too, see it as a fantastic event that bring something to all wargamers.  To get an idea what it is all about you should check out the link to the show report from 2016 below. Personally it is another chance to see Dan Hodgson’s amazing Star Wars stuff that I totally missed out on last time due to the demand around the Saga tables.

Thanks Neil! Looking forward to seeing you again.

I will be running the Great Northern War Battle of Lesnaya 1708, if I ever get there!

Here are a few useful links with regards to the above:

  1. Joy of Six to be held in Sheffield on the 16th July 2017
  2. Sharp Practice in 6mm (many more associated posts on the blog)
  3. Saga in 6mm that I did with Neil last year.
  4. Joy of Six show report from 2016, Part 1 and Part 2.
  5. Meeples and Miniatures webpage, the best wargames show.
  6. Veteran Wargamers webpage, the best new wargames show.
  7. Wargames Recon webpage, the longest running wargames show on the planet.

Bare Winter Trees for my Chain of Command Winter War Project

I am finishing of the stuff I need for running some Winter War battles with regards to terrain and markers (see more background here and here). Trees are very important to get the right feeling and my current focus are on these.  I already have a fair few pine type of trees (Christmas trees) and these are just the same Summer and Winter apart from some snow flock on top,  but also wanted some bare (leaf less) winter trees.  To get the right look I have considered Sea foam (but it seems to brittle for my requirements), making it with wires (but it seems too time consuming to do large quantities) or to go out looking for twiglets (but this gives limited amount of branches, unless you look very hard!).  What follows is how I intend to do my bare forest.

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A picture of a river with some bare trees in the foreground during the Winter War, the objective of this little note.  Picture taken from SA-kuva (Finnish Armed Forces Photographs) and you can find their webpage here.

 

 I went to eBay and found these trees (see below) and thought I give it a try. As they come from China it could have taken a while to get them in the post – but I was pleasantly surprised to get them delivered in a week.

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The look pretty much like the picture and if you were in severe rush you could probably base them and field them like this.  I took a few more steps and I have written a narrative of what I did in the text for each picture on what I did. I thought this could have some general interest.

What you need:

  1. The trees shown above (go to ebay and search for them, you can by other quantities, the one above is for 50 trees 5X 10X).
  2. Something to cut with (whatever you have clippers, nail scissors, etc. The plastic is very soft)
  3. Washers (for bases) mine were 25cm in diameter.
  4. Super glue
  5. Putty or green stuff
  6. Primer (I used Black Gesso)
  7. Paints for the trunk and branches (see below for the ones I used)
  8. Modge Podge (Matte), but perhaps PVA is as good
  9. Modelling Snow Flock
  10. Some sealer (have not done that yet) – maybe a matte spray varnish would be best?

 

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As they come, a plastic brownish feel and those arrow heads at the end.  I suppose they are there to help keeping it together if you apply clump foliage. There is some nice structure on the trunk making it look like a tree.
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I cut away all the arrow heads (and also the bottom part that is still present on the picture).
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I superglued it on a washer (yes I did forget a few of the arrowheads but sorted that out later) and put some putty to support it at the bottom.
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I prime it black using Black Gesso. I find Gesso very good for priming plastic stuff.
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I used Vallejo model colour and did a heavy drybrush over the whole tree and then a 50/50 mix with whire of light drybrushing. I feel this is a better generic tree colour than the brown before!  I may do a few to look like birch trees when I do full production later.
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I applied Modge Podge (Matte) on the branches where I wanted snow to stick. Do not cover everywhere as it more effectful to see some of the branches too. Put some on the base as well. Try to put on generously wihout too much drip (if that makes sense!).
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Let it snow, I use spoon to apply the snow modelling flock from above.  Shake off and apply more Modge Podge until you are happy with the result.

 

 

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The finalized tree next to a little Cabin (I do not remember who produced these and it broke my heart covering the nicely modelled roof with Modge Podge and Snowflock!, but now I think it was worth it) and a Finnish Submachine gunner in 15mm (from Resistant Rooster I believe with a Peter Pig headswap). Maybe the trees would work in 28mm too?  I will try to make the bases less bulky in the future and will not put on any sand and keep them as they are after applying the putty as they will be covered with snow anyway. All I need to do is to put the production machine on and do another 119 of these!

 

 

Tiger Lillies

I went to see Tiger Lillies perform at the Camden Roundhouse in London this Friday. The concert was in celebration of their latest album released last week called ‘Cold Night in Soho’. It was their only gig in London as was advertised and promised as a night to remember.  As I may have uttered before, the first time I heard them I was not sure whether it was absolute rubbish or bloody brilliant – I settled for the latter and this concert yet again proved that decision was the right one, being a mixture of old and new and I really enjoyed every minute.

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This is one of those very fine British cultural treasures and to quote the roundhouse webpage, “The music they produce is a mixture of pre-war Berlin cabaret, anarchic opera an gypsy music, echoing the voices of Bertholt Brecht and Jacques Brel”.  Check them out here.

Could not resist chopping some heads

With regards to the Genisys project I did say I did not need any more miniatures, but I got a good deal on the John Connor and a Lieutenant set the other day so I could not resist getting these.  What would the resistance be without John Connor?. Also I thought I would convert some of the resistance soldiers by using heads from Badsquiddo games (link here., I recommend a visit) to bring some gender balance in the resistance to the machines.  Just as a note, one of the miniatures on each sprue in the box is a woman, but I wanted some more variety.  I had also waited for an opportunity to use these heads since became aware of what Annie at Badsquiddo is doing.

Here are the shots of the resistance miniatures with the headswaps done (have not yet started painting them).

You may think the heads are a bit too big, and perhaps they are?  They are good enough for my purposes. However, and this is great, they are sold in three different sizes fine, pulp and heroic. I bought the heroic ones and perhaps a size or two down would work better.

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Incoming ships

I also got my order of “wave whatever” ships for the X-wing miniature games, I have lost count of what wave it is (I think it is Wave 10!). However, they are very nice indeed and I suppose we have to test fly them soon.

The Quadjumper and Upsilon-class Shuttle from the Force Awakens movie as well as Sabine’s TIE fighter from the Rebels series.

I also got some plastic toy cars that I intend to use for the Winter War project, but more on that another time.

Thanks for not asking about progress on the TMT project!

/ May the force be with you

All relatively quiet on the hobby front and Black Sabbath

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Black Sabbath

Today my uncle would have been 65 years old as he passed away far too early. I thought about him yesterday as I went to see Black Sabbath at the O2 and how much he would have enjoyed watching the show. He played the album Paranoid for my cousin and I when we were very young and it blew my mind away.  I have been listening to Black Sabbath ever since.  This tour that is very near its end is suitably called “The End” and it is nice to see them a last time especially when they were playing songs from the first four albums of which none felt surplus to the requirement of providing a damn good show.  When I first heard about this tour I had hoped to see Bill Ward (the original drummer) in the line-up but that was not to happen. However, Tommy Clufetos, always plays drums like there is no tomorrow.  It was the best show I have been to for a long time. A lady in her seventies, who was sitting next to us, had come with her daughter and they both sang along word by word with every song played – that could have made my day in its own right.  Thank you Black Sabbath for all these fantastic years and for being one of the most influential bands in shaping what we today call (and some of us love) Heavy Metal – Hats off!

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Black Sabbath playing my favourite song Children of the Grave

Children of tomorrow live in the tears that fall today
Will the sun rise up tomorrow bringing peace in any way?
Must the world live in the shadow of atomic fear?
Can they win the fight for peace or will they disappear?

From Children of the Grave, by Black Sabbath

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The legendary Ozzy Osbourne!

All relatively quiet on the hobby front (code for “Done f**k all!”)

On the hobby front I have continued doing some snow basing for the Chain of Command Finnish and Soviets, but nothing substantial. Let us see how the next week goes.  I did rectify that house I discussed in last week’s entry and added some snow to make it look a little bit more wintery.  I am currently waiting for some stuff I have ordered that I need to finalise the terrain.  I hope to write a blog entry about the terrain and the markers I will be using in a not too distant future, maybe in about two weeks time if it goes as planned.

I found myself buying a platoon worth of Soviet Scouts (see here) in 15mm from Peter Pig that I thought I would use to fight my Continuation War Finns. They have recently expanded the range significantly and I found what I needed.  No idea when I will do these but when I make a decision I do not want availability to hinder progress! Pictures from the Peter Pig website. Wonderful stuff.

I also found a pack of the 1984 set for the Terminator: Genisys game I have been on about in the last few postings.  This set includes the main characters from the first two movies, the “Arnold Machine”, Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese, T-1000 (Police Officer version) and three police officers (I got these from Wayland Games). Not sure what I will do with these but I could not resist.   I also got two more starter sets! I bought these from Buysend.com for £10.49 each (as at 31/01/17, see here). The set is similar to the one you can buy from the Warlords website (as at 31/01/17) for a reduced cost of £35 as discussed last time. The key difference between the set is that the main rulebook and the bonus metal model (Kyle Reese in resistance outfit) is not included in the cheaper set  Since I already have the rulebook and metal figure I thought it was good value to get another 10 machines and 16 resistance soldiers for a tenner. I think that would be all I need for now for this game.

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/ And I am feeling good!

Terminators, Winter War Progress and Chevaux de Fries

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More Terminators

Following on from the last blog about terminators, the Little One and I have been doing a few more games of Terminator Genisys and we are still enjoying it.  I actually ended up buying two more miniature sets, the T1000 (the liquid metal one from the second movie or to be correct mimetic polyalloy) & Infiltrator as well as the Special Endoskeletons set. I have also dusted off the old movies and although the first one (here) feels a little bit dated, with regards to the CGI, it is still a damn good movie. The second movie (here) I think is brilliant and the Little One is looking forward seeing the rest.

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I have realized that if I want the Little One to get into this hobby it is not by trying to force feed him with 18th century linear tactics battles where we abstract the unit with a few models representing many or elegant mechanisms with built-in firing, damage, moral etc. Instead I think I need to, as well, offer him simple skirmish type of rules where each model represents a man, or a woman or in this case a machine, in a setting that excites him and he understands (the key here is ..as well!).  It is fantastic when he gets it and we have not had so much fun since we first played X-wing or Saga together.

Finnishing (and Sovietic) touches

However, science fiction aside, I did feel obliged to continue my Chain of Command Finns and Russians so I could get some games of Chain of Command under my belt – I added some snow flock to the bases and made an entrenchment with some floor insulation blue polystyrene and a plastic base from a DVD cover (Terminator 2 – who needs covers anyway!) – I think I will make more like this. I covered it with glue and added sand, painted it chocolate brown and dry brushed it white and then added some snow around it (actually a mix of snow flock, matte modge podge and a few drops of off-white paint). Here it is.

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The entrenchment in its full glory! The surface under is a trimmed part of a Snow Mat from Terrain Mat (link here) I bought many years ago to do some GNW winter battles on. I will use this mat for my Chain of Command battles as I think it looks very good.
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As above with some Soviets enjoying its protection!

Here is the first picture in Colour (I need to add some snow to that roof, to make it look authentic).

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A section of Soviets advancing through a Finnish Village.
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House during the Winter War, the picture is from SA-kuva (Finnish Armed Forces Photographs) and their webpage is here.

Chevaux de Frise

I got a question through to the blog last week that I thought potentially had some general interest. The question was about how I did the Chevaux de Frise (link to Wikipedia here) shown in some of the pictures in the Polemos Great Northern War rulebook (link here).  These were shots based on the armies I did for the Fraustadt 1706 battle where the whole Saxon/Russian front line was standing behind these mobile defensive structures.

Peter Berry kindly included some pictures taken by my daughter of Swedes battling Saxons and Russians in wintery conditions as well as some Polish Panzerni and Winged Hussars in a more summery setting.

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A page from the Rules

This is a high level, but I hope sufficient discussion, on how I made them (but first a few notes):

  • They are based on 60mm by 10mm bases, these are 2mm thick (the same thickness I use for all my bases)
  • They are not to scale, i.e. these are in fact large compared to the models. However, in my opinion, it does work visually.
  • Be careful when if you embark on trying to make these. Plan your work to avoid drilling or cutting your fingers.  Also when you cut brass rod pieces make sure you are careful as small pieces may fly all over the place and cause direct damage whilst in flight or indirectly when they plant themselves into your foot at a later date.  I speak from hard earned experience on (all!) these matters.
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The finished product with a base of Saxon Infantry

They are basically done by using model making matchsticks (That are about 5cm x 2mm x 2mm) – you can buy about 1000 of them at ebay for about £4. You need one matchstick for each base. You also need round brass rod (0.5mm) or equivalent. You will need a more than you think – normally they are sold in lengths of about 30cm and each will give you 25 pikes/spears at 12mm. Each chevaux de Frise base will need 28 pikes. 10 No. 30cm rods will give you enough to do 8 to 9 bases.

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0.5mm round brass rod

Mark up the matchstick in the middle and make seven lines with the same distance from each other and make a mark on the line in the middle.

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Green marking

Flip the matchstick 90 degrees and extend the original lines and make a mark in the middle between the original lines (I used a red pen to do this).

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Red Marking

Cut it in half (do the same mark-up for the other side, or do both at the same time) – use a razor saw and cut it gently to avoid damage – do not use clippers.

Drill the holes using a 0.6mm drill bit with a model drill. It is tempting to use a sharp object and pierce through a hole but it more than often damages the matchstick, so go for the drill approach.

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Drilled matchstick piece and a brass rod piece

Cut small pieces from the brass rod. I made mine about 12mm long and stick them in your holes.

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Nearly there… (you could stop here and use it as an improvised hand weapon for your larger scale miniatures!)

Then do the rest and slab on some PVA/White glue to make it sturdy and avoid the rod pieces to slide off, then paint it and base it up and you are done.

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Fast forward and …. There!

/ Hope that was of some use

Year End and Talvisota / Winter War Chain of Command – Part 2 The Finnish Platoon

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A Finnish Lieutenant (Luutnantii) and a Captain (Kapteeni) inspecting a Red Army Light Machine Gun, the  7.62mm Degtyarev M-27. The picture was taken on New Years eve 1939 and is from SA-kuva (Finnish Armed Forces Photographs) and you can find their webpage here.

 

Year End

This is a continuation from the last post.. but first some reflections – it is that kind of time of the year after all…

I started this blog to help to promote the Saga game I ran with the help of Neil Shuck et al at the Joy of Six 2016 show about 35 weeks ago (as this is the 35th blog update and I think we have done one per week!).  I continued running the blog for three reasons – (i) I actually enjoy doing the blog posting and it does not take very long to do, (ii) it helps me being more productive, and  finally (iii) it seems that people do end up on this blog and the average visit ends up in more than one entry being viewed.

The blog has been running for about 8 months and I have mainly covered 6mm projects and it is likely that it will be like that moving forward.  I think the scale  is very rewarding when you have limited time to work on each project and want to create a visually stunning representation of a big battle.  I have also tried to show this year that you can take 6mm to ‘another level’ in my Saga and Sharp Practice examples. I will be doing some more 15mm WW2 era stuff and I may even do some Halo Stuff that I have been eluding to for the last few months – but it depends on how hard pressure the little One will apply.

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Sharp Practice in 6mm

 

With the Saga project I wanted to show that for some games we can just replace the individual based with a base with a few 6mm soldiers and still run a very pleasing game. For the Sharp Practice stuff I have just scaled down everything I am playing with half inches instead of full inches. We have now done a few games and it plays really well – and set-up time is very quick.  But the main reason for doing them was that they are good and solid games and I have enjoyed playing them. The drop in scale did not affect playability.

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Saga in 6mm at Joy of Six 2016

 

As for the main activities for next year it will be the preparation of the first installment of the Great Northern War Towards Moscow Trilogy – Lesnaya 1708 – at Joy of Six in July.  It seems like ages away but I know that it will come thundering like a Swedish Gå-På attack but I think my progress so far is promising – failure, however, is not an option. There is also the dusting off to be done for the Kalisz 1706 game at Salute in April, but all is already more or less done so I am not worried about that.  We will be running these games using The Twilight of the Sun King (see a little write-up here) or the Polemos GNW Rules (see here). In the background I am slowly getting on with the supply column and will show these in a future blog.

I bought a copy of the Dawns & Departures campaign supplement for Sharp Practice 2 and would like to use my 6mm FIW figures to do a campaign.  This is an excellent supplement and I suggest you buy it even if do not use Sharp Practice (you can find further information here), I think it would be useful for anyone considering running a wargames campaign.  I will also enjoy my finished Finnish and Soviet platoon and play some Chain of Command – I noted the useful stuff for the Winter War in the Lardies Winter Special 2016 I just bought (again from the Lardies site, here).

I will also do some forces for IABSM (see here) in 6mm  and maybe some more Chain of Command Continuation war stuff in 15mm.  I also have a few more lead mountain leftovers, that on reflection may trigger renewed interest – there is still some veins of  good lead to be found. I may also put up some action shots as well next year, because we do play some stuff not just paint the buggers.

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Got myself some good reading material on the Continuation war in Swedish over Christmas. The first book discusses strategy used by both sides and the second about fighting in the East Karelia. Both are out of print.

 

With regards to playing games, in addition to those mentioned above, I will try out the new Basic Impetus 2 rules (see here)  and Sword and Spear (see here) using my 6mm Saga War Bands.

I think this far exceeds what I will end up doing, so as an ambition this is absolutely brilliant!

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It is about having fun with your toy soldiers at the end of day. And so we have… thanks for having stopped by.

Please leave some feedback if you want, sign-up here or like the page on face book – and you will be updated on new postings!

For more on Saga in 6mm, click here.

For more on Sharp Practice in 6mm, click here.

For more on the Toward Moscow Trilogy Project, click here.

Now back to the Chain of Command Finnish Platoon for the Winter War (if you have not read the first part you should perhaps go back to the last blog, you can find it here).

The Finnish Winter War Platoon for Chain of Command

You can find the army list here from Too Fat Lardies (The Platoon Force Rating is +0 for regular and +7 for elite, 5 command dice for regular and 6 for Elite).

NOTE: As before the bases are in desperate need of some modelling snow flock – not done yet.

Platoon Headquarters – Vänrikki Ruotsalainen (Senior Leader with Pistol), Kersantti Hautamäki (Senior Leader with Rifle).

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Platoon HQ

 

Section One – Alikersantti Linna (Junior Leader with Rifle), Rifle team (four riflemen) and SMG Team (one man with SMG and four riflemen).

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First Section

 

Section Two – Alikersantti Paasilinia (Junior Leader with Rifle), Rifle team (three riflemen) and LMG Team (LMG with two crew one rifleman).  Painted skulls on two of the helmets based on some pictures and original helmets from the war.

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Second Section

 

Section Three – Alikersantti Torvalds (Junior Leader with Rifle), Rifle team (three riflemen) and LMG Team (LMG with two crew one rifleman).

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Third Section

 

Section Four – Alikersantti Aalto (Junior Leader with Rifle), Rifle team (four riflemen) and SMG Team (one man with SMG and four riflemen).

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Fourth Section

 

Support Options

List 1

Medical Orderly – a artillery crew member with a box painted with a cross and as by magic a medical orderly.

 

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Medical Orderly (yes, I can see the metal base too!)

 

Engineering team – mine clearance, wire cutting, etc. This is a mix of standard and converted models.

 

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Engineering Team

 

SMGs to allocate – These are from Legion East, Resistant Rooster and Battlefront.

 

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SMG Troopers

 

For the Satchel charge, Molotov cocktail and Captured SVT-38 I make a note before play (runners are not represented on the table). Terrainy objects once I get some pictures from an actual game.

List 2

I do not have a model carrying a Russian LMG (Captured). May have to do one.

AT Defense Team – these are from left to right – converted Legion East Grenade Thrower with a log, Battlefront log carrier with Peter Pig Head, Battlefront Original, Resistant Rooster Molotov Cocktail man, ditto from Battlefront and finally a grenade thrower from Legion East. A Motley Crew and mix. However they are more than ready to mess with your tank.

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List 3

Anti-tank Gun, MMG and AT Rifle Team, 5 men (three with rifles) from Battlefront (not sure where the AT Gun is from though).

 

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AT Gun

 

 

 

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MMG Teams

 

 

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AT Rifle Team Advancing

 

 

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AT Rifle Team Shooting

 

 

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AT Rifle Team Shooting

 

Sniper Team – Legion East helper and a Peter Pig German Sniper.

 

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Sniper Team

 

List 4

I am currently working on the Bofors Gun and the captured Soviet Gun – I got these from Battlefront (the 37mm beautifully designed Bofors Gun can be found in the Polish range, just get some Finnish Crew).

List 5

Forward observers – two German models from Peter Pig.

 

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Forward Observers

 

Next I need to figure out what playing surface to use, but that is for another time.

/ That was all for this year, Happy New 2017

Christmas, TMT Progress and Talvisota / Winter War Chain of Command – Part 1 The Soviet Platoon

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Red Army Soldier with the typical pointy Budenovka hat that was still in use during the Winter War period. The picure is taken from SA-kuva (Finnish Armed Forces Photographs) and you can find their webpage here.

Towards Moscow Trilogy Progress

I considered just putting up some old pictures and change the titles – I might get away with it for individual units but I am afraid it would fail en masse at the Joy of Six in July next year. Anyway, joke aside and in line with the promise I solemnly made to myself I did force myself to complete a few more bases for the Project. This time 3 No. Russian Dragoon regiments (As before these are from Baccus 6mm).

Astrachanski Regiment

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Nevska Regiment

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Kievska Regiment

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Winter War – Chain of Command

A little bit of an intro

The Winter War was the invasion by Soviet Union of Finland in 1939 (30 November) to 1940 (13 April) in order to protect its interest as it, amongst other things, perceived Leningrad’s proximity to the Finnish border being a security issue. This short war showed the difference between a bad & overoptimistic plan, inadequate equipment & training for the theatre of war, unmotivated & badly led men (remember Stalin’s 1936 t0 1938 purges of the Red Army leadership) against a disciplined, trained and mobile force of highly motivated soldiers who used the arctic conditions to its advantage. Although the Soviet Union won the war it was not the quick and total victory that had been expected.

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Finnish Propaganda poster from the Winter War saying something like “Comrades, Red Army Soldiers. The Political Commissar drive you into death, and you say “Die yourself, you dog”.

 

Onlookers marveled at the Finnish resolve but more importantly the incompetence and seemingly badly preparedness of the Red Army was noticed by the Germans and this is traditionally seen as one of the contributions to the start of the Barbarossa Campaign in 1941. However, although the lesson was correct in 1940 it did not consider that the Red Army had learned a few lessons too. The sobering and embarrassing experience of the War led the Red Army High command to review its performance and from this implement a number of reforms including changes to tactics, logistics, communications and training of officers. It also introduced the wider use of field mortars to support infantry, toned down the role of the political commissar, as well as the wider use of submachine guns. Although these changes were not fully implemented at the start of the Barbarossa campaign, the Red Army in 1941 was not the same army that invaded Finland in 1939.

The family on my mother’s side are Finnish and I have heard many stories from this period – some heroic but most of them being about the sad realities of war and the people that had to endure them directly and indirectly.  For example one of my relatives, a pioneering educationalist working in the Finnish border areas, had to take home his two sons in coffins during the war – both of them were volunteers and the youngest was 17. My hobby is very much related to war and  I think it is important to remember that in reality it is far from a game.  This awareness does not take out the fun of it but adds respect to how I deal with it.

I recommend you read more about the conflict here and why not get a copy of the Talvisota/Winter War movie while you are at it.  There is a good youtube video with Sabaton’s Talvisota with clips from the Talvisota movie – you can find it here (this is a good one, did I say that?).  Other sources on the net that are worth checking out to start with are:

  • Sami Korhonen’s Battle of the Winter War webpage, here (lots of links to other useful stuff) – very good source.
  • The Jaeger Platoon webpage – weapons, formations and some battle write-ups as well as links to other information, here.
  • Some war stories can be found here. It forms part of the Axis History Forum’s Winter and Continuation war forum (here) with over 1800 topics.
  • And three relevant and good papers:
    • New approaches to the study of Arctic warfare by Pasi Tuunainen, here.
    • Elimination of pockets in Western Lemetti during January – February 1940: Use of German Experience with Storm Troops by the Finnish VI Army Corps, by Pasi Tuunainen, here.
    • Finland in the Winter War by Ville Savin, on the Lardies website, here.

I find the following books useful and a good start:

  • The Winter War: The Russo-Finnish War of 1939-40 by William R. Trotter, link to the publisher here.
  • Finland at War: The Winter War 1939-40, by Vesa Nenye, Peter Munter and Toni Wirtanen (the second in the Series about the Continuation War is good too). Link to the publisher here (but could perhaps be bought cheaper elsewhere).

From a Wargaming perspective I intend to use the Chain of Command rules from Too Fat Lardies (they are really good and you can find them here). I also have a few other resources including the Skirmish Campaigns book Finland 39-40 The Winter War (This was not written for the Chain of Command rules but can easily be used for the system, and this have been discussed to some extent at the Chain of Command forum, here search for Skirmish Campaigns and Chain of Command”).

Miniatures Used

I decided to do this project in 15mm and got myself a few packs of miniatures from Battlefront (yes 15mm Flames of War miniatures, sometimes you can find packs on ebay and other alternatives but if this fails buy it directly from Battlefront) as they were doing early war Finns and Soviets for their Rising Sun supplement (Well I got a fair few actually).  The packs are still for Sale and I think they are ok – in addition buy some loose heads from Peter Pig of the German WW1 helmet and you could even buy some Japanese helmets without netting (to simulate the Swedish helmets worn by some units, the Swedish M-26 helmet is being used to make fake Japanese helmets being sold on the collectibles markets), and some German field caps and fur hats and you have some headswap options to create some variety with the same poses. Similarly for the Russian side you can get some early Sovietic helmets (known as the M-36, these were replace by the more iconic SSh-39). Your winter war Russian looks best with the pointy hats and/or the M-36 helmets.

Peter Pigs head range can be found here – snip off the head and drill a little hole, put some superglue and attach the new head (be careful and you will be fine, it is worth it).

I have added some additional things using more Peter Pig (main page here) stuff, some old Resistant Rooster stuff (here) as well as a few really old True North stuff (here, but I am not sure they are still in business?).  But this is really for variety – the only issue with the Battlefront miniatures are the lack of LMGs.

Battlefront Finnish Packs Used

FI721 Jääkari Rifle Platoon (Winter) – main pack

FI722 Jääkäri SMG Platoon (Winter)

FI724 Machine-gun Platoon (Winter)

FI727 Tank-Hunter Platoon (Winter)

FSO113 Finnish Anti-tank Gun Group (Winter)

FSO112 Finnish Artillery Group (Winter)

FSO115 Finnish Sissi Troops (Winter)

SU500 45mm obr 1937 gun

FI570 76K/02 (76mm gun) (x2)

Battlefront Soviet Packs Used

SBX28 Strelkovy Company (Winter) – main pack

SSO120 Greatcoat Command & Komissar Team

SSO152 Artillery Group (Winter)

SU560 76mm obr 1927 gun (x2)

SSO153 Anti-tank Group (Winter)

SSO192 Soviet Dismounted Tank Crew

SSO151 Flame-thrower Platoon (Winter)

SU766 Sappers (Winter) Upgrade

SU301 BA-10

SU040 T-28

SU002 T-26S obr 1939

SU422 Zis-5 3-ton truck (x2)

Now to some more detail on the platoons, the Soviet Platoon this week and the Finnish Platoon next.

The Soviet Platoon

You can find the full army list from Too Fat Lardies here (The Platoon Force Rating is +6 for Regular and -2 for Green, 5 Command Dice when regular and 4 when Green. The Winter war forces are regarded as Green during the initial phase (Nov-39 to Jan-40) and can be regarded as Regular after that).  These are not elegant maneuvering elements – this is brute force! UHRAAAAH!

I tried to go for some variety to the coats but painted the pointy hat in the same colour (with the red star) using a field bluish colour – it gives a somewhat uniform look to the units. It works for me. I got some inspiration from some nice photos from this site – it shows some reenactors of the conflict – both Finnish and Russian.

NOTE: The bases are in desperate need of some modelling snow flock – not done yet.

Platoon Headquarters – Leytenant Tretiak (Senior Leader with Pistol), Starshina Fetisov (Senior Leader with Rifle). The Starhina is from Battlefront and the Leytenant is from Peter Pig.

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Squad One – Serzhant Kasatonov (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen. All are from Battlefront.

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Squad Two – Serzhant Krutov (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen.All are from Battlefront I added a flag bearer to each squad for show, not sure this is realistic – but it looks good.

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Squad Three – Serzhant Larionov (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen. All are from Battlefront.

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Squad Four – Serzhant Makarov (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen. All are from Battlefront.

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Support Options

List 1

SMG upgrade – PPD SMG – I made a few SMG armed ones based on Peter Pig winter war Russians with headswaps (using heads from the Battlefront Peaked cap miniatures or the Early Russian Helmet Head packs from Peter Pig). Not a very common weapon at this time of the war.

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SMG Troops

 

SVT-38 Semi-auto rifles – did not do specials for these. They were being tried during the Finnish Winter War. If they are used we just make a note and get on with it. Slightly longer than the normal rifle and a with a cartridge magazine. The initial reaction of the troops to this new rifle was negative as it was felt it was cumbersome, difficult to maintain and the magazine could fall of the rifle.

Engineering Teams – 3 men for each (Mine clearance, Wire Cutting, Demolition or what ever). These are from the Battlefront Sappers pack.

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Engineering Teams

 

Other more terrainy stuff have to wait until I do my next battle (Minefield, Barded wire, entrenchments)

List 2

Mortar teams using the 50-PM 38 (50-mm company mortar model 1938), comes in the base winter infantry pack.

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Mortar Team

 

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Mortar Team 2

 

Flamethrower team, armed with the ROKS-2 Flamethrower designed to be easy to conceal on the battlefield (22.7kg, effective range 25 meters, but could fire up to 30-35 meters). The Finns captured some of these and they were later put in use as the Add to dictionary M/41-r. Nasty weapons. The are from the Flamethrower platoon pack.

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Flamethrower team

 

For the pathetic but charming T37 see picture below, do not have a T-27 Tankette or a BA-20.

List 3

Sniper Team – this is just a standard infantry model from Battlefront without the bayonet and his spotter.

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Sniper Team

 

M1910 Maxim MMG (Will do a few more) – very dark picture again from Battlefront.

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MMG Team

 

Political Commissar/Officer – I think this is a headswap story with a Peter Pig body and a Battlefront Peaked hat head. He is screaming out communist propaganda whilst running into the sights of the White Death.

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Political Comissar

 

For the T26 see the tank picture at the end. These are Battlefront.

 

List 4

Another infantry squad – Serzhant Pushkin (Junior leader with Rifle), DP-28 LMG with two crew, twelve riflemen. This time with the early War Russian helmet bodies from Battlefront and heads from Peter Pig – Early Russian helmets.

I need to paint the 45mm AT Gun and the 75mm infantry gun, I got both these from Battlefront.

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Additional Infantry Squad

 

List 5

For the Kht-26 flamethrower tank and the T28 see the tank picture at the end. The Flamethrower tank is from Zvezda and the T-28 from Battlefront.

List 6

T28E (using the T28 again), see the picture below.

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The Garage and some tank crew from Battlefront. The T-28 commander is from the Winter Infantry Set (just cut off the top part and actually looks more the part). As for the bases I need to winterize these at some point.

 

I hope this was of some use, I will show the Finnish Platoon next week…

/ All the very best, and seasonal greetings! Keep toy soldiering on!

Lead astray or a hike to the snow cladded lead mountain – Part 2

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Swedes attacking a defended Saxon position (Miniatures from Baccus)

With a little help to my friends

Twilight of the Sun King Rules

Nick Dorrell’s adaptation of the Twilight of the Sun King Rules I talked about in an earlier blog (see here) are now published by the Pike and Shot society.  I really enjoy these fast play rules that makes it possible to play large horse and musket battles during late 17th and early 18th century in a reasonable time. Basing is adaptable and the rules works at two levels standard/brigade and regimental scale. In the standard scale a unit represents brigade or its equivalent (2,000 infantry or 1,000 cavalry – so about 4 battalions or 8 squadrons). For the regimental scale a unit equates to 1,000 infantry or 500 cavalry.  I play the game in the regimental scale, as I do GNW where the battles tends to be smaller and I have more than enough miniatures to play in this scale, using two 60 by 30mm bases for a unit with a total frontage of 120mm per unit. This is the same basing I use for the Polemos, Maurice and the Might and Reason rules. Further the units can be classified as small or large to allow for the variation in units sizes during the period, e.g. to deal with smaller elite units etc.

totsk

The rules are, to quote Nick from the Design Philosophy notes, “…radical, some would say reductionist, in their conception. It is based on the premise that during this time period, morale rather than numbers of casualties was the key to deciding combat and even the outcome of battles. Many wargames rules pay lip-service to this; however, these rules take the radical step of collapsing shooting and close combat into morale. This dramatically simplifies game play but does so, in the designers’ opinion, without significant loss of historical accuracy.”

The Rules as well as a Scenario book is now available from the Pike and Shot Society and can be obtained from them, http://www.pikeandshotsociety.org/, and other retail outlets.

The scenario book is called Louis XIV at War and features 10 battles – 4 of these are from the War of the Grand Alliance (1688 to 1697) and the other 6 from the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14). Each scenario includes orders of battles and a map.

A second scenario book is being worked on and will cover the Great Northern War and the Ottoman wars.

There is a Yahoo group:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/TwilightSK/info

and you can contact nick via wyreforestgamers@yahoo.co.uk

Collection Calculator

Another friend of mine, Peter Riley, came up with an idea for a Wargames collection calculator when he went to the Newbury show this year. As he walked and talked to gamers at the show it emerged from the many conversations he had is that we don’t know, in detail, what we have in our collections and what they are worth.  So to keep a good record of all the elements we have in our growing collections seemed a good idea.

A beta website has been set up here – http://collectioncalculator.com/ . Peter is looking for feedback on what you may think.

I think it is a brilliant idea and could be used to manage your collection, get an idea about its value for a sale or how much to insure your collection for. Try it out and if you like the general idea support it by letting them know how it can be improved.

In a recent Meeples and Miniatures episode the hosts discussed the issue about insuring your stuff when they were speculating what they would do if they lost their collection and got the opportunity to do it all again being given the full value from the insurance company. If you do not know what you have and are not adequately insured then this scenario could end it tears and not in speculation on what you would replace or not.

By the way Peter Riley is the author of a few sets of wargame rules, including the ACW rules Crisis of Allegiance and On They Came as well as the Franco-Prussian Wars rules Kommandant de Battaile and Kommandant de Armee. He is working on a few new sets including a colonial set called A Steady and Deliberate Fire.

Winter is coming

I have presented two Great Northern War battles at the Joy of Six show that took place during the winter season with snow and misery on the battle field – Fraustadt 1706 (with a mention in an earlier post here) and Gadebusch 1712.   I really like wintery landscapes having been brought up in Sweden, where minus degrees and snow is a constant for a large part of the year. It engulfs the land and when Spring finally comes it feels like the land has been subjected to some form of annual cleansing.

When I first did the Fraustadt Battle I was hesitant in “winter basing” the armies as I was going to do Klissow where I could have “re-used” a lot of the miniatures especially on the Saxon side. However the contrast between a wintery table and the rectangular zone of summer really annoyed me when I had finished the table and set up the bases on it.  So I got on with drybrushing all of the bases with white and then topped them up with some wintery tufts – it was worth the effort. Following the Gadebusch battle I now have fully sized GNW armies for the Swedes, Saxons and the Danes ready to rumble any time of the year.

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The Saxon forces at Fraustadt did stand and wait for the Swedes for a while but I do not think that it resulted in the grass growing, or that they had some Astro Turf ready to roll out. I agree with the fact that basing should make the miniatures stand out but this a little bit over the top!

So apart from the snow ventures above I have a passion, or perhaps compulsion, for the Winter War 1939-40.  It is a very interesting conflict and I went with the Baker Company Winter War 28mm Kickstarter a few years back – the project did not really go as intended and I only got part of what I expected. Instead I decided to go for it in 15mm and have recently completed enough to start playing some  Chain of Command with a Platoon with some options for each side (I will do a future posting for the Finnish and the Russian/Sovietic platoon).  I am also keen to try out the IABSM (I ain’t been shot Mum) rules from Company Sized actions. Both these rules are from the eminent makers of rules at Too Fat Lardies (Chain of Command here and IABSM here).

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Finnish Soldiers from the 1939-40 Winter War. The Light Machine Gun is the M-26 7.62mm Lahti-Saloranta.  The picture is taken from SA-kuva (Finnish Armed Forces Photographs) and you can find their webpage here.  This is a conflict to which the lead mountain has attracted permanent visitors from a number of scales.

So for IABSM I have a few options, (i) expand the 15mm platoons for Chain of Command, (ii) use the Pithead 10mm ones I bought a few years back or (iii) try out the 6mm Finnish from Heroics and Ros.

I bought a few test strips from Heroics and Ros from their Finnish Range and also a strip from the Snow/Ski Troopers.  I decided to paint these and base them to see how they would look like and put them on a 65 by 65mm base. I am pleased how they came out and I think it will work well for the IABSM rules (although I would probably use 25mm bases) – I hope you agree (Note one of the pictures show some 15mm miniatures from the Chain of Command Finns).  I used some snow flock mixed with Matte Mod Podge for the basing, it looks slightly better for real than in the photos.  I am going to do a winter company for the Finns, Russians and Germans as they did some combined operations with the Finns.  With this scale it should not take very long to complete a company worth of miniatures. It will look fantastic.

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I think I have to order some more from Heroics and Ros. For the Pithead stuff, well I have no problem with it staying on the mountain for now!  The 28mm Baker Company stuff I did get I will probably get rid off.

Not really Winter but cold as death

About 2 months ago I wrote about some new 6mm miniatures from Microworld Games (see here). I did not buy the Landsknechts this time but I bought the new duelists and peasants as well as a large number of zombies and ghouls for another little project I am working on (I am doing the Saga Revenants faction in 6mm when I have time). Anyway, I got them this week as it was a pre-order, and I really liked the look of the duelists and the peasants – some of these will be used for my Sharp Practice games. I could not resist painting up a little vignette on a 60 by 60mm base with some zombies controlled by a witch/necromancer (from Perfect Six)  attacking three witch hunters (the duelists) supported by a few farmers.  This is a homage to a roleplaying scenario I played when I was a kid (well at least a younger kid) and actually a Christmas present to a very dear friend.

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Ok next time I will get on with some Great Northern War stuff and the Towards Moscow Project / Keep on toysoldiering!

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Gadebusch 1712 from Joy of Six 2015 – the Swedes advancing over the frozen fields towards the Danes.