Featured

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

Three things this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Screen capture from the Chain of Command Rulebook

So let us start with that Leytenant

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bersaglieri Platoon for Greece 1940-41 with some Supports

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Overview Picture

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

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

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

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…back to the Italians.

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

 

Let there be light!

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

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From the earlier blog

However there was an issue and I made a promise.

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

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

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

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

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Gimli – £9.27 from Amazon UK

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

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

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Galadriel – £22.99 from Amazon UK

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

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

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

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

Two Towers in action – great stuff.

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

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

from the Two Towers by Tolkien

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

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

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Featured

Finnish Assault Boats for Chain of Command

 

 

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

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

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

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

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Here is the picture.  Looks very scary.

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

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

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

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Thanks for hanging on so far, now some notes on how their were made and some notes for me on the painting as I may do a few more at some point.

Assault Boat Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Featured

More options for the Finnish Tanker

In a previous blog post I presented a career ladder for a Finnish What a Tanker player for the late continuation war period (see link here) based on known tanks used by the Finns (I also updated this blogpost on the 2 July 2018 with some more pictures of tanks I have made). We are still missing the T-50.  As indicated the Finns did capture a lot of Russian tanks that were pressed into service.  This is an optional list and shows other tanks (and TDs) that were used on the front that theoretically could have ended up being used by the Finns (but were not).

If the Russians had ’em the Finns could nick ’em (all 15mm)

Level 2

Valentine III – Plastic Soldier Company

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Level 3

Matilda II – Zvezda 1/100

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M3 Lee – Zvezda 1/100

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SU-76 – do not have any yet but are waiting for plastic soldier company to release their set (this is from a press release earlier in the year).  Or perhaps Zvezda who also has a model in the pipeline.su-76

 

Level 4

KV-2 – Zvezda 1/100

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Churchill – Plastic Soldier Company

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SU-85 – Battlefront Miniatures

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/ Hope that was of some interest!

 

Featured

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

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I should have pressed on with my GNW Horka Project but seem to have drifted off doing Finnish Continuation War tanks – I started doing some of these a very long time ago and base painted six tanks in 2016 but had done nothing since (see this old blog post).  But as always in this hobby we do come around to things one day, one day…

The reason for this sudden diversion is of course the excellent What a Tanker game from Too Fat Lardies (link here) – it is a fun game and plays quickly.  The Little One and I have set of German and a few Russian Tanks to play with and the two small games we had to date were a blast.  However, like with most things I do, a Nordic angle seems to motivate me more.  The Finnish tanker career is a limited one but there are some interesting Vehicles on offer – some are absolutely hopeless and others as good as they get – but tell me who needs a Tiger when you have Sisu?

I have the spent the last few days painting a large number of tanks relatively quickly (about 30 including some Russians).  I do not have the ability or time to do much more but I think overall the impressionistic approach with washes and mud effects gives a reasonable look. All of the models used are 15mm and from Zvezda apart from the T-28, StuGs, BT-42 and the Landsverk that are from Battlefront.  I have a few tanks I need to add to this post at a later date for completeness – the T28s and the T34/85.

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What follows is a  Finnish Career list for the later part of the Continuation War and covers the major Karelian Offensive in 1944 (from June to September).  The career ladder can be used against a Soviet Opponent using the Soviet 1944 list from the What a Tanker rule book.  Of course there are mistakes in it because nothing is perfect – if you find any I welcome them.  I am an enthusiast with regards to this theatre not an expert.

I may extend this to include a few scenarios based on some of the actual encounters I have come across whilst reading about the offensive. However, this should be a good start,

Finnish Continuation War – A 1944 Finnish Career Ladder for What a Tanker (Karelian Offensive / Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive, link to Wikipedia here)

At the start of the  Soviet offensive in June of 1944 the Finnish Army only had one Armour Division (Panssaridivisioona) that that was mainly equipped with the more or less obsolete T-26 tanks.  The only tanks able to take on the Soviet onslaught were a handful of captured T-34/76 and KV-1s in addition to 30 No. StuGs (StuG 40 G) that had been bought from Germany in 1943.  During the conflict further StuGs were delivered, and some more tanks captured including the T-34/85 and the ISU-152.  In addition, and just before the armistice, some Pz IV J were delivered.  It was a desperate time for the Finns and the young nation’s independence was yet again severely threatened by the eastern bear.

Notes on the list: If I found any mention that at least one tank of a type was used in combat, or ready to be put in service during this period I have made the tank available in the list. Stats for each vehicle can be found in the WaT rulebook apart from the BT-42 and the Landsverk that are provided below.  Most tanks are of Russian origin apart from the ones marked with an asterixis (*) that are German.

The list does not include Armoured Cars or Small tanks like the T-37 and T-38.  Also the Finns did capture both T-60 and T-70 tanks during the 1944 campaign but they were never put into service. If you want to run a more what-if campaign you could just assume any Sovietic tank were successfully captured and used.  Alternatively in a campaign setting you could have any Sovietic tank not destroyed but lost, i.e. where the crew has bailed out, being available as an option for the Finnish player in the next game on a roll of 5 or more (or whatever seem reasonable).  This would to some degree simulate what actually happened during this particular conflict due to the limited armoured resources of the Finns.  Anyway, here we go…

Level 1 – T-26 (any version, declared obsolete in July 1944), BT-42 (separate stats below, only used in the beginning of the offensive and as for the T-26 declared obsolete in July 1944.  It was not a very good piece of kit but the only “Finnish” vehicle of the period), T-28 (either type – go for the best one, also declared obsolete in July 1944), Landsverk L-62 (not really a tank or a assault gun, but perhaps a successful commander could start his career in one after using the AA gun against a tank successfully, or perhaps more adequate to use the word, miraculously. Again, added for Novelty and I did paint one!).

Level 2 – T-28E (see note with regards to obsolescence above)

Level 3 – T-34/76 M41-42, T-50, Pz IV J* (did not arrive until the end of August 1944 so not really in play during the main fighting of the offensive).

Level 4 – KV-1, KV-1a, StuG 40 G*

Level 5 –T34/85 M43 (7 captured vehicles were captured during the offensive and put into service during the offensive)

Level 6 – ISU-152 (only one of two captured vehicles during the offensive were used in combat).

Name / Armour / Strike / Features / From / Points

BT-42 Assault Gun  / 2 / 4 / None / None / 1943 / 6 points

Landsverk L-62 AA Gun / 2 / 3 / None / 1943 / 5 points

 

Level 1

T-26

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BT-42

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T-28 – Battlefront Miniatures (updated 02/07/18)

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Landsverk AA Gun L-62 – Battlefront Miniatures

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Level 2

T-28E Battlefront Miniatures (it is the same tank as the T-28 but with another turret) (updated 02/07/18)

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Level 3

T34 M41-42 Zvezda 1/100

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T-50

There are currently no 15mm models for the T-50 and only one was used by the Finns during the period.

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Pz IV J Zvezda 1/100

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Level 4

KV-1 Zvezda 1/100

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KV-1a Battlefront Miniatures (updated 02/07/18)

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StuG 40 G Battlefront Miniatures (Also called Sturmi)

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Level 5

T34/85 Zvezda 1/100 (updated 02/07/18)

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Level 6

ISU-152 Zvezda 1/100

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/ Hope that was of some interest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Got myself a Hex Mat

To play Bag the Hun (as well as a number of other air wargames) a hexagon mat is required, I do not have one so I decided to buy one. Yes, I hear you saying “…there are ways around it, and why don’t you make one yourself!”. However occasionally, and contrary to popular belief, I do go with that famous flow and just get something off the shelf. I looked around but could not really find anything suitable. I could not really see the cliffs of Dover representing the Karelian Isthmus, neither would Kentish countryside do nor the desert or anything else that I found for that matter. I suppose that some of the Eastern Front battles would have been fought over some forested areas that could pass for what I needed, but none of these seem to be readily available.

What I really was after was an image showing two things – forested areas and lakes. I went on Google Earth Professional (that you can download for free) and realised, probably as the last person on the (Google) Earth, that you can get rid of all the overlays and plainly look at the picture and capture images at relatively high resolution.

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Maximum resolution is 4800 by 3288 which proved more than adequate for my purposes.  I found a piece of southern Finland I liked and saved the picture. I then resized it to a 3 by 5 ratio (as I wanted to get a mat I could throw on the dinner table) and sent it to Tiny Wargames (link here) and asked (i) if the image was good enough to print on one of their 3 by 5 mats, (ii) if he could add a 30mm hexagon pattern on top and (iii)how much it would take me back – the answer was (i) no problem, (ii) of course and (iii) £50 (that inclusive of delivery within the UK). Further he said it would take them 4 days to do it.  Incidentally the cost is the same as it would cost to buy a mat with the same dimension of any of their existing mat designs – I suppose if you can provide a picture with sufficient resolution they will print a mat for you.

I also note that they can do more bespoke mats as well, like taking an old air photo from say D-day and make it into a stylised and coloured mat. However I do not know the cost of doing this as I suppose it would take some time to do – but if you are interested drop them a line.

A small note you need to specify how you want your hexagons printed on the mat – I sent a screen shoot from a Bag the Hun scenario map and told him my hexes should be aligned in the same way as those on the map. Very often the hexagon size is about 1½ inch, but since I went with a small mat (3 by 5) I also condense the hex from 38.1mm (1½ inch) to 30mm. The reason for the smaller mat is that I can quickly put the mat on the dining table and fly, with minimal fuss.

This is the map I sent them.

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And this is what turned up.

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Really happy in the way it came out (note the colour difference is due to the lighting when I took the picture of the mat on the table), I ordered it on a Monday afternoon and it arrived safe and sound on the following Monday.  More than pleased and this is how it looks with some Russian and Finnish aircraft flying on it.

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On reflection I should perhaps had taken a lower altitude picture, but I do like it and gives the feel of forests and lakes I was after.

Note on flight stands

With regards to flight stands the best way to manage it is if you do not attach each plane on a stand permanently but instead magnetise the plane and the base.  There are several reasons for doing this, I think these are the key ones:

  • Base set of stands – you are very unlikely to use all you planes at the same time on the table, so consider what the maximum size your aerial engagements are likely to be. This will determine the number of flight stands you make. For example if you are playing the Check your Six rules more than a handful (that is about five) per player is about right, for Bag the Hun (in my case) where you fly sections a few more would be required – I went for a total of 40 stands (overkill, but what the hell).
  • Changing your mind – If you change the size or type of the base you are using for whatever reason this is easily accommodated as you just need to make some new bases – if you want to revert back you just use the old ones.
  • Storing your flyers – Storing small 1/600 on individual flight stands will take unnecessary space and when my current project is complete I will probably have in excess of 200 aircraft. Without the bases they take hardly any space. If I want to fly some planes for another project, I just use these flight stands again.

I made my flight stands using some transparent acrylic bases (30mm, 2mm thick) that I drilled a hole in and some and acrylic rod (2mm), I also used Neodymium magnets (2mm by 0.5mm).  Remember the polarity when you glue the magnets to allow you to use the same flightstands for all your planes.

Big shoutout and thanks to Tiny Wargames (link here again)

/Hope that was of some interest!