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

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I spent most of this weekend in Hospital as the Little Ones appendix needed to come out – he is the bravest of boys.  He was disappointed as we missed the Rugby tournament on Sunday and our little family derby of Gaslands on Saturday. Anyway he is recovering at home at the moment and there will be no rugby or karate for a month, but the Doctor said nothing about wargaming!.

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I used to tell the kids, when they were younger that I fought in the Finnish winter war, and that my appendix removal scar was from a bayonet. This was in hand-to-hand combat against a never ending onslaught of Russian infantry.  But they soon realised it was a very economical truth and the closest I have ever been to the Winter War, was when I was playing the board game Artic Storm (link here) a few years ago. I suppose the Little One now has all the props he needs to replicate this “legendary” dad joke himself one of these days.

On the subject of the Winter War, one of the resolutions from the last (excluding the bonus one) blog (link here) was to get some Winter War Chain of command on the gaming table. I have all the miniatures I need but I am still lacking in terrain and markers. This blog entry is about some of the markers I have been doing in the early days of what I hope will be a fantastic new year.

With regards to markers I would need the following:

  • Patrol markers – not done. I got some Poker Chips from and will labelled these with Sovietic and Finnish symbols, that I will print on some adhesive labels.  As you may be aware these are used in the little pregame to establish the location of the Jump-off points. I am not too worried about the fact that they are not blending in on the table and since they do not stay on the table.  Maybe it would be cooler to use some Ski troops for the Finns and Scouts for the Soviets?
  • Shock makers – done, see below.
  • Jump-off Points – done, see below.
  • Pinned Markers – I will try to make these to simulate snow that flies in the air as a consequence of heavy firing on the ground. I will be trying this out this weekend as I have a little idea.
  • Broken – I will break a twig and put it on a base, simulating a broken piece of timber! Simple and a little bit of funny.
  • Tactical markers – done, see below.
  • Overwatch markers – done, see below.

Shock Markers

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These are done in the same way as the “Dead Parrot Markers” I wrote about earlier (First part and the second part) but I used 20mm washers instead of 15mm ones. The dead soldiers are from various Peter Pig packs (WW1 and WW2) and a few models just clipped from the base and laid down.  I also played around with some heads and helmets – it would not be funny otherwise.

 

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Finnish Shock Markers

 

 

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Sovietic Shock Markers

 

Jump off points

These were fun to do and as they stay on the table during the game I wanted these to blend in the overall terrain, as opposed to the Patrol Markers that are only used during the Patrol Phase.

I have to admit that I found it difficult to find anything pre-made that would fit the Finnish Forests. I have some Jerry Cans and Barrels but would find it unlikely that it would be lying around the forest in the type of situations we mostly find ourselves in a Winter Scenario.

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Pre-painting Jump-Off points.
Finnish Ones

First I added some stones and twigs to the bases (the twigs was actually from some metal model tree I have had in my bit box for ages, but I suppose you can get any twigs from a bush or something).  Most Finnish units were equipped with Skis so I made a set of skis and poles for each base.  I made the skis from plasticard (get a health lottery card and you enough for plenty of skis) cut thin, with one end sharpened and slightly bent, I also added a very small piece of Bluetac to give the illusion of bindings on the skis (i.e. where the soldier would attach the boot).  I also had some pieces of Stowage and small boxes that I had lying around that I bought from the Scene ages ago (link here), I also added some helmets as I had some left over heads from my head swapping exercises (I got these from Peter Pig, link here).  Finally added some snow flock mixed with PVA glue and some white paint, then flocked them again.

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The Finnish Jump-Off points
Sovietic Ones

Similar to the finnish ones but no skis (some units had Skis but this was rare, especially in the beginning of the war) again boxes and stowage from the Scene stuff.  The first one is with a dead horse (again from Peter Pig – Odds and Animals – link here) – there are also some dead cows if you prefer, I also flattened a piece of bluetac and cut out a flag sized square and used a piece of paper clip for the pole (unrealistic spread of the flag perhaps, but I just wanted to make it clear that it was a flag), third one a dead Russian and for the last one I added two rifles made from “rifle parts” from sacrificed models.

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The Russian Jump-off Points

 

Tactical move marker

These are just small triangles made from plasticard with some snow effect on top that I will place in front of the unit.

 

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A Section advancing in tactical mode

 

Overwatch

as for the tactical move marker but a different shape.

 

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A Medium Maxim Machine Gun at the ready

 

I also completed some defensive positions, the Russians did not have sections and the smallest unit is the squad at 15 man strong that gives the need for some very big ones.

In other news

Got some pictures from Marching in Colour painting services (link here) that I am using for some of my projects. Another load of about 60 Polemos bases worth of 6mm stuff that he has base painted for me.  If you are able to, do your lead mountain a favour and ask him for a quote!

I gave special thanks to Henry Hyde in a recent blog (at the end of this one) and he has recently started a Patreon campaign to raise funds to allow him to produce wargaming related material.  I urge you to read his own words here as they are better than any I would be able to produce, and if it is your kind of thing, give him a few bucks.

I have known Henry for a few years now and remember him coming to Joy of Six a few years back when he was the Editor of the Miniature Wargames magazine (with Battlegames).  He had travelled up from South of England in the morning, set up his tripod, took a few pictures of our Klissow game, had a short and insightful discussion with me on 18th century warfare in general and the Great Northern War in particular and then he moved on to the next table. Two months later I got my issue of Miniatures Warfare and on the cover was a picture from our Klissow 1702 game.

 

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Ugly labels on the bases and I had forgotten to paint the pikes, but there it was – Some 6mm Baccus on the cover of a Wargames Magazine. Peter Berry told me it was the second time he had Baccus Miniatures on the cover of a wargames glossy.

 

Having read Battlegames (in the day) and Miniature Wargames (and still doing so), the Wargames Compendium and listened to Henry on numerous Podcasts and followed his work, and interest, with regards to the physical and mental health of others, it is fair to say that he has had and will have an important role to play in our hobby (here is another link to the page where you can pledge your support).

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/ All the best, hope I will have the rest of the markers done by the end of next week.

 

 

2017 ending 2018 coming!

 

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Swedish attack on Saxon defensive position (Baccus Miniatures) with seasonal flair. The Swedish tactics of just marching on with resolve and in silence and then throw their snowballs, or perhaps fire their muskets, at short distance followed by a full on charge is just about to be implemented.  The most important factor to the outcome is the morale and resolve of the Saxons who are desperately firing away at the Swedes – will they stand to the Swedish onslaught or shit themselves and run away?

A long one again, sorry…but a lot of pictures…

 I have been away on holiday in Sweden over Christmas with the family and the only miniatures related stuff I have been physically close to have been my copy of the Gaslands Rules. I have read them and they seem to be a lot of fun, but more about that later.

This is the second year end for the blog and I have yet again had a joyful hobby year.  My original idea was to do a blog about my preparations for my Saga Game(s) at Joy of Six in 2016, but then I never stopped.  I found that it gave me some kind of efficiency in a strange way and I seem to have been more productive and organised than I used to be as a direct consequence.  That original post on Saga in 6mm (link here) still gets some hits, but the most popular one from 2016 is the first blog on Sharp Practice in 6mm.

With the Saga game in 6mm I wanted to show that it is possible to take a “28mm game” and change the individual 28mm miniature on a 25mm circular base and replace this with a 25mm square base with 4 to 10 No. 6mm miniatures, keeping all measurement as they were and still have a good time.  The game was still played on a 3 by 4 table, just as recommended by the rules.

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Saga at Joy of Six 2016

Saga, as a game, worked anyway and playing it with 6mm miniatures gives a different feeling using individually based miniatures – I have tried both and I prefer the multiple based version.

The other approach I have taken with regards to 6mm is that you can take a game where 28mm miniatures (to take an example scale) are normally being used and half the measurement or use centimeters instead of inches.  In this case each 28mm miniature is replaced with an individually based 6mm miniature. I have done this and played Sharp Practice, Pikeman’s Lament, the Men Who Would be Kings and Dragons Rampant.  It works but it is more fiddly than 28mm, but this aspect can be mitigated somewhat if you use the (1-2-3) basing as suggested in the Pikeman’s Lament rules, if your game is about figure removal from units with non-individual figures – like the games mentioned above.  This method is best described by Michael Leck who came up with the idea on his blog page (see here).  A blog entry shows how I based my Colonial 6mm British (see here) using this approach (kind of!), pictures below.

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Each line a unit of 12 men. You loose one man you take away a single base, you loose one more (2 in total) you take away another single base, you loose another man (3 in total) you put the single base back and take away a base with two, and so on. Simple and I promise less fiddly and complicated than you are currently thinking.
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I only did 1 and 2 miniature bases for the Lancers (8 in each units) but it still works with the same principles as above.

Here is an example of a game we played this year on a 2 by 2 board (Pictures below, link to the write up and lots of pictures here) – you could carry the board under your arm and the terrain and the miniatures in a small little box. We had a jolly good time playing it.   Did I mention that it took me two short evenings to paint up each force used in the game!

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2 by 2 feet table
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Ottoman Cavalry charging the Russian Dragoons who were supposed to protect the wagons.  1-2-3 basing system in use (Baccus and Perfect Six)

Here is another one (with the write-up here), this time Ottomans vs Swedes.

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As for the most popular post in 2017 it is more difficult to say and perhaps unfair to compare as some of the posts, by the nature of weekly postings, have been on longer than others. However, the first blog on Colonial 6mm using The Men Who Would be Kings rules (link above) seem to have got some wider interest and so have the other postings covering Dan Mersey’s rules (Dragon’s Rampant and the Pikeman’s Lament rules he did with my friend Michael Leck) – they are all very similar with some notable variations in the Colonial set where there are commanders for each section as opposed to the overall force for the others and the damage is based on actual figure count – not a fixed full damage until half units are left going then down to half until wiped off the table, to mention a few of the more notable differences.  I refer to these as the “Mersey Skirmish Engine” (MSE).

On the whole we have really enjoyed these games and they fit us really well as the rules are simple but not simplistic – i.e. there is sufficient depth to make the decision making challenging and there is a high level of friction built-in the activation system.  I mainly game with the Little One who is celebrating his first double digit birthday next year so this simple but not simplistic factor is important to us.  The best children movies are the ones that contain some sneaky adult jokes – watch any Shreck movie and you get what I mean.  I find that the more complicated games looses the little ones interest quicker and in some cases never really captures him to start with.

The best games was when we were using my 6mm French Indian war models with the Pikeman’s Lament set, on that horrible “wargames mat” I bought in Rhodes on the family holiday. We played a fully functioning skirmish wargaming on what in fact was a doormat (some pictures here) and had some great fun in the sun.

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Gaming on the Doormat!

 

We also played some other games including the Terminator Game, Sharp Practice, Dreadball (a great late start!), X-wing, The Twilight of the Sun King, Road Wolf,  Maurice, to mention a few.  I also read and tested the new Basic Impetus rules and Sword and Spear and would like to try these a little bit more.  I also did two forces for 6mm sci-fi but I am yet to find a ruleset that inspires me.

 

I wanted to play Chain of Command with my Finns and Russian, but I failed miserably.

Anyway here are my key painting, modelling and gaming ambitions for this coming year.

Great Northern War – Twilight of the Sun King Rules (6mm)

Painting/Modelling 90%, Gaming 10%.

The 18th century in general and the Great Northern war in particular is one of my favourite historical settings and I am currently working on the Horka 1708 battle for Joy of Six in July 2018 (here is a link to some background to this).  This will be the biggest battle I have done to date and I am very excited about it and this is the kind of battle and set-up that really works with the 6mm scale and gives the look and the feeling of a real battle.

I would also like to do a smaller table to give the Düna crossing in 1701 a fair go with the Twilight of the Sun king Rules (see some discussion on the rules here).  I think the “did I hit?, did I damage?, did you have armour protection?, did you manage to save? – rolling sequence” is funny and engaging for a skirmish level rule-set but I am warming to the abstraction of the Twilight rules for BIG battles more and more for every time I play them (here is a note about the rules and where to find them). I have plenty of nice modelling and painting ahead of me for these projects.

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The field of Battle for Horka (link to it in the text above)
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Figuring out the battlefield for Horka

Winter War and Continuation War – Chain of Command Rules (15mm)

Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.

I re-read Hjalmar Siilasvuo’s account of the battle of Soumussalmi  (Wikipedia link here) over the Christmas break.  It is an inspirational account of how, in essence, three Finnish regiments defeated two Russian divisions and one tank brigade. Siilasvuo was one of the most successful Finnish Commanders during the war years.

The Battle at Raate had ended with a total defeat of the enemies 44th Divison, The objective given to my soldiers were completed. My men had, with commendable resilience fought for over a month in the harsh winter conditions at Soumussalmi.  In defiance of death they had attacked the superior enemy.  Their only guiding star was the precious, common fatherland, that fought for its existence.  The cost of the great victories was paid with the heroic deaths of many brave  warriors.  With sincerity they had given their life for the fatherland, their homes and their faith.  The white crosses on the graveyards where the signs of their sacrifice.  They showed the people the path to honour, a hard path, but the only path. 

Translated, hastily, from H.J. Siilasvous book “Striderna I Suomussalmi”

I also went to the Cinema in my Hometown in Sweden and watched the new film based on Väinö Linna’s book the Unknown Soldier about a Machine Gun Company during the Continuation war from the mobilisation in 1941 and the early successes to withdrawal and retreat leading up to the armistice in 1944 , I have read the book and seen previous iterations of the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The story is fictional but based on Linna’s experiences serving in the Infantry Regiment 8 during the war – it would make an interesting wargames campaign.

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Still from the Movie Tuntematon sotilas [Unknown Soldier] (2017). Vänrikki Kariluoto readying a grenade during some trench fighting and Corporal Rokka getting ready to charge in and clean the next stretch of trench with his Suomi KP/-31 Submachine Gun.  Corporal Rokka is a typical example of a Big Man and a Veteran of the Winter War.

 I have all I need for some Winter war action as I did a platoon of Finns and Russians last year.  Here are some links to those Platoons (see here and here) as well as some background you may find interesting.  I will not fail these platoons this year.  I hope the Little One is up for it too! Link to the eminent Chain of Command rules here.  I would also like to have a go at doing a winter wargames mat, as I have not yet found anything on offer that I especially like (I have an old mat but it could be better).  I also have some Russian Scouts and more than enough Finns in Summer Uniforms to do some continuation war stuff.

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Some of the Finns I prepared – an Engineering Section. The NCO is screaming – “Why the hell did you paint us and left us spend the whole year fully winter dressed in a box! Get your bloody act together!, or perhaps he is screaming Mitä helvettiä?, Levitä laardi! (What the hell?, spread the Lard!)

Punic Wars – Command and Colours Boardgame (6mm)

Painting/Modelling 70%, Gaming 30%.

I am going to do a modular board and the necessary miniatures using mdf hexagons and 6mm units based on 50 by 20mm bases.  I laid out the plans in a blog entry earlier in the year – here.  I am looking forward to doing this as I am a fan of the game and  I have wanted to do this since I read about Dan Becker’s project many years ago (see here) and got inspired from the game presented at Joy of Six this year.

Mutant 1984 – Mutants and Deathray Guns (28mm)

Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.

I was going to do this project using (see more here) using the Scrappers rules but I have recently decided to try out the Ganesha games set called Mutants and Deathray Guns (link here).  I am keen that Rifleman Croc Lacoste gets some battle-hardening sooner rather than later, he has been waiting more than a while.

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Perry’s 95th Riflemen but not like you are used seeing them. Proud soldiers of the Pyri Commonwealth army, a mix of pure humans, mutants and mutated animals, on a rescue mission to a forbidden zone.  Crocodile head from the Crooked dice and high tech rifle from my old bit box (?).

 

I actually did some mean looking power armoured warriors (from Ion Age, IB52 Muster Female Squad, link here) when I got home yesterday evening as well as a gang of rats (conversions from the following miniatures – 3 of the bodies from Crooked dice here, 2 of the bodies from Moonraker miniatures – 0046 Scavenger. Handgun. Shotgun here, and 0074 SMG. Rasta here, the last body on the far left I do not remember, the heads and tails are from Giants rats, also from Moonraker, here).

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These Ladies would be part of a small security unit frozen in Cryonics freezers and woken up when the level of radiation had reached a survivable level. Now they have found a harsh and wild world, but they still have some powerful weapons, plenty of ammunition and their power packs are fully charged.
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In one of the classical adventures for the Swedish Roleplaying game Mutant that is the inspiration to this project, called Nekropolis, the PCs have an encounter with a group of rats.  This gang is my homage to those guys.

 

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The Original Picture from the scenario – Nekropolis, den Grå Döden Del 1, 1985, TAMB Äventyrspel AB

Gaslands (6mm) 

Painting/Modelling 30%, Gaming 70%.

This is the best thing that I have come across in 2017 and I read the rules over Christmas (link to the Gaslands page, here. Where you can get the rules and accessories).  This will be fun and I have more or less everything I need to get on with it (some notes here, here and here).  Being true to form I decided to do this in 6mm as I was aware of some nice looking models out there. However there are some considerations to make and I advice that you read my blog entries above, if you are considering doing this.

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50% movement templates with the 6mm cars.

In addition I may do the occasional game of Colonial skirmish, Dreadball, some Saga battles with the dark age stuff, French Indian war with SP2 or T&M, Maurice or Pikeman’s Lament with Swedes and Saxons, and I may even progress the Rommel stuff I started, but we will see. I am pretty sure it will be totally different at the end of the day/year but as long as I have fun it does not really matter.

I would also like to do some WW2 units to use for a Norwegian Campaign. I did a fair few a few years back but in a moment of stupidity let them go.

Some thanks and then I will let you go

I have done a fair number of hours at my painting and modelling desk this year, when I do this I tend to listen to podcasts and audiobooks – the following are the hobby related ones I have found especially inspirational this year and I am grateful they are doing what they do. Get some paint and click on the titles and go and listen, you may have a painted army standing before you after you finish! Thank you to all involved in the production of these.

Meeples and Miniatures – solid show, like a Volvo of the 240 series. Solid running top notch quality!

The Too Fat Lardies Oddcasts – effortless delivery of wargaming wisdom! Only 4 episodes so far but it feels like it has been around for ages.

Veteran Wargamer – excellent! Jay has definitely helped me make my gaming more fun!

WSS Podcast – at times feels like listening to one of those annuals I got as a kid, great stuff!

Wargames Recon – enthusiasm can go a long way, this one goes miles!

If I had one wish it would be that the Historical Wargames Podcast got on air again – I really enjoyed that show.  If I had another wish it would be great if there was a wargames podcast similar to the Grognard Files (a nostalgic throwback show to the RPGs of yesterdays) that reflected on some of the “dead” games out there.  The Veteran Wargamer, for example, had a show about games from beyond the grave (link here) and I think that one was a good start – look out for Jay’s comment on the game Chess.

Special thanks this year to the Little One who possibly prefers solo computerised quests as opposed to games with Dad using painted miniatures, but never fails to get stuck in and getting on with it.  At Joy of Six he ably, more or less on his own, ran the Dragon Rampant table we put up.  Also a big thank you to the Other Ones who may not be interested at all in this hobby of mine but who lets me get away with spending far too much time on it.

I would also say thank you to Chris of Marching in Colour (here is a link to his excellent painting service) who has been painting a fair few of my GNW units for this and next year’s TMT project – giving me more time to do some fantastic diversions and maximising the fun in the limited hobby time I have available.

Nick Dorrell, and his chums from the Wyre Forester Wargames club (link here), we ran Kalisz 1706 at Salute this year (see here) and Lesnaya 1708 at Joy of Six (see here). Nick and I have been doing 6mm Great Northern War Battles for the last six years as mentioned above we are doing Horka 1708 this year – if I get all of it done!   Also to Rob and Laurent that helped us at Salute and Peter and Igor of Baccus who always makes Joy of Six an easy gig!

Finally (almost), a big thank you for all you people out there who likes the blog on Facebook, follows it on Twitter (yes I have recently got myself wired up on this too), directly here on WordPress, or just comes by occasionally or even incidentally.  I really like the messages that comes through the blog and discussions I have had face-to-face with readers of the blog at the Joy of Six and Salute this year.

Now go and enjoy the end of this year. Hope you have a great 2108 and hey! – why not give something back to the hobby!  Having just eaten half of the world and drunk the other part over Christmas it tends to be at these times when we reflect on our health and promise to deal with it next year.  Henry Hyde, of Wargames compendium and Battlegames fame, just released a video that may not result in your lead mountain being painted any quicker but may help you being around long enough to have time to deal with it.  The video is called “Exercise Ideas For Writers and Gamers” – that is giving back big time so a my final thanks goes to you Henry!  Here is a link to the video on YouTube.

/ All the best and see you in 2018

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.

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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.

Lesnaya Part 4 – but mostly other stuff

Yet another week in a sunny, and this time also rainy and windy, France.  I thought I bang the drum for three of the places I visited with the family that may be of some interest.

Château de Talmont, Talmont St Hilaire, Vendée

Nicely situated on a rock that once was surrounded by a lake and the river Le Payre.  The Castle was originally built on the orders of William the Great, Duke of Aquitaine.  William actually was not that Great and lost a lot of his lands to Vikings and other french nobles. I am not that convinced we will see him as a warlord in future Saga supplements!  However from 1152, the Duchy of Aquitaine was held by the Plantagenets, who also ruled England as independent monarchs.  Richard I Lionheart (or Richard Coeur de Lion as they call him in France) is the most famous of the rulers of Talmont and he did a lot of alterations to the castle. The castle have taken some damage over the years but is well worth a visit and depending on the day some activities to keep the family entertained including some periodic games and falconry. You can read more here.

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Talmont Castle

 

Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Pontorson – Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy

I have spent a lot of time in Normandy over the last few years going to the various WW2 sites (Pegasus bridge, the D-day beaches, Sainte-Mère-Église and seen the famous Church and visited the airborne museum to mention a few) and they are all amazing but there is a lot of older history that is also worth checking out.  It seems like it is directly from a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying (WFRP) module. When I was standing on some of the viewing platforms on the top, with the wind blowing in whatever hair I have left, it did not take a lot of imaginary effort to feel like I was standing somewhere on the top of Minas Tirith in Middle-Earth viewing the hoards of orcs..sorry tourists approaching.  This island have been used since the 8th century as a centre for religious worship, defensive position and even as a prison.  Rich with history and to slowly walk along the small streets and passage ways up to the top and a visit the cathedral and the prison is a immersive experience that is not to be missed if you are in the region. There is a nice video showing off this amazing place here.

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Le Mont-Saint-Michel

 

Le Musée des Blindés, Saumur, Manche

This is a fantastic tank museum that, I personally, think is as good as the Bovington museum in the UK for us WW2 enthusiasts.  It is even better if you are into cold war stuff I have been told by reliable sources.  Here is a link to a video on YouTube showing a lot of the tanks and here is the official link to the museum itself.  I bought myself some German Tank Paints by MIG and I tried out the dunkelgrau on some early German Zvezda tanks I found in a shop in Cherbourg.  It seemed to work well.

What about the Lesnaya stuff?

As far as the Lesnaya project is concerned I had a little break from it last week. I did catch up with Nick Dorrell about it and we are good to go with the overall Towards Moscow Trilogy project I discussed in an earlier Blog.  It is very likely that, after Lesnaya, we will do a what-if-scenario where the Swedish army attacks the Russian Position at Gorki 1708 instead of Holowczyn, but more on that later.

Having started to paint the Finnish tanks for my Finnish Chain of Command project I got inspired to order some more stuff and when I came home a nice parcel was waiting with some Battlefront products including some finnish (Sissi) ski troops, a command group (to get an anti-tank rifle unit), and some Panzershreck and Panzerfaust teams (they were used by the finns but at the very end of the war). In addition some more vehicles including a BA-10 armoured car (from Zvezda), a BT-42 assault gun, a Vickers 6-ton tank and a Landsverk AA-tank.  In that nice model shop in Cherbourg I also bought a T-60 and a KV-1 again from Zvezda.  Yes the purist will say that the one T-60 known to have been captured by the Finns never was used in action – but I could not resist!

/ All the best

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