I have finally finished my France 1940 15mm Platoons I have been working on. I intend to use these with the excellent Too Fat Lardies France 1940 supplement I bought some time ago (link here). I have talked about the book before and it is a fantastic resource for any Platoon based WW2 Gaming. Here they are, I used Skytrex (link here) and Peter Pig (link here) miniatures.
I bought the Little One a copy of the Airfix Battle game for us to try out over Christmas and we took it with us to the holidays in Sweden. He rather likes it and I thought why not ask him to write a short review/reflection of the game I have added it at the end of this blog post.
British 1940 Regulation Platoon (Skytrex and Peter Pig)
German First Wave Platoon (Peter Pig)
Airfix Battles – A review by the Little One
I find Airfix Battles a good game because everything you need sits in a small box – flat miniature soldiers, tanks and guns. The rules are simple to understand for a 10-year old wargamer. However I have played a lot of games before so maybe they are a little bit more difficult for you. There a paper sheets that are used to play on and some terrain features you place on the mat. These are ruins, hedges and difficult ground. It takes on some things that I like with WW2, such as Tigers, Bazookas and Pak-40 guns. However, it is a little bit unrealistic as you can shoot in a curved trajectory (kind of) and mortars and artillery do not seem very powerful – I read in a book that artillery was the biggest cause of death in WW2. Also the ranges are a little bit strange, the MG-34, Browning and Sniper Rifle has the same range. My Papa, that is what I call my dad, tells me there should be figures with the game, but we have plenty at home and the flats works well for travel. It also shows how dangerous war is – so you have to manage your units carefully and protect your commanders as they are important to allow you do things like getting cards and playing orders. You can also use the set to play other games on while you travel, we played What a Tanker using the Panzers vs the Shermans – that was fun!
The other day we used miniatures to play the game, it made my Papa a little bit happier and we had a very good time. He does not like this game as much as I do. I really like it. There is also a way you can play against yourself in Solo mode – I like it and it is harder than playing against Papa because I roll very well for both sides.
I really like games and I think I have learned a few things from this one that I will try to use in my own rule set I have been working on.
As Papa would have said, I hope that was of some interest.
– The Little One (you can read more about the game here)
Below are some more of the pictures we have taken of our games.
His shoes are too big and his hat is too small, His trousers are tight and his coat is too long, But it does not matter, because he is my soldier, Somewhere in Sweden!
– Translated from the 1940 Swedish Song “Min Soldat” (My Soldier), performed by Ulla Billquist and written by Nils Perne.
A few weeks back I presented an initial stab at a Swedish Platoon Organisation for the WW2 era (here is a link to the earlier posting) for Chain of Command. Since then I have been working on some miniatures for the platoon and some of the support options – I will present the work to date in this blog update. I will leave out the work I have been doing on vehicles (armoured cars and tanks, I think that will be a good one on its own) as I have not yet finished the tank markings/decals – but I am working on it with some help from some friends.
I want to state how grateful I am to the community when doing something like this, the support from all kind of places with encouragement, the research and offers of help. I even got a fair few of 3D printed models for a Swedish Tank type sent to me by a friend on Twitter. Good stuff!
Later blog updates will also show/discuss jump-off markers and some terrain features to make the battle field having a touch of Scandinavia – making it look as Scandinavian as a wargames table with Snake rail fencing looks American!
I would like to do an what-if Scenario based on the operational plan developed by the commander of the 25th Panzer Division (link to Wikipedia here), Adolf von Schell, to attack Sweden with a handful of divisions from Norway. This is described at high level in the book “Andra Världskriget och Sverige (2002)” (that translates to: The Second World War and Sweden) by Jan Linder, and contains the following picture.
I have not been able to find any more information on this operation and if you are reading this and know more – please let me know. It would be fun to do a linked campaign of fighting in some of the areas I know very well from my childhood.
It is interesting to note that the 25th Division was issued with outdated French Tanks and according to the Wikipedia entry above the following was the combat strength in 1943:
..21,000 men and fielded 14 Panzer II tanks, 62 Panzer III, 26 Panzer IV, 40 Hotchkiss H39, 15 Somua S35, and 15 Self-propelled assault guns, such as the StuG III.
It would give a nice opportunity to get some French tanks and do them in German “livery”. However that is for the future and I have yet some research to do…
The Swedish Platoon Organisation and Models Used
In reading the old manuals there are a few changes required to the original list that are summarised below. I will update the Platoon document at a later date.
(i) Due to allocation of runners, I have reduced the number of Riflemen in each section with one. I need to verify this so I did 4 extra models just in case!
(ii) The first Section/Grupp had an SMG armed rifleman in the Rifle Team/Gomgången. However, due to shortages this was not always possible, especially early in the period.
(iii) The manuals indicate the presence of two Teams/Omggångar and that there are situations when they fight as two elements – one K (Kulspruta / Light Machine Gun) and one G (Gevär / Rifle). Therefore I have re-organised the Platoon organisation in the picture to reflect these changes.
This is still work in progress and may change as I read more stuff. For the 1943 to 1945 Platoon I have made the same changes to the organisation. Again, this is an aspirational platoon, and as you can see it offers a significant increase of fire Power with 2 SMGs per section and the M/42 Semi-Automatic Rifle, and in addition the Platoon 47mm mortar and the Anti-tank rifle.
I decided to make enough miniatures so that I could field a platoon at any stage of the WW2 period. Following some discussions on twitter and a few other similar projects the 15mm Italians from Flames of War seemed to be a good match for the m/39 uniform.
This assumes the M/37 helmet and the M/39 uniform, at the time the latest equipment available. Some units would be equipped older uniforms and helmets, like the earlier helmet M/26 and older uniforms.
If you are doing this project in 28mm you could use the fantastic Ådalen Range that depicts interwar Swedes, these are just troops that have not had new kit – the range covers all that you need for the early war (limited poses, and there are no SMGs and the Machine Gun is perhaps a bit dated, but I think it would work and if you even use some of the earlier uniforms in the mix you may get a motley crew of ill-prepared 1940 soldiers), more information here (I have not ordered any, but they do look good. I suggest you contact them first before you make your order – I always do).
Anyway back to my 15mm project.
I bought the following from Battlefront
1 pack of ISO101 Italian Artillery Group – gives you crew for your guns as well as some SMG armed gentlemen.
2 packs of IT702 Fucilieri Platoon – your bulk infantry
3 packs of ISO131 Italian Fucilieri (Late) – again gives some SMG armed soldiers and some more LMG (for simple conversion)
2 pack of GSO517 7.5cm GebK15 howitzer – for the infantry gun option (more below)
1 No. PL510 37mm wz.36 gun – this is the famous 37mm Bofors Anti-tank gun, used by the Poles, Finns and the Swedens (and others).
I also had some Polish Machine Guns from Batttlefront and bought the WW1 Austrian Machine Gun from Peter Pig.
I used the following paints for these:
Jacket and Trousers – Vallejo German Field Grey 70830
Helmet – Vallejo 70895 Gunship Green
Bread bag – Vallejo 70886 Green Grey
Leather / Belt – Vallejo 70875 Beige Brown
Water Bottle / Gaiters – Vallejo 70988 Khaki
I tend to use Field Drab, then Medium flesh tone for skin, saddle brown for the rifle buts.
I put a wash of army paint quick shade on top – soft tone.
The Swedish 1940 – 1943 Platoon
The Swedish 1943 to 1945 Platoon
This is the same models as above but with some swaps and the Mortar Section.
In addition there is an anti-tank Rifle for the Platoon, I made two of these conversions.
The are based on a kneeling rifleman and I did the simplified rifle from some plastic coated paper clips, it shows better in the picture below.
Some support options
The next one was a little bit trickier, but once I found a reasonable proxy the conversion was simple, using some very thin cocktail straws I bought may years ago. I wanted to mode the Bofors 75 mm Model 1934 Mountain Gun.
It looks like this,
Battlefront makes the GSO517 7.5cm GebK15 howitzer, it looks like this.
I hope this sequence is self explanatory
And finally some Machine Guns, one using an old Polish MMG set and the other head swapped Austrian WW1 MMGs from Peter Pig.
I am really enjoying this project, it is not a Labour of Love, just Love
In the post last week I discussed the Project the Little One and I are doing to play the 29 Let’s Go Pint sized campaign from Too Fat Lardies (link here if you are interested). The German platoon and supports have not yet been delivered as an item is on back-order, so we have pressed on with other stuff. One of the most pleasing aspects of a WW2 Skirmish is a nice looking table that sets the scenes alive. If you look at any of the Too Fat Lardies games there is plenty of character in the table itself – nice buildings, trees, hedges but also those additional things that makes it look real, like Green houses, planters, sheds, benches, telegraphs poles, pissoirs, statutes, monuments, civilian cars, old advertisement on buildings, etc.
Warbases have a nice range suitably called Chain of Command that has some very nice item including two garden sets (link here), they have been developed with Too Fat Lardies. The only problem for our project is that they are all in 28mm – if I did this in 28mm I would definitely get these.
I contacted Warbases and said something in the line of “Hey Lets Go 15mm?”. They told me they do not do them in 15mm, but that perhaps the stuff that Scenic Route Models could fit my needs (link here). Now these model are in OO scale that technically is 1/76 whilst 15mm is about 1/100 (most of the time) – in reality I feel that most of the Battlefront miniatures are bigger than 15mm. However, I thought to myself, I could throw a few pounds in their direction in the interest of research. So I ordered the following sets this Tuesday and they were delivered this Saturday.
And of course their Green House (well I got two).
I got them and as I suspected felt that there were a little bit on the large side (as they are design for another scale), this is the Greenhouse door vs the doors on the houses I am using (more about those below).
However I got out my good old razor saw and cut of a few layers on the bottom on all the pieces before assembling (you could use a knife and cut carefully as well) – A relatively easy modification.
And, I did similar modifications to the other stuff – always modifying the height. The only further modifications I did to the buildings where adding roof ridges (cocktail sticks), and gluing on 80 grade sandpaper on the shed roofs, and adding some glass to the plant boxes and green houses – this was from some sheets from some thin plastic from packaging for strawberries (I ate them and cleaned it up first). After I painted them I added some flower tufts to the planters and green houses. And, I almost forgot, I also added some detail to make the opening to the Green house look more like a door.
I am very happy with the results (the 15mm Americans from last week making another appearance).
I have made a second order for some more stuff (mainly repeats, but trying out one or more other things) and also ordered some other things from some other suppliers I hope will work as well – but will write about those in future updates here on the blog.
I also stumbled upon the following during an eBay search for something completely different. I thought it looked like some kind of stone pattern.
So, I got myself a piece of it to try out – it is called Faux Leather Python Pattern Upholstery Fabric and is sold in 1 meter lengths (1.4m wide) for £12. I got it and did a quick dry-brush and detail and this is how it turned out – not 100% satisfied but it does work.
Finally I bought a whole bunch of 15mm Normandy houses/structures (16 No. in total) from Empires at War – they are pre-painted stuff and are very good (link here). We only built a few and will only need about 5 No. for the 29 Lets Go campaign and only applied a little bit of additional paint mainly to hide the brown laser cut mdf sides – if you look at the pictures you can see the before and after look – they do work well without any modifications as well.
I will show more of the houses when I finished them.
I have bought all of the Too Fat Lardies Pint sized campaigns for Chain of Command to date, but I have to admit of not yet played any of them. I have used Chain of Command for some very fun Games in a Finno-Russian Winter war setting and for the Continuation war period. I am currently struggling with time to do any bigger gaming ventures apart from some gaming with the Little One as I spend more time than I would like away from home due to work. He had up to recently not been to interested in Chain of Command but now, out of the famous blue, he would like to do some Normandy actions, so I thought the first campaign Richard Clarke did could work well (and I have to admit I fancied painting some Americans and Germans).
I really enjoy the format of the “Pint Sized” campaign books and you can find this one and others on the Too Fat Lardies webpage (link here), you would need the Chain of Command Rules as well as At the Sharp End campaign supplement for the full experience – but I dare say you could use this with any WW2 plutoon based rules and have fun they are great products. The campaign covers the advance of the US 175th Infantry Regiment and their struggles in linking the Omaha and Utah beaches.
To play the scenarios you basically need a platoon or US Infantry and a Platoon of Germans, with some support options.
I am also using this project as an opportunity to get the Little One a little bit more involved in the terrain making aspect of the hobby, this time we did some roads and telegraph poles – which was great fun and with immediate gratification (at least for us) in the pictures below.
We also did some Telegraph poles that we bought from e-bay, they are laser cut MDF but I think they work very well and saved us some building time and 24 for a fiver (£5) is much cheaper than some alternatives – that perhaps look better, but for us this was perfectly adequate.
We did not use the base it came with instead installed them on top of thin washers with superglue (some of them on bases) and made a few damaged ones.
We also have a set to winterize for some other theatres, but that is for another colder day.
American Rifle Platoon
The American Rifle Platoon and the support options is more or less completed – there are a few I have not done yet and I will pick these up from Peter Pig at SELWG. The basic Platoon is based on the Battlefront US Rifle Company pack – this is not the plastic one they are currently selling but the old metal version, it gives you everything you need for the campaign except for some Shermans, Flamethrower, 50 cal. HMG and some Engineers (the new plastic box should do the same too).
Here are the models…
And then two mortar teams finished today (apart from gun metal colours – I realize now),
That is all we need for the American side, next the Germans….
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).
Using the list from the Chain of Command book we find the following information for a Russian Rifle Platoon.
So let us start with that Leytenant
Add two more squads and we have our Rifle Platoon (I did 4 or these Platoons)
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:
Having placed all that on the table I still had this left.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
So really looking forward to this one, for many reasons.
…back to the Italians.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
“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.
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).
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.
Anyway, here are the completed miniatures.
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!)
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)
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 ;).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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)
Valentine III – Plastic Soldier Company
Matilda II – Zvezda 1/100
M3 Lee – Zvezda 1/100
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.