Sunday, 11 June 2017

No, I'm not actually working on WWII figures but....here's a jeep!

I like to tell myself that I am not currently trying to build a WWII army for any of the participating powers, major or minor.  I've tried in 28mm and in 15mm, and in neither case was I interested in the results.  And yet I seem to have WWII stuff in my collection, like this US Army jeep:







Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Afghan artillery

Now that the Pathan tribesmen have a field gun, it's time for the Afghan army.

I started with Perry Miniatures Egyptian field gun, naively thinking it would be a good basis for an Afghan artillery piece.  One of these days, I'll learn to do research first, and then spend money.  Ah, well, live and learn 8^)

Here is the base piece:

It is a Krupp 6-pdr, and the crew are looking quite dashing with those fezzes.  Fezzes are cool.

So I went looking for information on Afghan uniforms and kit.  The best place on the web for info on the Second Anglo-Afghan War is the Mad Guru's Maiwand Day blog.  That's where I learnt that the Afghan army in 1880 had some very modern artillery in the form of Armstrong guns (d'oh!).  As I'm not about to put my flimsy modelling skills to the test by chopping up the Krupp gun, the gunners will get to keep their historically inaccurate artillery piece.  Maybe the Russians smuggled the Krupp gun to Kabul from Essen.

I also found out that fezzes are all wrong for Afghanistan.  (OK, I already knew that).  Preferred headress for Afghan artillerymen was either a brass helmet with a red horsehair plume or a forage cap with a red tuft.  Now, my lead/plastic mountain happens to include one box of the new(ish) Perry plastic British infantry for 1877-1885, and that box includes two officer heads wearing forage caps!  But of course, I have four gunners.  I considered a few options like trying to modify the fezzes into Afghan beehive hats, or wrapping turbans around them, but those efforts looked pretty crappy.  Then I hit on the brilliant idea of taking French carabinier heads.  The plume wasn't right, so I chopped that off and modelled new plumes from Procreate.  And so here is how the new Afghan artillery turned out:






Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Jhamjar border skirmish

Lt Frank Ocker's mood had not improved in the weeks since his skirmish with the Jhamjaris.  His little "police action" had been a failure.  He'd lost men (both wounded and killed) and he himself had been wounded by the Jhamjar Vickers gun.  Now he was finally back on his feet, he was going to go back to the dusty little principality and teach those sepoys a lesson!

I managed to meet Kevin and Jim to get in my second game of Chain of Command: Jhamjar last Friday.  I won't carry on the narrative this time, but in my mind the foul-mouthed F. Ocker is cursing up a blue streak - which my puritan mind won't allow me to convert to the written word 8^) and Lt Singh Widj is calmly and professionally keeping his troops motivated and confident.

Based on lessons learned in the previous outing, I added more terrain this time.  In the foreground to the right there are a few rocky outcrops and a small Hindu shrine on the left.  Past the shrine there is a small orchard (surrounded by a low wall), then a small settlement consisting of a short market street and a farm compound.  Alongside the muddy creek, there are some areas of marsh grass.

We decided to rate the buildings as soft cover this time, as they aren't really fortresses, or at least to discourage us from treating them as such!  The creek is shallow and easily fordable so is rated as difficult ground.  In the photo below, you can see the Jhamjar Rifles mustering on the right, and the ANZACs of Ockerforce gathering on the left.



The table as seen from the Ockerforce side.  


A couple of shots of the market street.  The merchants have fled; this is the quiet before the action starts!



Two shots at the end of the Patrol Phase.  Ockerforce has the Union Flags, and Jhamjar the red flower.



The jump-off points have been placed.  Ockerforce has the lorries and Jhamjar has two mule carts and an elephant.




Early deployments.  A section of English troops is attempting to enter the compound, and a sniper team has deployed above the fishmonger's shop.  Meanwhile, two sections of Jhamjaris have deployed, Muslims near the compound and Sikhs (with the Havildar and a medic) in the rocks. 


Bad news for the Poms!  Just as they climb to the rooftop, the Jhamjar Vickers Gun sets up across the creek and lays down covering fire!  The Poms take three goats (aka shock points).


Pommie corporal rallies one shock from his troops and urges them to take cover (tactical marker added).  Ockerforce sniper fails to have any effect.  Another section of Muslims deploys on the Jhamjar right.


A section of Sikh riflemen maneuver around the Hindu temple.


Ockerforce kiwis (in peaked caps with havelocks) tries to balance out the Ockerforce left.  Sniper still ineffective.


 Kiwis advance to the edge of the creek and take cover in the rushes.  We know they are kiwis 'coz they have acquired a couple of sheep (two shock points).


Pommie section is engaged in a firefight with the Muslims across the compound.  The Ockerforce sergeant has arrived to rally off the shock and direct fire for the Ockers.


Sikh section has occupied the shrine.




Firefight continues...


But now the Ozzies have deployed into the orchard to confront the Sikhs!


Glamour shot of the shrine!


 Kiwis have decided to hunker down (going tactical). 



Meanwhile in the orchard, the second Sikh section has charged!  Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal!  and the Australians are driven back...


and then the survivors take more fire from the shrine!  (one injured corporal and now 4 shock on the section).



So Frank Ocker deploys his last section into the orchard.  They charge and chase off the Sikhs!


While across the village, the Muslims rush in and wipe out the kiwis.



Back at the compound, Sergeant Bloggins and the Pommie Corporal are all that are left of the section.  They have collected a decent herd of shock markers, so are now pinned.


And with most of Ockerforce out of action (two sections wiped out, the other two reduced to less than half strength), we decided to call it.


This game went a lot better than the first.  I feel I learnt a few good lessons tonight (I was Frank Ocker again!).  Patrol phase was a lot better.  With a few more games it will be better still!  But this time it felt pretty balanced.  Having more terrain on the table was a bonus as it allowed better placement of the JOPs.  

The forces were not that well balanced.  I found that there's a reason the MMG is a List 4 asset!  It more than outweighs the two LMGs (Lewis Guns) in Ockerforce.  I can't really comment on the sniper.  He suffered from poor dice rolling  - never hit a thing all game!  He should succeed on a 3+ but the only time he got that Jim went and rolled a save!  So next time, more thought to balancing the forces, as well as looking at a different scenario, such as an attack/defend scenario.  I'm also ready to add some National Characteristics, to allow leaders to use their command initiatives to do things like direct fire or inspire charging into melee.

Melee is very decisive.  After mucking about with firefights for much of the evening, the melee combats we had were very decisive!  There were three of them and each pretty much wiped out the defender (although at significant cost to the attacker in some cases).

We managed to forget all about Force Morale.  There were several incidents that should have taken morale points off of Ockerforce - such as wounded NCOs and infantry sections destroyed in melee.  We got the same result in the end but it would have been good to track the effects on the fancy Force Morale boards!  We also failed to use Command Dice.  Each side earned a couple of these, but we weren't familiar enough with their use to take proper advantage.

So in the end, a good game, decisive result but a few lessons to apply for the next game.  Definitely looking forward to having another go!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Afghan mountain gun

As my Russians and British each have artillery support, I felt it was time that the Pathans also get a popgun to play with.  This is the new Perry Miniatures Afghan Mountain Gun:





Monday, 22 May 2017

Smurftastic

Recently, Arthur brought home a McDonald's Happy Meal toy Smurf house.  It seemed just about right, so a quick coat of paint and, voilĂ :




Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Life in plastic, it's fantastic

Last week, I was feeling a bit blue, so I ended up making a bit of an impulse purchase of three plastic kits:  one from Renedra, one from Italeri/Warlord Games and one from Rubicon.

The Rubicon kit is a T-34/85.  The model came together very easily, and ended up looking quite nice.  I went for a basic green, hopefully approximating the right shade for a Russian tank.  I may have gone a little overboard with the red stars.




At least I didn't add any slogans...

Kit No. 2 is the Warlord Games Churchill Tank.  The kit shows its origins as an Italeri modelling kit rather than a wargaming kit as it's a bit more work to assemble, but not much more.  I chose the Churchill as I wanted to make one of the Calgary Tanks that saw action at Dieppe - and this is where I fell into the trap of research.  The 14th Canadian Army Tank Battalion (Calgary Regiment) took a combination of Churchill I, II and III.  The kit allows one to make any of around 7 variants, including the III (welded turret, armed with 6-pdr gun).  

My original plan was to paint the tank an olive drab/greenish colour.  But then, research.  Checking out a few sites, I realised that the Churchills at Dieppe were something called SCC-2 Brown, colloquially referred to as "dogsh!t brown" on one of the sites I found.  I hope my final colour is something close.

The kit included a great decal sheet:
It's a great selection of decals, including (hallelujah!) the blue-over-brown 175 for the Calgary Tanks, and the black ram on maple leaf of the Canadian 1st Armoured Brigade.  So far so good.  There are red-white-red recognition flashes, but only three, so I left off the one that should have been at the rear of the tank.  The sheet includes three pairs of tactical markings - yellow circles, red squares and blue triangles.  For the Calgary Tanks, the markings should be blue (junior regiment of the brigade) but triangles aren't accurate for Dieppe - I could use blue squares, blue circles or blue diamonds, but not blue triangles. So close, but not quite there!  I'd have to see if I could fake it with paint.

So I kept digging and decided that I'd recreate tank Bert of B Squadron.  I even found the serial number (T68560R).  And then I got to painting.

Here's an image of Bert after Dieppe:

And here is my version:


No serial number, left off the tank name.  Slacker.


Recognition flash in the wrong place (should be further forward, under the cable, but it was too hard for my meager decal-applying skillz).  Also, after I'd finished gluing the model together, I found out that the Dieppe tanks didn't have the guards over the tracks, but I wasn't about to attempt to cut them off.  (i.e., upper track should be exposed like in this photo:

And here's the rear.


No recognition flash.  Well, I like it, anyway.

but since I have no WWII miniatures, I'll need to put them away and avoid being drawn into collecting and painting miniatures for yet another era.

Anyway, here are the two tanks together:




Third kit was the Renedra Ramshackle Barn.  A nice kit, I'd wanted this one for quite a while, and finally picked one up.  It's a nice generic piece that can fit into many different places - for me, most likely to show up for an Old West game.



The kit also has some nice little bits, including a couple of ladders, pitchforks and a wagon wheel that will end up gracing other projects.

And finally, here are the three kits together:


Thanks for reading!