Thursday, 30 April 2020

German Two-fer: Opel Blitz and PaK36

Two entries on the menu today!  

First up, a PaK36 anti-tank gun from Perry Miniatures.  The 37 mm PaK36 was a bit underpowered by 1943 standards, so I really should model a Stielgranate 41 somehow - the Stielgranate is a shaped charge that fits over the muzzle, and added enough punch to allow the gun to take out heavier tanks.  For game purposes, I'll just declare that they have sufficient Stielgranate, and you can't see them as they've either just been fired, or are being retrieved from ammunition cases.

The Perry set comes with 3 crew, but since Chain of Command calls for a 5-man crew for this weapon, I've added two more from the plastic Afrika Korps box.  Those plastics are just so darn versatile!

As usual, I've added some markings on the base to help keep track of the crew.

Two crewmen are attached directly to the base, and there are three singles to allow casualty removal.

Today's second offering is the Warlord Games Opel Blitz.  I suppose it could serve as a tow for the PaK36, so the two models in the post can be related.

The kit goes together nicely.  It is a Warlord Games specific model, not one of the collaborations with Italeri, and it shows in the simple way the pieces fit together.  No complaints from me!  I liked the ease of construction.

It's a plastic kit that can be assembled either as a truck or as a half-track; I stuck with the fully-wheeled version as that better suits my idea for this army.

I found the red triangle insignia on the decal sheet.  It's the insignia of the 15th Panzer Division, which is a bit of a cheat for Sicily as by then they had been reorganised as the 15th PanzerGrenadier Division (with a white star insignia), but it's close enough for me!

A nice bonus in this kit is a full, 10-man seated infantry section.  I fixed magnets on the men and the benches, so the troops can be removed as needed.  

And finally a few of the empty truck bed, in case there's a need to haul something other than passengers!

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Jhamjar Rising - background information

As a diversion from COVID19 isolation, I am planning for a wargaming campaign to be set in the Salute State of Jhamjar, as a gaming event or series of events to play once restrictions on gatherings are lifted. 

Jhamjar is a princely state governed by a hereditary prince known as the Djelli.  The current Djelli, as with all stereotypical Indian princes from the movies, was educated at Eton and Cambridge.  However, rather than learning about his place in the British Empire, he instead returned home to Jhamjar with ideas, thanks to President Wilson, of self-determination for Jhamjar.  Now, in 1919, the Djelli has determined that the time has come for Jhamjar to set its own path in the world.  He has decided that the time has come for the British to 'quit Jhamjar'.  He started recruiting Indian veterans of the Great War to Jhamjar's army.  This army, which was supposed to be little more than a police force and a ceremonial bodyguard for the Djelli, gradually grew into a sophisticated military force, manned by veterans of the recent Great War and equipped with modern weaponry.  After the notorious Amritsar Massacre, the Djelli determined that the time had come to declare his independence from the British Raj.

While my focus so far has been on the actions involving the Army of the Djelli, I can see this overall alternate history as being a sort of Second Great Indian Rebellion, the first being the one in 1857, variously known as the Sepoy Mutiny, the First War of Independence and by other terms as well.  I envision The Second Great Rebellion as an alternate history where Gandhi's ideas of non-violence were overtaken by a combination of nationalist forces, Communist agitators, and more.  The inspiration is sort of a Very British Civil War by way of Carry On Up the Khyber and Peter Hopkirk's books Setting the East Ablaze and The Great Game.

As such, a variety of factions can be imagined, including, but not limited to, the British Indian Army, the Army of the Djelli of Jhamjar (or other Indian princely states), Pashtun tribesmen, or Indian revolutionaries associated with either the Communist Party (with possible support from Moscow!) or the Indian nationalist movement, or possibly mercenaries, adventurers, thugs, dacoits and other ne'er-do-wells.  Other interested parties are certainly possible, and I'm interested in suggestions!

In Bolt Action terms, Jhamjar can field troops mostly using WWI British army lists as developed by GAJO games, see link here.  Most soldiers are Regulars, but newly raised troops may be Inexperienced.  Jhamjar has infantry, cavalry and artillery.

Many Pashtun tribesmen were drawn to the Djelli's banners.  Pashtun Tribesmen are based on the Native Irregulars from Empires in Flames BA supplement.  They may use 'hidden set-up' or 'setting up observers and snipers' rules from the Scenarios chapter of the BA rulebook (p.131), and when 'outflanking' (p.132) they do NOT suffer a -1 penalty.  Will typically be equipped with rifles.

The British Raj has a mixed bag of soldiers available.  The Djelli's rebellion came as the Third Anglo-Afghan War was beginning, so the Raj needed to scramble to find troops to fight the Djelli's army.  The forces available included British regulars stationed in India, ANZAC veterans of the Great War whose troop ship was intercepted and diverted to Karachi (while the soldiers aboard wanted nothing more than demobilization and repatriation to Australia and New Zealand after enduring war in France, Belgium, Gallipoli and Palestine), Gurkha Rifles, and even a platoon of King's African Rifles.  The British also have access to some armoured vehicles and aircraft.

Other forces that could potentially get involved may include Enver Pasha and his Pan-Turkic Movement, M N Roy and his Bolshevik supporters of a revolt against British rule in India, nationalist revolutionaries eager to disregard Gandhi's call for non-violence and take up arms against the Raj, or other 'interested parties' that could be nominated - let me know what you want to bring to the table and how you can justify their participation in this revolt.  The main restrictions are that forces should have only weapons and equipment suitable for India in 1920, so basically WWI era or earlier.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

German stretcher bearers

Here are some German medics and stretcher bearers from Perry Miniatures.

I often think that they won't have any role in my games, but then am pleasantly surprised when they end up as useful markers! They might be morale markers, or can be used to show a wounded leader, or might even be an objective.  

So I am confident that these ones will also find purpose in an upcoming game!

New goodies arrived!

Exciting week for me!  Well, no, not actually.  Still physically distancing, which is a bit dull but certainly allows time for painting. Anywho, I ended up at my local B&M shop Hammertime Hobbies on the weekend (carefully observing all physical distancing requirements, only one customer in the shop at a time), where I picked up a couple of Warlord Games vehicles in addition to the brushes and paints that I actually went there for.  I chose an Opel Blitz

(I particularly like the full section of infantry that comes with the kit. I've put magnets on each so that they can be removed as necessary)

and a Hanomag (SdKfz251/1)

Curiously, the Hanomag includes passengers but not a driver!  Fortunately, I had a spare German driver in my bits box, although I needed to trim down his seat a bit to make him fit.

And then yesterday, I received an order in the post from Perry Miniatures!

A PaK36 anti-tank gun for the Germans, and for the Canadians a QF 6-pdr anti-tank gun, an extra section of infantry and a trio of motorbikes.  

And yet there's more!  Today I received my Dangerous Dames Kickstarter Package from Bob Murch of Pulp Figures!  I am very excited by these, and thrilled with the service from Canada Post, as I only just spoke with Bob on the phone yesterday to confirm the extra packs to be added to the order.  24 h service from Canada Post - I know that complaining about Canada Post is like complaining about the weather, so today I want to give them their due.  Excellent service!

Of course, the dilemma now is to choose what to paint next...

(well, no, I've already decided to finish up the Opel - but after that?)

Monday, 20 April 2020

More markers

These are more goodies from my lead pile.  I have no particular plan for them, except a general idea that I can always find a use for markers in a game.

These piles of spent shell casings might be used to show a gun is low on ammunition.

These small piles of supplies could be used for resupply, or could be CoC JOP.

As for the brazier, I dunno, inspiration for a pyromaniac?

Sunday, 19 April 2020

If you're Canadian, show me your beaver!

This was a fun little project.  I've had this set of tiny beavers for years. I got them from the Honorable Lead Boiler Suit Company, but they are currently marketed by North Star.  I see that North Star has them in a set of 8, but I've only got 6 so it's likely that a couple of the beavers have disappeared sometime in the decade or so they've been banging around my lead mountain.

It's tough to take good photos, these beavers are so small it's hard to get proper focus on them with my simple little camera!

My original plan was to have the bases removable, so the beaver bases could be used as markers of some sort, but that ended up being too much of a hassle.  So the ground the beavers are on ended up looking a bit unrealistically round.

This is also the first time I've used water effects.  I used Vallejo Water Effects.  The water itself is clear, just applied over a green-blue base.  Although I mixed in some static grass.

I've no plans to use this in any game, it was just a fun little model making exercise.  I like the Vallejo water stuff, so I'll be looking for an excuse to add water to a future exercise.  Hmm, maybe Ukrainian wetlands for Eastern front?

Friday, 17 April 2020

Afghan Regular Cavalry

Our COVID-19 life in isolation is encouraging me to finish up some projects that have been on the back burner, including these cavalrymen.

These started out as Perry Miniatures ACW cavalry, and were given to me by Doug with the suggestion that I could convert them to British cavalry for the Second Anglo-Afghan War.  I ended up with a slightly different idea, and decided to make them into Afghan Regular Cavalry.

While the red coats and blue trousers makes them look somewhat British, the uniforms are based on Ian Heath's research, which is hosted on The Mad Guru's blog here.

The centre top figure is a cavalryman, wearing a British inspired uniform.  Heath quotes a British officer from 1878, Joshua Duke:

‘dressed in old British red cloth uniforms with white belts, more or less clay-piped, rather baggy blue cotton trousers, with long boots innocent of blacking. The only purely native article about them was their headdress, which, however, was also a copy of the present English helmet, but being made rather shapeless, of a soft grey felt, it was not becoming.’ 

I took the ACW cavalry, did head swaps with the Perry's 1880-era British infantry and used green stuff to extend the tunics.  I shaved the helmets and painted them a grey shade to match the 'shapeless, grey felt' description above.

So after far too long a wait on my painting table, here they are, ready to battle against British or Russian (or even Persian) invaders!

More muleteers

I've made up a few more muleteers, one more Canuck and two Germans.  As with the one I did last week, the muleteers and mules can be removed from the big JOP base if I need them for something else.  

Here's the Canadian,

And here are the two Germans.

The muleteers are Perry Miniatures, and the mules have been commandeered from Jhamjar's new mountain gun.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Mountain Gun for Jhamjar

OK, not just for Jhamjar, but it was the Djelli of Jhamjar's army I was thinking of when I ordered this mountain gun from Brigade Games!  It could also find itself in action in the Indian Army of the First World War, or elsewhere as events require.  

The set includes the BL 2.75" mountain gun with a crew of three gunners.

It also comes with a team of 6 mules to transport the gun.  

As there are only 3 gunners, I've based two of them separately so they can serve as muleteers when they aren't needed as gunners.

This gun will replace Zam Zammah in the Djelli's army.  The mules also serve double duty as needed, such as on my Jump Off Point vignette for Operation Husky.

Sunday, 12 April 2020


I had thought to title this post 'Bhisti Boys', playing on the name of the Beastie Boys band, but then realised that calling these bhistis 'boys' might be taken out of context.  Anyway, bhistis or water carriers are and have been for generations very important figures in South Asia.  These figures come from Empress Miniatures' (Iron Duke) Indian Mutiny collection, but in my games might end up supporting my Indian Army in Afghanistan in 1880, or with the Jhamjar army in 1920.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

PanzerGrenadier Gruppe

One of the support options for most forces in Chain of Command is an extra section or squad of soldiers.  It can be quite handy to have the extra firepower and manpower.  So to enhance the options available to my German forces, I've assembled one more gruppe of Panzer Grenadiers.

The squad is divided into two teams, each with a machinegun and five men.  With two machinegun teams, PanzerGrenadier squads have lots of firepower.

For an easy visual distinction, the first team is prone or kneeling.  

The second time is standing/advancing.