Saturday, January 6, 2018

New year, new projects

Well, another year gone. And with a new year, so should come new projects.

My MSH Austrian project is pretty much done bar the shouting (and an 85mm AT gun that looks like the K-85) and while I probably should add a Hungarian opponent, the Czechs will fill that void for a while. I also have a hankering for Danes and a Polish marine regiment opponets (and the Russian marines as well in time)

Instead of anything sensible, its timefor a new period. I've always had an interest in the Napoleonic period going back to the id 80's with 20mm Airfix plastic and the WRG rules. I even had a sizable collection of different figures until they were sold to a friend in the early 90's. Since then I've played in a few Volley and Bayonet refights of famous battles in a variety of scales. In one case this involved the painting of a sizable number of H&R French. Before christmas I took the plunge and ordered some British figures from Baccus just to see what they were like in the flesh.

Now, the advice from Baccus is to undercoat black and then dry brush white to expose the detail. So, I undercoated white and had a wash of thinned smoke to give a better idea of where the detail was. This works really well, possibly better than a black/drybrush system. Even then, I struggled with the initial painting. I've always found that when you paint a lot of figures (like Modern russian infantry) you get into a 'style' of painting ie how you hold the brush to paint particular detail bits. H&R figures tend to be spindly but also have exagurated detail thats easy to paint. Baccus was a struggle as i had a hard time picking out the finer detail. I completely failed to paint the collars and had a very hit ad miss relationship with the belts. After the dust had settled I had done my first battalion. I'm really not sure about the pose as it looks like that they are holding large cutlery

I then moved on to the light dragoon figures. I found these even harder. some detail was really nice (the muskets) but locating the boots and horse tack was very hard. I was also surprised that the horse blankets (an essential part of any 20mm plastic figure)  were just not there. these add colour to the figures.

To the basing. My preferred rule set for Napoleonics is Volley and Bayonet which I have used to refight a few battles. A friend lent me a few bases laser cut in 3mm MDF. This is a bit thick for 3mm , but the bases are just so crisp...

The result; 2 brigades of british troops.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

More lead

Well, its probably not cast in lead any more (health and safety and all that) but I'm an old school kind of guy who's still alive despite the crap I have worked with over the years.

Arriving this week fresh from Reading some new releases to the range.
First up, for the Austrians, some M47's. These tanks served in many theatres in World War 2 in the German army (if Hollywood is to be believed...) and in the 1950's were a main tank for NATO, serving with a few armies. The lasted into the 1980's with Austria and Spain.
So onto the photographs. The HMG is a separate part which is crisply cast and fits easily into its mounting hole.
 And a shot of the model painted (in Khaki drab rather than Olive drab as it seemed to look more correct for Austrians)
  I am being awfully cruel blowing it up this large. For me it has captured the M47 quite nicely

Better news is that the Old centurion model has been replaced with a new sculpt as well, and again a great leap in detail.this is  mk5/2 I think, as the Centurion marks were all rather confusing (and the British defence industry seemed to making things up on the fly on the production lines)

 There is also another version with an updated turret with all the 1980's mod cons (searchlights etc)

And with some paint on, it looks much better.

I've been considering how to do a 1980's army with Centurions. Its a toss up between the Dutch (AMX 13's in the AT coys and the YP408) and the Danes (with a similar paint job to the British army).
The Danes would also be an opponent for a Polish amphibious 'defence' division.
last, but possibly the most useful, a wheeled 120mm mortar hot off the press (I'm not even sure what the code is). Many modern armies used towed 120mm mortars and they really all look the same.

Again a nice wee model with crew, and something I shall buy more of to replace my current Warpac 120mm mortars.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Here comes the cavalry

For some odd reason I've collected a few reconnaissance battalions from several nations. I guess its because you get a bit of TOE and equipment variety in the MSH lists that's missing from the largely vanilla main units.

Tonight I thought I would run through my US cavalry units. the TOE for these changed quite a bit between the early 1970's and mid 1980's. Models are Heriocs and Ros (of some vintage)
In the mid 1970's the US cavalry units were stuck with 2 relatively useless vehicles in the M114 scout and the M551 light tank. In 1975ish they finally ditched theM114 and replaced it with more M551's (which at least had a decent gun, even if it threw out the optics and electronics when it was fired). This brought up the M551 numbers in a platoon from 3 to 6. Each troop had 18 M551, 3 M113 scouts and 3 M106 mortars.My chosen unit for this is 1st/4th Cavalry(known by the nickname "quarter horse") which was the divisional cavalry squadron for the 1st Infantry division, VII corps. It was also the last unit in USAEUR to trade in its M551's in the middle of 1979.
3 troops and I have not added in a SHQ yet. I also need to do some work on the bases

When the M551's were turned in they were replaced with 12 either M60A3's (V corps) or M60A1's (VII corps). 3 M150's (or later M901's again in V corps) were added. The chosen unit for this incarnation is the 3rd/12th Cavalry ( no idea what the nickname for this unit is) which was the divisional cavalry for the 3rd Armoured division (for which I have the 1st brigade as well). For this unit I have also added the 4th squadron which was equipped with helicopters from the late 1970's. 8 AH-1's, 8 OH-58C and 4 UH-1's with an infantry platoon. No idea what use you might find for this on the table.

I've also made an error model wise by using the M113 ACAV (models from GHQ) version for my scouts. it was invented for use in Vietnam, but was never issued to units in Europe (if you think I'm wrong, please provide photographic evidence).

In mid 1983 the M60 was replaced by the M1 (105mm version) starting with the 11thArmoured cavalry regiment. I've modeled the 1st squadron ("Ironhorse)". Again I need to replace the M113ACAV stands with plain M113's.

The 2nd and 11 Armoured Cavalry regiment squadrons had a 4th troop which was a tank company. they also got a battalion of artillery in M109's.The M1's were delivered to Europe in US forest green paint only (despite what another wargaming company might have you believe), and did not receive any camouflage painting until the NATO 3 colour scheme was introduced in 1987 (what was the same for the M2/M3). The M1's are by Scotia (as I don't think Heroics and Ros make an original  M1, just the M1A1)

Friday, October 13, 2017

West German late 1960's

As I have purchased some SPZ12-3 for another project for which they were replaced, it seems a waste not to do something with them.
From my copy of Bruce Rea-Taylors army lisst for the 1950's and 60's I can create the following.

1968 Panzer grenadier brigade. This is only good to the early 1970's when the Marder was introduced.

Brigade HQ

2 Battalions BHQ SPZ12-3 ICT
1 SPZ 52-3 120mm SP mortar
3 coy 4 SPZ12-3 ICT

1 Battalion BHQ 1 MBT
4 coy 4 MBT
MBT may be either Leopard 1 or M48A3

1 battalion 1 AOP
4 M109G (plain M109)

At Coy
2 JPZ Rackette
4 JPZ Kannone

Recce coy
2 SPZ 11-2

Engineer coy
1 AVLB (M48 or Leopard)

The reserve units are possibly more interesting, though I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to run a battalion of what are essentially STUG's in MSH. this list is good to the late 1970's

Brigade HQ Inf/Truck

3 Battlions BHQ in SPZ 12-3
1 120mm Mortar/truck
1 coy 3 SPZ 12-3 ICT (may swap for M113)
2 coy 3 inf/truck

1 Battalion BHQ SPZ 12-3
1coy 2JPZ rakette
3 coy 4 JPZ Kanone

1 battalion 1 AOP
4 105mm or 15mm 5 M114

Just for completeness I'll include the Panzer or Pz Gr divisional recon battalion.

2 Coy
5 SPZ 11-2

1 Coy
2 SPZ 11-2 ICT
1 SPZ 11-2 81mm Mortar

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

On the trail

There has been a meme running round the wargaming blogs sphere of late about how we should all get better at project management, to avoid project creep and ensure that we don't wind up with piles of lead that we will take to our graves (creating a stack of mini toxic waste dumps in the process).
personally I think its a nice idea, but fat chance of it happening as wargamers as a breed are restrained and sensible creatures when confronted with the latest models.

This was going to be a discussion on what I should buy next army wise, but rethinking it this is a bit boring really. Instead I will go through a bit of research I've been putting together in the last couple of days.

I've been interested in the Austrian army fixed fortifications for a while now. One of my sources of information was this document, a PDF for the fire and fury rule set. Now, while the lists are possibly the worst format I've ever seen (and I've created lists from the DBM medieval German army list), there are some gems buried in there. On page 10 under the panzer battalion notes it suggests that there was still a battalion of M47 tanks in the early 1980's. Initially I was very skeptical of this, as I knew that the Austrian army had brought the M60 in the mid 1960's. However it seems that they only purchased 120 tanks, which is only enough for 2 battalions plus some spares and training tanks. given that there were 3 brigades in the only regular division it seems possible that the 3rd tank battalion was indeed still M47's. good enough form me to buy a battalions worth.

Its hard not to be tempted by the fortification units as well. while the Centurion and M47 turrets make sense,  the Charioteer turrets with a 20 prd gun are just too tempting.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Next options.

As always after a prolonged session of gaming one gets keen again and starts looking for the next armies to build. While Luke was here we went through my Czech collection to sort out what i needed to A) complete the Czechs to his exacting standard and B) add the Poles as well.
I've now found that I've lost the piece of paper somewhere.  I've also been going through the Austrians to sort out bits I'm missing (85mm AT guns bits for HQ's etc) and painting up some bits for the West Germans in the late 960's, as I have a stack of SPZ 12-3APC's that I was going to use as Austrian APC's before H&R released their new range.

I also received a purchase the day after Luke left, a 1960's wheeled recce regiment for my Brits.

Saladins, Saracens and variations on the Ferret ( it did remind me that I should really get a Fox recce regiment for the Brit territorials). This has lead to my main problem which is: what base green did I use for my existing British army when I painted it 15 odd years ago. I expect that others are well organized and have these things written down in their modeling diary's. I on the other hand just tend to grab the paint off the shelf that looks about right, and I do carry a wide selection of greens.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Question time

From the peanut galley refined followers of this blog.

"Great games chaps, what are the octagonal bases in the 1970's game?"

"There identical, but the one on the left is a bit more identical than the one on the right"

 Back when I firsty started playing the Spearhead family of rules I struggled with the Battalion HQ's. despite being forces to ride the command arrow they could be found leading attacks on the flanks, or engaged in hand-to-hand fighting in decidedly odd positions. Adding jeeps and recon afv's to the stands did not improve things. So, I lopped the corners off which has solved the problem for me. The sides are still parallel to the command arrow, but I can spot the stand from anywhere on the table.Even Dr U-S has come to the conclusion that I might have something.