Wednesday, May 30, 2018

More terrain squares

After a month (of and on) of work, I've finished the bases for another 8 terrain squares.

Total cost so far is ~$130 for 8, so not breaking the bank by a long way.
This set will be a bit more open, and I might now consider an autobann set (3 boards) and possibly a river set (3-4 boards) as well.
For other rule sets I'm now trying to come up with a similar system for Napolenics with Volley and Bayonet (also possibly for ACW but that might be a bit too far).

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The old and the new

Dr U-S asked for a comparison picture of the old US strip vs the new strip.
Here it is.

The new ones are far better fed than the old models, but are the about the same height (6mm vs 6-6.5 mm). This surprised me so much that I measured them 3 times before I was convinced.

Monday, May 21, 2018

New Toys Review.

The care package that delivered my Dutch, also had a few of the new 1980's infantry strips.
These were so nice that I gave them a coat of white followed by a smoke wash to try to bring out the detail.
New US strip
New German strip
New Denmark strip. I think that they have camoflage on the helmets.
 These are getting up towards GHQ in quality, and H&R is far more user friendly to order from.
( And while I understand the use of the larger feeder sprues which increase the sharpness of the casting, the Scottish in me feels that I should collect to off cuts and post them back to Andy...)

The new YPR 765 PRAT (the schoolboy in me always giggles when I see this). This is a new sculpt and not the old Skytrex model. The detail on the hammerhead is very nice too. I suspect this vehicle will be more stable than the US M901.

 Now I just have to get painting my Dutch

Finally a bit of modeling. I've had the ZSU57-2's for a while. I've just added figures from the old standing artillery crew strip.  This strip is great for adding crews to open topped AFV's as they are really thin.
I'm still not keen on the bendy gun barrels and I might yet replace them with hard wire.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Terrain; whats next?

I've been making some more terrain squares, refining and speeding up the process as I go. I've made another 4 boards with the sides done for a further 4. I've been held up a bit by the lack of polystyrene sheet ( A pox on Bunnings). I'm now pondering what to do with them. The current 8 board "set" is representative of southern and central West Germany. This covers the US, Germans and the French (as well as the Austrians), and to some extent the British as well. However when you get to north Germany things get a bit flatter in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein (and Denmark)

I'm not sure how it will work on the table top as its a bit more open. Some modern gamers (well, most it seems) like an open board, but I'm not that keen. Smaller towns would be treated like woods, and would only be able to fit 1 stand. Tree lines along roads would only provide cover if the stands are in contact and stationary, and could be seen  over by any one higher.

 Possibly something with some tree lines for cover. The scale is a bit smaller here.

I will also have to decide if I want a separate set of terrain boards for northern and southern Germany which will have a different edge style An alternative is to continue the edge style but create 8 boards with more open terrain. I'm sort of leaning towards this at the moment as everything is interchangeable giving a very large number of different 6 by 4 tables. Other options I'm looking at are 3 Autobahn boards (though I'm not quite sure why as the large motorways are not overly common, even in their homeland) and some boards with larger river features (which could really kill manoeuvre)

Long term I would like to do some terrain more suited to late WW2 ie Northern France and the Netherlands (though this is probably covered by the lowland/farmland boards), and also Poland, the Baltic states and Prussia, though a snow theme might be more suitable for the Eastern front. The real problem for me is to come up with any photos of prussia and poland in the time period.

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)