Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Zone Russians (Part 2)

Well not the largest amount painted, but here are the second squad of my Russian cold war Platoon. a few posts ago I was able to show the first squad, and this is the second squad. Similar issues with the figures and similar weapons as well. There is a slight difference in the weapons though as I am painting what was purchased in a single pack of Battle Front Team Yankee Russian Rifle platoon.

Because Team Yankee is based around BMP platoons and not BTR platoons there is 2 PKM in this squad and most likely the next as well.  So I may have to buy BMP -1 or BMP -2's as opposed to BTRs. This may not be a big issue at all as I have yet to settle on the transport that I would choose to start with. You Know me I will eventually get everything! (Well not everything but sufficient Variety to represent different vehicles in different regiments. I do know what I am intending for the opposing forces so I must try and get the forces to balance.

Anyway another picture of the Russian Uniforms that I have tried to replicate and like the first squad  I am happy with the outcome.

I am now cleaning up the third squad and will begin painting that soon. So expect the third squad and platoon command next week. I will try to get some 28mm VBCW figures done as well, IF I can tear myself away from "Minecraft!"

All the best Cheers Clint

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Boot Fair Finds (2)

Well here is the other building! Yes I could have done better, but it is good enough for me. The model is out of Model A&E and doing well.

So what needed doing? Firstly one corner was chipped and had to be re-built. It is actually the bottom right corner. It is now slightly more rounded than the other 3. You will not notice it unless you either have the model or have read this post. I am quite pleased with it. yes it could be better but it could be a LOT worse.

The roof should have been in 2 pieces, but being broken was in 4 pieces AND the top ridge was completely re-built which dos show but does look better than it was

You can see on the right top section the repair. Not totally obvious but visible. More so from the underside, which I am not showing you.

The model finished repaired and ready to be put away. A Boot fair bargain and I think the lady was Happy to get rid of them. I suspect it was an ex-boyfriends that she wanted to forget about. But that is only me speculating so It could be any reason at all.

And the last picture does show the wonky ridge line from the back. You can also see the corner dips slightly but hey who cares The building is now usable although I am currently looking at it and wondering if I should paint the thatch grey-brown to look weathered. (But I probably will not!

Now I had best get back to some figure painting! And get my Russian modern platoon finished.

Cheers For looking.
All the best Clint

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Boot Fair Finds.

Yeah I know It sounds crazy BUT you never know what you may find at a boot fair. Yes there were Loads and LOADS of children's clothes, and exercise devices and "Friends" Videos/DVDs and Loads of other things. But I also found 3 of these...... One more is in Model A&E and I think it will make a good (if not full recovery.

They are Resin 15mm (or close to) buildings. I suspect they are 15mm and were planned for wargames as why else would there be a ruined one? No "Jerry Building" jokes please.  A quick dab of paint later and they are fit for purpose.  So once I rushed back from the boot fair I gave them a lick of paint and they are ready to go.  The paint was mostly applied in washes over a white undercoat and allowed to dry. Luckily the sun is out and the South facing conservatory can get quite hot so drying today was quite quick.

No Idea what I will use them for yet, but 3 buildings for £2 is about my price and I was not going to let them slip through my fingers!

I have no idea who makes them so if they are recognised would you be very kind and put a comment telling me where to get some more.

All the best, and thanks for looking

Cheers Clint

Post script: The term Boot fair can also be translated to Garage sale or Flea Market in different parts of the world so just go with the term that suits you.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Enough talk, time to start. (Zone Russians part 1)

 Yes Finally started. Here are my first squad for the Russian in "The Zone" . I knew I would need Russians so while I was figuring out the rest of my forces I thought I should start. The figures are Battlefront Tam Yankee figures. They are not absolutely ideal, but they are as good a figure as I can currently get for the price/effort, without either commissioning my own greens, converting or perhaps easier importing from abroad from a variety of sources. So for convienience It has to be Battlefront which are availiable from my local wargames shop (4 miles away).

Casting wise they are Ok but not brilliant as there was a lot of cleaning up to do in regard to mould lines where the moulds had slipped and also spare waste metal Left from the air vents. Also as they come from New Zealand they are not so very cheap as they have to be shipped half way around the world. Complaints aside they are the best I can get though and the sculpts are nice.

In a Russian squad (according to Osprey Publishing "Force on Force" rule book) there are 6 men armed as follows.
  • Squad leader (AK74)
  • Assistant Squad leader (AK74)
  • Gunner (RPK-74)
  • Grenadier (RPG)
  • Assistant Grenadier (AK74)
  • Rifleman (AK74)
 For a BMP 1  squad change the squad composition to 2 gunners with RPK-74s and loose the Rifleman with AK47) . So not a huge difference in squad composition. And one I hope to adjust in different games.
3 Squads to a platoon so there will be more of these. Colours taken from the same Osprey Publishing book mentioned above and the picture on the right has been my main guide.

Each transport vehicle has 3 crew (Commander, Driver and Gunner) all of whom stay with the vehicle and do NOT dismount in combat situations. I have not as yet finalised my transport choice they may be in BMP1s (A TRACKED APC with a 73mm gun and antitank missile), BTR 70's or BTR 80s (An 8 wheeled APC with a 14.5mm Heavy machine gun)  or perhaps something less ordinary like a MT LB ( Also tracked and also armed with a 14.5mm HMG, ).  The joy of the Russians is that the infantry could be transported and any of those 3 vehicles and I am sure once I am fully up and running with the project I am equally sure I will get them all so I can field a greater variety of units, although the basic foot figures will stay the same but with different squad load-outs to suit the different regiments!

I suspect I will be starting with either BMP-1s or BTR 70's though. But most importantly I am now off the mark and started.

Monday, 16 May 2016

A small unit action in NW Europe using PBI rules.

US starting positions
Well I have had a little break from Blogging but now back! yesterday at the club I was faced with some POTENTIALLY terrible news in that the local council are looking at changing the rates to commercial rates on the hall. If this goes ahead in 15 months then as a club we will have to close but 15 months is a long way off and things at local government may change. Fingers crossed.

Still you do not want to know about that!

My troops on the right flank
Games wise 4 of us (Tim, Graham (playing Germans) and Matt and myself (Playing US Paratroops) had a game of PBI. We used the current version of the rules which I had not played before having always played the older version. ) The Germans Decided to attack (They had the choice and decided to attack and put us on the back foot. Paratroops in war are used to being surrounded and out numbered it kind of goes with the job. This time luck was with us and and we were defending with 2 whole platoons until we could get reinforced.  But we were in good solid cover, (for the most part and were all veterans (well apart from 0ne support rienforcements) who actually arrived on the very last turn of the game so perhaps not a huge loss!

German tank destroyers and infantry give Matt a hard time
Anyway here are some pics and a little dialogue of the game.

The game started very well for me and with Graham sitting opposite I really was not expecting an easy battle at all. The Germans attacking went first and by the end of the US first turn I had bought such concentrated fire on the Germans that 1/2 a Platoon was dead and the other half a platoon had to flee from the board. My right wing was not bothered again in the game. Both Graham and Tim decided that Mat on my left would face both of them.

The situation was such that if I moved I would leave an objective open so I had to give what little support I could yet stay in place and not open up the objective for the Germans to exploit.

Middle of the board, with me on the right and Mat in the centre and the right.

We did not have enough troops to hold 3 objectives. The Far left objective had the least cover so we hardly defended it as to do so would have made our few troops exposed and vulnerable. So Matt was mostly in the middle of the board.

US Reinforcements.
I suspect if Graham had been in charge of the German armour Matt would have looked at a "Tank Assualt" in  the first couple of turns but while Tim had played the rules before he was struggling to recal them so he hesitated and waited for reinforcements.  Graham who knows the rules the best of us all would have just ploughed in I think.

Us reienforcements plug the whole in the line the Germans had created
The Germans did manage to bring on another Platoon and then a Mortar platoon and yet another infantry platoon.  WE were also able to bring on another platoon and with a special rule (The Surprise Asset) were able to fly them to the front in double quick time and while the target area that Tim had been hammering away at was filled up by men again making as assault VERY risky.

I did overextend and go slightly far forward and with only 1 stand of infantry then became the focus for the tank and infantry assault. My stand was wiped out but considering there were 2 enemy tanks and 3 times as much infantry I was not surprised.

Overall a terrific game for the US troops in the whole game only loosing 5 stands (Approx 1/2 a platoon) yet dealing sufficient damage to the
Germans by forcing 1 platoon to route (due to casualties) and severly weakening 2 other platoons.

I loose the assault
And an Objective
As with so many wargames good and bad dice rolls did influence the game. The Germans did roll badly on several occasions and we (Matt and Myself) did roll well.

My first ever experience USING elite troops (But have fought against them) in Peter Pigs PBI and I must say the saving throws due to superior training and feildcraft really did make a difference when defending. And while we did make a few mistakes overall I think we played well and let the enemy make the most mistakes. Which is most unlike me I must say!

US  75mm Pack Howitzer support arrive on my last turn,
So do not actually take any active part in the game.

On the Last turn. The time runs out and the Germans
fail to make sufficient progress in
Capturing objectives and
A US Para Victory.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Morris dancers

Yes some more VBCW figures. Next post something different I promise! Again these are all painted for my good friend Matt at the wargames club. And again they are all 28mm and VBCW figures. The sculpts are (I am told) by Woodbine design and several have been converted with weapons added to give them a more military feel. Some came with weapons as well but Matt has added more guns.

The first 2 pics are them all together and then some in more detail. If you are not English you may be forgiven for not knowing what Morris Dancing is. so here is a link to the Wiki and if you are English you probably think it is a sad waste of time and even try to quote others disparaging remarks about it. But I will have none of that on my blog.

There are in fact several different forms of Morris dancing and they all stem from Pagan routes and are mostly to do with celebrating erhm... fertility... yes, yes Fertility that is the right word! And each of these forms is geographically based but sometimes with linked themes and traditions.

Along with the dancing there is usually plentiful amounts of beer and cider consumed and now adays the Morris Dancing mostly takes place in country pubs. And there is little wrong with that. But Morris dancing is not for everyone and and an be seen as a joke by those city folks who do not understand the feeling of nature and traditions. Each to their own.

These have been painted to represent a generic Morris Dancing Troop and not a specific group as colours and clothing does vary greatly in both eras and locations. So realistically any colours could be taken and still look authentic. But that said I did settle on Dark blue and cream as the feature colours. I also regulated the colours of the flowers in the hats although they could be any colour that would grow in the gardens and fields of England.

The flag is by Solway ( painted by Pete Barfield) and is of Rochester, the Cathedral town in Kent (It did used to be a cathedral city BUT the local council did not fill in the right and proper paperwork so the government has demoted the City to now a town.... Local government, I say no more!)

The flag also has the Kent emblem of the white horse which neatly brings me on to "Oodening!" I do not expect anyone to know that word as it is sometimes spelt "Hodening" but with a deep Kent accent it is actually OOdening as the H gets dropped and the O vowel sound does get lengthened!

Anyway it dates back to 12th century English possibly coming from the Norse god Odin who had a 6 legged horse if I remember correctly. Anyway in Kent Morris dancing also had a pretend Hobby horse which was usually draped in sackcloth as shown in the early black and white picture circa 1905.  While the use of a hobby horse (Now used as children's toys) was "Exported" to other areas of England it was started in Kent where we set our VBCW. And as the symbol of Kent is a white horse I was of course obliged to paint the horse as a grey! (Yes a white one).

While the man/rider is dressed in greens and a few browns as the colours of the forest as he represents the Green man from English pagan folklore. I do realise that most of you will have gotten bored by now and stopped reading so thank you if you are still here. The Green man usually makes his appearance (traditionally) on the 1st of May bringing in the growing season.

Anyway that should explain the colours used and the reason behind their use. I know there has been a bit of reading today sorry about that.

Right at the very end I have put a Youtube video about Morris dancing. But kindly remember while the music and dances my be traditional the clothing is not in most of the dancing troops. Just in case you have never encountered it before and want to know more.

I apologise to anyone if I have any facts wrong as this is just how I see it and not based on participation, just observation.

Thanks for looking today and more in a couple of days, when I get some more painting done!

Cheers Clint

Monday, 2 May 2016


Yesterday at the club we played a Very British Civil War game using the "Went the day well" rules.

The Batteries in my camera gave up before I could finish the game but here is what happened.
My first units arrive, an armoured truck containing my Command Element and a Boys Anti-tank rifle.

A general shot of the table from my seat.

The BUF start to arrive (Boo Hiss!) Also known as Tim and Dick

Peter arrives with a squad and a machine gun in the second truck and I get another spuad and a mortar in the 3rd truck

The Fasists start to arrive in force, 3 trucks of troops and some troops walking along the road.

being card activated my command struck speeds of down the road but the other two trucks fail to activate.

Clearly the BUF now are up to 5 vehicles including a tankette!

Pete takes his socialists into the side road and de busses.
The post box we find out at the very end is the Fascists objective!

Petes Miners having de-bussed take the field and cross to the far side.

Fascist Veteran Infantry arrive behind the tavern

Fascist flying column take the hedge row in front of the tavern

My socialists probably in a committee meeting remain stationary and fail to activate.

View from the fascist table edge., They have a lot of stuff on the board now.

The socialists (Pete and myself) do manage to get a few extra units on the table including and anti-tank gun.
The bad news is that the antitank crew are inebriated and fail to move from this position for the rest of the game and are not even able to set the gun up,
My troops in the lorry behind are stuck behind them in a traffic jam so I get the guys out and set about walking to the front. 

The Fascist get tank support on the table, Along with their veteran troops.
Nothing we can do the boys antitank rifle is out of position and although does manage to fire 3 time in the game it hits nothing at all with any shot the entire game.

Still stuck behind the anti tank gun the remaining troops trudge forward to a position on my right wing.
We do get 2 tanks on the table at this stage, one is armed with a heavy MG and thanks to Pete goes on to do quite well. The one controlled by me only manages to activate twice more in the entire game.

Fog comes down for 2 turns and several units scamper to better positions.
Well if not better closer to the Fascists.
My unit in the field hardly activate for the rest of the game and just become bullet magnets for all the fascists.
Petes Miners do activate a lot  manage to get into the middle of the field  (in the open) and they have to face of against a tankette while they carry no anti tank capability!

This was the last picture before the batteries in the camera died.
At this stage we could still win couldn't we.
Well actually NO. The game when it ended was 8 Victory points to the Fascist and ZERO victory points to the socialists. The Fascist did try to coddle me by claiming that we did score 2 victory points for knocking a MG out on an armoured truck. But as the VP table said we had to knock the veihicle out OR destroy it If is was a towed gun that kind of argument makes no sense to me.
So what went wrong? Honestly it was a combination of not knowing the rules which lead to some less than idea troop placement. (But that was the same for the Fascists as well). The fact that we could not activate anything that could knock out a fascist tank. And they just rolled over us.
Yes I did have a boys anti tank gun. In the game it fired a total of 3 times due to not getting activated, the first shot fired at a truck (No other targets) and missed, the second time did fire at a Fascist tank and Miss, The third time with no vehicle targets it fired at a Fascist machine gun and yep you guessed it.
I did have a tank with a cannon that could penetrate a Fascist tank. It activated twice in the entire game having come on late and spent those activations moving towards the front. The fascist tank it was facing activated MOST (but not all Turns) and was able to fire 3 times at my tank without me being able to fire back.
Overall I think I just have to say the cards were against us and while we could activate in the first 2 turns after that (and we played about 10 turns) me and Peter weer just sitting ducks and could not even shoot back. All in all very frustrating.
I am sure the fascists will point out that they had a unit that only activated twice (actually 3 turn as it did activate in the final turn) and you cannot blame them for our VERY bad luck.
Following te game there are several things I would change in the rules, Morale for a start units tend to get wiped out rather than retreat. The way units are activated. It could have been more balanced and the Fascists dd point out that before they hade anything on the table we did manage to get some units on and moving. And that is true, but in later turns we could do nothing to counter act the Fascist. We had no effective antitank at one stage they drove within 2 " of the Boys as they knew it would not activate and if it did the chance to hit was so small as to be worth the risk. Our anti tank gun was out of the game from the start and the only tank  with a gun and not an MG was destroyed because it could not activate in the 3 turns that it was being shot at.
Still them's the breaks!


Saturday, 30 April 2016

Just on the VERY last parts of the Morris Dancers but the dark clouds are thickening the sky and I will finish them tomorrow. Oh yes I will. But Rather than let today pass without a blog trace. I thought to let you in on my current project, which I am only just starting 3 years after I said I would (Ok It might be 4 years!)

At present I am in a bit of a pickle on how to start. If you have not read the books it is set in a fictional Cold War with the heat turn up to full. Yes Chemical, Biological AND Nuclear warfare has broken out in Europe (All pretty bleak but not a bad wargames setting.) There are some "New" equipment like the hovercraft shown on the novel but generally it is all in a 1980's vintage.

So I know one side will be the Soviets (and Allies) so I will start by painting a platoon of them. I only want a platoon size table wargame as that is the size that I prefer to play in most game settings.  3 Squads and a bit of support that should do me.

So in preparation of my toy soldiers arriving I RE-painted a couple of vehicles from my AK47 army, namely 2 Landrovers. The figures are 15mm QRF models and now painted to represent BAOR (British Army On/Of the Rhine). These will MOST likely not be part of any finished force so do not get excited and suggest they will be easy kills for the odd wandering T72. They were only painted to get me in the MOOD! Nothing more.

But they have gotten me in the mood for some Modern wargames. At the Club tomorrow I hope to chat with a couple of like minds and first determine should I use BTR 60's or BMP 1s or even MT-LBs for my main soviet APC. AND what force shall I use to oppose them. Could be British, Canadian, American, West German, Dutch it could even be French! As yet no firm ideas. But It will happen and happen soon I think!

There is very little in my AK Army that I can re use so I may be starting with a blank canvas.

Thanks for dropping by and I should have another post on Monday, probably an AAR of VBCW that has previously been mentioned.

All the best Clint