The postman calls thrice

Been keeping my local posstie busy. Over the last few days I've had three parcels delivered containing an assortment of good things from Harfields, GB&SD Models and Modelzone. Typically for me, there is a broad range of items, but most importantly a packet of Almoravid Light Cavalry, which will enable me to complete my Dervishes. Annoyingly the HaT German Tank Riders seem to have vanished, so my vehicles will remain without crews for a while yet.

In detail
  • 3 x Altaya Panzer III (a reasonably close match to my Matchbox Panzer IIIs, but the weight! - so they are going in the Big Game auction)
  • 1 x Zvezda French Napoleonic HQ (Yes I still need more Napoleonic staff)
  • 1 x Hat British 17th Lancers (Yes but they're for the Sudan)
  • 1 x Hat Frontier Light Horse (but still interested in the Zulu wars)
  • 1 x Hat El Cid Almoravid Light Cavalry (Hurrah, can finish my Dervishes)
  • 1 x Hat Austrian Grenadiers (There was a cheap deal and I needed the heads)
  • 1 x Hat WW2 German Wagon (Alan McCoubrey's fault)
  • 1 x Waterloo British Paratroopers with Pack Howitzer (lovely - now in hard plastic, the welbikes are going in the auction as well, apart from one)
  • 1 x Ace 100mm K18 (For my DAK, I blame Richard Marsh - Montys Battles)
  • 1 x Ace 150mm sFH18 (ditto)
  • 1 x ZV Kfz 61 Radio van (ditto)
  • 1 x Ace Kfz 17 Radio van (ditto)
  • 1 x Italeri Quad & 25pdr (I now need to find another 3 to upgrade my British Artillery)

Still a nice haul, and I'm ignoring the fact the stash is increasing!


Early war German miscellany

As part of clearing the decks of work in progress, here's a number of early WW2 items just finished. Problem is I'm not happy with the decals, I think I'll have to touch them up with some more grey to hide the sheen.

First off a pair of Italeri panzer I (I know, not 1/76, but lovely models) and Fujimi Panzer 38t's, one converted to a befehlspanzer. All of these came as part of a trade with Tim Gow, thanks.

At the back a Milicast PzKpfw 35R(f) mit 4.7cm and a Matchbox 251/7, the latter built at the same time as the DAK version.


Windscreen painting

For those interest in how I paint the windscreens, etc, it's quite simple

Basic painting finished

Windows blocked in with a very dark grey. I use the same colour for tyres. This is where neatness is important.

Next I add a broad area of blue covering most of the area but not up to the edges

Finally I dry-bush on a few lines of light blue, making sure the direction is consistent. If it turns out too neat I try and smudge it.

A close up of a couple of the finished windscreens.


More Bedfords

The Radio truck version this time, models by Frontline, they have the correct HD formation sign and will be used for the HD Divisional HQ and the RA HQ.

For those interested in the windscreen painting I'll provide a guide to my approach shortly.


Bedford MWD repainted

A "quick" exercise to repaint a couple of Oxford Diecast Bedford MWDs, the original colour was just too orange to match in with the rest of my stuff.

It was also chance to use the incorrect 51st Highland Division sign (as supplied by Airfix with the Bren Carrier) since Alan McCoubrey found a picture of it, or something similar being used.


DAK Infantry

Seemed to be on a roll with my painting, I've already got the majority of two Rapid Fire infantry battalions and some engineers finished.

Two battalions in front (need to add their AT guns) and a two company battalion of engineers behind.

A close up for those interested, figures are mainly Revell, plus a few Airfix and Italeri

Packing them into an Alamein position to see how many fit.

Now sorting out a few bits and pieces before on with the final battalion.


On the Workbench - July/August

It must have been a wet month as I've completed my July plan over a week early, so it's time to crack on with the rest of the desert stuff. I'm now going to work on:
  • Dervish Camelry and command, while trying to sort out what to use for the cavalry and artillery
  • The DAK infantry - I need about three Rapid Fire Battalions so about 100 figures.
  • Some more DAK transport - three sdkfz 10s for A/T tows
  • A couple of British radio trucks - hopefully completed quick enough for "The Guild" speed build .
  • A collection of early Panzers, the remainder of the swap with Tim Gow.
  • If time permits, sort out my Italian A/T guns and start on a Matilda Scorpion.



Total of 12 diffferent AT guns completed, so I can cover most of the desert war. The crews are a mix of HaT plastic and Reiver metals, with a few Revell.

37mm Pak 36, nice Zvezda models I decided against using the dreadfully bendy Hat version.

50mm Pak 38,a solid metal wargaming model by Reiver. A gap in the plastic market here!

76mm Pak 36r, more bendy Hat guns, at least with the larger models it's not so bad, but I've fixed them to the base to help!

Occupying one of the Alamein positions, the smaller possitions are for mortars or MMGs.


DAK Panzer I and II

Completed the pair of Panzers I got from Time Gow a few weeks back. I say completed as I still need to find a couple of crewmen, and after taking the picture I spotted I hadn't painted the bottle on the Panzer I.

Models are the matchbox Panzer II and an Italeri Panzer I (so slightly oversized compared to the Panzer II, but a nice kit.


Dervish army - progress review

Having finished the last of the infantry I thought I'd have a quick look at how the Dervish army is shaping up.

Eleven "warband" units and Four skirmish units in total should provide sufficient opposition for now.

So what's left to do
  • Camelry - two units are ready to be painted;
  • Cavalry - starting to sort these out, finding bits and pieces to make up the numbers;
  • Commanders - I've got two stands already planned one on foot the other camels, but I still need another pair; 
  • Artillery - I'd forgotten about these - I could just some Egyptians, but I would prefer something more suitable, I'll have to start looking.


Alamein terrain finished

After a second dry-brush, spots of vegetation were added. It was then only a matter of adding the barbed wire that I bought from Ironclad to finish it all off. I must say the new wire is a lot stronger than the car mesh I used to create my previous lengths of wire and I'll certainly be using it in future.

I've added a ruler for those interested in the size of the positions, scale is of course 1/72.


Dervish Ansar completed?

Just before heading off to Stoke I completed the 60 Ansar I had been working on. These form the first three units. At the back are my older figures that I repainted the bases to make them consistent with the rest of the force.

The front unit is the mulazimiyya, the khalifa's bodyguard by having a red imma (turban), which distinguishs them from the unrelenting white of the rest of the army.

Typically having mustered the two groups of units together it is obvious that I need to give my older units a wash to give them the same dusty/worn appearance of the newer ones.


Stoke Challenge

ONlt a week from Gauntlet, but a quick run down to Corbridge TA Centre in Stoke for the Stoke clannge, or a chance to see whats going on .

There where a few demo games as well as the competions

A rather crowded British/Italian Rapid Fire game - nice equipment though

Blenheim refought using "Age of Honour" another crowded table.

Battle of Cheriton

And a look-alike of Aqaba, a very tempting back of beyond style game.

There were a scattering of traders, but I headed for Ironclad to get some Barbed wire, needed for my Alamein terrain. The B&B was almost non-existent, but I bought three bags of left over kit bits, which I thought might be useful. I'm hoping that I might be able to cut down the 1/72 spaced armour for PSC Panzer IVs to fit my Airfix 1/76 versions, but at only 50p it's worth a try. Combining another two bags I've got enough PSC Russian figures to complete my final Russian battalion with a few for spares, so a worthwhile purchase.


Alamein terrain - final WIP

Substantial progress, the base coat was painted then given a first dry-brush. Then the sandbags and posts were painted.

Only need to do a final dry-brush and add the barbed wire.


Vietnam Civilians

These were just finished before Gauntlet and I didn't get chance to photgraph them at the time.

These are a very nice set of sculpts from Under Fire Miniatures and when I saw them at Phalanx I knew that I had to buy them for the Gauntlet games

Completed very quickly with a dark grey undercoat then dry-brushed to bring out the details. Skin - an Asian flesh with a yellow/brown wash (the one I created for my British desert vehicles)

The standard bearer led the assault on the firebase!


Alamein terrain WIP - continued

After the weekend's fun it's back to work!! I've now added the posts for the barbed wire (matchsticks) and sandbags (air-drying clay) and I'm about to add yet another dilute coat of PVA to seal them in place.

A close-up of one of the bases, hopefully start painting them tomorrow

Gauntlet - purchases

The B&B at Gauntlet was the best ever with loads of bits for sale, but not much of interest to me. However I did acquire:
  • An Airfix Crusader - I have sufficient 2pdr versions, but I need another 6pdr version for some of the Monty's battles scenarios;
  • A couple of Airfix matildas - for when I need to reconsider the earlier desert battles;
  • A combined box of Revell SYW Austrian Infantry and Orion Pirates - I tried to resist but it was a bargain;
  • An Airfix Bedouin set - I need the cavalry for my Dervishes and I passed the foot to Richard Baber for head swaps.


Gauntlet - Hue

The Sunday SOTCW game should have been Cold War Commander, but a last minute change meant a rethink. I was trawling the web for something unrelated when I found a scenario set in Hue at the time of the Tet offensive by AlCal (link). It was an almost perfect fit, it carried on the Vietnam theme, but was quite a different style of engagement and it used a lot of the scenery built for previous SOTCW games at Gauntlet.

Overview of the table the US players have to fight their way north through Hue up Route 1 from (bottom left to top right)

View from the North. The rules used for this game was FUBAR with a few additions for Nam

A pleasant surprise for the Yanks a pair of M48's and a squad of ARVN. Luckily their LOACH had managed to contact then and warn of the troops approach.

After dealing with a VC HMG the next problem was a bunch of hostages being held in the elementary school by a VC death squad. Outside was a fuel tanker. Keeping what they though was a safe distance an M48 Brewed it before the US/ARVN troops assaulted the school. Unfortunately the blast radius was slightly wider and one man was lost.

On the other flank there was tough resistance from VC occupying the French consulate

As an M48 turned the corner an RPG streaked towards it, hitting with no effect. The user was promptly eliminated by the Loach circling overhead.

The next major obstacle was the bridge over the Phu Cam canal. The assault was led my an M113, only to find yet another RPG waiting, luckily who missed. (This was the case with all the RPG fire they either missed or had no effect due to my bad rolling)
It was a tough battle to cross the canal and clear the surrounding buildings, but by the end of the day the road was clear though to the North. Unfortunately I was so involved in the action I failed to take any more pictures, but there are a lot up on the Deeside Defenders facebook page and the SOTCW forum.

I should mention what happened on the right flank, The ARVN/US force struggled to break through the gate into the school, and by the time they had done so the hostages had all been executed and the VC had disappeared. They would shortly reappear via a secret tunnel once the US had boarded their vehicles. There then followed one of those events where everything when right for the NVA player (very rare in FUBAR, all the units activated and almost all shot effectively so by the end of the turn most of two US squads had been eliminated, however retribution followed as the US applied their considerable firepower.

Overall a great couple of days gaming


Gauntlet - Vietnam Route 66

The Saturday game by SOTCW was Route 66 an Vietnam War convoy scenario, where the US players had to get a convoy of supplies to Firebase Crawley. it can be seen at the end of the table.

Visible are the various blinds representing the NVA/VC a few surprises and also blanks.

Once the US players got the knack of the spotting rules, the first non-blank card turned up a trap and a very unlucky roll by the US player resulted in one of their two ACAVs being brewed by a mine resulting in several casualties

The US flanking force hurriedly writing down the strength of a local VC unit (bottom right),hopefully before the casevac arrives. In the background the convoy escorts ran into an ambush in the village (top left).

Clearing the ambushes good progress was made towards the bridge over the river Hwi. A PABR on the river (carefully arranged off picture) dealt with a boat load of NVA heading for the bridge

Easy Rider, the remaining ACAV checks the time before crossing the bridge

Almost a home run, just as Easy Rider reaches Firebase Cawley it is hit by an RPG.

Lots of other events occurred and have been photographed by other participants. See the Land of Counterpane blog.

The rules are a simple derivative of several sets and ideas and will be published in the SOTCW journal in due course along with a write up of the game.


Alamein terrrain - work in progress

Just to show I have made a bit of progress in the rain.

Step one, after cutting MDF to size, sanding the edges, adding thin expanded polystyrene to cover, then cutting out trenches and covering the bases with kitchen towel and PVA.

After a second coat of PVA. I added some texture using PVA and sprinkled them with builders sand.

Careful observers may spot a couple of new aircraft stands in the first picture

Gauntlet tomorrow

Only one day to go till our local show for North Wales/Cheshire Gauntlet running all weekend. I you get chance please pop in and join in or just browse the B&B.

Will be sorting out the last few bits and pieces this morning then I'll be setting up tables etc this afternoon.


2012 half year review

So half way through 2012 so a quick review of progress is needed (it’s a good moment to reflect on my targets and progress). Compared to plan in order of importance
  • WW2 DAK – completed quite a few vehicles, but all the figures still need to be painted.
  • WW2 British 8th Army - for the Alamein game I now know I’m only involved with 51st Highland Division, which needs very little extras. Therefore my main thrust has been to complete as much of the armour needed to be able to refight the scenarios in Monty’s desert battles.
  • Dervish Army – only started this recently, but got off to a cracking start, hopefully I’ll have enough to play some in a game in a month or so. My only concern is the lack of cavalry, but I’ll probably use a mixture of Strelets mamelukes (the plainer ones) and the commander figures from Waterloo 1815’s Dervishes.
  • Revolutionary Wars British for Egypt – well I’ve got the new Strelets figures so I just have wait for a window in my painting schedule.
  • Sort out the assorted Saracens so I can use Hail Caesar for Crusades games – not even started yet
  • Work on the British Airborne brigade – done with the exception of the AT and artillery, as I need the Waterloo 1815 British Paratroopers with Pack Howitzer, and it just missed my last order from Harfields
  • Clear out the rest of my medievals to make a Burgundian/German force – not started yet
  • Upgrade more terrain, especially walls and hedges – again not started.
In numbers it looks like a slow half year with only 594 items completed, compared to my norm of about 1,500 items, split by period:
  • WW2 – 388 items, numerically dominated by the British paratroops completed back at the beginning of the year, but also large numbers of desert vehicles
  • Colonial – 118 items all Dervish infantry
  • WW1 – 41 items, let myself get distracted with the Russian artillery guns
  • WSS -24 items, adding the limbers to complete my armies -again not in the plan
  • Terrain – 23 items, a camp, barbed wire and a single building
Overall there is a higher proportion of vehicles, which take more time, but now I just need to focus on the main tasks.

Of course what I failed to explicitly include in my targets was keeping the stash below 5,000, but typically it has crept up to over 6,600 items and I can’t see how culling will immediately help, so it’s on with the painting!


On the workbench - July 2012

Start the familiar refrain - not half the year gone already!  Especially with our current weather.  So I have to try and catch up on my annual targets (a separate post is needed ).  The big emphasis this week is getting ready for Gauntlet running a pair of Vietnam games with the SOTCW over the two days.  Then back to items for the Alamein big game and Sudan colonial.  So how does this look, comments always welcomd?

  • Construct a couple of new aircraft bases suitable for jungle...
  • Tidy up my Vietnam forces and paint the new Under Fire Miniatures civilians
  • Paint the remaining Dervish infantry
  • Paint all the DAK AT gun crews  (there are quite a few of them!)
  • Paint the DAK Panzer I and II acquired as part of a trade with Tim yesterday
  • Construct and paint my fortified positions for the Alamein game. (Also means I can use them in my own games in preparation for the big game)
  • Keep working on all the WW2 oddments, it seems as fast as I finish them more appear.