Review of 2014 - Part 1

Looking back at my progress against the targets I set back in January. Overall I had a good start, but progress stalled somewhat with the death of my father, but then progress picked up again in the latter half of the year.  Looking in detail:

2014 is going to be an awkward year to plan for as we’re intending to relocate home to the South West. Nothing definite decided yet but I suspect it’s going to take up a fair chunk of my time. There will be a big game this year themed around post D-Day, which will tend to prioritise work on WW2 stuff to the early part of the year. – Moving never happened; the housing market seems totally stagnant in the North West apart from new build.

Major Projects (at least 100 figures, month or more in effort)
Paint at least 3 Rapid Fire US battalions to replace my aging existing forces. Figures will be Plastic Soldier, but won’t get started until the Heavy Weapons set appears – Completed and more as it turned into a major upgrade of the whole army
Finish the Jacobites, by adding French and Lowland units – Not started, partly because I failed to source some of the Redbox figures needed.
Axis winter forces – German/Italian/Hungarian – Not started

Minor Projects
Reorganise/Rebase my WW2 British, this will include painting a box of Plastic Soldier British to replace a unit I have already sold - Completed
Complete the late French armée d’orient. – Almost completed because I feel I need to add a few more bits
War of Spanish Succession – add Austrian Grenadiers and possibly some Saxons. – Completed, though I’d now like a bit more Saxon cavalry
Egyptian troops for the Sudan. – Completed, but as above I’m going to add a bit more

Other activities
Try and play at least one big battle from the 1814 campaign in France – Failure, just didn't get the chance.
The stash is still far too big; I want to get it down from seven storage boxes to five by the time we move. In line with this, I plan to complete as many plastic kits as possible, there are over 40 there at present so completing these should free up one box at least. – Partial Success I now have only six boxes. While the internet was down for two weeks I had a look through the stash, but typically I could justify keeping virtually everything in it!
No new armies until after we move – will be quite difficult to achieve if plastic figure manufacturers bring out something tempting. – Managed it so far, but keeping it going will get trickier

Part 2 will cover what I actually painted


Battle for the Twin Villages December 1944

Pictures from our Christmas game today at B.I.G. (Bristol Independent Gaming) Scenario from the Rapid Fire Battle of the Bulge campaign book.

Overview of the battlefield the village of Krinkelt is bottom left, Germans deploying top right. Myself and Richard were US and Don, George and Charles were German

US forces occupying the twin villages Krinket left and Rocherath right (with the water tower)

US forward positions at Lausdell farm occupied by a battalion, plus an M10 in support.

German deployment, all in a dip so hidden from sight, and the first three moves would be in mist

US armour in Krinkelt, a touch outnumbered!

Another view of Rocherath

And they're off - Panthers racing away.

and rapidly reaching a flanking position on Krinkelt.

Loads more tanks, mainly Panzer IV, backed up by a few more Panthers fill the gap and head towards Rocherath

Jagd panzer IV/70's and infantry head for Lausdell

One Sherman bits the dust, these Panthers are deadly!

Various 57mm AT guns try to take on the panthers but everything misses or bounces off.

Germans massing against Lausdell, the forward company has been wiped out by repeated rounds of nebelwerfer fire.

Hurrah Richard's second M10 takes out a Panzer IV

But German pioneers and a sdkfz 251/21 (drilling) take out another company in the wood by Lausdell

Panthers and panzer grenadiers advancing towards Krinkelt, despite repeat radio calls fire support from the artillery was never available

Then when it did arrive it appears after these German infantry were wiped out by small arms fire!

German armour performing the hedge hopping option - seems they thought we would mine the roads.

Pressure mounting on the twin villages

Blazing Panzer IVs, Richard's M10 continues its run of success.

US forces attempt to hold the houses under a rain of artillery fire

At the crossroads in the forground an Jagdpanzer IV/70 rolls over a daisy chain of mine and suffers heavy damage, since it's partner was also damaged earlier by an M10 the company bottles out.

Another view of the German armour massing against the villages

The H10 bites the dust as the German's gather like vultures around the last defenders of Lausdell

Sucess a bazooka takes out the drilling!

Nearing the end, the Germans cross the out defece positions and press forward, moments later the American Battalion in Lausdell routed.

German 105mm's that provided effective support throughout the game

A final picture at game end, the weak reinforcement battalion was close to checking it's morale and the other US battalion in Krinkeld had avoided a third successive test by ducking back into intact houses.


Final push before Christmas

A collection of oddments completed just in time for Christmas, there was no chance to pose them for the camera so here they are still on the painting tray. At the back some farm animals from the Pegasus American settlers painted to correspond with the local Cheshire pigs and cows. In front a selection of Dock workers from Force 20, bought at this years big game auction. Finally on the left a lone British sniper who had escaped being based up.
Nearby are the Saxon Cavalry, almost finished and the British Motor Battalion so hopefully I might get something else finished before the Year end.


plastic kits in need of some TLC

Never one to resist a chance to pick up some more kits, I bought a tin of tanks off Dennis at the club on Thursday. I was only really interested in the M12 but there are certainly some other bits I can use and the remainder will go in my sales/charity box for the next show.


Extra US Armour

The rest of my Britannia purchases. A triad of M8 Greyhounds to round out my Reconnaissance Squadron

Then a pair of M3 command half tracks, I had debated converting the PSC models, but I'm glad I didn't as these are so nice. One will be for the Armoured Combat Command and the other for the Armoured Artillery Battalion.

There are still a few bits and pieces to buy/paint sometime, but effectively the army is complete, I just need a good day to be able to have a parade and view it all laid out.


US Artillery

As already indicated the purchase of some extra bits from Britannia meant a slight change of plan. Although I already had a pair each of 105mm howitzers and 3" AT guns I needed an extra 105mm, and then I decided that existing ones needed a repaint job to bring them up to the standard of the rest of the army.

The artillery crews are mostly figures from the Matchbox Priest, but the AT guns have been given new Britannia crews.


Marie Louise's

Marching onto the table are my latest brigade of Napoleonic infantry in greatcoats

I had debated painting them as Young Guard, but decided that French line would be more flexible. Figures are from Strelets, except the officers who are Esci

Forming Ordre Mixte

Very suitable for the conscripts of 1813. Nominally they are two battalion each of the 140th and 141st Line Regiments


A few pictures from Recon

Not of the best quality showing the Battlegroup Overloard game with XXX Corps trying to advance on Arnhem.

Not much else to photograph, but I managed to picked the remaining bits for my US forces.


On the workbench - December 2014

Crumbs it's December already so I'd better crack on and try and get as much finished as possible before the festivities. Currently I have the following on the go or about to be started
  • Three Bedford QLTs being converted to 6pdr portees
  • A British motor battalion for the desert
  • A brigade of Napoleonic French in greatcoats
  • Some WW2 US artillery crews
  • A unit of GNW Saxon Cavalry
  • Plus whatever I can finish from the oddments tray to get the year end total up
Hopefully I'll get the "last" bits for my US force from Andy Grubb at Recon this weekend and add them to the list!


A few more British bits for the desert.

The portees are still a way behind, but I did manage to complete the three Airfix Bedford QLDs, these are marked up for the highland division to be consistent with the forces I raised for the Alamein game back in 2012. At the same time, I completed a Britannia M3 Scout car for the motor battalion I'm about to start, plus a 6pdr armed Valentine from 20mmZone.


Teutonic Knights Command

A little extra from the oddments tray - These are Valdemar figures that I bought on ebay as I thought they would be quite suitable for the Grand Master and his entourage. All the rest of my Teutonic Order is based for WRG 6th, but for this I decided to make a more imposing command group for Hail Caesar, etc.


WSS Grenadiers

My original plan had been to create two Austrian grenadier battalions for the War of Spanish Succession, but instead I decided that one would be Bavarian and I'd paint each as two separate sub units so they could be used when necessary as small units in Black Powder.

The figures are Zvezda GNW Russians with Hat Napoleonic Austrian grenadier bearskins. I've been quite surprised so far that gluing the two together with superglue gel has worked well despite the handling in painting, etc.

More WSS Artillery

While working on the Saxon guns I realised that when I sold off my original Strelets Great Northern War artillery I hadn't replaced some of the guns and crews with the new Zvezda ones. So here are my replacement Frundsberg and Swedish guns and crews.


GNW Saxon Infantry and Guns

To add some more variety to my forces for the Great Northern War/War of Spanish Succession I decided to paint my "spare" couple of infantry units as Saxons. In addition I added a couple of guns. The figures are Zvezda and the uniform/painting guidance came from Dan Schoor's excellent Notes on the Saxon Army 1700-1716.

Of course I now need some more cavalry to keep the force balanced.


Back from Oblivion

Or two weeks in purdah as I've had no internet connection for a fortnight while BT dug up the village and swapped everyone phone lines around. It's amazing how much you come to depend on the resources of the internet and regret not downloading some of those details you need to finish off some figures and vehicles.

Hopefully service is back to normal and hopefully I start adding some updates tomorrow.


On the Workbench - November 2014

A quick look back at my plans shows I've got quite a bit of catching up to do, but for once I've got hardly any US to paint and even those can wait till I pick up a few more bits at the Recon show in December. Hopefully, despite being in Bath again, I'll make substantial progress on the following:
  • Austrian Grenadiers for the War of Spanish Succession (they are now washed and awaiting head swaps)
  • Having sorted out these I found I had enough bits for another couple of infantry battalions and some guns - probably I'll paint them as Saxons for the Great Northern War
  • White Scout Car for my British desert collection
  • British Valentine IX (the one with a 6pdr)
  • 6 x M3 Half tracks (some will be converted to M2s)
  • British Desert Motor Battalion (I got the extra small arms I needed from Sgts Mess)
  • The Bedford QLD and QLTs for the desert(I've got them with me to get started if I get a free moment).
  • Maybe consider using the Redbox Wars of the Roses Men at Arms for Burgundian commanders


Another CCKW 352

Given my success with my last conversion of the Pegasus model, I acquired another pack and converted one to the third vehicle for my Rapid Fire US Field Artillery Battalion. I tried to find something different to do with the second model, but ended up just adding a winch to the front and did the same with the converted model as well.

The backdrop are my Italian buildings used for the SOTCW Salerno game played a few years ago and I was reviewing them to see what would be needed to be done to use them for for next years SOGGy big game, where I've volunteering to provide the terrain for one table


US Command Groups

I decided I wouldn't stint on the commanders for my forces and created enough for each variation to have their own even though I could swap them around. They're mainly based in threes as per most of the Rapid Fire schematics.
The two triads to the left are Britannia and will be used for my Armoured Combat Command. The rest are SHQ with a few Airfix USAAF figures mixed in, two triads will be used for the Infantry Regiment command and the other two for the artillery battalion HQs.


M2 and M3 Half Tracks

Although I already had a US Armoured infantry battalion (made with Airfix half tracks) I found a scenario that need two battalions, so I acquired more of the Plastic Soldier Company version when I bought their M5 Stuarts. I wanted to create some variety and perusing my books and plans I realised I could convert the M3 into an M2 especially for use as a gun tow.

A pair of M2s either side of an M2A1, which has a pulpit as the main visible difference. I'll use the later as a 57mm gun tow and the other pair for the 3" AT guns. Most the pictures I could find showed them covered with stowage at the back and note the shortened mine racks.

More M3s personalised with assorted stowage

For those interested in the M2 conversion, here's a work in progress picture showing the main changes.

The hull sides are reduced by 3mm at the rear end carefully leaving the triangle behind the tracks. The interior is similarly reduced but by separating the rear compartment. The rear compartment is then reversed and refitted. At the rear the panel has to be adjusted to align with the new upper hull position, but with the lower third cut to fit the triangles on either sides and the centre stepped in to match the upper hull. I didn't bother removing the rear door as it would be hidden by stowage. The hull sides have the existing central panel line filled and a new one added ahead of the cut down mine racks. Finally two large stowage boxes from plasticard were added to the interior.