Thursday, 9 November 2017

Rommel 2mm

I’ve also completed painting & basing the Allied forces I have so far.

These also equate to roughly a brigade of Infantry & Armour with artillery support. In this case the armour consists of 5 bases of Cromwells and 2 of Shermans.

I’ve been thinking about the outstanding terrain features required. That is the hills/mountains and rivers.

For the rivers I plan to construct a series of 80, 90 & 100 mm by 20mm wide mdf strips to use as the long river runs along the 100mm (4”) grid squares with 20x20mm mdf squares with bends to allow the river to change direction. This is an 80x20mm example.

Perhaps the drawing will better explain the concept!
Long term I fancy recreating amphibious assaults like the Juno Scenario available on the Honour website.

To this end I’ve mocked up some simple 100mm beach squares I produced using PowerPoint.
I’ve also scratch built a prepared defence terrain tile (on 80x20mm mdf) to represent the Atlantic Wall defences the assaulting troops might face.

For Hills/Mountains I firstly considered buying Hexon individual hex Hills & Mountains, but they are quite large and would better suit a 150mm (6”) grid. So back to the drawing board.

I’m currently making a prototype 60mm diameter hill and we’ll see how that looks on the table.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Rommel 2mm

I've completed my German starter army and thought I'd share the picture.
I have (loosely) two Kamfgruppen, one infantry and one armoured.

The armoured Kamfgruppe comprises 4 x MkIV Panzer bases, 2 x Panther bases with 1 x Tiger II base in support.

The infantry Kampfgruppe consists of 9 infantry bases (3 of which are mechanised) and a Jadgpanther base in support.

Finally I've 1 artillery base to support both groups.

Not a text book organisation I'd be the first to admit, but should enable a try out of the game before committing myself to further investment.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Rommel 2mm

Having bought Sam Mustafa’s latest work last month I have decided to give this a go in 2mm scale.

I did contemplate using 10mm (1/200th) as I’ve a sizeable collection of Skytrex Action 200 miniatures I used for BKC. However having seen some games on-line using this scale I decided against it as it looked too abstract for my tastes and the cost of additional items (mainly artillery & infantry figures) would be too high.

Whilst 2mm will still be abstract, it will look more believable and will be relatively low cost.

I’ve opted to start with items from the Irregular Miniatures 2mm as I’m familiar with their Pike & Shot/Horse & Musket ranges in this scale and already own some useable terrain pieces (i.e. built up areas)

As I am going to use 2mm miniatures I’ve decided to go with a 4” (100mm) grid. Against character I opted to purchase a pre-printed Deep Cut Studio 4x3’ mat to use as my base terrain.

Whilst on this subject can I share with you the experience I had with these mats. I initially chose the MEADOW design and ordered it from BIGREDBAT, but was very disappointed when it arrived as it looks nothing like the on-line photos from their website. It was a much darker green (too dark) and very pixilated – nothing like the finely printed grassy image on the website. It was graciously exchanged for the PLAINS design, which is much better for my purposes (lighter green) but still lacks the detail the website infers you will receive. Altogether I’m OK with the finished article for my purposes but I think you need to be aware that the photos promoting the mats do not really match the finished article.

Since getting my mat, I’ve been busy scratch building some terrain tiles for the game and examples are shown in the photo below.

See text below for explanation
  1. Is a Bocage tile (the hedges are thin strips of self-adhesive craft foam from Hobbycraft, with sand PVA’d to the upper surface. Crops are indicated with sand & PVA)
  2. Is Swampy Ground (shapes painted in PVA with sand scattered to create "pools" then painted and finally foam scatter material added for bushes)
  3. Is a Wooded area (Simply clump foliage glued to a textured base)
  4. Is another wooded area as above
  5. A Built Up Area -BUA - (similar to the Bocage tile, but with an Irregular Small Village at it’s centre)
  6. An example playing piece
  7. The Deep Cut Studio mat - PLAINS finish
These are all on 60x60mm mdf bases. My reasoning for this was twofold.
  1. By not filling the 4” grid it should be easier to position up to 3 40x30mm bases in their too.
  2. If I want rivers, these have to run along the grid lines and will therefore encroach on the 4” grid squares. If I’d based on 100x100mm mdf this would not be possible.
To start me off I purchased a WW2 Battlepack from Irregular which consisted of two balanced armies – one German and one British – for the late war period. These came with their own Mechanised Warfare rules which are a simple set based upon some published many moons ago in WI and also available from FreeWargameRules on the web.

In Rommel terms there were enough pieces included to construct a couple of battalions of infantry for each side plus 2 armoured regiments with some artillery in support.

To match the 4” grids I’ve opted to go for 40x30mm mdf laser cut bases for the miniatures. I’ve been experimenting too, with artist’s acrylic paste for base texture. This can be pre-mixed with acrylic paint to colour it and applied with brush or palette knife. I sets quickly without shrinking and provides a very good base texture to build upon. In this scale PVA and sand doesn’t work – it looks too much like the ground is a boulder field! (Works OK for crops in fields though!!)
Textured tiles (60x60mm) before painting
Infantry bases have 1.5 Irregular mini’s figure bases + a weapons team/AT Gun/HQ base. Where necessary I’ve added a half-track for mechanised troops. The tanks are generally based 3 to a base but with Tiger IIs and Jagdpanthers I’ve gone for just two so they stand out.
Example bases - AFV and Infantry
At first I considered using a roster for recording hits etc. but have since re-thought this and I’m going to go for the attached data strip idea.

My first attempt is shown as no.6 in the photo above.

I firstly purchased some off-cut self-adhesive ferrous paper from Magnetic Supplies and attached this to the underside of the base.

Then I printed off labels created in PowerPoint and gloss laminated them. This should allow water based white board pens to be used.

Then these were stuck to 40x40mm magnetic sheet (surplus promotional fridge magnets I rescued from a bin) with double sided sellotape and then the sheet fits onto the base with the data strip showing.

I’ve a bit more work to do before I’m ready to try out a game, so I’ll keep you informed how I get on.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Welsh Regimental Museum Brecon - 24th Foot, SWB

At the end of the Summer Holidays I took my Grandson on a "Fact Finding" mission to the Welsh Regimental Museum in Brecon.
I wanted to see the memorabilia from the Zulu War to keep me enthused in my challenge to paint up the figures for my Rorke's Drift refight.
I spent the journey to Brecon brainwashing Charlie and preparing him for what he'd see.... lots of shield, spears and VC's!
The museum is excellent, very worth visiting and I'll let the pictures tell the story....

Monday, 30 October 2017

Colours 2017

Back in mid September I made the 2 hour journey to Newbury and Colours 2017.
WW1 Belgium
Great day out, lots of interesting traders to see and demo games for inspiration.
Cold War Turned Hot
Only complaints were food & drink a bit dear and ground floor is a little dark for my liking.
Another Cold War Game
I'll let the pictures do the talking.
Portable WW2 Stalingrad Game

WW1 Palestine

Small Scale ECW

Small Scale ECW

WW2 Eastern Front Game

WW2 Eastern Front Game - Other end of the table

15mm ECW Casualties for Pike And Shotte

Slowly but surely I'm increasing my 15mm ECW armies for Pike & Shotte. During a test game a couple of months ago it was obvious I needed some  sort of casualty markers as loose dice scattered across the table didn't cut the mustard.

Cue Donnigton miniatures casualty figure range. These figures work out around 30p each and they've a selection to cover just about all historical figures.

I ordered 20 mixed figures and collected them at Colours. Then I purchased a few 30mm diameter mdf bases from Products for Wargamers and some 7mm dice & frames from Pendraken those markers that were intended to follow units were mounted on round bases, those that I wanted to fit into the mdf movement trays with the foot regiments, were based on 40x20mm bases the same as the troops.
Now to work, making the casualty counters.

Having glued the figures and frames to the bases with PVA, the next step was to cover the surface of the exposed mdf with sand (avoiding the area inside the frame, of course!)
When dry the bases were primed with Army Painter leather brown paint.
Before painting the figure details the bases were dry brushed with light brown.
Large areas of colour were block painted next
And the horses were painted an orange brown.
Once all the details were painted the figures were all given a sepia wash before a spray coat of satin varnish followed by sprayed anti-shine matt varnish (all Army Painter products)
 Finally the bases were flocked and the dice added!
Finished and ready for use!! Really pleased with how these turned out. Quick and simple to complete and didn't break the bank either. Less than £10 for 20 markers.

Pacific – 15mm Crossfire Scenario

I was sifting through my lead mountain a few weeks ago and came across several Peter Pig packs of figures I’d bought some 4-5 years ago.

These were a mix of WW2 Japanese infantry and USMC inspired by having watched the HBO Mini-series “The Pacific”.
Re-discovering these figures prompted me to re-watch the programmes and together this got me thinking about how I could create a wargame based in this theatre of operations. The obvious choice of rules (for me anyway) was to use Arty Conliffe’s Crossfire to refight a company level battle.
As I’d just built two mdf landing craft from Original Laser Designs, I wanted the scenario to be an opposed beach landing. So with that sliver of a plan I set out to decide what had to be done.

I had an idea that this game would lend itself to a demonstration/participation game for use at either club level or a gaming show. Therefore I planned for it to be both compact and portable.

I had four ready cut sheets of 6mm mdf, each 30cm square, left over from my HOTT project a few years ago so I decided that this would form the beach and interior jungle area of the game. I’ve played Crossfire on several occasions over quite small boards and found it still to work fine.

The actual beach area at first caused me some concern….but then I hit on the idea of printing out some beach graphics I found on-line. I printed them to a size that allowed them to be cropped to 30cm x 25cm. and then laminated them with gloss finish pockets. These were then stuck onto 5mm Foamex board (a scrap sign) and the sandy beach area sprayed with matt varnish. Job done.
I then turned my attention to the four mdf sheets. Firstly I varnished them on both the upper and lower surfaces to avoid warping.

Then I devised the shapes of sand dunes/banks I'd incorporate using paper templates. The design I came up with allows a little variation with swapping the tiles around.
The sand dunes/banks were added using 5mm Foamex board.
These were blended to the main board with decorators caulk.
Then everything was coated in PVA and sand scattered over it. To seal the sand in place another coat of varnish (Oak stain colour) was given to the upper surfaces of the four boards.
Finally when all was dry, the upper surfaces were dry brushed with emulsion paint from a suitable sand coloured matchpot. This was then left to dry while I tackled the other items.
I was going to scratch build some defensive positions and get a Sarissa mdf jungle hut, but fate intervened when at Colours in September. I found on the Products for Wargamers stall a box of ex-Mainly Military resin pieces being sold off for a song. I came away with 5 defence positions and a jungle hut for less than £6!
These were simply painted to match the base boards.

The foliage was the next item on the list. I firstly bought 25 palm trees from China via ebay for £2.50, which arrived surprisingly quickly! Then I found a pack of Games Workshop jungle trees in my pile of things to do – this gave me four more (large) palm trees.Then whilst at Colours I found some nice jungle plants that cost me a further £5.
These were all mounted on mdf terrain bases (random shaped) from Products for Wargamers. With sand, and some resin boulders (from The Square) added they look the part and form the areas of cover for the figures to move around the table in a Crossfire game.

With the base board finished, it was time to paint the figures.
To boost the Peter Pig miniatures I bought the Battlefront USMC platoon. These at first looked to be very rough and ready. I guess they were quite old sculpts as the castings had a lot of flash and mould lines to be cleaned up.

Eventually I was left with sufficient  figures to form two rifle companies with command figures. To complete the organisation, I had bought support weapons from Peter Pig so had .30 MMGs, Bazooka teams and 60mm Mortars to add to these as well as a Zvezda M3 Stuart.
The Japanese figures were all Peter Pig. The quality of which is excellent. Little to clean-up and very characterful sculpts that make it easy for you to paint them up.

The Battlefront figures are actually 18mm not 15mm,  so don’t mix well on the same bases as the PP figures, but once painted proved to actually be very well detailed with a good mixture of weapons etc.
I’ve ended up with more figures than I really need (I’ll use them on larger games using my 6x4 desert mat) as I only need one company of USMC with some support and a platoon of Japanese with 2xMMG support for this scenario.
Now it’s all completed the terrain fits into one Really Useful Box (bottom one in the picture) and the figures into another. All very easily transported. Now all I need is to try out the scenario…..anyone fancy a game?