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Monday, 19 September 2011

15mm Forged in Battle Late War British Infantry

The first Forged in Battle figures I ever bought were the British HMG teams. I’d bought them just to see what they were like when I spotted them in Firestorm Games in Cardiff.
.303" Vickers HMG Platoon (The PC figure is from the Infantry set)
 They were good, so good I bought the 3”Mortar Teams the next time I went to Cardiff! Both the Vickers HMG and the 3” Mortar teams are all full of character and detail and each weapon comes with a three man crew.
3" Mortar Platoon (The PC figure is from the Infantry set)
Getting the Infantry to go with them took a little longer – they were never in stock! I finally bought them this March at WMMS and have just got around to painting & basing them all for Crossfire.
Close-up - Mortar Teams
Between all the packs there’s enough figures for a Company of infantry plus an HMG and Mortar Platoon.
British Late War Infantry Company for Crossfire
The figures are all well sculpted and cast with minimal flash to clean up. Most of the infantry figures are armed with rifles – there are, however, three Bren teams, four NCO figures with Sten Guns, an Officer with a pistol, 2” mortar team and a PIAT gunner.
Company HQ - CC + 2" Mortar Base
The detail of the weapons could be said to let the figures down a little – the rifle is supposed to be a No.4 Enfield, but looks like it was made up, and the Brens look OK from a distance but won’t pass close examination by a rivet counter.
PIAT Team within a Platoon
Where the figures win over is the posing. The Riflemen figures all remind me of those photographs you see in Normandy Campaign books of Tommy’s advancing, some at the alert and some more casually posed. There really are some very well posed miniatures.
Infantry Platoon
There are a couple of small details that grate– like the figure with the helmet straps hanging down like a GI – British MkII helmet straps were elasticated and don’t come undone - and the straps that appear on the sides of some of the ’37 pattern small packs. But on the whole this is another cracking set of figures from FiB.

They paint up well (the beauty of British Infantry is I can spray them Khaki in one go!) and the Vallejo wash really brings out the detail.
Nicely sculpted and realistically posed.
Finally to boost the Company I painted and based some Peter Pig Combat Engineer figures I’d had lying around since a Bring & Buy in back in May.
Combat Engineer Bases - Peter Pig Figures
Now for one of those Hit the Dirt Scenarios for Commonwealth forces…….

Thursday, 15 September 2011

28mm ECW- Victory Without Quarter

I've long harboured the desire to wargame the English Civil War. Living on the English/Welsh border we are spoilt for choice when looking for ECW battle sites to visit (Worcester is only 40 mins away) and I've always loved this period in history.
The downside is I could never see this being my main period for gaming - just a pleasant break from the norm if you like. And therein lies the problem. Where do you find some simple, fast play rules that give a good game and are easy to learn?
Well at last I may have tracked just such a set down - Victory Without Quarter by Clarence Harrison.
These rules are well presented, appear to be well respected and look to be just the job for a quick, fun game in an evening.
This has also given me an excuse to finally collect some Warlord Games Plastic ECW figures......with Colette very kindly ordering me the Battalia box from Maelstrom Games at the weekend.
An Infantry Regt. only needs to be three 60x60mm bases each with 6 figures (12 Musket + 6 Pike) and Cavalry Regts. two 80x60mm bases with three mounted figures each. Brigade Commanders are mounted on 60mm dia. bases.

A perfectly good army of three Infantry Regts , 2 Cavalry Regts and a Cannon certainly isn't going to break the bank. Better get a move on....I've 90 Infantry and 24 Cavalry to paint and base.....

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Palm trees for 15mm Force on Force

I decided that I'd like to have some terrain for my USMC and Generic Arabs to fight over and first up I thought I'd get my self some palm trees.
The finished articles with some IrishSerb Humvees and Peter Pig USMC
I wanted some robust models and was happy to have a go at making them myself,  so I ordered a pack of Games Workshop Jungle Trees from our local GW shop. They are no longer a stock item but can be ordered and delivered to the shop for no additional P&P costs at £5 per pack.....bargain.

Years ago they used to come moulded in green (for the leaves) and brown plastic (for the trunks) which made finishing them a very quick and easy job! Today they are in bog standard grey polystyrene, two sprues containing foliage and one the trunks and bases.

In theory there's enough parts for 4 trees at 28mm but with a bit of ingenuity and a little modelling skill, you can easily produce 8 or more usable trees at 15mm.

So how did I build these up?
First step: (as ever) Spray coat of white primer
Second step: Airbrush the foliage with Vallejo Model Air light green camo and the trunks in Khaki
Third step: spray the foliage with GW Thraka Green wash and the trunks Vallejo Sepia Wash
Fourth step: Dry brush foliage with light green camo + yellow mix and the trunks with buff.

Now I was ready to start assembly. As long as you're careful cutting the parts from the sprues you'll not need to touch up the paint job.

As the kit is intended to only produce four trees there are only four bases. There are, however lots of trunk pieces and a few joining collars to extend these. What I tried to achieve when assembling was a more natural look rather than a weird and wacky WH40K tree with branches everywhere at ridiculous angles.

Ultimately, this meant I had rather more trees than bases and some had rather short trunks as I'd run out of joining collars (the kit expects some trunks to be joined by foliage pieces - fine for WH40K universe but a bit odd on planet earth). Therefore, I had to create some bases from Green Stuff.
Easy enough to do and I planted a foliage joiner in each to take the trunks when dry. All these new tree bases and the kit ones were mounted on mdf Warbases for stability.
To get those trunks joined to form realistic height palm trees, I found  some plastic tubing I had from another project that (when cut into 4mm lengths) proved perfect for the purpose.
Finally the assembled, touched up, trees were all based on mdf in ones, twos & threes. The bases had sand added with PVA and a little static grass for effect.
I hope you agree with me that they look the part and will enhance my FoF (or indeed Arc of Fire!) battlefields in the coming months.

Now I need to put that foamboard to good use and come up with some middle east buildings.

15mm D-Day Bunkers - Postscript - the Tobruk Positions

As mentioned before, I'd hoped to be able to recreate in miniature some of the defensive positions I'd come across on my visit to Normandy earlier this year.

Antenocitis Workshop had provided the 50mm open pit and enfilade bunkers I wanted, but I still wanted to create my personal favourite - the Tobruk position.
Here's a partially exposed example on UTAH Beach.
Some feedback on my blog pointed out to me that Battlefront produced such an item in 15mm and I finally tracked one down from Wayland Games for a very cool £3.78 delivered.
You can see from the image that you get to build a choice of MG position or emplaced obsolete French tank turret. The kit parts are both finely cast and very easy to assemble. In fact on taking a closer look I deduced that the base was simply sculpted by using a small FoW base with an appropriately sized washer stuck to form the concrete Tobruk opening. The terrain was then sculpted around with Green Stuff or similar. If they were that simple I ought to have a go myself and that way I could use both the MG gunner half-figure and the turret.

So that's what I did. I found a couple of suitable washers in the shed, made a base to accommodate the turret using one of these glued to a 40x40mm mdf base and a mixture of green stuff plus (afterwards) Vallejo Pumice.
Home-made turret position
The second MG position was made in the same way manned with a cut-off Peter Pig Late War German MG42 Gunner. The MGs were usually mounted on a skate rail (some even had a small shield similar to tose mounted on an Sdkfz 251 Half-Track) so it would not be unusual for the MG to have the bipod removed (as here).
Home-made MG position
And of course the original Battlefront item was based in the same way so they all match.
Actual Battlefront item
I'm quite happy with these finished items and, should I need any more, I can simply raid the shed once again.
Left to right - home-made turret position, Battlefront item & home-made MG position
Looking on the interweb the other day I saw that Battlefront have now produced a revised design of this item that is a much more accurate representation. It doesn't look a whole lot different to the real one in the picture at the top and can be supplied with a gunner figure for just about every nation taking part in WW2. A pack of two comes in at £7.50 which I guess isn't bad.

I think, however, I'll be sticking with my home made version with a steel washer on mdf with half a redundant figure, as it comes in a whole lot less.