Thursday, November 24, 2011

Normandy British - Armour and Support

Well, as promised here is an update on my 20mm Normandy British. I've been building this up for the last year, using the Guild forum's project build to track my progress. I must say I'm very surprised to say that i have a fully gameable British force, which has been seeing a fair bit of action at the local gaming club. We've been playing with some homebrew fastplay rules, but I'm looking forward to picking up a copy of Rich Clark's latest, I Ain't Been Shot Mum, version 3 while over in the UK.

My force will be based around an infantry platoon - perhaps eventually expanding to a company - from the 6th King's Own Scots Border Regiment, part of the 15th Scottish Division which held off the 9th and 10th SS Panzer divisions in its combat debut during Operation Epsom and then went on to fight in Bluecoat and through to the end of the war in Europe.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Busy, busy, busy, busy. And finally some Late Romans.

I believe my apologies are in order, as yet again it's been a while between posts. Things have been very busy indeed!

First off - i've applied a new format to the blog! Let me know if there are any problems with legibility etc, but I feel it looks a lot better. The background image is one I took back in 2008 looking west along Nan White sector of Juno Beach from St Aubin-sur-Mer, the site of Wiederstandnest 28.

Five full time subjects this semester, including the self-directed study, was very nearly almost too much to take on. I've now completed four of the subjects, and am 2000ish words into my 8000 word mini-thesis on the French colonisation of North Africa for my self directed study.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First off, my apologies for the lack of posts this last month. University has been very hectic, as has life outside of modelling, with Laura and I being accepted into a 6 month exchange to the University of Leeds in the UK for the first half of next year. So i'll be on the lookout for any recommendations for gaming clubs, or for that matter recommendations for accommodation, any of you might have.

Just a quick post this time, I'm finally finishing up on the latest batch of Late Roman commission and have some other bits and bobs to post, including some actual game shots of my Brits.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Few more Bits of Brits

Well the commission work has been going along at a great rate of knots, and the long-promised piccies of Late Roman infantry and Germanic tribesmen are not far off now. A shoutout is required to my very long suffering client, who has been most understanding during my uni and prac madness these last few months.

Anyway, while you're all waiting for the late antiquity figures, i though i should post up some pics of my British platoon as i've had a couple of requests.

As i've said before, the infantry are mostly plastic soldier company, with a smattering of the excellent Kelly's Heroes figures to add some character. After reading Ian Daglish's superb 'Over The Battlefield' book on Operation Epsom, i've decided to paint this force up as a platoon from the 6th Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers, from the 15th Scottish Division which had it's baptism of fire around the towns of Cheux and St Manvieu during Operation Epsom. The shoulder insignia is from various photos and also from Osprey's 'British Battle Insignia (2) 1939-1945. These guys were the first fully finished gaming unit I'd ever actually completed.

They had their own baptism of fire this past Wednesday night, where true to form for newly finished armies, they suffered a major defeat at the hand of Mick's Germans. the scenario was a beach assault, where myself, and two other allied players assaulted across the dunes and into a small town defended by three German players. We are using a home brewed set of rules which is simple, fast and fun, and takes a fair bit of inspiration from Rapid Fire. As all members are first time gamers, it's a great way to get our heads around the way things work, gradually adding more and more as we go. I'd eventually like to persuade the blokes at club to give Troops Weapons and Tactics a try, as I love the way Lardies rules emphasise the role of 'Big Men' overcoming the chaos and 'friction' of the battlefield. That, and the historian in me believes that they really do represent the way platoon battles actually took place. For those of you interested in such things, I'd direct you to Lardies head honcho Rich Clark's fantastic blog post on 'Friction or Fiction' which he presented at Historicon. Here's the link

Anyway, enough of my proselytizing, on to some pictures, and there are quite a few this update.

First off, the platoon HQ. This consists of the platoon leader, a lieutenant, the platoon sergeant, a two man 2" mortar team, two man PIAT team, and just for the hell of it, a sniper. These figs are all Kelly's Heroes. Closeups of the mortar team and the two platoon leaders are in my last posting.

Next up, the final two infantry sections. Like the first section shown in my last post, each section has a corporal with sten gun as section leader, a three man bren gun team and a six man rifle team. I've painted a small strip of colour on the back of the bases to differentiate each section.

Now, some support. Our first game scenario was a beach assault, and called for some armoured support. I've had a trio of the Britannia minis DD Shermans lying around and decided to do this one up as from the 13/18th Hussars, which supported the landings on Sword Beach. The crewman is from AB figures, the sculpting of these is absolutely amazing.

Being that my platoon with one lousy Tommy Cooker and a mortar supporting was assaulting a German platoon with armour, AT gun and mortar support, i thought that i might need a little extra help from the Royal Artillery. I'd painted up this AB figures spotting team, only to discover that off board support was not yet in the rules. Still, they looked pretty and will provide sterling service in future battles.

Now, these guys haven't yet seen action, but they are part of my 'toolkit' of platoon support. First off is a Milicast Churchill IXLT, an uparmoured Churchill III. This is painted up from A Squadron, 9 RTR which supported the 15th Scots during Operation Epsom. The commander is another of the lovely AB figures.

Next up is a troop from the 15th Reconnaissance Regiment, RAC. The 15th Recce was the eyes and ears of the 15th Scots division. The vehicles are all Raventhorpe RTR from Pete at Battlescape, the car commander sitting out of the hatch is from AB.

Finally, a couple of armoured cars from the 2nd Household Cavalry, the armoured car regiment which supported the 11th Armoured division - and arguably the 15th Scots - during Operation Bluecoat. Reading Daglish's book on Bluecoat, i've always loved the story of how two armoured cars under command of Lt. Dickie Powle managed to slip through enemy lines and seize the bridge over the Souleuvre (which has come to be known as 'Dickie's Bridge') enabling the 11th Armoured to break through German lines. So, this is a Daimler AC (Hasegawa with Britannia commander) and Daimler Dingo (Britannia) under command of Lt Dickie Powle. The Staghound is included because i like the look of these beasts, it's from Raventhorpe RTR, and marked up for the 2nd Household's regimental HQ. The turret camo netting is a method taken from C_Collins over on the guild, and not only looks great but covers up some dodgy casting on the gun mantlet.

For the Beach assault scenario, i also had some of the Defence in Depth 'Tobruk' bunkers i'd purchased from Grubby along with the Kelly's heroes stuff. The two gunners with the shields came with the resin tobruks, the bloke with the MG34 is from AB. I based them on wire, and drilled holes in the cupolas so they can be moved around and removed to show if the bunker is occupied or not. The bunkers painted up nicely, and provided a perhaps unneeded speed hump for us allied players.

Finally, a couple of group shots, one of the platoon with the Churchill and 6 pounder in support, and another of all the vehicles.

That's the Brits for now. I've got a troop of Shermans and a Firefly to paint up as from 11th Armoured, as well as some bits and pieces including a Crocodile and a Morris LRC armoured car i want to use as a forward observer for the RAF. I'd ideally like to expand this force to a full company in time for the release of IABSM3, but that depends on my uni and commission workload next semester.

Now, back to finishing off those Late Romans.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's been a while

Well, it's been quite a while since i've posted anything in the way of an update. Unit this semester was a lot more full on than i had anticipated, and right after end of semester i started on my first 4 week in school practicum. Well, i've survived my first teaching experience, and actually have really enjoyed it. I guess in some ways this was a make or break point, as my memories of how we treated our high school teachers had made me more than a little wary. The kids at the school were great, and it was a lot of fun and very rewarding teaching history to the young 'uns.

But you haven't all come to this blog to hear me blather about university pracs now, have you.

Well, i've been very, very slowly working away on some commission work, but over the last few months have also managed to paint up more 20mm WWII Brits and Germans for the local gaming club. We had our inaugural meeting last week, and have decided to build up a platoon with a little support each, and gradually expand on this. I'm pretty happy with this decision, as this was what i was planning on all along.

So, for this post i've got a bit of British for you all. I've decided to paint my Brits up as coming from the 15th (Scottish) division, which fought in Epsom and Bluecoat during the Normandy campaign. The shoulder tartan and markings are from the 6th King's Own Scots Borderers. My Mother's family are from Selkirk in the borders, so this led me towards this particular regiment.

Figures are a mix of the excellent plastic soldier company offerings, with a leavening of the sublime Kelly's Heroes figures from Andy Grubb. This is the first of three sections. This group consists of 10 men comprising the section leader, three man Bren MG team and six riflemen. I've also done up the platoon sergeant, platoon lieutenant and a 2 inch mortar team.
As well as this, i've started on a bit of support in the form of a 6 pounder AT gun and Loyd carrier tow. The gun is from Britannia, the crew are Kelly's Heroes and the Loyd is from Raventhorpe's 'Ready to Roll' range. I know the driver is in the wrong position but as I'm not too fussed. Our group is vehemently anti rivet-counter, so i don't envision anyone picking me up on it. :)

Anyway, i've got my last day of prac tomorrow, so hopefully will have some pics of my commission work, some more Late Roman goodness, coming up in the not too distant future.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Le Casino

When i made my last posting, I was fairly certain that I didn't have much of a chance of meeting the 28th Feb deadline for getting my Riva-Bella casino boards done. Surprising myself, i hunkered down and actually made it!

Uni started back on Monday, and the decision to travel to the Newcastle campus for two of my subjects looks like the right one. Introductory French is really quite fun, even if there is an exam every other week. The French Revolution and Napoleon class is taken by Philip Dwyer, Napoleonic scholar and author of the recent biography 'Napoleon: The Path to Power 1769-1799'. I'm REALLY looking forward to getting into this subject, and have already chosen my major essay subject, which is concerns the organisational and tactical developments in the Revolutionary French army.

So, for those of you who are visiting the blog for the first time, perhaps some explanation is in order. The excellent Guild forums ( Holds a yearly 'project build' for members, where basically you set deadlines for yourself throughout the year for whatever project you're working on. Great way to keep focused, especially when you consider that at each deadline, your work is put up for voting against all the other entries.

So, my project is to build up, in 20mm (roughly 1/72-1/76) scale, a set of terrain boards and forces representing the attack on Ouistreham and the Riva-Bella casino by Commandant Kieffer's French commandos of No.4 Commando on D-Day. The forces i've been building up are based on the TooFatLardies rulesets, Troops, Weapons and Tactics (TW&T) and I Ain't Been Shot Mum! (IABSM).
My first task consisted of two terrain boards depicting the fortified Casino strongpoint and the adjoining beachfront board, two squads (or gruppen) of German infantry, a 2cm flak gun and a 10.5cm howitzer, both crewed; a commando MG section, mortar team and sniper, and bringing up the rear a two storey building.

The boards were made on a 2 ft square MDF base, built up with coolroom styroboard sheed which was then covered in builders filler and then a pva/sand mix. The Casino and the bunkers were made from blue foam sheet, again covered in filler and the sealed with pva glue. Trenches and other details were made from balsa, and the grass is teddy bear fur. The whole lot was painted with emulsion paints picked up from the local hardware store in $5 sample tins. Static grass and wire was added, along with various obstacles - dragon's teeth, Czech hedgehogs and Belgian gates, scratch built with either blue foam offcuts or plastic strips.

On the whole, I'm really happy with the result, and am looking forward to getting started on the next two boards, 'due' 30th April. These will be the AT wall and PaK positions where the commandos advance first bogged down. It will be located adjacent to the casino, and accompanied by another beach tile.
As far as figures go, the Plastic Soldier company is providing the basis for my German troops, leavened out with superb (but expensive!) AB command figures and heavy weapons from the excellent Kelly's Heroes range. The guns and their crew are from Britannia, and were a joy to paint up. The Commandos are also from Britannia, and are again lovely to paint. Supporting the commandos will be a Royal Marines Centaur IV tank from Cromwell, along with a troop of Britannia DD Shermans. As the local gaming club is looking at getting into 20mm WWII gaming, I'm also going to try to paint up some more generic British and German forces, based around the 15th Scottish division and the 21st Panzer division.

So, on to the pictures. Next up i'll be making a start on the first of two commando assault teams, as well as the Centaur, so stay tuned.