Monday, 23 December 2013

Release the Tankettes!

I am now getting close to actually finishing the whole Malaya/Singapore project which began life in 2007, when I went to Singapore for work and had the opportunity to visit museums and battlefields of the British defeat there in 1942. As part of this project, I have just finished four Type 97 (Te-Ke) tankettes for the Japanese armour that accompanied the invasion force.

They are from Peter Pig and as usual with Mr Pig, they are excellent little models. With their thin armour, these shouldn't pose too much of a problem for the British 2 Pounder AT guns that I already have and the Boys AT rifles that accompany the British and Indian forces.

These are the tanks I mentioned in this previous post about frosting and they had to be stripped with Dettol and repainted, but second time lucky and I had no problems with them after the varnishing this time.

I have seven more tanks to paint (which I am waiting to arrive in the post) and then I think we can get this campaign under way!

As it's close to Christmas here's an extra bonus, recently Dean gave me a Battlefront Sd.Kfz. 231 (6 Rad), I painted it up in no time, but it is of little use to me at the moment as they went out of service in 1940...

In related war news, as a graduation present, I was bought a 1000 piece jigsaw of World War One Aircraft. It took two of us a week of flu to finish it and here it is in all it's glory!

And as today is the great day of Festivus, I will assume you all have your Festivus poles at the ready for the airing of grievances and feats of strength. If you don't know what I am talking about then it is best explained by Frank Costanza: 

I'll be back in 2014, so until then, keep your heads down and have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!! 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Gas! Gas! Gas!

Recently, I decided to take my games of Square Bashing up a notch. Instead of just playing the basic rules for a quick game of SB, Dean and I thought we should try out the extra stuff that the quick game leaves out. In the first instance, there is the whole pre-amble which involves working out who is the attacker and who is the defender. This is done by a series of dice rolls, with tied in events, which give the armies attacking points. Dean, as the British, had events including having the French fight on his flank and his forces being bolstered by the Canadians. The Germans (me), on the other hand, got results like 'the Americans are on the way!'

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Assault on Mars (or Yuggoth)

Ninjasaurus Rex has been writing his own version of Cross Fire for the better part of a decade, I never thought it would see the light of day in finished form. It took him two years just to write the communications rules. Dedication to a cause, I guess. Anyway, it is a set of rules for anything from post-1945 up to and beyond moderns and right into science fiction territory and are called Cross Fire of Irony (CFI).

Friday, 13 December 2013

Moonscapes and Treeless Forests

I have already built several terrain pieces specifically for Square Bashing and this trend continues as I need a few more pieces for the game. The majority of the terrain pieces in Square Bashing are 12 inches by 6 inches in size, with the objectives being 6 inch square. A while ago I bought and cut several thin MDF pieces for this purpose, but I also needed a few bits and pieces to make another rough ground piece and what is described as a 'dead wood' objective.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Last Battalion

The other day I finally finished my very last Japanese battalion for the Malaya campaign, as with the other battalions it consists of:

Battalion HQ: CO + 2IC, 1 Bugler, 1 Standard Bearer, 1 Radioman, 4 Rifles.
4 x Infantry Companies, each with 2 50mm Mortars, 1 LMG team, 2 SMG and 6 Rifles. (I was running out of SMG armed figured by this stage, so some of these only have one SMG, not that it affects anything in the rules)

So that's a lot of figures (57 in total), especially when combined with the two other battalions of Japanese infantry that I have already have. Most Rapid Fire! battalions have about forty miniatures in them, so these are pretty big in comparison!

The British defenders are going to have real trouble holding this tidal wave back for any length of time.

And here they are, all housed together with the two other battalions and some supporting elements.I will take some photos of the entire force when I get the rest of the tanks finished as well.

I wanted this project to be finished ready for the 72nd anniversary of the campaign, but as it began on 8 December 1941 with the landings at Kota Bharu, I've missed the start by a couple of days already. I still need to finish off the Japanese armour and build some theatre specific scenery before starting the campaign, so I think the first game won't be until the new year now.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms

As we have hit the onset of winter here in the UK, a familiar terror has recently raised its head... The varnish frost horror! We all know it, you have spent hours on some figures and they look amazing. Then comes the time for varnish and within minutes your soldiers have turned into a battalion of frosty the snowmen!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Unruffled Rumpler

Squadron Leader Dean called over on Sunday for a game of Wings of Glory, the scenario was based around the destruction of a Rumpler two-seater observation aircraft. This was to be accomplished by three Spad XIIs, with the Rumpler being protected by a Fokker Dr1 and two Albatross DVa. Dean took the Spads and I took the German forces.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Eddie Rickenbacker's Nieuport 28 in 1/72nd Scale

A while back Ninjasaurus Rex gave me this Revell 1/72nd scale Nieuport 28, he was originally going to build it as a wreck and use it as scenery for our Square Bashing games but didn't have the time to do it so passed it on to me. However, it languished in my war chest until the other night when I came across it again and decided it needed building. At first glance it looks a bit crappy, there was a lot of flash on the plastic and it looked a little clunky. However, it went together really well and the parts fitted together a lot better than other kits at this scale.

I painted it as on the kit instructions; the livery of Eddie Rickenbacker's personal aircraft. The American Ace first flew a Nieuport 28 in 1918 and it was also his first aircraft as a combat flyer.

I liked the colour scheme and the decals which include the American propaganda poster 'Fight or Buy Bonds!' and the Hat in the Ring symbol of the 94th Aero Squadron who Rickenbacker flew for.

Rickenbacker ended the war with 26 victories and was the highest scoring American pilot of World War One.

I wasn't going to rig the aircraft, but it looked a little bare without it, so I ended up adding it and am glad I did as I think it looks a lot more 'finished'.

A good little kit that only took a few hours to build and paint. It's made me think about buying more Revell aircraft at this scale.

Also whilst researching this aircraft I found out that Rickenbacker guitars was founded by a distant cousin of Eddie, Adolph Rickenbacker, and used the name as a direct association with Eddie. So that gives me plenty of reason to post this Motörhead video, since Lemmy is the most famous user of Rickenbacker guitars by a country mile: 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Mardy Bums

I bought a trio of Marder II (Sd. Kfz. 131) on EBay a long, long time ago. They came pre-painted and were not from a manufacturer I recognised, I don't even remember the seller's name and they could very well be knock offs as they are resin bodies with metal guns. I didn't really like the paint jobs on them as it was pretty basic. I never really did anything with them until a few days ago, when I thought I'd give them a going over to try to improve them a little. First off, I added some crew members from Command Decision and some stowage from various other places.

Then the crappy paintwork was ink washed in Chocolate Brown with the Reflective Green camo pattern added on top. The tracks were painted in my usual style and the tools picked out, finally the bases were painted in Dark Green, ink washed with Flat Earth and dry brushed Yellow.

With a couple of decals from QRF they were finished. It was a very simple and quick job to pretty them up and they fit in better with my other toys now.

I just need an excuse to use them against some Soviets! Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

British 3rd Cavalry Regiment

Hot on the heels of my latest British unit for the Malaya campaign come these, the 3rd Cavalry regiment. These are represented by a company of eight men; one SMG, one LMG team and five rifles carried in a lorry. In this case the lorry is a Bedford Truck by Peter Pig.

I mentioned the frosting varnish damage in a previous post, these figures had the worst time of it, but I repainted the highlights and they turned out not too bad.

Following the information from Mike Starmer found HERE, I painted what I thought was a close enough version of Khaki Green 3, mixed from English Uniform and US Olive Drab with camouflage painted in German Camo Dark Brown. It's probably not for the purists, but it works for me anyway.

This unit appears in the source book I am using during the battle of Gurun, fought on the 14/15th December 1941 where a lorry-borne counter attack against the advancing Japanese was initially unsuccessful. A later counter attack had better success when combined with Punjabis and the 2nd East Surreys.

OK, enough of my blabbering, on with the painting! Thanks for looking.

Disclaimer: I have recently found out that the troops should be Indians and the truck painted in stone. I am happy to bluff this, as I ran out of suitable Indian figures anyway... 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Red Storm, Grey Steel

Dean called over for a game on Saturday night, I had suggested a game of Wings of Glory, but he poo-pooed it and wanted something more 'land based', so we settled on Rapid Fire! instead. I figured it was time to use a lot of the scenery I have been collecting for the past few years and filled the board with ruins; go big or go home and all that. This would be a battle set in the early days of Operation Bagration in 1944, with the Soviets attacking a defending German force.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Second British Battalion for the defence of Malaya

The work on my Malaya/Singapore project has slowed down a little, but I managed to crank out another British Battalion, this brings my total to two British Battalions along with an Indian Battalion. Enough to start the campaign from the Allied point of view.

I used the grass tufts for the base foliage again and was very happy with how the bases look.

A major problem I encountered was frosting on the varnish. It's about this time of year that this problem starts to arise, given the cold temperature. These figures escaped the worst, although some look a little frosted, but another company of cavalry, who I painted alongside these took it bad and may have to be repainted, or even scrapped. It's very disappointing when it happens and kills hours of hard work in seconds.

That besides, I'm pretty pleased with these and it shouldn't be too long before I can start gaming with them!

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Please Don't Force Me!

Dean had bought some of the new X-Wing releases, a couple of TIE interceptors and a B-Wing and wanted to try them out, also we wanted to introduce Ninjasaurus Rex to the game. Actually it was the first time all three of us had joined together to game. Our first three way.

They duly arrived and I was duly consigned to using the Rebel scum, as usual. It would be nice to use the Imperials one day, and I dream of that time, but for now I chose the best I could. I took the B-Wing, flown by Ten Numb, the best pilots in the B-Wing pack, plus Luke Skywalker and Biggs Darklighter both in X-Wings.

Monday, 11 November 2013


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Trench Experiment Tutorial

In this post I will demonstrate how I went about building a small trench to use in games of Rapid Fire! The  trench needed to be big enough to hold at least three Flames of War small bases, which I use to base my figures and is about the usual size of most of my companies.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Capture the Bridge!

As Dane had damaged himself in a work related injury, the little lad needed cheering up and he wanted a game of Rapid Fire! to see how it worked. So, on Sunday I set up a quick scenario which involved a small German armoured and engineer force advancing on a bridge with the intention of capturing it. I took the Russian defence and located it around the river crossing and in the small building by the bridge.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Monday, 28 October 2013

Joe Sacco 'The Great War' Book Review

I got this in the post the other day so I thought I'd give it a quick review. It's the comic artist Joe Sacco's The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Somme. Published by Jonathan Cape it retails at £20.00, I got mine from Amazon for a bit less.

I'm a big fan of comic art and wanted to see what Sacco had done with the First World War in this work.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

British 2-Pounder Anti-Tank Guns for Malaya

The latest edition to my growing British force for the Singapore/Malaya campaign project are these two 2-Pounder Anti-Tank guns from Peter Pig. As with all PP figures these are lovely little pieces and are manned by PP's Eight Army gun crew.

The bushes on the fronts of the bases are courtesy of the War Painter, find my review of them HERE.

From the source book, these two guns appear to be the only support the British had during the campaign except some 25-Pounders and they will have their work cut out with the amount of Japanese tanks that were involved in the invasion.

The crew were painted the same as the other British units that I have and I decided to paint the gun in Bronze Green as thought they had been rushed to the east and there wasn't enough time for a repaint. I was directed to this SITE from a discussion on TMP about British equipment colours in Malaya and saw that some of the vehicles were in this colour.

Anyhoo, there is still more to come for this project, but thanks for looking!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Keeping your bush nice and trim

As I was at a wedding this weekend I didn't get much painted so I thought I'd do a quick product review. I recently bought some grass tufts from the Warpainter on ebay. They were an absolute bargain, at about £7 for over 100 tufts with free postage! Added to this, they only took two days to arrive after I'd ordered them! They arrived in this DVD style box, with instructions of use on the back:

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Country Pile

Following on from the building of scenery tiles for Square Bashing, I started work on one of the objective squares; the ruined Château. I used this tile in the last game, but this post is about how I constructed it. The objective tiles have dimensions of a 6"x6" tile rather than the usual 12"x6" of the other terrain types.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


I put the finishing touches to a full size Japanese Battalion for Rapid Fire! recently. They had been largely finished at the weekend, but life caught up with me and I was unable to complete the unit until now. This is the second Japanese Battalion I have completed as part of my ongoing Malaya/Singapore project. However, the other battalion is under strength and will need a few additions to bring it up to proper strength. This one, on the other hand, follows the OOBs as laid out by A. Michael Sayce in his Japanese World War II Scenarios booklet.

The unit consists of:
Battalion HQ: CO + 2IC, 1 Bugler, 1 Standard Bearer, 1 Radioman, 4 Rifles (there should be 2 Rifles and 2 SMG, but I didn't have enough SMG figures, it makes no difference to the rules)
4 Infantry Companies, each with 2 50mm Mortars, 1 LMG team, 2 SMG and 6 Rifles

The nice thing about the Japanese is that I get to make flags, something that is very rare in the 20th Century. The BHQ flag was made with tin foil so I could have it flying in the attack!

The unit is pretty big, with 57 figures in total, including 8 mortars! I pity the British units that will have to face that amount of fire-power.

The battalion is augmented by support from four HMGs, the normal machine gun company consists of three HMGs, but I painted an extra one, just in case... The normal crew for a Rapid Fire! HMG is three, but in the Sayce OOBs this is increased to four and this means that the weapons will take more punishment before they are destroyed!

All the figures are by Command Decision, and these are probably pretty hard to get hold of in the UK now that Skytrex has folded...

I still have another similar battalion of Japanese to finish off, plus some more tanks that are on their way from Peter Pig, along with a couple of British units and A/T guns before this project is totally finished and I can have a game, but the end is slowly coming in sight now...

Thanks for looking!

Monday, 14 October 2013

March 21 1918, the onslaught begins

Another Sunday, another game of Square Bashing. This time I wanted to introduce Dean and Dane to the game, so I set up another Quick Game, with the Germans attacking a British defence line during the Kaiser Schlacht of 1918. The Quick Game has 620 points for the attacker and 450 points for the defender with no assets or pre-game preparation. This translated to a German attacking force of 2 x professional battalions, 10 x regular battalions, 4 x field artillery, 2 x heavy tanks. These were pitted against 6 x regular battalions, 6 x MGs and 6 x field guns for the defending British.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Well, if you knows of a better 'ole go to it!

With my new found love of Square Bashing 2nd Edition, I decided I needed some new First World War specific terrain for the game. In the game terrain is divided into several distinct types and one of these is described as 'broken ground',

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Aircraft Wrecks in the Dark Peaks

My friend Craig called over for the weekend and although it meant that I got no painting done we went out to the Dark Peaks, near Glossop. The idea was to try and find some aircraft wrecks that I knew about from a book on the subject my parents bought me at Christmas. It didn't take long to locate the first one; a RB-29 called 'Over Exposed', which crashed on 3rd November 1948. All the crew were lost in the crash.

The wreckage was spread over a large area and has been left alone by passing walkers.

The next two were harder to find, the first one being the remains of a Lancaster Bomber KB993, which crashed on 18th May 1945, days after the Second World War had ended. Again, all the crew were lost.

The small memorial stone also mentions that a C-47 Skytrain 2108982 crashed nearby with the loss of the crew. We stumbled upon the wreckage of this crash almost by accident.

The wreckage from this aircraft was spread over a wide area as well, maybe because the impact area was at the edge of a deep gulley and some of the aircraft tumbled down there.

Larger parts of the airframe lay at the bottom of the gulley in a particularly hard to reach area.

The trail of debris lay all the way down the stream bed.

The Dark Peaks is part of the Pennine Ridge that is often called the Spine of England and is an area of high ground that rises very quickly on both sides. It seems that these pilots were taken unaware by the steep rise in the ground, especially as these crashes occurred at night or during heavy fog. It is good to see that they are undisturbed by walkers (despite some graffiti on some of the larger pieces) as they are war graves and should be treated with the due reverence that they demand.