Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Water Carrier for Mesopotamia

In the post recently, I received the latest additions to my now fast growing 20mm British force for Through the Mud and the Blood, being two Emhar British Mark IV tanks (Male and Female), plus a box each of Highlander Infantry and Indian Infantry, both from HaT. I put the Male tank together in about an hour and a half, whilst also tackling some Indian infantry.

There was a couple of issues with the tank, one being the ditching beam rails. These are wrong when built straight out of the box, like I did, and they are too high at the rear.

However, it's not a massive problem for me, just a slight niggle really. I could have corrected them, but I didn't bother in the end, other than that it was a simple job to build. These two photos show the tank in a pre-weathered state and there is still a bit more to do, including finishing the base properly. But that is all for the future!

Back to the Indians, I painted the first eight as a group of bombers. There is enough in a box to make a platoon of four sections each of eight men. However, I will also need some Big Men, so I will have to buy another box of these chaps in the future.

Also I painted these figures with a slightly different paint scheme to my previous British, I found that Sidney Roundwood had provided his readers with a late war British uniform painting guide, so I adopted that. I painted the tunics, trousers and puttees in English Uniform, highlighted with Khaki. The canvas webbing and Turbans were painted in Khaki, highlighted in Dark Sand, leather webbing was painted in Hull Red highlighted with German Camo Pale Brown. Between the base coats and highlights I applied Games Workshop's Black Ink (it's called something ridiculous so proves almost impossible to find in the shop. Why they just can't call it Black Ink, instead of Ork's Armpit Hair, or whatever, I just don't know...).

I'm pretty pleased with how these ones turned out and will use the same colour scheme in the future. These Indians will be used for 1915 games, which is why most of them will be riflemen, the tanks will be used for 1917 and 1918 games. So far this little project is growing out of all perceived proportion, so keep checking back for more updates!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

What Did You Do In The Centenary, Daddy?

I have just finished the full 20mm British Platoon for Through the Mud and Blood, they were finished off with the addition of a metal section from Early War Miniatures, for a great price of £7 for ten figures. They complete the company as a rifle section with an NCO Big Man. I haven't used the Lewis gun team yet.

They are lovely figures, really nicely proportioned and in good poses. I will certainly be bulking out more units with EWM figures in the future.

I also added a Vickers HMG team from the HaT box of British Heavy Weapons.

Again, these are nice figures, not that machine guns make much of an appearance in Mud and Blood, they appear to be more of an off board type thing, but you never know, I may well find a use for them.

So here is the complete platoon, the four sections are the riflemen, Lewis gun, bombers and rifle grenadiers along with the HMG, sniper and a collection of Big Men.

I'm just awaiting Dean to finish off his Germans, so we can have our first game of Mud and Blood. As he keeps getting distracted by other shiny things, it may be some time yet...

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A Red River Crossing

Dean and Ninjasaurus Rex called over on Easter Sunday for a game of Rapid Fire! and it's been a while since our last game, which was part of the Malaya campaign. This time, I turned the attention back to the Eastern Front with a scenario set in the early days of Operation Barbarossa. A German unit has captured a small village in Russia and paused to consolidate their position, whilst they awaited the arrival of some armour support. Meanwhile the Russians mount a local counter attack using a mixture of heavy tanks and infantry.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Here Come The Grenadiers

The big problem with 20mm First World War figures is the complete lack of rifle grenadiers. They are vital to any British organisation from 1916 onwards, but I have been unable to find any in plastic or metal, besides some in the HaT American set.  I bought this set to see what they would be like and if they could be usable, but the uniform is too strikingly different to the British uniform to work. I will make a platoon of Americans from the box in the future, so I haven't wasted my money.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Mud, Blood and Poppycock

I am generally against the idea of every battlefield in the FWW being a sea of mud, as many weren't, but there was plenty of times when men were fighting in muddy conditions. However, to make games different when playing Through the Mud and the Blood I decided to go down the muddy route when creating a new board for the rules set.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Out Since Mons

Following on from the previous post about the 20mm plastic World War One project I have begun, here are a few more pictures of the growing band of soldiers. First up is the rest of the Lewis gun section, eight men commanded by a Corporal:

All the figures are part of the Emhar British Infantry and Tank Crew set, the Corporal is mounted on a penny.

Here is the Bomber section, again, all Emhar figures.

And finally is a group of Big Men of various ranks all based on pennies, the officer on the right is the one which I converted and who originally had a soft cap instead of a helmet.

There are many more to come and I am currently working on section of rifle grenadiers. It is surprising how quickly these figures paint up, so it may not be too long before I am able to field them against the dastardly Boche.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Through the Mud and the Blood and the Plastic

Although I have the ongoing Fallschirmjäger project happening, it hasn't stopped me from turning my attention to other things, (It must be the prospect of painting all those Stumpfmuster 43 smocks...) namely some First World War figures for the rules Through the Mud and the Blood, by the Two Fat Lardies. Inspired by Sidney Roundwood's excellent blog, I wanted to turn my attention from the big scene in World War One through Square Bashing (as great a game as it is) to the smaller trench raids and skirmishes that also occurred in the conflict. A couple of caveats here though, although I already had Germans and British armies for SB, they are based for that game, so I needed a new set of figures to do the rules justice. This is when I started to think about 20mm plastics, the ranges are reasonably good, the figures can be quite nice, and lastly they price is also low. So, I could set about getting together a hundred or so figures with minimal layout from my pocket's point of view.

I raked through the First World War section of the Plastic Soldier Review and thought that the 'Emhar 1/72 WWI British Infantry and Tank Crew' looked about right for my initial needs. I ordered a set from EBay and they duly arrived. These were the first 20mm figures I have bought in literally decades... Looking over the set of figures I was pretty pleased with how they appeared, except for one glaring anomaly; many of the men weren't wearing the standard Small Box Respirator. It's usually slung on the front of the chest and is quite a distinctive piece of kit for First World War British soldiers. However, being plastic, this may be easy to remedy; simply cutting off the SBR from other figures and gluing it to the chests of the men without it.

That is the real pleasure with plastics, the ease with which they can be converted quickly and easily. For example, I wanted to use the officer figure on the right, but he needed a steel helmet, rather than the soft cap he is wearing. I knew I would be using the tank crew figures on the left, so...

...cut the helmet off one of them and reattached it to the officer. Hey presto! A fully protected Lieutenant!

After this swift conversion, I grouped some of the figures together and was able to make a Lewis gun section of eight men (two on the Lewis) and a Bomber section, also eight men strong, as laid out in my favourite war time pamphlet SS143: Instructions for the Training of Platoons for Offensive Action, 1917. This was augmented by the addition of four Big Men, upon whom the game is pinned. It is the Big Men that allow the other units to move and fire, so they are incredibly important during a game. I mounted the Other Ranks two to a Flames of War Small Bases, with the Big Men mounted individually on pennies for ease of recognition and movement.

I then test painted the Lewis gunner and his number two with the following: English Uniform for the tunics and trousers/puttees, Khaki for all the webbing and helmet covers, Black boots and Beige Brown for all the wood. Then they were ink washed in Quink Black writing ink and highlights of Green Ochre applied to the tunics, trousers and puttees, Khaki Grey highlighted the webbing, etc. The sand on the base was first painted in German Camo Black Brown, highlighted with Khaki and static grass (which I later dulled down with a wash of brown) and crushed cork added to break it up.

So this was my first foray into 20mm plastics for decades, the figures are nice, despite the minor historical inaccuracies and were easy enough to paint. It won't take long to get a usable force together!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Fallschirmjäger WIP

I have been super busy since getting back from France last week, the archaeological survey project which I set up on the Barnsley Pals training camp begins a week on Monday, plus I am giving a paper at a conference on Saturday and teaching a workshop the following Saturday! So I have been at the computer drawing and writing and generally getting a massive headache.

With all this going on, my gaming activities have taken a back step at the moment. However, before I went to France, I dug out my old collection of Peter Pig's Fallschirmjäger, some figures I have had for over twenty years. They were originally based for a skirmish game and bore no relation to the OOBs of Rapid Fire! With this in mind, I ordered a few new packs of PP's Fallschirmjäger which had arrived by the time I returned home. I noted that they had been redesigned in the time since I had originally bought mine and the new ones looked like excellent sculpts. I organised them into Rapid Fire! units and based them and this is the point they are at right now, with still a lot to do!

As there was little information on OOBs for the Fallschirmjäger, I asked on TMP for advice and was given the following lists, by Dom of Dom's Decals:

HQ – CO + 3 men, Panzerschreck.
3 Rifle Coys – 10 men each.
Support Coy – 15 men, 2x 81mm mortar, 75mm IG, 2 MMGs.

I chucked in a Panzerfaust to each of the companies to add to the AT value of each unit and actually found I had ordered enough figures for two battalions (minus the support company). The second battalion will be completed in time.

Further to this, as it has been twenty plus years since I even painted a single Para smock, I did a bit of research online and found the following Vallejo colours recommended for the Stumpfmuster 43 smock pattern: German Camo Beige (821) as the base coat, highlighted by Iraqui Sand (819), with German Dark Green (896) and Flat Brown (984) as the disruptive pattern. I painted three of my old minis as a tester, the two on the outside were inkwashed with dark oak varnish, the chap in the middle with black writing ink. Of the three I think he came out the best as the other two looked a little muddy, I am of the opinion these days that the varnish wash may work well with 28mm figures, but obscures 15mm minis too much, unless the clothing is light in colour.

Anyway, enough rambling from me, I really must get on with painting these figures! Thanks for looking!