Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Rebel Fleet Masses at Sullust

Along with the Rebel soldiers I completed recently I bought a couple of packs of the Ground Zero Games  New Colonial Forces, but with helmets. To my mind these looked like the Rebel Fleet Troopers that man the spaceships in the Star Wars films.


At the end of the day it's all about the painting really, especially at 15mm scale where detail is hard to see at arm's length. So here are my finished products:


They were a very simple paint job, Stone Grey trousers with Intermediate Blue shirts. The packs and bits of armour I painted in black and the helmets white.


I bought a pack of heavy weapons to mix in as specialists, the single shot rocket launcher could easily be a proton torpedo launcher...


I'm happy with how they have turned out, I see that Khurasan have some figures that look similar to the Rebel Fleet Troops as well, so I may get some of those when their website is back online (plus I'm still holding out for their not-Stormtroopers...).


My attention has now turned to finding some useful aliens, so keep checking back for more updates!

Today is also the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo, carried out by Garvillo Princep. It was the incident which triggered the First World War!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

You Rebel Scum

Now I've got Pretend Stormtroopers, I needed some Rebels for them to shoot at. TasminP had left a comment on this here blog to tell me that Ground Zero Games did a set of New Colonial Defence Forces which have a passing resemblance to the Rebel Troops in Return of the Jedi:


I ordered a couple of packs, enough for two squads and they quickly arrived. The figures are chunky little fellas and I thought they may be a bit big for 15mm, but I measured them and they are pretty much spot on foot to eye 15mm. They are lovely figures as well, with some really nice poses and Tasmin was right they are pretty much perfect for my needs.


I searched around on the internet for pictures of the Rebels in ROTJ and found the picture above on Wookiepedia and used that as the painting template.


The uniforms look grey with green camo over the top to me, so I painted them in Stone Grey with blotches of Reflective Green over the top. I then painted their puttees and crown and visor of the helmet in US Tan Earth, with German Uniform for the back packs, webbing and the rim of the helmet. The two colours on the helmet really made them look like the Rebel troops.


Finally, I just inkwashed them all in Balrog's Toenail Clipping Ink from Games Workshop and that was it. I didn't bother highlighting, as the colours I used as base coats were already quite bright. I painted about half and half black and white skin colour with a couple of green alien faces thrown in for good measure.


Now, it won't be long before we can have my first game of Star Wars Miniatures Battles in over a decade!

Finally, I am also selling some items from Blaze Away Miniatures on EBay, there's some early 20th Century 28mm Germans and Americans and some 28mm Marlborough's War figures up for grabs. Take a look HERE.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Plastic Soldier Company's Panzer IIIs

One of the things I bought at Triples recently was the new Panzer III box by the Plastic Soldier Company. The box allows you to build the J, L, M or N models of the tank. I opted for the building two N versions, with the short barrel 75mm gun and three M versions with the long barrel 50mm gun. This way I would also be able to deck them out in the Schurzen.


I gave the two N versions a striped camo scheme and added stowage from various bits in the bits box.


The three M models had a different camo scheme of blotches.


I also removed a couple of panels from the schurzen to give them a campaign feel.


And here they all are together.


All in all, another great kit from PSC, they come with the new one piece track. Purists won't like them so much as they track is not very well detailed. However, that is easily overcome with the application of mud, so I'm not that bothered about it.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Battle of Kampar 30th Dec 1941 - 2nd Jan 1942 AAR

On Saturday, whilst the wargaming world concentrated on the beach landings in Normandy, Ninjasaurus Rex, Dean and I were set to play the fifth battle of the ongoing Malaya campaign.

The New Year of 1941/2 in Malaya was brought in with the four day Battle of Kampar, another holding defence conducted by the beleaguered British forces and was the next major holding line after the Battle of Gurun, two weeks previously. This game was set to last for the first three days of the battle, from the 30th of December up to the 1st of January, we decided that each day would be eight turns long with Japanese reinforcements arriving at set intervals (see below), so the Japanese had to break through the British lines by turn 24. Conversely, the British had to stop this from happening.

Map from http://www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk

The ground was open at Kampar compared to the previous jungle positions and was a bit better suited for defence, giving large fields of fire. In desperation, the survivors of Jitra and Gurun, the 1st Leicester and 2nd East Surrey regiments were amalgamated into one large size battalion, called the British Battalion. However, they were left with few mortars and light machine guns, but were dug in on the area of high ground just north of Kampar. Support came from the Punjab Battalion based in Kampar itself, similar to the British Battalion this unit was an amalgamation of some of the Indian units that had also been mauled in previous battles.

The British forces consisted of:

The British Battalion

BHQ: CO + 6 Figures (1 Boys A/T Rifle)
4 x Inf Companies, each of 8 figures

Punjabi Battalion

BHQ: CO + 6 Figures (1 Boys A/T Rifle, 1 2" Mortar)
3 x Inf Companies, each of 8 men

The Japanese on the other hand, were still fresh from recent victories, a battalion from the 42nd Infantry Regiment led the attack, consisting of:

BHQ: CO + 8 men
4 x Inf Companies, each of 12 figures (2 x 50mm Mortars)
Plus support from:
3 x HMG
2 x 70mm battalion guns
4 x Type 97 (Te-Ke) light tanks

The battle would be fought over three days, with additional Japanese support of 

Day Two (Turn 9):

4 x Type 97 (Chi-Ha)

Day Three (Turn 17):

Another battalion of the 42nd Infantry Regiment, as above, with 3 x HMG support.

This is how the board looked from the northern Japanese edge, the impassable jungle slopes of Bujong Meleka on the east funnelled the attack down the main road running north to south.


The British Battalion were dug in across the road and on the high ground of Thompson's Ridge, Green Ridge and Cemetery Ridge. The Japanese faced off against them clustered around the road. The Indians were placed in Kampar, I knew how hard it was from previous engagements to get defenders out of buildings.


The opening shots went to the British Battalion who caused a few casualties amongst the advancing Japanese.


But their victory was short lived as Japanese mortar fire, artillery and rifles took their toll, smashing the defences on the high ground and forcing the men in the jungle to fall back into the safety of the trees.


As Japanese shells also fell on Kampar itself, the battalion advanced against the now empty British positions, the tanks rolled their way down the road, threatening the men in the jungle. It looked like it was all over straight away!


However, the British held tight and accurate anti-tank claimed one of the light tanks.


A bad morale result caused the tank attack to falter and gave the British another chance at firing. This time a Te-Ke was heavily damaged.


Unperturbed, the Japanese infantry surged over the top of the British trenches and captured the first ridges north of Kampar.


An exchange of rifle fire saw the British Battalion HQ decimated, it was starting to look incredibly bad from my side of the table!


The Japanese were not having all their own way though. Dean declared that the attack on the jungle would be a 'sideshow' to the main event. The remainder of the British Battalion did all in their power to make sure that wasn't the case and their rifles caused many casualties amongst the Japanese HMGs.


The remnants of the British Battalion HQ fell back into the safety of Kampar as the Japanese infantry passed over the second line of defences.


I thought that the best defence was attack and pushed the two infantry companies of the British Battalion back into their original positions, to take on the HMGs.


It certainly wasn't just a 'sideshow' as the British fire destroyed the HMGs.


Meanwhile, the Japanese infantry stormed in against Kampar, ready to use grenades. The Indian defenders gave as good as they could and hammered the attackers as they came in.


Japanese grenades quickly cleared one of the buildings and they moved towards the south of the town, but a tenacious Indian defence held them up on the east buildings. In the jungle the remains of the British Battalion were routed by tank fire and my defence there finally collapsed.


The inevitable happened and the defenders were mauled. Now the Japanese brought in their tanks as support for what they thought would be the final assaults.


Fortune favoured the brave though and the Indians caused enough casualties to make the Japanese infantry retire to cover, back to the houses they had only just cleared of defenders.


With no anti-tank capability to oppose them, the tanks poured fire into the remaining Indians and they were destroyed almost to a man. The last two survivors were routed from their positions and fled the field.


It was all over, we had just turned the clock to turn nine, which signified it was day-break on day two and the Japanese were about to field their extra four tanks, however, they were not needed. In the real battle, the British managed to hang on for four days before Japanese landings on the Perak River threatened their rear areas and they had to withdraw. I was not so lucky and my defence, although spirited, was easily smashed by the Japanese attacks. I was happy to have given a hard defence in the jungle and Kampar itself, but ultimately the odds were against me again!

This  campaign is still definitely heading the same way as the historical events, the British defences failing in front of crushing Japanese attacks. The next engagement is at the Slim River, the last defensible position before Kuala Lumpur, hopefully I can reverse my misfortune there?

In other news, I am selling some Blaze Away miniatures on EBay. They are all original casts from BA and they come from an aborted project to import their figures into the UK and sell them with reduced postage for UK customers. I will be putting more on EBay over the coming weeks, but have a look HERE.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

May the Farce be with you!

Practically everyone loves Star Wars and everyone loves Stormtroopers and I am no different. I have been searching about for Stormtroopers in 15mm for some time as I always enjoyed playing the Star Wars Miniatures Battles rules set and also used to have a full set of the West End Games figures in 25mm. However, I sold them all a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

I have been thinking of revisiting them recently and as Dean has also been building some forces for the assault on Hoth, my interest has been piqued! Ninjasaurus Rex came across some figures by Black Hat Miniatures and their 'Enemy Unknown Infantry'. The armour looked about right for the Imperial masses, but I needed a closer look and ordered a set of ten.They were cheap and arrived quickly; a very good service. I immediately painted one up in the Imperial white and this is how he turned out:


I think from a distance they look the part. OK, the head is slightly wrong, but at arm's length on a board and with the small scale I think they work! Maybe to a wamp-rat bullseyer they are wrong, but I am happy with them.


They were quick to paint, as I didn't highlight or inkwash them. Black undercoat with white armour! White is always hard to shade, so I just didn't bother. Cork was added to the bases as alien rocks along with some grass tufts.


Now, I just have to find some appropriate figures for the Rebels and we can let the blasting begin!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Yorks and Lancs Exhibition Opening at Clifton Park Museum

Last Sunday saw the open day for the new Yorks and Lancs exhibition at Clifton Park Museum, Rotherham. I have been looking forward to seeing the new housing for the Y&L for some time now and spent a great afternoon checking out the open day as well as the exhibition. The museum had gone all out and pulled in First and Second World War re-enactors, the latter brought this Bren Carrier with them:


It was a restored original and really looked in excellent shape.


A lot of hard work had obviously gone into getting it all into working order again.


One thing I learned was that the radio sets also had Russian printed on them in the originals, ready for the lend-lease schemes.


Then the chaps took themselves off on a patrol around the park.


There was also this Diamond 960 truck, which again had been lovingly restored.


The small, but nonetheless interesting First World War re-enactment stall had some good reproduction kit.


Including a few grenades and various other trench weapons.


There was also the Band of the King's Division to entertain everyone.


Inside the museum was a small selection of finds from Serre in France where some of the battalions of the Y&L attacked on the first day of the Somme. It's impossible to say whether these finds were actually from that attack or not, though...


There was even a wargame going on in the museum, a 28mm British attack during the Normandy campaign.



Then it was upstairs to the exhibition proper, the new displays are well lit and not crammed full of artefacts as they once were in the old museum.


There were uniforms from all the periods that the Y&L were active.



Bringing us all the way up to the First World War.




This is the original grave marker of a chap who went all the way through the war only to be killed in a motor accident in 1919, weeks before his unit was about to return to Britain.



The most impressive exhibition in my opinion was the original ceremonial dress uniform belonging to General Plumer:


And his rack of gongs:


Then it was all over for the day, Dane gave the Help for Heroes bear a big hug and we all went home.


The exhibition is excellent and well recommended if you are ever over this way. The best thing is the price, absolutely free!
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