Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Airfix conversions: Opel radio truck

Time for another Airfix conversion, this one is an Opel Radio Truck, based on the Airfix chassis. A pretty simple conversion as it goes, but I needed a command staff truck for my Megablitz Germans corps assets. I already have the Roco version which served as a useful sanity check, but the plans came from one of my numerous and rather elderly Bellona prints. Some of the features are a little exaggerated but it came out OK I think. In the main it was constructed from 30 thou plasticard with 10 thou used for the doors etc. and odd bits of sprue for the door handles, roof vents etc.

The finished article. I was pleased with the curvature of the roof, as well as the ridge and vents.

The window recesses were a pig to cut through the plasticard. Door handles made from sprue.

Another window recess at the back. I was glad of the right hand side flaps.
I left it fairly plain with just the number plates marked and a generic mid/late war sand/brown/green camo scheme with a light bit of weathering. The filled in windows are painted using my more recent approach of blue with a white highlight.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The end of President Fred

Many apologies for the recent break in service, real life intervened fairly forcefully when my father was taken seriously ill, however thanks to the surgical team at Harefield  Hospital he is on the road to recovery and I can start mucking around with toy soldiers again.

This was a recent-ish outing put on by Tim to our ongoing vaguely AK47 inspired campaign in and around the fictional country of Ph'Tang. My chaps were (once again) encouraging the historical dialectic by bringing the full benefits of socialism to Ph'Tang, groaning under the oppressive rule of the seemingly immortal President Fred. Our Cuban pals cam along for the ride, impressively tooled up with kit, which always helps.

The battlefield from the east, Cuban backed LADA forces in the foreground.

LADA in close-up.

President Freds armoured column in the distance as a train approaches the town.

Various items of wildlife were scattered around, which have added a degree of chaos in previous games.

My brave chaps with their motley assortment of technicals.

Freds armoured column goes for a drive in the Jungle.

Whilst I take some of my best troops and go to check out what is happening at the airfield. That film crew looks interesting..

The leading Saladin is 'inconvenienced' by the attentions of an amorous Hippo.

LADA lines up to take advantage of the chaos.

Meanwhile we occupy the airfield and try to sneak into the town.

Colonel D'eath moves up to provide aid to the President.

LADA scores a hit.

Colonel D'eath stages a bogus assassination attempt and 'rescues' Roger Mellie and the TV team. My chaps blaze away fruitlessly.

LADA advances into the jungle.

Freds bodyguard bunch up on the hill, making an excellent target for the BM-21.

A T-55 finally puts an end to President Freds blood soaked rule.
So, after ten years (is it really that long?), President Fred bites the dust, or at least we think so. The resulting power vacuum is going to be very interesting, and I suspect peace is still a long way off for the long suffering citizens of Ph'Tang.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Battlefront Marders

I have always been rather fond of the various incarnations of Marder and found myself 'needing' some for the Skirmish Campaigns 'Red Guards at Kursk' scenarios. I picked these up at Triples a couple of years ago, heavily discounted on the Caliver Books stand so they weren't quite the normal ridiculous BF price.

The two of them in their Mardery glory. They both went together well although the gun assemblies took a fair bit of work.

From the front the typical BF scale vertical distortion is very obvious.

The look fine from the side though, plus lots of rivets and hard lines to pick up the drybrushing.

They also look very good from this angle. While I may moan about the prices, at least BF include crew figures, which you need really for open topped AFVs.
A couple of very serviceable  models, although they have yet to fire a shot in anger. They were just finished in dunklegelb and olive green with a dark brown inkwash, a very light drybrush of pure white to pick up the highlights and a liberal daubing of mud around the running gear.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Platoon House

John has been developing his rules 'Boots on the Ground' recently which cover company level actions in modern Afghanistan and we have been playtesting it with various tactical situations based on the Royal Anglians tour (of 'Ross Kmep in Afghanistan' fame).

My 'A Platoon Commanders Insurgency' rules, based on Johns WW2 tactical rules work fine for a platoon but won't scale to a company, the latter being Johns design objective.

This was the third outing for the rules, this time covering the defence of a platoon house.

The village with the District Centre in the middle. The bazaar is to the left, Mosque and medical centre to the right and the main LZ to north in the open ground east of the road.

For some days the company had noted various combat indicators, particularly an increase in attacks on patrols and the gradual disappearance of the civilian population. At the time game starts, most of the buildings around the centre are empty, the shops in bazaar are boarded up and patrol activity has been reduced to a minimum.

Defence of the district centre with sangars in on the roof of the five buildings with machineguns and other weapons, a section of 81mm mortars dug into the centre of the courtyard and the rest if the troops safely under cover. We used a representational map of the district centre for this.

The DC centre map on the main table.

Suspicious activity! Insurgents manage to drop mortar rounds on the Mosque.

Followed up by sniper fire on the NW sangar. Our own marksman comes off worst and is a T2 requiring evacuation.

A wandering Afgan policeman trips an ambush from the medical centre, which attracts return fire from every MG on the roof. Amazingly the policeman survived unscathed.

Two platoon moves out to secure the ad-hoc LZ for the evacuation. A group of Afghan police can also be seen 'exploring' the Bazaar.

The Chinook arrives escorted by Apaches.

CSM moves the casualty out to the Chinook.

Insurgents fire an RPG at the grounded Chinook. This lands alarmingly close but fortunately doesn't do any serious damage. A storm of return fire keeps the Afghans busy.

Chinook takes off safely.

Apaches provide close fire support aginst Taliban positions in the town.

Having suffered moderate losses and failing to down a helicopter, the Taliban move away into the countryside again.
So, another exciting day in Afghanistan. The rules seem to work fine for the RPG style 'umpire vs players' scenarios we've been doing and they are streamlined enough to be able to run a full reinforced company engagement with fireteam bases in a sensible amount of time.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Zvezda Gaz AA

More Triples purchase, some Gaz AA trucks ot supplement my 15mm Soviet transport. I have to say that these weren't hugely enjoyable to build, the truck bodies and chassis were OK but the mouldings had a very strange arrangement for the bonnets which required them to be cut/bent into shape. As you can see from the photos, this left the engines looking a bit odd. That apart, they were OK and they were cheap and light to carry.

Finished trucks. Duff engine covers not too obvious from here.

Sit quite nicely from the side.

The general dodginess of the front end is very obvious here!

Look OK from this angle though.
These just finished in Vallejo Sov green over a black undercoat with a brown inkwash and highlight with some ochre lightened Sov green and a very light drybrush of light tan. A moderate amount of mud was applied ot the lower portions. The windows are solid so I did them sky blue with a couple of highlights, which seems to work OK from a distance.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Across the Canal Part 2

For this one Tim and Jerry took the Soviets and John the British. It was played as per usual with my 2mm toys on Kallistra hexon terrain. The buildings are spare Command and Colours blocks, which work quite well with the 2mm vehicles.

Warpac forces assemble, view from the SE

Tank regiment behind the ridge, BMP regiment along the road.

BMP battalions move up to the river while the regimental tank battalion, AT company and two SP artillery battalions move up in support.

Heimatschutzen covering one crossing are hit by artillery and their morale breaks. The BMP battalion has discovered the bridge is passable by foot troops.

Braunchsweig burns as Sov recce engages more Heimatschutzen, again inflicting losses and a morale failure.

A British Combat Team motors on to support the platoon of Luchs in the central woods, and is attacked by SU-17s.

The attack inflicts no losses but John is appallingly unlucky on the morale check.

Two BMP battalions swim the canal and a dismounted company cautiously crosses by foot. Tanks and artillery move up in support and engineers prepare to repair the bridge.

Two T-64 battalions move up the Autobahn.

Harriers conduct an airstrike on the newly completed bridge. The blast makes the camera shake, but unfortunately misses.

BMP units supported by a helicopter landed VDV battalion secure the secondary road west as refugees continue to flee down it.

Soviet units mass at the crossings as NATO heavy artillery opens fire directed by the Bundeswehr.

The first Combat Team reorganises in the woods, while the second is delayed by refugee columns.

The Chieftans and FV432s eventually negotiate the crowded roads and are immediately attacked by SU-17s.

And Hinds, with predictable results. Some Chieftans are knocked out and the British morale fails.

Warpac forces along the canal also take some losses and the morale of the T-62 battalion fails, however the Luchs platoon is also destroyed.

T-64 battalions cross the river and BMPs push north.

Another Airstrike inflicts more losses and breaks the balanced Combat Team.

They duly withdraw off the table.

The last balanced team from divisional reserve attempts to counterattack behind artillery fire but again, has appalling luck and  suffers a morale failure.

With that, the Soviets have secured their route west with most of the tank regiment over the canal and ready to motor on towards Hanover.

And the rest of the division following up, with engineers preparing more crossings.

So, not NATOs finest day. TF Hotel was just too little, too late and paid the price for the concentration of effort against 10th GTD further north. In this instance the local Soviet air superiority proved to be decisive.

3rd Shock Army is now over the canal and into the good tank country of the plain east of Hanover. TF Hotel has however hardly suffered any losses and 4th Armoured Div is still in a good shape to conduct its mission of aggressive delay while the rest of BAOR moves into position. Bundeswehr units  have also put in their first appearance, and they aren't going to be very keen on Warpac units running around all over West Germany.  What will the afternoon bring?