Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Peter Pig Pz IV J

These are rather elderly now, but here are a  trio of Peter Pig Pz IV Js which must be around 12 years old. I got them for my '15mm stuff in Normandy' project.

The three of them look quite smart, I didn't bother with the side skirts and the turret armour is moulded on.

The deeply etched panel lines take wash nicely although I think some of these have been picked out with a micron pen.

It sits quite nicely from the side. The track mouldings are relatively crude, a failing with a lot of 15mm metal models, and they have four return rollers rather than the Js three. I suspect I've been spolit by the modern plastics.

The engine deck grills also highlight well. The late pattern exhausts clearly visible. 

A very serviceable bunch of models which have seen a lot of action in various theatres. They are very easy to put together with few parts, and the main thng I notice these days is how heavy they are as they are very solid pieces of metal. The balkan crosses are Skytrex ones and the general dunkelgelb/brown/scheme is based on photographs. I didn't do a very good job on the road wheels but I really couldn't be bothered to paint little rubber tyres on them all, I should probably have muddied them up instead however many of the Js had steel rimmed wheels so that is clearly what they are!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Encounter 2

John put on this nostalgic game of Encounter 2 using his original figures and the traditional 'spaceship corridors made of books' table layout. The large quantities of naval fiction terrain were provided by me.

My personal character. Oh yes.
The defenders of galactic peace and order break into the rebel starship. Unlocated rebel scum are indicated by the inverted cross hand poker chips. Our aim was to escort Darth off the other end of the table.

Two of my squad cover the main corridor.

The rest of the Imperial platoon advance in an interesting sort of blob formation.

The rebel commander with his primitive communications device.

My chaps press on, advancing by bounds. The geometric nature of the battlefield and restrictions on facing make this a very tactical game. It is like playing team Call of Duty.

Darth stomps forward to see what is going on.

The blobs make contact, engaging some rebels in true 'completely stand in the open' Star Wars style.

A couple of rebels are despatched and the blobs press on. Darth lurks behind a bulkhead awaiting an opportunity.

My chaps do tactical pairs with interlocked fire and take advantage of the plentiful cover. So far in the exchange of fire with their opposite numbers (out of sight) the loss ratio has been around 3:1.

Whereas the blobs who like standing in the open have a fairly disastrous encounter with a group of very heavily armed and armoured rebel marines and are mown down. Well, I think we could all see that coming.

Darth effortlessly despatches a lurking rebel, but with most of the storm troopers eliminated, it is time to go home again.
So sadly on this occasion the forces of law and order are beaten off by the rebels. For such an old game this has stood the test of time remarkably well. Although it suffers from a typical late 1970s obession with minute percentages of hit probability which could just as well be resolved with a D6 as a D100 (or a D10 anyway), the game play is extremely tactical and thought provoking, if you choose to take advantage of the large numbers of corners to hide behind. Relying on armour and standing in the open also has fairly predictable results.

This was really good fun to play, and getting to push Darth Vader around was a bonus. The game doesn't have force powers or light sabers, but Vader was fairly intimidating all on his own.

Right time to go and regenerate in my sphere and then I have some Imperial section commanders to interview. I am sure their apologies will be accepted.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Emhar Whippet

More 20mm WW1 toys, this time the Emhar Whippet. These are beautiful models and I can't recommend them highly enough, really capture the look of the original and are very easy to assemble with nice hard plastic tracks.

If only all tanks were like these.

Like a lot of WW1 tanks, you do need to be a bit careful not to knock the MGs off as they stick out quite a bit.

The vehicles come with a wide range or markings as is typical from Emhar. They include the red/white ID stripes but in the end I painted them on instead as the front track guards are not a good place to try and stick decals on with lots of raised bits and great big holes in evidence.

Like its bigger brethren, lots of rivets and hard lines to catch washes and drybrushing.
These are finished in khaki brown with a brown inkwash and drybrushing of the highlights. They haven't been out to play much although I have done a couple of combined cavalry/Whippet games. I partly got them to use as the Whippet battalions for the Battle of Amiens, which I'll do one day using Megablitz or OP14 or Drumfire or something...

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Rise of the Tenth

I haven't been Airsofting for a while but the US 34th Infantry group put on a WW2 game at their site near Tamworth in mid January. It was set in their ongoing Italian campaign in late 1943, so pretty much an 'anything goes' game from a uniform point of view.

Plucky Brits with all their favourite things: cups of tea, a 25pdr and some nice safe sandbags and trenches to hide in!

There was a quite big turnout for this, 60-70 players in three groups for each side, and the weather gods were kind to us. Somewhat alarmingly I found myself in command of the British contingent. By some strange groupthink, lots of us had turned up in Army Commando gear, so I had an excuse to wear my Denison anyway.

2nd Lt with a map, time to run and hide.
The rather comfortable 25pdr position. 

Some of the Commandos had these rather natty windproof smock things. Others had to make do with leather jerkins, it was quite a cold day.

Dave tries to photgraph us with his vintage 35mm camera. It was also quite muddy...

The British show everyone else how to advance in single file. The khaki uniforms blend in well with the woodland.

Keeping an eye on proceedings, as it was Italy I used my unblancoed webbing set. It is very easy to see why it was blancoed green in Northwest Europe as it sticks out like a sore thumb.

The British did not have sole claim to sartorial elegance, here is a rather natty Gebirgsjager. 
It was a good day out, interesting mixture of missions of different types (including blowing things up, which is always fun) and the various groups stayed focussed on their missions without getting sucked into too many firefights. I was a bit apprehensive about the potential weight of enemy firepower, but in fact I managed to use my bolt action Lee Enfield  all day without feeling particularly outgunned by the MP40 toting Jerries, and even managed to bag a few which is very satisfying with a spring rifle.

The full photo set is on the Fireball squadron facebook page, which may be of interest to wargames figure painters who want to see what uniform colours look like in real life. As always, this is Airsoft not re-enactment, so although the quality of the gear is pretty good, there are various items of 'looks like' modern equipment mixed in too.

Fireball Squadron WW2 Airsoft

Wednesday, 5 February 2014


Another purchase in recent months to supplement my 15mm Russians were some PSC T70s. I already had some Skytrex ones, but the PSC ones are such good value (five to a box) I had to have some more. Beautiful little models, with very few parts but nice crisp castings. Like the T34s, they also come with commander figures.

Three of them trying to look scary.

Looking a bit tiddly in the distance.

Beautiful detail on the air vents, exhaust system and tracks.

Nice and angular from the front, including the mysterious angle pipe bendy thing. Some internet speculation has it that this is a starting handle.

And very solid from the right rear. Hard edges pick up the drybrushing nicely.

Side by side with the Skytrex T70 (left). Not a bad match from this angle.

Height and turret size difference is very obvious here though. The Skytrex ones are the older 1/106th '15mm' scale.
They look alright from a distance though. The engine and wheels on the Skytrex one are of a different version and in line with photographs of real ones. The Skytrex turret appears rather squashed though.
If starting from scratch, I'd go with the PSC models all the way, but in fact I just needed three to supplement the Skytrex ones so I sold the two spare sprues.

The models are finished in Vallejo Sov Green 894, then heavily drybrushed with more 894 lightened with some ochre and finally a light drybrush of Iraqi sand.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Into the Void (Part 2)

Following on the from the pre-game intelligence gathering, a couple of NATO installations had been identified at Haverbeck and Emmerthal, although it was a bit unclear what they actually were. The northerly was suspected of being a fuel dump. The Spetznaz team had also been successfully inserted, tasked with securing the bridge at Emmerthal, they had also identified what appeared to be a regular motorised patrol in the area.

Hamelin from the north. The spetznaz were lurking in the woods SE of the town.

The Brigade CO selected DZs either side of Hamelin, two battalions were tasked with securing the town and bridges, while the third cleared roads west of the Weser to allow the Antonovs to bring in the rest of the brigade. The drop was scheduled for dawn, and airstrikes were ordered against the suspected NATO installations.

We had a big turnout for this one, so Pete, Mark and Kayte were assigned para battalions, Connor got the mech battalion and Comrade Tim was ably assisted by his staff officers Jerry and John.

34th Air Assault Brigade in its box! Antonovs and ground attack aircraft in the foreground.

Petes battalion lands successfully and secures one of the bridges. Marks drop drifts and takes some losses. Hamelin also seems to have a certain amount of military activity taking place within it.

Kaytes battalion starts clearing the roads to allow the planes to land.

Mark overruns one German unit (which turn out to local police) and the Heimatschutzen take casualties from Petes VDV. 

Warpac planes hammer the woods NW of Haverbeck as Kaytes battalion approaches.

The fuel dump goes up in a huge explosion, which makes the camera shake.

Marks men continue their victorious advance and overrun the last of the local defence forces.

The first wave of Antonovs comes in.

Landing successfully it unloads the BMD battalion.

The planes clear the road as the next wave comes in.

These planes disgorge brigade HQ and its associated hangers on.

Kaytes battalion have dug in just as an enemy motorised column approaches. The entrenched paras are invisible to the approaching vehicles.

Both bridges in the town are secured and the Russians dig in. The brigade recce company sets off to Emmerthal as the NATO installation there burns.

The recce uncover a few demoralised survivors from a maintenace depot.

The Warpac hold on the town is consolidated.

The fires in the north spread and the motorised column is ambushed, taking heavy losses and settling down into a firefight with the paras.

The recce bypass the NATO troops and link up with the Spetznaz.

So a glorious victory for the defenders of the Motherland, despite all the things which could have gone wrong. Skilful planning and execution, coupled with a good dollop of luck (the timing of the arrival of the Jagers could not have been worse from a NATO pov) won the day. We shall return later in the campaign to see how they fare in their precarious airhead 50km behind the NATO front line and slap bang in the main battle zone for BAOR. Also a game which shows it is possible for players to have a fun game whilst only commanding two stands of troops each! Well, I think they had fun anyway....