Sunday 23 April 2017

Cobbaton Collection

I recently went on holiday to North Devon, and while we were there I spent some time at the Cobbaton Collection, a few miles south of Barnstaple. It is a private collection of militaria and military vehicles, many of which still work, and have appeared in various films and TV series. The owners are still restoring various vehicles, and as I was last there over then years ago, I was keen to see what have changed. 

Lying around outside are various bits of tanks, including this rather grand Churchill AVRE turret.

And an even grander Churchill Mk I turret. I never cease to be surprised by how crude cast turrets are.

There was also this sheeted up Sdkfz 251D. iirc it was in Band of Brothers.

A rather random pile of small arms which includes a rather mysterious semi automatic rifle at the bottom. It looks vaguely familiar but I can't place it.

A nice Daimler armoured car.

A pile of British small arms including a lovely Lanchester and a Boys ATR. The Boys is huge.


A tiny Dingo.

A beautiful presentation of a Vickers (standing on a pile of Vickers chests).

This massive SCammel was towing a trailer with a Universal Carrier on it.

25 pdr.

And Quad.

German 20mm AA (Sovet 152m howitzer behind).

Churchill Crocodile.

The driver and co-drivers compartment.

The inevitable T34/85. This one is Czech and has been in a few TV shows.

A rather lvoely Sexton, not sure about the Mickey Mouse camo on an SPG, but who am I to argue.

White Scout Car.

Bofors SPAA>

Various Russian small arms including PTRS and PTRD ATRs, which make the Boys look positively small.

One of my favourite pieces, a Centurian AVRE. This one fought in the Gulf War in 1991, not bad for a WW2 era tank.

Fire tender.

An enormous (Thorneycroft?) command bus.

17pdr ATG. This is a very big gun.

The 17pdr Quad tow.

3.7" AA. My grandfather served in a 3.7" Regiment in WW2. They were sent to Java in early 1942 and used as coastal artillery, which didn't work out terribly well.

Bofors on a conventional mount.

Cromwell turret.

Rear view of the Sdkfz 251D.

And the distance in the fenced off boneyard, another Daimler, and a rather sad looking Comet.

The collection isn't huge, but I'd recommend a visit if you are in the area. They also have a collection of militaria for sale, including de-activated weapons, but the range was far smaller than when I last went. 

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Periers Ridge

This was the third battle inmy '3 Div on D-Day' mini campaign. This time the lucky old KSLI and Staffs Yeomanry got to assault the German positions in front of Periers le Dans, while the battle for Hillman raged over to the right.

View from the south. Hermanville to the north, Periers le Dans to the south. The wire enclosure is the location of a German gun battery (captured French 155s no less). 

The fearsome British command team. As usual in these games, I put all the players on one side and ran the Germans as a player umpire.

Two companies of the KSLI approach the hill covered by 25pdr fire. The Germans are shelling Hermanville. What a shabby  trick. There is apparently a road block on the road covered by an MG post. IRL at this point the KSLI  Colonel walked down the middle of the road under heavy German fire to encourage the leading companies forwards once more.

Over on the right, rather then cooperating with the infantry as per the 21st Army Group guidelines, the Staffs Yeomany seem to be conducted a Soviet style tank attack with tank riders! Oh dear, looks like another road block.

Bypassing the road block and stonking the MG post, the plucky tankers meet the dug in Pak 40s covering the road block. Oh dear. Good job they brought those infantry with them.

A troop of Shermans goes up in flames, but in turn the Pak 40s disappear under a hail of close range 75mm HE and the infantry eagerly press forwards with fixed bayonets. The rest of the infantry are pressing on to the gun position, having met a Polish deserter in the field who is happy to show them a way through the wire.

Sadly at this point the camera seems to have run out of film. Suffice it to say that things are looking a bit sticky for the German gunners, and the entire position was overrun in short order. The British however failed to take Periers le Dans as a storm of defensive fire landed in front of the village, and long range anti-tank fire harrassed the Shermans. The KSLI had run into the thick end of a panzergrenadier battalion from 21st Panzer Div supported by artillery and a 10 gun SP anti-tank battery. Time to stop on top of the ridge and consolidate.

I was pretty pleased with this, as although the British didn't pair up a tank troop with each company, the result was pretty historical and the tank desant attack actually worked very well. At this point historically two rifle companies and a couple of Sherman troops set off for Bieville and then Lebisy Wood on the main road to Caen.

I wonder what will happen next?


Saturday 8 April 2017

QRF 20mm AA guns

One thing the Germans need a fair bit of is AA capability. I picked up a couple of 15mm QRF German light AA guns a few years ago as I thought they might come in handy for something.

Here they both are, the come with a moulded on gunner plus a loader, as well as the transport trolley. I did toy with the idea of mounting the guns on the trolley as per Saving Private Ryan, but decided it was just silly.

You can see the loader a bit better from the side. The gunner is moulded to his seat.

Nice detail from the rear. They were fairly easy to put together, I generally detest assembling metal guns, but these weren't too bad. As ever, there weren't any instructions but I only had to look at a coupe of photos to figure out where all the bits went.

View from the front.

So, nothing earth shattering. They are nice little models and very affordable, like all QRF stuff. I did these in dunkelgelb and disruptive camo, but in hindsight I perhaps should have done them in field grey so they'd be good for the whole war. It doesn't really matter as I've yet to use them in a game, although just having them is reassuring.

I've got a scenario planned which will involve their use, so perhaps after their baptism of fire I'll repaint them, but there is no rush.

Saturday 1 April 2017

C'est magnifique

Eagle eyed readers of last weeks post may have noticed that I seem to have acquired some 15mm 1914 French figures. This was the result of a slight eBay accident, which is unusual for me as I'm generally quite disciplined when it comes to shopping. I had a hankering for WW1 Eastern Front, but searching for 15mm First World War Russians ended up with me buying quite a large batch of French instead! Oh well, perhaps the Russians will appear later.

Oooo La La! There are indeed a few Frenchmen there. I had always rather fancied 1914 French, but the thought of painting all those red trousers rather put me off (I've had enough of that with my 6mm FPW stuff) . The bulk of this stuff was from eBay, from one particular seller who was astute enough to batch it all up into nice handy bundles of £20-£30 apiece.

Most of the stuff was infantry, consultations at the club revealed it to be Minifigs, the later figures which fit nicely with Peter Pig. I usually repaint second hand figures, but the paint jobs on these are pretty decent so I just did a bit of tidying up before rebasing them. 

Here are some more, in rather less dynamic poses, with a Peter Pig bugler added to one stand. I managed to stretch the three infantry batches I bought into a dozen (GWSH) battalions of four bases each ie a full division or in OP14 terms, enough for three Corps, which should be sufficient.

The infantry came with a few machineguns, again these are Minifigs, the sculptor being under the impression that the Hotchkiss was a belt fed weapon. Perhaps the loader has just lined up the strips very carefully. These are serviceable enough models though.

I also bought half a dozen 75mm guns. The Minifigs models aren't quite as imposing as the PP ones, but they look the part. I was going to try and wash these, but the light blue paint is very matt indeed so in the end I just did the wheel hubs and breech blocks to avoid staining it, then painted the wheel rims. I could have repainted the lot, but life is too short.

From the rear you can see they look slightly under scale, but perhaps they are just very tall gunners. Six 75s is also sufficent for three OP14 Corps.

One of the batches came with this rather magnificent mounted officer, here being announced by another PP bugler. 

Missing from the eBay stuff was any cavalry, so I bought a few PP French dragoons to make up a regiment. Nice easy figures to paint, albeit with separate riders (I usually prefer single castings in 15mm)  but they stuck together OK.

To go with the cavalry and give the line infantry a boost, I did a battalion of Chasseurs a Pied. These are PP 'advancing French infantry', and very nice they are too. Hilariously they are carrying far more stuff than the Minifigs infantry, but 'light infantry' always seem to have the biggest packs.

And finally, I got around to painting this mule mounted Maxim. It has been sitting in my painting box for years, and I've not idea who made it or even where it came from, but as I was painting up some horses anyway, I thought one more can't hurt. Now I need to come up with a scenario featuring a mule mounted MG team.

So, thanks eBay, that was a lot of fun. At some point I'll resume my search for Russians, but who knows what I may turn up instead.