Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Nashorn conversion

Many years ago I switched from 20mm to 6mm for WW2 wargaming, and I busily set about converting my collection of Airfix Pz IVs into other things as modelling projects. One of those was a Nashorn.

Here is the finished thing, I think it came out rather well. I can't for the life of me remember where I got the plans, maybe from Airfix Magazine, or possibly one of the 'How to go Plastic Modelling' series. I'm pretty sure it is one of Gerald Scarboroughs anyway. 

There is quite a lot of conversion work to do as it needs an entirely new superstructure, including the drivers compartment, building. Naturally, the superstructure is made up of angled plates of various dimensions, nice and simple then.

An additional expense is that for some bizzare reason the Germans used a different drive train which included Pz III front wheels. So I had to chop up an Airfix Stug III just for the wheels. I rather like the camo net, iirc it was made out of gauze bandage stained appropriate shades.

Fortununately the interior is fairly empty. The tarpaulins are rolled up tissue paper. Expense number two is that this needs an 88mm gun, so I had to chop up an Airfix 88 and extend the barrel as well as building the gun mount. Easier than scratch building the whole thing though.

You can see the drivers compartment here, I guess I made those hatches and visor covers. Track links cannibalised from various models, including offcuts of the over-long Airfix tracks. I obviously used to have a steady hand as I've apparently painted that tactical symbol on.

Yay, the guns still elevates. That makes it all worthwhile.

Although it is well over 40 years old, this particular model has only ever fought in one battle as far as I can recall, when I ran The Battle of the Hochwald about ten years ago (it is lurking about in the last photo having been temporarily assigned to 116th Panzer Div). Anyway, I enjoyed making it and it is an unusual beast.

Friday, 24 June 2022

20mm WW2 1st Armoured Div

We've not seen much of my 20mm collection for a while. This is my British 1st Armoured Div, based for Megablitz. It is a generic later war armoured division, and although the specific unit designations are for 1st AD in Italy, I've just used it as a variety of Divisions in a number of games.

It is quite a compact formation and fits nicely in an A4 box file.

The Armoured Brigade. Three regiments of Shermans and a motor rifle battalion in M3 halftracks. These were all Bring and Buy purchases, it is amazing how little you can buy old plastic vehicles for, I picked these up for a couple of quid each.

A venerable Airfix Sherman, with some rear deck stowage.

Another Airfix Sherman. Plainer this time but with some applique armour.

The good old Matchbox Firefly. This produced howls of complaint from the professional Germans at my school wargames club back in the 1970s. Blimey, something which can knock out their wall-wall Roco Tiger IIs.... It is missing its mantlet cover, but looks OK. I didn't notice at the time, I suppose I should make a cover up at some point.

Airfix M3 halftrack, with the rain cover thingy. Halftracks were fairly ubiquitous in late war motor rifle battalions, even if one division (11th Armoured?) thought they were more trouble than they were worth.

The Armoured Recce regiment. This is a Revell Cromwell, with cullin hedge cutter attached. I am very glad that someone else had stuck all the track links together....

Royal Artillery anti-tank and anti-aircraft regiments.

This is a fairly rare beast, the SP 40mm Bofors on a Crusader chassis. This example is a Frontline resin one (the hull is clearly mastered off the overlong Airfix offering). It looks very smart however, and is far easier than sticking together an Airfix Bofors and tractor. It takes up less space in the box too.

The AT Regiment is an Armorfast M10. It certainly went together easily, but being 1/72nd scale it slightly dwarfs the Airfix Shermans. It is a shame the cast detail on the hull isn't raised more, although the running gear is nice and crisp.

The turret interior is also very empty. I filled it up with a couple of spare Airfix 25pdr gunners, who were fairly easy to chop up a bit to make them fit.

The divisional artillery. Self propelled guns and logistic element in attendance. Really there should be a 25pdr Regiment as well, but I just roll all the guns up together into a single unit. I've got a spare 25pdr Regiment in my Corps HQ box, should I need one.

The firing element is a Revell Priest. I suppose someone makes a 20mm Sexton, but it was for sale in the local model shop and is close enough. It was a nice, if fiddly, model to put together. Like the M10, crewed with Airfix 25pdr gunners.

The ammo column is a Frontline resin model. The Frontline lorries are a real blessing for 20mm gamers. I did this one in Mickey Mouse camo as it is a scheme I like. The canvas tilts have a good rough finish, so drybrush up nicely and actually look like heavy canvas.

The lorried infantry brigade. Three infantry battalions and a lorry!

I really like these figures, they are from the Revell/ESCI 8th Army set, and beautifully modelled in greatcoats and with slung rifles. Having enough figures to do all the bases identically was a bonus.

The brigade transport is another Frontline lorry.

The Royal Engineers. A Frontline 15cwt truck and an Airfix British Infantry figure (second edition set) with a shovel and grenade.

Divisional HQ. Royal Signals and Tac HQ.

The signallers and Div staff are also Airfix British infantry. An officer and a bloke with a radio. The Morris 15cwt radio truck is an exquisite piece from Frontline. Beautiful moulding.

TAC HQ. A rather ropey Frontline resin jeep, but hey, they do jeeps along with everything else. The officer with map is from the Emhar WW1 British infantry set, he is the staff officer in shorts(!) trimmed down to fit.

Divisional logistics column.

The RASC lorry column is another Frontline lorry. This time in SCC2 with black disruptive.

The RASC fuel column is the good old Airfix RAF refuelling lorry. I did think about leaving the fuel arms off, but they are sooo cool and mean you can fuel up two tanks at once! 

What a lovely model, and the basis for endless lorry conversions. Unless you just buy your Bedfords in resin. This is also in SCC2 and black.

So, there we go, another one of my Megablitz divisions, and one which has seen a surprising amount of action in a number of guises. Like all British divisions it is fairly modular, and I have enough spare infantry and 25pdr bases to turn it into an infantry division instead, just re-using the appropriate divisional assets.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

6mm Boats

 I fair few of my games seem to feature rivers of various shapes and sizes, so along with the tents I bought a few boats as I thought they might be useful. 

Irregular do a selection of boats in their 6mm accessories range. tbh I'm not sure why I didn't get some years ago. I got two packs as they have slightly eccentric contents.

First up are this delightful pair of rafts. Ideal for cable ferries, or improvised Soviet river crossing equipment in WW2. Yes, the bases are blue, because everyone knows water is blue (my river sections certainly are). 

Some bigger wooden boats with rounded sterns. I seem to have got an extra one for free in the pack, which is very generous. These are nice deep mouldings and packed with character.

A pair of smaller boats with flat sterns. I did all the boats in a range of browns with an ink wash and a drybrush to finish.

The packs also include these upturned boats. I guess they are meant to be terrain items on the shoreline
 although I suppose you could use them as upturned boats in the water to show some sort of nautical disaster. Might be useful for marking river crossing points or something.

Here is a little flotilla sailing up one of my Hexon rivers.

And a busy river crossing scene, with some boats drawn up on the banks. 

Like the tents, they were  nice and cheap and I'm sure they will be very useful in a range of periods. I wish I'd had them for the Nijmegen Crossing game. The only reservation is that maybe they are a bit big for some of my terrain setups and perhaps I should have looked at 2mm boats instead. I could probably do with some modern assault boats and landing craft too. Oh well, that is a project for another day. In the meantime I've got a couple of ideas for these boats already.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Brooklyn Heights, 1776

 Another Table Battles session, this time from the the American War of Independance and the Battle of Brooklyn Heights in August 1776 (or Long Island as it was known at the time, Brooklyn not having being built).

Grant and Clinton try to storm the heights held by Stirling, Sullivan and Knox. Another Table Battles offering from Tim. John and I took the heroic Brits, while Russell was the treacherous Rebels.

The unit cards are here, but that is a bit dull so...

I set the units up to get a better impression. These are my 2mm eighteenth century figures. British on the right, Hessians flanked by Grants Guards and Clinton. Americans on the left, Stirling and Sullivan with Knox's battery in the centre and the Maryland 400 in reserve.

The card setup is quite interesting for this one. The Americans can basically snipe at the British from their hill, but very slowly as they can only put out one dice per turn. Knoxs guns fire on doubles and have the hugely irritating effect of cancelling a British attack. 

The Brits can put out 5 and 6 on Grant and Clinton, plus any doubles on the Hessians with no limit on dice allocation numbers, so they can put some big attacks in. The only problem is that Clinton can only attack if the other two brigades have dice allocated to them already, which is hard to ensure in the face of American attacks which tend to strip the dice off the other two units.

That really set the pattern of the game. The Brits would pile on a load of dice for a big attack, the Americans would snipe away, and try to keep their guns loaded as much as possible. Above Clinton and the Hessians are nicely built up, but Grant has just had his attack blunted by Knox.

Chipping away nicely at the Americans now. Quite a few blue blocks removed, and look, Knox's battery is unloaded thanks to Clintons heroic sacrifice. The Americans have three dice in play and only three to roll.

We manage to pile two more dice onto the Hessians, and poor old Washington fails to roll any doubles, so Knox's guns remain silent.

The massive Hessian attack routs Sullivan, and as we haven't lost any of our units, that is a British win. 

We swapped sides and tried it again. The British built up in the same old way....

Ooer, four dice on the Hessians again....

But it was not to be. The Americans managed their command dice better, keeping a couple out for small attacks, but keeping a big handful in reserve to keep the guns firing.

This worked rather well and soon it was Grant and the Hessians who were melting away. Grant is down to one point and the Hessians two! Sullivan is also looking a bit battered. If Stirling can get in another attack on Grant, the Americans win.

Once more Clinton rides to the rescue and he attacks, absorbing the full force of Knox's artillery. The Americans have reacted so they can't initiate their own attack.

So once again the Hessians roll forwards unimpeded and rout Sullivan, but only just. The British losses were far heavier in this one.

In the real battle the Maryland 400 was committed and held the British up for a time, but Washington was defeated and had to withdraw. In both games the Americans were on the  back foot and didn't have the requisite dice in place to pull Sullivan back and replace him with the Maryland troops.

I've still very impressed with this game system, and I still can't begin to work out how to design scenarios for it. I'm glad the designer has provided plenty for us to play.