Friday, 31 January 2014

Pint-sized Panzer - part 2

My Tamiya Panzer II is now as complete as it's likely to get.  As it is destined to be used with 'toy soldier' painted figures I have kept the paintwork basic and clean.  No markings have been applied as I have yet to decide which master(s) this Panzer will serve.  The figure (included for scale) is a 1/35 WW2 Soviet tank officer.
The kit itself is a gem.  Despite having been around for (I believe) 40+ years the parts are all very crisp and go together easily.  A commander figure is included, along with four Afrika Korps infantry.  And at less then £10 it's something of a bargain!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Iron Ships and Wooden Heads - game report

Following a request from another member* of Sheffield Wargames Society I brought along my Iron Ships and Wooden Heads game.  I mentioned this game a while back - see here for the earlier post and here for the scenario briefing.  The game was set in the 1930s and involved two (entirely fictional...) South American countries. 
This scenario takes place after a period of rising tension between the Basque Republicand the Republic of Castile. The main issue is that of the disputed Purile Islands (Islas Purilas?) which lie some 200 miles east of the mainland, with the Basque Republic to the north-west, and the Republic of Castile to the south-west. This scenario can be played on a six by four foot table, laid out as follows:
The disputed Puerile Islands - two small (no more than 6 inches long) islands in the south-eastern corner of the table, and a small island in the centre of the table.
Jerry, Mark and Kayte led the Navy of the Basque Republic while the Castillian fleet was admiralled by Martin and welcome new arrival and old friend Tim C.  Above is one of the Basque squadrons - a pair of destroyer flotillas lead a battleship, carrier and light cruiser.  All 1/6000 scale Hallmark ships from my collection.
A Basque aircraft searching for the enemy.  A 1/1200 scale Hallmark model.  Maximum visibility was 18 inches.
The Castillian 'heavy cruisers'.  These were in fact pocket battleships with 11-inch guns.
A daring destroyer attack resulted in Crapo being crippled.  She was sunk soon afterwards.
The fleets manouevre.  Apparently all this was part of a plan...
The Castillian cruisers were soon heavily engaged.  At this point they needed a good NIP (Nautical Initiative Points) dice to effect some repairs.  Reducing a cripple marker to a hit costs 2 NIPs.
As a Castillian Admiralty spokesman said at the time - "Bollocks."
By now the next lot of Castillians were closing in - a pair of shiny new foreign-built battlecruisers.  Given the foregoing events Martin decided to "bugger off home."  I wonder if that expression appears in the Royal Navy's signals handbook...

*he didn't show up for the game.  Cheers Mick.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Pint-sized Panzer

Actually despite the title of the post this Panzer II is quite a big model - being a 1/35 scale Tamiya kit!  Given that the last time I built a 1/35 tank the Sex Pistols were in the charts (and all still alive) it will be interesting to see how much of a hash I make of it.
This is a very old kit - I remember it being around in the '70s but so far all the parts seem very crisp.  What could go wrong?
Just don't expect a beautifully detailed display model - like everything else which appears here this will be a rough and ready wargames toy.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Mobilising the Russians

As part of my preparations for the planned  'Tannenberg1914' Funny Little Wars game, I have decided I need yet more Russians!  A rummage in boxes yielded four boxes of  HAT Prussian Landwehr in the required 1/32 scale.  Although from a different era (but only a century adrift!) many of these chaps are wearing peaked caps and so bear (to my eyes at least) a passing resemblance to 1914 Russians.  Did I mention they were cheap?  Their shako-wearing chums were slung back in their boxes to await future inspiration....
I also discovered a couple of previously unemployed Armies in Plastic Russian officers who now each have a regiment to command!
The rather greasy blue plastic was cleaned up and the figures stuck on my usual 30x40mm MDF bases before being treated to a brushed on coat of PVA.

Next it's out with the green paint.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A to Z of Wargaming. B is for...

BBC.  OK, so it's not strictly to do with wargaming, but BBC radio - be it live or iPlayer is a regular accompaniment to my modelling, painting and even gaming activity.  I also have the radio on when driving, in preferemce to CDs.   My preferred stations are Radio 4, Radio 4 Extra and Radio 2.  Radio - the world would be a far worse place without it.
B is also for.....Boxfiles. As has been said before, I have quite a few of these.  They primarily contain my 20mm WW2 toys (like 10 Panzer Div below) but a modest number accomodate my 15mm Napoleonic and modern African toys.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Baden and Lotti

After restocking with grey spray paint I decided that the time had finally come to tackle another of Steve Weston's splendid 1/32 scale tanks*.  These are pre-assembled plastic models.  The A7V is about the size of a house brick and (for a plastic model) feels damn nearly as strong.  To the spray of grey I added some green camo and a few details (exhausts, tracks etc).  In keeping with the 'traditional toy soldier' appearance of my 54mm figures I decided to go for a 'clean' finish.  Decals came from aircraft kits and the ensemble was topped off with a generous amount of spray varnish.
Yes, there are two of the things.  
Well you can't just have one - people would talk.
The figures are from the Armies in Plastic range.  I spent a long time on the helmet camo, so I'll take some better photos of them for a future post.
* see also this earlier post.

Friday, 17 January 2014

That's Medway to do it!

This (the battle of Medway, 43AD) was a Command & Colours game played at the Sheffield club earlier this month.  Mark & Kayte led the Britons (as Togodumnus and Caratacus) while the Romans in the gloaming were John and Martin (as Vespasian and Geta).  The game saw the local chaps - including a load of chariots - trying to hold back the rampaging Romans.  All 25mm toys from my boxes.  Many of the Britons were newly rebased following an eBay purchase last month....  Above can be seen an early Brit sortie.  Will the chariots work?
 The initial setup.
 As well as the wheeled wonders, the Brits had a load of hairy pointy-stick wielders.
 True to their classification as 'Light' troops, the Roman Auxilliaries were plastic!
 The armies close in...
 ...and a Brit thrust is bloodily repulsed.
 Three casualties - and the unit can only take four.  Ouch!
 The celebrated 'Ancient British Panzer Division' trundles forth.
 Though the swarthy Latins had had the best of the fighting so far, the chariots made a few dents in the line.
 2 chariots against this lot?  No problem - they're only plastic!
 Er, one chariot against this lot.  But most of them are miles away.
 OK then.  One chariot (plus Caratacus) can hold them off...
 Bug*er.  These chariots are rubbish.
 Though the chariot attack made some progress to levelling the score it wasn't enough, and Britain seems well on the way to becoming another Roman province.
As Togodumnus said after the battle "we really needed at least 12 chariots."  So maybe it is the weapon of the future after all....

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

A to Z of Wargaming. A is for....

Airfix.  Oh come on - what else could it possibly be?  Without Airfix, and especially their 1/72 and HO/OO scale offerings, I probably wouldn't be writing this and even if I had many of you wouldn't be reading it.  We'd probably all have proper manly hobbies instead.  What a terrible thought!
As has been mentioned before, the first kit I built was the notorious old Mk.IX Spittie, which came in the carded packaging of the early '70s.  Below is the Mk.IX I rescued from oblivion last year.  Given Airfix's rather chequered history is it pleasing to see the company in apparently good shape with new toolings being added each year.
This is the first of a series (hopefully with 26 parts!) which may reveal deep insights into my personality.  Or probably just some pictures of toys.  Anyway, they won't all be as obvious as Airfix.

A history of Airfix HO/OO AFV kits - part 17 - 1977

1977 saw only a single new kit - but what a useful one!  I still think of this as a fairly new kit.  A rather more involved build than most Airfix kits, the Bofors - and more particularly the Morris tractor - rewards a degree of care and patience.
This pair serve as the LAA Regiment of 5 Indian Division.

Monday, 13 January 2014

1,000 not out!

It is with great pleasure and not a little surprise that I find myself typing this - my Thousandth blog post!
Though the blog was started in 2008, it was late 2009 before it really got going.  Here are a few boring statistics for you:


8,374 Comments to date

359,180 Pageviews to date, including 11,170 during the last month.

129 The number of other blogs I follow.

Based on the past week's pageviews, the audience is located as follows:
United Kingdom 807
United States 741
Russia 150
Germany 105
France 58
Australia 42
New Zealand 32
Canada 29
Poland 25
Italy 24

Given all this it looks as if I'd better carry on!  My thanks as always to all readers, especially those of you who take the time to leave comments - they are much appreciated.

The coming weeks will see a couple of game announcements, the start of a new series of 'themed' posts and a competition with actual prizes!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

A history of Airfix HO/OO AFV kits - part 16 - 1974

This was another epic year for new kits with three releases. I present them here in ascending order of usefulness.  But that's just my opinion!
Scorpion.  Not strictly a tank but (at least in British service) a Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked).  I did build one of these several decades ago but don't have one to hand at the present time, so I am indebted to Paul at Plastic Warriors and Richard at Wargames & Walking for the photos.  A neat if rather fiddly kit builds as either a Scorpion (76mm gun) or Scimitar (30mm cannon) and if your skill stretches far enough can serve as the basis of other CVR(T) variants..
Photo by Paul Foster
Photo by Richard Holden
Photo by Richard Holden
Photo by Richard Holden
Chi-Ha tank. More accurately the Type 97 Medium Tank.  Japanese vehicles in this scale are still rather scarce so back in the day this was something of a bolt from the blue!  I recently built a couple of these which featured in earlier blog posts.  It's a nice kit and well worth looking out for.

German Reconnaissance Set
What a gem this set is!  Both the Kubelwagen and the Sdkfz 222 are extremely useful for our wargame armies.  The '222 is an easy conversion into the MG-armed '221 and other such variants.
 A pair of standard models, these serve with my incarnation of 7 Panzer Division.
Sticking with the Rommel theme, this equally standard '222 is part of 21PD.