Saturday, 31 January 2015

BTR bonanza

Stocks of Warpact APCs for my Little Cold Wars forces have been expanded lately with the acquisition of some BTR-60s.  The example above was found on eBay and is a Soviet-era diecast in around 1/43 scale.  Though arguably a slightly crude model it is clearly a BTR-60PB.  The 'Guards' decal is a nice touch.
A further foray on the interwebnet yielded a further pair of '60s.  These are the same basic models as above but with slight variations.  But they are in mint condition.  Indeed despite their age (Soviet era again) these were still sealed in their original boxes.
With this battalion-worth of BTRs assembled I'd better get some Motor Rifle troopers painted up!

Friday, 30 January 2015

Bother at the bridge - part 4

Back at the bridge the first Panhard troop has finally expired in a hail of RPG fire.
The VDV troops secure the village.  The stand of a VDV platoon can be seen under the grey building - clearly it' new tenants are firmly in control.
A sortie by a brave French platoon resulted in this unsightly street brawl.  The end of the bridge is bottom right.
The French reinforcements dismount from their VAB.  They look quite angry.
The Sovs gained the upper hand in the street fight and the French scuttled off back to cover.
Meanwhile French artillery had reduced the grey building to this ruin!

So while the VDV seem to have control of the village, they have taken a battering and the French reinforcements are massing at the other end of the bridge.

Will the Frenchies storm the bridge  - a la Hauptsturmfuhrer Grabner?

What random target will the French gunners hit next? 

Will it be those drums of petrol?

Will some idiot hit the bridge?

Have the helicopters gone for good?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Bother at the bridge - part 3

Back at the bridge the Paras are under fire from the Panhard troop but a lucky RPG shot has seen AML numbers reduced. They've also deployed the mortar battery - which despite the 120 in the photo is actually only 82mm.
Behind the paras the cheeky french have moved up this MG armed jeep.  Actually this is a Citroen Mehari - a militarised 2CV.  Like the original, my Solido model has plastic bodywork.....
Just when things were already looking a bit grim for the Sovs, the French reinforcements arrived in the shape of VAB mounted infantry and a flock of Panhards.
On the other side of the river the paras were getting stuck into what turned out to be the french HQ.  The latter had been skulking in a building which too, a hit from artillery fire. French artillery fire...
The close assault was only ever going one way......

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Hound Hounding - part 1

I'd hoped to have had this beastie ready for the recent game but it's still not finished.  Despite its attractive price (it must have been quite cheap for me to buy it!) this turned out to be a 'proper' kit.  Indeed the less ham-fisted modeller has the option to include a load of internal detail and even opened rear clamshell doors.  Not me though.  Given that this thing is destined to have a hard life being loaded in and out of cars and halls even before we get to in game handling it seemed sensible to  leave many of the fiddly bits on the sprues....

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Bother at the bridge - part 2

While the Warpact heli force clatters across the table, the Mi-1 gunship diverts to beat up the Flak position.  A salvo of rockets soon thins out the number of AA gunners.  However, the Flak isn't done yet...
...and the artillery spotter's Mi-2 plunges to it's fiery doom.
Meanwhile the transport helis reach the LZ and out pile the paras.
These chaps are the highly sought after 1/32 Esci figures.  Buy them if you see them!
Sadly the paras soon come under fire from French armoured cars.  The model is a Solido Panhard AML.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Bother at the bridge - part 1

This was another Little Cold Wars playtest game.  I particularly wanted to try out certain previously unused mechanisms - and use some new and recently completed toys!
The briefings and map for this game can be found at the Little Cold Wars Yahoo Group - link.
It's 1979 and WW3 is gathering pace.  A small French force* is guarding a bridge waaaaaay behind the lines.  What could go wrong?

*or should that be a French farce?  You be the judge.
Well this could.  A gaggle of Warpact helis - specifically a  Mi-1 gunship, Mi-2 artillery spotter and Mi-4 and Mi-8 (the latter a Mi-17 actually but who's counting?) carrying the first wave of my newly finished Air Assault Battalion.  Merde.
Luckily the Frenchies have a 20mm AA battery.  And - more ominously - an ambulance...
The mighty Mi-1 'Hare' gunship.  Scary eh?
Both the Hare and this Hip were pre-built models.  Nice though.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Tired Tornado titivating - part 2

Now resplendent in a grey/green camo scheme, the Tornado appears to be destined for service with the Luftwaffe.  It's a while since they had anything new, while the RAF and Warpact airforces have both had recent reinforcements.  So it seems only fair.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Sagging spirits

A review of my Little Cold Wars toys before a recent game highlighted the need for a Sagger team in camo uniforms.    Prone figures seemed to be the best option, so this pair of rather dishevelled Airfix WW2 Russians were dug out to serve as the basis of a suitable bodge.  The LMG gunner had his DP cut away and the No.2 had both grenade and PPSH surgically removed.  The gunner then received a control box in the shape of a bit of balsa with a length of wire stuck into it.  The 'Sagger' is a cut down aircraft missile.
At the time of writing this team had it's combat debut earlier in the week - more on that coming soon.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Tired Tornado titivating - part 1

Yes - it's yet another pointy aeroplane model.  This Tornado arrived in the aid package from NZ last month.  I'm not sure what make it is, though the colour of the plastic suggests it isn't Airfix.  Actually I did have the Airfix kit many years ago.  So many in fact that it was called an 'MRCA'.....
Initial work was confined to removing the remains of the undercart and 'shutting' the wheel recess doors, carrying out minor repairs as I went.  More recently I started painting the thing - though the jury is still out on the finish it will receive.
The beast as it arrived.  The initial build wasn't brilliant but was easily good enough to work with.

Monday, 12 January 2015

USA for LCW via NZ - part 1

 I have done a bit of work on the 1/35 scale 'modern' US figures received as part of Paul's recent aid package.  So far I have (re)assembled and armed enough figures for a Little Cold Wars company - three platoon stands each of four figures.  As some of these chaps are already mostly painted it seems sensible to concentrate on them for a 'quick win'.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

The speakers are dead. Long live the speakers!

A sad demise to report.

When I wrote a post nearly three years ago about my modelling environment (see here) there was quite a bit of interest in my ageing hi-fi system.
Having re-read the post I omitted to mention the oldest part of the system - my 1982-vintage Mission speakers.  One of them has been a bit dodgy for years - needing a slap from time to time in order to function (don't we all?)  More recently the other has developed a disturbing crackle.  It did occur to me to try to effect repairs but I felt that after 32 years service it might be time to let them go.
A bit of research on the interwebnet resulted - as expected - in a trip to Richer Sounds in Sheffield. As usual the service and advice was excellent a few minutes and £70 later I emerged wielding a pair of Tannoy Mercury V1 speakers.
These were soon installed - and despite being half the size of the old Missions the sound quality is excellent.
Richer sounds also provided a cable to link my iPad into the system - useful as I use the BBC iPlayer radio facility quite a bit.  Some minor tidying of the shelf meant that there is now room to prop the iPad next to it's elderly forbears.

Friday, 9 January 2015

FROG Phantom fun - part 4

 It's finished!  I combined some of the markings from the kit to complete the Phantom as XT589 - formerly of the Royal Navy's 892 Squadron flying off Ark Royal - and subsequently transferred to No. 111 Sqn, RAF based at Leuchars in Fife.  Why that unit?  As regular readers know, Leuchars was my 'local' airbase when I were a lad.  I also have an old friend who worked there on these very aircraft.
 I just love those four Sparrows in their semi-recessed mounts.
 What could be more Cold War than a Phantom?  
                                                               Only this perhaps.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

FROG Phantom fun - part 3

After toying with other nationalities (mostly West German) I eventually decided my Phantom would be finished as an RAF machine.  I mean - what could be more Cold War?  Paint in suitable hues was therefore applied and while it dries the decal box will be scoured for suitable markings.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

FROG Phantom fun - part 2

So where were we?  Ah yes - the missing part.  It was - inevitably - that most challenging of parts to replicate, the cockpit canopy.  I was initially most disappointed to find it missing and the kit remained in unbuilt limbo for some time while I pondered various schemes including stripping out the bombs and missiles for the spares box and binning the rest.
Salvation finally arrived in the not too dissimilar shape of the spare canopy from my FROG Jaguar build.  As I mentioned at the time, this kit came with two front ends (that's the pointy end), the one I didn't use being the two-seat training version.  Hmm. Two seats?  Big pointy jet?  Bells began to ring.
The photo above shows the Jag canopy early in the process of being hacked and sanded until it more or less fitted.
The built kit wearing a coat of primer.  Will more paint improve things?

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

FROG Phantom fun - part 1

I bought this old kit as part of a cheap batch a few years back - without any clear idea of a purpose for it.  In 2014, of course, with the arrival of the Little Cold Wars project, having a 1/72 Phantom suddenly seemed like a great idea.  Again.
Now I had never built a Phantom in 1/72 before.  1/330 yes.  1/285 yes. 1/32 (!) yes.  But never 1/72.
Even without such experience, however, I soon spotted that a fairly significant part was missing.  For the moment I'll let you guess what that is...
Despite it's advanced age this kit went together quite well.  It came with a pleasing array of explody stuff to hang on the wings. Markings were provided for two aircraft - RAF and Royal Navy.  But being a Phantom there are no shortage of other options.......