Tuesday 30 November 2010

The Battle of Mokra, 1939 - part 2

Historically, the main German force was 4 Panzer Division.  I used 2PD with some extra tanks looted from the 'depots' (boxfiles) of 3PD and 19PD.

Turn 1 - 0600-0800
The game commenced at first light, with the German recce screen probing the Polish positions.  Armoured car patrols on the road reported the presence of Polish infantry and AT guns.  The recce did not engage.

Turn 2 - 0800-1000
More recce is carried out.  A cavalry regt is identified in Mokra and reported as having 2SP (actually 3).
Meanwhile a less effective survey of the woods south of Mokra reveals only the presence of cavalry, not their strength.
It's not just the German recce which is active - here the Wolynska's armoured car co crosses the railway heading west.
Turn 3 - 1000-1200
A very busy Aufklarungs Kp finds yet more Polish cavalry - this time in the northern woods.  Again their strength is under reported as 2SP.  Nothing new is reported in the south (on the Klobuck road).
By this time the Panzers (all two regiments of them!) have arrived...
...and been spotted by the Polish armoured cars.
Turn 4 - 1200-1400
As the Polish HQ becomes aware of the developing attack the tankette squadron is sent forward to repel the invaders.  Good luck with that!

Pz Rgt 4 presses forward to attack, supported by Stukas.  The attack focuses on the Mokra position, and the Poles defend with a cavalry regiment, with support from the (telephone-linked) artillery and Train No.53.  The artillery car of the armoured train was made by plating over an open wagon and adding a pair of 1/87 scale BT-7 turrets.  That's fine for it's intended use as a Russian train, but maybe I need to make a Polish wagon?
There are casualties on both sides, but the panzers suffer greater losses than they expected.
Turn 5 - 1400-1600

Meanwhile further south, Pz Rgt 3 engages the infantry regiment which suffers heavy losses.  The Polish recce has sensibly scarpered.
Overview of the battlefield.  The attack on Mokra continues with Pz Rgt 4 suffering more losses.
With their attacks stalled (except in the south), what next for the Germans?

Monday 29 November 2010

A history of Airfix HO/OO kits - part 3 - 1961

1961 saw the release of the first tank kits - the Panther, Sherman and Churchill.  The Panther has the dubious distinction of being one of the kits I have never built, as my first Panther was the far superior Matchbox kit.  I have, however, rebuilt several - see the relevant post at http://megablitzandmore.blogspot.com/2010/09/panthers.html
These kits were originally on sale in bags with the folded instructions making the header card.
The Churchill is another kit I have no recollection of building, although again I have refurbished and converted a good few over the years.  I remember making a (now long deceased) conversion of an AVRE with Petard and fascine in the late '70s. 

Here is a bog-standard Churchill built straight from the box.  Or bag.
The final release in 1961 was the Sherman.  While this is showing it's age now it is still a good representation and is welcome on my wargames table anytime.  This completely standard Sherman is part of my Canadian 4th Armoured Division.
Like the Churchill, the Sherman kit is ripe with conversion potential - here we have Crab and DD variants which were part of a collection I bought about 12 years ago.  At a (much) more basic level, I remember using the Sherman kit to build an M-7 Priest and a Kangaroo back in the '70s.
Next time - 1962 and another 3 realeases.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

JR's Panzer I

Following on from my recent posts in which I introduced some conversions carried out by John Robertson, I present another of his models.  This is his Panzer Ia which clearly (and indeed not unlike the original) began life as a Bren Carrier.  I have not made any modifications to this, although I will touch up the paint at some point, not least because I'd love to use it in a game.
 While fault can be found with the dimensions and detailing, it is clearly (to me at least) a Panzer I and must have been built sometime in the 1960s, long before the appearance of the plethora of reference materials available to today's modellers.
 Coming soon - JR's Carden Lloyd Tankette!

Tuesday 23 November 2010

The Battle of Mokra, 1939 - part 1

As I have recently rearranged my wargames room and reclaimed my table from the tottering pile of junk which had accumulated there and because I had finished more toys, I decided to celebrate by setting up and playing through a small Megablitz scenario.  When possible, I prefer to try out games and scenario myself before unleashing them on any players.

The toys I had finished were some additions to my 1939 Polish forces and I also rebased the originals.  More toys soon, but let's have a look at the battlefield. 

The real battle took place on 1 September 1939 a little way north of the town of Klobuck and saw 4 Panzer Division getting a rather bloody nose from the Wolynska Cavalry Brigade and an armoured train.  And all this took place in an area which easily fitted on my table.  This is really as small a game as Megablitz will cope with, and would normally occupy only two players.

Below is the table, showing Polish forces already deployed.  South is to the top.  Mokra is the L-shaped building west of the railway opposite the line of woods.  The BUA at the southern road junction is Klobuck and that at the eastern crossroads is Lobodno.
The view from Lobodno looking west.  In the foreground are the Wolynska Brigade HQ, together with the artillery, reserve cavalry regiment,  recce (armored car) company and of course the mighty tankette squadron.  Beyond the railway line from left (south) we see the attached 84 Infantry Regiment with AT company, and three scattered cavalry regiments in woods, Mokra, and more woods.  Armoured Train No.53 is present for photographic purposes.
The cavalry regiments generally function as mounted infantry, so although the toys are seen mounted they are actually on foot and dug in. Cavalry figures from the old Miltra range - painted by me c.1993, rebased in 2010.
This rather impressive MG cart (Miltra again) is actually a cavalry regt. 
The three btls of 84 Inf Regt - actually French infantry by FAA.  The 'Bofors' AT gun is actually a ROCO US 37mm with Skytrex French crewmen.  The newly added C2P tractor is a Frontline model.
OK, so the shield is all wrong, but hey - it's a small AT gun - close enough?
The artillery btl - Miltra gun and crew with new-fangled C4P tractor by Frontline.  This was one of the earliest Frontline models, so it's only taken me about 13 years to paint!
This will scare the Germans!  The recce company, represented by a wz.34 armoured car.  Metal kit by MMS according to my memory.
Next time - the Panzers arrive!

A history of Airfix HO/OO AFV kits - Part 2 - 1960

Although released as part of the aircraft range, the earliest kit was the Bloodhound Missile. This indeed is one of the kits I have never actually built, although I have owned several and performed a number of conversions of the rather crude Landrover. To those of us familiar with this kit it will come as no surprise to find that it was released in 1960, which puts the quality of the parts in context. I am unable to offer a photo of the kit, although I do have a couple of Landrovers which have been converted (well, bodged) into Kfz70-esque vehicles for my German forces.

Open and closed German utility vehicles which used to be Landrovers.  These veterans were adapted solve a vehicle shortage before the original Megablitz 'Market Garden' game a few years ago.  They are  currently employed towing PAK40 AT guns in 361 Volksgrenadier Div and 14SS Div.
Edited 21/12/2012 - photo of box added.

Monday 22 November 2010

A history of Airfix HO/OO AFV kits - Part 1 - Introduction

As I have recently been doing more work on my accumulation (sorry, but I can't bring mysely to call it a 'collection') of 20mm toys and in particular refurbishing some older conversions (see http://megablitzandmore.blogspot.com/2010/11/john-g-robertson-20mm-conversions.html and http://megablitzandmore.blogspot.com/2010/09/panthers.html) I found myself thinking about just how old some of theese kits are.

As a result, what I propose to do is a short series of posts on the various vehicle kits Airfix have produced in this scale.  Leaving aside the very recent releases (even I now acknowledge that 1977 is no longer 'very recent'), the list of kits runs to 35.  Of these I have built all but 4 over the years.  Most of them many times. Many, many* times.

*with apologies to Betty Marsden

Sunday 21 November 2010

I have been to - Warboot in Stockport

As the name suggests, this was a wargames bring and buy event without the wargames show attached.  My thanks to Will (http://willwarweb.blogspot.com/) for drawing it to my attention.

As well as chatting to a few people I managed to pick up a box of old kits.  A glance in the box revealed enough of interest that I concluded a quick deal, and it was only later in the day, after my return home that I was able to carry out a full 'stocktake'.  As well as a number of elderly Airfix kits (Buffalo, Matador, StuG, Scammel, Sdkfz 234 etc) there are a number from ESCI including M-13/40s and Semovente 75/18s.

I suspect the kit which tipped me over the edge was the old FROG Fairey Barracuda.  Although this is a 1/72 scale kit and that's not a scale I use, I remember building this very kit in 1977 while on holiday at my great uncle Frank's house in Caister, near Great Yarmouth.  I may even build this one for old time's sake.

Friday 19 November 2010

1/144 scale aircraft - Stukas!

My 1/144th scale Luftwaffe in it's quest for lebensraum currently occupies no fewer than four boxfiles.  Today's offering comes from the Luftwaffe 'Stukas and ground attack aircraft' box and consists of a brief review of the Ju-87 models therein.

My 'original' 1/144th scale Ju-87 - this is the old Revell kit which as revealed in a previous post, was missing it's canopy.  I made the replacement from balsa which has done nothing for the accuracy of the bombing.
The Revell kit again, this time painted for a chillier climate.
Another Revell kit - this one has so far seen action over North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
Staying with the Med, this is the Eduard kit (this and the next built and painted by Wg Cdr Luddite).  This is an altogether more sophisticated kit then the Revel offering.
Another Eduard kit - ready for takeoff!
A shamelessly posed photo showing the Stuka from the previous pic about to bomb some 6mm Polish artillery.   More Poles coming soon.
This is the F-Toys model, which required only minor assembly.
An Eduard kit of the Ju-87G-2 tankbuster.  Like many of my 144 scale models, this reminds me of an old 1/72 kit I built several decades ago (and long departed).
The F-Toys G-2, complete with swirly propeller hub.  Lovely.
That concludes the Luftwaffe Stuka force, but the Germans supplied them to a number of other countries and these are represented in my 'Minor Axis Aircraft' box.  No doubt they'll find their way in front of the camera in due course.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Ctesiphon, November 1915 revisited

Or - 'What the Red Baron does on his holidays'.

This should be read in conjunction with my earlier report on this scenario http://megablitzandmore.blogspot.com/2010/09/ctesiphon-november-1915.html

Unaccountably it has taken me 2 months to write it up!  As a result my memories of the game are somewhat hazy so I'll have to let the photos do most of the talking.  For this game Jerry Elsmore commanded the Brits while Martin Rapier led the Turks.

A few turns into the game - the Brits (right) are closing on the Turkish positions.
The Turkish general encourages his men from a comfortable position.
The Brits have breached the defences but are flagging.
The Turks pull back towards their (increasingly worried) artillery.
The RFC appears at last.  No-one cares.
Any appearance by an aeroplane requires at least two photos!
Not to be outdone, the Turks' German chums lend a hand.  I know it's very wrong, but 'twas Martin who chose it from my box.
Just in case you missed it earlier...

Monday 15 November 2010

Spot the difference

In advance of my forthcoming review of 1/144 scale Ju-87 models, I thought I'd tease you with this photo.  These 3 were all built from the old Revell kit but one of them was missing a part.  Undaunted, I created a replacement and the model has been used in several games without anyone noticing.  Can you identify the model in question and name the ersatz part?

Saturday 13 November 2010

Home before the leaves fall?

A bit of a real life interlude over the past few days with various things needing done over and above work - thus eating into time normally spent fooling around with toys.

Most of  today has been spent cleaning out the chickens, taking a carload of stuff to the dump and sweeping up leaves - hence the title.

Earlier in the week I had a new set of winter tyres put on my car (Saab 9-5) - I didn't bother last winter and suffered restricted mobility as a result.  Just getting up the drive to the road is tricky (or impossible) if there's any ice or snow underfoot and earlier this year there was plenty.  In any event the old tyres were getting a bit threadbare, so I'll keep the winter rubber on until Easter-ish and then get a new set of summer tyres.
I also had my car serviced and a replacement radio fitted (the old one had lost it's RDS function).  New rear shockers mean its quieter over speed bumps and more stable on corners.  I'd thought for a while the old ones were on the way out and having now seen them they were in quite a bad way.

I just need to find the time to clean it inside and out - never my favourite job but worth it when it's done. 

Given all the car-related expenditure it came as a pleasant surprise to receive a call from Richard Holden (see his blog at http://wargamesandwalking.blogspot.com/) to tell me that I have won two prizes in the raffle he was running in aid of the British Legion.  They are a £5 voucher for Irregular Miniatures and a Baccus Napoleonic army pack, so not a bad return on my £3 worth or tickets.  I'll certainly use the Irregular voucher, but my Naps are all 15mm so the army pack will no doubt go on the disposal pile.

I have just been out in the garage spray painting some toys, so hopefully there'll be another small batch finished later this month.