Tuesday 30 July 2019

M-113 bodging - part 3

While the PVA was drying earlier, cut out the various hatches and so on from balsa or mdf. It’s important to not get carried away with details but to add the significant bits. I add the trim vane on the front, the drivers and commanders round hatches, two engine grilles, the main compartment roof hatch and the rear door, the latter with its characteristic ‘cut corner’.

Again, leave the PVA to dry. The erratic quality control on my production line is evident from the varying angles of the front plates....

Sunday 28 July 2019

M-113 bodging - batch 2, part 2

The 2-inch thick insulation board is then cut into M-113-size blocks. 
Then it’s marked up for cutting to (more or less) shape. Don’t worry about the details - just go for the most obvious features.  So the slope of the front plate is cut first, then the ‘corner’ trimmed off below. At the rear, the main slope is cut in from the top to the track guards. The area between the track guards is then cut out. 
I solved the problem of the wheels and tracks by finding a side-on view of an M-113 on the internet, scaling it to 1/48 scale using MS Publisher (I expect it could be done in MS Word too) and then ‘mirrored’. I printed the results on to 100gsm white card and having trimmed them to shape, glued them to the body with PVA.
Leave to dry overnight. 

Friday 26 July 2019

M-113 bodging - batch 2, part 1

 The recent Return to Golan game reminded me that I needed to address my shortage of M-113 APCs.
I therefore built a batch of ten - six in generic olive green and four more for my Israelis. Here are a couple of the completed models. These are 1/48 scale (more or less) for Little Cold Wars games. I’ll cover the build process in the next couple of posts.

The starting point. A slab of 2-inch insulation board is cut into chunks each the length of 2 M-113. 

Monday 22 July 2019

Return to Golan

I know it’s been a bit quite in terms of posts but I’ve not been completely idle. As well as more COW photos still to come there’s days two and three of the Golan Heights game, continuing from where we left off last year. 
Here are a couple of photos to be going on with.

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Saturday at COW - part 1

On Saturday morning I had a look at several sessions and stayed for a while watching Trebian’s Culloden game. I think you’ll agree that His Royal Highness Prince Charles (Jim Roche) gave an excellent wargames point while Lord George Murray (Nigel Drury) looks on despairingly. 
The villains on the Hanoverian side were led by the wicked and bewigged Duke of Cumberland (John Bassett). I understand the wig has now been released back into the wild.  Mr Bassett remains in captivity.

All of the of the toys at Culloden were 20mm plastics, many of the Government infantry being from the no ancient Airfix 'Washington's Army' set.  Oh, the irony.
In the evening Bob Cordery ran his very popular 'Carry on up the Nile' game.  Players included notorious fellow-bloggers David C and Mark F.
John A running 'A Bridge too far.'  Actually this was on Friday but he ran it again on Saturday.
Trebian and Phil Steele presented their impressive Battle of Edgcote game

Thursday 11 July 2019

Scary Space Spider Strike - game 2

This time the spider was more aggressive - perhaps incensed by the outcome of the earlier game.  It swiftly 'webbed' a Jeep and then looked about for another victim.
It soon found one in the shape of Sgt. Nigel Drury's tank.  Here the spider can be seen rummaging in the strangely shaped tin can for that last delicious morsel of Nigel.
When other humans approached more webs were deployed.  Despite throwing in all the latest 1950s military technology things were looking bleak for the Earth.
But in the end the humble footslogger prevailed.  This brave fellow was one of only two survivors in this game!

Scary Space Spider Strike - game 1

John A found this game on the 'Pz 8' blog some months ago.  We played it at the Sheffield club with John's 15mm toys.  Aside from it being rather jolly, I thought the game would work rather well with 54mm toys.  Having made the mistake of saying so, some other fool suggested it would fit in well at COW.  Having (successfully I hope) spread the blame, it's back to the game.  I established that I had most of the required toys - Deetail US for the infantry, a pair of scruffy Tamiya Jeeps and an M-41 Walker Bulldog of dubious origin!
The spider cost about £2 from eBay and is suitably scary - especially the red eyes!
The game was inspired by those dreadful old Science Fiction movies of the 1950’-1970’s. A meteorite hits the countryside somewhere and turns out to be the egg of a giant Spider. You are in command of an Army unit with a vital mission: kill it.... and save the Earth!
At COW I ran the game twice with three players each time.  Two of the players each commanded three infantrymen (think of them as representing a squad or thereabouts) and a Jeep with MG.  The third had a tank.
The spider is cornered - human forces are approaching from top left, top right and bottom left.
The spider didn't move about very much and was soon overcome by sustained gunfire.

Saturday 6 July 2019

1973 - The COW 2019 Plenary Game

The plenary game - run by Ian Drury - worked rather well. Even Ian’s rationale that a game which had taken three hours with 20 players would obviously only take 90 minutes with 40+ players seemed  to stack up. Teams represented USA, USSR, Israel, Egypt, Syria and individuals represented UK, France, UN, Saudi Arabia, West Germany and Libya. An elite team of er, ‘volunteers’ formed the Game Control team. I was the air umpire, so was completely occupied with the rather busy skies over Golan and the Canal Zone. I have only the haziest idea what went on at a political level - and even that is based on a chat over breakfast with ‘Colonel Gadaffi’ - hardly the most reliable witness!
In the air, the EAF and IAF contested the skies over the canal and despite the Israelis generally having the upper hand, most of the Bar Lev Line was soon in Egyptian hands. Over Golan things started a bit later, the Syrians ignoring an UN-sponsored ceasefire which meant that the full weight of the IAF was headed their way!

Friday 5 July 2019

All packed for COW!

Over the past few weekends I have been assembling a pile of stuff for COW. As well as my overnight bag and of course hats, there’s stuff for the bring and buy and the kit for the four sessions I am running. One is a very last-minute affair, having been discussed and agreed with my co-presenter about 24 hours ago!
Every year I gently fret about fitting it all in the car. And every year it fits. This morning it all went in very easily and I suspect that even my passenger’s bag will fit in the boot.
So time now for a well-deserved mug of tea and some toast!

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Type 95 at Tankfest

Clearly intimidated by my 1/35 scale Japanese tanks, John managed, while visiting Tankfest last weekend, to find this larger example. Well slightly larger. It is a real Type 95 light tank, the owner of which had enlisted a splendidly attired re-enactor to raise the tone still further.
My thanks again to John for allowing me the use of his photos.

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Amphipolis, 422BC...

...or 'Come and have a go if you think you're Greek enough!'
Last week's game was an outing for some of my venerable 25mm Ancient figures using Command & Colours.  The battle of Amphipolis was fought between a Spartan army under Brasidas and Athenians led by Cleon.  The latter had been sent to capture the city but when Brasidas refused to emerged for a fight, Cleon stomped off in a huff.  The wicked Brasidas waited until the Athenians were marching past then emerged and set about them.
As usual, many of the figures were truly ancient!  The Spartan unit behind the General  - made up of Garrison hoplites with bendy spears - are the first metal figures I ever owned.  Bought in c1978 for £0.10 each, already painted!
 The field of battle.  The game offered further work for my (15mm!) Hittite city walls.  The Athenians had to get their troops off three hexes (not yet marked with red counters) on the left side.
 We've heard about some other dodgy old ancients, so now let's meet the teams.  Martin and Diego (left) were the Spartans, while Tim C and John were the Athenians.  The chap at the far end is Diego's Dad - a very welcome visitor.  Martin and John are indulging in some 'wargames pointing.'
Athenians voting about what to do next.
 Spartans hurtling forth.
 Battle was soon joined.  The Spartan hoplite units were particularly nasty.  Cleon and the Spartan general Clearidas are both in the front line!

 The Spartans pushed steadily forward in the centre.
 The Athenian left was heavily engaged to prevent them escaping.
 Dead - particularly hoplites - piled up on both sides, but the elimination of this Athenian unit (top right on the photo) clinched a victory for Brasidas.
Even better, my veteran Spartans were still in action!  Just.
A very quick game and an unusually clear victory - most of out C&C games have been much closer-run affairs.