Saturday 30 November 2019

I can’t believe it’s not bunker

I spotted this ancient margarine tub heading for the bin a few weeks ago. “So what?” I hear you cry. Strange to say, it put me in mind of photos of Soviet WW2 pre-fabricated concrete MG bunkers I’d been looking at. Having successfully rescued the thing I at once set to work to produce yet more of the museum-quality terrain for which I am rightly famed.
The first step was to cut it in half.... I cut out the vision/firing slits. These are quite tall so as to accommodate both kneeling and standing firing figures. Stay tuned for the next thrilling episode!

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Soviet Naval Infantry - part 3

Hot on the heels of the Pegasus figures are this lot from the Zvezda hard plastic set.  The stripy shirts were something of a challenge - I tried two variants and on balance prefer the lighter version (the chap with the bundle of grenades).
That's all from the Black Sea Fleet for the moment.  That said, I do have another of these Zvezda sets so I might use it for some conversions.

Monday 25 November 2019

Soviet Naval Infantry - part 2

Now finished and clearly looking forward to repelling the Hitlerite hordes  - these photos show the Pegasus figures.  To my eyes (which aren't that great) they look pretty good.

Sunday 24 November 2019

Setting Europe ablaze

A few weeks ago John ran this game and also provided all the figures and terrain. It concerned a Commando raid on a German communication installation on the Brittany coast. Jerry and I commanded the raiding team - what could go wrong?
Above - our team of elite diehards.
Jerry (right) and I posing for what might be our last photo.
Having been cast adrift by an MTB some distance out to sea, we set off in our wee boat - hand carved by John. Despite tides and a degree of navigational incompetence we stepped ashore more or less where we’d hoped.
After we landed things moved very quickly and I forgot to take photos for a few turns. In short, we eventually overcame the pair of guards at the checkpoint (left) although one fought savagely and wounded two commandos.  Meanwhile the rest of us crossed the wire  - we made Jerry lie on it and ran along his back!   A brief gunfight quelled the chaps in the communications hut and having secured some prisoners we placed timed charges and headed off. The bangs nearly started early as it was later revealed that our escape route had taken us through a minefield!  But we got away with it and as the boat set off the silence of the night was profaned by a series of explosions. More than were strictly necessary as it happens, but no sense in taking unused charges home, was there?
Europe ablaze. Well a bit of it.

Friday 22 November 2019

Tamiya US gun & mortar set

I've had this venerable Tamiya set knocking about for a while now, so recently I released the parts into the wild and began assembly.  It's a useful 'top-up' to soft plastic figure sets which are fine for blokes with rifles, SMG and LMG but tend to be lacking anything heavier.  This set contains a .30 cal MG, a Bazooka, a 0.50 cal AAMG and a mortar, along with eight crew figures.
Like all of these Tamiya kits it all went together easily enough.  The paintwork is intended to help them fit in with my 54mm Airborne figures.

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Battered bargain bunkers belatedly bodged

I picked up this trio of 15mm resin bunkers at a bring & buy last year. I didn’t particularly need them but their cheapness won me over. They then languished on a shelf until their luck ran out last weekend when I decided to attend to them.
As I intend to use them as small bunkers with 54mm figures (that howl you heard was the ‘proper’ wargamers expressing their outrage...) I removed the French tank (R-35) turrets which all three sported and added a couple of cupolas I had kicking about. Next I re-painted and stuck them onto hardboard bases - one raised on an ‘embankment’ carved from 1-inch insulation board. Finally I drilled holes and glued in half-matchsticks as posts for the barbed wire.
When the paint dries I’ll take a couple of photos with figures. So stand by for further howling.
Added 20/11/19 - at Nigel’s suggestion (so don’t blame me) I’ve added a pair of staring eyes in the cupola vision slit. Clearly, this is intended for a very serious wargame....

Monday 18 November 2019

Hedgerow Unpleasantness

I ran this game a couple of weeks ago, with (mostly) A Fistful of Lead rules and a scenario I found on the internet.  John led the US forces and Diego the Germans (sometimes aided by me).  The terrain was an assortment of bits and pieces with the old Airfix 1/32 Strongpoint building as a centrepiece.
All photos by Diego and used here with his kind permission.
The first Germans arrive - mostly Deetail figures.  There was thick fog at the start of the game, with visibility a mere 12 inches.  See that wee wood across the road from the house?
It contained an infestation of Deetail Americans.  The US forces consisted of a rifle squad with a mortar in support.
 More Germans.  There was eventually a total of 2 sections (1 yet to appear), a mortar (to the left of the rear truck) and an MMG (in the field).  The trucks are diecast and plastic Citroens.
 By now the German section was engaged in a costly firefight with the Yanks in the wood.
John - wearing suitable hat - fires his mortar.  It's not poor photography - he really does look this blurred.
 The second German section had by now arrived in their (Opel) lorry and deployed into the field.

Having dashed across the ploughed field, as they deployed the MG team came under fire from a US BAR in the house.  The rotter!  The dice tell the whole sad tale.  Dead gunner, dead NCO and a loader keeping his head down.
 A grown man playing with toy soldiers.  His identity remains a mystery....
Diego clearly having a nice time.  His smile may be related to the red (wound) markers on the Yanks in the wood.
Endgame.  By now the fog was lifting a bit and the broken down Sherman near the house became visible.  It turned out that the senior US NCO spent the whole game hiding behind it's diecast armour.

Sunday 17 November 2019

Soviet Naval Infantry - part 1

I have a game project in mind for next year which either creates a need - or provides an excuse - for modest numbers of Naval Infantry. I’d been aware of the Pegasus figures for a while and so recently bought a box. These are soft plastic figures and require some assembly. That said, the soft plastic is harder plastic than most soft plastic. Clear?  Good. 
Of course, you can’t just buy one set so while shopping I spotted this Zvezda set. These chaps are hard plastic with each figure having a dozen or so parts. 
The assembled comrades having just been based. 
A closer look at the Zvezda figures - very dynamic poses.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Royal Navy Officers of the SYW - new book!

Written by Cy Harrison, a member of Sheffield Wargames Society, this book has recently been published by Helion. It’s a hefty tome with lots of detail if you have an interest in this subject.

Available now from Helion: link

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Three Frontiers and a Trier

Having set off from Schwebsange, a wrong turn saw us crossing the border into Germany too early.  Luckily there was a roundabout after only half a mile so it was back into Luxembourg for some shopping and a top up of diesel at £1 a litre.  Then off again into Germany, heading for the old - originally Roman - town of Trier.
The Roman bridge over the Moselle.  This is the oldest standing bridge in Germany (we'll not dwell on what happened to the others...) and while the upperworks have been replaced twice, the piers date from 2nd Century AD.  Trier lies on the south bank of the river - the motorhome parking is on the north bank only about a 20-minute riverside walk away.
The view from the bridge - looking east.
Partly concealed by trees and more recent buildings I spotted this c1942 flak tower. Apparently so well built it's virtually impossible to demolish.
A rather older fortification - the Roman Porta Negra.

Teetering next to the dustbin of history was this statue of the least amusing of the Marx Brothers.  He lived here for a while so there are plentiful supplies of Mark-related tourist tat.
Mixed in with rather soul-less postwar edifices are plenty of nice old buildings.

Mrs G commented on the similarity to my collection of HO scale plastic model railway buildings.

Porta Negra again.  It's really quite a substantial edifice.

In the adjacent town museum was this (approximately 1/300 scale) model of Trier.  What a scandalous waste of wargames terrain!