Tuesday 27 April 2021

Strv-103 S-Tanks on manoeuvres


Here are the completed S-Tanks enjoying a day out.  
The Aurora version - closest to camera - has been built with the suspension set to elevate the gun.
The Aurora kit is ever so slightly smaller and has less surface detail but both are lovely representations of the real thing.

Sunday 25 April 2021

Madrid 1936 - part 7 - the final reckoning

As the battle drew to a close the Republicans could have been forgiven for being quite pleased to have saved Madrid.  You'd like to think this would have put everyone in good spirits.  Here is the scene at Gen. Gorev's HQ where smiles and handshakes are indeed happening:

photo by Martin

But not everyone was joining in the festivities.  Having had another look at his personal victory conditions (see part 2 here) , NKVD Representative Orlov swooped on the Government meeting which was still in progress.  Here, ministers Miaja and Olivier had been joined by Durutti.  As the Anarchist Militia had been driven back and the POUM militias had also suffered greatly the explanation was - to Orlov at least - clearly treachery.  Thus it was that he and his NKVD comrades carried out a political education and realignment exercise.  Though it looked a lot like a firing squad to me.

On the Republican side the most points were amassed by Jerry.  Mostly for for in-character role play but also for  having arrived by bus, while his comrades had each travelled in German-badged motor cars.  Very suspect....

Agreed by all the players to have been a great game, this exceeded my expectations and was an excellent start to what I hope will be a busy outdoor campaigning season.

Wednesday 21 April 2021

Madrid 1936 - part 6 - losing their bottle


Having come under fire from several enemy units, the Lenin Division suffered greatly.  Among the casualties was Georges Kopp himself who finally bled out on the road.

The Italian tankettes had come under fire from a pair of Russian tanks and one was soon ablaze (it was too windy for smoke markers!).
Enraged, a company of Moors set out to lob petrol bombs.  Seven figures set out - the other three learned the hard way that trying to light a Molotov Cocktail while running is jolly dangerous!

The Republican tanks on the left meanwhile had chased away the Panzers.

This rescued the Anarchists who had been the Panzers' main target.  Note the presence of the Miliciana in the rear rank.  She was referred to throughout the game as Sophia Loren....(photo by Russell)
And what of the Internationals?  They remained far from the battle throughout.  Indeed, the sound of gunfire was drowned out be the clacking of typewriters as they all wrote their memoirs and novels. (photo by Russell)
By now both sides were pretty exhausted.  The Republicans still occupied most of the area so we agreed that the Nationalist assault had stalled.  But it had been close and the Nationalists' successes were clearly  - according to Colonel Orlov - due to treachery.  See the results of his even-handed investigation in the final part of this debacle!

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Scarce Swede safely sourced - Strv-103 'S-Tank'

The reason I ended up with the battered Jagdpanzer Kanone which featured here recently was the model which accompanied it.  None other then that rarest of rarities a Tamiya 1/48 Strv-103 S-Tank.  I've been gently on the lookout for such things for some years now and while they often crop up on eBay they are often very expensive.
Regular sufferers of this blog will be aware I have something of a weakness for the S-Tank  - but after five Volvos and three Saabs that's hardly a surprise!  The Tamiya model was in decent shape - afflicted only by dust and a shortage of tracks.  The former I can live with - the latter was cured with more packing straps.

But the story doesn't end there.  Having secured one reasonably priced S-Tank you may imagine my delight when within a few days I found a second!  This time it was the Aurora kit - part built and seemingly in possession of all of it's parts.
 This one even had tracks!  What luxury.  It was soon built and in the queue for painting.

I need hardly add that if you have one of these kits gathering dust in your attic then either make your fortune on eBay or do the decent thing and send it to me!

Monday 19 April 2021

Madrid 1936 - part 5 - urban decay


After the leaflet raid the fighting intensified.  As this wasn't a particularly residential area there were few civilians to worry about.  Above - the Moors advance on a large ruined complex.  This started off as the packaging for a laptop and was 'converted' with a bit of drybrushing.
An enormous column of Russian-built tanks rolling through town.  This raised the spirits of the nearby POUM militia.
Further to the left - but not necessarily politically - the Anarchist militia continues to advance.

The Legion advance, still accompanied by the German tanks.
Condor Legion AT guns escorted by the Guardia Civil.  The latter (well, most of them) were the only figures in the game which hadn't started life destined for another conflict.
The rather battered Falangist Battalion refusing to advance further.

The NKVD (in closed van) arrive to 'encourage' Gorges Kopp and the comrades from the Lenin Division.
An overview

As the rain starts again, the Panzers menace the Republican flank....

...but here come some of the Russian tanks!

Saturday 17 April 2021

Madrid 1936 - part 4 - hearts and minds

 As the battle intensified the drone of aero engines could clearly be heard.  Three of them....

Soon this Junkers hove into view.  Fans of this period will surely agree that the tri-motor aircraft is the weapon of the future.  Photo by Martin
The Junkers swooped low over the area but while the Republicans dived into whatever cover was available the mighty machine released a cloud not of bombs but....

...propaganda!  This was a new rule we were testing.  I had found a load of Nationalist posters in the internet and printed them onto 100gsm card.  I dropped the 'posters' from a height of approx 5 feet.  Photo by Russell

Any bases which were 'hit' by a poster were deemed to be out of action for a turn - as the posters were read/angrily torn up/burned/used for personal hygiene purposes...

Entertainingly, one of the groups affected was the Republican HQ - but Orlov is watching!

And who was the intrepid pilot of the tri-motor treasure?
None other than Simon.  A grown man and former officer in HM forces, now happily playing with a toy aeroplane!

Friday 16 April 2021

Jaded Jagdpanzer - Part 2

My battered Kanone has now had some paint and if I say it myself - it doesn't look half bad.
As I already have a West-German Kanone I decided to go with a more Belgian look for this one, with a fairly light drybrush to bring out the raised details.
And in case you're wondering why I bought such a wreck in the first place, the truth is I was really after the other 1/48 scale model in the same lot.  It is much rarer than the Kanone kit.  More news on that soon....

Thursday 15 April 2021

Jaded Jagdpanzer - part 1

This very battered Jagdpanzer Kanone arrived from a well-known online auction site a few weeks ago.  It is the old Tamiya 1/48-ish scale motorised model and came to me lacking tracks, gun and one of it's roadwheels.
By sheer fluke I happened to have a gun/mantlet from another Kanone model in my spares box - left over, you may recall, from this conversion.
Tracks were fashioned from packing straps - cut to length and stapled  - secured in place with dollops of PVA.  The missing wheel (fourth from left in the photo above) was replaced by what I believe to be a T-34 wheel.  It's round and of a similar size - job done!

The result ain't pretty but I'm sure paintwork will make it much, much....worse.

Wednesday 14 April 2021

Madrid 1936 - part 3 - a tale of two columns...

 ...or should that be five columns?  For the first few turns both sides focussed on getting troops forward.  I'll let the photos do most of the talking.

A Nationalist column advances - led by the mighty tankettes!
Foreign Legion with 'heavy tanks' courtesy of Condor Legion.  Photo by Simon Wilson.

Moroccan Regulares advance.  Photo by Russell King

Republican backs to the wall - from left (obviously) - Russell, Lloyd, Jerry.
The kneeling photographer is none other then your humble correspondent.
Photo by Simon
The Paris Commune Battalion of the International Brigade advances accompanied by Russian tanks.
Another view of the International Bde.  Photo by Russell

POUM militia and Internationals advance. 

Another view of the Nationalist motor column - note the Guardia Civil company in the background.
Despite inter-factional squabbles, the Republicans had assembled the appearance of a battle line...
...but so had the Nationalists

The Legion advances!
Tankettes to the front!

But where, I hear you ask, were the NKVD?  Astonishingly, Comrade Orlov rolled a succession of ones, thus failing to activate even his own entourage for several turns.