Sunday, 31 January 2016

Gunuary - Week 4 - Guns DONE!

Hi folks,

Week 4 and the last week of my themed month. This past week has been focused on getting the guns finished. I'm glad to say that the guns are all done and I spent some time today getting the Auster ready to finish and sorting out what bases I need to sort for spotters and command, etc.

This work today has revealed some gaps in my line up - with me being short a jeep and three trucks to fill out the staff HQ transport of my 3rd 25 pdr battery and my command and staff HQ of my 5.5" gun battery.

I ended up unpacking all my guns and sorting them into units. This resulted in a long list of things I need to do as follow up for the themed month. Including highlights on my original battery, updating basing, adding aerials, etc.

Anyway, back to this weeks work. First up the last 2 guns of my Bofors 40mm Light Anti Aircraft Platoon. These guys are part of 40th Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. This battery is now done other than transport being required for the guns.

Some odd bits of static grass sitting on them, but otherwise happy with them.

Next up I finished off the supply vehicle for my Battlegroup Overlord rules. Also useful as scenery in Flames of War. This is a truck of C Squadron Admin Troop, 144RAC. There is one slightly converted tank crewman on the base along with an officer from an unknown source. He came in a bag of gun crew I purchased on ebay.

Then we have 8 x 25 Pounders of 128th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. These four are on standard bases and will form one battery. I have the transport for this unit still to finish along with some of the command and OP figures being based and updated.

Then the other 4 guns, which are on Battlefront Resin bases.

I hadn't been too keen on the resin bases, but seeing them painted up and based to the same standard as the rest of my figures they are quire smart. Again, a little bit of static grass still sitting on the models, but that should just blow or be brushed off. You can see from the more zoomed out pics that the painting style looks better at a little bit of a distance.

Then we have the two 5.5" guns from a currently unknown Medium Regiment. This will be from one of the AGRAs that supported the Totalize offensive.

I'll worry more about what unit these two are from when (if) my November order from Battlefront ever arrives as it contains the transport and command vehicles for these guys. Decals will be an issue, as no one makes 15mm AGRA decals...

Then the jeep transport for my AA Battery commander. 

Nothing special with this one, but I decided to put the roof on, just for a change.

I'll hopefully get the Auster done tonight and then on to looking at basing the various infantry teams I need for command and OP teams. After that, I'll move on to updating the painting and basing on the original battery. I managed to get one gun and crew updated and they look a lot better, so the others will get the same treatment.

So that's Gunuary done, but with some more stuff added to the shopping list and more work to be done on models I had finished (years ago now!). Thankfully the bulk of my outstanding guns are done. I'm quite pleased with my progress, although I still have a lot to do.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Review: Armoured Hussars 2. Images of the 1st Polish Armoured Division, Normandy, August 1944

Hi folks,

In an effort to expand my knowledge about the Totalize operation, I was having a look about the other night and saw a reference to this:

Armoured Hussars 2. Images of the 1st Polish Armoured Division, Normandy, August 1944

This particular book is available from a range of sellers on The main listing is for £25, however I paid only £14.31 including postage. 

 The book arrived well wrapped and packaged and 5 days after I ordered it. I've taken some poor quality pics of the types of things found insider, but first the book description:

"Armoured Hussars 2 provides a highly-illustrated account of the 1st Polish Armoured Division s baptism of fire in Normandy in August 1944, from Operations Totalise and Tractable to the victory at Falaise, culminating at the climactic battle on Mont Ormel the site of this triumph was justly named A Polish Battlefield by the Canadians. This album contains contributions written by the distinguished military author and Normandy veteran Ken Tout, who was recently awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit by the Republic of Poland for popularising the Polish soldiers of the Second World War. Serving as a young Sherman tank crewman in the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, Ken watched the Poles go in to action on 8 August and witnessed their savage baptism of fire. The album features many dramatic photographs and documents, numbering over 250, from the renowned Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum (PISM) as well as from the author's collection. It is also supplemented by eight pages of colour plates featuring divisional armour, uniforms, maps and a centre page-spread of a close-quarter action on Mont Ormel, based on the memoirs of a regimental commander. Illustrated by the renowned military artist, Peter Dennis, this depiction also features on the front cover. This book will appeal to all who have an interest in the Second World War and the Normandy Campaign, and is a fitting tribute to those Polish soldiers who fought so gallantly for Europe's freedom as part of the Allied Liberation Army and played a decisive role in the defeat of German forces in France at the Battle of the Falaise Pocket in August 1944. Contains c 250 photos, 8pp colour profiles & ills." 

The book is bigger than I thought, and high quality glossy paper. Most of the pics are black and white, but there are many full colour pages. The book is crammed full of pics of wartime Polish forces, including quite a number from prior to Normandy and time spent training in Scotland and Yorkshire. There are a lot of pictures (most of them, in fact) that I have not seen before. 

There are some decent quality maps, including this nice one of the outcome of the Totalize Operation:

 And some nice pictures of Re-enactors in period kit. 

As well as colour illustrations of some of the units tanks:

In total, 176 pages full of pictures with a sprinkling of historical filler to put the pictures in context. The pictures all have comments, with the place names and such other details provided where known. Apologies for the picture quality, space and light are both poor here.

A really nice book, especially for the price. 

Now, do I do a Polish Cromwell army....




Sunday, 24 January 2016

Die Deutschen sind angekommen!

Hi folks,

Today I received a package from Lee over at 'A Figure Painting Therapy Project'. Lee had been downsizing his Flames of War collection and re-focusing on Bolt Action. His blog is well worth checking out and following, if you haven't already.

The package contained a range of German models which are going to form the basis of my OPFOR German collection. I was expecting to get a couple of Tigers and a platoon of Grenadiers, but the package contained a few unexpected surprises! This gets me off to a great start and should spur me on to get the basics of my possible German collection.

Some pics of what I received:

A couple of Tigers - I'm not planning on doing anything to these guys paint wise at the moment. I'm more than happy with the paint job Lee has done. Depending on how my own attempts at painting German Armour camo go will depend on whether I revisit these in the future.

A Grenadier Platoon from Peter Pig. Again, nice paint job on these. If I touch these it might be to base to the same style as my Brits - on the other hand, it might be good to have them look a bit different.

Company HQ with Mortar sections - this is a fantastic little group for me, as I was trying to sort out where to get only two mortars from. Just the A/T section to add to these guys.

MG42 platoon - another great addition.

These two are, I think, a Panzer IV L/40 and a Brumbar.

3 Panzer III's - I think these have a mix of weapons. I'm going to have to do some digging to find out if I can use them in any way - but they are free, so I'm not complaining!

Also in the package was a pack of Peter Pig infantry spares:

This includes some more surrendering Germans, a spare MG42 and some officers and halftrack figures.

All in all a great bunch of models that gets me off to a great start. Thanks very much to Lee for his generosity - both in providing all the models and paying for the postage. I'm extremely grateful!

I also have 3 plastic StuG's from an old Open Fire set which I will get built and painted. As I knew I was starting Germans, I did an audit of my paints compared to the various painting guides I have for Late War Germans. This resulted in me buying 16 Vallejo paints today before opening the package from Lee - the fact the models he has sent are painted are another massive bonus!

If I've made mistakes in my descriptions, above, please feel free to correct me!

And again, thanks to Lee - who by his generosity has provided a shining example of the spirit of the wargaming community!