Thursday, 24 March 2016

German Normandy Grenadiers - #1 Platoon Finished!

Hi guys,

A a better update on these chaps than last time. With them now all on the bases and just a last few finishing touches before they get put away and I start the prep for the Tabletop Commanders Miniature Modelling Mayhem (TtC MMM) Challenge starting on the 1st of April.

So, just to jump straight in, these were the first German troops I've painted - other than a few surrendering Peter Pig models. I found that they were a little tricky because of all the colours on them. There were a lot more colours than the British uniforms of the period. This also made highlighting interesting - especially the camo!

Speaking of camo, I'm quite please with how these look, although the pictures do them very little justice!

This is my attempt at Heer splinter camo. More effective at a distance, but these pics give an idea.

And a few pics of the unit laid out on the painting table:

So that's number 1 platoon done. I've another 2 Infantry platoons to do, one of which will be Peter Pig mini's from Lee. Unfortunately after soaking the bases to try and get the minis off, and then handling the minis while trying to get them off the bases, a lot of paint has come off from them. I'm going to try and repair them and highlight them up the same as I have with these guys!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Miniature Modelling Mayhem April Challenge!

Hi Folks,

After a bit of restructuring the 'randomly regular' weeknight paint and chats are going to be hosted by a new Group called Miniature Modelling Mayhem, while the more 'formal' Paint and Chats are going to remain under the Tabletop Commanders banner.

As a way of launching the new group we are having a small Painting Challenge!

The aim is to paint a number of units in April and May - the number you pick is up to you, which units you pick are up to you. Basically we want to encourage people to take part in the hangouts once or twice in the months - use the hangouts to keep your motivation up, talk about what you are working on, talk about the unit and it's history, if you hit a problem with your painting then ask for help or advice. Or just tune in and see what everyone else is doing. Some of the chats will be live and recorded for upload to YouTube, others will be just visible to the people in the hangout and will not be uploaded to YouTube.

For those of you who have not tried using the hangouts, it's a really great way of talking about history, toy soldiers, painting and modelling, etc, while getting some models painted and talking to fellow hobbyists. All you need to take part is a Google account and a mike if your are on a PC or Laptop. You can also use a webcam if you wish. There are apps available via the App Store on the Ipad and Iphone (Called Google Hangouts) which makes the process of joining in easy and use the Iphone or Ipad mike and camera (you can turn the camera off). 

Whether you join in for 15 minutes or 3 hours is fine - or for the live ones you can just watch 'live' via youtube.

You can find an example of one of our hangouts here:

So the challenge involves:

1) Picking a number of units you want to paint, either over one or two months. Any unit size, any period or scale. I'm going to aim to do 3 units a month which is a push for me.

2) Join the Miniature Modelling Mayhem group on Facebook or Google Plus.

3) Join or Watch our paint and chats, talk about what your working on and generally use the chats as a way of keeping yourself motivated.

4) Post your progress on your blog on YouTube channel, let us all see what your doing!


5) Finish a month of focused hobby work having gotten a unit or two (or more!) that you've been staring at for a long time done and out of your painting queue!

And example of what one of our contributors will be working on can be found here:

Feel free to leave a comment here if your are interested. I'll update the post with links to the various Google Plus and Facebook groups once we have everything set up!

Monday, 14 March 2016

15mm German Grenadier Platoon #1 - WiP

Hi folks,

A productive week for me, with a focus now on getting my first German Platoon finished and some basing done. The plan is to re-base the figures donated by Lee and also base the Battlefront platoon built from the figures purchases at the York show.

30 figures have been primed and main colours blocked in. I got a lot of work done after I took the picture - including an attempt at Heer camouflage. These guys are now close to being washed and highlighted.

It's been a bit of a slog for me as painting infantry is not my favourite part of the hobby and I am aware that this is the first platoon of many. I'm also unfamiliar with the figures and colour choices. I'm certainly unused to my paint pallet having so many varied colours on it!

Some close up pics will follow, but as usual it seems to be the paint and chats which are helping me keep up the pace. I've a small order to arrive from Wayland (*sigh*) and then the Germans should be done other than minefields and MG nests. I also ended up with another pack of Late War Grenadier models as the pack I picked up at York was missing enough machine guns. However, these models are horrible... they will make a recce platoon as well as providing the MG teams I am missing for #2 platoon.

In other (allied) news, my new pack of 3" M10's arrived - so the finished M10s will need some work to swap the guns, remove the crews and add armoured roofs!

Monday, 7 March 2016

Finished: 15mm M10C, Sherman I's and Churchill Croc

Hi Folks,

Over the last couple of weeks I have been spending my paint and chat time (as it seems most nights I am painting I am also on a hangout...) working on finishing off my Anti-tank M10C battery along with my last Churchill Crocodile - and a couple of Sherman I's.

I managed to more or less finish these guys all off, bar a couple little fixes, over the weekend.

Things still to do include a little bit of soot here and there, a base for the Croc's fuel trailer and the magnetic sheeting for under the bases.

So, first up, my Self-Propelled 17 Pounder 'Achilles' M10C's. These guys are representing the 6th Canadian Anti Tank Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery. Specifically vehicles of "B" Troop, 33 Battery, who advanced during the night attack along with 7 Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders during their attack towards Crasmesnil. The troop took no casualties during the night advance, although one of the vehicle commanders apparently shot up some German infantry with a Sten! During the 8th August the Regiment lost 1 Officer Killed, 1 Wounded, 6 'Other Ranks' killed, 12 wounded and 3 Missing.

This regiment was a Corps asset of 2nd Canadian Corps, 1st Canadian Army in Normandy.  This was one of three possible M10 units I could have added - the others being those of the 1st Polish Armoured and 4th Canadian Armoured Divisions. However as they were in action during phase 2 of the Totalise operation, I went with the unit present during the night attack. For those interested, the Canadian Government has made digital copies of a huge number of their countries war diaries free online.

The diary relating to the operation I am covering for this unit is located here. I have to say that it just shows how such records should be treated and makes the UK Governments efforts seem rather miserly and money grubbing.

Interestingly, prior to finding this dairy I had no idea that this unit was involved in the Highland Division part of the attack. Neither, it seems, were many modern authors. The main reference book I have for Totalise (written by a Canadian) makes no mention of these vehicles being present in the assault columns. Another interesting fact from the war diary was the line:-

"7 Aug 1944 - Attack to go in tonight at 2330 hrs. The C.O. moved Tac HQ to CCRA's report centre at MR063678 for period of "push". Welding of turret tops on M10s as protection against mortars and shrapnel completed today." (Emphasis mine!)

I don't have turret tops on these chaps, but I can see it being an option in the future. If anyone has any they are not using (they can be found in the American 4 vehicle box set) I would be interested in hearing from you. Failing that, I may buy some more to build as 3" armed M10's and do some weapon swaps on these guys. Time will tell! Also corrected after these pics were taken were the crew members beret's. For Artillery units these should be Khaki rather than black, and so have been re-painted!!!

I've also discovered that my source giving these units M10C's at this point was incorrect, and that it looks like the unit did not receive these vehicles until late August - so it looks like the 3" armed  armoured roof versions might be on the cards!

I also finished two more Sherman I's for my Squadron of 144RAC, tanks '83' and '84' of #3 Troop. my 14th and 15th Sherman (that I currently own, anyway!).

And finally the last (number 6!) of my Churchill Crocodiles. I still have the trailer to base and I forgot to update some of the decals, but I may just weather them a bit more heavily and forget about that! This Churchill has some of the great stowage from the Battlefront Churchill pack (as do many of these vehicles) but I love the use of the Churchill track links instead of the Sherman ones I had used previously.

And that, more or less, is that!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Flames of War Pacific - Gung Ho and Banzai!

Hi Folks,

I picked up the new issue of Wargames Illustrated today and thought I would post a little bit of a review of one of the articles. This issue has a couple of articles about the upcoming Flames of War Pacific Theatre releases. I know there are a couple of great blogs out there that have been covering these releases 'officially' so for those of you paying attention none of this will be particularly new (as far as I am aware!)

Wayne Turner has written an article which covers the contents of the two books. I'll try and summarise what is covered in the article.

Gung-Ho, US Marines Corps in the Pacific

This book covers the Marine Corps in the Pacific, their tactics and methods and looks at two of their campaigns - Saipan and Okinawa.

It includes two missions - Island Landings and Atoll Landings. Both use different terrain (with or without a coral reef or lagoon). This allows for different types of landings (using landing craft or using amphibs).

Points wise, the lists are dual pointed. Points are provided specifically for Late War and specifically for the Pacific War - which also appears to be pointed the same as early war (only with units not present in early war unavailable).

US Special Rules: The US Marines use the US special rules from the rule book, in addition, they use 'Gung-Ho' (German Mission Tactics rules), 'Semper Fi' (re-roll motivation to counter attack), BAR Automatic Rifles (BAR Teams retain full ROF when moving with a +1 to hit and re-roll failed to hit defensive shots) and 'War Dogs' (ambush range extended to 10" if ambushing from concealment).

Army Lists: Most are Fearless Vet.

Marine Rifle Company - Rifle teams or for later forces BAR teams. Can be mounted in LVT(4)s. Up to three Marine Rifle Platoons, Machine Gun Platoon with LMGs and a Mortar Platoon with 60mm Mortars - these can Combat attach to the infantry platoons. Support includes Weapons Platoons with HMGs or 81mm Mortars. Assault Sections with Bazooka, Pioneer Rifle and Flamethrowers, Anti Tank Guns, Scouts and Self Propelled guns (75mm M3's or 105mm M7's).

Image from Wargames Illustrated/Battlefront Advert - used without permission

Marine Tank Company and Marine Amphib Tank Company - These use the same company diagram. One with M4A3 (Late) and M4A2 Shermans. The other with LVT(A)4 (75mm armed) or LVT(A)1's (37mm armed).

Image from Wargames Illustrated/Battlefront Advert - used without permission

Corps Support includes: Light tanks, anti-air, artillery, Recon, engineers, rockets, AOPs, Flame Tanks (Satans and Zippos), War Dog Platoons, Marine Engineer Assault Platoons, Marine Rocket Launcher Battery, F4U Corsairs and Various options for Naval Gunfire Support. Interestingly there are different levels of this, and the article mentions that both sides can take in an an attempt to 'disrupt your opponents Air or Naval Gunfire support'. The options include Carrier Group, Aircraft Carrier or Destroyer Squadron.

Banzai, Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific

This book covers the Japanese forces in the Pacific. The book includes the history and background of Japan's Pacific War, Japanese tactics, Full Japanese National special rules and four intelligence breifings.

Detailed accounts for Guadacanal and Iwo Jima - apparently with Scenarios and background for both.

Special Rules: Banzai Charge, Kendo: No Surrender, Seishien, Human Bullets, Banners, Regimental Standards, Hell by Day - Paradise by night and Envelopment.

Army Lists: Options for Fearless Vets OR Confident trained versions of each list.

Hohei Chutai (Infantry Company) - rifle and light mortar teams. Banners which make them harder to pin and can use Human Bullet teams (basically anti tank assault troops - improvised tank assault 5). Machine Guns, Battalion guns, anti-tank guns and regimental guns - so a lot of firepower.

Image from Wargames Illustrated/Battlefront Advert - used without permission
 Sensha Rentai (Tank Company): Variety of Japanese or captured tanks (M3 Stuarts?). Fearless Vet or Fearless Trained. The best anti tank option appears to be AT 8.

Yosai Hohei Chutai (Fortified Infantry Company): Defensive infantry company with trenches, MG bunkers that can be upgraded to other weapons and pillboxes, Barbed wire, anti tank defenses, etc.

And SNLF (Naval Landing Tank Company): Amphib tanks!

Image from Wargames Illustrated/Battlefront Advert - used without permission
Divisional Support: Self propelled guns (AT 10 and AT 13) that can fire bombardments, Tankettes, Scout Platoons, Field Artillery, Medium Mortars, Anti-aircraft, Naval Gunfire Support and Zeros.

It all sounds very interesting. and note that these books 'mark the first step' into the Pacific Theater of Ops.