Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Finished: 15mm Team Yankee Dutch Mechanised Infantry platoon

Hi folks,

Another long gap between blog posts, mainly brought to you by a distinct lack of painting mojo on my behalf. I normally seem to suffer a bit of a slump post AHPC, but this year I struggled to shake the doldrums and was distracted by computer games and TV shows. 

I did manage to assemble all of the Leopard 1 models for the TY dutch project... 

Aside from building some tanks, I had slowly been chipping away at the infantry for my previously completed IFVs. These models are 15mm Battlefront metal casts, and were nice and easy to paint. No camo, limited range of colours and some nice poses. 

The pack contains enough models to also build the formation command team, and with two radio operators I was able to easily mark out which of the infantry teams would be the HQ. 

In total there are four GPMG/LAW teams, three Carl Gustav teams and two Dragon ATGW teams. Then the formation commander on the small base. 

They look the part with their transports. 

I've not gone for any flower tufts on the bases, mainly to separate these out from my WW2 stuff, but also as my perception of a cold war landscape is one with a lot less 'wildness' to it. I do have two shades of grass tufts, just for some texture and variation, although they don't show up well on my (poor) photos. 

I'm unsure what's on the painting table next - possibly another vehicle unit just to make sure I can replicate the same look as the IFVs. 

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Finished: 15mm Dutch YPR-765 platoon

Hi folks.

Changing things up a bit from my 15mm WWII stuff, I decided to try some 15mm WWIII stuff instead. 

My gaming buddy Dave D had picked up some 15mm 'moderns', and despite years of very determinedly steering clear of 15mm Team Yankee, I was easily dragged in. I decided to go with a Dutch force - although our plan is to also use our firgures to play Seven Days to the Rhine and 'Centag' (Battlegroup's rule set) when it is released. All these systems use similar basing for infantry and are 1:1 scale. 

Part of the reasoning was also that we have a lot of 15mm scenery between us which would convert nicely over to a more modern setting - with a few additions. 

To kick things off, I thought I'd make a start on a mechanised infantry platoon and it's transports. The infantry are started but still on the paint desk, while the vehicles were an easier job:

With these 15mm Battlefrong resin and metal minis I wanted to try a different painting style, just to expand my abilities a little. This was 'kind of' a success, but I failed to achied what I was aiming for. 

My plan had been to use an Olive Drab modulation set (from AK) and a stipple/drybrush technique using Artis Opus Series D brushes to get a more modulated effect without having to use an airbrush. Unfortunately, I need more practice and/or the technique is harder to use on models smaller than 28mm. 

What I ended up with was a stippling application that was pretty fast, along with a much more focused drybrush to hit high points. I actually found I didn't need to use a wash, building up from a black basecoat. I had the basics done in one evening. Unfortunately I then tried a couple of things/colours that didn't work and saw me having to return to the 'Olive Drab' base green, before just sticking with that mixed with the highlight colour for edges, etc. 

Having said that, as much as time was lost due to my faffing and trying unsuccessfully to be more arty, these were a hell of a lot simpler to paint than the half-tracks!

Aerials were added in my usual style (although I went with black grey paint, rather than black). Two commanders have been added as one vehicle will be the company commanders transport. Decals have been added, and with the Dutch using few tactical markings this was pretty straightforward. I then added a good amount of weathering dust to the tracks and lower hull, just to add some interest. I also painted the periscopes blue, and added colour to the lights as per some reference pics - just to give a bit more of a modern feel over my usually plain WW2 models. 

I've decided with my Team Yankee project I'm not going to go into the rabbit hole I normally do with my WW2 stuff. I'm accepting the fluff and setting from the Team Yankee faction books and just doing what I can to get a useable force painted. As such, I've not attributed these models to any particular unit. 

I have drilled out and magnetised the turrets, and have built the TOW launcher upgrades which came with these kits (which are also magnetised). My plan is to have those as a little extra option should I need them in the future. 

For basing, I avoided my usual flowers and just stuck to some green grass tufts for variety. I had planned to use a darker static grass, but was unhappy with how similar it was to the vehicles. I used Tan Earth (or US Field Drab???) for the base edges as well, so they are lighter than my usual WW2 bits. 

Having finished the unit, I was a little annoyed that I'd tried a different painting technique and paints, and ended up with my usual WW2 British paint scheme...


Thankfully, putting them side by side shows they are different (and demonstrates the different pictures you get with different lighting)!

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Finished: 15mm Wespe and Hummel Gun Sections

Hi folks,

The last two vehicle units on my project sheet for my German Panzergrenadiers have been completed. After a week or so of sitting on my desk awaiting tufts, I've managed to motivate myself!

These two units do not form part of the Panzergrenadier force per say, but would be divisional support assets. 

First up, the Wespes:

My lack of motivation for these models meant I've not added any sort of foliage to them - something I'll probably fix when I come to paint and add crews. It was a bit of a cop out, but it's a time consuming step and I really just wanted to finish these off and start painting something else. 

From my research, these vehicles had no hull numbers, and few tactical markings other than the German cross. I've added a divisional badge sign on the rear (no easy place to put on on the front). Camo was done roughly using the same colours as the half-tracks and stippled to be a bit softer. 

I'll have two crew members to paint and add to these at a later date. 

Next the Hummels:

These are much bigger models than the Wespes, being very chonky (unsurprisingly, the same footprint as a Panzer IV, given they use the same hull). I've crew still to add to these, but as per above these will be done later. Also, no other tactical markings I could see historically in the period so pretty simple decal wise. 

These models also need foliage adding, which I'll do when I return to add the crew. I did make an attempt to paint the striped sticks - having first checked these were supposed to be striped. I'm still not convinced that there were not barrel cleaning poles. 

All six models are 15mm scale metal and resin kits from Battlefront. For the Wespes, this now gives me a unit of six. I doubt the Hummels will get much table time, but they were part of the divisional artillery for 12th SS as far as I can see. Also, something to worry players with during scenario games!

With these units done and off my table, I'm now moving on to painting something slightly more modern! 15mm Team Yankee Dutch!

Sunday, 3 April 2022

Finished: 10 and 12 Kompanies, III Battalion, SS Panzergrenadierregiment 26 - Kampfgruppe W√ľnsche (7 - 8 August 1944)

Hi folks,

This is a bit of a follow up post to this one from September of last year, when I started this current project. While I've been mumping to myself about taking 6 months to get this done, in hindsight my previous painting projects seem to take a similar amount of time. I really should learn how to airbrush. 

However, in the past six months I have gone from this plan:

To this:

To be fair, I did make some alterations as I went - namely dropping the 2IC vehicle (not needed in v4 FoW) and the Pioneer vehicles (being expanded into their own kompanie). I've also painted limbered, not deployed, versions of the Pak40. 

I also still have a substantial amount of SS infantry to paint - however with my current German infantry collections I can field Panzergrenadiers now I've vehicles for them. 

Lastly, I've some self-propelled artillery on the painting table currently, which were on the plan. But they don't form part of the Kompanies the project was for, so I've left them out of the photo!

Hopefully, it won't been too long before I can get some pictures of these in action!

Friday, 1 April 2022

Finished: 15mm Sd.Kfz. 251/2 Ausf. D (Mortar) platoon

Hi folks,

With a final thump, and distant bang, the last* half-tracks for my  III/26. SS Panzergrenadier Regiment force have been completed. 

As per the title this is a unit of six 15mm scale Sd.Kfz. 251/2 Ausf. D 8cm mortar carriers. 

The models are mainly Battlefront plastic kits, upgraded with mortars from the PSC half-track upgrade sprue. Two of the models (on the left of the picture above) are 'proper' Battlefront metal and resin models, with 'correct' internal layouts for mortar halftracks. 

I've still crew to add - and possible some ammo crates and the likes for the more basic plastic kits. However the unit can be fielded on the table in it's current state. I may also add radio aerials, I'm just not 100% on the availability of those in the German forces. 

This unit is actually made up of half-tracks from three kompanies of the battalion. While FoW give the option to have the vehicles in more 'useful' larger units, from what I can find (and I have no huge in depth sources on this subject) these vehicles were attached two to a Panzergrenadier Kompanie as part of the integral heavy support. While the v3 FoW Atlantic Wall book states that the division received more of these vehicles, allowing them to field a battery of them, I've found no evidence of this. 

As such, I've marked these models up using the hull numbers associated with each kompanie's vehicles. 144 - 145 for first, 244 - 245 for second and 344 - 345 for third kompanie. 

Each pair has a slightly different camo scheme, and different placement and quantity of foliage. I've stuck to my standard basing of these, so they will match in with the other vehicles in the collection. 

As per the other units, I used some Skytrex decals for the hull numbers, and some old Doms Decals for the hull numbers on the rear. Doms also provided the registration plates and the division signs (bought a long time ago). 

Weathering was applied in the form of the usual dust and dirt effects, and the same foliage attached to seafoam sprigs was used as per the other models. 

As for the progress tracking sheet, it now has a lot more green, with just the infantry and some 'optional' units outstanding (in blue):

Work has begun on the last two units - the self propelled artillery - which isn't part of the unit, but more a support option for the army. I've also realised I have some SS 120cm heavy mortars, so may add an 'optional' entry for those to the sheet, as they would require half-tracks. I'm sure someone must do models of the mortars being towed...

Anyway, with my existing painted German infantry I can field this force - hence my focus on the vehicles for now. I do have some of the old metal SS infantry figures, so will paint these at some point. For my own purposes though, I think I can count this project as 99% done! Group shot to follow at some point!

*Last other than a kompanie of 250 scout half-tracks, British/Canadian/Polish half-tracks and various additions to the Panzergrenadiers vehicles I may add in the future - like a Panzerpioneer kompanie. 

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Finished: 3 x Limbered 15mm Pak40

Hi folks,

It appears that the end of the AHPC has snuck up on me this year - I thought it finished next Saturday, but apparently it ends this weekend. This does mean that my final unit of half-tracks won't be finished in enough time to be counted, but should still feature here in due course.

Thankfully, I had decided to make a quick entry this week, in the form of three limbered 15mm scale Pak40 anti-tank guns from Skytrex. These guns are to be pulled behind the three half-tracks I previously completed for this purpose. 

The guns look ok - possibly a bit blocky in places, especially around the area under the gun shield and around the wheels. But for what are basically just markers on the table, they will do!

Skytrex were also good enough to meet my request for all three guns to be limbered, rather than the advertised mix of limbered and deployed. 

These marked off another completed element of my project sheet, and should be some useful additions to the collection for our games. I've not applied any camo, so that they can match either my Heer guns or my still to be painted SS guns. Basing is my usual style, to match the other vehicles in my collection. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

AAR - Attacks on the Azeville Battery, June 1944

Hi folks,

Just getting the time to post some images from a few weeks ago, where I joined DaveD for some 15mm Cold War planning and a couple of small games of Flames of War. 

Dave had set up a table representing the German Azeville Gun Battery, around 15km from Utah beach and was first attacked by 20 US paratroopers on the night of D-Day. These troops were from the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. 

So our first game represented this small force attacking the garrison, needing to work round behind the casemates in order to break in and lay charges. 

Battery as seen from the direction of the initial US attempt

Battery as seen from the later attempt

For this initial battle, I had a US Para infantry platoon reinforced with a formation commander. Technically incorrect as per the rules, but it worked for us given the small force. This effectively split the platoon into two units, the manoeuvre element and the support element. The manoeuvre element had a command team, two bazooka teams and four rifle teams. The support element had two machine gun teams and a 60mm mortar team, as well as a command team. We allowed the 60mm mortar to direct fire smoke (another departure from the rules). 

My plan was thus - take advantage of the limited field of fire of one MG bunker, suppress the two tobruk MG positions, breach the wire and get into the trench line, then work my way round. The support element would handle suppression and direct fire smoke to offer concealment. 

Blue = manoeuvre plan, green = support and orange represents the limited arc of the HMG bunker

Things initially went well, with the German garrison being pinned due to the surprise element of the attack. 

In short order the Paras were inside the perimeter and clearing out defenders. Things were going well until the garrison troops started responding and an HMG bunker covering the rear of the position caught my assault going in and chopped it to bits. 

I'd tried to work my way round, and risked an assault against the tobruk on the right hand side of the position. Unfortunately, I think I lost a good chunk of my rifle teams going in, and was pinned before I made contact. However, I had brought up the support element, so thought I could try from another direction. 

My second plan was to loop around the second gun bunker, and try to get out of line of sight of the HMG bunker. Unfortunately my small remaining assault ran into fire from the garrison troops and was also repulsed. With that I fell back, reduced to my support weapons and little else. The Paras just didn't have the strength to take the position, despite inflicting heavy casualties. 

The next game saw an attack from the opposite side of the complex, with troops from the 1st and 2nd Battalion of the US 22nd Infantry Regiment. We represented this with two platoons of rifle infantry, an MG platoon and some DD tanks. The attack was proceeded by heavy naval gunfire. 

The artillery prep inflicted some casualties and caused some German squads to be pinned down for the whole game (they remained in their bunkers!). I used similar tactics to the first game, using a base of fire to suppress, direct fire smoke from the Shermans and careful manoeuvre to avoid bunkers line of sight. I got my rifle platoons forward and through the wire, and started them clearing out bunkers. I did lose a Sherman on the way in to Panzerschreck fire, but in short order the wire had been breached and tanks and infantry were in the position. I correctly guessed that the road entry to the position was mined!

A great couple of small scale tactical games with some roleplay twists. My first gaming in a while, and I really enjoyed it.

Many thanks to Dave for the game, the food and the wonderful table and miniatures.