Friday, 8 July 2016

Some French Line Infantry Completed

I finished these fourteen line troops recently. They had been sat just awaiting basing, which has now been done.

As you can see, three bases of four, which are nominally "companies," plus a couple of skirmishing Voltigeur. I'll need another box of those fine Perry French plastics to round out my 24 man battalion. With another box I should get this battalion up to full strength of six companies/bases and then complete another battalion too.

Gains. Small, but nevertheless there.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Some 40k Progress

Behold! A completed 40k miniature!

I finished this scout over a short while, no major effort really.

I was inspired to play my new Lost Patrol game, and rather than paint the plastic minis in the box, figured that I could use my Dark Angels scouts instead.

Next up is a Heavy Bolter wielding chap.

Beginning of a US Infantry Platoon

I completed my first lot of US Infantry today. These fine fighting fellows were bought for me by the lovely Lady K, and so I have enjoyed painting them up and sharing the experience with her. 

I am building my platoon to the guidelines in I Ain't Been Shot Mum, so three squads of ten men. These squads are made of two big bases with four men each, plus a small base with two men. As you can see I am a little shy of the full platoon at the moment, the six two man bases are on the desk and getting attention. Once done, I will do a proper shoot of the whole platoon.  

I like the way they troops look and I am pleased with the basing scheme. These chaps will eventually land in Sicily and fight their way through Italy. Of course opposition will need to be purchased, but this project is not very high on the priority list and painting these figures is more a labour of love for me. 

Heer and Gebirgsjäger Paint Scheme Tests

The painting bureau is currently covered in a whole bunch of Poles and progress is good. I have almost completed the figures required for the Operation Squad game I have planned. The Poles will, however, need an opponent. To that end I have started thinking about the Germans. 

Now, I have never painted German infantry before, so this is new territory for me. That said, of all the belligerent nations of World War II the forces of the Third Reich are well provisioned with painting guides and I have saved myself from the insanity of painting awesome looking, but suicide inducing, German camouflage! 

Luckily the Early War German army has a sharp and simple colour scheme that shouldn't prove too time intensive. The most useful resource in this instance was from the Flames of War website, who have this rather handy pictorial guide:

Copyright Battlefront
I decided to do one Gebirgsjäger trooper (a Black Tree Design figure) and one regular Heer infantryman (from Crusader Miniatures). The Crusader fellow is a tad taller and bulkier than the Black Tree fellow, but they seem happy enough alongside each other. 

The Heer chap is sporting the standard tunic, while the mountaineer is wearing his reversible anorak. This was white on one side and grey on the other. The cool thing about the Gebirgsjäger is the variety of their uniforms. They are quite an "ally" outfit, as the photos below attest:

During the research phase for this project I spent an awful lot of time trawling for photos or drawings of German mountain troops. And I found a few colourised ones. The one above is from the Caucasus, so after Barbarossa was launched.

The photo below is from Austria in 1939. It is clear that these chaps weren't much for regulation kit, and I love the way that colours change almost randomly. 

The drawing below is a helpful painting aid for the wargamer keen to field Gebirgsjäger

Additionally, I used this fine little volume to help me along.

Using all the information I had gathered I had a go at painting both the miniatures and ended up with this:

The photos aren't that great, just some quick snaps on my iPhone, but I think it get across the idea of the uniform. I am quite pleased with the results, although the basing isn't done yet. Once they are complete I will drag out the lightbox and take some better pictures. 

I will cover my method in a separate post later, but in simple terms I simply blocked the colours, then washed with black ink, followed by a highlight. I did a little lighter highlight on the green of the collar, helmet, and gas mask canister. I also realise that I haven't highlight the black yet, but that is just a case of completion really. For the purposes of a test model I am quite happy with the results I have achieved. 

I have decided to stick to do the bases of my Germans similar to those of the Poles, though I think the Gebirgsjäger will likely be a little more rural. As usual, the author is grateful for the opinions of readers.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Review: Agema Miniatures Velites

I purchased this plastic boxed set some time ago from Northstar, during one of their sales no doubt.

Having painted up a pair of miniatures I thought I would share my thoughts on these figures. YouTube video below:

Here are some pictures of the painted miniatures for the record. Apologies for not light-boxing it.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Operation Squad Opposing Forces

Further to my last post, I have been looking to put together my two forces for Operation Squad Evolution: Germans and Poles for the September 1939 campaign. The rulebook contains lists for American, German, Soviet, and British forces, while additional lists are available from Massimo Torriani's website for free. The PDF is a must have, since it has the lists for the minor nations and some more lists for those nations already covered in the main rulebook. 

The rule set has suggested force compositions, although my personal tastes lean towards ignoring these in favour of the requirements of the scenario. Additionally, there is a points system, which again, is entirely optional to my mind. I think that knowing the point system might be interesting regardless of whether it forms part of the list building exercise. Who knows, perhaps it might give us some insight into balance within a scenario?

First up is the basic German Heer squad of 1939. This section is led by a Obergefreiter. I also decided to upgrade the spare rifleman from the LMG team to a Gefreiter to give the section a little low-level leadership, after all, someone has to square the lads away and get the ammo state for the section commander! Ranks in brackets are the ones used in the rules, the actual ranks are provided by me.

German Heer SquadTotal points:530
Obergefreiter (Sergeant)Kar98k, Stg39 grenades60
LMG Team
Gefreiter (Corporal)Kar98k, Stg39 grenades60
MG34 GunnerMG 34 LMG, Stg 39 grenades90
2 AssistantsKar98k, Stg39 grenades80
Rifle Team
8 RiflemenKar98k, Stg39 grenades240

As you can see this minimal section comes in at 530 points. I didn't adjust any of the points values, even though I downgraded the Obergefreiter and Gefreiter to Kar98k rifles from the MP40 sub-machine guns they automatically come with. This section is made up of thirteen men. 

Next up we will consider the Polish squad I want to put together which is essentially a Chain of Command Polish section. Again, ranks in brackets are the ones used in the rules, the actual ranks are provided by me.

Polish Rifle SquadTotal points:660
Plutonowy (Sergeant)Kb wz98a rifle, wz33 grenades50
BAR Team
BAR GunnerKm wz28 automatic rifle, wz33 grenades60
3 RiflemenKb wz98a rifle, wz33 grenades90
Rifle Team
2 Kaprali (Corporals)Kb wz98a rifle, wz33 grenades100
12 RiflemenKb wz98a rifle, wz33 grenades360

The larger size of the squad means that it is slightly heftier in points. The partial mobilisation and chaos of the Polish army at the beginning of September 1939 means that fielding a Polish section understrength seems quite reasonable. The Polish list provided by the rules authors also lists Polish riflemen in "sections" of three. I gave two men in the Rifle Team a field promotion to the rank of Kapral, a sort of Lance Jack position analogous to the Gefreiter above. 

The next step would be to paint up these figures and generate a suitable scenario for them to engage in, but more on that later.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Movement on the Polish Front

I've been quietly working on more Polish infantry, reading more and more about the September 1939 campaign, and generally working myself up into a frenzy as my imagination thinks of different scenarios that I will be able to play once my miniatures are painted.

There is, however, a problem. As I have said before, I intend to play platoon level actions using Chain of Command from TooFatLardies, but a quick perusal of the Polish list reveals the large size of the Polish section. 

With a section strength of 19 men, and three sections, a platoon of Polish infantry comes in at 57 men, plus an additional headquarters element of 7, bringing the total up to 64. 

In contrast, a German platoon of the same campaign has 13 men per section, three sections, with a single officer. 40 men in total. The problem is that I am far from my minimum requirement for a full Polish platoon, in fact, I haven't made it to one Rifle Team yet! This doesn't pose a huge problem, since platoons are seldom at full strength in the field as campaign attrition sets in, but with less than one section Chain of Command looks very far off indeed. 

But then it struck me, why not play section level combats? The scale would essentially be that of a firefight, with each soldier operating independently or in pairs. Patrol size. To that end I dug up my copy of Operation Squad: Evolution that promises squad level actions. Having read through the rules, they seem to fit the bill for what I have in mind. Pairs or individuals operating on a dynamic battlefield, about 4' by 4' in size. The rules themselves are relatively generic in terms of weapon statistics and troop quality isn't a complex matrix of variables, so tinkering shouldn't prove too difficult. 

In order to get playing, I am intending to use these rules, two small section sized forces, and the excellent Platoon Forward! campaign rules by Joseph Legan, from TooFatLardies. Mr. Legan's rules are a treasure trove for the solo wargamer, and are rules agnostic.

There comes a point at which one really just wants to play with one's toys... I fear I am there now.