Saturday 31 August 2013

Egyptian Support Elements (and TutanGromit I)

I managed to grab some time to paint some more 6mm Egyptian infantry, starting with these support elements. First off is this SA-7 team, one of the key differences between 1967 and 1973 conflicts was the Egyptian use of SAM weapons to nullify the threat of the Israeli Air Force near the Suez. These Heroics & Ros figures came from the Soviet Paratroop set with dobs of Liquid Green Stuff for helmets...

Additionally I painted up a couple of 120mm mortar teams, I probably should have done these on the bigger bases with more crew but they will do for the time being. Like the SA-7, they come from the paratroops pack.

Gromit of the Day:

TutanGromit I

Friday 30 August 2013

IDF Magach-3 Conversion (and Vincent van Gromit)

A few days back I posted about how I'd done some conversion work to a GHQ M48A5 to make it look more like the IDF Magach-3 from 1973. I hadn't really wanted to take a knife to these lovely models but having bought ten I had little option if they were to look realistic.

I've now painted the test subject and am quite pleased with the end result. All markings are had painted this time as I wasn't going to dick about with the GHQ decals on the turret here.

Now I just need to sit down and convert the remaining nine...

Gromit of the Day:

Vincent van Gromit

Thursday 29 August 2013

The World's End (and Bushed)

Because of the sound SNAFU watching Elysium we received a couple of free tickets so Saul decided we had to go and watch the final instalment in the "Cornetto trilogy". No, I'd never heard of it either, nor noticed any Cornetto's in Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz (I am assured they are in there) but the trailer The World's End looked fun and hopefully would erase the mess that is Paul from my brain.

Now a film about five middle age men on a pub crawl walking into a robot invasion is not going to be the most complex of plots, but I found it entertaining enough and for the most part amusing (and I got the Cornetto gag!). It might not be as good as Shaun or Fuzz, but it's not that far behind and it is head, and shoulders better than Paul...

Gromit of the Day:


Wednesday 28 August 2013

Undead Pirates of the Black Coast (and Golden Gromit)

It's amazing how a week's holiday ends up being eaten up by Dad's Taxi duties, but that's how it's been the last two days. Still, when he's a Rock God and keeps me in the lifestyle I'd like to become accustomed to I'm sure it will be worthwhile!

So plans to paint some more 6mm infantry evaporated today as I had to drive Saul to some recording sessions but I did manage to grab five minutes to drool over the latest ArcWorlde Kickstarter models and the newly painted Undead Pirates...

Gromit of the Day:

Golden Gromit

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Elysium (and Dog Rose)

Despite reviews of Neill Blomkamp's new movie Elysium being a bit underwhelming I decided to give it a go this afternoon. Like most people I loved District 9 and I must say that, despite the best efforts of the cinema to bugger things up by losing sound half way through the end act, I loved it.

I'm not sure why some people don't like it, it is intelligent enough SF, it has political message about immigrants, the effects are excellent (and not all CGI) and Matt Damon does a decent job. Well worth seeing, the utopia/dystopia background oozes gaming potential and I really want a model of the military Raven shuttle...

Gromit of the Day:

Dog Rose

Monday 26 August 2013

Expedition to Book Mountain (and Five A Day Dog)

Tank Battles in Miniatures 5 has an interesting bibliography that I began to investigate, one of the books was Otto Von Pivka's Armies of the Middle East published in 1979. Upon further investigation my immediate reaction on seeing the cover was that it looked very familiar...

Yep, somewhere high up Book Mountain (a sister peak of Lead Mountain) I found I already von Pivka's book and it is excellent. Not only covering the armies of all the Middle East nations (from Tunisia, via Ethiopia to the Emirates with basic uniform details great for identifying suitable 6mm miniatures, it contained an excellent synopsis of all the wars from 1948 to 1978 (not just the Arab-Israeli ones) and an atlas of the Middle East Wars. Great stuff.

Alongside von Pivka I rediscovered Samuel Katz's Israeli Tank Battles (covering Yom Kippur and the invasion of Lebanon), Edgar O'Ballance's No Victor, No Vanquished, which if I recall is a pretty decent unbiased account of the 1973 war and General Avraham Adan's The Yom Kippur War, a personal account of an armoured division commander also published as On Both Sides of the Suez and On the Banks of the Suez.

I just need to find some time to read them now...

Gromit of the Day:

Five A Day Dog

Sunday 25 August 2013

A Big Box of Shiny (and Sugar Plum)

Urban Dictionary: shiny - To be good, in a state of being good, to be having a good time. Something that is great, neat, very cool, peachy keen.

Yep, I think that sums up this box of goodness that I received from Empress Miniatures yesterday. You may recall one of the perks of supporting their Devil Dogs Kickstarter was 20% off their existing moderns range. I did my best not to max the credit card but couldn't resist some modern Brits, US army and insurgents, as well as an ex-Imprint Stryker and LAV-25. I've only had a quick look, but these miniatures are absolutely shiny! I promised myself that would be it, but they just sent an email saying the offer is extended to include the recently purchased Red Star Miniatures range. Damn...

Gromit of the Day:

Sugar Plum

Saturday 24 August 2013

Tank Battles in Miniature (and A Mandrill's Best Friend)

Like many wargamers of a certain age, my first introduction to the proper hobby was via the local library and the books by the likes of Featherstone, Quarrie, Wise etc within. I booked many of these volumes out so often that my memory plays tricks with me and I think I actually owned a copy! One of these was Tank Battles in Miniature 5 Arab-Israeli Wars 1948 -73, I was convinced the other month I had a copy when on further investigation showed I only have volumes 1, 3 and 4 covering the Desert War, NW Europe and the Med. Fortunately Amazon was able to provide a second hand copy in no worse condition than the ones I owned for a very reasonable price.

I've been skimming through it in the odd moments of peace today and am impressed with what an excellent piece of work it is, especially the information on the weapons of the various wars as well as unit organisations. Some sections are a bit weird, the ideas around skirmish gaming seem more akin to role-playing than skirmish gaming as we know it today, but overall, an impressive book and well worth getting hold of if you are going to be bitten by the AIW bug when the FoW supplement comes out.

Gromit of the Day:

A Mandrill's Best Friend

Friday 23 August 2013

Frère Contre Frère (and Blossom)

Back at the tail end of 2011 having read Colin Smith's England's Last War Against France: Fighting Vichy 1940-42 I expressed an interest in in exploring the possibilities of some platoon level battles in the Levant (Vichy Lebanon and Syria) despite a lack of suitable 28mm miniatures. Since then I have been discretely hunting down suitable figures, picking up odd blisters of the inter-war French Foreign Legion  Foundry released for a short time.

Dominion forces were always likely to be 8th Army proxies or conversions but this week I was lucky to win some old Battle Honours Punjabi and Australian infantry on eBay. It was great to finally get hold of some WW2 Indian infantry who are not Sikhs and the Aussies are in shorts so perfect for service from the Levant to Tobruk.

Not sure when I will get around to painting them but having finally hunted down suitable troops the project is one step closer. Anyway off to read the latest magazines that arrived dropped through my electronic letterbox this morning...

Gromit of the Day:


Thursday 22 August 2013

Red Phoenix (and It's Kraken, Gromit!)

Back in the Eighties I was an avid reader of multi-book fantasy series and techno-thrillers, a bit of a strange mix to be sure. The latter included the likes of Tom Clancy, Harold Coyle and Larry Bond. Bond, as you may know, is also a wargamer and the author of the modern naval wargame Harpoon

After writing Red Storm Rising with Tom Clancy, he started writing his own novels kicking off with Red Phoenix set during a modern day Korean War with the North launching a winter invasion. I recently downloaded a cheap Kindle edition of the book I read some twenty-five odd years ago and found that it had not dated too badly and provided an entertaining enough literary diversion. It was certainly engrossing enough that I didn't realise that it was gone one in the morning when I finished it! 

From a wargaming point of view the background and battles in the book are inspiring enough for my brain to start pondering more 6mm projects beyond the Arab-Israeli War. 

Having finished Red Phoenix I immediately checked out what other Bond books were available on Kindle and downloaded his second novel Votrex which is set in South Africa for just 77p (I might find a use for the nineteen Rooikat 105's I found the other day!)

On a related note I de-based a pile of Heroics modern 6mm infantry to see what can be used for Egyptians, Syrians etc. They include Soviet infantry, old style (pre Fritz) US infantry, modern German infantry and some excellent Soviet paratroops which can be converted into infantry with a blob of Liquid Green Stuff for helmets if needed. Tomorrow I will sit and sort them out into units, I just need to see if the Germans will pass muster as Israelis to whether I need to pick up a specific pack.

Gromit of the Day:

It's KrakenGromit!

Wednesday 21 August 2013

(1918 Month) 246 Squadron Blackburn Kangaroo (and Snow Gromit)

I managed to stick the decals on my Der Kampfflieger (Shapeways) Blackburn Kangaroo this lunch time.

This model represents one from 246 Squadron (495 Flight) based at RAF Seaton Carew. On 28th August 1918 with Lieutenant W F Waring piloting, this plane sank UC-70.

I love the Kangaroo, despite its limited operational life, it just looks so Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines and I just had to get a model when one became available...

Gromit of the Day:

Snow Gromit

Tuesday 20 August 2013

1973 Egyptian Infantry (and Lodekka)

Enthused by painting up some tanks for my forthcoming Arab-Israeli project I cast my eyes about for something else to paint up and found a box of old half painted Soviet armour, softskins and infantry. The infantry are Heroics & Ros which may be a few decades old but have always been a favourite due to their scale and proportions as they fit in well with the vehicles.

The Soviets will work well for either Egyptians or Syrians and as my initial efforts will centre on the Sinai I based up some partially painted troops initially earmarked with service in Afghanistan as the ground pounder element of an Egyptian Mechanised Infantry Platoon, five Rifle MG bases, three RPG teams and one Company Command SMG team (the next platoon will dispense with this base and gain an extra Rifle MG one). I just need to buy them some BTR-152 or BTR50's now.

In keeping with FOW concepts I used the same size 40 x 25mm bases as the vehicles use for the Rifle MG teams and smaller 20 x 25mm ones for the RPG and Command elements. I have never based 6mm infantry on bases this large before but they allow for a more realistic spacing of troops than is normally seen on the wargames table.

Painting was relatively straightforward with an overall desert sand, a bit of black, tan and flesh before a thinned Strong Tone wash which worked really well. Ok, they are not perfect but they look ok from a foot away which is nearer than they will be seen on the table.

I found a load more unpainted Soviet infantry yesterday along with the tanks so will probably crack on with a second Egyptian platoon soon as they don't take much time to paint, before ordering some Israelis and WW2 British to use as Jordanians off Heroics & Ros.

Gromit of the Day:


Monday 19 August 2013

Bit of a Tank Day (and Hullaballoon)

A little while back I picked up this 1/72nd Altaya Chieftain MK.V off eBay for my ColdWar: 1983 2nd edition project. Whilst the game focusses on infantry at section and platoon level the odd appearance by a tank is covered and to my mind nothing says Cold War like a BAOR Chieftain sat poised for the red hordes on the IGB!

The model is a pre-paint and required little work. I used some Army Painter Black Shade wash to bring out some of the models detail and then did a bit of dirty mud weathering on the tracks, wheels and lower skirts.

Moving back in time a decade and down a few scales at bit of research on the IDF M48's (or Magachs as the Israelis called them) showed that the IDF dispensed with the mg turret on their 105mm versions. The GHQ model appears to be an M48A5 so needs some surgery to make it more realistic.

I did baulk at this as the whole point of using GHQ was for the fantastic detail and I groaned when I discovered C-in-C do an M48 with the Israeli hatch. Shame I bought ten of the GHQ ones before I knew what I was doing! However I decided to have a crack at converting one model using a hatch made out of Green Stuff and a spare .50 cal machine gun and am reasonably pleased with the results. I had ordered an accessory pack of machine guns to fit to some jeeps so clearly Jesus looks after small animals and stupid wargamers...

A rummage through a filing cabinet draw this evening led to the discovery of more useful models purchased back in the late eighties including six more Centurions (these will probably be painted as Jordanians), six T54/55's, three T62's, two M51 Shermans and three M60A1's. There was also a lot of Scotia South African armour which I cannot recall what I bought for but if the AIW FOW project works out, maybe Angola may be next.

Gromit of the Day:


Sunday 18 August 2013

IDF Sho't Meteor (Centurion) Platoon (and Paisley)

Taking a break from the planes yesterday afternoon I finished the first models for my 6mm Arab-Israeli Wars project...

As previously posted I have been inspired by Big Lee's 6mm Desert War project using Flames of War, not only is 6mm a lot cheaper than 15mm, but also the board will look less like a car park than games of FoW usually look like.

I've started with the Israelis as I already had some Centurions sitting in Lead Mountain, but will be going with M48's for my main tank company. The plan is to raise both a tank company and mechanised infantry company with support elements for the Israelis.

Regarding my basing dilemma I have gone with 40 x 25mm for vehicles and will use 20 x 25mm for smaller elements. Any concerns I had around commercial availability of bases this size was quashed by visting Warbases who did exactly what I wanted in 2mm MDF.

The only fly in the ointment has been the decals. I decided as I near my dotage that I am no longer up to painting small unit markings so bought GHQ's white chevron decals. What sort of numpty produces white decals on white paper?!! Also they are one solid sheet rather than individual decals so require careful trimming which is not easy when you can barely see the buggers. Let's say there was a bit of swearing and 15mm did look a better idea at one point yesterday! I will see how they work on the M48's and M3 half-tracks, but I may be investing in a high quality detail brush soon...

I have been using Daniel McCoy's Six-Day War FoW guides from his Broke Low blog and those on the NDC blog for this project, but it was interesting to see what will be coming with October's Wargames Illustrated...

Gromit of the Day:


Saturday 17 August 2013

(1918 Month) USMC Squadron 9 Dayton-Wright DH4 (and Creature Comforts)

This is a Dayton-Wright DH4 serving with Squadron 9 of the Day Wing, Northern Bombing Group,  United States Marine Corp at La Frene France in October 1918.

The USN Northern Bomber Group comprised of Marine and Naval squadrons organised into Day and Night wings both with the mission to bomb the German submarine bases at Ostend, Zeebrugge and Bruges. Squadrons 1 to 4 were the Night Wing Squadrons flying Caproni 450's, whilst Squadrons 7 to 10 were the Day Wing Squadrons flying DH-4's and DH-9's.

This is the old Nexus Wings of War model and like the RAF version I really didn't like the pre-paint scheme so decided to paint it. It was only after I found a picture on Wings Palette that I liked I realised that despite a different coloured lower fuselage , the pre-paint was supposed to be the same model.

The pre-paint was marketed as an American Expeditionary Force plane and whilst clearly carrying USMC markings the colours are correct for the AEF. Another illustration shows the plane in AEF colours with USMC markings (like the pre-paint) and states it is an ex-army plane so I am speculating that it is one that was inherited by the Northern Bomber Group and repainted sometime in 1918 with naval grey.

The tail fin also caused some concern. The colours were blue-white-red up to January 1918 and then changed to red-white-blue. The illustration dates the plane to October 1918 but has a pre-January tailfin. I'm not sure how quickly the change was done on existing planes but as it was ten months after the order I have gone with the post January regulations.

1918 Month has hit a bit of an impasse as I forgot to get some Ottoman decals in for my Osmanlı Tayyare Bölükleri planes so these have now been ordered as have some larger RAF decals for my Blackburn Kangaroo and Vickers Vimy. I do have some Austro-Hungarian models to paint which I am trying to summon the courage up to have a crack at...

Gromit of the Day:

Creature Comforts

Friday 16 August 2013

(1918 Month) 3 Squadron AFC RAF RE8 (and Oops a Daisy)

There was certainly no plan to painting an aircraft from a third Australian Great War squadron after the 1 Squadron Brisfits and 2 Squadron DH5's but here we are! The intention was to paint this Red Eagle Harry Tate up as an Estonian Aviation Company machine, but when I discovered they only had one operational RE8 and its service history lasted twenty minutes before crashing killing both pilot and observer the idea of hand painting the triangular Estonian national markings seems remarkably unattractive...

The main users of the Harry Tate were the British and Australians and 3 Squadron AFC flew them in France over the Armentieres-Ypres front in March 1918. This particular machine was called Sylvia and was normally piloted by Captain Reginald Francis DFC.

Sylvia set a record for British and Dominion forces by completing 440 hours of service flying and 147 missions over German lines, so whilst she is not the prettiest model in my collection, she is one with a  special history.

Gromit of the Day:

Oops a Daisy