Monday 30 June 2014

October War: Syrian 9P148 (BRDM-2 w. AT-5) Company

The big pile of GHQ models I bought earlier in the month contained rather a lot of BRDM-2 models, more specifically a lot of BRDM-2 variants as only four of the twenty odd models were the basic BDRM-2. Several were the 9P148, the BDRM-2 equipped with a rack of 9K113 Konkurs anti-tank missiles (the AT-5 Spandrel in NATO speak). GHQ incorrectly market this as the BDRM-3.

I painted three up in the two colour green-yellow Soviet desert camouflage used by the Syrians and many Soviet client states, as well as the Russians themselves in Afghanistan. I don't know for definite if the Syrians used these in 1973, I think the Spandrel did see action in the October War, I'm just not sure if the BDRM mounted version did.

Both the Egyptians and Syrians appear to have used the 9P122, the BDRM-2 with 9M14 Malultka (AT-3 Sagger) and I have a few of these that I will paint up as Egyptian in due course.

Rather confusingly the models I bought also included seventeen BRDM-2 UM's, the command variant with a small box on the roof. I've painted up three of these in the two colour scheme but am not sure what I will use them with or what to do with the other fourteen!

Painting Target: 354/1000

Sunday 29 June 2014

October War: Egyptian JS-III Tank Company

As you may recall the big box of Arab-Israeli models I bought earlier in the month contained ten GHQ JS-III's which I have now painted up as an Egyptian tank company.

In 1967 the Egyptians had one hundred of these beasts and their low profile and 122mm gun made them feared opponents, but by 1973 they had been relegated to training use and as static bunkers the African side of the Suez.

I decided that to get the most use out of them to paint them up in the overall 1967 sand scheme even though in 1973 they had been repainted in the three colour scheme (at least the training ones had, not sure about the bunker ones).

For the 1973 bunker JSIII's I am looking to building some clip on earthworks that I can slip over the base of the model into.

Finally I'd like to say thanks for all the kind comments regarding my efforts over the last month in 6mm. They are very encouraging, especially when you have a lot of unpainted white metal staring you in the face! 

Painting Target: 348/1000

Saturday 28 June 2014

October War: Israeli M51 Sherman Tank Company

One of the most iconic of images of the Arab-Israeli Wars has to be that of the upgraded Israeli M50 and M51 Shermans.

Often called Super Shermans or Ishermans (Israeli Shermans), although not by the IDF, they had by 1973 largely replaced in the IDF Armoured Brigades by the Magach's and Sho't's with only the 19th Reserve Armour Brigade being equipped with them on the Golan Front.

However they did continue in service with the IDF's Mechanised Brigades and as I now have rather a lot of them I have painted up a company of fourteen M51's for October War action.

The models are old GHQ 1/285th's, the markings (such as they are) hand painted.

Painting Target: 338/1000

Friday 27 June 2014

October War: Egyptian T-62 Tank Company II

Back to the October War and the Egyptian Tank Battalion, I managed to paint another nine T-62's to finish the second company.

Once again they are old GHQ 1/285th models, painted in the three colour scheme used by the Egyptians in 1973.

Here is the complete ten tank company with the command vehicle painted earlier added.

Just another nine T-62's to go and the Battalion HQ unit and the key elements of the unit will be done.

Painting Target: 324/1000

Thursday 26 June 2014

WW3: Red Storm Reading

Work stopped play today as I had to go to Birmingham (gutted to find Wayland's Forge has relocated from its city centre home so I couldn't pick up the brushes I wanted), so sat on the train I started to make a list of WW3 books to read (or in most cases re-read). Obviously there are not a lot of history books for WW3, but some of the fiction is very inspiring and at least one is written as a history book!

Kicking things off is General Sir John Hackett's The Third World War written in 1978 (with a follow up The Third World War: The Untold Story 1982). Written as a history book I loved this book as a teenager but haven't read it in decades. Telling the history of a war in August 1985 I need to dig it out asap.

The mother of all WW3 books of course is Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising, one of the first techno-thrillers and an epic book covering land, sea and air with the Soviet Union invading West Germany as part of a plan to cover up an energy crisis. The naval battles were apparently played out as a wargame using Harpoon by the author and Larry Bond. I re-read it a couple of years ago and enjoyed it immensely.

Another not read in a number of years in Harold Coyle's Team Yankee, recounting the battles of a company sized US armour unit in Hackett's war. Another I enjoyed immensely at the time that needs digging out and re-reading. Coyle subseqently wrote a number of other hypothetical war books with the US and Soviets fighting in the deserts of Egypt, the US fighting Mexico and a great, if slightly far fetched US v German troops in The Ten Thousand (essentially a reworking of Xenephon's Persian Expedition). The latter of course allows you to pitch Leopard II's against M1A1's so could provide some fun.

The war from the British perspective is told in Bob Forrest-Web's The Chieftains. This book used to be as rare as hen's teeth but is not fortunately available on Kindle. It has a very British feel to it and the ending is somewhat different to Clancy. Coyle etc.

Kenneth Macksey wrote a superb Operation Sealion book, Invasion, that I used to get out of the library a lot as a teenager. He also wrote First Clash detailing the Canadians efforts against the Soviets in West Germany and I have a copy somewhere that I can't recall reading.

The view from the other side of the hill is told by Ralph Peters in his book Red Army. I haven't read this one for a long time either but I recall it being well written concentrating on the Soviet soldiers more than the hardware.

There are of course others like James Rouch's Zone series set on an NBC wasted battlefield a few years in to the war and authors like Larry Bond who write some great techno-thriller alt-histories but set in Korea, South Africa etc but these are too divorced from the eighties NATO-WarPac slugfest I am currently interested in.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

October War: Israeli Recon Jeep Platoon

Back to the October War and I managed to grab some time today and paint up an Israeli recon jeep platoon and start a second Egyptian T62 company...

The four 1/285th jeeps are minute so I based them on the smaller command bases rather than the standard ones I'm basing all the other vehicles on as they looked lost on the larger bases.

Great little models, these are the old one piece GHQ ones with 106mm recoilless rifles. The newer GHQ jeep models have the rifles as separate pieces which might be a bit fiddly. I won't need any more for the Israelis but may use some for the Jordanians.

On the subject of the Jordanians, Daniel McCoy has updated his Flames of War intelligence briefing for them, including a number of new units based on his research (including a mechanised engineer platoon with Saracens!). Great work by Daniel, a copy can be downloaded here.

Painting Target: 315/1000

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Empire of the Dead: Painting Wallpaper

I had to pop down B&Q this morning to pick up some superglue for ongoing October War project and whilst there had a quick peruse at the textured paintable vinyl wallpapers, not for any DIY project mind you...

Many moons ago I used some of this for the grass and ploughed field parts of some Aeronef terrain to pleasing effect (see photo above) and I was wondering whether they would have some patterns suitable for the cobbled streets of Empire of the Dead.

I have found two different patterns that could do the job. The first is pretty much perfect for cobbled streets as can be seen from this (rather small) sample I have quickly painted. I think this will do for the rougher areas of the East End...

The second sample I was somewhat unsure of, the pattern is not quite right when looked at closely but from a distance of about two foot I think it looks pretty good. This said do I really need two different styles of cobbled street?

Monday 23 June 2014

WW3: Red Storm Rising?

Rummaging through 'Lead Mountain' recently I discovered a pile of GHQ 1/285th modern Soviet AFV's I bought in my youth, some of which (the ZSU-23-4's) I pinched for the October War project. However there is a lot that are not suitable for AIW action so I have been pondering what to do with them...

With a pile of T-72's, BMP-2's, 2SU's, etc I did consider staying in the Middle East and venturing into the Gulf and/or Iraq Wars, but having spent most of the weekend reading through the posts of Mike Edward's Stopping The Red Tide blog, I quite fancy some 1980's IGB action, especially given the fact that the battlegroups needed are quite small.

Mike has put a lot of effort into converting Flames of War into a modern set and with the negative experiences of Challenger back in my youth, I quite fancy trying FoW here as well as with the AIW (the fall back is always Cold War Commander).

As well as the rules conversion, Mike has produced army lists for NATO, WarPac and non-alligned countries. Daniel McCoy (who produced the excellent Six Day War FoW lists) is "tarting" the lists up and the first of which (the US Army) has now been produced the in swanky new look.

Reading through the WarPac lists, I seem to have much of what I need for a couple of the WarPac forces, the Soviet Guards Army Regiment and East German National Volksarmee Regiment appealing most based on what is in 'Lead Mountain'.

Finally, this blog post means we have reached...

I'd like to thank each and every one of you for reading my ramblings and commenting on them, it has been great fun sharing my efforts and the blog has gone a long way to increasing my painted output considerably, all I need now is to get some gaming in!

Sunday 22 June 2014

October War: FIBUA

With the miniatures production line coming to a temporary halt as I have run out of bases I have been turning my thoughts to terrain - namely buildings.

Inspiring rural base at
I have fallen in love with these Middle Eastern building terrain boards on 6mm wargaming and part of me wants to create something like the picture above. Whether I do or not will depend on the buildings I can source to go with the couple of Irregular ones I already have.

Leven Miniatures desert dwelling
Big Lee is using buildings from Leven Miniatures for his WW2 desert project. These are quite nice (and perfect for WW2) but possibly a bit too rough looking for an era when concrete buildings have become the norm.

GameCraft Middle East shops
The best range appears to be GameCraft Miniatures with a superb selection of resin buildings including a petrol station, residential buildings, shops etc. The only negative is that they are in the States and that means postage and customs could be an issue. That said I may well use them for select items that cannot be sourced in the UK.

The final source I have found (with photos so I can see the items - Battlefield Buildings take note!) is TimeCast whose range falls somewhere between Leven and GameCraft.  I have taken the plunge and ordered a few buildings off them (as well as some palm trees) to see what they are like.

Saturday 21 June 2014

October War: Egyptian ZSU-57-2 Anti-Aircraft Company

Remembering I had the four original bases that I previously used on my rebased Sho't Meteors I was able to finish four more AFV's for the October War project today - a battery of GHQ ZSU-57-2's.

Although somewhat out-dated by 1973 the ZSU-57-2 was still in service with the Egyptian army during the conflict (indeed some upgraded models were still in use in 2003).

I decided to paint these models in the basic overall sand style rather than the three-colour camo. The logic behind this was that the ZSU-57-2's were the primary AA vehicle in the 1967 war, so with a future eye on the Six Day War, I went with the '67 look. The rationale here being that these ZSU's were in a second line unit in 1973 that had not been repainted in one of the new schemes (the Egyptians did have a variety of schemes in 1973 so for me this is not beyond the realm of possibility).

I also added crew figures to the vehicles by chopping up some Heroics & Ross Soviets. I appreciate they are sitting (standing?) a bit high in the turrets but I like the end effect.

Painting Target: 311/1000

Friday 20 June 2014

October War: Egyptian Mechanised Infantry Battalion BMP's

Now being the proud owner of 35 1/285th GHQ BMP-1's, I decided my Egyptian mechanised infantry could ride into battle in style (even if historically the Egyptian infantry found them unbearably hot when buttoned up so rode into bottle with the rear hatches open!)

I've painted three companies each comprising of two 3 vehicle platoons and a 2 vehicle battalion HQ. Again the scheme is the Egyptian three colour one, though I must confess to struggling to find a photograph of an Egyptian BMP in this (or any other scheme). I did find photos of Syrian BMP's in the Soviet sand/green scheme but decided to stick with the three colour look (especially as I still have 15 BMP's left for the Syrians to misuse).

Ps. last Thursday Clint asked how long my Heroics & Ros order took to arrive, well I'd only ordered it that day but it arrived yesterday so the answer is one week! Unfortunately these BMP's have used up my stock of laser cut MDF bases so an order went into Warbases yesterday.

Painting Target: 307/1000

Thursday 19 June 2014

October War: Jordanian Centurion Armoured Squadron

After some prevaricating I decided that I didn't like the Jordanian M113's I posted yesterday as the final (diluted) ink wash had made the main sand colour (Vallejo Green Ochre) too dark. So I repainted them...

This time I did not put a second wash on after the Reflective Green camouflage pattern was added but added a lightened Green to the pattern to provide some highlights. With a bit of Buff weathering I am much happier with them and the Jordanian Centurions I also painted.

As stated yesterday the 40th Armoured Brigade's Centurions saw action on the Golan Front in 1973, impressing the Israelis in the fighting but failing to co-ordinate well with their Syrian and Iraqi allies. The unit is also suitable for the 1967 Six Day War and the 1970-71 Jordanian Civil War when the 40th Armoured fought the Syrian 5th Division which invaded Jordan to support the PLO.

I'm happy with the look of the Jordanians and the Centurion company, they make a nice change for the Israeli sand grey! :-)

Painting Target: 287/1000

Wednesday 18 June 2014

October War: Jordanian Mechanised Infantry Platoon

The masses of Arab-Israeli white metal I bought last week contained rather a lot of Centurions with 20 pounders (the Sho't Meteor in Israeli parlance), more than I really needed when added to the few I already had in Lead Mountain. I painted one company's worth up for the IDF having identified the 205th and 679th Armoured Brigades used this variant in 1973 but what to do with the rest?

The obvious answer was to paint them up as Jordanians for 1967 (given the amount of M51 Shermans I have the IDF will not need any more Sho't Meteors for the Six Day War when I around to it!). However I then remembered that the Jordanians had engaged in a limited fashion in 1973 on the Golan front, sending the 40th Armoured Brigade into Syria a week after hostilities commenced.

So I've decided to raise a small Jordanian force using the spare Centurions, some 25 pounders and these GHQ M113's I bought last week, all I need to complete the unit for Flames of War is a pack of Saladin armoured cars and M42 SPAAG Dusters (and the good thing is that this unit is perfect for the 1967 war as well as 1973 and the fighting with the Syrians in 1970).

The M113's were a straight forward paint job to test the paint scheme before embarking on the eleven Centurions. I do need to decide on the infantry though, in 1967 they wore British WW2 helmets but by 1973 had switched to the US helmet, a distinctive difference even in 6mm...

Painting Target: 276/1000

Tuesday 17 June 2014

October War: Egyptian ZSU-23-4 Anti-Aircraft Company

Folllowing an-Naksah (The Setback) of 1967, the Egyptian armed forces received many upgraded weapons systems from the Soviet Union including the ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" SP AAG. As the Egyptian plan for the October War relied heavily on its ground forces operating under a SAM and AAA umbrella, I had to have some Shilka's in my Egyptian arsenal.

These GHQ models have been sat in Lead Mountain for a long time (they were part of the licenced Minifigs range from nearly thirty years ago) and have been rescued from a half painted Cold War Soviet army I started way back when.

I did consider painting them in the standard Soviet desert two colour camouflage of sand and green so they could see service with the Soviets in Afghanistan as well as the Arab armies in the October War but decided to with the three colour Egyptian pattern as I really like it.

 Painting Target: 272/1000