Tag Archives: 6mm

Somewhere in France…

The hedges are in horrid shape. Obviously the gardener has been off with the Maquis...

The Sherman has totally got the drop on this poor Stug. The hedges are in horrid shape around the chateau. Obviously the gardener has been off with the Maquis…

This brief interlude is serving as a palette cleanser for my Napoleonics project. I picked up a copy of Spearhead a few weeks ago with a view to doing something (anything!) with some microarmor I painted up a long time ago for Normandy. I like the idea of gaming microarmor at the operational level (Spearhead can handle about a division per side, with each player commanding around a battalion). I haven’t totally committed to the rules so I haven’t based any troops or vehicles, yet, but I thought it would be fairly safe to develop some of Spearhead’s 3″x3″ abstracted built-up-areas using some buildings I painted last year.

German anti-tank column pushes through the village.

German column pushes through the village.

I’ve been using Vallejo fine pumice, mixed with paint, for all my basing needs, but it’s a little rough for this scale. I’m ok with the results I got on these two bases, but maybe there’s something more appropriate out there? Also, even the finest model railroad ballast is too chunky for 1/285 gravel, as I’ve used it at the circular drive in front of the chateau. I think play sand would be the thing to use for that sort of application.

Back side.

Back side.

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Der Kaput!

The Scarlet J and I had our second game of Jim Day’s Panzer this afternoon. As you may guess from the bad German of the post title, it was a resounding allied victory. I talked enough trash on poor old TSJ at the actual game, so I’ll be a little decorous here, and not rub it in. At least not too much.

 

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I pursued a ‘hammer and anvil’ strategy. This is the anvil.3 Daimlers, 3 Grants, and two platoons of Shermans move down a desert track in column.

 

This game is the debut of the new desert mat I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. It looks ok-still needs some work. Overall it’s a bit too dark and brown. It’s a little tricky getting the right amount of grit in the caulk mixture, when you’re intending to use the mat for 1/285 gaming. Kitty litter is enormous at that scale, but playground sand is a little too fine to get excellent texture out of. I may add some grass tufts, although that might prove difficult at this scale, too. The new mat is 6’x9,’ and took around 13 tubes of acrylic caulk to coat! The tarp I used as a backing material was around $7, and the caulk was around $50. Add in miscellaneous supplies and paint, and you’re looking at around $75 to do a similar mat. Of course, the cost goes up if you’re doing something that will require flocking.

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The hammer, light, agile, but hard hitting. Crusaders advance over a hill on the left flank. Erwin’s not-as-bright brother, Elwin, looks on.

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More Crusaders, because they’re fun to look at.

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The Scarlet J’s column of panzers. These roads need work. In fact, I may just start using some sort of fine model railroad grit for roads. I don’t think the caulk roads are ever going to look decent at this scale.

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More of the allied column. The Daimlers are pulling away in the distance, trusting to their speed and agility to keep them safe. Or safe-ish.

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The panzers deploy from the road, but the plucky (they’re always plucky, right?) Brits draw first blood.

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But the Germans return the favor, with interest. Quickly knocking out a Crusader and a Grant.

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Said knocked out Grant. But here comes trouble for the Germans.

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These are the sort of angles you want. Crusaders preparing to take some side shots into the mass of German tanks.

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Another view.

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This little wheel measures the shot angle, and is placed on the target tank. The blue shaded areas are side shots, obviously. The Sherman is a pretty tough tank in 1942. The Germans had a very tough time penetrating her armor, particularly with any sort of oblique shot.

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Things go very badly for the Germans, as the Shermans get into the action. Ironically, TSJ won the initiative at the critical moment, but at least a half-dozen hits on the Shermans pinged off into the distance, instead of causing damage.

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More Crusaders, keeping watch and taking the occasional falling shot onto weak German top hull armor.

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Even more damage is done to the Germans.

This game turned into a disaster for The Scarlet J. The Brits got position on him, and his Mk IIIs just couldn’t deal with the Shermans’ heavy armor. His long-barreled PZIVs were quickly knocked out by the concentrated fire of my Crusaders and Shermans. Without their hard hitting canons he didn’t stand much of a chance. Final score was two knocked out British tanks, and one disabled vs….um….all but three of the German tanks. Great fun for me!

TSJ and I haven’t played a game in quite some time. I’d like to develop a greater understanding of these rules, so we can begin to incorporate some of the more interesting elements, like force quality, morale, hidden movement, offboard artillery, AT guns, infantry, and, well, you get the idea. It’s all in there, and we will start adding the various sections of rules over time. I’ve also got a lot of work to do on terrain. I have the supplies for palm trees and some desert-appropriate buildings. I think we need to have a fight over an oasis, next, instead of these boring old crossroads!

The End of the Beginning

I’m about halfway through my little Microarmor project for North Afric(k)a. We’re playing this weekend, so I’d better get an un-Montyesque move on!

Here’s what I’ve got, so far.

Grants, Humber MkIIs, and good 'ol Shermans in disruptive camo. Sorry about the droopy barrels...I'll straighten them out before the next photo shoot!

Grants, Humber MkIIs, and good ‘ol Shermans in disruptive camo. Sorry about the droopy barrels…I’ll straighten them out before the next photo shoot!

I’m not so sure pennants were attached to aerials like this, historically, though I have seen photos on the internet that suggest they were. They sure will be handy for me to identify command units on the table, though.

More of the same, at a different angle. More flattering for the droopy-barreled. Next I'll be painting Crusaders, more Shermans, and a couple of 6 lber guns. Fun stuff!

More of the same, at a different angle. More flattering for the droopy-barreled. Next I’ll be painting Crusaders, more Shermans, and a couple of 6 lber guns. Fun stuff!

I finally figured out/remembered/asked what rules we are using, and they are Jim Day’s “Panzer.” This game was originally published in 1978 (and is about as crunchy as that date would lead you to believe), but there’s a version (Panzer II) from 2012, that was published by GMT. Of course, this being the wargaming world, even this recent version of the game is currently out of print. It’s on GMTs P500 list, which is a pre-order system they use to gauge interest (and reach a certain minimal level of sales).

The Scarlet J PROMISES me this is a fast playing game. We’ll see.

Looking at these photos, I have to get another lamp so I can get better lighting. That’s a constant refrain of mine. A lamp is, like, $7.99. I don’t know why I haven’t taken care of this, yet.

I’ll Grant You That…

I have just set a new landspeed record for altering New Year’s plans, having diverged from mine before the new year has even started! The Scarlet J has lured me into cranking out a few MicroArmor (1/285 scale) tanks for some upcoming North Africa, armor-centric gaming.  If nothing else, these little guys provide a nice palette cleanser from having been painting 28mm Napoleonics for the last month.

Advancing Grants

Advancing Grants

The Scarlet J is going to be fielding portions of the Afrika Corps, while my force will be loosely based on elements of the 8th Armoured Brigade, 10th Armoured Division around the time of the Second Battle of El Alamein. I hope I spelled El Alamein correctly, for once. The core of the force will be Sherman Is of the Nottinghamshire Yeomenry, but in my typical bass-ackwards way, I’ve started out with a platoon of Grants from their buddies in the 3rd Royal Tanks.

The view from a bold Storch?

The view from a bold, low-flying, Storch?

I have yet to decide if I’ll be attempting to add squadron, regiment, and divisional markings. I have decals for the squadron markings, so that wouldn’t be too tough, but things could go VERY badly trying to free-hand the other stuff.

Parting shot (sorry for the pun)

Parting shot (sorry for the pun). I really did a poor job of cleaning up the turrets.

As is typical for my microarmor painting, I more or less follow the method outlined in the excellent Fritzkrieg tutorial. I think his method produces a decent result, in a modest amount of time. I think I have around 3 hours into these 5 tanks, not counting drying time. Maybe less.

I have a pair of 6lber AT guns, scout cars, a few Crusaders, and then the main body of the force, 10 Sherman tanks, yet to paint. Oh, and I’ll need to make a desert gaming mat. And I ordered a few buildings. Yep. Seriously off the rails, here in Arkiegamer land.

I still don’t know the name of the rules we’re using. Something ancient (that means anything pre-1984) from TSJ’s archives of rules, but he assures me they’re fast and fun.

Addendum:

This Wikipedia article has a TO&E for 8th Armoured Brigade during the attack on the Mareth line in Tunisia. Apparently the Sherwood Rangers had Grants, Shermans, AND Crusaders during this operation, as well as an attached company of infantry from The Buffs. Which is way cool.

Addendum 2:

Great information from The Miniatures Page. Note to self: grab a copy of Bevis. Eschew Butthead.

Pip, pip.

It is done!

I have both ‘core’ sides for British vs. German conflicts using IABSM v3 in Normandy. Basically this means a company of infantry each, plus 10 Shermans (including a pair of Fireflies), five Stugs, and a couple of Pak 40 ATGs. I suspect I may be fielding Shermans that didn’t exist in the immediate aftermath of the Normandy invasion, but I won’t tell, if you don’t.

Here are some shots of my freshly painted and based Brits, as the German side has been well documented here.

Somewhere in there is a company of British infantry and 10 Sherman tanks.

Somewhere in there is a company of British infantry and 10 Sherman tanks.

Platoon, forward! I'll probably end up color coding the bases, at some point, to make identifying units easier. Let's face it, 6mm WWII infantry are pretty difficult to identify from more than a few inches away.

Platoon, forward! I’ll probably end up color coding the bases, at some point, to make identifying units easier. Let’s face it, 6mm WWII infantry are pretty difficult to identify from more than a few inches away.

Droopy barrels are a hazard of 1/285 armor. If I were less lazy, I'd replace them with brass. But I'm not.

Droopy barrels are a hazard of 1/285 armor. If I were less lazy, I’d replace them with brass. But I’m not.

Badly lit Shermans. Ironic, for the disparagingly named Ronsons, eh?

Badly lit Shermans. Ironic, for the disparagingly named Ronsons, eh? I went  a little wild with the decals on that Firefly in front of the manorhouse.

Now all I need to do is learn the rules and shanghai some of my friends into playing.

The Campaign(s) Continues

No big news, but there’s been positive movement on both the ACW and 6mm WW2 fronts. Unfortunately, I’m fighting a four or five front ‘war,’ but there’s no one to blame for that, except myself.

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First up, some terrain progress with the 6mm WWII IABSM 3 (that’s a lot of acronyms. TALOA, everyone!) project. I painted up two small houses, a barn, a cottage, and a manor house, all by GHQ. These buildings paint up so easily, and so nicely-a little paint, drybrush, a sepia ink wash, and you’re set! They look even better in person, where every little flaw isn’t exaggerated by zoomed in digital camera. By the way, I discovered that if you use future floor wax as a component of your ink wash, applying Vallejo matt varnish by brush afterwards reactivates the wash, and swirls it around in a not-unpleasing, but still alarming and unintended, manner.

Cottage and Villa

Cottage and Villa

This is the Villa de GHQ

This is the Villa de GHQ

Dilapidated barn and two small houses

Dilapidated barn and two small houses. Here’s where you see how incredibly lazy I am about cleaning up flash and mold slippage. It’s a little annoying that GHQ puts their trademark on the outside of the buildings (grey house, right side), but I’ll forgive them.

Houses and barn from above. My road is way out of scale.

Houses and barn from above. My road is way out of scale.

I have 10 Sherman tanks about 80% done, crops to plant on the terrain board, and a few British infantry to paint up, and this puppy will be ready to go. Unless I decide to base the buildings and make little vignettes out of them. Which I might.

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On the ACW front, I’m still mired in the long process of finishing up my Confederates. I completed a couple of limbers, disored/silenced markers, wrecked gun markers, and out-of-ammo markers, but still need to paint up an ammo wagon and an ambulance. It’s neverending! I also need to base up a brigade of the famous Danish volunteers of Texas. Oh, and I have a regiment of cavalry to paint. Woe is me! Our next scheduled game is the 15th.

Is it strange that these dead horses and wounded men make me feel a little uncomfortable?

Is it strange that these dead horses and wounded men make me feel a little uncomfortable?

These wounded Confederates are the first Blue Moon figures I’ve ever painted, and I have to say, I really love them. The anatomy isn’t quite as good as the best of the AB, but the poses are just fantastic. The wrecked gun markers (dead horses with caisson wheels) are all Blue Moon, as well. The wrecked gun ‘diorama’ style bases are kind of bugging me, now that I’ve done them. They don’t look particularly naturalistic. I’m sure it’s a skill that will develop with application and time, though.

A better shot of the wounded.

A better shot of the wounded.

The Blue Moon casualty pack includes a few accessory muskets, which is a really nice touch. Really, those figures made enough of an impression on me, that I plan to do quite a few Blue Moon figures when I switch over to paining Union troops. Oh, that unpainted 15mm resin house in the background is by JR Miniatures. Cheap, but it’s a real pig-bad flashing and pock marks everywhere. Maybe it will look ok painted.

Ok, that’s all for now. I’m going to try to finish up my Brits for IABSM in 6mm next week. Also, there’s some new stuff coming down the pike, that may be of interest.

I Have a Blog and I’m Not Afraid to Use It

Here’s an almost completely useless, yet absurdly long, post for you all.

On or around the new year, I wrote about 2014 being the year of finishing projects, and today I took some steps in that direction. Way back when, I had planned to create a terrain board for the TooFatLardies scenario from I Ain’t Been Shot Mum called “Action at Galmanche.”

“Action at Galmache” takes place in Normandy, July 8, 1944, as a part of Operation Charnwood and the British and Canadian attack on Caen. The terrain is farmland, consisting mainly of orchards, although there’s a smattering of cultivated land, as well (currently represented by a brown blotch at the upper right of the first photo).

Forces consist of a couple troops of Shermans and an infantry company on the British side, and a company of SS Panzergrenadiers and a PAK40 on the German side. No STuGs, though they feature prominently in my photographs.

Anyway, I had gotten to the point where the terrain board was flocked, but stalled out due to school and indecision on how to represent bocage at 1/285. Well, I cheaped out and just spent a couple hours hot-gluing clump foilage directly to the terrain board. It will work, even if it doesn’t really look like bocage.

My trees, which were created for 15mm ACW really don’t work as an orchard. Unless maybe it was an orchard of gargantuan Pecan trees. Which I’m quite certain they historically weren’t. However, in the interest of expediency, the action will take place in what looks like a particularly well ordered and sparse antediluvian forest. I actually have a couple more bags of “We Honest” Chinese trees that should work at this scale, but I’m not sure I can muster the energy to fix them up, at this particular point in time.

The whole thing fits on my drafting table

The whole thing fits on my drafting table

Those gleaming silver buildings are from GHQ, and just arrived yesterday. They’ll be primed and painted just as soon as I can clear my table of some ACW stuff I’ve been working on. Like all things GHQ, they’re just little gems of wargaming perfection. Or almost perfection. There’s some pretty bad mold slippage in a couple of the buildings. Which might bother someone who is more discriminating than me.

I would (and probably will) like to put a bit more time into making this board look like a real place, as I’ve moved away from the idea of doing terrain boards (lack of space, lack of flexibility, lack of time) and probably won’t have the chance, again.  I need to paint a few Sherman tanks, and print up the cards I created for the scenario, plant some crops in the corner of the board, and then this project should be ready to roll.

I plan to use the whole setup as a way to introduce people to historical miniatures wargaming. I mean, nothing’s cooler than these little bitty tanks. The sheer miniatureness of it is compelling, somehow.

Stugs advance down the road from the manor house.

Stugs advance down the road from the manor house.

I was so mad this shot was out of focus that I decided to use it anyway.

I was so mad this shot was out of focus that I decided to use it anyway.

This orchard holds death!

This orchard holds death!

Oh, all miniatures are GHQ except for the infantry, which are the wonderfully bobbleheaded Adler figures. I really do like them!

A Quick Tip for Painting Microarmor

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If you plan on painting Microarmor, start saving those plastic pizza box spacer stands (the ones that keep the lids from being crushed). The legs are the perfect size for slipping into the hull cavity of a 1/285 tank.

Progress!

Is that a full reinforced company of Panzergrenadiers (well, minus their transport) with a bit of armor and gun support? Why, yes it is! 6mm, I love you and your quick-to-paint ways.

Adler infantry, GHQ armor and guns

Adler infantry, GHQ armor and guns

Now I need to get cracking on my Brits and some terrain.

End of the Year Wrap-up

It’s been an interesting year. I dove into the wargaming hobby headfirst in late 2011, with the intention of developing forces and terrain in 1/72nd for WWII skirmishing. That objective lasted about 2 months, at which point I began to branch out in subject and scale. For instance, I’m currently trying to do WWII in 1/285! Other interests include 1/72 Napoleonic Skirmish, WW2 air combat in 1/600, 28mm dark ages and medieval skirmish, 28mm old west, 15mm sci-fi, and I’ve even started messing about with some old 25mm fantasy miniatures that I’ve had since I was a kid.

The impact of all this dithering about is that I’ve played exactly one game of historical miniatures in 2012, and it was pitifully small (though quite fun). I’m not too upset-I really enjoy being able to chase whatever hare crosses my path modeling/painting-wise, but I’d really like to do more gaming in 2013. So, here in bullet point form are my goals for 2013.

Finish company level forces (German and British) in 1/285 for WWII gaming by mid-January.
Decide on a type of terrain for 1/285. I’ve been waffling back and forth between some sort of sheet/pastels system and more formal boards.
Build the 1/285 terrain and put on a full WW2 game using Too Fat Lardies rules, I Ain’t Been Shot Mum v3.
Finish platoon level sci-fi forces (Khurasan Feds vs. As-yet-to-be-determined foe) by June.
Build a modular terrain system for 15mm gaming and play some Tommorrow’s War using the aforementioned sci-fi minis.
Once these two goals are complete, I’ll consider myself free to pursue other miniatures gaming interests.
What are the chances of me adhering to these goals? Practically nil. We’ll see, though. I’m actually pretty close on the 1/285 stuff. My Germans are 75% painted, and my British armor and a company of infantry arrived in the mail last week, so the barrier of having the figures has been crossed.

A few pictures of some things I’ve been working on in the last couple of months follow.

I have no idea what manufacturer they came from, but I love these sculpts.

I have no idea what manufacturer they came from, but I love these 25mm fantasy sculpts. The fellow on the right is far from finished, obviously.

I have big dreams of suckering the local gaming club into trying out miniatures wargaming through Old West skirmishing.

I have big dreams of suckering the local gaming club into trying out miniatures wargaming through Old West skirmishing.

Perry Brothers Crusaders and some Foundry Vikings. I'm not sure what to do with these guys, and obviously I'd have to buy more figures (and shields!).

Perry Brothers Crusaders and some Foundry Vikings. I’m not sure what to do with these guys, and obviously I’d have to buy more figures (and shields!) regardless of the rules.

GHQ armor, and Adler German Infantry. You're looking at a platoon of Stugs, a couple of Pak40s, and a platoon of Panzergrenadiers with some additional elements.

GHQ armor, and Adler German Infantry. You’re looking at a platoon of Stugs, a couple of Pak40s, and a platoon of Panzergrenadiers with some additional elements.

This is where I'm at with my German forces

This is where I’m at with my German forces

Adler infantry, GHQ armor.

Adler infantry, GHQ armor.

I struggle painting Napoleonics. I have a half-dozen unfinished Voltigeurs that are driving me nuts!

I struggle painting Napoleonics. I have a half-dozen unfinished Voltigeurs that are driving me nuts!