Tag Archives: WWII

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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All the Way!

I haven’t been painting much the past couple of weeks, but I did manage to finish off my company of 82nd Airborne troops in the M1942 uniform (suitable for Normandy). These minis are 15mm Command Decision figures, as sold by Old Glory, and I’ll be using them with Crossfire and possibly Fireball Forward. 15mm US Airborne are SO much quicker to paint than the 15mm Confederates I’m used to-I can easily do 20-30 figures a week.

I have their Wehrmacht opponents based and ready for primer, but I expect the Germans will be a little slower to paint, what with water bottles, gas mask canisters, and the like.

Full Company

Full Company

Company commander and forward observer team are in front. Three platoons are arrayed in a line (three stands of three figures, each), with platoon commanders behind. In the rear are 60mm mortars and some ‘heavy’ machine guns. It was pointed out to me that the water cooled 30 cals wouldn’t have been a part of any operation involving jumping out of airplanes, but I painted them, so they’re making an appearance here.

Right flank detail

Right flank detail

Left flank detail

Left flank detail

Center detail (out of focus)

Center detail

Not So August Progress

It’s been a slow couple of weeks around here at Arkiegamer HQ. I did manage to finish up my 251/D, and knock off a regiment of Blue Moon 18mm ACW figures for Regimental Fire and Fury, but have only now gotten around to photographing them. I had posted earlier progress work on both of these little projects here.

These panel gaps are more 1980s General Motors than any-decade vehicle of German manufacturer.

These panel gaps are more 1980s General Motors than any-decade vehicle of German manufacturer. Still, those MG-42s should prove fearsome to my Chain of Command opponent.

No tripod!

No tripod!

Possibly ahistorical placement of Panzer Lehr division marking.

Possibly ahistorical placement of Panzer Lehr division marking. + Panel line gaps.

Troop compartment.

Troop compartment. I’m particularly happy with the weathered wooden slats on the benches. Not that I managed to record the recipe for future use.

I think the Hanomag turned out OK, painting wise, but I need to do a MUCH better job of modeling on the remaining two halftracks from the Plastic Soldier Company box. I’m still a bit baffled as to how I got the panel lines so off, when it came to final assembly! Better track weathering and stronger use of color, overall, are two other areas that could be improved.

General's View

Yank general’s view

The Yank View

The private Yank soldier’s view

I like these Blue Moon figures. They’re not particularly realistically proportioned, it’s damned hard to get three of them on a 1″x3/4″ RF&F base, and they require more cleanup than the AB figures that I’m used to, but I like them. You’ll probably see more figures of this manufacture on the blog in the future, when I finally get around to starting my Union force.

This is not my best painting job-I’m regressing! Maybe I need to invest in a pair of glasses, or just be a little more patient. They look decent on the tabletop, though.

This particular regiment appeared in last week’s game as the 6th Mississippi. They acquitted themselves quite well for a newly painted unit!

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That’s all for now-I should have a couple of terrain projects to show in a few weeks, but updates are going to be iffy in the immediate future due to real life interruptions. Bah!

Run, Rabbit, Run!

I suffer from a serious case of gamer ADD and have rabbited off after another project.

I spent the week piddling around with some test figures…15mm Command Decision sculpts by way of Old Glory miniatures. I have some vague intention of playing Crossfire or maybe Fireball forward with these guys.

Really, this new project is a part of my quest to sucker some of my board gaming friends over the line into playing miniatures. Or maybe I’ve just rationalized a way to get and paint some more miniatures. But hear me out, anyway!  So far, levels of interest in ACW have been very low, and while a buddy of mine played in a test game of Chain of Command with me, he constantly had this confused and/or overwhelmed expression on his face.  He said he’d play again, but I think he was just being nice.

So, I need a rules set less intimidating for newbies, and it needs to address a more popular historical subject. Everyone’s seen Saving Private Ryan, and probably had to watch The Longest Day on a Sunday afternoon when they were a kid, so I think WWII is the period to go for. Crossfire reads as if it would be easy to play (though I hear it’s difficult to master (which isn’t a bad thing)), and it has some nice mechanics that do away with some of the common complexities of wargames, but the armor rules are less than satisfying. I haven’t read Fireball Forward, yet, but I’ve read it has similar innovative mechanics to Crossfire, but addresses armor a bit more equally. I have a copy on the way to me, so I’ll soon find out the truth of the matter. Feel free to express an opinion below!

Here are some D-day/early post D-day paratroopers I’ve painted up. I intend for them to be 82nd airborne, though I haven’t committed to painting unit insignia, yet. They’ll remain unbased, until I’ve settled on a set of rules.

 

This means I'll have to do 20' of 15mm bocage! Maybe I should switch to the East Front.

This means I’ll have to do 20′ of 15mm bocage! Maybe I should switch to the East Front.

I think the painting is ok, though the flags are a bit too high contrast, and the webbing is too low in contrast to the basic uniform. The sculpts are plenty good for the price, which is roughly $0.30 per figure.

 

 

 

Build Bocage, Buddy (Part II)

Part one of this bocage making tutorial is located here. In this part, we’re going to be working on foliage.

Here are the materials you’ll need:

  • Your banks from Part I.
  • Generic air filter material. I got mine at Lowe’s. It won’t have a cardboard border, or anything fancy like that, on it.
  • Scissors
  • Fingers
  • Big piece of cardboard or posterboard
  • Brown spraypaint.
  • Tan spraypaint.
  • A garage.
  • Hot glue gun (and hot glue). Other glues may work, but I like the hot stuff because it’s super quick.
  • Spray bottle. I have a Woodland Scenics one, but an old window cleaner bottle would probably work just as well.
  • Warm water/white glue (70/30)
  • Coarse flock. At least two colors.
  • Fine flock (only for the discriminating terrain maker)
  • Box-o-flock
  • A back porch.
Ye olde generic air filter material. Notice the blobby little bits on the face of the material? I think this stuff is cut with heat, somehow (laser? heated saw?), and this melts/cauterizes the faces. This makes the faces a bit more structurally rigid, which you can use to your advantage.

Ye olde generic air filter material. Notice the blobby little bits on the face of the material? I think this stuff is cut with heat, somehow (laser? heated saw?), and this melts/cauterizes the faces. This makes the faces a bit more structurally rigid, which you can use to your advantage. I think this cost me +/- $6 at Lowe’s.

Cut a strip roughly the same size as the base the foilage will belong to.

Cut a strip roughly the same size as the base the foilage will belong to.

Give it some shape with your scissors. Eliminate all right angle edges.

Give it some shape with your scissors. Eliminate all right angle edges.

I think the air filter material works best with the cauterized nodules at the top and bottom of the filter mass. It withstands the weight of glue and flock better than the alternate orientation, which tends to lead to a 'scooped out' look to the top. In any case, it's time to use your hands. Tear, tease, rip, and otherwise cajole the air filter material into a vaguely hedge shaped 'cloud'. Test fit, and trim, tease, rip, and cajole until you're happy.

Time to use your hands. Tear, tease, rip, and otherwise cajole the air filter material into a vaguely hedge shaped ‘cloud’. Test fit, and trim, tease, rip, and cajole until you’re happy.

More foliage clouds.

More foliage cloud test fits. DON’T GLUE THEM DOWN YET.

Get some paint. The brown will be the primary color. The tan will be used for highlighting. This stuff doesn't need to be very high quality. It's more about quantity, really.

Get some paint. The brown will be the primary color. The tan will be used for highlighting. This stuff doesn’t need to be very high quality. It’s more about quantity, really.

This lovely photo is of a bunch of foilage pieces painted brown. You'll need to do this somewhere protected from the wind, as the filter material is extremely light. Which means a garage, most likely. Get a big piece of cardboard and a tarp to protect the floor.

This lovely photo is of a bunch of foilage pieces painted brown. You’ll need to do this somewhere protected from the wind, as the filter material is extremely light. Which means a garage, most likely. Get a big piece of cardboard and a tarp to protect the floor. Air filter material will take a LOT of spray paint to get good coverage. Expect to do multiple coats. Yes, I hate it too. Suck it up, buttercup.

Brown, oh brown. This is after three coats and an overnight drying. You can still see a bit of blue. Not a biggie. Proceed. Get your hot glue gun, and, working quickly apply it to the toothpicks. pull the foliage down on the toothpicks, snug with the tops of the dirt banks. If you're having trouble getting everything done on time, you can go one toothpick at a time with your hot glue gun, and sort of 'roll' the foliage on, until you're up to speed. Clean up the inevitable glue spiderwebs, then go back to the garage, this time with your tan paint.

Brown, oh brown. This is after three coats and an overnight drying. You can still see a bit of blue. Not a biggie. Proceed. Get your hot glue gun, and, working quickly apply it to the toothpicks. pull the foliage down on the toothpicks, snug with the tops of the dirt banks. If you’re having trouble getting everything done in good time, you can go one toothpick at a time with your hot glue gun, and sort of ‘roll’ the foliage on, until you’re up to speed. Clean up the inevitable glue spiderwebs, then go back to the garage, this time with your tan paint.

Lightly dust the tops of your bocage with the tan paint. This is just to give it some volume and light effects. Don't worry about your banks, it won't hurt them a bit. The figures are just for scale reference-don't paint them tan!

Lightly dust the tops of your bocage with the tan paint. This is just to give it some volume and light effects. Don’t worry about your banks, it won’t hurt them a bit. The figures are just for scale reference-don’t paint them tan!

Now on to the fun part. Mix together various colors of coarse turf together in a good sized box. I like burnt grass and medium green. Maybe add in some fine turf, too. Maybe a little yellow grass color. You get the point-mix up flock until you have a nice complicated mix of colors. DON’T USE A SINGLE COLOR. Please.

Grab your big piece of cardboard you used to paint on, your bocage-to-be, your box-o-flock, your spray bottle of water and glue (I like 70/30 using warm water. Seems to mix better), and go somewhere somewhat protected from the wind and where you won’t get in trouble making a mess. I like the back porch, myself.

Hold the bocage upside down over your big piece of cardboard and spray the heck out of it with your glue mix. You’ll probably get some drops on the bank. That’s not a bad thing. Maybe shake the bocage piece a couple of times, and then transfer it over to your box of flock. Guess what’s next? Yes, apply flock to the foliage. I tend to scoop it up and ‘pat’ it on to the filter material, in an effort to control how much drops onto the banks, but it’s not a big deal if some does get on the banks. You can scrape it off later, or leave it (which actually looks pretty good).

Let it dry, and then do any cleanup to banks, gates, ground, or whatever. Spray it again to help lock down the flock. Dry. Spray it a third time. Maybe spray it with a nice smelling hairspray after the glue fully dries for a third time. Realize that the bocage is STILL going to shed a bit of flock, and learn to accept it.

What? You expected me to get my camera out when a bunch of liquid glue and flock is flying through the air?! Phhhttt.

Kidding. Sorry about the lack of pictures of the flock step. If it’s confusing, please let me know and I’ll try to clarify.

Anyway, looks like this:

photo 1 photo 2 takingposition onthemove moveit leader combatphotography thefarmPlease excuse the ugly house and 15mm scaled rock walls. I need MANY more feet of bocage. I’m thinking around 30′ for a 6×4 table. I need to make corner pieces, as well. And more gates.

The pictures are from a test game of Chain of Command I played with a friend yesterday. Lots of moving parts to keep track of. But fun!

 

Another Squad for Chain of Command…

I haven’t been very productive the past couple of weeks, but I did finish up another squad of US troops for Chain of Command. These are Fantassin/Warmodelling figures that I’ve had for quite some time. They’re nowhere near the quality of AB in sculpting, or in casting, but they’ll certainly be serviceable on the table. The figures with static grass are re-paints, and had previously been decked out in late(r) war green.

.30 cal machinegun team on the left, squad in the center, Bazooka Joe (and his pal) on the right.

.30 cal machinegun team on the left, squad in the center, Bazooka Joe (and his pal) on the right.

One more squad to go, and I’ll have a full infantry platoon, plus a couple of support options. I may bulk these guys out with more bazookas, a 60mm mortar, and a machinegun squad, so that they can also serve as an armored infantry platoon. If I go that route, I’ll probably order the AB ‘prone’ US squad to serve as the figures to round out the machine gun teams, who are suppose to have crews of 5. The standing figures really don’t make sense in the context of a deployed .30 cal.

A warning to anyone thinking of getting the US .30 cal team figures from Warmodelling-they have excessively large bases, so it’s impossible to properly mount the gunner behind his weapon AND it’s impossible to marry up the loader’s belt of ammo with the weapon intake. Well, that’s not exactly accurate: it’s only impossible if you don’t modify the figure bases and test fit everything together before fully painting up both figures and the gun. :/

SquadSquatch

Squad 1 (plus a radio-man)

Squad A (plus a radio-man)

 

Work has been insane the last couple of weeks, so I haven’t made a ton of progress on the miniature-paining treadmill, but I DID complete a squad of WW2 United States infantry. The figures are AB. Code INA01, from the Eureka Miniature USA website, to be more exact. These figures are a real joy to paint. The only downside to how nice the sculpts are is that now I’m considering going back and redoing my Germans using AB figures. Le Sigh.

I need to paint up another two squads of Americans, plus some miscellaneous support forces, and I’ll be able to field both sides for games of Chain of Command. Considering WWII skirmish is the initial project that sucked me into this hobby, it’s pretty exciting to finally be getting that project into playable state!

Detail Shot: 1/3 of Squad A

Detail Shot: 1/3 of Squad A

Detail Shot: 1/3 of Squad A

Detail Shot: 1/3 of Squad A

Detail shot: 1/3 of squad A

Detail shot: 1/3 of squad A

Some command figures I'd already painted, but not taken a good (I use the term loosely) photo of.

Some command figures I’d already painted, but not taken a good (I use the term loosely) photo of.

In related news, The Scarlet J just about has an American platoon together, so there should be some Chain of Command after-action-reports appearing soon-ish. Which reminds me, bocage production hell awaits.

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.

Cards for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum 3

——EDIT EDIT EDIT

Just a note to say that I’ve updated this card set on 3/3/2014 to include a teabreak card, plus a few tokens for shock, pinned, suppressed, and overwatch. I think they’re actually fully functional, now.

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Wow, it’s been a while!

I recently completed a set of custom cards for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum 3 and I’m sharing them with anyone who would care to download them.  These cards will provide you with all you need for Scenario Three in the main rule book: Action at Galmanche.

This is what they look like...

This is what they look like…

Here’s a dropbox link to the cards.
The cards are meant to be printed out on 8.5″x11″ paper, although there’s enough white space surrounding the graphics that you should be able to print them full size on a4 or a5 (or whatever the near-equivalent of US letter size is). I’d suggest printing on a nice light card stock. The first page in the binder will provide you with a generic card back. The other pages contain the ‘working’ areas of the cards. There are 30 cards, in total.

If anyone uses these, I’d love to hear how they worked out for you, and what you felt they were good at and where you feel they lacked. I’m also happy to answer any questions. Enjoy!