sci fi

sci fi

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Where is the Independent Republic of Nbuto?

Yes, indeed.

I've been thinking of drawing up some sort of simple map to set out the geography of my AK47 colonial settler nation, the glorious Independent Republic of Nbuto. In all of the games that I've played so far against Jon's Lumatan-Zumatan forces, I've written up an after action report that features a few key locations. From the shanty towns of Watumbi, via the Wanayani Bridge over the Chokwe River to the Mtwange-Batufu corridor, the geography of Nbuto has gradually taken shape. However, it's all a bit vague at the moment, in true AK47 style.

What I'd like to do is sketch out the relative position of some key areas and locations, so that it all starts to make some sense. I'll definately want to include some disputed border lines with neighbouring Lumata and Zumata. I also want to add a couple of other adjacent countries that I can adopt as future territories for my Dictatorship and Superpower Backed armies. I will then be able to add in the places I've already mentioned in dispatches, adding some interesting features such as lakes, rivers, swamps, railway lines, roads and towns, alongside the usual areas of hills, bush and jungle.

I've got some holiday time coming up in a couple of weeks so I'll set some time aside when I'm away (not in France for a change!) to devise a map and a little historical background for the Nbuto regime.

Back on Track

I managed to get a base coat of 50:50 GW Knarloc Green / Foundry Phlegm Green Shade on all of the remaining ARVN vehicles, except the field guns, this afternoon. I've decided to blitz the ARVN APC's and Tanks in one go otherwise I'll not get them finished by half term, which starts on the 13th February. I'm going to try to get the second drybrush coat done this evening if I can squeeze it in.

I've also given the bases of the finished stands a light drybrush highlight of GW Bleached Bone following the sage advice of the chaps over on the CWC Forum. It's definately 'lifted' the tone of the bases from red to orange, which is what I was after in the first place. Now all I have to do is add some static grass, foliage etc to finish the bases off. Before I dive in at the deep end with this I'm going to try out a couple of different approaches on some 50 x 50mm bases which I will subsquently use as the stands for the F5A fighters, if they turn out OK.

Finally, I managed to pick up a copy of the AK47 supplement for the old second edition rules today on Ebay. I've borrowed a copy of the supplement before to check out the rules for snipers, rockets, cavalry and the like but, as I'm not into gaming Lebanon, the rest of the book remained unread. However, as it's now out of print I thought I'd snatch up a copy! I'm sure it'll be of use for some extra add ons in future games of AK47, even if the bulk of the rules aren't of interest. It only cost £1.20 plus postage too.

Excellent!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Hotwheels Zotic

Whilst rummaging through my box of diecast Battlecars related stuff I found this converted but unpainted Hotwheels model. It's a Zotic, whatever that means, with a Dark Future gun stuck on the roof and extended by the addition of a long brass rod barrel.

I've also added some drop weapons pods on the back end using N scale oil drums, which make perfect 'depth charge' style drop pods for oil, spikes or smoke. I got to the undercoating stage with this one then put it aside for some reason and completely forgot about it. It shouldn't take too long to paint up alongside one or two other conversions that I have in mind.

ARVN Base Painting

Not a lot done today due to family stuff taking up most of the time I had to spare. I have had a crack at the ARVN bases though, with a heavy drybrush of GW Bestial Brown, followed by a lighter drybrush of GW Vermin Brown and a highlight of GW Vomit Brown. It looks OK, as you can see in the photo, but still a little too dark red and a little less orange than I'd like. Once I add some static grass and clump foliage it should look a bit less barren.

I also got some late birthday presents, including a £25 Peter Pig gift token thing from my sister, which I'm going to spend on extras for the AK47 army. I also had a parcel through the post of some bits and bobs I ordered from Peter Pig including some militia figures, Toyota technicals and an SU122 SPG, so a good day in retrospect despite the lack of progress on the ARVN.

Friday, 29 January 2010

J Wings F5A Freedom Fighter


I've already got one 1/144th scale J Wings Northrop F5A for the ARVN battlegroup but, when another one popped up on ebay a few days ago I thought I'd add to my ground attack capability. I'm allowed a flight of two VNAF F5A's in the battlegroup list so why not?

The model arrived from Hong Kong today, which was pretty quick! It consists of a prepainted fuselage with canopy, wings and tailplanes attached. The extra components including the nosecone, fuelprobe, undercarriage, hardpoints, tanks and bombs are attached to seperate sprues. There's also a small sheet of yellow and black checkerboard decals to apply to the fuselage.

It's a really nice model and will need minimal effort to assemble, although I'll need to make a new flight stand for it to replace the plastic one supplied in the box. It should look pretty good next to the other one I already have as they shoot across the table in a low level strafe run. The aircraft is in the markings of the VNAF 522nd Fighter Squadron which operated out of Bien Hoa air base in the early 1970's. There's some good footage of the unit in action in this clip:

Thursday, 28 January 2010

January Deadline

For various work related and domestic reasons, I haven't made much progress this week on the ARVN, or anything else for that matter. After an initial burst of activity at the start of the week I've tailed off over the last couple of days, resulting in a slow down in painting that is starting to cause a bit of a bottleneck.

Unfortunately, this weekend is equally full of family related 'things to do' so I don't know how much time I'll be able to claw back. I am going to get the next block of ARVN, including the rest of the tanks and at least one unit of APC's, up and running by Sunday even if it means a couple of late nights (or even early mornings).

I definately won't get the ARVN done by the 30th though, which makes my half term schedule for each project seem like a sensible decision in retrospect. Not a good end to what has otherwise been a quite productive month at the workbench.

AK47 Helicopters

I really like helicopters in AK47. They add a bit of unpredictability to the game, either failing to turn up at all or, when they do, flying off at inopportune moments. However, they can also be devastating if you get decent dice rolls!

The models also look very cool!

I haven't used helicopters for transporting yet so I thought I'd include an air landing assault force in my next army, which has the option of a chopper airlift for the Professional unit. As a result, I've stockpiled four old 1/100 Nubee Mil Mi4 kits that I picked up over a period of time on ebay.

The Mil Mi4 is a bit of a classic with a real 1950's look, making it perfect for an AK47 army. It also features in Cold War era clips from Soviet propaganda films, which are very serious in a socialist-realist way, but also quite funny:




I'm going to use three of them as transports, giving me an effective lift capacity of 12 bases. The last one I'm going to convert into a gunship with rocket pods and a heavy machine gun in the underslung cupola. The Hound had a bathtub style macine gun position under the fuselage which I might leave off the transports but keep on the gunship.

I've also got a 1/100 Nubee kit of a Mil Mi1 Hare liason / training helicopter which I might build up as a flying staff car for my Commander in Chief. I'm not sure how it would work but it would be a pretty neat alternative to a GAZ jeep.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Hotwheels Kitbash

I had an illicit rummage in the kids toy box this evening and managed to salvage half a dozen decent Hotwheels cars for Axles and Alloys. I thought about a post-apocalyptic Mad Max rusty spikes and boilerplate approach but, based on the ones I've already converted, I've chosen a couple of souped up road race type cars for conversion into lethal pursuit vehicles.

One I could tackle first is the Pontiac GTO Judge in the picture above. The toy I found has lost it's ridiculous supercharger thing from the front end, leaving a neat rectangular recess in the bonnet which would be perfect for mounting a heavy weapon of some sort. For a simple conversion job, I could superglue the axles to stop the wheels spinning then add a Dark Future gun mount of some sort in the hole left by the absent engine block. A quick black spray undercoat and it'll be ready for painting.

Nice and easy.

AK47 Dictatorship Army

I dug out my box of figures and vehicle kits the other day to work out some units for my next AK47 army. I've chosen to do a dictatorship army as it gives me the option to have a professional unit and, therefore, an excuse to include a few helicopters and air strikes.

In 2nd edition AK47, a Dictatorship has the following restrictions:

Between one and two Militia units.
Between one and four Regular units.
Up to one Professional unit.
No militia tanks, APC's or Armoured Cars.

I'm planning to field the maximum infantry units for each of the three grades i.e. two Militia, four Regular and one Professional, together with transport vehicles and armour. This sounds like a lot but if I stick to four small arms bases per unit as a bottom line, with heavy weapons and RPG bases as extras, it shouldn't be too much to paint up.

For my previous western equipped Colonial Settlers army, I differentiated the three unit grades by using beret troops for Professionals and kepis for Regulars (I didn't have any Militia units). This works really well and it's easy to see what's what on the tabletop. I'm going to do the same for the Dictatorship units which will have Soviet kit throughout but with helmets or perhaps berets for the Professionals, Hardened Militia in caps for the Regulars and bareheaded Militia for the Militia.

This is the breakdown for each of the three grades:

Professionals

8 x Small Arms
4 x RPG
2 x HMG
2 x Mortars

2 x RCL

3 x Transport Helicopters (Mil Mi4)

1 x Helicopter Gunship (Mil Mi4)

4 x APC's (BTR60's)

Air Support - 1 x MiG17

Regulars

12 x Small Arms
6 x RPG
4 x HMG
4 x Mortars
2 x RCL

4 x T55 Tanks

3 x Towed Guns (76.2mm)

6 x APC (BTR152) - these can double up as tows.

4 x Jeeps / MG (GAZ 67)

2 x Armoured Car / MG (BA 64)

1 x Towed AAA (ZPU4)

Militia

16 x Small Arms
8 x RPG
2 x HMG
4 x Mortar

4 x Technicals / MG

1 x Truck / RCL

2 x Truck / AAA
There will also be a commander in a GAZ jeep. I've even got a kit of a Mil Mi1 helicopter which the commander could use, if I can work out how to fit it into the rules.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

BKC 12mm French 1940

Here's a few more pictures of my old Minifigs 1940 French battlegroup in 12mm for Blitzkrieg Commander. The whole lot comprises an infantry battalion, at a scale of one stand = one platoon, plus one light tank and one heavy tank squadron as attached units, together with an off table heavy artillery battery.

This gave me a grand total of around 1500 points.

They've been used against both the Italians and Germans with limited success although I was learning the rules at the time and didn't do too well, at least against the Germans. I haven't used them in a few years so really should dust them off for a game using the new edition of the rules.

ARVN Bases

I decided to texture and undercoat the bases of the finished ARVN units yeserday as they didn't look good in just the undercoated mdf. I used the standard method of diluted PVA and fine sand to create some texture then, when it was dry, I washed over with GW Dark Flesh. This gives a good strong undertone for later drybrushing with lighter shades.

I'm trying to repeat some bases I painted up for both my HOTT skeleton army and my 12mm WW2 French battlegroup. For both of these I used a similar shade of red earth, followed by drybrushing and washing using GW colours, but I've forgotten which ones I used. It looks quite good and would be perfect for the orange soil of Vietnam, if only I could figure out how I did it!

The picture above, of a Hotchkiss 25mm AT gun, shows the sort of thing I'm aiming for. I guess I'll just have to experiment until I get it right. When I have cracked it I'll also have to work out how I'm going to do the flock and grass effects, to create something approaching an 'in country' look.

Axles and Alloys 2

This looks like a lot of fun: http://axlesalloys2.blogspot.com/

I've had a long term plan to convert the old GW boardgame of Battlecars into a miniatures game using Hot Wheels cars and large 15mm Sci Fi figures. I've even converted a couple of toy cars into Mad Max style machines using some old Dark Future weapons sprues I picked up on ebay.

The one in the picture above is a Hotwheels Dodge Viper with a few 'extras' bolted on.

I'd seen the original Axles and Alloys rules before but with this new second edition I may well be tempted to raid the kid's toy box and retrieve all the Hot Wheels, Maisto and Matchbox cars that I bought for them (well, for me actually...just don't tell the boys).

It would make a quick filler in project for a rainy day and would give me the excuse for a bit of kitbashing / scratchbuilding too. I wonder if I can get some other club members to give the rules a test drive?

Monday, 25 January 2010

ARVN CO Stand

Here's a photo of the ARVN CO stand that I've done and dusted. It looks a bit more interesting if you zoom it up to full screen size (honest). I think I nailed the color match too, compared to the picture of the Walker Bulldog at the top of the page.

I very nearly had a spray varnish disaster with the units I've painted up as you can see in the photo. It looks like it's snowing in South Vietnam but it's actually the fall out from an old can of Railmatch matt varnish that I was forced to use when the satin stuff didn't look right.

I've now finished the first batch of units, although the bases need to be textured, painted and flocked, so I can now move on to the next ones in the production line.

One down, four to go!

ARVN and AK47

I've nearly finished painting the CO stand and the attached support bases plus the HQ for the tanks, the FAO and the FAC. They're all looking quite good so far but I still have to finish a few details and do a bit of weathering before I can move on to the next unit. I'll also have to scenic the bases but I think I'll leave that until all the painting as been done. I'll aim to get some photos up by the end of the day if I can.

Next up will be the rest of the tanks and the two M113 mechanised squadrons. I'm not sure I'll finish everything by the 30th but I'm going to try! If I don't, the Norwegians might get pushed out of the way and saved for another time. I like painting 10mm but I'd also like something a bit different next.

As an alternative, I've had another look at my stockpile of AK47 stuff and reckon I could get started on the dictatorship army next, if I can squeeze it in alongside the Raiden Ju88 production line? I could at the very least, knock up a couple of units towards the army as light relief from splinter camouflage painting in 1:285th scale!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Pithead British

As a bit of a feasibility study I've costed the stuff I'd need to get from Pithead to do the 5th Battalion of the Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry including a battery of 25pdr's from the 214th Infantry Brigade's attached 179th Field Regiment RA.

This works out at £36.40 plus postage, so around £40.00 in total. Not bad!

I could add some extras such as a tank squadron, either 31st Tank Brigade Churchills (for Normandy) or Shermans of the Sherwood Rangers (for later on), an AT battery of 17pdrs and 6pdrs from the 333rd AT battery RA or a platoon or two of attached HMG's from C Company of the 8th Battalion The Middlesex Regiment, but these aren't essential and can easily be retro-fitted onto the infantry battlegroup as and when I feel like it.

Even if I don't tackle this lot now I could set them aside for a rainy day later in the scheme of things? And it doesn't break the N.Y.R. as I already have the rules and some 10mm British vehicles!

Time to make up my mind...

Hill 112

I've just been reading about the battle for Hill 112 of July - August 1944 in The Fighting Wessex Wyverns. If you read the first hand accounts of the fighting by the 43rd Wessex Division it makes you wonder how they actually managed to capture the hill at all, given the intensity of the German artillery, tank and small arms fire together with the fanaticism of the SS defenders.


I've also found out that the Falkirk Wargames Club did a game based on Hill 112 for the York show in 2007. There are some pictures on their site:


It looks like a 1.300th scale effort and has some very nice terrain, figures and models. I'm not sure I'd want to play this on the British side! If I do eventually decide to set up a 10mm battlegroup for the DCLI, I think I'll move the action along a bit to later in 1944 to Operation Market Garden, the Rhine Crossing and the Reichswald.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Radio Free Nbuto

As part of the AK47 campaign at the club Jon and I shoot the occasional propaganda report to and fro. Here's a transcript of the Radio Free Nbuto broadcast I posted on the club yahoo group after the recent AK47 game:

Citizens,

The government of the Independent Republic of Nbuto would like to clarify the outcome of recent events in the vicinity of Abadwe, as reported in the international press. A small force of misguided criminal elements, aided and abetted by the Lumatan Security Forces, attempted to ambush a F.A.R.T. patrol convoy on the Wanayani-Abadwe highway.

In the ensuing firefight the poorly armed and inadequately led insurgents were effectively repulsed with heavy loss of men and material. It is clear from interrogation of stragglers and from inspection of destroyed armoured vehicles that these irregular militia bandits were equipped and supported by the Lumatan Security Services (the infamous Triple S).

F.A.R.T. intelligence sources indicate that the entire operation was masterminded by the Lumatan regime in an attempt to undermine the legitimate government of Nbuto. As a consequence of this act of aggression, the Force Action Rapide Territoriale will be augmented by an immediate mobilisation of the P.A.R.P. gendarmerie, in order to strengthen the internal security of our homeland.

Vive Nbuto!

Commandant Jean Phillipe Croissant
President, Independant Republic of Nbuto

Wetbrushing

I've started to apply a heavy wetbrush basecoat of 50:50 GW Knarloc Green / Foundry Phlegm Green shade on the ARVN battlegroup. It's not quite the 'bronze green' shade I was after but it's only a basecoat so I'll play around with the next two drybrush highlights to get it spot on. In the picture you can see the end result of these layers, which consisted of a 50:50 drybrush of Knarloc Green / Phlegm Green and a following lighter drybrush of 50:50 Knarloc Green / GW Camo Green. The next stage will be to give them a wash of dark brown / black ink and a light highlight of GW Dheneb Stone.

I've also been doing some reading up on German Infantry Regiment ToE's for Norway. It looks like an infantry battalion with attached armour, AT guns and artillery might be a feasible project to go up against my Norwegians. Unfortunately, no one seems to make suitable winter figures in greatcoats apart from Pithead, whose range is OOP at the moment, not to mention Gebirgsjager!
On a more positive note, I have just received some extras for the Noggies from Pendraken, including some WW1 German limbers and teams for the field guns, some extra infantry figures and some WW2 German Ski Troops that are very cool and might form the basis of an attached recce platoon.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Knights of the Sky

At my local club we play the occasional game of Knights of the Sky, a WW1 aerial warfare set of rules that Richard, one of the long standing club members, devised for use with 1/72nd scale model aircraft. The rules use a system of hex movement and manoever based on the actual flight characteristics of the aircraft types involved. It also uses an ingenious but simple representation of vertical flight using homemade telescopic magnetic stands. Very neat!

A few years ago there was a year long aerial campaign at the club which consisted of a series of linked scenarios set in 1917. Each month we would get together to see how many of our pilot characters would shoot down the enemy, go down in flames or survive to fight another day. It was a really top notch campaign with plenty of excitement, some hilarious moments and lots of daring do.

Needless to say my pilot, Lieutenant Twistleton Twinkle RFC, did not do too well, although he did survive a number of dogfights, which was an impressive achievement considering the fact that for most of the campaign he flew a rickety and very sedate RE8. His rear gunner, Corporal Scrote, even shot down two of the dastardly Hun opposition in the process.

Perhaps the best bit of the campaign was the opportunity it provided to indulge my childhood interest in model aircraft kit building. As a result I glued together at least two dozen WW1 biplanes, triplanes and monoplanes over the space of a year or so, including French, British, German, Russian and American aircraft from 1916 through to 1919.

In doing so I tried to produce a number of flights of two, three or even four aircraft, so that I could provide planes for further multi-player games that had a common squadron identity. However, the last couple of planes I built were one offs, a Roland DII and a Nieuport 17, as I wanted to fly them myself!

Anyway, I realised today that we hadn't played a game in a long while so posted a message on the club yahoo group to the effect that we should set one up for next month. It looks like we're going to get enough players together for a good game, so I'll be dusting off my latest efforts, the Roland DII to be precise, for a dawn patrol over the Ypres sector pretty soon.

I'll post some photos of the game but in the mean time, I'll take some pictures of my existing collection of planes and post them here.

Birthday Presents

I've still not decided what to get myself, on behalf of the lovely wife, for my birthday. I've been thinking about the 10mm late war British for the DCLI, especially now that my books have arrived. However, the prospect of painting up more 10mm figures and vehicles may not be so apealling once I've worked through the ARVN and, possibly, the Norwegians.

As a result, I may well concentrate on the latter as my BKCII focus for the moment. I may have roped in Jon to do some early war Germans for Norway (the fool!) but, if he doesn't take the bait, I might get a few myself at some point to use as opposition. I quite like the idea of crap tanks against crap anti-tank units, all with a light dusting of snow!

So, it's time to bite the bullet and spend the birthday dosh before she changes her mind (which is quite likely based on previous experience). I'm thinking of some extras for AK47 either from Peter Pig or QRF at the moment but still have to make up my mind as to what. Lots of militia would be fun as I don't have any in my colonial settlers army so haven't played any games with militia units. After suffering at the sharp end from Jon's People's Popular Front I quite like the thought of a similar force, even if they don't have any helicopters.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

ARVN Battlegroup in Black

Here's the ARVN battlegroup in all its monochrome glory, ready for the first stage of painting which I hope to start on Saturday (children permitting).

The picture above shows the two Infantry Squadrons and the Recon Squadron, together with the attached Special Forces company. The picture below shows the CO stand and attached recon, flame and mortar platoons, together with the M41 tank squadron, the artillery battery and the FOO and FAC bases.

I'm particularly pleased with the M132 which, as I mentioned before, was converted from a standard M113 using an old 1.300th scale Sherman turret and some brass rod.

Finally, here's a group shot of the HQ's and CO stand for the battlegroup which I've tried to make as distinctive as possible using spare figures to fill up the spaces.
The photos aren't great but at least they show that I haven't been hanging around over the last couple of weeks!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Ambush at Abadwe

The AK47 game Jon and I played yesterday turned out to be a bit of a cliff hanger with both sides fighting to the bitter end.

I was defending with my F.A.R.T. Colonial Settler Force and Jon attacking with his A.L.N. Peoples Popular Front. I was lucky enough to turn my unit of 10 regulars plus HMG's into professionals in the political manoever phase, while Jon gained a truck with RCL and a movement upgrade for one of his militia units (+3 due to a supply of nifty training shoes).
From that point on things didn't go so well for the Nbuto defenders as I only got one unit on the table, the professionals in trucks with an AML60 escort, while Jon piled on three units straight away including armoured cars, APC's with RCL's and attached regulars plus a militia mortar unit.

The vastly outnumbered F.A.R.T. column proceeded in a 'thunder run' up the road that ran along the table centre line, heading past a P.A.R.P. police station and through a defile between two hills, towards a shanty town at the far end of the table. However, by turn four they had been virtually wiped out in a well laid A.L.N. ambush, being sandwiched in the crossfire from three AML90 amoured cars on one side of the road and the fire poured in from the insurgent's recoilless rifle armed APC's from the edge of the shanty town. To add insult to injury they got hammered by the rebel mortars, which pinned down what was left of the truck crews behind a nearby wrecked tank.

At this stage in the game it was looking like a walkover for the A.L.N. but, fortunately, the F.A.R.T. reinforcements started to trickle in with the arrival of both a mortar unit and two AML90 armoured cars. The armoured cars proceded to zoom backwards and forwards at high speed on the other side of the shanty town (I rolled some good movement dice!). They suppressed the enemy mortar unit which fled into some woods, wiped out one of his armoured cars and brewed up two of the A.L.N. APC's, before finally being KO'd by concentrated AK47 and RPG fire from the rebel troops.

In the meantime, the F.A.R.T. mortars were pounding the last two enemy armoured cars to smouldering wreckage and taking some heavy fire in return, losing one base and getting pinned down in a patch of jungle as they arrived on table. The A.L.N. were soon reinforced by two units of miltia that appeared at opposite ends of the table, heading immediately for two of the key objectives, one a UN field hospital next to the police station and the other a crashed helicopter. Things were taking a turn for the worse as the F.A.R.T. repeatedly failed to get the last of it's own reinforcements into the game.

In the last four turns, however, the dice rolls of the F.A.R.T. commander finally turned around and the upgraded professional infantry swarmed onto the table. They quickly positioned their HMG's to pour fire into the A.L.N. militia, who, with their nice new +3 trainers, immediately sprinted for the cover of the police station. Caught in the crossfire of the two remaining mortars, the dug in HMG's and the assaulting professional infantry (who got a +2 fire bonus two turns in a row) and blasted by a last minute air strike from a rocket armed F4U Corsair, it wasn't long before the rebels routed.

On the other end of the battlefield, the Llama attack gunship flew on and started to strafe the second rebel militia unit at the crashed helicopter site. As it started it's high speed attack run, the gunship took an intense fusilade of fire from the AK47's of the rebels but fortunately escaped any damage. The enemy also got away without casualties due to some dodgy dice rolling by the shaken pilot, who decided to switch attention to the last remaining enemy APC instead. This was not a good idea. The APC's recoilless rifle was swiftly pointed skywards, slamming a round into the fuselage of the helicopter which fell in flaming wreckage after blowing up the APC in return (or did it actually blow itself up with the backblast from the RCL?).
As night fell, the battlefield was a wasteland of wrecked and burning vehicles. The F.A.R.T. had held on to one objective whilst a second was in the hands of the A.L.N. militia. A quick combat assessment revealed a points score of 65 for the F.A.R.T. government forces and 66 for the A.L.N. rebels. This was clearly a draw, the first of the campaign and quite a serious set back for the otherwise victorious F.A.R.T. A damned close run thing!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

AK47 Colonial Settlers v Popular Front

I've got a game of AK47 this evening and, without giving too much away to my opponent Jon (aka Doctor Kenko Gold), here's the army I have worked out for the F.A.R.T. contingent that will be defending the heartlands of Nbuto against the A.L.N. popular front:

Unit 1:
2 x Regular AML90 Armoured Cars with Guns

Unit 2:
4 x Professional Small Arms
2 x Professional Recoilless Rifles
2 x Trucks
1 x Professional AML60 Armoured Car with Machine Gun

Unit 3:
3 x Regular Mortars

Unit 4:
10 x Regular Small Arms
2 x Regular Heavy Machine Guns

Unit 5:
1 x Professional Aerospatiale Llama Attack Helicopter

For a bit of a change I've left my Professional Jeeps with HMG's at the Presidential Palace to defend it against A.L.N. commando attack. I've also included an all mortar unit as I haven't tried one before.

I'll have 37 points to spend on the political flowchart, so might get some upgrades if I'm lucky!

I'll take some pictures of the game and write up an after action report, although the photos might not appear for a while as my laptop is still in for repair.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Paint Test


I spent some time yesterday with my modest collection of acrylic paints working out the base colour for the ARVN AFV's.

After testing twenty plus different shades of mid to dark green, including multi-various colours from Vallejo, GW, Foundry, Coat d'Arms and Revell, I've picked out two or three that might do as a heavy wet brush basecoat for the M113's and M41's.

I'm going to try a 50:50 mix of GW Knarloc Green with Foundry Phlegm Green shade, the former for consistency and depth, with the latter for shade and tone. I'll highlight with a drybrush of Phlegm Green and Phlegm Green light, together with highlights of GW bleached bone, or something similar, depending on the success of the previous efforts.

Or I might just use GW Catachan Green...

It should be an interesting experiment anyway?

Nbuto Independence Day!

Loyal Citizens of Nbuto,

On Monday 18th of January we celebrate the foundation of the glorious Independent Republic of Nbuto!

To honour our transition from colonial dependancy to full autonomy as a sovereign state, I have declared the 18th January a national holiday.

All of the Force Action Rapide Territoriale, with the exception of militia border patrol units of the P.A.R.P. gendarmerie, will be given exceptional 24 hour leave.

Vive Nbuto!

Commandant J.P.Croissant

President Independent Republic of Nbuto

Sunday, 17 January 2010

ARVN Battlegroup Upgraded


Here's the ARVN battlegroup with the added special forces company:

South Vietnamese Army, Vietnam War (1970)
1 CO (CV9) 90 [90]
5 HQ (CV8) 45 [225]
1 FAO (CV7)30 [30]
1 FAC (CV7)30 [30]
1 Recce Unit (M113) Recce 60 [60]
6 Infantry Unit (ARVN Regulars) 30 [180]
3 Infantry Unit (Special Forces) 40 [120] #1
1 Support Unit (Flamethrower, M132) 45 [45]
2 Support Unit (Mortar, 81mm, M125) 70 [140]
1 Support Unit (Mortar, 107mm, M106) 100 [100]
9 IFV Unit (M113 ACAV) 65 [585]
3 Tank Unit (M41 Walker Bulldog) 40 [120]
3 Artillery Unit (105mm) 45 [135]
1 Aircraft Unit (F-5 Tiger II) 90 [90]

Tactical Doctrine
Normal tactical doctrine (20cm initiative distance)

Special Rules
No counter-battery capability
Partial air superiority
Fire Support: Any command unit can request artillery or air support using the command value of the FAO/FAC, but with a -1 penalty
Combined-Arms: -1 command penalty when issuing orders to mixed infantry-armour formations and +1 die for artillery/aircraft deviation prior to 1968
Reluctant: Infantry may only assault units that are suppressed
May use booby traps when in defence

Note 1. Infantry Unit (Special Forces)
Elite: No command penalty for assaulting the enemy and +1 attack in close assault

Summary
Breakpoint 12
1950 points spent of 2000 points available (2000 points selected)
Deduct 95 from your casualty points at the end of the game

I've kept the M113's as ACAV's, added the M132 from the US list and left off any assets for the moment. I was also thinking of getting some M48A3's to substitute for the M41's but will hold off for the moment until I've had a chance to try them out.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Battle of An Loc



You can see just how much stuff the ARVN crews piled on top of their AFV's.

It also illustrates the accepted ARVN approach to mechanisd warfare (or any warfare for that matter) i.e. don't get out of the vehicle!

ARVN Undercoating


I've started undercoating the ARVN this evening using Humbrol Matt Black spray, which gives a nice even coat and isn't as powdery as the GW basecoat stuff. So far, I've sprayed up the CO base and the attached M132, M106 and Recon M113, plus the ACAV's from the Recon Squadron.

This is it for the moment as I've been forced to spray them in the garage due to the torrential downpour outside. If I do any more tonight I'll start to see luminous multi-coloured flying pixies and end up with a thumping headache. Time to take a breather I think?

I've also added a few more bits of stowage to the various AFV's I've assembled including some baggage from green stuff, unditching poles from brass rod etc. It makes them look a little less uniform and a bit more lived in. I had fun making tiny packs and bags out of green stuff sausages but failed dismally to make coils of barbed wire out of fine gauge fusewire. I may try to make some .50cal ammo boxes too, if I can work out how to cut them from pasticard without pinging them all over the place.

Finally, I decided to add two more bases of special forces plus an HQ base to the battlegroup, as the single SpecFor platoon I attached to the regimental CO looked a bit lonely. I put the HQ on a 30mm x 30mm base as three spooks on a 40mm square looked a little odd and the smaller sized base looks just right next to the standard 40mm x 30mm infantry stands.

So I've now got a whole company of special forces to add some backbone to the reluctant ARVN. They'll have LAW upgrades to give them some firepower, as well as tight fitting tiger stripe fatigues, cool shades and some suitably rugged looking camo face paint. I'm not sure what they'd be doing attached to a Mechanised Infantry outfit but I'm sure I can come up with some sort of excuse for bringing them on.

I've also realised that my access to the CWC battlegroups thingy has run out, so I've re-subscribed in order to work out the revised set up and points total for the ARVN battlegroup (without all the hassle of doing it by hand).

Friday, 15 January 2010

ARVN Painting Plans

It's got to the all important painting stage with the ARVN Mechanised Infantry Regiment which is now waiting to be spray undercoated matt black, depending on the good old British weather and consequent temperature in my garage.

I haven't painted any 10/12mm stuff for a couple of years and, in the interests of wargaming science, I've been looking for some spot on techniques by asking some of the chaps at the club for advice. Dave, in particular, seems to be able to produce well painted armies at the drop of a hat, with the latest being his excellent 10mm Pithead Hungarians.


This is his very neat approach, which I'm sure he won't mind sharing:

1. Superglue figs to base, leave to dry.
2. Undercoat black, leave to dry.
3. Woodglue sand to base, covering fig bases too, leave to dry.
4. Paint sand (GW Graveyard Earth) leave to dry.
5. Drybrush base with Bleached Bone.
6. Paint figs.
7. Use more Earthpaint to add grass patches to base. Superglue the occasional bush in place.
8. Spray with matt varnish.
9. Admire.

I'm going to try something similar with the ARVN, although I have an unnatural aversion to undercoating in black for some reason, despite its almost universal usage for small scale armour painting. So, I'm going to trawl through my collection of Vallejo, Foundry and GW paints this weekend to devise a scheme that will hopefully do the ARVN justice.

Books, Books and More Books


One of the great things about wargaming is that it allows me to indulge my addiction for collecting and reading military history books. Most of my very extensive library is confined to the loft, as my wife refuses to allow them shelf space downstairs. I have managed to stake a claim to a couple of shelves in the living room bookcase, however, and have stocked them full of carefully selected paperbacks.

I never feel guilty about buying a book as I know that I'll read it eventually and that it will be potentially useful. So, I've expanded my reference collection with two or three new books that will help inspire my up and coming projects.

I've ordered the Osprey book on Denmark and Norway from Amazon together with a military history of the Norwegian Campaign that looked quite promising. I've also picked up a regimental history of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry via ebay and a paperback re-print of The Fighting Wessex Wyverns, which should give me a good overview of the role played by the 5th Battalion of the DCLI from Normandy through to the Reichswald.

With half term on the horizon, I should be able to get down to some serious reading, even if my wargaming takes a back seat!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

One And All


It's my birthday on Monday and I've been given £100 to spend on toy soldiers by my lovely wife! I'd like to make the most of it so have been looking again at my plan to build a BKC2 battlegroup around the 5th Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, which was one of the three battalions of 214th Infantry Brigade, 43rd Wessex Division, fighting from Normandy through to the end of the war.

I've returned to the excellent breakdown of ToE for both a British Infantry Battalion and an Infantry Brigade at the Miniature Wargaming site. The author has put together some very nice units based up for BKC too:

http://www.kerynne.com/games/index.html

It's a mine of useful information with all the hard work done for you!

I'm thinking of either an infantry battalion plus selected divisional support units and perhaps a squadron or two of tanks, through to a full Infantry Brigade Group if it doesn't work out to be overly expensive (the infantry alone will cost at least £30!).

It doesn't break the NYR rule either, as I have the rules and some late war British bits and bobs already (well, a few universal carriers at least).

The Pithead late war British range is the obvious choice, together with selected extras from Pendraken. I like the fact that the Pithead vehicles provide pretty much all that I'd need while the late war British infantry figures really look the part with all their extra kit.

I'll knuckle down to work it all out tomorrow and see if it's feasible.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Done and Dusted


I finally finished cleaning up, assembling and basing the ARVN units for my Mechanised Infantry Regiment.

Huzzah!

I must remind myself to steer clear of multiple part Minifigs metal AFV's in the future...aarggh!!

Anyway, time for a brief celebration before I start the next bit, which involves a little bit of detailing (boxes, sandbags, tarps and so on), some minor filling of the occasional gaps with green stuff and the spray undercoating of the whole lot ready for painting. I'm hoping it won't be too cold outside over the next couple of days so that I can undercoat all of the various vehicle and figure bases in one go before the weekend.

Noggy Artillery


I think I might have found one possible solution to the Norwegian field gun problem in the form of this Pithead 107mm Howitzer M13 which, on first impressions, looks quite a lot like the Norwegian 75mm field gun, despite the obvious difference in calibre?

It also comes with a Finnish crew in field caps, which would be probably be compatible with the Austro Hungarians. I'll try to convert the guns I've already got first but, if that doesn't work, I may well give these a try instead.