GRUNTZ

GRUNTZ
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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Pirate Crew

I managed to find the Crusader pirates this afternoon, although it took me a while to locate them. For some reason I had stashed them in a box with some gladiators. I'm sure I had a logical reason for doing so but it's long forgotten by now.

So, here we have the pirate crew consisting of a hardcore boarding party of Crusader figures plus a couple of Copplestone Darkest Africa tribal askaris that seemed to fit the bill. I have a couple of spare Crusader figures, including a cabin boy and a loony with a mohican, but decided to leave them out, along with the 'cat in the hat' in the top right of the picture, as they didn't have the same 'look' as the others.

To finish off this scurvy mob I've also ordered a gun crew and some deck guns via Northstar, together with some generic pirate crewmen, so that I can eventually equip a sloop or brig of some sort with it's full complement of cannon and crew.

Finally, I've taken a couple of photos of my Copplestone Amazonian tribesmen, who will stand in very well for Carribbean island natives or Mesoamerican cannibals. I have a few more of these unpainted so I could easily add them as extras.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Pirates Project

I've been reading through the Legends of the High Seas rulebook over the last couple of days and, having pondered the options in 28mm and 15mm, have decided to go with the larger scale. I have an opponent who's interested in a bit of pirate skirmish gaming in 28mm, so it makes sense to go for the obvious.

I have enough figures to form a pirate crew, complete with a captain, using some Crusader Miniatures figures that I picked up cheap from Dave Thomas at a show a couple of years ago (another one of those impulse buys from the bargain bin!).

I have to dig them out from the leadpile but I'm pretty sure I know where they are? I may add a few extras but I should have all I need for the moment. I think I'll have about ten figures all told which is plenty.

I don't have a ship in 28mm but, as the scenarios in the rulebook are mostly land based, this isn't going to be the problem I thought it would be, especially as we could use 2D card templates if necessary (nice idea Jon).

I have the Foundry Compendium, which includes the Gary Chalk ship plans, so I could always scratchbuild or splash out on a resin ship from Minimi or Games of War, especially if I can pick one up at Colours in a couple of weeks time:

http://minimi.co.uk/pirates/

http://www.gamesofwar.net/acatalog/Pirate_Supplies_Store.html

I have a fair bit of terrain on the other hand, most of which consists of scratchbuilt jungle from my Saurian Safari collection, so some tropical undergrowth and Mayan ruins are already available. I have some Copplestone Amazonian Tupi warriors painted up as well, so they can be used in some games as unfriendly natives.

I'm hoping to have a crack at the pirates as soon as I can clear the decks a bit but should get them done by the end of September, leaving time for the 15mm PITS stuff afterwards.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

HOTT 15mm Skeleton Army






I mentioned my Hordes of the Things skeleton army a few days ago so thought I'd take a few pictures and post them here to show you what it looks like. The force consists of:

1 x General hero @ 4AP

1 x Wraith Sneakers @ 3AP

1 x Skeletal Flyer @ 2AP

4 x Skeleton Spears @ 2AP

2 x Skeleton Shooters @ 2AP

1 x Skeleton Artillery @ 3AP


I have a few extra bases so that I can fiddle around with the army composition as and when they see some action. All of the figures are from the HOTT 15mm range with the exception of the undead bird thing which is an old Citadel Warhammer figure.

I still need a stronghold but, after a fortuitous find at the local tip, I now have a Greek style temple ruin from an old fish tank that will probably do the trick. It's very much in the style of Jason and the Argonaunts so it should look the part.

I really should do some more armies for HOTT as I have a mountain of suitable figures to use. I think a game or two would be a good idea first though, so that i can work out the ideal mix of units and figures.

VBCW Red Militia Motorcycle Combination

I had a crack at converting one of the Westwind Berlin or Bust German Motorcyle and sidecar combinations for my VBCW Red Militia today. The pack contains two bikes with sidecars together with the rider and sidecar passenger figures, some spare wheels and satchels.

In the usual Westwind style, the figures are a bit scrunched up and on the small side but this is no problem as I was intending to convert them anyway. I cleaned up the bike and sidecar then moved onto the rider. I cut away the head and replaced it with an Anglian SCW head with beret. I also cut off the gasmask canister and added a satchel once the torso had been glued to the bike.

The passenger figure didn't fit very well into the sidecar so, rather than sort this out, I decided to use a French Resistance figure that I already had spare. It came from a demolition team and originally had a detonator which i had already cut away so that the figure could be used as gun crew.

Instead, it was carefully cut down and sanded to fit into the passenger seat of the sidecar alongside the rider. It was a bit of a tight squeeze but came out OK in the end. I would have liked to add a machine gun but, as I didn't have one spare, he'll have to be a commissar or dispatch carrier instead.

I really like the figure as he looks a bit like a certain Comrade Trotsky and, as a result, really fits well with the rest of the Reds.

Incidentally, the Westwind Berlin or Bust range is 40% off this week, so it would be a good time to buy some of these motorcycle and sidecar packs if you want to do something similar:

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Back Home

I finally arrived back home earlier this evening after nearly a month away. It was good to get back especially as Mr Postie had delivered some interesting parcels for me to open.

These included the Legends of the High Seas rules, the Westwind French Resistance and German motorcycle combinations for my VBCW project and a small selection of Peter Pig Egyptians for PITS, together with a book on the wars in the Sudan that I hadn't read.

I had a quick look at the VBCW Reds on the painting shelf which have literally gathered dust over the last few weeks, so they'll be the first to be tackled now I'm back. I may add a motorbike and sidecar to the Reds to finish off the unit.

After that, it's the AK47 objective markers to be done and dusted before I tackle my first project of the autumn. I have to decide between the AK47 Ltumtu army that I've been cleaning up or the PITS project that needs to be completed.

I already have a Dervish army that's virtually done but would like to cover the opposition too, so the Sudan would be quite a big undertaking. However, I'm looking forward to the publication of Go Strong Into the Desert, which should give me the impetus I need.

The AK47 army is equally appealing but is a similarly daunting task, although I can simplify the painting to make it manageable, using washes and drybrushing rather than block painting and layering.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

MiG Alley Bedcheck Charlie

I've only just picked up news of the latest releases from Oddzial Osmy so didn't realise that a Polikarpov PO2 had been added to the 1/600 scale Russian range:

http://www.fighting15sshop.co.uk/wsu-637-po-2lnb-light-biplane-4393-p.asp

Now I won't have to try converting something for the North Korean nuisance raiders when I get round to finishing off the MiG Alley planes. I had a crack at converting a Devastator into a Yak 18 earlier in the year but it didn't really cut the mustard:

http://jimswargamesworkbench.blogspot.com/2010/04/yak-18s-for-mig-alley.html

The PO2's are a bit pricey at £3.50 a pack but well worth it, if only for the time and effort saved. Excellent!

Before I go...

I spotted these free downloadable rules on TMP today and thought they looked interesting, especially in relation to the political side of things:

http://www.miniaturewargaming.com/index.php?ACT=34&fid=49&aid=1075_EGgvH78ZHY9mKp4kp6Af&board_id=1

They look like a possible option for my Back of Beyond Bolsheviks but require quite a lot of figures including cavalry for the five regiments. They remind me of the AK47 variant for the RCW but scaled up to 28mm, although the mechanics are based on a completely different system.

I might dig out my Reds and see if I can field enough units to make this work?

Off The Radar

I'm on the road for the next few days so there'll be no new posts here for a while until I get back home. I checked out the Klir / Sol Plus shelves in the supermarket yesterday but they turned out to be the new cloudy stuff rather than the good old clear Klear.

Bummer.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Klear?, Klir??, Sol Plus???

I noticed that the supermarket shelves here are stuffed with floor cleaning and waxing products, no doubt due to the French obsession with wall to wall tiling of every surface in sight.

As a result, I reckon I might be able to find something to use as an alternative to Future / Klear, which is no longer available in the UK. In France it was marketed as Klir but has also been withdrawn.

Apparently, there's something called Sol Plus which is the same as Klear, although I'm not sure if it's still on sale even in France. Worth a try though?

Friday, 20 August 2010

AK47 Summer Offensive [13]

I decided to tackle the unit of Professionals tonight as it is fairly small and easy to base up. There are the minimum four bases of small arms and the maximum two bases of RPG's and RCL's.

I've based up three mortars rather than two because I have the option of forming them into a single mortar unit if I want to. I didn't include any HMG's as the unit will have quite a lot of firepower from it's BTR60 APC carriers.

This lot will get the BTR60's to drive around in tomorrow and, if I have time, a couple of T55's as armoured support.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

AK47 Summer Offensive [12]

These are the Skytrex BA64 armoured cars that I put together a couple of days ago. They were originally equipped with tiny LMG's which looked completely out of scale, so I removed them and replaced them with barrels from Peter Pig Soviet HMG's. I also cut down a couple of figures to use as crew.

I've had a re-think about the Professional unit for the Ltumtu army and will be using the helmet figures as originally planned. They'll be supported by a couple of T55's and be transported in BTR60's. I'll also have the option of having them helicoptered into battle once I build the 1/100th scale VEB Mil Mi4's that I have stockpiled at home.

1/1200th Napoleonic Coastal Fort



I found this in an aquarium gift shop yesterday. I reckon it's about 1/1200th scale or thereabouts but could possibly be used for 1/600th scale too, with a little imagination.

The real one is off the port of Morlaix on the north coast of Brittany and was built in the sixteenth century then re-modelled by Vauban in the seventeenth:


Unfortunately, one of the sprogs dropped it and broke one end off but I fixed it with superglue. I'll have to re-model the base anyway to get rid of the wave effect and title so it's nit a problem.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A slightly larger bit of the Atlantic Wall











We went on a day trip to Audierne today which meant I had the excuse to visit a few more bunkers. I spotted a cluster of four on the map about three kilometers inland on a hill just to the south west of Pouldreuzic. I guessed that they might be a gun battery which is what they turned out to be.

They were large casemates for what I guess would have been medium calibre field artillery, as there were large access doors in the back and hardstandings for the guns with concrete traverses for the trails.

Two of the casemates were very overgrown but the other two were in pretty good condition. Each consisted of a large open gun position with two smaller rooms at the rear on either side of a large rear door. At least one of the casemates also had a small tobruk stand type observation position on the top, with access from a stairway set into the rear face of the bunker.

There were several painted wall markings in the three casemates I could get access to. The black painted panel, with what appears to be ranges and rates of fire, was common to all three but there were also some individual inscriptions that had survived. If you can help decipher them I'd be interested in what they refer to.

The interior paintwork was desert yellow-ish, which was different from the bunker I found the other day. The metal roof reinforcing girders were badly decayed bit otherwise the concrete structures were in excellent condition, unlike a lot of these structures which suffer from vandalism, subsidence and general deglect.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

AK47 Summer Offensive [11]

The Regular armour unit has been cleaned up and assembled. As you can see, it consists of two T34/85's and a single SU122. They need a bit of stowage but are otherwise ready to undercoat.

The first of the Militia truck technicals has also been put togther and consists of a Peter Pig 76mm Russian AT gun on the flatbed of a Skytrex M54 5 ton truck. I have another two of these to complete, one with a 105mm RCL and the other with a ZPU1 AAA mount.

I've also put together two Skytex BA64 armoured cars, complete with upgraded HMG armament and gunners, cut down from normal Peter Pig standing crew figures and barrels from the AK47 Soviet HMG pack. I'll post some photos of these tomorrow.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Hordes of the Things for Free!

I read a post about this on TMP a couple of days ago and thought it was worth cross posting here. The HOTT second edition rules are now available as a free download from the WRG site:


I already have a copy and an undead army to use them with, although it needs a stronghold to be ready for gaming. I really should give it a go, as I've not played a game of HOTT yet and have heard a lot of good things about it.

As I have a mountain of leftover figures that could be turned into potential 24AP armies, it would be a shame not to use them for HOTT, given the fact that you don't need vast numbers of figures and can do pretty much anything that you want.

Now, where did I stash those old 15mm Laserburn redemptionists...?

Half Yearly Review

It's high time I did a review of the year so far and set out my plans for the Autumn.

This is what I set out to do this year:

http://jimswargamesworkbench.blogspot.com/2009/12/a-list.html

The basic idea was to tackle a project every half term so that I'd get six done by the end of the year. I also committed myself to not starting any new projects that I didn't have rules or figures for already.

Yeh, right.

Anyway, I have completed three projects thus far, although none of them were on the list:

1. The 1.300th Ju88's for the club game were completed on time.
2. The 28mm VBCW BUF were finished and have been used in a couple of games.
3. The Axles and Alloys cars were done and have been wheeled out for a game.

I have also nearly finished three more projects, one of which was listed:

1. The 28mm VBCW Red Militia are about four fifths complete.
2. The 12mm ARVN are three quarters done.
3. I painted some 1.285th aircraft for North Africa, although I have a lot left to do.

Finally, I have three forces cleaned up and ready to go, all from the list of things to do this year:

1. The 1.2400th Victorian Ironclads
2. The 1.600th Tumbling Dice MiG Alley planes.
3. The AK47 Dictatorship army (currently working on).

I have been diverted off on a few tangents along the way and have added a few extra figures to the leadpile, including 12mm Norwegians, 1.600th Nonomhan Japanese and Russian planes and 28mm Late War British, but otherwise, I've been quite good.

So, it looks like the next six months will be used to finish off what I've started.

Top of the list are the VBCW Reds, followed by the ironclads, the MiG Alley stuff and the AK47 army in no particular order. I also want to finish off the 15mm Dervish army that I nearly completed last year and which only needs a final push to be done and dusted.

I have the 28mm Back of Beyond Japanese to do as well, if I can squeeze them into the schedule at some point, but this is unlikely given all the things I need to wrap up first. The 12mm ARVN will, however, be stuck in the box as I'm unlikely to be using them in the near future and would rather finish off the other overdue projects.

The things left on the list, including 28mm Darkest Africa, 1.600th coastal warfare and 1.285th North Africa planes, will be left for next year as I'm still keen to get them done.

So, overall a bit of a wobbly track record, although I have achieved a few of the things that I set out to do in January. What I really need to do is get things finished off when I have them in the almost complete stage, so that I clear a bit of the backlog without starting new things.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Tanks and Techinicals

I'm debating what do do for the armoured unit in the Ltumtu army. I was going to use four T55's but I'm conscious that 'mission creep' is starting to upgrade the Ltumtu armed forces into a bit of regional superpower, so two might be more manageable.

On the other hand, I have two T34/85's and a single SU122 that were destined for a Militia unit but, as no militia can have tanks in a Dictatorship army, they're now army surplus. I really like the retro 'old tank' look of the SU122 in particular and it would fit well with the Cuban style uniforms of the regulars, so I may use them instead of the T55's.

There's very little difference in points terms, old tanks being 54 points and standard tanks 60, assuming they both have Regular status. Whatever I didn't use would be recycled into another unit or army later, so there's no loss either way. I could even make a Professional tank unit out of the T55's...mission creep again!

I've also been wondering about the last of the 76mm AT guns and have a cunning plan. As I used the heavy mortars on the BTR152's the other day, I now need a heavy weopon of some sort for one of the Militia truck technicals. I tried out one of the assembled AT guns in the back of a truck and it's a perfect fit, so I'm now going to make a 76mm AT portee!

Cool.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

AK47 Summer Offensive [10]

Not a lot done this evening but I have finished assembling and basing the ZPU4 and BTR152 tow. The gun was a bit fiddly to put together, especially as I did a last minute headswap in the crew figure in the process.

At the same time, I decided not to build another AT gun as two will be enough for a decent unit and I can save the gun and tow for something else, perhaps a Militia AT gun instead. I will tidy up the last BTR however as it will give me four dual purpose APC's, enough to cart around 16 bases worth of troops if they don't tow the guns.

Incidentally, the bases on the BTR's are temporary, being standard plastic bases glued together and so a little less than durable.

I now have four T55 tanks and a handful of APC's to do before the Regulars are complete, except for some casualty markers. I could do a lot of other things but I'm happy with what I've got so far and need to get on to the Militia as I only have one more week left.

I'll save what I don't use for another army or for later add on units.

BD J Jour 02

I had a quick look at the BD titles in the local supermarket today and spotted this:


The basic premise is that D-Day didn't work, which is the usual set up for these 1946 type scenarios, leaving the Russians free to squish the Third Reich and cross the Rhine in the opposite direction.

The Allies launch Operation Torch in the South of France instead and advance all the way to the Seine, to meet the Russians in a Berlin Wall type standoff in Paris.

Apart from the cool cover art, I think this is quite a feasible scenario and one which opens up all sorts of realistic counterfactual gaming opportunities, without all the Nazi wierd science codswallop that usually permeates these sort of things.

I might get a copy for future reference, assuming I can be bothered to translate it that is.


Friday, 13 August 2010

AK47 Summer Offensive [9]

Here's the result of this evenings cutting, sanding, scraping and supergluing.

On the left we have two 76mm towed AT guns with BTR152's doing the towing. They're dedicated tows, so I haven't mounted the HMG's and will have to fill in the hole with green stuff later on, as well as adding a crew figure or two in the back.

On the right we have two BTR152's with permanently mounted soviet 120mm heavy mortars. Again a crew figure wouldn't go amiss so may well be added after they've been painted up. I'm counting them as carriers with mortars (p32) so have left off the HMG's once again.

I'm not sure how the points work out for these but I'm assuming a basic 25 points for a Regular APC plus 30 for the Regular mortar group, giving a total of 55 points according to the table on p12.

I have one more AT gun and the ZPU4 plus two BTR's to finish off tomorrow, then it's onto the armour.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Combat de Trente

I was supposed to go and see this today but we ran out of time.

My wife's very large extended family live about five minutes away and I was promised a visit to the monument as a reward for doing the round of the cousins, uncles, aunties, second cousins twice removed, neighbours of the second cousins twice removed, their dogs, cows, calves, vegetables and farm machinery.



Needless to say, we spent far too long eating, chatting, standing around, sitting around, eating again, sitting around again, admiring vegetables etc. As a result we didn't leave until gone nine o'clock, so the Hundred Years War cultural field trip got the big thumbs down from She Who Shall Not Be Named.

It was fair enough I suppose, as the kids were very tired and the mother in law was deranged to a greater degree than usual, having been squeezed into the backseat of the Espace for the whole round trip.

If you're wondering what it's all about, here's a brief 'after action report' from our man not actually at the scene, Monsieur Jean Froissart:


May be next time?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

AK47 Project Air

The C47 aquisition reminded me of the Project Air add on for AK47 that was written a few years ago by someone on the RFCM group. I had a look at it and reckon I could adapt the suggested rules for Strike Missions into a system that could be used for paratroop airdrops.

The strike rules are as follows:

2.0 Strike Missions
Strike missions can only be carried out upon terrain templates or upon a specific significant geographical feature (such as a crossroads or bridge). Before any units are placed on the table, the player planning the strike mission must secretly record which template or feature is to be subject to the attack. They must also decide which game turn the strike is occurring in.

2.1 Resolving Strike Missions
At the start of the turn on which the strike is to take place, the player planning the strike places an aircraft model anywhere on his home table edge (If the strike is planned for the first turn of the game, placement occurs after all ground units have been diced and arrived units placed) and announces the intended target.

The aircraft is considered to move in a straight line from the point of placement, through the middle of the target, and then off the table. Initially, the aircraft is then placed at the point of it’s flight 12” from the intended target. Anti-aircraft fire is resolved in the usual way.

If the aircraft survives, the striking player may carry out attacks....


(I've snipped this bit as it's not relevant)
The aircraft is then taken off the table.


If I replaced the deleted bit with some simple rules for the actual air drop, along the lines of roll 1D6 per base, 1-2 drop OK, 3-4 pinned, 5-6 base destroyed, I think I'd have something worth trying out. The AAA rules from the AK47 Supplement should be workable too, although I'll have to check them out when I get back home to see if they'll fit.
It'll need a bit of polishing but I think it has potential.
I'd also need to work out who could have airborne units and how much they'd cost. I think that they should only be available to those forces that have Professional troops and should be fairly expensive.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

AK47 Summer Offensive [8]

Got the RPG bases done this evening but didn't do the AT guns and tows as I spent some time fiddling around with more AAA for the Regulars, in the form of a ZPU 4 multi barrelled gun mount, which will be towed by another BTR152.

The ZPU4 was originally destined for a Militia truck based technical but that will get a couple of heavy soviet mortars instead. I'm sure they won't mind.

AK47 Airdrop

I found a shop selling plastic screw together aircraft kits today including this C47 / DC3 in what is not far off 1/100th scale at 1/95th. It's a bit of a bugger to put together and I managed to snap the two undercarriage locating pins off as I couldn't work out how they were supposed to fit. It needs some glueng and filling, plus a bit of a repaint but will look pretty good afterwards.

So, for about £7 I now have a Dakota for use in AK47 games, although what I'm actually going to do with it I'll have to work out. I could glue the wheels back on and have it as a bit of scenery for an airstrip. Or, I could turn it into Puff The Magic Dragon with a couple of gun barrels added to the fuselage, using the air support rules as they are.

What I'd like is to use it for paratroop drops but I'll need to design some rules for this. If I take the heliborne insertion rules as a starting point and add some simple mechanisms to account for units being dispersed along the axis of arrival, AAA fire and so on, it shouldn't be to difficult to come up with something workable.

Legends of the High Seas

I saw this for a resonable price on the net yesterday so, for no particularly good reason, decided to get a copy. I didn't jump on the pirate bandwagon when it kicked off a few years ago as, at the time I was into the Old West and Back of Beyond as far as skirmish gaming is concerned. I also didn't like Pirates of the Caribbean that much, let alone the pretty dire sequels.

However, I do have a small selection of Peter Pig pirates in 15mm that I bought ages ago for a HOTT army that never materialised, so I haven't broken the all important New Years Resolution (not to start any new projects that I didn't have rules or figures for). I'm not sure if 15mm is the way to go but it would certainly make shipbuilding a lot easier and I have a fair bit of terrain for PITS and AK47 that could be used as well.

If I did go 28mm, I'd keep it to a minuimum, with ebay helping to keep the cost down to something sensible. I quite fancy doing some English Privateers and Spanish Conquistadors rather than the usual Eighteenth Century pirates. Who knows?

Monday, 9 August 2010

AK47 Summer Offensive [7]

A very busy day today, including kayaking up a river in the morning and swimming in the sea all afternoon, so I'm a bit knackered. As a result, although I got the AK47 stuff out ready to go this evening, I didn't get around to it.

I did, however, work out another unit for the Ltumtu army in the shape of three 76mm Zis 3 AT guns with BTR152 tows. I haven't used towed guns in AK47 before, so why not?

The weather is supposed to be a bit ropey tomorrow so I'm going to try to get the RPG bases and the AT guns with tows done at some point during the day, leaving the evening free for some tanks or APC's.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

AK47 Summer Offensive [6]

I've been thinking about what to do for the Professional unit in the Ltumtu army. I was planning to use figures with helmets to represent the Professionals but have decided that I'd be better off saving these for another army. I have quite a lot of them and, given that I can only field one unit, it seems a better idea to use them as Regulars in a Peoples Popular Front or Superpower Backed force instead.

The alternative is to use figures with berets and soviet kit, which is what I was planning to do in the first place. I don't have many crew figures but I do have plenty of small arms, a few RPG's and even some AAA launchers, so they should look the part. They're going to have the option of heliborne insertion as well, complete with a fleet of Mil MI4 transport choppers, so the berets are entirely appropriate for airborne troops:

Unfortunately, I've left them at home, so the Professional heliborne cadre will have to wait until the end of the month when I get back.