Friday, March 20, 2015

Who wrote "The Moon rules" in the side of my car with a key? You know someone who'd do something like that?

Hello again cyberville.  I have been away for a while.  Life is very busy.  I got to accomplish a lot of stuff in the interim.  The first bit are my Colonial government regular infantry forces!  They are a mix of different ranges and I believe they work well together.  The regular infantry platoon is the typical 3 squad format with 12 men per squad.  The colonial government has purchased weapons from countries in Europe and the Israelis. Each squad has several Uzis and a Russian light machine gun for support.  This is the first half of the squad minus the team leader.  I am going to add the leader if I can ever get to the hobby store.  The load out for a typical squad are the Fn-Fals, Uzis, the RpK and LaW AT weapons.  The standard camo pattern is Rhodesian camo.  I plan on mixing different patterns in as I imagine that a country fighting for survival does not always worry about everything being uniform.  Parade or garrison discipline is replaced by something more worthy.   

This tank is my great idea.  I had these pz 38t czech tanks laying around.  Gone were my plans to game early war ww2 in 15mm.  What could I do with these Russian made plastic tanks?  Well, inject them into my pseudo African nation.  After the war ended, the colonial government grabbed up as many tanks as they could get their hands on.  They needed them for defense of the interior.  Over time the tanks were replaced by more modern models.  These relics were handed over for training purposes.  For the last 20 or so years these old Czech survivors were used for training of the colonial army.  Now that the country is fighting a very real and terrible war supplies are in short supply.  A resource staff officer requisitioned them as second line support tanks.  They provide mobile pill box duty for the infantry.  These tanks are kind of a death trap but the crew has found ways to cheat death.

I actually finished a project.  Here are the ships that participated in the Battle of Cape Spada.  This was a resounding victory for the Australian Navy.  The Italian historians write it off as a morale victory because one of the cruisers got away.  
This battle started with two Italian light cruisers chasing 5 British destroyers.  The destroyers were actually leading the Italian cruisers into a trap.  A mean ol' Australian light cruiser and a little friend were sailing straight for the Italian bullies.  The Italian ships saw the cruiser and tried to break off.  The Bartomolei Colleoni took a fatal torpedo hit and was sunk.  The Bande Nere barely escaped.  
 The first picture is on the Bartomolei Colleni and the Giovanni delle Bande Nere.  They are the earliest class of Condoterri light cruisers used by the Italians.  This particular class, the Guissano, was at the time the fastest surface ship in the world.  That speed came a price though.  The ship had very weak armor.  The cruisers topped off at 40 knots.  That is 44 miles per hour.  In nautical terms that was booking... I guess.

This picture is the HMaS Sydney, a Perth class light cruiser and an H class destroyer.  The destroyers present all had H names but for the sake of basing and painting 30+ destroyers I labeled them all "H" class destroyer. 

Here are the rest of the British destroyers.  They are all H class ships as well.  The British named their new classes of destroyers after a letter of the alphabet.  It makes thing more simple.  I would be really nervous to be on a ship with a letter designation for a class.  It implies the ship you are on is extremely expendable...which means you are extremely expendable.  Yikes.
I do not have any more naval wargaming plans in the immediate future.  I would like to one day have the entire Italian and German surface fleets in 1/6000 figurehead ships.  Please note that my ambition will be from capital ships and scale down to destroyers.  I will not be basing torpedo boats or submarines.  There are far to many of them to collect.  Destroyers are pushing it actually.  The German fleet of WW2 only had around 20 capital ships and a handful of destroyers.  It would be easy to collect the fleet in 1/6000 scale.

Next up is my Chinese DbMM project.  No, this is not Taiping rebellion stuff.  I am also experimenting with a Chinese army from a much earlier era. This particular base is a unit of C'hin conscripts wielding Ge dagger axes.  The weapons are really cool.  I suggest looking them up if you are curious.  I used Baccus Japanese Retainers as guinea pigs.  The Ge were made with straight pins, superglue and plasticard.  I have also made some ge using brass rod and simple soldering skills.  I am still new at soldering but I hope that with time I will become proficient at it.  Soldering is an interesting skill.
This base is a Irr Bd (I).  The other base I made is a Reg Bd (O).  I also need to make Reg / Irr Aux with spears and shields and Reg Bw and Irr Bw wielding crossbows.  I think the Bd stands are the most challenging because the Ge require the most technical know how.  The Aux stands will need putty made shields and straight pins for spears. I have done stuff like that before.  Crossbows will be a challenge b/c I am not sure how to do that.  I will tackle that later.  China really liked their crossbows.  I have not even started on the C'hin chariots.  This dynasty is famous for the terracotta soldiers that have been dug up.  The Regular troops are made from Baccus Ashigaru.  Their armor looks terrible similar to the C'hin armored warriors minus the goofy headgear.  I had to sand down the helmets.  I am still on the fence on how to model the head gear of the armored C'hin warriors.

This is my old creation from almost two years ago. They are fantasy bolt shooters for a High Elf army.  One day I will actually make this army for Hostile Realms but for now they are resting.  One day... one day.

The last bit of the day are my disruption explosions for Spearhead.  These little mushroom clouds mimic actual explosions photographed during WW2.  They are on the largish side for 3mm models.  I do not care as they were fun to make and very easy if time consuming.  I just need another 40 and I should have enough for all my games of Spearhead operational combat.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Russians are coming...The Russians are coming!!!

Yep.  The Hungarian in me is cringing in fear and dread.  I have been very busy lately.  Since I have been out of work due to a car accident I supplement  that desire to work with painting and modeling. 

I have some of my DbA Greek Athenian stuff done.  The beauty of this game is that you only need 12 stands to have an army.  I suppose I need to add a few camp / stowage bases.  My goal for now is to finish these hairy, oily Greeky guys.  When I finish we can all have a big barbecue with food and ouzo liquor.  
So far I have a stand of light horse and a Psiloi bowmen stand completed.   Psiloi is a fancy word for a group of Skirmishers.   Those horsemen will double as a horse archer stand in my DbMM Athenian force.  I know they have javelins.  Bows were supposed to be rare in this Era of Greek warfare.  I will try to use a suitable archer stand for the other units. 
I actually had a stroke of inspiration with my Greek cavalry.  The Athenian force uses Regular Cavalry Inferior.  It is abbreviated Reg Cv (I).  The game de bellis magister militium (DbMM) has a unique rating system for the 15 or 20 units in the game.   The are rated as regular or irregular.  It has to do with command and Control issues.
Units range from Spears, Pikes,  Blades, Bowmen, Psiloi and many more.    Some units cannot be irregular or regular due to type.   An example of this is warbands.  Warbands HAVE to be irregular.   Think of a bunch of frothing Wisconsiners screaming "We're going to dairy queen!".  That is the amount of control you could have over a warband.  There are different quality ratings for each regular or irregular unit.  They range from superior, ordinary,  inferior and fast.  They each have different effects in combat.  Fast moves more quickly but fairs worse in Combat.  Inferior are even more brittle and while cheap tend to crumble in combat.  Commit them at your own peril.  Superior are well, superior.  These guys know what matters most in life.

             "Crush your enemies.  See dem flee before you.  Hear de 
               lamentation of de wimmen".

I got a bunch of these Greek horsemen with the floppy hats and the spears.  The Athenian is able to take Reg Cv (I).  I did not have enough of the more heavily armed Greek cavalry for a Thessalian DbA force.  I decided to use the light horsemen as Cv inferior!  Greek horsemen in this period were rare and not Hungarians in the saddle.  I see that as the horsemen being unarmored and not well motivated.   They are not willing to commit to an engagement and are fairly skittish.
I got so many light horsemen in the army pack that I was afraid I would never use them.  Now I can field a Thessalian DbA force with 3 cavalry units and proxy them as Light horse (you get to pick 3 Cv units or 3 Lh units).  One unit gets to do triple duty.  They are light horse and cavalry units in DbA.  They are also Reg Cv (I) in DbMM.  Hooray.

I also have the first batch of Hoplites finished.  I am waiting to do the shields because I want to do all of them at once.   I have around 120 guys to paint.  This batch before you is 21 strong.  It took me all day to finish.  I should get faster once muscle memory sets in.

I have finally gotten around to painting my 3mm ww2 stuff.  They are mounted on 30mm x 40mm bases.  I find the shape of rectangular bases to be more pleasing to the eye than yucky old square bases.  This batch represents an almost complete early war Russian independent tank brigade.  I am missing a KV1 stand and the brigade command teams.  Each battalion had a kv-1 platoon, a t34 platoon and two platoons of t26s or bt-5/7 tanks.  Bear in mind that some units were in short supply of vehicle at the start of the war.  Some units had no tanks at all.  I would hate to have been one of those tankers.  I could probably substitute the kv1 stand for a t34 stand. 

I want to dispel the myth of German tank superiority.  When Germany launched operation Barbarossa in '41 they were deficient in the armor department.  The KV 1 tank was a monster for the Germans to handle.  The tank was almost unstoppable against the guns the German tanks had when they crossed the border.  As time went on German tanks were continually up gunned and improved.  In '43 the Panther was issued to front line units as a response for the t34 problem.  I consider this thr first real heavy German tank.  There were some Tiger tanks floating around in the early war but I think there were not enough of them to make a huge diffrence.   The workhorse of the German army was the Pz III.  It started the invasion with 37mm gun and went up to at least a higher velocity 50mm gun.  I think I went higher but for me I ignore the tank after the pz III J.  This was a good tank that accounted well for itself.  In the early war the Germans had to employ better training and doctrine to defeat the Russians.  Stalin really hurt the officer corps by purging all the good officers.  They were replace with politically sound but untested officers.  He also did away with vehicle radios.  Soviet tank doctrine was to button up all your hatches and watch the lead tank through the view scopes.  I guess they fired as they had time.  Tanks were seen by Stalin as nothing more than metal cavalry.  They drove across the field in giant waves hoping to overwhelm thr enemy.  This might account for why there were so many soviet tank losses. 

I do want to add some labels to more easily identify the units.  I feel like the stands pop.  It always helps to have quicker IDing of units. 

I also painted some 3mm trucks on 25mm circle bases.   Spearhead allows infantry platoons to be carried in trucks.   Once the infantry reaches a certain point they dismount and continue on foot.  In the rules the trucks go to the rear and the infantry is on foot for the rest of the game.  Instead of making infantry with trucks based together and stands with no trucks I decided to make the trucks attachments.  An infantry battalion has the trucks piggybacking on the infantry bases.    They give the infantry truck movement until the infantry takes Fire or dismounts.  Infantry mounted in armored fighting vehicles will have the half tracks mounts on the stand.   Those vehicle linger in the rear giving support with machine guns, etc.
I have not decided whether to mount support teams with trucks or do the attachment thing.  Their transport does not go away like Infantry transport. 
I am waiting on more bases.  I have a lot more 3mm Russian models to base.  

Thanks for watching.  I hope I was not to boring.  Please feel free to nicely correct me of any of my facts are wrong.

The last pic is my work cart.  I found this in the dumpster.  It was taped up.  I think someone moved and decided to toss it.  I wiped it down and use it all the time.  The misses likes it because i do not clutter the table with my stuff.

The Taiping rebellion "T 'uan Lien" part 2

This is the next installment in my Taiping Rebellion project.  These guys are local groups of militia that defended their specific region.   I believe that this would be the main enemy of the Taiping rebels early in the conflict. 

I imagine them as having some flags that they have hung on to for decades.  The flag with the character is the leader's banner.  Some units had a banner with their officer's first initial on it.  The first commander of the ever victorious army had his own banner with his first character in chinese.  Since I do not speak chinese this may not be a first  character.  I hope that a Chinese speaker will correct me before I make to many mistakes. 

I realize I may have set the bar to high because the peasant unit has three flags.  How many flags should an Imperial Chinese regular unit have?  I am in luck as each unit is battalion sized.  Each unit is actually 4 stands large.  This painted experiment is actually a quarter of the peasantry.  I think the "leader" unit can have an extra flag.   The other stands will probably have one or maybe two flags.  
The regular units will have more flags...maybe 4 or 5.  The more flags the better.  The Chinese loved flags.  The main tactic of the period was to wave the flags,  scream, bang on musical instruments really loud in order to spool the oppositon.  Apparently whole battle lines clashing in a bloody Melee was considered reckless.  The general rule of thought was that if you do not die you can fight again tomorrow.   It sounds cowardly to western minds but it made sense to the Chinese of the time.  It is considered better to be cautious then to throw lives away in futile assaults. 

That was not always the case.  The Taiping rebels had special black flags.  When these banners were flown the Taiping rebels would fight to the death.  This terrified the Imperial forces and they usually gave up the field. 

Even with the reluctance the projected casualties were only beaten by the ww2 scale of death. 

I plan on adding more stands in the near future.  I just need to finish my baccus 6mm Greek DbA army.  It is only 12 units but those Hoplites take time to paint. 

You can see them looming in the background base coated and menacing.