Saturday 31 August 2013

Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) 20mm M5A1 Stuarts and Stuart Reece

I really like the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) 1/72 or 20mm kits. They balance a very high level of detail in an easy assembly model. IMHO they are the best value and quality on the market. In addition you get plenty of 'out of the box variation' with the models. For example the 20mm M5A1 kit comes in three different 'models' (early, middle and late production types), with or without the "Sgt Cullen" patent "bocage" hedgerow strimmer, therefore the 'basic' number of permutations is six without breaking into a serious modelling sweat (see below):

In fact there is so much extra kit included in each box means that there is almost enough to make "double the number of models" which stands at a generous three as it is. The only thing stopping the 'six models for the price of three' is the lack of a turret and a couple of 'simple' body parts, namely a basic squarish box to attach the hull cover and tracks onto.

However as a 'M5A1 Stuart' without a turret is in actual fact a 'M5A1 Reece Stuart' British battlefield modification, the lack of a turret is therefore not such a big issue after all. It is just a case of scratch building a box of a body and then "milliputting" a round "front end" on. From this musing struck a germ of an idea that grew and grew. Thus began a plasti-card missing body part production line (see below):

I did briefly think/experiment on casting a "household DIY sealant productbased" body but my "injection moulding" capabilities were sadly lacking, but at least the 'undefined' shape that resulted convinced me I could make a basic "plasti-card' chassis to drop the extra hull cover onto (see below):   

Assembled together: the spare hull cover, spare tracks and 'custom' hull (see below):

The Result: 

The three M5A1 Stuarts in the background are fully complete and the three M5A1 Reece Stuarts in the foreground have the "outlined body construction" complete, needing just a little extra tidy up to the front and back "TLC modelling" (see below):

Concept proven to hold water methinks, Browning 50 Calibre HMG, sandbags, stowage and extra crew still needed.


Tuesday 27 August 2013

The Horror, The Horror ... Stop Press "Law of Gravity stiill holds true

I never thought I was very good at the practical side of physics. It turns out that my coordination coming down a ladder is also getting a bit dodgy as I am getting older. I was coming down from the loft with a "box of toys", then gravity took control (see below).

What you see below is not a 'fix-it bargain' on the 'bring and buy' stall but the after effects of said 'Law of Gravity' on my US WWII 1/72 armour collection (of about twenty years of slow, slow accumulation).

Yes it's the "Spot the model and rate its damage competition!" I nearly cried my tiny little eyes out! 

Lots and lots of stuff broken ... but 'mostly cosmetic' (broken barrels) and it was easily sorted. Not so for two M24 Chaffee's and an M36 Jackson. They ended up literally as 'bits all over the place'.

The Dr's Surgery opened went into the small hours of a Friday night


There was a happy(ish) ending (see below):

Several 'Jack Daniels and coke' sustained me through this troubling time ;)

Sunday 25 August 2013

The Revell Star Wars Collection (to date)

The X-Wing with Luke and R2 (see below), now where has that Death Star got to? 

"The FORCE is strong with this one!"

Aw, Dad (see below)!!!!! Now don't go spoiling all my fun (again). Don't you remember how it was when you were a young Jedi exploring the galaxy in your StarFighter?

Yes son, I sure do!

Lovely models. They snap together nicely and I had 'many little excited extra hands and eyes' helping me make them :)

For some reason my children think these models are not really Daddy's ... the 'force' may be strong with them but this old Sith still knows a trick or two, like "it is bedtime" and "homework time"(queue theme Darth Vader's theme music)!

Saturday 24 August 2013

Sad News Skytrex in Administration :(

I just found out
See below:

They will be sadly missed


Friday 23 August 2013

Shhhh: Holiday Toys (The Haul)

Ahem, apart from the books I managed the following holiday haul. The trick seems top be to keep following the kids into the toy shops, the bigger the better, you never know what you may find. If you dig deep enough you are bound to find a treasure or two (see below): 

Revell: HMS Kipling/Kelly
(Note: I am pleased with this one as I thought I would never see one in a toy shop)

Revell: Anakin's Jedi StarFighter 
(Note: A bargain at half price, although for some strange reason my children seem to think that this is theirs. I must dispossess them of this thought by using my own Jedi mind-trick ... "Who wants an ice-cream?")

Revell WWII US Paratroopers
(Note: Now I have Airfix/Italeri and Revell US Paratroopers, it is therefore time I constructed a battalion of the 101st and 82nd US Airborne for D0Dat and Market Garden Operations)

Airfix StrikeMaster
(Note: This can be used for the called in SAS air support in the battle of Mirbat, pity it does not have the Oman Air Force markings)

All-in-all quite a cracking haul! So good in fact I think next year I know I will be escorted into and out of all toy shops by a "responsible adult"


Thursday 22 August 2013

Wargaming Connections UK (Last minute bookings)

If I only could, I would definitely go to this
It seems extremely good value for money 
But my logistics and prior family/work commitments prohibit me  
See the Simulating War yahoogroup posting:

--- In, "pagsab" wrote:

We have extended the deadline for registration for the inaugural Connections
UK to this Friday (23rd), so if you would like to attend on September 3rd and
4th, please sign up straight away. Anyone is welcome. It is shaping up to be a
great event, with speakers from across Europe and North America including such
luminaries as Peter Perla and Matt Caffrey (who has organised the US Connections
event for decades). Full details are at:

> Phil Sabin

I just realised that the registration link is not on the web page! To register
for Connections UK, please go ASAP to:

The cost for the two day conference is 100 pounds, which is the lowest practical
charge to cover catering, venue and administration. I hope to see you at the
conference in two weeks time.


Holiday Reading ("A Tale of Three Books")

The Alpha:

The summer holiday allowed me to read a book that I have on the shelf for far too long a time. The trials and tribulations of the BEF have always fascinated me. The totality of the defeat suffered in 1940 by Britain and France defies common sense logic. Having "more of things" sometimes means being capable of doing far, far less. The reasons why were touched on in Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's excellent book, but the essence was that the Allied armies command structure were designed to fight the previous war and operationally could not react to the changing pace of WWII combat (see below):

The Omega: 

Having taken only one book away with me I was rather pleased with myself to "pick up another" after I, in all fairness, unexpectedly finished the first one. I had always wanted, but never managed to get round to getting a copy of "The Longest Day" by Cornelius Ryan. A classic read (see below):

The armies that came back to France in 1944 were a very different kind of beast to the ones defeated so comprehensively in 1940. Their new capabilities in command structure, as well as their sheer quantity, showed in a steely determination in "getting things done". By contrast the 'well-oiled' German machine was a thing of the past. The striking major Allied advantage seemed to the air with the significant footnote that the Germans did not think it possible "logistics and shipping wise" to do so quickly what the D-Day planners achieved.

Onto the Cold War:

On the last day of holiday another 'read' was found to be required and one turned up in a bargain book shop (see below):

Thirty years later, the passage of time allows more secrets of the 1982 Falklands War to seep into the public domain, placed in the context of the Cold War "Warsaw Pact versus NATO" submarine activities. A good contextual read of politics, The Royal Navy and submarine operations.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

France 1940, 10th June - Post Dunkirk: The French Hold the Line (BattleFront) Part 8

The light French armour (AMR 33's) arrive behind the embattle village of Tagnon to stiffen the French infantry holding the main defence line of the river (see below):

Meanwhile at Tagnon the French infantry casualties begin to mount as the outer defences are swept away (see below):

At Tagnon, seen from a distance, the German infantry assault goes in. The second company of German infantry attack the centre of the village while the third can be seen held back in reserve. The eventual result (the fall of Tagnon) is not in doubt but the question is how much damage can be inflicted on the attacking German battalion. If "depleted" it will be much less effective when it attacks the next layer of the French defence. The Panzers have totally bypassed the town and the last company races off into the distance (see below):   

The "death throws" of the defenders of Tagnon. The clerks and "administration staff with rifles" pressed into service still manage to take out two squads (see below): 

The battle continues for another turn or so before the garrison either surrenders or scatters back to the main line of French resistance (leaving behind a precious 75mm with its Panzer crushing characteristics). The Germans are effectively down a company for the next phase of the battle.

That sadly had to wait for another day as "our time was up" it had been a good solid days gaming and a test run for the rules and scenario design.

To be continues at a later date .. "The Panzer breakthrough and the French response."

FOOTNOTE: I have just realised this was my 633rd posting, therefore it should have been a RAF Mosquito ;)

Monday 19 August 2013

France 1940, 10th June - Post Dunkirk: The French Hold the Line (BattleFront) Part 7

The German Infantry assault on Tagnon commences, first with a company assault on the troublesome French AT gun and defending French infantry squad (see below):

Despite favourable odds, the Germans were in fact pushed back in the opening rounds by the 'brave' defender (naturally no bias in the reporting, coming from the French commander). However there were more Germans literally queueing up 'to have a go' next (see below): 

This phase of the battle went to the French as the advanced German armoured cars ran into a pre-marked French artillery zone and "caught it", nasty 122mm and 75mm artillery gave them a rude awakening to the realities of war (see below):

The German armoured cars were in complete disarray (smug French look), however their (albeit) light armour saved them and there was no active French forces with 'direct line of sight' and ' in range' available to follow up on this little coup ("c'est le guerre" and a bit of bad planning, see below):  

At least French 'light armour' (Panhard armoured cars) had reached the river line defences and any attempted crossing would not be uncontested (see below):

However there was much more infantry fighting to be done in Tagnon.

Saturday 17 August 2013

France 1940, 10th June - Post Dunkirk: The French Hold the Line (BattleFront) Part 6

The squadron of AMR 33's rush to reinforce the village behind Tagnon. If (or rather when) Tagnon fell, at least thee would be a second line of resistance (see below):

Meanwhile at Tagnon, first blood to the French. A Panzer I burns as the French 47mm AT barks. However to the right is the menacing sight of massed German infantry approaching (see below):  

The German retaliation on Tagnon is swift as the German divisional artillery hits the town in the wake of the Stuka dive bombers. Another precious stand of French infantry is lost under the explosions. The Panzers are meanwhile in full "bypass centres of resistance" mode (see below):

The French anti-tank gun and covering French infantry platoon are not ignored as the regimental 150mm Infantry Gun contributes to the German attack on Tagnon (see below):

The Panzers have broken free and a skirting down their baseline (having being forced to enter on their extreme right hand flank. This represents a deep penetration parallel to the main French line of resistance (see below): 

The plan will be for the Panzers (with armoured cars to the fore) to make an abrupt right hand turn and find a "weak spot" in the main French line. Meanwhile the infantry attack will go in on Tagnon.

Friday 16 August 2013

France 1940, 10th June - Post Dunkirk: The French Hold the Line (BattleFront) Part 5

The German commander examines his "secret weapon" (possibly the only one in existence in 10mm) the humble "combat" field kitchen (see below): 

Meanwhile the sneaky French are bringing up reinforcements, a 'depleted' company of H39's, which promptly hide themselves in a wood to avoid the attentions of deprivations of Herr Hitler's mighty Luftwaffe (see below):

What's more, a slightly more numerous company of AMR33's, pass through the nearby village (as there was not enough room in the wood presumably) and make a run for the next big wood on the table (see below):

Meanwhile the Panzers are bypassing the village of Tagnon, reflecting true blitzkrieg tactics, leaving their 'landser' infantry to fight the French house-to-house (see below):

On the far right of the table more French reinforcements arrive, a squadron of Panhard Armoured Cars (see below):

The French are happy to see the Panzers dance away but ominously there are fewer brave defenders now left in Tagnon. The Luftwaffe and German artillery have taken their toll.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

France 1940, 10th June - Post Dunkirk: The French Hold the Line (BattleFront) Part 4

The Germans swarm forward, an infantry battalion (from an Infantry Division tasked with taking the first village) and a Panzer Regiment tasked with "exploitation" (see below): 

A closer look at the figures (see below):

The Germans have rather unwittingly "crossed their streams" (oh how we French laughed, as we picked ourselves up and dusted off the debris form the bombs courtesy of the Luftwaffe) but the German tanks just drove through the foot-sloggers contemptuously and delayed they were not (see below):

That is apart from half of the French engineer company who were rather spooked by the previous turns "medium level bomber" attack by the Luftwaffe, who ran away (see below):

Just as well the attack was not aimed at them, but rather the brave defenders of Tagnon who had not run away!

Friday 9 August 2013

France 1940, 10th June - Post Dunkirk: The French Hold the Line (BattleFront) Part 3

The Germans are coming in 222's, 221's and 232's. The Panzer Recon Battalion snarl at the first French strong point (see below):

The threat is very, very real as in amongst the Recon is the Divisional and Corp FOO who brings down a smashing artillery barrage (two battalion of 105mm and one battalion of 150mm howitzers) on the hapless clerks defending Tagnon (see below):

The Luftwaffe also makes a shown in a pre-planned run in with medium level bombers on the nearest river-line village next to Tagnon (see below):

With the French defenders still reeling from the onslaught, the German Recon Battalion spreads out as per the Blitzkrig plan (by-passing resistance and exploiting space) on 'Turn One' of the game proper (see below):

The French commander is content enough to hunker down behind his defences to try and steady the nerve of his troops (with a few important morale rolls to make in the process).

Wednesday 7 August 2013

France 1940, 10th June - Post Dunkirk: The French Hold the Line (BattleFront) Part 2

The Luftwaffe reconnaissance flights sweep lower to get a closer look at French positions (see below):

A close up of the "left hand village" from the above photograph (see below). It guards an intact bridge across the river and hence is one of the strongest French defensive positions.

The French river defences running right to left (as the French players sees it), the photographs show the "dead zones" between the individual hedgehogs (see above and below). The first German element on table, the ubiquitous Panzer Division Recon battalion, spearheads the 1st German Panzer Division's advance (see below, top left):

Dug in the valiant French defenders of Tagnon. Rather than front line infantry types, these turn out to be the cooks and clerks armed with rifles, as well as "odds and sods" scraped up from remnants of destroyed forces into an ad-hoc battle group in "French Plan D" fashion (see below):

The French have deployed and made their artillery fire plans, the focus of attention now shifts to the German player.

Monday 5 August 2013

France 1940, 10th June - Post Dunkirk: The French Hold the Line (BattleFront) Part 1

The Germans perform photo reconnaissance of the known French positions (see below):

The French Weygand Plan is to form a continuous series of defensive hedgehogs. Critical points are independently held by mixed arms forces under a localised command structure. Interlocking mutual support between the hedgehogs is impossible after the losses incurred in the first part of the French Campaign. Reserve mobile French forces have been held back to form powerful counter attacking forces to destroy any penetrating German attacks.

Well that is the plan!