Saturday 31 March 2018

The Russians are Coming but Don't Panic... they are in 28mm (Painting Update: P4)

The 'first squad' is starting to take shape (see below, a fierce bossy sergeant):

Outside of the figures allocated for my three squads (yes three not four, I took casualties crossing the Volga) there are extras destined for "scenario supports" (see below, I have put them to the left hand side of the board):

The Vallejo paint runs (shade, base and highlight: Vallejo Model Colour) are coming together:

  • Russian Summer Tunics and Siberian Padded Winter Jackets: British Uniform (921 shade), Khaki Grey (880 base), Khaki (988 highlight) 
  • Russian Winter Coats: Russian Uniform Green (924 shade), 50% Yellow Green + 50% Russian Uniform Green (924 + 881 base), Yellow Green (881 highlight) 

I originally coloured all the belts and webbing Flat Earth (Vallejo Model Colour 983) and 'washed' over in Vallejo Sepia Wash (see below):

However I was not happy on this effect so instead I settled for:

  • Leather Brown (871 shade), Flat Brown (984 base), Red Leather (818 highlight)

Bits and pieces:

  • Wooden gun stocks were Vallejo Game Colour Charred Brown (shade/base) and Beasty Brown (base/highlight). 
  • The Siberian hat was Vallejo Game Colour Black/Stone Grey (shade/base) and Stone Grey (dappled highlight). 
  • The "Red Star" in teh middle of the hat was Vallejo Model Colour Read Leather (818): 

The Russian Soldier "comfort blanket" was Vallejo Model Colour:

  • Grey Primer + Sepia Brown (shade), German Camo Beige (821 base), 50% Pale Blue + 50% German Camo Beige (907 + 821 Highlight) 

The metal gun parts were Vallejo Model Colour Gun Metal washed over in Sepia Wash and then lightly touched up in highlight (see below):

The 'first squad' seems to be 'coming to life' nicely. The flesh look was giving me problems so I experimented. Vallejo Model Colour Flat Flesh washed over in Flesh Wash, produced a rather "reddy" looking effect so I applied Flat Flesh again as a highlight, toning it down with a Sepia Wash and final Flat Flesh highlight (see below):   

The 'second squad' gather to get their Russian overcoats painted (see below):

The prone figures are a nice addition. I primarily use them for the LMG gunner and Number 2, along with a PTRD gunner (off camera). I particularity like the Vallejo "belt and webbing" colour run [Leather Brown, Flat Brown and Red Leather] I took from "The Flames of War" painting guides (see below, I think it works really well with the Russians):

Time to "factory paint" the rest of the troops as my painting deadline approaches!

Interesting Blog Post: Wargamer's Minds

Interesting Blog post from Polemarch:

More posts to come on this from Polemarch!

Academic Reference: Yarwood, R., 'Miniaturisation and the Representation of Military Geographies in Recreational Wargaming', Social & Cultural Geography 16, no. 6 (2015), 654-674.

Friday 30 March 2018

Sunday 25 March 2018

The Russians are Coming but Don't Panic... they are in 28mm (Painting Update: P3)

In the Warlord games pack you get three squads (each of SMG Sarge, 2 LMG Team, 8 Rifle) and a Junior Leader (Lt), plus these extra "spares" [of which an additional 2 x 2 LMG Teams and 2 Flamethrowers Black Tree metals have been added]. That gives me an unused 'prone' infantry figure I made up as an anti-tank rifleman (PTRD), two extra SMGs and another Junior Officer (Lt). These can be pulled in from the Soviet Chain of Command "supports" list (see below):

The collection is coming along as seen below. Infantry squads are to the right and "extra" figures to the left. In total I have six LMG teams to fit into my "Stalingrad Order of Battle" (see below):

Time to add to the "shade" paint (Vallejo Model Colour: English Uniform) with a layer of "base" (Vallejo Model Colour Khaki Grey). The models look crude in the "shade" state but catch character quite quickly when adding "base" and "highlight" (see below):

Incrementally different areas add platoon coming to life. The few soldiers (in tunics) I errantly "shaded" with Vallejo Russian Uniform were washed in Vallejo Sepia and re-shaded in English Uniform, the "winter overcoats" are staying with the "Russian Green Uniform" look (see below):

A close up look at two of the more finished models (see below):

The figures are grouped into three wardrobe types for ease of the "factory painting" process. The first batch (squad) primary in summer tunics, the second squad is in the trademark Russian quilted winter jackets and the third squad wears the (Green) Russian winter overcoats (see below, the second squad):

The Russian Winter overcoats received a Vallejo Sepia brown wash to dull them down and make the recesses look shadowy and dirty (see below, the third squad):

With the "base" coat applied to the tunic area thoughts now bear on the 'light touch' highlight (Vallejo Model Colour Khaki). The key thing here is that I do not want to 'swamp' the figure as I have a tendency to do (see below, first squad is calling out for the highlight first):

I experiment with the highlights with a figure. Don't mess with the no nonsense LMG gunner. I took the opportunity to paint the blanket as to get a real feel of the figure.

Blanket: "Shade" Vallejo Model Colour German Camp Beige, "base" 50% Vallejo Model Colour German Camo Beige + 50% Vallejo Model Colour  Pale Grey Blue and "highlight" Vallejo Model Colour Pale Grey Blue

I am going to stick with this combination for the generic blanket and shoulder slung kit bags for my Russians (see below, I like the way he looks):

For that matter don't mess with the Sergeant armed with the SMG (see below, still have to play around with the flash tones on this one):

Next: Adding the "base" to the "shades" across all the kit in a Vallejo 'run of colours'.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Wargames Rules WWII: Digging up Old Rules and Dusting Them Off (WRG Armour and Infantry 1973)

Now here is a blast from the past, circa 1973 (apparently updated in 1988, but I am under the assumption that it was padded out with Army Lists as opposed to dramatic additions to the rules). The figures are 1:1 so anything bigger than a company looks a challenge but I am "needling" my way through reading them and intend to give them a play test (see below)

I would love to hear from anyone who previously played them, particularly the 1988 version! The only comments so far was from Renko with respect to long ago at the local Hartlepool club, where he remembered several "good" games using them. Then along came Firefly and Korp Commander and hoards of 1/300 tanks.

The temptation I have is to put a small infantry battle together, a platoon attacking a defensive position defended by a reinforced Squad in hasty defensive cover.

Sunday 18 March 2018

The Russians are Coming but Don't Panic... they are in 28mm and 20mm (Painting Update: P2)

Alongside the big 28mm figures (to be fair still few in numbers) I have many of their little cousins in 20mm (let's not mention the unopened boxes of 15mm that were destined for a dual CrossFire and Flames of War project that has officially "stalled"), so while I was "at it" I primed up some "classic) Revell 20mm Russian (Summer) infatry in Airfix Acrylic (01). Notably the 'silly' one-leg in the air grenade throwing pose (see below, in my defence he is a rifleman and you need quite a lot of riflemen in the Soviet army): 

Along with the classic Revell, there were the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) 20mm figures (very nice, especially once you get them 'primed and washed' - I have high hopes for these [two packs, one of  'Summer Infantry' and one of 'Heavy Support Weapons']) and a pack of newer Revell Winter Infantry - with harder plastic (Note: Not the old "Skiing Siberians"). All told I have easily enough for a platoon of Revell "classics" supplemented with other metals to make up a platoon and the PSC to make another. With metal "odds and sods" helping out with the shortage of Russian LMG teams (see below, a mass of primed and washed plastics):

Meanwhile some 28mm Black Tree "specialists" are primed Airfix Grey, two LMG Teams and two flamethrowers (see below, with the much needed Maxim MMG, still in the pack):

The Plastic Soldier Company 20mm platoon lines up for inspection (see below, with the bigger 28mm Warlord Games boys off to the right):

The metals follow the plastics in the "factory" painting system. Even though most of the Vallejo Sepia Brown Wash (bar the brown deep in figures recesses) will be painted over, I do like how it brings the figure detail to life and 'guides' the eye for better painting (see below):

All told I have five Russian Squads in my Stalingrad OrBat (three squads being my depleted "core" as per my terrible casualty rolls for the campaign system, the two fuller squads will be possible extras I could pull depending on the scenario) and I am going through each squad in turn "shade painting" the figures areas. See below a bunch of 28mm Russians WIP on their "shade" [British Uniform] layer before going onto their "base" [Khaki-Grey] stage. I have to say they paint up very nice, although I am not a fast painter, I am savouring the experience albeit with an 'End of March' or lose the Stalingrad Factory 'through lack of troops' deadline (see below, no pressure then!):

I line them up in their squads and paint them one by one until I am done. As I have the paint out I give a covering of paint onto the 20mm soldiers as well, really just checking out that the "painting scheme" works out for both sizes (see below):

The first Plastic Soldier Company 20mm "squad" (see below, whereas I am focusing on the 28mm platoon I would like a sample 20mm squad painted up as well as a "guide"):

An overhead shot of the "painting table". My useful ex-ice-cream box of Russian paints can be seen top  left (see below):

So on with the factory Kanban! Bring up the next squad when the last one is done (see below, as I have said before .. the figures are animated and 'full of character'):

PS: Don't tell anyone but painting WWII in 28mm seems to be fun and helps me paint the same nationality with more assurance (certainly of colour palette) when I drop down to 20mm (and hopefully in 15mm too)!

Wednesday 14 March 2018

The Russians are Coming but Don't Panic... they are in 28mm (Painting Update: P1)

The Stalingrad Project deadline approaches so my 28mm Warlord Games Winter Infantry Platoon figures call me, along side some 20mm Plastic Soldier Company and Revell brethren in the far background (see below):

The base colours sit atop of a Valejo Sepia Wash (see below):

The detail of the 28mm figures is truly incredible (see below):

I have chosen in the first instance to use Vallejo Russian Uniform Green WWII (Model Color 70924) as the "shade" colour for the basic Russian uniforms (see below):

The choice seemed logical until I referred back to the Flames of War Painting Guide and I saw that they recommended Vallejo English Uniform instead (Model Color 70921):

The more I painted the more I realised my mistake, as the colour became much more "green" en masse (see below):

The helmets were painted Russian Green (Model Color 70894) as a "shade" which is correct with the notion that Russian Uniform WWII (Model Color 70924) is the "base" colour in the sequence .. which I would think is the highlight if I used the same sequence for AFVs [the "shade" being an as yet unidentified darker green.] My mistake made I pondered what to do (see below):

The tester figure I had done earlier didn't seem so bad, so I deduced that Russian Uniform Green WWII was not bad for an overcoat but not so good for the tunic and cloth caps (see below):

Hence I would lightly re-wash the tunics with Vallejo Sepia Shade and put the English Uniform on. I think this will affect less than a dozen figures all told and will give a nice variation in tunics. Everything was a dirty compromise at this time anyway. I should dirty up the Russian uniforms no matter what (see below):

Again looking at the figures the detail is stunning (see below):

I much prefer painting plastics to metals as the paint seems to flow over the surface much better. Especially if you wash and prime the figure first (I use Arifix acrylic primer 01 .. but the local hobby stores seem to either not stocking it or running out and not getting replenished). The factory approach means that I will have to paint some forty 28mm figures in the "shades" before moving onto the next stage (see below): 

In the above, the first clump (24 figures) constitutes the "basic platoon minus casualties taken [aka diced for] in crossing the Volga". The latter (background) clump (16 figures) will be the extras I could spend "scenario resource points on" to supplement my basic force. I am toying with the thought of getting a few metal "extras" to bump up the support weaponry from "Black Tree". More on that later.

Next: More painting required ...

Sunday 11 March 2018

Aughrim 1691 (Part 5): "Take the Hill and Break their Army Sir!"

The climax of the battle approached. The local Irish Skirmishers faced up against the "elite" Skirmishers of the Dutch Guards William III had brought with him from across the sea (see below):

The Irish lads to their credit "gave them hell" and many a Dutchwoman is now a widow as testament to their accurate marksmanship (see below):

The Dutch Guards however are no paper soldiers and responded to the "first volley" with stoic courage then returned a truly devastating fire back. Irishmen fell all around and acrid smoke filled the air. The Irish ranks were thinned (see below):

The thought of another round of devastating fire from the Dutch was too much for these brave Irish defenders. The Dutch were already the winners and seen actively loading their muskets for another fusillade. This battle had bloodied the Irish too much, too many officers fell and too many horrors confronted the raw lads. They simply broke and melted away (see below): 

The Irish right flank was now in peril as the Dutch and British Skirmishers outnumbered the remaining Irish defenders 2:1 and the local cannon battle was going against the Irish too (see below):

The Dutch and British cavalry were fixed on exploiting any chance of a breakthrough, tying down the Irish remaining "good regiments of horse" (see below):

This turn of events however was eclipsed by the action in the centre. The full weight of the Dutch and British infantry bore down upon the Irish infantry defending the hedge line. It was an imperative that the Irish "first fire" was devastating (see below):

Although many in scarlet and white uniforms fell they seemed insignificant in numbers to effect the mass that was propelled forwards against the hedge line (see below):

What was more, was that the Dutch and British order was good, the officers controlled the men's movements with clear cadence and when called upon to do so, delivered a devastating return fire that clipped the hedge to pieces and left men sprawled on the ground as corpses (see below):

The Irish defense of the hedge line was broken. Irish regiments of line were swept away leaving only one broken and shattered regiment in. Outnumbered 3:1, with their comrades in arms fleeing, it was agreed by all they were the bravest (but most foolish) men on the day. They stood and fought another punishing round (see below):

As the rest of the Dutch and British scrambled over the hedges these noble Irishmen delivered a "high" return volley before being routed by a massed return of fire that crackled mischievously in the air (see below):

All to the Irish was now lost. There were more Irish soldiers routing than standing. The clash of cavalry could be against heard of the Irish left flank (see below) and their right flank was in the process of crumbling (albeit slowly in comparison to the rest of the battlefield). The Irish Jacobite Army was routing and no longer under control of the Generals. Pockets of resistance were isolated acts of heroism so those finely dressed Irish Generals chose their fastest horse and mounted them for an undignified getaway (see below, instead of a line a "deadly L" was formed which always precipitates the moment of disaster):

Thus ended the 1691 Battle of Aughrim (re-fight) decisively in favour of William III of England (or should that really be Holland).