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Russians!

The 198 ID project plus Chris generously donating some pieces that would make an ideal HQ for the operation against Rostov (completed in the last update) has given a distinctly Axis flavour to the blog – but there are Russians on the workdesk too.

With a refurb to some of these motorcyclists, I have added a couple of extra machines and resolved how I want to depict the unit .

It’ll be just like the other motorised soldiers … a big base (with the others, it’s a truck or carrier base) which is the unit in transit mode … to which you add a machinegun/leader base when the unit is fully deployed for action …

So, as shown here, between two scout units … all three of these units would just be depicted by the big base when e.g. transiting along a road out of action – add the extra base and it becomes fully deployed: ‘combat base plus supports’.

The m/c combo is a Piggie BMW, converted to M72 with DP …

(you just need to reshape the sidecar and replace the MG)

From the TofOandEs, some of the Motorcycle Battalions were all combinations, some mixed combos and solos (most of these are M72s, but I’ve slipped a Tiz 600 in there for a bit of variety – converted from the Piggie WWI bike)

The ‘wheelie’ is because I imagine the terrain to be bumpy. There is a good image of some motorcycle troops negotiating a very dusty ‘road’ in the Kuban …

In the b&w picture, there’s also one of those little supply trucks like the ones I put in the infantry HQs. It’s a Zvezda Zis, but I cut the plastic out to give them open windscreens. For a simple/speedy conversion, I cut out the complete piece, then add the door pillars back in from card (rather than try to take the window out without damaging the pillars – which is a nicer technique but requires a bit more finesse) ..

They also have a reduced carrying area (which in this case included a metal tilt from the spares box which will give it a nice, weightier, feel on the table). Anything to make these pickups a bit different from the bigger workhorses.

After a little flurry of blogs, I have some medieval things to attend to – so there might be a little pause.

Following swiftly on the CoW report, I’d like to add an update on the German HQ group from June.

They are pretty much done now. I did a little experiment with some decals – a learning process. I’ll get the surfaces flatter next time. Still not so bad (especially given they’re not even the right size) …

Anyway, here’s the group, followed by some of the individual models. I hope you like them!

The mobile phone camera is a bit harsh on the 3D printing striations. They’re not so noticeable with the naked eye.

‘K’ for Kleist, of course. The slightly oversized numberplates work fine on the back. I’ll have another go at the car pennon *wry smile* (we’ll get there in the end).

Figures by Peter Pig, cyclist and friend by Paint and Glue courtesy of NQM Chris. The bicycle is very fragile. There’s a wireman there so they can keepin touch.

The radio truck is an old bit of Matchbox optimistically grafted onto the back of a Zvezda Art of Tactic Opel Blitz. It looks nice now it’s tidied up (here, with the Flakpanzer for a bit of protection) . ..

The air recognition flag is painted but the swastika is a decal. Again it turned out OK I think.

Peter Pig crew, as you’d expect. The gunner took a bit of persuading.

In action …

Well I never …

Stalingrad won’t be much fun.

Yes … somebody parked a tank on the lawn. Well, lots of tanks .. just another day at Knuston Hall.

Well, how wonderful to be out wargaming again … meeting people many of whom you’ve only seem via Zoom since more than a year ago … CoW 2020 got cancelled. This one went ahead with limited numbers, Social Distancing, sessions outdoors where possible. But it was still great and still packed with games, toys and bright ideas.

(just a sample of the wide variety of sessions at CoW … tabletop games, committee games, skirmishes and pirates … )

The plenary game was a fast and furious look at the machinations in Hungary in its last days as part of the Axis: I was the Hungarian Foreign Minister, looking to open a channel to the Soviets whilst hoping I wouldn’t end up on trial for the government’s evident war crimes. Sorry, that was Magyaria, of course … a fictional country …

On Sunday morning I was in a reconstruction of a wargame originally played in the Cabinet Office in 1975, called WintEx ’75, an excercise in thinking through the transition from peace to war in the event of a Soviet invasion in Eastern Europe. Actually, the game’s precepts reflected classic 70s establishment paranoia, and was mostly about controlling and combatting the enemies within, than about taking on the Warsaw Pact.

Some of the paranoia would have been eminently justified, I’m sure. An illuminating and well-prepared session. Lots of paperwork.

The game on the lawn was based on the attack at the second battle of Villers Brettoneux. I volunteered to command a British tank as my Grandfather had done it for real.

Firing was adjudicated an an adjacent range using toy canon and matchsticks

Just briefly to post some ongoing stuff … NQM Chris donated some plastic and resin 3D prints which has triggered a ‘high command group’ which will fit over the Rostov Germans. It prompted this mash of a Zvezda Blitz with an old Matchbox toy radio truck body to provide the communications element.

The clothes line aerial is, of course, some bent wire (a paper clip, if you need to know!) … I think it will look bang on when the new parts are painted in. Elsewhere, there is a Protze Staff car full of PP orderlies and officer – and a PzI Flakwagen (crew by PP, trailer by FiB) to give some protection. The (Pz I) resin is much lovelier than the plastic.

I also decided to put to bed this heavy lift fuel tanker which has been sitting on the desk for ages. It’s made up of old toys and was going to supply the French armour at El Alamein – but when the Orbat came through for the big game, I didn’t need it -so force majeure, it got pushed to the side as the kit in the game took priority. I think its time has come, though.

Next month, I should be back to the horsedrawn projects – and who knows, I might get a game (as in toys on table, players in the room moving them … rolling dice … ) … We await in anticipation.

PANJE WAGONS

Back to more from the work desk … this could be ‘German horsedrawn (Part 3)’ or ‘Russian Horsedrawn (Part 1) or ‘198 ID (Part 2)’ … the panje wagon was pretty universal on the Eastern Front, so I did sveral together.

They are basically light, open 4-wheeled wagons, typically pulled by just one or two horses and were used to carry almost anything. I’ve been waiting to add one to each of my Russian Divisions (or brigades, depending on the scale adopted), and needed one for the Germans (so the pioneers in 198 ID had something to tow their kit around in).

(OK, I added another kettenkrad .. Chris’s NQM article on them persuaded me I needed more)

And while I was doing them, I completed the welfare stands allocated to the Russian HQs by providing the Concert Party with a cart …

I should probably find out the correct nomenclature for these fellows (from Peter Pig’s ‘dancing Rusians’ pack): early in the war years, the Red Army had propaganda units and political officers attached to ensure the men embodied the right values … as the war progressed, they appreciated that visits from famous ballerinas, and musicians giving the troops a good sing-along worked much better.

The welfare stands are ‘the other bit’ of the tail: medical units, padres, field kitchens and the like. Where appropriate (and, as always, it all depends on scale), these make ideal rallying points behind the lines. They could all be fields hospitals and ambulances, but I wanted a bit more variety.

They complete all the planned components in the Russian Rifle Division/Corps HQ units box

I reckon almost anything you need to support the infantry units can be pulled from this box now. It has three matching ‘HQs’ (across the top of the picture) plus (bottom left) the combined/overall HQ and (bottom right) some artillery and AA attachments.

Here’s 3 lots of ‘log, transport and welfare’:

The wagons are general, open cargo wagons from Museum Miniatures which I have slimmed down (narrowed by cutting a section out down the centres) and I have replaced the wheels with smaller ones (mostly spare Peter Pig ones).

The trucks are converted Zvezda ones, and pretty much all the figures are Peter Pig (as is the Kettenkrad).

To be continued.

After many, many months of zooms and quiet evenings prepping and painting, this week we were actually able to play a proper face-to-face wargame. This was of Trebian’s Spanish Civil War wargame – ans in celebration, here are a few shots …

For more on this game, why not visit Treb’s site wargamingforgrownups

aerials!

2 posts in quick succession? Well, reviewing my latest post upon publication (as I always do, to check for typos and such) a problem is slapping me straight in the face. The radios are barely distinguishable as radios – because they don’t have antennae. Doh!

This is pure oversight: I always put aerials on radios and radio vehicles – the models actually look better’ plus it helps identify the stands as command, staff, recce or whatever. Martin Goddard customarily puts a little starter ‘dimple’ on the models to guide your drill in, so you can ‘post fix’. Hands up: I forgot. Totally.

So I’ve had to go back. Checking my sources first, I can identify the radios Martin has modelled as Torn model E Bs. They have a whiplash type aerial on the left side of the front guy’s box (see pic) … and indeed, close inspection shows there is a tiny dimple where the drill should go. My drill was a bit big, though, so it wasn’t quite plain sailing (but I pressed on with what I had to hand).

(15mm modelling: Eeek … drilling a hole for the aerial turns out to be micro surgery)

Still, I’m just about there on all 3 models. My ‘go to’ for small aerials is brush bristle which tends to the right sort of thickness, is easy to cut and fit (and flexes more or less like the real thing in the case of accidents). Fortuitously for the photo exercise, the brush I snipped a few off had pink bristles which show up nicely for a ‘how to’ picture.

(next stage: fitting aerials made of bristles cut from a pink household brush)

As the material for these is virtually free, I tend to fit a longish mast, then trim it back after the glue has set.

I guess, including a coat of paint, going back and fixing this problem took half an hour or so. Photos and blogging the fix is the bigger job! That said, I think the fix illustrates my earlier point: I think these bases now look better – and look more like recce!

I was particularly pleased, mugging up on the radios, to find a photo of one being used by a team with a bicycle. Not the poses in my version, of course, but somehow ticking a box anyway.

(real life: Wehrmacht team with radio and bicycle)
(P.B.Eye-Candy: Wehrmacht team with radio and bicycle)

So, going back over the same job again doesn’t get the lead pile tackled but it did make me look up the details for the radio – so I have leant something in the process.

As many regulars will know, my WWII collection is dual purposed … for tactical as well as operational wargames. The figures for 198 ID are ‘borrowed in’ from my PBI company, and just as there is a consequent ‘fill out’ in progress for all the impedimenta that goes with the Divisional Level formation (recorded here, as it joins the collection, under German Horsedrawn – for such most of it will be), there are also some components that need to be added to the basic blocks or that would be ‘nice to have’.

15mm figures by Peter Pig

So, in addition to an extra combat stand and support stand, I needed some recce for each of the regiments. I also decided (‘nice to have’) to add some boats to represent the river crossing and bridging capacities. Of course all divisions would have the facilities, but in game terms it is nice to have appropriate makers through which to channel the player’s attention (thinking forward; sending the boats to the right place; not leaving things behind etc.) …

Some Useful Boats

So, we saw the basic boat model on its trailer in the last update … added to this, now, is one in action – a Sturmboot 39 – and a couple of inflatables. These will come out at the sharp end … for most of the time the Division is moving around the theatre, the potential of these craft will simply be represented by the transit model, of course.

Also in the picture is a ‘downed Luftwaffe’ dinghy and a waterline Schwimmwagen which I already had (so this is now what I have got, as far as riverine assaults go)

The asault inflatables are by Quality Castings (with a couple of extra crew which are Peter Pig. The Sturmboot 39 is adapted by me from one of the resin boats from The Square (i.e. – and appropriately enough – it’s the same boat as the one on the trailer … I’ve just added a modicum of detail, given it a scratchbuilt outboard and a PP crew figure … and chopped it sufficient to have the right, ‘sturm’, attitude in the water).

P.B.Eye-Candy’s 15mm scale Leichtes Sturmboot 39

It has (seemingly always) an MG34 mounted in the bow and a very chracteristic motor (again, always the same power plant) which appears to be a Kovats type K4R4 … although highly simplified, I’ve tried to follow the basic shape and configuration in the scratchbuilt version.

The characteristic Kovats K4 R4: powerplant of the Sturmboot 39

As standard in my collection, the various watercraft are mounted on clear bases …

The scouts

Yesthatphil’s 15mm German recce stands

The recce stands with my PBI Aufkalrungsschwadron all use pretty fancy kit. Of course, 198 would have its fair share of motor vehicles, but that wasn’t the balance I wanted to strike. So I’ve made 3 new stands for this purpose … basic infantry going forward to scout without the luxury of armoured cars and half tracks. Consequently, I gave one a bicycle, one a motorbike, and one a horse.

Again denoting them as PBIs sent forward, I’ve given them the white wafenfarbe (uniform piping) of the infantry (rather than of specialist reconaissance unit).

(figures by Peter Pig, bicycle from model railway supplies)
Wehrmacht 198 ID scouting parties

Each of the bases is completed with a Peter Pig 2-man radio team in greatcoats (to which I’ve swapped a couple of heads for variety) …

The box of divisional assets and support ehelons is filling up.

Somewhere in RussiaAssault troops from 198 ID make an improvised river crossing prior to bridging operations

So this is the first set of pictures as the models begin to get painted and based, ready to fill out the rear echelon of the infantry division. This batch has a small limber, a heavy supply wagon, the Machinegun Flak cart and a boat.

The boat is intended as a generic marker – possibly marking assault boats, possibly bridging equipment, depending on the demands of the scenario. It is an upturned ‘The Square’ resin boat on some BPM 3D printed wheels.

The gun represents a divisional anti-tank unit, notionally equiped with a 50mm Pak 38.

(gun and limber by BattleFront, figures by Peter Pig, horses by Museum Miniatures)

This is modeled as my usual combination of the gun (BattleFront) on a metal shim with a ‘limbered’ base and a ‘deployed’ base, each of which has a magnabased patch for the gun.

The deployed gun (again, figures by Peter Pig)

1:100 scale/15mm models on P.B.Eye-Candy

Heavy Supply Wagon (Schwere Feldwagen Hf.2)

Wagon and Horses by Quality Castings, driver by Peter Pig

And finally, the little flak cart … (Maschinengewehrwagen 36)

Limber, wheels and weapons by Battlefront, cart scratchbuilt. horses by QRF and crew by Peter Pig

The vehicle typically is armed with MG34s, whereas I had MG42s in my spares – however, some pictures I have seen do suggest MG42s were used. I have simplified the gun sights.

Maschinengewehrwagen 36: details

So far, so good. Hopefully I can get a little shift on with the next batch.

1:1200 ships

A friend of mine recently posted pictures of a model of Bismarck that he had recently completed and I immediately browsed through the files here so as to share pictures some of my own smaller models with him. It turns out that although I have some pictures of the Bismarck and others from the battle of the Denmark Strait campaign in (Big Ship) action, the only ship I had posted individually was the Vittorio Veneto …

P.B.Eye-Candy Fleet Action: Bismarck and Scharnhorst engage Hood and Suffolk
P.B.Eye-Candy Profile: 1:1200 Vittorio Veneto from Revell

So this post is a gratuitous corrective post. It reminds me that I have a lot of work to do on the rules and on the collection – but it also puts up some more pictures.

The War for the North Atlantic

1:1200 Airfix and Revell: the pride of the Kriegsmarine …
Bismarck
Scharnhorst
Prinz Eugen

The inspiration for taking these pictures was my friend’s Bismarck, so mostly I took a lot of pictures of the Kriegsmarine’s capital ships … but, hunting them down, of course, would have been the Royal Navy …

KGV, POW, Ark Royal, Hood, Suffolk and one of several destroyers
P.B.Eye-Candy: the search for Bismarck … long range missions, and Swordfish from Ark Royal
P.B.Eye-Candy: eager to close the range, Hood hunts down Bismarck