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Archive for July, 2012

BT artillery tank

Stepping down a few scales, I managed to slip in an evening or so’s work on a the BT tanks project … and completed the BT5A …

BT5A artillery tank

This is, of course, the big artillery turret more commonly found on the model 7 chassis (but I have been doing some work on the earlier chassis) …

BT fast tank converted for on road driving

In this case I have cut through the flattened back QRF tub in order to model the driver’s hatched open.  And I have taken the tracks off to show the tank ‘converted’ for driving on the road wheels.  The driver is using the detachable steering wheel as opposed to the levers necessary in tracked mode.

BT7, BT5A, BT5 … some Fast Tank family members …

So … the hull and tracks are QRF, the turret is fabricated around a Zvezda former.  The driver is Battlefront with a PP Russian tanker head, and the guns are also BF (the 76.2mm regimental howitzer is a spare from the T28 model which I assembled with the later L10 gun option).

Of course, part of this conversion job includes slimming down and spacing out the oversized wheels that come with the QRF model.   The easiest way to do this now is to pinch them from the Zvezda BT5 – however in this case I have separated them off, turned them down and them spaced them more accurately …  You can see the difference in the photo below:

On the left, the Zvezda track component is pretty much spot on.  On the right, the QRF one has wheels that are too big and evenly spaced.   This is important to the design – the rear pair support the weight of the engine, the more independent spacing of the front pair allow the vehicle to be steered in road mode.    Hopefully the artillery tank shows a reasonable modelling compromise.

I will update the modelling page with some pictures of the conversion process and options when I have completed the other family member on the table at the moment (an experimental version with Katyusha rockets …)..

For game purposes … in PBI (company level) the behaviour is the same as other BT5s except the gun is a 76.2mm IG (high explosive rounds) … in NQM/Megablitz, the model can stand in for standard, command or SP armoured units.

BT5A

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54mm Afrika Korps vehicles left smoking in our wake: ‘1942 to Benghazi’

In honour of Sarge’s forthcoming nuptial transition we had a local ‘boys’ games day’ featuring some classics from the Ad Hoc stable.

In addition to ‘Six of the Best’ and a clanking romp in Carpathia (the details of which are thankfully shrouded in mystery …) … it was a joy to see ‘Nick the Tsar’ and ’19:42 to Benghazi’ set out in all their splendour.

They were part of a legendary series of Salute participation games from the noughties, both in 54mm scale and full of wacky detail and quirky humour.

Here are a few shots …

Nick the Tsar: rescue teams moving up on the Ipatiev house …

‘Nick the Tsar’

To rescue the family, the players have to get up to the house, overwhelm the guards and break in …

Nick the Tsar: close up of the firefight at the door …

‘Nick the Tsar’ set the players up as Whites and foreign agents desperately attempting to free the Tsar’s family from captivity and spirit them away to safety.

Just for old time’s sake: the ‘ostriches’ gag …

Once in, any blue marbles can become saved members of the Imperial entourage (blue marbles? … I’ll explain some other time – the combat saves were Russian roulette … the shots were resolved in little glasses …  you get the picture): anyway, for each marble you get to crack open a faberge egg and find out who you saved …

The youngsters help us identify who’s been rescued

’19:42 to Benghazi’

… and the fourth game of the session was the LRDG caper blowing up everything in sight raiding an axis airfield in North Africa.

Equally rich in elegant mechanism and deplorable humour it is just a grandiose ‘drive by‘ in out of control vehicles.  And the environment is splendidly rich in targets …  Dawn is breaking and …

That big Chevvy just blasted past us and left us covered in sand …

… it took out the canteen, spilling the pasta and up-ending the Gulashkanone

… would you like some sand with that? …

… while all attempts to avoid the latrines were beyond the controls available to one of the jeeps …

… ooops! …

… of course all that noise and destruction does wake up the Germans …

… ooops! indeed – time to get the hell out of Dodge …

… well wadi ya know … Achtung Panzer! and all that – it’s off at the perimeter for us and into the desert …

Actually, we took out a watch tower, set the train ablaze, destroyed 2 fuel caches, 4 planes, half a dozen trucks and half tracks plus a Panzer II.   We shot Mussolini’s double and trashed the limo … and lived to tell the tale (well as far as the debrief endgame anyway) …

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COW 2012

Fire and Movement: COW 2012

There didn’t seem quite as much 20th Century action at COW this year – and, inevitably (I seem to have had a bit of a retro year … 54mm, flats, sand tables …) , I missed some of what there was (I missed the Fletcher Pratt, I missed the PVO Strany, I missed John Curry’s British Army 1978 Desert Wargame … but a visit to Megablitz and More will help, and I missed Trebian’s SCW game – see Wargaming For Grownups – but that is all too regular, I guess) …

Spanish Civil War: a scene from the COW preparatory game

I did play in Martin Rapier’s session Fire and Movement, a game from Phil Sabin’s Simulating War.

attacking the German machine gun nests

This is an area based game in which each base represents a platoon, and in which ammunition supply has an attritional effect not unlike being hit by enemy fire.  In that sense it is very British (spraying bullets everywhere isn’t the solution …)… The mechanisms are very smooth, and although the way attrition works is unusual, the outcomes have a plausible feel to them.

Thanks for putting it on, Martin.  A good session.

All the teams clustering around their section of ‘the wire’.

The Plenary Game this year was a quick and dirty perimeter defence in which everyone at the Conference played (mostly as little fireteams in foxholes on the wire).   It was a 30 minute megagame … and we all won!  In truth, there were some ideas in it too (though they were well concealed by the fast card turning and general bonhommie) …

ADG: Display Team North’s ‘Rollbahn Ost’

I also played in John Bassett’s Cold War multi media game … a bit of Committee work, a bit of role play … then some Blue Peter improvisation … plus some big plastic figures and some die rolls to make it feel like a wargame.

In this Alistair MacLean adventure, we had to drop some agents on to an ice flow to investigate an abandoned Soviet monitoring station – though the first of many hurdles was our first drop going down the crevasse.  Our fist drop was human cargo, needless to say.   The weather turned suspiciously in tune with the session time elapsing, and (with me as air mission controller), we had to extract the team.

Cold War … cold feet … (so don’t try this at home)

We had one day to do it, and only six passes to sky hook them all up.  It took an extra day as away team leader Trebian kept ducking when the hook came in (or that’s what it seemed like from my perspective).  Fortuitously, the weather was deemed good enough to give us another day’s mission and we got the job done.

Apparently this was based on a real event, and by the sound of it we didn’t do too badly (the real guys had quite an ordeal on the ice) …  An interesting scenario.

More from COW on Ancients on the Move – click here:

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