Archive for December, 2013

Being a Cold War seasonal entertainment staged for the MondayNight group …


The game combined some elements of the celebrated Operation Cold Feet and some real and fictional mayhem from Ice Station Zebra.    The rules were AK-47 classic with a few scenario tweaks  (plus a personal EDNA die roll which was set too easy so allowed a fair degree of role play to direct the narratives*).

AK-47, of course, is designed for Post War semi-historical African Warlord battles … but in its earlier format (sometimes referred to as classic) has a simple and swashbuckling style that translated comfortably from the savannah to ice flow.   3 of the 4 players were new to it but picked it pretty quickly.

BGD ISCF 05(Ice Station Cold Feet)

Briefly, something has fallen out of the sky somewhere on the ice flow, and a Soviet Ice Station has gone off line.   Nato has sent a mission to find out what is going on – and maybe gather some goodies.

ice station zebra poster

The Nato mission is … parachute in – find and check out the Ice Station – skyhook out any sensitive gear** – RV with the submarine for extraction …

There is a Soviet mission which is after the same materials and is charged with denying the Nato mission.

BGD ISCF 04(the Nato troops dropped successfully close to the station and only lost one member on the ice)


BGD ISCF 07(Nato operatives secure the Ice Station and search for clues)

Soviets at Zebra

There then followed a preposterous aside where they find a dead Soviet astronaut who has crawled in for shelter … In the ‘real’ narrative, it is a spy satellite, but Ian, on his departure, passed me some old Airfix astronauts which he not found a use for for years, so I painted one up and got him straight into a game (however circuitously).


(Space debris found at Ice Station Cold Feet)

By this stage the Russians were aware they were coming second in the race and had begun to mortar the Station and called up reinforcements …

BGD ISCF 09(the Soviet team were quickly reinforced by a 1940s style detachment of ski troops and aerosans)

And everyone was surprised when some light tanks turned up to support the Nato contingent.   A miniature battle on the ice broke out and a couple of airstrikes caused havoc (the professional Soviet special force had few heavy weapons, but proved good at rolling the ‘Double Four’ with their small arms fire – which in AK-47 wins then an airstrike special effect: very handy when you have some tanks to quieten down!***)


(Cold War: battle on the ice)

By this stage the Nato force was having problems … the skyhook mission had been aborted due to the presence of enemy Ground Attack fighters over the RV so everything would have to go out by submarine …

BGD ISCF 12(Cold War getting hotter … Flogger strike coming in on the Nato tank support)

But, thinly disguised as Soviet, the extraction team shows up in the nick of time (and the random roll put it very nearly adjacent to the the Nato team which was all but pushed off the end of the ice) …


I won’t include full details of the debrief (as we may run the game again, so reserve the right to recycle some of the twists) but we ended up with a clear outcome for the mission and a thumbs up from the players who seemed to have got into the swing of things.

Of course both sides subsequently denied everything and such is the nature of the pack ice that eventually it will all have disappeared without a trace …

BGD ISCF 13(Ice Station Cold Feet: a last man seen leaving the chaos)

AK-47 ‘classic’ seemed to work very well for this freewheeling evening game … and has a ‘cope with anything’ simplicity that enables the game to bundle along …


*purely to avoid those catastrophes where players get killed early on, everyone was allowed a ‘get out of jail’ argument plus an edna roll – as nobody failed the rolls, that aspect morphed harmlessly into a more ‘matrix’ style mechanism and allowed players a little role play.

** the Fulton Skyhook … it was real but had to be aborted due to the crowded skies ..

***basically we played all the bits of AK’s main rules bar we ignored the ‘choice’ morale test (so as to keep the small number of units we were using all in the game – for a good while at least) …

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A while back I devised a ‘paint as you go’ strategy: rather than buy stuff I see on  pages and at shows, but then tuck them ‘into reserve’ whilst continuing to work on my main project (so the main project gets done) … I now try to build/paint what I buy (and refrain from buying if I don’t have the time to do anything with it) …

This means my project reserve (‘leadpile’) doesn’t get bigger (it gets smaller) and I don’t forget why I have bought things and/or (which has happened several time in the past) forget I have actually got them and buy duplicates (grrr …) …

It means I get to build and paint while I still have the inspiration that prompted the purchase – and, in all honesty, doesn’t seem to have slowed the delivery rates on main projects at all.   It makes painting more fun, but does result in spates of bitty output – lots of one offs and oddments, especially when there are lots of shows around …

BA-20 unit 01(all built from BFs BA-20 or QRF’s FAI … BA-20ZhD, BA-20, FAI, BMW cabriolet, BA-20/clothesline aerial)

Inspired by getting the recent BF model, I completed work on a batch of QRFs too …

BA-20 rev 09(BA-20 ZhD rail scout)

The Zhd is the rail scout version of the Battlefront model … made by substituting some rail car wheels from one of my Thomas the Tanks Engine finds.   The turret is an adapted swap from the QRF but with the BF hatch (more anon).    BA-20 BhZs often took their road wheels with them, as this one does, so could refit for normal driving.

BA-20 rev 10(the trains now have eyes and ears)

There are never enough Staff Cars in 15mm, so I stripped A QRF A/C down to the car by filing off the armour … I finished it as a German BMW based on this picture of Wiking Division

SS Panzer Division Wiking Tscherkassy

… and following a useful discussion on TMP – but I modelled mine with the top down as my unit will be driving into a Caucasus Summer …

BA-20 rev 07b

BA-20 rev 07d(BMW 326 cabriolet staff car … Eastern Front 1943)

(see more on the modelling page) …

The traffic was controlled by another Wk Div HQ attachment … a detailed up Peter Pig motorcyclist (another BMW)

BA-20 rev 07 staff(Wiking Division Feldpolizei keeping the traffic flowing)

Back with the Soviet armoured car assortment, a clothesline antenna was added to a repanelled QRF FAI from brass wire (another modelling feature which I will add today) … easy to do and a nice addition.

BA-20 unit 05(BA-20 BF/QRF hybrid with added rail antenna … the windcreen hatches are open)

The turret is the other half of the swap … i.e. it is Battlefront, as is the spare wheel cover, both donated from the rail scout version.   The driver’s viewing hatch is open.

But I think my favourite of them is the straight FAI … just a tidied up QRF model.   The main work being to replace the wheels and chop out all the extra mudguard detail that clutters up the front …

BA-20 unit 03a

BA-20 unit 04

(QRF FAI armoured car )

The model has flat armour, but my black insert sort of gets the under sloping from some angles … No front bumper on mine, which is quite normal.   I think the model catches that jaunty look the FAI has (it seems to think it is quite a beast – which, of course, it isn’t).

The Rail Scout will likely feature more in Operational games where rail lines are vital, and for PBI my light scout detachment now looks like …

BA-20 unit 02(15mm Soviet light Armoured Car patrol … Battlefront BA-20, hybrid BA-20 and QRF FAI)

Back to the Germans, I have also added some ammunition schleppers and an artillery spotter from Forged in Battle (see reviews) …

FiB Demags 01(Forged in Battle Sdkfz 252s and 253 … come in a pack together)

The 252s come with trailers, but I have removed them purely for ‘real estate’ reasons …

FiB Demags 02(Sdkfz 252s in earlier and later camo schemes)

I am delighted, now, to have dedicated LOG for SP artillery units.

… and I have added a Field Kitchen to fortify the German infantry (who are much put upon on the Eastern Front) … it is QRF and features near the top of the Reviews Page)

gulaschkanone 00

In addition, 22PD now has the ability to tow its broken babies off the battlefield … I thought it would be inappropriate to allocate such a lightly equipped division something like a Bergepanther as a repair stand but have seen a number of pictures in which standard agricultural machines are towing broken or bogged vehicles out East.

So I got a Case Tractor (again QRF) and dressed it in 1930’s style with some Irregular wheels and put a plastic rod hoist on the back …

Repair asset 01(needs must: converted QRF tractor commandeered by 22 PD’s repair unit)

I think it does the job.

Repair asset 02

The driver is a BF spare, the front wheels from an Egyptian chariot, the radiator from a Zvezda truck … but it a QRF tractor underneath.   I mention all this as I know some enthusiasts these days like the VBCW narrative – and I guess if you do olde farm gear may be of interest.   QRF file it under ‘miscellaneous’: it is basic but I like it.   Adapted or ‘as is’.

Like the intro said, lots of bits and pieces … but quite a lot of boxes ticked, too –  and that’s not really where my main effort has been going!   Christmas is coming.

Thanks to Battlefront/Flames of War, QRF, Forged in Battle and Peter Pig for this batch: a lot of ingenious pleasure was had …

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