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Tiger 01

This game mirrored some real events that took place in the Winter War … but for our purposes, the mission takes place in North Africa, just after the Vichy French forces joined the Allied cause.

Tiger 02

Some isolated German paratroops have taken possession of a broken down Tiger tank.  A French armoured car patrol has run into them and called up support.

The game is PBI and support for the Germans will come in the form of 2 ‘platoons’ of Saharianas … for the French, infantry is arriving and there will be an airstrike.

As you can see on the picture, the French player has been allowed to place a small platoon in ambush.


Tiger 03

The main objective is the broken down Tiger in the middle of the table.  It is not manned and has no function other than as a marker.

There are two secondary objectives …

Tiger 04

The Paras transport assets …

Tiger 05

… and the field kitchen and its essential victualing resources.  Because you just have to have one.

The Game:

At the start of the mission, some Laffly armoured cars are in a firefight around the gates to the old Casbah …

Tiger 06

The German AA truck was actually taken out by an anti-tank rifle from some of the Legionaires approaching from the East.

Tiger 07

But there was also a MG42 crew on the roof.

Tiger 08

… which effectivel pinned the Laffly’s down … and ultimately took them out.

Tiger 09

(one of these is destroyed, the little dice means the other is immoblised but might be recovered – unfortunately it got hit again … )

Meanwhile, the Arabs burst out in the buildings and close assaulted the Paras.

Tiger 10

Actually the placing player forgot they were in the square and machinegunned it.  So the first action was resolution of those hits … one of which went on the old jaloppy … and, on a saving roll of 1, turned out to be the group leader (PC equivalent and a Regular French Officer as it happens) …

If only you could plan these things.

In a bloody melee, the Arabs were thrown out …

Tiger 11

(PBI-style … the French airstrike lands in 3 empty squares)

Equally frustrating, the Hawk fighter missed its target (the required die roll allowing the defender to define the ‘off target’ drift).


We diced for these in traditional PBI style (which caused some predictable consternation as not everyone likes the mechanism) … I usually build arrivals into the scenario, but for this gathering I wanted to retain some flavour of the basic game.

Tiger 12

The Axis did rather well, getting their Company Commander and his jeep on early …

A fresh patrol …

Tiger 14

… and my newly painted Semovente – bought at Campaign, painted during the week – and straight onto the wargame table.  It had to be done.

Tiger 13

Amongst the French arrivals were these truck mounted Hotchkiss AA guns … quite vulnerable but about the best support weapons available to the French commander.

Tiger 15

But by this time the game (and real) clock was running it – and the intitial ‘coup de main’ had failed.

Although a bigger engagement could go either way, at this stage the French held none of the objectives and had lost a number of key vehicles (indeed all of the Lafflys … ) …

Fortune had allowed the Axis build to be more immediate and, as the picture shows, a strong grip was closing around the French footholds.

Tiger 16

Many thanks to the players for entertaining me for a coupe of hours – I really enjoyed seeing it play out.

This game still works for me.


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Apologies to followers and regular readers for a gap of some months – this has mainly been down to the combination of a long period of consolidation (chipping away at long term project rather than completing things that beg to be posted to the blog) coinciding with the meltdown of a laptop (thanks, Windows 10 and HP … the fact that you know this is an issue doesn’t minimise the inconvenience) …

Still … some updates are on the way and some pretty pictures from our game at Salute.

Welcome to 2017 at last.

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May Day

In addition to the usual parades …


… Stavka has also been able to send troops to the frozen front line … in the shape of some new ski troops from Battlefront/Flames of War.

Ski review 05b

You can see more of these on the reviews page (currently the feature).

I hope to add a few more items for the Winter War/Leningrad front before the big thaw (it will shortly be time to deploy the Summer Germans again) …

14 - 1a

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Plassenburg Collection 02a

Perched above the brewing town of Kulmbach,  Plassenburg castle houses the biggest tin soldier museum in the world, with a claimed 300,000 or so figures in the collection.  The 4 floors cover most periods of history from ancients to the mid 20th Century, and there are plenty of examples of early toy soldiers.

(More info)

Plassenburg Collection 00

Take the bus from the Stadthalle – it takes barely 5 minutes to get up to the top and only costs a few Euros.

Plassenburg Collection 02

Although the collection tells its story mostly with traditional German 30mm flats, round figures and other scales and styles are represented.

The big collections are from the 18th Century and Napoleonics, but much more is mixed in – including a room devoted to early North America.

A few photos can never do such a vast collection justice – but I will attempt to give pictorial impression by way of a review/taste:

ZFB 2013 14

(the museum was obviously busy all day – zinnfiguren clearly appeal to a big audience)

Plassenburg Collection 11

(early figures of different styles)

Plassenburg Collection 14

(do click on the pictures for a closer look)

Plassenburg Collection 10

(wartime German toy soldiers)

Plassenburg Collection 13

(Hyde figures camel corps)

Some of the figures are individual items on their glass shelves, or lined up in imaginary units, some are displayed as composed vignetes either on plinths or in light boxes …

Plassenburg Collection 22

… whilst most of the rooms have vast dioramas featuring thousands of figures recreating famous battles from military history.

ZFB 2013 11

(Prussian infantry drills modelled one-to-one)

The Age of Napoleon

Plassenburg Collection 09

Plassenburg Collection 06

Plassenburg Collection 05

(Crossing the Berezina)

The Age of Der Alte Fritz

Plassenburg Collection 03

Plassenburg Collection 21

… including the famous Battle of Leuthen diorama

Plassenburg Collection 17Plassenburg Collection 15Plassenburg Collection 16

A few other items

Plassenburg Collection 07

(North Eastern Indians)

Plassenburg Collection 08

Plassenburg Collection 08a

Plassenburg Collection 18

(The Battle of Pavia 1525)

Plassenburg Collection 19

(a scene from the Niebelungenleid)

Plassenburg Collection 20

(a cleverly posed boxed Pirate scene)

ZFB 2013 12

(Aztecs and Conquistadors)

Of course, the military collection includes airplanes, tanks, vehicles, balloons and ships …

Plassenburg Collection 24

I cannot recommend the Plassenburg soldier museum highly enough.  The were several other exhibitions in the castle when we visited, from regional history, the story of the castle in the Peasants uprisings, an art show, and the ‘Army of Frederick the Great’ (which boasted a splendid collection of flags and weapons), all of them would generally be worth an hour or so – but (if you share my tastes) the soldier museum is simply without parallel.   Entry to the soldier museum was a modest €4.00 (or available packaged with other exhibitions)

ZFB 2013 15

(central courtyard at Plassenburg – the shop and ticket office is in the far corner, the Zinnfiguren Museum opposite on the right)

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This one’s for Chris and Don …

Soviet Jubilee Parade

This is the NQM/Megablitz early Red Army Mechanised Corps I’ve been working on (just the vehicles, but with some of its later upgrades thrown in …)…  Still plenty of work to do but it could hold a little corner of the battlefield, I think.

Not to be outdone, Wilhelm von Apell invited his friends over for a quick photo …

The teeth of von Kleist’s 1st Panzer Armee

22 PZ and some asscoiated vehicles.  Even fewer real tanks!  Unfortunately I am in the midst of other projects, so I don’t have the space to get the infantry out at this stage (so we’ll have to content ourselves with drive by parades!) …


President Boyo gets in on the act (of course!)

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A Laager of admin and HQ stands belonging to Von Kleist’s First Panzer Army …

I completed the BMW motorcycle combo that has been on my table for weeks, and made a Staff car out of a Field Car I picked up from Skytrex at Salute.

These are mainly for games at Operational level, adding a Kradschutzen stand, and some transport for the higher command.

Kfz 21 Staff Car

The KFZ 21 is converted from Skytrex’s KFZ 16 model.  There are more details on the modelling page, but note the ‘real’ windscreen.

The BMW is PP‘s recently remodelled German Motorcycle combination.  I have done it straight from the pack (pretty much), and in a radically modified ‘parked’ version.  This is partly for ‘mounted/dismounted‘ use at the more detailed level of PBI, but mostly because I wanted to have a crack at the extreme conversion challenge of stripping the model down to basics.

BMW combination – crewed and uncrewed …

All I need now is to complete 1 GBJ Div. which is short of a motorised anti-tank abteilung – a towed 50mm (although for the Operational game, the precise size of the tubes isn’t that significant, of course).

I think the bikes came out very nicely – there are a few more comments on the reviews page

Things are coming together for a more detailed approach to the Battle for Rostov scenario, maybe in the summer.

(Peter Pig and Skytrex vehicles, Peter Pig figures and a ‘shrunk’ minitanks AA gun dismounted from its PP truck)

Somewhere in the Ukraine, Summer 1942 …

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There were a lot of twentieth century games at Salute this year, a diversity of styles and content and some good ones.   Contrary to what some forums and magazines would have you believe, it isn’t all Flames of War (though there was plenty of that splendid hokum).

(London’s Royal Victoria Dock – once part of the world’s  busiest trading hub, now the home of Britain’s biggest wargame trade fair)

I was on duty with the Society of Ancients show team as usual, at Salute, this year (link).   In addition to meeting up with all manner of friends and contacts from Slough Barbarians and Tin Soldiers to WDers and to Warlords of all types, I was able to take my camera for a walk.

This is a selection of things I liked.  It has no pretension to be a balanced or complete survey (there was a lot, including a number of ’28mm’ games bullying for attention but which had no particular merit I could see – apologies if I missed them) …

Deal Wargames – Invasion of Denmark (20mm)

There was quite a lot of attention given to the earlier period of the war (invasion of France, invasion of Belgium, invasion of Denmark … Stukas and Henschels flying ahead of not quite mechanised Kradschutzen and Aufklarungs detachments …)

Crawley ‘Brave Little Belgium’ (15mm)

It is good to see these tactical engagements getting such lavish attention … splendid they looked, and such a great alternative to the those implausible monster tank duel games (which, authentically, would more often have taken place at the extremes of the visible range rather than in the gladiatorial proximities of the tabletop arena).

A quick survey shows that of the 25 most identifiably historical 20th Century games, 2 were  ‘bigger’ (including the radio controlled tanks), 5 were 28mm, 3 were 20mm, 6 were 15mm, and 9 were ‘smaller’.

Smaller is a wide category as it takes in Air and Naval as well as micro tanks/6mm …

Climb Mount Niitaka

I was very pleased to catch Peter Barham playing the Pearl Harbour game … I have great memories of his Midway ‘megagame’ years ago in which I got to command a Japanese fleet (and though some of my subordinates got to see the enemy, I never saw anything other than the inside of my bridge and an increasingly misleading map table!) …

Crossfire Participation Game (15mm)

Great to see, amongst the very catholic range of games being used, a 15mm participation table using Arty Conliffe’s Crossfire.   Something I’ve found fascinating but not played nearly enough.

Flames of War demo game (15mm)

The free kriegspiel 1940 scouting encounter was enthusiastically manned and explained all day …

Warse 1940 … Taktische Aufklarung (20mm)

The game was based on an authentic incident during the invasion of France, and in addition to plenty of historical detail, included a display of archaeological exhibits connected to the action.  A great example of historical wargaming … and, as such, busy all day with clusters of enthusiasts fascinated by the detail and its translation into miniature …

Also amongst the smaller scale offerings …

Maidstone’s Operation deadstick (6mm)

A splendid presentation of the coup de main on Pegasus Bridge in 6mm and winner of Salute’s coveted ‘Best Demonstration Game’ award.   Proving you don’t need to be 28mm to get attention – you need to do the job well in a scale that suits the game.

I thought all these games were excellent.  Salute is a great place to go game watching every year – and a great place to top up reserves, too.

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