Some more Elhiem figures- 50s Cold War Brits, Soviets in Afghanistan and a MENA sniper….

Been getting on with some painting, trying to reduce the lead mountain and more importantly those many boxes of figures I’ve got lying around which are started but not finished. I seem to have developed a habit of cleaning, prepping, basing and undercoating figures then leaving them sat in that state in a box for months. Tidying the shed found lots of abandoned projects in that state today. Additionally the take up far more space than if I’d left them in their packets in the bare metal… any way I digress, on with the pictures.

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First up is a generic insurgent sniper for the Middle East/ North Africa region. I made a little scenic base for him to fit into too to add a bit more interest.

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I painted his trousers in a Russian camo pattern, you can just make that out hopefully.

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Armed with the ubiquitous SVD sniper rifle.

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I’ll use this idea for other figures too as well as trying a rural base.

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Here we have 8 Soviets with a mix of small arms wearing the tropical uniform as seen in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

50s brit platoon

I’m getting drawn by the retro appeal of the 1950s to gaming the Cold War in that era. I painted up a three squads worth of Brits. They are suitable for that short window of time after the introduction of the SLR but before the WW2 still uniforms were withdrawn; so 1954- 1960.

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NCOs have Sterlings the section LMG is the 7.62mm version of the Bren the L4. Section AT weapon is a bazooka (one is slungg on the back of the figure on the left.

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One each of the Rifleman poses in the three squads.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

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28mm Cold War Soviets.

Bill at Under Fire Miniatures [clicky] was generous enough to give me some his new 28mm castings to paint up. Expanding upon his initial Cold War releases for the Germans both East and West he has brought out some Russians in the classic 1970s/ 80s khaki uniform.

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The job lot painted up. Plenty to run some small skirmishes with the previously seen West Germans.

 

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At Bill’s request I photographed the figures in the packs that you buy them in. Here with have the PKM pack.

 

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The platoon HQ pack with and SVD armed Marksman.

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The RPK pack.

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Finally a pack with 1 RPG7 and three riflemen with AK74s.

 

Painting was done with Vallejo acrylics. The main uniform was Green Brown, Webbing was Khaki and Leather Belt with the NBC pouch in Canvas, the helmet was Russian Green lightened with a little bit of Yellow Olive.

 

Many thanks to Bill for the figures.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Of plastic kits and modelling shows….

On Sunday I popped into the local IPMS (International Plastic Modellers Society) show held at the leisure centre in town before I hit the gym there for an hour or so. I had quick run round the display tables- the standard of craftsmanship was very high and a bit of an impulse shopping spree on the trade stands.

 

Whilst there I also made a decision about my current and future gaming collection. !/72nd scale aircraft are just too big- I’m going to pare down my collection of them and go for 1/144 for those models that don’t need to land on the table. Helicopters will be kept in 1/72 though to match up with my 20mm collection. This should free up quite a bit of space. To this end I’m starting to list my kit collection on ebay- the money I make will be invest back into 1/144th scale kits or other toys.

So what did I buy?

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As you can see I’ve started on my 1/144th collection. The paints are for a 6mm project, new sprue cutter- always good to have a sharp pair, the now out of production MMS Russian AT gun will be used for a Megablitz/ Crossfire project. The two diecasts were cheap and the impulse purchase, one is a limited edition but I’ll take it out of its box and use it in a wargame….

My painting has been quite slow due to the weather. I paint in a shed which is rather cold; not that the temperature bothers me but my breath condensing on metal figures makes it hard to paint. However I did mange to finish these 28mm Soviets:

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I’ll do better pictures when all of them are finished.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

Two different types of SAS in 20mm.

First up I’ve painted some of the recently released Under Fire Miniatures’ Rhodesian SAS. Formed from a nucleus of Rhodesian men who volunteered to go to Malaya in the 1950s the Rhodesian SAS served throughout most of the Rhodesian Bush War performing some of the famous external cross border raids. A good read on the men and their operations is Barbara Cole’s The Elite.

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The full range painted up in standard Rhodesian Camo.

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Two more painted in plain green fatigues for external ops.

 

The next SAS figures are from Elhiem’s excellent Cold War ranges. Ever since the publication of Bravo Two Zero there has been a deluge of books on UK special forces, although recent change mean that members of the elite regiment are now barred from writing memoirs; they are so well known for a special forces unit it is hard to separate the good books from the hyperbolic fawning ones but Mark Urban and Leigh Neville have done the topic justice if you want to move beyond the memoirs . I wanted these figures as they have got a wide range of weapons (MP5 SMGs, Shotgun, M79, GPMG, M16, M203) as they’ll be ideal for a raid game I’ve got planned as the first game in a small Cold War campaign I’m planning.

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You’ll next see these figures raiding a Soviet HQ in a Cold War goes Hot game.

Both sets of figures come highly recommended.

http://www.underfireminiatures.com/index.htm

https://www.elhiem.co.uk/

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

New Years Eve game-athon.

Last weekend for NYE my friend Simon came up for a weekend of gaming. We tried to fit as many in as possible and in that regard we did pretty well.

Starting things off on Saturday we played a ‘Cold War goes Hot’ game of 5core: Brigade Commander. Bill had an early finish from work so he brought round a late 1980s British armoured  brigade which he has been working on recently. I decided to umpire so I gave Simon a reinforced Soviet Tank regiment and a pair of Mi24 Hinds. The game went back and forth, with heavy losses on both sides.

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An overview of the table.

The battle swung back and forth with heavy casualties on both side although all of the helicopters survived until the end of the game which is unusual in itself. The brace of Hinds found their role as a QRF. Simon used them to plug the gap when ever Bill’s Challenger tanks opened up a hole in his lines.

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Russian tanks and mech infantry take cover in a wood.

Brigade Commander is a great game imo. It plays really well and is easy to pick up with everyone I’ve shown it too being really favourable to it. I’ve plans to try a large multiplayer game of it soon -ish so watch this space….

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A pair of Hinds covering the tank company in the wood.

Later on that evening Simon and I looked at Nuts! publishing’s Urban Operation boardgame. It started off life being developed as training aid by a serving French Officer before being released as a commercial project. Being a block game it adds a nice bit of fog of war combined with nice chunky playing pieces. The use of generic blocks combined with unit cards allows a large range of scenarios and campaigns to be included. We decided to look at a one off game based around the Russian attack into Grozny in 1996.

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My initial defending positions as the Chechen player.

 

The game handbook suffers a little in its translation and the jargon heavy military style of the rule books could also be looked at for the civilian market but it does provide a good playable modern warfare simulation. It can be frustrating to platy as the rules punish mistakes quite harsly but I suppose that is the point. FIBUA  has never been described as easy. However, the forces in a scenario do provide you with the tools you need to win… as long as you use them wisely.

The next morning, suitable fortified with a fry up we looked at ‘War Plan Orange’, a C3i magazine game that takes GMT’s Empire of the Sun board game of WW2’s pacific war, trims it down and sets it 10 years earlier. It is quite a heavy game requiring a lot of careful planning to get your fleets in the right position.

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Simon’s IJN fleet spreading across the pacific, with suitable reading material to hand.

My luck was not with me. I won the unimportant encounters but 5 of my 6 attempts to take central pacific islands were rebuffed. In the end I ran out of time in the game to either retake territory of inflict an attritional victory. That said I really enjoyed the card driven mechanics and look forward to a second game. Also I’ll keep an eye out for Empire of the Sun too.

Following a trip to WW2 in the pacific we went right up to date and looked at a print and play game that I had made from Yaah! magazine (it was the one I featured in my tutorial a bit back). The game is set around the Russian separatist attempts to take Donetsk airport from the Ukrainians in 2014. For a magazine game the rules were very well laid out and played nicely without the errors that tend to creep into these things.

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The separatists force their way into the airport buildings.

About halfway through the game I had to break off and get some food on te go. Fortunately Chris had turned up so I delegated the defence of the airport to him. With beginners luck and a few judicious decisions he completely pulled around the course of the defeat I had been staring into and won the game. Finding my carefully placed ATGM that I had forgotten about and using it effectively seemed to turn the tide, that and rather aggressive moves with BTR80s. Another game to revisit soon.

After tea and with some beer/cider/whisky we set up another GMT game: Andean Abyss. The first and in some ways the simplest entry into the popular COIN series. Four factions battle for control of Colombia in the late 90s/ early 00s.

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Mid game, FARC are ascendant with two areas designated as FARC zone so no-go areas for the government. 

Playing as a threesome Simon took the government forces, Chris the AUC and myself the FARC. The drug cartels themselves were run through the games flow charts- something that always provides a tough game. Mid game we all called a truce to beat them so we wouldn’t be beaten by a game mechanic. In the end both Simon and I were over our victory conditions but as he was over by the bigger margin the victory went to him.

As the night was still young we dragged out my favourite ‘fun’ game then a laugh: Twilight Creation’s Innsmouth Escape.

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Trying to rescue trapped students from hordes of deep ones.

The human player, me in this instance, has to navigate the board trying to rescue the requisite number of students before escaping the board. The game uses a nice hidden movement mechanic and the waves of re-spawning deep ones generate a tension as you always seem to lose more health than you can heal. In the end I had rescued enough people but was killed before I could exit the board.

On Monday Simon and I had enough time for one final game. We decided upon returning to the naval theme and getting my 1/2400th Russo Japanese ships out. Taking the Japanese I had 2 battleships with 3 cruisers and 3 destroyers to Simon’s 3 battleships and the same number of cruisers and destroyers. My collection is pretty small still so rather than fight out a particular historical battle I just pulled together what I thought would make an interesting game.

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Destroyers may get a lucky hit with their torpedoes but they don’t last long when under the guns of bigger ships.

The rules we used were ‘Tsushima’ from A and A game engineering. Fast playing bckets of dice style rules that give a nice fast game. The opening stages of the game where you move by counters provides a nice tense mini game where you try to jostle for position.

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Right at the end of the game Simon got a critical hit on the bridge of my flagship… even though the battle had gone in my favour the fate of my avatar had to be determined. We gave me a 50% chance of death and a 50% chance of heroic scarring… the dice were kind and after a painful recovery I have some impressive battle damage to show off around Tokyo.

 

On the subject of the Russo- Japanese Naval War I picked up White Bear and Red Sun rules/ campaign system in the Wargames Vault sale, so when I’ve got more ships in my collection I’ll look at running a campaign on the conflict.

All in all a cracking few days gaming- we managed to get seven different games in.

Simon has put his thoughts on four of the games over on his blog, have a look here:

http://lestradesgame.blogspot.co.uk/

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A small Cold War game.

I recently played a quick game of 5core: Brigade Commander with Bill. He had recently finished some late 80s Brits that he hadn’t had on the games table yet so it was a good excuse to have a game.

Bill brought a British tank Brigade consisting of 8 companies/ squadrons of Challenger I tanks and 4 companies of mechanised infantry in Warrior IFVs plus a HQ company and a flight of Lynx helicopters, these were backed up with supporting platoons of Scimitar and Scorpion recce tanks, Blowpipe MANPADs and Swingfire ATGMS.

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I fielded a Soviet armoured regiment with the divisional recce battalion. This amounted to 7 companies of T64s with 5 companies of mechanised infantry in BMPs and a flight of Hinds. These were backed up with 4 recce platoons, 2 AA platoons and 3 Engineer platoons.

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I figured given that our forces were roughly equal we should have a simple encounter game, we set up the table with plenty of woods and a big urban area in the middle. I lost the set up roll and deployed over the full 4 foot frontage I had. Bill favoured his right flank.

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To add doctrinal differences to armies 5core uses tactics cards that can be played to give a slight advantage or to hinder the enemy. To counter Bill’s strength on my left flank it was to one of these cards I turned: ‘Commandos’. I placed they at the end of my first turn in the woods in the front of Bill’s units hindering their movement in the early turns. This gave me enough time to rush plenty of units forwards to the urban areas at the middle of the table. Losses were fairly equal for most of the game. Bill made good use of his ‘Scoot and Shoot’ tactics card and his Lynx helicopter- I was lucky not to lose both units to the ATGMs it carried. My artillery was slightly more effective than his; it didn’t kill anything but was good at pinning units in place. On the Soviet right flank Bill launched a devastating close assault by a mechanised infantry on a damaged T64 company stuck in the open and wiped it out, my Commandos too fell to a determined close assault by infantry and Warriors in the woods. I only managed to pull things round when I had 2 consecutive good turns, taking advantage of some re-positioning moves, my tanks opened up and with 4 shots killed 4 units. At this point Bill called the game as I’d taken out over 2/3s of his armour and his left flank had folded. Unusually for our games both helicopters survived to the end; I only moved mine once and never fired it.

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All in all it was a great way to while away a couple of hours, Bill only lost due to my luck being so good. He has been busy painting up FV432s and Chieftains so hopefully we’ll have a rematch soon.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

East German Army- the close-ups.

As requested here are some closeups of the DDR NVA figures. I’m not normally keen on showing closeups as my camera is better than my painting technique but these have turned out alright.

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I’ve not re- photographed all of them- just a few that caught my eye.

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Here is a quick rundown of how I painted them.

  1. Undercoat figure in grey from a spray can.
  2. Paint entire figure Vallejo Model Color (VMC) German Cam Beige.
  3. Paint skin areas Vallejo Panzer Aces Flesh (VPA) Base, plain and netted helmest VMC Military Green, Boots VMC black, NBC bag VMC Dark grey, Pack roll VPA Canvas, water bottle cover VMC Flat Earth and the Entrenching tool VMC Chocolate Brown and then VPA New wood.
  4. Wash entire figure in Army Painter Strong tone.
  5. Go back over all the uniform and helmet cover in VMC German Camo Beige and all the detail parts with with step colours.
  6. Paint weapon and bayonet VMC black.
  7. Add vertical rain drop lines with thinned down VMC flat Brown.
  8. Highlight Weapon with VMC dark grey and VPA New wood. Paint AK magazines VMC Orange Brown.
  9. Highlight Flesh with VMC Flat flesh and then VPA Flesh highlights. Wash with Army Painter soft tone watered down a little.
  10. Blackline with VMC Black.
  11. Very lightly drybrush the entire figure with VMC deck tan.
  12. Varnish with VMC Matt Varnish.
  13. Base as appropriate.

The above is my usual technique for speed painting 20mm figure with more care and detailed taken given that the figures are bigger. I didn’t take and step by step photos- it is something I could do a future post on….

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

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