From the Shed: Great War era King’s African Rifles.

My good friend Bill, boss of Under Fire Miniatures, asked me to do some painting for him, specificially his latest release. I tried my best at them, blending and everything. I’m quite pleased at how they turned out so I’m going to show them off here before the pictures get uploaded to the Under Fire Website.

These KAR men are ideal for any Great War games set in East Africa– the campaign there is rather interesting. A small German force moved around the area for four years evading all British attempts to catch then and eneded the war unbeaten. Well worth looking up. The figures are multipart so you get a choice of weapons and I believe they’ll be sold with different heads so you can make up figures representing the different Imperial regiments from that era.

I used Vallejo paints for these- Khaki for the uniform and Canvas for the webbing, Pale Sand was added to highlight the previous steps. A wash of Army Painter strong tome helped too. Many thanks to Bill for letting me use his pictures too.

Cheers,

Pete.

A selection of games in the style of H G Wells.

I was going to do an update post but I thought you don’t want to just read about me maoning about my problems so I thought I’d do something more positive and tell you about something fun…

… one thing I’ve really been enjoying recently is a series of large scale outdoor games run by Tim. As I’m sure most of you know the first widely publilshed book on wargaming was H G Wells’ Little Wars*. These were games played on the floor with traditional 54mm toy soldiers. There has been a recent renassiance of these games with the publication of Funny Little Wars and Little Cold Wars, these games use the same sort of mechanisms (occasionally a matchstick firing cannon gets up- graded to a nerf gun). The games are based around fun and enjoying some gaming time with friends rather than a serious military simulation, however it is interesting how ‘good’ a result, ie historically plausible, these games generate.

Anyway enough waffle from, me on to the pictures:

The first game I joined in with was the defence of Fort Fisher in the ACW. I was one of the Confederate defenders against the Union combined operation.
The defences were manned but we were heavy on firepower but light on men. Still it was good funb firing the cannon at the ships as they closed in.
The Union tried to run a ship aground and blow it up to disrupt us. It didn’t work so well but they did make a landing in the centre of our fort and overrrun a few batteries (our defensive grapeshot, represented by party poppers, caused considerable casualties). Ultimately the Union didn’t have enough strength to sustain the attack so had to withdraw.
I played as the defending US forces in a game set in the early days of the Korean War in 1950. Task force Smith was hastily assembled to stop a North Korean armoured thrust south. With only 2 pieces of artillery and a few bazookas I only just managed to blut the attack.
On the same day as the Korean War game we played a small scenario representing the British parachute assault into the Suez Canal area in 1956. Each platoon stand was represented by a piece of card and dropped from shoulder height as we walked past the gaming area.
Although the troop quality of the British paratroops was much higher than the defending Egyptians they did have the advantage of starting in bunkers.
A much bigger parachute assault that I took part in was the 1970s South African asssault into Cassinga. Seen here are the defending African nationalist troops.
Due to winds over the drop zone (read that as being a bit breezy on the patio) the SADF troops were quite widely scattered. Ultimately their superior troop rating and a bit of air support won the day for them.
We revisited Suez 1956- expanding the game to include the French parachute assault as well.
Again the air support on hand was rather handy for getting the defenders out of their emplacements.
We went back to the first day of the Somme to test out some different artillery rules. Due to rain we had to move inside.
The Germans had three lines of defenses with the first row being very lightly held.
There was an extensive air phases prior to the troops moving (I was the RFC player for this).
As can be seen the British defensive fire was quite effective. Sadly, for the RFC at least, this was due to ground AA fire not from dogfighting.
The guns line up for the inital pre- attack barrage: this was a set number or rounds/ matchsticks against the clock. The artillery came in three phases: inital stonk, box barrage to suppress and destroy, then a creeping barrage as the troops went over the top. As was to be expected the British pals battalions took very heavy casualties, even though they made it to the first German trench line. The fun of the game was in the pre- assault preparation phases, working through the air combats and the different sorts of artillery.
It has become something of a tradition at these sorts of games that I provide a cake- usually a teaf loaf. The laidback, jovial nature of these games with plenty of breaks for tea and snacks, not to mention sandwiches has been a real tonic for me having not enjoyed gaming at home so much recently.

So there you have what I’ve been enjoying gaming the most recently. I hope you found it of interest.

I have got a whole pile of pics covering what I’ve been doing so I’ll put them out when I can in what will probably be a mixed up order.

Cheers,

Pete.

* Robert Louis Stephenson had written a book on gaming earlier but it didn’t get anything like the wide reception Wells’ did.

From the Shed: Varnishing disaster saved on Great War Tanks

I wanted to do some more Great War tanks in 15mm to go with my board game. I scaled up the Bergman design from 1/200th to 1/100th and ran off a pair of MKIVs. The plan was to paint them in German colours as captured tanks using the fancy new paint set I had got. The colours went on well and I was happy with the decals too… however, when it came to varnishing I got the dreaded white mist effect:

I was quite annoyed as you can imagine and nearly binned the models, such thoughts are only possible with the cheapness of 3d printing, but remembered that I had no more decals for them.

I risked revarnishing them on a dry day with gloss varnish, I vaguely remembered hearing somewhere that this work, and this managed to save them. See the reults here:

Really glad it did as they look pretty good now. Also it shows the limitations of scalling up a model to twice its size. Some of the detail is a little chunky now. At least it will survive game handling.

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: 6mm sized WW1 tank.

I wanted something to test out my printer- to see how small it would go….

I had a look about thingiverse and found a pack of WW1 vehicles scaled for 1:200th. I hada look at the files and they vehicles were all modelled fairly robustly so I figured they could be shrunk further; so in my slicing software I scaled a Mk IV male down to 1:285th. I wouldn’t try shrinking down a more detailed, larger file as the finer detail would just fail to print.

I ended up with this:

After a quick coat of paint I got it to look like this:

Given how well it has turned out I’m now considering printing out many more for a ‘Plan 1919’ game to explore Great War armoured action, as envisiged by JFC Fuller, that could have occurred had Imperial Germany not collapsed and the war continued. Something to think on….

Cheers,

Pete.

From the Shed: WW1 French tanks.

I’ve backed all three Kickstarters for The Great War board game. However when the last expansion was up, the French one, I didn’t buy any accompanying French tanks at the time.

 

Having got the box through I saw that the scenarios featuring French tanks need either three Schneider tanks or one Schneider and one St. Chamond. I decided to order myself a set of 3D printed tanks from Butler’s Printed models… I went for 1 of each type initially. I wanted to see what the quality was like firstly, then I figured I may order two more Schneiders later.

 

Then I got the 3D printer for xmas so I decided to print myself off a set of 3 Schneiders anyway.

 

First up are the Butler’s Printed Models. They are nice prints, didn’t take much cleaning up at all.

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They look pretty smart with a coat of paint on too.

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The 3D prints of my own aren’t as fine as the others but this isn’t down to my printer, rather because I scaled a 1:200 file up to 1:100, consequently the lack of detail in the original file became more apparent.

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However with a coat of paint on them I’m really very pleased with how they look now.

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The colourful, even stylish, French camo was fun to do abd I can’t wait to add this new dimension to my Great War games now.

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Cheers,

 

Pete.