Fighting for Angola: FAPLA figures in 20mm.

I have just finished some of Under Fire Miniatures recently released Angolan Government troops [clicky]

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They represent soldiers from the FAPLA (Peoples Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola) who were the armed wing of MPLA (Peoples Movement for the Liberation of Angola) who had fought against the Portuguese up until 1974 when Portugal granted independence to its African colonies. After this MPLA formed a government and started moving Angola to a single party Marxist state. (The Soviet Union/ Warsaw Pact and Cuba send military aid as advisors). This led to a civil war in Angola between the MPLA/FAPLA and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) as well as the FNLA (National Liberation Front of Angola). This ended up as a something of a Cold War proxy battleground between East and West. Furthermore South African forces frequently crossed into Angola due to MPLA’s support of SWAPO (South West African People’s Organisation: a guerrilla force fighting in what is now Namibia against the South Africans). It makes for a rather long and complicated war that didn’t really end untill the 2000s.

With military aid coming from the Warsaw Pact and Cuba I’ve painted the figures to reflect this.

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This group of figures has been painted in a Cuban Lizard pattern camo. They are armed with the usual mix of Soviet weaponary.

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This second smaller group are in the East German Rain pattern (fiddly to do on 20mm figures and the zoom of a digital camera isn’t kind to my so so painting), three of them wear the DDR’s NVA helmet.

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For support they have a Recoilless Rifle.

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As well as a Plamya AGS17 Automatic Grenade Launcher.

 

Great figures that will make for nice opponents to the South Afrtican Defence Force figures I painted some time back.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

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Some more 6mm reinforcements.

I’ve been busy expanding my 6mm Cold War collection again.

First up we have a very mixed bag for my Americans: M60, M109s, M551 Sheridans, A battalion’s worth of troops in HMMWVs, some recon and anti- tank HMMWVs and finally some leg infantry.

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The models are unknown for the M60, Heroics and Ros for the Sheridans and M109s and Scotia for the HMMWVs. All of the infantry and HMGs are from Irregular.

 

Moving onto the Russians we have a handful of vehicles: a ZSU23-4 and 4 MTLBs, 2 portee-ing the ZSU23-2 AA gun and 2 the Vaselik auto mortar.

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The ZSU23-4 is from Irregular and the 4 MTLBs are Scotia models.

Finally lots of infantry and support weapons (HMGs and mortars).

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All from Irregular this time.

 

I’ve based everything for use with Nordic Weasel’s 5core: Brigade Commander rules. I use a 50mm square base for a company stand and a 30mm square base to represent a platoon sized attachment.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Fictional vehicles for fictional wars

I know that in some circles ‘What if?’ get a bad press (and certainly in the case of the Nazi fan boys obsessing about Maus tanks it is justified) but I’ve always been drawn to them. I think thios is because know why something wasn’t used tells you a lot about why other things did get used. I find that knowing about what technological blind alleys were peered into fascinating. Like my old math teacher said don’t go straight to the answer, show your working out…

On that theme here are a few vehicles that didn’t really exist (in one case) or see service (in an other) that I’m looking forward to adding into my 6mm Cold War games of 5core: Brigade Commander. [Edit- both models are available from Scotia ]

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First up we have some 130mm Russian self propelled guns. These ‘existence’ of these were first revealed to the west by the controversial Cold War defector Viktor Suvorov who made a career of exaggerating the strength and martial prowess of the Russians.

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Supposedly they were to equip Motor Rifle Division to give them some long range firepower. (In fact a similar vehicle was made in the 1950s in very small numbers the Su-122-54. There is a very good article in Armor if you can find a copy). Either way a copmany or a couple of supporting platoons are now available for my Soviet forces.

 

Secondly, and most importantly to Twilight 2000 players, we have the LAV75, I mean, RDF light tank. This little thing was a possible US Army acquistion as an air transportable light tank; it was armed with a long barrelled high velocity 75mm gun.  Although the project got to prototype stage  it progressed no further.

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Again, I got enough so that I can field either a company or supporting platoons.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete

Something of an update.

I’be been a bit quiet on the blogging front recently and that is due to my upcoming megagame eating up all my hobby time. The playtesting and writing is over just now got the production side of things to do…

… I have been getting in the odd game here and there. Tonight was a playtest of some Vietnam mods to 5core Company Commander that Evan is working on ( sorry no pictures). The game before that was my Chechen game- the scenario needs tweaking before we play it again but it looked good- and I did take some pictures:

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A establishing shot of the table- a road that needed to be cleared going through heavily wooded ground.

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Some of my Chechens dug into and ambush position.

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A Russian Vodnik armoured car enters the table.

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Covered by the guns of the AFVs the Russian infantry begins to advance.

As is usual I took loads of photos at the start but then got wrapped up in the game and forgot to take so many. Still endless photos of my Chechens being gunned down by 14.5mm MG fire wouldn’t be a great reflection on my gaming skills now….

 

I was doing some reading on the battles that Army Group Centre was in in 1942 on the Eastern Front late in bed the other night and the thought occured to me that I wasn’t enjoying the book… that got me thinking it was perhaps because it was translated from Russian as I’ve never enjoyed reading any book that has been translated from Russian. Whether it is a history book or Dostoevsky and regardless of who the tranlator is they have never sat well with me. Have any of you noticed this?

 

One more thing of note: I did play in one of those ‘Escape Rooms’ that are very popular at the moment. Basically you are looked in a room and have to solve various puzzles against the clock to win, ours (I went with some of the Pennine Megagames crowd) was submarine themed- that got my vote straight away. We escaped with over 10 mins to spare so we did quite well considering there were lots in our team who’d never played before. Good fun and I’d do one again. No photos from that either as they don’t want to spoil the surprise for subsequent players. The link to the company’s web page is here.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

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.

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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.

 

 

Some Elhiem figures.

I’ve painted up some example of Elhiem’s [clicky] work that I’ll share with you. One of the good things about Matt the guy behind Elhiem is that he is very responsive to customer requestsd and suggestions, he has a Facebook page just for to post ideas to. The first group of figures is one that I said I’d be interested in when the idea was broached an a now defunct forum.

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This are men and women in suits, ideal as bodyguards for some VIP. I painted their clothing a fairly light grey to contrast with the dark weapons; unfortunately the silver paint for the mirrorshades didn’t worth that well, I may yet got back over it with black….

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This next group is 12 near future/  SF Amerrican types. Wearing full face helmets and advanced armour, they have exo- skeletons to give them a boost. It is a nice touch that only the LMG gunners have the exo- skeleton extending down their arms.

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To distinguish the different fireteams I painted each group of four’s guns different colours: here we have the ‘greens’…

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… the ‘tans’…

 

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… and the ‘greys’. 

 

There are some suggested rules for near future tech in the recent Osprey rules Black Ops so I will dig those out to. Also revisiting the novel Ghost Fleet should provide some inspiration for games.  I found this video too that gives me some ideas. I’ve got 12 near future Russians too to paint up so they’ll have some potential opposition. 20mm science fiction figures are rather thin on the ground so these area nice addition. I wouldn’t mind some more poses for both ranges, Officer and NCO types would be useful as well as some with rocket launchers of some kind….

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

NormandyTrip: Back to England and Bovington Tank Museum.

The overnight ferry from La Harve to Portsmouth was uneventful, I spent it either reading or watch films on my tablet, also it was the longest I’ve ever spent on a ship. As we arrived early on Friday morning I went on deck as the boat docked to see what was moored up in Portsmouth Harbour. The two historic ships HMS Victory and HMS Warrior were visible along with a fair few contemporary RN vessels including the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

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HMS Warrior, undergoing some restortation.

 

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HMS Victory.

 

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HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s biggest ever warship, I have to admit feeling a little underwhelmed by it.

 

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A Type 45 Destroyer HMS Dragon.There were at least 4 Type 45s berthed when I was there.

After docking we drove a hour and a half westwards to visit Bovington Tank Museum, a place that has been on my must visit list for a long time. The number of vehicles on display is mind boggling. Divided up into different sections it takes you through the development of the tank then we went through the Trench Experience covering WW1 and from War Horse to Horse Power and much more including the Tiger exhibit bring together a Tiger and Elefant, two Tiger IIs and a Jagdtiger. I took so many photos I can’t upload them all but I’ll put up a representative sample. If anyone has anything in particular they want to see let me know and I’ll post it.

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A view of the first hall we went in, Centurion front and centre.

 

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WW1 Mk IV ‘female’ tank.

 

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British Crusier tank from 1940.

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A Panzer III painted up in Africa Korp colours.

 

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A Sherman Firefly with Cromwell in the background.

 

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Moving on to modern stuff we have a T72 with a Patton in the background.

 

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A Saladin Armoured Car

 

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British Challenger.

 

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Another shot of the Firefly and Cromewll with the front ofa Chruchill peeking in.

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In the WW1 section we have a MkII tank.

 

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A Mk IV male with fascine.

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Austin Armoured Car of the type used in Ireland during the Anglo-Irish war.

 

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Tiger II with Porsche turret and Jagdtiger.

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Tiger II with Henschel turret.

 

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Elefant (all the way from the US) and Tiger 131.

 

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Hetzer SPG in front of a Jagdpanther.

 

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Protype of the Tortoise SPG- a British proposal to attack the Siegfried line.

 

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A T34/76 in Finnish colours.

 

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The ridiculous TOG II- a British failure from WW2, very cool all the same though.

 

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British heavy metal.

 

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The Sherman used in the recent Brad Pitt film ‘Fury’ still with its sfx weathering.

 

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Not all of the vehicles that are in the Bovington Collection are on public display- this is a view of part of the storage shed.

Going round Bovington took all day; all that was left was a long drag on a journey North back to Yorkshire to end Dad and I’s holiday.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.