Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Periodical Cogitation...

...in which Our Hero examines some of the glossy wargames magazines in his shelves and ponders why he buys them so rarely.

Henry Hyde’s recent announcement that Battlegames and Miniature Wargames are to merge has set me thinking about the range of glossy magazines we wargamers are currently blessed with.  

Personally I don’t buy magazines very often these days.  More often than not, it’s when I have a long train journey ahead of me.  

I subscribed to Wargames Illustrated for many years, finally giving up my subscription when issue numbers were in the low 200s (in 2003 or so, I believe).  I gave up because the magazine seemed to be increasing dominated by articles produced to accompany the latest set of expensive, commercially produced rules.  Often there seemed to be little content beyond, “Here are the stats for Austrian troops in Kampfgruppe Blitzkrieg” or whatever.  

I was also getting a bit fed up with the design of the magazine, which seemed to be getting very fussy.  Sometimes the use of background images under the text made it difficult to read and it was increasing hard to see where editorial ended and advertising began.  In the end whole articles were remaining unread from one month to the next.

Miniatures Wargames (MW) was of course the predecessor to Wargames Illustrated (WI) and continued in competition with the latter.  MW suffered by comparison with WI not least because of its uninspiring visual design.  The continuing MW’s photographs in particular failed to tick the right boxes.  Too often they were neither the beautifully constructed set-pieces of WI nor the shots of actual games that had previously graced the pages of the late, lamented Practical Wargamer.  I can’t remember the last time I bought a copy of MW (certainly before I stopped subscribing to WI) so it may have improved in later years but it certainly hasn’t reached out and grabbed me from the newsagent’s shelves.

Through my post-WI period I’ve been aware of the new crop of entrants to the market.  The first I tried was the original, Spanish-produced, Wargames Soldiers & Strategy.  This scored reasonably on picture quality and could be selected (or not) on the basis of how relevant an issue’s themed core of articles were to my interests at the time.  WSS was also quite good for “how to” articles but it never grabbed my enthusiasm enough to make me a regular purchaser.  Production quality seemed to be variable with occasional lapses into Spanish where diagrams hadn’t been translated.

I was also a far-from-regular purchaser of the French magazine Vae Victis.  I think I bought about three copies at least two of which were found in French supermarchés whilst on holiday. Although it spreads its attention across boardgames and computer games as well as miniatures, I think it’s worth buying if one’s French is up to the task.

Next to get the use of my money were Karwansaray, the publishers who resurrected WSS after its Spanish masters pulled the plug.  The modern WSS is a beautifully produced magazine, clearly laid out and with a nice balance of substantial articles, opinion pieces, and reviews.  It seems blessedly free of articles-designed-to-push-the-latest-set-of-rules. 

Four times in the past few years I’ve shelled out for a copy of Battleground’s new, post-Duncan Macfarlane, Wargames Illustrated.  This is an enormously thick magazine but as I’m not interested in the 50% or so of each issue that’s devoted to Flames of War, it nets out at about an ordinary magazine’s worth of content. I still find the design a bit fussy and cluttered and still find editorial merging into advert (not surprising I suppose for a magazine that’s following White Dwarf along the path where magazine meets product catalogue.

Finally, we have Battlegames. For a long time I’d heard about this magazine and it sounded like one I’d really like but it wasn’t available from the likes of W H Smith until the recent issue 33.  The W H Smith connection is not insignificant.  Glossies cost nearly a fiver an issue and since I stopped subscribing I’ve become keen to see my magazines before I commit to buying.  The issues I have seen (issue 33 from Smith’s and an old pdf I bought as a sample) have both been keenly read from cover to cover.  it’s nicely designed and the articles seem to be aimed at wargamers like me.

And now Miniature Wargames and Battlegames are to merge, with Henry Hyde at the tiller and under the Miniature Wargames name.  If the new venture retains the style and spirit of its younger parent I may well be tempted to purchase more regularly, at least whenever I have a long train journey ahead of me

Monday, February 25, 2013

On the Workbench - Arctic Strike stuff

You may have noticed that the terrain for last week's Cold War Commander game included the almost completed Lake Hartvik that's been on the workbench for some time.  Well now it's done and shown here with a couple of hills in various stages of completeness:

Also on the way are pine trees from squirrel-chewed pine cones, with some newly acquired brown felt to outline the extent of the woods. This pic also shows the business cards I'm using to produce the cards that deliver random air support, and the strips of MDF that will form the coast of Herjangerfjord and the E6 highway.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fight in the Finnish Forests

Taking advantage of the fact that we all had a day off (it being half term and near the end of my leave year) Andy and Richard came over today and we had a game of Cold War Commander to remind us of the rules.  Given how often I've played CWC it was scary how much I couldn't remember!

In preparation for the Crisis Point: Arctic Strike, Andy, Richard and Jamie all played parts of the forces they'll be using in the big game.  As usual I umpired; I must get some playing practice in too!

Andy had:

Elements of 1256th Reserve Motor Rifle Regiment

Battlegroup HQ  180
1x CO (CV8), FAO, ZSU23-4, Recce BRDM-2

3rd MR battalion  795
HQ (CV7), 9x BTR-70, 9x Infantry, 2x Sagger

4th Tank battalion (part) 315
HQ (CV7), 3x T-55

1st battery, 1256th Artillery battalion  55
1x 122mm howitzer, 1x Truck

1345 points, breakpoint = 13
Richard had:

Callsign Romeo Sierra
HQ, 3x Delta Force SF (LAW Imp)

A Coy, 10th Gurkha Rifles   
HQ (CV9), 1x 81mm Mortar, 1x Milan 2, 3x Infantry (Carl Gustav)

C Bty, 7 Field Regt Royal Artillery  
FAO (CV8), 2x 105mm Light Gun, 2x Trucks

950 points, breakpoint = 5

and Jamie had:

Finnish Forces
CO, Recce PT-76
2x T-72M1
2x HQ, 6x BMP-1, 6x Infantry w. Miniman
3x BTR-60PB, 3x Spigot ATGW
1x 155mm towed gun, 1x Truck

1730 points, breakpoint = 10

The mix of forces was partly designed to give us a chance to try out the recce rules from Future War Commander (which we're using in the big game) and to play test the Spetsnaz special rule ("have recce ability") albeit applied to Delta Force operatives!

This game being fairly quickly thrown together we used the Exploitation scenario fairly much straight out of the book with the NATO/Finnish forces attacking.

The battlefield with the defending Soviets deployed.  The NATO / Finnish alliance entered from the right.
The major Finnish effort on the right.
Jamie pushed his main effort forward on the right with his two BMP companies leading, followed by the T-72s to the left of the road and the Spigots in their BTR-60PBs  to the right.

A Coy, 10th Gurkha Rifles moves up on the left (HQ in the woods, FAO front right, mortar rear right).

NATO forces reach the stream.
Soviet T-55s move up.

Colonel Sangarov's Headquarters
NATO forces cross the stream and establish themselves in the large wooded
area thus ensuring at least a marginal victory.
NATO artillery fire finds the Soviet armour.

The final position on the NATO right - the smaller wood is nearly taken and Jamie's Finish T-72s may even
survive being driven past unsuppressed enemy infantry in the woods!
We managed to get through five and a half turns before Andy and Richard had to leave.  NATO had at least a marginal victory and we thought they had a good chance of going on to get the complete victory in the following two turns.

The game was very enjoyable, flagged up how much work I need to put in to get familiar with the rules, and gave us all a feel for how they'll handle infantry-heavy combat in dense terrain.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Arctic Strike Rules part 2

House Rules

“Off-Table” Artillery
Artillery is divided into two classes. 

Medium artillery consists of guns of 159mm and less and multiple rocket launchers. Medium artillery is limited in its range.  Medium Artillery can target enemy units on the same table only.

Heavy artillery consists of guns of greater than 159mm calibre and heavy rockets.  It may target enemy units on the same or an adjacent table.  The Soviet 130mm gun also counts as Heavy artillery.

Naval Gunfire support counts as Heavy artillery for this purpose and is available to Warsaw Pact forces on the Tromsø-Lyngenfjord table, to neither side on the Bjerkvik table (the Navies are too busy contesting control of the coastal waters) and to both sides on the Bodø and the E6 table (though this may change).

Air Superiority
The tables are to be divided into 9 sectors:
  • Kola Peninsula (Warpac rear area)
  • Norwegian Sea (Warpac rear area)
  • Tromsø (southern half of Tromsø - Lyngen Fjord table)
  • Lyngen Fjord (northern half of Tromsø - Lyngen Fjord table)
  • Bjerkvik
  • Bodø (southern half of Bodø and the E6 table)
  • The E6 (northern half of Bodø and the E6 table)
  • Lappland (Allied rear area)
  • The Road South (Allied rear area)

Each side has a number of squadrons equal to the number of fighter aircraft
models available (to encourage people to produce fun toys) up to a maximum of
15 a side.

Each hour of real time (using a kitchen timer) fighter squadrons are
allocated to a sector by a staff officer of each side. Allocation is done using
playing cards whose values add up to 15 (Jokers count as zero). Playing cards are placed face down and revealed once all of them have been placed.  

Thus the Soviet Staff Officer might place three Aces (one squadron each) to
cover the Kola Peninsula, Norwegian Sea and Tromsø sectors, twos for Bjerkvik and 
the E6 and save eight squadrons to try and establish air superiority over Bodø.

Compare the number of fighter squadrons allocated to a sector (see page 9 of the
rules for the effect):
  • Equal - Contested
  • Greater but not double - Partial Air Superiority
  • Double or greater but not treble - Full Air Superiority
  • Treble or greater - Air Supremacy (as full air superiority but the smaller side loses one fighter squadron for the rest of the game).

If one side fails to contest air superiority in a sector (by placing only a Joker in that sector) then the other side has Full Air Superiority.

If neither side contests air superiority in a sector, both sides may use air support in that sector with none of the effects on page 9 applying. 

After determining who has air superiority in a sector place fighter models as follows to remind players:

One fighter from each side
Partial Air Superiority
One fighter
Full Air Superiority
Two fighters
Air Supremacy
Two fighters

Air Support
The “mud movers” are available to Brigade/Regimental commanders as allocated by their side’s Army/Corps Commander and/or Staff Officer.  Allocated aircraft become available to them as if they had been bought as part of the relevant battlegroup until either they are lost due to enemy action or until the kitchen timer rings to indicate that air superiority needs to be reestablished.

Note that if air superiority is contested over a sector (see page 9 of the CWC rules) neither side can receive air support.

Each hour the Staff Officers (if present, umpires otherwise) each roll 2d6 to determine how many ground attack flights are available to their side.  What these aircraft actually are is then determined by drawing an air support card.  One such card will be made up for each available ground attack aircraft model.

Aircraft unused at the end of the hour are removed and their cards returned to the deck.

Aircraft with roles other than close air support will also be given cards but will be limited to specific functions.  For example deep interdiction aircraft slow down inter-table movement, supply aircraft can be used to supply airborne battlegroups (see below).

Scheduled Air Strikes
Players wishing to schedule air attacks at the start of the game should make their intentions clear to the umpires before the game so suitable arrangements can be made.

Simple Logistics Rules
Each brigade-sized battlegroup has a CO unit. Each CO unit starts with three
line-or-resource-indicators (LORIs) and a supply base.

Using the same kitchen-timer-based approach (as per the aircraft rules - every
real hour I suggest) a CO that has had any units in combat must remove a LORI
and place it at his supply base.

Units reduced to one LORI are at -1 on all command rolls.

Units reduced to no LORIs are at -2 on all command rolls and suffer a command
blunder on a roll of 11 or 12.

LORIs are treated as truck transport units in game terms.

COs may place their supply base anywhere they wish. Supply bases
close to the forward edge of the battle area will be more vulnerable but will be
able to resupply the front line troops more quickly.

Supply depots move like infantry. They have 6 hits but no saves. They may not
be targeted by fire but may be caught in the blast radius of artillery or air
support. They are hit on sixes in all all circumstances and may be suppressed
in which case they cannot move. Supply bases can be overrun by the enemy in
which case they are lost.

Suggestions for LORI Markers

LORI Marker Suggestions
Movement Rate
Truck, Tracked Supply Vehicle (E.g. M548)
Truck, Tracked Supply Vehicle (E.g. M992)

Airborne Battlegroups
Airborne battlegroups would realistically be resupplied by air.  The following rules are suggested to reflect this.  

An airborne battlegroup’s supply base should be modelled with canisters, parachutes or maybe palleted helicopter-loads.  The base may not move during the game.  The airborne CO unit is in supply as long as it remains in contact with the supply base.

If the player/side has brought along transport helicopters or fixed wing aircraft, these will be given the cards like ground support aircraft and, if deployed in support of the battlegroup, will allow it to move its CO and/or supply dump when command units are moved. 

Broken Battlegroups
A battlegroup which breaks (assessed according to the usual breakpoint rules on page 41 of the CWC rulebook) will immediately be moved back to the appropriate rear area table to regroup.

A broken battlegroup may not move or fight until rallied.  To rally its CO must make a command roll using half of its modified CV (rounded down).  If a battlegroup has lost its CO (remember, a destroyed CO can only be replaced once) then the battlegroup must be rallied by another friendly CO.

Command Units of a regrouped battlegroup suffer a -1 modifier to their CV for the remainder of the game.

Movement Between Tables
Each Rear Area table has road exit points to a main table.  These connect directly to roads on the baselines of the relevant main tables.  Forces can move between the main tables by moving to the relevant Rear Area table.  It takes a fixed number of turns to move between tables.  Units en route between tables will be marked with a die to show the number of turns before their arrival.

Special air support cards may impact on transit times between tables.

Note that units may not be held in reserve “just off table”.  Commanders who wish to retain an off table reserve must deploy it on a rear area table, accept the transit time from that table, and attempt to deploy the reserves onto the main table as soon as they arrive.   

For Arctic Strike it has been agreed that we will use the Recce rules from FWC, they are presented below for players to familiarise themselves.
Recce units only do anything clever in initiative phase choose from  move, communicate or shoot. I have never seen the last done as it is almost always pointless.

move : roll a d6. You can make this number of normal movement 'hops' anytime during the command phase. So you can move first or last, or anything in between. Normally you move either to provoke Opp fire [and hence reveal units] or wait until it has been used and then move safely. Unless you roll crap, you can go almost anywhere. 6 x 30 cm is a long way.

communicate - roll a d6. 1 is auto failure. Otherwise : succeed up to 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60 cm distance to the nearest enemy unit. LOS is NOT required. If you succeed you can choose to bolster the CV of the nearest commander by +1, or allow an FAO to direct fire against that unit, or allow an FAC to direct a strike against that unit, or reveal a concealed unit to the rest of your army - which can then shoot at it if given a successful order and units have LOS.
  • recce ignore other recce - you can't use them to target each other. [Don't ask me, thats the rules. It stops a war of the recce units breaking out].
  • recce never receive orders, so command distance is irrelevant.
  • recce always count one cover class better vs direct fire. No benefit vs indirect fire.
  • recce cannot initiate close assault
  • recce fight vs close assault like all other troops
  • recce can support other troops in close assault and may use response fire like other troops.
  • you can never boost any commander's CV by more than +1
  • recce obey the movement rules for their normal movement -foot or wheels or tracks or whatever

Repair Units
A repair unit may be attached to any one command (i.e. to any battlegroup led by a CO unit).  The unit is treated as the appropriate type of vehicle for the base model (e.g. if the model is a T-34 ARV, use the hits and save value of a T-34 tank).

At the end of Saturday’s play the command to which the Repair Unit may attempt to recover knocked out vehicles.   1d6x10% of the vehicle units it has lost (rounding up) will be available on Sunday morning.  Recovered vehicles must be placed with 10cm of the repair unit.

Medical Units
A Medical Unit may be attached to any one command (i.e. to any battlegroup led by a CO unit).  Medical Units move like infantry and have 6 hits and no saves. They may not be targeted by fire but may be caught in the blast radius of artillery or air support. They are hit on 6’s in all circumstances

At the end of Saturday’s play the command to which the Medical Unit is attached may attempt to recover knocked out infantry units.   1d6x10% of the infantry units it has lost (rounding up) will be available on Sunday morning.  Replaced infantry units must be placed within 10cm of the Medical Unit.

Electronic Warfare Unit
The electronic warfare unit may be attached to any one command (i.e. to any battlegroup led by a CO unit).  The unit is treated like a specialised Recce unit.  It may act in one of two modes:

  • ECCM Mode - using a recce action in the Initiative Phase it may roll 1d6.  On a score of 6 all command units in the battlegroup add +1 to their CV for the remainder of the turn.

  • ECM Mode - using a recce action in the Initiative Phase it may roll 1d6.  On a score of 6 all enemy command units within 50cm of the EW unit deduct +1 to their CV for the whole of the following player turn.

The unit is treated as the appropriate type of vehicle for the base model (e.g. if the model is a modified Ural 375 truck, use the hits and save value of a truck unit).

Note that this is a Recce Action.  The Recce rules on page 10 apply. 

The special rules for individual national forces will follow in part 3.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Arctic Strike Rules part 1

I've recently published the "house rules" adaptations for Cold War Commander that we'll be using for Crisis Point: Arctic Strike in April.  I thought I'd post them here to save some people having to go through the Yahoogroup route. 

The Background

At 0400 hours on 4th August the Warsaw Pact launched attacks, all along the Iron Curtain from northern Norway to Austria.  

In the far North the Soviet forces advanced across the Norwegian border and across northern Finland from the Kola Peninsula.  In a few days NATO troops were forced back to the outskirts of Tromsø.

Further south Soviet Baltic Fleet elements and Warsaw Pact ground forces quickly overran Denmark by coup de main, chemical, and conventional attacks.  In a brilliant piece of improvisation, a British battlegroup isolated on Zealand was extracted by sea and transfered to southern Norway - it will later play a part in our action.  

Soviet Naval forces steamed from the Northern Fleet bases as soon as the war started and by the time of our game are in position to land amphibious forces at several points along the Norwegian coast.  Meanwhile, NATO naval reinforcements are arriving from the south.

Crisis Point - Arctic Strike

Our battlefield stretches from the Soviet-Norwegian border, just west of the heavily militarised Kola Peninsula, to the town of Bodø
 the capital of Nordland County.  There are three main tables and four rear area tables.  

Main Table 1: Tromsø - Lyngen Fjord
This table takes in the broken terrain west of the border and the heavily- bombed city of Tromsø

"Along the coast, the terrain is primarily tundra interspersed with hills of barren rock covered with moss and lichen.  Further inland, steep rock-strewn hills rise to elevations of up to 1,900 feet above sea level.  Hundreds of streams flow into scores of swamps and lakes which are drained by north-east flowing rivers.  There are numerous ravines and gullies throughout the region.  Vegetation is mostly scrub trees and low bushes.  Few trees in the area are thicker than a man's forearm, or taller than twenty-five feet."
- Burgess, Inside Spetsnaz

Main Table 2: Bjerkvik
This zone covers the shore of Herjangenfjord (which itself is an arm of Ofotfjord) north of Narvik.  In general this area is under NATO control except that Warsaw Pact forces have landed at Bjerkvik and cut the E6 highway to the north.  This table should see a gradually escalating fight as the Warsaw Pact manage to infiltrate more and more forces up Ofotfjorden and NATO forces concentrate to try and throw them back into the sea.

Interestingly, this is the area where British and French Foreign Legion troops staged the first amphibious assault landing operation of WW2 (see Crawley and Leulliot, Blitzkrieg 1940, Tac Publications).

Main Table 3: Bodø and the Road South
This table represents the area between the city of Bodø (with its international airport) and the E6 highway connecting the north of Norway to the rest of the Kingdom.

Aims of the Game

Our aims are several:

  • To play Cold War Commander on a bigger scale than we’d otherwise get to try,
  • To explore some facets of modern mechanised warfare that don’t always appear in our games - in particular, how do I protect my rear area functions, logistics, artillery, area anti-aircraft assets etc, from enemy interference?,
  • To raise some money to support our chosen charities (this year Sue Ryder Cancer Care and Bradfield-Dungworth School PFA), and 
  • To have fun while we’re doing it.

Command Roles

The umpires are responsible for rules interpretations and for the administration and balancing of the scenario.  The latter job is likely to involve on-the-fly decisions about the releasing of reinforcements to one side or the other as the game progresses.

This year the umpire role is to be taken on by Richard Crawley (NATO) and Richard Phillips (Warsaw Pact) as player-umpires.  

Command Teams
All non-umpire-team participants are allocated to either the NATO or the Warsaw Pact command team.  It appears that all participants are keen to take on the role of Brigade Commanders but just in case someone decides to experiment with a different role, here are the possible roles we identified for last year’s game: 

Between three and nine Brigade/Regimental commanders per side (i.e. one to three per table).  Each represented by a CO unit on the table and responsible for moving and fighting with the “teeth” units.

A Corps/Army Commander for each side.  Represented by assorted command units on the rear area tables and wearing the fanciest hat available.  These players are tasked with allocating forces between the various sectors and, with the staff officer, allocating heavy artillery and air support to their subordinates.

A Staff Officer for each side.  Responsible for resolving air attacks, deploying air superiority fighters (see air superiority rules below), keeping logistical support moving, and ensuring that rear areas are properly protected. 

There’s no reason why players shouldn’t swap between these roles as the game goes on.

Monday, February 11, 2013

What I Got For My Birthday...

... by Richard, aged... well, still in his forties at present.

My birthday this year coincided with the weekend of the Hammerhead show in Newark.  Between family presents and spending a small amount at the show I'm quite pleased with how I did.

As you can see, the family did a great job of following my requests for wargames stuff.  The Perry Miniatures knights will round out my Wars of the Roses armies for Basic Impetus.  The tweezers are just what I need for handling small parts on the the knights and the likes of that sodding ice-breaker.

The Gargoyle - Death Soldiers of the Jade Hood is a supplement for .45 Adventure and looks to have some good ideas.  I'm a little disappointed that it tuns out to be for the first edition of the rules and duplicates a lot of what's included in the 2nd edition but I can live with that.

Also among the family presents was this DVD:

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec is a film by Luc Besson based on a popular series of French bandes-desinées (graphic novels).  If you think French, female Indiana Jones in Paris in 1910, you'll understand why this film is great source material for pulp scenarios.

Further to the pulp angle, I picked up some Grendel resin-cast scenic items at Hammerhead.  These generic sci fi consoles are just the thing to set up a pulp scientist's laboratory.  GW Call of Cthulhu figure included for scale.

Also from Grendel was this Mesoamerican gateway (again with Call of Cthulhu figure for scale).  Needs a bit of cleaning up but likely to appear in a climactic jungle confrontation before too long!

Oh and I got some Chimay too!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pulp Heroes and Villains part 1

I thought it might be fun to start documenting my Pulp figures and providing the stats for my chosen game system which looks like being .45 Adventure.  


These guys are Grade 2 in .45 Adventure terms, developed using the Archetype Building Formula in the basic rules.  With all of their special ability points spent on combat they are quite significant opponents.  Just the kind of troops an evil genius would deploy if he really wanted the job done effectively.

Head (1) Defensive Rating = 4 
Brains 2 / 1 / Knocked out
Will 3 / 2 / Knocked out

Torso (2-5) DR = 5 

Brawn 4 / 3 / 2 / Knocked out
Guts 7 / 6 / 5 / Knocked out

Arms (6-8) DR = 5 
Heater 3 / 2 / 1 / 1 / -1
Shiv 5 / 3 / 2 / 1 / -1

Legs (9-10) DR = 5 
Dodge 3 / 2 / 1 / 1 / Crawl only
Speed 5 / 3 / 1 / 1 / Crawl only

Special Abilities

Fencing +1d10, Shiv Thrower, Dirty Tricks, Poison, Acrobat, Leap, Camouflage +1d10


Fist, Sword, Shuriken

The models are 1980s Denizen Miniatures figures, of small 25mm stature, painted by Alan Slater.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Nordic Developments part 3

While the latest layer of varnish was drying on Hartvikvatnet, I revisited the Haubits m/4140s.  They now have the completed three colour camo, though I've realised one of the tyres got missed. Next step is a light dry-brush of Iraqi sand and then it's on to painting the crews.

Next up are a bunch of Finnish T-72s.  As with the BMPs these a bit of a rag-bag - mostly Skytrex but with a couple of others from my eBay purchase. They do need a light dry-brush over the top though don't they?

Also in the pic are the prototype m/4140 (right) and the undercoated crew for the new ones (top left).

Nordic Developments part 2

Hartvikvatnet is coming along.  I've painted and varnished the water, painted the tile grout banks and added coarse sand to model the beaches.

The base is a soft sort of hardboard-like material that came from a broken picture frame. It's behaved rather strangely under the influence of the water-based acrylic panits I used, coming up in a bobbly texture.  I think this might look OK though when it's had more layering of paint washes and varnish.

The black bits are streams - coloured to match my existing stream terrain pieces.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Nordic Developments

Alongside the Norwegian lake I have some Swedes and Finns on go.

First up are these Finnish BMP-1s.  A close look reveals that there are at least two different castings here - they came as part of a batch I picked up cheap in eBay a year of so ago.  They've had their Sagger missiles removed as Finnish BMP-1s don't carry them.

The Finnish three colour camo is fun to paint.  I use Vallejo colours - Reflective Green, Bronze Green and Black.  Strictly speaking on a 1/300th scale model I should be toning down the black considerably but I've found that if I use my usual Panzer Grey colour the camo disappears completely and the models might as well just be painted green.  I've also cut back on the dry-brushing they'd usually get.  There's a white-blue-white on each hull side and white streaks represent the serial numbers on the hull front and rear exit door.

These guys will form the main transport for an infantry battalion in Jamie's battlegroup.  That's a Spigot ATGW at the top.  It'll be repainted in Finnish colours and will join the battalion's heavy weapons company.  The Landrover will be a recce element for Richard Sangar.

Next up, the main batch of my, previously prototyped, M/4140 howitzers.

They're two-thirds of the way through the Swedish three colour scheme - Olive Green and Black in place, Saddle Brown to follow.  These are made from cut down Soviet D-30 barrels, FlaK 18 cruciform mounts, plasticard strip, plastic rod, and liquid greenstuff.  They'll get H&R US artillery crews when based.  Four of these are for Richard Phillips who provided some of the parts.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Arctic Strike - the Bjerkvik Table

I'm supplying the terrain for one of the tables for this Spring's Crisis Point: Arctic Strike game in Dungworth.  It'll be a 6' x 8' table and it's going to need a lot of hills, streams and trees as well as a fjord and a lake.  Here's the initial draft map.  No hills shown yet but you can see where they will be by looking at where the streams originate.

Lake Hartvik (Hartvikvatnet in Norwegian) is currently under construction.  Phase one saw the cutting out of the base and the application of cork bark, foamcore and filler to make the banks.

Then I looked back at the map and realised I'd left no room for the streams that drain into and from the lake!  A quick hack with a Stanley knife fixed that.

Also under development are a batch of trees made from squirrel-chewed pine cones: