Earlier this year I was looking for something a little different and as Blitzkreig Commander III had been released I flicked through the rules and lists and decided that I would start building some another early World War 2 army or two. I have Western Desert Italians (built for BKC – see this blog post and then this one for colour) back in Australia and had acquired some Early War Germans from Douglas as he sold off figures before his move to Scotland. I had also already built an early war Soviet Army (built for BKC II) and thought to myself, “English, French or something else?” Something else won and I started looking for figures for a Belgian army, circa 1940.
Now I know there have been issues with BKC III resulting in that being pulled but fortunately the only differences in the BKC II and BKC III lists was effectively the removal of the 47mm Anti-Tank Guns. So my army is missing those at the moment but I will add them next time I can afford a figure order.
The models eventually selected to use were the Belgians from Scotia Grendel. I must admit that I am somewhat disappointed with the infantry figures as they suffer from thin legs and poor casting as well as a rather static pose. Having said that, the motorcycles and vehicles are lovely. I selected from the Belgian range, the French range and the Neutral Equipment range.
Overall now, it is a nicely fragile force of early war equipment. The figures have been based ready for sand to be added and painting to commence.
I will update Thomo’s Hole later with painting details as the point goes on.
For the future? I think the next early war forces will be the French, followed by the British prior to Dunkirk then more early Germans. To oppose the Soviets will be slightly later early war Germans and I also have the Japanese. Somewhere along the line I will add so Poles as well.
As to the quality of the figures, see for yourself and make up your own mind.
Christmas has gone and so has New Year’s Eve. I avoid making New Year’s Resolutions, partly because reflecting on what you are doing and what you will do is something that should be an ongoing process. Having said that, in nautical terms, i am getting very broad across the beam although I have a good deal of ballast to counter that. It is time to slim up so that is one task on my 2017 and beyond.
Work also will be interesting this year as one contract finishes and I chase another. I will be looking for something to start around July or so.
I did reflect on those things that went well and those that failed in the year just past, however, a product of the odd beer and a relatively quiet New Year’s Eve back in Manila. It is, however, time to think about the plans for the coming year, doubly so as a week has already gone.
Simply … I did next to no wargaming, or painting. I also managed to add another few kilograms overall to my already portly body shape. I kept getting great ideas, especially for wargaming projects, but managed to not spend anytime actually starting any of them. Worst of all, I missed getting back to Oz and visiting mother for about 8 months, which was very frustrating.
There were some high spots however. Settled well into the second year of working in the Philippines and had the project progressing well. I also managed to read a lot, thank goodness for Kindle and a decent smartphone – I get to read almost anywhere.
So, as I had a little spare case this year, I spoiled myself with some Christmas gifts, and they will form the basis of the 2017 wargaming efforts.
First off was the two Warships I had missed from 2014 and 2015. I had not had a chance to purchase these before but they went into my Christmas stocking this year (it was a big stocking). Warship 2014 is the 36th edition and contains a variety of articles including a detailed technical description of the Queen Elizabeth (the UK’s only aircraft carrier – I guess because the French had one); details of Germany’s Braunschweig and Deutschland classes; the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour; IJN armoured cruisers; the escape of the Jean Bart from Saint-Nazaire; the submarine Mariotte; the IJN light carrier Ryûjô; Russia’s turret frigates, the Admiral Lazarev and Admiral Spiridov; and some other articles.
Warship 2015 is the first I have seen available in a Kindle format. It was tempting to acquire the Kindle Version, especially as it was half the price of the printed version, but I just could not give up the feel of the paper versions of this publication yet. This issue contains among other items, the Battleships of the Patrie Class; Postwar Weapons in the Royal Navy; the Tragedy of the Submarine Mariotte; Developments in Modern Carrier Aviation; and an early surface engagement between British and Japanese surface forces in WW2. I am looking forward to finishing Warship 2014 to get into Warship 2015.
Warship 2016 is the first of the recent series to come without a dust jacket (why did they call them dust jackets?). It long the previous 37 editions is a mix of different articles concerning naval matters from various periods of essentially 20th and 21st Century history.
This edition has articles on the Bougainville colonial sloops; an Italian colonial sloop Eritrea; the Japanese Asashio class destroyers; Fugas class minesweepers; divisional tactics at the Battle of Jutland and the conclusion to the Naval War in the Adriatic theater in WWI. There is also a piece on the use of ‘highball” on a ship – from the target ship’s perspective, in this case the French battleship Courbet.
I finally got around to acquiring a copy of De Bellis Antiquitatis, my favourite ancient wargaming rules. Plans for 2017 include not just learning these but getting some games in. I have a number of armies in Manila in 6mm and as the playing area is 2-foot square (60cm x 60cm) I also have the space to game.
This will likely make a nice project for 2017. More on that later in a separate post. I can. however, see my 6mm Numidians and 6mm Romans coming out for some early games and also provide an incentive for me to complete my DBA 6mm terrain pieces.
I had not been part of the kickstarter but these rules look to be a good alternative to Aeronef. I also acquired the dice and turn rulers.
I purchased some opposition for my 1/300th scale modern Danes. These are in the form of some Heroics and Ros 1/300th scale Poles. We will have sometime this year some T-55s out against some Centurions. This will be part of a separate little project, part of which will be to complete the Danes and relocate them from mother’s garage to the Philippines. These will be used with Cold War Commander. I must admit, whilst the GHQ castings are superb detail wise, I still like the Heroics and Ros for wargames figures.
Naturally, having purchased Imperial skies one needed some Aeronefs to go along with the new rules. Brigade Models Christmas discount helped me to acquire Argentinian, Brazilian and BENELUX fleets for this game and for use with Aeronef as well. I also acquired some Italian ‘nefs in the purchase along with some Russians to round out my Peshawar project, if I ever get back to that.
I really am looking forward to getting some paint on these models.
Last of the stocking fillers was the Baccus 6mm English Civil War boxed set. This consists of butt-loads of figures, bases, buildings and Polemos rules. I will admit up front that I purchased these to play with the Impetus Rules however the beauty of the Polemos basing is that I can also use these as based for bopth Polemos and Impetus.
I had prepared one Japanese World War 2 infantry battalion along with three AA elements. I decided to prepare the next, as well as starting to set up the third for painting along with the rest of the heavy weapons, the artillery and such.
The first battalion was made up of GHQ models. The second is from Ros and Heroics. There is a nice flag bearer in the Ros and Heroics pack so that does for the command base. I also glued to a base three Medium Machine Gun (MMG) units. As the base is large compared to the figures I based some transport with the MMG.
Next prep will be the third infantry battalion and a large chunk of heavy weapons. I want to be able to start adding sand to the bases next Thursday whilst the APEC holiday is on here.
I mentioned before that I got some time on Saturday. Apart from setting up the trees, I also managed to finish prepping a battalion while reading some stuff on then Internet (OK, I was looking for some information somewhere else in Thomo’s Hole).
The organisation I am using for Blitzkrieg Commander II, the rules I am using, is 12 bases per battalion, three battalions per regiment. This compares to the 9 bases per battalion of the Russians.
I’m also going to mix up as many different types of infantry on the bases as I can for variety, and because it looks so good.
The bases contain a mix of standard infantry, some officer looking chaps just standing to attention (why do you make figures like that GHQ, in a mix of other figures in action poses?) as well as some light machine gunners and Type 89 grenade launchers. They are the things that look a bit like a small trench mortar.
Lastly, a close up of the 20mm anti-aircraft bases. Gunner plus truck for transport.
Figures for the infantry are all GHQ, the 20mm AA and trucks are from Ros and Heroics.
I decided that I would start to finish my World War 2 Jaanese. This way I’ll have a local opponent for my early World War 2 Russians. As the armour is mostly done, and the aircraft half painted, it is time to put together the infantry and artillery. Where the Russians are based around 9 bases to the company/battalion, whatever the level is I am playing at, the Japanese will have 12 bases.
Added to that then the heavy weapons support, artillery from the 75mm Field Gun as well as the 70mm and 105mm howitzers, some 20mm anti-aircraft guns and trucks, loads of trucks, 43 of them, then this force will be ready. I also have some fun stuff to add to the army but more on that later.
First off it will be the infantry heavy weapons and artillery. I’ll worry about the trucks and the pack animals later.
Oh, one largely anachronistic item for this army is the beautiful Mistsubishi G4M3 “Betty”. It did not fly over Manchuria/Mongolia but it is a great little aircraft never-the-less.
Back on 26 June 2014 I noted that I was working on the The Type 97 TeKe, a Japanese tankette used in the Second Sino-Japanese War, at Khalkin-gol (Nomonhan) against the Soviet Union and Mongolia, and in World War II generally.
The photo to the left indicates where I had got up to with regards to painting these vehicles.
I got some time this week so finished them off yesterday. The photos below show how they look in their full camouflaged glory.
The tankettes were reasonably new as they were designed in 1937 and a total of 616 of them were built. They were small, however, only being large enough for a crew of two (a commander and a driver).
Anyway, these are the last of the Japanese tanks to be painted. On the painting queue for the Japanese are two aircraft and all the infantry. The infantry still needs to be adhered to bases and prepared for painting but that may need to wait for a week or three, depending on (I hope) new work.
I will photograph all the Japanese armour later this week once varnishing is complete and dry.
The Type 97 was a Japanese tankette used in the Second Sino-Japanese War, at Khalkin-gol (Nomonhan) against the Soviet Union and Mongolia, and in World War II generally. It was classed as a light armoured car even though tracked. It is a small vehicle and was designed as a fast reconnaissance vehicle.
They were designed in 1937 and a total of 616 of them were built. As I mentioned, they were small, only being large enough for a crew of two (a commander and a driver). The armour was between 4-16mm thick and the armament was a 37mm Type 94 gun. The vehicle itself was capable of a speed of up to 42 km/h and had a range of about 250 kilometres.
The vehicles being painted have been based, then base coated in Army Painter brown, then covered in a desert sand colour before doing the yellow contrast stripes. Some green, brown, rust and dark earth with a dark brown wash and then some weathering to finish them off will see the armoured component of the Japanese finished leaving two aircraft and the infantry to do.
These models are CinC. I’m not sure why I bought two boxes of them but I did and so I have 8 🙂
It was back on 5 April 2014 when I last put paint brush to metal. The stress of the unemployment, finding some money, any money, for rent and the bills whilst receiving no benefits (and no retrenchment package either from my previous employer) has not really left me in the frame of mind to try and relax – so “stressed” has been my middle name for the last few months (4½ months to be accurate). There have been moments in that time when there was the prospect of work but those evaporated, generally slowly over time.
It now seems like there is a good possibility of work, although we will need to fund ourselves for another couple of months (sigh). To celebrate, and after not having painted since 5 April 2014, I put some paint on some metal last night.
I decided that the Type 97 ChiHa tanks I had started back then should be finished. All that was needed really was to finish the camouflage scheme, add a wash, touch up the machine guns with some gun-metal (it makes them visible rather than having them disappear into the tank camouflage) and then weather the tanks. I could not, however, remember the weathering process I used on the first two so I mixed it up – some sandy, some dusty, all dirty.
The pictures below show the differences. The models with the grass on their bases are the ones I finished in April. The ones in the centre are the ones weathered last night. The ones on the left are the tanks before weathering so you can see the difference the weathering makes as it not only makes the tanks look dirty, especially around the tracks, but also fades the colours on the top surfaces as the Mongolian, Manchurian, or Pacific sun tends to do.
I hope to get into another hour or two’s brushwork over the weekend and finish all remaining Japanese tanks. Then when starting work I can start on the infantry.
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
I should note as well that the tanks in the rear are GHQ models, the ones to the front are CinC. Even on the phone’s camera you can see the greater level of detail in the GHQ models. As far as vehicles (and WWI, WWII and Modern Ships) go, they are by far the best models on the market in this scale. I like the CinC and the Heroics and Ros models but the GHQ models are just a class above (with a price that reflects that).
I finished two of these, as a sort of prototype. I have some that are GHQ models and some that are CinC. When viewed alone, the CinC models look fine. When you put them next to GHQ they look, well, a little simple. The photos below are of the two. The GHQ model is the one on the left in all photos.
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
Type 97 ChiHa
Note (20 June 2014): These are, of course, Type 97 ChiHa tanks – not the Type 95 originally labelled. Too much sake in the write-up stage!
This is a really neat one. A big tank for the Japanese and amphibious — although to be amphibious pontoons had to be fitted for and aft. The tank was actually the amphibious version of the Type 95 Ha-Ho with some additional modification. The tank was operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy and interestingly, the only amphibous tank vs amphibious tank battle occurred off the coast at Leyte where several Ka-Mis were destroyed by US LVT-1s — both vehicles having similar armour.
There is a surviving Type 2 Ka-Mi at the Russian Kubinka Tank Museum just outside of Moscow – a place I would like to visit one day, if only to see the only surviving PzKpfw VIII Maus.