World War 2 Belgians – Another BKC Army

The full Belgian force

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.

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A Wargamer’s Guide to the Desert War 1940-1943 – Review

Daniel Mersey, a wargame author with an increasing number of publications, has written a few “Wargamer’s Guides”. Previous volumes have covered the Anglo Zulu Wars and the 1066 Norman Conquest. This volume covers North Africa and the Desert War between 1940 and 1943.

The book is paperback of 118 pages, published by Pen & Sword Military on 12 June 2017, ISBN: 9781473851085. It is one of the range of wargame books being published by Pen & Sword.

In many respects, I found this book a better “beginning wargames” book than Iain Dickie’s Wargaming on a Budget as it covers pretty much everything from figure size and model scale, through rules, and figures, and playing the game and setting scenarios.

The book contains six chapters:

  1. The Desert War – an overview of the war covering the early cumsy attempts of the Commonwealth and Italian forces, then the changes broiught about by the introduction of German firces and then lastly the American effect and concluding with Operation Torch and the collapse of the Afrika Korps
  2. Armies, Organization, and Equipment – covering, well, the armies, their organisation and equipment. A generalised discussion of the organisation of the four armies but with references to more detailed Order of Battle. A reasonable equipment list for wargamers is also supplied. There is also a general painting guide for figures and vehicles here
  3. Wargaming the Campaign – it is what is says
  4. Choosing Your Rules – a summary of a number of rules, including: Battlegroup; Blitzkrieg Commander; Bolt Action; Chain of Command; Crossfire; Desert Rats; Flames of War; Iron Cross; KISS Rommel; Operation Squad; Panzer Korps; and Rapid Fire
  5. Choosing Your Models – a look at some of the main manufacturers in various scales including manufacturers of 28mm, 20mm, 15mm, 10/12mm and 6mm. This chapter also discusses scale for each of those figure sizes
  6. Scenarios – setting up some battles to get a feel of the desert war

There is also an index and a list of titles for further reading.

Mersey relies on previous authors’ works as well, such as Don Featherstone, which is not a bad thing.

The book also has a number of colour plates illustrating the subject in the figure sizes of 28mm, 15mm and 6mm. Many of the colour plates are from the Perry Twins.

Being a wargamer and having grown up on stories of the Rats of Tobruk and el Alamein, I have always had an interest in the Desert War. That it was in the first half of the Second World War when the equipment was being developed that would later be used and characterise the late war was  a bonus. Who can not fail to admire the Italians in their tiny tanks or groan at the number of breakdowns of the early cruiser tanks and then marvel at the later Lee/Grant tanks.

This is a volume that should be on any wargamer’s bookshelf. Even now, I am about to post this review, make a coffee and sit in my favourite reading chair and flick through this book again, planning my next Desert War project. Will it be Chain of Command and 28mm or more 6mm and Blitzkrieg Commander? Perhaps even 2mm this time.

WIP – More WW2 Japanese Being Prepped

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Two battalions ready for sand on the bases. Rear one is GHQ Models, front battalion is Ros and Heroics

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.

The Ro and Heroics Command Group
The Ro and Heroics Command Group

 

One Japanese Battalion Prepped

The pieces are made ready
The pieces are made ready

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 battalion is based
The battalion is based

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.

Close up of the Ros and Heroics 20mm AA
Close up of the Ros and Heroics 20mm AA

Some Trees

The trees - and this is how they usually look in battle
The trees – and this is how they usually look in battle

I managed to get a little time today to spend on the hobby so decided that I would sort out some of the Woodland Scenics Trees I had purchased in Singapore. These are plastic and quite light so I decided a little weight under them would do them good. I looked for washers but really, here, the 10 centavo and 25 centavo coins seem to do the trick quite nicely. The 10 centavo coin is worth less than a cent (US, Aussie or SGD, it is less that a cent). The 25 centavo coin is also worth less than a cent.

The coins happen to be magnetic (as are Singapore's new coins). That is quite useful.
The coins happen to be magnetic (as are Singapore’s new coins). That is quite useful.

One of the neat things about the coins is that they are magnetic. Indeed, the new coins in Singapore are also magnetic. I’m sore of wondering whether that is a because of the addition of a rare earth to the coins or something a little simpler. In any case, being magnetic means that I can late a strip of magnetic tape in the scenery box and the trees will stand on that.

The picture below shows the finished, ready for sand to be appied to the base and a coat of paint The trees are way more stable this way. By the way, half the trees are for use with 6mm figures, then other half with 15mm.

The finished product - trees on coins, nicely weighted and ready for some ground texture and paint.
The finished product – trees on coins, nicely weighted and ready for some ground texture and paint.

Next – Some Japanese

The desk, ready with the infantry, heavy weapons and trucks!
The desk, ready with the infantry, heavy weapons and trucks!

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.

A 6mm Morph – What to Change Into?

The Numidians in for a change
The Numidians in for a change

I was sorting the jumbled figures from the move and in one box I have Numidians and Romans, part based for Baccus’s Polemos SPQR rules. I’ll come back to the Romans later. The Numidians, however, are basic and are extra to my current Numidian needs. I have an all-options 6mm Numidian army already based for DBA. The question becomes, what to do with these blokes?

The stock consists of 80 general javelinmen type figures and 40 general cavalry figures. So all figures are armed with javelins (or short spear in 6mm), a shield and no armour. Tunic Colours are mixed and the figures have a Caucasian appearance.

Any suggestions as to what this can be morphed into. They will be re-based on standard DBA 40mm bases and ideally will have a number of figures backed onto the bases to make them look like there are more than there are.

Suggestions?

WIP – the Type 97 Te-Ke 2

Type 97 TeKe
Type 97 TeKe

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 Te-Ke tank park ... such as it is
The Type 97 Te-Ke tank park … such as it is
A slightly different view of the Type 97 Te-Ke tank park
A slightly different view of the Type 97 Te-Ke tank park

WIP – the Type 97 Te-Ke

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.

Type 97 TeKe
Type 97 TeKe

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 🙂

Back Painting – Finally. WIP Type 97 Chi-Ha

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.

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).