Another Project – World War 2 French in 6mm

In November 2017 I added a small World War 2 force of Belgians to my Blitzkrieg Commander armies. Looking for some additions to my collections (it’s not like I have nothing left to paint however), I thought that as I had acquired the figures for a Cold War Commander French force, it would be neat to have the same for World War 2. This has also led me into a lot of reading about the French in World War 2. I must admit that I only had the old stereotypes in mind – dodgy commanders, no radios, poor quality weapon systems etc. I am rapidly rethinking those as I read and understand more.

The first thing I did was to try and understand French Infantry and Armour organisation during that period. So far my searches of this across the Internet have not been as fruitful as I had hoped. However, I think I have enough information now to move forward a little.

A French infantry company

My infantry organisation for the French for Blitzkrieg Commander is based around an infantry battalion consisting of three companies of 12 elements to the company. Each element/base (Section above) will have about 5 or 6 figures on it and represent a section. Three sections to a platoon, four platoons to a company, three companies to a battalion.

For armour I am assuming five Renault R35 tanks to a tank platoon or three of any of the other types. I am not certain currently how many platoons work up to the higher organisations so any advice will be greatly appreciated.

So, what did I purchase? To make up a chunky force, I purchased from both Scotia Grendel and Heroics and Ros. I am looking at one company of Infantry (so 36 elements/bases) plus heavy weapons etc. Several platoons of armour, both light and heavy. Two or three batteries of artillery and a few aircraft thrown into the mix for the some variety. So, I purchased the following:

Quantity Item Manufacturer
2 Citroen Kegrese SPAA Scotia
3 Laffly S20TL Command Scotia
2 Peugeot 402 staff car H&R
3 Latil M7T1 Field Car Scotia
1 Infantry (50 figures) Scotia
1 Infantry with Command (50 figures maybe) Scotia
3 Infantry (50 figures each packet) H&R
1 Heavy Weapons Packet Scotia
1 Heavy Weapons approx. 50 figures H&R
12 French gun crew kneeling (5 figures each) H&R
4 Panhard AMD 178 A/C Scotia
2 Laffly V15R Recce Car H&R
4 Char B1 Heavy Tank Scotia
6 Char B1 Heavy Tank H&R
6 Somua S35 H&R
3 Hotchkiss H39 Light Tank H&R
6 Renault AMC 35 Light Tank Scotia
5 Renault Ft 17 H&R
2 Laffly W 15 TCC tank hunter + 47mm (Portee) H&R
3 105mm Schneider 1913 gun H&R
3 75mm field gun H&R
2 French 47mm AT H&R
4 French 25mm AT H&R
2 Twin 13.2mm AAMG Scotia
6 Tracked personnel trailer H&R
6 Lorraine 38L APC Gun Tractor H&R
1 Horse Drawn 75mm Gun (3 teams each of 4 horses , 1 limber, 1 gun) H&R
3 Laffly W15R prime mover H&R
6 Citroen 10cv C4F 4×2 1000kg truck H&R
6 Citroen 45u Heavy Truck (Covered Top) Scotia
6 Renault ADK Truck (Covered Top) Scotia
1 Liore Et Olivier Leo 451 H&R
1 Martin Maryland H&R
1 Breguet 690/1 H&R

In addition to the above, I also purchased a 47mm FRC A/T Gun from Scotia for my Belgians along with the following buildings, also from Scotia:

  • Church
  • Ruined Cottage
  • Barn
  • Small Cottage
  • Ruined Barn
  • Stone bridge
  • Stone farm

The cost for all these models and buildings came to £108.50 (not counting postage) – slightly more than my July wargaming allowance*. Now I am waiting their arrival so that I can add them to the painting queue. The Scotia order is somewhere in customs I believe at NAIA airport. The Heroics and Ros order was only made on 3 August (hmm, maybe within August budget then 🙂 ) so I do not expect that for at least another four to six weeks. The delay is not the at the Heroics and Ros end, their turnaround is usually quite good, but rather parcels working their way through the Philippine Postal Service.

Looking at the list of figures above, perhaps I should have calculated these things ahead of time, I think I need another three artillery pieces and I maybe have enough infantry for one more company of infantry (4 companies instead of three).

Hmm, maybe a slight over achievement.


* I must admit that I also spent my June and May allowance and half my August allowance at the same time and, as a result, have a number of other batches of figures and a couple of board games on the way. Now will be a period of painting to reduce the size of the painting queue a wee bit, as well as catch up on reading some books.

Blitzkrieg Commander IV – a Quick Read … not a Review

Blitzkrieg Commander IV Cover

I mentioned that Blitzkrieg Commander IV was being released at Salute last Saturday. Those of us with digital copies however managed to get our hands on it a couple of days sooner than those waiting on physical copies.

It is much better than BKC III was. The army lists have been corrected, at least the ones I had a look at seemed to be better aligned with Historical organization and equipment.

I’m looking forward to some downtime soon so I can read these in detail and maybe organise a little Soviet on Soviet action to test them out.

I believe the hard copies of the rules are mostly in the post to those who ordered BKC III previously, us digital folks already have our copies. World War II micro armour has suddenly just become more interesting, just as I have a mountain of modern Poles and French to paint for Cold War Commander!

Blitzkrieg Commander IV – the replacement for BKC III

Blitzkrieg Commander IV Cover

Back in May 2017 I published a couple of blog posts here in Thomo’s Hole on the furore that surrounded the release of Blitzkrieg Commander III (BKC III) by Pendraken Miniatures. See Blitzkrieg Commander III and Blitzkrieg Commander III – The Final Decision for my thoughts at that time. There were a considerable number of flaws in the rules and the BKC playing community was almost unanimous in its criticism of the rules. This left Pendraken with a commercially difficult decision to make at the time and they decided:

  • to pull PKB III from sale
  • to provide a copy of BKC III.1 when it is produced
  • to attempt to do it all over a three month period

This has, of course, cost Pendraken moneywise but again I can only applaud Pendraken for their commitment to quality. While Pendraken were originally hoping to have a corrected BKC III (called BKC III.1) over about a three month period they have taken the option of taking their time and doing it right, judging by the reviews I have read recently.

It has taken nearly two years to correct BKC III and this correction will be released early in April 2019, at Salute, as Blitzkrieg Commander IV. Blitzkrieg Commander IV contains 44 army lists and 15 scenarios. Pendraken also note that a Quick Reference Sheet, Optional Rules and further material can be found in the Blitzkrieg Commander IV section of the Pendraken Forum.

Given the problems with BKC III I guess there will be some caution from wargamers about this new release, some reluctance to be early adopters of this version. I would also expect that many gamers who would have tried BKC may have, over the last two years, drifted off to other World War II wargaming rules. Recognizing the caution of gamers after the last release, I note that Pendraken have some reviews of the new rules out already from some veteran gamers and some who were rather critical of the previous release. Positive reviews have been provided by Mal Wright and Nik Harwood that I have seen to date.

As for those of us who purchased BKC III, the news is good. Pendraken have noted in their forum in BKC-IV Released at Salute 2019 that:

Replacement Copies

Now our first priority is to get a copy of BKC-IV out to everyone who bought BKC-III when it was released.  How this is done will depend on how you purchased originally:

Bought Online / Not going to Salute 2019
– You will already be in the replacement queue and don’t need to do anything.  Your copy will ship out first, possibly before we leave for Salute but most likely on the Monday/Tuesday after the show.  If you’ve moved house since April 2017, you’ll need to drop us an email with your new address.

Bought Online / Going to Salute 2019
– Please contact us to let us know that you will be attending Salute and we will pull your original order from the replacement queue.  We’ll bring your new copy along to Salute for you.

Bought at Salute / Not going to Salute 2019
– If you bought at Salute but won’t be attending this year, we’ll need you to either send us the cover of your BKC-III book, or a picture of it by email, along with the address that you’d like your replacement sending to.  We apologise for the hassle involved in doing this, but it’s the only way for us to verify that you bought a copy of BKC-III.  If you’re outside the UK, it’s probably easier to send a photo, but contact us if you’re having any problems.

Bought at Salute / Going to Salute 2019
– If you’ll be attending Salute again this year, simply bring your copy of BKC-III along to the show and we’ll swap it for a shiny new copy of BKC-IV!  If you’d like to keep hold of the previous rules for any reason, we’ll need to either remove the cover or mark the inside to show that the copy has been replaced.

Bought on Wargame Vault
– You don’t need to do anything at all, you will receive your new pdf copy of BKC-IV through Wargame Vault automatically.  We don’t have a confirmed date for this just yet, but you should receive your replacement pdf by Monday 8th at the latest.

If there’s any queries on that, please let me know and we’ll get you sorted out.  If you’ve already been in touch or given us your BKC-III cover, then you’re already in the replacement system and don’t need to worry.

So, more power to Leon at Pendraken for doing not just a good thing but also the right thing for hos customers.

I am looking forward to my copy arriving soon.

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.

The Postman Always Rings Twice

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Actually, here in Makati City, he rarely rings. It takes about a week for a parcel to arrive in the Philippines from England. It then takes another week for the parcel to travel a few kilometres from the main Post Office to Makati Central Post Office. It then takes between two weeks and a month or two for the notice of arrive to travel the one kilometre from Makati Post Office to the condominium or the office.

Still, it is great when the notices arrive and you can step back into 1954 to collect the parcels from the Post Office.

Four Parcels containing three different wargaming periods

Box number one (large, top right) contained some goodies from Brigade Models of the UK . The box contained Aeronefs and Cold War Commander Indonesians in 6mm. The Aeronefs the Spanish Fleet Pack #2, Item #: VANFP-1702; Spanish Fleet Pack #1, Item #: VANFP-1701; Spanish Torpedo Flotilla, Item #: VANFP-1711; Indonesian Army Group, Item #: IC-1401; and some bits and pieces.

I am trying to clear my painting queue now to get into both these sets. The Spanish ‘nefs in particular are sweet.

World War 2 Belgians

In the small flat box to the bottom right is a Belgian World War 2 army from Scotia Grendel. I built these from the Blitzkreig Commander III lists before noticing some basic problems with that list, like the missing 75mm guns!

Anyway, there is some nice stuff in there and I can always find an excuse to send off for some more figures from Scotia, and order the missing 75mms then.

The white parcel contained reinforcements from Magister Militum for the little coastal project, namely some more Germans, a few more British and the Italians. The Motoscafo Armato Silurante, (MAS boats), were a class of fast torpedo armed vessel used by the Regia Marina and the models from Hallmark are sweet. More competition for the painting queue.

Lastly, the big box underneath contains three books for review. These will be coming up soon.

Blitzkrieg Commander III – The Final Decision

Reading the Pendraken forum on the Blitzkrieg Commander III topic, Pendraken have made a final decision on what will happen with BKC III. The poll run in in the Pendraken forum was clearly in favour a full reprint of BKC III. As I have had a chance to look through the rules, finally, more closely, I can see why this is necessary.

This is commercially a difficult decision for Pendraken as they have decided:

  • to pull PKB III from sale
  • to provide a copy of BKC III.1 when it is produced
  • to attempt to do it all over a three month period

It will of course cost Pendraken moneywise but I can only applaud Pendraken for their commitment to quality. Pendraken notes with regards to their next steps:

 

The immediate job is to get to work on revising BKC-III into the rulebook we were all hoping for. The army lists will be our starting point, reverting those back to BKC-II and then tweaking and editing them where necessary based on previous BKC feedback. Second will be the scenarios which will also largely revert to BKC-II, unless anything comes up from our new team that requires a change/tweak. And then from there we’ll go through the actual rules of the book, page by page, doing one of three things:

  • Leaving as is
  • Clarifying/amending to make it work better/properly
  • Reverting back to BKC-II.s:

Pendraken have build a core of people, experienced playtesters and members of the original feedback team for earlier versions of BKC. Pendraken are also accepting comments from BKC users on the forum on:

  • What is the issue?
  • What would be the fix?
  • What other areas of the rules would this fix impact on?
  • What questions does this issue/fix raise?

Lastly, Pendraken noted on the time they expect to take on this,”We want to get this done as quickly as possible, so we’re setting ourselves a timescale of 2-3 months to fix everything”.

Personally I think that is a very aggressive target. I hope they can meet it but I expect it will drift as they get into trying to fix some of the rules that appear to be broken.

Blitzkrieg Commander III

Like many, I waited and looked forward to the arrival of Blitzkrieg Commander III. I have enjoyed playing versions I and II over many years, although I will admit, I’ve not played enough games as there was always something else to play, something new and shiny. I also played a bit of Cold War Commander and Future War Commander. I liked the rule system and the way the games flowed, permitting a narrative to develop.

I purchased BKCIII online through Wargame Vault as my preferred method of dealing with printed matter these days is electronically.  The hard copy version is available from Pendraken Miniatures, the new owners of the rules.

A furore appears to have erupted over these rules. While there may have been a few errors through the rules, normal enough in published wargame rules, the major part of the furore appears to be around the Army Lists included in the rules, so much so that Pendraken Miniatures on their forum are holding a poll to see how folks want them corrected.

Pendraken noted that as far as errors went, the

obvious starting point is the army lists and at the moment I don’t have an answer to that question. The author spent hundreds of hours on the stats to put together the new army lists. When we received them we checked the basics, do the correct nations have the right kit, do the obvious vehicles/guns appear in the right areas, etc. We checked a bunch of units with their BKC-II equivalents and then put together some matching battlegroups using both old/new lists to see how much they differed points wise. Nothing glaring jumped out during that process. Other people went through them and brought back a few queries which were then discussed further and we made some edits. Clearly we didn’t do enough though.

Being an old wargamer (sigh and getting older), I am still amazed at the way gamers get heated over lists. I come from a period of wargaming where if you didn’t like the list, you changed it based on your own research. This begs the question, are wargamers as a group doing less research these days than we did in the past?

To be fair, I can remember the heated debates that erupted in the 1980s and 1990s with the various WRG army lists but if I wasn’t happy with a list, I changed it. If I could justify the change, my opponents generally accepted it.

Pendraken went on to further note that an

annoying number of errors that have managed to get through the extensive checking process, some a result of the last minute tweaks, others a lag over from the merging of BKC-II and the first BKC-III draft. Some simply mistakes.

Again, way back in the 1980s we were used to rules being published and then errata sheets being issued. If I recall correctly even BKCI had one or two errata sheets issued.

Not every change in the rules is an error however. I guess some of the complaints are because folks just don’t like some rule changes. If you don’t like them, then change them!

Pendraken in a refreshingly honest way finally noted that

the end result of all of this is that we’ve not done a good enough job and BKC-III is not up to the standard that everyone wanted it to be.

They go on to point out the cost of the project so far, which is quite significant. Pendraken are calling for opinions on how to “fix” the rules/lists via an online poll and the two favoured options from folks so far are New PDF Lists and Complete Reprint. Personally I am comfortable with PDF lists (and errata sheet where needed) as I am used to this type of solution from the past.  I would suggest to Pendraken that as they correct their errors, they can release a new PDF version of the rules to allow those of us with digital copies to have the updates in the rules. Printed copies have the advantage here as the updates can be written in the rules themselves. That will also become the source document for the time they decide to reprint.

My biggest complaint however is that to vote you have to be logged on to the forum so must enrol. I am also a little unhappy that those voting for one solution or other may not have purchased the rules and therefore have no real experience of the problems.

Oh, and one last comment – so far I don’t really have a problem with the lists. In fact, I purchased a Belgian Army the other night from Scotia Grendel Productions, based on the BKCIII lists.

Update on 7 May 2017: OK, so I have had a chance to start to read the rules and the lists. Actually I started with the lsts, with the Belgian list in particular and the 47mm ATG the Belgians had 750 of is missing. A few more days reading this week then I might stay with BKCII until the fixes start appearing.

Work in Progress – Russians

Soviet KV-1 Heavy tanks
Soviet KV-1 Heavy tanks

I decided that I needed to catch up on some of the half (quarter, eighth, sixteenth …) finished work in the man cave. Looking for something quick and easy but something I could try some new techniques on as well, I decided to go back to the 6mm World War 2 Russians.

Back on 27 August 2012 I finished the first batch of tanks for the Russians, a battalion of Lend Lease Valentines. I decided to do some more Russian vehicles and try some weathering effects on them with two of Tamiya’s Tank Weathering shades.

A Gaz (Soviet Jeep) and command group
A Gaz (Soviet Jeep) and command group – the C-in-C in fact. I use the trees to flag command elements in BKC

I also decided to do a base of infantry – just to see that needed to be painted and what could be left.

The pictures here are the vehicles I have finished so far. I have a battalion of T34/76s almost ready for basing and that will take care of the Soviet armour for this project – well except for the addition of some T34/85s so I can build the force for late war as well.

The image on the left are some KV-1s finished, the image on the right is a command group next to a particularly tall tree and below we have a BA-10 Armoured Car.

Soviet BA-10 Armoured Car
Soviet BA-10 Armoured Car

Early War Russians – 4000 points

Well, a little more than 4,000 points – 4,755 to be exact, for Blitzkrieg Commander. I’m tempted to do a third infantry company and maybe a little extra in the way of support troops – will see. At least for early war Russians this seems about right – light tanks, medium tanks, a few heavy tanks and a bit of artillery. Goodness knows what will happen when I start to calculate the late war stuff – most of the early Russians walked to battle so transport is cheap.

Anyway, the list as it is at the moment consists of:

  BKCII List Russian Early War 1941-42
1 CO (CV8)
2 HQ (CV7)
2 HQ (CV8)
4 Recce Unit (BA-6/BA-10)
18 Infantry Unit (Regulars)
6 Infantry Upgrade (Anti-Tank Rifle)
6 Support Unit (MG, Maxim)
2 Support Unit (ATG, 45mm)
2 Support Unit (Mortar 82mm)
9 Light Tank Unit (Valentine)
9 Medium Tank Unit (T-34/76, mid)
3 Heavy Tank Unit (KV-1B)
4 Artillery Unit (76mm)
3 Artillery Unit (122mm)
1 Ground-Attack Unit (P-39)
9 Transport Unit (Horses, Cavalry)

Given that the late war units are somewhat more expensive, I think working to 6,000 points for them might be the go.

On the Painting Table

I started to paint the Romans for my DBA project here the other day then stopped. Doug noted in his blog, A Lead Odyssey when looking at his late war Germans for Blitzkrieg Commander II that if he built 4000 points worth of Germans, it wasn’t many troops but would work well on the table space we had available to play on.

I thought, I should start organising my Russians then, especially as I knew I had too many of them and as Doug had suggested swapping our surplus stock. I decided that the easiest way was to base the forces ready for play and organise as I went along. I can worry about painting them later.

Good idea. I started the other night then, using Flames of War small bases for both infantry and vehicles. They work well and I don’t really like the 40mm x 20mm base for the infantry that he is using – the troops look too spread that way.

Last night I had clicked over 4000 points worth of early war Russians – but that was without any air support, light tanks, artillery or anti-tank guns. It only included 3 x KV-1 Heavy tanks and 9 T34/76 tanks (10 if you count the command base). And that was with only one company of infantry.

4000 points? Hmm, I think I will go to 6000 points as that way I can manage a full battalion of infantry plus a light and a medium tank battalion along with a platoon of heavy tanks for support. That works.

Now I just have to work out how to fit the 24 cavalry figures into the army.