I received a parcel from Navwar with some ships present. Two fleet packs were included (World War 1 Russia and Modern Soviet) as well as a number of individual Dutch World War 2 vessels. Here we have a look at them as well as a brief look at the painting table.
Video is here:
Comments are welcome and I have started to get a little better.
I read Freeing the Baltic 1918-1920 about six months ago and as a result I was looking forward to The Naval War in the Baltic 1939-1945. Wow! I wasn’t disappointed. This book arrived a couple of months ago and I finally had a week where I read rather than painted figures or headed to the pub and this was on the top of the reading pile.
The Naval War in the Baltic 1939-1945 was originally published on 17 May 2017 however it appears to have been sold out and is now due to re-release on 28 February 2018. The author is Poul Grooss. The book is 400 pages long with ISBN 9781526700001.
Poul Grooss is a retired Danish Naval Captain whose career was 40 years long. He served as an intelligence officer and Soviet analyst. He also speaks Russian. He currently is a teacher at the Royal Danish Naval Academy.
I reckoned I knew a bit about World War II and I also knew there was a lot I didn’t know. Reading Grooss’s book has reminded me of how little I do actually know. Grooss starts setting the scene in the book by describing the geography and the history of the Baltic region, then goes on to discuss the political manoeuvring and naval developments between the wars. His coverage of the 1939 to 1945 period starts with the attack on Poland then looks at the Baltic region through to 1941. Later chapters cover the attack on the Soviet Union to Spring 1942; the war between Spring 1942 and 1944; Spring 1944 to New Year 1944/1945; then from that New Year, month by month to the end of the war. He then looks at the aftermath of the war and a retrospective.
The book is easy to read and Grooss has taken advantage of his Russian language skills to collect data from sources not usually referred to western histories. Grooss was writing for the general reader but has managed to write a book that will appeal to both general readers and the more professional historian.
He covers and uncovers the degree of Swedish cooperation with the Germans. He covers the interactions between the Soviets and the Swedes and while this is a naval history of the Baltic, the land battles are included for context, especially Kronstadt and Leningrad. Hitler’s desire to hang on to Narva is also covered.
The Baltic was a training ground for German U-boat crews but what really amazed me was the quantity of mines that were laid there and the amount of shipping that suffered. I should also mention that the Swedes were not as pro-German as we perhaps think, permitting the British to build a listening station on Swedish soil, for example. Both the Germans and the British seemed to have a laissez faire attitude to Swedish neutrality.
This book is not all about Sweden though. Grooss also covers the minor states (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) as well as Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland and of course the main protagonists. The book is supported by many fine photographs, most of which have not been seen in print before as well as well drawn maps. There are a number of appendices and indexes with an index of people and another of ships. There is an appendix containing a chronology of the conflict, a glossary of abbreviations, ranks, terminology and explanations. Another appendix is a cross-reference of place names in various languages as well as an extensive list of sources and bibliography. This book is one I will return to many times in the future I think. For the naval historian, the wargamer and the general reader, it is well worth waiting for this re-release and grabbing a copy.
It has been a mixed month. A longer than planned enforced stay in Australia waiting for the alignment of the juggernauts that are the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Australia Post, to return a new passport to me has meant that I have only spent a few days working on my hobbies. So, what have I achieved this month so far?
Last year I had ordered some Poles to provide an opponent for my Cold War Commander Danes, so started work on those in January, getting them ready for some paint (that is the army off to the right there).
Of course, feeling bored, I was glancing through an Heroics and Ros catalogue and decided that I should upgrade the armour in both armies so an order went off to Heroics and Ros for 12 Leopard 1 tanks for the Danes and 12 T-72M tanks for the Poles. I’m a wargamer, I plead guilty to being addicted to buying more figures. I expect the reinforcements to arrive any week now.
I also ordered some more ships early in January while sitting in Oz at mum’s waiting for the passport to arrive. In the fleet order are some World War 1 Russian vessels, a Soviet modern fleet and XXXXXX <– OK, so I can’t remember the third fleet.
I also have the JGSDF type 74 tank (1/72 scale model) sitting on my work bench. I have started to work on that as well.
Lastly, in January, I managed to finish reading a few books and had them up for review here. So, not a bad effort overall. February target is less beer, lose weight, more hobby!
I was out of Manila this weekend and discovered a model shop which had a supply of 1/72 scale modern tanks. There were also a few packets of 1/72 scale plastic figures as well but it was the tanks I was interested in.
I picked up a Challenger and a Merkava for the collection. I will get around to doing an unboxing of these later but a quick look has me salivating with the detail.
They go along with the M1 Abrams and the T-72 collection along with the lone T-80 and ZTZ-99.
What I would like to add to round out the modern collection would be a Leopard 2 and an AMX-56 LeClerc.
Now I just need to time to start to sit down and buid some of these (or buy some more early World War 2 tanks).
Last weekend I had the time to indulge myself in my fantasy – the painting queue for 2017. I had originally thought it was not that extensive as I had not purchased all that much in the way of new lead in 2016 and besides, I did not have too much left over for painting from 2014 and 2015.
The painting queue follows in not particular order!
World War II Aerial Combat. The aircraft mix in these packets are from Raiden Miniatures and are in 1/285th scale. They are:
6 x Tupolev SB-3
6 x I-16 ‘Rata’
4 x Fiat G.50
4 x Fokker D.XXI
4 x Brewster Buffalo
The rules are Raiden Miniatures Fast Play Aerial Combat Rules. I have version 1.1.
Any of the World War II aerial combat rules could be used. The beauty with the Winter War is that a mix of aircraft seldom seen on the wargames table is possible with the Finns using equipment from Italy, the Netherlands and the USA, among others.
Raiden also make a US WW2 aircraft carrier flight deck, the USS Enterprise, for flight and combat operations. It is a kit in 51 parts and I am not sure if it is made or not currently. See http://www.raidenminiatures.co.uk/4.html for details.
Starmada vessels from Brigade Models. In this case, the PacFed fleet. I have a PacFed Future War Commander Army tucked away up here and this is the off-planet version of those. The PacFed are loosely based around a “Pacific Federation” and contain a lot of vessels with Australian type names.
As an opponent to the PacFed I looked to ONESS – loosely based around German forces. Somewhere at mum’s I have the ground fleet to complement this. This also is from Brigade Models.
Baccus 6mm figures make up the rest of my Singapore DBA Project. Armies still to be painted are:
II/9a Syracusan in Sicily 410-210BC
II/8 Campanian, Apulian, Lucanian and Bruttian 420-203BC
11/39a Iberian 240-20BC
II/11 Gallic 400-50BC
II/32a Later Carthaginian 275-202BC
Speaking of Brigade Models, I acquired a US Aeronef fleet. This was for part of the Peshawar project but with the purchase of Imperial Skies, the project has expanded somewhat (see below for how much). Of course what is illustrated and discussed here does not mention the British, French and Prussian Aeronefs that are already in the collection.
These then are the US Aeronef fleet. Quite a tidy force. I have been trying to think of an alternative paint scheme other that the Great White Fleet colours of, well, white!
The perfect opponent for the Americans above – the forces of the Rising Sun. Both Fleets (the US and Japanese) are substantial and would be the two most powerful fleets in the collection.
As with the Americans I am trying to think of a colour scheme that is not the Japanese naval vessels at Tsushima!
I wanted a bit of fun so I added a Scandinavian Union fleet. Dumpy vessels certainly but they have a certain attraction as well. These are also from Brigade Models and I am pondering colour schemes for them.
These were never envisaged for the Peshawar Project however they will make a good opponent for the BENELUX forces described below.
For a little South American Aeronef action I picked up some Argentinians. These look sufficiently different to other ‘nefs to keep the interest up.
Rather than a standard grey or Victorian Livery for these I have been toying with the idea of basing a paint scheme around light blue and white – same colour as the shirts of the Pumas. Again, Brigade Models.
And if the Argentinians are light blue and white then the Brazilians should be both hairless and based around green and gold colours. I have an idea for that with an antique style of gold colouring.
An opponent for the Scandinavian Union, and possibly the Italians. The Benelux Aeronef fleet consists of vessels from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
The above-mentioned Italian Aeronefs.
The last of the Aeronefs in this years paint queue, the Russians. They are also one of the protagonists in the Peshawar campaign. For colours on these I am thinking, maybe, something like Port Arthur 1905.
A couple of years ago I picked up two armies for the Great Pacific War. Here are the Chilean/Peruvian Army and the Bolivian forces. I am planning on using these with the 1859, 1866 or 1870 rules. A project that has been on the back-burner for three years now.
I have had an interest in both the English Civil War and the 30 Years War for many years and picking up Baccus 6mm‘s English Civil War boxed set seemed like a good way of getting into it. The set gives me two armies, a couple of houses, Polemos rules and 60mm bases.
I am planning on using these with the Baroque Rules from Dadi and Piombo as well.
Navwar 1/3000 scale World War I Austrian ships – battleships to destroyers/torpedo boats. I have their main opponent, the Italian fleet, painted and here already. It must be said that during the war, both the Italian Royal Navy and the Austro-Hungarian Navy kept their most modern capital ships inside their bases (Pola and Kotor for the Austrian Fleet, Brindisi and Taranto for the Italian fleet), leaving mostly submarines, destroyers, torpedo boats and scout cruisers to do any fighting.
Heroics and Ros figures have been used for my Cold War Poles – an opponent for my Cold War Danes.
In addition to all that, there are a few other items on the list including:
Anthony’s 20mm World War II British
Finish off the 1/285 scale World War II Japanese
1/285 scale World War II Hungarians
1/300 scale Cold War Commander Danes to be completed
1/1200 scale Coastal Warfare Ships
The 1/3000 scale Jutland Fleets
Houston Ships Italians and Austrians from the Battle of Lissa
Dystopian Wars fleets, and
Peshawar, 2mm ground forces
So – a painting queue that for 2017 should keep me busy well into 2020!
23 April 2017 – Update: Nothing. Nada. Not done a thing! Maybe I need to motivate myself and buy some more figures.
Two more books from Pen & Sword Military came into my hands recently. These are both in the series of Images of War designed to provide a general military history of a war or campaign with an emphasis on contemporary photographs. The ones I have seen have concentrated on the Eastern Front of World War II, although other theatres are covered as well.
The first of the additions to my collection was the Battle for Kharkov 1941-1943 written and compiled by Anthony Tucker-Jones (ISBN 9781473827479).
By the time of the Battle for Kharkov the titanic struggle between Germany and the USSR was well underway with both Hitler and Stalin does their best to stymy their professional generals – one by interfering micro management, the other by bloody pogroms eliminating generals that were perceived as a threat.
Kharkov was the site of four battles during World War 2. The first was when the Germans took Kharkov, but were too slow to prevent the Soviets moving the tank factory the home of the T34 tank. The second and third battles were unsuccessful attempts by the Soviet forces to recapture Kharkov and the fourth, after the Germans loss at Kursk, finally saw Kharkov liberated and back in Soviet hands.
Most of the photos in this collection have come from the Scott Pick WWII Russian Front Original Photo Collection which consists of over 2,500 photographs, not only of soldiers and tanks but also of buildings and civilians. There are a lot of inspiring photographs in there for the modeller and wargamer.
The second Images of War has the general title of Hitler versus Stalin – The Eastern Front 1941-1942 – Barbarossa to Moscow. This volume was written and compiled by Nik Cornish (ISBN 9781783463985).
This volume is a more general volume than the Kharkov one and covers the first two years on the Eastern Front with a fine collection of photos.
Included in the photos on this volume are lend lease tanks in Soviet service (see the image of the M3 Grant below) including American and British tanks.
Also included are images of the French Hotchkiss H-35 pressed into service with Souma tanks in German Panzer Battalion 211. About 100 French tanks were pressed into German service and for me it is a good excuse to purchase some more models.
One of my interests has been the Battle of Khalkin-gol (Nomonhan) where the Soviets and Mongolians defeated the Japanese and Manchurians. Also of interest were the Korean soldiers captured by the Soviets from the Japanese and pressed into service, only later to be captured by the Germans and then the Americans. The blog post here, Korean Soldiers in WW2 German Army, tells tha tale.
I was also aware of the Mongols having marched into Berlin with the Red Army towards the end of the war. This is highlighted by the T34/85 tank donated by the Russians to the Mongols and on a pedestal and permanent display in Ulaanbaatar at the foot of Zaisan.
It was then interested to see the next two photos. The first is clearly a Mongol, also captured by the Germans. Some of the captured troops from the more disaffected areas of Central Asia were pressed into German service, the others were parked in concentration camps.
The next figure down is also from Central Asia but his nationality is less clear. He appears to a Kazakh or similar.
These two books are a great addition to my World War 2 library and provide wonderful evidence for my having a German tank battalion of Hotchkiss and Souma tanks facing off against Soviets using M2 Stuarts and M3 Grants.
The things I enjoy mostly about this series are the photographs. The books are well illustrated and provide inspiration for modellers and wargamers as well as providing source material or evidence for the more serious student of World War II history. Most of the photos were new to me and this series provides good value for money. They are available in traditional softback bindings as well as eBooks. Recommended!
I was out and about the other day. I had to go over the MegaMall in Ortigas City, Metro Manila. Apart from a very useful art supply store on the 4th floor of Mega B that has a complete range of Vallejo Paints amongst others as well as some quite good sable brushes, there is a Lil’s HobbyShop in the basement. This particular branch of Lil’s has a good range of 1/72 scale tanks as well as the more popular larger scales. As I had a Pershing, one of the American Tanks that saw some action in Korea, I thought a Korean War Sherman would be a good addition to the collection.
The Sherman is an older Trumpeter kit and has the stretchable plastic tracks that I hate. The cost of the kit was 330 pesos (about $10 Aussie or US $7.20). I’ll get around to an unboxing soon.
Once I had found the Sherman I then thought that a Soviet JS-3 was in order, in part to keep the theme for heavy tanks of the World War 2/Korean War era. Trumpeter also make a JS-3 and this kit was newer than the Sherman as the tracks are moulded in the same plastic as the model, much easier to deal with.
Given the clean lines of this tank there is not a great deal of detail that can be moulded on but the model looked clean. As with the Sherman, I will unbox it later. The cost of this was also 330 pesos (about $10 Aussie or US $7.20).
Model Collect is a new Chinese company producing models. The range was small at Lil’s with about 10 kits in stock. The company tends to concentrate on Soviet/Russian equipment currently with some World War 2 German items.
These kits are magnificent however. The barrel is metal and there are also photo-etched parts to this beastie. The tracks look easy to deal with as well. Again, I will do a full unboxing in the not too distant future.
This kit though contains way more parts than the Trumpeter kits and the detail on these models is superb – in part I guess from the photo-etched pieces.
They are more expensive than Trumpeter as well with this model retailing for 1,598 pesos (about $45 Aussie or $33 US). The price direct from Model Collect for this is about $25 so considerably more than Trumpeter but for a kit that is a quantum leap forward in detail and inclusions.
I am looking forward to building these in the near future.
The Peshawar project is moving forward slowly. Over the Christmas break in between gorging on roast meats washed down with ice cold beers I started basing the “conventional” ground troops for this. Land ironclads and contraptions will come later. First cab off the rank here were one of the oldest protagonists in the Great Game … Mother Russia!
The Russians are organised along historical lines (and as suggested in the Land Ironclads rules from Wessex Games). Based and ready for sand on the bases and painting is an under strength battalion of infantry (one company detached), two sotni of Cossack, four squadrons of ‘ussars, two squadrons of dragoons and a brigade of artillery.
A Russian infantry battalion normally consists of four companies of regular infantry with a rifle company making up a fifth company. The companies are all about 200 men strong so that is represented by four infantry blocks (I am assuming each infantry block represents about 50 men).
The cavalry squadrons are all approximately 150 men strong.
Next off will be the conventional forces of one of the newcomers to Peshawar – the USA.
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 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.