Thursday, 20 September 2012

Vietnam Week Part 2: Actual Progress!

EDIT: Now with photos that you can actually see the miniature in! Well, my plan of posting every day didn't even last a day! Sigh. Yesterday was not overly productive, but I did manage to cook a good dinner for some friends and get a whole lot of work done on the rules for our 6mm Moderns game. But what of the Vietnam painting? Well, I got home from work quick smart today (like I need an excuse) and got cracking into painting. I managed to put the finishing touches on a fair few of the models, so here are some of the finished results. Apologies for the photos, taking photos at 11pm at night, with a camera phone doesn't yield the best results (suprising right?) First up, are some Heavy Armour. Two M48 Patton Tanks. These things are absolute behemoths, I must do a scale shot tomorrow to compare! They are Battlefront miniatures, and are absolutely lovely.
Very cool tanks. The decals aren't shiny in person, cameras have a nasty habit of finding the smallest amount of shine off of things... Next up, the start of my Helicopter support. This AH-1 Cobra comes from Flashpoint Miniatures, and is in glorious plastic! It was super cheap, and is a really nice kit. It brought back memories from my childhood sitting assembling a plastic kit- although it was a bit weird that it was BLACK plastic not Olive Drab....
Decals came from Battlefront, the numbers were borrowed from the SS Panzer decal sheet, and I just painted the white in! So, a Cobra, all ready to rocket and roll! And now, we reach the real heavy hitters of the army. A platoon of grunts from the 101st Airborne Division. First Up, the command squad of an Lt, RTO and Sgt (Battlefront Miniatures)
Then First Squad (Battlefront)
And Second Squad (Battlefront)
And who could forget Third Squad? (Battlefront)
Then onto some attached Heavy Weapons from the Weapons Platoon. First up, two M60 Light Machinegun teams (Battlefront Miniatures)
And a 3.5 inch "Super Bazooka". Because of the lack of NVA Armour, these teams usually were disbanded, and formed into their own Rifle Platoon, or became part of another rifle company as casualties mounted. (Flashpoint Miniatures)
And there are also some additions for the HQ. First up, a Medic with a wounded GI (Battlefront)
And two Scout Dog Teams. These were incredibly useful in the jungle fighting, the dogs were adept at sniffing out the NVA and preventing ambushes. Plus, it ain't called the "Wars of Pooch" for nothing! (Flashpoint Miniatures)
So, there you have it. That is where I am at after a day and an evening of painting. What's on the block for tomorrow? UH-1 Slicks, some M113s and a couple more infantry stands. That should just about do it for my Vietnam painting for a wee while! CP

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Vietnam Week at the Wars of Pooch

Over the next few days, I have decided to crack into painting some 15mm Vietnam figures, ready to play some Ambush Valley, the Vietnam variant of the Force on Force game.

This all started because I have been reading alot lately about the Vietnam conflict, started off by me having the book Matterhorn thrust into my hands, and express orders to read it! A good review is here, my (not so good) review is in the comments! So I started there, then read USMC legend Bing West's Small Unit Action in Vietnam and was rearing to go by this point!

I am heading away for a couple of weeks at the end of the week, so I am going to get cracking into my assembling/painting/writing over the week, so expect daily updates! If nothing else, I need to get some stuff painted, and I have had 15mm Vietnam stuff ever since Battlefront brought out some models for it!

So, to get me started, here is a comparison.

First up, we have a 15mm US Rifle figure from Battlefront Miniatures. It has typical Battlefront style, a pretty expressionless face, but well detailed kit and weapon. The pose is pretty good, I have a funny thing about weirdly posed miniatures. It is always in the back of my head when I hold a firearm that they are actually heavy, especially when it is a LMG! I personally like the miniatures that Battlefront produce (I have quite a lot), so I opted to use these for my US Infantry.

Next up, this is a 15mm US Rifleman from the Flashpoint Miniatures. I picked up their Company HQ pack, to add to the Battlefront range. There are some really neat things in their pack, soldiers carrying another soldier in the firemans hold, Scout Dog teams and a few other really cool pieces of kit!

But on the whole, the quality is not quite the same level as Battlefront. Not that it is bad, it's just not to my personal tastes. The lead that they are cast from is also not as forgiving as Battlefront's, I broke a couple off their bases trying to get them standing up straight! But for those quirky little things (Scout Dogs!) I couldn't be happier with them. Some of their miniatures are really good, but you will see those in the future, once they have some paint on them! They will mix ok with Battlefront too I think, not too many outwardly physical differences.

I like the Battlefront Miniatures, but at present their range is small, certianly for the US I will stick primarily to Battlefront, then supplement with Flashpoint miniatures. In saying that, Flashpoint do a range of ANZACs which are in a blister pack hidden away, and soon they will do a range of USMC with M14 rifles which I would dearly like.

So, there you have it, the start of Vietnam week. Tomorrow? US Infantry, talk of helicopters and maybe even some stuff fully painted.....


Friday, 14 September 2012

How to Winterwash- The Poochie technique

So, let me start by saying that it is entirely possible that my technique is not unique, nor my own. But, here it is at any rate!

I came up with this idea for painting Whitewash on Soviet tanks many years ago- in Flames of War terms it was when Za Stalina the book came out (which is a while...) when I painted up 15 T34 76mm tanks, then proceeded to sell them. Regretting that everytime I wanted Soviets since then, I still wanted to have another crack at the colour scheme.

So with the aid of a helpful M4 Sherman, here is the Poochie Whitewash technique!

Start by assembling and undercoating the tank.

I use just a cheap matt black spray can from the local hardware store, although I have started using German Armour Grey from the Battlefront range for a couple of things and have liked it, so might keep looking into that too.

Then apply Vallejo Russian Green over everything on the model (because almost all of it is green!)

Then put some Vallejo white onto a flat surface- I personally use the plastic packaging that minis come in for this, I think the example is from a Dystopian Wars large ship!

Then using a piece of foam from the packaging (recycle here team), get a small amount of white paint onto the foam, then dab it on to the miniature. Key points here are having a small amount of white paint (it is easier to add more than take away), and to make sure to dab rather than brush. This will leave a few gaps in the white to allow the green underneath to show through. Don't put whitewash onto the roadwheels of the tank, these were left green according to the photos I have seen.

Next step is to paint the tracks of the tank, which I use Dark Rust for (more Vallejo), pretty simple case of painting the tracks with the colour, can't say much more than that...

Next step is really the only other tip I have, and that is using German Camo Medium Brown (I love this colour), and dab it on just like the whitewash, but focusing on the wheels, tracks and underside of the tank. I tend to turn it upside down to do this, then with a little German Camo Brown on the foam square basically dab on the brown to simulate a bit of early winter mud spread up over the tank!

Then from there, it is a case of painting the stowage (I use Khaki and Flat Brown usually), as well as painting the tools and machineguns with Gunmetal Grey.

If you are like me, you will have accidentally put too much white onto areas such as the hatches on the turrets, totally obscuring the details. My solution is to use Games Workshop's Nuln Oil ink wash over the hatch, just to make the details reappear. After all, the hatches would have lost their whitewash probably first out of any part of the tank due to the most wear and contact.

So, you should be able to end up with something like this...

Clear as mud? I know it doesn't seem like much of a how to (or at least that's what it seems to be like for me writing it), really, it is a very simple way to paint quick, good looking winterised Soviet tanks.

If you have any questions on how I did it, or ways it could be better or anything else really about it, especially if you were to try it for yourself, put something in the comments about it, I would love to hear it!

Tune in next time, same bat time, same bat channel...


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Polish at Borodino- 200th Anniversary Refight

The weekend marked the anniversary of the battle of Borodino, a brutal affair to capture some fleches and a redoubt, as well as massive infantry and cavalry engagements on either flank.

All told, our refight had 30 odd players, some 4500 miniatures of infantry, cavalry and artillery. Where was I in all this? Well, commanding Polish of course!

Commanded by Prince Józef Antoni Poniatowski himself!

I had dreamed of doing a whole lot of painting for it, but it was not meant to be. New job, sickness and the real issue of me not being able to sit down and paint the same thing for more than 2 days (you might have noticed I have been VERY random of late) meant that all I got finished was 6 guns with their crew. But more on those soon.

The polish were tasked with taking the right flank, there was a village and a couple of strategically important hills which I needed to cover. The Russians were defending with a lot of infantry (Russians always do) and a fair few guns!

Due to me not getting painting done, my army was a mix of Swiss and Bavarian models.

The fighting began with a massive artillery bombardment from the French Grand Battery, the roar of the cannon could be clearly heard on the right flank!

The Polish moved with all haste to secure the village ahead of them, but were slowed somewhat by the orchards and other obstacles ahead of them.

The village was defended by Cossacks and line infantry.

Soon, battle was joined over the village.

The Polish were quick to cause casualties among the Russians, to push them back in disorder, but were unable to push the advantage and destroy them! The Russians are stubborn!

It was at this point where the French Commander Junot arrived with a whole corps of French Infantry and some light cavalry to reinforce the flank. The poles had not asked for reinforcement, nor expected it (historically this didn't happen), but once the French arrived, they were quickly thrown into the fray against more enemy. A cavalry charge went in against the Russian infantry, only to be pushed back because of them forming square.

But it was the French attacking from the other side of the village that pushed the Russians back on multiple flanks, causing them to break and run, taking the division with them!

But there was always more, just over the next hill...

The Polish swarmed into the village, ensuring that there were no russians lurking there, and prepared to surge over the hill to meet the enemy...

Cavalry roared over the hill to force the enemy into square formation, which were then charged by Infantry or shot down by artillery. The once mighty Russian Grenadiers were worn down and destroyed...

After repeating the trick twice, and winning a skirmish engagement in the woods, the Grenadiers too broke and ran. The entire Russian corps on the left flank was broken!

But there were more reserves that Kutzov could send, and the first was Curiassers and heavy artillery...

Polish discipline allowed them to move forward in line to fire at the cavalry, while skirmishing units were flanking them through the woods. A massive melee had started to develop in the woods to the immediate Polish left, with Junot pushing his infantry through to try to flank the Redoubt. The Polish would continue their march up the Right Flank.

And that ended day one! a full day's gaming, great successes to the Polish!

Day two began more auspiciously, messengers were running in and out telling of casualties on the French left flank.

The Polish sent one of their light units through the woods to support the French, succeeding in pushing back one of the enemy Russian Grenadier units (more damn grenadiers)

The reserve Curiassiers were gunned down by Polish musketry and artillery, breaking them from the field of battle too. In a rush of blood, on infantry unit sought to crash through the Russian artillery battery...

And got slaughtered in closing fire for their stupidity!

The guns were dispatched with some very close range cannister fire from the Polish guns, as well as musketry from the Polish infantry.

It was at this time that Kutzov dispatched the finest of the Russian army, the Guard Cavalry to the Polish flank in an attempt to stem the successful advance. The guard initially had successes, pushing back the lighter Chasseurs, but were unable to stand against the musketry and gunnery which had been deployed on the strategically important Utitsa rise (where historically the Polish finished the day, after a costly frontal assault). More Grenadiers had appeared to prevent the turning of the fleches and the melee in the forest continued.

And here was more or less where the Polish game finished. Polish infantry had managed to cross the entire board, getting to the Russian board edge and were preparing to cut the road to Moscow to ensure the total defeat of the Russian army. The battle in the woods had been won, but at great cost. The Russian defenders had fallen back from the woods, in good order and were preparing to recieve the next Polish advance.

But it was not to be, the French Centre had smashed through the fleches and the redoubt, destroying the corps in the centre. The left flank held just long enough to ensure that the victory was had. So a glorious Victory to the French!

You know it is a big game when you need a score board to track the divisions destroyed...

It was a fantastic weekend, and in all honesty, I have no clue what went on anywhere further than about 2 feet to my left flank! Big thanks to all those involved, who brought armies, who put up with my dumb rules questions, to my allies and opponents.

We are already starting the next plan. It is the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg next year, as well as the 200th anniversary of the battle of Leipzig. We agreed that Gettysburg should be in Christchurch, with Leipzig in Wellington. But more on those in the future....

If anything, Leipzig is an excuse for more Polish!

Poles! Huzzah!

To find out more about the battle, head to...

Craig's Blog
Kent's Blog
Roger's Blog
Adam's Blog (with a suspiciously large amount of photos of Cossacks...)
And there is even a movie!


I have a 6mm game and some white washing tips coming up soon...