Friday, April 18, 2014

British Armour for Battle Group Overlord and Fall of the Reich



Today I finished my first batch of late war British Armour for Battle Group. Apologies for the dark photos, but here is what two boxes of the lovely 15mm Churchills from Plastic Soldier Company look like painted up.



I loved putting this lot together, and it was also the first time I tried out the new PSC Army Sprays paint. I was impressed - the British armour spray covered well and left an excellent finish. The tanks were all covered with extra track links from some spare Sherman sprues, along with some tarps and other impedimenta from SHQ, Skytrex and modelled from wine bottle foil and greenstuff.

These Churchills are nearly all from the Coldstream Guards, part of the much-photographed 6th Guards Armoured Brigade, and are based on their appearance in early 1945.



Churchills executing a Top Speed order in BG(FotR) while a 17pdr Achilles remains on Reserve Fire

The individual tank names in the 6th Guards are well known, making this a nice unit to build. For detail, see this excellent site.

For my force I've made the tanks from three troops (Nos. 11-13) of C Squadron, 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards. No. 11 and 13 Troop are made up of Churchill VIs, while No. 12 Troop (identifiable from the lack of crew figures) is made up of Churchill IVs, armed with the 6pdr. I have no idea in reality which tanks were IVs or VIs, but my understanding is that the 6th Guards contained both types in order to retain the superior AP qualities of the 6pdr with the better HE of the Churchill VI, which was armed with the same 75mm gun found on the Cromwell. Indeed, I think I'm right in saying that the Mark III and IVs were all replaced by Mark VIs in late 1944, but some were brought back to give the units better anti-tank protection. By early 1945 some of these tanks should probably be the better armoured Mark VII, but unfortunately the turret and hull of the later mark is sufficiently different that PSC couldn't fit the option into their box, despite the fact that the box art actually depicts the mark VII! The BG rules reflect the slightly better AP quality of the Mark III and IV over the Mark VI, so it will be fun to try to use my specialised Troops in cooperation with each other.

First up, No. 11 Troop, with Bandit, Buccaneer and Bulldog.



No. 12 Troop, of Dreadnought, Defiant and Dauntless.



No. 13 Troop, with Minotaur, Minerva and Medusa



The tenth tank is an AVRE from the 79th Armoured Division, but I'm still waiting on some decals to make this apparent. On the subject of decals, all the vehicle names and unit markings are from Dom's Decals. Dom has a pretty comprehensive range of decals for the British in NW Europe in several scales, along with all sorts of other great stuff. Delivery isn't quick, but they are worth the wait.

Well that wraps up the Churchills. Off the assembly line today were also two Skytrex M10 Achilles. I'm slightly baffled as to what markings to give these, although most of them are probably covered by stowage anyway. The 6th Guards didn't have organic tank destroyers, so when they appear working together (as in the photo above) they must have come from some independent RHA unit. Anyone have any clues?



I'm liking the fact that in BG the survivability of Churchills will depend a lot on their ability to act as part of a combined arms team, maneuvering under the cover of tank destroyers, for example. Quite a different set of challenges to, say, those of the Germans in Battle Group Kursk, whose tanks are much more versatile.



Time now to get stuck in to some Ram Kangaroos that are in the painting queue. But of course, Happy Easter to all.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stress+Beer+Internet=.....



The last couple of months have been pretty awful, and I've been stressed out of my tiny mind and somewhat despondent. I blame this state of mind entirely for a moment of weakness a couple of weeks back. After a long and busy day I was trawling around the internet and drinking beer. Instead of drunkenly deciding that I was the answer to a Lonely Russian Beauty's prayers, I found myself seduced by some shiny things on the Baccus website. My guilty secret duly arrived yesterday - the awesome Baccus ECW starter set with two armies, Polemos rules, some lovely resin buildings and bases. Yay!

This now makes three scales that I have ECW figures for. Yay me!

So go on - what are your moment of weakness internet purchases (apart from the Lonely Russian Beauties Looking For Love)?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Battle Group Markers



Here's a brilliant thing - a set of situation markers for the Battle Group Games made from laser-cut MDF by Commission Figurines. These are excellent little tokens that will make our games a lot easier. They also make full sets of Battle Rating tokens for Kursk, Overlord and Fall of the Reich, and you can even choose from a range of different finishes.

I owe these to the generosity of Man Cave Paul, who was kind enough to pick me up a set. Thanks Paul!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

SAGA at Leviathan 2014

While many of you lucky sods in the UK were off to Salute, I had an enjoyable day yesterday at the altogether more modest affair of Leviathan, the annual convention put on by Sydney's Western Suburbs Gaming Society.



Many thanks to Matt from the Hall of Heroes for sponsoring the day's SAGA tournament. I took along my Pagan Rus, winning one game out of three. I was super chuffed though to win the best painted army on the day, which won me a gift certificate from Hall of Heroes (promptly spent on some PSC Panzer IIIs) and a trophy which will arrive in due course.



I've never been attracted to tournaments, but so far every experience I've had of playing SAGA with strangers has been incredibly positive. There is something about the game that tends not to attract dicks. Instead, everyone I've played has been much more focused on having fun than winning at all cost. My most enjoyable game yesterday was against a Viking player, with both of us essentially leading our warbands in the way that we thought Vikings would have, which led to much slaughter and shouts of 'Odin'. Gamesmanship definitely took a backseat. The other thing I enjoyed yesterday was seeing how well the more 'basic' warbands, such as Vikings, hold up against the more complex factions that have come out in recent supplements.



So congratulations to the winners on the day, and thanks everyone for a fun day.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Plastic Soldier Army Spray



I'm off tomorrow for a couple of days bivouacking in the rain and leeches with Army Cadets, but I did manage to make some progress this weekend with my British forces for Battlegroup Fall of the Reich. With everything assembled I gave the horde a spray of white primer, then tried out the new British Armour Army Spray from Plastic Soldier Company. I must say I was very pleased with the result. The paint seems a little more viscous than other sprays, and I think it would be unforgiving if you tried to spray on too much at once. A couple of lighter coats is definitely called for.

The finish and colour is really nice - and it's great to see all that plastic, resin and metal looking green.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Battlegroup Fall of the Reich: What's On My Painting Table

It has been a ridiculous couple of weeks of everyone in the family getting sick and a frantic time at work, so the painting has slowed down a lot since the halcyon days of Curt's challenge. However, I have been quietly pottering away preparing for a big push on a British force for Battle Group: Fall of the Reich, and here is what they look like so far.



Basically I'm doing up a force of the 6th Guards Armoured Brigade supporting infantry from the 15th Scottish Division from early 1945. Oh, and a few supporting units from the 79th Armoured Div for good measure. So far we have three squadrons of Churchills and a Churchill AVRE, all from two boxes of the lovely PSC kits, a brace of 17Pdr Achilles from Skytrex, a Humber Scout Car from Peter Pig and four Ram Kangaroos from Forged in Battle. Some carriers and other bits and bobs are also in process.



When I bought the PSC kits from War & Peace Games they were kind enough to chuck in a couple of Sherman sprues so that I could chop up the tracks and stick them all over the Churchills. As photos from early 1945 show, the Guards had some very comprehensive and creative views about welding extra tracks all over their tanks to boost the armour. The effectiveness of this measure is moot, and there is some suggestion that the extra track links may have actually made hollow charge warheads (ie Panzerfausts) more effective, but they certainly seem to have had a positive effect on morale.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Recap of My Challenge Part 2

In Part 1 of my self indulgent challenge recap I went over the figures i submitted for Curt's Bonus Rounds. This then is a quick glimpse of all the other stuff I painted up during the 3 months of the challenge.

As I flitted like a large bald butterfly from project to project during the challenge I made some good overall headway on a few main areas, so I'll group them by period. First up, the population of Hurricane, my wild west town for playing Dead Man's Hand experienced a big increase of everything from law abiding types to ladies of easy virtue and gun slinging no-goods.



Phew! That was quite a few, really.

My German and Soviet forces for Battlegroup: Kursk continued to receive some reinforcements:



And continuing the Battlegroup theme (best company level WWII rules ever), I started on a new project, making a British Platoon for Battlegroup: Overlord and Fall of the Reich.



For something completely different, I also painted a bunch of 28mm Huns. I'll be adding to this army to make it suitable for Impetus, Hail Caesar and whatever else. During the challenge I gradually improved the appearance of the snow bases, thanks to Canadian input, so they look a bit mismatched.



And finally, a figure of Arthur that I painted up for the 'heroes' round, but decided to enter Ney instead.



So there we have it! The painting challenge is over, now on with the painting.