IABSM: First of the Mounted Poles

I've finally managed to finish my first unit of Polish cavalry: a squadron of Dragoon-types in their Adrienne helmets.

These have taken me an age to do. Not sure why: not too complicated, and just a couple of layers on everything. Probably something to do with the horses making each figure the equivalent of two figures, I suppose.

Here they are:

I've painted them the same colour scheme as the dismounted cavalry I finished last month. Some might comment that Polish uniforms should be more brown than the moss shade that I have used. Quite right: but if I'd painted them the same brown colour, then I might as well have used my Russians or my French. At least this way I have a distinctly different look, even if it not quite exactly historically accurate.

And after all, maybe the uniforms were brown and have faded under the rigours of war!

The figures are from Forged in Battle. The horses and basic bodies are very nice, but the faces are very small (accurately so!) and therefore quite difficult to paint well. Hate to say it, but the Battlefront cartoon characters paint up better...well, faces, anyway.

These aren't shiny, by the way, but sprayed with Testors Dullcoat to finish.

TFL Painting Challenge: Lazy Sunday Update

That's me being lazy, BTW, not you guys!

This week's update is all about the Andrews:

  • Andrew Helliwell expands his 15mm WW2 collection
  • Andy Duffell expands his 28mm WW2 collection
  • Andrew McCarthy also adds to his WW2 collection
  • Matt Slade paints and re-bases many 28mm figures, mostly Crusader-era types
  • Stumpy continues to re-base his Napoleonics
  • Steve Burt pops in a line of Romans
  • and last but certainly not least, the Mad Padre has some LOTR figures for us to look at

Today's pictures...

Lovely PaK40 from Andy Duffell

Re-based Highlanders from Stumpy

LOTR goodness from the Mad Padre

15mm Poles: Outpost Wargame Services

Every time you think you have the complete set, you find out that you have missed one!

That is most definitely true of my list of WW2 15mm figure manufacturers: I thought I had them all, but then someone posts about Outpost Wargame Services, who have a range of 15mm Poles, the very army that I'm currently building. 

Hangs head in shame!

Well I have put that right now: Outpost are added to the list, and below you'll find a couple of pics of some of their Poles. Might have to fill in the gaps in my collection with a few of these...once I get the bl*@dy cavalry finished of course!

Click here to go to the Outpost website.

Polish Infantry from Outpost Wargame Services

Polish Cavalry from Outpost Wargame Services

TFL Painting Challenge: An Overdue Update

You can tell everyone has been off on their summer holidays: very few entries into the painting challenge recently. Must confess I'm in the same boat, though: I have Polish cavalry all over my painting table that just won't paint themselves!

Anyhoo, today's entries, in no particular order are:

  • Steve Burt submits a very heavy elephant
  • Mr Helliwell sends in assorted 15mm WW2 Germans and Soviets.
  • Richard Naylor pops in a 6mm anti-tank battery and a lovely T-34
  • Mr Plowman has been to Mars, and has the figures to prove it
  • Stumpy has been doing some more re-basing
  • And Mervyn has been preparing for his Dad's Army re-make in 28mm

Today's pics are from Messrs Naylor, Plowman and Stumpy:

Fantastic PSC 20mm T-34/85 from Mr Naylor

Martians from Mr Plowman

Re-based Boers from Stumpy

TFL Sale: Chain of Command at 15% Off

Although Chain of Command (CoC) isn't usually featured on Vis Lardica - this site being devoted to TFL's company-sized games, and CoC being a skirmish-level, platoon-sized game - it's nice to be able to let you know that the Lardies are having a bit of a sale and offering CoC at 15% off:

New Wargames Company from TFL

News from Lard Island: the TooFatLardies are launching a sister company named Reisswitz Press.

Here's a copy of the release:

It isn’t often that a new publishing house dedicated to historical wargaming is launched, but that is precisely what is about to happen as Reisswitz Press prepares to publish it’s first set of wargames rules, Pickett’s Charge by respected game designer Dave Brown, the man behind such classics as General de Brigade, British Grenadier and Battlegroup Panzer Grenadier.

For the uninitiated, the Reisswitz name comes from the author of what are widely viewed as the first set of modern wargames rules; the 1824 Kriegsspiel which was adopted by the Prussian Army and led to an explosion in military gaming which became popular with military men and enthusiastic civilians alike.   Indeed it is testament to von Reisswitz that his rules are still being used today and, probably more importantly, that the hobby he did so much to launch goes from strength to strength.

Most wargamers, especially readers of Lard Island News, will be familiar with TooFatLardies.  As game designers and publishers we have long been convinced of the importance of history within our wargames; with a large dollop of Clausewitzian friction and an emphasis on command decisions being our trademark.  The founding of Reisswitz Press will allow us to publish wargames rules which fall outside the traditional scope of Lard but which share our dedication to historical gaming.

What is more, Reisswitz Press is an opportunity for us to work with some of the most dynamic and influential people in the hobby.  As we have seen, Dave Brown needs no introduction and we have been very pleased to work with Henry Hyde who has done our graphic design and layout on this project and to use the artwork of the peerless Don Troiani on the cover.

Over the coming weeks, as we move towards our launch publication date, we’ll be keeping you informed about Pickett’s Charge with articles on design and reports on games.  We are also looking to produce a range of short videos to show the rules in play.

IABSM: AAR: Kantemirovka Air Field

Another great after action report from Mark Luther: a 6mm game set on the Eastern Front featuring a Soviet assault on Kantemirovka Air Field.

This game has actually featured in another battle report (Chris Stoesen's Airfield Attack) but looks so good that it deserves another outing, and there are loads of new pics and, of course, Mark's as opposed to Chris' take on the game.

Click on the pic to see more and, if you have battle reports from games using any of TFL's company-sized games (IABSM, CDS, Q13) then feel free to submit them for inclusion here: it's a good way of highlighting your club or event.

Painting Challenge: Update

Entries have slackened off at the end of August: hence the fact that this is the first update for some time. So, come on, get those brushes moving: still plenty of time to beat last year's total before Christmas!

Today, in no particular order, we have:

  • Mervyn sends in some Fallschirmjaegers and some Babylonians
  • Mr Naylor pops in some 6mm Soviets
  • Andy Duffell showcases a couple of very nice 28mm vehicles
  • Kev has his usual cornucopia of English Civil War units
  • A mixed bag from Mr Helliwell: Germans, mounted knights, Soviets...
  • Steve Burt build a 4Ground store
  • and last, and by no means least, in every sense of the phrase, is Mr Slade: with a mass of Martians

Not a bad haul!

Today's pics are below:

Andy Duffell's superb Vickers carrier in 28mm

Mr Slade's Martian marketplace

And Mr Helliwell's knights

Mervyn's Fallies

IABSM: Soviets for 1939

Here is the final IABSM v3 army booklet for the 1939 invasion of Poland: the Soviets.

It's a set of comparatively simple lists, allowing you to field:

  • an infantry company
  • a cavalry squadron
  • a light tank company
  • a fast tank company
  • a medium tank company

As always, you can download the pdf from the Poland 1939 page of the I Ain't Been Shot, Mum! section of the website, or by clicking on the image to the left. 

That's now the set of the three main nations  - the Poles, the Germans and the Soviets - done. I hope you enjoy playing this fascinating period.

Vis Imperica: The Mahdists

As mentioned yesterday, the bank holiday gave me a chance to continue photographing my collection of little soldiers. After the Egyptians, it seemed appropriate that the Mahdists were next under the spotlight.

The Mahdists, or Ansar if you like, are one of the earliest 15mm armies that I actually painted myself. Fresh out of university, determined that 15mm 19th century gaming was what I wanted to do, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a beautifully painted, second hand Zulu army, and then painted (badly) a whole lot British figures to fight them. Once they were done, and I'd had enough of Brits vs Zulu games, I decided that the next conflict to model were the various Sudan campaigns.

I'd also heard about this marvelous new painting technique called dipping or washing, where you roughly painted a figure (phew!) and then covered it in brown wash or magic dip. This I could manage, so away I went and produced the figures you can see below. 

Now almost thirty years old, you can see how dark they are: at that time I didn't know the maxim "paint 15s one shade lighter than you would anything larger" that has recently seen me in good stead. The finish I use has also darkened over time. But, as I said, at the time these were the best figures I'd ever produced. You can also see how I've more recently added some command figures that are painted with highlights rather than wash: good to see how one's painting technique improves over time!

Click on the pic below to see all:

Vis Imperica: 19th Century Egyptians

Bank holiday weekend and a chance to take another few steps towards finishing the photography of all my 19th century figures. First up were the Egyptians from about 1875 - 1900.  

I had forgotten how much I like the look of my Egyptian troops until I got them out of storage in order to photograph them. I have a soft spot for troops in fezs: I think it must be something to do with Jon Courtney Grimwood's Arabesk trilogy!

My Egyptian force consists if two brigades, with each brigade having the same composition: three battalions of infantry, a squadron of cavalry, and a couple of guns. 

These days, as I don't play much 19th Century at the moment, my Egyptians will probably find themselves proxy-ing as Libyans for my Operation Compass games...but at least they'll be on the table! Click on the pic below to see all:

New Early War Gebirgsjaeger Gallery

My Gebirgsjaeger were originally bought to provide a late war German force for the eastern front...mainly in a desperate attempt to avoid painting the camouflage smocks that I would need for a contemporaneous company of Heer troops!

The figures will, of course, also do nicely for a Gebirgsjaeger force built from the new IABSMv3 Poland 1939 lists: although they will obviously need a bit of adaption to fit into the earlier OOB.

As always, I find it easier to see these things pictorially, so have now had a chance to put together a Gebirgsjaeger 1939 gallery...and very bare it is too, with lots of the late war equipment stripped right away.

Needs include some more infantry, to represent the bigger platoons, some earlier anti-tank guns, and maybe some pioneer types if only for completeness.

Click on the pic to see the gallery.

Unboxing the Polish Reinforcements

Some of you picked up on the fact that it was my 50th birthday last week. Thanks for all your good wishes and, to one particular person:  no you can't have my collection when I keel over due to old age!

As it was my birthday, and I'd finished the IABSMv3 lists for Poland 1939 for the Poles, Germans and Soviets, I decided to take the opportunity to fill out my early war collection a bit.

You see, when I first started playing WW2 games, I tended to play IABSM as it was originally designed to be played: with each side consisting of a few platoons of infantry supported by a couple of guns and maybe a single platoon of armour. I also almost exclusively played France 1940 or Barbarossa games, having (at the time) this strange aversion to late war with its big cats and hordes of character-less Shermans.

I therefore only have a single platoon of most types of early war German and Soviet tank, and understrength platoons at that.

Well, what's the problem, I hear you ask, you have everything you need?

Yes, but, the thing is, these days, although some of the best games I've ever played have been games with small forces on each side, I now occasionally like to play huge, power games, with swarms of tanks everywhere...I think it's an age thing: why buy a sports car when you can command a full company of panzers!

So, for my birthday, I decided to do ma bit of filling out:

That's a platoon of Panzer IIs, a platoon of Panzer 38(t)s, a platoon of T-26s, a platoon of BT-5s, and a couple of SdKfz 222 armoured cars as well.

[All bought from Hannants, BTW, a very good source of Zvezda kit: ordered Wednesday, arrived Saturday, discount included in price.]

You may notice that all the tanks ordered are plastic Zvezda kits: cheap but perfectly serviceable...especially as I don't expect to use them very often. 

And that's the point of buying cheaper Zvezda or PSC tanks rather than the more expensive metal or metal and resin vehicles from other manufacturers: if you're not going to use them very often, then cheap but serviceable is the way forward.

Don't get me wrong: these will paint up very nicely. Here, for example, is one Battlefront and three Zvezda Katyushkas in the same picture:

I would go as far to say, with my limited building skills, the rocket rack on Battlefront model looks worse than the Zvezda versions...and I've only ever fielded all four once, as an objective for a German attack. Imagine if I'd bought four metal versions for a single game: ouch!

The Zvezda range is expanding as well. Take a look at the box again. Nestling on the right are two Ferdinands. Together they cost about a fiver: cheaper than a single Battlefront model. Yes, I need them just in case I ever have to field them, but how often will I do so? Cost efficiency is the way forward!

Right: back to painting. All my Polish cavalry still do before I can start on the tanks!

IABSM AAR: Blenneville or Bust! Near Avaux

Great write-up of a game at the August meeting of the Devon Wargames Group taken from the Blenneville or Bust! scenario pack.

The action took place Near Avaux: as an embattled German force attempts to hold out against a strong attack by British armour.

You can read all about on the Devon Wargames Group page (click here), or on this site by clicking on the picture, below.

Dismounted Polish Cavalry

So here they are: the dismounted Polish cavalry of the previous post rescued from their terrible frosting at the hands of a can of GW Purity Seal with a liberal application of olive oil, and then re-sprayed with Army Painter seal:

Now they don't look perfect, being still a little granulated with tiny particles of Purity Seal, but they look a whole lot better than they did before!

What I am also hoping is that they will improve even more with time and a bit of handling i.e. that the granules are worn smooth or continue to be absorbed in some way. They are not a disgrace now, though, and that's the main point.

Battlefront figures, BTW. Quite nice, although the faces were not particularly well defined and were difficult to paint into anything remotely resembling humans. That could be down to coming from an old mold, but is still disappointing. I've gone Forged in Battle for the mounted cavalry, so we'll have to see if they are any better.

Here's another couple of shots. Oh, and they look a bit weird on my custom bases as they don't have any LSW teams, and the bases are designed to take eight singles and a two-man LSW team, not ten singles. Should make playing with them interesting, as that's down one dice on all firing! 

PS the painting challenge scorecard is now updated as well 

Frosting Disaster!

I have been painting a company of 15mm WW2 dismounted Polish cavalry: 49 figures in all.

It's probably taken me about ten hours of work to finish them: that's prepping the figures, undercoating, top coat, highlight, wash, and basing.

Finished them last night.

Went out to the garage to varnish them. Picked up the bad can of GW Purity Seal that caused me so many problems with my half-tracks (see previous post) that I'd put handy to throw away, but hadn't actually thrown away yet, and promptly frosted the lot of them!

And when I say frosted, I mean frosted:

An absolute disaster! And on my 50th birthday as well! I could have cried!

Now usually when this happens I try spraying with a gloss varnish, and that sorts most of it out. Not this time: just made it slightly worse!

So I googled solutions and was amazed to find people suggesting a thin coat of olive oil might solve the problem.

Olive oil? Are you sure?

So into the kitchen I went, and was immediately confronted with my first dilemma: what sort of olive oil. The wife has got at least three types: ranging from the cheapo, supermarket own-brand in a plastic bottle to the super-squishy, extra-extra-virgin delicatessen variety.

Well, these troops have had quite an investment of my time, so it had to be the top quality oil: nothing but the best for the Polish cavalry!

Rather dubiously, I started painting it on.

Immediate results: figures de-frosted almost as the brush passed over them, leaving them free of frosting and nicely detailed again, with just a hint of roughness caused by particles of varnish.

Extra-ordinary...and now that they are dry, they have a rather pleasing patina to them too.

Glad I used the expensive stuff!

I've now re-varnished using Army Painter seal, and will post a pic tomorrow: it's good to keep you in suspense a little!

Olive oil! Who'd have thought it.

TFL Painting Challenge: Tuesday Update

Not a huge amount of people who have submitted entries, but plenty of entries submitted!

So, in no particular order, we have:

  • Andrew Helliwell with some renaissance cavalry and Soviet scouts
  • The Great Gatzemeyer with some Confederate cavalry
  • Mr Naylor with large amounts of 6mm figures
  • Kev with another batch of beautifully painted English Civil War figures
  • Ashley sends in another couple of buildings
  • and last, but no least, Steve Burt submits a great looking 28mm church

Here are some pics:

Steve's 28mm church

One of Kev's ECW campsites...

 

...and some militia to visit it

Another terrain board from Ashley

IABSM: Germans in Poland: Most Gaps Filled

As I said in my previous post, I have plenty of early war German kit: I just needed to re-photograph some of it to fit in with the specific Germans in Poland infantry company list.

That's now happened, (click here to go to the gallery) and I know exactly what I need to buy in order to be able to field anything I might need to.

As expected, the only real gaps are in the number of tanks and armoured cars I need...but as that's not critical, as IABSM is more about infantry than tanks and it's going to be a rare occasion indeed that I need to field an entire tank company, I can just fill these gaps with cost-effective vehicles from Zvezda as and when I feel like it.

I reckon if I bought six SdKfz 221s; five Panzer 35(t); five Panzer 38(t); and six Panzer IIs then I would have all the early war German tanks I could ever realistically need...and at Zvezda prices, I could probably get the whole lot for the same amount as one Battlefront late war tank killer box set! All hail Zvezda!

In fact, the only real gap is the two-squad infantry scouting unit which, obviously, I could represent on foot, but would like to do as cavalry: the first German cavalry I would then have. A trip to Peter Pig for them, I think, as I quite like PP's cavalry figures.

So, infantry company gallery now done: next up will be the Schutzen and the Gebirgsjaeger galleries. After I've been shopping, of course...