Amtracks for IABSM

Last time I asked one of my regular gaming group what he fancied playing next time we got together, he said that he'd very much like to do an amphibious assault in the Pacific. That, at the time, was a bit of a "no can do, amigo", so we ended up getting as close to it as I could with the Gela game that you can read about here.

The request, however, stuck with me. I had Americans, I had Japanese...all I needed was an island and some of the specialist landing equipment that the Marines used.

As is so often the case, that great supermarket that is Salute provided all. I picked up a beachfront gaming mat and, at incredibly cheap prices, the Gator's Amtracks boxset and a box of another three American landing craft. With the promised game looming (next week) it was time to build and paint up the Amtracks.

When I first opened the box set, I was, to put it blankly, deeply impressed. The box contains seven hulls, and fourteen top decks, allowing you to build either the LVT A(1) version with the Stuart turret (37mm gun) or the LVT A(4) version with the HWC M8 turret (75mm gun)...with the two top decks being interchangeable meaning that you could field one to seven of each vehicle in any particular game. Now that, I thought, is a well thought out, good value offering: jolly well done Battlefront.

I still think that, but unfortunately have to give Battlefront full marks for the intention but a much, much lower score for the execution :(

Now I'm not a brilliant modeler, but I can build most 15mm kits, and can even drill and pin large walkers together so that they stand up unassisted. I have built a thousand tanks, quite a few buildings, a handful of aircraft, loads of sci-fi stuff...you name it...and I've built kits based on resin, metal, plastic, wood...you get the picture.

Could I get the top decks of these Amtracks to fit into the hulls? Could I bollocks, if you'll excuse the expression.

They just don't bloody fit. 

As I don't have some kind of rotary grinder thing (how careless of me!) I had to file and carve, and carve and file, and eventually just goddamn-well hammer the decks into place, with resultant cracked hulls, damaged tracks etc.

They just don't bloody fit, I say again!

I ended up abandoning my happy thoughts of having fourteen decks interchangeable on seven hulls, and knock together a platoon of three A(1)s, a platoon of three A(4)s and a command A(1). No interchanging: all firmly hammered/glued/green-stuffed into place.

Okay, so they look good, and I still have seven cracking vehicles, but I haven't got what I was offered, and I'm miffed. Anyway, buy at your own peril, and here's my finished tanks:

Oh, and the box doesn't come with any decals either: I had to find them all from spares...but I'm just being narky now!

B'Maso AAR: Saving Shavanje

I'm painting hard at the moment, trying to get everything ready for next Saturday's game of IABSM. That's the trouble with deciding to try a new theatre, setting up the table, then realising that work, training etc means you have precisely this weekend to paint the ten vehicles you need for the scenario you want to game!

So, to give me (and my back!) a break from the painting table, I've found the time to upload another great B'Maso battle report from the archive of the excellent Anton's Wargame Blog.

Again it was set in Rhodesia in the 1970s, and was a battle to rescue the legendary rebel leader, Garfield Shavanje, from the hands of the Rhodesian Police. He had been wounded and captured in an earlier battle after a heroic resistance along with a few other rebels. Rumor was that they were being held in the local Police Station.

Click on the pic to see all...

A Rhodesian Police Patrol

Taking a break from the second part of The September War scenario pack, I find myself getting very interested in expanding my wargaming interests further into the modern era. We're talking later than the conflicts of the  1960's (French Indochina, Vietnam and the Six Day War) and right into the 1970's and beyond.

That's partly due to Team Yankee and all those pictures of shiny new 1980's toys that just belong in my collection (and see also some of the recent entries into the painting challenge) but mainly down to discovering a couple of excellent compilations of modern AARs using IABSM, CDS, and the supplements B'Maso and Rock the Casbah.

Some of these have already started to appear on this site (e.g. Mark Kinsey's excellent Angolan games) and now here's the first from Anton Ryzbak's excellent blog Anton's Wargaming Blog.

This first AAR dates back to 2011 and, using B'Maso, covers a Rhodesian Police Patrol. Click on the pic to see all: 

Final Chuhuac!

Having re-done the Chuhuac gallery (15mm sci-fi velociraptors with guns from Loud Ninja Games) I realised that I hadn't painted the Company HQ's reconnaissance tool, the heavy combat cyberform: a pterodactyl-like bird with a link to a ground-based specialist.

After sitting wondering where on earth it was, as I had definitely bought one, just not painted it at the same time as all the others, I strapped on a heavy backpack and headed for the lead mountain to seek the little bugger out. An hour later and a complete re-organisation of the sci-fi section of the mountain, and I had it in my hands.

The wings went on surprisingly well, despite not having any slots or tabs or anything. As I've said before, it's a feature of the Loud Ninja Games casts that they have a natural build-quality to them. The Chuhuac, for example, come on separated feet but, incredibly and with a little light bending, balance.

The wire is florists' wire (get it at the garden centre) and the base a plastic coin from a kids shopping set: makes it easy to drill a hole for the wire.

So that's the Chuhuac now complete...at least until the next release!

More Chuhuac Gravbikes

I've been ill all day:  man flu which, as we all know, is 99.999999% fatal in all cases.

Still, being ill has given me a chance to finish off another unit for my Chuhuac force: the second, desert camouflage, gravbike squad:

I can't emphasise how nice these little models are. The bike-n-body comes in one piece, but the separate head means that you can pose them a little: just adds an extra something.

Painting was easy: undercoat in desert yellow, was with Agrax Earthshade, then two colours of red on the heads and necks, and a light yellow for the armour.

For those who are interested, they are mounted on 2p pieces with a hama bead connecting the bike to the coin. Works a treat!

I've also taken the opportunity to update the Chuhuac gallery: click here to visit.

TFL Painting Challenge: Latest Update

Good steady stream of entries coming in at the moment. Today, in no particular order, we have:

  • Carole with some more barbarian types
  • Chris Stoesen with three 15mm ships
  • Cold Wars West Germans from Jason Ralls
  • A large entry from the Hat: 15mm Vietnam Australians, sci-fi 'copters and some Romans from Mr Bowler
  • A large-but-small entry from Derek Hodge: who's just finished a 5-day blitz on his 6mm forces for Normandy '44
  • Mr Burt pops in some more Africans
  • And last, but by no means least, Mervyn takes a break from re-basing for GdA to send in some Austrian skirmishers and some Picts.

As always, clicking on the name of the painter will take you to their gallery, which will open in a new window.

Today's pictures are below:

IABSM Facebook Group

For those of you who haven't spotted it yet, there's now a Facebook group devoted to I Ain't Been Shot, Mum. 

The group already has 200 members, so promises to be a good place to swap info, ask rules questions etc.

Click here to go there!

As an example of the sort of content that's on there, Paul Beccas has posted a short video report of his first game of IABSM, which you can also watch below...

It's also quite a good site on which to place mini-AAR, such as Sigur Skwarl's four pictures from his first game of IABSM, using the first scenario from the rulebook:

WW2 Polish Infantry Platoon

Why are these infantry wearing cavalry helmets?

The observant among you may have noticed that in my recent early war battle reports, the Polish infantry have been represented on the tabletop by dismounted Polish cavalry. The Adrienne helmets and black boots would obviously have given it away!

Well that's because I hadn't got round to painting any Polish infantry yet. The thought of painting so many figures in just about the same uniform as the Soviets was very disheartening:  three platoons of thirty six men each is a lot of troops. However, I finally girded my loins and dived in, buying a couple of platoons from Battlefront.

These arrived after a very long wait (as they are not desert or Team Yankee, they are out of stock!), but my excitement at the moment of un-boxing was soon dispelled by the sight of so many badly cast blobs. I know the Poles aren't flavour of the moment, but please keep the molds as current as possible!

So I put them to one side and bought another couple of platoons from Forged in Battle. Much cleaner casts, and I like the mix of manufacturers in the same platoon that's achieved by taking what I can from the Battlefront pack and sowing them into the FiB platoons.

Here then is the first platoon, with the previously painted Big Man and light support weapons. As the squads are so big, I've chosen to mount them Flames of War stylee on the "biscuits of death": makes such big squads easier to use.

Now a quick break with some desert Chuhuac, and then on to platoon two!

Mid-War Tank Destroyers

I don't usually buy painted figures from eBay: I kind of think that I should paint all that I need myself.

However, last week I was browsing, more seeing what was out there, and came across an auction for a couple of Hornisse/Nashorn mid- to late-war, German tank-destroyers.

I bid what seemed like a reasonable price for them (under £7 a vehicle) and won, with the two models arriving within a week.

A quick re-basing, and here they are:

I really must get an airbrush sometime soon!

TFL Painting Challenge: A Double Update

Be careful what you wish for!

So yesterday I log all the Challenge entries and write my blog post, slightly lamenting the fact that things were so quiet.

It's all set up and ready to go when in comes the news about the publication of the Summer Special (see yesterday's post). So I bump the Painting Challenge to today in order to get the news of the Special up there in a timely fashion.

Then, of course, I open my inbox this morning to find it packed with Challenge entries, all of which I have to process quickly this morning!

So, not so slow on the Challenge...and here are the latest entries:

  • Jason Ralls rolls over the challenge with thirty cold war Soviet tanks and APCs
  • Matt Slade mixes and matches with a chimera in 28mm
  • It's the return of The Vapours as Andy Duffell goes all Japanese on us
  • Carole has been spending time with some Copplestone barbarians
  • Never one to do anything by halves, our favourite Fat Wally submits many, many casualty markers
  • Mr Hodge sends in loads of WW2 6mm and 10mm kit, plus a Spanish church
  • Risen from the dead is Mr Davenport with a host of 15mm WW2 vehicles
  • The Great Gatzemeyer goes WW1 sci-fi
  • Also going WW1, but not the sci-fi bit, is Andrew McCarthy
  • and last, but by no means least, Mr Helliwell adds yet more Thirty Years War figures to his collection. A trip to Ikea needed now!

As is usual, clicking on the name of the gallery owner, above, will take you straight to their gallery (opens in a new page),

Today's pics are below:

A close up of some of Carole's barbarians

Ikko Ikki from Andy Duffell

Hotchkiss tanks in 10mm from Derek Hodge

Keep them coming!

Summer Special 2017 Arrives

This year's TFL Summer Special is now published and available for purchase. Here's Big Rich on what's in it:

"Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Because the Summer Special has arrived!

"So, allegedly, said W.H. Auden when we released the contents list of one of our earlier Specials and this one is just as packed with Lardy fun as any we have seen before with great scenarios, rule ideas and variants and plenty for Lardies old and new to enjoy.

"Let’s take a look at the contents:

  • Flashman and the Emperor: Give yourself top billing as you step into the shoes of Harry Flashman. Can you guide our hero to a safe outcome in this campaign-launching tale of derring-do set in Mexico in 1867.  Will Harry Save the Emperor Maximilian or will he face an untimely death at the hands of the Juaristas?
  • Holding the Line:  Internationally famous wargaming celebrity and lover of gnomes, Mike Hobbs and his chums take us to Normandy 1944 for this Chain of Command scenario with some fun rules additions to tickle your fancy.
  • Sacker of Cities: If the only Homer you know is on the Simpsons, allow “The Colonel” Dave Parker to introduce you to the excellent Trojan Wars expansion for Dux Britanniarum produced by the intellectual giant which is the Durham Wargames Club. “Beware the Wrath of the Gods” says Dave.  I have enough trouble keeping the missus happy…
  • 1745:  David Hunter leaves the safety of the Crossroads Motel and parties like it’s 1745, taking Sharp Practice for a Highland Reel north of the border with unit Rosters and rule adjustments for the Jacobite Rebellion.
  • Cracking the Westwall: Big Rich heads for the Siegfried Line and reveals all you could ever want to know and more about this vision in concrete.
  • Build a Bunker: Inspired by his research, Big Rich shares a step-by-step guide of how to turn polystyrene to concrete.
  • Achtung! Big Rich completes his West Wall trio with a bunker assault scenario for Chain of Command.  Pick your squad, choose your tools and see if you can break through the West Wall.
  • Using Field of Glory Renaissance Armies in Sharp Practice. In the first of our two articles looking at extending Sharp Practice into the age of Pike and Shot, Carole gives us some interesting rule suggestions as she expands Sharp Practice for her evil ends.
  • The Battle of Frank Sanbeans Farm:  This ACW Sharp Practice scenario from Jim Ibbotson, as seen at OML5, wins an award for the worst ever punning title for a game, but we forgive him for his wonderful brush-work.
  • Action in the Valle Delle Marie A hard fighting scenario for I Aint Been Shot Mum from the pen of Mike Whitaker as he heads for the hills and valleys of la bella Italia.
  • LRRP teams in Charlie Don’t Surf:  Charles Eckhart gives top tips on using LRRPS in CDS, plus a scenario to test your new skills.  Can you find Charlie?
  • The Attack on Sochaczew:  Robert Avery pushes his panzers to the limit with an Early War scenario for I Ain’t Been Shot Mum
  • The Bridge at Saindoux:  Fat Nick goes Commando with a scenario for Chain of Command and the outcome is, predictably, explosive.
  • Unternehmen Rollshufahren.  An German airborne assault on a critical British installation see the LDV fighting for their lives as criminal elements assist the naughty Nazis in this Operation Sea Lion scenario for Chain of Command.  Nothing if not topical!
  • Sharply Buffed:  Our second foray into Pike and Shot with rule ideas and force rosters from Nick Worthington
  • Sharpening Up I Ain’t Been Shot Mum:  Frugal Scot Wee Derek Hodge squeezes two rule sets into one Page in a remarkable fusion of ideas.
  • The Roundwood Report Sidney brings up the rear with a topical look at Command and Control the key trends in the hobby.

"At 123 pages in total this is packed with some great ideas as well as the usual mix of scenarios and other Lard-based fun.  When we first produced the Specials in 2004 we tried to make them the best value in wargaming.  Thirteen years on we are still doing the same, holding the price at just £6 for the sixth year running."

You can buy the Special by clicking here or on the picture of the front cover, above.

Q13: More Chuhuac Battlesuits

My Chuhuac (15mm sci-fi velociraptors with guns from Loud Ninja Games) force consists of three platoons: one camouflaged for the jungle, one for the desert, and one (special ops) for the city.

Each platoon consists of a couple of large squads of infantry in APCs, a squad of grav bikes, and a squad of battlesuits. Or that was the plan, until half way through the usual massive initial paint, I got distracted by other things.

Anyway, had a bit of time to spare this weekend, so filled in one of the gaps: the battlesuit squad for the second (desert) platoon.

Film Review: Battle for Moscow aka Panfilov's 28

Flicking through Amazon Prime last night looking for something to watch, I came across the film Battle for Moscow aka Panfilov's 28. Worth a look, I thought, so clicked to spend my £4.99 and settled down to see what was what.

Well it's a cracking bit of military movie making. Here's the summary:

USSR, Late November, 1941. Based on the account by reporter Vasiliy Koroteev that appeared in the Red Army's newspaper, Krasnaya Zvezda, shortly after the battle, this is the story of Panifilov's Twenty-Eight, a group of twenty-eight soldiers of the Red Army's 316th Rifle Division, under the command of General Ivan Panfilov, that stopped the advance on Moscow of a column of fifty-four Nazi tanks of the 11th Panzer Division for several days. Though armed only with standard issue Mosin-Nagant infantry rifles and DP and PM-M1910 machine guns, all useless against tanks, and with wholly inadequate RPG-40 anti-tank grenades and PTRD-41 anti-tank rifles, they fought tirelessly and defiantly, with uncommon bravery and unwavering dedication, to protect Moscow and their Motherland.

The film begins with some infantry in a small village, gathered around some tables in the snow being taught how to disable German tanks. There's lots of chat about duty and the Motherland, a bit of banter as we start to identify the different soldiers, and a general sense of teeth being gritted as they prepare for battle. 

There's some interesting uniforms on display, as this is a Kasakh regiment (loving the huge and bright purple collar flashes!) and, as they start to dig in, a sense that they have a tough time ahead of them. There's some more banter about Thermopylae and the Seven Samurai, and then we're straight into the trenches to await the Nazi attack.

Not a still from the film, but a group shot of the main actors

The Germans get a pre-game stonk, and then come forward with tanks and infantry...but this first assault is beaten back fairly easily as the Soviets are under hidden Blinds and inflict double Shock when firing from ambush.

There's then a bit of a pause for more chat, and then we're on to the climactic battle as the Germans first pound the Russian trenches with off-table artillery, and then come forward again with an overwhelming number of tanks and infantry committed to the assault. I won't tell you what happens, but think Rourke's Drift!

It's stirring stuff, and the German tanks (Panzer IIIs and IVCs) look amazing , especially the shots from inside the tanks. The Russians have 45mm anti-tank guns, anti-tank rifles, and anti-tank grenades...and, presumably, balls of steel!

The cinematography is excellent, the sound very good (no mumbling actors here) and, as above, the special effects are cracking too. 

For those worried about the gore factor, it's not shot in the modern grossly graphic style (the first episode of the new season of Preacher was ten times worse!) but more akin to movies such as The Longest Day or Battle of the Bulge.

In all, it's a really good, old-fashioned war movie.

Highly recommended.

Here come the Germans!

Here come the Germans!

Jagdtigers from Zvezda

One of the recent new 15mm releases from Zvezda was the Jagdtiger: joining the Sturmtiger and Elefant on the list of available German wunderwaffe.

Now I don't know why Zvezda would concentrate on such rare vehicles as opposed to, say, expanding their early war range or starting on the Polish, Italians or Japanese,  but I'm glad they did, as it means that I can add them to my collection guilt-free at about £3 a time rather than having to pay an exorbitant amount for the Battlefront equivalent.

As you can see from the photo, they paint up beautifully and are certainly not short on detail.

The Jagdtiger were a little bit more difficult to put together than some of the other Zvezda models that I have made, and I actually had to use a bit of green stuff to fill some gaps, but still the two combined took me only a couple of hours to complete from start to finish.

Highly recommended, as are all Zvezda's models.

Incidentally, if anyone is wondering, in IABSM the Jagtiger has armour 16 and gun strike 20: ridiculous!

PS  If Mr Zvezda is reading this, can we have some Polish 7TP tanks now please.