IABSM AAR: One Of Our Planes Is Missing

Fellow Lardy Tony Cane has sent me another IABSM AAR, but this time with a bit of a difference: the game is set on the North West Frontier in the early 1920's.

According to Tony, the mission creep away from pure WW2 is all down to the purchase of Lardie specials. The scenario itself is from the Summer 07 edition, the piece on Mussolini's Baubles is in the Summer 06 edition, and those two combined with his collection of WWI German East Africa war figures and the fact he happened to have Pathans in the lead pile...

One of our Planes is Missing

The scenario, with minor changes to the orbat, follows that printed in the Summer 07 issue of the Lardie special, and uses the Mussolini’s Baubles adaption of IABSM in the Summer 06 edition.

"It's India's North West Frontier, the early 1920’s, and the CO has just asked me to lead a small force for a rush job requested by the RAF. They want a downed plane in the tribal area destroyed, hopefully before it is stripped of useful gear by the locals. This is a bit of a blow as I was looking forward to playing polo tomorrow afternoon!  

"A team of engineer types has been provided for the demolition, along with motor transport for the whole force, and even an armoured car has been rustled up. So perhaps if we start early it should be just a case of motoring in, destroying the plane and then back out again. With a bit of luck I may still make the polo match, and then on to the RAF club for free drinks perhaps."

Events were to prove that Lieutenant Harrowell-Clarke was a bit optimistic about how easy things would be.

The local tribe were clearly fired up by the chance to get to grips with the forces that had bombed their village. They basically opted to prevent the enemy from even getting through the pass. First into the breach was a suicidal attempt by a small team to blow up the road as it exited the pass.  The fates (cards) were not kind and two volleys from the section advancing on the road block wiped them out before the charges could be set. Still their sacrifice had caused a useful delay.

The Pathan snipers were however proving to be more effective. Repeatedly stalling attempts to remove the road block and actually causing a casualty on the MG team, and forcing it to retire. They were only overcome when chased off by the eventual advance of the Imperial forces.

Pinned down by sniper fire the lead section were not going to clear the road block any time soon.

The remainder of the force was now ordered to outflank the Pathans and, debussing from the transport, started toiling up the steep slopes.

Having organised the HQ section into firing positions on the right flank the commander returned to the troops stalled in the pass and finally got the attack moving and the road block removed.

A second Pathan band had joined those blocking the exit of the pass but caught in the open, the withering fire, of the now effectively deployed Imperial forces soon disposed of them as a fighting force.

With return fire slackening and time running out for the Imperial forces a hasty advance seemed worth the risk. First with the armoured car, then with the troops and transport of the HQ section. With this rapid progress the plane was reached in time (9 out of 12 turns allowed) and destroyed without any further interference from the Pathans.  The first platoon moved up the road to cover the village but were not needed.

In the end a glowing report on a mission accomplished could be written by Lieutenant Harrowell-Clarke  on the lines of, despite initial difficulties the aircraft was destroyed at the cost of only four casualties to the entire force. Though he probably did not get back in time for the polo match!

Tony Cane

SdKfz 247 Ready for Action

Regular visitors will remember my post of a week or so ago mentioning that I had found somewhere (Heer46) that produced a model of an SdKfz 247: the command car used by some of the German armoured car regiments in the battle for France.

The two I ordered arrived quite quickly, and immediately jumped to the head of the painting queue.

There are two possible variants: one with a canopy over the rear compartment, and one without.

Lovely models of an uncommon vehicle that paint up very nicely. Another piece of kit that I can't wait to get onto the tabletop.

First of the Invaders!

Another 15mm sci-fi range that I've found at the back of the cupboard is Khurasan's "Alien Invasion".

At the moment, the range consists of three different types of infantry and one truly and utterly ridiculously huge transport (and yes, that is a 15mm tank for scale comparison).

Leaving aside the £50 piano stool shown right, the infantry are actually quite fun. The three different types are the Greys (little grey men available as scientists or armed), the War Caste (little green men) and the Kalinekt Warborg battle robots.

So far I have only had a chance to paint the Kalinekt Warborgs, but they have turned out very nicely indeed. There are two different types: a standard 'borg with a machine pistol and a heavy 'borg armed with a giant gatling-style cannon. Both types have several very characterful poses.

The 'borgs are about 20mm high, and I can't wait to get these chaps onto the battlefield.

Same figures, different angle

TFL Painting Challenge: Quick Update

I've finally found the time to do this week's update to the painting challenge. Quite quiet at the moment:  must be the heat!

So, in no particular order, today we have:

  • Sapper with a regiment of 28mm ECW infantry
  • Travis with a rather nice French armoured car and the first of his "winter" German grenadiers
  • Carole's gone all 28mm Napoleonic on us:  British Rifles and Portuguese Cacadores
  • There the usual variety of figures and terrain from Andrew Helliwell
  • Mr Stoesen is building a fort
  • Three tanks from Matt Slade
  • And last, but by no means least, Mr Hodge makes a welcome return with both some painting and some re-basing.

As per usual, clicking on the name of the person will take you straight to their gallery (opens in a new window).

Here are today's pictures:

Rather cold Germans from Travis

Pike and Shot from Sapper

95th Rifles from Carole

Matt's Crusaders

The Rest of the Itu'a

When you have your painting mojo fully engaged, you can churn out units almost at will!

Yesterday's post mentioned the first of the Itu'a units from the Itu'a box from the lead mountain, today's post is the rest of them: a platoon of kalat warbeasts and their supporting bio-mortars.

These are big figures for a 15mm range. Khurasan describes them as: "Massive, three-meter-tall Kalat warbeasts lumber amongst the myriads, one type providing even heavier fire support from arm cannons, another deadly close combat power with massive crab-like claws. A third type of massive Kalat deploys further to the rear, in bio-batteries of three, breeding toxic bio-mortar bombs in an egg chamber mounted on their carapace -- from these they feed the bombs into their arm mortars to launch toward enemy lines."

The figures in the picture are mounted on 2p pieces (just over 2cm across), so you can see how big they are. The bio-mortars are even taller.

So that's the Itu'a done for the moment, and so great was the impetus they provided that I've re-done my Hive gallery in the Q13 section of this website. Here's the Hive massed and ready for action:

First of the Itu'a

Having got my painting mojo back with the Astagar, it was time to pull the next box out of the lead mountain and see what was in it.

I have far too many boxes in the mountain at the moment: some of them literally unopened!

What tends to happen is that I happily paint and play for a couple of months and then suddenly realise that (a) I have money in my PayPal account and (b) there are loads of new releases that I haven't bought yet...particularly 15mm sci-fi releases that, if I don't buy now, could disappear forever if, as is so often the case, the manufacturer goes out of business. I then end up manically buying everything new that, of course, all arrives at once, and ends up in the lead mountain cupboard.

This particular box was from Khurasan Miniatures: a controversial company (Wikipedia IABSM scandal, TMP sock-puppet scandal) which produces an amazing range of figures, both historical and sci-fi. 

I have lots of both, and this particular box contained sci-fi figures from their Itu'a range: an insectoid/carapace-heavy race that I intend to include into my Hive army.

First up is an Itu'a Swarm: a platoon of "Myriads, who are smaller than humans but armed with long biorifles and a set of pincers with which they can more than hold their own in close assault".

These are very nice. Despite their ridiculously sized commander (at least 30mm tall) the main body are proper 15mm figures that paint up very nicely indeed. I've chosen to paint them in my Hive colours of various shades of dry-brushed red, but the picture on the Khurasan site shows what you can do with them if you can actually paint.

Next up are the Itu'a Kalat warbeasts: more scale creep!

Last of the Astagar...

...for the moment, at least.

These are the extra grenade-launcher and flamethrower types used either in small three-man (snake?) teams, one of each per platoon, or to augment the regular infantry squads.

With what I have painted already, I now have two full platoons of three eight-man light squads each, which I can make into standard weight nine-man squads by adding the bombardier (red shoulder flash) or heavy weight ten-man squads by also adding the flamethrower chappie (orange shoulder flash).

All I need now is to find some of the original Astagar MBTs and SP artillery that were available on the Kickstarter. Anyone got any they don't want? Anyone...?

15mm SdKfz 247 Now Available

Those of you who are building an early war armoured car company from a panzer division's reconnaissance battalion (page 63 of the Blitzkrieg in the West: The Germans theatre supplement for IABSM) will have been almost immediately stymied by the need for the Big Man in the Company HQ to ride around in an SdKfz 247, as no one seems to make one.

Well I have some good news for you.

The figure manufacturer Heer46 now have an SdKfz 247 model available in 15mm. It's the Auf. B version with four wheels, as opposed to the Auf. A model with six wheels, and looks like a cracking bit of kit.

I've ordered two of the little blighters, even though I'm unlikely to ever need to field more than one.

The only problem, by the way, is the cost. In common with anything wargames related from Europe, they cost a comparatively enormous amount. The model is €11.80: which is about £10 or $14! That's about five times what you'd pay for a plastic SdKfz 222, making the SdKfz 247 the Ferrari of the German army!

IABSM AAR: Operation Compass #11: Bardia/One

Some great desert action from Tony Cane, as he and friends play the eleventh scenario from the Operation Compass scenario pack: Bardia/One.

The scenario covers one of the Australian assaults on the Italian-held town of Bardia as Compass turns from raid to army-beating campaign.

Click on the picture below to see what happens when you underestimate the opposition...

TFL Painting Challenge: Big Wednesday Update

Lots of lovely entries to report this week:

  • Carole changes scale and paints an army's worth of 10mm Undead
  • Staying at the left hand side of the Scorecard, Mark Luther make a welcome return with sixteen small scale aeroplanes
  • Andy Duffell has built a Euro Church: let's hope it gets onto the tabletop faster than the Eurofighter!
  • Travis has more WW2 French infantry to submit, and a very nice 75mm howitzer set
  • Joining Travis in the 28mm WW2 French club, Lloyd 'The Hat' Bowler smashes in a couple of infantry platoons, some transport vehicles and a handful of guns
  • Chris Stoesen has painted some palisades
  • There's a cornucopia of fantasy figures from Blue Moose Ken
  • Mervyn pops in some British Napoleonics and a lady of easy virtue
  • And last, but by no means least, Steve Burt sends in some more Assyrians...arriving just as I was putting the finishing touches to this post.

As always, clicking on the name of the person above will take you straight to their gallery (opens in a new window). 

Here are today's pictures:

I will update the Scorecard in due course.

TFL Painting Challenge: Scorecard Updated

Yes, I've finally found time to update the Painting Challenge Scorecard.

Plenty of points being racked up and, although it's not a competition, worth congratulating the following people on hitting 1,000 points already:

Some of Matt Slade's work (he's currently got the highest score with 2072 points)

I am languishing on 415 points, so need to get my brushes into action if I'm to hit my target of 1,000 points before the year's end.

IABSM AAR: Blenneville or Bust! #5M: Chemont

Another great battle report from the excellent blog of Sergeant Steiner. 

Here, he and his friends play scenario #5M: Chemont from the Blenneville or Bust! scenario pack: involving a clash between Fallschirmjaeger and US armour.

My enjoyment comes as much from working out with BoB scenario the game is taken from as reading the report itself! Blenneville or Bust!  is a pyramid campaign involving five levels, so there are thirty-one possibilities in all. There's no mention of the name of the village in the report, but only the village of Chemont has a layout like that shown in the picture below. That means it's one of #5B, #5F or #5M. Only #5M involves German Fallschirmjaegers, so scenario #5M it is!

Click on the pic below to see all:

Q13: Astagar Second Platoon Finished

I've finally had a chance to finish the second platoon of Astagar infantry. Lovely models to paint up, and a nice variety of poses as well.

The Astagar were originally produced by Critical Mass Games, but are now available from Ral Partha Europe...well, at least the metal figures are: the resin vehicles are not yet there.

I bought the Astagar through their launch Kickstarter, but have been kicking myself since then for not buying the AFVs and SP Artillery models at the same time. So, my usual plea: if anyone has any that they want to sell me, please get in contact (address is in the right sidebar somewhere).

Just the squad support weapons to paint up now, and then that's the Astagar project finished (well, until I can find some AFVs and SP artillery for them).

Painting Challenge: Quick Wednesday Update

It's been a week and a day since the last Challenge update, so plenty of entries to get through. Still the core entrants providing most of the content, so come on the rest of you: pick up your brushes and get to work! Even I have managed to finish a unit, but more on that later in the week.

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

  • Carole with some barbarian cavalry
  • Sapper with quelque Napoleonics
  • A rather nice blockhouse from Chris Stoesen
  • Travis with some more French
  • Some more Assyrians from Steve Burt
  • Yet more pike and renaissance types from Mr Helliwell
  • There's basing galore from Stumpy
  • Jason Ralls sends in some lovely Dark Ages figures 
  • And last, but by no means least, Mr Slade has been painting cars for the Apocolypse, presumably caused by the Daleks and Cyberman he also sent in

As per usual, clicking on the name of the person in the list, above, will take you straight through to their gallery (opens in a new window).

Here are today's pictures:

IABSM AAR: Bashnya or Bust! #4A: Holm

Another great I Ain't Been Shot, Mum! AAR from Sergeant Steiner's marvellous blog, this time also supported by the comments of the Duc de Gobin, author of the epic Warfare in the Age of Cynics blog.

This time, The Sergeant and the Dice Demon, Steve, are playing one of the scenarios from the Bashnya or Bust! scenario pack for IABSM: scenario #4A Holm.

What's quite fun for me, as the author of Bashnya or Bust!, is working out which exact scenario they're playing from the photos. On this occasion, I knew it was Holm immediately (distinctive terrain!), but which one. Well the only one with that exact number of T-34/85s and that exact number of Panthers is 4A...so hopefully that's it!

Anyhow, click on the pic below to see all. Recommended...along with a quick visit to the two blogs this comes from as well. Excellent stuff.


As usual, I hope that neither of the gentleman mentioned above objects to me re-posting their text and pictures. It is genuinely intended as a way to spread awareness of both IABSM and their excellent blogs rather than anything else.

Painting Challenge: Quick Tuesday Update

It's quite quiet on the Challenge-front...must be something to do with the weather.

Today, in no particular order, we have:

  • Carole with some more Ancients
  • More LOTR figures from Mervyn
  • Plenty of variety from Matt Slade
  • More French from Travis Hiett
  • Andrew Helliwell has a hill and some Germans
  • Mr Hodge smashes through his painting block with some AK-47 figures, both newly-painted and freshly-rebased
  • And last, but by no means least, Treadhead has a horde of tiny Soviets for us to enjoy

As per usual, clicking on the name of the person, above, will take you straight through to their gallery (opens in a new window).

And come on the rest of you: the year is ticking by and that lead mountain ain't getting any smaller!

Here are today's pics:

A Great Day at OML 6

Yesterday I made my annual pilgrimage to the bustling market town of Evesham (don't ask: about an hour away into tractor country) for the sixth Operation Market Larden Lardy Day.

Everything was organised, as per usual, to perfection by Ade Deacon and the other Evesham wargamers and, as I wasn't running a game this year, all I had to do was turn up and play.

In the morning, I played I Ain't Been Shot, Mum!, with Noddy umpiring a game set in the Ardennes during the Bulge campaign. Dave and I played the Germans and, in the morning game, drove onto to the table and set things up nicely for whoever would take over for the afternoon's game.

In the afternoon, I played in Stumpy's Zulu Wars game of Sharp Practice 2.  Here, again playing with Dave, we attempted to protect a supply column as it made its way to a trading outpost deep in the heart of Zululand. Dave ran the convoy guards, and I ran the defenders of the outpost.

Another great game, full of action and derring do. Dave's supply column and its Zulu attackers fought themselves to a standstill: I think there was only one unit left "alive" on each side at the end of the game. Meanwhile, my chaps rather sensibly stayed behind the walls of the outpost, happily blasting away at anything Zulu with their elephant guns. Not a Zulu penetrated into the compound, so all was good: we just won't mention what happened to the Boers caught outside!

There were loads of other great games also being run. I didn't take a comprehensive log of what they were, but here are pictures of three of them just to show you what an amazing set up we had: 

And, to top it all off, a lovely curry in the evening. Sometimes I really do pity the other people in the restaurant: "Fancy a nice, quiet, romantic curry tonight, dear?" 

Another great Larday Day. Highly recommended for those that have one in your area.