IABSM AAR: Sochaczew

Always nice to see people using my support material to play their games, so here’s an after action report from Tim Whitworth and the Like a Stonewall wargamers using the Sochaczew scenario that I wrote for the TwoFatLardies Summer Special 2017.

Set in 1939, Polish troops are desperately defending the town as the German infantry and Panzers sweep in. Click on the picture below to see what happened…

IABSM AAR: Return to St Aubin (again, again)

Another superb AAR from Desmondo Darkin based on his D-Day St. Aubin scenario.

This time, he and the South London Warlords are using a bigger piece of coast and a sandy beach instead of shingle. For rules, they used I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! with Desmondo’s Chain of Command-modified activation system.

Click on the picture below to see all:

IABSM AAR: Winter Attack!

Fellow Lardy Desmondo Darkin and gang have played their first game using their new winter terrain.

They had just over three hours to play a German attack on a Soviet held village in 1944, and used I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum! with Desmondo’s Chain of Command-modified activation system.

Both sides had a core Infantry Company and each side then picked support options using a Support list which is basically the Chain of Command list but sized up to IABSM-sized games.

Click on the picture below to see loads of pictures of Desmondo’s superb terrain and some shots of the game itself:

IABSM AAR: Bashnya or Bust! #2A: Osen

Another great battle report from Captain Cliche this time featuring action from the second scenario from the Bashnya or Bust! scenario pack.

After a Soviet victory in the first battle of the campaign, this clash takes place around the small town of Osen. The Germans are holding out whilst their engineers set charges on the last remaining bridge , before withdrawing their remaining troops over the river and blowing the bridge to bits. They are outnumbered and face a swift Soviet attack that features plenty of T34s and SMG-armed tank-riders. The Russians need to drive through and capture the bridge.

Click on the picture below to see if the Soviets took the bridge.

Type 89 Japanese Tanks

Some of you may know that I am currently writing the I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum theatre handbooks for the Far East, starting with the Japanese armies that invaded the Pacific region: Malaya, Burma, the Philippines, Borneo, the Dutch East Indies etc.

All the research, particularly into the 7th (Medium) Tank Regiment that fought in the Philippines, inspired me to finally get around to painting the two boxes of Type 89 Chi Ro tanks that have been sitting in my lead mountain since Salute two years ago. These I bought from Troll Trader for the princely sum of £12 each: a huge discount off ratecard at only £2.40 per tank.

These went together really nicely: even the back sled-things weren’t too hard to build. Not only that, but this makes 23 tanks consecutively from Battlefront without a single piece missing. Given my previous rants about quality control, this is a real (and very welcome) improvement.

Painting was just a matter of following the patterns shown on the box art. I now just need to tone down the gloss lacquer a bit with some mat spray.

My only disappointment was that when I went to enter my new Type 89 tanks into my Japanese roster, I found that I already had five of them, bought and painted some time previously. Ah well: you can never have too much of a good thing!

Recommended.

IABSM AAR: St Aubin

A lovely and impressive set of photographs from Desmondo Darkin that first appeared on the I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum Facebook group.

Desmondo and friends play a slight variant of IABSM where dice rather than cards/chips are used to govern unit activation. Now whilst we don’t countenance such heresy here at VL, if it helps spread the Lard, then go, Desmondo, go!

Click on the picture below to see the action:

SU-57s from Battlefront

More Soviet vehicles rolling off the production line as a result of Battlefront’s last sale: this time it’s the SU-57 self-propelled guns.

More correctly called the T48 Gun Motor Carriage, the Samokhodnaya ustanovka 57 was what the Soviets called the M3 half-track with a 57mm anti-tank gun mounted on top. The Russians received 650 of them, and used the SP AT guns in Operation Bagration et al. in 1943/4.

I usually hate putting Battlefront artillery together, especially those with a gun shield, so was pleasantly surprised at how easily I could build the four SU-57s. The M3 body has a fits-just-right post for the gun, with a lovely little ledge just in front of it for the edge of the gun shield. No swearing required at all!

The crew are good too. I chose to mount them as part of the initial build (as opposed to painting them separately then putting them into the painted vehicles) and this seemed to work quite well. There’s enough room to get a brush right their way down to the feet, if necessary, so my standard block colour-wash-highlight technique worked well.

Almost to my surprise, another highly recommended.

IABSM AAR: Kicking in the Door

Here’s an AAR from Alastair Birch first published onto the I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum Facebook page, so I hope he doesn’t mind me reproducing it here.

This is a cracking little encounter written by the big man himself, Richard Clarke, back in about 2005. I actually have a Word version of the scenario, designed for IABSM v2, although where I got it from I have no idea!

Adolf himself has told his troops that “the Soviet Union is a rotten structure, that we only need to kick in the door, and the whole thing will collapse before us”. Click on he picture below to see if that’s true!

KV-85 Tanks from Battlefront

I’m continuing to work my way through all the tanks I bought last time Battlefront had a significant sale, moving on from the Germans (Jagdpanzer IVs) to the Soviets.

The first batch of Stalin’s toys off the painting table were a company of heavy tanks: KV-85s to be exact. These filled the gap between the KV-1E (and a few lend lease Churchills) until the arrival in 1944 of the JS-III.

I’ve always liked the shape of the KV class of Soviet tank: nice and chunky!

These, the usual Battlefront combination of resin body/turret and metal tracks/gun/hatches, went together really easily (makers of plastic vehicles take note), and were a joy to paint up as well.

I did add a bit of extra stowage to a few of them: somewhat ironically given my previous comment, the canvas rolls on the front two tanks are actually the furled up canvas tops to the PSC Steyrs that I posted about a few days ago. Nothing ever goes to waste!

KV-85s from Battlefront: highly recommended.

IABSM AAR: Operation Sealion #04: Take the Heights

Another great Sealion AAR, but not this time from Karim and friends at the Stipsicz Hussars. No, this time it’s Tim Whitworth and his friends at the “Like a Stonewall” wargames group who are playing out the action.

Click on the pic below to see whether the Hyde Home Guard Platoon, under the watchful eye of their daring commander Major fforbes-Cole MC (retired) can defend Paddlesworth against the Fallschirmjaeger Hun.

IABSM AAR: Operation Sealion #03: Capture the Port

Another great AAR from Karim Van Overmeire and friends at the Stipsicz Hussars, again from the Operation Sealion scenario pack for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum!

This battle report features Scenario #03: Capture the Port, in which elements of the London Irish Rifles defend the small sea side village of Seabrook against the German 21st Infantry Regiment. The Germans had to capture this position on their way to Folkestone: securing the port of Folkestone was necessary to allow German armour to be brought ashore.

Click on the picture below to see if Seabrook will fall under the Nazi jackboot!

Battlefront Jagdpanzer IV in 15mm

I’m always a sucker for a bargain, so when Battlefront recently had a 25% sale in preparation for withdrawing some models from sale whilst they re-model, I took full advantage and added another peak to the lead mountain.

One gap in my collection that I was happy to fill in were some Jagdpanzer IVs: the infamous very low profile tank hunters.

These were easy to build (therapy after the Steyrs!) and easy to paint. Spray dunkelgelb, then use the sponge pad that Battlefront use as packaging to protect their models to dab on some dark green then brown. Wash with the ubiquitous Agrax Earthshade, highlight with Screaming Skull, do the tracks, crewman and decals and away you go. Simple.

Can’t wait to get them onto the table.

IABSM AAR: Battle at Parczew

It’s September 29th, 1939, and Independent Operational Group Polesie are marching south towards Koch. Attacked by Soviet cavalry and tanks, the Poles are at first beaten back, but then counter-attack and manage to re-take the village of Milanow. This they then prepare to hold in the face of further attacks from Russian infantry with tank support.

The above is a condensed version of the background given to scenario #31: The Battle at Parczew from the September War scenario pack. I would play the Poles, defending Milanow; with John and Dave commanding the advancing Soviets.

Click on the picture below to see all…

PSC Steyr Heavy Cars in 15mm

I’m quite a fan of plastic vehicles: the price means you can buy by the company rather than by the platoon, the plastic allows for an incredible amount of detail, and they weigh a fraction of their metal or resin equivalents - important when you’re carrying a company of large tanks around!

So when I needed a re-stock of spray paints for undercoating, and had decided to use the ones available on the Plastic Soldier Company website, and noticed that they had released a set of Steyr heavy transport cars, I impulse-purchased a box-full and looked forward to adding them to my collection. I didn’t exactly need them, but they could join the mass of other PSC products that I already had: Cromwells, Churchills, half-tracks etc.

As you might have gathered already, I like PSC kit, and have built many a PSC model, but I’m afraid to say that these were a complete nightmare to put together! They’ve turned out brilliantly, as you’ll hopefully see from the pictures below, but the actual build process was…well, it was traumatic, to say the least!

So what was the problem?

The problem starts right at the beginning of the build: step 2 in the instructions IIRC.

The first step is to attach the bottom of the vehicle to the chassis that will take the wheels. No real problem here, but my advice is to do this on all the vehicles you are building first, then properly leave them to dry until the glue is rock-solid. That assembly is going to take an awful lot of pressure as you try and complete step 2, and will easily un-stick itself as the shear you will have to use takes effect.

Okay: now onto step 2. Sticking the sides of the vehicle onto the bottom/chassis assembly. This is where the fun starts.

The sides of the vehicle are necessarily shaped and curved to represent the body and the bonnet (hood for my US chums) of the Steyr. This curved piece of plastic is not quite shaped correctly to sit on the vehicle bottom. This means that you have to glue the front of it in place, and then bend the plastic into position on the sides. That means gluing plastic under pressure in place i.e. the sides want to flex back into their natural shape rather than sit in position as the glue hardens. As this is a 15mm model, the surfaces to be stuck together are small, which means there’s not much glue available to hold the plastic-wanting-to-flex-back to-its-natural-shape in place.

One simple paragraph, but a couple of hours of extreme frustration!

No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the models to go together without leaving seam-gaps where there shouldn’t have been seam gaps. By the end, I was using plastic cement, Superglue, and, finally, a paste made up of Superglue and PVA mixed together in a desperate attempt to make things work. I had so much glue on my fingers that, even now, four days later, I still look like someone trying to conceal their fingerprints from forensics!

Things got so bad at one stage that I seriously considered taking two of the models outside and using a hammer to smash them into smithereens! I can feel my blood pressure rising even as I type this!

Anyway, I eventually got them built and painted and, I must say, they’ve turned out very well indeed:

The paint job is simple. Spray dunkelgelb from the PSC spray can. Paint canvas light brown. Wash with Agrax Earthshade, highlight with Screaming Skull. Paint in relevant bits: tyres, tools and the windows.

I’m quite pleased with the windows: they are painted a medium-light blue then very gently brushed with a bit of white.

DSCN0374.JPG

So a very lovely looking set of transport vehicles, but achieved with much pain and frustration…to the point where if PSC offered me another box for free, I might actually say “thanks, but no thanks”.

PS Note that the Steyrs come with plenty of options: early or late (my bad: the single Steyr shown above is an early model painted in late colours, the only one I actually made that mistake on: the others are all late models painted in late colours); and with the option to have the canvas top down showing the inside and some crew. I would have done that, but was so hacked off with the basic body build that I just wanted to get them finished, so went with the quick slap-on-the-canvas-roof option instead.

IABSM AAR: Operation Sealion #02: Rearguard at Pevensy

Karim van Overmeire and the Stipsicz Hussars are continuing to play through the Operation Sealion scenario pack, this time they fight scenario #02: Rearguard at Pevensy.

Will the British hold the bridges, or will the fearsome Hun get in amongst them? Click on the picture below to find out all…