Thursday, 19 September 2019

Patrol on the Ring Contour

Game One of Kampfgruppe von Luck

Private Goodbody scanned the hedgerows through his telescopic sights.  There was just enough light now to properly make out the shapes of trees and bushes across the wide fields of wheat.  He shifted his weight slightly, as his left ankle was still sore after the drop.  Laden with extra kit and plenty of ammo, his landing had been heavy.  His ‘stick’ had been fortunate as they’d landed close to Ranville but plenty of his fellows in 12 Para were still unaccounted for.  The drop had quickly become a shambles as aircraft weaved to and fro through heavy flak.  He wasn’t too concerned though as the lads were gradually turning up in 1’s and 2’s, sometimes more.
Sergeant Cameron appeared at his side and held out a tin cup of scalding hot tea.
“Movement?” he asked, his broad Scottish tones barely a whisper.  Private Goodbody was the sniper in No. 3 section and had the sharpest eyes in the platoon; if anyone could spot Jerry approaching it would be him.
For reply Goodbody simply shook his head.  He and Cameron were the furthest pickets out on what was known as the ring contour.  The Germans would be looking to re-take Bas de Ranville and the most likely route was right through this position.

At last Dave and I have got Kampfgruppe von Luck up and running!  It’s taken a while to post up though (sorry Dave) as things have been pretty hectic recently.  Anyway, this will be one of those fairly lightweight AARs ;o)

Rolling for the random structure of my platoon I got 1 Senior Leader, 1 Sniper and the 2" mortar team for the HQ.  Sections two and three came out as just one Junior Leader and a Bren team each.

A quiet piece of Normandy...

The Paras take up position

The Germans arrive!

I played it fairly cautiously through the early stages of the game and was doing well in terms of keeping my distance and inflicting shock and kills on the advancing Germans.  I had expected Dave to rush my position but thankfully he deployed troops then paused for a few phases of shooting.  Even with his superior numbers that was a contest I felt my men could do well at, and they did!  With his troops closing in on the hedge line I was still doing fine in terms of both casualties and morale.

Then I let it all fall apart ... For some bizarre reason instead of withdrawing with most of my platoon intact I threw a whole yet-to-be-deployed section of Paras straight in to combat with the Germans.

Working through the combat dice table I began to realise the dreadful mistake I’d made.  Dave was chuckling maniacally!  Sure enough the combat was bloody but the Paras came off worse by far and those were men I simply couldn’t afford to lose.  We agreed that the Para JL, Sergeant John Cameron, was captured by the Germans as then we might be able to play a rescue mission at some point as a little extra for the campaign.  Utter madness!  Oh well, lesson learned.

Germans hold one JOP but the Paras deploy from the other straight in to combat!

It looks like George rolled my dice!

One Para flees in to the wheat field as the retreat is ordered

Following that disaster I sounded the retreat. Thankfully everyone managed to withdraw successfully, well, everyone who wasn't full of bullet holes!

The Butcher’s Bill
The Paras took 11 casualties, so 5 dead, including a JL captured, and 3 missing the next game (9 of those casualties were from that fateful combat!)
CO’s opinion: Dropped from +1 to 0.
Men’s opinion: Dropped from +2 to +1.
Neither the CO or the men are particularly happy with Lieutenant William Campbell after that debacle.

German 1st Platoon, CO Lt Klinsmann
Squad 1, 2 casualties including JL Matthaus.
Squad 2, no casualties
Squad 3, 1 casualty.  JL Trochowski – Awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class for destroying a Para squad in combat & capturing 2 JOPs.
CO’s opinion: Up from 0 to 1.Men’s opinion: Dropped from +1 to -1. (ouch!)
The German CO is pleased but Dave's men took a dim view of the death of Obergefreiter Matthaus.

Lessons Learned
  • Remember your objective!  Don’t pointlessly throw men in to combat, doh!?

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Petrol Station

Continuing with the theme of shops for my World War Two collection I decided to add a (mini) petrol station.  Here it is...
More of a 'petrol shed' really!
I've built it to be used stand-alone or butted up to another building.  Here it is next to my newly painted Tabac.

The 'shed' is made from a foam-core box covered in coffee stirrers (it's the only thing I use them for as I don't have sugar in hot drinks!), the door frames are matchsticks and the windows are spares from another MDF kit.  The roof is corrugated plasti-card.

Rummaging through the bits box I found some resin crates and a barrel.  The splendid petrol pump is from 1st Corps here.  The cobbles are pieces of textured wallpaper.

I primed it using Halfords grey primer then set to with my brushes ... The green woodwork is Foundry Storm Green, washed with GW Agrax, highlighted with the base colour then Foundry Dragoon Green shade and mid.

The roof was painted using the Foundry Slate Grey triad whilst the cobbles are the Foundry Stone triad.

I wanted the shed to look a bit dilapidated so I painted some rusty areas on the roof using a base of Foundry Conker Brown, then adding yellow to the base to get a range of orange colours.

I added a 'new' piece of roof to cover the big rusty section.

The paint scheme for the pump was based on pics from Google.  When I find my box of Sharpie pens I'll add the "SHELL" lettering to the top of the pump.

The ground was painted using VMC 983, 877 and 847 with some of Colonel Bill's summer static grass plus a few tufts.  The crates are Americana Dark Chocolate, GW Agrax then highlights of Americana Milk Chocolate and Foundry Bay shade, GW Agrax then highlights of the base followed by a light drybrush of Foundry Boneyard mid.  The oil drum is VMC Russian Green, Agrax, then a highlight of the base colour.

Some vintage Shell and Michelin signs add a bit of extra character.

The bicycle came out of my bits box too.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Tabac from Charlie Foxtrot

I’d like to build a small village for my World War Two games and that means adding a few shops!  I've got the Epicerie and Chapellerie from Colin's fantastic range but thought I'd start with the Tabac.  Here it is...
Paras hoping to find a few packets of Gauloises

To add extra interest I've added wooden boards using coffee stirrers to the edges of the roof and the base of the upper floor.  I've also swapped the chimney for another from a farmhouse kit.  Here's the basic MDF building.

I also decided to paint the floor boards - the pic is a bit blurry tho!

I textured the walls and chimney using a fine grit/ballast mix fixed using slightly watered PVA.  Then it was on to the painting... The walls are simply the Foundry Moss Green triad.  The gritty texture makes highlighting very easy.

The brick front was base coated in Foundry Conker Brown then I picked out a few individual bricks using the colours in the pic.  Then wash with GW Agrax Earthshade to pick out the bricks.  Finish by highlighting with the original colours.

The paving and steps were undercoated black then painted with the Foundry Slate triad.

After applying the base coat of Foundry Moss shade to the walls I washed the edges with GW Agrax as I wanted a slightly dirtier look for the walls.

Then I went back over the washed areas with the base coat to blend it in.  This was followed by highlights using Moss mid then light.

The window frames, sign, shutters and boards were painted using the Foundry Boneyard triad.

I've added a couple of closed sets of shutters to the side where there are no windows simply because it will make the building more 'playable' in a game, i.e. a few troops can see out from that side.

The roof was tiled using Charlie Foxtrot tiling sheets then painted GW Corvus Black, then highlighted with the Foundry Slate triad.

I couldn't resist adding an advertising sign ... I may add a few more.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, 30 August 2019

Desert Minefields

I thought I'd posted this a while back, but clearly not, lol! Anyway, minefields were a popular feature of the desert war so I've chopped up a piece of MDF, probably from an old chest of drawers!  I should point out that Charlie Foxtrot does a lovely minefield set too.

I began by chamfering the edges of the MDF squares (6" x 6") then glued on some posts to which I would later be attaching some barbed wire.

The posts are simply bits of matchstick.  For variety I've modelled some in a collapsed state.  Also, I've used a counter-sink to make the holes for a couple of craters.  The edges will be raised using some putty or filler.

However, I forgot to pre-stress the MDF to avoid 'curling' when the sand is applied... So I raided my bookcase!  Each piece has a matchstick under the middle to help bend the edges.  Leave for 48 hours.

I added some rocks along with a few items from my bits box.

The discs (to represent the actual mines) were made simply by hole punching some thick card.

Then liberally cover everything in sand and grit.

Next they were painted in the same scheme as the rest of my bases, that's a base of Americana Country Maple, then highlights of Americana Tan, VMC Dark Sand and Foundry Boneyard light.  The posts were painted in VMC Leather Brown then given a light dry-brush with Foundry Boneyard.  The bits of track and wheel had some 'rust' added by painting a few patches of dark brown followed by highlights of red/orange.  Next, add a few arid tufts and some small pieces of clump foliage.

I had some modeller's barbed wire which I wound around a large paint brush handle.  Dots of super glue hold it in place on the posts.  I’ll add extra wire when I can hold of some more.

To complete them I found some suitable signs on the internet, printed and stuck them on thin card before gluing the signs here and there on the posts.  Hmmm... The dining room carpet actually makes a reasonable backdrop.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Scenic bits and pieces

I wanted to add a few more scenic items to my tabletop so I had a look at the very reasonably priced Hovels range of accessories.  I’ve already got a few things from this range so I knew they were good... so I thought I’d do a mini product review.  First is the European Haystack.
Raw resin & nicely painted version (not by me 😉)
I’m not 100% sure if haystacks actually looked like this in Normandy ‘44 but it does look good on the table.  They’ll also be handy for the Eastern Front.  NB - if you have a PhD in European Haystacks then feel free to not email me.

Next are some crates and sacks along with a wooden water trough and pump.  The resin has very few bubbles or imperfections, plus will need very little trimming or cleaning.

Finally, barrels of fruit (potatoes for Ostfront!) and heaps of grain sacks

Customer service is great too.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Re-purposed Chateau

I’ve been investing a little time in sprucing up some of my scenery items and I felt it was high time that my chateau got a new paint job!  I never particularly liked the original finish on it (NB – it wasn’t painted by me, lol!) as it was (a) quite untidy in places, and (b) the colours were too ‘pink’ and didn’t really go well together, especially when placed in the grounds I’d built for it.

The original looked like this
The original chateau (not painted by me)
Yeah, it’s “o-k-a-y” but it sort of looks a bit like custard, which is a trifle annoying 🙄  Anyway... I think it could be improved quite a bit.

The first step was to re-paint the ground floor brickwork to actually look like bricks.  A solid base coat of Foundry Conker shade was a good start, then I picked out a few bricks in darker brown tones and one or two in a much lighter red (go steady with these tho!).  Next, I applied a wash of GW Agrax Earthshade to pick out the brick edges.  Then I highlighted the bricks in their original colours, although a few were left with just the wash to give a greater range of brick colours.

The ground floor quoins and door/window frames were also too pink so these got a coat of Foundry Boneyard mid, then light.  A little fiddly at times but worth the effort.

On to the upper floors!  The light pink wall was painted in Foundry Ochre mid then given a highlight of Ochre mid mixed with some Boneyard light.  I also used the Boneyard palette to neaten the window frames and shutters.

The roof will eventually be tiled 'properly' so for now it just got a little tidy up.

Whilst the building stands within a larger set of grounds, I felt that it needed a bit of climbing foliage to add another layer of detail.  This was achieved using some clump foliage and a selection of tufts.

I’m *much* happier with this piece now.

Whilst I had the ‘gardening’ box out, I added a few little extras to the enclosing wall sections too!

The next improvement will be to add some battle damaged wall sections as this will ‘open up’ the terrain a little.