Wednesday, 26 December 2018

More Toys!

It's always so exciting when the first boxes and blisters of your new army arrive!

Yes, Santa has been very kind here at the table!  There should be just enough figures for a 1942 British Armoured Brigade force consisting of
  • Three M3 Stuarts
  • Three Infantry sections
  • Medic
  • Artillery Observer
  • Medium Mortar
  • 6lb AT Gun
  • Sherman (not pictured) ... although I might swap this for a Grant?
I should also be able to build a Boys anti-tank rifle* team and a light mortar team, plus maybe a sniper* team too so as to give me a little more variety in the troops available.  Transports to follow. 
Depending upon how some eBay trading goes in the next little while I may add a Humber MkII armoured car.
*not actually an option in the armoured list, but fun to build & paint!

But it's not all British armour.  Jerry is getting in on the fun too.

Two more Panzer III's roll in to give me the option of fielding a 1941/42 Panzer Division force.  This means I'll have enough for two DAK forces, one Light Division (primarily infantry & supports) and a Medium Panzer Division.

Have fun with your toys!

Monday, 24 December 2018

While shepherds...

... watched their flocks by night?  Technically I suppose they're goat-herds but, hey I couldn't resist a little festive themed post for our North African project.

Again, it's all about making the table top look a little more lived-in.  Although I'm sure they'll make a run for it as soon as the shooting starts!

The goat-herds are Arab civilian figures from Perry miniatures.

The goats are from Warbases.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, 20 December 2018

DAK Vehicles Roll In

Yes, I've finally slopped some paint on a couple of vehicles for my DAK! ("About time" - says George!).  Anyway, here they are...

Decals still to go (awaiting Microsol) but I think they look okay.  The painting "recipe" was as follows:-
  • Undercoat with AP Desert Yellow spray
  • Base coat in Foundry Boneyard Shade
  • Tyres and tracks in black then a quick highlight with a dark grey
  • Wash with GW Agrax Earthshade
  • Highlight with Foundry Boneyard Shade/Mid/Light
  • Pick out details such as the machine guns with black, brown, etc.

I think the highlighting with the Foundry Boneyard light went a bit crazy with the 251, but hey after  few months in the scorching desert it's bound to look a bit weathered?

I love this little tank!  Packing a light auto-cannon and a co-axial MMG it epitomises early desert warfare.

Inspired by chum Orange Dave, I've based them on some Charlie Foxtrot MDF bases.  Still plenty to add ... so lots more to follow.  Thanks for looking.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Barbed Wire - Desert Style

I found some barbed Wire sections in an old scenery box!  They were originally made for playing World War One games (WH's The Great War & Dave's Zero Hour) but I reckoned they were more urgently required in the North African desert... So I've "up-cycled" them.

They're made from some off-cuts of MDF sheet into which I've drilled holes and glued short pieces of cocktail stick.  Some general purpose filler gives the ground an uneven appearance.  Next, they were covered in stones, sand, grit, etc then painted to match the bases of my figures.

The barbed wire is available from a variety of games companies.  Wind it around a large paintbrush handle then spray it black.  Give it a few quick highlights of metal colours (silver and bronze).  A little dab of super glue glue attaches the wire to the posts.  You can also add in all sorts of debris like discarded weapons and helmets, bits of rusty vehicle, etc.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Desert Terrain - Wadi

Good chum Orange Dave has made a wadi for our Western Desert campaign and he's asked me to blog about it for him.

The sections are based on strips of MDF and he's used a mixture of stones, filler and grit, etc to build the edges.  He has also painted in a few patches of water and added some flock to represent the flora that would grow in the damp ground.  Simple, but really very effective I think! 

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Even more DAK

You're probably bored of seeing even more of Rommel's finest here on the blog!  Fear not, these are probably the last of the infantry... maybe!?

Another 8 infantry with a mix of MP40s and rifles. This allows me to field 6 full squads of schutzen plus a squad of 10 pioneers.

Here's an LMG team and a light mortar.

What to do next though?  Maybe the Panzer II and the SdKfz 251, or I might switch back to making a few more bits of scenery?  Thanks for looking.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Battle for Mersa Brega

At last, the first game with my new DAK army! I joined chums Mike and Orange Dave to re-fight part of the battle for Mersa Brega - scenario 6 from the excellent new Western Desert campaign book. Mike and I both had 1250 points to face Dave's very well entrenched British force of 1250 points. So, a 2:1 advantage for the Axis forces... but with the town so heavily fortified would it be enough?
Dave's British prepare for the onslaught

That's one 25lber ...
The town, with the ruins of the mosque in the centre, was surrounded by barbed wire, barricades and minefields.
... and here's another!

A whopping 39 order dice!
The Axis forces began the game entirely off table.  I decided to send my two Opel Blitz trucks on a wide flanking move, having crammed them full of well armed veteran schutzen.
My DAK begin their advance
The initial attack was to be made by my regular platoon supported by the Panzer II and a SdKfz 251.

Mike's DAK make good use of the cover to press forward
Mike also brought on a couple of squads, a mortar and a SdKfz 222.

An early success for the Axis forces - the 81mm mortar zeroes in on a 25lber
I always try to bring a mortar to the party... and here's why.  Turn 2 and they drop a shot plum on top of one of Dave's 25lb-ers!  Take that Tommy!
BOOM! One less piece of artillery to pound our chaps as we rush forward

More of my DAK filter on to the table
Dave made the splendid desert road sections.  If you look closely you can see that he's even modelled the drainage culverts necessary to keep the road from flooding in the sudden desert downpours.  The benefits of gaming with a civil engineer! :o)

Mike took some great shots of the game.  You can see that there's quite a lot of open ground to cross before reaching the walls!
Mike brings on more men and a Panzer III
Having seen Mike bring on his Panzer III, Dave deploys his ponderous Churchill on the opposite flank.  Of course, this had to be the flank where I'd (hopefully) be bringing on my outflanking force.
Dave responds to the Panzer III by bringing on his Churchill
Dave calls in his off table artillery support which arrives with a bang just next to the craters, but Mike's men are only slightly shaken by the sudden bombardment.  With the 25lber gone and the nearest Allied sections quite heavily pinned Mike pushes his men forward in a dash for the buildings.
Mike's brave men close in on a ruined building
My regular platoon had taken quite a beating from the Allied position, but I still had some reserves plus the flanking force.
My chaps have taken quite a pounding from the British guns
But Dave's men were feeling the heat too ... and not just from the desert sunshine!
But these Brits are racking up the pins

Forwards lads!
Turn 4 and my flanking force arrives!  Both trucks are surprised to find a Churchill parked on the road but orders are orders.
My flanking force arrives!
Amazingly the trucks and the men on board take very little damage from the tank.  Dave very kindly reminded me of the rules for transport vehicles relative to enemy positions (thank you). In my excitement I'd completely forgotten that empty transports mus not end the turn with enemy nearby! Anyway... The first of my veterans de-bus right on the edge of the town.  Mike has deployed his Pak 38 and is very keen to introduce it to the Churchill.  In the pic below you can see that Mike's men have made it in to one of the buildings.  A quick tally of the VPs shows that it's too close to call with both sides giving as good as they got.
Our troops close in on Mersa Brega!

My veterans get ready to storm the barricades!

Mike's men pour in to the compound!

More DAK move up to support the veterans
With the fight to capture the town really hotting up Dave brings on a couple more sections to counter the increasing numbers of DAK.
But Dave has his own reinforcements to bring on!
Dave keeps the Churchill back using it's main gun to good effect, so Mike pushes his Panzer III forward in the hope of getting a flanking shot on the Allied monster.
Mike's Panzer III advances to try for a flank shot on the Churchill
The two foremost buildings were now firmly in Axis hands and the British sections in the rest of the town were coming under sustained attack.
The 222 supports the DAK squads in the nearest buildings
The closest we get to arty shots!

By this point the game was so exciting and so close that I totally forgot to take any more pics of the final turn or two.  After turn six we rolled and got to play one more turn.  Both sides made every possible effort to achieve their objectives... As night fell and the dust settled we counted up the VPs and it was 14 points each!  A hard fought draw that neatly reflected the closely contested situation on the table.

What a superb game! My thanks to both Mike and Dave for an excellent afternoon of gaming.  This one had everything - moments of drama, comedy and plenty of heroics.

The open battlefield and more mobile forces make for a very different style of Bolt Action game when compared to our games set in Normandy.  Enormous fun all round.  Really looking forward to the Battle for Ras el Madauur next month.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

DAK Light Artillery

Another quick post for a support weapon!  This time it's a 75mm LeIG 18.

This is a Warlord kit and, strictly speaking, the crew uniforms are better suited to the European theatre, but I think they blend in okay.

The kit wasn't a great fit so the gun shield is a little wonky but I guess if it's been dragged around the desert behind an Opel Blitz it's bound to get a bit of wear and tear.

My DAK had their first game very recently with top chums Mike (DAK) and Orange Dave (British), re-fighting part of the battle for Mersa Brega, one of the opening moves of Operation Sonnenblume ... details to follow!

Thursday, 22 November 2018

DAK Mortar

A quick post to show the first of my proper support weapons, an 81mm mortar.

It's a Perry Miniatures kit.  You get an extra figure, an NCO with an MP40, but I'll be using him as a 'proper' officer.

The spotter for this weapon will be built from plastics as I have a spare radio operator.

Friday, 16 November 2018

DAK Trucks (including a mini review)

The war in the Western Desert was a campaign fought across very considerable distances.  Both sides relied heavily on trucks and other vehicles to open new fronts, to bring up supplies, to pursue a routing foe, or in their own turn retreat from an overwhelming attack.  Whatever, the troops needed transport and our miniature soldiers are no different.
Iconic and classic ... Afrika Korps Opel Blitz trucks

There are resin offerings available (e.g. Perry's) but I fancied building some plastic kits.  Plus, the price (a key factor in this army) was good at a little over £14 each for these Warlord models.
Contents of the box

In the box you get the sprues (obvs!), a great little booklet on how to build your kit, transfers and some smoke/explosion markers.  As you can see the kit allows you to build either a half-track Maultier or the regular Blitz truck.

Also included are plenty of seated figures for the back of the truck if you want to leave off the canopy.  If not used here then I think the figures would come in handy for other vehicles with a bit of modelling.

I studied the instructions carefully before getting stuck in and decided that it would be easier to paint if I did not assemble it fully.  Here are the main components.

Tip #1 - You'll need to paint the driver and glue him into the cab BEFORE assembling the cab!

Tip #2 - Ensure when you glue the seating part of the cab to the chassis, that it is pushed fully in to place, you may need to be quite firm!  I didn't do this with my first build so if you look at the truck on left in the top-most pic you can see that the doors have quite a bit of "windage" :o)

Here's the truck; I've just balanced everything in place so I could take the pic.  The canopy is sprayed in a mid/light green and the rest is primed with Warlord Desert Yellow.

Painting was quite straight forward really.  Everything in Desert Yellow was given a coat of Foundry Boneyard shade then washed with GW Agrax Earthshade.  Paint the tyres black then highlight with grey.  Next, apply highlights of Foundry Boneyard Shade, then mid, then light.  The canopy was painted with VMC Russian Green, wash, then highlights of the base.  When it was all painted I carefully assemble the components.

I've yet to add any transfers but these will do for the first game soon!  Hope you found that interesting and/or useful.