Britain's Small Wars


Sandbox Skirmish

I'm reading this now, in a nod to my 15mm post-colonial Sandbox Skirmish project, which I'm planning to pick up again in the Summer. It's a really fascinating account which includes both military patrols in Somaliland and the actual fighting in Oman, the latter being something that I've read quite a lot about but the former being more akin to something out of Kipling or Kitchener. It's all good stuff and, hopefully, will give me some more ideas for my 'Imagi-nations' take on the retreat from Empire. I was quite taken by one of the modern skirmish games at the Lard Day, which used Chain of Command with some tweaks, and I think it could be another rules option for the Sandbox Skirmish project with only a light dusting required to make it fit? Just an idea.

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Jebali Popular Liberation Front

I now have an identity and some background fluff for my Arab nationalist rebel movement that the British and Royalist forces will be fighting in the Sandbox Skirmish campaign. This is the Jebali Popular Liberation Front, which as the name suggests is an insurgent movement based in the mountainous hinterland of the fictitious Arabian Sultanate that the British are attempting to prop up by direct military support and more clandestine means. The JPLF is known to the British and Royalist forces as the Adoo, which in Arabic translates as 'The Enemy' but also in official terms as Ta'ir which is the Arabic equivalent of insurgent. This is an anti-colonial, Marxist liberation movement, so the religious aspect will not be a major feature of the campaign.The JPLF is supported by a neighbouring Arab nationalist dictatorship, which provides military supplies, military advisors and propaganda support for the movement, in an attempt to destabilise the region. I haven't yet worked out any background details for this unnamed

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The War That Never Was

I really enjoyed reading In the Service of the Sultan, which has given me some really good ideas for the fictional back story of my Sandbox Skirmish project. In particular, I now have an identity for the rebel movement, who will be officially known as the Jebali Popular Liberation Front or JPLF, and unofficially as the 'Adoo', which translates as 'enemy' in Arabic.To give me some more inspiration, I'm now reading this book, which is about the clandestine involvement of ex-SAS soldiers for hire in Yemen in the 1970's. I'm not a big fan of these Who Dares Wins type books but this one isn't as Gung Ho as usual, so might actually be worth the time. I might even include an SAS team in the project, albeit a very small one.

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British Platoon Vehicles

I haven't done much for the Sandbox Skirmish project lately, as the festive season has started to take a toll on my weekends and at work, but I did get all of the British vehicles undercoated yesterday in Humbrol Dark Green. This seems a bit counterintuitive, given that they are deploying to the desert, but the plan is to paint the green camouflage first, followed by the desert sand camouflage second, using a three layer approach to bring out the detail. The undercoat does cover up a multitude of sins as well, which means that my prior filling, sanding and filing really paid off.I didn't have any desert sand spray anyway, so the single can of Matt Dark Green seemed like a good option. The end result should look good either way, as I'm aiming for something like the Saladin in the artwork above, using a toned down palette rather than a bright desert yellow. I've left the QRF  Saladin out of the selection of models, however, as it's a bit too powerful and this is an infantry based project, so it might domin

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15mm Nissen Hut

I put an order in with The Scene a while back and it arrived today, which was a nice surprise as I had forgotten about it. I ordered a selection of 15mm oil drums, ammo boxes and other bits to use for the Sandbox Skirmish project, either for scatter terrain or for adding to the patrol base that I constructed for the British infantry platoon. I also ordered a resin Nissen hut that looked suitable as an additional building for the British base.This is a really lovely crisp and sturdy model, well cast with no air bubbles or deformations. I'm seriously impressed and may well take up the offer of three for twenty quid, as it is a bit of a bargain for such a versatile and ubiquitous structure. It would give me a proper army camp for the rebels to assault and I could use them for AK47 too. A definite *****  rating for price, quality and usefulness.https://thesceneuk.com/product-category/buildings/15mm-nissen-huts/

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Pig's Breakfast

I got round to assembling the QRF Humber Pigs this afternoon, once I'd cleared the decks of work and had time to sit down and sort them out. They are typical QRF, a bit rough round the edges but the only deal in town as far as mid 1960's British Army Cold War kit is concerned, so I had to bite the bullet and just get on with it. The castings are pretty rough with one having a miscast wheel arch to make matters even more enjoyable but underneath all the seams and flash there's definitely a Humber Pig or two in there, oinking to come out.I replaced the white metal axles with steel rod and pre-drilled the wheels so that they stayed attached. I also left off the riot bars, as these are battle taxis not internal security vehicles, although having said that they really should have the flashy blue lights removed and a pintle mounted Bren gun added instead. The end result isn't too bad but, after my recent experiences with less than fantastic QRF quality control, I'll be sticking to Peter Pig and Command Decision fro

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The Sterling Submachine Gun

I pre-ordered a digital copy of this new Osprey title in the Weapon Series and it popped onto the Kindle this morning. It's going to be a brief but really interesting read and obviously relevant to my ongoing Sandbox Skirmish post colonial project, even though only one of my Peter Pig squaddies has had a Sterling added as a personal weapon. I wish they'd sculpt some AK47 range professional figures with a Sterling as it's such an iconic Cold War piece of kit. There's a great little article here too, which give a fascinating introduction to the weapon:https://www.guns.com/news/2013/03/29/sterling-submachine-gun

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Rebel Transport

No, not Star Wars but a clapped out old lorry for my rebels to smuggle their arms through the British (or French) road blocks, assuming the usual camel convoy doesn't get there first. I figured that as I'll have a road block checkpoint for the troops to operate I would need to have some rebel vehicles to be stopped and searched.A quick rummage in the lead pile turned up this Peter Pig French WW2 truck, to which I retrofitted a load of barrels, pinched from a Skytrex Vietnam truck which has long since been converted into an AK47 technical. I quite like the resulting mash up and it will definitely be used for a scenario at some point. I reckon they could squeeze an entire fifteen man squad into there!

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Project Update

 I have had a bit of an avalanche of stuff arriving in the post, much to the annoyance of SWMBO, who has now banned me from ordering anything more until after Xmas. I pointed out that I haven't actually bought that much and haven't spent much either, but to no avail. Anyway, I have more than enough stuff already to get on with the Sandbox Skirmish project amongst other things, so it's not a problem. I also have lots of other projects in the pipeline for which I am fully equipped, so 'Bah Humbug' to her indoors! (just don't tell her I said that).First up, the road sections and terrain templates arrived today from Supreme Littleness Designs. The road pieces will take no time at all to texture and paint, so that I can have a whole network of dirt tracks for the 15mm armoured vehicles to patrol along, with some of the templates possibly being used for stream sections or dry ditches as well, if I have enough. I also now have a 15mm version of the desert ruins that SLD produce in 28mm, albeit actually an 18/20

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Three Little Pigs

This is Cyprus but very much the 'look' that I'm after!Well, two little 15mm Humber Pigs and an SWB Landrover, to be precise have finally arrived from QRF. I ordered these way back at the start of the month, so it's been quite a while, but I can now assemble them and add them to the other British vehicles. They're rather good but there's also quite a bit of flash and I will have to do some cleaning up before they can be undercoated ready for painting.

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Desert Village

I've only just sat down after a bit of a hectic day but have set up the terrain pieces for the start of a desert village, albeit without any clutter or painted buildings to really set the scene. I think the fields came out alright in the end, although I had my doubts along the way and probably need to make a couple more of the big ones to have a viable settlement. I'll need to source some more of the synthetic wire wool pads to do this but I think I can get them in Homebase, at least according to their website, so I'll pop up at the weekend if I get the time.Apparently, these also used to just fall off and arm themselves if you went over a bump (which is easy to do on a rough airstrip in the middle of nowhere)I also need a well or pond, some haystacks (just thought of that!) and perhaps a grain store, which my grandad used to tell me made a spectacular target for a few well placed 20lb Cooper bombs, even if they didn't always go off being vintage 1917 and twenty years past their use by date! I also have

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Village Fields

I have been side tracked into terrain making again but this time it's fairly straightforward and painless, I hope. These are small fields and garden plots for the Sandbox Skirmish project, designed to be placed around the Red Vectors village buildings that I have yet to construct, although some of the smaller Blotz buildings can also be used for rural areas. I've used acrylic paste and sand to texture them but will add a few stones as well around he edges, as my grandad used to tell me that the Pathan farmers would pile them up then use them as cover for sniping at his plane! I have some Javis grass mat that I got from somewhere or other (?) which I will cut up and use as crops for some of the fields, with some of the others as harvested or fallow ground. 

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Palm Tree and Oasis Features Finished

I've managed to finish the palm tree cluster bases and the two oasis features this afternoon, adding some dry brushing to the trees and some gloss varnish to the ponds, having scrapped the acrylic sheet as it didn't look very good. I'm sure if I was making 28mm oasis terrain the acrylic sheeting would be fine but in 15mm it looked overscale. I also spilled some PVA onto it by mistake which spoiled the water effect. I may add another coat of gloss varnish to the ponds later on to give a bit more of a reflective surface but I think like look fine as they are.The tree cluster bases came out okay in the end but I suspect that they will shed their green paint if they get handled too much and will need to be repaired as a result. I ended up with eleven of these as some of the tree trunk prongs snapped off, so I've saved the broken ones for other things. I will be making some more arid acacia type tree bases to match these ones anyway, so if they play up I can use those instead. I have had enough of terrain making f

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Palm Tree Painting Progress

I've painted the bases and the oasis templates this morning, so that they are ready to be assembled and then have a few finishing touches added. The bases have been drilled for the trees to be attached but I'm a bit worried that they might snap off if handled roughly, so will go overboard with the glue to make sure they are firmly attached. I may also add some flock or static grass to bed them in and relieve the monotone sandy effect. The oasis ponds have also been painted and I'm waiting for them to dry so that I can drop in the acetate sheet. In the meantime, I'm dry brushing the tree trunks and palm fronds, so that they are a little more interesting to look at.

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Palm Trees and Porridge Coated Jaffa Cakes

I've base coated the palm trees today, using rattle cans of Humbrol Grass Green and Halfords Camouflage Brown, so that I can base them and then paint them properly tomorrow. I had to prune all the plastic flash from the palm tree fronds first, which took ages but had to be done otherwise they would look rubbish. The bases were assembled, then trimmed on the edges and filed down to give a sloped profile, before being smothered in a PVA and filler mix. They look a bit like porridge coated jaffa cakes but I've smoothed them over a bit with some acrylic paste, both to hide the edge and to provide a good key for the emulsion paint basecoat that I'll slap on tomorrow.

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