A second hand book added to the library yesterday, once again from the Oxfam charity shop in town, this time being an illustrated history of the First Polish Armoured Division in NW Europe, primarily from D-Day to the occupation of Germany. The author is from Winchester, so I suspect that's why it ended up in the local bookshop, but it's a valuable addition to the collection either way. There's lots of black and white photographs, some of which I haven't seen before, as well as an overview of the campaign, so very useful for scenario development and scale modelling, with obvious relevance to What a Tanker!, IABSM and Chain of Command, amongst other things.
Over the last twelve months or so I've been gathering together the various bits I need for an IABSM US Rifle Company, using both the discontinued Flames of War range of winter troops for the Ardennes and the new plastic version of the US infantry for Operation Cobra. It's difficult to find the winter stuff now and it goes for ridiculous prices but the post Xmas sales have been a bonus.I now have enough figures, AFV's and equipment for both options, with the latest acquisition of some M1917 machine gun platoon packs making it possible to assemble one or the other complete with armoured support. The only thing I haven't got is a 57mm anti-tank platoon but I think I can use the Forged In Battle set for that, at least for the breakout from Normandy configuration. This has been one of my long term project plans, going back to the publication of the third edition, so I may well get round to it now that I have all the whistles and bells? The only thing that puts me off is the Chain of Command alternative, which
I got back from Cornwall yesterday and spent no time opening the boxes of model kits that had arrived in my absence, ready for undercoating and assembly. I've decided to use Halfords Ultra Matt Camouflage Brown spray paint as an undercoat, so that the tracks are already primed in dark brown and so the hull, turret and track units can be easily overbrushed in Vallejo Brown Violet or FoW Sherman Drab, followed by various dry brushed highlights. It should speed up the whole painting process no end and, if it works, I can re-use the same approach on my 15mm US tanks for IABSM (I'm thinking of starting the project that I planned last year, now that I have some decent Battlefront plastic US infantry to match the 1/100 scale Plastic Soldier Company tanks).The initial production run will be of four Italeri M4A3(76) and two M4A3E2 Jumbo assault tanks, one up-gunned to a 76mm equipped version. I also have a couple of Armourfast M4A3(75) and M4A3(105) tanks but as these are less detailed than the Italeri models they may
I struck gold yesterday on a book hunt in Tavistock, with three virtually new tank themed books from the Oxfam second hand bookshop. There were several more but I resisted the temptation and thus avoided any recrimination from the other half, who is highly critical of my book collecting habits. I don't know about you but I frequently get grilled with 'Haven't you got that one already?' or 'Isn't that information in one of your other books?'The Osprey is the best of the bunch, as it fits very neatly with my current What a Tanker! fixation and my plans for I Ain't Been Shot Mum. The two books on WW1 tanks are also really interesting with some superb colour profiles in Tank Hunter World War One that would be great as painting references, even if I can't think of any potential use for them beyond Red Actions! or Through the Mud and Blood in 15mm. You can't have enough books anyway, not that my wife would agree?
This is the most straightforward of the three second hand vacform building kits that I found at a car boot sale a while back, so I'm going to have a go at cutting out the parts and assembling it over the next couple of days, just to see how to go about it. I'll use a textured laser cut base with some additional rubble, timbers and other clutter to bed it down, once I know what the footprint is like.If all goes according to plan, it will be a useful start to the Ardennes terrain for What a Tanker! and could also be re-used for 15mm, as it's fairly scale neutral. I also have some ideas for the basing some fir trees on skirmish bases, with a removable disc base for each tree, which would make storage easier and allow tanks to drive into the woods.
Here's what I got for my birthday presents today, some of it stuff that I ordered and other things that I had on my Amazon wish list. I'm fortunate to have a very tolerant other half who is more than happy to get me the things that I ask for, rather then random stuff like tokens or vouchers. I also have kids with some disposable income now, so I even got some bits and bobs from them, along with some presents from my relatives. I'm really looking forward to painting the Cruel Seas Kriegsmarine flotilla of S-Boats but the 15mm German and US things will go on top of my IABSM project pile for the moment. I also got a pack of SD Agent figures for Strontium Dog but it only arrived later in the day. Lucky me!
I've been at work today so the official celebrations will be at the weekend, when I'll also be opening my presents, so what they are exactly is still a bit of a guess. I know there's some Cruel Seas stuff in there, as I was allowed to choose that, and there may well be some Flames of War things too, as they were on my Amazon wish list. I also already have some socks from my daughter, so that's a nice non-wargaming and much more practical present. To give myself a pat on the back for surviving this long, I also decided to give myself a couple of boxes of 28mm Warlord Napoleonic French line infantry in greatcoats, so my resistance has obviously crumbled. I'll just put that down to my age!
One of my as yet undone 'to do' projects over the last couple of years has been a 15mm US army for I Ain't Been Shot Mum, for which I have been collecting Plastic Soldier Company and Battlefront figures and AFV's. I have now got a sizeable pile of kit for this, with the infantry in winter gear for late 1944 and early 1945. The idea is to use my '6 x 4' tundra terrain cloth as a basis for the scenic side of the project, so it made sense to go for the Reichswald or Ardennes rather than Normandy. When I get round to this is another matter entirely, having originally intended to get it underway in 2018, but at least I'll be sorted when I eventually do!I have, as yet, only got one plastic Jagdpanther for the other lot, however, so I thought I'd start collecting a few more bits and pieces to build a late war German Kampfgruppe. I was really pleased to find that NorthStar were flogging off a Battlefront Flames of War Tiger platoon box set of five plastic tanks, at a 50% discount and a price tag of only £13. I though
...but planning is essential.So, said Winston Churchill, apparently, so I'm going to take his advice (not Bojo's) and do just that. The planning bit involves extending some of my existing projects into 2019 and starting a few new ones, but the latter will definitely be outnumbered by the former. I will once again focus my efforts on both naval and air wargaming, although I'm sure other things of a more terrestrial or even extra-terrestrial variety will pop up. If they do, it will be very much at a skirmish level, rather than anything too grand.In the air, I'm obviously going to be focussed on the 1/285th scale aircraft for the 'Come And Have a Go If You Think You're Lard Enough' event in March. If that goes according to plan I might well do another Bag the Hun project in the same scale, with an eye on the Winter War for Blue Swastika Rampant. If not, then I'll definitely be expanding my 1/600th scale efforts but only after I've finished the MiG Alley / Bag the MiG and Corsairs and Cavaliers projects first. If
I've just endured a five hour, seven course Christmas lunch in true French style, so I'm definitely fighting the Battle of the Bulge this evening. To get over this festive food marathon I've been lying down and reading Ardennes 1944, which really is rather good even by Anthony Beevor's usual high standards.I've always thought about wargaming this in 15mm, having already had a go in 28mm using Bolt Action, so may well have another look at IABSM again over the holidays, as I already have a stash of Flames of War US Winter figures from last year's birthday. Nice figures and I do realky enjoy painting AFV's in snow camouflage!
I was disappointed not to see the TFL Summer Special this year but it has now been replaced by an annual Lard Magazine, which has just been published instead of the Xmas Special. It's an interesting idea but I will miss the bi-annual format, which coincides with my holidays. I have contributed to several of the Specials in the past, with scenarios and articles for Bag the Hun, but haven't been organised enough this year to get anything submitted. I have no excuse not to get my act together now that there's a full twelve months to sort something out!It's a sad fact that I have drifted away from Too Fat Lardy based projects this year, apart from What a Tanker! and Bag the MiG. This was partly a response to the total domination of the TFL stable by Chain of Command and Sharp Practice. I am genuinely interested in both of these rules, particularly Chain of Command, but will probably never get round to using them due to my phobia of 28mm figure painting, not to mention my almost complete disinteres
I posted a query on TMP about options for fast play, simple Company level WW2 rules, just to test the waters for a future project in 15mm. I have now got two potential 15mm company level forces for this, both US late war, so at some point will want to ...
I've been planning the Summer Project this week, which I'll be packing for the holidays at the end of July, so have decided to go for the Plastic Soldier Company option rather than do anything in lead. I have a US starter company box set for this...
I've been reading the new Osprey Campaign book Brittany 1944 and have decided to make it the focus for my Summer Holiday project this year. This will be in 15mm and will make use of the PSC Army Box that I got for my birthday back in January. I was ori...
One of the big plans for 2018, in fact the only big plan at the moment, is to switch from 28mm to 15mm for company and platoon level wargaming. This is now closer to actually happening after my birthday delivered a 15mm Plastic Soldier Company&nb