Sandbox Skirmish


Plans are of Little Importance...

...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

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Goodbye 2018

I've left it a bit late for my usual review of wargaming year but I've done a quick wizz through of what I've done over the last twelve months. In January, February and March I painted shedloads of  1/600th planes for Bag the MiG and MiG Alley, although I still haven't completed all of the extra things I need for the latter, so a game has yet to materialise but is on the cards for 2019. I also assembled some modern fast attack craft in 1/700th, which are still in a box somewhere, and added some more 1/600th aircraft for my Flashpoint Taiwan project.In the Easter holidays I played several games of Target Locked On! which I enjoyed and made up for not being able to get to the club for any games due to the kid's evening activities on a Tuesday night. I then started on a Wings at War: Desert Spitfires project but this was hijacked by the arrival of What a Tanker, which proceeded to occupy the next couple of months with building, painting and weathering 1/72nd scale plastic kits. I really enjoyed this but onl

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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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Desert Ruined Fort Finished

I'll write up a proper review and an assembly report for the finished model at some point over the weekend. I'm really happy with the end result, even if the tufts ended up a little too over brushed and the base isn't an exact match for my desert terrain. It's a really nice model and will have many uses from ancient to medieval, colonial to modern, as you can see from the Peter Pig AK47 mortar team in the photos. :P

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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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Desert Fort Ruin Painting Progress

I've base coated and dry brushed the Supreme Littleness Designs desert fort ruin, ready for it to be washed, highlighted and detailed tomorrow. It's now a bit easier to see how the design really captures the look of a ancient and desolate Near or Middle Eastern fortress. I'll finish it off tomorrow after I've given it an overall wash in diluted GW Agrax Earthshade, with a drybrush and some arid desert tufts, so that it's ready to use for the Sandbox Skirmish project amongst other interesting things.

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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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Supreme Littleness Designs Ruined Fort Review

This is the scaled down Supreme Littleness Designs ruined fort from the Middle East range in 28mm, this version being the 20/15mm equivalent. It's a very atmospheric looking model and really captures both the characteristic features of an ancient Near or Middle Eastern fortress but also the realistic elements of a ruined castle, with the exposed rubble core of the wall and the archway being particularly well thought out. I really like it, even though I had difficulty assembling the upper floor to the tower due to the slightly misaligned holes in the tower walls, which meant that the beams were not all at the same level.If you look closely, you'll see that the tower sides with two beams are slightly higher than those with three. The card floor is laser cut with card prongs to fit into these holes, with the end result being mashed cardboard due primarily to my lack of care and attention to the instructions, but also as a result of the misplaced holes. Anyway, I fixed this minor problem by feeding steel wire bea

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Wadi Wrapped Up

I've finished off the wadi sections for the Sandbox Skirmish project and also given the dirt tracks a final drybrush to wrap them up at the same time. The wadi pieces have had some tufts added but I decided not to add any reeds or clutter, so that they store without getting damaged and are useable with 15mm, 20mm and 28mm figures. I now need to make some 'pie wedge' corners so that he wadi can be made to bend a bit, as it looks a bit too linear, together with the road junctions, crossroads and a few short pieces to bridge any gaps. I'm a bit tired of terrain, however, so will be taking a break to concentrate on the 1/600th scale planes for the Football War project instead.

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Wadis, Tracks and Towers

 I've been really busy today, driving my daughter to a gymnastics competition followed by a pantomime, leaving me to then do the weekly shop and sort some DIY but, to cut a long story short, I have dry brushed and washed the wadi and dirt track sections as well. I used a similar approach to all the other desert terrain but for some reason it took far longer than I expected.It was a bit of a saga, as I wasn't happy with them after I had done the wet and dry brushing so decided to wash them afterwards in a GW Agrax Earthshade solution to add some definition. I will leave them to dry overnight, then do a bit of light dry brushing over the top to finish them off, followed by some desert tufts to add some variety. It's not much for a weekend's work but I should wrap them up quite quickly now, leaving me free to paint the 1/600th scale Football War aircraft as a bit of light relief. I've also assembled and textured the Supreme Littleness Designs desert fort ruin, which went together well despite the tower

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What's Up the Wadi?

I have undercoated the wadi sections with a couple of layers of the old Homebase emulsion paint that I've used for all the desert terrain, so they are looking a bit like I've dunked them in custard but should be ready to drybrush and weather tomorrow. After I've done that, I'm going to add some clumps of dried up reeds and weeds, along with some other detritus like old rusty barrels, so that they look a bit more interesting. I'm really busy tomorrow, however, so I don't know how much of this I will get done by the end of the weekend?

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Wadis

I've started on scratch building some wadi sections for the Sandbox Skirmish project, using some river templates from East Riding Miniatures which are in convenient 8'' lengths, making it a spot on fit for my 32'' square desert terrain board. I have included two 4'' lengths as well, one of which will be modelled as a road crossing or ford. The idea for these wadi sections came from some ready made 'off the shelf' terrain that I've seen on The Last Valley stand at numerous shows. I am now waiting for the cheapo super glue to dry, then I'll be able to build up the bank with a filler and PVA mix, before texturing the bed of the wadi with acrylic paste and a sprinkle of sand.

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Making Tracks

I have undercoated the desert off road tracks with Halfords Camo Khaki spray, having left them for a couple of days to allow the acrylic paste to completely dry out. I have just now base coated them with Homebase Cashmere emulsion paint, so that I can do the dry brushing and weathering tomorrow. I also still need to add the base texturing to the various T junctions, crossroads and Y turnings that go with the curved and straight sections, as I didn't have the space to do them last weekend. I don't intend to take too long over this as I want to get on with the 1/600th scale planes for the Football War project.

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