What a Tanker
For the What a Tanker! scenarios that I'm working on for the Lard Day next year I'm going to be featuring at least one 79th Armoured Division Churchill Crocodile, as the big finale to the linked scenarios and to make the game more visually interesting, assuming I can pull off some model pyrotechnics?These were attached to 7th Armoured Division for Operation Blackcock and appear in contemporary photographs of the attack on St Joost, so it would be great to include them in the game, although I'd need to write the rules to use them and fit them into the scenario objectives. I have an Airfix 1/76th scale kit for the Churchill Crocodile but it's obviously the wrong scale, so I've ordered a 1/72nd scale PSC kit and will use the armoured trailer and flame gun attachment from the Airfix kit to convert one of the tanks. Job's a good 'un!
I've now officially signed up to run a game at the local Lard Day next March, so will now have to sketch out some slightly more detailed plans, if I'm to get my act together in plenty of time. As I mentioned previously, the options are either What a Tanker! or Bag the Hun 2, although from initial impressions there already seems to be a couple of the former on offer. Mark says he doesn't mind which way I go, so I'll be working through both options over the holidays.If I do a What a Tanker! set of linked scenarios, I think I'll need a USP to make them stand out. I've already decided to have an Operation Blackcock theme, making use of my existing winter terrain with some additional features to give it a Dutch flavour. To make the games different, however, I'm going to introduce AT guns, AT Panzerfaust / Panzerschreck teams, minefields and some 'Funnies'. I think this, along with the snowy terrain, should do the job.The 7th Armoured Division had it's own Valentine bridging tanks which were deployed to span the nu
I've picked up a couple of these paint sets for WW2 armour recently, as they are not too expensive and are a convenient way to get some prototypical colour combinations without having to work it out yourself. The Sherman set is particularly handy, as it ticks all the boxes for my What a Tanker! Battle of the Bulge armour, while I can also combine it with the British ETO set for the Operation Blackcock winterised tanks. Good stuff!
I knew I'd taken more photos and so had another look at the memory card, where they'd been stored in a separate file for no particular reason. These are all taken in the early afternoon and include some shots of an AVRE recovering one of the Centurions that had broken down. There's some more photos of the tank park including some front angle views this time round, which is hard to do when there's a crowd of people in the way. There are also some more pictures of the re-enactors including a French Algerian War display which I thought was a bit different and not half bad.
I didn't get as much time as I hoped this weekend, so have only assembled two more Armourfast tanks instead of the three or four I had hoped to build. In the end, the Panzer III kit turned out to be a bit of a pain to construct, so I only managed one in addition to a second Panzer IV. I'm planning to start painting them on my day off tomorrow but doubt I'll get anything finished in time for the game on Tuesday. I have a couple more of both tanks in the kit pile, so will be able to double up the numbers in the longer term.
I have started on a weekend tank building project, which I may or may not get round to finishing, with three Armourfast Panzer III J's, a Panzer IVF and the already assembled Panzer IVF that I built ages ago. The plan is to glue these together today and then start painting them in winter camouflage tomorrow, although how far I get with that remains to be seen? I've re-sprayed the completed Mark IV in Halfords Khaki, as I wasn't happy with the first paint finish, and have also sprayed all of the sprues for the other tanks to match, which will mean that I can run a production line to save time.
I had a look at the tank park of assembled models for What a Tanker! this evening and decided that the Armourfast Panzer IV F that I had already started painting would be the focus for the weekend. The plan is to do a simple one to one tank duel to help the sprog learn the rules, before progressing to a larger number of tanks. He really wants to take the KV-1 for a spin, so I need a suitable early to mid-war tank as opposition.It shouldn't take too long to get the Mark IV up to scratch, as I've already done the basic winter camo and added an overall wash. I may even have a go at 'reverse painting' the sand basecoat on this one, just to see how it turns out. I'm looking forward to a bit of larger scale painting too, after all of the tiddly naval things I've been doing over the last few weeks (I'll be finishing off some of those too, if I can squeeze them in?)
Next week, the lad and I will be up at the club for a head to head game of What a Tanker! I'm hoping to get some of the late war American or British tanks that I've built painted over the weekend but, if I don't find the time, I'll wheel out the Soviets to take on the big cats. He hasn't played before so it should be a good introduction to the rules, assuming I read them again first!
I had an email from Mark 'Peaches' Backhouse yesterday, in which he was kind enough to invite me along to the second 'Come and Have a Go, If you think you're Lard Enough' wargaming day, which he's organising for the 7th March next year at the Sarisbury Green wargaming club. This was great fun last time, so I have asked Mark to save me a table, so that I can run another game of something suitably lard flavoured.I've already been thinking about this and have come up with some potential ideas. The first is to run a mid-war Channel Front Bag the Hun game, featuring my as yet unpainted RAF Spitfires, Whirlwinds and Focke Wulf 190's, along the lines of the plan I originally had for this years game. The second option is to do something on the Russian Front or for the Winter War, again in 1/285th scale for Bag the Hun, which would be an excuse for a nice new winter themed hex cloth. The third option is to do a What a Tanker! historical scenario or set of linked games for the Russian Front, Battle of the Bu
For a long time now I've restricted my wargames magazine reading to Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy, which for my money is streets ahead of the competition in terms of interesting content, well-written articles and thoughtful commentary on the hobby. However, I don't buy every issue as the theme doesn't always appeal and, unless there's something else worth reading that's relevant to my interests I give it a miss. It's not cheap these days to follow the wargaming press but I have recently turned to digital downloads as a much less expensive alternative to the print editions. For example, I've just downloaded number 101, as it has another article for historical What a Tanker! by Mark Backhouse that is right up my street. The big advantage of the digital format is that it's about half the price of the paper copy and you can print off individual articles for a hard copy if you need one. This flexibility makes it a great idea, even if you don't have the satisfaction of reading it hands on, so to speak.
We went to the local market in Pont l'Abbe this morning and I thought I'd pop into the model shop that I noticed had opened in the summer. It was closed then but was open today. It is run by an ex-airline pilot who has retired to Brittany and he spoke perfect English having lived in Singapore and Japan for several years. He is also a really skilled scale modeller, judging from the 1/700th scale ships and 1/48th scale tanks in the window, and he's a wargamer as well. On top of that, he's really friendly and clearly an enthusiast for the hobby.The shop itself was really well stocked with all sorts of scale model and wargaming goodies including Warlord Games, Perry Miniatures and the ubiquitous Warhammer. He also sells 1/48th scale AFV kits and 1/700th scale warship kits, as well as 1/48th and 1/72nd scale aircraft. I was allowed to buy a Soviet Fleet for Cruel Seas, some brass rod for aerials on my What a Tanker! tanks and a set of modern French paints from MiG, which will be useful for my 15mm post-colonial pr
I'm planning ahead for the summer with some ideas for projects to add to the ones I already haven't finished! I am still working my way through the What a Tanker! US and British models and also have the Sandbox Skirmish 15mm post-colonial project to be getting on with, but the lure of something new is hard to resist. At the moment, I'm about to start basing up some 28mm late war Germans for squad level skirmish games but the appeal of this has waned a bit after I realised that Chain of Command is just not feasible with what I've got in the lead pile. So, rather than start something that will hit a brick wall in a few weeks time, I think I might switch to a more realistic project for the next couple of months.The current thinking is to assemble a couple of forces for The Men Who Would Be Kings, either in 15mm or possibly in 28mm using plastics, as they are much more affordable than lead. I have a couple of boxes of Perry Miniatures Mahdist Ansar that I can put together for a 'Fuzzy Wuzzy' army and a box of the
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.
I put together a Sherman Firefly for my 1st RTR, 7th Armoured Division troop yesterday, using the Armourfast kit as the basis but cutting off the sand skirts for a more appropriate appearance. The Armourfast kit is based on the M4 not the M4A4 (Sherman V) but you can't really tell the difference if you're not a tank rivet counter. The sand skirt removal is a bit of a pain but not too difficult, once you've cut away the plastic and scraped it down, requiring only a bit of sanding to get the profile right. The stowage is a combination of resin pieces and white metal parts, along with some spare road wheels from an old Italeri kit. I'm quite pleased with the end result...although I wasn't so sure half way through!
I followed a link on the Wargames Website to S+S Models yesterday, only to discover that they do a whole range of add-on accessories and conversion bits for 1/72nd scale model AFV's. I knew that they did figures and vehicles but didn't realise that this included WW2 stuff and not just post-war or modern kit. It looks like a much better option than Early War Miniatures, whose accessory sets are definitely more 1/76th scale than 1/72nd scale.Anyway, amongst a whole range of interesting things I found a stowage set for the Armourfast Cromwell kit and some detailing parts for the rear end of the Armourfast Sherman M4's, so these have been duly ordered for the British tanks I'm currently working on. As a result, I've left construction of the other two Cromwells for the moment, so that I can do the Sherman Firefly instead, while I'm waiting for the packs to arrive in the post.There is also a range of resin applique sandbag armour and, best of all, a set of resin HVSS track units for the Armourfast and PSC Sherman k