Well about 24 hrs before the last day of Task 5 of The Guild's 2012 Group Build and I managed to finish and photograph my lastest three S & S Models West German Cold War vehicles. A couple of these - the Jagdpanzer Kanone and the Beobachtungspanzer (the ride for my West German Forward Observer) have been shown here as a W-I-P on a couple of occasions (so thank goodness I finished them!) while the Unimog is new here.
Here is a group shot:
And now some shots of the three vehicles:
And finally - just to satisfy my own curiousity - a comparison shot with a Dragon Leopard 2A4
That's all for November - a big month for this blog!
First up a big thank you to Andy from Cold War Gamer for nominating this blog for the Liebster Award. Its much appreciated and to be nominated from such a great blog made me feel very chuffed indeed.
Here are the Liebster rules as I got them from Cold War Gamer.
Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it to you.
Pass the award to your top 5 favourite blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of their posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.
Sit back and bask in that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing that you have just made someone's day!
So... onto my nominations. I'm guessing I can't nominate Cold War Gamer (which is a pity) so here they are:
Move to Contact - a blog written by Warwick Kinrade, the author of the game "Kampfgruppe Normandy" and the newly released game "Battlegroup: Kursk" which has rekindled my interest in WW2 Eastern Front gaming - and pushed me to start collecting a (small - hah!) Russian Force. I should be cursing him!
WW20mm - a blog by Piers brand, an unbelievably good (and ridiculously fast) painter, writer & photo-taker of excellent AARs on The Guild, No. 1 helper/pusher/question answerer on BGK - and a very nice bloke to deal with.
Winter of '79 - written by Mark, this blog really was the first inspiration by me to start my own blog. Full of great ideas and really useful gems (and things I'd still like to work out how to do) this is one of the few blogs I turn to regularly.
Musings from the Warp - I've only discovered this blog recently having seen so of his beautiful work on the Guild. Models that make you weep at your own efforts, but a nice guy - willing to share his knowledge and skill.
Stopping the Red Tide - Wargaming in 15mm - I had to get at least one dedicated Cold War blog into the mix, didn't I. Another fairly new blog but man - it's exploded into a great little resource and is well worth a detailed look. Full marks for setting up a Cold War campaign too in my book. So thanks to all of these blogs for making my day each time they update! Carry on blogging! Richard
Well - inspired by the photos I showed in the previous post - most of which came from this thread from The Guild - I decided to have a crack at building something that could at least loosely represent at British HQ in the 1980s.
I needed about four FV436 (Command vehicles) which looked a bit like this:
But since they were all going to be covered by tarpaulins I decided that I was free to cheat a bit. As a kid I had some books were a chap had made pretty decent tanks out of balsa wood. Now was my chance!
These are my FV436's - with the roof stowage bin towards the back!
I added some plastic tube to make installing aerials later a bit easier. Sadly (or not so sadly) I didn't notice the tent extension framework on the back of the FV436 until I was typing this out! Well it made the task easier to leave it off anyway.
Each command vehicle needed a tent extension and there needed to be a tent doorway. These were also made out of balsa wood with a little wire frame for the tent roof. Like so:
And when you put them all together you get:
Next up was the really fun part - soaking tissues with quite watery PVA glue left me with this:
The edges were cut off and the vehicles and tents were sprayed green and grey - and then I looked more closely at the pic and realised they weren't grey at all - so I painted them Vallejo Khaki and Khaki Grey. I then applied the appropriate Citadel wash with the silly new name I can't remember.
They were then dry-brushed and plastic rod aerials were added to the vehicles.
Recently I was lucky enough to purchase these 3 books by John Antal, who is (or at least was) a US Army Tank Officer who commanded a tank battalion in Korea and served as the Executive Officer of OPFOR at the National Training Centre in the US. He certainly appears to me to be a credible author on a set of books such as these.
The books are not your standard fare – in fact the first two are sub-labelled as “An Interactive Exercise in Small-Unit Tactics and Leadership” while the final book is sub-labelled “An Interactive Exercise in Company Level Command in Battle.” They are therefore a kind of serious adult “Choose your own adventure” books. Typically this takes three forms.
1. Where the character you “play” looks at a tactical situation and comes up with 3 or so potential concepts for how the operation could proceed and you are forced to choose one. An example in Infantry Combat is where engineers have dug a tank ditch in front of 4 trails leading into a wadi. You have to choose either a forward defence directly overlooking the tank ditch, a reverse slope defence at the end of the trails away from the tank ditch or a middle of the road defence where you split your platoon and defend each trail independently.
2. Situations where you have to make leadership decisions – such as listening to your platoon sergeant’s advice or doing what you want to do
3. Random possibilities – typically when you are in the middle of combat. You roll a dice and follow the result to another page. It’s pretty easy to die with a random dice roll.
The book is split into sections and as you make decisions at the end of each section you are given a new section number to turn to, which continues the story.
Some elements are typical to each story. In the first two books you are a new first lieutenant who has just arrived in the company when you unit is shipped overseas (to the Middle East) to deal with some situation. In Armour Attacks you are in charge of an M1 tank platoon while in Infantry Combat you are in charge of a Light Infantry Platoon. Combat Team is set in country that could only be Korea, you are a replacement Captain for a Company CO who has been killed in action. So again you have just arrived before being pitched straight into battle and you command a mixed Armour/Mechanised Infantry Team with some attached assets.
At some point you’ll have to deal with someone junior to you who can either help you or hinder you. The experienced Platoon Sergeant or bitter XO – neither of which want to be saddled with an inexperienced Lieutenant or new Captain just as they are about to go into battle. Whilst interesting I found these episodes a little one dimensional – because when you make the “right” decision you typically shake hands and become best mates which seemed a little fairy tale to me – but fine for the story.
Sometimes you make the wrong decision and it isn’t always immediately apparent. In Infantry Combat I tried not to cheat and made what I thought were the right decisions all the way through the book and won the battle – but at the loss of most of my men. So I went back and changed one very simple decision – I had allowed the men rest after working all night and excepted that our defences would not be finished, but they would be better rested – I changed this to forcing them to keep working so we were better prepared. That one change made a significant difference and once we had won the battle we got a new task and were sent out again – something I had completely missed the first time around.
I enjoyed all 3 books and probably found Combat Team to be the most challenging at first because in the previous books you have a company commander who tells you what is what and all you have to do is develop a platoon plan to fit in with your commanders’ intent. However in Combat Team you are the company commander and have to make all the big decisions. I managed to get my whole company chopped up at the first hurdle the first time around – but once I make the right decision I had no problems throughout the rest of the book.
The books teach some worthwhile lessons – some of which can translate into wargaming I think (or hope).
1. Preparation and Planning – never time wasted – and be flexible because your opponent will have plans too!
2. Focus – of your units direction and firepower – never letting the objectives required to complete the mission slip from your sight as you get distracted
3. Keeping the initiative – keep your opponents reacting to your moves
4. Manoeuvre – concentrate your strengths against your opponents weaknesses
Anyway – the bottom line is that these books are interesting and fun. They are pretty relevant to the Cold War as all the equipment and training of the enemy you face is essentially Soviet in nature and the weapons and tactics used by the Americans is all based around AirLand Battle thinking.
So if you get the chance – have a look at these books.
Part of my Cold War plan (and pretty much anyone's Cold War plan in my opinion) was to complete a VDV or Soviet Airborne force. In my case I eventually decided that I wanted to do a 1:1 VDV Company equipped with BMDs.
Happily I can now say that I have finished the infantry component of that exercise, and once I have sorted a couple of ZSU-23-2 and have got a SPG-6 I will have finished all the figures and just require a few final vehicles.
Hopefully that will be done in the next few months. But for now here are the reinforcements I have just finished.
First up my Company Commander and Zampolit:
Now a bunch of figures I'll be using as my FAC, FO's for artillery and mortars etc: