27 January 2016

5P85S S-300 (SA-10B Grumble-B) Missile TEL - Part 1

As promised back in this post - following my purchase and completeion of the "Flap Lid" Radar TEL I decided to buy a Missile TEL as well.

So I went back to the previous ebay seller and picked up this:
 This time - rather than being tricky and painting it all seperately and then finding it no longer fitted together, I decided to glue together all the various main sections and then paint them.

This is a photo of the various sections glued together:

As you can see you get a fair amount of stuff in the box - including 4 missiles - which you will never see as they are inside the missile tubes.  I didn't glue all the missile tubes to the erector arm so I could paint them more easily.  Whilst trying to work out what was what I had a bit of a look here on the AusAirpower website and discovered a little bit more about the Grumble B.

First up - there are 2 different types of Missile TELs.  A master or "smart" TEL called the 5P85S which looks like this:

You'll note it is easily recognisable by the large compartment immediately behind the drivers cabin.

The other variant is the 5P85D - which is a "dumb" TEL and it looks like this:

You'll not the compartment behind the driver cabin is open here.  Both of these photos have been used without the permission of the excellent (as I keep saying) AusAirpower website.

At that point I decided to build the "smart" TEL.

Further study on the Aus Airpower site lead me to this diagram:

Which shows how a whole battery of SA-10B's operates.  Somewhat to my dismay it also shows the missile TELs operate in groups of three - 1 "smart" TEL and 2 "dumb" TELs operating close together.

So... what to do.  The whole idea behind buying these kits - apart from a bit of cheap fun - was to use them as a target of a NATO SpecOps force.  Now it looks like I need 2 more!!!  Not sure what to do about that... I might just keep the one missile TEL as a proxy for the three - or I might get two more.  I think the best thing to do is to carry out a trial game of Black Ops with a command vehicle, radar TEL and missile TEL and see how that goes - then try another game with 3 missile TELs and the two other vehicles and see how that goes.

Anyway... back to painting the TEL.  To further avoid the mistakes I made last time, I put a little blob of blu-tack on the spots that would be major gluing points - or where two parts would need to fit together.

I then undercoated it all in black and then sprayed a basecoat of Russian Green.  Next step was to carefully black-line the whole vehicle.

It's now ready to be finished.

More on that next.



26 January 2016

A Word of Warning - Deutschland '83

A quick word of warning about buying Deutschland '83.

Don't buy this copy...

... if you don't speak German...

I don't speak German.



23 January 2016

Post Cancon Cold War Stash Update

Cancon is Australia's largest wargaming convention held each year around this time in Canberra.  Many game systems have their National tournaments at Cancon and it attracts a pretty decent sized crowd and a fair amount of traders.

Ive been attending Cancon for many years now - firstly as a tournament player and now more of a relaxed shopper.  Its a great place to run into old friends quite randomly - which much to my delight happened again this year - and to catch some real bargains if you're lucky.

Sadly to me - my favourite trader could not make it this year - but my second favourite - Eureka Miniatures was there with the brilliant World War Two AB Figures range - so I was able to "finish" (Ha!) my miniatures purchases for my later WW2 Fallshirmjager and US Army forces.

No traders were really dealing in Cold War minis this year - so I was totally reliant on the randomness of the "Bring and Buy" 2nd hand stalls.

So here's what I managed to snag:

That's 2 Cromwell Model's Warrior MCVs and a Spartan APC and:

A Cromwell Model's PT-76 and ZSU-23-4!  Not exactly sure what I'm going to do with a 5th PT-76 but at the price I got it for I'm more than willing to spend some time thinking about it!

And finally:

S-MARS is not a brand I'd heard of - but for $5 I thought why not.  I had a bit of a look inside once I got home and it looks like a very decent, fast build T-80U.  Right up my alley.

So - well chuffed with my little adventure and its outcomes.  KPI's met for Cancon 2016!



18 January 2016

New Arrivals

I had a couple of new things arrive on the doorstep yesterday which I thought I'd briefly share.

First up is this:

Really pleased this has arrived as Black Ops is the system I'm planning on using for my solo Special Forces attack/sabotage/general sneek around on the the SA-10 battery I've started to show recently.  The Missile TEL arrived last week and is about half way there.

I've heard some good things about Black Ops and am keen to get some solo games in.

This also arrived:

It's a German DVD series about a young East German who gets sent to West Germany to spy on the West.  I really don't know that much about it - Wikipedia link here - but it pressed all my buttons so was a must buy.

I'll let you know what I think of both as I get a chance to read/watch them in the next few weeks.

Off to Cancon on the weekend - so hopefully will get some bargains!


17 January 2016

Warmaster BM-30 Smerch and SA-6 Gainful

Recently I was able to pick up a couple of the new Warmaster 1/72 diecast models so I thought I'd do a quick post to show them off.

First up the BM-30 Smerch, otherwise known as the 9A52-2 Smerch.  Here's a link to its entry on Wikipedia.  Whilst it's actually a little bit late for me and I really should be looking to field the BM-27 - but I haven't been impressed with the BM-27s I've seen online and I've not seen any BM-27s (in the flesh so to speak) in Australia - so I picked up the available BM-30 instead.

Here's what it looks like:

And here's what I'd like it to look like:

I'm not sure when or if I'll re-paint it - as it's not likely to make it to a table top anytime soon.  This is likley to remain an off-table asset - hence my not being to bothered about it not being a BM-27!  I actually don't mind the paint scheme - I just think they went a little overboard with the tyre weathering - especially when you consider they label it "Victory Parade Moscow 2011".  I verymuch doubt the Russians would allow a Multple Rocket Launcher with such muddy tires to take part in a Victory Day parade!

So onto the SA-6 Gainful or 2K12 "Kub".  Here's alink to its entry on Wikipedia and on the Air Power Australia website.  (I've recently added the excellent Air Power Australia link to my useful websites section).

I've been after one of these for a while.  Again I'm not sure how useful it really is by itself - as a battery would have four missile TELs and they would be linked to a couple of radar TEL.  Anyway - here it is:

And here's what I'd like it to look like:

This one is labeled Libya 1987 - and it looks like it's been painted in a late WW2 German 3 tone camouflage pattern...  I'm not sure but it looks like it's going to be very painful to re-paint - the missle erector doesn't move - and the missiles don't come off - so I think I may have to try and take the whole thing apart to take it from 1945 to 1986!

But still - I'm very happy to have both of these in the collection.  I feel like I need one more SAM system - a SA-9 Gaskin - before I can call my Soviet SAM set complete.

That's all for now


10 January 2016

Beyond the beaches of Grömitz – AAR

Recently we were able to have another playtest game of our Cold War variant of the Battlegroup rules.  It’s always good to try to mix things up a little and non-standard forces point out different issues or factors in the rules that lead to thinking things through from a different perspective. 

A mate has been keen to play with his West German force so it seemed right to give them a burl.  He has a platoon in M113s along with some M48A2GA2s – so that’s suitable for a Territorial or Heimatschützbrigaden force.

As their mission includes rear-area protection, it seemed appropriate that their OPFOR was a unit that would be attacking behind the FEBA – something like VDV or Soviet Naval Infantry.  So it looked like the SNI would be up for their first game.

I came up with a basic raison d’etre for the game.  Imagine the war was been going on for about a week now (let’s say it’s Day 7).  The Soviets have been pushing back NATO along the whole IGB, especially in NORTHAG’s area of operations, but WARPAC forces have not been able to keep up with the planned timetable, nor have they achieved a large breakthrough.

A Polish/East German amphibious assault of Denmark was meant to have been undertaken on Day 4, but critical milestones for the success of the invasion were not met on that date, and it has been postponed until Day 8.  To support that operation, and to bypass West German defences on the Hamburg – Lübeck line, the 36th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade (Twice Red Banner Baltic Fleet) has been tasked with assaulting the Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany.

The basic Soviet plan looks like this:

Naval Infantry will land over the beach at Grömitz and start to push out in 3 different directions.  Northeast towards the Bundeswehr training ground and logistics point near Oldenburg – North west towards Kiel – Southwest towards the frontline at Lübeck.  Their aim was to cause as much havoc as possible, draw off as many of the NATO reserves in the area as they could and if possible, lead NATO planners to believe that this was the main thrust (rather than the diversion it was for the main event on Day 8).

So in the actual game, the West German force would be a Heavy Jaeger platoon from 512 Jaeger Battalion reinforced by 2 M48A2GA2 which had been at the shooting range near Oldenburg.  They actual force was:

Jaeger Forward HQ transported by a VW Iltis
Home Turf Special Rule
Heavy Jaeger Platoon mounted in 3 M113A1G
Light Jaeger Squad (Police Unit)
Milan ATGM Team
Heavy Mortar Team mounted in a M113 Panzermörser
Redeye SAM Team
Jagdpanzer Kanone
2 x M48A2GA2
Forward Observer Team tansported by a VW Iltis
Light Recon Patrol mounted in an up-gunned VW Iltis
1 x Timed Strike
3 Off table artillery requests

The Soviet force was as follows:

2 x Soviet Naval Infantry platoons mounted in BTRs.  (1 in BTR-60PB and 1 in BTR-80)
AT-7 Metis Team
SA-7 Team
120mm Mortar Team mounted in aBTR-80
Anti-tank Section – another AT-7 team plus a SPG-9 Team
2 x T-55A
1 x T-55AMV with 2 AT-10 Bastion missiles
1 x PT-76B Light Recce Tank
2 x YaK-38 Airstrikes

The table was set up as follows.  This is the Soviet end

You can see my two objectives - the VW utility at the cross roads and the skip beside the brickworks.
And this is the West German end

The West German objectives are there in the ploughged field on the left and near some standing crops on the right near the table middle. Here are a couple of terrain close-ups:

I was going for a farmland with minor industry theme...

The West Germans started with their Light Recon Iltis and police unit on the table, while the Soviets started with just the PT-76B.  The mission is a simple meeting engagement as the opposing forces clash on the road to Oldenburg.

I had the first turn and took my first objective near the brickworks.  I also took the first of many unsuccessful shots of the game - scaring the willy's out of the Light Recon team who darted behind some woods.

 My reinforcments started to arrive and as I had a bit of time up my sleeve I deployed the BTR-80 carrying the 120mm mortar first into a nice safe area behind some woods - but just to be sure I backed it up with a T-55.

The first West Germans similarly started to move onto the board and took an immediate liking to the farm complex on their right flank - deploying their police teams into the woods infront of it, backed up by a Heavy Jaeger section (with the Milan), while the FO hid in the barn and the Panzermörser parked behind it.

More of my chaps arrived at once so I was able to bring on a whole SNI Platoon and another T-55.  By this time the PT-76 commander was proving how brave and stupid he was by trying to take on an M48A2GA2 at 60+ inches while the first T-55 took on the other one at long range.  After several rounds of firing (needing sixes) I finally hit the M48 - only to then realise I couldn't penetrate its frontal armour at that range.  Doh!  Time to slink away methinks!

I also managed to dump my SAM team down the back of the table on Overwatch - just in case any random NATO air showed up.

Here's my 120mm team looking the biz.  Which was about all they did most of the game.  I think they must have had their radio switched off for the first half of the game - fired a couple of salvoes in the middle of the game and then switched it off again.  Probably my most unimpressive outing for a 120mm mortar I've had - it's typically my go to cheap arty option

Another glory shot of my mortar team.  They got far more photography than they deserved!

My final reinforcements come onto the board.  The second SNI platoon, the T-55AMV and anotehr BTR which is to the right out of shot on the table edge.  Appalling command dice for the remainder of the game kept these units completely out of the action.

Close up of the BTR-80 Platoon Command vehicle and the T-55AMV.  The PC vehicle sat there for several turns, probably within a stone's throw of the 120mm mortar team desperately trying to call in fire - completely unsuccessfully...

The Jaeger let fly with a Milan, which fortunately whistled past one of my T-55s.  This wood would become the most densely packed stand of trees in Germany!  It also became the target for almost everything I could throw at it (that wasn't being thrown at M48s) in order to suppress that Milan!

The West German armour content to enter into a largely pointless long rane gunnery exhibition with my equally hopeless T-55 gunners.  Both M48A2GA2's would end up destroyed along with both my "vanilla" T-55s.  The Jagdpanzer Kanone would get the West German man-of-the-match award for taking out one of the T-55s and a BTR-80 - and for once it was not a post-humous award!

One of my Timed Airstrikes coming in - with the MiG-27 standing in for a YaK-38 Forger.  I think they (Forgers) are pretty crap, and so only allowed them to carry two medium bombs.  I got 4 pins from 4 dropped bombs, but nothing else.

I pulled one BTR-80 around the side of the Brickworks and popped out the dismounts.  The plan also called for the PT-76 to pull around - mainly with the idea for it to call mortar fire on the forest of doom.  (Do you think that worked?) The marksman with the SVD you can just see (furtherest away of the dismounts) had the honor of single-handedly taking out the Milan Team over the course of 2 turns.  Not bad mate.

Using a carefully planned "Reserve Move" a second BTR-80 raced past the first and deployed its dismounts even closer.  The two infantry units and one of the BTRs poured fire into the woods.  You can just make out a burning T-55 in the background.

Despite this BTR being knocked out (by the Jagdpanzer) the loss of the Milan team and then the Jaeger Platoon commander pushed the west Germans beyond their limit and they broke and ran.

Trying something different - here's a graphic of my side of the game:

And here's a graphic showing the limit of the West German advance:

I hope that helps a little in visualising the game.

In the end it was a pretty one-sided win to the SNI.  I certainly had a bit of luck - and the 2 of the 4 chits I drew were for a plane (which I failed the roll for) and an EW chit, which allowed me to cancel a West German fire mission communication check.

I managed to take 3 objectives, suppress several units repeatedly and kill a few critical units (like the tanks) before my vanilla T-55s died,leaving me with the T-55AMV and the pathetic PT-76.  Of course in the heat of battle I completely forgot to use any of my T-55AMV's AT-10 tank gun fired ATGM which I had hoped would give me some reach to match the longer ranged NATO guns.

So - things to think about.  If I played this mission again I'd probably give each side another tank, and maybe a second platoon for the Germans and a third platoon for the SNI.  I'd also double the Command dice from 1D6 to 2D6.  I was jamming command rolls of 7 and 8 for the first part of the game with 3's and 4's for the second half so my attack became pretty 1 dimensional in the end.

I also need to consider how to give NATO more command dice - in an attempt to replicate a more "flexible" command structure - but how to allow the Soviets (with less commands) to activate more units (say a whole platoon) as long as they all do the same thing.  Something to think about. 

Thanks - that's it for now...



09 January 2016

S&S Models - VW Iltis - Work-in-Progress - Part 2

Alrighty - so on with the Iltis show...

The next step was to undercoat each Iltis in black (I use Citadel Chaos Black generally) and then I gave it a basecoat of Olive Gelb.  I decided to use the Olive Gelb colour as these Iltis's are meant to be older vehicles - which have not been painted in the newer NATO 3-tone cam colours.  I used a Tamiya Spray - TS-70 Olive Drab JGSDF.

So why use a Japanese defence Force colour on a West German Iltis.  Well - first of all I like sprays as a basecoat and I use Tamiya sprays quite a lot - and will have to until someone like PSC or Battlefront come out with a suitable West German Olive Gelb colour.

Secondly - after quite a bit of research I felt that this colour gave me what I think is a reasonable intrpretation of Olive Gelb.  It also matchs the Vallejo Military Colour 892 Yellow Olive.  Now you may think its a bit to dark - or a bit to green - and I respect that.  This colour works for me and I'm happy with it.

So the vehicles were sprayed

You can see I've removed the MG3 mount.  It will return at a later date.

So the next step was to black wash or black line the Iltis's with VGC 73.201 Black Shade and then drybruch them with VMC 892 Yellow Olive.  I then added a little VMC 988 Khaki and drybrushed again.  I re-drybrushed twice more - each time with a bit more Khaki added.

The wheels, lights, indicators, seats and steering wheels were picked out in their appropriate colurs.

I removed the steering wheel from the Iltis with the raised wind-screen (my CO's vehicle) and added an Elhiem driver.

So now they were game ready:

Funnily enough in those 2 photos you can see how a slightly different angle on the light gives the Olive Gelb a different colour.

Anyway - not 100% finished - but good enough for a game and can now be finalised at leisure...

Up next - an after action report featuring an outing be the Soviet Naval Infantry.



06 January 2016

S&S Models - VW Iltis - Work-in-Progress

Ahhh - the first post of 2016 - time to start towards finishing a project - and this time the focus is on my West Germans.

The plan for my West Germans shifts around a bit - but the aim is to eventually be able to field:
  • A Panzer Grenadier Company plus attachments;
  • A Fallschirmjager Company plus attachments; and
  • A Heavy Jaeger platoon plus attachments
To assist with the whole "attachments" thing I needed some West German soft-skins - primarily in the form of the Volkswagen Iltis.  You can see what it is supposed to look like here and a bit more about it here.

In the army lists I've prepared the Iltis can be used in a variety of roles - as Transport for your Forward HQ, for your FAC or FO team, for your MPs and even as a gunned up recce vehicle.  I'll be using mine in all those roles.

The models themselves come from S & S Models although it may not "officially" be available yet.

Here is what they look like as of last night:

As you can see I've done a little green-stuff work on them and added (using plastic rod) windscreens.  I mounted an MG3 on one, just to designate it as the recce Iltis.

I'm planning on spraying these tonight and will try to have them finished for the weekend.

Thanks - and have a great 2016