Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Hold Until Relieved Board 2

The second photodump. on this board the more central of the two bridges serves as the objective.


Monday, 2 December 2013

Hold Until Relieved Board 1

Bit of a photodump. I have been building up a fair amount or terrain over the course of Poole Gaming Society's Bolt action starter tournament. Up until now I have been building it as a contiguous 8'x4' board split into two or three sections dependant on the number of players and the points being used. For the finale tomorrow night I know the mission, the number of players and I know the points values: 2 games of hold until relived at 1000pts. So I have bent every effort to create two 4'x4' boards with a clear central objective for each. Admittedly 4'x4' is on the small size for 1000 points, but it still works

This first board is the simpler of the two. A nearly central cross road objective with a overlooking house, two more houses and two wooded area.

I am still in the process of painting up the buildings, in my initial painting I regrettably forgot to texture the walls. I will post the other board later tonight or tomorrow morning.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Desert Vichy (Part 2): Senegalese Tirailleurs Review

Since I have been casting French Artillery I have often been asked where to find French crew, and because I do this fairly well I also get asked where to buy other hard to find French troops. Senegalese Tirailleurs are an excellent unit in Bolt Action, one of a tiny number of Regular units with the Tough Fighters Special rule. They were one of the better regarded French colonial troops, with their trademark Coupe-Coupe machete and Fez.

Their are no models for them, at least not for WW2. When hunting for French models remember that the uniform changes very little between the World Wars, just paint them Khaki green instead of horizon blue. The ones below come from Gripping Beast's Woodbine Design range.

Senegalese Section Pack 

Gripping Beast do a rage 10 man section packs, generic WWI French bodies in campaign dress with separate head options. In addition to the Senegalese heads I selected they have six other options, many of which are relatively suitable for WWII. I had to cut down the rather chunky bases on the Senegalese for them to fit on the 20mm bases I use .
 Senegalese with Coupe-coupe

To add a bit more character to units they also do packs containing four one-piece Senegalese, one pack with rifles and sheathed coupe-coupe, the other pack has them waiving their blades. Half are wearing campaign greatcoats, half in garrison dress.

 Range Comparison

There is a bit of a scale difference within the gripping beasts range. The one piece models are somewhat chubbier than their two-piece counterparts. Not enough to make a difference from more than a foot distance, but noticeable close up.
Warlord Games - Gripping Beast - Perry Miniatures

Warlord's French look surprisingly slight in this image. In general the three ranges are close enough in scale to serve in the same army, although I would hesitate in placing them in the same unit. The webbing on the French troops appears to change between the wars, packs remain in the mainly the same places with significant stylistic differences, the cut of the coat is practically identical.

Overall the Gripping Beast Tirailleurs fill and important place in any French player's army. The models had  minimal flash which was easily removed, the two-part models fitted together nicely with a secure join. The thick, wide and chunky integral base is a minor nuisance given the overall quality.

My Score 4/5

For the sake of completeness I must add that there is another company that does two part WWI French in the same vein, The Forgotten & Glorious Company of Art, regrettably their Senegalese are somewhat caricatured (British understatement - Incredibly Racist).

~ Bob

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Making Hedges

The Hexboards I made a while back can be changed about quite a bit to make for varied terrain, but the sad fact is that there are a limited number combinations giving the need to link up hill, road and river sections. Also I have far to many hard cover buildings and not enough soft cover trees and hedges. To this end I have started making additional forest tiles and scatter terrain hedges. My Hedges are fairly cheap to make.

  • Sponge Scourers
  • BBQ Skewers
  • MDF Scraps
  • Sand
  • PVA
  • Clump Foliage
First cut and bevel the base for the hedges, these are roughly 8"x1", though half that length will do for shorter hedges. Holes are drilled every inch or so, just wide enough for the skewers.

Next the BBQ Skewers are cut into 1" lengths and sharpened at one end using a pencil sharpener. They are then glued into the holes with PVA.

The Sponge scourers are cut into 1" wide sections, the scourers tend to 4" long. They are roughed up with a pair of scissors.

 The base has sand glued to it and then painted up.

The sponge sections are rolled in green paint, I use an ice cream tub, a rubber glove and German Camo Dark Green.

Once dry the sponges are rolled in PVA and clump foliage and left in a airing cupboard for at least 24 hours. Flock is added to the bases, then the sponges are pinned down onto the skewer spikes.

All ready for gaming

~ Bob

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Desert Vichy (Part 1)

As you probably know a while back I was toying with the idea of making a French list, but could not find any medium howitzers. This annoyed me so much that I scratch built and cast some, eventually offering them for sale. Although I had the howitzer I had no French army, until I realised that I could not pay for my casting supplies using the money from my increasing pay-pal balance, and decided I'll use it to reward myself with a French army.


I considered doing a Battle of France list as the obvious starting point, but was eventually drawn back to the Desert war era. Their are so many options, it can play both sides; Vichy or Free-french (before allied resupply), the Colonial troops, the Foreign Legion, the Laffly 80AMD.


Since the models are baseless and scale so well with the Perry models, the easy option was to put them on 20mm bases with the same set up as my Brits:
1 man = 20mm / 2 men = 40mm / 3 men = 60mm / light howitzer = 80mm / Medium howitzer = 100mm
I think this will remain the same with all my desert war forces (I plan at least one more).


So my french force was started with the Warlord 500 point army deal, a fair selection, even if the 75mm was scavenged of crew and considered to the bits box. At least the deal didn't include a tank that would see service, as seem to be included in so many of the deals.


Part of me wished I had splurged on Foreign legion troops from Askari or Artzan, but at least the current force can bulk up the next expansion regardless.

My Medium howitzer.




Medium Mortar

Infantry squad

Final one for now, eventually I'll pick up some FFL or Sengalese troops.



Some conversion work here. Left most is the officer's driver and mistress, the model is the free partisan from the rulebook, I've painted her as Susan Travers or a Vichy equivalent. Centre is the officer, gave him a Thompson SMG as it is fairly close to the MAS-38. I regret removing his pistol, I may yet add a baton or bottle of wine. Lastly a standard guy whose miscast rifle was replaced with another Thompson.
Boys ATR

Never been sure about the VB launcher. There is enough HE in the list at the moment, but it needed more anti-tank, so this was an obvious (if slightly botched) conversion.


I have some more stuff in the post to get the list up to 750 pts.

I also have a side project on the go.

~ Bob

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Perry Miniatures - Desert Rats or 14th army? (Part 3)

Full Platoon

I mentioned in the last post that I bought a few more things from the Perry Brothers, and when buying from it's difficult not to buy a whole platoon. Sadly the Afrika korps box set had not come out when I placed my order, instead I added to the Indians with some Gurkhas.

Command: Lieutenant and Observer each with assistant

The officers leading the Gurkhas are both British as is common in Gurkha units, the practice continues to this day although less than in the past. The lieutenant proved perplexing to build from a gaming vs history stance, in bolt action it would be best to give him his free SMG, but as my Para buddy argues; no officer in charge of a Gurkha unit would ever need to draw his side arm. In the end I opted for a pistol, which will never get fired, the additional attacks in close combat will count as his bodyguard doing a Nork Deddog impression (Ogryns ain't as tough as Gurkhas).

The platoon's Observer will either give me a ton of off table artillery in combination with his Indian colleague from the last post, or serve as an additional assistant for the officer.

Support teams: Boys ATR, 2" Mortar and Sniper team

 The Slouch hats are technically for turning the Desert Rats into Australians, but the Nepalese were among the first to adopt this headgear. The only difference being the skin tone, I used an old tutorial for Egytian skin from Jenova, who does excellent skin tones. Disappointingly GW has discontinued the Snakebite leather that worked so perfectly so I had to substitute their XV88, though I had to search long and hard to find a close enough colour.

I opted for the same organisation as the Indian platoon, a close variant of the historical platoon make up filtered through Bolt Action's points system, subsequently one of the ineffective LMGs has been replaced with a sniper team, but I doubt any of the LMG teams will see much action.

I also added a few additional SMGs to assist the Gurkhas close up fighting style, at least they are discounted to make up for the Gurkhas already having tough fighters.

Soon I will have to add some support, a 25pdr is already in progess, an excellent buy with it's dual anti-infantry and anti-tank abillity, next I have to think about vehicle. I have decided to limit my choices to models that fit into all three of the following Theatre Selectors; Burma, Lightfoot, and Tunisia. This will allow me to fight Germans, Italians or Japanese without the feeling of straying too far from history.

Currently the plan is to get a M3 Grant, a Humber Mk II, and a HMG Jeep, perhaps a truck as well. The Grant is different enough from the generic Sherman and boasts a good mix of anti-infantry and anti-tank firepower without being overpriced. The Humber is close-topped reece with a light autocannon, the rich man's HMG or the poor man's AT gun. The HMG jeep is mainly due to the annoying fact that LRDG/SAS vehicles are only in the 'Behind Enemy Lines' selector.

So far the army lacks anti-tank firepower, but I think that the planned purchases should let me pin armour out of the game. What do you think?

~ Bob

Monday, 14 October 2013

Perry Miniatures - Desert Rats or 14th army? (Part 2)

The full platoon

The Perry Brothers Desert Rats have been proving something of a nuisance. I got most of the way though painting the platoon when I became annoyed with the progress of painting, the skin never looked quite right. In the end I decided to strip and repaint the entire platoon, but the faces were never going to be properly stripped. With this realisation I when and bought a set of Sikh heads (and some other stuff that I will get to in the next post).

Command: Lieutenant and Forward Observer with an assistant each

The Indian army during WWII came to my attention during my masters degree, the Sikhs and other Indian units served in nearly all theatres of the war, and on both sides. Indian units captured by the Japanese at Singapore formed the Indian National Army with the aim of invading and liberating their homeland from the clutch of British colonial power. Many believed in the cause but others joined to escape prisoner of war camps, and some even managed to defect back to Commonwealth forces. The same happened in North Africa forming the German Indische Legion some of these troops would later be among those defending the Atlantic Wall.

 Support teams: Boys ATR, 2" Mortar and Sniper team

 The Perry Brothers organisation chart shows three bren teams, but knowing the ineffectiveness of LMGs in Bolt Action I decided to take the additional models and build a sniper team instead using a scope from one of the Warlord rifles.

Fittingly I have two 10 man squads with a Bren team each, and a third 8 man squad with 2 SMGs to serve as an assault element.

My team weapons are all on 40mm bases with a removable loader.

More soon


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Buildings workshop (Part 2)

While the new moulds for the French howitzer slowly set in the pressure chamber (the first mould was an abysmal failure) I have returned to building buildings.

First up are a pair of ruins to change up a street of houses, or to replace buildings when my artillery finally manage to hit something.

I have used these to change up and perfect my detailing. All the windows have lintels and proper shutters, the corners of the building now have brick work rather than the rather plain straight edges.

Next up is a corner building for a road junction that features on one of my hexes. This was a bit of an experiment, and not one that I would repeat in a hurry.

See all the brickwork, each brick was placed individually, it is a good thing I am already touched in the head. Not something I can see myself repeating unless I was planning to cast it up.

Lintels, arches and shutters all conform to my new standardisation, but the rest is come as you may. I did try to make another storey to this building, but the angles were off and I had to ditch it. I may give it another go at some point.

The  building has an arched walkway which I have no idea how to deal with in the game, but was copied from buildings in H&D2.

More Buildings on the way soon, and hopefully some successful howitzer casts.

~ Bob