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