For those of you wondering about the other entries, here is the link to the special page Curt set up for the first fortnight theme and for people to cast their votes for favourites.
For those of you wondering about the other entries, here is the link to the special page Curt set up for the first fortnight theme and for people to cast their votes for favourites.
As mentioned in a previous post, these are the minis I painted first for Curts Analogue Painting Challenge. But this is the entry for the first fortnight theme (non-combatants) and Curt wanted to post all those at once, so these hit the internet as the second entry. As indicated before, the non-combatants theme was giving me headaches. At first I had thought that I should do one of the battery area markers for my Napoleonic batteries. Those are supposed to cover a huge area and convey lots of little scenes, which can include non-combatants. But then again a large area would have meant lots of figures and I simply did not have the time for that. While The Challenge started on the 15th, I had my last day at work on the 17th and could not start before that date. At the same time we left for my better halfs relatives on the 20th and I did not want to take paints, minis, basing materials and my camera equipment along, so things had to be finished before that date.
So something else had to come up. After Curt squashed my idea of British WWII soldiers having a cup of tea (Thanks Curt! ;-)) I came up with these. Essentially it is a command stand for some French Napoleonic Cavalry. Now I would never assume that two officers would count as non-combatants, but I really hope the two mistresses will count. Well I hope them having a pillow fight is not too combative. 😛
The officers are from Perry. One of them is a General de Brigade, the other his ADC. I looked at the colors of the different French Hussars regiments for some time and ended up with the 5th since I really wanted to work with some light blue and was intrigued by their blue shakos. Not sure if there ever was a Brigadier that wore a uniform from the 5th, but I simply wanted to do them this way. So far so good. In the end I think I should have gone with a different unit, at least for the ADC, since well… with all this light blue they look like a bunch of Smurfs! The two ladies are from Eureka Miniatures and are painted to match, except that they are wearing enlisted soldiers jackets (yellow piping) instead of officers jackets (gold lace). Depending on what source you look at, one could use different shades of blue. For example the Histroire & Collections book on French Hussars shows them in a darker medium blue. Rousselot depicts them in a light sky blue. I felt the later was possibly the more accurate source and I wanted to try out some of the light blues I had bought last year and still had not used.
Hope you all like this little vignette! For those of you wondering about the other FOURTY entries, here is the link to the special page Curt set up for the first fortnight theme and for people to cast their votes for favourites.
Now on to thinking about what to paint for the villain, which is the next theme and while the deadline for that is only the 5th of January, I have a similar problem with my private timetable, so I will have to tackle that first!
For the first time in a very long time we played a modern scenario. Situations was this.
As part of a general attack on western Europe, Russia also decided to return the Baltic Republics to the fold. Not willing to let this happen NATO has decided to send an US Marine Expeditionary Corp to retake Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. While the initial landings went well against the second and third level units used to garrison Russia’s “acquisitions”, the Marines ran into troubles after a few days when The Russians diverted front line reinforcements to the Baltic, together with a strong anti-aircraft screen.
Against this backdrop, a large USMC Recon patrol stumbles over two Russian T-90 tanks besides a small warehouse. Observations show that the tanks actually are the command tanks for a tank battalion operating in the area. Out of range of the ships heavy artillery and not wanting to risk any of the few fighter aircraft still at his disposal, the expeditionary force commander decides to order the Recon team to attack and take the tankers out before they leave for another attack. But to make matters worse, there is also a Russian infantry detachment to guard the tanks… not an easy nut to crack!This only being a small skirmish game, we only set up a small table. This was divided at roughly 1/3 of the depth by a raised railroad dam. There was also a road parallel to it. On the other side was a small fenced in warehouse compound with a few containers. The table also featured a small field and some woods. The Russians (eight infantry) set up with-in the compound. Both tank crews were still inside the warehouse where they had spent the night. They would only be allowed to leave it, once the Marines were either spotted or a firefight broke out.
The Marines split up into two five men teams that would try to sneak close on each flank. Only the M-60 machine gun would remain behind at the railroad crossing to provide covering fire if need be. At first things went quiet well, with the Marines silently crawling up on their target. But then, having gone roughly half way to their assault position, something went wrong with the team advancing through the woods.
Maybe someone broke a branch or it was the glitter of the sun on a weapon optic, but they were made out by the Russians, who instantly opened up with their LMG. Seeing that things were starting to go south, the M-60 gunner instantly opened up on his Russian counterpart and drove him to cover, but it was already too late… two of the right flank Marines had suffered wounds that turned them incapable to fight on. And now a general firefight broke out between the Marines on the right and the Russians who were starting to scramble to take up defensive positions. In this firefight the Corporal leading the Marines there was killed by a sniper bullet, before the SAW opened up and injured the sniper, taking him out of the fight.
While trying to crawl out from under the M-60s field of fire, one of the Russian NCO´s raised his head a bit too high and received a bullet to the head. At the same time the Russian LMG fired once more, killing another Marines on the right. Plus now the first Russian tankers were leaving the building as well, making for their tanks.
Things were not going well! In this light the Marines on the left gave up their hide. Firing at the Russians closer to the warehouse, they managed to take out the LMG and injure the remaining Russian soldier hiding behind some crates behind by the warehouse. The M-60 ceased its fire and got ready to fire deeper into the compound where the second tank crew had left the building. The remainder of the team split up they. While the recon leader and another of one of his soldiers fired at targets of opportunity, two more soldiers sprinted forward to take the Russians in the flank.
Unfortunately, the first of them came under the sights of the Russians Sergeant who just happened to look around one of the containers. One snapshot and another Marines was down with severe injuries, before the Russian NCO got back behind cover of the containers. The other Marine who had just seen his buddy being felled, got down on his knee and fired his grenade launcher between the containers, eliminating the Russian Sergeant.
Now the remaining Marine on the left flank (the SAW gunner) shifted its fire to the tankers to its front and together with the Marines from the other flank managed to injure or kill four of them. But only to be killed himself by one of the Russians. Now the firefight between the Marines and the three remaining Russians between the containers intensified. While one of the Russians was killed by a bullet, the others withdrew deeper between the containers, only popping around the corners for some snapshots. The devildogs tried their best to get them with more grenades, but had no luck. At the same time the M-60 had managed to take out all of three second tank crew except for one, who managed to get into his tank and close the hatches.
Seeing that the firefight was getting them nowhere, the remaining three Marines charged. When the team leader ran into the first Russian, they got into a bitter hand to combat, which the Marine ended in his favor. Now the sole remaining Russian infantryman surrendered. At first the tanker refused to do the same but being shown the C4 that was about to be attached to his tank, he chose to surrender as well. After blowing up the T-90s, the Marines left with their two prisoners, dead and wounded… too high a price to pay, but still a victory.
This year I really want to finish my modern minis. There is not much more to do… paint a few Russians, US Army and Marines, do a few vehicles and I am done. Well at least until Eureka release some new minis or Imprint some new vehicles :-D. Anyway, I tackled the Russians two weeks ago and here they are.
First up are some Russian tankers from Red Star. I already had some from Mongrel Miniatures, but these are far nicer.I kept these simple. No elaborate camo uniforms or anything. But many tankers I see in real life pictures do only wear simple one colour uniforms, so I let myself be inspired by these:
Up next are some Russians from Eureka. These come in NBC suits and would technically be most suited for the cold war era. But I fell in love with them, when I saw the first set at Historicon in 2005 and had to buy them, which also was the begining of a very good customer relationship with Eureka Miniatures. Since then I have mostly used them as lowly conscripts or troops for third line units. So these are the minis I already had (coming from the first and second releases):And these are the ones I painted the other week to beef them up: The DShK 12,7mm machine gun is based on a 1938 Soviet machine gun and the equivalent to NATOs .50cal. This will give them some serious firepower. This one being mounted on an anti-aircraft tri-pod. Now these mortars should give the Russians some serious firepower. Mortars are quiet effective both in real life and under the rules we use. When playing games versus my Brits (who already had mortar minis) they had to suffer… now they can fight back in style. These minis are from Red Star, giving some heavy firepower to my other Russians. Another DShK, this time on a ground mount and an automatic grenade launcher. And last but not least their Kornet AT team. I really like the Red Star minis for their animation, even though the face on the radioman is a bit flat. Recently read somewhere that the Chemins de feu (the club the owners of Red Star belong to) will be shifting to other periods, so maybe there will be no new Russian minis for a while. Would be a shame!
Before anyone asks the large bases for the heavy weapons and prone troops are from Fenris games.
All the posts showing off special forces over the past couple of days have led to some requests for pictures of the remaining NATO force I have miniatures for… the Bundeswehr. While I had planned to postpone this until I had the last vehicles finished (3 Transportpanzer Fuchs and a CH-53 still left to do) I am going to show them anyway. Fist up the vehicles:
This is the mainstay German MBT in current use. The A5 model is the result of the KWS II package (Kampfwertsteigerung II or combat upgrade program II) giving it stronger armour, better electronics and targeting systems. The main gun (120mm smoothbore) and targeting system see use in most other NATO MBTs as well.
The Flakpanzer Gepard is reputed to be the best cannon armed air defense tank world-wide. With its twin 35mm autocannon (ROF 550 rounds per minute) it is able to lay down a massive volume of fire both against air as well as ground targets. In 2000 it was decided that the German army no longer needed close air defense of this type and that these tanks would be phased out and mothballed in favour of the Patriot system until the year 2015. With the new reforms in 2010 the remaining 90 tanks were phased out completely though. Not that this matter since me games are set a couple of years before that!
These two IFV´s represent the latest version of the Schützenpanzer Marder with a turret mounted (dismount-able) Milan launcher on the turret. A Panzergrenadiergruppe (more on that later) will be spread out amongst these two tanks. The models are actually some cheap RC tanks. They required a lot of conversion work to get them here since they represented the A1 version. Which meant moving the roof mounted, rearward firing MG to the turret (co-ax) and the addition of the Milan launcher. Armoured boxes were added to the sides, spaced armour to the front and roof using plasticard.
This is a model of the ABC Spürpanzer (NBC detection tank) Fuchs. Some of these were lend to the US for Desert Storm since this is the most advanced vehicle for NBC detection available. Both the US and the UK have since bought vehicles using it under the English translation Fox. There is also a troop carrier version available and I still have three models in storage where I will have to modify the rear hatches to use them as troop carriers.
Last vehicle is a Unimog, serving as a light truck for my forces. This is a repainted die-cast model.
Up next are the infantry.
These are some Scharfschützen (Snipers) based on the old TO&E. The new organisation calls for two men teams armed with bolt action sniper rifles (G22) or an anti-material rifle (G82). The old organisation had two snipers with G3 rifles. These G3 were the most accurate assault rifles from a batch, remastered and equipped with scopes. They were accompanied by two men to provide them with security. These men were armed with machineguns, usually MG3s. In this case the man on the right has the newer MG4. Minis are from Devil Dog Designs and mostly converted.
This is my Fallschirmjägergruppe (minis from Devil Dog Designs). The Gruppe is the smallest tactical infantry element in the German Army, be it airbourne (like these) or Panzergrenadiere (below), Jäger, Infanterie and so on. A Gruppe consists of 12 men. One of them is a machinegunner, the rest are armed with G36 assault rifles, the Gruppenführer (section leader) usually has and underslung AG36 grenadelaucher. Special weapons like man pack anti-tank or anti-aircraft rocket launchers can be distributed as need be. [These Fallschirmjäger have now been sold and are on their way to a good new home in France.]
All the minis below are Eureka.
Now this first Gruppe is similar in organisation to the Fallschirmjäger above, except that two of the men also have the Milan launchers dismounted from the Marder along. They have often proven useful in games, especially one where the Russian tanks chased after the Marder tanks, missing the dismounted Grenadiere at the forests edge that hit them in the flank with their Milans.
While these two Gruppen also represent Panzergrenadiere they have no Milans but one Panzerfaust 3 each instead. As I said the Marder were a hassle to convert and I was in no mood to do that 4 more times to get a full Zug (platoon). Now in some units only the first Zug is equipped with Marder, the rest rides Fuchs. I just decided to mix this within the Zug, assuming that the commander had distributed the Marder amongst his Züge to given them all an even punch.
Now a few more words on the machinegunner (for all types of Gruppen). A little over a decade ago it was decided that the MG3 would be phased out and replaced with the MG36 (essentially a G36 with heavier barrel and if lucky with a drum magazine). Just like the SA-80 LMG in the British Army this met little approval by the soldiers. They already felt weaker due to the reduced calibre of the G36 when compared to the old G3 and with just one LMG to 12 men (other NATO forces have one LMG per 4 men squad). So commanders found all kinds of excuses to store the MG3s they had and simply handed them out when troops were deployed. So a couple of years ago the MG4 was introduced, which solved the problem since it was at least a proper SAW type of weapon. I have decided to stick to the MG3, since it gives me the most firepower and my games fall into the transitionary period anyway.
Last are the force multipliers.
To the left is a medic with a MP7 PDW (you can also see this on some of the NCO´s and radiomen above). In the middle is a dog handler. Military dogs see more use in the Bundeswehr these days, especially for house clearing. To the right is a GMW 40 automatic grenade launcher. This is about all I need. I just hope Eureka releases a tri-pod mounted MG3 one day… otherwise I will have to do one from a WWII MG42 and convert some crew for it.
The big beauty with the German army is that soldiers wear no unit patches in the field and that the equipment is vastly similar. So I plan to use these men as Panzergrenadiere for the 21. Panzerbrigade, Fällschirmjäger for the Saarlandbrigade or Jäger for the Deutsch-Französische Brigade.
OK, today I finally ran out of bad puns, so without much further ado… here are the SAS and KSK.
The Special Air Service (SAS) or “The Regiment” are widely regarded as the oldest and most experienced SF unit world-wide. They were created in Juli 1941 to sabotage the supply routes of the German Afrika Korps. The British choose a name to confuse the Germans… L Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade. The term air did not refer to any special mission of theirs and with just 66 men they were far too small for a brigade, but the name stuck. They caused havoc on the German lines and were expanded to 5 battalions during the war, with the third and fourth being made up of French and the fifth of Belgian nationals. These 3 foreign battalions were incorporated into their own nations forces after the war.
After the war they saw (controversial) use in Northern Ireland, prepared the Falklands landings, hunted Scuds during Desert Storm and war criminals on the Balkans. They freed hostages in Sierra Leone, fulfilled all kinds of missions in Afghanistan and Iraq and acted as advisers and target designators in Libia last year. But still they are best known for their action during the storming of the Iranian embassy in 1980.
Amongst the Special Forces they have a very special role, since they work in close conjunction with the UK´s police forces. In this role they do not only provide SWAT type teams or bomb disposal experts, but also advise, planning and surveillance, something that would be illegal for a military unit in many other western nations.
Today the SAS consists of three Regiments (one active, two reserve). The active 22nd Special Air Service Regiment consists of 4 Squadrons (A, B, D, and G), with 4 troops each. Each troop consisting of four four-men teams. Each troop has a speciality be it either as a Mountain Troop, Mobility Troop, Air Troop (HALO drops) or Boat Troop. All Squadrons rotate special training, so that all are kept on edge for any type of mission. Every six to nine month a different Squadron becomes CRW-Wing (Counter Revolutionary Warfare), essentially providing the counter terrorism forces.
Their abilities are underlined by the fact that other nations turn to them when they raise new special forces units. The US did so when it created Delta and Germany when it created the KSK.
The minis above all come from TAG´s SAS range. Again not the best minis, but about the best that were available when I painted them a couple of years ago. Back then I planned to wargame Afghanistan (an idea I have dropped since) so they are kitted out to represent a four men patrol in the mountains of the Hindukush. The wear Jungle DPM jackets and Desert DPM trousers. This could be seen a lot with British soldiers during the first months of operations in Afghanistan. I am not too sure why this was done, but I assume to better blend in with the terrain, which can be strange at times. Since my wargaming is just set in Europe these days, I have often contemplated repainting them, but can not get around to it. But maybe this troop has itself geared for a mission in the Lüneburger Heath were green over sand would be useful as well. 😉
The German Kommando Specialkräfte (KSK) is maybe youngest of NATO´s special forces. For years logic had dictated that Germany did not need special forces of their kind. Due to the lessons learned during the 3rd Reich where the military had been used to suppress the population, German law absolutely forbids the use of the military in police actions on German soil. So the federal police fulfilled this role with the Grenzschutzsondergruppe 9 (GSG 9 / made famous by the storming of the Lufthansa jet “Landshut” in Mogadishu). Offensive operations by the German army were strictly forbidden by German law and for the purely defensive operations of the Cold War the existing Kampfschwimmer (roughly equivalent to the UDT´s) and the Fernspäher (long-range scouts) were deemed sufficient. Then came the end of the Soviet Union and the Cold War and along with it more German effort worldwide and missions existing forces could not handle. This reached its climax in 1994 when Germany found it had no forces (the GSG 9 was too small and no German military forces had the training) to deploy to rescue German nationals from Rwanda and had to turn to Belgium to do that. The embarrassment was only made worse by the fact that 12 Belgian soldiers lost their life during the mission. In the same year the German High Court decided, that peace keeping and even offensive operations outside NATO boarders where legal under certain conditions. The road was clear for the creation of the KSK in 1996.
While members were recruited from all units of the Bundeswehr, the Fernspäherkompanien were dissolved and incorporated into the KSK. The initial training was heavily supported by the British SAS, after which the KSK was to be modelled. Formation was completed in 1997 and the first missions conducted the following year, when they began the hunt for warcriminals in the Balkans. The same year saw them expand to their current strength of around 1100 men. They saw action in Afghanistan when they conducted scouting missions and provided flank security during the assault on Tora Bora and Operation Anaconda. It has been estimated that at least 100 KSK men are on constant deployment in Afghanistan in since 2001. This also includes their highly controversial use in the Task Force 47.
The airmobile and special operations capable Saarlangbrigade is their dedicated combat support units much in the way the PARA´s are to the SAS or the Rangers to Delta.
The above minis are from Devil Dog Designs, both from the KSK pack as well as the normal Bundeswehr pack. Some of the minis (namely those sporting MP-5s and MG-3) were converted using 1:35 scale weapons. Back then these were the best minis one could get, but unfortunately they show some minor deficits when it comes to equipment details.
Now these minis are from Eureka miniatures and show the clear evolution modern miniatures have gone through over the last decade if you compare them to both the TAG and DDD minis above.
What is next… tomorrow will see their opposition… Russian Spetznav. So stay tuned!
Well please excuse my bad pun but yesterday I finished Eureka´s great set of SeAL minis and I wanted to show them off.
But who are the SeAL´s exactly? Well simply put they are the US Navys contribution to the US inventory of special forces. Their name is both an acronym for their areas of operation (Sea, Air, Land) as well as the well-known mammal that calls the oceans its home.
Between the 8 SeAL teams and DEVGRU there are about 2500 men trained for special operations. Their origins date back to the Underwater Demolition Teams of the second World War. They were founded in 1962 and took part in all major conflicts and operations of the US Military (as well as those unknown). Be it jungle warfare in Vietnam, the freeing of hostages on cruise liners, preparing beachheads by clearing obstacles or just leading the enemy to think that there will be an amphibious landing. They secured Oil Rigs and were part of the fateful convoy in Mogadishu 1993 (something Hollywood seems to have forgotten). It is ironic, that the Mission that made them most famous (Neptunes Spear that killed Osama Bin Laden) was technically not conducted by the SeALs but by the US Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU). DEVGRU is the successor to SeAL Team 6 which was dissolved amidst allegations of fraud and mishandling in the 1980s. While still part of the US Navy it has been under CIA command since 2001 and not JSOC like the other SeAL teams.
So here they are:
At first I had thought about painting them in a mix of Multicam and A-TACS camo. Both are en vogue with the SeALs these days. In the end I decided against A-TACS. This type of camo is designed for a very diffuse look and it would not have come out on a 28mm mini. Plus my hypothetical WWIII is set in the middle of the last decade when it had not been on the market.
The dog in the foreground is a Malinoi. They see a lot o use with the SeALs and DEVGRU. I just chose to paint this one with a pattern where the brown goes down the neck. That thing strapped to his back is a camera assembly.
But this is not the first time I have painted some SeALs. A couple of years ago I already did some, but they were more meant to represent a team deployed on some Tom Clancy style covered operation.
The prone sniper is from Devil Dog Designs and the kneeling sniper with the Barrett rifle is from TAG´s SWAT range. All the Rest are from TAG´s SAS range. The minis are nowhere near is nice as the Eureka ones (especially the faces which were quite distorted), but they do their service!
Want more… well I will try to post some Army Delta and an Airforce PJ tomorrow.
After posting this on the Steve Dean Froum, I felt that the photo did not do the minis justice so I took some individual shots:
Now Saxons are nothing that fits my immediate Napoleonic plans. As you know my Völkerschlacht game for next year only involves Prussians and French and I stated too late with Napoleonics to get enough minis done for the 200th anniversary of the Russian campaign. But when I saw the first previews of Eurekas Saxon Cuirassiers I, immediately fell in love with them. I really liked the poses of the charging troopers. So in spite the fact that I do not need them right now, I decided to order enough to do both the Garde du Corps and Zastrow Kürassiere for Borodino. The fact that Eureka will be at Salute and I have a friend who can pick them up for me (thus evading custom fees) was an added bonus :-D.
Now for those who have not seen them, here is the PDF that shows all the sculpts:
Over the past few days I needed a slight break from Napoleonics. Amongst other things I finished the AT team and the vehicles for my modern French, thus completing the unit. Some words on them first. I wanted to be able to use them together with my modern Germans, so I decided to have them depict men from the “Deutsch – Französiche Brigade” / “Brigade Franco – Allemande”. In that sense they wear the blue barrets of the Brigade. Since the French fighting units of the Brigade are the 3ème Régiment de Hussards and the 110ème Régiment d’Infanterie and their vehicles are quiet light.
So I chose two Véhicule Blindé Léger [VBL] and one Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé [VBA] for them. While the former is part of the HQ or Recon elements, the later is part of the infantry elements. None the less I did not feel that they would not appear on the battlefield together, so I shall use them side by side. The models themselves are Schuco die-casts. I touched up some parts and airbrushed some dust on, but that was it. One of the VBL´s got a Milan launcher and spare rocket from Eureka. Before you ask… yes it fires to the rear on the real life vehicle as well (now I can see jokes coming there).
Now on to the infantry. The minis are a mix of Dadi & Piombo (D&P) and Eureka Miniatures. I have to say I liked the later better. D&P only have four poses and just the basic squad weapons. The Eureka minis have more variation, mortars, rocket launchers… and they feature more kit, giving them a real life look. Sizewise they mix real well though, so I did not care too much.
One thing I noticed when cropping the pictures for this post… I really need to go back and touch up some of the eyes. They did not look half as bad IRL, but the camera is unforgiving. Anyway… here we go:
Now all the minis aboce are Eureka. I am going to mark those by D&P accordingly.
Again this has been an awfully quiet month so far. Why? Well I had to work long hours a lot lately and during the summer my painting is geared to be done outside on the balcony. Except that the weather has been bleeping poor lately and I was in no mood to set my stuff up in the kitchen. So essentially I hardly got anything done lately. Well this is not completely true, since my Brandenburg Uhlanen are about half-finished, but they are nothing to show yet.
But I decided to take out some of my old minis again to keep you entertained. In this case my modern USMC. Since I have quite a large force there, I am going to split this into 3 posts and I will later follow-up with vehicles and choppers. So first up are my Force Recon Marines and ANGLICO.
So what kind of units are these anyway.
Now the Marine Corps has two kinds of soldiers refered to as Recon by the public. One is the Force Recon. They are a platoon of Recon Marines under the command of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force [MAGTF] commander, they are employed with a focus on the MAGTF area of interest. As a result they are usually tasked with the SpecOps style missions or act as a general reconnaissance support to the force commander. Since their parent command is Marine Expeditionary Force [MEF], this platoon is commonly referred to as the “Force” recon platoon. And this is the first unit I want to show today:
Now the other unit is a small ANGLICO detachment. ANGLICO [Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company] is a Marine unit that specializes in coordinating artillery (both ground based as well as naval gunfire) and close air support [CAS] for the USMC, Navy, Army and foreign allies. Whilst a separate unit, they are an asset available to the MAGTF commander.
Now that is it for today. I will try to post the next installment ASAP. Those will be command as well as other platoon or above assets.