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Category Archives: Modern

SAS & KSK

SAS & KSK

OK, today I finally ran out of bad puns, so without much further ado… here are the SAS and KSK.

SAS:

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.

SAS

SAS

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. 😉

KSK:

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.

KSK strike team

KSK strike team

KSK support team

KSK support team

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.

KSK sniper team

KSK sniper team

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!

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Delta Dawn or the ACE up your sleeve

Delta Dawn or the ACE up your sleeve

Today it is time for another modern Special Forces installment (and another bad pun)… 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Airborne) or as they are known since their (second) re-christening in 2010: Army Compartmented Element (ACE).

They were created 5 days before I was born in 1977. Far smaller than the SeALs with about 1000 men they are one of the US Armys contributions to the US arsenal of special forces. [EDIT: I have been contacted by a friend who served with Delta. As of last year that are three operational Sabre Squadrons with 40 to 60 operators each. So the figure of 1000 men includes AFO personel as well as AVN troop members.] If you look at the story of their creation, their main goal was the use in hostage situations and they saw frequent use on US soil until the Depart of Justice deemed this a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. Back then their organisation was modeled along the line of the British SAS which took a large part in their training. Their first big mission was the freeing of hostages from the embassy in Teheran in 1980 (Operation Eagle Claw) which never got to their target due to a refueling accident in the desert.They hunted Iraqi Scud launchers during Desert Storm, are reputed to have shot Pablo Escobar, had the largest part in the SF operations in Somalia and sabotaged Iraqi command and control installations around Bagdad in 2003. Along with DEVGRU they are the only unit today that has it´s primary mission in counter terrorism.

Army Delta

Army Delta

The minis here are geared up for their primary mission… the freeing of hostages and are clad all black. Bottom left is a mini from the Infinity range. Bottom middle is a special mini from TAG´s SWAT range. All the others are Devil Dog Designs. The black uniforms were highlit using black mixed with dark blue.

What else? Now since this is only a single mini and one that is near impossible to photograph I decided to include a USAF PJ as well. PJ stands for Para Jumper. They are Air force Medics that get additional training in combat first aid to the level that their skills can even compete with some doctors in a normal hospitals ER. A good number of them are special operations qualified and accompany other special forces on their missions. They are a very old unit by SF standards since they were created 2 days before the D-Day Invasion in 1944.

PJ

PJ

The mini is a converted Infinity mini. Unfortunately the extreme pose makes him near impossible to photograph, so sorry for the poor shot. His trousers are meant to be Digital Tigerstripe ABU´s, but again… due to the pose it hardly shows.

UP next (tomorrow) are the guys Delta train with… British SAS and German KSK.

 

Your fate is SeAL-ed

Your fate is SeAL-ed

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:

SeAL team (DEVGRU)

SeAL team (DEVGRU)

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.

SeAL Malinoi

SeAL Malinoi

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.

SeAL strike team (Black Ops)

SeAL strike team (Black Ops)

SeAL fire support team (Black Ops)

SeAL fire support team (Black Ops)

SeAL fire support team (Black Ops)

SeAL fire support team (Black Ops)

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.

EDIT:

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:

SeAL team leader

SeAL team leader

SeAL LMG

SeAL LMG

SeAL 1

SeAL 1

SeAL 2

SeAL 2

SeAL 3

SeAL 3

SeAL 4

SeAL 4

SeAL Dog

SeAL Dog

 

Bond, James Bond… or at least his T-55

Bond, James Bond… or at least his T-55

Bought this on eBay over the weekend and the model arrived today. This is a 1:50th scale model of the T-55 Pierce Brosnan “borrowed” in the movie Goldeneye.

T55 from Goldeneye

T55 from Goldeneye

Now the model is not bad. It obviously needs some detailing (mostly the rubber skirts and silver axles) and weathering, but otherwise it is quiet nice. Biggest gripe is that the hatch Bond looked out of is cast in an open position and that the barrel leaves too little room to turn if a mini is placed inside the hatch, but I will find a way to make that turn out right.

James Bonds T-55 as a 1:50th scale die-cast model

James Bonds T-55 as a 1:50th scale die-cast model

Why this type of tank? Well the T-55 is not the most modern tank in the Russian inventory these days, even up-armoured like this one. But they still have 100 in reserve and 1000 mothballed ready for use. Now in my WW III setting NATO and Russia are in all out slugging match, so it is quiet likely that these would have been put into active service, at least in 3rd rate and garrison units. So this one shall make a nice addition to my T-62´s.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Modern, Modern: Russians, Vehicles, WWIII

 

The Rules we use: “The Face of (Modern) Battle”

The Rules we use: “The Face of (Modern) Battle”

Whenever I posted a WWII or modern game report in recent months there have always been questions about what rules we use, especially on TMP. Since I always go and give a little information about the rules themselves, I thought it would be nice, if I gave a real overview of the rules that I could refer to when asked.

Now first I would like to explain the reasoning I use when picking rules. The most important thing for me is that the rules give a real life feel. In other words… soldiers should be able to do what they do in real life, the rules should even allow them to do some special things (as long as it does not turn into a John Woo movie or the Matrix Trilogy). And the results should be realistic. The rules should also reward the use of real life tactics, making forces the most effective if used like they were historically meant to. But they should also be fun and easy to play without bogging you down with excessive charts and rule-reading during play.

With all these things in mind I began the search for a set of WWII rules that could also be used for modern scenarios as well about a decade ago. I had never been in combat, but I had a real good friend, who had served with the British Army in the Falklands, Northern Ireland and during Desert Storm. We talked a lot about the things he felt were important in a game and I looked for them in rules and ended up with “The Face Of Battle“, buying both the rules and the two WWII supplements at my first Salute in 2002. We used this for moderns too, which worked fine. With the release of the modern version of the rules it all became a complete package.

The Face Of Battle rules

The Face Of Battle rules

All American expansion

All American expansion

VC expansion

VC expansion

In the end gameplay has vindicated these decisions. We have always had lots of fun with the rules and have taken them to a number of conventions over the years. We have had players who were active and former soldiers from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK and the US (all in alphabetical order) who had served in Northern Ireland, Somalia, Desert Storm, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq and they all commented that the rules gave a real combat feeling with realistic results. On the other hand we have had players as young as 7 and as old as their mid-60´s, from all walks of life and some who had never played a wargame before and all were able to grasp the rules with a 5 minute introduction and were able to play virtually on their own after two to three rounds. So I always felt that the rules achieved both the goals set (realism and playability). But now on to describing the rules themselves:

There are essentially two rulesets you can choose from. Either “The Face Of Battle” or “The Face Of Modern Battle”. The former is geared towards WWII and comes with weapon and vehicle stats for Germans and Russians, the later is geared towards modern warfare and come with stats for modern weapons and vehicles. Both use the some mechanisms (I think the WWII rules might require downloading the new morale rules which are available free from the Gamazon homepage). The modern version also includes rules for more modern equipment like anti-tank guided missiles or the use of helicopters. As mentioned above there are also two expansions for WWII Americans and Commonwealth troops, again giving stats for all the weapons and vehicles used by those nations plus some extra special rules. No matter which book or expansion, they all come with a number of relevant scenarios and notes on historical force composition.

The Face Of Modern Battle rules

The Face Of Modern Battle rules

How do the rules work? The basic element is a card based initiative. So you basically get between one (this would be the case for lowly militias or untrained conscripts) and three cards (special forces). These get shuffled into one or more decks per side. During the round all the players turn the top card of all their decks around and act with the soldier whose card came up. When all have acted the next cards get flipped, until all decks are done and the round is over. This means you will always have soldiers from both sides acting simultaneously giving you a very fluid and energetic battlefield. And you never know who will have to act next giving you a certain fog of war and an uncertainty to figure into you plans. It will also create some havoc for example if the loader for your Tiger has all his cards come up before the gunner and you have to wait till the next turn to reload ;-).

Officers and NCO´s get command cards in addition to their own cards. The number of their cards are based on their rank and quality as leaders. They can not act on these cards but can give orders to men under their command or try to rally them as long as they are within his zone of command (again defined by his rank and quality).

While vehicle crews act on their own cards to do things like fire a weapon, turn a turret, reload and so on, the vehicles themselves move on one of five vehicle cards mixed into one of the decks of their side.

Now if this kind of activation is not your piece of cake, the rules also have alternative activation rules that work without cards and activate squads as a whole. While they take some of the randomness away, these are also good if want to play games that involve a company per side to speed gameplay up a little more.

Combat works quite simple. Each time a weapon is fired you roll a D100. The result gets modified by all the usual factors like skill of the shooter, range, body armour, weather (if applicable) and gets checked against a chart based on the cover the target is in. The results can either be a KIA, Incapacitated (which is as good as a kill if no medics are around), a morale check (which can represent anything from bullets buzzing by to a hit in the vest) or no result at all. The first two results speak for themselves. If you have to take a morale check, your soldier just rolls to see if he passes it or not. And that is how simple it is.

Now a soldier can fire his weapon at least once per card (bolt-action rifles). Semi- and Full-Auto weapons can be fired twice with each shot getting harder to hit due to the recoil. Semi- and Full-Auto weapons can also fire bursts. Beltfed weapons are able to lay down firing lines.

What I really like about the rules is that they differentiate between weapons when it comes to things like range or rate of fire. Most rules these days seem to view weapons just by their class, but I feel this is unrealistic. For example both a Maxim and a MG-42 might be HMG´s but they were both completely different weapons.

Vehicular combat works along the same lines, at least when it comes to rolling for hits. But when you hit, you look if the shot was able to pierce the armour or not by relating the armour value at the hit location (front, side, rear and hull, mantlet, turret) against the AP value for ammo and gun type. This sounds more complicated then it is, since these values are given on the vehicle sheet anyway. Together with a die roll this will give the number of penetrating (if the AP value was higher than the armour rating) or non-penetrating hits (if the AP value was lower) which you again look up on a chart.

To beef things up there are a number of special rules that you can use if you want to, but obviously do not need to use. There all kinds of things… close assaulting tanks, minefields, paradrops, abseiling, night combat, bad weather, amphibious landings, artillery or air support, spotting and identifying, breaching, flamethrowers…. If they fit your scenario or setting these can add a lot to the gameplay.

Now a few final words… a lot of people shy away from these rules since they seem really big. At first glance this is true. If you put both rulesets and both expansions into one big folder it will be filled to the rim. But bottom line is… 99% of the time you just need two types of rolls and one A4 page (two if you include tanks) worth of charts and you are done. The rules are so big because they include so many stats for weapons and vehicles (as I said you will find every single German and Russian weapon and vehicle used in WWII in the core rules), examples for every rule mechanic and lots of special rules. If you want to be anal and want to know how big the chances of a Sherman tank getting stuck while crossing an Italian vineyard would be… you can find it there. Which is one of the biggest beauties of these rules… you can just play them but if you ever end up in doubt about anything, you will be able to find it in the rules.

The rules themselves are good for anything from a squad per side to a company with tanks and helicopters to beef them up, which is quiet something for a skirmish game. We have used them in 28mm, but they offer all the ranges for smaller scales as well. So if you want you can use them with smaller scales, too.

So the bottom line is… these rules have given us one great decade of gaming so far and if you are unsure about what rules to use for either WWII or moderns (or both), give them a try… I am sure you will not regret it!

 

Painting mud

The recent posts about the minis for the La Bricole painting competition kicked off a lot of requests for my recipe for how I painted the mud. I am happy to deliver, but I have to say that it is so simple, that I am too embarrassed to call it a tutorial.

First a few words on where to paint the mud. Now while battlefields themselves can be wet from constant rain and the like, they are often not that muddy. This requires the soil to be churned up. Either from plowing, dozens of feet walking over the same spot, hooves, wheels, tracks or explosions. So this might not happen at too many places on the battlefields themselves, but it sure happens on the march or in camp. So even with soldiers just arriving on a pristine battlefield, they will be dirty. Obviously most of the dirt will around the feet and ankles, their knees (while striking tents, preparing foot or just sitting on the ground) or if you want on their behinds (usually not worth the effort since it would be hidden by the coats anyway). The exception I make are officers, since they usually had people setting up their tents, cooking their food and most of th time did not have to sit on the ground. So I only “muddy” their feet. With soldiers wearing greatcoats I also muddy up the lower edge of the coat, assuming that it would brush on the ground while kneeling, sitting down or just getting their share of mud thrown up by the shoes while walking or marching.

Now on to the actual painting. Obviously you should have painted the clothing and boots by now, or anything you want dirtied up. What you need is an old, wide brush. The ones usually used for basecoating are just fine. The hairs should not be longer than 1/2 the original length and no less than 2/3. It does not matter if some hairs are longer then others. Now you can use both synthetic or organic (red sable), but chances are good that paint will clog the brush up. So organic brushes are better since they will not melt if you need a solvent to clean them. So the brush should look like this:

old brush

old brush

Pick up paint with it and brush it out on a piece of paper until you have about the amount left on it you would need for drybrushing. Now stiple the dirty areas with paint. For the first step I use Valejo “Flat Earth” (VAL 983). This represents the mud that is still somewhat wet.

Mud step 1

Mud step 1

I now repeat this with Valejo Panzer Aces “Feldgrau II Highlight” (VAL 339). This represents the mud that has already started to dry. Go easier on the spots you already did since you still want “wet mud” to be showing through. And stiple some on a little higher, giving the impression of mud that splashed well… a little higher. In real life the higher you go the less will splash there, meaning there will be less new mud getting there and giving the old more chance to dry.

Mud step 2

Mud step 2

And that is it. I usually paint metal stuff like sword sheaths, spurs and so on after doing the mud. Assuming that there is no fabric it can soak into, I think it will not cling on as good, dry out and fall or rub off faster.

In the end the results should look like this:

Loading 6pdr.

Loading 6pdr.

Bavarian Grenadiers

Bavarian Grenadiers

French Grenadiers

French Grenadiers

As you can see the effect works best on dark and light colours and not as good on tans and browns (what a surprise). Hope you can put this to good use!

 
 

Modern French

Modern French

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).

French VBL (Milan Version on the right)

French VBL (Milan Version on the right)


French VAB

French VAB

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:

French Command

French Command

French LRAC AT team

French LRAC AT team


French Sniper team

French Sniper team

Now all the minis aboce are Eureka. I am going to mark those by D&P accordingly.

Modern French Squad # 1

Modern French Squad # 1


Modern French Squad # 2 (D&P)

Modern French Squad # 2 (D&P)


Modern French Squad # 3

Modern French Squad # 3


Modern French Squad # 4 (D&P)

Modern French Squad # 4 (D&P)


Modern French Squad # 5

Modern French Squad # 5


Modern French Squad # 6 (D&P)

Modern French Squad # 6 (D&P)

 
 

Crisis Antwerp 2011

Since I was I Crisis in Antwerp yesterday, I also want to share some photos with you. While I had planned to host an Operation Barbarossa game, that did unfortunately not happen, since other members of my club did not have the time to attend and it would have been too much to host on my own. So I only came as a visitor.

Except for the obvious amounts of shopping (mainly Perry Napoleonics from Dave Thomas and bases from Warbases) there was a lot of talking to do. Some of it yielded some very interesting facts.
First of all this will be the last Crisis held at Metropolis. The new venue will be about one klick (kilometre for those not into military speak) away. The new venue will have free parking again, more space, better lighting and a better air circulation. Catering will be done by the Tin Soldiers and include food (opposed to just drink).

In other news there were flyers around for Action 2012 to be held at JHQ Rheindalen sometime in March. Now this came as a big surprise since this years Action was supposed to be the last one. It was also surprising, since the flyer had the logo of the AWA (Army Wargames Association). Now on the AWA newsgroup there is discussion about a replacement convention called Tactics in JFC HQ Brunssum (Netherlands). I will try to keep you posted when I know more.

As some of you might have heard there is a company called Fireforge Games that will release plastic mounted Crusader (Teutonic) Knights soon. Now they had a table at Crisis showing some 3-ups pf the upcoming minis and they looked real nice:

These are not exactly anything I will do in the near future, but still they looked mighty nice and should prove more than just interesting for anyone into this period.

Next up are the games being presented. Now if you hosted a game that does not show up here it has nothing to do with me not liking it, but more likely with my camera messing up the shots I took due to the poor lighting.

This is a 28mm back to back WWI game by the Marie Louises de Flandres:

Staying with World War One, this time in 20mm… Crush the Kaiser. The game and rules looked nice, so I decided to buy the rules to give them a try in due time, too:

One of my favorites was Barry Hilton’s (The League of Augsburg) Beneath the Lilly Banners game. I enjoyed a great chat with Barry, too. I have exchanged a lot of online chatting with him over the past few years regarding his R2E rules for Napoleonics and it was great to attach a face to the name! The “ironic” thing about his game (being hosted in Belgium) was, that it depicted a battle in Ireland but featured a lot of Flemish troops. Sorry for some of the strange unit shots… they are rather meant to show the basing then the minis:

Some 28mm Vietnam:

The Italian Invasion of Ethiopia in 1935:

Pardulons demonstration table:

And my other big favorite… Leipzig 1813 by THS (Team für historische Simulationen):

And last some shots from assorted games:

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 6, 2011 in General, Modern, WWI, WWII

 

Woodlands MARPAT and ACU painting guide

OK, the recent posts have led to questions on what colours I used and how I painted both my Marines (woodlands MARPAT) and my Army soldiers (ACU). First off all sorry for the lack of a picture walk through… I kind of shot from the hip here after a couple of requests.

Lets start with the technique. Modern camouflage clothing can be a real problem to paint. Patterns like the German Flecktarn, USMC´s MARPAT or USArmy ACU look really awesome in real life, but the thought of painting minis in such pattern can really make one give up on the project before it starts. Who really wants to paint tons of little spots or blocks on a mini, much worse a whole set of minis!

But there really are easier ways. Since we are only painting scale models we only need to fool the eye and that can usually done with really simple techniques.

When it comes to the base colour, you should always start with the dominant colour in the pattern. So for my Marines it was a base of Valejo (VAL) Panzer Aces 339 “Field Grey II highlight”. This is actually a very light brown, much like bleached wood. For the Army I used a base of VAL 886 “Green Grey”.

The rest of the work involved what I call “dry dipping”. This basically works like dry brushing. Only that you take a brush with hard hair, approximately “0” or “Fine Detail” size. Use an old one if possible, since it will be ruined afterwards for anything but this technique. You need to prepare it first, which means putting paint on and pushing it straight down on a piece of paper. After a short time the hairs will be bend to the sides and this is when you can use it.

Before you start dipping, brush some of the paint off using the same method you used while preparing the brush. When there is only about the amount of paint left you would want for dry brushing, push the brush sideways against the mini. When the paint from the brush is used up, refresh. You do not need to dip it into the paint-can every time, but you can refresh it from the paper you used for getting off the brush. Works about once or twice. Do this for every layer of paint, always going from te most dominant colours to the least dominant ones.

In case of woodlands MARPAT this is: VAL 70980 “Black Green”, Black (any manufacturer will do) and Coat d´arms 236 “Horse Tone Grey” (essentially a very light grey or off-white).

In case of ACU this is: Games Workshop “Rotting Flesh” and VAL 70894 “Camouflage Olive”

Since this technique works the same way as dry brushing, the deepest parts will mostly just take on the base colour. Not as much as with dry brushing, since the dipping gets into the recesses to a higher degree, but still not enough. And obviously a camo pattern does not limit itself to the raised spots. So just go back and paint a few small spots of the missing colours with a normal brush into the recesses. Do the same for any spot where you accidentally put too much of one colour.

Now go and prepare a wash. In both cases I used 1 part paint (a dark chocolate-brown for the Marines, black for the Army), 5 parts water (if you prepare a larger amount for future use distilled water since it will not rot) and 1 part white or Elmers glue. The later will help the wash settle into th deep spots, creating a shading on the minis that would otherwise be bleeping hard to achieve on a camo pattern like this. Brush the wash on without remorse.

Now this technique is fast (you can do about 2 to 3 squads in one evening) and the results look good IMHO.

In case you are interested… the boots were done with Coat d´arms 222 “Horse Tone Roan” ( light tan colour), washed with the brown wash and then drybrushed with “Horse Tone Roan” again.

Coyote Brown items (the Marines vests) for example were done in “Horse Tone Roan” with a little white mixed in and then washed with th brown wash.

So once done, your Marines and GI´s can start to deploy to any tabletop field of glory.

Marines

Marines (this is a photo from an older game before I repainted the bases olive)

 
 

Modern Marines Part 3 (Infantry Squads)

So, on to the next batch. This time it is the infantry squads or fire teams. I assume everyone knows what they do, so I will mostly let the pictures do the talking. The minis are either Devil Dog Designs (DDD) or Black Scorpion (BS, yes I know about the double meaning of tis abbreviation). If a squad has minis from different manufacturers, I will list them left to right.

USMC squad (DDD, 3x BS)

USMC squad (DDD, 3x BS)

USMC squad (all DDD)

USMC squad (all DDD)

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all DDD)

USMC squad (all DDD)

USMC squad (DDD, 3x BS)

USMC squad (DDD, 3x BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

Now the next squad is a bit of an oddity. A couple of years ago I painted up the whole DDD range of Marines in woodland BDU´s. Just after I was finished, the Corps changed to MARPAT, which I found much cooler. So I sold my painted minis off and started anew. With the exception of the minis below. These are wearing NBC suits, which were still in a 4 tone woodland scheme, which is why I kept them. Gas masks were sculpted on by me. I recently got a Marine in NBC suit with a Stinger launcher from Eureka. He will act as a replacement for the soldier with the AT-4 in games where I need a little anti-aircraft capability.

USMC squad (all DDD)

USMC squad (all DDD)

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

The squad leader (guy with the cigar) in the next picture won a price in a Black Scorpion painting competition a couple of years ago for the rendition of MARPAT.

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

So this is it. I shall try to take some pictures of my Marine vehicles, to post those, too. But if the weather remains as poor as it is right now, that may take a while.