RSS

Category Archives: WWIII

Terrain and Star Wars Armada repaints

Terrain and Star Wars Armada repaints

I know this blog has been a bit quiet (again) lately, but I have not been idle, just too busy taking to take photos. There is also a batch of three points of Normans and Mercenaries for SAGA and a Lord for Warzone finished, but I have not gotten around to take any photos of them.

So without much further ado, here we go:

Right after Crisis I wanted to start kicking with a few small terrain pieces. Up first was a Celtic Cross for the Dark Ages. The model is by Timeline Miniatures. I loved the very intricate and detailed carvings on the stone, so it was a must have for me, even though it looks a little tall next to 25mm minis. The only letdown was the basic block it rests upon, which looked too basic and too much like MDT for my taste, but a little structured paint did the trick there. Just a little paint and presto:

Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross

Up next was the Village Fountain by Sarrissa Precision. Now this one was a little more complicated. I had put this together last year, always with the intention of adding artificial water. I did not want the moisture from the artificial water to soften up the white glue, so I used two-part epoxy instead of white glue back then. So far so good. So I painted it up and started pouring the first layer of Vallejo Still Water into the fountain. Everything looked good. The next morning I inspected my work and it still looked good. I picked it up and all the MDT layers came apart and the artificial water which had not completely dried started seeping through the gaps. Seems the two-part epoxy reacted with the artificial water as well. 😦 I quickly clamped everything together and for the next couple of days I kept it clamped together while pouring the next layers. The idea being, that the clamps would push it together and prevent if from coming apart again and that the water inside the fountain (and between the layers) would keep it stable and in one piece. After all this was done, the piece spend a couple of days atop the radiator to make sure it dried completely. After I removed the clamps it all stayed in one piece. Now I had to repaint parts of the fountain to mask the gloss where the water had come through, the spots where one could see the gaps in the MDF and the clamp marks. Then I added ripples with Vallejos Water paste and it was done. More effort than I wanted for this small piece, but in the end, it looks good.

Village Fountain

Village Fountain

Village Fountain

Village Fountain

And last… Martin and I have started playing some Star Wars Armada lately. Now we have decided to concentrate on one faction each. Martin will play the Rebel scum and I the glorious Empire (which does not mean we will not swap sides from time to time). Anyway, right now we have three core sets between the two of us (Martin has two, the other is mine), plus an extra set of Imperial fighters and one each of the ships from the Wave 1 expansions. And while I play the Empire, I felt this was too many Corvettes and Frigates in the Rebel fleet for them all to look the same (lets face it… I am not that likely to field 3 Victory class Star Destroyers in one game anyway), so I decided to give mine a repaint. I gave both quick diluted black wash to make the details stand out more. The Corvette got highlighted in tan and sand colours while the Frigate was highlighted in Ivory and White. For the Frigate I decided to paint the red markings over completely and replaced them with blue chevrons that run over the whole forward hull to enhance the shape of the ship. The Corvette just got the red markings overpainted in blue. Added some engine glow to both of them that was it. Nothing special, but it took less than an hour, which is fine by me. I guess starting December I will start (re)painting the Imperial ships and fighters, but I guess that will be more work, since I do not completely like the base colors of the ships (they do not look like they do in the movies to me).

Star Wars Armada - Corelian Corvette

Star Wars Armada – Corellian Corvette

Star Wars Armada - Corelian Corvette

Star Wars Armada – Corellian Corvette

Star Wars Armada - Nebulon B Frigatte

Star Wars Armada – Nebulon B Frigate

Star Wars Armada - Nebulon B Frigatte

Star Wars Armada – Nebulon B Frigate

 

Game report USMC Recon vs. Russians

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!

Table set-up [Minis no yet in their starting positions]

Table set-up
[Minis not yet in their starting positions]

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.

Russian starting position

Russian starting position

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.

USMC advance on the right flank

USMC advance on the right flank

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.

Russians taking up defensive positions

Russians taking up defensive positions

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.

Russian Tankers spilling out of the warehouse

Russian Tankers spilling out of the warehouse

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.

Marines advancing on the left flank

Marines advancing on the left 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.

Russians taking cover between shipping containers

Russians taking cover between shipping containers

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.

Russian Tankers trying to get to their ride

Russian Tankers trying to get to their ride

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.

 

More painted modern Russians

More painted modern Russians

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.

Russian Dismounted Tankers (Red Star Miniatures)

Russian Dismounted Tankers
[Red Star Miniatures]

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:

Russian Tankers

Russian Tankers

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):

Russian NBC troops (Eureka Miniatures)

Russian NBC troops
[Eureka Miniatures]

And these are the ones I painted the other week to beef them up:

Russian NBC DShK A³ Machinegun (Eureka Miniatures)

Russian NBC DShK A³ Machinegun
[Eureka Miniatures]

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.

Russian NBC Mortars (Eureka Miniatures)

Russian NBC Mortars
[Eureka Miniatures]

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.

Russian DShK and AGS 17 (Red Star Miniatures)

Russian DShK and AGS 17
[Red Star Miniatures]

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.

Russian Kornet team (Red Star Miniatures)

Russian Kornet team
[Red Star Miniatures]

Russian Kornet team top view (Red Star Miniatures)

Russian Kornet team top view
[Red Star Miniatures]

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.

 

Bundeswehr

Bundeswehr

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:

Bundeswehr Kampfpanzer Leopard II A5 (KWS II)

Bundeswehr Kampfpanzer Leopard II A5 (KWS II)

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.

Bundewswehr Flakpanzer Gepard

Bundeswehr Flakpanzer Gepard

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!

Bundeswehr Marder A3

Bundeswehr Marder A3

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.

Bundeswehr ABC Spürpanzer Fuchs

Bundeswehr ABC Spürpanzer Fuchs

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.

Bundeswehr Unimog

Bundeswehr Unimog

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.

Bundeswehr Scharfschützen

Bundeswehr Scharfschützen

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.

Bundeswehr Fallschirmjägergruppe

Bundeswehr Fallschirmjägergruppe

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.

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 1

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 1

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.

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 2

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 2

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 3

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 3

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.

Bundeswehr forcemultipliers

Bundeswehr 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.

 

SpetsnaZ

To finish off last weeks special forces posts, here are some who will face those already posted on the styrofoam fields of glory… Russian SpetsnaZ.

Now it is hard to write something about these units like I did on their NATO counterparts. For one the term SpetsnaZ refers to all the different units the Soviet Union (and now Russia) had. [EDIT: SpetsnaZ stands for Otryad Spetsialnogo Naznacheniya, meaning: troop for special purposes / functions in English.] All the branches of the Russian military, the police and secret services have at least one unit and western literature frequently mixes them up.

The unit I have gone for is modeled on the GRU GSh (Glavnoye Razvedyvatel’noye Upravleniye Generalnovo Shtaba, meaning: Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff in English). Their primary missions are sabotage, assassinations as well reconnaissance and direct support for regular forces. Especially the former two were what attracted my attention. In my hypothetical WW III setting Russian attacks Europe and a unit like that would be needed to attack force multipliers behind NATO lines. This is only underlined by the fact that this unit was tasked with taking out nuclear first strike weapons even inside the US.

The unit itself was created in 1949 and there are currently nine brigades and one battalion attached to various military districts. Exact numbers are hard to establish, especially since these men wear regular uniforms (usually airborne) to make sure they do not blend in. This is not only done in an attempt to confuse other nations intelligence, but also to keep them secret within their own nation and military. In combat these men have full choice of weapons and equipment (even western).

Spetznav

Spetznav

The minis above all from Devil Dog Designs, the sniper being a slight conversion. I feel these were some of the finest DDD did back then and they are not that far behind some of the minis produced today. But I painted them nearly a decade ago and one can clearly see how much my style (especially with the skin) has changed since then.

 

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!

 

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!