Airfix Jackals – take 2 …. or more

More Airfix modern goodness …..

We have some more Airfix Moderns on the bench (including a Coyote, Warrior and hopefully with a couple of WMIKs thrown in later). Got a few resin and PE goodies for them so they are getting the royal treatment for a change vrs just some nice paint 🙂

Not too much to see as basic assembly is underway. Lower hulls are in place, replacement resin wheels on and the side PE screens attached, enough to allow the next steps which pretty much need the crew positions to be sorted out first.

Q

 

afx jackal-2 022 1020

afx jackal-2 023 1020

afx jackal-2 030 1020

afx jackal-2 032 1020 2

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Modern Combined Arms 28mm wargaming rules – Empress Miniatures

Empress – Queeg project update ….

Just a quick note that we’re excited to let people know that we’re currently working down the path in developing a set of modern wargaming rules with the lads at Empress Miniatures. The rules are aimed Company Battlegroup / Combined Arms sized games and are a larger scale partner to the Empress Danger Close Skirmish rules. Aimed at around a reinforced Infantry platoon with support teams and around 6 – 9 vehicles per side it does however scale up or down easily depending on your game preference (or megalomania) 🙂 Either way it’s a chance to get some of those lovely vehicles on the table …..

As you can see in the post below this one testing is currently going well and even better than we expected. Anyway, we (the Queegs – Craig and I) look foward to being able to update on progress and also post what are going to be some supporting and interesting modelling projects.

cheers
Q

From the Empress Face Book page …..

Empress Miniatures
May 20 at 9:12pm

Just thought that we should share some information.

We are currently working on a set of rules for ‘BIG’ games. Containing tanks, vehicles, infantry units, helicopters, support artillery, etc. In other words a set to recreate true war scenarios at company, and perhaps larger, on your table in an evening.

Working with Brent (Queeg) and Craig (one of the original guys behind Skirmish Sangin), the project is aiming at bringing a very full on modern reenactment experience to a table near you with us not forgetting that this is a tactical game that is designed for entertainment. Play testing of the mechanics are under way and working well.

Release date is difficult to say but we are aiming for early next year or ASAP as we want to play them ; )

As stated early days but we will update you all as they develop and no doubt get into asking for ideas, opinions, help, etc in the not too distant future.

Here are few pictures of the original play test to add a bit of atmosphere.

Cheers,
Paul

Modern Rules Testing – v01

New rules set testing …..

Haven’t posted for a bit as we’ve been working on a new modern Battlegroup/Company rules set which is currently at the concept proofing stage. Craig managed to scam some time off work, came up for a visit and we did some rules thrashing. Can’t go too much into rule mechanism detail yet but basically we started with a platoon infantry game to make sure the basics worked and then escalated into tanks, MICVs and Platoons.

ps the pics are raw as they are straight off a phone but they should give an idea of the scale and movement etc.

Game 1

A meeting screening engagement between Russian and American Infantry platoons. Each platoon is split into sections which are further each split into two fire teams.

The first turns saw the cunning Americans moving two sections up to a tree and scrub covered ridge while the bulk scarpered along using the ridge as cover to move into a small village. For their part the brave Russians advanced up to a ridge line commanding both a view of the opposite ridge and a valley in front of the village.

Fire was exchanged with some teams being pinned but recovering and little overall effect until Big Willie Apiata (attached to a US team for morale purposes to give it some “extra stiffness”) stood up to taunt the Russians. The Russians were at first offended but then changed tack and focused the fire of three teams onto Willies Team, causing first one, then two casualties and finally wiping it out in the crossfire. The second team (same section) watched Willie go down and panicked, dropping their packs and legging it back towards the Company CP (which was unfortunately off-table).

The remaining US teams stood firm but the longer range fire from the more spread out US infantry was sporadic, variously suppressing or pinning but failing to cause Russian casualties. In desperation the US brought on an MATV to try and stabilize the line but it was targeted by three RPGs from the Russian Infantry teams who had gone on overwatch. Before it’s M2 could lay down some pain two rockets had whistled close by with the third catching it squarely and ending the US hopes.

Game 2

The second game was an escalation to test the vehicle and AFV rules in concert with a decent amount of infantry. Each side had 4xMBTs, 2xMICVs and 1 Infantry Platoon.

The US infantry drove into the village and debussed from their Bradleys which then took up blocking positions on the flank. Two Abrams slowly moved through the village to provide support while the infantry took to the buildings and walled gardens. Two Challengers (on attachment) moved onto a ridge on the opposite side of the start line to provide a balanced threat.

The Russians balance split their forces with two T90s, a BMP3 and Infantry moving into an elevated farm complex. The other BMP3 and Infantry (plus HQ) advanced onto the central ridge line while the T80 section tried advancing into hull down positions on the left flank to try and prevent the Abrams down the valley moving out of the village.

The Challengers advanced up onto the ridge into hull down positions and rapidly made short work of the T80s, the Riussian dice apparently having been tampered with during a coffee break. One Challenger stayed on Overwatch to engage the T90s across the valley and one advanced to close with the infantry and flank them. The Russian infantry RPGs couldn’t penetrate the advancing Challenger and resorted to harassing fire trying for a miracle hit (lucky 12’s always hit). A Konkurs team attached to the platoon HQ got off an ATGW shot but as the Challenger had moved around a ridge ending out of sight it could only score a glancing hit, pinning the Challenger.

The BMP on the ridge debussed its infantry and engaged a Bradley which had broken from the cover of the town but at long range and partially behind some cover it missed. It then had to back off the ridge as to avoid both the flanking Bradleys and Challenger. On the other side of the table shots were traded for a bit but due to positioning the 2 Abrams managed to trade with the T90s one at a time, eventually knocking both out in turn while suffering only 1 pin.

Finally the BMP in the farm complex had a lucky escape when an Abrams shot ricocheted (a double 1 is always a miss) when it only needed any roll over 2 to hit. It was pinned and popped smoke to cover itself until its crew could recover and move back. Infantry on both sides exchanged fire but with the Americans and Russians in buildings the cover and range prevented any real casualties. Eventually with their armour gone and the Russian infantry now getting flanked the brave green men had no choice but to pull back under the cover of a smoke screen and plot their rewenge.

Q

01 rusinf 010

01 rusinf 332

02 usinf 331  2

03 rus inf 33 2

03 rusinf 4556

03 rusinf 4557

04 usinf 33

07 usi twn 11 2

08 usi twn 12 2 2

09 rusinf 338

10 usinf 33

11 rusinf 4555

11 usinf 333

12 dice

13 Bigwillie

13 usinf 339

14 matv  3  x1 2

SPETSNAZ – Empress Miniatures 28mm conversions for FIRETEAM

Spetsnaz conversions …….

Some wicked Spetsaz in Gorka (mountain – windproof) uniforms which hopefully will see use in our Fireteam skirmish games. They’re being made by our friend Jon (and are from his collection) who’s also a superb painter and a bit of a Soviet nutter. The figures are made from Empress Modern Russians with head swaps (plastic from the Perry Africa Corps set) and the odd equipment embellishment made from greenstuff.

They’re painted in the universal windproof Gorka combat suit which comes in quite a range of tans and olive greens and now often with a camouflage patterned shoulder section. I’ve attached a few reference pics filched from the web (for purposes discussion only).

And a quick word about the Spetsnaz as it can be quite confusing knowing who’s who.

In general Spetsnaz is a term globally used to encompass Russian (and Russian and ex-Russian states) special forces. Spetsnaz literally means Special-Purpose (spetsialnogo naznacheniya). Broadly speaking Spetsnaz units fall under the command of three branches;

Spetsnaz GRU – Soviet (Russian) Ministry of Defence special forces
These include Ground Forces, Naval and Airborne Spetsnaz units.

Spetsnaz FSB – State security (KGB-FSB) special forces
Counter terrorist specialist units such as Alpha Group

Spetsnaz MVD – Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) special forces
Internal policing troops such as Special Rapid Response Units (S.O.B.R.) and various local named OSNs (Special Purpose Detachments) such as the 25th OSN Merkuriy (Smolensk).

I might expand on these guys a bit more later as Special Forces are something we’re planning as a FIRETEAM supplement, when we get organised that is, maybe a kickstarter would help, or a kick in the “a….s” more likely 🙂

Q

jspn gk 022

jspn gk 038

jspn gk 030

jspn gk 023

jspn gk 024

jspn gk 036

jspn gk 037

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Some Gorka equipped Spetsnaz reference pics (from open source web sources and included for discussion only)

modsov spgorka 22-2

modsov spgorka 222-2

modsov spgorka 233

modsov spgorka 236

Empress Miniatures Delta Force 28mm – FIRETEAM

Delta Force ….

The start of our Special Forces venture which will hopefully include some new units to add to this one as well as eventually USN Devgru (SEALs), SAS and FSB/Spetnaz.

And some background;

The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), popularly known as Delta Force, is the U.S. Army special operations unit tasked with such missions as hostage rescue and counterterrorism, direct action and reconnaissance against high-value targets. It’s the US Army counterpart to the possibly better known United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (or DEVGRU), also often referred to as SEAL Team Six.

Formed in 1977 under command of an ex Green Beret Officer Charlie Beckwith, it’s exact composition and strength is classified although some known sections include;

A Squadron (Assault)
B Squadron (Assault)
C Squadron (Assault)
D Squadron (Assault)
E Squadron (Aviation)
G Squadron (Advanced force operations, Reconnaissance and Surveillance)
Combat Support Troop (Contains WMD Experts, Breachers, and other specialists)

Q

emp US8 Delta  1250 v2

emp US8 Delta  inf 1100cu v2

emp US8 1000 v2

emp US8 t2 1000 v2

And some refs (from open web sources and included for discussion purposes only)

delta 554

delta 556

USarmy Delta  Tom Spooner rtd

delta 559

delta 553

hqdefault

Empress Miniatures Taliban Insurgent Infantry 28mm – FIRETEAM

Men in pyjamas …..

Taliban Infantry from Empress, while aimed at more modern Afghanistan conflicts they are equally useful for the period back to and including the Soviet Afghanistan War of 1979 – 1989.

A little background might be of interest …..

Talk Afghanistan and the common thought is “Taliban” insurgents as the opposition forces. This however is a simplification of the long running real life situation. Officially the Taliban are an Islamic Fundamentalist political movement which Allied coalition forces removed from power in October 2001. The primary driver for this being the destruction of Al-Qaeda organisation who were using Afghanistan as a training base and safe haven under shelter from the Taliban.

Since then the term Taliban has been broadly used to describe those forces fighting the coalition and the Afghan National Government forces attempting to reunify the country. Those forces however come from many and varied backgrounds. Some are hardcore Taliban fighters, some are Narco criminals whose poppy and opium production (a major export of Afghanistan) has been disrupted by the fighting, others are Jihadist opportunists, suspected agitators from nearby countries and even disgruntled farmers and tribal cabals who have lost family in the conflict.

Q

emp TALI1 900 5lg

emp TALI2 900 5lg

emp TALI3 900 5lg

emp TALI4 900 5lg

emp TALI5 900 5lg

emp TALI6 900 5lg

And as usual a few ref pics …. (from open web sources included for discussion only)

ref tal 002

ref tal 009

ref tal 011

ref tal 012

Empress Miniatures Modern USMC Infantry 28mm – FIRETEAM

Empress 28mm Modern USMC Infantry …

Some more Empress 28mm Moderns we painted (my brother Craigs brushwork) for Skirmish gaming with our FireTeam rules. The figures are in the USMC exclusive Desert Marpat camouflage pattern and have a mix of equipment probably suitable from the early 2000’s through to almost present day.

USMC Marpat was introduced in 2002 as a replacement for the shared service BDU series of patterned combat uniform and is available in two patterns, desert and woodland. Initially based on the Canadian Cadpat pattern it also introduced elements of Tiger Stripe and Rhodesian Brushstroke patterns and even manages to work in the Marine Globe and Anchor into the pattern.

Interesting trivia – As the MCCUU (Marine Combat Corps Utility Uniform) uniform system is designed to be both used for general work/fatigue duties and combat, new regulations had to be introduced forbidding it to be worn off base unlike the older general fatigue uniform.

Q

emp USMC1 900 5lg

emp USMC2 900 5lg

emp USMC3 900 5lg

emp USMC4 900 5lg

emp USMC5 900 5lg

And some useful USMC uniform references (from public web sources and included for info/discussion only) ….

A Marine with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, sights in on his M-16A2 automatic service rifle during tank integration training with Company C, 2nd Tank Battalion, at Camp Baharia, Iraq, Nov. 2, 2004. When combined with tanks, the infantrymen put tanks in a position where they can effectively use their weapons and prosecute targets, using the tanks to their advantage on the battlefield.

A Marine with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, sights in on his M-16A2 automatic service rifle during tank integration training with Company C, 2nd Tank Battalion, at Camp Baharia, Iraq, Nov. 2, 2004. When combined with tanks, the infantrymen put tanks in a position where they can effectively use their weapons and prosecute targets, using the tanks to their advantage on the battlefield.

usmcref 002

U.S. Marine Sgt. Bryan Early, a squad leader with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, provides security for Marines moving to the next compound during a patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Dec. 22. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Austin Long)

U.S. Marine Sgt. Bryan Early, a squad leader with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, provides security for Marines moving to the next compound during a patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Dec. 22. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Austin Long)

040523-M-9382M-004 Marines from Company I, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, patrol on foot through downtown Surobi, Afghanistan, on May 23, 2004.  The battalion is conducting security patrols and civil assistance operations throughout the region in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  DoD photo by Lance Cpl. Justin M. Mason, U.S. Marine Corps.  (Released)

040523-M-9382M-004
Marines from Company I, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, patrol on foot through downtown Surobi, Afghanistan, on May 23, 2004. The battalion is conducting security patrols and civil assistance operations throughout the region in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. DoD photo by Lance Cpl. Justin M. Mason, U.S. Marine Corps. (Released)

usmcref 005

usmcref 007

usmcref 008

120322-M-PH863-005 U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Leobardo Nunez provides security during a census patrol through a village near Khan Neshin, Afghanistan, on March 22, 2012.  Nunez is an infantry automatic rifleman assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.  DoD photo by Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez, U.S. Air Force.  (Released)

120322-M-PH863-005 U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Leobardo Nunez provides security during a census patrol through a village near Khan Neshin, Afghanistan, on March 22, 2012. Nunez is an infantry automatic rifleman assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. DoD photo by Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez, U.S. Air Force. (Released)

FIRE TEAM – Russian Federation Ground Forces Infantry – Empress Miniatures Modern Russians 28mm

Back from the dead …….

It seems like another apology for an unforced absence is in order. 2015 started well but during the later half I struggled with various health issues that made modelling at best uncomfortable and when at worst – impossible. At present I’m back at the table and trying to catch up firstly and most importantly on commissions that are now very delayed and after those then hopefully to get back into some of our own projects.

Fortunately my brothers been picking up some slack on our modern Fire Team project and here’s some of that result, 28mm Russian Federation Infantry from Empress Miniatures, along with a few packs and simple conversions from their older Cold War range. The later figures are in the new Ratnik (Warrior) uniform system featuring new LBE, Coms and Armour Protection systems which have comparable levels of performance to those systems more commonly seen in Western Nations.  After being issued primarily to elite troops for trials the Ratnik system is now being rolled out to first line units with around 80,000 sets having recently been deployed.
Q

 

RUS01 1000 RUS02 1000 RUS03 1000 RUS04 1000 RUS05 1000 CWR06 1000 CWR07 1000

References and Painting

To go with the latest “Ratnik” uniforms the troops have been painted in the summer variant of the Russian pixelated camouflage. The “digital” style camo system was introduced around 2008 and is known as EMR or unified camo (as used by all armed forces) and the pattern is often called Tsifra, Tetris or “Digital Flora.” The other various colour combinations commonly used include Northern, Winter and Urban patterns.

We painted the figs to get an impression of the pattern rather than detailing the individual dots and used the following colours;

Coat d arms: Russian green for uniform
Coat d arms: Black Green for digital spots
Coat d arms: Panzer grey for weapons, gloves and some(little) for digital spots
GW: Tallarn flesh and elf flesh blend/highlight with gryphone sepia wash for faces
Any yellow paint and several layers of sepia wash for lens of glass goggles
Vallejo: Iraqi sand for drybrush dust – use lightly and very dry…

Useful Ref Pics …….

modru inf 023

modru inf 041

modru inf 025

modru inf 076

SABOT Tank vrs Tank skirmish wargaming rules – part 1

SABOT Tank rules …..

sab pg 000

sab pg 004

Though I’d do a quick (ish) post and give a little background on part of the reason behind the revival in our tank replacement and production program. Sounds a bit like a 1930s re-armament program when put like that doesn’t it ….. 🙂

For really deep background we’d have to start with our 20mm collection which was/is mostly made up of models over 20years old (and that’s the assembly and painting, not the kit/mould age lol) and generally in pretty poor shape. Some time ago we decided to retire our old collection and sort of start with a new broom as my building and painting had somewhat improved over time. Actually we thought it’d be nice to have vehicles and troops as good as the stuff I was building and sending out to my customers. But as in all things other projects jumped in and apart from some Project ’46 stuff our 20mm replacement program really went nowhere.

Recent Motivation

Advance to today, well recently anyway and the major thing that got us moving again was finally locating faux fur with the right density to cut down and use as a gaming table cover. This has been on our “badly want” list for a long time and was another factor stalling our 20mm gaming. The fur once trimmed will allow proper grass cover for our whole table, with HD foam formers underneath creating undulating terrain and using place-on buildings, woods and roads etc. The great thing about the fur base is that it’s equally good for all scales, from 20mm through to 28mm and 1/48th, and maybe even 1/35th . . . hmmmmm.

So that fired us up to get back into 20mm gaming and to get our collection updated. After a bit of thought (unusual for us) the quickest bang for a buck collection wise was to focus on vehicles and the best way to use them would be for me to get my Tank vrs Tanks rules sorted out.

And so after all of the above this is why we’ve been working on tank platoon building, for use with our SABOT rules.

Gaming fur 001 1024

And so what is SABOT?

Well basically it’s the core of our standard WW2 ruleset but expanded and focused on Tanks. The goal was to have a set of rules backed up by a first principles vehicle generator system which would allow us to create relative stats for any AFV from the WW1 A7V to the latest ultra-modern T14 Armata, and everything in between. Opposing forces can then be selected using roughly comparable AFVs and then with points values so that balanced forces can be fielded.

SABOT has optional RPG elements to it also and you can take your AFV crews through a campaign or series of battles, improving their skills and their chance of survival and success as you go. Of course crew losses have to be replaced which is done using battle experience points gained from battles. Don’t have enough EXP? then your replacement driver is going to be “Green”. Crews cost points which is added to the base AFV cost so that the total force points cost is a combination of crews and AFVs. The fun is in seeing whether your veteran crew can really make enough of a difference to win against superior numbers ….

But at it’s core we really wanted SABOT to have a Tank only – WOT feel, but without the match fixing and behind the scenes result adjustments you get in WOT. Here good tactics and a little luck rolling the dice will determine success and you can instantly feel elation rolling a lucky 12 or pain coming on with a roll of snake eyes …..

Rules Mechanisms

In SABOT each vehicle is moved individually with activation alternating between the two sides (or players if it’s a multiplayer game) and each activating one vehicle at a time until all have performed actions or been “passed over”. Each vehicle/AFV has three activation points which can be used in any way the player wishes, ie the AFV can move for 3 AP, or it can mix other actions such as move 1AP, halt 1AP and spot a target for 1AP. Vehicle characteristics such as mobility, rate of fire, gun accuracy, range-finding equipment, turret rotation speed, optics quality and others all help determine what actions can be attempted and how effective they might be.

Crew skills (fixed for the basic play version) are determined by the level of experience and training. A “trained” crew makes all it’s activation dice rolls and tests with a base value of 7 on 2d6. The system is also a “roll equal to or higher” for success as we feel it’s more natural when rolling dice to try and roll high. So when attempting to shoot a target for example, the base to hit roll required is 7 and this is then modified by both the firing vehicles actions and the targets range and actions.

The effect of successful hits is determined by both players rolling dice (2d6) with the firer adding his roll to his AFVs weapon penetration. The target player adds his dice roll to his AFV armour value, which is dependant on the location of the hit (front, side, hull down/turret, rear, top/bottom). These dice rolls allow a measure of real-world variation to the results, so a weapon of penetration lower than the target vehicles armour value still has a small chance of causing a damaging hit. This represents that lucky hit which finds the gap in the armour belt, the drivers vision block or smashes the gun tube. Likewise there is a remote chance that a smaller vehicle could bounce that potentially crippling 8.8cm hit …. for a turn at least.

Gameplay example

The best way to illustrate the gameplay flow and the use of the 3AP is (hopefully) with one of our gameplay examples;

sab gameplay

And some random pages below showing where we’re headed with the SABOT system …. still very much a work in progress 🙂

cheers
Q

sab pg 015-16

sab pg 019-20

sab pg 021-22

sab pg 025-26

sab pg 038

sab pg 053

sab pg 052

FIRE TEAM Air Support – Hasegawa 1/48th AV8B Harrier

Fire Team air support …….

In between life issues I managed to get a little work done on the USMC air support part of our Fire Team Skirmish gaming project. The 1/48th Hasegawa Harrier is assembled and waiting the addition (purchase) of a pilot and underwing stores as the kit comes with nether. This is the first plane I’ve built in many many years and I was definitely a little rusty. This boy has some tricky fit issues too, especially around the upper wing and lower ventral stores/undercarriage areas. A little filler and like most of my builds I’ll make up for it with the paint ….. that’s the theory anyway 🙂

Q

av8b - 048 1440

av8b - 044 1440

av8b - 046 1440

And a little inspiration for the Harrier and the Cobra/Viper I’ve got to build ….

av-8b-harrier-imgur-aircraft-2790165-1600x1016

e4c93e2b5bf68a1d6626774c1645146c

AGM-114 Hellfire loaded by members of the USMC(MWSS-373) onto A USMC AH-1W SuperCobra at Tikrit

FIRE TEAM – 28mm Modern Skirmish wargaming – Rules testing 2

Rules testing . . .

Oddly although this is titled “rules testing2” it’s actually the first part of the game that I managed to get a few pictures from (see the US pics in an earlier post). And of course we’ve played a few more than 2 games 🙂

Anyway the game went as follows,

A British section (2 Fire Teams plus command) went on a routine village foot patrol unaware that the villagers had fled and the insurgents moved in in some strength. The first few turns were patrolling for the Brits with the Insurgent commander rushing on off table fighting groups to strengthen their hold on compound 67 in the town centre.

The insurgent commander brought in some (admittedly largely inaccurate) harassing mortar fire to suppress and force the Brits to go to ground while he positioned his forces. After a turn recovering (straight-forward with no casualties to complicate things) the UK infantry teams worked forward taking the insurgent positions under fire. Again the results were largely suppressive but it allowed the Fire Teams to close up into assault positions while hastily called in support (A Warrior MIFV) arrived.

The Warrior moved up and opened fire but after causing one observed insurgent casualty it’s fire was unable to breach the thick compound walls. The insurgents then unleashed a hail of RPG fire causing the Warrior to first button up and then neutralising it with several hits (2 direct hits which luckily failed to penetrate). The harassed British then called in the local US heavy force (with a Marine Abrams to breach the compound) and withdrew to seal off the perimeter of the village.

Q

The UK Infantry start enter the edge of the village for a “routine” foot patrol ….

ft uk atc 200

ft uk atc 201

The Insurgent Commander observes the Brits and orders up his reserves by cell phone, then calls some harassing fire from an old soviet mortar. Widely inaccurate (or just unlucky depending on who was rolling the dice) the crew blamed their lack of success on rusty ammo.

ft uk atc 210

ft uk atc 211

ft uk atc 212

ft uk atc 214

ft uk atc 215

An old WW2 era Soviet 82-PM-43 mortar is called in to suppress the UK Infantry

ft uk atc 216

ft uk atc 217

The Brits call up some fire support in the shape of a Warrior and work their way forward, suppressing and pinning the insurgent firing positions.

ft uk atc 219

ft uk atc 220

ft uk atc 221

ft uk atc 222-2

ft uk atc 223

The Insurgent Commander orders his fighting teams to drive back the steel beast with RPG fire. Two misses and 2 non-penetrating hits cause the Brits to call in heavier support before they retire, sealing in the perimeter and closing in the insurgent escape routes.

ft uk atc 232

ft uk atc 231

ft uk atc 233

FIRE TEAM – 28mm Modern Skirmish – USMC AH-1Z Viper and AV-8B Harrier

Fire Team Aircraft and Helicopter Supplement ….

For those of you that look in from time to time, sorry for the absence. I’ve been pretty crook and this is the first time I’ve been able to sit at the PC (let alone model) for a couple of weeks now. Anyway in keeping with our USMC vehicle theme some 1/48th aerial support arrived from China recently, a Hasegawa AV-8B Harrier and Kittyhawk AH-1Z Viper.

Both kits look packed with detail but the Kittyhawk Viper really is a nice piece of kit. Colour markings plates with instructions, canopies come sealed in a cardboard box to protect them, PE, 3x markings options and even a set of resin rivet’s to add detail.  Soooo looking forward to getting into these guys a bit later.

On the rules front things are also looking good with the Aircraft and Helicopter Data and rules supplement basically done and the Combat Vehicle supplement not far off either. All in all after years of neglect (we have home rules written for just about everything (period/type wise) that just need some tidying up) our moderns are coming together nicely . . .

Q

Hasegawa 1/48th USMC AV-8B Harrier II

AV8B - 001 1024

Kittyhawk 1/48th USMC AH-1Z Viper

AH1Z - 001 1024

FIRE TEAM Rules layout teasers

FT scs pg5

FT1 p0

FT1 p1

FT scs pg67

FT scs pg19

FT scs pg8

FT scs pg17

FT scs pg51

Aircraft and Helicopter Data and Rules layout teasers

FTAS1 p1

FTAS1 p2

FIRE TEAM – 28mm Modern Skirmish wargaming

Rules testing ….

A few pics from a recent 28mm Modern Skirmish game being used for playtesting one of our rule sets. Nothing too fancy as it was more to test concepts and to make sure our WW2 rules would work (with the necessary adjustments) in a modern setting. Anyway it was a chance to push around some of my vehicles with my brothers figures and on his cracking Afghanistan / Middle Eastern terrain.

The game was actually the second in a series, the first being an ambush conducted against a UK Infantry patrol. This game featured US Special Forces called in to bring some heavy firepower to bear on the fortified compound located in the first game.

Vehicles are MATVs by Empress and a 1/48th M1A1 by Gasoline (M1A2 converted to USMC)
Figures are Special Forces by Empress and the “Insurgents” are mostly Empress with some Radio Dishdash.

enjoy
Q

HOQFT - US001

HOQFT - US002

HOQFT - US003

HOQFT - US004

HOQFT - US005 3

HOQFT - US006

HOQFT - US007

HOQFT - US008

HOQFT - US009

HOQFT - US010

HOQ Modern Rules

Afghanistan Terrain Project – Spotlight No2

Spotlight No2

Been doing some background planning and collecting refs for an upcoming Terrain board project. While it’ll be used for modern Afghanistan skirmish gaming the loose plan is for it to be generic enough to be used with WW2 Desert (maybe Perrys hmmmm) and even fantasy style “Conan” games. Anyway building this will hopefully scratch an itch I’ve had for a long time to make a diorama quality 4’x4′ gaming board ….. if all goes to plan that is.

So the first stages are to gather refs pics, both good looking terrain boards for ideas and inspiration and real life refs which are the ones posted in this spotlight. The next stages are to salt away materials such as grass matting and foliage and to plan the construction properly as I want the board to be able to be fully transportable.

Q

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Early plan for the layout

afgh1234

Cork to use for rock formations. The beauty of cork (and slate) is that they have a naturally occurring fractal pattern to them and are essentially “scaleless”.

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The board my brother made for Afghanistan Skirmish gaming a couple of years ago. Sadly now it’s been broken up to make standalone terrain pieces but we learnt a few useful tips and tricks while making this.

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Afghanistan Terrain Reference Pictures (Note a couple are from Iraq)
Of interest is the wide variety of terrain types and the pleasing (to my eye anyway) mix of desert and yellow colours and quite heavy and green vegetation.

(Pics taken from freely accessible web sources and posted here for reference and discussion only. Should any owners wish them removed please contact me)

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<> on January 25, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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Kabul at night.

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Technical Vehicles – Spotlight No1

The first of a new series for me where I “Spotlight” on something interesting or relevant to what I’m modelling or gaming. Or just because it’s cool ….. that works for me too.

The first Spotlight is on Technicals and not meaning the tricky stuff either. Basically we’re talking about improvised weapons carriers, typically utilising the ubiquitous Toyota Hilux or similar ute type vehicle and occasionally including light trucks. I need to build a couple to use in our skirmish games and like most projects I undertake it’s off to the web to see what info and pics are available. The loose plan is to source a couple of 1/43rd die cast pickups and give them the Queeg treatment, stripping them down, rebuilding and repainting.

So the purpose of the Spotlight series is to collect and share a little of that info in one place, and here it’s a picture series of Technical vehicles from various conflicts showing differing weapons configurations (and even armour) that may be of interest to anyone wishing to construct their own Technical model.

A little Background History

Probably the most recognised widespread and publicised use of civilian unarmoured vehicles as a weapons carrying raiding platforms was by the SAS and LRDG units in the western desert during WW2. It is this light, mobile and fast attack role that Technicals are most suited for as despite their sometimes heavy weapons fit they are no match for direct combat with well used regular forces.

Technicals are commonly seen on the African continent with particularly widespread use in the Somalia and Chad conflicts. More recently it was Technicals and their mobility that helped the Taliban take over Afghanistan in the early ’90s. Current Middle Eastern conflicts such as those in Libya and Syria also see widespread use of Technicals. Where used successfully they can be seen using hit and run – rapid attack and withdrawal type tactics which play into the weapon systems strengths.

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Note none of these pics are my own personal property but have been copied from open web sources and are shared here only for the purposes of discussion …. should anyone viewing believe they hold copyright over any images and wish their removal please contact me.

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Technicals reportedly being used by the Taliban including the bottom vehicle which is being employed by Special Forces in an anti Taliban role.

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Interesting modification involving the fitting of a BMP turret to a frame mounted on the rear deck. Very dodgy looking in my opinion …… a flimsy angle iron frame and bad welding. On the plus side the dudes are rather nattily dressed.

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A couple of heavier Technicals from the sub continent. Light trucks are often seen as weapons carriers too which shows the variety of platforms that can be utilised to construct model and gaming Technicals.

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Middle Eastern Syrian and Libyan Technicals showing a huge variety of cannibalised weapons systems including many ex air-to-ground rocket and gun pods.

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A unusually light class of technical – not recommended due to it’s limited mobility off-road.

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To sum up I’ll leave it to Cookie to have the last word ……………

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Challenger 1 ODS – Cromwell Models 20mm finished

Calling it done for now …….

I’ve called finished on the Gulf War Challenger 1 for now. I tried to scratch build a commanders weapon station and it looked rubbish so until I can pick up a cheapy/damaged or parts donor kit (Trumpeter or Dragon), it’ll have to do without. Apart from that I’m pretty happy with the finish, brushed with GWs and Humbrols as usual with shading done in oils which seems to suit me at the moment. My brother did donate me some odourless solvent for oil paints and it’s helped smooth out and reduce the graininess you get when thinning oils a little which has sold me a little more. Dunno what the differences are between it and turps but for the lack of smell alone which makes enamels usable again its well worth it.

Anyway I found some markings which also cheered me up enough to finish it off. The big TAC numbers and theatre chevrons are actually 1/48th Gasoline decals which fit perfectly while the number plates and badges are from the spares box. It just needs a few FV432s and maybe a Scimitar or two to go with it ….

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Challenger 1 ODS – Cromwell Models 20mm

But wait, another modern …..

Yup, just when you thought I’d come back to my senses another modern pops up, my 1/72nd Cromwell Operation Desert Storm Challenger 1. Posted some wip pics quite a while back now and finally it’s nearly finished. Shading and lining is done. The only major is that I didn’t get the commanders weapon station with the kit (it was second hand) and so I’ll have to make one. Also I don’t have any modern Brit 20mm markings so either I’ll have to paint them on or leave it plain.

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Operation Herrick British Battlegroup – Airfix 1/48 Warrior, Jackal, Coyote and Land Rover

Some group shots of the finished Brits …..

Taken last week before the convention, unfortunately they didn’t get on the tables as the games were scenario based battles between Taliban and ISAF Infantry with players playing three games with each side. The games were played in great spirit by all and I was jammy enough to have a bit of luck, winning 5 and drawing 1, although I’m claiming that one as a moral win for my Taliban as I prevented the ANA from gaining their objective. What I learned was that a mob of Taliban can look much more scary than their skill/stat lines would show (I took a force of 15 so many were really poor quality) and can tie up very small elite special force groups (5 or 6) unless they are handled very aggressively. We also used random event cards which ranged from being hilarious, pinning a sniper with “Jelly belly” to scary effective, my Tali boys being the target of a “fast air” strike and scattering in panic. All in all and even though the vehicles only got to watch it was great fun ……

And as for the Tankies themselves, the build wips are buried in my blog but to recap the Jackal, Coyote and Snatch are straight out of the Airfix box with only aerials added while the Warrior has had a bit more fiddling done to it, and needs a touch more as I still have the armoured glass windows to fit to the turret crew survivability kit. They are brush painted using both Humbrol enamels and GW acrylics and weathered with oils. Now to start building the others …….

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Afghanistan Battlegroup – Fire Team Modern Skirmish

Sneek peek ……

Only one pic, haven’t got any time for anything else as I’m packing for a weekend of beers with some gaming thrown in during the recovery periods. Managed to get everything finished late last night and ready for transport down to Wellington. They’re posing for pictures later next week and I’ll have to travel back down to Welly after that to collect them and back home here for packing and then shipping on to their new homes.

Kit/vehicle list;

M1A1 Abrams MBT – 1/48 Gasoline
Bradley M2A2 MICV – 28mm Empress Miniatures
M-ATV MRAP (x2) – 28mm Empress Minatures
BAE Warrior MIFV – 1/48 Airfix
Land Rover Snatch – 1/48 Airfix
Coyote 6×6 TSV – 1/48 Airfix
Jackal 4×4 PSV – 1/48 Airfix

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Oshkosh M-ATVs Empress Miniatures 28mm – finished

And close behind the Abrams the M-ATVS are also finished …….

The Empress Miniatures M-ATVs are now also finished. And yeah, as finished as they’re going to get for now but they still need stowage and suspension bits fitted to both vehicles (if you look closely you might just see the coil springs, swing arms and sump guard fitted to one of them). These were also finished in the same way as the Abrams, brush painted mostly with Humbrol enamels, detailing with GW acrylics and shading with oils.

They’re big units and we’ll see just how big once they get next to some of my brothers afghan buildings he’s been working hard on at the convention next weekend. Despite the time taken I think I’d like to do a third as a special forces SOCOM truck, as they have some nifty add on mods. Also we might make a couple of CROWs remote weapon stations which were fitted to all the later vehicles (2010 onwards), hopefully making them interchangeable and swappable with the OGPK manned turrets. They’d make a neat comparison to the OLD school Generation Kill style HMMVW unit that I want to build …..

And a list of changes and improvements ;

drilled out the manned turret windows and fitted armoured glass from clear scrap,
fitted a rear ammo ready use bin to the Mk19 turret,
added hatches and joystick traverse controller to both turrets,
added a Rhino IED jammer, mounting bracket, guide rod and wiring to one truck,
fitted an IBIS Tek front mounted tow bar with tie down strap,
added front coil springs, suspension “A” arms and sump guard to one truck,
fitted support chains to the cabin steps
added aerials (x4) to each vehicle,
fabricated coms/jammer transformer box and fitted to the upper rear hull on both,
added support frame and tie strap to the spare wheels,
fitted mud flaps,
added mesh to the rear storage boxes,
remodelled the rear Sat/comms antenna,
added rear mounted folding crew steps,
added lift rings to hull sides,
fitted emergency door pulls to one truck,
added wiring to the front aerial stands
fitted mirrors to the front, doors and turrets of both trucks,
added mesh to the front grills

Things to watch out for and that I’d improve next time ……..

The rear storage bin (entire deck and support frame) is located incorrectly, as it sits the rear wheels don’t have the correct distance between the wheel and mudguard to allow the same suspension travel as the front wheels. It needs to be raised higher so that the top of the frame is level with the roof.

Also on the rear vehicle the storage bins are longer, reaching back almost flush with the real hull. I suspect the floor might also extend back closer to the hull also but can’t find a clear picture of this area. As it sits as supplied any stowage in the back will fall out between the gap with the hull. I fitted a larger storage box from the spare box into each vehicle to fill this gap but it really the bins need to be extended and the gap between the frame and hull filled in with the large wiring conduits visible in this area.

Summary

Great casting and as supplied makes into a really nice gaming model. It’s also big enough to be able to go as far as you want to with extra detailing. I had a couple of casting holes (easily fixable with filler) and one turret casting had shifted off centre which I cleaned up as best as I could with a file. The rear storage area, frame and mudguard assembly really needs raising but TBH is not essential for gaming as not many will notice and it doesn’t detract from the impressive look of the finished model. And I have a cunning plan for glazing the main cabin windows for next time ……

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