Hard Men – The Faces of War – Series One

Photo Ref feature ….

A few pictures I find interesting showing a little of the stresses, strains and hardships of war and the men who endured – a tiny view of the human side if you will. And something different from my usual focus of hardware and vehicles ….

The pictures were chosen for several reasons, some are classics such as the British Paras in Arnhem advancing towards the camera through a destroyed ruin and others add in some interesting details such as the pile of spent cartridge belts by the Middlesex Vickers team, the short lived use of the US Leopard camo uniform in Normandy and the bedroll slung under the gun cleaning tube on the Panther to name a few.

What always there, well to me anyway, is an underlying feeling of tension, of things to come, even in the pictures of relative calm like those epic dudes from T Patrol LRDG or the Normandy Commando sniper team waiting to move out …

Anyway I have tons more in my stash and hope to add to this series sometime ….

(all from open web sources and included only for discussion)


ps The pictures open into a gallery and each can also be viewed “full” size from there ..

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.



Early plan for the layout


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.

Craigs board

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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)


















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










Kabul at night.


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.


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.


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





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.



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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unttechnical 45 y4545y

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syrian technical

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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 ……………


M113 reference pics

A pic or two for Danl …… M113’s with the trim vanes extended and being used for stowage, these are the best I have but I do have others also. Out of interest on my M113s I chucked on a couple of other common US battlefield mods too. Forward facing exhausts which were used to keep the rear compartment clear of fumes when running with it open and with a smoke grenade tied to it or placed in it, it was used to pop smoke in dense bush. Added road wheels as applique armour but more interestingly specifically over the gas tank on the left rear hull, reading a bit I found that the left mounted gas tank was one reason for commonly mounting RCLs on the right hand side too …. and finally dirt filled boxes on the rear decks to give a bit of extra cover to the troopers.


“C” Company, 5/60th Inf, 9th ID

M106 mortar track 2/47th Infantry “Black Panthers” 9th ID

And two both with extnded vanes, 3/5th cavalry “Black Knights” 9th ID on a sweep out of FSB Bastogne.