Monday, 8 November 2010

US Armoured Infantry For “Secrets Of The Third Reich” Project

These “West Wind Productions” models are from the ‘Secrets of the Third Reich’ ‘blister’ US-SOTR-1 “US Amoured Infantry”, but also form part of the SOTR-SP03 US Armoured Infantry Starter Box Set.

All of the models were initially treated to an undercoat of Chaos Black, before their shirts and ankle armour were painted with Dheneb Stone and Devlan Mud. Their body armour was first treated to a coat of Knarloc Green before being given a combined wash of Thraka Green and Devlan Mud. However I just used Knarloc Green and Thraka Green for their helmets, in order to make them stand out a bit more. Their trousers were painted with Calthan Brown and Devlan Mud. Although for the odd model (not pictured) I have used a combination of Dark Flesh and Devlan Mud. All of the gas masks' breathing apparatus and eye lenses were painted with Boltgun Metal before being given a wash of Badab Black.

Back in January 2010 I got hold of a couple of US-SOTR14 ‘US Battle Suit 50 Cal HMG–Comanche’ models second-hand (as part of a pair of SOTR-SP03 ‘US Armoured Infantry’ starter sets). At the time I complained about how dissatisfied I was with the models' joints and that even after some significant drilling and pinning, and some liberal applications of (various) superglues, I still found that the arms continued to droop or the torso fell apart. In the end, I resorted to some generous ‘dollops’ of "Milliput" to ensure a ‘fit’. I was never happy with the final result as I felt that the putty around the arms was so obvious, especially after I managed to fit the second model together without anywhere near as much "Milliput".

In the end, this unhappiness ground me down and in a moment of madness I pulled the beast apart in order to start again. I don't know what shocked me the most, the sheer amount of putty I had used or the fact that it was still soft despite some eight months of being on the model! Anyway, after half an hour of careful scraping, I managed to clean the limbs and set about re-attaching them to the body using "Games Workshop" "Modelling Putty (Green Stuff)". This stuff worked like a charm, and quickly set. Thus I was left with just the problem of repainting the 'damaged bare metal' areas of the battlesuit.

Previously the model had simply been painted with Knarloc Green and a wash of Devlan Mud and Thrakka Green. This time I painted the 'bare metal' areas Dark Flesh in order to build the foundation of a simple camouflage scheme. I painted over a few of the other areas of the model with Dark Flesh as well to expand the pattern. Then I added 'blobs' of Dheneb Stone to these areas and finally some further 'splotches' of Chaos Black. I gave the Deheneb Stone and Dark Flesh areas a wash of Devlan Mud to dirty them up and tie-in better with the rest of the model's Knarloc Green/Devlan Mud/Thraka Green paint scheme. However I still wanted to show that some of the battlesuit's parts had been recently replaced/patched up, so I simply picked out the odd piece of armour with Boltgun Metal and Badab Black.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

An Impulse Buy At Colours

A last minute impulse buy at "Colours" on the 11th September 2010 has resulted in me painting more miniatures in a couple of months than I can ever remember having done before. True, they're my first 'true' attempt to get to grips with the world of 10mm as opposed to my usual 28mm miniature world, but by my standards I've 'slapped a lot of paint on metal' these past couple of months.

The purchase in question was a £20 bag containing a "World War Two German Winter Army Pack" by "Pendraken Miniatures" ( I've always had a hankering to refight Stalingrad but never managed to get the project off of the ground. This time though I was determined to see the thing through. It took another week for the popular 10mm World War Two ruleset "Blitzkreig Commander" to drop through my letterbox, and another couple of weeks for the 'reinforcements' I needed from "Pendraken Miniatures" to arrive, in order for me to be able to field both a 1,000 point German Early Eastern Front Battlegroup and a Russian Early Eastern Front one as well. In addition I also purchased some resin Russian Village buildings, trees and decals from "Pendraken Miniatures". As you see I don't do things by halves.

I've currently made three of these areas of woodland, which for the purposes of "Blitzkreig Commander" will be Impenetrable High Area Terrain. The bases are 1.5mm ply wood movement trays from Fenris Games ( with a selection of PNTR1 Deciduous trees 35mm high, PNTR2 Deciduous trees 48mm high and PNTR3 Deciduous trees 50mm high stuck to them with 'green stuff'. The bases were then flocked using some 'sand' I bought elsewhere at "Colours".

Ordinarily I simply base my (28mm) models with "Games Workshop" sand and after a coat of PVA glue to ensure it remains in place, I leave it at that (having added some clumps of static grass). However, having been so disappointed with the the dour effect I'd previously experienced simply gluing “Games Workshop” “Citadel Snow” directly on top of “Modelling Sand” I went just a bit further and actually painted the sand with Chaos Black. I then drybrushed the bases with Dark Flesh and Dheneb Stone, before treating them to a wash of Devlan Mud. Once protected with a seal of PVA glue, I then applied 'drifts' of “Citadel Snow” to the base (as well as to parts of the trees).

This resin building is PS42 WWII Russian wooded village hall and proved a joy to paint simply (and hopefully effectively). The main wooden structure has been painted with Calthan Brown, whilst the window and door frames were painted with Dark Flesh. Both areas were then treated to a wash of Devlan Mud. The thatched roof was first painted Iyanden Darksun, then washed with Devlan Mud before being drybrushed with more Iyanden Darksun.

This 'second' building was painted in exactly the same way, and is PS40 WWII Russian thatched barn with wooden walls. Both buildings were then based using the same technique as used for my areas of woodland.

Having compiled an 'infantry-heavy' initial 1,000 point German Battlegroup, I still found the points to 'get in' some armour. These are GR77 Panzer I, GR186 Panzer Ib and GR196 Panzer III E/F 37mm gun. I do plan for some of my future armour to have camo patterns but for now 'i just want to get them on the table', thus I went for a simple 'field grey' look. The tanks were initially painted Adeptus Battlegrey before being given a wash of Badab Black. I then drybrushed them with more Adeptus Battlegrey. Their tracks were then 'picked out' with Boltgun Metal, before being washed in Badab Black.

These three units of Waffen-SS are made up from the mixture of miniatures found within the World War Two German Winter Army Pack. As the majority of my infantry units were to be Heer, I wanted these 'bases' to stand out from the regular troops, so gave them all 'field grey' helmets and simply stuck four miniatures to a base, as opposed to the five (which seems the 'BK norm'). Their winter uniforms were simply painted Astronomican Grey before being drybrushed Skull White. Their helmets and the odd piece of field-kit was 'picked out' with Adeptus Battlegrey and washed with Badab Black. Their flesh was painted with Tallarn Flesh, and their rifle butts with Dark Flesh. Both of these areas were then washed with Devlan Mud. Finally, any gun barrels were painted with Boltgun Metal, and washed in Badab Black.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Unternehmen Seelow - "Landing At Lymington"

This is another battle report to 'showcase' my homemade ruleset Unternehemen Seelowe. I've increased the number of special units involved to provide an opportunity for me to once again explain their rules as the narrative progresses. For example, German Para Drop Armour Me362 and more importantly the first of my American forces. In addition, since "The Battle For Bognor", I've updated my ruleset in order to make those Units who can't actually fire more powerful, and therefore be more 'on par' with their 'shooty brethren'. I've also tried to incorporate a bit more information in my photographs, not only about the game mechanics but perhaps what the miniatures themselves were thinking at the time :-)

All the miniatures are from "West Wind Productions" "Secrets Of The Third Reich" range.

This third in a series of battle reports covering the German Reich’s (fictitious) invasion of the United Kingdom in September 1940, sees an Axis force attempt a sea landing at Lymington; a town on the English South East coast, which is currently doubling as a base of operations for a small American force. Each army costs 150 points.

Once the table was laid out, five objective markers were placed for the forces to fight over. These were positioned at strategic areas of interest on the battlefield and consisted of: (1) Lentune Inn – which is situated in the centre of the battlefield; (2) a road (to the Northwest) which turns North deeper into England; (3) a T-Junction on Lymington’s main town road; (4) a field to the Southwest and (5) a coastal farm, located to the Southeast. The encounter would last for ten turns.

The British deployed their Heavy Machinegun Team, Snipers, Bren light machinegun carriers, and two companies of riflemen to the west. Whilst the Americans positioned their two companies of U.S. Armoured Infantry and two U.S. ‘Comanche’ battle suits to the East. The British Parachute Regiment (consisting of one unit of Red Berets armed with Carbine rifles, a second armed with Bren light machineguns and a Recon Airborne Transport (R.A.T.)) held the centre of the line.

The Germans positioned the majority of their Undead units to the east, in order to take the farm [Objective Five]. To the west a single company of Mech Grenadiers armed with Assault Rifles was expected to capture the field [Objective Four]. The rest of the German force, including its Luftwaffe contingent and a Panzershreck team, prepared to rush to the North and challenge for the Inn.

At the start of the first turn, the Allies won the initiative and immediately took Lymington’s T-Junction [Objective Three] with their American contingent. This was followed by the British Regular Army reaching the town’s Northern road [Objective Two] and the British Parachute Regiment pushing south towards Lentune Inn.

In reply a mass of German Zombies and Werewolves reached the farm [Objective Five], whilst the field [Objective Four] was taken by the Mech Grenadiers armed with Assault Rifles. Inspired by the leadership of the Red Baron, the German centre struck Northwards to contest ownership of Lentune Inn. To support this, the Panzershreck team opened fire upon the Red Berets armed with Carbine Rifles, who were ‘screening’ the R.A.T. and killed three of them.

At the start of Turn two, the British Parachute Regiment reached the Lentune Inn [Objective One], and finding it uncontested (yet), dispatched its Bren Light machinegun company further west to support the US Allied contingent. Their extra four firepower was in desperate need, as the Americans opened fire on the horde of Undead that was moving towards them from the Farm [Objective Five]. Three Zombies crumpled to the earth. In the meantime, the British Regular Army also started to fire at the fast approaching German Luftwaffe but without any success.

As the majority of the German centre continued to push North towards the Lentune Inn, the Red Berets once again came under fire from the Panzerschreck Team (as well as from German Snipers). Having effectively lost the protection of its Infantry support on the previous turn, the Recon Airborne Transport (R.A.T.) found itself staggered by two hits despite its Heavy Armour.

Conscious of the anti-tank rockets that were already pummelling the Allied centre, the Americans decided to take the attack to the Axis and pushed South towards the Farm [Objective Five]. Covering the infantry’s advance, the 50 cal Heavy Machineguns of the ‘Comanche’ Battlesuits began firing on more of the oncoming German Zombies, but the walking cadavers Undead flesh seemed imperious to their firepower. Slighty West of the centre of the battlefield the British Regular Army continued to fire at the oncoming German Luftwaffe, and finally scored two hits on the flying menaces. Further West, the British Heavy Machinegun Team opened up upon hearing the howl of a fast-approaching Jager Werewolf. The Undead creature roared with pain as it was twice struck by the bullets.

Spurned on by the pain of the its wounds, the Jager Werewolf leapt into the British Army line and tour at a company of Infantry carrying Carbine rifles. Amazingly though, only one of the brave Tommies fell before its slashing claw and fangs. Across the battlefield, its werewolf brothers heard its bloodlust, and moved up North towards the American troops currently fighting off the German Zombie packs. Once again the R.A.T. became the focus of the Panzerschreck Team’s attention. But this time its Birmingham Steel Heavy Armour plating held it in good stead.

Eager for living flesh, the German Undead Zombie packs finally got their teeth into the American forces. A well-placed chomp penetrated the armour of one of the Battlesuits, whilst four US Armoured Infantrymen fell before the claws of two German Werewolves. In the centre of the battlefield, a rocket from the Panzerschreck team hit the R.A.T. again.

It was clear to the Allied Command that they had to hold their Eastern flank against the German Undead horde, if Lymington was not to fall, so orders were quickly given for the second US Armour Battlesuit to engage the Living Undead in hand-to-hand combat. Driven on by the loss of their comrades, the American infantry swung their rifle butts at the snarling Jagerhund Alsatian, and the beast miraculously went down under the blows. Meanwhile the British held Western flank continued to fire upon the Luftwaffe, scoring another two hits on the three flying German battlesuits.

Realising that the American Contingent could collapse if placed under enough pressure, a company of German Mech Grenadiers joined the melee taking place just North of the Farm [Objective Five]. In the centre of the battlefield, just North of the Lentune Inn [Objective One], more German Mech Grenadiers also resorted to fierce hand-to-hand combat; this time with the British Commanders themselves. To the far West, the British Regular Infantry fighting off the vicious claws and snapping fangs of the Jager Werewolf quickly met their bloody ends.

Desperate to ensure they did not meet a similarly gory demise, the British Heavy Machinegun Team, turned their full attention upon the Jager Werewolf and poured bullets into the beast. Three struck the snarling fiend, but only a single round penetrated its unholy hide.

Incensed by the stinging pain of the attack, the were-creature leapt amidst the cowering Heavy Machinegun team and tore two of the three-man crew to bloody ribbons. North of the Farm [Objective Five], more American soldiers were also meeting their demise at the hands of the Undead Axis forces. To make matters worse for the Yanks, one of their US Battlesuits was close to being opened like a sardine tin by the claws of a Zombie Pack. Determined to stave off the great German offensive the British Parachute Regiment had previously moved south in order to firm up the centre of the Allied line. Now they fell heavily before the combination of the pinpoint accurate firing of the German Sniper Team and the raw explosive power of the Panzerschreck Team. When the dust settled the R.A.T. continued to stand, albeit with less armour plating than it carried before, but it now stood alone… the Red Berets carrying Bren Light Machineguns having been wiped out to a man.

It was clear that the Allied Army was close to losing ground, predominantly thanks to the German’s Undead horde ‘bogging down’ the majority of their forces whilst the Panzerschreck and Sniper Teams took their toll from a distance. Powering up the vehicle’s weapons the pilot of the R.A.T. was determined to turn this tide and gunned down one of the German sharpshooters. Inspired, the British Regular Heavy Assault Company (carrying Bren Light Machineguns) and the British Sniper Team engulfed the German Mech Grenadier’s armed with Assault Rifles in a hail of Tommy lead, and slaughtered them to a man. To the East, the threat of the Americans being overrun by Zombies was thwarted as a U.S. Battlesuit finally crushed one of the Zombie Packs in hand-to-hand combat. Beside it, the other ‘Comanche’ similarly despatched a company of German Mech Grenadiers.

Unfortunately, the Americans cheers were swiftly silenced as the Panzerschreck Team blew up the U.S. Battlesuit that moments before had been victorious over the Nazi Undead menace. Suddenly disheartened one of the U.S. Armoured Companies finally fell below the crushing jaws of the German Jagerhund Rottweiler. The were-creature was not to enjoy its meal for long however as the combined charge of the surviving American forces swiftly felled it.

The battle was fast approaching its climax as the British R.A.T. desperately waded into the German forces contesting the Lentune Inn [Objective One]. With a strike from one of its mechanically enhanced arms, the vehicle smashed a Zombie to pulp, before finding itself surrounded by the Undead fiends. Behind the Recon Airborne Transport, the British Sniper Team had just the time to shudder at the shrill howl of the Jager Werewolf, before the beast was upon them and had ripped them apart. Exhausted the Allied Forces began to slowly withdraw from the town, silent and sullen at the thought that the German’s had finally established a bridgehead for invading Britain.