This area of the website is my hobby blog, it contains articles about games that I have enjoyed playing together with paining and model making articles.
We have just released our 28mm pillbox range to prepare for the release of operation Sealion by Bolt Action. These are made from layers of 3mm MDF so when built has a wooden look to it. As they were built from concrete during World War Two we painting and te4xtured them to give them a more realistic look.
For this you will need Sandtex masonry paint, which you are able to buy from any DIY shop. An added bonus is that they come in tester pots so you don’t need to buy a big galleon can from the shop. You will also need an old brush to dry brush, and another old brush for PVA glue and some sand.
Step 1: Coat the pillbox in a thin layer of PVA glue around the pillbox. Avoiding the door and the top of the pillbox.
Step 2: Then sprinkle the sand over the pillbox trying to keep it away from the door hinges so it can still open and shut. Also on the inside of the pillbox keep the top of it sand free so that the pillbox roof can still fit it.
Step 3: Once dried we use a chocolate masonry paint to undercoat the pillbox. We recommend using water to thin the paint first so it's not to thick and can get in between the sand,
Step 4: We then use “Mid Stone” masonry paint and dry brush the pillbox. To dry brush put a small amount of paint on the brush then using some old card/paper towel get rid of any excess. Then lightly brush the pillbox so the raised areas get painted.
Step 5: Then we use an “Ivory Stone” masonry plaint for the final dry brush on the pillbox to complete the concrete look.
This is a nice and easy technique to paint the pillbox even for beginners. It took me about 30mins to do one pillbox form start to finish. Hopefully this guide will help you get the realistic pillbox look for yours. This technique can also be used for other modern buildings to get the look of concrete.. I’m currently working on some African buildings, for these I’ll need to a dry dirty look so in my next post I’ll take a look of weathering techniques.
For further details see: WW2 British Pillbox
Over the last month I have been putting together a platoon of 28mm WW2 Dutch Infantry using the figures from May 40 Miniatures. This article is very much for gamers who want to get an army painted quickly and in use on the wargames table. May 40 Miniatures has a great guide for those who want to spend a lot more time on painting, shading, highlighting etc. My goal is always to get a section of 10-12 miniatures painted from start to finish in a two hour painting slot.
I'm a big fan of clear bases for individually mounted figures, so I started by clipping the metal plinth off using my Games Workshop Yellow Clippers. The figures were then superglued on to a temporary MDF painting base, and primed with Army Painter white spray paint.
Using a large brush apply a good layer of Vallejo Dark Blue Grey (paint no 157) over the miniature. It does not really matter if you get this over the equipment or hands, as these will be painted latter, so I do this stage very quickly.
I like Vallejo Sunny Skintone (paint no. 020) for flesh, so carefully painted the figures face and hands with this.
The next stage is to paint all of the leather equipment, straps, pouches, sling and shoes with Vallejo Flat Brown (paint no 140).
The bread bag and any other canvas equipment the figure is carrying is painted with Vallejo Green Grey (paint no 106).
The wooden parts of the rifle (and the figures hair) are painted with Vallejo Saddle Brown (paint no 138)
Metal parts on the weapon are then picked out with Gunmetal coloured paint. I used an Army Painter variety, but ant brand will do.
The final color to apply is Refractive Green (paint no 090). Helmets are painted in this color, together with larger pieces of equipment such as mortar tubes, field guns and vehicles.
The miniature is then dipped in Army Painter Quicktone - Strong. This takes a bit of nerve the first time in case it ruins your painting. I hold the figure by its base and literally dip it into the pot, and then use an old brush to wipe off the excess. I leave it until I've dipped the whole batch and then go back over them with an old brush and a piece of kitchen towel to remove any pooling.
After giving the Quick Tone 24 hours to dry properly, I spray the miniature with matt varnish. I use Army Painter Anti-Shine and superglue on to aSally 4th clear perspex base.
He's not going to win any painting competitions, but using this tecnique you can easily paint a platoon of 3 sections and a platoon HQ in four 2 hour evening slots and get them on the table for a game by the weekend!
We wanted to have some additional forces for our participation game at Partizan yesterday (22nd May 2016) so I set myself a challenge to assemble, paint & base a Armored Rifle Platoon (55 all ranks and five M3 Halftracks in 10 days). This little project came in on time and budget. The vehicles and the infantry basing were completed late on Friday night, in time to pack and head down to Newark on Saturday morning.
I will add a post about the game and some photos of the infantry later in the week, for now here are some photos of the platoons vehicles.
The platoon is passing 'The House at Dead Mans Corner' to their right.
The Platoon is parked up in the town square of a Normandy market town. Buildings are from Sally 4th Normandy range.
Two of the half tracks are M3A1s. These belong to Platoon HQ and LMG section and both carry a 0.50 calibre HMG for immediate air defence. The other three halftracks that carry No2, No3 and Mortar section each mount a 0.30 calibre.
We have put together a package deal that contains all of the miniatures and vehicles to field a US Armored Rifle Platoon in Combat Patrol, Bolt Action or any other WW2 platoon level game.
Last night I made a good start on the 10 Day US Armored Platoon Project and completed the tasks in the plan for day 1, i.e assemble one vehicle kit and at least 10 figure.
In the end I got a few more figures put together than called for on the plan, but best to be ahead of the game as their is still a lot to do. The figures are going to be based on Sally 4th clear bases, so I used my side clippers to remove that ugly oval plinth that figures are cast on , and then filed the bottom of the models feet flat. The figures were then glued onto temporary mdf bases ready for undercoating and then painting.
I need to assemble and paint 50 new figures and six vehicles for the World War Two, Normandy game that 'Buck' Surdu, author of Combat Patrol and I are putting on at Partizan on Sunday 22nd May 2016.
The M3 Halftrack's that I am using are based on the finely detailed Rubicon 1/56 scale kit. I really like this model. Assembly is good and straightforward and their are lots of options to make each vehicle unique. The kit can be used to make either the M3 or the M3A1 variant. I need some of both, the platoon commander’s halftrack and MG sections halftrack both mount 0.50 calibre HMGs so they will have M3A1 variants.
The options that are included with kit are:
I have used some of the spare items from the Warlord Games US Infantry plastic box set to further customise each halftrack with personal belongings such as packs, helmets, bags, field glasses. spare weapons etc.
I have not glued the MG cupola of the driver and passenger in place yet, to make it easier for painting.
If you have not come across Combat Patrol yet, we have lots of information about it and free downloads on our website. It is an innovative and exciting set of WW2 rules. The rules are very detailed, covering just about every tactical modifier that you could imagine, but the rules are very simple and straight forward to play due to streamlined design and clever use of special cards for combat resolution. A game can easily be played with two players each commanding a reinforced platoon, which is the same level of game as Bolt Action. However, Combat Patrol can easily be used by more than 2 players due to the way that the activation rules are implemented.
Every time that we put on a big game at a show I end up promising my wife that it will never be that way again; the next time we will only book in a game once we have all of the terrain made and the figures painted and based. The intention is always there at the start, but being a ‘normal’ wargamer the desire is always their to do that little bit more or to do it that bit better.
Partizan is on Sunday 22nd May 2016, doors open to the public at 10:00. I’ve known this for the last six months as we have been booked in with a trade stand and a participation game for that amount of time. We are putting on a World War Two participation game, set in Normandy on or around the 8th June as allied forces landed by sea attempt to overcome German resistance to link up with airborne forces holding strategic positions across the Cotan Peninsula. The game is being played using Combat Patrol, the new and innovative set of WW2 skirmish rules by ‘Buck’ Surdu. We are very fortunate that Partizan coincides with Buck being in the UK on business, enabling him to join us to showcase his rules. When I made a list of the 28mm WW2 forces that I had available, they seemed a bit short for a participation game that we hope to attract significant interest so with 10 days to spare I decided to assemble, paint and base a new army for Combat Patrol and Bolt Action. When I say an army, to be fare we are just talking a platoon as this is the level of action that Combat Patrol and Bolt Action are set at. However, I wanted this to be a historically accurate ‘army’ so researched the correct organisation for A Rifle Platoon of the Rifle Company of a US Armoured Infantry Battalion in 1944.
Rifle Platoon, Rifle Company, Armoured Infantry Battalion
60mm Mortar Squad
The plan is to use the fantastic Rubicon M3/M3A1 Halftrack kit, Warlord Games US Infantry plastic box set plus Warlord Games Metal Blister Packs for support weapons. Luckily Sally 4th stocks all of this stuff so no delay in getting started!
The rough timeline is as follows:
Day 1 (Tuesday) – Assemble 1 x halftrack & Assemble 10 x Infantry
Day 2 (Wednesday) – Assemble 1 x halftrack & Assemble 10 x Infantry
Day 3 (Thursday)– Assemble 1 x halftrack & Assemble 10 x Infantry
Day 4 (Friday)– Assemble 1 x halftrack & Assemble 10 x Infantry
Day 5 (Saturday)– Assemble 1 x halftrack & Assemble 10 x Infantry – Paint 10 Infantry
Day 6 (Sunday) Paint 5 x Halftracks
Day 7 (Monday) Paint & Base 10 Infantry
Day 8 (Tuesday) Paint & Base 10 Infantry
Day 9 (Wednesday) Paint & Base 10 Infantry
Day 10 (Thursday) Paint & Base 10 Infantry
Day 11 (Friday) – Contingency – finish basing
Looks good on paper, we will have to see how it pans out over the next couple of weeks. I am planning to use the excellent PSC WW2 spray primers to give me a head start, block paint and shade with Army Painter Quick-tone, so we are not looking to win a painting competition but to get a force on the table with minimum fuss that looks consistant and historically accurate.
This year we are extremely lucky that 'Buck' Surdu, author of Combat Patrol and many, many more great wargames will be joining us to run a participation game at Partizan in Newark on Sunday 22nd May.
If you have not come across Combat Patrol yet, it is a truly innovative set of rules that deliver all of the detail of WW2 combat, up close and personal without any of the chart look ups and quick reference sheets to slow the action down. This is achieved through streamlined design and the unique use of ‘action cards’ for combat resolution. Combat Patrol delivers a great game for two players, but due to it’s unit activation system can easily accommodate larger numbers of players at club and convention games.
The game will be played on Sally 4ths recently released Normandy Terrain and will feature US and German Paras, Germany Infantry, and a relief force of US Armoured Infantry linking up from the beach.
The game will kick off around 10:30. You will be able to join in during the day. We have already had some keen Combat Patrollers advance booking places, so if you know you’re going to Partizan and you’d like to book a place, please PM me.
Tuesday 23rd Febuary 2016
Last Tuesday Nick and I got to complete our Combat Patrol introductory game that saw German & US Paras come to grips during a meeting engagment in a small Normandy market town.
Both sides had sensibly taken cover inside buildings and behind the solid churchyard walls. A very sensible precaution as Combat Patrol is a very detailed and realistic WW2 skirmish game, so as you would expect the consequence of being caught in the open in the kill zone of a couple of squads is deadly. Combat Patrol is written by a retired US Army Colonel who has served his time as a Rifle Platoon commander, and you can tell by the feel of the rules and the way that they flow.
The game uses cards in a unique way to provide detail with out slowing the game down and getting bogged down in charts and calculations. The cards have a lot of games date on them as they are used to resolve movement, shooting, melee and morale checks. When a figure shoots a card is drawn to see if the shot hits. This is determined by the little chart at the top of the card. You start at a different position according to your training. My US Para's were Regulars so they started one slot to the right on the chart. Then some modifiers are used depending on tactical situation, i.e. range, in command, wounded, target or firer moving. These are all summarised by icons on the chart and are applied by shifts to the right. My Paras were stationary, as were their target, and the enemy was across the other side of the street, hiding behind the churchyard wall so close range, meaning no shifts this time. On the chart, white 'splats' are hits, black circles are misses. My Para therfore gets a round on target.
To determine the effect of the round on target, we draw a second card and look at the area with a picture of a soldier, left centre of card. The number tells us the individual in the target area who has been hit, so I hit 3rd figure from left in target group and looking at the picture of the target, round had got him in the chest for a non fatal wound... however looking at the right part of the card tells me if their has been a cover save. This is displayed as icons, and luckily for Trooper Schmidt a wall obstacle is displayed. This means the round would have got him in the chest but was deflected by the stone wall, saving the individual. However, it is still a rounds on target situation so the squad leader takes a morale token for resoloution next time the unit activates to represent the suppressing effect of fire on target.
The US Paras had come on from the west and have moved through the buildings, taking up fire positions in the shops, waiting for the moment when the Germans in the churchyard are suppresed to cross the open ground in front of the churchyard to take the war to the enemy. We also had a sqad going left flanking throught the cornfields. On reflection, this was a mistake as it took for ever to move through it (half move distance through rough terrain) and it provided very little cover when the rounds started coming in.
The pivot point of the battle. The Germans in the Churchyard and Church tower were either suppressed or were out of ammo / clearing blockages so we decided to move out and cross the open ground. When you shoot, a few of the cards have Out of Ammo markers, if you draw this it represents you having a stoppage (for whatever reason) and you can not shoot again until you have used an activation to clear it.
Unfortunately the attack stalled, the Germans got a couple of activations before the US Paras could actually get into cover. The assault squad, caught in the open was destroyed, the flank attack was to slow so we decided the only course was to fall back and request reinforcments before risking a second attack.
Game one to Nick and the Germans.
Great fun. We cant wait to play again, next time introducing some armour to the mix.
Normandy 1944 US PIR face elements of 6 Fallschirmjager Regt in a meeting engagment.
Combat Patrol is a completely unique take on WW2 Miniatures gaming. It can be played with any size miniatures and the level of engagment is very similar to Bolt Action with players commanding round about a reinforced platoon.
Individual units represent half squads of around five miniatures, weapons teams or individual vehicles. What makes the game special is that it is highly detailed but enjoyable and fast to play due to the way that it has been designed.
Gameplay uses two decks of cards, an activation deck that determines the order in which units activate and an action deck that is uses for just about everything else. At the start of each turn both players roll a dice for each leader in their force (NCO's and Officers) and place the dice next to their unit. The activation deck contains Red 1:6, Black 1:6, Reshuffle and some special cards that for example give elite troops an extra activation. When a number card is turned over, all squads that have that number on their dice get to activate.
The Germans main force deployed at the far side of the town behind the church yard and proceeded to move up towards the town centre using the churchyard walls for cover while a second section deployed on their left flank and slowly advanced through the jumble of back yards and outbuildings. The Germans in the churchyard demonstrate text book fire and manoeuvre, putting down a base of fire with LMG as riflemen leapfrog past them. Late war Fallschirmjager do really benefit from having 2 x MG42 per section allowing one to be deployed in each squad.
The US Paras quickly move up and into the buildings edging the town square and attempt to set up their .30 calibres in sustained fire mode at first floor windows, however the devistating fire that the Germans poor into the building delays their progress as each time they activate they need to deal with morale effects before they can continue with their mission.
As both sides consolidate their positions, casualties begin to mount. The way that Combat Patrol deals with combat is very elegant. Figures get a number of shots each activation, which is determined by the weapon they are using and range to target. For each shot a card is drawn from action deck that determines if the shot has hit or not. This resolution uses a mini chart on card and takes into account quality of shooter, range to target and if either shooter or target is moving. If a hit is scored a second card is drawn that determines the effect of the shot. Icons on the card illustrate what type of cover will protect the target, which figure in the group is hit and whether wound is lethal. Regardless of whether a wound is caused, target gains a morale marker that needs to be resolved before they can act again. The card mechanism also deals with out of ammo / blockages in a neat way.
Typically the Germans get a squad into the Church tower that gives them an excellent field of fire over the town square.
Here, my opponent draws a card from the action deck and we can see the range of information on each card that allows it to be used to determine movement distance, resolve shooting against infantry and vehicles, the effect of HE fire, morale tests and many more without the need for using complex charts and reference sheets.
The game is to be continued, so I will update the post when it is completed.