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.
Yesterday (28th April 2019), Doug and I had our first game of 'Seven Days to the River Rhine' the new 'Cold War gone Hot' ruleset published by Great Escape Games. Both Doug and I had played 1980's Cold War games before wusing Cold War Commander, WRG and Cold War Commander rules amongst others so we had the miniatures and the terrain all ready to go. Seven Days to the River Rhine (7DTRR) is a battlegroup level set of rules. A model vehicle represents a single vehicle and a stand of infantry represents a section of infantry or a support weapon such as Milan or a Mortar.
We played using 6mm miniatures, I think they are from Heroics & Ross, from several decades ago. We played on a 6' x 6' gaming area. I like 6mm scale for Cold War gaming as I feel it gives a good representation of troop density and ranges.
My cold war miniatures are mounted on 40mm square bases. Each bases has a 10mm x 40mm info strip on it that gives the type of unit, weapon and armour stats, breakpoint and morale values. I find that this helps to make the units stand out,. This is quiet important with small models that are camoflaged to blend in with the surrounding terrain. The bases is also used as reference point for the direction that unit is facing and arcs and flanks.
The mission was quiet ambitious for an introductory game. 2 QUEENS Battlegroup were tasked with holding the two towns (top left). To achieve this mission they fielded 2 Platoons (6 bases) of Infantry, 1 Troop of Chieftan 5 (3 x MBT), 2 x Milan Posts, 2 x Stricker & 1 x Scorpion from Brigade Recce.
3 Guards Motor Rifle Regiment had a primary objective of capturing the towns with a follow on objective of capturing the road exit points. To achieve this they deployed a Motor Rifle Company (10 x Infantry mounted in BTR70) and a Tank Company (10 x T72A) with a Platoon on Regt Recce (3 x BRDM).
2 QUEENS Battlegroup OC located his command post in main town. Armoured element deployed at front edge of woods. Infantry and Milan posts dug in around edges of wood and built up areas across the Battlegroups frontage.
One of the key strengths of 7DTTRR is its command pool / activation mechanism. Each fighting element in your force (apart from attach helicopters) gives you a command point. Both sides role off for initiative. The winner goes first. You spend a command point to activate a unit or to perform a morale check. The first activation of a unit happens automatically. You can attempt to activate a unit multiple times, but for each subsequent activation the unit needs to roll more than the number of command tokens already allocated to that unit. In this case, the Chieftan to the left would need 3+ and the one on the right 2+ on a D6 to activate. Once you declare an activation, your opponent can spend a command token to attempt to interupt. There chance to do this is dependent what they are reacting to and how many tokens they have. This is rolled on a D6. a 6 is always a success and also makes you the active player.
In order to be able to play the game I made myself a set of NATO & WARPACT Command and hidden deployment tokens, which I have added to our tokens & templates page in case anyone else is interested in them.
3 GUARDS MRR advanced on 3 axis with a platoon of tanks in lead followed by infantry in APC's. This attack is looking stalled. First two T72's are destroyed and the 3rd has two morale markers on it. When you fire against an enemy target you roll to hit. This is based on quality of unit and tactical modifiers. If you hit you inflict a morale marker automatically as long as your weapon was capable of penetrating armor. You then roll a D10 and add your weapons penetration value. If your score is equal to armor the target gains maximum number of morale tokens, if it exceeds armor value the vehicle is destroyed.
On 2 QUEENS left flank heavy casualties are sustained by the relentless Soviet attack.
3 GUARDS MRR also suffer casualties, particularly when caught in the flank by a well sighted Milan detachment sighed on the spur of the hill.
Our first game ended with a marginal British win. The Soviet attack had suffered heavy losses and had not entered there primary objective.
Both Doug and I are looking forward to playing more of this game in the future. Our first game was pretty slow as there was a lot of rules reading, discussing and checking stats. The key part of the game is deciding when and how to spend your limited supply of command points to most influence the battle, and speed with this will come through playing the game.
British Army Chieftain Main Battle Tank
Over the last couple of days, I've had the pleasure to put together and paint this new kit.
Here's the kit laid out before I started. The body, turret and tracks are cast from a high quality lightweight resin, while the barrel, track guard and small pieces are cast in white metal.
I started by assembling the turret. These are the turret pieces laid out, before I started. Sloppy Jalopy has included a nice tank commander miniature. The Chieftain tank can be modelled buttoned down or with the hatch open and commander in hatch. This is the option that I have taken. The turret needs to be drilled out slightly to accommodate the generous lug on the barrel. I used a simple hand drill and needle file. A dremmel type drill could also be used.
The turret stowage bin, GPMG, cupola, hatch and smoke generators were glued into position using superglue. I use industrial strength superglue that I buy from our local builder’s merchant in a big bottle.
Here are the pieces laid out for building the hull of the tank. I have spent a bit of time with a craft knife and needle file to remove the thin web of resin from around the wheels, track and running gear. This is definitely easier to do before gluing pieces together.
At this stage I have glued the rear mud guards into position together with the lights at the front, the drivers hatch and a spare jerry can and chain link.
I have left the track guards off for now to make it easier to paint the tracks and wheels.
Here we can see the rear mud guards in position together with the two rear tow hooks. These were a bit fiddly, so a pair of tweezers was used to hold them in position until they had dried.
In this view we can see the position of the headlights and the front tow hooks.
Time to start painting. I painted the hull, turret and track guards separately using a combined primer / base coat spray. 'Chieftain Green' from the Battlefront Team Yankee range.
The tracks and the edge of the wheels were then carefully painted with a size 2 brush using Vallejo Black Grey paint. I did not paint the top track or running gear as it will be hidden by the track guard.
The tracks and wheels were then painted with a weathering product from AK Interactive called 'Track Wash'. This is an enamel based wash specifically designed for tank tracks. If you do not have any an alternative approach is to use a black ink or Army Painter Strong Tone.
Using a size 1 brush, I then picked out the detail of the GPMG, headlights and tow chain using Army Painter Gunmetal paint.
The next stage is to paint the black camouflage pattern onto the tank. I did think about masking and using black spray paint until I read how crudely the paint was applied, thinned down with petrol and either hand sprayed with axel grease used as a mask or painted with a broom in the REME workshops. In light of this, careful painting with a size 3 brush is more than adequate. Although the colour scheme is often referred to as black over IR green, the black is not really black at all, far more a dark grey. I used the same black grey that I had used for the tracks and mixed it 50/50 with black ink to get a dark grey / off black that flowed into detail well. All of the photos I'd looked at of Chieftains on exercise had about 1/3rd black, 2/3 IR green with 4 large stripes starting on track guards and then continuing to hull decking and turret.
It's not a hard pattern to apply, but you need to be bold!
Leave the base coat to dry completely. I left mine over night, before starting 'weathering'.
Weathering is the process of making the model look like it has not just rolled out of the factory door, but has seen a bit of use in the field.
I always start with my trusty 'Citadel' tank brush and apply a light dry-brush all over with Army Painter Gun Metal, paying particular attention to the tracks, wheels and corners were paint will scuff and scratch. Put a little paint on your palette, with a small brush or toothpick then just dab the tips off the tank brush in it, and paint up and down over a piece of kitchen roll until you have removed most of the paint from the brush.
The second stage of weathering was to start applying dirt/mud to the vehicle. Here I have used a Mig Earth weathering powder, applied with a dry brush. When I was happy with the build up, I dribbled some white spirit around corners and creases to draw the dirt to them. When the white spirit had evaporated, I sprayed the tank all over with Army Painter Matt Varnish to seal the weathering powder in position.
For the final stage of weathering I used some liquid mud from AK Interactive that I applied with my old toothbrush. This is a great technique to model the splatters of fresh mud that a vehicle picks up in the field. If you do not have the special weathering paint do not worry as you can really use and brown acrylic or enamel paint, although it needs to be of a good thick consistency. Put the paint on your pallet, dip the bristles of your toothbrush in the paint and then from a couple of inches away, and at pretty much ground level, draw your thumb across the toothbrush to send mud splatters over your vehicle. It makes your thumb really dirty, and is best not done on the kitchen or dining room table, as it can make a bit of a mess, but I think the result is worth it.
This is a great addition to Sloppy Jalopy’s range of Cold War vehicles, and I think that gamers collecting a BAOR based army have been awaiting it's release with some anticipation.
The kit is available from Sloppy Jalopy and Sally 4th mail order, and we will have kits available as Sloppy Jalopy’s show agents from next weekend (12th February 2017) at ROBIN, onwards together with the painted version in our display case. You can check out the shows that we are attending by clicking here, and you can view the Chieftain kit in our web store by clicking here.