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.
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.
Sunday 9th April 2016, Lewis and I had a great game of Combat Patrol TM set in the fictional world of 'The Winter of 79'
Combat Patrol TM is a unique set of skirmish level wargames rules, ideal for re-fighting platoon level engagements. Each figure is individually based but is part of a unit that it activates, moves and fires as part of, so a similar level of engagement as 'Bolt Action' for example. Although Combat Patrol was originally written for World War Two, the core mechanics are solid and very easily transferable to other periods and genres. Free supplements have already been written to cover the Russo-Finnish Winter War and the fictional 'Winter of Discontent' genre. Work is currently underway to release supplements for Napoleonic’s, Falklands, Aden, Borneo, Malaya, Afghan, Iraq and many other periods. The 'Winter of '79' is a fictional genre that proposes an alternative timeline when divisions in the country originating from establishments crackdowns after the Brighton bombing and NUM strike lead to armed conflict and regional breakdown.
Our scenario sees the border town of Abermule seized by Welsh Liberation Front (WLF) Militia. Barricades are put up to control entrance into the town.
The WLF forces consist of WLF Cadre (well trained and equipped deserters from regular and reserve forces) and WLF Local Force (newly recruited, enthusiastic and equipped with a mixture of civilian and military weaponry including shotguns, bolt action rifles etc)
The task of re-establishing control in Abermule falls to Lt Denby, 2 Pltn's two pip wonder, a banker by trade but keen 10 Para Subaltern one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. Calling his section commanders together for an 'O' group, he outlines the plan. No 1 Section will go firm making best use of cover and will lay down a base of fire to suppress the enemy to the front and hamper their redeployment. No 2 and No 3 section will go right flanking using the pub as cover to assault the enemy by section fire and manoeuvre. Pltn HQ will support right flank manoeuvre. Mortar Pltn have been warned off to support our assault. Are their any questions? Synchronise your watches, time is now 0642 on my mark. H hour is 0715.
In Combat Patrol, at the start of each turn a D6 is rolled for each leader to determine unit activation. An activation deck contains the minimum of the following cards, black 1-6, re 1-6 and reshuffle. These cards are shuffled and turned over for first unit activation. If the card turned was a 2, any units that had rolled a 2 would get to activate. If there were units on both side that had rolled a 2, they would get to roll off to see which unit activated first. Leaders can exert control by swapping their dice with their subordinates, so for example if Lt Denby had rolled a '2' for activation and No 1 Section Commander had rolled a '4' and the first card turned was a '2' and Lt Denby felt that the most import thing was to get No 1 Section moving he could swap his '2' dice with No 1 Sections '4' dice to get them moving.
As fate would have it their were a number of delays and issues that led to 10 Para being slow to cross the start line giving the WLF militia time to reposition their forces from the areas not threatened to those that were.
One of the key redeployments that the WLF got to make before they were engaged to the front was to reposition an Ex RM fire team into the first floor of a building diagonally across the street to the Pub with an excellent kill zone for their GPMG.
No 1 Section eventually make it to their fire position behind the pub car park wall put take casualties on the way.
Combat Patrol has a unique set of combat resolution mechanisms that take all of the tactical factors that you would expect from this level of wargame, including training, range, firer moving, target moving, wounds, out of command, rate of fire, cover of target and implement them via a streamlined set of card mechanics. This means the game flows really well without needing to refer to charts or rulebooks. One card is turned to resolve if the shot hit. If it hit a second card is turned to resolve the effect of the round hitting. The mechanism identifies the individual within the target group that is hit. If they get a cover save the squad gets a morale marker to represent being under effective enemy fire, if not the individual is wounded or incapacitated.
When a unit activates that has 'morale markers' on them, they need to resolve these before they can act as desired by the player. Once again these are resolved by turning a card for each marker and applying the result. Results can be troops being stunned, retreating or pulling themselves together and are often dependent on the level of morale / training of the unit. Here the WLF manning the barricades had come under heavy fire from 10 Para and had a stack of morale effects to resolve when activated which resulted in half the squad regrouping to the rear.
Ex Booties set up their GPMG iat a first floor window and proceed to 'brass up' No 1 Section in the pub car park.
WLF local forces reposition them selves to face the advace of No 2 and No 3 Sections.
Initially caught in the open, No 2 Section move through the outbuildings at the back of the pub, and put down a couple of smoke grenades to mask their advance.
Unfortunately the WLF are now in a good fire position.
Meanwhile No 1 Section has split of their gun group under L/Cpl Nobby White to set up a fire base at the first floor windows of 'The George and Dragon' to enfilade the WLF positions
'Four Alpha, this is Alpha One Sunray, fire mission over' Lt Denby gets on the Company net and directs in a 'stonk' from the Mortar Section.
To the front No 1 Section puts down sufficient fire to effectively neutralise the WLF troops manning the barricade. Unfortunately 10 Para's casualties were such that at that point they needed to go firm and await reinforcements from Company assets, so for the purpose of the scenario and it's victory conditions the WLF, well led by Lewis won the day and held the town.
It was a very enjoyable and fast moving game of Combat Patrol, we are both looking forward to our next game.
Sunday 13th March 2016
Combat Patrol : Winter of Discontent Engagment.
Active service units of the Welsh Liberation Front (WLF) have taken contol of the town, sealing all road exists with barricades manned by WLF Local Forces. Meanwhile WLF Cadre units wait in the 'George & Dragon' for the arrival of a transit van containing arms and ammunition to extend their power struggle.
'A' Coy, 10th Bn The Parachute Regt (TAVR) have been tasked to clear the road blocks and bring the town back under establishment control.
During this routine operation they discover the arms exchange under way in the pub carpark and this becomes their focus of operations.
Rifle sections on routine patrol are diverted to redeploy to stop the arms cache leaving.
WLF Cadre (these are the well trained and drilled units made up of ex service personel and commited revoloutionaries), arrive and deploy out of the transit van to hand arms over to local groups.
WLF Local Forces man the barricades. These are less well trained and armed with older rifles seized from TAVR and Cadet establishments together with civilian firearms.
The second unit of WLF Cadre deploy out of the pub to take control of transit van and be on their way, however a fierce firefight soon develops between both units and No 3 Section rifle group and gun group, forcing the group around the transit to take cover, pinned in the treeline behind the pub carpark.
No 1 Section deploy into some shops. They deploy their GPMG in a first floor window to put down an accurate covering fire in support of No 3 section.
No 3 sections rifle group and gun group take cover behind a substancial stone wall that prevents several incoming rounds causing fatalities.
In a brief lull in the fighting the WLF make a dash for it in the trannie van. Unluckily for them a determined burst from the GPMG ignites the fuel tank and it brews up nicely.
First engagement a definite win for the maroon machine!