Wargaming Musings?

I'm a bit of a butterfly in terms of my attention and sticking to gaming projects long term isn't my strongest point. On the bright side, atleast I flit between the same things. Expect an ecclectic medley of Moderns, Dark Ages, Quar and Early Wild West, almost all in 28mm... (with some 1/48 moderns thrown in... )

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Malayan Aborigines, Improvised armour and other conversion thoughts

I've been doing some more musings on conversions for Malaya (More they cry? Why don't you stop thinking and start painting?) - specifically regarding the aborigine irregulars that the Brits used, but then they sort of drifted on a bit. For the 'go paint something' readers, I'm getting there - the figures being stripped are getting there, I've just finished painting my sole remaining Malayan Policeman up as the guy in the beret from the 'Minuteman in Malaya' ad (below), painted up a sikh officer as a police jungle squad officer, and a WW2 resistance fighter as a planter (although I'll be doing a few as miners, as I've got a couple of quite American looking pulp figures which I want to use, and a CT attack on a mine will let me use white armed civilians in a reasonable number rather than just a couple at a time) I've started painting a Saladin & a Saracen....

I'll start off my list of conversion ideas and musings with Malayan Aborigines:

Some look quite oriental, whilst others look a lot more Polynesian/Mellanesian. For the purposes of gaming clarity, the non-oriental look will make the figures easier to identify on the table, and give the force a more characterful feel.

 Scheltrum do have a range of Borneo locals (who are the closest to Malaya in terms of ranges available) in the Dyaks in Kyaks range, but the figures look a bit crude and I'm not sure on the comparative size of the figures...

The next  possibilities are the Pulp Figures 'Mellanesian tribesmen'

They are quite 'cartoon savages' in appearance, but compared to some of the pictures from places such as Papua New Guinea, then they don't look so bad. I can see that I'd have to work on the weaponry and shields, plumbing for Blow-pipes and spears, but they are a possibility; especially given the pack of 'Westernised' versions I'll show later.

Brigade do a set of 'Pacific Islanders' which could also be suitable

They all wear loin clothes, and have a similar look to the pulp figures islanders. Again, the weapons might need some work, but are a slightly less hollywood possibility. They also have some 'Westernised' fighters, although I forgot to upload any pictures....

The only other possibility I can think of would be to go for a more 'Dyak'/Indian look

Whilst the Brittania range has a couple of westernised Dyak/Iban scouts, for a more tribal look the closest I've come up with are the Brigade Caribbean head hunter cannibals (Javaro? tribesmen from south america). They've got blow-pipes (although, too short) and a couple of other weapons... but I'm not sure if they are the look I'm really after. 

More thinking required, and I'll carry on looking at the Osprey illustrations and try to draw inspiration. I have a sneaking suspicion it might be a case of converting the Pulp figures; although I'm sure somewhere I've seen some other tribesmen (not pygmies) in loincloths and with blow-pipes. Maybe they were conversions? 

Which brings me to the next subject... Police Aboriginal Guards, a semi-uniform irregular force with a limited uniform, primarily armed with single barrel shotguns (there are pics in the Osprey)

Based of these and the Osprey illustration, I'm currently leaning towards conversions of Foundry Darkest Africa Uniform askari, converting their fezzes into floppy 'boonies' (or removing them altogether), along with doing a bit of work on the muskets to make them look more like shotguns. The negroid faces would also work better with the likes of the Pulp aborigines... speaking of which, the pulp 'provisional fighters' would probably make an appearance as less uniformed members of this force, although I'd be inclined not to bother changing their weapons across. It'll be a case of waiting with an eye on eBay for the Askari I think, as I've sold mine, and don't really want to pay full Foundry prices for something which I may only get a game or two out of...

Along a similar line, although with a more 'civilised' look are Malayan home guard & the Armed workers some rubber planters put together as a crude defence force...

I'm not too sure about figures for these chaps (and chapesses) - I've got the pulp figures students militia in floppy hats to use as rubber tappers, and a stray Kuala Lumpur detective (Based on the 'minute man in Malaya' picture, although I am beginning to think he might actually be a special policeman), but I'm not sure what else to use. Possibly some more assorted Chinese with rifles, and looking at the ladies in the bottom picture maybe some more 'military' types...  

I've still been thinking of adding more variety to my CTs, in addition to the Pulp Chinese I've already got on the model desk. Currently the challenge is getting the uniforms 'about' right (as in the top 2 photos) rather than having some 'suspects' in civvy gear like in the bottom one (who is being treated by a member of a Malayan Police Jungle squad)

I was looking at the Foundry Japanese, and came ot the conclusion that with trouser extensions and a little work on the cap, these guys might also work (the MRLA/CTs used lots of captured Japanese kit, so it isn't too great a step)

My other idea was along similar lines, and involved converting the Warlord SHS Japs with a modified GB/Woodbine Kepi head, but I do wonder if these will be a bit too skinny in comparison.

The Malayan Police are still posing a problem too - I may think about using Askari for them too, but I feel they look a bit too 'neat' for that, and the only other figures in semi suitable attire would be the Foundry Chindits, with heads swops and less webbing...

Western Officers might be easier - I'm hoping that one of the North Africa ranges out there has a chap in officers cap and shorts, to get this sort of feel

And the only other police contingent that I'd really be after would be the 'Jungle squads', who wore a fairly military set of fatigues

As they are quite equipment light, and being predominantly malay will be of slight statrue, I was thinking that some of the commando miniatures Borneo troops, and use the oppertunity presented by seperate weapons to use TAG kit to a) emphasise the diminutive stature of the troops and b) back date them slightly through the use of Stens & SMLEs

The more I look at civillians, the more aware I become of the range of outfits worn by the 3 main 'native' races (Malays, Chinese & Indian Tamils) - so I think a mix of vietnam civillians, Pulp figures chinese and maybe a few Afghan/indians should work well.

The final note is on some of the improvised armoured vehicles which were used - most of this will probably have to be plastic-card conversions of Dinky or Corgi vehicles of about the right scale I think, but no real plans on any of them yet...

Up armoured planters car

Malayan Police armoured car
Armoured train
British army 'armoured' dodge
Bedford Pig

During the early stages of the war, the brits used Brengun carriers, so I was thinking of using the Warlord Brengun carrier, with some of the boonie heads from MoFo/GB. The only problem is that they have cammo netting on, which will be a bit of a faff to cut off, but still, it's probably easier than me trying to sculpt some...!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Painting update (20mm) - Partisans & Soviet motor rifles support weapons

Time for another painting update - I'm afraid the pictures aren't as good as my usual output, mainly due to rushing and not having enough (artificial) light... Heyho. Hopefully you cane still get a feel!

First off, some more Soviet motor rifles. I've only just realised that one of the snipers was destined to become a partisan, but has snuck through the ranks. Not a major problem, I've one more figure left so he'll go to be a partisan instead and the 2nd MR platoon gets it's sniper support earlier than expected :) I've also got some heavier support for the Soviets (HMG, ATGM & RR) which despite not being in the FoF Orbats should come in handy for games...

The first of my Twilight 2000/post-apocalypse figures, in this case a female civilian with a sword. Not a subject I'd necessarily have chosen, but she came with the eye-patch wearing lady with sawn-off shotgun and long coat who I wanted for a partisan leader, and it seemed a shame not to use her for something. She might also make the occasional comedy appearance in CWGH when a band of refugees are transformed into poorly equipped partisans... 

And speaking of partisans... Yet more of them are done! A HMG for AA/ground use as appropriate in the scenario, 2 pics of some western/generic partisans, and a gaggle of 'Eastern' (read: Polish) partisans. The Poles are mainly Platoon 20 'WW2' figures (I use the ' ' marks as in the P20 catalogue they were marked as possibly be useful for other, later, European conflicts; which given the companies small 'Post Apocalypse' cough *not-Twilight 2000* cough range at the time seemed like a fairly broad hint. Certainly the kneeling guy with shotgun could have escaped Somerset yesterday, and I've tried to use generic muted colours and wellies to give the gear a more timeless feel.). The weaponry is a bit archaic, but most WarPact countries still had stocks of PPSh's in storage to dish out to civilian militia, so that's my reasoning...

Monday, 19 November 2012

More for Malaya

Another bit of a Malayan Emergency update - whilst rummaging through the internet for photo inspiration  I came across this sub-section of the IWM site, which had some I haven't come across before:

I was also wondering about adding more variety to the British by using Warlord Chindits (with separate heads) and using some of the Gripping Beast/MoFo separate heads (Boonie jungle hats and berets*) to make a few more useful types, including a flame thrower (there's footage of one in use in the IWM link - see, there's method to my madness!). The figures will need a little work - possibly trying to modify the SMLE to the jungle-carbine version (I think TAG do one, along with M1 carbines & Browning auto 5 shotguns), converting the boots and puttees into jungle boots  and slight modification to the neck to enable a good fit to be made with the head (something which I have done on the figures before - in that case to make Congo Mercenaries - http://xanderswargamingmusings.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/some-finished-stuff-awaiting-basing.html)

*From what I've seen, the only people to actually wear berets in Malaya whilst on active service were the Marines, and even then it isn't particularly common.... but it does look good!.

Eureka Tyrolean height comparison & review

Just a very quick update, using an old post I discovered lurking in draft form - a size comparison for the Eureka Tyrolean Rebel figures, against various other manufacturers of 'Empire of the Dead' type figures...

From the left: Old glory cowboy wars, Artizan, Westwind GH, Eureka, Westwind EOTD, Boot Hill & Design 28.

The Eureka figures are great - very characterful, next to no casting marks, and fit in almost perfectly with the likes of the Westwind Gothic Horror mobs. The only thing stopping my buying more is the fact that they aren't the cheapest (£2.25 a pop) and can only order 'types' (Musket and certain type of hat, as an example) of which it's possible to get 4 different varients....

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Plans - 20mm Cold War

Well, my last few 'Plan' updates have very much been talking about projects I'm hoping to start in the near future - but what about those I'm already working on?

I currently have about all the NATO partisans I'll need (+/- a few bits for special scenarios), about a platoon of British Paras (I say about as although I should have  ordered more  than enough, I'll not be able to confirm that I've got everything  need until I actually get around to laying them all out), assorted SAS/delta force types and a full platoon of Soviet motor rifles (either BMP or BTR transports, and not far off fulfilling a second platoon's worth of Infantry - think I only need another 10 or so assorted figures. I'll probably also get enough BMPs to make them fully mobile - so that'll be 4, including one for the company commander).

When various things in the post/Christmas present pile turn up, I should then be able to add to the list:
10x T72
2xNVA squads + Platoon Command
2xNBC kitted Soviet Squads
A few more Soviet support weapons
2x Scorpion/Scimitar Tanks
& 2x Chieftains

What else is planned after I get that lot painted (I had originally planned to give all the different WarPact forces their own armoured vehicles, but I think I'm just going to paint most of them in a relatively generic manner to save on significant duplication.... ?

Soviet Motor Rifles - Nothing! These guys should be pretty much complete, baring a few scenario specific bits (a Shilka, a couple of staff officers and a command truck/BTR/BMP)

Soviet VDV - I'd ideally like a platoon's worth (3 squads & a command team), possibly with a couple of support assets (BMD-1s, etc)

Soviet Spetsnatz - There are a few FoF scenarios where Spetsnatz are needed, and I'm torn between just using the VDV guys (above) along with a few conversions, or trying to make a force (maybe jump helmets and camo face-paint? I've always been influenced by the Spetsnatz guys in Operation flashpoint, like the in the picture). There would only be 15-20 of them in total... Another scenario also calls for 'Red Army Faction' terorrosits, so I'll get a couple of packs of Liberation 'generics in balaklavas' and they may get a couple of RPKs/RPGs to make them more versatile for other scenarios in the future

Polish Army - The Poles feature heavily in the FoF scenarios, but unfortunately there aren't any particularly suitable figures in existence! Liberation have just released some Polish Marines, and Rolf has said he'll do some in Infantry helmets (like the ones above) at some point, so these'll have to wait. As and when they come out, I'll be looking at maybe 3-5 squads. They'll also need some (3-5) T-55s, but these will come from the 'Motor Pool - and be shared with the East Germans...
There are some rebel Polish units in the scenarios, so I'll get an extra squad or two and give them the red partisan arm bands (and maybe helmet stripes)

DDR NVA (+  Worker's combat teams) - I want to get another squad of NVA, as well as a few special weapons to 'flesh out' the squads (depending on which unit they are in), as well as hopefully being able to convert a few AGI 3x40 (in the photo above!). Scenarios give them an impressive range of kit - BMP1s (sorted), T72s (sorted), 7 T55s (which will overlap nicely with the poles) and some BTR-60's (I'll get the open topped early versions, as I think they look cooler, and will add some variety). I also want to get a couple of squads of 'Workers Combat teams' which I'll mount in trucks. These civilian militia should make for an interesting looking unit on table (PPSh41s & AK47s, in overalls, caps and DDR helmets - see below) and will probably come in handy for TW2K games as well...

Soviet Navy -  One of the FoF scenarios uses the crew of a Russian submarine, so I'll pick up a few Naval Infantry (Liberation do some in life vests) or maybe substitute in some WW2 Soviet Sailors. The photo below shows some sailors manning a coastal defence gun, so you can see the look I'm after..

Soviet 2nd/3rd line/Mobilisation Forces - I do fancy doing some Soviet 'reserve' forces at some point, although these will probably be more TW2K than CWGH. These reserve troops will have older kit and a few obsolete vehicles. The lower don the food chain, the more obsolete stuff gets. So 2nd/3rd line troops will probably be using T-62s or maybe T-55s and BTR-60s from the DDR forces. I'm not sure how obsolete we are talking for 'Mobilisation' forces - I'm aiming for an excuse to get a mix of troops in Trucks and BTR-152s/40's and hopefully IS-3's or T-34/85s as armoured support. Not sure whether to use troops in the 'traditional' brown uniform (see below), or possibly the Liberation 'Generic' figures in soviet helmet as they are slightly less uniform (but are primarily wearing Chinese style chest rigs...)

British Paras - Pretty much all sorted now I think, I'll be substituting these for the US Airbourne in the CWGH Polish Scenarios. The only additions I can think of will be another Bren, and I may need a figure or two to finish off the Platoon HQ. I may also get some Milans & lightweight (airmobile) landies, just to add some extra punch and versatility.

British Army - I'm planning to substitute the BAOR for most of the scenarios using the US army in the CWGH scenario book, the only problem is it isn't necessarily an exact swap. Where the Yanks are equipped with an M60 & M203 per 3 man squad, with a couple of 'Dragon' ATGWs in the platoon HQ and go mounted in Bradley IFVs, the Brits Have a GPMG (& possibly a CG) per squad, a CG in the platoon HQ (if not in the squads) and are mounted in FV432 (or, if/when they break down, an FV432, a Bedford, a landrover and the Sgt's Volvo estate...) Trading off the slightly more effective Dragon for an extra CG isn't too much of a compromise - the big one is the FV432 vs the Bradley. I haven't decided yet whether to go for the 'The FVs are broken down... again/Use what you can get 'soft-skin' approach and give the troops a couple of scorpion/Scimitar light tanks instead, or maybe just try to tack on an extra Milan team or something to make up for the loss of the Bradley's TOW system. Whatever way, these guys will be in reinforced Platoon strength, and I'll be getting 4 Challenger I's to replace the M1 Abrams in the missions details.

Bundeswher - The Bundeswher get a couple of scenarios in CWGH, and should be useful for TW2K too. I'm currently looking at A platoon in Marder 1A2a (although I'm tempted to swap for M113s, but I don't think anyone does the Bundeswher version in 1/72... that said, its not THAT different, so I might be able to 'fake' it) as well as a pair of Leopard 1A5s. I want to add a Luchs scout car (or maybe the M48A2G2 which was in use before hand... or maybe both :) )

Canadians - After reading First Clash, I want to get some Canadians, although they don't fit into any of the scenario's particularly well I might use them as substitutes for the Dutch. Up until very recently, there weren't any figures available, but luckily elheim have released a pack (the first of many I hope!). They'll have a platoon of infantry mounted in M113s, a couple of 'C1' Leopards (1A3 variants) and if I can find them, Lynx scout carriers.

NATO Partisans - Again, all sorted bar a few slight 'tweaks' and minor additions for scenarios. The only things I can think of might be a captured Soviet 14.5mm AAHMG, and maybe some gun crew.

SAS/Delta - And another one effectively sorted, although I still need to get a SAS Milan team at some stage...!