Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Banana Wars - More Factions

I finished up mounting the remaining troops for the Banana Wars project.  This time we have the Eureka World War Two Filipinos and U.S. Sailors. Just a couple of small forces to add a bit of multi-factional flavor.  I thought initially that I would have the Filipino figures mesh in with the rebel forces, but the size difference between the Khurasan Chaco War Paraguayans and the Eureka figures is enough for me to place them on opposing sides. 


As for the sailors, they can be used to defend the gunboat or as a small shore party.

Front row - SMGs and officers.  Rear row - riflemen

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Adding Terrain - Novus Design Studio

There was a post from the owner of Novus Design Studio on The Wargames Website offering a Cyber Monday sale, so on November 29th I took advantage of the 30% and free shipping in the U.S. and ordered a ready to play 15mm Old World fountain.  While probably more suited for a European setting, it will still go rather nicely with my Middle Eastern terrain.  Novus offers one other 15mm and three 28mm fountains in their ready to play range.  They also carry unpainted terrain (buildings and such) in three sizes.  

I received the fountain, boxed with plenty of packing peanuts for safety, on December 5th.  The fountain measures 3.25" by nearly 3.5", and is nearly 2" tall.  The quality of the resin is high, with no bubbles or holes.  Clear resin appears to have been used to create a water effect in the holding pools.  It makes for a nice center piece for any tabletop village.

Figures are Khurasan's DEVGRU


Friday, December 1, 2017

Banana Wars - The Rebel Forces

While I still have some other assorted figures to mount (the Eureka sailors and Filipinos), I wanted to get the rebel forces on bases.  I am going to need more bad guys and having a couple of squads supported by two heavy machineguns and two mortars just isn't going to be enough.  Placing an order for some more basic infantry types should make the owner at Khurasan happy as I am sure he hasn't sold a ton of his Chaco War range.

Each squad has six riflemen with Mausers and machetes, a Madsen light machinegunner, and a leader.  They are supported by two heavy machineguns (one a Berthier and the other a Colt), and two light mortars.  I'll need to order at least two more infantry squads to beef up the rebels.

Infantry squads supported by machineguns and light mortars
Since I have been on a mounting frenzy of late, I am also going to have to order more bases from Litko, of all sizes.  On the drive home from work tonight I started thinking about how to base the Blue Moon Great War Americans I have still in packs and perhaps it is time to consider skirmish rules for that project as well, meaning individually based figures.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Banana Wars - The Government Forces

I had mentioned in a previous post another possible use for my Khurasan Chaco War figures...Banana Wars.  Tonight I mounted a couple of squads of infantry along with a Vickers heavy machinegun and a light mortar team.  Each squad is made up of six riflemen (armed with bolt action Mausers), a light machinegunner with a Vickers Berthier LMG, and an officer with a pistol.

The government forces pay lip service to the Yankees, offering the barest of support in field operations, as they have their own agenda when it comes to controlling the populace.  They are well equipped, but are poorly trained, and man for man not a match for the rebels that dominate the countryside.  But they are necessary for local leaders, "loyal" to El Presidente, to maintain tight control over the provincial towns.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Banana Marines - Mounted

The Marines, with only half the riflemen showing
It has been some time since I have written about the Banana Wars or China Marines, and so I think it is time to get this project moving a bit.

I have had several packs of the excellent Eureka Wake Island Marines for some time, and pulled them out last night to start working on them.  After mounting what I felt to be a suitable force I actually wound up with more figures than I need (is that a thing?), so I am selling off* my still-in-bag extra figures as I have plenty to take on what ever opposition they may encounter.

This is what I have:
Sixteen riflemen with Springfield
Two BARs
Three Thompson SMGs
Three Lewis guns (one will be used on the gunboat for air defense, even though the bad guys don't have any air assets at the moment)
One HMG
One medium mortar with crew
One Boys ATR
Two officers

Plus the following US Navy sailors:
Four riflemen
Three SMGs
Two officers

Supported by a Richard Houston gunboat (thanks, TVAG!) and a couple of Futura Grumman F3Fs, the Marines (and sailors) offer a heck of a force pool to chose from.  I will probably work up some sort of chart that will allow me to randomize the American forces as putting them all on the board at once is probably going to overwhelm the bad guys.

About that opposition - I was hoping to find suitable Chinese to do the Sand Pebbles thing as I also have the Eureka U.S. sailors, but the Eureka Chinese don't quite have that movie feel, so I am going with my Khurasan Chaco War figures and Eureka Filipinos instead, and moving the Sand Pebbles to the Caribbean.

* - 16 riflemen, 3 Thompson SMGs, 1 Boys ATR, 2 officers, and 2 BARs. - $15.00 retail, will sell for $10.00 which includes shipping.  Email me at preds81.ds@gmail.com.  United States buyers only.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Indochina - The North Korean Advisors

A couple of years ago I picked up a few packs of the Eureka North Koreans for the Korean War as I was, at the time, trying to decide what scale to game the ground war (see blog post).  I have since decided not to game the ground war, focusing on air combat, but I was going through some of the lead pile today and decided to get these little gems out and placed on bases.  Alas, I cannot seem to find these figures on either Eureka site any longer, so I am glad that I have the ones I do.  

Infantry with squad leader, and officer to far right
I picked up a couple of infantry packs, a heavy machine gun and crew, a pair of officers, and a medium mortar.  The infantry pack had one leader (same leader as for the mortar crew), six riflemen, and one artillery crew member holding a shell.  A bit of an odd throw-in, that artillery crew member; the pack would have been better served with a sub-machine gunner.

The figures have that same high quality one comes to expect from Eureka.  Very little flash is evident, and a quick file across the bottom is pretty much all the prep work needed for basing onto my standard of 15mm round bases for grunts and 20mm round bases for leaders, weapons as needed.  

What do I plan to do with the figures?  Use them as "advisors" for my Indochina project, just for fun.  I guess it wouldn't be a huge stretch to see another communist entity sending military advisors to Indochina, although I do not believe it ever happened in the case of the North Koreans.

HMG and medium mortar
Now I have even more figures to base-prep and prime!  With colder temps coming on, priming outside (which really means on my condo balcony) is not in the cards, so most likely this winter will be spent doing a lot of Gesso brush priming. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Indochina - All Based

I was able to get the Viet Minh based a couple of nights ago (luckily my wife had a tube of superglue since the cap on mine was glued on tight).  I have two groups of Viet Minh, each basically a large or reinforced squad in size.  Each unit consists of eight riflemen with assorted rifles, four sub-machine gunners with assorted SMGs, two light machine-gunners, and an officer.  I wanted a larger force of Viet Minh as I plan on using a random force generator for the Communists and having a mix of troops will accommodate that.

Back row - riflemen, Middle row - SMGs, front row - LMGs and officer

For the French I have two smaller units, each consisting of three riflemen, one sub-machine gunner, one RTO (with SMG0, one rifleman with an M1 Carbine, and an officer with an SMG.  There is also one light machine-gun team.  I am thinking I need to add one additional LMG team just in case the Viet Minh roll multiple LMG support.

L to R - three riflemen (MAS36), SMG (MAT49), RTO, M1 Carbine, officer
Next steps will be getting the bases prepped and then a coat of primer.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Indochina - French on Bases

I received my order from Eureka USA a few days ago, and the figures are very nice.  Of course, once again service from Eureka USA was amazing.  I also received my order from Litko in record time, normally it seems to take two weeks to receive orders from Litko, but my latest need for a fix only took a few days.  Then I realized the bases I ordered were the thin and not the medium thickness, but the difference is fairly minimal.

Last night I took a few minutes and mounted the French.  This force amounts to an oversized section which I am breaking into two weak squads.  Each squad will consist of three riflemen with MAS36, one rifleman with M1 Carbine, two MAT49 sub-machine gunners, and an officer/squad leader, armed also with an MAT49.  There is also a light machine-gun team with an FM24/29 and a rifleman (with MAS36) as assistant gunner.

Tomorrow night I plan on getting the Viet Minh on their bases.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Getting Ready - Mounting Some Vietnam Figures

Platoon HQ - Second in command, RTO, platoon LT
I bought some 15mm Vietnam Americans from a chap some time ago, and left them sit in the box used for shipping until today when I decided to get them mounted on stands.  This of course couldn't be an easy chore when I realized that the M60 gun teams were not going to fit onto a 20mm round base, so off to the Litko website I went to order some 25mm and 30mm round bases.  The other troops (except for the recoilless team, two LAW grunts, and medic with casualty) I was able to use my standard mounting of leaders on a 20mm base, and grunts on a 15mm base.  Once I receive my order from Litko I'll texture the bases with some grit and plop down a couple of bushes to finish them off.

The figures are the Flames of War Army platoon, and seem to have a couple of extra M60 gunners, at least based on the Ambush Valley U.S. Army infantry platoon structure.  


Friday, November 10, 2017

Indochina

Picture from Eureka Miniatures website
As a bit of a sidebar to my Vietnam gaming, I just placed an order with Eureka Miniatures USA for some 15mm French and Viet Minh for Indochina.  For quite some time I have been looking at these figures, and with a bit of a renewed interest in Vietnam of late, including sifting through the Indochina board on the Fields of Fire forum, I decided a small purchase was in order.  I was originally going to purchase a platoon for each side, but settled on fewer figures, basically a heavily supported section, with rifles, SMGs, LMGs, leaders, and RTOs.  As I have plenty of jungle terrain ready to roll (Eleven Tree Designs buildings along with several terrain pieces), adding some figures to go back to the 1950s was a fairly easy decision.  Paint jobs will be simple as I plan to just do some olive drab for the French (I might even try some camo...nah, I doubt it!)

The force pool I selected probably will not allow use of Ambush Valley or any other form of Ambush Alley/Force on Force since I will not have enough figures for each player to run a section, so I will have to do a bit of digging for a set of rules.  The goal is to have each player control a handful of figures.

More on this once the figures arrive!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Review - Crusaders Over 'Nam

Crusaders Over 'Nam - written by Roxanne Patton.  Published by I-94 Enterprises, March, 2017.  $18.00.

As many of you already know, I like obscure and different periods of history to recreate on the tabletop.  While the Vietnam War is certainly not obscure, Vietnam air combat is not that prevalent in the gaming world, so when I came across a Check Your 6! scenario book for Vietnam on the I-94 website, specifically one that deals with the F-8 Crusader and MiG kills I was curious.  So, I placed my order via the I-94 Raiden webstore, and within a few days I received my copy.  While the booklet is not an official Skirmish Campaigns production, it is designed for Check Your 6!

Let's jump into what I felt left me less than satisfied.  First, the price of the scenario booklet is $18.00.  Unfortunately, the number of pages doesn't warrant such a high price tag.  The 8.5" by 11" booklet comes in at only twenty pages.  The cover is color cardstock, while the interior is black and white.  Unlike the other Check Your 6! scenario books, this offering does not have a data table showing the plane stats needed, which I find very useful in the other books and wish could have been added here to avoid having to refer back to the Jet Age version to obtain plane data.  And there are a few typos and missing information, both within the scenarios themselves, and in the rules modifications section.  Example - Page 4, second line states "range is reduced to eight (8) hexes for targets at."  At what?

Okay, those were my sticking points.  My positive takeaways are the vast majority of the eleven scenarios are ideally suited for four players, perfect for a small gathering of friends or a convention setting where the smaller number of players makes teaching Check Your 6! an easier task.  The scenarios are also well researched and clearly written indicating that the author knows her subject well.  The bits of typos and missing info within the scenarios is easily overcome with a bit of common sense.   The eleven scenarios, with F-8s featured in every one, also includes A-4s and a lone A-6, while for the "bad guys" all one needs is only MiG-17s, and MiG-21s.  This is a simple mix of planes for the player to obtain.

Overall, Crusaders Over 'Nam fills a niche for Vietnam War air combat, while providing more scenarios for jet age gamers, especially those who use Check Your 6!  You will have to be the judge in deciding if a twenty page scenario book priced at $18.00 holds value for you.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Vehicle Suggestions for Nomads

I am looking for some 15mm vehicle suggestions for these Micropanzer nomads I picked up from Jason at Micropanzer some months ago.  I am thinking something big, beefy, tracked or wheeled, large enough to hold eleven troopers (or twenty-two if large enough).  The nomads themselves have a bit of a Tusken raider feel (from Star Wars), but with higher tech level weapons.  The figures are bulkier and a bit larger than say Darkest Star but are a perfect match for GZG offerings.  I'll be using them against both, so a bulky, tough, and somewhat tech worthy vehicle is what I am shooting for.  Suggestions?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Modern Austrians

As I am always looking for something strange, obscure, different, I have been, for months, looking at those gorgeous Eureka 15mm modern Australians, and what I could use them for (yeah, I could use them as...Australians, but I hate painting camo!).  Going through the figures weapon mix (basically the Steyr AUG, the Minimi, LAW, Carl Gustav, and MAG), I wanted to find a country that uses these (or similar weapons) and has troops who do not normally wear camo.  Who might that be?  Closest I can find is Austria, who use the AUG, not the Minimi, but do use the Carl Gustav and LAW, and while they use the MG3, it is at probably higher levels than what I plan on portraying on the tabletop (fireteams to squads).  Finding a good unit organization has been interesting, but I did have provided on The Wargames Website a seven man unit (mechanized troops) that might be interesting to field. Uniforms are basic olive green, but the Austrians do use camo from other countries when on deployment, although I did come across a mention of a solid tan uniform for desert climes.  Hmmm, so, because I would be using them in a non-historic context, why can't I tinker a bit with what they might wear and what they might carry in terms of armament?  Heck, they even use the Iveco LMV, which is the non-command version of the British Panther, of which I have two of from Evil Bear.  

So, a sort of TO and E:
1 section commander with AUG
1 assistant commander with AUG
1 rifleman with AUG and LAW
1 rifleman with AUG and grenade launcher
1 rifleman with AUG with precision sight
1 machine gunner with Minimi (in lieu of MG3)
1 assistant machine gunner with AUG

Attachments
1 rifleman with sniper rifle
1 Carl Gustav team

Picture from CP Models site
Opponents would most likely be my CP Models Taliban.  I really like those chunky and animated figures.  They are larger than most 15mm figures out there, so I am hoping that the Eureka figures will be close enough.  Some 15mm figures I own are just far too small and thin to be sued on the same table, even if they are not within the same unit or even same side.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Recent Purchases

In a previous post I posited a question about tracked vs. hover and received some excellent comments.  While hover is probably something that might be commonplace 200-300 years from now, there is still something about tracked vehicles that appeals to me, even within a sci-fi setting.  After dithering about for weeks, I finally bought a pair of tracked tanks from Darkest Star.  I went with one Cobra and one Python, just to mix it up a bit.  The Cobra has a smaller turret and has a choice of a plasma or laser cannon, while the Python, has a larger turret with options for a 150mm cannon or rail gun.  Both tanks use the same chassis and track configuration, but the larger turret on the Python gives that beast a slicker look.  Not sure exactly what they are going to be used for, but as I already own some of the Darkest Star infantry and Scorpion wheeled LACVs grabbing a couple of these high quality resin tanks made sense.

I also, in a fit of restlessness one night at work, bought a few packs of 15mm infantry from Ground Zero Games.  A contingent of New Israeli and another of Brethren of the New Light will soon need to be mounted on bases and painted.  One thought I had was the use of my current middle eastern terrain, enhanced with some suitable sci-fi buildings and what-not, where the New Israelis are clearing Brethren settlements.  Kind of a Jews in Space meets whack-a-doodle religious extremists.  Might throw in a couple of other elements with Arab-types and aliens.

For the Brethren I grabbed two bags of riflemen and a bag each of light machine gunners, light support weapons, and command and comms.  For the Israelis a similar mix of riflemen to go along with SAW gunners, snipers and missile men, and command and comms.  One can tell that the Brethren are newer sculpts as they are a bit taller, a bit chunkier, and a bit cleaner in terms of casting.

Both of the aforementioned companies are making great products and provide excellent service.  I really like the moderate prices of the GZG figures which helps to offset shipping costs from England. 

Keep your scope sighted in on this blog for future postings about these latest additions to the pile! 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tracked or Hover?

While perusing the Darkest Star Games site, I came across their (somewhat) recent releases of 15mm armor for their Federation sci-fi faction (think Traveller).  I really like the look of the Python/Cobra MBTs, but wanted to know what you thought of going tracked vs. hover?  While I would be using these (if purchased) for far future gaming (at least 2300 A.D. style if not Fifth Frontier War), I really like the look of the tracked versions as opposed to the hover options.  They remind me of World War II German light tanks for some reason (think Czech 38 and its many variants within the German Army).

Piccies of both:



What would be your choice, and why?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Air Support for the Banana Wars

While not a perfect match, I was able to score three of these Futura Choco Eggs Grumman F3Fs for some Banana Wars or Yangtze gaming.  While the F3F was indeed an operational aircraft for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, it really appeared a bit too late for historical small wars actions pre-World War II, but the price for these Futura models was right, the paint scheme attractive, and the options for other more suitable aircraft to match my 15mm gunboat, Eureka Marines, and Khurasan Chaco War do not exist.  Ideally I would like to find a 1/144th or 1/100th scale Vought O2U Corsair, but as far as I know they are not being made in those scales.

Back to the F3F.  The scale of this model shakes out to be 1/125th, based on a wingspan of thirty-two feet.  The model's wingspan is just the slightest hair above 3", so we are right in the middle of my 1/100th to 1/144th scale need.  Perfect!

F-Toys 1/144th Albatros D.III and Futura 1/125th Grumman F3F

The F3F carried one .30 and one .50 caliber gun, and could also act in a bomber role with a pair of 116 pound bombs.  Range was nearly one thousand miles, and top speed was 264 miles per hour. 

The "kit" comes in several parts, but putting it together is a breeze.  If you are just wanting a display model then you probably need not worry about gluing the parts together, but as I plan to use at least one of these for gaming, gluing is a must as the upper wings like to pop off with mild handling.  You have a choice of landing gear in a retracted or extended position.  The plane is done up in USMC colors (VMF-2 piloted by Bob Galer, a double ace at Guadalcanal and a Medal of Honor and Distinguished Flying Cross winner).

So, while the Grumman might not be the perfect aircraft for the Yangtze or the Caribbean, in this case she'll have to do!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Twilight 2000 Material Released

A quick mention about an East Africa source-book for Twilight 2000, with the setting focused on East Africa.  This is official material, available as a pdf download from Drive Thru RPG.  

For only $2.99 it may well be worth the minimal investment!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Twilight 2000 Blog

It has been some time since I have done much of anything on the gaming front, but a new blog by Jason Weiser has sparked some interest in some Cold War gaming.  Years and years ago some of my gaming buddies and I were involved with a Twilight 2000 campaign.  It was great fun, even though some of our actions were a bit unrealistic, and then there was that damn horse that one of our female players just HAD to drag along everywhere (so many times we tried to kill off that horse...accidentally of course).  

With the recent spate of Cold War figures hitting the market, it might be time to do some small scale gaming.  And Jason's blog is covering the gaming aspect of T2000 very well, including a great article on 15mm figures that would be suitable.

Another excellent site that has a plethora of T2000 information (mostly equipment data) is this one from Paul Mulcahy.

And having some of the Oddzial Osmy "little green men" would lead me to believe that their Cold War Polish would be excellent figures for T2000.  Excellent quality for the money, and available Stateside from Pico Armor.

Time to pull out the rules again....

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Gesso Experiment

As I live in a condo, I really do not have a space where I can spray-prime my figures.  We have an enclosed balcony, but the spray causes a bit of sediment once it settles so that is not a practice I can keep utilizing and expect my wife to be pleased.  There has been several mentions of similar living arrangements on The Miniatures Page, and seemingly the most common solution is using a brush on primer.  Far more time consuming, but much safer for my marital health.

This past weekend I was out with my wife and we stopped by a Michael's craft store so I picked up some Liquidtex Gesso, in this case the white artists series as I did not want to have any graininess that some reported using the basic version.  I really wanted gray as I like a darker primer yet one that still allows me to see the details of the figure, but the choices at my location were black and white.  Upon coming home I grabbed a couple of test figures (in this case a Ravenstar Studios 15mm Horrid, that was cast in a bright blue resin, and a metal 15mm Khurasan colonial marine based seemingly on a popular science-fiction movie series).  If the Gesso didn't live up to its billing, these two figures would not be a huge loss.

Here are the figures within moments of painting.


And here they are a day and a half later.


Overall, I am fairly pleased with the results.  While priming figures with a brush is slow work as compared to priming via a spray, the Gesso seems to cover well.  I do not think I put as much on as some others, as the detail difference is not that noticeable between my two pictures, but upon drying the details were a bit more prominent.  I have since primed several more of the Horrids, and when they dry I will start applying a basecoat and see how the Gesso holds the paint.

If you need any further convincing that Gesso might be a great way to prime figures without spraying, here is a video showing how well the Gesso forms to the figure.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Taking Advantage, Yet Again

Over on the Fields of Fire Vietnam forum there was a post from Scale Creep Miniatures about reducing their remaining Flashpoint Miniatures stock.  As I love a sale, I just HAD to take advantage of the 30% off, and added a bit of cool items to my 15mm Vietnam project (Koh Tang Island), which really means I added a new Vietnam project altogether as most of what I purchased has nothing to do with Koh Tang!

I was able to snag a platoon of Main Force infantry, a platoon of Main Force weapons, a platoon of M14-armed Marines, some defensive and causality tokens for the communists, along with some porters and a civilian ox cart.  I was hoping to score some Australians, but the rifle platoon was already sold out.  As you can see, really none of the above has any relationship to Koh Tang, but what the hell!

And of course, Scale Creep once again lived up to their usual fast turnaround time.  I had the figures in a just a couple of days from when I ordered.

To take advantage of the little remaining stock at these nice prices, click HERE.
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