Tuesday, December 15, 2015

BMP-1 (FOW Cold War)

So the final Cold War update, that is before I get my Battlefront Soviet starter box for Team Yankee, is a platoon of BMP-1's. These are made by Khurasan Miniatures in 15mm. I will be using them as my BMP-1 scout platoon, as I plan on filling out my force with BF's plastic BMP's once they are released.

One note on the Soviet Scout platoon, the vehicles really should be the BRM-1, a reconnaissance version of the the BMP-1. The BRM had a different layout and turret than the BMP-1. I found that Skytrex/Command Decisions do make a BRM miniature that seems pretty accurate. However ordering from Skytrex in the UK was a little more expensive than I wanted and Command Decisions here in the US had too many random charges for my taste. I am a stubborn buyer! So I have had good experiences with Khurasan Miniatures, and while they are not exactly the vehicle I needed I went for it.

Like the T-55's I purchased for Khurasan Miniatures in the past the BMP-1's are a mixture of metal and resin. The miniatures go together well, minus an issue with the tracks I will cover in a moment, and look great. They also scale very well with the Zvezda ZSU-23-4's and S21 Gvozdika's I had previously finished.

Well cast and packaged.

The tracks were the finicky parts.

As you can see the tracks can flex easily.

So my one issue is the tracks, as you can see above. The road wheels are only attached by the tracks which means they can freely move up or down. This is normally not a big issue except they do not fit snugly against the hull of the vehicle, therefore there is nothing to keep the road wheels and bottom of the track attached to the hull itself. I had already read about this issue on another blog so I was prepared for it and glued several sheets of plasticard to the side of the hull and then glued the back of the road wheels to it.

As I mentioned, I had heard of this issue and was prepared for it, but if you are not a prepared to do a little modeling to get the tracks to fit securely you may be somewhat disappointed.

I love the look of the BMP's.

These are really why I chose Soviets... first.

I used some old WWII Soviet decals for theses.

The commander looking out his hatch.

Moving on to the finished miniatures. I painted them in the basic green scheme I had used on the Shilka's and Gvozdika's, with the addition of some brown patches to represent improvised camo using mud and such. I intend to use them as my scouts, so I figured they would have done a little work on helping themselves hide better. I'm not very happy with how this turned out but will keep this paint scheme for the moment.

I always have my commander looking out the hatch to mark which vehicle is his, and because I like how it looks, but for the BMP the commander is not in the turret but sits behind the driver in the hull. I will be adding the AT-5 Spandrel AT missiles from the BF plastic box to these in the future. You do get the AT-3 Sagger with the miniatures from Khurasan, but I left them off.

Overall I am happy with these miniatures and at $9.99 per vehicle it is not a bad price, that is until the BF versions come out. I am looking forward to Battlefront's plastic BMP box, as it has both BMP-1 and BMP-2's.

My Soviet force so far.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

2S1 Gvozdika (FOW Cold War)

The next update for my Team Yankee Soviet force is a battery of S21 Gvozdika self propelled howitzers. The Gvozdika 'Carnation' is a 122mm self propelled howitzer used by the Soviet Union from the 1970's to today.

The miniatures are 1/100th scale (15mm) kits by Zvezda that I picked up on the Warstore for $7.99 each. These kits went together much better than the Shilka's as the Gvozdika's have far fewer pieces, and less fragile ones.

Neither of the Zvezda kits have open hatches for the commanders, so I had to cut them open and make some out of plasticard.

Can't wait to get my hands on the Battlefront T-72's in a few weeks!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

ZSU-23-4 Shilka (FOW Cold War)

Today is my first update for my Soviet forces for Battlefront's Team Yankee game. It is a Cold War gone hot scenario and I have excitedly pre-ordered lots of Soviet T-72 tanks from BF. However with the delay in the game and my overall excitement, I went with some other manufacturers for some of the support weapons. I have finished the Shilka's below, a battery of Gvozdika Artillery and some BMP-1 scouts.

For this update I will look at the Soviet ZSU-23-4, the Shilka anti aircraft vehicle. My favorite thing about historical wargaming, or in this case hypothetical wargaming, is learning things I didn't know. So for Team Yankee I chose the Soviets because I knew little about the Russian military in the 70's and 80's. Now half a dozen Osprey books down, I feel much more informed about the time period.

The Shilka has four 23mm cannons and a radar for targeting aircraft, the vehicle could also be used against ground targets as well. The miniatures are 1/100th scale Zvezda plastic kits. These kits are great, even if the guns are a little fiddly to assemble. I picked them up on the Warstore for $7.99 each.

The color is a little darker than I wanted it to be so I will likely lighten it for the later vehicles. I hope to get another camera for Christmas so I can get some better pictures in the future. Stay tuned for more 15mm Soviets for Team Yankee!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

(FOW) Israelis vs Jordanians in Pincer

Today Rob and I were able to get a rare game of Flames of War in, and we went with some Six Day War action. We settled on 1500 pts and rolled Pincer as our mission.

I brought a Israeli Armored Company with an HQ Sho't, a platoon of 2 Sho'ts, 4 M51 Ishermans, 3 120mm Mortar halftracks, and 4 anti tank jeeps.

Robert brought a Jordanian Armored Company with an HQ of 2 M48 Pattons, and 12 M48 Pattons in four platoons, and 3 anti tank jeeps. (The Pattons were a mix of M48 and M47 miniatures but we used the M48 stats for all of them).

Israeli deployment.

Rob, as the defender, chose a short table edge to defend and we both placed an objective in that table half. He then had to hold half of his force off the table in delayed reserves, but the had his two Patton platoons in ambush, that meant the only thing on the table to start the game were his two command Pattons.

I don't often use the Sho'ts because of their cost, but they are really effective tanks.

I deployed my entire force on the left side of the board with my mortars back to provide smoke when his ambushes showed up.

Just hanging out, wondering when the rest of the force will show up.

Rob's commanders are feeling a little lonely..

Looking towards the closest Jordanian objective.
I moved up all my units on the left towards the closest Jordanian objective.

Then the ambushes came out...
Some M47's or should I say M48's pop out of ambush in the palms.

Rob brought both Patton platoons out of ambush.

Commanders are not feeling so lonely now.

One platoon ambushes from the village.

A Sho't burns as does a M51 with another Sherman bailed out.

Village ambush!
Rob brings out both ambushes, one in the village and one in the stand of palms. They combine to knock out a M51 and bail another, and then knock out a Sho't. I can't afford to lose many Sho'ts as they are not just the most expensive tanks they are also were most of my firepower is located.

M51 Sherman's push forward to get to close range.

Two of the Patton's in the village are smoked by the mortars.

In my turn I remount the M51 and push into the Patton's in the palms to get to close range. The Sho'ts remain stationary to support the push, as do the AT jeeps. The 120mm Mortars drop a smoke bombardment on two of the Patton's in the village to keep them from pounding my tanks with their semi indirect fire while I focus on one platoon at a time.

The M51's and Sho'ts knock out two of the Patton's guarding the objective and the third runs. The AT jeeps bail the commander of the second platoon of Pattons that was not smoked.

I fail my Stormtr... I mean Few Against Many roll with the Ishermans so I cannot get close enough to contest the objective this turn.
Smoke conceals some Pattons on the village.
Robert then moves his HQ tanks up to fire on the Ishermans but misses. While his bailed command tank in the village fails to remount so the two other tanks in the platoon cannot move up to contest the objective. They do move back out of the smoke, towards their command tank and take a few shots, but just bail an Isherman.

Israeli tanks on the hunt.
 I rushed the Ishermans and AT jeeps up to take the objective while the Sho'ts move up and engage the Jordanian HQ tanks. I the shooting step the Sho'ts take out both the CiC and 2iC, but his CiC does jump into another tank.

HQ tanks burn in the Village.

Jeep contesting the objective.

The bailed platoon command Patton that held up the Jordanians just log enough for the Israelis to take the objective.
Turn three starts for Robert with the biggest roll of the game... delayed reserves. In Pincer the defenders reserves come on from either side of their deployment zone, in other words behind me. Which could be very bad for me.

However, Rob fails the roll and no reserves show up. That means he will have no teams that can get in range of the objective to contest. His CiC takes over the last Patton platoon and moves up but cannot contest or get line of sight on the AT jeeps, no shots hit and the game ends with the Israelis taking the objective on turn four.

A fun game that really hinged on the Jordanian ambushes, while the two ambushes knocked a few Israeli tanks out, it was just not enough and I was able to focus on the two Patton platoons separately. And lastly missions with delayed reserves are tough on the defender when the attacker is aggressive, something I knew I had to be.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Basing Tutorial (Battletech)

Painted and based Battletech miniatures.

 A few weeks ago someone on the Battletech forums requested I do a tutorial on how I base my miniatures, fast forward to this week when I received my new BT introductory box and several new Alpha Strike lance packs. This order will help me fill out my Davion and Kurita lances and add my first lance of Wolf's Dragoons!

I will be using a Raven, Enforcer and Battlemaster as my examples. The Raven and Enforcer will be replacing the Raptor and Bushwacker in my Gun Dogs force, for the times I want to run that force in the Succession Wars era. The Battlemaster will be painted up as a Davion Guards HQ mech.

Glued down on Gamecraft miniatures acrylic bases.

A re-posed Raven.

Plastic Enforcer.

I chose these two in order to show you two different ways of basing the plastic BT miniatures. The Raven has been cut from its base and glued to the new Gamecraft miniatures acrylic base because I wanted to change its pose. Both the plastic Raven and Stalker look horrible in their poses, they look like they are comically falling backwards... The Enforcer was just glued base and all to acrylic hex base.

Jell medium.

Mound it up on the base!

For the miniatures with the larger plastic stands I use a resin and sand jell medium. This is normally used to give texture to painting canvas, however it is perfect for basing, as it is a flexible jell that will hold and also will not chip or break. I just use a old broken paintbrush to pile the medium up around the stand.

A little Elmer's glue does the job.

Bag O' Sand.

I use the sand to cover up anything on the base.

For the Raven which has no stand to cover up, I just coat the base in white glue and dip it into a bag of sand (I use a mixture of small and large sand). I also use the sand mixture on the Enforcer with the jell medium base to cover up any seams between the stand and the jell.

A dab of glue.

And stick a rock on it.


I then add small rocks to the bases in order to add different scale and texture. I use some from Gale Force Nine (because I found them on sale) but you can use whatever you find around your house.

I'm lazy so I just prime everything black.

Then I spray them with black primer.

A heavy coat of paint on the base.

I use a cheap bottle of Hobby Lobby fabric paint.
Because it takes a lot of paint for bases, and that can get expensive.

The base on the left has been dry brushed, the right has not.

Following the spray I then paint the bases in a darker color and then drybrush them with a lighter shade (in this case a desert tan color).

Finished Up!

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With some of my custom Davion decals, still learning.

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Here you can see the finished versions of each of the miniatures. The final touches on the bases is the addition of grass tufts.  I mainly choose the base color in order to contrast well with miniature paint scheme itself.

So there you have it! This is my process when basing my miniatures, whether Flames of War, 28mm or Battletech.