Sunday, November 2, 2014

Where I've Been

Or more appropriately, what I've been up to during my (so far) baby-induced 4 1/2 month exile.  As always, I can't promise I'm back 100% (as a matter of fact, I can promise I'm not), but I can promise games are in my future (the table is already set up).

The big news is that I've been painting.  A lot.  And in a couple new scales.  If you're here you're probably aware that I am pretty much exclusively a 10mm gamer.  That's not going away by any means, but apparently I've become a 6mm Modern gamer, in a big way.  It started about six months ago, when I bought a small force of GHQ minis for some Soviet-Afghan gaming, with plans to move into more stuff beyond that.

The next thing I knew, I was drowning in 6mm Modern stuff (NATO and Warsaw Pact equipment), the vast majority of it from fellas at TMP's Marketplace.  First up was some ridiculously cheap CinC T-80s and OT-64s that I couldn't resist.  Then I gentleman had bought a bunch of GHQ stuff of US, NVA, VC, and civilians to play Charlie Don't Surf in 6mm, then he decided against it.  Then the guy I got the T-80s and OT-64s from decided to offload some more Warsaw Pact stuff, as well as some NATO stuff.  Then a different guy decided to offload some CinC  NATO armored cars and APCs, and a few WarPac tanks.  Then another guy decided to get rid of a boatload of WarPac tanks and APCs.  Then a few more.  Then a bunch of German and Brit tanks and APCs.  Then I filled some stuff in with an order from GHQ...  Along the way I picked up TFL's Charlie Don't Surf, as well as Lock'N Load's War at War (Eisenbach Gap and Death of 1st Panzer), and No End in Sight (from my buddy Ivan).  Oh, and Neil Thomas' Napoleonic Wargaming and One Hour Wargames.  And Iron Ivan's Point Blank.  Probably forgetting something in there...

Well, let's get to the photos, and there's a lot of them.

Here's an overhead shot of all my Warsaw Pact equipment (so far), with 'green' on the right, and 'khaki' on the left.  The breakdown is as follows:
Type               Green                                    
MBT              ~50 (T-55, -72, -80)              
APC               ~40 (BTR 70, BMP 1 and 2, six Spahpanzer Luchs that look close enough like BTRs,
                      and 10 Chinese APCs that I don't remember the nomenclature for)
AAA             5 ZSU-23-4
SAM             5 SA-13
Recce            12 BRDM (most with AT-5)
Engineer        10 MTLB
SP Mortar      5 of whatever those Soviet Airborne SP mortar carriers are called
Arty               12 122mm SP howitzers
MLRS           6 Katyusha mounted on trucks

Type               Khaki
MBT              ~80 (T-55, -62, -72, an Type 63 and 69)
APC               ~50 (a few BTRs, mostly OT-64)
AAA             5 ZSU-57
SAM             5 SA-9
Recce            9 cheesy little armored cars, some with a main gun, some with only MGs (looks like
                      Cadillac V-150)
Engineer       3 tracked vehicles (actually US ammo carriers)
SP Mortar     4 Soviet airborne SP mortar (just looked it up: 2S9)
Arty              10 SP 122mm howitzer
MLRS           None yet...

So, some of you are probably laughing at the fact I've co-opted some NATO vehicles into the WarPac, as well as mixing in Chinese stuff.  Well, when you get a lot of stuff cheap by getting it second hand, you make some sacrifices.  Or at least that's what I did ;)

Also, the big reason I split my WarPac forces into 'green' and 'khaki' is not so I have a temperate and a desert force, it's because I intend on having WarPac gear fighting WarPac gear.

Some 'green' tanks: about 25 CinC T-80s at top, with GHQ T-55s and T-72M1s below.  You can see some BTRs, the Chinese Type 63/YW-531 (just looked it up), and the Lochs at bottom.

A look at Green APCs (lotsa BMPs in the middle), with engineers and recce on the bottom.  You can also see some 'cats and dogs,' such as BMP and Gaz truck with ZU-23, I got with the Mujahadeen Combat Command I ordered.

Green SAMs, AAA, and arty at top.

Look at all them tanks!  Goodness, I feel like a warlord!  From most to least (in terms of quantity): T-62, T-55, T-72, and Chinese Type 63 light tank.

Close-up of T-62s (top) and T-55s (bottom).  All the painting was real simple: spray-painted basecoat, hit the tracks with some rust, black on MGs and wheels (as present), then throw a black wash on them.  I'd like to have don more, but there were just too many!

A look at some Khaki APCs, mostly consisting of OT-64s.

Khaki AAA, SAMs, the mortar carriers, and arty.

More Green tanks, showing the CinC T-80s at top (they're a little smaller and flatter than the GHQ stuff, with thinner barrels, but still good castings).

The Hind, with some MG, ZU-23, and MLRS-armed Technicals behind him.  You can also see some of the engineering bridges.

A couple MiG-23/27s (I'll admit I don't really know how to tell the difference).

A bunch of modern infantry, consisting of the stuff I initially bought.  If you'd seen them before, I'd based them individually(!).  I rebased them on pennies, then disaster struck: I sprayed them with a matte coat, but apparently it was a bit humid out, so they turned white on me.  I've since sprayed them with gloss, which takes away the frost, but they're a bit shiny.

 Closeup of my modern 'shinies.'  I used GHQ Third World Warrior Infantry and Heavy Wpns and German Modern Infantry (great poses and detail).  These are the 3rd World regulars.

Here are the modern Germans (albeit with 3rd World Regulars Hvy Wpns).

GHQ Mujahadeen.

These are GHQ US Vietnam-era Infantry and Hvy Wpns.

Command on right, HMGs and 81mm mortars in middle, and LMG stands on left.

Rifle stands.

GHQ NVA Infantry and Hvy Wpns, split up into five companies of a command stand, three rifle platoons (3 rifle stands each), a 12.7mm HMG, and an 82mm mortar, each.  I'm going to add an ATGM to each company as well, still working on them, and I'll be setting up the US troops the same way.

Closeup of an NVA rifle company, which, along with the US troops, will stand in for whatever I need them to be.  I'm not saying it doesn't matter what troops you use in 6mm, I'm saying I painted and based all those up, so they're going to get used!

The only US/NATO gear I've got finished up: 5 M-60s, 5 M-551 Sheridans, 12 M-113 ACAVs, and 6 M-114s.  All perfect for Vietnam fighting, or whatever I need in modern/Cold War games.  That's how I roll ;)

Some closeups.


 Again.  I took another photo because, if you look closely, you can see not only the vehicle commander, but the 'waist' machine gunners.

Okay, enough of the 6mm already...  I've been working on some 10mm stuff as well.  I haven't bought any new 10mm since last January, but I did rebase some stuff and finally finish some stuff.  I've got a mind to rebase a bunch of other 10mm stuff I haven't been playing with too, and I don't mean since the baby, I mean stuff I bought and never gamed with, or even really had a plan for (just the "Ooooh, shiny!!!"), before we had the baby.  Like Falklands Range Brits, and my Indo-China French and Vietminh.

The big push has been to get troops based up individually (in platoon strength) to play Ivan's "No End in Sight," which look like a whole lot of fun.  On a side note, I actually put a squad per side on the table this morning and played a few turns to get familiar/comfortable with the rules.  I really like them, but didn't take any pics and won't write it up.  You know I'm a fan of campaign play, so I'll hold off playing and writing until I've got the back-story stuff figured out.  Along those lines, I rebased my modern US troops into two platoons, one temperate and one desert.  I also rebased (and repainted some of) my WarPac troops.  I also put in an order with Minifigs for some Modern French, and to finish off my WarPac troops.  More to follow, let's get to the pics.

WarPac troops, in about eight squads, with heavy weapons to the right.  I don't have enough leaders or RPGs, which is part of the Minifigs order.  My goal is to have two platoons, which can face off against each other.  I'm thinking to use NEIS for 10mm small-scale stuff, then use NEIS' C2 mechanism with World at War's movement and combat mechanisms, for larger-scale fights in 6mm.  Crazy, no?

 Another shot of the WarPac troops.

Again, showing a 9-man squad with Squad Leader, RPG, UGL, two LMGs, and four rifles.  So far everyone is in a field drab; I need to figure out how to differentiate the two platoons from each other.  One camouflage, the other not?  Both cammied up, in different patterns?  Little colored streamers tied to their arms or helmets (you laugh, I've seen pics of this from Russia vs. Ukraine, Russia vs. Georgia, and other former Soviet Republics)?  I need to figure out something quick.

My modern US troops, the main idea being these will be part of some worldwide-deployable super-MEU for a campaign, fighting everyone, everywhere, at the same time.  As previously mentioned, a platoon in woodlands and a platoon in desert cammies (tri-colors as I'm looking at early/mid-90s).

Please forgive the typos, I'm typing with one hand while holing the little one...

The PC and Doc at far right, riflemen at left.  Plenty of 203s, SAWs, a few AT-4s (here at far left), a SMAW, a 60mm mortar, a TOW, an M-240G, a sniper, a Stinger, etc...

This reminds me: I need to come up with a Platoon Sergeant!  Which then reminds me, to hell with Ivan and his blatant disrespect for Platoon Sergeants!!!  Ahem: (paraphrasing) some countries have Plt Sgt, and he'll roll for activation as normal, except he's automatically exhausted after the first activation unless he rolls a natural 6.  You can kiss my @#$, Ivan!!!  I demand a change to your rules!  Out of respect for Plt Sgt's obviously super human abilities, the rule should read: "All Platoons should have a Plt Sgt, and he's +3 on his first activation roll, +4 on his second, +5 on his third, and so on, and it's impossible for him to become exhausted, be pinned, or succumb to his wounds."  Much more realistic, says I.

A look at some of the weapons elements.  You can see the sniper, Stinger, 60mm mortar, M-240G, and SMAW.  I think my story is going to be early 90s, foreign adventures/military frowned on following inconclusive campaign in Desert Storm, debacle in Mogadishu, then the 'peace dividend' following the breakup of the Soviet Union, so US military is pared back to pre-WWII levels.  The USMC goes from 2 1/3 active divisions to to 2/3 (one regiment on East and West coasts, respectively), though it remains the nation's force in readiness, AKA, The World's Police Force.

A 'Super MEU' is stood up.  The old MEU concept (of Marines floating around, waiting for something to happen) if flushed; the new MEU concept is the troops are constantly training at various locations worlwide, honing their edge.  They are deployable worldwide within 24 hours, owing to the fact they have dedicated Military Airlift that travels with them to move men and personal equipment, and Maritime Prepositioned Ships were plussed up around the worldwide so that (pretty much) any location can be serviced within 24 hours, allowing the MEU to have CAS, helos, UAVs, tanks, tracks, HMMWVs, LAVs, etc...

A  look at the desert troops.

Again.  The prone M-240 and the SMAW are actually from the Minifigs Modern Brits package, and are superb castings.

My drawer of modern vehicles: 6 T-72, 3 T-55, 6 BMP-2, 3 BTR-70, 6 M-1 Abrams (3 desert, 3 green), 8 AAVs (4 desert, 4 green), 2 LAVs (one on order), four HMMWVs (2 .50 cal, 1 TOW, 1 Mk19), 2 .50 cal jeeps, two technicals (1 HMG, 1 recoiless rifle), three Land Rovers (three stretched with MGs that I still need to paint, not pictured), three Panhards, two Scimitars, 3 M-48s, 3 M-113 ACAVs, three Merkavas I need to finish (not pictured), and four M-113s I need to finish (2 .50 cal, 1 TOW, and 1 81mm mortar, not pictured).

My HMMWVs and LAVs, which I repainted into a sort of 'universal' camouflage.

A SAM battery.

Oops, sorry, I guess we're done with 10mm and back to 6mm.  I took a couple photos of all the NATO stuff I still haven't finished.  I've got US M-1 Abrams, a few Bradleys, and a boatload of M-113s of various flavors, including 12 M-901s.  I've also got 9 Leopard Is for some Canadians, and a few LAV TOWs, as well as 9 6-wheeled LAV-looking vehicles for recce.  Bottom left is a batch of really ugly M-60s, and I mean ugly.  I don't know who the manufacturer is, but they should be ashamed of themselves ;)

A bunch of Germans (left) and Brits (right).  Germans have about 20 Leo IIs and 20 Marders, with 9 Jaguars.  Brits have about 15 Challengers (though five of them are CinC instead of GHQ, like the rest), and about 15 Warriors (again, a few CinC mixed in).

Did I mention I've been hanging out on the TMP Marketplace?  So, someone listed a whole bunch of plastic 1/72 US and NVA/VC Vietnam troops.  I'd had these as a kid, and so I couldn't help myself.  Of course, by the time I finish them both my sons will be grown...  I did some headswaps (a really bad idea for little boys to play with, I should add), and these are the only guys I've actually painted up.

Here's what remains to be painted...

And before I bought the Vietnam guys, I was perusing the blog of my good buddy Mr. Shaun Travers of the Land Down Under, particularly the exploits on the table of him versus a very young man, and it got me to thinking: I've got a son that's five, and another just born.  At some point we're going to be hovering over the wargames table.  I should have some big, pretty toys like Shaun has.  So I went online to the Warstore and shelled out a bunch of cash.  Above is a bunch of PSC 20mm vehicles, which are beautiful.

I'm not as big a fan of PSCs plastic troops though, and so, even though they are of a scale so as to match with no one else's stuff, and are actually a bit too big for my PSC vehicles, the Valiant "1/72" troops were just so beautiful (I've been eyeing them for a loooong time) I couldn't help myself.  I ordered a box of US, a box of Brit, a box of regular Germans, Normandy Germans, and German paratroopers.  I built all the vehicles but my Bren carriers and German PaK-38s, and primed them (above).  So far I've built all the US, but no one else is built out, and I've only painted up a few test troops.

US test troops.  I think I'm going with the one in the middle.

Brit test troops.  I think I'm going with the one on the left.

German paras.  I previously painted three different tests, but picked the one I like, and did all three the same way.

As far as I got on German tests.  No matter what I do, I can't seem to come up with a good color scheme for Panzer Lehr (far left is my best attempt so far).

Oh, a long time ago I painted up some GHQ 10mm ACW troops.  Here are the Confederates, based the way I did them initially.

Here's the Union forces, moving towards basing the way I want them, though I haven't gotten flock on them yet.

Another look.

Alright, let's get down to brass tacks.  I started setting up a table for a fight next weekend.  My goal was two-fold: one, I wanted to set up for a 10mm fight with NEIS, and two, I've taken a lot of crap about my hills (I'm looking at you Panda, and Blue), so I wanted to try putting my hills under the mat.  So I put my hills under the mat, and it looked good, but not right for 10mm.  So I ended up setting up a 6mm table...  Not my first choice, but just how things worked out.  It's a helluva war gentlemen...

Please take a look.

We've got hills under the mat, we've got highways, dirt roads, cities, villages, rivers, fields, walls, forests, hedges, fields, a bridge (missing until the last photo, when I realized I had yet to place it on the field of battle).  The only problem with placing hills under the mat is that they are difficult to make out, and so it's harder to deal with LOS issues.

Based off the 1st photo, this is the left half of the battlefield, from the same facing.

The right side of the battlefield.

Looking from right end to left end.

From left end to right end.

I put the camera on the table, trying to take a 'ground level' pic to show the contours of the table.  I'm still worried it doesn't look right for 10mm, that it's too subtle for the larger scale, even though this looks more realistic and is more aesthetically pleasing.

Another look from left to right.  Can't you just picture tanks and APCs crawling over the landscape, spitting fire?  Next week.

The town at the central crossroads.  These building aren't the most beautiful, but they work like a champ, and were part of one of my purchases, for which I'm very thankful (i.e., useful and I didn't have to put any work in).  Please note the pine trees, which are the only type I have for 6mm.

A-ha!  We've disabled the cloaking device on the bridge!

Well, that's it folks.  It feels to be good to be back on the blogging track, and I look forward to getting a game or two in next weekend, so stay tuned.  Hell, the following week we have Veteran's Day, so I can guarantee I'll be getting a game or two in then as well.  Sorry for the extraordinarily long post, but if you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me.  More to come.



  1. Wow, thats a huge update! Someone´s been productive ;)

    1. Black Guardian,

      Thanks for looking. It has indeed been a productive time, but I'd still rather be playing than painting! Stay tuned and I'll have some batreps up here soon.


  2. Welcome back to the blogsphere Jack! And have you been busy.

    to get me out of the way first, I apologies for letting you down with all the posts I was going to do. My job have got superbusy since June with no end in sight for until June next year at the earliest. I am filling in for me and two other people, without trying to work 24 hours a day! So I come home and read or watch TV with my wife. And the last of the free time has been angsting about my ancient rules. The couple of WW2 games I have got in I have only half written up :-( One of them against the 9 year old you mentioned...on a 9'x5' table.

    But back to you! In the time you seemed to have painted up 10 armies in 3 different scales, I did base up some 15mm ancient figures. No comparison, and you have a new baby as well; you have become a legend in my mind (don't worry, I will forget all about it, but bask in the glow for now).

    i am amazed that a die hard 10mm will convert to the two scales I use for moderns. The one true scale - 20mm - (yes I am a believer but really , and cannot be bothered moving to a different scale) and the one true mass scale - 6mm. I like to think it was me that got you there, and I am name-dropped in the post, but more likely it was the entire 20mm gaming world. I hope you and your boys really enjoy the scale.

    For what it is worth, I agree with your picks for the paint jobs. Your hills are much improved. I must admit i have never really had a problem with LOS with hills under the mat/cloth, even when playing with others. We tend to go with the "if any part of the hill in in the way,there is no LOS".

    I hope you and you family are well and thankyou muchly for the update. It has given me the drive to finish off the blog post with the huge (well, got me) game I played with the 9 year old.

    1. Shaun,

      It's good to see you brother, I've missed ya! I figured you'd had something going on and that's why we haven't seen a lot of gaming activity from you in a bit. Here's hoping you're able to produce a clone army to take care of all your menial tasks, whilst the 'real' you can sit back and game (Lord knows that's my dream!).

      I'm no legend; don't misunderstand, none of that 20mm stuff is anywhere near finished. Most, but not all, of the vehicles are built and primed, and whilst I did build out all the US infantry, that is not the case with the other four boxes, and no painting has been done beyond a few test figs.

      Regarding the 6mm, I'm not proud of the paintjobs, they're really just spray painted, washed, and thrown on the table. But there sure are lots of'em!!! Don't worry, my 10mm stuff isn't going anywhere (in fact, it's still growing). The real life issue I'm having at this point is that it is starting to dawn on me that I have more forces than I have time to game with them, particularly given the fact I continue to procure more at an alarming rate. Is this normal?

      I can't wait to do 20mm with my boys, and that purchase was all your fault! The hills under the mat thing is growing on me; my concern now is that it works for 6mm, but doesn't look big enough for 10mm...

      We're all doing great here, hope your family is too, and get to work on those WWII batreps (sorry man, Ancients still aren't my thing).


  3. Wow, wow, wow.... I not sure the world is ready for WWIII but you sure as hell are...amazing work all round. Well done

  4. Hey buddy, good to see you, I'm glad you're still alive. It's been so long I have to ask how you and the family are doing again.

    I am indeed ready to fight WWIII in 6mm; well, not quite, but soon. I've got the table set and am ready to play, but have been distracted by Ivan's "No End In Sight."

    You need to get off your lazy butt and get back to putting on some beautiful games. And I say that because I need your help; I'm new to this 20mm crap, and I don't know what to do about terrain. Mind you, this is a simply a skirmish diversion so I don't intend on going crazy with it, but I would like to put on a decent 2' x 2' or 3' x 3' table. I'm looking at buying some model stuff, i.e., a building, some fencing, bushes, trees, ground litter.

    I'll never have a table that looks like yours, so don't go that route on me. What I'm looking for is, what's my best shot at having some good looking terrain relatively cheaply and quickly?

    Take care Panda.