Wednesday, December 21, 2022

15mm German SS


Waffen SS

Yes, I know they are evil, and yes, I know some wargamers find them so repugnant that they don't wish to even wargame with them, but I'm a historical wargamer and they're part of history, so while I abhor Nazi ideology and all the atrocities that went with it, I see no problem with owning them and playing with them.  Hell, I've already played wargames fighting Al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, Imperial Japan, the Soviets, and modern Russians, none of whom are any less evil, in my humble estimation.

So I have this force and I'll look forward to getting them on the table, just like any of the other enemy forces I play against.  I'll primarily look to use them for the brutal fighting in Normandy and during Market Garden; they certainly have their place on the Eastern Front, as well, but I can't say I have any campaign plans to see them in that direction.

These were all painted for me by my buddy AJ, who's quite the talented artist.

The whole force, consisting of:
Commanding Officer stand
4 x rifle platoon (Platoon Leader and three rifle stands)
1 x MG Platoon (Platoon Leader and four MG-42 stands)
1 x Mortar Platoon (Platoon Leader and six 8.0cm Mortar stands, the short tubes)
1 x ATG Platoon (Platoon Leader and 3 x PaK-40 7.5cm anti-tank guns)
1 x Infantry Gun Platoon (Platoon Leader and 2 x leIG18 7.5cm infantry guns)

A closeup of the German commander.


The four rifle platoons.

A closer look at some of the rifle stands.


And once more.

How 'bout a closeup?


And one more.

Organic crew-served weapons.

Closeup of a tripod-mounted MG-42.


Closeup of a mortar team.  I love the fact the dude feeding rounds is double-fisting it ;)  You can see the short tube on these sculpts.


The attached gun platoons.

A closeup of one of the PaKs.

And one of the howitzers.

And one more to close it out.

Pretty cool, AJ really did a fantastic job painting and basing these guys.  When will I find the time to have the Canadians grind these fellas to dust in and around Caen?

Army of the Republic of Vietnam, Early War, in 15mm


But on to the stars of the show, and the real point of this exercise (for this section of this post, I mean)...

ARVN, fousands of 'em, Sir!  Spurred (once again) by the indomitable, imperturbable, yet somehow still indescribable Joe Legan, I have once again jumped into an era/force that I previously had no real interest in.  But you're confused; "Jack," you remind us, "you've already shown us ARVN above."

Indeed, I have.  But those are later war ARVN, with M-16s and M-60s.  See, Joe's been doing early war ARVN, say around 1961, before the US became directly involved, and now I want to do it, too (though I've no idea when I'll actually find the time to jump in).  But the M-16 wasn't a thing back then, and the ARVN didn't have M-60s, they had M-1 Carbines, M-1 Garands, BARs, and M-1919 MGs, so I needed some like that.  But no one (at least so far as I'm aware) makes ARVN like that, so what to do?

Well, these are Peter Pig WWII-era US Marines, and they seem to work just fine.  M-1 helmets, Garands, Carbines, Tommy Guns, BARs, mostly trousers unbloused, close enough for me.  About thirty of these guys actually started out as WWII US Marines, but I pulled them off their pennies, grabbed a bunch more, and set to making a fairly sizeable ARVN force.  I've got a CO, an XO, an FO, twelve rifle stands, three combat engineer stands, six platoon command stand, a water-cooled .30-cal MG stand, three air-cooled .30-cal MG stands, a dual-based (two tubes) 81mm mortar stand, three single-based (one tube) 81mm mortar stands, four bazooka stands, two separate flamethrower stands, and a stand of Docs (Corpsmen!).

I painted these guys up plain-Jane green so I suppose I could use them for generic US Army in WWII or Korea, as well.  

The commanding officer.


A look at the rifle stands.  Lots of Garands and BARs, pretty cool, eh?


More.  Now you can see a couple Tommy Guns.

The engineers, with a flamethrower on each base.

A look at some heavy weapons.

81mm mortars and air-cooled M1919s (which are actually from Battlefront, not Peter Pig).  Hell, I think those mortar tubes are from Battlefront, too, though the crews are Peter Pig.

Then I put a couple M-1917s on a stand and a couple 81mm mortar tubes on a single stand (those tubes are from Peter Pig).  Not sure why, exactly, but okay...

A bazooka team and a couple flamethrower teams.

A look at the backside of the flamethrowers; nicely modelled.

The FO peering through his field glasses, RTO nearby.

The Docs.

And now onto the heavy metal!  These are old Battlefront resin and metal models, a real pain in the ass to find!  I painted them up and gave them a wash which, as usual, turned out way too dark, so of course I set out to rectify the situation by giving them a light drybrushing.

But anyone familiar with the blog knows that I am utterly incapable of conducting a 'light' drybrushing, so I drybrushed the hell out of them and made them look goofy...  But too late now, I'm not stripping them and repainting, I swear...

Then I got a boatload of M-113s, all the newer Battlefront plastics.  I bought about half of them built and painted but, once again, went ahead and repainted them anyway as I was going to be able to make the other half (which I'd just purchased new) match them.

Another issue with the 'used' tracks was that a lot of them weren't built correctly (see the top model, which has the top for an M-163 but has a normal cupola, rather than the Vulcan turret), so I did a lot of prying apart and trying to fix them with extra pieces from the boxes of new models I had.

Apparently I only took a picture of three of them, but I actually have six of the ACAVs.

Then I built an M-163.

And a track with a recoiless rifle.

Please note, if you're thinking the skin tones on these guys is a bit dark, and you're wondering why some of the TCs are wearing berets, it's because these models are intended to be used primarily as ARVN.

And an M-106 mortar carrier.

Cold War-Era US Infantry


Modern (Cold War) US Infantry

As usual, I didn't really need these (given all the modern US troops I already have), but when I spotted two platoons, painted and based, for $30, I just couldn't pass them up.  These are two of the Battlefront Tam Yankee US Marine platoons, so they've got not just the rifle and Dragon stands, they've also got M-60 machine guns (my first love ;) ), SMAWs, and 60mm mortars.

Once again I found the paintjobs to be decent, but not quite what I was looking for, and the basing was pretty nasty: the poor dude had gotten basing sand all over the guys, and then made some pretty strange decisions with regards to what weapons went on the different bases.  For example, the pack is actually set up so that you put a standard four-man fireteam consisting of a grenadier, automatic rifleman, and two riflemen, on each base, but this guy didn't understand that, so you'd pick up a base and it would have three SAWs and a rifleman on it, and the next one would have three grenadiers and a rifleman on it, etc...  Well, that wasn't going to do for me, so I pried them all off their bases, scraped the basing sand off them, glued them on new bases, and completely repainted them, opting to do half in desert tricolors and half in woodland camo.  It all worked out ;)

The desert force, consisting of a CO, XO, two M-60 MG teams, two SMAW teams, two M-47 Dragon teams, a 60mm mortar team, and nine rifle stands (fireteams).

Same goes for the temperate troops.

A closeup of the desert command stand.  I probably got too much brown on the cammies, making them look more like "Chocolate Chips" than "Tricolors," and after much deliberation I decided to give them the yellow 'desert jungle' boots, rather than black boots (that a lot of Marines deployed to Desert Storm and Somalia with).

Backside of the command stand, showing the RTO's PRC-77.

Let's look at some rifle stands!  As you see here, each stand has a Corporal (Fireteam Leader) has an M-203, a Lance Corporal (Automatic Rifleman) with an M-249 SAW, a PFC (Assistant Gunner) with an M-16A2, and a Private (Scout) with an M-16A2.  One of the two riflemen in each team is carrying or firing an M-72 LAW.

Actually, one rifle stand in each force has one stand that is missing a SAW as each pack apparently only came with 8 SAWs for some reason...

More rifle stands.

The two SMAW stands.

The 60mm mortar stand.  I saw it done in combat, but I absolutely hate the fact the tube is being 'free-handed' (rather then properly set upon its bipod and baseplate) nonetheless... 

The two Dragon teams, one seated firing and one strapped across his back and on the move.

The two 'Pig' teams.  Heavy metal, baby, Guns Up!

Having said that, I started on the M-60E3, and clearly these are M-60A1s ;)

A look at the temperate force's Skipper.

Again.  Pretty happy with how my woodland camo turned out.

A look at the rifle teams.


The sharp of eye and sharper of mind will recall that I actually bought a pack of the Team Yankee US Mech Platoon troops, painted them up, and sold them, several years ago.  Yup, that's me, that's how I roll.  As I said, Wargaming in an Exceedingly Poor Manner...

The SMAWs, getting to see a different angle on them.

Opposite angle on the 60mm mortar team.

And the Dragon teams.

We actually still had Dragons when I joined the Corps, but I never got to fire one as they were quickly phased out not long after I got to the Fleet.  They weren't replaced until the Javelins came out years later, so we didn't have any real AT capability at company level, it was all at battalion level (where the TOWs were part of Weapons Company).  Sure, we had AT-4s, which had replaced the LAWs, but...

The machine gun teams.

So badly would I love to see castings of the three-man MG teams set up the way we were taught: all three men are prone, loader on the left, right arm over the gunner, gunner in the middle (with the gun on a tripod), and team leader on the right, with left arm over the gunner, all armed with pistols (I forget what year they started issuing service rifles to machine gunners).