Sunday, March 20, 2016

15mm Modern USMC Test Figures


Well, Saturday was too busy to get anything done, and the time I had Sunday I spent painting instead of playing.  I recently finally made a purchase of 15mm Peter Pig Modern USMC after online stalking them for over a year.  As I've been very much into skirmish gaming lately, I bought enough of these little Piggy troops to make up four different skirmish forces of about a platoon each.  They were easy to clean up and mount, so I primed them and painted up four test figures, one for each force, as each force will be in different uniform for different clime and/or era.

Here are the photos, I'd love to hear what you think.

And here they are, the four testers for the four different forces.  From left to right, we have a guy all set up for some Arctic warfare, then a guy in temperate MARPAT, then desert MARPAT, and finally a guy in desert tri-color.  The arctic and temperate guys are probably self explanatory, but the reason for having desert troops in MARPAT and tri-colors is for use in different eras.  The MARPAT guy will be 2004 and later, while the tri-color guy will be used between Desert Storm and early OEF/OIF, including Somalia in '91.

Here's some closeups of each guy.  I picked four guys out, but screwed up; I wanted to have all four guys in the same pose, but I did three of one pose and one of another.  Having said that, they're all basic riflemen with M-16A4s (though I'll pass them off for M-16A2s for the Desert tri-color force).

First up is the desert tri-color force.  The uniform is desert sand with sand splotches and military brown swirls.  I did the flak and gear in Italian green, with some Italian Dark Brown swirls on the vest (could serve as PASGT, RBA, and the green Interceptor).  He's also got the old, all-black goggles.

Fore.  You can see the all-black Ka-Bar fighting knife on the right (his left side).

Left side.

And the last shot is aft.  Previously I'd done up the vest with dark brown and desert yellow swirls, but it really confused the camo (yes, the point of camo is to confuse, but it didn't look right).  I'm pretty happy with how this test turned out, looks suitably desert to me.

Next force.

Next up is the temperate MARPAT, which is suitable for about 04 to present.  I used Italian Green and Wood with black dots for the uniform, Wood for the boots and gloves, and Dark Tan for the Interceptor vest and gear.  The Dark Tan looks a little off from the real life 'Coyote Brown,' but I gotta tell you I'm very happy with how this uniform turned out.  I think this one looks best of them all.

Fore.  I used my usual static grass for the base, which is a penny.  This will serve him all over Europe, Asia, and part of Africa.  What I'm thinking to do is follow a platoon through various fictional, modern-day contingency operations which can take them all over the world using Five Men at Kursk (modified for modern), which is the reason for the winter, temperate, and desert forces.  I'm not sure if I'm going to lump this under the Cuba Libre umbrella or start something different, maybe just a modern USMC MEU.

The left side.

And aft.  Again, very happy with how this turned out.

Next force.

Here we go with the Arctic trooper.  For the uniform I simply primed him white, gave him Italian Green gear, then painted the boots and vest Sand.  The "Mickey Mouse" or "Bunny Boots" are actually a yellowish-white in real life, so this works, and my line of thinking for painting the vest Sand was that it would be a cover over his green or Coyote Brown vest.  I think it works.  I put black line over the boots and around the vest; I think it looks okay, but I think in when I do the whole force I'll get rid of it.  Let me know what you think.

Fore.  Here you get a little better look at how the boots and vest are off color from the rest of the uniform.

The left side.  Here you can see I also put an Italian Green hood on him (under his helmet, of course).

And aft.

Last force.

The last troop up is the Desert MARPAT, and this is the one that I'm least happy with.  I thought I'd figured out Desert MARPAT; my attempts in 20mm look spot on (to me), and these pics are my making me re-think my position (they might look better than in real life!), but for some reason it just doesn't look right to me.  It almost looks like the old Aussie Desert 'duckhunter' camo...

Anyway, I used Khaki and Sand with Italian Dark Brown spots for the uniform, Dark Tan for the vest and gear, and Wood for the boots, goggles, and gloves.

Fore.  Maybe I have too many dots and not enough dashes in the camo?

The left side.  These Peter Pig troops are really fantastic, love the sculpts, great poses and very crisp, clean lines.

And aft, last pic.  All the gear and weapons look great, everything is easy to see and paint, and looks right.  I only have two extraordinarily small quibbles: 1) in the AT-4 pack, one of the guys carrying a rocket is also carrying a SAW.  Now, that's not out of the realm of possibility, but I can't recall ever seeing a SAW gunner carrying an AT-4.  He had more important things to do.  2) One of the leader figures has a pistol; he looks to be right handed (that's where his rifle is), but the pistol is on his left hip.  The holster looks kinda screwy (one of the Corpsmen has a pistol holster on his right side and it looks perfect), and the pistol looks to me like a revolver.  Maybe a guy carrying a personal weapon?

Like I said, truly minor quibbles; I actually carved the SAW drum off and just painted those AT-4 guys up as riflemen, and the left-side holster doesn't draw any undue attention.

That's all for now, we'll see what this week brings, and then I'm out of town on business for the following two weeks.  Please let me know what you think of these guys.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

10mm Modern Skirmish Forces


I've got 8 million excuses why, but the short story is I've had a lot going on personally and professionally and so this is the second weekend in a row that I got ZERO games in.  Very depressing.  And it doesn't look to get any better from now to the end of summer.  And so I've done a bit of thinking and it's time for a pivot.  What I need are ways to get get quick games in; my son and I have been having an absolute blast playing through Operation Jupiter (we're eight games into a 30 game campaign), but the games take a long time to set up, a relative long time to play, a long time to tear down, and a long time to process, write, and post to the blog.

So what I need is a mechanism to get quicker games in; easier set up, smaller forces for quicker games, which makes for easier processing, writing, and posting.  Combine that with the fact that my buddy Ivan just put out his new rules "Five Men At Kursk" (5MAK), which I really want to play, then combine that with the fact I have a bunch of 10mm modern troops lying around in a box waiting to be painted, based, and played with, and you might be on to the same idea I came too.

I've got quite a bit of Minifigs 10mm modern stuff lying around needing to be cleaned up, primed, painted, and based, so what I'm doing is basing it up for 5MAK (single basing for troops, couple guys on a penny for weapons teams, one vehicle is a vehicle).  I also have a bunch of vehicles lying around; some I have painted but want to re-do, and some that haven't been touched.  So I touched them too, and what I have now are two pretty much identical forces for 5MAK.

Let's get to it.

The whole she-bang, everything I did up this weekend.  Essentially I built this as "Blue Force" vs "Red Force," with Blue using NATO gear and Red using WarPac gear.  From the picture the Blue force is missing its helicopter gunship and tanks; the tanks are Takara pre-paints I've had for years (M1 Abrams), and the Blue gunship is an AH-1 on order from my buddy Mako at TMP.

Most everything in the pic is from Minifigs UK; the two T-72s are Takara pre-paints, and the two aircraft are from Maisto Tailwinds.

A look at all the vehicles.  Both Red and Blue have desert and temperate-painted vehicles, with Red on top and Blue on the bottom.  Red has a T-72, a BTR-70, a BMP-2, and two BRDMs for each of its forces, while Blue has two M-2 Bradleys, an LAV-25, and two HMMWVs for each force.

A look at the Blue desert M-2 Bradleys.  Nice little models, easy to slap together.  Actually, I also have AAVs that are Takara prepaints.

The Blue desert LAV.

Blue desert HMMWVs, with M2 .50 cal (left) and Mk19 grenade launcher (right).

The Blue temperate M-2 Bradleys, in NATO 3-tone camouflage.

The Blue temperate LAV.

The temperate HMMWVs, with M2 on left and TOW on right.  Not sure why I don't have a TOW for my desert force.  I'm sure it's around here somewhere...

On to the Red Force vehicles.

The Red desert T-72.

Desert BTR.

Desert BMP.

And desert BRDMs.

And the Panda had been making fun of the striped camouflage I'd put on my WarPac vehicles, so I decided to re-do some of the temperate vehicles too.

A Red Force temperate T-72, in plain old Russian green.

The temperate BTR.

Temperate BMP.

And temperate BRDMs.

And now we come to the Red Force helicopter gunship, a KA-52 Alligator, from the front.  This is a Maisto Tailwinds prepaint, which I've re-done.  And please ignore the base, it's for an AH-64 Apache I have upstairs.


Other flank.  I wish I'd have cut off the landing gear...

Up close.

Another Maisto deal, this time a Predator UAV, which I'll use for each side, as necessary.



Now, on to the poor bloody infantry.  This may be a bit of a letdown for you ;)
For some reason I ended up with quite a bit of Modern British and Vietnam-era Australian infantry lying around, so I decided to use them for this project.  I sorted them out and gave each side (Blue and Red) the exact same force, even the same exact poses.  I then painted the two sides up, each in their own, very basic uniform.

The whole mess, with Blue Force on top and Red Force on bottom.  Each side has a ten-man rifle squad in helmets, flak vests, and light gear with rifles, SAWs, and grenadiers, a seven-man squad of troops in bush hats with very heavy packs, carrying rifles and an LMG.  Then each side has five support elements: an MG team, a rocket team, an ATGM team, a mortar team (it's an 81mm mortar model, but will be used as a 60mm mortar), and a SAM team.

The Blue Force ten-man rifle squad.

From left to right, a SAW, radio man, and the boss (cake eater with hands on hips).

A rifleman, the grenadier, and some poor sap humping an ammo crate.

Then the other SAW (or LSW) and another rifleman.

And the last two Blue Force riflemen of the 'regular' rifle squad.

The Blue Force seven-man rifle squad.  These will be used as additional riflemen to augment the 10-man squad, as reconnaissance elements, or special operations troops.  Hell, maybe even militia or local force troops.  Okay, they'll be used for whatever I want to use them for ;)

Left to right is the LMG gunner then the boss.  I love these poses!

Two riflemen, one with SLR and one with M-16.

Two more riflemen, though the one at left may actually be some sort of SMG.  The guy on left also has a LAW strapped to his pack.

Last Blue Force rifleman.

The Blue Force support teams.

The MG team.

The rocket team (it's an 84mm Charles Gustav).

The ATGM team (it's a Milan missile launcher).

The SAM team (it's a Blowpipe).

And the mortar team.  A little hard to make out, the mortar is at center, with a guy on right having just hung and dropped a round, and the guy on left holding the next round.

On to the Red Force.

The Red Force 10-man rifle squad.

These are all the same exact poses as the Blue Force, so I'm showing the opposite angles.  On the right is the boss (hands in his pockets, weapon slung), and on the left is the guy humping the ammo.

The Blue Force had dark uniforms with light gear and a stripey camouflaged helmet cover, while the Red Force has a lighter uniform with dark gear and a spotted camouflaged helmet cover.  Not bad, but I wish I'd have gone a bit further in trying to be distinctive between the two uniforms...

The LSW and SAW (Minimi).

The Grenadier and radioman.

Two Red Force riflemen.

And the last two Red Force riflemen of their 10-man squad.

The Red Force seven-man squad.

The boss (left) and machine gunner (M-60, on right).

Two riflemen.

Rifleman and SMG gunner with LAW.

Last rifleman.

The Red Force support teams.

The MG team.  I love the A-gunner sitting there with his legs spread.

The rocket team.

The ATGM team.

The SAM team.

And the mortar team.

Now, a couple photos with Blue and Red Force infantry standing side by side so you can see the difference.

The Blue Force boss is on left, the Red Force boss is on right.

The reverse.  So not too bad, but I still wish I'd have gone a bit further...

Anyway, I'm happy to have all these done, and I'm looking to get some games in with the boy, who's really been having a great time (as have I).  So all this is about a strategy to speed things up in order to get games in, perhaps even on week nights (gasp! Don't tell the wife!).  So the plan is to draw up a force generator which will result in each side having between 6 and 17 men, and 0, 1, or 2 support teams.  Though I'm quite proud of how good (in my humble opinion, and in strictly relative terms) my tables have looked recently, these fights are going to be on very simple terrain to speed up the set up/tear down process.

If you've looked at my Cuba Libre blog, you may have noticed I've been planning a campaign in the fictional nation of South Leon, a country on the west side of the African continent which was a key player in NATO domino theory during the Cold War, but now the Cold War is fini, has been left to deal with a communist insurgency fomented by its neighbor.  I had planned to play some pretty big games in 15mm for this, but what I'm thinking is to get it rolling with these guys.

And it's funny, I've been a solo gamer for so long it seemed that would simply be that kind of wargamer.  But now my boy and I have been playing, I kinda don't want to go back!  But I tell you what; pretty soon I'll be going out of town on business for two weeks, and from what I understand nights and weekends will be mine.  So another thing I've been pondering is taking these guys with me, a sort of 'travel set.'  Most of the guys are mounted on magnetized bases, I've got 2' x 2' boards I can take, trees, walls, shrubs, and houses that are easily transportable.  Dice, camera phone, and notebook are no problem.  The only thing I'm worried about are vehicles; I'm scared of knocking the crap out of all these metal vehicles.  For Blue I'd need an Abrams, a Bradley, an LAV, a HMMWV, and the Cobra.  For Red I'd need a T-72, a BMP, a BTR, a BRDM, and the Ka-52.  Not sure how to safeguard those in my luggage, and could make for an interesting conversation with airport security ;)

The second part of my two-pronged strategy also revolves around my Cuba Libre blog.  You may be aware of my campaign in the fictional country of Cronistria, a newly-minted democracy in the Balkans.  Cuba dispatched SF troops there to aid the country, and now the local forces have been trained up to the point they are ready to take on their communist adversaries.  So I've set up a 2' x 2' table of a small village, and I'm looking for the boy and I to fight a series of battles over that same exact terrain.   You know, two patrols stumble into each other, then the place magically transforms into a key piece of terrain for political reasons (each side wanting to show its resolve).  So those will be small games using 5MAK in 15mm on a table that doesn't change (I can see getting at least five fights out of it).

Well, if you've somehow made it this far, please drop me a line to let me know what you think of my strategy to speed things up to get more (some?) games in.  And let me know if it sounds like batreps you'd like to see.