Thursday, 1 December 2016

AutoMitrailleuse White

The White Armoured Car (Mitrailleuse White in French service) was the French equivalent of Britain's Rolls Royce armoured car, inasmuch as it was a World War One design that was continually upgraded and in service until World War Two. It was based on an American White chassis, and mounted a Hotchkiss machine gun and a 37mm gun opposite each other in the turret.

This is my 1:100 (15mm) 3d printed model in WSF nylon, available for sale in this material or in high-resolution FUD resin at http://shpws.me/MKq1

I'm not sure exactly what tactical markings they would have worn, but I think some French roundels would probably be a reasonably safe bet.

Later...

Somebody suggested the playing-card symbols as used on interwar/WWII French tanks as platoon identifiers. I don't know if they were actually used for armoured cars, but I liked the idea so I tried it out.

The French roundel on the doors makes a nice aiming bullseye.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

6pdr Mk.II (15mm)

This is Battlefront's 15mm British 6 pounder anti-tank gun, converted to the early Mk.II version by the very simple expedient of cutting off the muzzle-brake. To tell the truth, I doubt that this version of the gun would have ever been seen in these colours except for training in the UK; I'm pretty sure that the later Mk.IV version with a muzzle-brake would have been ubiquitous by the time of the Italian campaign.

Now I have most of Britain's WWII anti-tank guns in 1:100 scale, from the crappy Hotchkiss 25mm, through the 2 and 6 pounders, right up to the mighty 17 pounder. I don't have a 17pdr "Pheasant" yet, but I expect I'll pick one up one of these days if only because I like the look of it on the 25pdr carriage.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

K-Wagen (1:285)

3-up sprue

Single model
I've re-scaled my model of the K-Wagen to 1:285 for use in 6mm games.

It's available as a single model or as a 3-up sprue.

This would be a real monster on the wargames table; it's about 47mm long and 25mm across the beam. That would make it even more massive than the Soviet WWII T-35.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

K-Wagen (1:100)

Here's my latest model at Shapeways — the German K-Wagen super-heavy tank of 1918.

It was a real monster, thirteen metres long and carrying a crew of 26. It never made it into action, but it only just missed out when the war ended in November 1918.

It's available at http://shpws.me/MXQh. Unfortunately, being a big vehicle means that it's a big model with a big price. Alas, there's nothing much I can do about that except complain endlessly.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Vickers "Dutchman" — the Embiggening

I've re-scaled my Vickers "Dutchman" to 1/56 (28mm), which mostly involved re-doing all the rivets so that they wouldn't look quite so much like grapefruit in the larger scale.

It's available at http://shpws.me/MVy4

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Toys for ME!

I got some unexpected presents today from my very generous friend Steve, who is winnowing his old FoW collections in a changeover to Bolt Action. He's passed on to me some of his 15mm BEF 1940 models:

  • a 4.5" howitzer
  • an 18/25pdr gun
  • a 2pdr anti-tank gun
  • a Hotchkiss 25mm anti-tank gun
  • a Vickers MMG team
  • a mortar team
  • a Dingo scout car

And in addition, a set of Warlord Games Bolt Action markers and templates.

The scale of your average Bolt Action game being between single reinforced platoons rather than companies or battalions, the addition of a single gun or vehicle can be a significant increase in force, so these are very welcome.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Bolt Action 2: more rules tinkering

I'm trying to think of a workable mechanism for temporarily linking two units in Bolt Action (2nd Ed.) so that they're both activated as one. The specific circumstance I'm thinking of is where you have an armoured vehicle providing moving cover for some infantry behind it, but there are others where it might also be appropriate.

It's doable by way of the officers' extra orders, but that just makes the order process slightly less piece-meal — even a Major would only be able to get two vehicle/infantry combined units moved per Turn.

It could be run as a variant of the "mounting vehicles" rules, where the infantry don't actually get into/on to the vehicle and the vehicle is then restricted to the move speed of the accompanying infantry. In that case, if the vehicle is destroyed, it wouldn't also take out the infantry (unless it's H.E.)

Unlike the regular "mounting transports" rules, the infantry in this situation would be able to "mount" a moving vehicle as long as it isn't moving any faster than the infantry. I think I'd limit that to 6" (ADVANCE speed), due to the need to coordinate between the infantry and vehicle to maintain cover.
NOTE: I noticed, while reading about mounting transports, that it explicitly states that a unit can't be split between two or more transports.
This is a STUPID RULE, which I fully intend to ignore. For a start, it would make it impossible to represent the British practice of allotting two Bren Carriers to carry one section of infantry.
Anyway, while this might work for the "tank-shield" circumstance, it still doesn't really cater to things like a combined assault. Maybe that's the sort of thing that would best be handled with the officers' extra orders.

Even then, under a strict interpretation of the rules as written, I think the assault would have to be worked through in its entirety when the first unit is ordered in, rather than counting both assaulting units as a single entity for that purpose.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Stosstruppen

Battlefront had a Halloween sale, in which all their Great War stuff was significantly marked down, so I got a few bits and pieces — some British rifles and trench mortars, and some German infantry, battalion support weapons, and these StoƟtruppen. The stormtroopers are a bit more lightly equipped than the normal infantry, and they include a bunch armed with Bergmann submachine guns, so they can also stand in for Freikorps, should the need arise.

The standard of sculpting and casting is not, to my eye, up to Battlefront's best. It's not terrible, but there's a lack of detail in places, some of the poses are a bit awkward and spindly, and I suspect the alloy is a bit lead-heavy, because what detail there is is rather soft and blobby, as if the metal has not properly filled the mould. Nevertheless, they'll do the job for which they're intended, which is to be toy soldiers.

I've painted just one stormtrooper so far, trying out paint colours and QuickShade. It's a bit crappy, really. I think that maybe rather than using Stone Grey as the base colour for the uniform I might go a bit darker, and maybe try a Citadel or Vallejo acrylic wash instead of the QuickShade.

Later...


I finished off the first batch, and pretty much finalized the colours and process I'll use for the rest. I think the weakest point about the sculpting is the faces; most of them are just formless blobs. I could bring out more of the features with paint, but frankly I can't be bothered.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Bolt Action (2nd Ed.) Index PDF/ODT

My copy of Bolt Action 2 has finally arrived, at long, long last, and to my surprise and anger I find that it STILL doesn't have an index.

This is something that really gets on my wick. Automated index creation tools have been a part of every word processing and page layout application I've used in at least two decades, and failing to include an index in any reference manual is just slackness. There's no excuse for it.

Anyway, the work has been done for Warlord Games (slackers!) by others. The Demo Gamers have put together an index, which I have nabbed and reformatted so that I can print it as an A5 folded booklet.

My booklet is available as a PDF, or if you want to be able to edit it yourself, in ODT (OpenOffice/LibreOffice) format.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

It Takes A (Paper) Village

Progress on my el-cheapo paper village progresses.

The one to the left I designed myself ages ago, and just re-scaled to fit better with 15mm figures. It could do with some adjustment I think; the timber framing needs a bit more definition. I rather like the somewhat cartoonish look of the WHFRP buildings, and I'll probably emulate them a bit more.

All of the WHFRP buildings I've put together so far have been very simple, constructionally — basically just rectangular boxes of various heights. I haven't investigated the archive fully yet, and hopefully there might be one or two in there that are a bit more interesting. The simple buildings have the virtue of being very quick and easy to construct, but one or two funkier ones wouldn't go amiss to add some visual interest.

I'm mounting them all on black mounting-board, with a lump of lead hot-glued inside to give them a bit of stability. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do about decorating the basing; I'll do it all in one go when I have all the buildings I want so that they're all consistent in their groundwork.

None of these have removable roofs or accessible interiors, and I have no plans to change that. I don't think the added trouble is really justified in terms of improving game-play. It would be a different matter if I was playing Mordheim or something of that ilk, but I'm not. What I should do is make some "destroyed" versions that can be swapped out for, when occupying troops (inevitably) get mortared all to buggery.

I'm spray-gluing the laser prints to 260gsm black card, and getting them really well bonded by rollering the bejeezus out of them before the glue sets hard. That seems to be working pretty well, and 260gsm card seems to be quite adequate for strength as long as I don't go standing on any of them. The black card helps a lot with the outline issue I mentioned last time, though it doesn't cure it completely — the paper itself is still white.

Friday, 28 October 2016

El-Cheapo Terrain

I'm kind of a cheapskate when it comes to wargaming terrain. I hate to spend money on it, but at the same time, I want it to look at least half-way decent.

A long time ago, I found an archive of PDFs of papercraft buildings designed for WHFRP gaming. I don't remember now where they came from, and it's taken me years to get around to actually putting any of them together. They're very simple models, and they don't take much time to assemble, which is a good thing, and they're quite attractive when they're glued together.

They're in "Fantasy-Tudor" style, which perhaps isn't especially suitable for WWII gaming, but I like the look of them and they'd definitely be an improvement on wooden blocks.

I'm experimenting at the moment with scaling — they're intended for use with 25-28mm figures, and all my wargaming is either 6mm or 15mm. This one I printed at 50%, and it's just a fraction too small for 15mm; it's about 60mm tall to the peak of the roof — I'll bump up the next one to 60% and see how that looks.

This is an instance where a laser printer isn't as useful as an inkjet would be, for two reasons:

  1. The laser won't print on anything heavier than about 100gsm paper
  2. The fused toner is somewhat water-resistant, which makes gluing with PVA problematic.

The first issue I can get around by laminating prints to light card with spray glue, but the second is trickier. I can scrape away the toner on the glue-tabs, but that's kind of a pain. I think I may just re-composite a whole bunch of them on to A3 layouts and get them printed commercially on light card; it's not too expensive, and it would save a lot of faffing about.

One thing that's an issue with any papercraft model is that corners and edges tend to stand out like dog's bollocks, bright white against the printed textures where the paper has been cut or folded. It pays to run around these areas with a felt pen to subdue the glare — black is OK, but sepia or grey is less cartoonish.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Bolt Action 2 - QuickRef

While waiting impatiently for my copy of Bolt Action (2nd Ed.) to arrive, I've used what information I do have available to put this together:

Bolt Action 2 QuickRef (PDF, approx. 450Kb)

It's A4 landscape, two pages.

It's intended to be printed double-sided and laminated, so I don't have to keep flipping back and forth through the book to find the information I need when I'm playing the game.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

New and Improved, the One-Man Armoured Steam Battle-Tricycle

Click for enlarged view
Continuing with my present steampunk jag, I've whipped up a one-man armoured steam battle-tricycle in 15-20mm scale. It comes equipped with a state-of-the-art Maxim pom-pom gun.

It's available for sale at http://shpws.me/MOXF. No self-respecting Victorian SF army should be without at least a dozen!

Other views - click to enlarge

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Steampunk-Boiler-Tank

I was forcibly off-line for a while when my internet provider had some network issues, and as a result, had to be productive.

Part of the results of that productivity was this: a steampunk tank-thing.

Now that my digital crack is flowing again, I've uploaded it to Shapeways so it can be given physical form and be birthed into the real world.

It's of indeterminate scale, and could be used with 15mm, 20mm or 28mm figures, at your pleasure. The main gun is a separate component and can be installed at whatever angle you want. On a sprue inside the hull are a pair of pintle-mounted Gatling guns that can be mounted poking out through the slot in the front of the hull — realistically, there would be room for only one, along with its gunner and loader and associated clutter, but I've provided two in case you want to make it look fiercer.

The basic form is based on an uncredited photograph I found on the web of somebody's scratch-built model, but I've jazzed it up quite a lot. So thanks, mysterious anonymous modeller.

Monday, 17 October 2016

WW1 Vickers Teams (15mm)


 These are Peter Pig's early WW1 British Vickers machine-gun teams.

They're supplied three guns to the pack, but for some reason, Peter Pig only include observers/gun-captains for two of them. At first I assumed it was a packing error, but the same occurs with the German Maxims pack, so I suppose it's company policy for some reason that I can't fathom. It's not a big deal I suppose, but it's an irritation.

I think that the Vickers used by the British army in this period would have had fluted barrel jackets, not smooth, as these ones are modelled.


They're based on 30 x 30 mm 3 mm hardboard. I've come around to using thicker bases for these sorts of things because it makes the groups so much easier to pick up and move around the wargames table than the thin steel I used to use.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Vickers Medium Mk.II*

This is my 1:100 scale Vickers Medium Mk.II*, 3d-printed in WSF by Shapeways.

I've painted it in the scheme used in the Middle East, but with no tactical markings (as yet).

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Very Tiny Gun

All of 13 millimetres long.

15mm German WWII Grenadier by Battlefront
Here's the 1:100 scale (15mm) Lewis Gun I had printed in FED resin by Shapeways.

The FED really does render pretty decent detail, and though it is more expensive than FUD, for this sprue of six Lewis Guns and pole-mounts, the difference was only a buck or so.

The trouble with modeling personal weapons for wargames figures is illustrated in the photo of the gun next to a WWII German Grenadier. To suit the figures it really needs to be modeled a bit bigger and a lot more chunky. In true 1:100 scale, it looks far too light and slender next to the figure; more like the proportions of a rifle.

That's something that can really only be determined by trial and error; you just have to find out what looks right with the figures you have.

I may do another sprue of guns in rather more exaggerated proportions for this very reason.

Vickers "Dutchman", 1936

I've uploaded a model of the Vickers Commercial "Dutchman" of 1936, in 1/100 scale for 15mm gaming.

It wasn't taken up by the British army (a very short-sighted decision) but it was sold extensively around the world, especially to the Dutch East Indies, hence its nickname of "Dutchman".

It's available at http://shpws.me/MMB1

I've made it available in WSF, but because of issues with the running gear and exhaust, I can't guarantee that it will print in that material. The default material is FUD resin, and it should be fine in that.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Conversion stuff: Vickers Light Mk.III running gear (1/56 scale)

In response to a request, I've uploaded a model of just the running gear for the Vickers Light Tank Mk.III in 1/56 scale.

It's at http://shpws.me/MM73

Hopefully this will help people with some conversions of various interwar vehicles. The running gear is usually the trickiest part of any scratch-building project.

Friday, 30 September 2016

White Armoured Car, 1915

After much travail, here is the White Armoured Car of 1915, in 1:100 scale (15mm).

They were built by the French on the chassis of American White trucks, and remained in service right through until the 1940s. The turret mounted both a short 37mm gun and a Hotchkiss machine-gun. In French service they were known as Automitrailleuse White.

It's available at http://shpws.me/MKq1

The travail comes not so much from actually modelling the thing as from wrestling with Shapeways' systems to actually make it available for purchase and printing.