Friday, 18 May 2018

HQ elements, South African 6th Armoured Division, Italy 1944

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.
Somewhere along the line, my South African 6th Armoured Division project stopped being just about wargaming, and started to become more about building miniatures. I am no longer concentrating on vehicles and figures that are needed in a wargames army, and the chance of some of the miniatures ever seeing time on a wargames table is remote. Does that bother me? Not so much. I am really  enjoying the modeling opportunities.

AEC 'Dorchester' Armoured Command Vehicle

First off is an AEC 'Dorchester' Armoured Command Vehicle - a large and imposing vehicle based on the Matador truck chassis. It was almost the length of a Sherman tank, and a fair bit taller. Used as a forward command post, it carried a crew of at least 5, a number of radios, and a healthy attempt at a map table. The division had six Dorchesters on strength, so I assumed at least one would be assigned to each brigade. My model depicts a vehicle assigned to the HQ of the 11th Armoured Brigade - AoS 50.


© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.
© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.
© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.
I used the Perry kit for this project, and what a wonderful kit it is. Lots of character, a detailed interior (or at least detailed enough once viewed through the open hatches and doors) and four well-sculpted crew. It a big chunk of resin and metal. However, nice as it is, it could have quite easily been a lot better. Casting issues aside, the fit of the roof was poor, the masters of the wheels looked incomplete, some of the baggage details are suggestions at best, and the wall thickness (of details that should be uniform) differed. A little bit more attention to detail would have turned a good kit into an excellent kit.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.










© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.
Some might argue that the work put into the interior is wasted, but I am very pleased that I made the effort. The pools of light from the hatches and doors afford great "glimpse views" of the interior detail, and give the vehicle - an otherwise great big slab of armored plate - a lot more interest.

Morris 15cwt Radio Van

By the time the division got to Italy in April 1944, their Morris vehicles would have been long in the tooth, and rare, aside from specialist artillery tractors and Bofors AA trucks. They dont appear in many photos - while you see plenty of CMP, Bedford and Dodge trucks. However, I have seen an image showing South African troops examining the wreck of an 88mm in mid 1944, and, lurking in the background appears to be a Morris radio van. Its on this basis that I added this miniature to my force.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.
Based on the Company B kit, this model also represents a vehicle of the 11th Brigade HQ. It was, for the most part, a straight-forward build. I added a rolled tarp of green stuff, and rear steps, radio aerial rack and aerial mounting from plastic card. A neat kit, if a little fiddly and fragile for the gaming table. I had previously built the GS version of the same kit. (The reduced level of weathering on this recent build was deliberate - they are HQ vehicles, after all, and due to their proximity to top brass would be kept as neat as possible at all times, I figured.)

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.




Jeep

Ubiquitous. What more can I say about it? This is the third one I have built for my SA 6th Armoured force, and this one depicts a divisional HQ vehicle, along with its high-ranking passenger.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.
This is the first one I have built from the Rubicon Jeep kit, and its a wonderful bit of plastic magic. Neat, detailed and easy to put together. Its a touch larger than the original Warlord resin offering, but not so much out of kilter that you couldn't field the two together. In addition to its passenger (the Rubicon crew member with a officer head swap) I added a radio set and battery.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.



Norton 16H

GS trucks aside, the most numerous vehicle in the division. As with the last one I built, this a mix of the Foundry motorcycle with the Perry figure, thus solving the scale problem of the Perry motorcycle, while retaining their superior rider figures.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.


© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.
As always, decals are from Dom's Decals, Starmer, Warlord and Rubicon. Paints, washes and varnishes are from Vallejo and Tamiya, pigments from MIG and Secret Weapon. 

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2018. All rights reserved.


Friday, 30 March 2018

Muskets and Assegaais

@ Golf Alpha Zulu 2018

Peninsular Wargames Group recently playtested the use of Studio Tomahawk's excellent Muskets and Tomahawks rules for a Eastern Cape Frontier clash set in the mid-nineteenth century.

A small force of British regulars, reinforced by some local allies (Boers, amaFengu) attempted to raid on the homestead of a troublesome amaHleka neighbour.

On a table representing a settlement in the dense thicket of the Eastern Cape river valleys, the British sent their Mfengu and Boer allies forward to do the dirty work of flushing out the first defenders, and torching the buildings.

But their regular troops couldnt keep up in the broken terrain, leaving the irregulars exposed to a brutal counter attack as they attempted to torch the first huts.

The Xhosa saw off the Mfengu, and killed the Boer to a man, but once the British regulars arrived at the edges of the village itself, the Xhosa had no response to their volley fire, and would not have been able to put up much resistance had the game gone on longer.

As they fell back in the face of the British lines, the Xhosa were concentrating on getting their cattle off table. It was a good strategy, as if successful, it could have saved the game for them. But as it turned out the dice decreed that the game ended at that point.

Both sides had failed in their main objectives (for the British, to burn at least 5 huts, and for the Xhosa, to keep all enemy troops away from the village) so its was down to each officer's sideplot and the bonus objective (cattle) to determine victory. By that measure, the British were ahead 2-1, so a minor victory to the red soldiers.

Not a great deal of adaption of the rules was required - the Xhosa needed some revised stats, and we dropped the "one shot weapon" for thrown weapons, given that the Xhosa fought primarily with throwing spears. In hindsight we needed to tweak one or two of the Xhosa stats (they were a little too deadly in hand to hand) but otherwise the rules made the transition from North America to South Africa very well...

@ Golf Alpha Zulu 2018

@ Golf Alpha Zulu 2018

@ Golf Alpha Zulu 2018

Friday, 22 December 2017

Moors vs Saracens

Just to wrap up the year, a few more images of some reinforcements for my Saga Crescent and Cross warbands. Some of these can be used in a Moorish force (as mercenaries) or to repurpose my moors as Saracens. Also, to represent the early invasion of the Iberian peninsula, the crossbows in the Moorish list can be replaced by bow-equipped archers.




Sunday, 3 September 2017

A few more Moors


© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.
Another two points of Moors for my Saga Crescent and Cross war band. This brings the core force up to 6 points worth, but used with both the Ben Youssef and Black Guard options, the force can stretch out to 9 points.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.


I think the force is still sub-optimal. After a few games I have realized I would prefer another point of spear-equipped warriors, and there are not many arguments to take multiple notes of mounted hearthguard.

All the figures were from Gripping Beast - the Jund are more of the metal Saga range, and the Hashid were built from the plastic Light Arab Cavalry box. The plastic figures are fairly plain - I added greenstuff sashes and belts to the plastic figures, to bring them more in line with the fussier metal figures.

This is how the force looks currently:

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.
Warlord, and heavy cavalry (hearthguard)
© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.
Light cavalry and spearmen (warriors)
© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.
7-point Saga warband





Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Moorish warband for Saga

Moorish 4pt Warband for Saga Crescent and CrossJust off the painting table, the first few points of Moors for Saga Crescent and Cross. In keeping with Saga's somewhat tenuous relationship with historical accuracy, I made a deliberate decision to keep the palette very narrow, muted, and, dare I say it, anachronistic. If anyone asks, I will tell them its a fantasy army...

In keeping with my other Saga figures, I used a fairly quick and simple painting style for these. Not sure if they are my best work, but I think they will look okay on the table.

Moorish Warlord and Imam for Saga Crescent and Cross

Moorish Jund for Saga Crescent and Cross

Moorish Hashid for Saga Crescent and Cross

Moorish Hashid for Saga Crescent and Cross

Moorish Muhajid for Saga Crescent and Cross


On the face of it, it can work as a 4pt war band (one unit of mounted hearthguard/Jund, two units of warriors/Hashid on foot, and one unit of levy/Mujahid). By using the Ben Youssef figure as a priest/Imam, I can stretch it to 5pts. While I am not sure it will be effective, I can drop the mounted warlord, and instead field Ben Youssef as a Hero of the Crusade, the armored spearmen as an 8-figure unit of Black Guard, together with one unit of mounted hearthguard/Jund, one unit of warriors/Hashid on foot, and one unit of levy/Mujahid) for a total of 7pts!

The bulk of the figures are from Gripping Beast, and were a pleasure to paint. The crossbow-armed fellows are from Artizan, and were, I am afraid, a little less of a pleasure. Artizan are normally a favorite figure manufacturer of mine, but whether from idiosyncratic sculpting or from tired molds, this batch of figures suffered from a serious lack of detail in the undercuts, some nasty splitlines, and some weird blocks of pewter that made no sense and needed to be filed off.

This represents about the halfway point in the development of this force - twelve more cavalry figures (four x Jund and eight x Hashid) are already underway, and after that, a unit of 8 Bedouin scouts and a unit of twelve archers will round out the core options.


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Rorkes Drift: 28mm Black Powder Game

Here be a few images from a 28mm Black Powder game of Rorkes Drift, recently hosted by PWG.

Based on the scenario presented in the BP Zulu! campaign supplement, the game was played on a 6 x 8 table, with 48 figures representing the British, and 280 figures representing the izimbutho of the Zulu.

The British command was split between 5 players and the Zulus between 4 players. One club member volunteered to act as umpire.

In order to make the game playable and balanced, the British units were assigned excellent command and control, and layers of special rules that made them unlikely to panic, while the Zulus had poorer command values, but positive special rules that reflected their eagerness to attack, but which "degraded" after their initial assault.

The game played out to a plausible historical result, with the Zulu's defeated despite breaching the perimeter walls and entering the hospital building. In fact, even when assigned a second wave of attackers, the British held steady and made their superior discipline and firepower count.

Many thanks to Lindsay Hall for contributing the bulk of the figures and the terrain, to Simon Hall for contributing additional figures, and to all the players and umpire. Many thanks to Lindsay Hall, Simon Hall and Richard Trevor for the photographs.


© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017


© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

Monday, 1 May 2017

M10 Tank Destroyer, 1/11 Anti Tank Regiment, Italy 1944


© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

Following on from the Achilles M10 I completed earlier this year, here is the second of the M10 variants I have been working on: a 3-inch equipped tank destroyer as operated by the South African 6th Armoured Division in Italy from the second quarter of 1944.

It depicts a vehicle in the second battery of the 1/11 Anti-Tank Regiment in the camouflage pattern common to many of the vehicles used early in the South African's Italian campaign. Reference photos of these vehicles during the campaign show them to be heavily cluttered (and weathered), and I attempted to create some of that character. I think part of the excessive baggage is due to the South African M10s seldom being used in the anti-tank role - they were rather used as additional field artillery, and were often in static firing positions for extended periods.

From ww2online.org: Captioned as: “17 Nov 44. 5/MM-44-30001. Fifth Army, Porretta Area, Italy. An Italian woman washes clothes behind a line of American made M-10 T.D’s. of 3/24 A.T. Bat., 1/11 A.T. Regiment, S.A.A. 6th S.A.A. Division firing on German positions flanking Fifth Army front on Hwy [Highway] #64 near Bologna. Photo by Hartman. 3131 Signal Service Co.” Porretta Area, Italy. 17 November 1944

The model is based on the now out-of-production resin kit from Warlord Games. I have mixed feelings about this kit, and about the resulting model. First, I built the bulk of it simultaneously with the Rubicon plastic M10, and the extra effort that all resin kits demand made it feel like a bit of a chore to build. Second, the kit, lets be fair, was a bit of dog from a fit and finish point of view. A lot of careful filling and filing was required to get the angular hull shape even vaguely acceptable. On the other hand, a lot of the characteristic details of the M10 are well represented, even if a bit exaggerated and cartoony, and it appears to have a bit of depth to it that the more accurate Rubicon kit seems to lack.

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017


For the most part, the kit was built without modification. I found it was missing the driver and radio-operator's hatch covers, so these had to be press-moulded from another Warlord M10. I added the horizontal baggage rails (that appear in many of the photos) using styrene strip, and the stowage itself is an assortment of bits from Die Waffenkamer, Rubicon Models and Warlord Games. Crew member heads in berets were culled from Warlord British infantry packs. The .50 Browning and periscope gunsight were spares from the Rubicon kit. Again, decals were a mix of bits from Marshall/Starmer, Dom's Decals and Warlord.