Thursday, July 30, 2020

Pass in Review: Landing Craft in Warlord Games' Cruel Seas

(Image found on Harry Turtledove Wiki)

Once I finished my torpedo markers, I began work on the next smallest vessels in the Cruel Seas miniature series—landing craft.

Another reason I chose to work on these amphibious workhorses was to integrate them into my extensive micro armor collection.  (Which is one of the main reason why I got into Cruel Seas in-general).

(Image from Military History Now--9 Things You Didn't Know About the D-Day Landing Craft That Changed History)

I bought each of the three available sets, which consists of 4 craft, and painted each one with a generic grey primer paint.

Starting with the British set...

(Image of British LCM3 Landing Craft set)

...I painted each craft with Army Painter Fog Grey, which has a bluish tint that seems to closely match most of the images I found online.  

Once that was dry I decided to paint the troops using Vallejo Panzer Colors US Olive Drab.  I chose this color for the versatility of representing any of the allied soldiers in the European Theater.  Finally, I dry-brushed a grey ink wash over each craft to give them a weathered, grungy look.

Here’s the final results, first of British LCM3s approaching a beach made by Wizard Kraft:

Here’s an elevated, starboard-side view:

A sea-level starboard-side view:

And a sea-level port side view:

Next, I painted the American LCM3s which are armed with two M2 Browning 50 caliber machine guns.

(Image of US LCM3 Landing Craft set)

I painted the American landing craft and troops with the same colors as their British counterparts, with the addition of Army Painter’s Gun Metal for the machine guns.  While I’m happy with the results, I think the Gun Metal color is a bit too light for machine guns.  For the next set of vessels I paint, I’ll probably add a dash of black paint to the Gun Metal for a more realistic look.

Here are American LCM3s approaching the beach:

Here’s an elevated starboard-side view of a trio of landing craft:

And here’s a sea-level view of a pair of vessels.  In the hubbub of my photo shoot, I forgot to include port-side views.

The fact that I only have a handful of Japanese micro-armor tanks, didn’t stop me from buying Japanese landing craft.

(Image from Wikipedia)

The set currently available are the Daihatsu-Class landing craft.
(Image of IJN Daihatsu-Class Landing Craft set)

Based on the pictures I could find, I painted the vessels with Army Painter’s Filthy Cloak grey, which is considerably darker than the Fog Grey I used on the allied vessels.

For the troops, I painted them with Army Painter Basilisk Brown, which to my aging eyesight looks close enough to the official “khaki-grey” used in most Japanese uniforms.  I also used a touch of Army Painter Hemp Rope for the cables, along with Gun Metal for the machine guns/cannons.

Here’s what a Japanese landing force looks like approaching the beach:

Here’s an elevated starboard-side view:

And the sea-level starboard-side view:

Since I’m still learning the art of painting warships, my next Cruel Seas project is painting the handful of merchant ships I have.  

This way, I’m not too worried if my civilian vessels don’t turn out “ship-shape” by naval standards.

Friday, July 24, 2020

The Slate of Organization and Equipment (SO&E) for the Astra Militarum's 187th Dragoon Regiment (Composite)

(Image from:  The Bell of Lost Souls

My cynicism towards Warhammer 40000 (WH 40K) hasn't stopped me from amassing a large collection of figures, vehicles and terrain.

My earlier Pass in Review posts included the following factions--

--The Kroot,

--Chaos Cultists,

--The Inquisition,

--The Adepta Sororitas ("Nuns with Guns"), and recently,

--The Tempestus Scions

None of these, however are the centerpiece of my collection.  You could say I'm working my way up to a finale, so to speak.

I've always been moved by stories about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.  And you don’t get any more ordinary than the common soldiers of the Astra Militarum in the extraordinary “...grim darkness of the far future..."

As I acquired vehicles and figures, I set out to create a unit with a unique history that wasn't a copy of a  storied regiment already annotated in the annuls of the Imperium of Man.  Nor did I care for the idea that the troops would be typical 41st Millennial cannon fodder either.

Finally, I wanted my centerpiece unit to serve as a tribute to the military service of my family and our overall heritage.

So I set out to raise a fully tricked-out mechanized infantry regiment.

What to call my ordinary unit turned out to be an extraordinarily easy decision.

My father was a Korean War combat veteran, and served with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team (ARCT).  Which meant the numbers "187" would come into play.

The WH40K ‘verse is known for worlds able to raise specific unit types, like the Tallarn Desert Raiders, and the Catachan Jungle Fighters, etc.  Delving into the game’s fluff, I discovered the planet Jouran had a knack for raising "dragoon" regiments, which was a term commonly used during Earth's “Horse & Musket Era.”

Initially, I was going to call my unit the 187th Jouran Dragoon Regiment.  But because I bought nearly everything second hand & pre-painted, or hired others to paint and assemble box kits; my collection lacks a uniform color and camouflage scheme.  Since I'm too lazy I have no time to repaint anything, I'm going to assume the original regiment received, and continues to receive, reinforcements and replacements from various other Astra Militarum units.

And so, the 187th Dragoon Regiment (Composite) was born.

As a fan of the Black Library’s Ciaphas Cain novels, I envision the narrative of the 187th DR(C) to be something like:  Hammer’s Slammers meets F-Troop.

Anyway, after Googling extensive research, I stumbled across the heraldry of the real 187th Infantry Regiment:

I liked it so much, I adopted it wholesale.

Even the motto is applicable to WH40K’s grimdark setting—and in real Latin—no less:

Ne Desit Virtus (Let Valor Not Fail).

I had the flag of one of my standard bearers painted in a close approximation of the 187th Infantry's crest:

A side view:

This is an old metal figure.  The weight of the standard made the figure top-heavy, so I glued a washer to it's base in order to provide balance.

Now getting back to the future-history of my regiment:

Last year shortly before St. Patrick’s Day, one of my siblings had a DNA test done.  We discovered our genetic makeup was 43% from Scotland, Ireland and Wales.  After more Googling extensive research, I stumbled across the war cry:  "Faugh A Ballagh!" (Clear the Way!), used by various Irish-manned units in pre-2nd Millennial America and Great Britain.

This certainly sounds like an appropriate phrase for mechanized infantry soldiers to holler during the din of battle, even 41 millennia into the future.

Speaking of battles:  I grew up watching the movie, To Hell and Back and did a short stint in Iraq with Audie Murphy's unit, the 3rd Infantry Division (3 ID), back in 2003.  This makes me rather partial to the song Dogface Soldier.  So I made this tune the Regimental Song (with the necessary WH40K adaptions to be determined later).

Overall, the basic “SO&E” (Slate of Organization & Equipment) of the 187th consists of the following:

1 x Headquarters/Headquarters Company

3 x Mechanized Infantry Battalions

1 x Reconnaissance Company

The regimental headquarters is centered around a handful of Chimera command and control (C&C) vehicles, along with support assets, like recovery and supply vehicles. 

The mechanized infantry battalions consists of three companies of 10 Chimera armored personnel carriers (APCs).  Nine of the Chimeras carry an infantry squad consisting of 6-12 soldiers, while the tenth one is the company command and control (C&C) vehicle, sporting extra communications gear.

The reconnaissance company is smaller and more streamlined. 

The 187th’s "R Company" consists of 3 x Chimeras and 3 x Lehman Russ Annihilator tanks.  On paper, this is organized into 3 platoons consisting of 1 x Chimera with 4-8 dismounted scouts/snipers and 1 x Annihilator to provide support and overwatch fire.  During operations, the troop's deployment could vary depending on the mission.

I have enough vehicles to field a reinforced company or a reduced battalion: 15 x Chimeras, 8 x Lehman Russ Tanks of four variants, and 3 x fire support vehicles.

The 187th also has an unofficial nickname derived from the term “(Composite).” Because the regiment receives personnel and equipment replacements of dubious quality, veterans feel their regiment is a dumping ground for other units to pawn off their undesirables.  So the rank-and-file, substitute “(Composite)” with “(Compost).”

Outside the hearing of commissars, of course.

But this unofficial moniker is also a source of pride as well:  Soldiers refer to themselves as “The Composters”—as in making garbage out of their enemies.

(Hey, this wouldn't be WH40K post without some Imperial bombastic proclamations).

I'm currently conducting photo shoots of my collection, so pictures will be posted shortly.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Boat-Building Program for Cruel Seas

(Image from:  Shoofly Magazine)

When it comes to naval warfare, I've always been fascinated by small ship actions.  My primary thoughts on this are:  Small-scale surface actions were the most common, so you can create and play scenarios that don't necessarily run the risk of delving into alternate history.

When it comes to the Second World War, you don't get much smaller than small boat actions (PTs, MGBs, MTBs, E-Boats, etc).

(Image:  Cruel Seas cover art from Warlord Games)
And when it comes to land warfare games, you don't get much smaller than micro armor (1/285th to 1/300 scale).  I've been playing and collecting micro armor since I was a teenager.

So in late 2018, when Warlord Games announced it was launching, Cruel Seas, it's 1/300 scale line of small boat miniatures and rules, I became an eager customer once sets became available here in the US in mid-2019.

I figured with this, I could play coastal, or river combined arms games.  (A couple other gamers I had on-line discussions with got into this for the same reason).

What I Bought So Far:

I started with the starter set...

...which includes a copy of of the rulebook.

My purchases were primarily through The Miniature Market or Noble Knight Games.  It was only near the end of my 6 month shopping spree that I went directly to the Warlord Games website for items that were sold out.

My next big purchase was the US Navy set.

I spaced my purchases subsequent purchases out over the next few months, and tailored them so as not to break my budget and to take advantage of free shipping offers ($99+ for The Miniature Market and $149+ for Noble Night Games).

In no particular order, I acquired the Axis powers, starting with the German Kriegsmarine...

...the Italian Regia Marina...

...and the final Axis fleet was the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN).

Since a lot of my micro armor collection is centered on the Eastern Front, I figured it wouldn't hurt to acquire boats from the Soviet Navy.

Over the years, I've collected a lot of shoreline and riverbank terrain pieces and game mats.  So I thought this MTB pen would make a great shore installation for raid scenarios.

Oddly enough, the only boat set I haven't bought was the British Royal Navy (RN).

The reason for this was that during my shopping spree I'd purchase individual boat & ship packs with each set in order to qualify for free shipping.  So I ended up with the same RN vessels--actually more--without having to by the RN set.

The basic rulebook includes several generic scenarios while the supplement, Close Quarters includes 11 historical ones.

Another source for game scenarios is the Mighty Midgets, Volume 5, of Clash of Arms Games Command at Sea series.

I have a lot of ship building--and painting--to do.

What I Just Finished Painting:

I decided to start off small.

Tiny, in fact.

I just finished painting all 96 of my accumulated torpedo markers, which I divided them into 8 groups of a dozen each. 

I also tried to subtly color-code each group by painting the warheads copper, gold, bronze, silver, gray, red, and yellow, while leaving one group plain.

Here's a sample of one torpedo counter from each group:

I painted the torpedo counters using the last of my Michaels-brand Craftsmart acrylic paints

The torpedoes were painted Charcoal for that sinister look, while the base was painted in a combination of Aqua and Pool Blue; along with my attempt at dry-brushing White.

Here's what the torpedoes like "in the water" using Cigar Box Battles' Ocean Game Mat:

And here's the same swarm of torpedoes in Cold Water:

It isn't much, but it's a start.

My Upcoming Project:

My next tiny-sized projects will be the three sets of landing craft that I assembled and primed...

...British LCM-3s...

...US LCM-3s...

...IJN Daihatsu-class landing craft.
I'll post pictures and details of these craft as soon as they "come out of the shipyard."

Friday, June 5, 2020

Pass in Review: Astra Militarum's Temestus Scions

(Image found on Comic Vine)
The bulk of my Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) collection consists of the rank-in-file Astra Militarum.

However, I do have one squad of Tempestus Scions, from the Militarum Tempestus, available for special missions.

In honor of my assignment to the  82nd Airborne Division in the late '80s, I'll call this unit 2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon of the 504th Stormtrooper Company, (inspired by the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment).

Introducing my squad from the 504th Stormtrooper Company (CO) from somewhere on the Sector Fronteris... Imperial Valkyrie lands...

...the ramp lowers...

...a squad of Tempestus Scions debark...

...spread out...

...and secure a vital facility in the name of the Emperor of Mankind.

I purchased these painted figures from Peter Wort, the proprietor of Peter’s Games and Things.  

They’re suitable for use as a Kill Team, or as part of a task force in a typical WH40K battle, or maybe even an apocalyptic-level conflagration.

What follows is a look at each individual Scion:

Scion with flamer.

Scion with plasma gun.

Scion with power fist and hot-shot laspistol.

Scion with hot-shot lasgun.

Scion with hot-shot laspistol and medi-pack.

Scion with hot-shot laspistol and vox-caster.

Scion with power sword and bolt pistol.

Scion with chainsword and hot-shot laspistol.

The Tempestor Prime.
The Tempestus Squad's standard bearer.

Next, I plan on introducing my Astra Militarum mechanized infantry unit.