Thursday 29 September 2011

Disagården – part 4

A storehouse (no 14) for more valuable stores, being built some distance away from the other buildings, to protect against fires. From early 19th century.
Roslags-sheep in stables . A breed thought to be extinct, but one family of farmers on an island kept a flock through generations.
Fence with a rickety gate.
The village, and near the end of the trip.
It was a hot day, I was tired. A café close by - what better end to a nice history trip. A bottle of mead. Interesting taste.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Disagården – part 3 – wagons and equipment

In the back is stables/carriage shed (no 8) built in the mid 18th century.

Some interior shots from said building. Lots of farming equipment, a sled, wagon etc.
Another wagon

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Disagården – part 2

I rescued all files from my troublesome computer, so here’s another batch of pictures from Disagården.
The building in front (number 2 on the map seen in part 1) is a foods and grain storage building from the 16th century. Note the hexagonal timbers and the roof.
Another storage building (no 20) from the 16th century. The roof is similar to the one on building 2. They used long strips of birch-bark like we use tar-paper today, held in place by timbers.
Same building, here you can the strips of bark.
Gate with guest stables and carriage shed, and stores (no 4), built 1752.
Food and grain storage (no 7, early 18th century) with a grass-roof. The small building on the left of it is a small stables and farm-hands quarters above that, built in 1814.
It probably wasn’t great fun to be a farm-hand. This is their summer quarters, above the stables. You could see through the floor…

Interior of building no 7.

To be continued.

Thursday 22 September 2011

28mm tents from Renedra

I visited Renedra to buy some bases, they have quite a selection at descent prices. But a few packets of bases turned into a box of stuff. They do have quite a lot of useful things…
These tents, £7 for the lot, will serve well in my D&D campaign, and they can come in handy in a lot of other 28mm games as well, both SF, fantasy and modern. Also in the kit was a small camp-fire.
I wanted to try out different colours for the tent fabric, to see what turned out the best. All were base-coated and the tent-pins were painted with Vallejo Cork Brown, everything coated with Army Painter Strong Tone varnish and given a final coat of matt varnish.

Large tent – open: Basecoat Vallejo 976 Buff
Large tent – closed: V 819 Sand
Small tent – open: Humbrol 103 Cream
Small tent – closed: V 918 Ivory
Circular tent – open: V 971 Green Grey
Circular tent – closed: V 917 Beige
Bunks: V 918 Ivory

The best? Well, I’m rather satisfied with the differences.

One small criticism is that the tents were moulded in a dark grey plastic, a lighter one would have been better to avoid so many layers of basecoat.
Ah, what a glorious morning.
All in all a very good buy.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Operation Barbarossa or The Tale of Two Iron Crosses

Our gaming group staged a WWII participation game at Stockholm Spelkonvent this weekend. We used the IABSM-rules from Too Fat Lardies, and our game was loosely based on the free scenario Kicking in the Door available from the Lardies homepage (via their yahoo-group).
The premises were (from the scenario):
It’s the 24th of June 1941, and after two days of Operation Barbarossa the Wehrmacht is advancing on all fronts. General Guderian’s Panzergruppe II are slicing their way through all resistance, and advanced elements are nearing their first major prize. But soviet determination should never be discounted. Isolated pockets of resistance are attempting to stand and fight, and on the road to Minsk a motley collection of Soviet troops from the 4th Army are about to throw a spanner into the wheels of the mighty German war machine.

Thomas was umperor, Daniel played the evil opposition (the Russians), Roos gave some sound tactical advice and I helped the German side get started. Terrain and troops by me, Laffe, Thomas and Daniel. Our idea was to let interested people play the German side, getting their own units when they joined the game.
Our fist participants were two young gentlemen (boys) who surprised us all with their learning the rules really quickly and their very enthusiastic approach to conquering Mother Russia. They stayed almost the whole time, and during the day we were joined by several more interested players.

 The setup. Germans attack along the left board edge.
Their orders are: clear the villages and push through. The problem: There might be Russian troops here, and they are hidden.
Seen from the Russian board edge, the second village.
First units in are an armoured car unit and a motorcycle unit. They came in under blinds, that is the Russian side knows something is coming, but they don’t know what it is. All hell breaks loose when the first blind, comprising two armoured cars, tries to by-pass the first village. A Russian squad fires at the first armoured car, doing nothing much. Germans return fire and the motor-cycle troops drives past, but are stopped by more fire.
A few ill-equipped men stops the mighty German army. Notice the small armoured car, a PSW 223.
All goes well for the Russian side until the first tanks appear.
More reinforcements, this time infantry in trucks. Coming in was no problem, but backing the trucks off was worse. A major traffic jam, that proved to be trouble when a much needed AT-gun was needed later on.
A recce unit is supposed to recce, and off goes the two armoured cars go.
Ooops, more opposition. And now they are only one.
We had made a list of random events to spice up the game. One was an air-strike, a Stuka who made a mistaken identity check and dive-bombed his own side. Luckily he was hung-over and missed. Another happened to the PSW 223: Out of ammo, you need to re-supply. Fortunately the Pz III just behind used the same ammo! Unfortunately it was involved in a fire-fight with Russian armour…
Knock, knock. Ammunition Bitte!

Yes – they survived.
More troops entered, both German and Russian, and we had a really exciting game.
Well, let’s concentrate on a small slice of the battle, the one thing we will all remember. The small, under-armoured and ill-armed PSW 223.
Our heroes
Off they went again. A Russian T-26 tank started shooting at them, no problem shoot back with your machine-gun and drive them off! More shots, hide behind a knocked out friendly tank. Knock out an annoying machine gun. An anti-tank gun starts shooting from village number two – shoot the crew.

Oops, a shot against the car damages the turret, it can’t traverse. Who cares - Advance towards the village.
Now a heavy T-28 tank appears, and another AT-gun joins in. Things are looking quite grim for our heroes in the PSW 223.
IABSM is card-driven, and one card is Heroic Leader. It is was it says, one of your leaders can try to make a (foolishly) heroic act. It came up, in the PSW 223 sat a leader, and our young heroic players, blissfully unaware of odds, shouted “Forward!”.
The armoured car gunned its engine and charged the AT-gun. OK, that could, possibly, work. But Daniel, the evil opposition, smiled gleefully and said “Wait a minute, while I set up the 25 Russians that occupy the surrounding buildings”
So, an AT-gun, some 25 Russians and a Maxim machinegun against one flimsy armoured car. And a heavy tank close by… Case closed, or is it?
Well, our young players were lucky, and knocked out the AT-gun. Daniel smiled and started to roll his dice. In our inner eyes we saw it all happening. Thrown grenades, point-blank fire and machine-gun fire from the upper stories into the open-topped armoured car. Ooooh, this will be bloody. After the smoke cleared, there it was, the slightly scratched armoured car. Attack after attack after attack failed miserably. The odds against were staggering.
Amazing! But they will surely die next round….
Oink, oink! German (?) pigs flee in terror.
More luck, and they activate before every-one else, and the Russians are so surprised that they simply do not react at all that round. The same goes for the round after, and the PSW 223 exit the board, probably to try to single-handedly take Minsk. The cheer that went up from our table made most of the Con turn around.
We finished the game soon after this. All in all, a very fun game with the rules showing both the importance of leadership and how battlefield friction can make even the best laid plan go to waste.
I hope the participants enjoyed themselves as much as we did, and I think two war-gamers were born this day.

Oh, and we were invited to stage a game in another Con in November.

Post script:
The two crew-members of the PSW 223 were honoured with the Iron Cross. They spent the rest of the war as poster-boys, recruiting young boys and girls to join the army. The battered armoured car survived the war too, and is hidden in a barn to this day. It is lovingly cared for by the descendants of the heroes of June 24th 1941.
If there ever is a need for it again, it will lead the attack!

At Flemcon we continued the fight.

Friday 9 September 2011

BT-5 and BT-7 from Frontline

We need some spare Russian tanks for the participation game of IABSM at Stockholm Spelkonvent next Saturday and I had a couple of resin tanks in the box of unfinished WWII-stuff. These are from Frontline, rather simple with only four parts each (body, turret, left and right tracks/wheels) but they do need quite a lot of preparation. Bubbles need filling and in some places parts of the tracks had broken off. One of the track/wheels pieces were broken in four pieces (probably my fault), and that obviously needed some glue, and extensive rebuilding of the tracks. I removed damaged tracks, trying to get even edges, and cut pieces of plastic-card to fit. Thin slices of card were glued in place to build up the tracks.
The resin parts were washed to remove any oily residues.
I decided to paint them in different colours, mainly to be able to differentiate the different tank models from each other.
BT-5 before painting…
…and after.

The BT-5 was painted with Vallejo 978 Military Green and given a black wash. Wheel-rims black, tracks Citadel Tin Bitz with a highlight of Citadel Gun Metal. The green turned out to be far to dark, but that was partly rectified by a generous dose of pigments, MIG P028 Europe Dust and P232 Dry Mud. MIG Black pigment to simulate soot.
I have still much to learn about pigments, but they sure are fun to play with.
The the BT-7 was painted with Formula P3 Traitor Green with a wash of black. Otherwise as above, but with less pigments. I'm very satisfied with the colour of this one.

BT-7 before…
…and after.
Now, all they have to do is to survive their clash with the nazi aggressors. We’ll see…

Thursday 8 September 2011

Book review: A military history treasure trove!

Not really a book review, but somewhat similar.

A while ago I was looking for some facts about bocage. I googled and found a PDF of a report named 'Busting the bocage'. A very interesting report, made by something called the Combat Studies Institute (CSI) Press.
I was in for a treat, as I had found a veritable treasure trove. This is a gold-mine if your interested in military history.

From the CSI web page: "The Combat Studies Institute (CSI) is a military history “think tank” which produces timely and relevant military history research publications and contemporary operational history for the US Army."

Need I say more? You will find reports on everything from WWII to future warfare. I downloaded reports on 'Soviet night operations in WWII', ´Fighting the Russians in Winter', '101st Airborne Divisions's defence of Bastogne', 'Desert Warfare: German Experiences in WWII', 'An Ever Present Danger: A Concise History of British Military Operations on the North-West Frontier, 1849-1947', 'Combined arms in battle since 1939', 'The 9th Australian Division versus the Africa Corps: An infantry divison against tanks, Tobruk, Libya, 1941' and more. Much more.
You have been warned - this site will eat your time!

Saturday 3 September 2011

Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) in 1/72

The Russians will need some opposition in our game at Stockholm Spelkonvent, and a couple of Pz 38(t) will be part of the German force.
I had one already built, it was a model made by Attack that I built a couple of years ago, and I wasn’t terribly impressed by it. If I remember correctly the fit wasn’t great. I re-painted the turret and gave it id-numbers to fit with the rest of the unit.
I had another set, this time by UM lying about, and I’ve built that. Now, this is a modeler’s model, make no mistake. Tons of small parts, photo-etched stuff, and…. individual track-links. Have I mentioned anything about how I feel about individual track links in 1/72 kits I intend to use for gaming?
Aaaaargh! The tracks really look like crap. I will have to hide as much as possible with pigments, and let the tank hang about in the rear. Remind me to stay away from individual track-links in the future, they’re a pain in the…
I skip a lot of the equipment, I just haven’t got the time to get it done, too much to build and paint for the game, and anyway I’m terribly disappointed by how the tank came out. No fault of UM, just me buying the wrong model for what I had in mind.
Painted in Vallejo 995 German Grey, dry-brushed 869 Basalt Grey and given a generous dusting of Vallejo and Mig pigments. It didn’t help…
A comparison between Attack (back) and UM (front).
Pegasus seems to have a set of quick-build Pz 38 (t):s. I’ll invest in them…