I am continuing to finish my British Company, it’s taking a while, but I am slowly getting there. I have another two squads half finished and another one primed. Also a bunch of commanders, HMGs and observers. My painting speed is so slow I may be done by Christmas. These guys are the anti tank PIAT teams from AB Figures. They are attached at platoon level so I needed three of them. They only come in one pose from AB so I have done three teams the same. They will rarely appear together so I was not too concerned. Maybe I will boost their numbers with an alternative supplier to have more options of figures. As always I love AB figures and they are great fun to paint up. MDF bases and a few tufties and we are ready to stalk some panzers……..
On another note we are having renovations done soon so my blogging time may be severely limited. It will slow down my painting even more……….erghhhhhh
Slight change of pace for Colonel M this post. I have been itching to play this board game for a while since I bought an old copy on eBay. I always thought it was going to be exactly the kind of game that I would enjoy and I was not disappointed. All of my wargaming time is spent flying solo so it is a special treat to have a game dedicated to the solo gamer. Painting and modelling has been put on the back burner for a couple of weeks as I have played through the first couple of missions of “Ambush”.
Although out of print you can still pick up a copy for $100 or maybe better if you have a good hunt around. It’s an engrossing, exciting and challenging game. You create a squad of US troops, then sneak them around a map. There is a very clever system of hex lookups which can point you to an event, depending on where you are on the map and what has already happened. So you never know what is around the corner. It could be a German sniper in the trees or an LMG on your flank. Your reaction and perception levels all affect how quickly you may see something. If your squad is a bit slow and wander into the wrong hex it could be all over. Of course once you have played a mission once, and probably failed hopelessly the first time, the following attempts do get easier as some of the surprises you will have already encountered. My first mission I was far too bold and half my squad was wiped out very quickly. The difficulty of the game does encourage some replay potential.
While nothing is happening and no Germans have appeared, gameplay is very quick as you move from hex to hex. Once someone appears trying to waste your squad gameplay changes into an excellent combat process. Initiative is crucial, as are your commanders. Your officers can give other soldiers extra actions and also prevent panic, so don’t spread your men out too thinly or the weaker ones may fall in a heap in the dirt. But also don’t bunch up too close or that MG42 will cut you to pieces.
Its addictive. Once you start a mission its like a good book you cannot put down. Just one more hex. I just want to see if I can cross that road. There are periods when all you can hear are your squads boots stepping cautiously along the track. Then without warning bullets ring out and your men are hitting the dirt. Its a lot of a fun, so painting and modelling might be in second place for a couple of weeks yet. I am already thinking that some of these rules could be adapted for my table top games as they are so much fun to play.
Another great little kit from Hasegawa in Japan. They are pretty old kits I think but Hasegawa models are always really fun to put together. I have yet to find one that I did not enjoy. I have two later Stuarts from S-Model almost finished to make up a trio of light tanks. So even though I think this older model was mainly used by US forces I have added him into by British just because I felt like it and found him on eBay for a bargain price from someone.
The kit comes in the usual grey softish plastic and is a nice easy build. Usual average rubber type tracks, once they are painted and based they are decent enough. I switched out the awful crew man for an excellent AB figure. You can model hatches open so that’s a good thing. I also added an aerial I think in the right spot, well it looks like a base for an antenna. The turret MG I changed for a much better one from a Trumpeter kit spare, and I added some Cullen hedgerow cutters onto the front as they fitted so nicely. I am not sure cutters were ever placed on the front of these tanks but it looks to me as if they should have been.
A nice olive drab paint job, British decals and some dirt and dust finishes him off ready for a patrol in the bocage. Although armed with a pop gun and paper thin armour not sure what use he is going to be if things get hot……..
This was another eBay find. Its actually just an old Esci kit that was reboxed as Humbrol. It’s a kit I first built in the early 1980’s as a young lad. I would have twisted most of the parts off the sprue and glued it all together and got him into the action without a drop of paint. How I was easily pleased in the 1980’s, which is probably why I liked the music back then too……. It’s amazing how a smell can teleport you back in time, and the smell of this kit gave me such vivid recall. It must be something about the cardboard box and maybe the plastic, anyway call me weird, but it took me back in time.
I remember this truck being my favourite vehicle for my Allied forces. Originally I built him with the canvas tilt on. This time I left the back open, mainly so I can fit in some passengers or cargo sometime. The kit really stands the test of time and puts together very easily. Something about trucks that I really enjoy building. I tried to put some cable using wire around the front winch, but could not quite manage it. I did add some clear plastic as a windshield as that is not included in the model. The original decals had long since perished so I added some of my own. I like the Allied star on the bonnet, which I think came from a Unimodel kit.
A man from my reliable supply of AB Figures British drivers is at the wheel, I cant remember if the kit came with a crew man. If it did it was probably rubbish so I threw him in the spares box. I love this kit. I think it’s the only Dodge truck available in this scale in plastic, so you better go and find one on eBay.
I seem to find eBay a great source of old Esci kits if you are looking around! I have a bunch at home now gathering dust that I need to get cracking on.
Continuing on with painting up my British Infantry company for battles in Normandy here are a group of eighteen figures I recently finished. They were part of an amazing eBay purchase I made from a lady in the UK which had included a bunch of AB figures plus some unidentified British soldiers. After hunting around on the net for a while I figured out that they were from Stonewall Figures Combat Miniatures range in 20mm.
Stonewall Figures – British
They are much chunkier than AB and CP models and have a little less detail. While the detail is not as refined they are still really nice figures. The faces are full of personality and the poses are all really natural. The detail is very clear which makes these guys very easy to paint, and I had a blast painting this group. There are some really different poses, including squaddies carrying stuff, one with a benson and hedges stuffed in his gob, and another bloke waving his hands around shouting “Cor blimey guvnor!” I have plenty of rifles plus some SMGs and officers.
They mix in very well with all my other metal figures from AB, CP and SHQ. I think in the remaining eBay stash i have some heavy weapons and even a stretcher bearing group. Also a while stack of German Panzergrenadiers who are in the painting queue with a million others. Anyway if you need some extra squaddies to bulk up your forces I would definitely check them out. Here they are in one big group and then smaller bunch of 4 -5 men.
Just another quick blog while I am on a major mission of painting up my remaining pile of British figures. Another favourite figure maker of mine in the UK is CP Models. They do an awesome range of World War Two in 20mm – check them out at CP Models
This little trio of figures will be required when any of my British tank crews bail out and need to fight on foot. An officer with a revolver and the gunner and driver clutching SMGs make up the trio. Blurry photos sorry but my phone camera is useless and needs to be upgraded for taking tiny pictures.
CP Models really give AB Figures a run for their money. I have a whole stack of German panzergrenadiers all primed and ready to go. It’s only my laziness in front of painting endless German camo schemes that is holding me back. CP figures are really nice to paint as their detail is so clear and defined, it makes it easy. Great faces and great poses, you really cannot fault them.
These guys have just jumped out of their Sherman tank. I cant see any damage maybe its just run out of gas and ammo……….
Happy Christmas everyone from down here in sunny Australia. A Boxing Day post while watching the cricket, who could wish for a better day! I am feverishly trying to finish off my company of British infantry so I can replace all my plastic figures, which I am not so keen on, with far better metal ones.
Here are another ten British infantry from my favourite AB Figures. I actually picked these up in an eBay bundle of all sorts of metal figures. It turned out to be a total treasure trove of figures from a lady in the UK who labelled them Anthony Barton figures and I think the naming bypassed all the other modellers like me who would have jumped all over them. The cache also included some Stonewall Figures which i had never heard of, and will be detailed in my next blog or so.
These AB Figures are a squad of ten, including one sterling MG and one Bren gunner, who will be my CO and NCO respectively. They are all in marching, patrolling stances with guns slung over shoulders or carried. As usual with AB the poses are natural and look great, plus the sculpting and detail is second to none. These guys really do paint themselves. The faces are so good that one wash of a red brown over base flesh pretty much looks good enough. Unfortunately my phone camera and photo skills really do not do them justice. Although the faded background does make the photos look like a hazy sunrise patrol. Taking photos of small soldiers really does require extra light and a good camera. Neither of which I have.
I tend to repeat myself a bit, but AB Figures really are the top shelf of wargaming figures, if you did not get any for Christmas, make sure you go out and grab some for a New Year’s present to yourself! Check them out at AB Figures