Saturday, 21 January 2012

Operation "Bagration" 1944: The Rout

This battle is based on the headlong retreat of the remnant of the German 9th Army in the face of the crushing attack by 1st Belorussian Front during the Bagration Offensive. The idea for this scenario is that five ad hoc German Kampfgruppen are trying to cross a river to relative safety before being destroyed (well, duh). They are being pursued by very strong Russian forces which build up at a random rate during the game and also may come on at random points. So too the Germans. Two Battle Groups will act as rear guard for as long as possible but one will leave to join the escape. Fuel is the key. No one German unit has enough to take all its vehicles across the crossings...what do you do?...what do you do?

 Engineers put up a bridge

 Flak units deploy in cover to protect said crossings
 Good fields of fire will give them a dual role
 Where the old civilian bridge had been destroyed infantry can cross on foot at obstacle crossing rate (RF)
 Chain dogs (Field gendarmes) hover by the road with instructions to direct traffic...and keep order in case of panic
 ...but they are somewhat nervous of Russian air attack
 Exit ramps are prepared...its easier in sand that terrain boards.
 Fraternally watched over by light Flak

 Nervous light Flak...but on the lucky side of the river.

 Still, what goes up must come down and the sappers are preparing for know, just in case...

So the race is about to begin.

Operation "Bagration" 22nd June 1944 - A Slice of the Disaster

Friday, 20 January 2012

Basic Napoleonic Painting: New treatment for old Airfix

Bah! Humbug! Spend a fortune on fancy new metal? Never! You'll be wanting a living wage next. Christmas is over and the reality is...I'm broke. Still, the much maligned 1/72 Airfix figures are still around and a neighbour, friend, person who thinks you sad and takes pity, relative or person who had grown up may yet have a bag of these old popular figures in a cupboard some where. Get them, or the ones you know you have somewhere, and paint them up. They make great units!...oh, don't make that face...look, even the odd ones from the Airfix French Napoleonic Artillery are useful...stop smirking, it's true...
 When I base I use 'No More Nails' 'Hard as Nails' 'Don't Bite Your Nails'...well you get the picture. But it just isn't useful for basing. Stick a blob on the front of the shako and half your chagrin at these old figures will fade as it makes a sound pompom that will take paint.
 So this is the bare article, and yet...
 ...happy days looks not bad with paint. Of course, the main complaint with nearly all plastics is that the paint flakes off.
 This, though depends on your primer. A good plastics primer is an expensive type of paint (though not quite as expensive as say Army Painter) but is worth it a) because if you decant it into smaller containers so that the whole lot is not exposed to air all the time you paint, it will probably last for years and do thousands of figures and b) because primers for plastic are extremely flexible and don't lose figure definition and don't flake.
 As you can see, the primer (which is white) takes cheap black acrylic really well...
 ...and then away you go...Obviously, I use the black undercoat method for Napoleonic's.
But, if you are a white undercoat painter, you can cut out a stage and go straight to the colour stage. I think the artillery marching figure makes a good flank company infantryman.

On a tip from a mate (Colin) I now paint figs on nails. I know other folk do this with metals which sometimes requires that you glue the fig to the nail and snap it off after painting and varnishing is done, but with plastics blue or white tack is plenty strong enough.