Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Omaha: Breaking Through

Engineers get to blow the road block off the beach on extreme right flank...
...and the dragons teeth on the left flank...
 Red sand dries so well you need a hammer to break it.
 3" mortar give cover from the waters edge. Lots of mortar men have broken toes from standing on the base plate on soft ground to keep the tube steady.
 Having use the shingle and the knocked out tanks as cover the infantry are ready to move off now the fire has slackened and the road is open.
 wire check easier to overcome without crossfire.
 moving up
 to the next cover

 lone infantryman takes on blind side of 88mm bunker (no he didn't make it)
 Bazooka bulls eye on another pill box
 Torch leaves nothing for this bazooka man to do
Sorry about the quality of this last pic but it does illustrate the outflanking rather well...

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Bring out your dead

A new slant on a theme already familiar here...Napoleonic casualty markers.

The usual technique pertains to the method but fortunately good old Airfix supply the corpses for all your 'Burke and Hare' needs. 

Take a disc of plastic or card and apply some modelling putty (I use Milliput but any will probably do) push the figure well in and, after it's dry, paint it white.

Once dry apply a heavy black wash...
 ...if the wash is too heavy then dry brush very light grey and only paint the bits that show as grey. It gives you a kind of lined effect.
 Sand and flock in the usual way and...
Hey tesco! You're done.

You'll notice I'm doing one's, two's and fours. Depending on the rules set or how bloody your battles get this should suffice. I have infantry units between 24 and 36 figures strong. If you need more than two or three discs of four per unit then get the old paints out and start putting tiny medals on them.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

How to make a (fake, pretend and for playing wargames with toys soldiers only) explosion

Sorry for the overly long title on this posting...I really don't want MI5 to follow me to B&Q, tap my phone, ask the neighbours who the 'weirdo' next door is...

Anyway, I thought people might like to know how I make the markers so you can do it for yourselves or nominate a talented member of your war-gaming circle.

For bangs, as I'll call them, you need a disc, a tube, fluff and a rubber band. Also, glue and caulk....look please don't cry, you'll soon see how easy it is....
 You can use any tube you've got. I use the plastic middle out of a till roll (ask at your local shop - they just chuck 'em away!) The disc, ideally, is heavy. I use the biggest washers I can find. It can be a cardboard one but you'll have to weight it down with stones in the tube or make the base wide to stop it toppling over.
 I use one of those glues like 'hard as nails' or 'sticks like nails'...or whatever they're called. It's the same as gluing down my figures to the magnetic tape and helps with texture on the bases.
 When dry (well, duh) take your fluff and shove it....down the tube. I use ex-teddy bear stuffing when I can kidnap a teddy bear...yes, I know, but it's best to get kids used to how tough life can be. Alternatively, you can use old pillow stuffing or (luxury) an old duvet...magic, pure magic. As a very last resort you can knit some but never buy it it's plain expensive.
 Take a piece as high as you wish the bang to stand but no less than eight inches wide (200mm for you decimal types) and wrap it around the base making it lap itself. Tease it out to make it wider and slightly less uniform before you wrap it.
 Using your God given opposable thumbs hold it in place with a rubber band....
 It will naturally be crimped at the bottom and wide at the top. Tease it out a bit to get the shape you think right.
 Run a couple of thick beads of caulk coiling around the base. Wet your finger and smooth it round. Pull some of the caulk with your finger up the bang to produce an almost ragged upper edge.
 Any cheap, nasty, second hand, half empty tube of water SOLUBLE painters caulk will do.
 That's as far as you need go for water splash bangs. If, however, you're going for land bangs you'll need PVA, fine sand, spray paints in a black, a brown and a grey/light blue.
 First, spray the whole thing black from top to bottom. Second, spray any old brown a third or half way up the bang. Then paint PVA thickly all around the base and streaked up the sides. Then chuck sand at the whole thing. Shake off what won't stick and leave to set.
 ...and finally, spray your grey or light blue very, very lightly on the upper half of the bang. If you see a flame in a would probably be the last thing you ever saw unless you were extremely lucky (either that or it's Hollywood). Most of what you see of a bang is the rapidly burnt debris and earth thrown up. The further it gets from the pressure wave the quicker it dissipates and becomes misty (but you don't care about this because your ears are on holiday far away and your stomach is rejecting cordite fumes)
 Never throw anything away. This old Airfix Sherman, next to its Armourfast cousin, was years in the reject bin before being painted up as a ruin (they don't all burn). Even if you just have an old turret, keep it and put it on a knock out.
 Cotton wool is great for smoke because it sticks to things quite naturally but is difficult to dye successfully. You need cold water dye and patience and somewhere to drip for an age.
Flame, for furious burning or flame throwers, is were old duvets really come into there own. They have a seam all along the edge that tears into a strip nicely. Then spray it the brightest yellow you can find, spot it with red and black (not too much) and voilà! Just pull off a chunk when needed.

Any hints and tips would be appreciated. I'll cover vehicle hits/destroyed and suppression markers in the future.

Omaha - More than plastic can stand!

The German counter attack receives a comprehensive stonking from the naval guns. The dangers of moving in the open in daylight are apparent.

One whole company knocked out in one go. The penalty for being spotted by a navy FOO party.
 Breaking into the enemy positions now after the mad dash over the sand.
 Curly, Larry and Moe don't know if they're out of the fire...or into the frying pan.
 Combat engineers take a cruel revenge on the bunkers and slit trenches
 They hose the obstacle, but are observed in turn...
 ...and wiped out.
 First counter attacking vehicles to appear (Marder III's) and stumble into Sherman's.
 Wave six all ashore...unstoppable.
 Temporary respite...a pre-war beach hut
 The last German OP goes up.
 ...leaving the commander on the spot to direct where he can.
 To leave cover or not to leave cover...that is the question.
 OK, take cover.
 They've driven through a storm of fire...what now?
 More of the same.
 Hug the hedges.
 Prepping the road block to blow open the exit.
Pushing on, the resistance crumbles or is destroyed. The advance time.

I was thinking of a short series demonstrating how to make game markers between AAR's on the games if anyone is interested.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Out flogging the poppy on Saturday.

I stood, freezing, next to John.
 We weren't alone.
 This is Prestwick's War Memorial in front of the bank at the market cross. Prestwick is small, in 1914 it was a lot smaller.
This is the font panel. There are three more each with 60-70 names on each one. The bodies are hundreds of miles away from our town, some known and some 'known unto God'.