A VBCW Collaboration: My Friends new Blog!

Oh yeah, its all coming together.

See? My ‘Albertine Friend’ exists! I’m not crazy.

Me and Tyrell have been plugging away on our joint VBCW project for quite a while, but it has usually been me posting progress and stuff. No Longer! I’m happy to report he has started his own blog over at https://hussarsandhandgrenades.ca/ and will now be posting his work there.

The Albertines are his chosen faction, fighting for Prince Albert to oust King Edward. Our war of succession will be legendary!

Please go check it out, and leave a comment or two! The VBCW community is growing!

The King Under The Mountain: A Review of King Dain from Forgeworld!

The Ironfoot King, prepared to stand against Sauron and his minions!

Saying ‘no’ to Sauron in style! Lots of gold armour in my future…

It has been a while since I have done a product review. I generally shy away from them. But I haven’t seen much said about these models online yet and they were released not that long ago, so for once I am ahead of the curve!

This set includes King Dain Ironfoot and his son Thorin III Stonehelm. They are in that great Forgeworld resin, which I must say having worked on their kits for a while it has improved drastically. It cuts like butter, and is fantastic to work on. But some caution is needed to not cut away important detail!

They had little flashing, but it was there. Easily cleaned up with a hobby knife! No warping, but given the small size of the parts that was to be expected. Extremely clean casts with no fuzzy detail. As we would hope given the price!

Great looking models, and easily built too!

The kit comes with a few parts, but nothing too difficult to put together. The armour detail is great, taking notes from both the Iron Hills and Erebor. King Dain still has his signature ‘tusks’ in his beard, a really nice touch! His warhammer has been replaced with Barazantathul, his famous Red Axe, which pleases me to no end. It is a lovely throwback to the original King Dain model from the early 2000s. For reference, this was his old model…

Dwarf Lords Dain & Balin | Miniset.net - Miniatures Collectors Guide
King Dain on the Left. While the new model has an entirely new look, he did have an axe! I’m glad its back!

Thorin III looks great too, with a really detailed shield. I probably shouldn’t have glued the shield on, but unlike the Iron Hills warriors, I can still reach behind to paint it. His pick looked a bit thick in the photos Games Workshop put out, but looks a lot better ‘in hand’.

Still has his ‘tusks’! A lovely fur cloak adds a hint of class, but his armour reminds you that he is a Dwarf King, ready to defend his hold.
Excellent, crisp detail on the cloak!
Thorin III looks great, and while I got the set primarily to get King Dain, this model will definitely see use as well!
And the detail on the armour is fantastic. A lot of hints of both Iron Hills and Erebor in its design.

All in all, I am quite happy with these models! My friend is lending me a can of Retributor Armour Spray, which will give these dwarves the gold armour they need. But that will mean waiting a month….which given how cool these models are might mean I paint them sooner!

There is no scale creep, and they fit amongst the Iron Hills warriors I have really well! I might need another warband for Thorin to lead, probably with crossbows and mattocks to add a bit of variety to my list.

Looking just right compared to the warriors they will be leading into battle!

I can’t wait to field them in a game soon! My project to do the Battle of Dale is that much closer to being done with the addition of these two models. I really hope they bring out a King Brand to go with the Dale models…

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed/got what you needed from this review. I will post again soon when they are painted! But for now, Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!

Captain of the Guard: Irolas for the Middle Earth SBG!

“It is as Lord Denethor predicted! Long has he forseen this doom!”

Captain of the Tower Guard, ready to defend the Steward of Gondor, no matter the cost.

Most of the models I paint for the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game originate from the books, but not all of them. This is one of those examples. Irolas, the Captain of the Citadel Guard is one part Film creation, and other part Games Workshop fitting the character into a role that needed filling. Beregond, the main Tower Guard soldier in the books, didn’t make it into the film, which is unfortunate because his relationship with Pippin is so wholesome.

While Beregond exists as a model, and I will get to him, Irolas is a beautiful Forgeworld sculpt. He comes as part of a two-pack with a re-sculpted and updated Denethor model, and was the part of that pack I was most excited to paint. His stoic pose perfectly matches the older metal Citadel Guardsmen, and he will look great leading 12 of them in my games.

The yellow trim is something you see a lot of on the Games Workshop Citadel Guard, a pragmatic adaptation of film embroidery to something more easily applied to a model. I might get a paint pen down the road to add a little detail to the trim down the road, but as it stands I do not have a small enough brush nor the fine motor control to do so as of yet.

He wasn’t an especially difficult model to paint, with the exception of his face. I decided to give him a bit of stubble, and that took a little while to achieve. Again I eschewed painting eyes, but his face seemed to repel the wash and it took a while for it to finally settle.

Lets take a closer look!

The yellow trim was tricky to paint with my shaky hands, but I gave it my best shot.
His armour was done much the same as I would do any of my Minas Tirith warriors, and was nothing too special. Much of the model is enveloped in a nice cloak, so I focused my attention on that and the face.
While not intentional, I do like the ‘tired’ look he has. Denethor can be a handful! As well, I like to imagine that Irolas is losing sleep because of the great battle that will soon take place, and is running a bit ragged at this point out of fear and doubt. *I have since touched up his glove.
Some simple shading brought out the depth in the cloak, and the yellow trim gives it a bit of pop.

Irolas was a fun model, painted in a few hours while chatting with friends online. I have managed to convince one of my friends to play, and I’m looking forward to getting some games in post-lockdown. Between my Minas Tirith and Iron Hills armies I have a tough, dependable force no matter which I choose. I might restart work on my Mordor force to have an opposing force ready, or start on my Easterlings.

Well, that is all I have more today. A nice short and sweet post! I’ll have more for you in the coming days. Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and have a great day!

The Flawed Hero: An Old Model, Finally Painted!

“Our people, our people. I would have followed you, my brother… my captain… my king.”-Boromir, Fellowship of the Ring.

“The city of Osgiliath has been reclaimed. For Gondor!”-Boromir, The Two Towers Extended Edition

Oh Boromir. Our flawed and noble hero. In our clubhouse, he is unfortunately the butt of many jokes. But myself and a few other staunch fans constantly defend him. He is a great character, and on the tabletop for Middle Earth he is a powerhouse. He comes in two versions; a Fellowship version, corrupted by the Ring, and a Minas Tirith version, at his apex of power before setting off for Rivendell.

This model is the latter version, and I have had him for years. I never got around to painting him as I was intimidated by the complexity of some of the detail, but after my recent painting successes I decided to give him a go. He might be the vanguard of the rest of the Minas Tirith army, which has been in various states of half-painted, or done to my standard of ten years ago, which won’t fly now.

I also have him with a banner and on horse, so those might follow. He is a beast on horse, and the banner is special to him…but has no embossed detail! A tough task to free-hand for sure!

Lets take a look at this noble son of Denethor.

I looked at many production stills, but the model differs in a lot of ways to the movie version. So I took some creative liberties, especially with the gold-trim on his shoulder armour and his tunic.
The shield, being a one off, I decided to mix Vallejo Flat Brown and Scarlet to make a reddish toned shield. I only need to do it once afterall!
The cloak I could have done a brighter colour, but given the decline of Gondor and their overall muted colour scheme, I went for a grey-black.
I can’t paint eyes to save my life, but I did his beard and shaded his face. It looks alright from a distance.

Boromir is one of my favourite characters from the Lord of the Rings. A flawed man, but one that saw his downfall not from just greed, but a desire to do good for his people. He is often maligned as a traitor, when instead his final acts were to protect Merry and Pippin, and to die in the attempt. His retribution and atonement wrapped up in a little neat bow.

When I first saw the extended cut of The Two Towers, his speech was captivating. This was the real Boromir, not the one wracked by doubt and fear. An indomitable hero of the White City. And he immediately goes to the defense of his younger brother, Faramir, when their father goes to rebuke Faramir for letting Osgiliath fall. His men love him, and his charisma among the soldiery of Gondor is obvious.

While we only got a few minutes of seeing this, true Boromir, we can luckily field him in the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game, where he is a peerless warrior. Not quite the equal of Aragorn, he can easily lead a pre-fellowship Minas Tirith army and carry the day with his amazing stat-line and upgrades.

I look forward to seeing his heroics on the tabletop, leading a vanguard of Minas Tirith warriors while his ranger brother provides archery cover.

Well, that is all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed this look at Lord of the Rings flawed Hero. Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and have a great day!

Ironfoot Artillery: A Ballista for the Iron Hills!

“Ya hear that, lads? We’re on! Let’s give these bastards a good hammering!”

A very cheesy option for the gaming table, but a very pretty model to build and paint!

When I got my Iron Hills army, I of course added a ballista to the roster. Now, I didn’t actually like what it did in the movie; the ‘Old Twirly Whirlies’ were really dumb and I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like what it does on the table either.

However, a cool looking model it remains, and is an excellent centerpiece for an Iron Hills list. As well, the rules do benefit the otherwise static nature of the army. It is very strong so I don’t intend to have more then one.

It remains a beautiful mode, with deep wood-grain on the carriage. I had begun painting it years ago, finishing the carriage back in 2018. However, I stopped short of doing the crew for whatever reason, I don’t remember why. I needed a quick and easy project for the day, and so I brought it out of storage and knocked out the crew in about 45 minutes. Lets have a look at the completed project!

I decided to glue two of the crew figures to the ballista, which will make ingame book-keeping harder but looks better.
The crew does look pretty animated once they were done, and I’m pretty happy with the completed effect.
This crewman is doing…something with his hands. Not sure what!
If anything, these models were a lot easier then the warriors. Easy to access all their parts for painting, with no large shield in the way!
The Iron Hills Siege Veteran, a solid choice to lead the crew, but can be swapped for a Captain. I like the pose, it is very commanding!
The armour has a lot of subtle detail that I really like. A better painter can probably make it pop a lot better!

All in all, a fast paintjob and a solid chunk of points done in a one sitting. I’m looking forward to getting more of the Iron Hills painted in-between my other projects. The Battle of Dale is fast approaching…perhaps some Easterlings will cross my desk in the near future.

The Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game is near and dear to me, so expect more content beyond just Iron Hills models in the near future. Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and may Illuvatar bless your rolls!

Baruk Khazâd: Iron Hills for Middle Earth!

Axes of the Dwarves! The Dwarves are upon you!

This is from March 2018: Almost a lifetime ago it feels. Its about time I got some paint on them!

‘I do not think that any would come,’ he answered. ‘They have no need to ride to war; war already marches on their own lands.’-Legolas, Return of the King.

Back 2018 I made a massive push to play the then Hobbit Strategy Battle Game with my friends. It was tough going; 40k was wildly popular and almost without rival at my local clubhouse, and it was a fantasy game competing with Age of Sigmar, another juggernaut. Of course, in my reckless optimism, I acquired a large force of Iron Hills Dwarves, probably the strongest army in the game at the time.

That wasn’t the reason I collected them; while I have many opinions about the Peter Jackson Hobbit Trilogy(not many of them particularly nice…)I did love the dwarves. We never got to see that many during Lord of the Rings and seeing them in battle was a nice contrast to the prim and proper elves. Dain brought a decently sized force to the Battle of Five Armies, and while they differed drastically from the book depiction…I have a fondness for spears in large numbers.

At the time, I justified it by saying I could always field it as the dwarves present at the later Battle of Dale in the Third Age, where they fought a downright massive host of Easterlings from Rhun. This battle was in the book appendices, and was simply titanic in terms of forces involved, and almost none of them Orcs. I never expected in a million years that Games Workshop would actually cover the battle again(they did in the original Return of the King book), and with models to go with it. They did have an ‘old’ Dain Ironfoot, but his son Thorin III Stonehelm was simply a renamed generic Hero, as was King Brand of Dale.

So, of course the mad-lads behind the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game went and did it.

ME RoadGoesOn Mar29 Content1s
Oh yeah, Old Dain is back! And his slightly goofy looking son as well!

This had the (probably intended by GW) effect of reviving my interest in Middle Earth again. While as of writing these models are part of a modified Erebor Reclaimed army-list, I have no doubt that that we will see either a bespoke army-list or an expanded one for this massive battle. It is heavily implied that we will see an expansion either just on this battle or in a compendium of battles that Sauron launched against the West, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for King Brand.

Now where does that leave me for army building? Well, I have enough Orcs to probably fill a bathtub, and enough Easterlings to fight skirmish level games. The Iron Hills army stands at 43 models including 2 banners and 2 captains. The Ballista, while very cool, isn’t in the Erebor Reclaimed list and must(for now) sit this battle out. I decided as a palette cleanse before I start assembling my horde of Bolt Action Soviets, to get some painting done, and selected 12 models and 2 command!

Lets see how I got on!

A small force, but a very playable one! More will come!

Now these are truly beautiful models. At 81 Canadian dollars for every 12, I certainly hope so! I was hesitant to paint them for the longest time, especially because resin can be hard to strip paint off of it had gone badly. But, I’ve learned to accept that I will not always paint ‘amazing’ models compared to the standards of others, but I can always shoot for my personal quality. So with that caution thrown aside, I got started.

The Warriors were particularly annoying, as past me had made the lazy decision to assemble them fully then paint. What a mistake that was! The shields and faces were very difficult to do.

A simple paint scheme for these doughty dwarves. Some gold accents, copied from film, and brown undertunics, which can barely be seen here.
The wash really came alive and helped me feel better about how I was getting along. They really don’t look too shabby, and are definitely tabletop quality.
There is something to be said about a good shield, and these are indeed good looking shields!
Easy too. The detail is in sharp relief and took the paint and subsequent wash really well.
Arrayed together as a single warband, and the sea of spears really comes to life. This is a shield-wall few will want to mess with!

With the Warriors done, I moved onto the banner and Captain. These were actually a bit easier, as the shield was not blocking too much of their bodies. The banner was a tough nut to crack as I had not a single idea on how I wanted to do it beforehand. Luckily, a chat with my more artistically inclined(if not particularly verbose) sister led to the result. “Add more colour” she said, and honestly the addition of sky blue and red made it pop just enough that I am happy with it.

A Captain of the Iron Hills is no slouch in combat, and with his spear, can contribute to the fighting line.
A dirty but striking red cloak makes him stand out on the battlefield.
The banner! It’s simple but its enough that I’m happy with it. I have a far more complex banner in the works for the next warband.
And the back! Not much to say other then hey, its the back!

That was this warband completed, and a solid chunk of points too! I’m going off a 750pt to 1000pt limit as my initial goal. With new(old actually, ha!) Dain replacing his pig-riding, bloody crazy version leading the main force, with two wings led by either his son or the able Captains.

Which leaves…

Ho boy, I got loads to go. At least I can rule out piggy and the Ballista.

With the new ‘Old’ Dain and his son on his way, I am eagerly awaiting the supplement that will accompany him. Luckily, they have published rules to use in the mean time, most of which have been pinched from his original form back in 2003. His son, Thorin III, is a different beast entirely, and while not a beefcake, can be used as an interesting strategic tool with his subsect of abilities allowing him to change the flow of the battle.

I should, unless they add some stuff, be able to field the army upon release of the supplement without much in the way of work, if I keep hammering out dwarves 14 at a time. That is the plan anyways, and judging by the fact it took me 3 years to get this lot even near the painting table, plans can be easily go awry.

In any event, I rewarded myself as a Hobbit would do…

A bit of the Old Toby, and a lovely evening chill.

Anyways, that is all I had for today. I hope you enjoyed this drastic shift in topics(not all those wander are lost after all!)

Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and remember what Tom Bombadil said: “Be Bold, but Wary! Keep up your merry hears, and ride to meet your fortune!”

Rattenkrieg: Stalingrad Part 2, The German 6th Army!

The humble Landsers in the ruins of a dead city…

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R1222-501, Stalingrad, deutscher Soldat mit  Zigarette.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
A German soldier enjoys a cigarette, but the tension on his face never leaves-From the German Federal Archive

“The army’s exact losses are still uncertain, but there was no doubt that the Stalingrad campaign represented the most catastrophic defeat hitherto experienced in German history.” -Antony Beevor, Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943

When the 6th Army and 4th Panzer Division marched into the bombed out city of Stalingrad, they hoped that the fight would be a quick one. The Luftwaffe, in its wisdom, chose to bomb the city into the stone age. This instead made for a labyrinth of ruined buildings, sewers, and streets that instead become the grave for over 300,000 German soldiers. Fewer then 5000-6000 would return home.

For wargaming, the German Army is often depicted as the pinnacle of excellence, an elite force that defeats any foe with ruthless efficiency. Part of the alluring truths of Stalingrad was its utter rebuttal of this notion, and when I recieved my Winter German starter, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t make an unstoppable force at its prime when they entered the city. Instead, I wanted to depict the period from November to December when the encirclement of the would-be besiegers happened, and trapped them.

In all honesty, the Winter German kit is excellent, but perhaps a tougher choice to make work then the Blitzkrieg German kit. A few anachronisms sneak in by the fact the kit was obviously stretched to fit the Late War period so popular in Bolt Action. I had to make some allowances.

I had two major rules; no Panzerfausts or Stg-44s could be used. This was annoying since the kit had so many of these two choices. This was still easy enough to work with on the plastic models…but the metal ones were a tougher nut to crack. As well, I wanted no MG42s. While there were prototypes being fielded there in small numbers, I wanted to stick with the MG34 as that was far more common. This ruled out the included MMG team, which will have to be sorted out later.

Lets see how I cracked on!

I built 40 plastic landsers, with one MG34 and one MP40 or PPsh-41 per squad. This was interesting test to see just how far I could stretch the included bits to make it appear as if there were 4 distinct poses. The PPsh-41s came from my Soviet Winter starter, which had them in ample supply.

This NCO has got his hands in mittens to keep them from freezing off. He is moving from cover to cover, not expecting to shoot. This was an absolute pig of a model to put together. I took the extra step of removing the Mauser pouches in favour of the SMG pouches. That wasn’t so bad. The arms on the other hand didn’t seat right, and took some fancy glue work.
Ah the accursed mold lines that you only notice when you take a photo! I quickly fixed that up after I was done taking the photo. This Landser has acquired a Soviet PPSh-41, a popular weapon in Stalingrad on both sides. The Germans even rechambered a few for 9mm Parabellum, but many more were used as is. At this late stage in the battle, it might even be easier to find ammunition for!
Another NCO, another PPsh, this time with a stick magazine. This landser also has taken mittens off a dead Russian, but has taken them off to fire his weapon. They are attached to his sleeves, as his mittens are probably more dear to him then his weapon in the cold.

The NCOs were fun, if a little fiddly to put together. That was almost entirely my fault; I wasn’t happy with just slapping the MP40 pouches on top of the Mauser pouches, and so for the two NCOs(one is not pictured because honestly he just isn’t worthy of being photographed, being rather boring) armed with MP40s I shaved off the Mauser Pouches. No green stuff was needed luckily, and I was able to put the SMG pouches right over where the old pouches were.

The PPSH was very popular in German hands, so I made two NCOs with them instead. I didn’t file off the pouches on those models, but I might find some Russian pouches for them later.

Lets see some more, this time the squaddies.

The MG34 was a fantastic weapon for its time, and I’m glad that it was included on the sprue. I have given one to each squad, with one man acting as a loader and carrying ammunition drums. These were fun models to make, and a fun tiny challenge to make the no variety in arms work with different poses for a degree of diversity.
It is a little hard to see here unpainted, but this Landser has a grenade in his right hand, ready to be lobbed at Ivan.
This infantryman is armed with a Teller Mine; while I am using them as simply ‘Anti-Tank Grenades’ these mines were considerably more powerful in real life. Still, as visual shorthand it should remind me that I can blow up tanks with my squads.

Next up were the metal models. I love metal models…most of the time. These were not bad, but unfortunately they are more geared toward the late war period and I had to make do for now. Still, lets have a look!

A German Captain, complete with a fancy fur-lined coat. This might make him a tempting target for Soviet snipers…
A senior German NCO, which I will be fielding as a First Lieutenant(Oberleutnant). Lots of nice detail here, but no greatcoat, being lucky enough to have a shorter more practical jacket. This I believe was available to a lucky few at Stalingrad, but was by no means common and is one of my many minor anachronisms that I hope to resolve later.
Another great model that appears to be a little anachronistic is this Medic carrying a wounded soldier. They are both wearing the shorter winter jacker favoured in the Late War, and is a field expedient until I can find a suitable replacement.
Finally, some metal models wearing greatcoats! This mortar squad will keep enemies heads down.
Wearing a combination of short jacket and greatcoat, this Artillery observer won’t look too out of place and can remain as is.
This model was almost perfect, wearing the combination short jacket and greatcoat. I could almost forgive the helmet cover which is distinctly later in make….but what I could not forgive was it having a stonking huge STG-44 on his back! I cut it away…
….and added a much more accurate MP40! I got a bit clever here, as my greenstuff skills lie mostly in filling gaps.
So instead I used a bit of metal flashing from his base to make a sling, and attached it to where the plastic MP40 had its original sling.
Short of gluing my fingers together, this was actually pretty easy! While this model is actually from the included MG42, I at least found a new home for him as the Mortar Squad’s spotter!

Now let’s talk anachronisms and gaming. I would, if had been able, supplied all the models in this force with period accurate weapons. However, as the sleeves must remain distinctly greatcoat in appearance, I had to make some allowances. I firstly had to use the included Gewehr 43s, which are standing in for the slightly less anachronistic(if only just!) Gewehr 41. I was not entirely happy with this, but it was a decision to get these guys into the painting queue faster then I would have waited for replacement arms. It also, tellingly, still counts as just a rifle in-game. This to me is a forgivable anachronism, as these are at the end of the day wargaming models. My goal is historical accuracy, but at the end of the day I really just want to play some games too!

Secondly and more egregiously is the metal models…they are definitely meant for Late War, and only a few pass muster. I will be ordering some replacements for them once I get a chance, probably from Great Escape Games. I still made some effort to ‘back-date’ them a smidge, but they still aren’t perfect. However, they will still pass muster for the average layman, and being that I am one myself I will content myself with that for now.

Anyways, with this done I can move on from the irresistible force of the Wehrmacht to the immovable object that is the Red Army. Chuikov’s men are significantly more work to put together, being that their arms and weapons are separate, but Comrade Stalin is a harsh task-master and the city must be held.

I hope you enjoyed today’s ramblings, and I’ll catch you tomorrow! Happy War-Gaming wherever you are, and Auf Wiedersehen Kameraden!

Rattenkrieg: Stalingrad Part One!

The fate of the world hangs in the balance…

The mighty but slow KV tank vs a practical and lethal Panzer IV

“Do not count the days, do not count the miles. Count only the Germans you have killed. Kill the German – this is your old mother’s prayer. Kill the German – this is what your children beseech you to do. Kill the German – this is the cry of your Russian earth. Do not waver. Do not let up. Kill.”-IIya Ehrenburg, Soviet Poet.

Stalingrad. It is a name that resonates with many who have even a passing knowledge of history. The battle that took place there was one of no mercy, no pity, and appalling violence. It was a personal grudge match between two merciless dictators, but its importance in turning the tide of WW2 is without argument.

For many years I have wanted to refight the epic duel between Communism and Fascism on the Volga, but such a proposition was expensive. I knew two things; I wanted to do it in 28mm, probably Bolt Action. And that I wanted to do it right. Flames of War is an excellent system, but Stalingrad was a battle of inches, close in, barbaric fighting. Flames of War would be excellent for the later battles on the Russian Steppe, but Bolt Action with its focus on infantry combat would portray the ‘Rattenkrieg’ much better.

I got my chance a week ago. I was able to find both the German Winter Starter Army and Winter Soviet Starter Army for a great price in Canada. While both sets have some issues in respect to portraying the battle, they offer an amazing start; and for the price I paid, a relatively inexpensive one. The Soviet one in particular comes with so many infantry models that you cannot fit them all into one generic reinforced platoon! Both sets come with metal command and support options, allowing you to focus on building the infantry as fighting squads. While for the Germans I’ll need to find an MG34 team, I’m practically set for now.

Minus the anachronistic MG42, I will be able to make use of all the contents!
And the Soviets; never has ‘Quantity has Quality all its own” been so affordable!

There is a lot of stuff to build here. So I’ve broken it into manageable chunks. Yesterday and today I got the armour completed.

It was an interesting ‘compare and contrast’ moment. The KV-1/2 is an Italeri/Warlord joint kit, and has much more in common with traditional model kits then a wargaming kit. On the other hand, the Panzer IV is a Warlord ‘In House’ model, and is much more akin to putting together a wargaming kit.

I have to be honest with you; I prefer the Warlord kit. The Panzer IV went together rather well, and feels like it can take some tabletop abuse. The KV by Italeri feels delicate, almost as if it would shatter if handled poorly. Both however were easy builds, under an hour. Lets take a look at them!

The KV-1/2 is a beast, but the brittle plastic and fragile feel ruins that a little. Still, it cuts an imposing figure!
I lost the rear turret machinegun; it was such a small part that when I dropped it I could not find it again. Still, look at that turret! What an absolute unit!
I will hand one thing to Italeri here; having the option for both the KV-1 and KV-2 and being able to build both turrets was really, really nice. The KV-1 is a far more practical tank for actual Bolt Action, at least I think it will be!

Now the Panzer IV! I originally was going to build a short-barrel one, but a lot of the tanks I found pictures of from the battle had the longer F model barrel. So that is what I went with! The instructions were…vague. I had very little idea where exactly to put some of the stowage, so I winged it a little.

The Panzer IV is iconic. Few can argue its effectiveness in battle, especially in the Early-Mid war period.
This kit went together smoothly. I was particularly impressed by the tracks, which went together with almost no gaps.
While there is still some gaps to fill, there are fewer then I expected. This tank will be fun to use!

Now lets compare the two! The size difference is pretty amazing. The KV-1 really looks like the beast it was!

Whoa, now that is a tank! While I preferred building the Panzer IV, the KV is simply massive, and looks like it will be an absolute blast to use.
The length of the tanks isn’t as much of a difference as the width and height, but it is still obvious just how much bigger the KV is. I can see how the KV would shock the German Wehrmacht when they first encountered it!

Now, Stalingrad was at its heart an infantryman’s battle, not one of armoured might. So I won’t be adding too many tanks to this roster. Tomorrow, I will start on the Soviet 62nd Army. I will be running them closer to the history then just copying ‘Enemy at the Gates’, so hopefully I can keep the force ‘authentic’.

The Germans are a harder nut to crack. The sprue is filled with STG-44s, which I cannot use at all. I will have to really make the rifles work! The Early-Mid War selectors will keep both armies mostly armed with rifles, although I will field some Soviet and German squads with more SMGs.

I will be using the Stalingrad campaign book to refight this struggle, and as an added treat, it came with the famous Vasily Zaitsev! As far as snipers go, he is pretty crazy for Bolt Action. I will field him occasionally with his actual rules, but more often he will be just a generic sniper. However, the book does have rules for the fictional Major Konig from Enemy At the Gates, which despite my wish to fight this mostly historically, is too much of a tease to not attempt to kitbash him.

Hero of the Soviet Union, Zaitsev has an interesting career that Enemy at the Gates almost completely ignored. When I paint him, I’ll be sure to point that out when I write that article!

Now the good news; I have all the blown up city terrain I could possibly ever need to do most of the scenarios. I will get the Tractor Factory at some point, but fighting that battle I will need some factory workers and factory fresh T-34s, so that will be some ways off.

Anyways, that is all I have for today. I have written a lot of ‘Part Ones’ recently, and I will be chipping away to make those have ‘Part Twos’. What can I say, I like to have a lot of projects on the go! I have been laid off from work temporarily during Ontario’s third lockdown, so I have nothing but time…

Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and remember; Not one step back Comrades!

Huzzah! The Grenadier Guards for VBCW Part One!

But of all the world’s brave heroes, there’s none that can compare.
With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, to the British Grenadiers.

They look so plain, without their signature headgear. Lets fix that!

When I first introduced VBCW content to my blog, I mentioned that I wanted to do Grenadier Guards in full combat kit but with their distinct headgear on. Of course, that turned out to be a much harder task to accomplish then I could have imagined. A years worth of searching turned up nothing that would work to my exacting standards.

It was in the course of printing some stuff for a friend that I realized this same friend was a 3D designer, and I asked him nicely if he could make some Grenadier Guard hats for me in exchange. He agreed readily, and was willing to waive any commission fee as a “I really want to help your project” sorta deal. Here is what he knocked up for me!

Oh yeah, the plan is coming together.

Now I wanted them to go on bodies that would suit what I wanted to use the Grenadier Guards for, which was heavy line-breaking infantry. They also have the newest gear, including Bren Guns, and are wearing the dumpy Battledress uniform that many, especially Guardsmen, hated, to the extend that one Guards Major went on record as saying “I don’t mind dying for my country but I’m not going to die dressed like a third-rate chauffeur!” in the Second World War.

This contrast between Dress Uniform pomp and combat equipped, well drilled soldiers, was what I wanted to show. These guys are trained and drilled to the highest extent of the Interwar British Army, and they had to look it. I as such used Warlord Games British Expeditionary Force as the base model.

Great looking models! And this is a great box to get a lot at once!

These are excellent models in their own right, and come with loads of head options. Which I proceeded to toss directly into my bits box. My printers produced me a nice tub of heads to work with, and I got cracking. This wasn’t easy; The head joins on these models are slightly different then the test model the file was designed for, so careful trimming and sanding was needed to fit them. The superglue I use fills gaps pretty well, so I’m hoping that is enough to make them ‘look convincing’

The idea behind these models is that they started the VBCW quite practically, ditching their bearskins for steel helmets except on special occasions. While on ceremonial duty guarding one Lord Cirenchester, they were attacked by a force of Socialist militia. With no time to switch back into more practical headgear before being overrun, the Grenadier Guards went into the fray in full battle kit but with Bearskins on. The Socialists, with a shout of “Bloody hell its the Grenadier Guard!”, broke and ran instead of giving battle.

The lesson was learned. Against militias and non-regular armed forces, the morale shock of fighting one of the feared Guard Regiments has made the practice of wearing the hats a field expedient tactic to break poor quality militias. And if the foe doesn’t break, the full force of modern warfare can be leveraged against them, proving that they are not just Palace Guard but well trained, modern soldiers.

Lets have a look at what I got done!

Section leader for the 1st Section. This Guardsmen has the standard issue rifle alongside standard issue ‘NCO pointing arms’
An Officer in the Guards. His Webley drawn as he walks, not runs, towards the foe.
An average, if that word can even be applied here, Guardsmen with his SMLE.
They don’t like it up em! This Guardsmen is ready for some close-in action.
Fix Bayonets! This Guardsmen is looking over the field, bayonet ready for the bloody task at hand.
Sometimes the job just calls for good, aimed, rifle fire.
Yet another bayonet charging Guardsmen. My kind of man!
Sometimes enemy tanks will make themselves known, and out comes the Boys Anti-Tank Rifle.
A Bren gun ready to lay down supporting fire.
And here, with his loader.
That hat looks heavy…
Vickers crew ready to lay down accurate, precise, and deadly fusillades.
And the whole force. An elite force…we shall see how Harrington On Sea does repelling their attacks!

All in all, a really fun nights work. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I will spray a few with English Uniform spray, and get a head-start on this cool looking force!

That is all I have for now, but there will be more tomorrow. Happy War-gaming, wherever you are, and God Save the King!

Comrades, Come Rally! Part One!

The Internationale Unites the World in Song! The Socialists arrive for VBCW!

The research begins! Or, rather continues. I’ve read this over a dozen times!

For Very British Civil War, it was only a matter of time before I would start a Socialist army. The army reminds me of the heady days of High School, where I was, at least for a time, a massive communist. Time has tempered my politics a tad, but the stirring tune of the Internationale never ceases to make my heart sing for a while.

I had focused on the British Union of Fascists for a spell, to get them done. The Royalist force is something of a favourite of mine, but it is still an army of the Government, the ‘Man’ so to speak. There is something about the little guy trying to get their voice heard that is very heroic.

Now, there is no shortage of great metal models to build one a great Socialist army for the period. But, as a bit of a challenge and inspired by others using the great Wargames Atlantic French Resistance kit, I wanted to try making this out of plastic.

The kitbash, ironically for being for a socialist army, would make any capitalist happy as I spent a tidy sum collecting the parts, far more then intended. I used the basic Wargames Atlantic kit for the heads and bodies, but didn’t use the arms at all, since they were mostly later era weapons from WW2 that wouldn’t suit the period. I instead used Warlord Games Soviet Infantry, specifically the Siberian Veterans kit(more on why later!) using their arms and weapons to make a distinctly Soviet-influenced force.

Now I haven’t begun to paint them, which is why this is Part One. And I have a bit of backstory as well before I get to the models. The Harrington On Sea Workers Defense Corps are led by a former International Brigade member, Comrade Harry Price. Price is an ardent socialist, and enlisted in his native Canada in the Mackenzie Papineau Battalion.

The experience in Spain however, especially the ever-present influence of Stalinism in the International Brigades, has soured him a tad. And the WDC, because of his influence, had eschewed full Soviet support. The weapons may be of Soviet make, but are supplied by a gun-runner from the Liverpool Free State. The WDC pays them in supplies acquired by sympathetic farmers in the area, and in return get some of the Soviet weapons that Liverpool has in abundance. This trade is under the table, and the powers that be in the Liverpool Free State would probably not be happy with this arrangement.

Okay, enough wasting your time with fluff! Onto the models!

The first section! Armed with Mosin Nagants, and further equipped with one PPD and DP-28 Machine Gun, they are ready to take the fight to the Fascist dogs!
I particularly like this section leader. He’s got his PPD at the ready, and is pointing out a target to his comrades.
The DP-28 offers the section some serious firepower. However, with ammunition low, they haven’t had a lot of practice with it!
The ever-present Petrol Bomb makes for a decent Anti-Tank option in a pinch. With General Fullers armoured push on its way to the sleepy town, this worker will need to aim true…
This comrade is a former British International Brigade member, and wears his old hat. Here he is giving a rousing speech to his fellows, fist raised!

The first section was a dawdle to assemble, and some real characters were able to be made. I’m quite pleased with them. I had a comment on the Wargames Atlantic Legion Facebook group that they looked like Soviet Peoples Militia, and they definitely can pass for that! Onto the next ten!

Much the same as the first. Still, they don’t look exactly the same which pleases me to no end.
Another section leader, and this one also has a PPD. But he is instead firing it at the enemy. He has nicked a Brodie helmet from the Anglican LDV, giving him a bit of protection against shrapnel.
Another petrol bomber, and this one looks determined!
Hang on, that’s a beret! It looks like a Frenchie has snuck into my Militia. Still, as long as he hates the Fascists as much as the rest of the Corps, he can stay. This one likes to point and yell excitedly in French, much to the confusion of his Section.

Now, with the Lockdown still in effect, getting grey spray to start on these fellows could take a while. I promise I’ll show them off painted as soon as I can!

While that is all I have for the Socialists, for now at least, that wasn’t all I was working on this week. My friend playing the Albertines/Anglican league side of the defense needed some proper armour. The Renault FT was nice, but he wanted something a bit bigger, more like a proper tank.

For this, we turned to the French. Specifically, a Somua S35. This was obtained as a file from Eskice Miniatures on MyMiniFactory, and while it took forever to print it turned out nicely.

The supports that come with the tank looked a bit flimsy, and the tank wasn’t hollowed. I hollowed it in Chitubox, and added my own supports. While most of the S35 looks fine, the tracks are a bit rough. Nothing mud can’t fix!
A beautiful tank, one of my favourite from the Interwar-Early WW2 period. A design ahead of its time, it was poorly used in the Battle of France and were mismanaged badly.
Lots of great detail on the back!
Scale wise it seems alright, at least for the usual ‘slightly too small’ Bolt Action style I have going on already.

Hang on, is that another hull in the back?

when there is one too many | Prequel Memes | Know Your Meme

Yep. I couldn’t let my friend have all the fun. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the second one, and it very well might end up in my Socialist list. I’m keen to paint it!

One is good, Two is better!

As you may have noticed, there is a third tank hanging out in the back. The BUF couldn’t just let the Socialists steal all the fun, and an A9 Cruiser Tank came off the printer as well. Luckily, I have lots of black paint, so it got painted right away!

Ah yes, more free-hand. Still, doesn’t look too shabby!
With three machineguns, this lightly armoured tank certainly isn’t lightly armed!
Scale-wise, it is still a tad small. But its good enough for gaming!

Finally, a bit of a Royalist surprise. Another friend of mine needed some printing done, and being that he is a 3D artists, I asked him to make me something. I expected to pay a commission fee, but out of the goodness of his heart he made it for free!

Oh yeah, its Bearskin time.

I finally got my Grenadier Guard/Coldstream Guard bearskins! I have a kit on the way that these heads are destined for, but for sake of example, I have put one on a spare WW1 British model.

Unwieldy. Top heavy. Utterly ridiculous. Beautiful.
These guys will be my Royalist shock troops, supremely well disciplined, and savage on the attack. However, they are few in number.

I’m very excited for the bodies to arrive from Warlord Games to stick these heads on. They will look every bit the elite unit they are supposed to be! Unfortunately, I cannot share them; I’d need his permission, which he would probably give, but we used a paid file to make the faces, and therefore I’m limited to just using it for myself. I apologize in advance!

It certainly has been a busy week! Lots of projects to work on, and just because I’m a massive sucker for punishment, I have also got myself a Soviet Winter Army Starter from Warlord Games. A store in Canada had it for a great low price, and the 80+ Soviets in the box will kickstart…my Stalingrad project. I have loads of destroyed buildings, and I’m excited to hold off the Fascist invader. There is no land beyond the Volga River! There will therefore be some regular Bolt Action goodness coming up, so stay tuned!

Anyways, that is all I have for you fine people today. I hope you guys enjoyed the read! Paint will come, as soon as I can actually get some! Happy War-gaming wherever you might be, and have a good day…Comrade!