British Steel: Matilda II in VBCW!

And ‘Boney’ Fuller too!

So Majestic! So Slow!

There has been a lot of 15mm Flames of War stuff on my blog recently, but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten my other projects. A setting I was eagerly wanting to return to was the Very British Civil War. But how to make it a nice, dramatic return?

I figured the easiest way was a big, chunky piece of British Armour. After much research to see if it was plausible(more on that later!), I decided on an early Matilda II. These tanks were a nasty surprise to the Germans in 1940, how bad would they be in 1938 in a civil war?

My printing set-up has not dealt with full-plates as well as I would have hoped, and watching this print was nerve-ranking. A corner of the raft was peeling off the bed, yet somehow despite everything the tank printed mostly fine!

Not pictured: A failed print! Huzzah!

Actually, as far as I can tell, it is good enough for table use. This is a file from the legendary M_Bergman on Thingiverse, and was originally scaled at 1:100th for 15mm use. I used Wargaming3D’s suggestion of scaling it up to 28mm, using 178.57% as my scaling guide. While I still think it might be a hair too small, all of my other 15mm rescaled VBCW uses the same scale number so it’ll match.

The file has tons of options, and I opted for a British Expeditionary Force version. I’m hoping that is it is a close enough resemblance to the early marks from 1937-39.

The business end of the 2-pounder. Weak by 1940 standards, but quite powerful for the Interwar period!

Now, this is a controversial tank to use. Most VBCW tanks are much older, 1920’s or early 1930’s designs. However, by June 1938 an order was placed for 140 of these wonderful tanks. Work was slow, and in our timeline only two were completed by 1939.

This early model has a ‘trench tail’

I’m both speeding that up and slowing it down for my particular rendition of VBCW. The first production models were made by Vulcan Foundry in Lancashire. From here on out, it is all alternate history, be warned!

Rather conveniently, Lancashire falls under Royalist control early on. With war kicking off, the Government forces are desperate for these behemoths to enter service, and an inter-service tug of war kicks off on who gets to use these, the BUF’s Armoured Corp led by General Fuller, or the British Army’s Royal Tank Regiment. With two vehicles completed, it is decided that they will see service as ‘breakthrough’ tanks, and General Fuller pushes for the BUF to be granted use of them to break the Liverpool Free State. One is sent via rail to break that Socialist stronghold. The second is sent to the southern front, to be based out of London and sent via rail to where it is most needed. Production is however slow, and reinforcements of this ‘Queen of the Battlefield’ is held up by lack of supplies.

I see these behemoths being used much like a King Tiger would be in Bolt Action; Prohibitively expensive, but capable of controlling the battlefield like nothing else in this timeline can. Short of the French selling Char B1’s to Anglican forces, very little has this kind of armour. However it is painfully slow.

I am considering using this as a scenario only tank, with the capability of it being captured! Those rail-lines are only so secure after all…

With troops next to it!

But wait, what is this?

Oh yeah, its General Fuller time.

This is a fantastic rendition of J.F.C Fuller, who in this timeline is a major player in the BUF military wing, by Footsore Miniatures. I got him with my intial VBCW order, and have been waiting for a moment to paint him up!

Fuller was a major advocate of early modern tank tactics, and helped plan the usage of tanks at the Battle of Cambrai. His ideas were shunned in his own country….but were adopted by such figures as Heinz Guderian in Nazi Germany, who paid to translate Provisional Instructions for Tank and Armoured Car Training into German. He was the only foreigner present at Nazi Germany’s first armed maneuvers in 1935. In 1939, as a guest of Adolf Hitler, he witnessed a parade held in the Fuhrer’s honour. When Hitler asked him “I hope you were pleased with your children?” Fuller responded with “Your Excellency, they have grown up so quickly that I no longer recognise them.”

In WW2 he was sidelined because of his rather obvious Nazi sympathies. In VBCW, he has seen considerably more success. How successful is up to each individual club or groups lore, but as discussed with my friend I have made him a Major General in the BUF, leading a Armoured Corp set up along his doctrines.

A gorgeous model, that I hope I even slightly did justice too. His facial features are finely detailed.
I purposely used a shinier wash on his black uniform, as if he is meticulously cleaning it. The badges are sculpted with detail and picked out nicely. The medal bar was harder: I sort of just dabbed colours onto it.
Done up in my traditional basing scheme!

All in all, a productive evening! My hands decided to cooperate today and remain steady, which made General Fuller doable.

We are expecting a large snowfall tonight, so it will be a while before I can get the Matilda painted. Which gives me time to consider which of my VBCW forces gets it! I’m tempted due to my royalist leanings to give it to the Royal Tank Regiment, but Fuller has strings he can pull to procure it for the BUF. I’ll print two eventually, but for now I am torn.

Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s ramblings, and I’ll more to show you folks soon! Happy Wargaming wherever you are, and stay safe everyone!

Mobile Coffins: Italian M13/40 Tanks!

North African Reinforcements!

It’s so cute! And deadly too…to its crew!

When you think of North Africa in WW2, you think Crusaders, Panzer IVs and IIIs, Tigers, Grants. And rightly so, as all these tanks carved out a reputation, for good or ill!

I particularly like that the designer of this STL included stowage. I often forget to add it. The sandbags are a nice touch, a bit of a desperate move by Italian crews that only further slowed the tank down.

This tank, an Italian M13/40, is unfortunately more on the ‘ill’ side. A dated design even as it just started reaching units, this tank wasn’t as bad as it could be. It had reasonable armament, decent armour in comparison to its British foes, and a good deal of machine guns. However, it lacked speed, often-times radios, and was not something their would-be crews had training in. A recipe for disaster.

Still, it at least looks like a tank. Can’t say that for most early-mid Italian designs!

However, they were plentiful, and these tanks made up a good deal of the Afrika Korps, people often forget that not only were Italians part of the unit, Rommel was actually out-ranked by the Italians in theatre! In my previous post, I showed an interest in doing El Alamein and North Africa in general. Not having even a token Italian contingent would be an unfortunate oversight.

Eight of them, enough for two platoons. The commanders ride is on the printer for tomorrow!

In Flames of War, specifically the Avanti book for Mid-War, this tank isn’t present. However, the book does feature its replacement, the M14/41, and this tank, the M13/40, are very, very similar. I’m hoping that among my small play-group, I can use these as suitable proxies. I certainly won’t be carting these off to a tournament, but they will do to test my theory.

The theory is that I can take a minimum size company of these rolling deathtraps as mobile bunkers, as they do have quite a few machine guns. The folks over at Battlefront have been rather generous with their stats.

Hobby
Well, that is a pleasant stat-card, make no mistake!

The M14/41 has been given HEAT ammo to represent early Italian faffing around with such ammo types, quite successful attempts at that! It also has great crew stats that can only get better with a good roll at the beginning of the game. Most happily for me is the sheer amount of machine-guns it packs. Sure, it has only Firepower 6, but against infantry that roll doesn’t matter. And you pay very little in points for such firepower.

I have to admit, these things are growing on me.

I have an Avanti book on its way to me, along with the unit card park and command cards. While due to Lockdown I won’t be getting a game in anytime soon, that simply gives me more time to work on these little beauties.

I still have to clean up some supports, but they came out rather cleanly.

All in all, an easy evenings print. It had been a while since I fired up my 3D printers, and I was starting to think I lost my groove. I’m happy to be proven wrong, and to get some tanks out of it!

Anyways, I need to get some sleep. Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and stay safe everyone!

Royalist Reinforcements: Vickers Medium for VBCW!

Vickers Medium Mk2, reporting!

A section of Royalist infantry take over my painting desk, supported by a Vickers Medium

Sometimes, you just need a palette cleanse. An easy paint job to brighten your spirits and fire you up for additional painting.

I chose for just such a task a Vickers Medium Mk2, a very interesting interwar design. Large and slab sided, and not particularly fast, these tanks are out of date by the Very British Civil War timeline, and in our timeline only saw use in small numbers in Africa in World War Two*.

This was one of my earliest prints that I have done, and the bow-legged tracks betray my lack of skill at the time. Still, painted up, I’m hoping it will do sterling service on my gaming table, and look good doing it!

I primed it Vallejo Russian Uniform, a colour that seems, for some reason, to really resemble the off-green the British Army used.

Even with its wonky tracks, it still is an imposing mass of steel.

The tracks I did in an Eshin Grey, and the metal components Army Painter Plate Mail. I then sponged Plate Mail around the tank as severe weathering. Finally, I used Nuln Oil to fill in the metal details on the tank, giving them a more worn appearance.

Free-handing is hard!

I found the free-hand detail to be quite difficult, but serviceable. In my excuse for painting, I have decided that these are hand-painted by the crew, and this crew is particularly sloppy!

Going to have to fix that free-hand here….
The bow-legged tracks are particularly noticeable up front and rear!

Still, for a quick paintjob to get it on the table, its not the worst! I can always go back and add more later.

Behind the tank you can see a section of infantry! Those will be next, bringing my force to twenty royalists and a tank. An HQ section is after that, and I can start fighting for King Edward VII in style! Of course, for such a battle one needs an opponent, and luckily my friend has been working hard on his Albertines! For those fresh to Very British Civil War, that is our timeline’s King George he’s fighting for, to put on the throne.

Quite awkwardly, he too has decided to use Woodbine Design Studios WW1 figures as his base for his army…meaning the only difference is our paintjob!
He has gone for purple puttees instead of armbands for his army. Purple accents show up quite regularly!
And unlike me, he has gotten his officers ready too! I have some catching up to do!

As lockdowns and shutdowns, and other various bits of stressful news come in, I will admit I sometimes find it hard to work up the hobby energy. But I’m really keen on getting my Very British Civil War guys done before I next see my friend next. Goals keep us going!

But for now, that is all I got. Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and God Save King Edward!

*Note, I may not get my history right. Don’t quote me without doing your own digging first!.

Pimp your Russ: Tank Overhaul Part One!

Building a Better Russ!

Once upon a time, this was a primarily 40k-centric blog. Over the years I have adapted and switched to new games as they have come and caught my fancy, but it isn’t like I have stopped collecting or playing in the mean time.

The Chaplain would like to have a word with you…at 120 MPH.

However, my tastes over time have changed, and looking back at my old, reliable Russ fleet, and having played games with more realistic stylings recently, they didn’t hold up well. I now own a 3D printer, but printing whole alternate tanks was still a difficult task…a print-bed is still a limiting factor. I wasn’t really looking all that hard, when I caught wind of II GARGOYLES STVDIO, a patreon who had done in the past a T-34 styled upgrade kit.

Nice and Soviet. I particularly liked the Cannon!
Their Chimera alternative sides kit is also looking great, with excellent(if difficult to print for newbies) suspension detail.
Their Maxim-styled Bolter replacements will find use in both 40k and Historical settings. I’m planning a Double-Decker Bus for VBCW with broadsides of these things.

However, this kit was meant for the newer styled GW Russ, which I only have one of. My fleet mostly consists of older, early 2000’s and 90’s Russ hulls, and that meant the back extension would not fit, as the engine bay on the older models is offset instead of centreline.

Curse you! In actual truth this makes a lot of sense; Who even owns these older tanks…except me obviously.

However, all the stowage will fit just fine, as well as equipment and other paraphernalia. What particularly interested me was the main gun; a replacement for the notoriously large calibre Leman Russ Battle Cannon goes a long way in making the Russ ‘work’ better from a realism angle. I really liked the T-34/76 style it has going on, and took one of my older kits apart.

Much better!
The tank almost looks MORE menacing with a more sensible gun; While the Russ will never be a ‘realistic’ tank, this goes a long way to making it more reasonable. The profile looks more like a predator of a tank, instead of a cartoon caricature.
Loading shells will still be a problem in the cramped turret, but at least now it is physically possible to carry a few rounds…
The cobbled together look of the tank lends it-self to my lore; Being that these are Sabbat Worlds Crusade era tanks, this could very well be a local Urdeshi variant of the parent design.

However, because the upgrade kit was designed for a newer kit, some modification was needed. This was actually doable as opposed to the rear hull extension. Since I am pointing people toward the Patreon, I figured I’d show you quickly how I did it.

Before gluing(or regluing as the case is here), you will need to trim away some of the bottom turret plate.
Using the front protruding part as a guide, trim away the parts where the cannon hangs too low. You won’t be able to adjust elevation, but given that this is a gaming model that might not be a problem for you!
Then simply slide the new, sensible cannon down into where the Battle Cannon used to be. You can see here the cuts I have made, to allow the new cannon to sit well. Use a good superglue with a good bond to make sure you don’t lose your new cannon during play, as nothing but the glue will now be holding it!

This is the first step on my Russ overhaul, and I won’t be stopping here. I am also going to ‘try’ and undo the side-pieces on my Chimera APCs, but I did too good a job the first time and I don’t think they are coming off! Luckily, a friend of mine got me a Chimera a year ago I have yet to build, so I will be putting the new suspension unit on that kit soonish!

I highly recommend checking out the Patreon for II GARGOYLES STVDIO at https://www.patreon.com/2gargoyles, as they have a lot of really cool stuff! They have this month a Dino-Riding Rough Rider unit, and in their backlog you can grab regular, horse mounted Rough Riders and various other bits and bobs, like the Tank Upgrade I got here!

Including this Dshk styled Heavy Stubber! I have asked them to make a simplified version for my shaky hands, but you can make the current one available totally posable!

I will have some more, non-40k content for those who enjoy that later this week! Covid-19 has well and truly entered a new stage, and I am skipping my local clubhouse visits until the situation in Canada gets a little better. More time for hobbying and blogging, and anyone who finds this content interesting is in for a treat!

Until then, Happy War-Gaming where-ever you are, and stay safe and positive as best you can in these trying times!

No Pity, No Remorse, No Fear! Converting Indomitus!

The Templars charge into the new Edition!

Yours truly, in the centre, surrounded by boxes. Tyler makes an appearance!

Like many others on the blogosphere, and as I have previously said in a previous post, I got myself Indomitus on release. I was lucky! If your just reading this post, a quick recap: a good local store was able to secure enough copies for our surprisingly large rural community, and no one who pre-ordered went without, and until the 28th of July you can get one made to order. Go buy that if you missed it, if you want one that is!

Now half the world has done an unboxing of the contents, so that is not what I’m going to talk about. Instead, I will mention my plans for the contents of the Space Marine portion, of which I kept. The rest went to a friend for a reasonable cost. But I would be amiss if I did not share how much I love the Crusade system. It is a glorious, buggy mess, and is fun beyond anything Narrative 8th offered. It is far from perfect! First thing though, some pictures, for those only here for the “articles”.

The Vostroyan 78th take a severe beating at the hands of the Necron menace, but manage to win the day through bravery…not really. It was Lascannons. All the Lascannons.
The Leman Russ Annihilator was the MVP of the match. I paid a significant outlay in Requisition Points to make it an Ace. It has now got an Elite Crew, and Enhanced Targeting, allowing it to re-roll ones, and hit on threes. A devastating combination. However my opponent also gained a large amount of Experience killing the rest of my army, and thus it all evened out.
Living in a low Covid-19 affected area lets us take our chances, and get some games in. But we still TRY to have some caution…

It is horribly convoluted, and and I’m going to link a video by a Youtuber I follow who explains it far better. (If you are reading this by chance, Zorpazorp, thank you so very much!) It is a great tool for getting people not usually into Narrative into that side of the hobby, and as already converted many in my local area. They are even making less game only decisions, and ones based more on ‘feelings’ that their units might carry out. As well, units gaining perks and flaws based on events in-game is something hard to make work, but so far, it has been pretty good! My Tank Ace certainly feels like an Ace, and now plays even more like one. A Pask in the making? Maybe! It also doesn’t overly punish failure or over reward success, and also allows for an in-built command point buff to armies with a lesser Crusade total, something I greatly appreciate as someone who loses a lot….

Figures it takes an Australian to explain upside-down rules!

My personal two Crusade armies will be my Templars, which are a work in progress, and my Vostroyans, fully complete and ready to go. That way, I can take pretty pictures with one, while the bare plastic is never seen on camera!

Back in December 2019, I traded my old Citadel castle set for a full Black Templars army. At the same time, I helped a friend do some work, and instead of pay, I asked for some of his Black Templars. Long story short, I got a lot of the crusading Space Marines.

A blast from the past of December 2019, three centuries ago.

This has been added to, with the addition of Dark Imperium models and a whole wack of Primaris Marines and the Space Marine Heroes Terminator models. This helped bring the force more into contention with other, stronger, lists I’d face.

Loud, proud, and deadly. A Redemptor carrying a Hero of the Black Templars is a force indeed…especially if he looks the part!
A much simpler addition; just a few chains to properly move the model into the Chapter.

I was however faced with the small, niggling issue…I hate painting power armor. I’ve always been fairly awful at it; the large flat or curved areas with smooth detail confounds me. To show that I have both made at least some attempt to paint some models, and that I kinda suck at painting black, here is my work in progress ‘Sergeant Jovan’, now a Castellan in the Black Templars. Using the Lieutenant Stat-line with a Master-Crafted ‘Power Sword’, and Bolt pistol, he should be fine; He’s representing a new Primaris recruit who has proven himself sufficiently zealous and angry enough to earn his place among his Firstborn brothers!

He’s not taking a break; He’s simply catching his breath before tearing another Ork apart with his bare hands.
The tilting shield is the only new part added to the original model; I also added damage to it, to bring it inline with the rest of the kit. The Crusade badge will be applied to the whole army, eventually.
A torn gash on his face, earned in close combat. The orange is supposed to be fresh, hot rounds still burning in his ceramite. I admit, its not worked as I hoped, and will probably go back to a lighter grey, representing chipped armor.
I don’t paint eyes; I suffer from badly shaking hands from nerves, and that is beyond me at my current skill level. However, this is my favourite face I’ve painted; I think it looks suitably gritty! There is a lot of room for improvement…

The problem in completing the army was two-fold; I was having trouble playing such a radically different army then my usual gun-line, and the weaker, older marines, outside a few very strong units, both lore friendly and not, meant I had trouble competing. On top of that, since the Black Templar upgrade kit was rather dated, I couldn’t make some of the new units look sufficiently ‘Templar’ enough to justify the amount of time I’d spend working on them, and that killed a huge amount of my interest. As a primarily fluff gamer, the looks mattered a great deal….

However, Indomitus looked promising right from the get-go; the models had all the gothic, baroque styling I missed from previous iterations of Marines, and the new 9th edition rules favor melee a lot more then 8th did. I managed to split the box with a friend, and got myself a full box minus the Xenos scum. If I had left them alone, and just used decals, they would have made damn fine Templars right away, but such a thing was such a waste of potential. Granted, they don’t need a lot of work, a chained weapon here, a reliquary and Maltese cross there, and I would be set. As well, as we are starting with Combat Patrol level games of Crusade, getting a force painted up is a breeze. A few models is far easier to pull off and motivate yourself to paint then a full, 2000 point behemoth of a list.

I started with the Judiciar, whose helmet I hated, and the Bladeguard Ancient, who I love in almost all respects, minus his skeletal hand being a weapon.

I wear a mask in real life, I don’t need a model with one! He’s got a Chaplains helmet since he is a member of the Reclusiam. He’s a Chaplain in training, or a different branch, depending on what you read. But he can have the vow of silence and still don the scary skull helmet; if Reivers can, so can they! I chained up his executioners sword…you really don’t want to drop the weapon that defines you, and Templars don’t like to so much they attach the damn things to themselves!
A quick 45 minute print on my 3D printer, and I have a suitable helmet! I picked this one since it bears a resemblance to Grimaldus in his depiction in the Helsreach animation on Youtube! The lines usually disappear under my primer, no worries there!

The Ancient was an easy model, all I did was give him an appropriate Templar cross on his shoulder. This was a custom file I had made for me by a member of our Clubhouse, and is not publicly available. However, Pop Goes the Monkey does a very good version, even if shipping is a bit rough depending on where you live(not his fault, blame external factors!)

60x Maltese Cross : Shoulder Insignia pack

Not bad looking from a distance! It adds a 3D element that decals simply can’t match. You can objectively prefer one or the other, but I prefer the 3D design from a painting angle.
Again, the lines will be far less apparent once painted. I could paint them off the shoulder, but I will be painting my Bladeguard Veterans and Ancients as Sword Brethren, and a red cross on a black shoulder is a piece of cake. On my normal guys, they will be primed and put on after painting is done.

These two models needed very little conversion, and most of the others won’t either. The models look sufficiently Templar out of the box as is, and don’t need heavy work to look the part. However, that is not the case for my Outriders, or for those not aware, the new Primaris Bikers.

While I always liked Templars, I like them for both their lore and “black tide” approach of waves of angry zealous Marines charging across open ground, butchering all who stand in their way. But bikes, while a part of Templar lore, aren’t a huge part of it. Dark Angels do ‘Knightly’ bikes better, and that look is distinctive and very awesome. But, as I am not a traitor in waiting, I chose not to make them Dark Angels, and instead make them something totally different! Something…more….Eastern.

Oh no. I shouldn’t have listened to this.

Yeah, my bikes will be White Scars. I decided this early, upon release of the pictures of the bikes, and before everyone and their second cousin twice removed on their mothers side figured out they are death on wheels in the rules. I will not complain, but I want to make clear this is not a meta decision, instead a badass decision.

While I have yet to assemble mine, that is because I await the delivery of White Scars upgrade packs, and the printing time of additional Mongolian themed flavours of weapons, insignia, and overall awesomeness. I will keep you good folks informed! While I cannot take both Chapters together, not without losing Doctrines and other awesome flavour, I will be building up an all mounted detachment for Crusade and beyond of angry, space, Mongolians. For the Khan!

After extensive reading of their lore, I love them for entirely different reasons then their Templar cousins. Both are melee Chapters, both have a big emphasis on honour. But where that honor comes from in both cases vary wildly, and neither Chapter particularly likes the other….

Anyways, that is all I have for today. 40k was a big part of this blog in the past, and while it won’t be the only focus by far, it will be a more common sight again, among other, more niche topics. The hatred and brutality of the far future is back!

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed the read! I will have more pictures in the coming days. In the mean time, Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and may the Emperor keep your dice rolls high!

For King OR Country: First Steps into A Very British Civil War!

img_8638
They aren’t perfect. But I printed them at home!

In my last post, I mentioned that my 3D printer was arriving the day after. As one can guess from my utter lack of posting since, I have been busy enjoying my personal resin miniature machine. It’s a not insignificant learning curve, and I can’t claim to be 100% proficient at the process yet. But, for my stated goal of printing tanks, it has not failed me.

img_8444
The Phrozen Sonic Mini, doing its black magic. In goes liquid resin, out comes Tanks!

On the other hand, a few weeks ago, I mentioned that a friend and I had bought into A Very British Civil War, a setting based on King Edward VIII’s abdication crisis in 1936. Before I give you a quick synopsis, fair warning here, I’m not a Britisher myself, I may get some details wrong, but lets carry on with it, shall we? King Edward had attained the throne upon the death of his father, King George V.  However, the young king was sort of a playboy, and had fallen away from his womanizing ways by wanting to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. To our modern eyes, this doesn’t seem so bad.

The_Prince_of_Wales_at_the_Front_(Photo_24-283)
Prince Edward in the First World War. He was a member of the Grenadier Guards, but never allowed to see service. Admittedly a rather handsome young man, and his leave in Paris was…educational for the young Prince on the art of wooing ladies.

Wallis_Simpson_headshot
However, he met his match in the 30’s in Wallis Simpson. An admittedly pretty lady, who proceeded to nearly cause a country to crumble!

But back then, it was a massive deal, and one that threatened to cause a serious issue in the United Kingdom. Parliament, to not go into too much detail, had said they wouldn’t support such a move. King Edward deliberated for pretty much the entirety of 1936. During that time, he showed an inclination towards supporting Fascism, which is probably the more dangerous part of this whole crisis. He was friends with Hitler later on!

Prinz Harrys Urgroßonkel Herzog von Windsor traf Hitler
The Duke of Windsor, as Edward was styled after his adication, during a trip to Germany. He did the whole touristy thing, did as the Germans did. Which, in 1937 was Nazi Salutes and meeting good Ole Hitler.

Now, in our history, King Edward abdicates the throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson, and while a thorn in the side of British foreign relations, he played no serious further part in history. In the timeline of A Very British Civil War, however, he decides he’d like both, please. By keeping the throne, and marrying Simpson, Parliament collapses on itself. Some stay loyal to King Edward, but most resign. The government is on the brink of collapse. In order to keep things going, King Edward decides to invite someone to take charge, and appoints a Prime Minister.

King_Edward_VIII_opening_Parliament
King Edward opening Parliament during his brief reign.

He chooses Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, and confirmed absolute jerk, who then proceeds to fill Parliament with a heavily Fascist majority, and placing his Blackshirts as an actual, legal, paramilitary. This does not sit well with a large part of the country, but he still manages to keep a lid of things. This is, until, a royal parade.

Oswald-Mosley-rally-London
Like a British Hitler, with a much more stupid mustache!

Traveling via armored car out of fear for his life, King Edward was being escorted by the Guards regiments, and several columns of British Union of Fascist “police”men. Someone fires a shot. Utter pandamonium reigns as King Edward makes his getaway, but the British Union Fascists turn their guns on the crowd. The Guards, in part but not entirely, fire at the Fascists! No one knows who shot first. In the aftermath, the country falls into collapse. The non-English Guard regiments are disbanded, and the Welsh, Irish, and Scots Guards are sent home in disgrace. The perceived insult leads many of these men to join the ever increasing and violent opposition to Mosley and his King. The many, many factions start to group together into loose coalitions.

1200px-Compassrose_Flag.svg

The Anglican League, middle class England, starts to form militias out of cricket teams, former soldiers, and various parts of your typical British village. They rally around Anglican dioceses, and start to form a mild-large religious front. They are a loose federation, all fight Mosley, but few groups agree what happens after. Some even consider working with the Socialists for a greater say in post war reconstruction.

Flag_of_the_Communist_Party_of_Great_Britain_(Marxist–Leninist).svg

The Socialists get a huge shot in the arm, now convincing many lower class workers that the time is right for vast social reform, a revolution! Support from the Comintern is forthcoming, and many veterans of the Spanish Civil War join the ranks. They too differ in ideology; Some are more Leninist, some prefer hard-line Stalinism, and a few broach the dangerous territory of being Trotskyites. Some are willing to work with the Anglicans on broad goals, some refuse on principle. Some actually don’t want Soviet help, while others jockey to please Moscow.

1024px-Coat_of_arms_of_the_United_Kingdom_(1837-1952).svg

The Royalists are in a bad spot; They control most of the Army, and the Royal Air Force overwhelmingly supports Mosley and the King. The Navy is actually not touched upon in great deal in the setting, but I’d like to think that, inspired by global events elsewhere, some go Socialist, as mutineers rise up on their ships. Some go to follow the other claimant to the throne, Prince Albert, to Canada. And some stay loyal, but probably with the least amount. What they do maintain is extremely well trained Regulars, a good Territorial Army system, but with some of the major arms suppliers being now in rebel hands, they are fighting a war of attrition, in both losses of men to bullets or desertion, or difficulty maintaining supplies.

1920px-Flag_of_the_British_Union_of_Fascists.svg

The Fascists, while nominally on the same side as King Edward, are jockeying and using the turmoil to make themselves more and more ingrained into every part of governance and warfare, a move that Royalists can’t stop but don’t have to like. Mosley recruits fanatical youth, forming a military around his BUF. His new Legions take the name of famous kings and folk heroes of Britain. But really, the jackbooted thugs find themselves in a gamble; if they win this war, Fascism is entrenched and the UK saved from undesirables. If they do not, the reprisals will end them. Simple as.

1200px-Flag_of_Scotland.svg

The Scots, having had quite enough of this silly stuff, turn into a self governing Republic. They suffer from internal issues as most of their officers wish to reunify upon Scottish victory, and become part of a Union again. Jacobites in the Highlands bring up the Stuart claims to the throne…again. The Scots really just want to defend their ancestral lands, and force a peace deal to secure this.

1920px-Flag_of_Wales_(1807–1953).svg

The Welsh, ever fractious, can’t form a national resistance, and naturally form into similar groups as the English did. A few want an independent Wales, however, and are willing to fight for it. Now if only they could all agree on how to do that….

255px-Flag_of_Ireland.svg

The Irish, wisely sensing they can get away with it, occupy Ulster and Belfast. Ireland is now united, albeit temporarily. Ireland now sits, and waits to see how the sides respond. Eamon de Valera might be able to keep Ulster if he backs the winning horse, but will the luck of the Irish help them choose right?

1024px-Coat_of_Arms_of_Albert,_Duke_of_York.svg

Finally, Prince Albert, in exile in Canada(from this point on, this is conjecture. And this is the lore we are using in my games among friends.) seeks the aid of the Canadian government. An Expeditionary Force is authorized, and while badly under-equipped in aircraft and armoured vehicles, a few of each are attained. Fellow British exiles join this Force, and they make for the coast of Wales. Upon landing, and setting a defensive perimeter, they are approached by envoys of the local political factions. He dismisses the Socialists outright, unwilling to work with a party that seeks to abolish the throne; He will fight them as hard as he will Mosley. The Anglicans are a much more interesting case; interested in fighting for a claim to the throne, back the Albertines. However, some talk in the Anglican ranks seems to push them to ask for concessions, and perhaps stricter religious laws. The Canadian bulk of the Expeditionary Force is seen by some as foreign invasion; to alleviate concerns, detachments of local Anglicans are embedded into the command structure of the Force. The Canadians are eager to restore who they feel is the true King to the throne, and bring a staunch professionalism and grit to the otherwise undertrained militia flocking to the Albertine banner.

Okay, now that the ‘brief’ summary is out of the way, for those of us unfamiliar with the setting. I honestly got carried away writing it! It was an absolute blast. I really enjoy the setting, what can I say?

As I said last time, My buddy is playing the Albertines, with Anglican support. A very traditional faction, with some cricket teams and some other goofy stuff planned for late. Here are some pics of what he’s started on!

A BEF box, Command, Vickers Machine gun, and a boat to carry them home to the Rainy Isle. He’s got more coming!

As for me, I did two large orders of infantry, one from Footsore Miniatures for my BUF, and another from Gripping Beast for WW1 Infantry, to be used as Territorial Army(Reservists) serving the Royalists. They have not yet arrived; Hopefully soon! Both companies have been in touch to ensure that they do.

img_8668
A whole of bad dudes; And, what I presume, is a large amount of black primer!

img_8667
The good ole Territorial Army. Going to war with what their father’s would have, and dressed pretty damn close. I have 4 platoons in there! so I should be set for both BUF and Territorial Army.

 

Of course, what is clearly lacking here is vehicles. Having already got a 3D printer, I decided to try scaling up two 15mm models, and adding in a 28mm tank on that as well. Now this is a learning curve, a lot went wrong at first until I learned my machine a little better.

74458ed7-c8c1-4174-af65-5737d6974375
The Assembly Line of Resin Goodness!

My first prints were a couple 40k and Fantasy related things, but I wanted to print an armored vehicle. I settled on the Rolls Royce Armored Car, model of 1920.

img_8508
Hmmm, something doesn’t look right.

After this failure, I fixed the issue with the supports, and produced my first battlefield ready model! It is far. far from perfect. And I can tweak it to make it better! But let me show you!

img_8517
Much better! A few issues with the tires, but very gameable.

 

With a nice solid coat of a nice green, it is ready for painting! I’m quite pleased, even thought its far from perfect. These were a common vehicle, and it’ll serve as a fairly quick machine gun position, moving along roads to secure key positions.

Morale restored, I decided to do a small Vickers “Dutchman” tank, an export model meant for the Dutch East Indies. Meant for police and enforcement, this tank was woefully under-equipped to fight the Japanese in 41-2. But in the VBCW setting, they will be nimble, small, decently well equipped gun platforms. My intention is that General Fuller has requested as many fast, light, tanks as he can get a hold of, trying to prepare for a blitzkrieg across the English countryside, and the Dutch order gets cancelled and vehicles pressed into service.

img_8644
It’s so widdle!

Finally, feeling confident I could tackle something larger, I started on a Vickers Medium Mk2. This tank is a key part of many VBCW armies, as it was common in service and training roles, and many could see service on any side. On this tank, the Turret Peg simply didn’t print, and as a large piece to hold the turret in, it was kind of important. This was fixed by a convenient off cut of plastic pipe a plumber left behind; perfect fit, and cut to size!

As well, the 3 Pounder Barrel didn’t print entirely. I decided to replace it with a pen tube. I can always print more, and I have gone back and fix the print. The real disaster came when the tracks came out seriously warped; it took a lot of rubber bands and hot water warping tricks to get it to this not entirely satisfactory result. But, it’ll serve just fine, and while very noticable, won’t affect my enjoyment of using it in a game! I love this tank, and this will form the core of my tank force. with a 3 Pounder gun, it is actually well equipped to deal with other armor it might encounter.

img_8654
Tissue armor, slow, slab sided. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love this model.

Now since two of these models are scaled up from 15mm, I needed to see if they still looked the part! So I did a scale test with a Bolt Action plastic 8th Army soldier.

No major issues, and consulting the internet shows that while a hair too small, they are perfectly usable. 1/56th scale is common for Bolt Action, and seeing as we are using that rule-set, we decided to keep the vehicles that size. As well, my infantry in the mail are much smaller and finer in detail then the Warlord plastic model I’m using here. It should, altogether, make a striking force to look at on the table!

That is all I really got for today! But look on Monday for some sweet Zona Alfa related content!

This has been a fun experience, the printer. For printing obscure models from the Interwar years, it has been invaluable. I will continue to collect store-bought and boutique models, but as a tool to make some cool stuff, color me happy and impressed.

If you are a old school veteran Very British Civil War player, please let me know if I’m off to a good start. As a foreigner, some concepts here might escape me. And If anyone can help with flavour, I’m all ears! Happy to be joining a setting that has interested me for almost seven years!

Until next time, Happy War-Gaming, where you might be! I’m off to watch some Blackadder Goes Forth, Bertie and Wooster, and some Peaky Blinders to get into the flavour of things. Have a wonderful day!

 

Soviet Steel: 3D Printed BTR-70

img_8356
Great detail, low cost. Is this the way of the future?

When I needed to procure terrain for Zona Alfa, I looked at a great deal of Soviet armor on many websites. Some, like Empress Miniatures, offered beautiful sculpts with great detail, but it had one issue; price! I needed abandoned vehicles, not wrecks, but simply left to decay in the Zone after their crew disembarked and never returned for some reason or another.

While talking this over with a few of my fellows at https://badlypaintedminis.ca, one guy, Cody, offered to print me up a few. I was skeptical, as I thought the resulting model would look like trash. I had seen his own 3D prints before, and while frankly amazing, it was primarily bits for his 40k army to lend flavour, nothing on this scale. But, it was for terrain, so I decided I didn’t care if they didn’t turn out perfect; after all, I’d be covering the thing in rust, mud, moss, and other detritus.

img_8139
Damn, that looks good? What is this?

After a while, he sent me an in-progress picture, shown above. I was astonished, this looked considerably better then I imagined. Especially since we had decided to scale up a 15mm print to 28mm. The details, gun barrel, and vents especially, came out sharp and extremely detailed. Sure, it wouldn’t hold a candle to a dedicated 28mm model such as what Empress offers, but it was still incredible!

(for reference, this is the file we used: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4062110, go check it out! Thank you, Ollie1269! )

It took several weeks for Cody to make his way up from the City to come over to the Clubhouse, where we have a limit of ten people currently at a time. Finally, we did meet up, and I took possession of two great looking BTR-70’s!

They weren’t perfect of course, but honestly? They still looked far and away better then I thought. And the cost, as I had paid for the resin used as a courtesy, was minimal. I was looking at a much higher budget for one, and instead got two, with plenty of change to spare. Now the usual scale for Zona Alfa is roughly considered anywhere from 1/56th to 1/43rd for vehicles, so these are a little smaller then you might expect. But on the consumer-friendly printer Cody has, we couldn’t go much bigger!

img_8358
Here, shown in scale with three Lead Adventures miniatures. These BTR’s will look even better with my smaller Eureka sculpts. This is still a very reasonable size!

While Cody was in the City, I asked him to buy me a couple cans of Vallejo Spray, one color being Russian 4BO. I wanted to get these primed quickly to see how they would look, and I rushed to do so. After all, I had a game lined up for Zona Alfa and these would be far better then the Sherman hull I had used previously.

This color worked great! It filled in the very small print lines, and left models with a very smooth, almost store bought quality, finish. Suitably dressed up with some moss, and thrown unto a table, they turned our Citadel Realm of Battle table into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone quite effectively!

The game we played was fun, fast, and violent. As we are testing the waters and rules before going in deep for a campaign, this was a one-off game, and all sides were therefore incredibly reckless and trigger-happy, something I don’t anticipate will continue once we start for real.

All in all, we are quite happy with the game! One of us with an FDM printer is printing a full Soviet Bunker complex from Black Site Studios, a process he believes will take a couple weeks. https://blacksitestudio.com/bunker-16, if your curious. It’ll be a great set-piece for our final campaign excursion.

This whole thing has also convinced me to purchase my own Phrozen Sonic Mini, and quite luckily a supplier in Taiwan was having a screaming deal, and I managed to get it at a decent price. It arrives tomorrow! It’ll be a learning curve, but being able to print some terrain and bits for all my games will be nice. And tanks, a lot of tanks. Frankly an unneeded amount of tanks. So. Many. Tanks.

Of course, as you may see, there are three BTR’s in the above picture. Not everything goes perfectly each time when you print something. And the third BTR…well it suffered a bit of damage.

The nose of this BTR has warped and broken off a bit. Again though, this minor issue was easily overlooked for the purposes of making terrain, especially Zone terrain. Something clearly sliced through this with a massive claw, or it drove into a temporal anomaly. It’s easy to imagine a scenario where this could happen!

These miss-prints are sort of a learning error, and in this case it was because it was a new resin to Cody and he hadn’t worked out the kinks yet. His other two are practically perfect, for the purposes I’m using them for at least.

I’m quite excited to get my printer, learning mistakes be damned. I found quite a few Patreon’s, Zona Alfa related or otherwise, and I’ll be doing prints from them as soon as I can. You will still see lots of classic, metal miniatures on this blog, I simply love them too much.

But the times, they are a changin! I’m going to be trying this new part of the Hobby, with gusto! I really think this will disrupt the industry, in both good and bad ways, and with easily available, and affordable, 3D printers now commonplace, will we see the demise of certain parts of the hobby?

But, to leave you on a happy note, I will continue to document my progress in the Zone, fellow STALKERS. For now, Happy War-gaming, wherever you might be! Have a great day!