Merry Christmas! As I may have stated in previous posts, I am based out of Ontario, Canada. And, as of Boxing Day, the province is starting a 28 day ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown.
While as far as lockdowns go this is fairly relaxed, it does mean I’m both laid off(luckily, not permanently!) and probably staying at home most if not all day. I was running low on supplies, but luckily I had a few good paycheques and decided to treat myself.
Those of you who following the blog are mostly likely aware of my recent love-affair with Team Yankee. As my first foray into 15mm wargaming it has been a blast, and building up tiny tanks was actually my project for the first lockdown. While I’m still enthusiastic about completing the British I have begun, I’ve ended up with quite a few ‘modern’ armies, and I am very inefficiently plugging away at all of them. The Fate of a Nation box below is actually meant for my Iranian army.
It is a pretty good deal, with nine T-62s and two Shilka AA vehicles. Fate of a Nation itself I find very interesting, but alas my regular Israeli opponents favour the more ‘cool’ Merkava tank, and selling either of them on the Yom Kippur War is a tough sale indeed. However, seeing as you buy the Iranian unit cards separately anyways, you lose nothing by getting the Egyptian T-62 Battalion box, and actually save a good deal of money.
They are the full plastic kit as well, and I’m well and truly torn between assembling them as Soviet T-62s(which, bizarrely, can ally with Iran in the Oil War timeline…), which gives me solid AT-23 tank punch, or instead using them as Iranian ‘T-62s’, which were more likely North Korean Chonma Ho’s or Chinese Type 69’s in our timeline. Oil War allows the Iranians greater access to the Soviet toolbox then the Ayatollah ever got to play with, and one can take T-62’s en masse as a Revolutionary Guard flavoured tank company. I hopefully will make up my mind soonish!
Now Flames of War, a WW2 15mm game had crossed my radar before, I had always dismissed it because I played WW2 already with Bolt Action. 15mm seemed fiddly and time consuming, and I wasn’t sure I would enjoy the company level scale of the game. Team Yankee has proven I do, in fact, prefer the smaller models for company level actions and higher, and one of my friends in Toronto had gotten into it recently as his lockdown project. While chances are I won’t see him until the vaccines have rolled out, I figured I’d take a chance on the game in the hopes of playing him when the world returns to a sense of normalcy.
I was stuck on either the Soviets or the British, and in the end I went for Shermans instead of T-34s. These Flames of War Late War starters are really good value for money, and with the addition of one extra troop of Sherman V’s, I’m well set to play D-Day and onward with the contents.
For Christmas Eve, I decided to get cracking, and started on the Shermans.
Now I’ve got a lot of stuff to work on. My goal this lockdown is a bit more modest; clear my Flames of War and Team Yankee assembly backlog. Will I succeed? Chances are, no! But it’ll keep me busy and out of trouble. Tomorrow I will crack on with the T-62’s. If I’m feeling particularly handy, I might knock out some WW2 stuff as well!
For now, happy War-gaming wherever in this wonderful world you are, and a very Merry Christmas! Stay Safe everyone!
As so often happens in our hobby, I have wheeled and dealed my way into yet another Cold War army. This time, it is the patriotic poster boys themselves, the United States Army.
This was an interesting deal indeed, as it travelled between several people before eventually ending up in my hands. I was never intending to play Americans, but having an army pretty much fall in your lap is hard to say no to.
My plan is for this army to be a ‘demo’ army, one I can wheel out at the Clubhouse for games if a person doesn’t own a Team Yankee army and wants to try it out. Of course, I’m getting awfully attached to these wee plastic men, so I reserve the right to be selfish and keep the Freedom all to myself.
However, this army was a hodgepodge, mixed from many sources and missing a few of the unit cards. I decided early on that the M60’s (the not-Abrams tanks on the left) would instead be used…for yet another different army. But more on that later. The rest of the force was viable, and I decided to add some of the newer releases, along with the newer book, to my collection.
First up, I added some more modern airborne punch with two Apache gunships. While the jury is out on just how ‘good’ these helicopters are in Team Yankee, the kit itself is beautiful and a great example of how far Battlefront has come in their kit design.
Secondly, two of the Abrams tanks in the army I got were done up as the later M1A1 variant. While, oddly enough, the kit included this option since its release many moons ago, it was never reflected in-game until the American book release this year. As such, I didn’t have the cards.
I also wanted more of them, so I purchased(on sale, might I add!) an additional platoon of Abrams. These will be assembled as 1 M1A1HC, and 4 M1A1 tanks, allowing me in total to field two platoons of three and command of these heavy-weight US bruisers. Expensive points wise, but with T-80’s on the prowl I’ll need the protection…and firepower.
While the rest of the Abrams remain on sprue, I have managed to assemble the command tank. With just the auxiliary power unit being the only difference(on the kit, the real tank differs quite a bit!), I wanted to add some spice to the model.
I was inspired by a model Battlefront did, featuring an ACAV turret from an M113 APC on an M1 Abrams. While in no way historically accurate, or even doable(I have no idea if the cupola would even match up correctly), it had the advantage of looking really cool.
So, I cued the music, and got to work.
While I took some pretty large creative liberties with this tank, I hope it looks good! I personally quite like the effect it gives off, and the calibre of the machine guns remains the same so no conflict with the unit card. Perhaps the Captain here is leading his company into a West German town, and traded for the turret. A tank like this deserves a little story to go with it.
Christmas promises some Bradley’s to go with my Abrams, so I can mount my grunts into some more protected transports. While the M113’s aren’t bad, I did want something similar to my British Warrior IFVs.
As for the rest of the army….Since I lacked unit cards for the M109 artillery pieces and the M60 tanks, I had to think for a bit. The M109’s I can easily grab the new plastic M109 kit to add some additional firepower to the battery, and grab a slew of extra cards as well, the M60’s were another matter. I didn’t see myself using them as Americans, Marines or regular Army. And they weren’t kitted out as Magachs for the Israeli variant either. And I know two people with Israeli armies anyways.
But one other nation in Yankee also use M60’s, and that is Iran. With the Team Yankee sale on at Meeplemart in Toronto, I purchased the Iranian unit cards, and two boxes of Ayatollah’s Revolutionaries. While I’ll need to steal a Chieftain command tank from my pile of unbuilt Brits, combined with ten M60 tanks I have, at least at my local level, a viable force.
I’ll be chipping away at my pile of unbuilt Yankee goodness over the next few days during my surgery recovery, so expect a few more blog posts over the holidays. Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and Merry Christmas!
Back around March, when Covid-19 lock-downs first started hitting Canada, a bunch of my friends and I decided to do a lock-down game, a project to get done before we saw each other next. We decided upon Team Yankee. This initial period is documented on my blog! However, as new games and of course 40k 9th Edition came along, I got really, really distracted.
Still, I wanted to play Team Yankee. My issue lay in the fact my opponents lived a good 2-3 hours away in the Greater Toronto Area, so it was getting hard to muster energy up for a game I wasn’t going to play for a while. Then, because I needed to get through my backlog, I took all my stuff to my local Club.
The sudden interest generated by my sizable collection led to a few people locally buying in, which is great news for me playing the game, bad news because I had nothing done!
Now my British force for Team Yankee is arguably my better army; new book, hard hitting super tanks, Milan teams…etc. But my Australian/New Zealand army kept calling, and since their infantry, which I decided to do in “Jungle Greens”(the issue of Auscam was slow and ponderous…), were considerably easier to paint then my horde of Brits in camouflage, I decided to tackle them first.
I primed them with what I had, Russian Uniform by Vallejo. I’m hoping that since its a good olive color I might get away with it.
I decided quick and dirty. These Australians are tired of sitting in a box…they want to fight! I blocked in the main colours, unfortunately that meant a lot of greens on greens. Still, that is the colour of the gear, so that is what they had to be. I took as many opportunities to get some additional colour in there.
They took the wash, Agrax Earthshade, quite well. Stirland Mud was applied liberally to the base. Once dry, I asked my local group if I should add grass. All it took was one person to comment to get me to do so…and I’m glad I did, it looks considerably better! Thanks Nick!
Of course, I still have the full mechanized platoon to get done. And another. And my Milan teams(In the Australian list, it is probably my best chance against the T-80’s I’ll be facing soon…). I have my work cut out for me!
I might give the DPM on my British troops a try soon. These Australians were not as hard as I thought they would be, so I’m eager to see if I can successfully paint camouflage.
With a new Soviet, American, and Canadian player locally, my ANZAC’s will be busy in both exercises and live action against the Warsaw Pact.
For now though, that is all I have. I do have a King Edward model I’ve been cracking away on for VBCW, but until it is just right, I don’t want to post it! Happy War-gaming where-ever you are, and crack open a Foster’s with your mates! G’day!
Confession time…I hate painting camouflage. Absolutely hate it. I love the idea of it, but the actual time and painting skill required can be extremely daunting, and I never really attempted it. Until last week.
The British Army of the Rhine I’m working on historically had a quite simple scheme of black and green, and I figured I could rattle-can the process, and get it done really quickly. I followed this idea from Battlefront themselves, https://www.flamesofwar.com/hobby.aspx?art_id=5329, and figured I could use Blue-Tack to accomplish the same task.
This. Did. Not. End. Well.
The issue I ran into is that not all Blue-Tack is the same. The brand I used was an off brand, a terrible gloopy Plasticine mess that stuck to the model and stubbornly refused to come off. Realistically, this wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own, as I used a sub-standard product. To be clear; Don’t use no-name brand Blue-Tack for this. Actually, having found another solution, I recommend not using Blue-Tack for this at all.
Now, I had to get the paint and Blue-Tack mess off. Plastic models aren’t as bad as resin to strip paint of off, but it is still significantly harder then metal. There is a lot of debate as to what the best solution is. I can only offer my personal solution, and make no claims that it is the “best”. I must warn you that I have no idea how this works on resin, so be warned!
What you want is this!
This, by far, in my experience the easiest and least fuss method. Simply pour the 90% isopropyl alcohol straight into a plastic container (Tupperware style), and let the plastic miniatures sit in it for a few minutes to a couple of hours. It should, depending on how thick the primer and paint was, come off fairly quickly. It may stain the model, but this doesn’t happen very often and also is of fairly little consequence as the new paint should cover it entirely.
So with Blue-Tack turning out to be a bust, a bit of further reading turned up Silly Putty as a masking solution. I applied it much the same as I did the Blue-Tack, and resprayed the models, emptying my last can of Firefly Green in the process(Luckily, some advice from several people on the Team Yankee Facebook page has led to a suitable replacement.) Not only did it not stick to the model like the Blue-Tack, it is alsoreusable! This is a massive improvement, and leads to the models you see as the end result that you can see here.
In all honesty, I didn’t document this process as thoroughly as I should have, since I was not exactly in the right mood for it. Lots of swearing, and overall malaise kind of took over. Lesson learned though, and it provides a decent start to begin painting in earnest. I do think I need more green and less black in the scheme, and the rest of my army will take that into account. On the bright side, one of the two boxes of Charlies Chieftains I found online has arrived, and the other hopefully will arrive soon, giving me Lynx helicopters and a solid core of Chieftain tanks, a cheaper alternative for when I don’t want to take the Challengers. The Lynxes I’m torn on if they should be assembled with TOWs or as transports; I’m leaning toward the latter to give me options to drop troops with nasty Milans in places they shouldn’t be.
This may not have been my most fun experience, and a less cheery blog post then I normally put out. But if my experience can help someone else, it’ll have been worth it! Beyond the scope of the Team Yankee project, I have also been tasked by my gaming Clubhouse to help build a website for them, and hopefully soon the fruits of those labours can be shared with all of you!
But until next time, Happy War-gaming, wherever you might be!
Sometimes, Murphy’s Law happens; If it can go wrong, it will. Luckily today’s minor errors fixed themselves pretty easily, and it wasn’t too painful. But they were annoying, and of course, leads to more time spent tomorrow trying to fix them!
I had received the ADATs vehicles last week, but only started cracking on them a couple nights ago. As a metal/resin hybrid kit, there was a potential for some issues, luckily my casts were mostly clean, and didn’t take a lot of work. The metal was in good shape too. They weren’t overly hard to build, but the turrets were quite difficult to assemble, and once complete the turrets were not exactly balanced. Luckily, the addition of magnets fixed that issue.
The other package today included two platoons of M113’s with T50 turrets, another box of Scorpions and Army Painter Army Green spray paint. I also got lucky and received from a UK store another Australian mechanized platoon, completing my infantry contingent of my Anzac forces.
The M113’s were where things started to go awry. Badly assembled rear hatches, forgotten top hatches, T50 turret machine-guns assembled the wrong way around….it was a bad idea to hobby while talking to people on Discord and trying to text people at the same time. I’m just glad I didn’t injure myself!
Finally, I took the whole lot of stuff outside to prime. Army Green? I’m not entirely sure what I expected, but using it on historical miniatures I know to be a different but close shade, I think it was that I could get away with it. I’m undecided, and it is probably salvageable…
As Chieftain Green is now out of production, and my can being empty after finishing my British, I took a chance on using it on my Canadian ADATs. Bad call, as this color isn’t right at all. Luckily, I can cover most of it with a camouflage pattern. On the Australians, the color isn’t as egregious but still not quite right. It is close enough that once darkened with a wash it should be closer to true, but as people who have read my Vostroyan project blog know, I’m not a great painter and like to get the color as close to the end result with the priming step.
As for the British, they are finally, sans infantry, primed!
It could have gone smoother, but at least it all is done for now. Wait, nope, still got five M113’s to do. Unfortunately, I need ten more, and the supply in Canada for them has run dry. Waiting for a daily deal from Battlefront or a good sale somewhere else is probably my best bet. My Leopard’s are not primed yet, as I got a comment on my last post about modifying them to Aussie spec, and I want to try that first. As well, I need a good paint for German “Gelboliv”, which Australian Leopards were delivered in that color and not repainted until later.
While I thought my British were “finished”, I found a place in Canada selling the otherwise difficult to find Chieftain kits! One is part of the older Charlie’s Chieftains set, a good buy as it gets me a template I don’t own, and two Lynx helicopters as well, while the other is a standard box. While I am happy to get the good ole’ backbone of the BAOR, with my Chieftain/Firefly Green paint can having finally given up the ghost, I find myself looking for a suitable replacement. I’m not too picky in having it match exactly, but it should be close. I should invest in an airbrush, but my family enjoys their peace and quiet….
Anyways, that is all I have for today! I’ll be back with more progress when I have some. Happy War-gaming folks, wherever you might be!
Hello there! I did say I would reveal my next Team Yankee project on April 25th, and as you may have guessed from the Free Nations book, and the date, its the Anzacs!
Yeah, that was my reaction too, upon finding out that the Kiwis and Aussies were in the game! It was a pleasant surprise, as I quite like the countries in question, and actually have a small connection to Australia myself. But what are they even doing in West Germany in 1985?
Well, there are two reasons. The first is the one the book gives us; The Australians and New Zealanders were invited by the British to a military exercise taking place in June 1985, and upon finishing it, were committed by their parent governments to stay, in case of hostilities with the Warsaw Pact. This isn’t entirely without precedent; Exercise Lionheart in 1984 in our real timeline had exchange officers from both nations embedded in it. A full brigade of troops is fanciful, but amusing, and one must remember it IS a game at the end of the day.
The second reason is much, much simpler. Battlefront Games is from New Zealand. They wanted their own country in it. That is entirely fair! Can’t say I’d do much different, in their place.
As for why I’m playing them, it came down to again, two reasons. Firstly, my friend and I always like to have two armies for a system, and he wanted to play Canada. As we are both Canadians, I will admit to being a little sad. But I got Australia instead, and man, am I happy about that!
Secondly, my own family history is amusingly on point here. We come from Anglo-Pakistani stock, and when it came time for my, well, large family to leave the home country, we chose two destinations. It is incredibly amusing, and the source of many jokes, that we chose almost literally the two farthest places in the world to settle apart from each other! Half went to Australia, the other Canada. We remain close, and as a kid I used to relish the visits of my odd speaking cousins.
As a child, I researched their military history almost as much as my own adopted country. The Battle of Gallipoli hold a place in my heart as much as Vimy Ridge. And who could forget Kapyong, where the Royal Australian Regiment and the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry both won a Presidential Unit Citation from the United States for holding a vital pass? A classic tale of Commonwealth brotherhood. The Royal New Zealand Artillery was there too, and they shouldn’t be forgotten either!
As you can probably tell, I was pretty excited to get started on this project. I’m still stuck on priming miniatures, as much of this was purchased while it was still too cold to prime, and that issue still continues. For now, I’ll just show off what I have.
All in all, my Anzac force is coming along. I still have two boxes of Leopard 1’s to build, giving me a total of eighteen in total! I still am waiting in the mail for another Mechanized Platoon, and I still need to order an insane amount of m113’s, a task made harder by the fact that Australia used the T50 turret, so I can’t just cannibalize other nations M113s. The Scorpions in my British list will probably be transferred to this list, to represent the New Zealand contribution to the war effort. They will be replaced in the British list by Foxes. I also require a Tracked Rapier troop; this gives my Anzac’s the serious anti-air option they require to be competitive, while also expanding the options available to the British list.
I’m quite pleased with the progress I’ve been making; the assembly line will continue tomorrow, churning out more tanks, and waiting for the weather to finally cooperate. Once this project is done, hopefully the shut-down will be over and I can get a game in, as believe it or not, I still haven’t tried out this out! If not, I will probably start on my Oil War forces, Syrians, mainly to fight my friends Israelis down the road. I also, on impulse, purchased two ADATS(an odd weapon platform adopted by the Canadian Army) Anti-Air platoons during Battlefronts daily deal, mostly because, c’mon I’m still Canadian at the end of the day. They’ll probably see use in my friends eventual army, but gives me an excuse to paint my own country’s armed forces.
Now, my friends gave me permission to post what they got done! So without further ado, lets have a peek!
And that’s all I got for today! Lots of painting in our collective future!
This was a fun post to write, and have one last aside to make. While it is certainly not a big deal for other parts of the world, I’d like to wish any Australians and New Zealanders visiting a good Anzac Day! It is a seriously important day for them, and while I may be half a world away, for at least a few hours, I’ll celebrate your achievements along with you. From Gallipoli to the Kokoda Trail, to Kapyong and Long Tan, may your soldiers be remembered as some of the finest in the world. Happy War-gaming Mates, wherever you might be! Stay Safe everyone!
It feels good to be back! It has been a long time since my last post, with my own personal situation and the global chaos that has been 2020 having caused a whole slew of issues, with my problems at least finally back in control! I apologize for the few of you who read my content, but for now at least I’m back.
With Covid-19 looming large, and a shutdown (albeit a soft one) in Canada, I found myself with not a lot to do. A quarantine project was needed, but having burned out of 40k(again), I couldn’t really muster any enthusiasm. Luckily, as it so often turns out to be, my friend asked me a quite innocent question that caused an avalanche.
“Hey, Andrew, you ever hear of a game called Team Yankee?”
I had, but not paid it much mind. 15mm was a scale I’d sworn off on doing, what with the tiny models and multiple infantry on one base thing. But 28mm was a topic my group had covered quite comprehensively, and my research showed me a game that was fun, if not entirely always realistic. The Cold War is also a fascinating topic, with lots of ground to cover, from Korea all the way to the hypothetical situation in West Germany with the Able Archer exercise causing a global thermonuclear war. Interesting, and also terrifying. As well, unlike many of my peers, my parents didn’t grow up with the terror of the Cold War looming as they had the quite real terror of the Indo-Pakistani wars instead, so it was a topic I needed to study myself. So it was a solid background for a tabletop game, trading my current existential terror of the pandemic for the historical existential terror of World War Three.
With my interest in the history, real or otherwise piqued, I turned to the game. Team Yankee is based off the venerable Flames of War system. I have heard many things about that game, not all of them good, admittedly. But Team Yankee from, at least from all the battle reports I had watched, looks incredibly fun. Simple to learn, with a degree of strategy above Bolt Action(which does platoon level infantry action really well, less so armored combat) or 40k, where many games I’ve played having been decided in the list-building step. The smaller scale also means that company level warfare was now playable on our 4×6 tables.
As for what countries each of us would play, my one friend picked the Soviet Union, while the other picked West Germany. Myself? I had a couple in mind, but the first one is the focus for today…
The British, or more specifically, the British Army of the Rhine, was my first choice. With a strong defensive focus, and a few nasty surprises, these chaps hit like a truck(or is that a lorry?) and can take it in turn. I wasn’t able to get the Challenger starter box, or either of the older Charlies Chieftains boxes, so my army was made up of what was available in Canada at the time. I didn’t know until later that this was one of the stronger nations to play, that was an accident, I swear!
We all agreed to build up to 100 points, and to have that 100 point army painted and complete before the next time we saw each other. Without any further distractions, onto the pictures!
As my friends complete their armies, I’ll ask them if they are okay with me showing off their progress. While it will be a while before I can play, it’ll be a fun project. I’ve already learned a considerable amount about the last years of the Cold War, and painting…when the weather finally cooperates to allow me to prime, will be a blast. Except for the infantry, in their fancy DPM uniforms. Almost makes me want to play the Warsaw Pact!
In any event, I didn’t stop here, as that would be an intelligent option. I also picked up another book, for cheap, on eBay. Reading it gave me an idea for another force…
As the weather is downright miserable in Canada(at least my little corner of it.), I’ll be cracking on with assembling this second army. A few clues to what it is. Firstly, it is in the Free Nations book. And secondly, I will be posting progress pictures on April 25th. If you got a guess lemme know! You won’t win anything, but it will be slightly amusing! I’ll see you guys then.
As always, Happy War-gaming, wherever in the world you might be! And, stay safe everyone. May not be 1985, but we still got a crisis to worry about. Take care!