Waltzing Matilda: Finally, a return to Team Yankee!

Aussies in 15mm!

Oh my goodness, so tiny! These little bastards are finicky.

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!

Pictured: Stuff finally getting done. These are British Chieftain tanks, finally assembled and primed!

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.

Blocked in the main colours! Sculpts are really detailed for 15mm, and could be done by an experienced painter quite well!

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.

Post-wash and Stirland Mud, these Aussies look like they are in Passchendaele, not untouched German soil. That had to get fixed!

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!

The finished Command stand. The most dangerous thing in warfare…A junior Lieutenant and a map…
They honestly look pretty good! For 15mm I can’t see going into more detail, my hands will simply not let me.
The grass is pretty sparse: this place has been driven over by tanks. The untouched flower bush adds some colour to the base.

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!

A Comedy of Errors: Team Yankee reinforcements!

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More stuff! That I built wrong, and primed maybe the wrong color, but stuff!

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.

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The firepower will be worth the effort! These will go into my friends Canadian Army.

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An extremely unique platform, trialed by both the US and Canada. The Canadian military eventually did adopt the system in small numbers.

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The missiles could be fired at both Aircraft and Tanks, hence the name, Air Defense Anti Tank, or ADATS! In Team Yankee these vehicles pack a monstrous punch, but make up for that by being a massive target and having to do very different roles.

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Eventually, both neglect and age killed the system. While advanced for its day, by the time of its retirement the missiles had serious issues. The Canadians never fought a war where it could do its job as needed, and therefore was sidelined. It acted as defense for the Kananaskis G8 summit, and that was its last “deployment”. Incidentally, I lived in Canmore at the time, and the summit made for an interesting change of pace in the small mountain community. The military presence while not obtrusive was obvious. As a kid, it was all very fascinating, and probably added to my interest in the military as an adult.

 

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!

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As you can see from the unpainted plastic pieces, I forgot a few! At the end of the day, at least it isn’t immediately obvious that things are wrong here…

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The M113 in Aussie and Kiwi service was commonly fitted with turrets. This was a result of experience borne in Vietnam. Oddly, they were the only countries to use these styles of turrets on their M113s; a fact that puzzles me, as the advantages are obvious. Someone more knowledgeable then me can explain it better.

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These are an older Battlefront kit, and the vast array of parts offered allow you to make a frankly insane amount of different variants. The M113 was certainly a workhorse platform!

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Ah, Bent barrels and bare plastic. This thing fought me the whole time…I hope the next five go better!

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…

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I should invest in an airbrush…

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!

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Weather cooperating, finally! Got the whole lot done.

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I absolutely adore this colour! It is a nice British Army of the Rhine base, and when I get a can of black spray to do the camouflage pattern it’ll go nicely with it.

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!

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At least it was a nice sunset to cap off the day!

They Came from a Land Down Under: Lost Anzacs in Team Yankee!

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“Waltzing Matilda….”

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!

Wait, what?

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?

 

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Yeah Sam, I think our Anzac friends might agree with you there!

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!

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3rd RAR, looking fine in their Slouch Hats! Canada had the adjacent hill, and fought just as hard.

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.

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An officer from the Royal Australian Regiment. He’s a model reused from Battlefronts Nam game, and honestly the kit used in Vietnam remained much the same as in the 80’s. He’s got an M16, a Giggle Hat, and a map, which in the hands of the junior officer here, is probably his most lethal weapon(to his own side!)

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The first major deviation from the Nam range lies in the choice of platoon Anti-Tank weapon. This digger is armed with a Carl Gustaf, a fairly nasty anti-tank recoilless rifle.

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The anti-tank guided missile option for the Australians is the Milan. In real life, these were fairly scarce, but in Team Yankee they were given a large amount to help the cause. These are a nasty choice in the game, but are also my only really strong AT option.

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A hilariously mad-max concept, but not one unique to Australia, was mounting a 105mm recoilless rifle on a jeep/land rover. The Australians used theirs in Vietnam. In Team Yankee, they have a good role as a unit to hold in Ambush, allowing their weapons to be trained on the side armor of enemy vehicles.

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In service, the soldiers using this equipment commonly went on to have serious hearing loss!

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Adopted in 1976, the Leopard AS1 is the Australian variant of the venerable Leopard 1 Main Battle Tank. The Australians trialed both the M60 and the Leopard, and chose the latter. Agile but thinly armoured, these can fire well on the move, but get punished severely for being hit.

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During the Leopard 1’s development, the Germans believed that HEAT ammunition made armour fairly useless, and focused primarily on speed and armament. Developments in armour eventually overtook this thinking, leaving the Leopard as an interesting period piece. Luckily, they never needed to test it in our timeline. In Team Yankee, this hot-rod only has a front armor of 9, abysmally low.

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All these criticisms don’t matter to me for two reasons; It’s a very pretty tank! Secondly, you can take a great many of them for the points you usually pay for a typical NATO big-shot tank. You can’t out-horde Pact players, but you can advance at speed quickly, and take double the shots while doing so. Four countries in Team Yankee get the Leopard, and the Canadian/Australian ones have the “brutal” rule, allowing you to force enemy infantry to reroll successful saves, representing canister/splintex ammunition in use by the two countries.

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!

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One Hundred points of German Steel. This is my friend, Chris’s work. Very heavy on the elite units.

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He also owns an airbrush; Meaning he actually got a start on painting! This is his Leopard 2, and is his first model in 15mm scale. Not a bad start my friend!

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My other friend, Ty, has less free time on his hands, doing important work at the moment. When he gets time, he is working on his Soviets. Firstly, we got here some BMP-2s!

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And here we got some T-64’s and some Geckos. The Tanks have mine-rollers, a neat ploy to prevent my MLRS minefield shenanigans!

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!