Saturday, June 30, 2012

PAPR Tigers

1st Guards Mechanised Brigade - veteran of many an action -
less its armour and other heavy equipment.
The battalions are also shown without their Mortar and Anti-tank Gun Companies.
 One of the attractions of Imagi-Nations is the capacity to create (more or less) historical armies, even use them in familiar environments, but without being too restricted by historical perecedent. In particular, it is hard to refight the entire East Front campaign, especially given the changes in the nature of the respective forces in that war. Given smaller countries, with less than a tithe of the vast prototype armies, gives you the scope for a larger story than can be provided by one-off pick-up and scenario battles.
I Battalion, 1st Guard Mechanised.
  Two rifle companies advance with the SMG platoon, supported by the MMG company.  The Anti-tank Rifle company guards the right flank; the Battalion commander remains with its reserve company ready to exploit success.

One of my Imagi-Nation campaigns goes under the 'working title' Latin Wars, a period of warfare among small Latin-American countries that begins towards the end of World War Two.  One of these countries, formerly called Vespuccia, has shortly brfore overthrown its Dictator government, substituting for it one with a more societal, though nationalistic, programme Certain political commentators called it Socialist, others even Communist (George Orwell, though sceptical in view of his observations concerning the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union, was inclined for the time being to scatter praise upon its social ambitions) yet it managed for several years to fly pretty much under the radar of United States's vigilance (paranoia) concerning such regimes.    Not that the revivified State hid behind any euphemistic appellation: the Pan-Andean People's Republic was exactly as it announced itself to be.
I Battalion, again.

The fact was, this was a populist nation, run by a populist leader, with a populist, and popular, social and economic programme of reform.  It quickly became clear, however, that it's popularity did not extend far beyond its borders, barring a few sympathetic commentators.  Distracted by the World War and the subsequent falling out with the Soviet Union, the USA was at first, however, inclined let the bordering dictatorship of Orotina to bring down this upstart nation.

III Battalion.

The Pan-Andean government found no shortage of volunteers for its armies, as it quickly mobilised  several units for the impending war with Orotina (you can see as how this is going to have a distinctly 'Red Army' look, eh?).  Not that the latter needed any encouragement from the Great Powers.  Expansionist in any case, and casting covetous eyes upon the recently nationalised natural resources President Adolfo-Augusto Ximenez  was inclined to the view that by rights the entire nation of The People's Republic was territoryintegral to the Orotinian State, to be brought under proper government (i.e. his) by force. 
Brigade HQ, 1st Guards Mechanised,
 with the Brigade SMG company and some light trucks.

Calling themselves the Tigers, the early Pan-Andean units gave a good account of themselves in the early fighting along the border as Orotina tested it's opponent's mettle.  Orotinian propaganda expressed contempt for the PAPR Tigers, but this achieved no more than to induce the Pan-Andean volunteers to wear the name with pride.   Orotina was to find that, despite its advantages in equipment and training, they were not going to have things all their own way in the wars that followed...

These pictures show the 1st Guards Mechanised Brigade, less its heavy equipment and armour. 

MMG Company with Airfix MMGs.
  Most of the figures are also Airfix, but the gunner on the right hand one is ESCI
 As these pictures show, some touching up work would not go amiss, it having been eight or nine years since last I painted them and flocked their bases.  They have not travelled as well as they might have done, nor have the earthquakes been very kind (several troops got dumped twice from a great height upon the floor). 
Anti-tank Rifle Company, armed with single shot PTRD anti-tank rifles.
 This brigade features also a mix of Airfix, ESCI and HKKO figures.  HKKO?  Hong Kong Knock-Off.  Mostly ESCI in this Brigade.  I liked the ESCI rifleman figures, but there were really rather too few of them and too few poses (the standing and kneeling firing are very good).   The ESCI MMG is much less crude than the Airfix version, but I much prefer the latter's gunner, sitting behind the weapon.  Pity Airfix did not do the same for its Vickers MMG.
Another pic of III Battalion, 1st Gds Mech Bde.
  A mix of ESCI and Hong Kong knock-offs.
  Some of the latter have pins substituting for their SMGs
 I also found the ESCI and the HKKO figures nicer to paint.  The Airfix chaps were marred by flash difficult to remove. 
SMG Coy, First Gds Mech Bde.  These are Airfix.
  The rather munted helmet worn by the officer figure probably ought to have something done about it...
Of course, this is just a small part of the PAPR army.  I still have to sort through the Tank Brigade, the three Rifle Brigades, plus assorted security and border companies, and special units that make up the whole force...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Klimenti Voroshilov...

First Heavy Battalion: HQ plus a company each of KV1 and KV2
All Fujimi models

Having recently seen on the Plastic warrior blogspot a model of a KV2, I bethought myself that perhaps I ought to go back over my stuff, photograph it, post it on my blog.  Not so much to show off my stuff (there's that, of course), but also as a reminder of where I'm at.   Yes, well.

The KV1 company. 
The two tanks comprising the KV1 Company (if using Command Decision rules; Platoon, if using Panzer Marsch), I bought only a few years ago.  These days I don't 'do' decals, preferring to paint the numbers on if I can.  It looks as though I have skimped on the weathering... haven't done any in fact.  The tank was identified on the Fujimi pack as KV1-A 'Late Type', whatever that means...

KV2 Company
 The lead KV2 I built some time in the 1970s.  It had a moulding fault on the rear turret hatch (munted hinge), obviously has taken a large calibre hit there.  At any rate, that vehicle has seen a bit of  climate, by the look...  The other was built at the same time as the my new KV1s.
Battalion Command

The Battalion Command Tank was built early 1977, way back in my pre-numbering days.  It is interesting to compare this vehicle with the next picture.  Something of an orphan, this latter vehicle, an ESCI KV1-C (KV1-S),  at 1:72 scale is noticeably larger than the 1:76 Fujimi types.  A fine model, but doesn't 'fit' very well with the others.

Now the modified versions.  A local modeller, one who likes things 'just so', has developed a line of adaptive pieces for modifying models that seem to require a bit of tweaking.  Some of these can result, withal, into completely different vehicles.  Here is the Heavy Battalion, completely re-equipped with KV85 tanks.

First Heavy Tank Battalion on manoeuvres in their new KV85 tanks
 The hulls are precisely those in the earlier pictures.  The turrets are resin, and come in two parts (I think), the main turret being mounted upon a resin ring identical to the plastic kit's ring.  The guns I've made from cotton bud (Paul of Plastic Warrior uses chup-a-chup stick, but I keep those for ships' masts...).  Boring a hole into the gun mantlet, I insert a piece of matchstick or toothpick, and jam the cotton bud (trimmed to length with the buds removed) onto it.  Seems to work.
First Heavy Battaion advancing in wedge formation -
one they will probably never use in actual battle...
The gun barrels are noticably fatter than those of the Airfix T34/85, but in my view the Airfix guns are far too thin anyhow.  Soon, my own T34s will be upgunned with cotton buds...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Plastic Prussians ... Again....

At last, but not finally, it seems, I have flocked the bases of my Plastic Prussians.

A small Grenadier Battalion (2/9 Pomeranian) and 3 Line
Infantry Regiments in the first line; 3 Landwehr units in the second.

Their appearance is much improved thereby, but, having taken a number of pictures, I am forced to admit there's plenty of touching up to do.
A Frenchman's eye view of advancing Prussian infantry
But I think the time is rapidly approaching in which a Prussian corps will strike at some outlying French force, just to chance their arm.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Plastic Prussians

It is always sad, I think, to see an army being abandoned by its owner.  Whether sold or ditched, clearly this army is now superfluous to requirements, and is worth less than whatever its owner may fetch for it, even if that is no more than freed shelf space.

For a number of reasons, a friend was divesting himself of between three and four hundred plastic Napoleonics, about 150 Prussian infantry, almost as many French foot, 60-odd horse and a couple of guns. 

I gather he was going the 15mm route (in keeping with a locally grown rule set in use for a current campaign).  At any rate, rather than see perfectly good troops heading for the tip, I took them on.  At once the French went to a new home, as you will see if you look at the 'Fist Full of Plastic' blogspot in the side panel to the right of this screen.  Meanwhile, I thought to look at the Prussians, not my favorite Napoleonic army, it has to be said,  but I already have a considerable Austrian army, and the beginnings of a Russian, not to mention a small British expeditionary force...
Well, they could do with a tidy-up, sure.  Successive earthquakes over the last 18 months an more had not been kind to these fellows, but they also had the look of a rush job to get them onto the table - an objective stymied by having to find accommodation in a house that wasn't broken  (Barry lucked out a bit there, having found a place with a sleep out that could be modified into a games room).   
Laying the stands out in groups of 6 in no particular order gave a picture of considerable 'unit character', no bad thing at all.  But the 2x2-figure bases need some work just to get them into a consistent size and shape and compatible with my own bases.  It seemed to me, too, that the overall effect was rather sombre.  These guys needed a little livening up.

Rather more than half way through the refurbishing process, and I think reasonable progress has been made in that direction.   First off,  I had to replace some of the bases as being too small.  I didn't want to mount the smaller base onto a larger, as that would have led to a different kind of inconsistency I didn't want.
I also found a few Frenchmen - including an eaglebearer - among the herrenvolk, and culled them out.  As it happened, I didn't get them all, and a few remain.  I am not all that unhappy about it, though, as wearing bits of enemy uniform were not unknown in any army. 
I also tried draughting them into Line and Landwehr units, with a 'left over' group forming a Grenadier battalion: the 2nd/9th (Pomeranian) Grenadiers.  The line and grenadier units received new flags (courtesy of the warflags site, in my view the go-to place for the wargames vexillologist).  A couple of the Landwehr units received white trousers, pants or breeches; the rest got a rather lighter grey than formerly.  The shakos received a white band around the top, and the Landwehr headgear (except for the Silesian shakos) a band above the peak in the unit colour.

The plumes of this small (16-figure) unit were made from cotton bud.  None too securely attached, I have no doubt that the plumes will disappear and gradually the shakos will be end up 'wrapped in black oilskin'.  Nor, as you see, are the units of consistent size otherwise: 4 of 24 and 2 of 20 making up 7 battalions (regiments) in all.
In building up my armies, I like every unit to have an identity, even if it's just a number.   I've never really cottoned to 'generic' units that can be 'anything' although that doesn't stop me enlisting this or that unit to 'stand in' for a completely different one when the situation demands (such as in historical refights).  The flags are chosen accordingly, although in this army, the Landwehr units lack these colourful additions.  Instead, I have identified them by uniform colour, and the differencing conventions adopted in the post 1806 Prussian army.