Sunday, January 31, 2010


Nice little kit this. It has all of about ten parts, is well engineered and reasonably cheap. I actually finished this a while ago but got side-tracked converting Marines.

These are usually deployed in companies of three so I have added another box onto my list of things to buy this year. My only complaint is that it did not come with any decals, of which I am woefully short of.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Royal Marines Commandos 2

Just some minor touching up left to do on these, face lines, shoulder straps, etc. If I had more figures to choose from the poses would have been a little more 'in action' like, but I am quite happy with the final results.

This is the weapons platoon, I almost always use prone figures for my Bren Gun teams.

Engineer stand.

Finding enough different arms in 1/76 to match the basic size of the donor figures was quite difficult with several of these conversions but we got there in the end.

Here is the command platoon.

Sling added to the grenadier's Sten.

And, ammunition pouches to his webbing; standard Matchbox figure to the right.

The full company. I still have another two stands on the work bench which can be added to this unit for certain actions, which will make them a large company, +2 to morale rolls. Although they have a dedicated command platoon, all RM are in fact self-ordering, which makes them an extremely versatile unit to use in games. I'm down to my last week of holidays, so will try to do the finishing work on these before embarking on any other projects that will inevitably be interrupted by work.

Monday, January 25, 2010


A bit of time spent on these RM has produced a few close to finished. There are still some gaps to fill around the neck areas but most of the details have been done.
The weapon slings were made from the rope of the grappling hook figure from the Matchbox set, some worked out better than others.

I've also added a couple of small items to some of the figures, such as a water bottle, this one got a mine.

Here is the weapons platoon. I've actually started painting this troop, and will post the final results in the next couple of days.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Work in Progress

As we all know, you can never have enough Royal Marines Commandos, and so in line with that we have these latest conversion attempts.

I've always disliked the set this example comes from, but only have a handful of donor figures to choose from. The Airfix figures are a little shorter than their Matchbox counterparts, therefore the latter will have their bases removed, which will help a bit.

Here is the donor pile which, as can be seen, has a few more prone figures than I'd like but we'll see how we get on. I've also decided to experiment with the painting of this next troop, and may include some washes and or highlighting on the final products.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Russell Collection 3

Recently completed SU76s from the collection of David Russell. Nice kits, that have a lot of detail, and Dave has been his usual meticulous self in their construction.

Some of his scenic ruins in the background.

Dave has quite a large mid to late war Soviet army, in fact almost a complete tank brigade for 1944-45 and probably close to a tank regiment for 43-44. Now all he has to do now is paint a regiment of infantry to go with them.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


This is a very welcome addition to my aircraft collection, and in fact my first Russian one. According to Yori over at the kit itself dates from the Cold War era and was one of a handful available to collectors behind the Iron Curtain at this time. I am now inspired to find a ground attack variety of some description, perhaps an Il2.

The engineering was quite good, except there was a fault with the canopy which left quite a gap between itself and the top of the fuselage; no worries a bit of PVA glue soon fixed that. The painting was cursory as this was needed for a game, but I intend to touch it up a bit still. I have this thing about all my aircraft having pilot figures at the controls, and so quite a few of my models have pilots made from spare German motorcycle riders because several of them are wearing goggles, but I'm starting to run out of these and may just have to acquire a box of commercial ones, I think Revell might make some, but will check PSR and see what is available.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gaming, Tarakan 1942

The title should probably read 'based on Tarakan', as we had to substitute certain units or models that we could not represent entirely accurately, also half the Japanese took the board half painted. Still over the course of about eight hours and a few dozen beer, this is what we ended up with.

The game began with the advance units of Japanese over-running the oil refinery, which led to the survivors fleeing back to the settlement to raise the alarm that the invaders were closer than reported.

The airfield defences were put in order and the Dutch air force began to make reconnaissance patrols around the refinery area. We didn't have the required Brewster Buffalo so the Bristol Bulldog did the honours as a stand-in.

This shows the Japanese RHQ reaching the edge of the refinery, which had already been cleared of oil workers and security forces by the leading elements of this force.

This pictures shows what became a massive part of the battle. The Dutch (me) attempted a small counter attack, with two platoons of armoured cars and a company of engineers to give the settlement defences more time to organise.

The Engineers ended up being attacked by Japanese aircraft the turn before the counter attack went in, so the AFVs ended up making the assault alone. The Dutch company you can see behind their trucks were deployed to cover the retreat of the AFVs but ended up being stuck here fighting it out for five turns.

This shows the western side of the settlement which was subjected to more or less constant air attack, and the Japanese forces in the background had cut the road leading to the harbour area so there was no assistance going to or from there.

Here the Japanese navy fires in support of the second assault wave to attack the harbour area.

This is the junction linking the harbour with the settlement. The Dutch enjoyed some small success here with one of the Japanese tank platoons being knocked out by anti-tank gun fire from extreme range, and the 'cover company' decimated the leading Japanese infantry with sustained and accurate small arms fire.

Meanwhile the Dutch coastal defence units were starting to buckle under the weight of further Japanese landing forces.

The Japanese naval landing units had a really hard time on this side of the harbour, with the Dutch gunners destroying several landing boats before they reached the shore.

This is about turn seven or eight, and the company deployed to cover the retreat of the earlier counter attack is still holding out, although now their line of retreat is blocked and their numbers have been reduced by half.

A small detachment of Dutch sent from the settlement area managed to open a gap in the Japanese lines for this unit to finally pull back from their precarious position into the safety of Tarakan.

However, it ended up being for nothing because once clear of their defensive positions their morale suffered just as they were about to escape, and the survivors surrendered to the Japanese.

This shows the lead Japanese companies forming up for a human wave assault on the outer defences of the settlement. They had cleared their side of the coastal artillery and began to put serious pressure on the Dutch.

Here the last of the port defences are over-run. They actually held out a lot longer than expected, but in the end changed nothing.

This is the beginning of the end for the Dutch. The airfield defences had not been as bothered as other areas initially but once the Japanese attacked here they did so in huge numbers, and the perimeter defenses were quickly over-run.

The airfield garrison fought desperately to hold this position as their air force was still flying ground attack sorties, but the Japanese were able to concentrate two reasonably undamaged battalions against them, and they had run out of mortar and infantry gun ammunition and were down to small arms as a result.

With the oil refinery, port and airfield more or less dealt with the Japanese could and did concentrate most of their forces to the taking of the Tarakan settlement. Three human wave assaults (Banzai Charges) finally cracked the Dutch perimeter on the western side and the Japanese easily had enough men left to exploit this.

Last one shows Japanese armour about to capture the Dutch commander. There was still quite a bit of house-to-house fighting going on but the Dutch could not concentrate enough of their remaining forces in one place to make much of a difference. In the end the Japanese captured all of their objectives in twelve turns, out of the fourteen they had to do this in. It was an excellent game to play, and would only have been different if we had had access to all the minor bits and pieces needed to make it really historically accurate, such as Dutch AFVs, aircraft, oh and another two battalions of Japanese infantry, not that they were needed!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Latest Addition

Five of these arrived in the post today, four for my friend Dave and one for me. It might be a while before I get around to making it though. Have been hard-out gaming pretty much all day and night for the last two days, and have a couple of reports to post as a result, but first, some sleep.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Slow Progress

Progress has been very limited and the picture above shows the only completed stand out of four battalions currently on the work bench.

This is the rest in varying states of completion.

The only other thing I've found time to do is this Stug, also not finished, and partially completed Yak fighter in the background. I started researching Seelow Heights 1945 the other night but quickly found that I don't have half the kit needed to do the bit we were looking at, and so have decided to have a crack at a scenario that has already been written and tested. Here is the link: Untold thanks to Mr Mackenzie for all his excellent hard hard work.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Game Preparations

Here are a few pictures of a game we are looking to play soon, Tarakan 1942.

This shows the inner defences of the airfield, in front of which there is another perimeter of wire and a couple of Dutch platoons on picket.

Here, the harbour area with the train tracks which lead to the refinery about three kilometers inland; the Dutch blew this up before the Japanese landed so there wasn't really much here to fight over.

This shows the northern end of the settlement which was an important part of the Dutch defence because it commanded the road leading to the port area and the coastal defence battery on this side of the harbour area.

Western coastal defence battery, yet to have its garrison added.

Eastern battery, much closer to the dock area, though containing a smaller garrison.

This represents the oil refinery area. There is still a lot to be worked out ground scale and detail wise but I'm getting there. A recent e-mail from a friend who's played this scenario suggests this may be a very unexciting game to play because of the ratio of troop numbers, roughly eight battalions of Japanese verses one and a half of Dutch.
We will still play the game but it won't conform to our usual historical standards if we want to enjoy it, so it will end up being based on Tarakan rather a replay of the actual event. So I am looking at some other possible game options to do after this, with the top contenders being: the Battle of Brześć Litewski 1939, Arras 1940, Seelow Heights 1945, and two Great War options, Neuve Chapelle and or Loos 1915. If anyone has any other ideas I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.