Saturday 30 November 2013

Bolt Action 1936: Spode's Blackshorts

   Spode's Blackshort Mobile Column: 28 mm army for Bolt Action

   1936 was the year Europe went mad. Hitler invaded the Rhineland and units of the French army mutinied when ordered to resist, sparking the French civil war. Sparticists in Hamburg and Bremen mounted a coup while the German army was engaged in the west and the Spanish Civil War broke out.

   In England, Edward VIII appealed to the people in a radio broadcast to be allowed to marry Mrs Simpson against the advice of his ministers. The government promptly resigned and the opposition refused to form a government. Edward appointed Mosley as Prime Minister who formed a 'King's Party' government.

   Archbishop Cosmo Lang refused to crown Edward and crowned his brother instead as George VI. The British Civil War was on.

   Viscount Sidcup allied his Blackshort militia with the King's Party and he used his wealth to form a mobile column.

   The Blackshort Mobile Column was commanded by Captain The Honourable Rupert Pikely-Trotter who had been thrown out of the Drones Club for cheating in the annual tiddlywink competition. Pikely-Trotter converted his Jaguar SS into a command vehicle. His driver was Sergeant Mad Mick Murphy who always drove one-handed so he could hold a grenade in the other.


   The Mobile Column was built around rifle/ bren-gun platoons of three sections. Spode bought Tommy guns for the NCOs.

   Each platoon was supported by light mortars and Boys anti-tank rifles.

   Artillery support was provided by late-war 13pdrs. Spode bought the very latest mobile phone technology to equip his artillery spotters.

   Armoured support was largely provided by improvised armoured cars armed with light machine guns.

   Although Spode did manage to acquire a handful of Vickers 6 Ton 'Dutchmen' intended for an export order that fell through due to the European crisis.

   The first test for the Mobile Column came when they were dispatched from Sidcup House south through the lanes over the North Downs to seize control of the Medway Gate so as to shut in the Chatham Soviet but they never reached The Gate being intercepted at Snodland.

   But more about that later.

Friday 22 November 2013

Bolt Action: Hetzer

Put together and painted a 28 mm Hetzer. This was a self-propelled 75mm anti-tank gun based on the amazing Czech 38T for infantry divisions. It was cheap and fairly effective albeit a bit of a bodge. Hetzers were used into the cold war.

Thursday 21 November 2013

FreiKorps Oberland Garford-Putilov Armoured Car

 JTS is staying with a 1930s theme today with one of the weirdest armoured fighting vehicles ever designed.

The Garford-Putilov was a heavy armoured car built in Russia during WWI based on imported Garford Trucks. It was desperately underpowered, 10 hp, giving a top speed of around 10mph. Like all improvised armour on civilian chassis it was overloaded and top heavy.

Off road performance was woeful.

It was armed with three maxim guns in separate turrets and a 76mm light howitzer in the oversized rear turret. The howitzer was enclosed by a weird flash tube.

The weird turret makes this a wonderful vehicle for Alternate WWII. It could be a vortex gun, for example.

A number were captured by the Germans and used by the Freikorps. The Freikorps were psychotic right wing thugs built around the heavily trained and psychologically conditioned Imperial Stormtrooper units. They went on to form the nucleus of the SA and theWaffen SS and used many of the same insignia.

The photos show a G-P car used by the Bavarian Freikorps Oberland, which included such alumni as Heinrich Himmler and Josef Dietrich.

The standard Freikorps logo was the Totemkopf,  the skull and crossbones of the stormtroopers but there were many others.

The Bavarian Oberland used the edelweiss as a badge and hence an eidelweiss-totemkopf.

So I have used it as the bonnet flag for my G-P.

The poster on the side of my model represents the Thule Group, a mystical bunch of weirdos that transformed into the Nazi Party.

Kenneth Hite mischievously links the Thule group with the Freikorps Oberland in his fun book on the Nazi Occult so I couldn't resist doing the same. A great link for Weird WWII ideas.

Selective Laser Sintering Patents

SLS patents used in 3D printing are due to expire next year.

Now this may cause a rapid decline in the cost of 3D printers or it might not.

"Time will tell. It usually does."
The 5th Doctor

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Bolt Action: Spode's Black Shorts

"The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you're someone. You hear them shouting "Heil, Spode!" and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: "Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?"

Bertie Wooster

Roderick Spode
Viscount Sidcup - would be Dictator of Britain, is leader of a fascist political movement called The Saviours of England but better known as The Blackshorts after a Daily Mail article entitled 'Hurrah for the Blackshorts'.

It is believed he chose black shorts because all the best colours for shirts had already been taken by other fascist movements: Blacksirts Italy, Brownshirts Germany, Silvershirts USA, Blueshirts & Greenshirts Ireland (who had to have two fascist parties and Grayshirts South Africa.

Spode's Policies include making railway carriages larger so sheep can stand sideways, banning the import of root vegetables, issuing each British worker with a bicycle and umbrella, and the compulsory scientific measurement of knees.

'The British knee is strong; the British knee is muscular.'

The piccy shows my Blackshort reinforced platoon for Bolt Action. It consists of:

HQ Section: A Overkneeleader Officer with two men: note the latest in mobile phone technology.

Two Rifle Kneesections: Eight men, Underkneeleader with Thompson and Bren-Gun team.
Knesupport Sections: An antitank rifle and light mortar team.

Armoured Car: Improvised armour and Bren Gun.
Self Propelled Gun: Light howitzer in the back of a lorry.
Tank: Vickers 6 Ton with light anti-tank gun.

The Blackshorts use the BUF flag as part of the fascist alliance.

Special Rule: Once at the start of a turn the Blackshorts opponent can yell 'Eulalie' forcing all Blackshort Units to make an immediate morale check.

Blackshort units may be 'green' or 'inexperienced'.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Review: Bolt Action T34/85

I recently assembled and painted one of the newish Bolt Action T34/85 tanks from warlord Games in 28 ml.

The box art gives a good idea of what can be done with the tank. Note that you get a decal sheet with a generous range of decals on.

These pics show the build instructions and sprues. Note that you get a tank commander included. Everything is in hard plastic. It's an easy build kit with the emphasis on robustness for game play. All the wheels are preattached and the tracks come in two sections.

The only issues I had assembling the model was that the rear of the tracks didn't quite meet and one of the arms wasn't quite in alignment at the shoulder when he was positioned to grasp the turret hatch. Both were easily fixed with Milliput.

Some more pics of the finished vehicle, sprayed, dirted and oil leaks streaked on. I am very pleased with this model. Plastic is by far and away the best medium for 28 mm vehicles. It is light and robust, which makes storage and transportation a doddle.

The letters apparently say something like "Death To Fritzes" according to a friend who speaks Russian (thanks Karen).

One little peculiarity. It is slightly bigger than the resin T34/76 from Warlord, reminding us that 28mm is a size, not a scale.

Unfortunately, my T34 had a bad first outing. We were running out of time in an evening game so I decided to rush a Tiger in a do-or-die banzai.

I died.

Monday 18 November 2013

Bolt Action R35 Tank

 Finished my R35 Bolt Action tank. This was a pretty good light tank in 1940 with decent armour and a useful light gun. Its main problem was that it was very slow.

The Bolt Action kit is mostly resin with a few metal bits. It is a recent product and fits together well with very little cleaning up. It does come with a crewman hanging out the back of the rear turret hatch - many French taks had no commanders' top hatch, believe it or not. I decided not to fit this as only the insane would travel like that in the combat zone.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Cheap Domestic 3D Scanner

This is the Rubicon 3D scanner which is available for about £200 on Kickstarter here.

"Webcam is not included. We suggest using Logitech C920 because of its good quality, but any other webcam would work, too. With current setup you can scan objects up to 160mm in diameter and about 250mm in height, but since the camera is movable, even bigger objects might fit in."

I would be astonished if this yields acceptable quality for most objects but.....

My first laserprinter cost £2,000. My current one cost £50 and is more effective.

Saturday 16 November 2013

28 mm Vickers 6 Ton

This is another one of the Aylafred cheap generic resin tanks off eBay.

This one is loosely based on a Vickers 6 ton. This was the most successful interwar tank, used by almost everyone except the British Army. I have cut down the turret and put in a short gun from my kit's box.

It is painted as one of the export 'Dutch' tanks due to be shipped out to the dutch Pacific colonies.

The logo is the flag of the Blackshirts, Mosley's British Union of Fascists. More about them in a later post.

'Hurrah for the Blackshirts' - as the pro-Nazi Daily Mail put it.

We're All In This Together!

At the sumptuous Lord Mayor's Banquet our beloved Old Etonian leader, the Right Honourable David Cameron MP, gave a speech to the assembled fat cats extolling 'permanent austerity' for the peasantry.

Bonuses all round, chaps!

Homo digitalis

Thursday 14 November 2013

Generic 1930s Tankettes: 28 mm

A couple of new resin generic turreted 2-man tankettes that I bought off eBay from Aylafred for the princely sum of a fiver plus P&P.

I painted them up as 1939 Renault 17s which they vaguely resemble but they could be used to represent a wide variety of 1930s FT 17 or Lloyds tankettes.

Review: Bolt Action Plastic Japanese Infantry

I ought a box of the new plastic range of Bolt Action infantry a few weeks ago to create a second platoon for my Imperial Japanese Army and to get hold of some suicide anti-tank men: nutters with exploding pikes.

The back of the box gives a taste of the contents and you get the paper banners as shown bottom left.

 This (not very clear - sorry) pic shows one of the enclosed sprues and bases. The figures can be assembled in a variety of ways to give a rich diversity. This is one of the great advantages of plastic models.

A rather better pic showing the inserts . Have a look at the descriptions on the right. They give a flavour of the variation.

Just one of the assembled and painted troopers. I mixed together a left 'holding arm', a bayonet, a head with cap, a right hand with grenade, and a separate rifle with strap (put it on before putting the guy's arms on: I didn't and had to disassemble). 

Poses are dynamic and the detail is crisp. I got a good result with some basic watered-down colour over a white primer finishing with a slosh of yellow-brown wash.

When it stops raining, if it stops raining, I will photograph the whole finished army.

Sunday 10 November 2013

Forge World - Poor Quality Control

These pictures were posted on twitter by someone I follow - I won't mention his name. They are cockpit components for a Forge World Marauder Bomber and this is what Forge World sent him.

This model is £190. By any standards it is a premium product and yet Forge World were of the opinion that components so warpt as to be unusable were acceptable to be sent to a customer. And this is not a one-off. I have experienced similar issues with Forge World.

Now this customer was an experienced modeller so was able to fix them using boiling water but why the hell should he? Warping like this happens because the resin is removed from the mold before it is properly hardened. They do this to increase productivity and hence raise profit margins on fixed capital equipment and labour costs.

Games Workshop should in my opinion show a little more espect for their customers. We are not a captive cash cow to be milked.

Or are we?

Lest We Forget What We Owe

Sgt Percie M Lambshead MM
DCLI, Cornish Company KSLI.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Gunpowder Treason and Plot

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent
To blow up the King and the Parliament
Three score barrels of powder below
Poor old England to overthrow
By God's providence he was catched
With a dark lantern and burning match
Holloa boys, holloa boys
God save the King!
Hip hip hooray!
Hip hip hooray!
Actually, these days we are more likely to drive around
with a car bumper sticker saying:
 'Come back Guy Fawkes - all is forgiven." 
 But have a good bonfire night!