Friday, 28 September 2018

Fire&Fury ACW rules set - Gettysburg in 20mm (part 4) - Doubleday/Rowley division (I Corps)

Doubleday's Division, Now Rowley's, due to I Corps commander's death Gen. Reynolds, is engaging the Confederates of Brockenbrough and Pettigrew close to Herbst Woods and along the Willoughby run on the 1st of July, 1863. 

The L shaped Stone's Brigade is made fully of one position of the Union Revell and Imex. 

Biddle's Brigade is a mix of Italeri and Revell plastics with some Irregular miniatures with shouldered rifles. This important position for carrying a ACW weapon is absent of all plastic brands until the last StreletsR arrival. 

Stannard Brigade was not at Gettysburg on day one but present in the defeat of Pickett's charge in which his Vermont men flanked the Confederate's advance in a very important moment of the battle and poured flanking fire into their advance. 

The figures are mostly from A Call to Arms and Esci. 

Gen. Doubleday is a figure from one of the StreletsR box of Union personalities. 

Next: Army of the Potomac, II Corps. 

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Fire&Fury ACW rules set - Gettysburg in 20mm (part 3) - Robinson´s Division and I Corps artillery

1st of July 1863, Paul's Brigade withdraws north of Gettysburg under the pressure of four Confederate Brigades. Baxter Brigade is installed in Oak Ridge but both brigades will race soon for the safety of Cemetery Hill, behind the line of trees. Well, in fact Cemetery Hill is not there, what lies there is a wall from my yard. 

Divisional Commander, Gen. Robinson is a Revell figure, chosen due to the prominent beard the original man had. The standard bearer is a conversion of an Italeri figure. 

The brigades have nothing special, being made of Revell, Imex, Esci and Italeri.

A bit more of the same with some more conversions on the standard bearers. 

The Divisional artillery, represented by four guns and limbers, have figures from Revell's artillery, infantry and pioneers set. The gun is a conversion of a Napoleonic Esci British gun. 

One of the limbers is an old and precious Airfix limber....

... and the other three are Revell. Only the strange right arm of the horse drivers was heated and its position changed in order to look more natural. 

Next: Doubleday's division to conclude theArmy of the Potomac I Corps, . 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Fire&Fury ACW rules set - Gettysburg in 20mm (part 2) - Wadsworth's Division (I Corps)

Meredith's and Cutler's Brigades, 1st Division, 1st Corps, deploys its regiments from Seminary Ridge to block the advance of Davis and Archer's Brigades, 1st of July, 1863. 

The figures of the Iron Brigade (Meredith`s), represented here by the 2nd Wisconsin, are the Esci figure with the Hardee hat and frock coat plus some conversions from Esci also with Hardee hat on  sack coat figures. The old Airfix confederate officer changed sides and joined the anti-slavery cause. The flags are hand painted from the time when no printers existed.

The 14th Brooklin Militia (84th NY) represent Cutler`s brigade and are based on the Hat and Italeri Zouaves all in shell jacket and Revell officer. 

Other figures that joined 14th Brooklin are some conversions on the Chinese copies of the Esci hard plastic WW2 Japanese that you can see in marching position. I only cut the Japanese felt hat on top in order to create a kepi.

 The divisional Co, Gen. Solomon Meredith, is a StreletsR figure with Italeri head with whiskers as the true character.

Gen. Abner Doubleday assumed command of I Corps with Gen Reynolds death on the first day. But on the second day the command was given to Gen. John Newton. This Italeri figure represents the bearded John Newton who fought on the second and third day of the battle.

Next: More Army of the Potomac with Robinson division.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Fire&Fury ACW rules set - Gettysburg in 20mm (part 1) - Buford's Cavalry Division

When I was kid, maybe around 8, my parents bought me my first ever box of soldiers - Airfix Napoleonic French Infantry. Soon the British followed and from then on it never stopped.
In a world were Cowboys and Indians ruled the adventures of model toys I also found a few days later that the US had a Civil War when I found the Airfix Union and CSA little soldiers. They were just lovely, with beards and chunky looks. And finaly a real war in America, not those small Hollywood skirmishes between Indians and Cowboys with six guys per side. That's nothing! I started to read about the ACW in encyclopedias and such, and yes, that was a real war with big battles and lots of soldiers. Then Esci showed up with slimmer figures that also looked nice, Irregular Miniatures also released another good range and then Italeri. Imex, more recently StreletsR... 
In years, up to just a few months ago, I built, converted and painted a few thousand figures, enough to have all units that participated in the Battle of Gettysburg using the nice Fire and Fury Rule set (1 stand of 4 figures equals 200 men). Once again I never made one sole battle but have all units that participated, that is over 30 divisions and around 3000 figures. 
Of course a big boost came from the release of the 1993 Gettysburg movie, a great piece of encouragement for any wargamer.  
Well people and faithful followers get ready because this will be a lengthy series with around 30 posts. On the other hand as everything is painted and based it will be quick to show. 

This cavalry division is here defending Chambersburg pike from Hood's division, 1st of July, 1863. In this battle Gen. Buford only had two of its Brigades, Devin's and Gamble's Brigade, but they managed to slow down the Confederates until I Corps arrived. 

The figures are Revell, Italeri and Imex. Flags are prints from the web. 

Gen. Buford, originally an artillery figure from Italeri, was painted as close as possible to the character from the movie. 

Calef's battery is made of figures with short jackets as it was used by horse artillery. The limber is Irregular Miniatures. 

This division has three horse holders made from a Revell Confederate infantryman painted accordingly and three Italeri horses.

The dismounted cavalrymen are Imex and Italeri. Some of them have new heads with kepi as this headdress was more used by US cavalry than the slouch hat. Also some torsos were used in different legs in order to create more varied poses.

The Lutheran Seminary is a card board construction with its cupola made out from a Kinder Egg. 

As with all my buildings I glue the windows from the outside as a time saving measure. 

The fences are home made, like the one with a lighter base and the others are Irregular Miniatures. 

Next: Union Wadsworth Division (I Corps, Reynolds).

Monday, 24 September 2018

Rapid Fire! Russian Contemporary Wars in 20mm - Last two battalions of Georgian Infantry

These are the last two battalions for the Georgian Light Infantry Brigade of 2008. The unit is more or less complete. It has up to now:
-  Three battalions of infantry like the two in the picture plus the mortars that are already shown.
- Three BMP-1, three BMP-1U Shkval and three land Rover (last two groups in this big picture) as IFV and infantry transport. 
- One battalion of T-72 SIM tanks (6 models, maybe one missing for command).
- One battalion of MLRS (3 BM-21 models).
- Six Dana 152mm SPG's.
- One Humvee and three Digdoris  for reconnaissance. 

The infantry is the usual mix or Revell and Esci moderns with a few old metal Skytrex in the command stands. 

Next: ACW and for quite a long time as I will be posting the armies of Gettysburg for the Fire and Fury rules systems. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Rapid Fire! Volkswagen for Volksgrenadiers

Well, a division is never finished apparently even if you say it is. On a visit to the local ToysR'us I found these two HotWheels 1/72nd scale Volkswagen GmbH. By reading the under part of the miniatures these HotWheels are ex-Mattel from 1989 just delivered in a new electric-tuning-crazy painting. The oval rear window is the main detail you need to have on your WW2 Volkswagen as the bigger rear window only showed up in 1950. 

The original wheels were replaced by these ones from the Airfix Hanomag+88mm and some plastic licence plates were added. After repainting, they look the part and now my Volksgrenadier division already has four of these cars with two more missing (total of six, one for each of the infantry battalions). 

Next: back to the Russo-Georgian War of 2008.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Rapid Fire! Late War Germans in 20mm - Luftwaffe fighter-bombers.

Late Luftwaffe is not something you see much on wargaming tables around 1944/45. May be its because of the perception that the Allies dominated the skies and it would be foolish to use German aircraft against ground troops. 

Lately this misconception has been fought back and some deeper analysis shows that the Bulge offensive was supported by around 2300 Luftwaffe aircraft. Also Operation Bodenplatte (1000 German aircraft) destroyed or crippled many more Allied aircraft than the US acknowledged for decades (around 600, while before the number 300 was the rule). 

All this German air activity was important in stopping Patton's III Army  from driving north and cutting and isolating the Bulge: In fact in the first week of 1945 the loss of those 600 Allied aircraft would deprive Patton from an important asset for its goal. On the other hand the Luftwaffe actions would allow the Germans, particularly the SS 6th Panzer Army, to fall back and fight one last offensive action in Hungary against the Soviets. 

The first picture shows the state of the art Luftwaffe fighter-bomber of 1944/45, the Me262 jet. The one to the left is the old FROG models and the other is the recent Altaya. 

The FROG model is a simple beauty and probably one of my oldest models, even if built and painted only last week. 

This one is the two-seater Me262 night fighter from Revell. 

Leaving jets for now here you have two Fw190D, the one in the left from Revell and the other Altaya. 

Two Fw190G, left is Altaya and right is Airfix (in fact its 'Pips' Priller Fw around the time of its famous D-Day straffing).

All three Me109G are Altaya. In all of these ten fighters I painted the canopy from the inside with light blue colour leaving the canopy frame as it was. This trick is very effective specially in the Altaya models. 

Next: quick return to Volksgrenadiers.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Rapid Fire! Conclusion of the 26th VGD in Bastogne - The Intriguing Feldersatz Battalion

Years ago I built a Volksgrenadier division according to its six battalion/ three Regiment structure and obviously obeying Herr Richard Marsh and his Battle of the Bulge supplement. You can see it here:

One of the intriguing points in the Bastogne siege is how the 26th VGD (Volksgrenadier Divisions had around 10.000 men) could have besieged a bigger and better quality unit like the 101st Airborne with 11.000 men during more than one week. If it is true that the 26th VGD was not alone, counting with other units of the 47th Panzer Korps, it is also true that the 101st was not alone as it counted with tank, Tank Destroyer, stragglers  and many artillery units. 

Eventually many other units participated in the siege on both sides, some just passing by, making countability more difficult. 

To increase problems many sources, including the CO of the Division, Gen. Heinz Kokott, place the 26th VGD at 17.000. But how can a VGD be 17.000 strong if its organized according to the 1944 OB for infantry with only two battalions per regiment, so less than 10.000 men?

After looking a bit everywhere, mainly in internet forums where other people placed the same question,  the solution seems to be that the 26th VGD had a big Feldersatz Battalion (FEB) of several thousand men, used as replacements for the numerous casualties expected in the Ardennes campaign, something that really happened. A bit like the assault companies of US infantry for D-Day, reinforced at 50% as they also expected a high volume of casualties. 

The difference between the 10.000 paper organization of a VGD and the real 26th VGD 17.000 men strong makes you build at least four new battalion sized forces that you can see in the big picture above: three infantry battalions and another one at the top, with the Hetzer tank dividing it, to reinforce the Pioneer and the Fusilier battalion of the Division.  

Most of the figures are old plastics from Airfix, Matchbox and Revell with a few newer PSC and some metal from SHQ and Irregular Miniatures. 

Some stands of Irregular Miniatures 80mm mortar and HMG. 

The PSC cleverly engineered solution for the HMG. 

The Pzfausts and Pzschreck of PSC. 

Some conversions also made are the support figure for the Esci Panzerschreck made out of two figures from Matchbox with the MP44 assault rifle from Armourfast. 

Airfix and Revell living together in harmony. The Airfix figure comes from the DAK box but with gloves new uniform and camouflage trousers becomes a nice Volksgrenadier. 

The Command stands have radios placed on the back of Esci and Airfix. The Officers are PSC, Esci, Matchbox, Fujimi (the greatcoated one) and SHQ. The lying down figures are Armoufast, Revell, Airfix and Matchbox. 

Esci and Revell for the snipers, Revell for the Pzfausts. The 80mm mortar stand has an Esci (surplus from the Nebelwerfer set) and Matchbox figures, the kneeling one again a conversion. 

For speed of painting I used the same grey colour for the gloves; webbing was all black, haversack and canvas gaiters were all khaki, etc. Also the camouflage schemes were generally the Field Grey jacket, the camouflaged or white smock and the same for trousers and helmets. 

Pioneer from Revell lead by an Italeri figure. 

This is my fifth Hetzer, a bit too much as only three are necessary for the Anti-tank battalion. The camouflage comes from Osprey campaign 145 about the Bastogne events. With one extra Hetzer it makes two companies and with this big FEB may be I start also another VGD as two are necessary for the St Vith actions. 

Next: have no idea. Better, too many ideas but don't know what to choose. 

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Rapid Fire! Late War Germans in 20mm - 15cm towed field artillery.

A bit of heresy with this Roco Feldhaubitze 18 15cm battalion. They are not 20mm but 1/87th scale. These guys were on the stash for years and probably they will wargame (?) off table many meters to the rear so I decided to add them to my Late War Germans. 


The model is nice and looks the part. The crew is also Roco made from several of their German sets as they never produced a dedicated set of German artillerymen. 

The 15cm shells came from cut down  1/72nd scale 88mm shells. My problem now is to find enough horses in 1/87th scale as I want this battalion to be towed thinking mostly of artillery support for a Infantry or Volksgrenadier division. 

Next: the Ersatz battalion of the 26th VGD.