Tuesday, 8 January 2019

From TamsinP - 28mm Early War Aussies (245 points)

My fifth entry is again in 28mm.  I don't think I've ever got this far into the Challenge without painting something in 15mm.  It's quite possible, given the number of 28mm projects I have in the pipeline, that none of the 15mm ones will see light of day over the next three months

But enough of my introductory ramblings.  For this entry I am presenting (almost) the start of my early WW2 Australians. These will primarily be for the 1942 campaigns in New Guinea and Malaya, before the switch to jungle green uniforms.

Brace yourselves - there's a veritable pic-fest below!

The Militia

The Australian Army in WW2 was composed of two parts - the Citizens Defence Forces (CDF, the Militia) who were only to serve in Australian territories and the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) who were for overseas service.  There was initially some hostility and resentment between the two parts.  The militia referred to the AIF as "five bob murderers"; the AIF referred to the militia as "Chocos" (chocolate soldiers - will melt under fire) or Koalas (not for export outside Australia; not to be exposed to danger).  After the Kokoda Trail and Gona-Buna-Sanananda campaigns, both parts appreciated each other.

When the Japanese began their invasions in 1942, with New Guinea at risk, Australia sent the 30th Brigade of the CDF to Papua to establish the defences around the capital, Port Moresby, which was expected to be a target for the Japanese.  A seaborne invasion was expected, but following the Battle of the Coral Sea it was clear that they would have to take an overland route, the Kokoda Trail, to threaten Port Morseby.  One milita battalion, the 39th, was sent up the trail, with B company in the lead.  B company established  some defences at Kokoda (where there was an airstrip) and sent two platoons forward along the track towards the Gona-Buna-Sanananda beaches where the Japanese were most likely to land.

Now, one has to bear in mind that these militia troops had very little military training (it seems that some might never have even fired their weapons), were not well equipped (the company had only one Bren gun; the other LMGs were old Lewis guns) and had not taken any heavier weapons forward.  They had also had to cross the Owen Stanley Range - steep mountains covered thickly with jungle on paths which were slick mud from the constant rain.  And with limited supplies of food and ammunition.  And the Australian high command seemed to think that they would be able to stop a Japanese invasion force...

They didn't stop them, but they did hold them up for several days which allowed a relief force of the AIF to be sent up the trail to Kokoda.

But that's enough wittering, on with some pics!


 2" Mortar and Boys AT teams

Bren Teams

Bren and Tommy guns were issued to the rest of the 39th as they departed up the trail.

Corporals (junior leaders)

Officer, Sergeant (senior leaders) and Radio

Dismounted Tank Crew

Some M3 Stuart tanks from B Squadron of the 2/6th Armoured Regiment saw service at Buna and Sanananda, but most fell prey to Japanese anti aircraft guns. These two could represent objectives in a rescue mission.

The figures are all 28mm Perry metals from their 8th Army range.  I do have some of the plastics, which might appear later on in the Challenge.

I went with green helmets to help distinguish the militia from the AIF.  It was while I was painting these that I again kicked myself for having started my Australian project with several layers of highlights as I was bound to continue this.  For this lot I decided to try to speed things up by skipping my initial wash step - it didn't save any time as it made it more difficult to determine where to apply highlights. The Perry figures didn't help - they're a lot smaller than the figures I've painted so far and have more creases and folds in the uniforms.


The AIF 7th Division was also sent to New Guinea in 1942.  21 Brigade were sent up the trail, the 2/14th battalion leading.  They joined the 39th Battalion at Isurava.


Bren Teams

Vickers MMG

This won't be used for Kokoda Trail campaing games as the senior commanders believed that it would be impossible to carry heavy weapons across the Owen Stanley Range, leaving the Australian troops there with just LMGs and 2" mortars.  Perhaps someone should have told the Japanese that it was impossible - they carried forward MMGs, HMGs, medium mortars and small artillery pieces!

At least I can use them for Malaya...

Corporals (junior leaders)

Officers (senior leaders)

These figures are 28mm from Artizan. They will be joined by some Warlord Games plastics and metals for my AIF force.

The very senior officer is from the Thrilling Tales range.  I saw the figure while browsing and thought "Hmm, that could be General Blamey" (the most senior officer in the Australian army) - he might be used as an objective marker "Blamey's plane has been shot down near Japanese positions - you must rescue him (NB do not give this mission to members of 21 Brigade after the 9 November 1942 Koitaki parade).

Of course, these figures can also be used for Australians in the Middle East and Greece.

For scoring:
47 x 28mm foot = 235 points
1 x 28mm Vickers = 5 points (it's small - count it as foot)
Total = 240 points

Great entry Tamsin. My interest in WWII is usually focused on Normandy or North Africa and so I freely admit my knowledge of the war in the Far East is 'lacking'. Well you've piqued my interest now and I'm going to have to pull out some history books and have a read up! I love that story of the rivalry between the CDF and the AIF and I can imagine some ripe language was used on both sides when describing their counterparts. 

I'm going to stick with the official scoring on the Vickers and give you 10 points for this. It may be a small Crew Served Weapon but for my money the Vickers was one of the most important weapons of the war. Easy to build, easy to maintain and ruthlessly efficient and very reliable it did its job so well it was in service for over 50 years. With the 235 points for the infantry that gives you a total of 245 points for this entry. 


  1. Cracking work on that Aussie goodness!

  2. What a great entry Tamsin, really like how these have come out.

  3. Not only are these lovely painted Aussies, and everyone knows there can never be enough Aussies right?, but the background info is very welcome too! If I would have to choose I'd say the vickers-team is my favourite, really good stuff Tamsin

  4. A very impressive entry in quantity and quality, and many thanks for the history lesson too!! I'm ashamed to recognise my total lack of knowledge of the Pacific Theater in 2WW, my interests have always been around the North African, West and (to a minor extent) the East European Theaters. You have picqued my curiosity in any case. Congrats for this entry

  5. Wow - real quality in quantity. A fantastic and very interesting entry. My very limited knowledge of WW2 in the Far East did not cover any of this fascinating info - thank you!

  6. These are great. Nice historical background too.

  7. Great looking bunch of Aussies!
    Best Iain

  8. Excellent work on both forces Tamsin! Like others I have to admit to a certain lack of knowledge when it comes to the Pacific theatre. So thanks for the background.

  9. Terrific work, Tamsin. I love seeing (and reading about) these often overlooked, but undoubtedly vital campaigns. Lovely brushwork Tamsin.

  10. Great stuff Tamsin. I’ve not much stomach for Pacific campaigns personally, two great uncles lost in Malaya. But I appreciate a well thought out force, especially when it’s as nicely painted as yours. Great history lesson too!

  11. Excellent work. As a side note...when Australia was under direct attack, (Darwin Bombed, Sydney mini sub attack) the Aussie PM asked the Brits to send back the Divisions in North Africa. Britain REFUSED! WTF! Took a while to get them back and I think that was one of the turning points that saw Australia forge a greater military bond with the U.S.A. ever since.
    Anyway I still think about getting fit enough to go on a Kokoda Trail guided hike one day in the future.

    Really great job on these miniatures. Cheers

  12. Fantastic painting, and great history info. Awesome post Tamsin!

  13. Impressive points bomb. Love the figures.

  14. These are great. I love seeing non-Aussies get enthused about the Anzacs. I like the officer and feel sorry for the radioman!

  15. Lovely work and always great to get the background too.

  16. Cracking work Tamsin! That's quite a points bomb you've managed to drop!

  17. Very nice Tamsin. I'm never quite sure about 28mm WW2 (too used to my 15's), but these look great!

  18. Outstanding stuff Tamsin. One of my fave postings of this AHPC. Tremendously well-painted and an inspirational piece :-)

  19. Wonderful painting and a really interesting history lesson. More of this, please.

  20. A crackin' entry Tamsin. The figures look terrific!

  21. @ Lee - thanks and glad you like them! For a good introduction to the 1942/1943 campaigns in New Guinea, I would recommend "A Bastard Of A Place" by Peter Brune.

    @ Fran - cheers, big fella :)

    @ Ken - thanks! :)

    @ Sander - cheers! Glad the background info was interesting :)

    @ Benito - thank you! My own knowledge of the Pacific theatre was very limited until I started on the Aussies, and is still quite limited - just the Chindit operations and the early New Guinea campaigns that I know a reasonable amount about, with a smattering about the later Aussie campaigns.

    @ Martin C - cheers! :)

    @ Peter A - thanks! The Kokoda Trail campaign is quite fascinating to read about :)

    @ Paul SS - cheers! :)

    @ Iain - thanks! :)

    @ Christopher - cheers! :)

    @ Nick - thanks! It is a theatre that tends to be overlooked by people, which makes it all the more enjoyable to read about :)

    @ Curt - cheers! The Kokoda Trail campaign was vital - if Port Moresby had been captured, the Japanese would have been in range to bomb much of Australia, which would have hampered the ability of the US and Australian forces to use it as a base for building up the forces to recapture the Pacific islands.

    @ Peter D - thanks! I can imagine that your family losses would put you off wanting to game that part of WW2.

    @ Brendon - cheers! Yup, Churchill even tried to divert their troop ships to India to shore up the 14th Army. Luckily the Australians had insisted on retaining independent command of their divisions - one of the few good things one can say about Blamey.
    I'm also hoping to hike the Kokoda Trail at some point, if I can get myself fit enough :)

    @ Greg B - thanks! :)

    @ Scooba - cheers! :)

    @ Barks - thanks! I think my initial interest was sparked by Warlord's release of of their range - I think they reminded me that my first pack of Airfix figures were the 1:32 Australians.
    Which of the four officers is it that you liked?

    @ Jamie M - cheers! :)

    @ Samuli - thanks! Only a small points bomb! :)

    @ James - cheers! For platoon level games, 28mm is fine and they do look good. That being said, if I'd known there were 15mm ranges, I might have gone for them but they wouldn't have ended up looking quite as nice :)

    @ Blax - cheers, Simon! :)

    @ Noel - thanks! There probably will be more of them later in the Challenge - I've got about 70 plastic figures to paint :)

    @ Ray - cheers, m'dear! :)

  22. Very spectacular work there, Tamsin!

  23. Brilliant work Tamsin, top shelf stuff!