Thursday, 25 January 2018

From GregB: Cold War Canadians in 15mm, eh? (54 Points)

Canadian Leopard C1s in 1/100 scale for "Team Yankee"

My pent-up interest in Cold War armour has been well and truly unleashed in this edition of the AHPC! I haven't painted this many 15mm tanks in several years, and it has been a lot of fun so far. I love tanks! After a couple of weeks of working up my West German Bundeswehr forces, we turn today to another NATO member - my home team, the Canadians!

During most of the Cold War, and particularly the mid-80s period envisioned by the game "Team Yankee",  Canada's contribution to the forward-deployed land defences of West Germany was the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group. They were based in the Central Front zone and were intended to act as a reserve for the US VII Corps or German II Corps. While the 4th CMBG was mostly a mechanized formation, with stout infantry of the Royal Canadian Regiment and the "Vandoos" trooping around in M113 APCs, the cutting edge were the Leopard C1s of the Royal Canadian Dragoons.

The Canadian contingent was not a large force overall compared to the other NATO elements in 1980s Western Europe, but it was well-trained and would have given a solid performance if called on, I have no doubt.  As I have mentioned in my other Cold-War-Gone-Hot postings, thank goodness (at so many levels) that this is all fictional, as several friends, including a few Fawcett Avenue Conscripts, served in and around these formations...

Leopard C1 troop - 1/100 models from "Armies Army"
In NATO reserve, the Canadians could expect to be waiting for a Soviet breakthrough, and be sent to block it. NATO commanders would expect them them to stop and hold these Warsaw Pact elements for 24, 48 hours or longer, while other NATO formations rallied and counter-attacked.  The Leopard C1s of the Royal Canadian Dragoons would have been key to these expectations. So for me any "Team Yankee" type games with Canadians would start with getting models to represent the Leopard C1s.

Armies Army models - showing the lovely casting of the low-light TV system over the mantlet, and the FN MAG on the cupola
The Leopard 1 was a widely exported tank, and trying to make sense of all the countless small variations that seem to emerge on the different versions used by different nations (Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Australia, Italy, Brazil, and more) gives one a headache.  For example, one of the most widely-used variants is the "Leopard 1 A1A1" - WTF??? It's like they were varying them almost as soon as they came off the assembly line! Did some country out there use a Leopard 1 A1A1A2.5??? Maybe! I'm scared to check...

And while I'm not much of a rivet-counter (or so I like to believe, at least), I still get bugged by little details, small things here and there that still stand out on even small model.  Get them right, and bang, it all "looks" right!  Get them wrong and it's...well, it's OK...but it just bugs me...

Leopard C1 in 1/100 scale from Plastic Soldier Company - the FN MAG on the cupola is from Peter Pig; the decals on this tank are 1/87 - and the Canadian flag on the front plate is my own useful identifier for tabletop purposes...I don't think they actually had a big marking on the front of the tanks like that...
In the case of the Leopard C1s, two such "little details" nagged at me.  One was the targeting system mounting on the main gun mantlet - a container for a low-light TV and other gadgetry designed to help the gunners engage targets in darkness. On the Bundeswehr Leopard 1s this is a box-shaped gadget, but on the Canadian C1s it is a sort-of rounded cage. Why? Well, the Canadians had a different camera/targeting system. The other "little detail" is the cupola MG.  On the Bundeswehr tanks this is an MG3 (a.k.a. MG42), but the Canadian Forces had a 7.62mm MG, I think was the FN MAG, mounted up there.  Even in a very small scale like 1/100, the MG3 has such an iconic silhouette that the vehicle looks German.

Should either of these things really matter on a 1/100 scale model of a tank? Well, no...but...yes! What is wrong with me?  I'm such a DORK.

Another view of the PSC models...the targeting camera is not as detail as it is on the Armies Army model, but still great and well done to PSC for thinking of those sorts of "little things"...
The popularity of the period and scale sparked by the entry of a large player like Battlefront has inspired the creativity of some of the smaller figure companies to step up and offer more models. Plastic Soldier Company issued a box of plastic Leopard 1s that could be built as the "C1" variant used by the Canadian Forces. "Armies Army", another fringe-ish producer of cool 15mm figures did even more, producing, in late 2017, a full range of Canadian infantry, Leopard C1s, M113s, M150s (APCs with a TOW launcher) and even the Lynx recon tracks. WOW. So of course I ordered a bunch of here we go...naturally the Leopards were first under the brush...

There are nine tanks in the photos here - three are from the Plastic Soldier Company, and the balance are from Armies Army.  The Plastic Soldier Company models are a treat to assemble, and they have options for the little targeting camera on the mantlet to suit the Canadian variant, which is just great for a nutter like me! Only downside if the cupola MG is still the German MG3, and that is the only option on the sprue.  I worked around that by swapping in some FN MAGs from a pack of Peter Pig 1/100 IDF Centurion Shots that I haven't painted yet (long-abandoned Lebanon project - don't ask).

The Armies Army vehicles are a mix of resin and metal parts. I love that the Armies Army variant comes with all of the proper accessories - the FN MAG for the cupola, a well-sculpted thermal jacket on the main gun barrel, etc.  PLUS he sells you tons of stowage, something I will add more on later. But they are slightly trickier to assemble - you don't get the razor-sharp precision you do with the plastic kits from PSC. With the treads in particular there were a few challenges...but in all, the Armies Army effort is just so cool because it is so utterly complete - well aligned to the mind of a wargaming nutter like me!

AND, major bonus, you can get DECALS! Yes, the little things that really finish off the models! The downside is that, other than the maple leaf on the turret, the decals are hard to see, as they are small and the black stencils don't show well on the green.  Or, they might show in the photos if I ever purchase a light box - but, if you ever see me buying one of those, you'll know I have finally painted every single figure and model I ever want to paint and have moved on to less important things...but anyway...

Ready to roll out against the Warsaw Pact, eh?

It's just as good that most of the symbols don't show up too much...the Canadian forces used a series of call signs, numbers, letters and symbols on their vehicles that would leave ancient Byzantine commanders asking "Are you sure? Seems a touch complicated..." Mostly I just wanted to be sure the Maple Leaf showed up on the tabletop - and it does!  One of the tanks you see here does have larger decals than the others - these are from a 1/87 scale decal sheet, while the rest are from Armies Army 1/100 decals.  I reason the one with the larger decals is just an extreme patriot of some sort, and I'll use it as a Squadron commander or something.

And so, we have a couple of troops from the Royal Canadian Dragoons ready for action on the gaming table tonight! As newly-painted models, what could go wrong?

Keen to try any of these models yourself? I would say "go nuts" with either provider, but to further confuse things (so appropriate for a post about Leopard 1s and Canadians), Plastic Soldier Company appears to have acquired Armies Army...while all involved are excellent folks to deal with, I'm not precisely sure what plans PSC will have for the Armies Army Leopard models. But I do recommend BOTH products. 

Furthermore, Battlefront itself has hinted at providing figures for Canadians later this year, part of a rules expansion to be called "Free Nations" or something similar...but if you are like me, and you don't like waiting, go visit PSC right now!

Enough blather! Bottom line, nine 15mm vehicles painted here, should be good for another 54 points or so.  With that, I'm off for a little bit! All the best to the Challengers, keep the great submissions rolling in, it's all very inspiring.

I love it!  Your commentary on what you did and didn't like really made me chuckle.  I don't think anybody reading this will be unfamiliar with the process of things feeling "not right".  I hope you also went through the "talking yourself into the fact that nobody will notice and therefore it'll be alright" even though you know you'll never be happy with it and so changing your mind the next day?  And I like how you nonchalantly mention that you just happened to have exactly the right MG in another pack lying on the shelves of holding ;)

I like the highlighting you've done on these, dark green can be such a bear to highlight without looking cartoony and I think this is just right.  The usual excellent basing work and the decals really work to make them "fit" on the tabletop.

As ever, a pleasure to see the story behind the painting and 54 points winging their way to you over the interweb.

KenR : 28mm WW2 Desert Pick n Mix (130 points)

Continuing with my alternate 28mm WW1 / 2 entries, this week I have this motley bunch of odds and sods for both my Italian and British Forces for North Africa.

Basically I need this lot for our next Op Compass game so needs must etc.

So for the Italians first up is this Perry's Italian 75mm Field gun and 4 crew, typically superb Perry's miniatures, I love the poses on these figures and the mix of uniform, or lack of it.

Followed by these 3 Italian Tankettes, it's a brave soul who gets in one of these, great for the Italian Colonial Campaigns before the war but in 1940 these were seriously out of date. Most newly painted troops are likely to have a rough time first time on the table, these will any time.

And finally for the Brits are these two Rolls Royce Armoured Cars and crew, painted in the official Caunter Scheme Colours, no fading to blue grey here.

So I make that 1 crew served weapon for 10 with 4 crew at 5 a piece for the gun (30), 3 x 15 for the three Tankettes with half points on the six crew 5pts x 3 (60) and 2 x 15 for the Armoured Cars and 5 pts for the two crew (35), so a total of 125 points.

Next up back to the WW1 with some Highlanders before I have a go at my first ever German Armour.

One of the things I really enjoy about the challenge is seeing armies come together and all this desert stuff is an absolute treat!

My favourite vehicles are the Rolls Royce armoured cars.... a real touch of sophistication to grace the battlefield!  If the Great Gatsby decided to go Postal, I reckon this is what he'd use.....  And more handpainted Caunter to boot?  Lovely stuff.

Those little Italian tankettes look even less reliable than your average alfa romeo.... brave souls indeed!

Your scoring is absolutely spot on and I'm going to add another 5 points for all the hand painted Caunter you've put out there (and the fact some of it is on Rolls Royces!)

From NickJ: Kairic Acolytes 4 Bloodletters 2 (30 Pts)

Once upon a Replication.

What do you mean it's Thursday again? Already? Seriously these weeks are going far too fast for my little old paint brush to keep up with...

Now if you remember in the previous episode I managed a whole 1 Kairic Acolyte due to planning issues. Well the good news is I've completed 4 times as many Acolytes this week; the bad news is the other 15 are sat merrily at about 65% done!

Apologies for the quality of the photos. My camera is really making everything brighter than it is, especially the bases... really must invest in a lightbox of some sort. Maybe in time for the next Challenge!

I blame work entirely. We have a major project going live at the beginning of February so I've spent the last week sat in meetings with teams from around the world planning down to the last detail. Sadly I can't take my hobby stuff in to the office but I reckon if I could I'd have had this lot done. Yes the meetings really are that exciting.
This unit might be taking me a while but I'm loving the detail on them.

This weapon is a Glaive apparently. You can have 3 of these for every 10 Acolytes. Not sure what they do as that would entail reading the rules :-)

The "Gold" centre on the Glaive isn't gold; it's a lead metallic with a yellow wash. I didn't want to use the gold as that would detract from the facemask.
This chap appears to have a love heart tattoo! It was actually a mistake with the metallic paint on the shoulder pad as I hit his arm with the brush. Couldn't be bothered to try and redo the skin tone so opted for painting a scar... at least that's what I thought I did!
 I haven't toned down the facemask as I want it to zing on the table top...
Some poses even have their shield on their back. It's a great little touch adding plenty of variety to the unit.
And just to prove there are now 5 completed here they are in all their Tzeentch Glory.

Just another 15 to go...

And then we have the BFG bonus round. I spent quite some time agonising over whether to completely redo a Khorne Skull Cannon that I'd previously started painting but had then left languishing on the shelves. In the end I decided not to as I think the existing colours work but need lots of TLC - so that'll happen after the Challenge.

However, I did completely repaint the Bloodletter Crew and this is where the replication in the opening line comes from.

Last year I painted 10 Bloodletters and had fun with their fiery swords. As I have more Bloodletters to paint I wanted to make sure I could replicate the sword effect and I reckon I've come pretty close; sadly the camera seems intent on making my yellow look far more yellow than it really is!
I opted to not paint the Bloodletters fully red to further distinguish these chaps as gun crew rather than infantry.
And here they are manning their Skull Cannon.

Plenty of work to do on the cannon and the base (which is my old Daemon army colour at the minute). That's a target for later this year and hopefully I'll complete it before the next Challenge!!

So an interesting week and again I've fallen short on the Kairics. Next week Rodney...

That's 6 x 28mm = 30 Points. And that should put me over half way to my target! Yay!

I knew that sending Nick "encouraging" messages every hour, on the hour for the ENTIRE week would get him working!

I do like the purple you've used on the swords, glaive, knives and other items primarily used for slicing open the unbelievers, suitably horrible for the nasty little chaps.  The colour combos are working as well as last week and the growing mass of numbers really brings them together.

Those Bloodletters look suitably nasty too, the two tone skin works well with the flamey swords of dooooooom that they're carrying.  30 points is absolutely right and you're smashing towards your target this year!

Anthony O - Empire of Dust Chariot Horde 125 points

So I have something new again this week with the commencement of my Empire of Dust force for Kings of War. There is something more than a passing resemblance to the old Warhammer Tomb Kings in the force structure of the Empire of Dust and as such the fantastic Games Workshop miniatures can still be used.


I want to really make this army a showpiece and as I have never painted an undead army before a bit of an adventure for myself. I decided to use the turquoise type of colour to contrast against the skeletons and unify the force.

A chariot horde is not the most effective unit in my experience but I would not think a Egyptian undead army would be seen without one on the field being such an iconic unit.

I have a bunch more skeletons to do over the coming weeks and I may even concentrate on these guys to get as much down as I can during the challenge.

All up there are five chariots, ten horses and ten skeletons so I scored them as a vehicle with a bit extra to represent the extra details giving me 100 points (open to discretion of Minion).

Ah, one of the Thursday stalwarts in with yet another brilliant submission.  Variety is the spice of life, so they say, so I'm looking forward to the ruleset that will allow undead charioteers to fight Chinese Gangsters whilst both are attacked by Aussie commandoes!  I dare any of you to say you wouldn't buy that ruleset ;)

Anyway, I think the turquoise works terrifically with the gold and bone colours and I think the enemy will be terrified with these rattling towards them.... I know I would be!  It is a shame GW "squatted" the army as the figures were brilliant, but well done Mantic for picking them up for their ruleset.

Scoring chariots is new to me, so I've checked with Head Office and have been given the liberty to wield my abacus and decide upon 25 points each as a mix between two cavalry plus 5 for the chariot and scoring it as a 28mm vehicle with a couple of crew - so 125 points in total, well done Anthony!

Thursday's here - pacing itself nicely

Image result for fallout 4 resting

Sometimes in a challenge, you have to catch your breath, take a break and feel well rested.

Looks like it's the Thursday crew's turn to take a well deserved breather this week after a month of diligent and regular posting, as we only have a couple on deck today.  Makes a lot of sense and pacing yourself is an important part of the challenge - I know the feeling only too well as I won't be getting anything in for my day this week either.
Anyway, I am now in a position to officially confirm that the points for the "BFG" theme round have been tabulated, calculated, amortised over their useful economic life, differentiated, viewed through a microscope, checked for fake news, pored over by a special investigator and finally added to the scores on the side so jolly well done to all of you who took part as it was fantastic to see so many great entries!  (voting is still open if you haven't chosen your favourite too.....)
So without further ado, onto the entries!