Brixcon 2004 Religious Army

My 2004 AK47 RELIGIOUS ARMY

The Imperial Bokassan Navy 

(Who needs a Coastline when you have Big Rivers?)

This army was designed to attack. The tanks were spread evenly between the first two units in case one did not arrive on move one – a common occurrence. Unit 3 sported an RCL on a jeep, a poor man’s tank. The 3 militia units had a mortar for ranged fire. Heavy weapons proved tricky to deploy when attacking. I found also that large militia units were more of a hindrance than a help. They were too big to manoeuvre, and merely presented a large target for collateral damage-causing weapons.

Unit One Regular – Imperial Naval Guard

4 Small Arms, 1 Tank, 120pts

Unit Two Regular – Imperial Marines

4 Small Arms, 1 Tank, 120pts (The Picture Below Shows 6 infantry)

AK47 2004 unit 1

Unit Three Militia – Marine Bicycle Brigade

8 Small Arms, 1 Inf Mortar, 1 RCL on Jeep (Only 6 infantry shown, and no mortar) 78pts

AK47 2004 unit 3

Unit Four Militia – Naval Supergun Brigade

7 Small Arms, 1 Inf Mortar, 1 Inf RPG, 1 HMG 90pts

AK47 2004 unit 4 militia

Unit Five Militia – Sisters of Last Resort

6 Small Arms, 1 Inf Mortar, 1 Inf RPG, 1 HMG 83pts

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True-scale Winter Camouflage

With perfect timing, spring is creeping across the United Kingdom as I paint The Den in more coats of winter white! Running my idea for aero-themed Soviet camo schemes past the lovely Mrs K produced a Look.* She might accept a bit of duck egg green on the trim lines though. On reflection , the look might have been because of the unflattering military onesie. I can’t see why anyone would not like my proposed scheme.

The Look!

na Rodina

*Every happily married chap knows the one that I mean.

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Brixcon 2005

Brixcon 2005 

Doctor Evil's Secret Headquarters ... (Pic: Paul Hooper)

Doctor Evil’s Secret Headquarters … (Pic ©: Paul Hooper)

Brixcon 2005 was the fourth AK47 convention. My AK47 Armies were all slightly silly, in the way that the Monster Raving Loony Party is. Modern Africa is such a complex Continent, that I could only approach it sideways with offbeat humour. How else can you contemplate a Continent that is riven apart by AIDS,  Warlords murdering and raping at will, children abducted and forced to murder, governments stuffed with kleptocrats and corrupt officials, mass genocides … the list is endless.

The remains of the Imperial Bokassan Navy in the land-locked river estuary (Pic ©: Paul Hooper)

2004’s ‘Imperial Bokkassan Navy‘ was a sideswipe at the inflated pomposity of African Dictators. In 2005 I decided to poke fun at mercenaries, and the art of commercial hype as practiced by Western free-market companies.

Say hello to ‘Executive Incomes‘ the hottest Executive Influence Effectors on the Continent. Our motto is ‘On time and On Target – Affordable Solutions Incoming.’

Whatever I might have thought about my army, it was soon nicknamed “Doctor Evil’s Army” by everyone, as my terrain was a massive Secret Base in the style of those loved by evil villains in every Bond movie that you have ever seen. Have you ever wondered how all those evil henchmen in the secret control room got to work? Well I did, and I gave the secret base a car park!

Complete with Evil Car Park! (Pic ©: Paul Hooper)

Thanks went to the Organiser – Graham Evans, The Umpire – Martyn Simpson, and to Peter Pig, QRF, and Tradewinds who donated prizes. The late Roy Harrison had made much on the AK47 forums of helicopters prior to the tournament. I didn’t think that religious loonies would have any, but I did bring an AA heavy army just in case!

My first 2005 game  was against Rex King, a who was a nice bloke with scary tattoos. I got stuck in early with my armour, and lost half of it straight away, as is normal. Rex used helicopters, and I had great fun blazing away away at them with my AA units. It was gratifying to see that the helicopters skirted the AA, but flew close enough to my infantry to enable them to shoot one down. First victory to the little chaps! I immediately reminded Rex that the title of the film was “Black Hawk Down

The game was close throughout, and Rex gave as good as he got. In the final moves, with everything in the balance, my general waded into the thick of the battle to try and swing things my way. He went down in a hail of AK47 rounds, and I narrowly lost on points.

If all the battles were going to be this much fun then it was looking good! We retired to the Red Lion for beer and food.

AK47 Wildly Optimistic AA UnitGame One – my Unit Three went looking for helicopters with an unfeasably large AA gun.

My second game was against Graeme Gee, on a rather splendid river valley built by Paul Mileham. After the political phase, Graeme only had two armoured car units on the table, so I made evil hay whilst the sun shone and ganged up on one of the AC units, destroying it totally.

AK47 Evil RPG

Game Two – Evil Villains take a pot at an Armoured Car on a carpet tile savannah

Graeme’s second unit had rushed to the rescue over the central river bridge, but had not arrived in time. It defended a narrow defile caused by the table edge and a built up area, delaying me for long enough to allow reinforcement units to arrive. Nevertheless, I managed to claim my objectives, and destroy enough of Graeme’s units to claim a narrow evil victory.

AK47 Evil Henchmen in Evil NBC Suits!

Game Two – Evil Henchmen moving up to assault Graeme’s Armoured Cars

Graeme’s dapper goatee beard never twitched once, even when his fifth armoured car finally went up in a cloud of oily black smoke. A very cool customer under fire!

My third 2005 game was against Kenn Natt. It was simultaneously the most entertaining and bizarre of all the games, as Kenn had fielded Martian Settlers!! He also mounted his general in a professional tank, which was a facet of the rules that no-one else had spotted.

I was attacking again, of course, and set to against Ken’s army with a will. By this stage of the tournament, no-one was surprised to see Ken’s two helicopters doing a “men against fruit*” shuffle to avoid my now-infamous anti-aircraft units.** It didn’t help him though – I shot down both of them within touching distance of each other. Cue evil laughter!

AK47 Crashed Helicopter!

Game Three – Is it a UFO? No, it’s a Helicopter!

For most of the game, Ken had attached his General to a Militia unit holding the central town. He is a noted defensive general par exellence. I poured fire into this unit and assaulted it, hoping that it would fail enough morale tests to vanish, taking the General with it. In the nick of time, The General moved over to a new unit of armoured cars that had just arrived. I was sweeping over the board, and it was only a matter of time before the Aliens were reduced to green Goo. (Ken had thoughtfully brought his own Goo markers too!)

AK47 Tank and Armoured Cars .... seriously!

Game Three – Ken’s General and 3 ‘armoured cars’ making sure of an objective!

At the final countdown, it was going to be close. Ken was contesting all 3 objectives, but looking decidedly outgunned on two of them. I then discovered that to claim shot-down Helicopters, you actually had to capture them as objectives. My General was 1″ too far away to count! I lost by a narrow margin but again had the moral satisfaction of having cleared the sky of Helicopters.  I resolved to read the rules more closely in 2006 – served me right!

AK47 The Other Wildly Optimistic AA in Unit 3

Game Three – Surreal moment: Dr Evil’s Armour hunts down the Martians. Note the second unfeasably large twin AA gun.

Now, what was the title of that Black Hawk film again? Oh Yes, “Black Hawk Down!”

* Men Against Fruit – A game invented by the late Dr. Paddy Griffith. You randomly fill the dining room table with fruit, and hide 54mm toy soldiers behind them. One player moves, then the opponent shoots. You each move one soldier alternately, in turn. You kill an enemy soldier if you can draw a line of sight from your soldier’s eyes to any part of the enemy soldier. The game ends when all the soldiers on one side are shot. Simple.

**You make a unit infamous by dancing with glee and cackling every time it shoots at a helicopter. Folk are rightly wary of this sort of behaviour.

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Albert Thompson 1919-2016

Dunkirk Bray Dunes 1940

Albert Thompson 1919-2016

Suzanne’s father died recently. He was typical of his generation, in that he fought in World War Two, was shaped by what he saw and carried those beliefs and qualities with him through life. He had a Victorian upbringing, being raised by his great grandparents. His first job as an agricultural worker was sealed with a handshake, and on payday, one year later, he bought a bicycle, a suit, stout boots and a pair of leather gaiters. He never looked back and moved into the railways, eventually becoming an engine driver – a skilled occupation in the days of steam. He once drove the Mallard, but was not sentimental and approved of the move to diesel, with heated cabs and lower maintenance.

On conscription, he became a medical orderly in the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps), crossing over to France with the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) and serving  with one of the Casualty Clearing Stations*. In common with many veterans of that campaign, he was taciturn about his experiences, telling only a few light-hearted anecdotes.

During the evacuation, one doctor and two orderlies stayed behind with the wounded, the orderlies being selected by drawing paper slips out of a hat. Albert was one of the two. At the last moment, they were released from their duties in the CCS by the doctor before the station was captured to find their way  to Bray Dunes.

This story from 12th CCS may give a flavour of the last few days of the evacuation: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/15/a2310715.shtml

WW2 People’s War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar’

During one of the many air-raids on the beach he leapt into a shell crater, to find his Uncle Jim already there.** Jim’s mates were on their way to Dunkirk, but Albert reasoned that he stood a better chance at Bray Dunes. Contemporary photographs show orderly lines of men waiting to be evacuated. Albert told a story of finding three Norton motorcycles, still in their crates, so he and his mate decided to  race them up and down the beach, eventually running them into the sea to deny them to the enemy. It was not until recently, when Suzanne was watching a documentary about Dunkirk that she heard a naval officer describe, in puzzled tones, two motorcycles racing up and down to no apparent purpose.

Albert was scheduled to be posted to North Africa, having returned to the UK (uneventfully if you were to believe his telling of it), when it was realised that he was a railwayman. He spent the rest of the war steaming up and down from the coalfields of the North to the steel mills in the Midlands carrying coal for the war industry, mostly at night.

I knew Albert as a quiet, considerate man who was not one for dwelling on the past. His passion was gardening, with a deft touch for chrysanthemums.  He was a gentleman who is survived by his two daughters, Anne and Suzanne, and his son, Brian.

Albert Thompson RAMC

*I have been unable to ascertain which one. It may have been 17th. I do not believe it to have been the 10th at Lille, or 12th. 11th is still in the frame but Suzanne thinks it may have been 6th or 7th.

**Together with a large number of cigarettes that the NAAFI, apparently, had no further use for. Jim too found his way back. The cigarettes did not.

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Brixcon 2004

Brixcon 2004 

 Brixcon 2004 was on Saturday 11th June 2004, at Brixworth Village Hall in Northamptonshire

The Bokassan Navy Supergun. I used it to denote an Airstrike!

Brixcon 2004 was the third AK47 convention. In 2003 our youngest player was 15, our oldest admits to 65+, and we had a couple of complete novices, both of whom had a great time. The emphasis was on friendly competition, and no-one took it too seriously. If they did, we fed them tea and biscuits until they calmed down. There was simply no better way to be introduced to the game of AK47 than this. People came from Scotland and the South coast for this event, it was that good!

The ‘Titan Terror Tank’ was probably the largest tank at the Tournament!

And what a convention it was! Rather than try to give an overview, here is the story from the perspective of my own AK47 army – The Bokassan Navy. They played three very enjoyable games. in 2003 they came second or third-ish. (I was never quite sure with Graham’s scoring system, and could never summon up the energy to submit him to the close grilling it would have taken to find out.) Everything was to play for this time around.

AK47 Ekranoplan

The Bokassan Navy Ekranoplan filmed by a US spy satelite. The Ekranoplan has never flown!…

My first game was against Peter Allton, a charming opponent who had a distressing ability to “roll lots of sixes” – the preferred AK47 winning strategy. My army always used the maximum number of available political points, so always attacked for preference. With a wildly inconsistent ‘Religious Army’ it was just more fun that way. Pete always apologised nicely before doing surgically unpleasant things to my militia with the dice, and my infantry spent most of the game alternately advancing and retreating to try to tempt him in close to my RPGs; no luck though, he was too smart for that.

The battle was close, right up to the last moment when my best unit, holding the key 30 point objective failed its final morale throw with a ‘one‘. I can hardly blame the dice as Peter had stayed focused on his objectives, and after disposing of my two tanks with shots one and two of his only professional tank, he had used it to good effect to dominate the centre of a very open table.

Anyone who has met me will know that I always take along as many wrecked tank models to an AK47 game as I take tanks. They are usually always all needed! I consoled myself with admiring the paint job on Peter’s tank, and blaming the Curse of the Mummy!

AK47 2004 Game 1 - Curse of the Mummy

Game One was on the Desert Sands: (Chris Ager’s Table)

Game two was against Rob Grayston, our youngest player. Last year he played me in his first ever AK47 game. This year he beat me by one point, because in the rules you gain one point if your name is Rob! (No really – buy a copy and see. I’m not making it up!) This won him the prize of luckiest player, as opposed to last year’s prize of the wooden spoon. As for the game; it see-sawed to and fro as all good AK47 games do. I was getting used to being beaten by players who are only one third of my age – hoopla! I omitted to take a photo of this table – so here is another one like it.  Note the Presidential Limos visiting the Radio Station.

AK47 Table 4Game Two in the Jungle :  (Dave O’Brien made this Table)

Game three was against Paul (Von) Mileham – against whom I played my first ever game of competitive AK47. We were both well down in the Duffer’s League by now, so we settled in for a relaxed third game. I enjoyed fighting Paul’s splendid white-suited sailors, and hated playing against his professional tanks; but this year he had brought RCLs on Land Rovers, and his tanks failed to turn up at all. I suppressed a chortle, and assumed a proper sympathetic visage, but his Landies still got one of my tanks! Oh well …

AK47 2004 game 3a

At left, you see my two regular tank/infantry units closing on their objectives. On the right are the Oil Silos, defended by Paul’s sailors ( On Martyn Simson’s Table)

 

Keeping a cool head, my infantry settled down to pound Paul’s defended positions with mortars. More troops closed the gap and this carried the day, together with my only airstrike in two tournaments. Happily, it bombed Paul’s Naval infantry on the football pitch, and not mine, who by now were around the oil silos. Well done Bigglevski!  Jolly confusing having all these sailors around, what, what! 

AK47 2004 game 3b

Paul’s defending infantry and Land rover mounted Recoilless Rifle (RCL) wondering if it is safe to come out. It isn’t!

Thanks to Paul, I ended up with a slim positive score. Thanks to Geoff and Martin on the trade stands, my wallet was thinned out too, but the new toys were well worth it.

The Photos above are all courtesy, and copyright, of Paul Hooper. His Zin Zan Website can be reached from the links page.

 

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Old School AK47

Back in the day, Graham Evans ran a series of highly regarded AK47 days at Brixworth. The two hour format of the day lent itself to three games in a day. Then the rules changed to a game that took three hours to play, so the steam ran out of the original format. Whilst they lasted, these days were my only foray into mildly competitive gaming, and were huge fun.

NTLworld, bless ’em, are farming their account holders’ free websites out to a subcontractor, so I am migrating some old stuff over to  the blog before it vanishes into the 404 void.

Brixcon  

 Brixcon was the World’s Original, and finest AK47 Tournament, held at Brixworth Village Hall in Northamptonshire 

The tournament used Peter Pig’s original AK47 Republic rules for Warlord Level Battles in Africa 1955 to 1990

Contact: graham.d.evans@ntlworld.com . (if it is still live!)

  Phil Steele’s winning entry  from the 2008 Tradewinds Outdoor Challenge for the most overloaded militia vehicle.

AK47 “Swimsuit Pictures”

Congratulations to Phil Steele for the first ever AK47 Pin-ups; they didn’t win a prize, but should have done :O)

Munchkins

The ‘Piglet’ Armoured Car. Without doubt the smallest AC at the 2003 convention on a legal 3cm x 3cm base!

A Munchkin is a term of mild scorn for a Wargamer who plays the rules to win, and cares nothing for history, or study of the subject being gamed. Ak47 Gamers are on the whole, a cheerful bunch, with little regard for gamesmanship.

The first “Munchkin” model was built after a debate on the AK47 Discussion group about the advantages to be gained by having dimensionally small or large tanks, and the smallest allowable base sizes. I decided to build a model to show what the effect would be, and the “Piglet” was born. The “Munchkin” and “Titan Terror Tank” soon followed. I had so much fun building them that my Munchkin collection is still growing (true in 2008!).

If the ‘Munchkin’ was the smallest tank on the day 2003 …

The “Thin Munchkin” is the result of someone pointing out that if a tank is not based, it can be any width (you know who you are!) Watch this space, and if you expect to drive tanks through holes in the rules, then you had better be prepared to build one!

Then the ‘ Thin Munchkin’ was the thinnest … fat crews need not apply! I had to put it on a base in the end to stop road camber from tipping it over.

In 2007, a spirited discussion ran on the RFCM website about mortars. At one point, trailer-mounted mortars were mentioned. Knowing a little about mortar recoil, I built this*:

One cannot quite see the hole that the mortar has punched through the bed of the trailer, but the state of the axle is quite plain. The crew are wondering why the shot has veered off to the right of the picture.

*The final joke is on me though, as in 2011 I read an account of an SAS party in France 1944 firing a 3″ mortar through the open roof of a Citroen saloon car. They only fired 10 rounds and the suspension was reported to be in poor condition afterwards, but even so, it worked after a fashion.

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Easter Bank Holiday

Americans raised on warm sunny Spring Breaks may be confused by the rituals of the English Easter Bank Holiday: it rains and we stay indoors, or we sortie out wearing raincoats to trudge around in a muddy field, watching re-enactors wearing heavy sodden wool coats and silly hats.*

Lots of FillerTrue scale filler comes in BIG tubs!

Wargamers usually take advantage of the poor weather to paint stuff. My weekend was spent profitably filling in joint lines on the Den, and starting to apply the first basecoat.  No shading up from black for me. I slapped on a watered down coat of white emulsion and PVA, to seal the wood and brick. My detail brush is a two-and-a-half inch Harris, but most of the stuff goes on with a four inch Harris or a roller. All this is just to give a good key for the lining paper, so nobody cares how it looks; just as well really!

More FillerWhite undercoat as applied by Soviet ground crew.

*It is a mystery why a chap in a high necked wool frock-coat and a tricorn feels warmer  than someone in three hundred quid’s worth of plastic technobabble. Perhaps it is because he is having fun and the spectators aren’t?

Disclaimer: A couple of family members are lurking on the site – hence the glut of updates that have nothing to do with NQM.

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Decks, Wooden, to be Swabbed.

The floor of the den is now where it should be:

a floor, so cunningly laid that no matter where you stood it was always under your feet.

China Story. A Goon show Script. Recorded on January 16, 1955 First broadcast on January 18, 1955. Script by Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes.

... The floor was so cunningly laid ...

Eventually, several layers of Yacht Varnish will obviate the need to employ urchins to swab it every Saturday morning, but for now the lovely Mrs K agreed to test the deck, after Sunday lunch and a tolerably good bottle of Rosé from Rheinessen.

Testing the Deck

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On the Workbench – 12cm Mortars

The PSC heavy weapons boxes continue to delight and frustrate in equal measure. The dimensions of some bits continue to be spot on, yet the proportions and bulk of the crew figures flutter about like bunting at a village fête. Even playing with the thickness of bases is not disguising the randomness of the Orkschirmjäger™ sculpts.

12cm Mortars

Here is a German 12cm Mortar next to a Peter Pig Soviet one , and four German 75mm regimental guns.

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Progress on the Den

IMG_7759 (1)

Somewhere along the line, the Lovely Mrs K. started calling my true-scale rustic lean-to “The Den“. I think it was when the floorboards were ripped up and the whole room began to resemble a deathmaze with collapsing floor panels and low wire entanglements to catch the unwary. With all the silver insulation showing, no-one would have been surprised to see a Dalek trundle through the doors, or perhaps a Cyberman asleep in a corner.

IMG_7754 (2)

The Window Chap turned up last week with the final window (the same size as the opening this time) and did a sterling job of taking out the existing frame in an undamaged state.*

IMG_7767 (1)

… So for those who care, half of the first fix wires are in, the room is weatherproof again and all the walls and the ceiling are boarded; proper job! For those who don’t, my next post will have 12cm mortars in it!

*This is important, because it is going into the garage.

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