Category Archives: 15mm Miniatures Wargames

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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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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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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Humble Pie is Delicious!

Having ranted about the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) 6 pdr in my last post, I put the model together and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was wrong! Next to a Peter Pig (PP) 6 pdr, the PSC offering actually looks slightly smaller, wider and thinner. Next to a 1/76 model it is obviously 1/100.

IMG_7760 (2)

From top to bottom: Airfix PP, PSC 6 pdrs

A correctly-scaled standing figure should be able to rest his shirt pocket on the top of the gun shield and crouch down to see through the gunsight, but as the PSC gunshield is 14mm off the ground, and the PP is 13mm neither is possible. However, as the PSC gunner is 11mm to his eye when kneeling, he must be a Guardsman, making the gun look smaller than it really is! Others have already commented that Flames of War models are exaggerated in the vertical axis to compensate for the thickness of the figure base, as common FoW practice is not to base tanks. Olicanalad’s excellent basing shows why this should not be an issue.

6 Pdrs

I fished my Airfix 6pdr out, and it is noticibly larger than the PSC 15mm jobbie, but here’s the thing; the PP overscale barrel looks more like the picture below to my eyes than the PSC offering, which is visually a little thin but is probably to scale (I don’t have a micrometer handy)*.

Desert6Pdr

With the 3.7cm Pak, the situation is reversed. Here, the PSC offering is visibly higher (15mm) and longer than PP (12mm). (The gun is listed as 1.17m tall).

37mm Pak 36

In appearance however, the PP 3.7cm Pak 36 looks too small, but this is due to the thickness of the figure bases, as I was too lazy to do what YesthatPhil does, which is to shim the gun up. I looked more closely at the crew figures on the PSC sprues to find a visible difference in height and bulk between different figures on the same sprue – so I’m still not entirely happy. At least I can use the PSC 6 pdrs! Previously, I never really cared about this sort of stuff; must be getting old.

37mm Pak 36 (2)

*We’ve been here before.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, Artillery, DAK, Modelling, Western Desert, WWII

Desert Floristry*

The simple addition of florist’s wire has given these 15cwt trucks that little extra that they need for the Western Desert, adding canopies to increase the desert feel. The frames have seen hard wear and are knocked about, suiting my uneven modelling skills!

15 Cwt Trucks with Florist Wire Tilts

*Desert floristry should not be confused with a Desert Rose, which is essentially a portable gent’s urinal favoured by the 8th Army.

 

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On the Workbench – Steroidal Scale Creep

I was looking forward to the PSC 15mm Fallschirmjäger pack and first impressions were favourable – it includes four of the 7.5 cm Leichtgeschütz 40. with crew ….. Animation of the kneeling figures is a bit flat, but nothing that grouping them around the guns won’t hide.

The standing figures are nicely proportioned, but hang on … 20mm figures are creeping back into my collection by the back door.  Imagine my surprise when a kneeling PSC Jäger proved to be nearly as tall (13mm ground to eye when kneeling!) as a Standing Piggie. The oversized little scamps are creeping in on their knees, because the standing figures on the same PSC sprue measure in between 14 and 15mm ground to eye. It is very poor, and simply won’t do!

A stand of three strength pointsThis is not an optical illusion. The kneeling PSC chaps are only two millimetres shorter than the correctly sized standing Piggie.

That’s not all; the 6 pounder is not much smaller than the Airfix 1/76 version, both of which I have in my collection. The  barrel should be 2.54m long or 25.4mm. It actually measures 33mm, making the gun about 1/76 by my calculations. The situation is the same with the German early war heavy weapons – they look noticibly overscale compared to Piggies, Command Decision and Zvezda.

I already knew that the PSC SdKfz 251 is over scale compared to everyone else’s. It must be to fit the new oversized  grenadiers into. That’s a shame because the PSC boxes are otherwise excellent, but I probably won’t be buying many more now unless they are offering something that is unavailable elsewhere. If I had wanted 1/76 scale, I would have kept my original collection. Sigh, I wonder how overscale the medium trucks will be, and if anyone does scalecrept 12mm that will fit in with my 15s!

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, German Airforce, Modelling, Wehrmacht, WWII

Peter Pig Custom Packs

Operational wargamers know that packs of troops based on tactical company level games do not fill all the gaps in the orbats. Martin Goddard (who is a very nice chap) is besieged by requests from wargamers for items such as Goumiers or late war Waffen SS with captured Russian SMGs, so he is not going to sell many packs of Soviet pioneers or road mending gangs. This need not be an obstacle for an enterprising modeller with an eye for the main chance. I have bought enough packs over the years to fill my gaps from within the ranges, but if I were the pestering sort, this is what I would be asking for:

Soviet Infantry Division Pioneer BattalionThese Russian Pioneers are from the WW1 Range

Sappershttp://www.thememoryproject.com/stories/154:stanley-herbert-williams/

Range 8 – Custom Pack 1 :  Men Standing About, Waiting for Something to Happen.

Every Army has them, hanging around bridges, cook houses and headquarters.

Range 8 – Custom Pack 2 :  Chaps  in Shirtsleeves or Bare Chests and Wellies.

This pack has just shifted a ton of artillery ammunition. A few head packs will convert them to the nationality of your choice. Most often found hanging around big artillery pieces. If your preference is for Gunners Waving Gaily, then Martin is your man – his figures are full of animation, so far too exitable for big guns. To be fair though, he does have bare chested 8th Army Gunners. Some even have shells – Hurrah!

chest

This lucky infantry RHQ has the Army's only Nimrod AA attached for an important rearguard action

This lucky infantry RHQ has the Army’s only Nimrod AA attached for an important rearguard action

Range 8 – Custom Pack 3 :  Officers Pointing Importantly.

Fortunately, Martin already spreads these chaps liberally around his ranges. Sadly, the pack that he should have made – British Officers Looking Lost – never made it out of the moulds.

Range 8 – Custom Pack 3 : Trudging Infantry.

Trudging in SnowTrudging in snow.

Marching is what infantry do in front of the camera, especially Mussolini’s boys. The rest of the time, they trudge; occasionally they shamble. Usually, they do it with heavy loads of ammunition, or looted chickens. The early packs of PSC infantry were very good in this respect, the later packs have stumpier legs and are forced into more dramatic, but flatter, poses to compensate.

shamblingA bit more shambling going on here.

Range 8 – Custom Pack 5 : Squaddies Getting Pished.

This pack is a simple combination of a piano, seated driver and Brit drinking tea. Martin already makes dancing Cossacks; and for Dead Drunk Russians, a casualty pack is totally accurate. Look to the morale markers in other ranges. I successfully made a militiaman giving the middle finger out of the medieval Men Being Rude pack.

beutewagen

In 15mm, usually all that is needed to fool the eye is a thick coat of paint. Tim Gow is a firm believer in the idea that the dodgier the conversion, the bigger the Balkankreuz needs to be. I have looted figures from the Peter Pig WW1, AK47 and ACW ranges, slipping them in here and there like little Easter eggs for the discerning operational wargamer..

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