Category Archives: 15mm Miniatures Wargames

QRF 15mm WWII Sale Review – British Artillery Limbers

Quick Reaction Force held a 15% Sale over Salute 2016. I wanted some of their logistic and command vehicles, so it was a good time to purchase. I have ordered QRF before and found their castings to be challenging to assemble, so what were the latest crop like?

BSV11 Bedford QLB Bofors tractor

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My casting was nearly complete (missing a window strut, will be easily added buuut …), was clean, square and had a minimum of mould lines, assembling easily except for the wheels, which needed propping as they dried to remain square. The crew were added by me. Nobody else makes a kit of this limber, so full marks, and recommended, being excellent value at £4.50

IMG_7760

BSV07 CMP Bofors Tractor

CMP-Bofors-tractor

This proved to be an older mould, needing a lot of cleaning up to obtain a presentable model. At £3.50 it is still excellent value for a metal kit if you are prepared to put the work in. Again, no-one else makes a model of it, so recommended if you have an hour to spare and are handy with a Dremel, metal file and set square.

The catalogue picture cunningly does not show the cab front windscreen, which had a lot of gritty flash on my example. It is a heavy undercut. The picture does show the irritating mould lines that clean off reasonably easily. The wobbly wheels need resetting again. Drybrushing simply highlights any flash that has been missed in the clean-up. Recommended , with minor caveats.

CMP Bedford Bofors AA Tractor

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Brixcon 2008 – End of an Era

Brixcon 2008 was on Saturday 7th June 2008, at Brixworth Village Hall in Northamptonshire

For 2008, the twist was that we had to provide three completely different armies. The opportunity to play with toys that are not usually allowed to religious fanatics was too good to resist. My 3 armies charted the dubious career of Captain Evil, King’s African Rifles, from his progression to Dictator and final slide into Charismatic Religious Supervillainry!

Edited highlights and thoughts: I painted the “12:1” logo on my tanks in 2008 as a piece of Ju-Ju, and a trophy from 2007’s lucky die rolling.

The Tradewinds Outdoor prize was for the small truck, technical, or small wheeled vehicle that had the most figures riding on it. Phil Steele was the worthy winner, crowding 21 figures into a long wheelbase Land Rover!

AK47 Landie WIPAK47 landie LoadedPhotos above courtesy of Phil Steele – President of the Society of Ancients (Yes, that Phil!)

AK47 full hummerQ. How many troops can you get on the truck during a retreat? A. All of them! The Author’s own modest offering built to get the ball rolling.

Game 1

The helicopter was awesome (I took a Westland Wessex model) – not for its effect, as it pottered about on the baseline trying to raise enough speed to go and bully some enemy militia – but for its devastating morale effect on the enemy once it finally got up to speed. It single handedly held off two nasty professional tanks with new guns and soaked up an unrealistic amount of fire, stalling what could have been an awkward enemy flanking attack until it was too late to matter.

The towed gun could have been really good had I deployed it properly. As it was, I set it up in the open only to see it blown away after one shot. This nearly cost me the battle in the centre, but I was saved by tanks and my mortar.

The tank/infantry combination saved me as usual. For me, the value of tanks is that they can accompany infantry in to the objective to provide supporting fire in the critical pre-assault move. they usually have enough armour to survive anything smaller than another tank gun, and they add key morale negatives onto the enemy. I was confirmed in my prejudice that the newer guns can inflict a defensive mentality on the owner as he backs away in order to maintain his range advantage against advancing standard and older tank guns.

Game 2

I was so used to playing with two regular units, that I forgot that I had a third one this time around and counted them as militia. Doh! They played as if they were regulars though, and passed all morale checks with flying colours.

The terrain was very open but with a pyramid in the centre of a huge built up area template. This forced a slow slog across the centre of the board which irritated both participating players. (Note to game board designers – terrain like this looks good, but it does not give a good game). I was attacking again, so I put no objectives in the built-up area. The defender sensibly avoided it too, so we played on a doughnut-shaped board with a sticky treacle centre.

My helicopter turned up late but made a satisfying nuisance of itself again.

Game 3

Back with my religious army, so felt pretty comfortable for the final game. The pace of dice rolling on this game was  slow, but it would be unfair to blame my opponent as it was the third battle of the day and we were playing on a diorama-quality board with  rocky river and hills. This unfortunately resulted in quite a few “cocked dice” with subsequent re-rolls.

I’ had played on this terrain before as an attacker; it posed a difficult tactical challenge as the bridge was the only route for vehicles to cross the river. This more-or-less forces the attacker to place the objectives around the bridge or risk being forced to attack from the wrong side of the river. Paul Smith had made good use of it against me two years ago, but this year I had learned the lesson and squeezed a win out of my opponent.

One of my units turned up trumps when they gained an upgrade of 4 RPGs and proceeded to tear through a professional infantry unit in close assault. I was really impressed! I think it rather took the heart out of my opponent as he might reasonably have expected to win that battle. We had had some discussion on the RFCM group about the use of RPGs and when the +2 bonus should apply. All I can say is that they are very useful now, so I shall be using more of them.

Sadly, This proved to be my last-ever competitive game of AK47. Always leave ’em wanting more! I still play the odd game, but the heart was rather taken out of our gaming group when the rules were upgraded and took us three rather than two hours to play. It was a deal breaker for a midweek social evening game. However, it was an unexpected and very real pleasure to see Martin Goddard up in Wellingborough for my 60th birthday game.

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Brixcon 2008 Army

 

 

Brixcon:   My 2008 ARMIES

 Captain Evil KAR  (Superpower Backed)

General Evil’s Popular Party  (Dictator)

Doctor Evil Sees the Light!  (Religious)

 

For 2008 we all had to produce three different armies. This was to introduce variety, as most players (me included) tended to find an army that they liked and stuck with it. The lists below are taken from my official Brixcon submitted lists RFCM Website.

Having had such fun shooting helicopters down in previous years, I chose two armies with attack helicopters in them to see if I could fly them as well as I could trash them! You will also note that I went for 90 political points every time – Yup, I don’t have the patience to wait for a cautious General to come to me:-)

AK47 bridge

This was part of my Not-Quite-Prizewinning Game Board for 2008.

90 Political Points 90 90
Professional
Professional
Regular
Attack Helicopter Attack Helicopter 4 Small Arms
Tank
 APC+ General
Regular Regular Regular
5 Small Arms 4 Small Arms 4 Small Arms
2 RPG 2 RPG  Tank
Tank (new gun) Tank (std gun) A/car + tank gun
 Jeep + General  Jeep + General
Regular Regular Militia
5 Small Arms 4 Small Arms 4 Small arms
2 RPG RPG RPG
Tank (new gun) 1 Tank std gun) HMG
 AA on truck
Militia Regular Militia
4 Small Arms 4 Small arms 4 Small arms
Towed Gun (old) 2 RPGs RPG
Truck  Mortar  Mortar
HMG
Militia Militia Militia
4 Small arms 4 Small arms 4 Small arms
2 RPGs 2 RPGs  RPG
Mortar 1 Mortar  Mortar
 HMG
 Unarmed
1 Unarmed Militia base

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Brixcon 2005 Army

 My 2005 RELIGIOUS ARMY

Executive Incomes 

(Aka Dr Evil’s Amy of Doom)

 This Army was designed to attack, and fight helicopters. The  first two units  were heavily overloaded with points in case one did not arrive on move one – a common occurrence. The last three units were pretty much objective grabbers without much substance. This was not an approach that worked well, I felt with hindsight, and I  reviewed it for the following year. The smaller militia units were easier to manoeuvre, I felt, but lacked punch (no surprises there!).

Unit One Regular – Dr Evil’s Bodyguard (All the biggest toys)

Overall Commander, 4 Small Arms, 1 Tank, 2 AA Armoured Cars 170pts! (The picture shows 2 Generals, my unarmed unit and an armoured carrier with RCL for eye candy)

AK47 2005 Army General

Unit Two Regular – Evil Masked Guards

4 Small Arms, 1 Tank, 1 AA Armoured Car 135pts

Unit Three Militia – Evil Henchmen

4 Small Arms, 1 Inf Mortar, 1 AA Truck 78pts

Unit Four Militia – Evil Villains

4 Small Arms, 1 Inf Mortar, 2 Inf RPG 62pts

Unit Five Militia – Evil Thugs

4 Small Arms, 1 Inf Mortar, 2 Inf RPG 62pts

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Brixcon 2006 Army

My 2006 RELIGIOUS ARMY

Doctor Evil’s Genetically Modified Army 

In 2006 we all had to produce three armies, of varying political points. This was to introduce variety and shake up us players, as some armies (My Religious!) always went for the maximum points available, and some (Hi Ken!) always defended, stacking up on kit. The lists below are taken from the official Brixcon file on the RFCM Website

AK47 Shanty Town

My Shanty Town was built on a 75mm grid plan, with each building being a fraction over 30mm square – just big enough to place an infantry stand on. The roofs had shallow pitches, and were flat enough to stand  troops on without them sliding off.

46 Political Points 66 90
Regular Regular Regular
4 Small Arms 4 Small Arms 4 Small Arms
1 Tank 1 Tank 1 Tank
1 A/car + tank gun 1 A/car + tank gun 1 APC+AA+ general*
1 APC+AA+ general* 1 APC+AA+ general*
Regular Regular Regular
4 Small Arms 4 Small Arms 4 Small Arms
1 Tank 1 Tank 1 Tank
1 A/car + tank gun 1 A/car + tank gun 1 A/car + tank gun
1 APC+AA
Militia Militia Militia
4 Small arms 4 Small arms 4 Small arms
1 RPG 1 RPG 1 RPG
1 HMG 1 Mortar 1 HMG
1 Mortar 1 AA on truck 1 AA on truck
Militia Militia Militia
4 Small arms 4 Small arms 4 Small arms
2 RPGs 2 RPGs 1RPG
1 Mortar 1 Mortar 1 Mortar
1 HMG
Militia Militia Militia
4 Small arms 4 Small arms 4 Small arms
2 RPGs 2 RPGs 1 RPG
1 Mortar 1 Mortar 1 Mortar
1 HMG
* Paid for as Professional * Paid for as Professional * Paid for as Professional
NB Points actually 49, NB Points actually 92
reduced to fit in with
restrictions

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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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Brixcon 2006

Brixcon 2006

I was not officially at Brixcon 2006, as I had a 25th military anniversary parade to attend in London, but I turned up to say hello to everyone, and Paul Hooper asked me to play his first game for him, so that he could take some good pictures.

It would have been rude to refuse, so I didn’t, and had a very enjoyable game against Ross Bowrage, with his American Interventionist Army. Luck played it’s usual part during the Political Phase, going badly against Ross, who was stoical and pleasant throughout. The political charts gave me a unit of 3 tanks, and the shooting dice came out like this:

http://homepage.mac.com/phooper

I may have whooped at this point (Ahem)! Ross calmly played his limited hand, and didn’t lose composure once, as technicals, tanks and militia swarmed over his positions. I hope he wasn’t too put out, and comes back next year to take his revenge. I had time to notice that the Evil Von Mileham had deployed a WWI A7V :O) on his own table.

However, sympathy for Ross does not prevent me from publishing the victory photo:

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