US Armor for 75th D-Day Anniversary

I am working on creating a Normandy scenario for a What a Tanker© game that I plan to run at a monthly gaming session at both the Mass Pikemen Gaming Club and the Historical Gaming Club of Uxbridge.  With the 75th Anniversary of D-Day coming up in little more than a month, I thought that would be appropriate. 

My challenge was that I really did not have enough historically-appropriate tanks and tank destroyers for such a scenario.  I did have 9 plastic British Shermans and 2 Fireflies that I bought on eBay that were well-painted.  I also had 2 resin Shermans and 2 resin Stuarts that I got from a guy who makes his own models and sells them already painted.  The British stuff came with a bunch of infantry that I sold, so the nice plastic British armor ended up costing me net only $1.40 each!  The US tanks were OK for the tabletop, and for the price (about $5-6 as I remember), a relative bargain – but I wanted better.  I also had no Germans for that theater, so that is part 2 of the project.  For this part, I am focused on five US vehicles.  Together, I will have enough to make a joint US/UK force.

Three of the five vehicles came from Battlefront and were metal and resin and some plastic:  one M3A1 Stuart (#US003); one M4A2 Sherman (#US045); and one M10 Wolverine tank destroyer (#US102).  The other two were M24 Chaffee tanks that did not make it to D-Day, but replaced Stuarts starting in the latter part of 1944.  These two were 3D printed models from somebody on eBay – and not great detail-wise.  But, the M24 was the tank my grandfather, Marcus C. Delaney, drove in Europe during WWII, so I thought I’d work on those at the same time.  I used many of the same research books that I have cited before – and I did not take pictures as these are more recognizable to most gamers and modelers.

Above, you can see the group – below is a group shot after assembly.

1 all assembled
Ready for paint – 2 M24 Chaffee’s, an M3A1 Stuart, an M4A2 Sherman, and an M10 Wolverine – with its crew on toothpicks.
2 turrets
Turrets mounted for painting.

I mostly used my airbrush for painting – and on the M24’s I tried to minimize the 3D printer lines with paints, washes, and weathering.  I decided to try a few Vallejo weathering products that caught my eye – I made a test of them first.  Of course, these are applied with a brush!

3 weathering
I thought the brown mud was too heavy, and the industrial splash mus was too thin – so I went with the other three.
3a weathering
I really liked these three – very nice weathering products.  The white labels on the top are what I do to help identify them in my supplies.
4 turrets painted
Completed turrets.

It’s now time to share some eye candy of the completed tanks and the tank destroyer.  Of course, I am also using these 5 as the first entry for a monthly painting challenge from Australia’s own Azazel – this being “Mechanismo May ’19 Community Painting Challenge“.

5 M3A1 front
M3A1 Stuart in the bocage.
6 M3A1 side
Side shot of the Stuart in a field.
7 M3A1 rear
Rear shot of the Stuart – it’s not as shiny as this!
8 M4A2 side
My M4A2 Sherman – “Deuces Wild”.
9 M4A2 front
Nice shot coming through the bocage – I really liked the mud and grass effects.
10 M4A2 rear
Rear shot – beware lurking panzerfausts!
11 M10 in field side view
Side shot of the M10 Wolverine cutting across a field into a gap in the bocage.
12 M10 in field side view
Another side shot – this was a very fun model to build.
13 M24's front
My two M24 Chaffee’s.  They won’t be at Normandy, but they will be later in the war.  I do like that I was able to give them some better texture with the weathering products.
13 M24's rear
Rear shot of the M24’s.  
13 M24's side
M24’s in convoy.  They were mostly used as scouts, and were used (and some are still used) by many different armies worldwide.  My grandfather told me many stories about his service driving one.
14 All US painted
My 5 US tanks for this project.
15 3 Shermans
For comparison, here you see three Shermans – from left to right – my M4A2, a plastic British Sherman I bought already painted, and the resin one I bought pre-painted on eBay.  
16 2 Stuarts
Here are the two Stuarts for comparison.  Mine is on the left – and the eBay resin one is on the right.  I will treat the resin ones as M5’s, which are better in What a Tanker
17 all Allied ETO
My complete ETO Allied vehicles – there’s a couple of Fireflies in there too.  I will use all of these except the M24’s for Normandy.

Now I have 18 US/UK vehicles for Normandy – which should be plenty.  I also know that some folks are bringing some DD Shermans and a couple of Churchill’s.  I have 6 German tanks and tank destroyers for Normandy and 11 for the Eastern Front (all about 60% completed), with 3 more to assemble (plus 5 scout cars).  That should be enough for a couple of fun games.  Stay tuned as I’m hoping to complete the Germans soon.

Thanks for checking this out – below are the paints etc.  Let me know your thoughts if you would!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THESE VEHICLES:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  5. Vallejo Model Air “US Olive Drab”
  6. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  7. Battlefront “Black”
  8. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  9. Battlefront “European Flesh”
  10. Battlefront “Skin Shade”
  11. Vallejo Model Air “Bright Brass”
  12. Vallejo “Base Grey Primer”
  13. Vallejo “Neutral Grey”
  14. Army Painter “Military Shader” 
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  16. Polly S “Rust”
  17. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  18. Gorilla Glue
  19. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  20. Microscale Micro-Set
  21. Microscale Micro-Sol
  22. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  23. Microscale Satin
  24. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  25. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  26. Vallejo “European Mud” (Thick Mud)
  27. Vallejo “European Slash Mud” (Splash Mud)
  28. Vallejo “Crushed Grass”
  29. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  30. Aleene’s poster tack

 

 

 

 

My HAVOC 2019 Recap

Battle Group Boston’s HAVOC 2019 (or HAVOC XXXV) is in the books.  This previous weekend in Shrewsbury, MA was a Friday-Sunday gaming marathon that saw me run two games (What a Tanker” in North Africa and “Attack of the Warbots” using Combat Patrol™).  I also played in three other games: a First Boer War scenario using Combat Patrol™; “Look Sarge we are Invading Russia” using Look Sarge, No Charts™and another “What a Tanker” game on Sunday.  I have not been blogging much recently as my prep for the event took a lot of time.  So, this post will share some shots of the events, with more focus on the games that either I ran as a GM or participated in as a player. 

Of note, it was very nice to have my West Point classmate and good friend Dave Wood from the Maryland HAWKS make it up to play in my games and run two of his own.   It was also great to see attendance and gaming from the Mass Pikemen, especially Mike Morgan, Leif Magnuson, Chris Comeau, and others.

On Friday, I ran “What a Tanker – North Africa” and had a full table.  I was able to roll out my new Bonus Attack cards that I created for the convention.  They were very popular in the game and I will be expanding my use of them in the future based on the scenarios I run and the historical aspects of the specific theaters and scenarios/battles.  I will adjust their use, and how I allow tank replacements going forward.  Still, the game went very well, and I earned an award for the “Best in Time Slot”!  The Axis battled back from early losses and defeated the British 104-58.

04062019 HAVOC What a Tanker North Africa Photo
My game announcement poster
Bonus Attack Cards
My “Bonus Attack” cards for the game.  They worked well, especially the Combat Engineers.
Overview
I mapped out the game board in my cellar beforehand.  I got a new 8′ x 4′ badlands/desert mat that worked very well for the scenario from Frontline Gaming.
Buildings with roads
Detail of the town I put in the middle of the battlefield
1 WaT starts
Friday night’s full crowd at What a Tanker – North Africa using 15mm tanks.
2 M11 39 burns after airstrike
The first use of one of my Bonus Attack cards – in this case an airstrike card on a hapless M11/39.
3 Panzer III rams A13
What a Tanker  – or in this case “What a Rammer” as a Panzer IIIE runs into an A13.  The Panzer IIIE got the worst of it from the Brit, but the A13 was subsequently knocked out by an Italian M13/40.
4 players
The game had a lot of action, but in the end the Axis prevailed.
5 Award
I was happy to earn this award, but the players’ enthusiasm carried the day.

Saturday, I played in two games, and ran a third.  The first one Saturday morning was “First Battle of the First Boer War” using the Combat Patrol™ rules system as modified for this era.  It was a fun game, with the Boers holding off the British as they attempted to seize a wagon.  In the end, the Boers prevailed.

1 Dave Wood first Boer War
Dave Wood briefs the players on the Boer War scenario.
2 Brits attack First Boer War
Boers are outnumbered, but hold the wall – each glass bead represents a morale check.  They held for a long time.

There were many other games – over 56 I believe, and I did not get a chance to take a picture of all of them, but here are some shots below.

3 ACW
A beautiful American Civil War board.
4 Palestine
Palestine in WWI.  Definitely a game I would have loved to try.
5 Wings of Glory
Wings of Glory.
6 Bolt Action
Bolt Action.
7 Trilaterum
A new sci-fi game, Trilaterum, had some beautiful scenery.
8 Test of Honour with OGRE in background
Test of Honor – and note a 1970’s classic return in the back – OGRE – a near future tank game.  I played that game with cardboard chits in the early 1980’s.

The next game went up in operational level and down in miniature scale.  Dave Wood ran “Look Sarge, We are invading Russia”, using the Look Sarge No Charts set of rules and 6 mm microarmor.  The Germans held off the Russian counterattack, and won the game.  Both of Dave’s games were very well-received.

9 Dave Wood's Look Sarge we are invading Russia
The Germans move down the road.

Skipping to Sunday, Leif Magnuson ran a nice What a Tanker game using 28mm tanks in an Eastern Front battle.  It was a lot of fun, and the Soviets eked out a win.  Leif also won an award for “Best in Time Slot” – well-deserved.  This meant that our club (The Mass Pikemen) won two awards – and both were “What a Tanker” games!

10 28mm WaT

“Ivan is a Tanker” run by Leif Magnuson.

Flashing back to Saturday night – I ran an updated “Attack of the Warbots” game.  The game was a success, as the players had a great time.

04062019 HAVOC Attack of the Warbots Photo
My game poster
04062016 Warbots setup pic
The game set up plan.
1 Attack begins
The tabletop is set – and the attack begins.
2 Attack on wall
The Warbots got slowed by the Aphids defense, but managed to advance a Mark 1 Sphere tank to the wall.
3 Space Roos try to spoil
On the other side of the board, Leif Magnuson’s Martians and Robot Peacekeepers press their attack against Chris Comeau’s Space Roos.
4 Space Roos try to spoil
Chris jet-packed his Space Roos into the heart of the Martian attack.  
5 SFC Mallard disables tank
The Star Ducks disabled a second Mark 1 Sphere tank with a satchel charge, immobilizing it and taking it out of the fight – a critical loss.
6 sprint to the finish
Biological forces desperately converge on the Mark 1 Sphere tank as it breaks through and approaches the captured tank and its Space Dwarf repair crew.
7 Robot Peacekeeper Banzai Charge
Meanwhile, the Robot Peacekeepers pulled a “Banzai” charge morale check and swarm the defending Space Roos on the other side of the table.

At this point in the battle, Duck Wader made a power leap with his Sith powers, and drove his light saber into the Warbot tank, resulting in its disabling just two inches from victory. 

Nearby, Roberker, a giant robot (with flame-throwing arms) was the Warbots’ last chance.  The Frinx shot Roberker a bit, and its resulting morale check caused a miracle result – apparently the robot lost face, ran away in shame, and blew himself up!

8 Suicide of Roberker
The suicide of Roberker.  I replace these “ancient” miniatures on the battlefield when they become casualties with homemade cards.
8a Suicide of Roberker
The card that did in Roberker.  Note the morale result at the bottom – I have the Warbots use the South Pacific deck from Combat Patrol deck which have different (WWII Japanese) morale results.

The death of Roberker was followed by raucous laughter from the table – even from the player who had it happen to his Roberker.

I was tired after the weekend, but it was a great time.  I want to thank all the players, as well as the GM’s, and especially Battle Group Boston for another fun convention!  

 

 

 

Looking Forward to HAVOC!

I have been very busy – too busy to effectively write blog entries lately.  I have been working on terrain and game support for the two games I will be running at HAVOC on April 5th and 6th.  Each will support 10 players – and its my goal that all have a blast!  So, in the interim, please enjoy these two announcements – hopefully I get some other stuff painted and blog-worthy for you dear readers!  The link for the convention is here.

I am looking forward to seeing a number of friends – including my old USMA classmate (and HAWKS member) Dave Wood who is also running a couple of games – so that’s exciting too.

I’ll be running these two games!  

04062019 HAVOC What a Tanker North Africa Photo

I updated this game with my Space Roos and have new terrain!

04062019 HAVOC Attack of the Warbots Photo

 

2018 Hobby Activity Roundup

2018 was a busy year for me for hobbies, my busiest ever in fact.  My activities and projects were mostly involved with supporting either Combat Patrol™ games or What a Tanker© games.  So what did I do?  Well, I helped to found a local gaming club and I started running games at small conventions (and won “The Al” at HAVOC last year – photo above).  All of my hobby activity and efforts focused on creating and building what I needed for my games to be successful.  I also joined some community painting challenges which helped to focus my efforts as well and got me to try new techniques (thanks Azazel!).  I also followed many other blogs which were very inspiring.

Some of the items on the activity list below could be fairly called double-counting, but hey, no blood no foul!  I tend to count projects in terms of their distinctive nature, ie the building/assembling/creating processes to me are different than painting, as is converting figures.  I did not cast anything this year or make any molds as I still have plenty of figures to paint, and my hope is to knock out more of them in 2019, as I will not need to make as many game pieces/game aids.

This list, which is a separate page on my blog, helped me to stay focused.  The adding of the hyperlinks that you see on the items below helps me to review past projects as prologue for future ones.

Thanks for checking this out – and good luck to all in 2019!  Hope I keep you amused and entertained!

2018 Total Projects:  2,036

  • 244 figures painted
  • 0 figures cast
  • 47 figures assembled
  • 33 terrain pieces made or assembled
  • 28 terrain pieces painted
  • 10 figure conversions
  • 867 creations or components sculpted or scratch-built
  • 0 molds made
  • 807 game pieces/game aids made and/or painted

January: 91 projects

  • Creations/components sculpted or scratch-built (91):
    • 91 unit placards sculpted/made from Apoxie Sculpt

February: 645 projects

  • Figures painted (36):
  • Creations sculpted or scratch-built (375):
    • 185 blank game placards made for Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi use
    • 185 decals made for game placards or Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi use
    • 2 long arc weapon (breaching) templates for Mark III Warbot use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
    • 2 short arc weapon (breaching) templates for Mark III Warbot use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
    • 1 plasma ball template (breaching) template for Mark III Warbot use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (234):
    • 8 Armorcast ACFX034 Grenade Blasts Cinematic Effects Bits painted
    • 36 casualty cards made for the Hurraku Space Phraints
    • 185 placards made for use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
      • 50 wound markers
        • 15 1-wound markers
        • 15 2-wound markers
        • 6 3-wound markers
        • 6 4-wound markers
        • 4 5-wound markers
        • 4 6-wound markers
      • 25 stun markers
      • 10 critical hit – optics/sensors markers damage for Mark III Warbots
      • 10 critical hit – mobility damage (“STOP”) markers for Mark III Warbots
      • 10 critical hit – CPU damage (“ROGUE”) markers for Mark III Warbots
      • 20 out of ammunition markers
      • 60 jet-pack use markers
        • 20 for one use of jet pack in the game
        • 20 for two uses of jet pack in the game
        • 20 for three uses of jet pack in the game
    • 5 game aid templates painted for use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
      • 2 long arc weapon (breaching) template painted
      • 2 short arc weapon (breaching) template painted
      • 1 plasma ball template (breaching) template painted

March: 74 projects

  • Figures painted (40):
  • Figures assembled (1):
    • Critter Commandos Frogbot
  • Creations/components sculpted or scratch-built (33):
    • 33 unit placards sculpted/made from Apoxie Sculpt

April: 144 projects

  • Figures assembled (2):
  • Terrain pieces made or assembled (12):
    • 12 tea light smoke plumes made
  • Terrain pieces painted (12):
    • 12 tea light smoke plumes painted
  • Game aids made or painted (118):
    • 39 casualty cards made for the F.R.O.G. Commandos
    • 6 flame circles made
    • 25 chits for Combat Patrol™ made (pulling card forward chits)
    • 48 unit and vehicle data cards made for Combat Patrol

May: 6 projects

  • Figures painted (2):
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (4)
    • 2 casualty cards made for Roberker and the second Juggerbot
    • 2 unit data cards made for Combat Patrol™

June: 95 projects

  • Figures painted (57):
    • 32 Texican Space Rangers from Archive Star Rovers line
      • 6 Travis B. Crockett figures (#2225)
      • 26 Armando Garcia figures (#2226)
    • 11 Robot Peacekeepers from Mega Miniatures Salvage Crew Robots & Vehicles Range 
    • 14 figures painted for my Space Dwarf Assault Squad
      • 11 Long Gone Jones Space Dwarfs from Archive Star Rovers line (Archive #2211)
      • 3 Agribot (S1L1) from Archive Star Rovers line (Archive #2204)
  • Game aids made or painted (38):
    • 32 casualty cards made for the Texican Space Rangers
    • 6 unit data cards made for Combat Patrol™

July: 66 projects

  • Figures painted (15):
  • Figures assembled (5):
    • 5 Power-Armored Frinx on Glyptodon from Archive Star Rovers line (Archive #2042)
  • Figures converted (6):
    • 6 Frinx riders converted with Bombshell Miniatures Arc Weapons (#36013)
  • Terrain pieces made or assembled (13):
    • 5 large Woodland Scenics evergreen trees
    • 8 small Woodland Scenics deciduous trees
  • Game aids made or painted (27):
    • 11 casualty cards made for the Robot Peacekeepers
    • 14 casualty cards made for the Space Dwarf Assault Squad
    • 2 unit data cards made for Combat Patrol™

August: 54 projects

September:  566 projects

  • Terrain pieces made or assembled (3):
    • 1 Armorcast T-Section
    • 1 Armorcast Building Corner (#ACRB008)
    • 1 Armorcast Building Corner (#ACRB009)
  • Terrain pieces painted (11):
    • 5 ruined building corners
      • 1 Armorcast T-Section
      • 1 Armorcast Building Corner (#ACRB008)
      • 1 Armorcast Building Corner (#ACRB009)
      • 2 Armorcast Building Corners (#ACRB013)
    • 6 battle-damaged sci-fi walls
      • 1 set of 2 Armorcast High Tech Walls 2 (#ACW007), each set includes 2 walls so 2 pieces
      • 2 sets of High Tech Walls, each set includes 2 walls, so 4 pieces
  • Creations sculpted or scratch-built (368):
      • 184 blank game placards made for Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi use
      • 184 decals made for game placards or Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi use
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (184):
    • 184 placards made for use in Combat Patrol™ retro sci-fi
      • 72 wound markers
        • 20 1-wound markers
        • 20 2-wound markers
        • 14 3-wound markers
        • 6 4-wound markers
        • 6 5-wound markers
        • 6 6-wound markers
      • 24 stun markers
      • 24 out of ammunition markers
      • 64 jet-pack use markers
        • 22 for one use of jet pack in the game
        • 20 for two uses of jet pack in the game
        • 22 for three uses of jet pack in the game

October:  113 projects

  • Figures painted (28):
    • 28 Space Roos painted (converted figures that I cast)
  • Figure conversions (4):
    • 2 Space Roo weapon conversions to RPG’s
    • 2 Space Roo weapon conversions to grenade launchers
  • Game pieces/game aids made or painted (81):
    • 45 small (1/8″ diameter) placards made and painted for improved identification of the Mars Aliens on the tabletop
    • 28 small (1/4 and 5/16″ diameter) placards made and painted for improved identification of the Space Roos on the tabletop
    • 8 dashboards built for What a Tanker games

November:  160 projects

  • Figures painted (43):
    • 5 KV-1a Soviet tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio)
    • 2 T-26 Soviet tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio)
    • 2 BA-64 Soviet armored cars (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio)
    • 1 BT-5 Soviet tank, (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#SU021)
    • 1 BT-7 Soviet tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#SU023)
    • 2 Soviet Gaz trucks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio)
    • 1 Panzer IIC tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX108)
    • 1 Panzer IIIE (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE030)
    • 3 Sturmgeshutz IIIA assault guns (15mm/1:100 scale), from from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX109)
    • 2 German Panzer IVd tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 1 German Panzer 38(t) tank (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 3 Italian M13/40 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 2 Italian L6 light tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 2 British Matilda II tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished, washed and varnished
    • 2 German Hetzer tank destroyers (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
    • 2 German Panzer IIIN tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
    • 2 Renault R-35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR030)
    • 3 SOMUA S-35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR050)
    • 2 French Char B1 bis tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
    • 2 US M4 Sherman tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
    • 2 US M3/M5 Stuart tanks (15mm/1:100 scale, Wargame Models in Ohio), finished and varnished
  • Figures assembled (25):
    • 5 French tanks assembled:
      • 3 SOMUA S-35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR050)
      • 2 Renault R-35 tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#FR030)
    • 2 British tanks assembled:
      • 1 A10 Cruiser Mark IIA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR023)
      • 1 Valentine II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR060)
    • 2 Soviet tanks assembled:
      • 1 BT-5 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#SU021)
      • 1 BT-7 tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#SU023)
    • 16 German tanks/assault guns assembled:
      • 5 Panzer II C’s and F’s) (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX108)
      • 3 Panzer IIIE’s (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE030)
      • 3 Sturmgeshutz IIIA assault guns (15mm/1:100 scale), from from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX109)
      • 3 Sturmgeshutz III Ausf F8 assault guns (15mm/1:100 scale), from The Plastic Soldier Company, Ltd. (#WW2V15005)
      • 2 Sturmgeshutz III Ausf G (late) assault guns (15mm/1:100 scale), from The Plastic Soldier Company, Ltd. (#WW2V15005)
  • 2 terrain pieces made or assembled (two fields)
  • 2 terrain pieces painted (two fields)
  • Game aids made or painted (92):
    • 28 casualty cards made for the Space Roos
    • 36 bonus cards made for What a Tanker©
    • 3 unit data cards made for Combat Patrol™

December:  18 projects

  • Figures painted (4):
  • Figures assembled (14):
    • 14 British tanks assembled for What a Tanker© in North Africa:
      • 2 A9 Cruiser Mark I tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR020)
      • 1 A10 Cruiser Mark IIA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR023)
      • 1 A13 Cruiser Mark IVA (Desert) tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR026)
      • 1 Valentine III tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR061)
      • 1 Crusader II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR032)
      • 1 Crusader III tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR034)
      • 1 M3 Grant tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR100)
      • 1 Churchill II tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR070)
      • 5 M3 Stuart “Honey” tanks (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR006) – Brits will get two,  I am saving one for future Soviet Lend-Lease, one for future captured German use in North Africa, and one as an American M3 for future captured Japanese use in Burma or the Philippines. 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my blog readers and followers!

As 2018 comes near to a close, and with Christmas nearly upon us, I wanted to wish all of my readers and followers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  You have all been so supportive of this blog, which is a big part of my hobby work.

So, please know that I appreciate all of you from all over the world who take the time to read my blog and to share your feedback.  And you know who you are, to include  Azazel, Buck, IRO, Roger, Subedai, Alex, JNV, Faust, Dave, Pete, Tichy, maenoferren22, Alexis, Le Bim, Wudugast, The One, theuniversalgardener, theimperfectmodeler, savageddt, Luke, redcaer1690, Matt, reductivetendency, patmcf,  backtothehammer, and many, many others (and I hope I got most of you – if not apologies).

I am so grateful for your blogs as well.  I aim to not only share my work but to amuse and inspire you, as you inspire me.  If I get you to chuckle or say “wow”, I have hit my target.

As you can see from my hobby tally, I had a very productive year, and I hope to add to my total before year’s end.  Of course, I need to get in some golf posts once in a while, but that will have to wait until April at least as I do live in New England!

I hope that I make you smile a bit over the years with this blog – and while I cannot send a beer or a glass of wine (or a pint for you Brits, Aussies, Kiwis!), I do send my best wishes and a card below.  Please keep on reading – I aim to keep it going in 2019!

 

There’s a real Panther in Central Massachusetts, and he’s got many friends!

On Veteran’s Day 2018, I decided that I must see the American Heritage Museum in Hudson, MA.  It has been known for aircraft, but recently acquired the Jacques M. Littlefield collection from California. They had a “soft opening” on their new tank and AFV collection, and it looked good on FaceBook.  They also offered vets a free admission, so I thought it would be a good experience.

I had no idea I was about to see the most unbelievable collection of functioning military vehicles in the US.

There was a short but very good video on Massachusetts and its role in the Revolutionary War.  Then, a door opens and you find yourself in a WWI trench and a multi-visual presentation ensues.

Next, a door opens, and it is early WWII.  A British Vickers Mark V is on display, along with a Mercedes staff car.  There will soon be a Panzer I as well.

Another door opened to a walkway around a giant hall – and my jaw dropped multiple times.

12 HALLWA OVERVIEW
One side of the massive exhibit hall is all WWII
36 MODERN GALLERY
The other side goes from Korea to the present

So I was not expecting that many rare tanks, to include a functional Panzer V Panther.  It had been recovered from a lake on the Eastern Front and fully restored.  I will share some more pictures below, but these do not do this collection justice.  It was amazing to see these so close up.  There were very few placards on the vehicles, but luckily I know a lot of them because of my historical and war gaming interests as well as my background in the Army.  If I misidentify any here, it’s on me.

A centerpiece of the collection is the Panther versus a Soviet T-34/85.  There is a screen that has a multi-visual presentation of the two opposing tank commanders, with sounds, effects, and more.  It concludes with the story of the recovered Panther.

All major European and North African campaigns were represented.  First, North Africa:

Then Italy:

There was yet another T-34 – an older one:

23 T34
T-34

There was a nice collection of UK tanks that I had never seen before:

There were of course many WWII American tanks and tank destroyers:

Interestingly, there was a Jagdpanzer 38 (Hetzer) that was key in the What a Tanker game that I played the night before – I had seen one before, but not so soon after I had used it in a game!

25 GERMAN HETZER
Jagdpanzer 38 (Hetzer) tank destroyer

There was also an ME-109!

27 ME109
ME-109

An impressive display of Flak 88 AA gun and accompanying equipment was nicely.  This could have been the gun that wounded my late Uncle Joseph Delaney in his B-17 in 1943.

29 88 FLAK
88 Flak Display

There were a couple of Russian vehicles – an ISU-122 and an SU-100 displayed.

My grandfather, Marcus C. Delaney, drove an M-24 Chaffee light tank in WWII.  The museum put their Chaffee in the Korean War section, as it did serve there as well.  I was feeling somber seeing my grandfather’s tank on Veteran’s Day, and I miss him.  He was a hero to me, and a big reason I went into West Point and the US Army.

30 KOREA
The Korean War display
31 M24 CHAFFEE
M24 Chaffee, my grandfather drove this model in WWII
31A M24 CHAFFEE
Trying to take a selfie while feeling somber is a tough thing.  I do miss my Papa (Marcus Delaney).

The next section was dedicated to the Vietnam War.

For the Cold War, there was an East German T-72.

Next, the “hot” war that occurred during my service, the Gulf War.  I did not go to the theater, and performed my duties stateside.  I often say that they had a war and did not invite me.

Finally, the War on Terror, which had a USMC M1A2 Abrams tank (though I am not exactly sure which variant it was).  It was hit by an IED in Fallujah in 2006.  There is a touching video presentation of the event and its impact on the crew and the tank commander’s widow.  RIP.

35 WAR ON TERROR 911 GIRDER
A girder from the Twin Towers
35A WAR ON TERROR ABRAMS
The USMC Abrams M1A2

The museum truly honors veterans, and I was humbled to walk through the many, many displays.  To have one in Massachusetts like this is a really special thing.  The museum will close from November 25th to April 15th, so there are a couple of weekends left to try to go before spring.

I will be coming back here for sure.  Thanks to the American Heritage Museum for such a great homage to our history and our veterans.

37 brochure37a brochure

Fort Devens Game Day Recap

On October 20th, there was a Devens game day at the former Ft. Devens in Massachusetts.  I was interested in attending for a couple of reasons.  First, I am trying to get to more gaming events in the area.  Second, I was stationed at Fort Devens while I was a member of the 39th Engineer Battalion (Combat) from 1989-1992, so I was intrigued to see the post again in its new configuration.  Fort Devens was closed as an active duty US Army post in the 1990’s, and Massachusetts has redeveloped the post by bringing in a lot of industry.  Still, some of the post is used by the reserves.  In fact my old battalion area seems to have been saved and redeveloped for the reserves.  That area is all fenced off now and I did not want to photograph the area and draw unwanted attention to doing so!  Other buildings and barracks areas are untouched since closure, with actual trees growing out of the edifices yielding an apocalyptic/Walking Dead look.  This blog post is a bit late, but I did get wrapped up in the baseball ALCS and the World Series, which were both won by the great Boston Red Sox!

The actual game sessions were held at the Fort Devens Museum.  There were three games there – a WWI game, a naval game, and a pulp game.  I did not get any pictures of the naval game but you can read about in an excellent post here.  I focused on playing a WWI game (given that it is close to the centenary of the end of that conflict).  The board is entirely scratch built, and I believe the rules were “Trench Warfare”, but I am not sure.  The game master, Bill, did an excellent job, and I wanted to share his board as it was excellent.  The event clearly tried to recruit younger gamers, which was admirable for growing our hobby.

1 WWI
Starting side for the Allies.  From far to near, the attackers were US Marines, British, and French.  It was a bit ahistorical but a fun game. 
2 WWI
While I commanded the French, I had two British tanks – a Mark IV and a Whippet.
3 WWI
Another view of the Allies starting positions.
4 WWI
A truly beautiful scratch built table.  Bill (the game master) is pictured here standing.  He did a nice job creating a trench works system with 2′ x 2′ modular sections.
5 WWI
Some of the German forces – they were to engage the USMC is a series of bloody hand-to-hand battles.
6 WWI
Advancing my poilus and tanks
7 WWI
An engaged group.  Bill kept the game moving (unlike the actual WWI)!
8 WWI
The Germans move up, and get hit by very lucky hits by my French 75mm artillery.
9 WWI
The hand-to-hand battle
10 WWI
Taking out the forward observation posts and then getting torched by a German flamethrower
11 WWI
German artillery disables my Mark IV

The game ended in a draw, but I enjoyed it a lot.

There was also a pulp game that I did not play in, but that looked interesting.

12 Pulp Alley
Pulp Alley Game
13 Pulp Alley
Druids and Nazis?  And Stonehenge?

Lastly, I looked around the museum and looked for anything related to my old unit.  The only thing I saw was a donation from a former lieutenant from the 1977 time frame.  I do think I could find a few things myself.  Interestingly, I am a local, and the 39th had members who for the most part live in other parts of the country.  I do commend the museum for trying to resurrect the posts history from WWI until closure.

15 39th pic
The only mention of the 39th

My thanks to the folks who set up this event and to the folks at the museum!