Sunday, 4 March 2018

Lionheart 84 - 1/300 British Modern Forces, 25 years in the making

Another Army from my early gaming years finished and ticked off the bucket list. This time a 1/300 6mm scale Modern British Force.  Originally started in 1991and over time it was expanded upon.
The entire army.

My Moderns bug was kicked off by a friend who played Challenger and had a good Middle east conflict collection. I soon looked to buying my own armies. My first purchase was an large Israeli army bought off the Bring and Buy stall for £10. This actually gave me two armies, A decent size Israeli army equipped with Merkava 1's and M113's and a Danish army Equipped with Centurions and M113's. So my first foray into moderns was with my Danish against a French army, needless to say I was Milan'ed to death. ATGW's from that day was the bane of my life. In those days we used to buy lots of second hand mini's as they were 15p or 20p each, so we used to buy lots and lots of stuff.
The army lists inspired me to expand my armies, my friend even gave me a small British force of about a dozen mixed vehicles which are still in my collection today. I have owned over the years quite sizeable armies. Danish, Swedish, Dutch and Belgium, Gulf War American, British and Russian in various forms. My original Danish and Swedish armies were sold off in the late 90's. My Gulf war Americans also went on Ebay. Left was my NATO army, British and Russian. My British had expanded drastically. Firstly due to one of the competitions and secondly as I was making up three different army List.
So I actually ended up with 4 Armies. 2 Main Force (one pre 1990's and one post 1991 Gulf War), a Covering Force and a Rear Infantry Force.
My post 1991 force consisted of 3 Challenger 1 up-armoured Squadrons and 2 MCV80 up-armoured companies, all Scotia models. This was disposed off, on Ebay about a year ago. So that left my mid eighties Main Force, Covering Force, and Rear list.

Rear Infantry Force
Lets start with the Rear List. This originally consisted of 3 Lorried Infantry Companies and a Saxon Company, along with a Recce Squadron and an Assault Engineer Company. This has now been scaled back to 1 Lorried Infantry Company and 1 Saxon Company, along with a few Recce Troops of CVRW Fox Armoured Cars and Transports for the Pioneers. This is now just a few re-enforcements for the Covering Force and Main Force.

Forces HQ

Medium (CVRT Scorpion) Recce Troop

Saxon Company (3 platoons plus 2 Milan Sections)

Lorried Company (3 Platoons, plus 2 Milan Sections and 2 Mortar Sections)

CVRW Fox A/Cars and Saracen APC (Transports for Pioneers)

FH-70 Artillery Battery.
Covering Force
My Second Force to undergo a scaling back and re-organisation (Just like the real army due to cut backs) was the Covering Force. This originally was at full strength with 3 Medium RECCE Squadrons and supports.  Each Squadron consisted of 4 Mixed CVRT (Scorpion and Scimitar) Troops, 1 CVRT (Spartan) Observation Platoon and 1 CVRT (Striker) ATTroop.

This has now been reduced in strength to 2 Medium RECCE Squadrons each consisting off 3 mixed CVRT troops, 1 CVRT Observation Platoon and 1 CVRT AT Trrop. These can be bought up to full Strength or 4 troops each, by using the CVRT Scoprions and Scimitars from the Rear and Main Force lists.
It can also be re-enforced with a Company from the Main Force (2 inf platoons and 2 Tank Platoons) or 1 of the companies from the Rear Force.

CVRT Spartans from the Observation platoon with Scimitars in front.

RECCE Squadron HQ CVRT Sultan and Ferret.
Main Force
The Main Force is actually made up of two Battlegroups. The First Battlegroup is the Original Challenger 2 army, which consists off 2 Chieftain Squadrons and 3 Mechanised FV432 Companies plus supports. The Second Battlegroup is much smaller and consists off a Challenger Squadron and a Armoured Infantry MCV80 Squadron (A nod to the Lion-heart 84 Exercise where these vehicles were trialled).  Supports for these units consist of Milan Platoons in FV432's, Blowpipe units in Spartans, CVRT Scimitars RECCE troops, Track Rapier, with further AT support from a troop of FV438 Swingfire or the CVRT Spartan MCT.

Battle-group HQ

Bulk of the 3 mechanised Companies mounted in FV432's (Mainly H&R)
Milan Support Platoons in FV432 (Davco)

Supports - upper left: FV438, Top Right: CVRT Spartan MCT, Lower Left: FV432M, Lower Right: FV432 Wombat AT
Armoured Infantry Platoon equipped with MCV80's (Davco)

The Teeth of the Army, 2 Squadrons of Chieftain MBT (H&R)

Trials Company of Challenger MBT (GHQ)

Chieftain MBTs
The main force is supported by numerous other units. AA Cover is provided by the Royal Artillery in the form of Blow pipe equipped units mounted in CVRT Spartan APC's and Tracked Rappier,
Recce is provided by CVRT Scimitars,  AT support is further increased by the Army Air Corps Lynx Attack Helicopters armed with TOW ATGW. Artillery is in Challenger 2 off-table support so miniatures are normally not needed; I did say Normally. The Royal Artillery is well represented by 9 Batteries. Also not in the lists are the Engineer assets and REME recovery vehicles, but like I said They are not Normally needed, and finally the RAF.
Royal Engineers also equipped with Chieftain Bridge Layers.
REME Units

My Forces are also supported by 2 batteries of Rapier AAGW
2 Batteries of Abbots SPG, with a counter battery of M110A2s in the background (Note Cyberline radar)
Battery of M109A1 SPG
Battery of M110 SPG
Battery of M107 SPG
Counter battery support is supplied by a battery of M110A2 SPG.
MRLS SP Rocket Battery
Army Air Corps
The Army Air Corps provides additional Teeth in the shape of TOW armed Lynx AH1's along with a Gazelle for an AOP.
Middle Wallop Lynx AH1 TOW ATGW

Not to be out done, the RAF are also supplying Ground Attack and CAP patrols in the form of Harriers, Tornados and Jaguars.
RAF Harriers GR and Tornado
RAF Tornados GR
RAF Jaguar GR Aircraft
 Lets Go Nuclear
And if it all goes tits up, there is always the Nuclear Option. Battlefield Nuclear support provided by 2 Lance Launchers.
Lance Missile Launchers and Loaders.
 Berlin Brigade
As a nod to the Berlin Brigade I painted some time ago from memory a few Chieftains and Spartans in the unique Berlin Brigade camouflage.
Berlin Brigade
I started basing my armies after seeing pictures of games played with Cold War Commander, now I got to do the rest of my armies in the same manner. I actualy now like my army based but the downside is that it has quadrupled the space used for storage.
I have been using Premium MDF Bases from Warbases with the following sizes: 4x2cm for tanks and larger APCs,  3x2cm for smaller vehicles, although I will be using in future a 3x1cm base for Jeeps and landrovers ect.
I also have several commands based for CwC.
Cold War Commander Command Elements.
I will not be expanding my force any time soon as I need to finish off several other projects, so that's all my 6mm British Modern lead painted, I need more infantry buy to be honest I will never field the entire force in one go so I should have enough elements to make what ever formation I want to use.

The models I have used vary in manufacturers, as I have bought them from numerous sources over the years, here is a breakdown of the models.

Heroics & Ross - Spartan, Scorpion, Scimitar, Spartan MCT, Sultan, Chieftain, CET, Ferrets, Land rovers, FOX A/C, Tracked Rapier, Rapier Batteries, Abbots, M110A2, M107, FV432, FV438, FV434,FH 70, Infantry, MK Signals, BV202, Land Rover Trailer, Lance, Gazelle, Lynx, Jaguar, Tornado, Harrier, Stalwarts, Chieftain AVLB, Centurion AVRE, Foden Limber, FV432 Mortar, FV432 Cyberline, FV432 signals, Challenger 1 (Command Base)

GHQ - Challenger MBT, M578 ARV

Scotia - Saxon APC - Centurion ARV, Bedford MK

Irregular Miniatures - Saracens

DAVCO/SKYTREX - FV432 Mk2, FV432m, FV432 with Mobat, M109A2, M110, Foden 6x6, MRLS, MCV80


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Zulu Dawn - 30 years in the Making

Zulu War Rules by Tabletop Games.
In early 1989 my Dad took me to a Wargames show in Manchester, where due to being on the Youth Training Scheme or YTS back then I was earning a meagre wage,and could buy my own Miniatures, So at this show I remember buying a Minifigs 15mm Starter Army Box set for the Zulu War from the Guardroom (which was based in Dunstable and we used to have pilgrimages to it every time I visited relatives in Luton) along with Tabletops Zulu war rules.  Over time the armies were added to, and from time to time were got out and tinkered with.  The mid 1990's saw an acquisition of the Principles of War  Rules at an event in Milton Keynes after seeing several players of the POW competition using Zulu and British armies, I even got my copy of the rules autographed by the writer and the armies grew a little bit more.  Again in late 2000 when I got a job on Security and was working the night shift (I was bored in my job) an effort to complete the armies just led them being only under-coated then put away, forgotten, only seeing daylight during tidying sessions. Well I decided it was time to finish it, so a concerted effort by me and much to my Dads annoyance as I took over the small dining table, With NCIS playing in the background and some mammoth painting sessions and Finally on Sunday with Zulu Dawn then Zulu playing on my tablet I finished painting and basing all my figures.

POW rule book
POW Zulu Forces
My First games with the Tabletop rules were okay until the Zulus got in close and personal, then for the life of me I could not work out how the close combat rules worked, even my opponents could not work them out.  Even though they were fun it always ended when the Zulus made contact. Then Came Principles of War.
Principles of War (POW), with their simplistic yet enjoyable rules that made the games even more enjoyable and playable to a conclusion.
POW British Forces
  The original army lists in the POW rules book gave the Zulus only 28 units, with the British having an extra mounted infantry instead of the Natal Mounted Infantry. Upon purchasing the POW Colonial Army Lists. The Zulus gained two additional units and the British Lost the 2nd mounted infantry and gained two Irregular Mounted Infantry units.

The pictures above and below is where I last left my Armies in 2000 with the British ready for action and a number of the Zulus based and under-coated.  Originally my army only consisted of figures from the Minifigs range. In the late 1990's some Naismith miniatures were added and in 2000 a bulk purchase of Irregular Miniatures Zulus finished of the army, although I do have a large surplus of minifigs, I prefer the Naismith and Irregular miniatures as they give a better feel of a Zulu army. The Minifigs ones all look like they are in Full special occasion regalia.
Naismith Zulus (Top left and foreground)

Minifig Zulus

Minifig Guns and Limbers along with a unknown Napoleonic Rocket and Limber.

Minifig British Infantry

Minifigs Wagon (top) and Naismith wagons, oxen and mules.

Minifigs Lancers and Naismith Mounted Infantry.

So that was the state of things. Fast forward to late January this year and Lilly Allen opens her mouth and claims that remembering Rorke Drifts Victoria Cross recipients is celebrating colonialism.  Less said about her personal agenda the better. The only good thing was that it peaked my interest in my Zulus. I had just finished painting some early war WW2 vehicles, so was still in a rare mood to paint something else.

A quick rummage in the Shed produced my Zulu war armies. A quick check of the base sizes and an order was placed with Warbases. And I then sorted out and started on painting the Zulu figures that were just under-coated. The first night I finished the first 12 figures. The Second night I finished 36 figures. After this I regularly came from work and painted some more. Realising that some of my earlier units were in 10's I reduced some of the later regiments from 12 to 10 and then started experimenting with the figure placement, as even though I had been happy all those years ago with how I based the Zulus, they just looked too regimented and neat.  After I did the first 7 units of the Zulus I started to get bored so I went back to some of the ready painted units and tarted 7 of them up. I then moved onto the British and touched them up adding some small details and readying them for re-basing. By the second weekend I was flagging. I was looking at the last 7 units and was thinking Oh feck now I'm bored. Then a miracle happened, my order from Warbases arrived and it allowed me to start re-basing the units. I then scattered them with model sand then used the army builder strong tone on the figures and flooded the bases to seal the sand. Once dry I then heavily dry-brushed the bases with Dark sand. But still I had 7 units sat there waiting to be done. I wasn't in the mood to paint them. But I thought I can not stop now, I can not put them away again as I may never finish them. Forcing my self to sit down on the Sunday, I opened my Tablet and looked on Youtube for inspiration and Lo and behold they had both Zulu and Zulu Dawn films on their. Well It was First Zulu Dawn and then Zulu and by the end of the two films I had painted the last 7 units and finished basing them.  All that was needed was for the varnish to dry and I could finish the bases, I also went back and touched up some of the units I left untouched. The following night saw all the bases finished and scattered.

So now onto the finished items.
Completed Armies in the Warbase RUB trays.

British Army
Command Stands
The Artillery will be reinforced by a Gatling gun in the a few days time. The Rocket battery is wrong as it is a Napoleonic one as I did not have any reference of the correct one used.

Mounted Infantry and Lancers
The Lancers were originally in 3 figures per base but several lances were broken, so I reduced the unit from 9 figures to 6 figures.
Naval Infantry and Light Infantry.
British Infantry
After watching the film ZULU,  I painted 2 of the Infantry companies Pith Helmets; White, as a nod to the film. I also painted up a light Rifle company and a company of Naval Infantry Brigade so that I can swap out normal infantry if I wished.
Natal Native Contingency.
My NNC are portrayed incorrectly as being all Musket armed as per a picture in, at the time my only reference book showed a picture of a column of NNC marching all armed with Muskets. I only realised recently way too late that they should have been a mix of Mainly spear armed and some musket armed. I toyed with correcting the error but decided to leave the units as they are.
ZULU army,showing the Horns, head and Loins.
Irregular Miniatures
Irregular Miniatures
Minifigs painted in 2000.

So after nearly 30 years a project I started back in my teens has been finished to a standard I am very happy with.  I now can't wait to get these on to the table and get some games played. Especialy recreating Isandwana and Rorke's Drift.

J :)