Miniature Ordnance Review looks at the world of historical and fantasy miniatures wargaming and model building. From 15mm Flames of War, to Warhammer 40K, to 1/35th scale tanks, with some potential surprises on the horizon - you'll find them here!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Armageddon Pattern Basilisk - Done!

You can also call this the "holy crap I actually finished something" edition of the blog. I may ultimately go back and add some mud/dust effect on the vehicle once I get a few more of the ones for the army done, but for all intents and purposes, the Basilisk is ready to roll out. The photos in this entry are taken with my Nikon D90 DSLR camera. Make sure you click on the images for the full size version. The photos ended up being a little bright and some of the more subtle weathering is lost, so I'll likely try another shoot with a bit more diffuse light.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Warhammer 40K - Armageddon Pattern Basilisk - Part 2

Not a lot of photos this time, but I've been making steady progress on the Death Korps Basilisk I detailed in my last entry. I've been working on the exterior at this point, using one of my normal modulation paint schemes - though this is 3-tone camouflage, so it takes a bit of time to build up. At this point I'm using German World War I camouflage as was applied to the A7V tank. For the colors I used the Ammo of Mig World War I British and German Colors set (AMIG7111). The colors used are Dull Green (AMIG-077), Ochre Earth (AMIG-078), and Clay Brown (AMIG-079). For a base coat, I added black to darken the hue, and for the highlight I simply added white and modulated with my airbrush.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Warhammer 40K - Armageddon Pattern Basilisk in Progress

I've finally decided to take the plunge and start a Death Korps of Krieg force for Warhammer 40K. This particular variation on the tried and true Astra Militarum list ("Imperial Guard" for us grognards) was attractive for a lot of reasons - not the least of which was its World War I German aesthetic. All of the infantry and cavalry (including the horses!) wear gas-masks. This not only gives them a unique look, but means I have far fewer faces to paint! As with most lists of the type, they have access to an array of artillery and tanks. There is, however, one drawback. As the force is comprised almost entirely of resin miniatures and kits from Forge World, they're not only expensive, but take a bit to actually build as well.

One of the vehicles I'm starting with is the Armageddon Pattern Basilisk. This is, quite frankly, an amazing kit. The kit includes the plastic parts from the Chimera needed for the conversion as well as a resin fighting compartment and gun. The fighting compartment includes a full interior as even fully "buttoned up" some interior is visible. If you open the rear hatch, then you can see everything - though I'm going to try and find a way to keep my fighting compartment top detachable to people can get the full effect.

As I'm going for a World War I aesthetic, my DKK will be painted up as Great War German infantry, artillery, and tanks. This means their shades will be a bit different from the more familiar World War II versions - at least for the big guns and tanks. That being said, I'm going with Second World War interior colors for my vehicles (where applicable) as, well, that's what I've got handy!

Building the Basilisk is no mean feat. The engineering on the kit is fairly good, but as with any mixed media kit, the build is challenging. The first problem I ran into was that some of the resin parts were warped (in some cases badly so!).

Monday, September 17, 2018

Panzers on the Painting Table - 24. Panzer Division at Stalingrad Update

Just a quick update on my progress on 24. Panzer Division. First, I've been working with some lists using the new Iron Cross book, and as per normal I'm WAY over on points, unless you're up for a 150 point game, which most people aren't. I'll likely end up running only two of the three tank platoons at once - one Panzer III and one Panzer IV or two Panzer III platoons plus a Panzer III HQ. I'll also likely end up cutting down on some of the support keeping the Marders, some AA, and some infantry, but you guys aren't here for me to jaw on the lists, you want the photos!

First off above is a small photo of one of the Panzer IV Ausf F2 tanks in the force. It has the full modulation coat applied and I'm now working on decals and detail painting. So far I'm loving how the panzer gray modulation coats are coming out and think the whole force is going to look really great on the table.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Is That a Panzer on My Painting Table? Building the 24. Panzer Division for Flames of War - Part 1

Even a casual reader of my blog should be aware that thus far I have not been a big fan of Flames of War Version 4. My particular issues have not generally related to the rules themselves, but the desperately basic lists that were put out for the North Africa Campaign. Much of the more interesting kit was left out of the initial releases, which meant that armies I'd been hoping to build for V4 (German, Italian, and American) had key elements which were no longer supported by the game.

Over time the lists have started to improve, and my stated position has always been that if the lists in Flames of War got to a point to where they were interesting, I'd get back into the game with new armies and projects. Enter the new Stalingrad books, Iron Cross for the Germans and Enemy at the Gates for the Soviets. While not quite as comprehensive as I'd hoped, these are in my view a big step in the right direction allowing the player to create a some very accurate forces... one might even say "interesting" forces... so look what's on the painting table. Yes Virginia, those are Flames of War miniatures!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Quick Update to Israeli 1967/1973 Forces

I recently picked up a new reference covering the Israeli Air Force during the Yom Kippur War, and have made one update to the Israeli unit chart. I now have enough data to say that the Dassault Ouragan was most likely NOT used in the 1973 war. That being said, the Dassault Super Mystère (pictured below) was.

The Israelis had upgraded the Super Mystère with new engines and avionics in early 1973 and they became known as the IAI Sa'ar (or storm). The type had also been used previously in the 1967 war where they compared favorably to the MIG-19 fighters flown by the Arab nations.  If you can find an appropriately scaled Super Mystère, they would make fun proxy units for a 1973 themed force - just use the Ouragan card!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Additional Israeli Halftrack References

I recently picked up a couple of books that covers Israeli halftracks from the founding of the modern Israeli state through the present in two volumes. Simply entitled Israeli Half-tracks, the set authored by Tom Gannon is packed with photographs of literally every halftrack and light armored car used by the Israeli Defense Force. Volume 1 covers the period from 1948 to 1959 with a heavy focus on the 1948 War of Independence.  Volume 2 covers from 1960 onward focusing on the 1967 Six Day War, the 1973 Yom-Kippur War, and the 1982 Lebanon War.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Battlefront's Update from UK Game Day - My Take

So Battlefront had a big splash and presentation in the UK recently where they provided updates on everything from Flames of War to Team Yankee to Tanks (among other things I'm sure). The guys over at Breakthrough Assault have released some of the details for those of us in the rest of the world, and there is also a good write up at No Dice No Glory. From where I sit, the reveals are truly a mixed bag with some upcoming releases I'm excited about and others that sort of confirm some of my worst fears. So based on the summary in the No Dice No Glory Forum, let's hit a few of the high points!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Painting Guide for Fate of a Nation

The various forces included in Fate of a Nation provide a fairly wide array of camouflage and painting options for the player. The main rulebook itself includes a painting guide, but this appears to have been copied wholesale over from the original release of Fate of a Nation and therefore applies more to the 1967 conflict than the 1973 conflict. A study of some of the available references for the various forces that saw action during these two conflicts demonstrates that there are many more options than are discussed in the rulebook.

Back in February I detailed a decent "one book" reference covering Middle East conflicts, AK Interactive's Middle East Wars 1948-1973. This book has a wealth of color drawings which appear to be reasonably accurate based on the original photographs of the subjects I've seen. SabIngaMartin Publications also has a very detailed series of books dealing mostly with Israeli topics, but there are some good references on Arab armor (especially T54/55 and T-62) as well.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Fate of a Nation Force Table Updates

Just a heads up - I've updated the Egyptian and Syrian tables for Fate of a Nation. Based on better data, it appears that the BTR-60 was not used by either nation during the 1967 war. Egypt may have had an early version of the vehicle, but regardless it wasn't deployed in 1967. There is hard evidence of both Egypt and Syria receiving the standard BTR-60 model as represented by the stats in the book in 1970 and both nations deployed the AFV during the 1973 war.

I'll continue to polish the force organization tables as I get more data. I've even put in a call to some of my friends in Israel to see if I can lay my hands on some additional data.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Fate of a Nation - 1967, 1973, or Both - Jordanian Forces

So the first three installments of this series detailing the various force in the new Fate of a Nation game have caused quite a bit of discussion, and I already have some additional reference data coming my way. That means that there may be some future edits to the Israeli, Egyptian, and Syrian force tables for the 1967 and 1973 wars. That being said, I wanted to get something up for the Jordanians, even if it was an early draft to see if I can get some additional references to come out of the woodwork.

Jordan has always been in a fairly unenviable position in the Arab world. They've continued to look West for aid and support, even as many of their neighbors looked to the Soviet Bloc. This preference can be seen in a lot of their equipment, and in their relations with their neighbors during the inter-war years. As such, most of Jordan's equipment firmly dates to the 1967 Six Day War, as they were most integral to that conflict. Jordan only reluctantly came to Syria's aid late in the Yom Kippur War, and only with one or two Armored Brigades.

Unfortunately as the table above shows, details about the force organization of the forces Jordan sent to Syria in the 1973 War are sketchy. I have at least one photo of a Jordanian Centurion during that conflict, so I'm 100% comfortable saying that the 105mm armed version was definitely there. There are wide reports of Jordanian artillery being involved in attacks as well. I'll continue to dig and hopefully clear some of the "yellow" out of the chart over the next few weeks!

Fate of a Nation - 1967, 1973, or Both - Syrian Forces

Like the Egyptians, the Syrian experience in the Yom Kippur / October War was drastically different than the earlier Six Day War. In 1973, the Syrians were on the offensive and managed to recapture a fair portion of the Golan Heights threatening northern Israel itself before the Israelis counter-attacked and force the Syrians out yet again. As such the equipment used and available in 1967 and 1973 differs slightly when playing the newest version of Fate of a Nation.

I've gone through the new book and worked to identify which formations and equipment would have been available during each war. Bear in mind, however, that the new game is not only meant to be played with what ever mix of equipment you choose, but it is also points compatible with the new 'Nam game, so you can mix and match (Israeli vs. NVA anyone?). Therefore any segregation of forces based on Six Day War or Yom Kippur War is purely optional!

As you can see from the chart above, given their position in the Soviet orbit during the time period, Egypt and Syria shared a great deal of equipment. There are, however, a few units unique to each nation based on what they were able to obtain in the early post-colonial era.

Hopefully this chart will be helpful as you build your forces from Fate of a Nation.  I'll be adding Jordanian forces in the future as well as some modeling and painting guides.  Watch this space!

Edit June 25, 2018 - Removed BTR-60 as a 1967 option - Syria does not appear to have purchased the AFV until 1970 based on better references than were originally available.

Fate of a Nation - 1967, 1973, or Both - Egyptian Forces

As mentioned in an earlier post, in the new Fate of a Nation rules, it isn't always clear which units were used in which conflict (or if they were used in both). A lot of that detail was originally included in the unedited unit flavor text (where available), but due to space constraints some of it was lost.

In this installment we'll look at the Egyptian forces available in the new Fate of a Nation rules, and which units were available for which war. Again, I'd like to emphasize that segregating the forces into 1967 or 1973 organizations is purely optional! When actually playing the game, feel free to mix and match as much as you'd like as the book is written to be used that way. This chart merely gives the player an option to focus if that is how you'd like to play the game.

In the 1967 War, the Egyptian Positions were in many cases more static and lacked the advanced man-portable anti-tank rockets like the AT-3 "Sagger". In 1973, the Egyptians were focused on attack, and both their infantry and armored formations were organized with assault on the Bar-Lev line and establishing a foothold in the Sinai as their top priority.

Hopefully this chart will be helpful. There are a few more entertaining, though rare, Egyptian units like the heavily modified T-34/100 which aren't in the book that I hope to see as "unofficial" cards some day. As before, I'm hoping to get some painting and modeling information up in the future as well.  Enjoy!

Edit June 25, 2018:  Removed BTR-60 from 1967 options. Egypt may have had some in country, but they were a very early model and not deployed. Standard model not imported until ~1970 along with Syria.

Fate of a Nation - 1967, 1973, or Both - Israeli Forces

First I'll apologize for my forced absence. Things have been more than a little crazy in my world and while I've been working on miniatures a bit, the craft room has been a little quiet these days. That being said, unless you've been under a rock you will have seen the release of the new Fate of a Nation set of rules from Battlefront/Osprey. I'm credited as having contributed "additional writing" in this particular book, and this time around it amounted to writing and updating a lot of the historical background as well as the unit flavor text.

As Battlefront was trying to create a fairly unified set of rules that would be compatible with 'Nam - in effect creating "Early War" Team Yankee - no distinction was made between kit or formations which were used only in 1967 or 1973. The goal was to create one game, not two. That being said, where information was readily available I tried to highlight equipment or formations which were used exclusively in either the Six Day War or the Yom Kippur/October War as I know many players would like to focus their force (or at least differentiate camouflage schemes).

Unfortunately you have only so much space with which to work in a book of this type and some editing occurred along the way. So I've been going back through my notes to make as definitive as possible a list of what was used in each conflict. Starting with the Israelis, I've compiled it into an Excel file which I will update as I get more information.

As you can see, most of the Israeli infantry equipment was shared between the wars as the IDF budget was focused elsewhere (tanks, aircraft, etc.). Remember, this is just a guide at this point, I'll be continually trying to update and validate the list going forward. I'm also hoping to get some decent painting and marking guides available as well - so continue to watch this space!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Updating Your Spandrels!

One of the original releases for Team Yankee was the Soviet "Spandrel" or 9P148 Konkurs. It serves as a light anti-tank asset for your Warsaw Pact forces, and is typically fielded in groups of two or three - you get three in the AT Platoon box set (TSBX11). Because of its light armor and inability to fire on the move, the Spandrel is generally best used in ambush or from prepared positions with some cover. As a part of my overall East German force, I decided I needed a unit of these cute little armored cars.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Perils of Kickstarter - Over Promising - Under Delivering

Crowdfunding and Kickstarter has been a cornerstone of game development for several years now, and I last touched on some trends about two years ago in a blog post. Only a few days after that post, one of the miniature games I'd supported, All Quiet on the Martian Front (AQMF), abruptly shut down and its owners declared bankruptcy. While that particular property was eventually purchased and its new owners are trying to make a go of it, what looked initially to be a game with a broad player base now appears to firmly be a niche property. AQMF isn't alone in encountering difficulties in fulfilling their campaign obligations, as now the Robotech Kickstarter, which had been struggling to produce "Wave 2" for over a year, has finally thrown in the towel in a major way.

As of yesterday, Palladium announced that not only will "Wave 2" not be produced, but that the company's 30 year old license to produce Robotech games (role playing and otherwise) has expired and will not be renewed. This means that they'll effectively be having a firesale for existing product and not making any additional product. You can read the details of the announcement in the link above, but ultimately the failure of both the AQMF and Robotech Kickstarter campaigns come down to poor planning, poor management, and a "wave" strategy which can be Kickstarter speak for "Ponzi scheme" in many instances.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

T-72 Adventures in Photography

I'm still playing around with the settings and lenses I have available for my Nikon because I wanted to go for more depth of field in the photos. I think I'm making some progress here:

I'll continue to experiment and will post the final "recipe" once I get everything ironed out...

Thursday, February 22, 2018

East German T-72 Company - DONE!

My NVA (East German) T-72 company is finally painted, weathered, and the lot. I even worked out getting some decent photos taken of them, though I still need to work with the light levels a bit to get all of the details to pop. Going back over the photos, I likely have one or two details to add back in (haven't hollowed out all of my gun tubes yet), but that's minor compared to what it's taken to get here from where the started out.

Red tanks on the prowl

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Book Review: AK Interactive's Middle East Wars 1948-1973

In anticipation of the upcoming Fate of a Nation release for Team Yankee / Flames of War, I've been planning out my armies and looking for additional good references to get them all painted up and ready to go. AK Interactive has released a book covering the Middle East Wars from 1948 to 1973, and it is a rare gem. Packed with color photos and illustrations throughout, the book covers the major conflicts in the region in good detail, and at a price of €20,95, or about $25 U.S., it's a pretty good deal as well.

The book opens with an introduction giving a little of the history of the region and its conflicts from the Israeli War of Independence through the Yom Kippur War, and then moves on to discussing vehicles on a nation by nation, rather than a conflict by conflict, basis. The opening chapter is a bit light, but covers British and French vehicles used in the Suez Crisis of 1956. There is a very large chapter covering Egyptian vehicles in all their dizzying variety. Jordan, unfortunately, does not receive nearly the same level of attention and is lumped into a chapter with Algeria. The chapter covering Syrian vehicles is extremely detailed, and the variety of camouflage schemes used is amazing. This section closes with a chapter covering Israeli vehicles which are no fewer in number, but generally have less variety in paint schemes.

A couple of images from the Egyptian section

The book then goes on to discuss Arab vehicles captured by the IDF - largely in the 1967 War which were employed against their former owners in the 1973 War. This section is very useful because it shows many of the vehicles in their original Arab camouflage schemes. The book closes with a couple of chapters detailing surviving vehicles - many of which are at the Israeli Armored Museum at Latrun.

Overall the book is a treasure trove of images that anyone building a force for the upcoming Fate of a Nation release could use as inspiration. There are a couple of errors I've noted, most of which I think could be translation issues (referring to Sherman HVSS and VVSS suspensions as Horizontal "Volt" and Vertical "Volt" rather than Volute), but there are extremely minor and don't detract from the work as a whole. Overall I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in this period either from a modeling or wargaming perspective.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Markings for My NVA Vehicles - Peddinghaus Comes Through!

Good markings, numbering, and insignia can make or break an modeling or miniature building project. In the past I've created my own decals and markings for projects like the Soviet 1st Mechanized Corps for my lend-lease Soviet army as well as my 502 Schwere Panzer-Abteilung force. It is, however, a fairly tedious process and I hadn't intended to make my own markings for my East German force as Battlefront produced decals (TY014) included in the T-55AM2 kit, and available separately. Unfortunately I've had many issues with my decals cracking and fragmenting, so I went in search of alternatives.

Battlefront Decals - I'd hoped these would work, but have had several issues...

Peddinghaus decals in Germany has a very nice set of numbers and markings for East German vehicles in 1/87 scale which I'd picked up previously, but they're just a bit big for the 15mm (1/100 scale) Battlefront miniatures. I contacted Peddinghaus to see if they could or would run up enough 1/100 versions of the decals to make a go of the overall project, and needless to say, they came through in a BIG way! The photo below shows the original set of markings with numbers in 1/87 at top left, the Battlefront decals at right, and the 1/100 roundels at the bottom.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Book Review: All the Gallant Men

I'd read an article about Donald Stratton's memoir All the Gallant Men in an article online and put it on my Amazon list for "later." My sister and brother-in-law were kind enough to pick the book up for me for Christmas, and I must say that the book lived up to the strong reviews and press it received. Donald Stratton is currently in his mid-90s, and is one of only a handful of living survivors of the attack on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941 during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Born and raised in rural Nebraska, Stratton paints a rare and absolutely unflinching portrait of life during the Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. He is brutally honest about the hardships faced by his family and the rest of the state on a daily basis. Levels of deprivation thankfully rare today in the United States, but which were all too typical then. Yet these same hardships seem to foster a sense of perseverance in Stratton and many of his generation preparing them for the horrors ahead.

Source: Wikipedia

Stratton's sense of pride when being assigned to the Arizona is palpable. His thoughtful and heartfelt characterizations of his fellow crewmen help you understand these men not mere statistics or caricatures in some Hollywood movie, but real people who had real dreams, goals, and aspirations which were in far too many cases cut brutally short.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Plan 2018 or "Where do we go from here?"

In the early 1990s, then Intel CEO Andy Grove borrowed a mathematical concept and coined the term strategic inflection point to refer to those points in time where businesses must make a critical change to their normal operating process or face a period of declining revenue, or even the failure of the company itself. In some ways 2017 represents an "inflection point" in my hobbies both in terms of capabilities and interests. Therefore, in 2018 my plan it to try and exercise some of those new capabilities and (hopefully) get more done in less time...  Stop laughing!  No REALLY!

In case you missed my most recent Volksarmee progress update, my wonderful wife got me a spray booth (it's even portable!) for Christmas. I am only beginning to understand what opportunities this opens up, but in short, it's "a lot." Not only does this allow me to have a semi-permanent base for my airbrushing, but it allows the use of lacquer paint inside the house (watch this space). Because I'm not relegated to a cold garage or utility room, my paints will consistently be at a better operating temperature as well getting me better results. I also don't have the overhead of having to set up the whole assembly any time I want to pull out the airbrush - which is a major game changer!