Wednesday, 28 May 2014


In between constructing tanks and buildings for my ongoing OIF project in 20mm, I have painted few figures.

First up the fireteams;

Each fireteam consists of a team leader (M16A2), rifleman (M16A2), grenadier with a M203 40mm grenade launcher (attached to the M16), and a light machine gunner with a M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon). Three fireteams make a squad with a squad leader armed with a M16A2.

Command team;

This consists of from L to R; an RTO, sniper with an M40 rifle, Forward Observer and an officer.

and finally support weapons;

from L to R; Marine with pump action shotgun, M240G machine gunner, Marine with SMAW (Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon) a bunker buster/anti-tank (rocket) weapon, and a Marine with a FGM 148 Javelin, fire and forget anti tank missile launcher.

The figures are all from Elhiem Figures. These are from the Modern US Infantry in MOPP (Mission Oriented Protective Posture) (NBC) suits range. The last two photos are listed as described for the relevant figure pack.

I currently have one extra fireteam since Elhiem sell packs containing all SAW gunners, riflemen etc, so four packs will make four teams. They do have the option to purchase a complete fireteam but it will be pot luck with the figure variants/poses.

A complete squad;

The Marines wore the MOPP suits during the advance to Baghdad, which was supplied in the woodland camo scheme. I've taken a few liberties by painting all harnesses (MOLLE: Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment) and some pouches in 'coyote brown'. I do not believe that this new colour for equipment was totally universal at the time, but it breaks up the colours on each figure and of course makes them more enjoyable to paint. These 20mm figures are very well detailed and a joy to paint.

So a squad and two thirds to go and I will have a platoon.

Thats it for now , more to follow.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Tanks & Trifles

No its not the title of one of those dreadful but strangely compelling movies you can get on the Sci-fi channel. But some work I did earlier, and have managed to combine two hobbies together...well sort of!

Ta-dah ....The mother of all trifles......

I'm not really what you would call a dessert man. But one dessert I have always enjoyed is the humble trifle, but have never made it. So today I popped my trifle cherry....oh err! This monstrosity was scratch built with sponge, swiss roll, jelly, custard, cream and strawberries. The pink sprinkles were my youngest daughters idea...honest. Okay it may look like its jumped straight out of some 1970's recipe book, but I can tell you it tastes good. Yum, yum.

(The 1/72 tanks are just for scale purposes and not to be eaten)

Meanwhile on my other workbench...

Progress is well under way on a third dwelling for my OIF project.

Thats it for now. More to follow....    

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Lion of Babylon

Revell 1/72 scale T-72 M1 MBT.

Russian T72 M1 in Iraqi service, otherwise known as the Asad Babil or Lion of Babylon. This was Saddams attempt to build a T-72 derivative unique to the Iraqi forces. It was apparently though never built on a production line but from imported kits bought from Poland. The Lion of Babylon or just Lion, had further armour added to its hull front and turret, plus upgraded optics. It also had a electro-optical protection system added sometimes referred to as the 'Iraqi dazzler'. This was possibly obtained from China and it emitted a beam designed to disrupt the tracking systems on anti-tank missiles such as the TOW.

The T-72 did not far well against the Abrams or Challenger MBT's. It was issued to Republic Guard Units and from what I can ascertain at the moment during OIF any T-72's encountered were located close to or in the defence of Baghdad.

Overall this was another very nice kit from Revell. I'm not sure how accurate a representation of the 'Lion' it is, since I've it built straight from the box, it certainly seems to lack the added spaced armour. Those with more knowledge than me apparently point out that the turret is incorrect for this model of the tank, but I'm no expert on modern MBT's. As far as I am concerned its a T-72 and it looks like a T-72!

The slight bend in the AA MG is un-intentional. I managed to drop the tank and the barrel of the machine gun broke off. I steady hand, patience and lots glue I was able to remedy the situation. There are metal versions of the AA MG available, though they are 'chuckier', from several wargames companies. The best replacement version I found is in brass and clearly meant for serious modeller's. The only problem is that gun costs nearly twice the price of the plastic kit for the whole tank! Maybe one day when finances improve I can treat myself and replace the plastic example.

Overall I like this kit a lot and have every intention of building another.

Thats it for now more to follow....


Sunday, 11 May 2014

Houses for Iraq

If you have read the previous posts on the two Force on Force games you will have seen these buildings being used. I've decided to scratchbuild as much terrain as possible for the OIF project and so far I've constructed to 'Iraqi' houses. I use the term Iraqi loosely since though based on research they could be used for nearly any Middle East setting and are not totally based on any actual building.

The first building was a single storey construction;

I initially built the house separately intending to build separate walls. But research indicated that many dwellings in Iraq have a courtyard, and I was particularly influenced by descriptions of the houses in Fallujah, I decided to mount the building on a larger base and make the courtyard part of the model.

The second building is two storey;

The main feature of this building was making sure that not only was the roof removable but also the first floor. Since I'm using the 'Force on Force' rules at the moment it is not really necessary to be able to place figures inside the building(s) but its a nice option. The roof stairwell entrance/exit is made from a off cut of blue foam. Its make a nice feature and also a useful way to remove the roof. (But can you spot the un-intentional mistake on this building?).

Both dwellings have been made from a mix of foam card, cork tile, plasticard, card, and MDF. The air conditioning unit and satellite dish are from S and S Models. I've deliberately not added or left space to add pavements. These buildings and future constructs will be used to represent dwellings in the poorer parts of Iraqi cities, such as the Jolan district in Fallujah. My plan is build others in the future which will have pavements built into the model base, but that will be a little way off yet.

Couple of further photos to give an idea of scale with 20mm figures;

The base board the models are on is the first one constructed for use with 20mm figures and FoF rules. Its 2'x2' and 25mm deep. Constructed as per the previous boards for my Brecourt Manor project. But as can be seen I've kept the layout simple;

The road is placed centrally and is made from 1mm MDF. I based the road design on a interesting tutorial I found on the Lazy Forger site, but the main difference being I used an airbrush to paint the road. Again I deliberately kept the landscape flat since FoF scenarios are mainly, but not exclusively, based in urban settings. I intend to build several more, to have at least a 4'x4' gaming area.

Thats it for now more to follow.....

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

M1A1 (HA) Abrams MBT

Revell 1/72 scale M1A1 (HA) Abrams MBT.

This was the first 'true' plastic kit I've built in about 25+ years. Too many painful memories of dropping the tiniest pieces into the carpet never to be seen again or glue everywhere, not just on the model, had put me off for a long while. But since my re-interest in 20mm again I decided to take the plunge, and this was the first kit which I purchased and built.

The Revell Abrams has good reviews, from those who know about 1/72 scale plastic kits, for its accuracy. Took about a week to build and quite frankly I really enjoyed it. Then spent about another week painting and weathering the kit.

Learnt quite a bit from this first build. Main learning curve being take your time and the whole process will be more enjoyable. The tracks on this kit are link and length. Which means it comes in hard plastic sections and some actual individual pieces to go around the drive and idler wheels. I did think it would be a nightmare but with trial and some error, I actually prefer this method for representing tracks than the soft plastic versions so lovingly remembered from building Airfix kits as a boy...happy days!   

The stowage is mainly resin from CMK (Czech Master Kits). I'm not too sure if I've got the colours quite right on some of the stowage, so I intend to re-work some of it and maybe add some more. I drilled out the end of the gun barrel and drilled out the antenna 'attachments'(?). The antenna are plastic bristles cut from a floor handbrush.

It will be noticed I have not added any insignia. Partly because I do not like using decals and partly because I didn't believe it needed them. One item I would like to source are the Combat Identification Panels used on the Coalition vehicles. I believe the Revell M1A2 kit came with them but that kit is OOP at the moment.

The CIP can be seen on the rear of this M1A1.
The HA stands for Heavy Armour. No I didn't know that either until I had bought the kit and done some more research. The Heavy Armour in question is depleted uranium which increases protection but adds weight.

Overall a great kit, and I intend to build another one in the near future.

More too follow....