Sunday, November 29, 2020

Gurkhas and Sikhs for Burma

 My British 14th Army for Bolt Action continues with some late war Gurkhas and Sikhs.

28mm Gurkhas and Sikhs for Bolt Action British 14th Army

The Gurkhas are from The Assault Group's packs SKU BPC013 and SKU BPC014, along with two NCOs built from converted Warlord plastic kits (British Infantry and Commonwealth Infantry).  While the figures themselves blend in reasonably well after being painted (Warlord's are slightly chunkier and have wider hat brims), the rifles are quite different between the manufactures and I wouldn't mix them. 

28mm TAG and Warlord Gurkhas for Bolt Action British 14th Army

Next up are some Artizan Designs Sikhs (packs SWW140 and SWW142) with some supporting Warlord plastics. The bodies are of similar proportions between the manufactures, but the Warlord figures will look slightly shorter if you don't add a base the same thickness as Artizan's. The guns are similar in style, though the Warlord Sikh heads have bushier beards and flatter turbans than their Artizan counterparts.

28mm Artizan Designs and Warlord Sikhs for Bolt Action British 14th Army

That said, I think they look reasonably well together.

28mm Artizan Designs and Warlord Sikhs for Bolt Action British 14th Army

Lastly, here's a side by side size shot: Warlord plastic with no added base, TAG, Warlord plastic with added base, and Artizan. I think they will all look fine together on the table.

Size Comparison of Warlord, The Assault Group (TAG), and Artizen Designs 28mm WW2 Miniatures for Bolt Action



Thursday, November 5, 2020

More WW2 Bolt Action British Troops for CIB


I'm back with some more early war British troops for the China/India/Burma theater. As before, these were built using Warlord's plastic kits for Commonwealth and 8th Army troops.


First up are members of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 1st Battalion, from India. They were sent to Burma in early 1942.  I've added some leaves as camouflage to the helmets using green stuff, and the topees have the regimental red triangle.  The 2nd Battalion fought in Madagascar, and similar appearing troops from South Africa fought in Ethiopia, so this unit will be pressed into other theaters for gaming.


Next up are member of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, 4th Battalion, who defended Singapore in 1942.  They were unfortunately captured by the Japanese and used as slave labor on the Burma Railway. The helmets bear their yellow regimental flash as seen in the Osprey book "The British Army 19-39-45 (3)."  Similar looking troops were seen in Ethiopia, so this unit will also see double service in games. 


The last piece of of kit is Copplstone's Lanchester MkII 6x4 Armoured Car that I purchased years ago for my VBCW project. It's been painted based on the example seen at the Bovington Tank Museum. It was an old design by the time the war broke out, but equipment in Malaysia seems to have been limited at that time.

1/56 28mm Copplstone Lanchester MkII 6x4 Armoured Car for Bolt Action





Tuesday, September 29, 2020

81st (West African) Division for Burma

 To provide another opponent for my Japanese army, I've decided to expand into Burma with a British Commonwealth force. While the white Chindit and Gurkha troops get most of the attention, I wanted to feature some of the lesser well known troops that also fought there. To start with, my first units will be from the 81st (West African) Division


81st (West African) Division Insignia
Division Insignia. Source: Wikipedia

These troops originated from the Gold Coast (Ghana), Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, with some fighting the Italians in Ethiopia before arriving in India in 1943.  Troops originally arrived in Khaki Drill, but switched over to Jungle Green as supplies became available.



Nigerian Soldiers WW2
Source: Wikipedia

African Soldiers in Burma

African Soldiers in Burma

To build my troops, I used the Warlord Games Commonwealth Infantry plastic set, with some bits from the 8th Army and British Infantry plastic sets. For the heads, I primarily used the Australians, as I figured the slouch hats were close enough at this scale. A few heads in helmets were mixed in, along with some bodies in trousers, to add a bit more variety.

28mm African Troops for Burma from Warlord Games Bolt Action Plastics

The first infantry section I've assembled is meant to represent a newly arrived unit that has not had a chance to be reequipped. From my online research it seems like green helmets were more commonly seen in Asia, but as one of the above photographs shows a trooper (left side) with a light colored helmet under his netting, I felt it was feasible to throw a sand colored one into the mix.

28mm African Troops for Burma from Warlord Games Bolt Action Plastics

The second section is one that has been in country for a bit, and has either self dyed some of their clothing or been partially reequipped with jungle green gear. I've also mixed the webbing colors, with some soldiers painted using the original Vallejo 884 Stone Grey as a base, and others now having 988 Khaki as a base. 

28mm African Troops for Burma from Warlord Games Bolt Action Plastics

Trying to pick an appropriate "jungle green" proved challenging, as it seems there was a quite a bit of lot to lot variability, and problems with the color fading.  The dark green recommended by Warlord for chindits seemed to be factory fresh and inappropriate for the field, and others have recommended either a green grey or blue green grey color instead. Using a cast photo of "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" for reference, I opted for Vallejo 886 Green Grey and 920 German Uniform as my bases.

Source: Discogs

28mm African Troops for Burma from Warlord Games Bolt Action Plastics

As mentioned before, I mixed in a couple of bodies from the British Infantry plastic set to add a bit more variety. The areas to attach the arms are different between the sets, and while I could get independent Commonwealth arms to look pretty good on the Infantry bodies, the combined arms did not work so well. The long sleeved Infantry arms are also much more slender than their Commonwealth counterparts, so you cannot use them on Commonwealth bodies without it looking odd. 

Compared to the Plastic Japanese set Warlord produces, I did not think this kit was as good.  The mold lines seemed more pronounced in the Commonwealth (and 8th Army) kit, and I felt that apart from the heads, the Commonwealth kit had less viable options for variety in it (there were a lot of strange arms that weren't so useful). Additionally, not all the arms sat flush on the bodies and some of the webbing limited the positions you could place the arms in.  This resulted in me having to do a fair amount of filling and trimming. But that said, I think you can still get a fairly decent force on the cheap by going with the plastic kits over metal.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Customized Diecast Vehicles for 28mm China Wargaming Part 2

I'm back with some more customized Lledo Days Gone vehicle for  28mm Back of Beyond and WW2 Chinese wargaming.  Part 1, which also covers decal creation, can be found here.

Lledo Diecast Vehicles for Wargaming 1920's,1930's and WW2  China in 28mm

For this round, I used several promotional  vehicles:  Hershey's Chocolate, Standard Oil, and a local wholesale company, J J Brodsky & Sons. The last vehicle only had stickers instead of decals, so I stripped them off at the start.  Sadly some paint came off with them.

Lledo Days Gone Diecast DG20, DG16, DG18

DG20 Ford 1934 Model A Stake Truck

Lledo DG20 Ford 1934 Model A Stake Truck , Sean You Zoo Company, Hangchow, China, 28mm WW2 Bolt Action Wargaming

This truck took its inspiration the Sean You Zoo factory vehicles from Hangchow.  The included barrels can be popped out of the bed, so I too the opportunity to drybrush them and paint in a wooden floor for the truck bed. 

Sean You Zoo Company Truck , 1930's Hangchow, China. Source: Madspace.org
Source: Madspace.org

Sean You Zoo Company Truck , 1930's Hangchow, China. Source: Madspace.org
Source: Madspace.org

DG16 Dennis 1934 Parcels Van

Lledo DG16 Dennis 1934 Parcels Van , Tai Choi Company, Shanghai, China, 28mm WW2 Bolt Action Wargaming

This van was based off a van from the Tai Chong furniture company out of Shangai. As mentioned previously, the van had suffered some paint damage during preparation, so the weathering was really ramped up to hide that. I think this particular vehicle was slightly undersized when compared to the other two, but it's still not too bad looking.

Tai Chong Company Van , 1930's Shanghai, China. Source: Madspace.org
Source: Madspace.org

DG18 Packard 1936 Van

Lledo DG18 Packard 1936 Van , Kuomintang Party 國民黨, Shanghai, China, 28mm WW2 Bolt Action Wargaming

This particular customization was a completely original idea. When I saw the announcer horns, it reminded me of old election/political rally vehicles, so I though it would be perfect to roam the streets and whip up patriotic fervor for the Kuomintang and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

Lledo DG18 Packard 1936 Van , Kuomintang Party 國民黨, Shanghai, China, 28mm WW2 Bolt Action Wargaming

The size of these vehicles were again comparable to the Warlord Games 1/56 Morris 15cwt Truck.

Lledo Vans Compared to Warlord Games Truck

As before, I am including the decal designs here for personal use, but they are not allowed to  to be sold.

Chinese Decals for 28mm Wargaming by Chris Schuetz.  Free for Personal Use Only.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Allied Air Support for China

 The Bolt Action rules do not technically allow aircraft to be used by Chinese armies, but since I've expanded into the southern Chinese theater and have American allies working with them, I thought I could make the argument to include some American air support as well. While I would have loved to use a B-25 Mitchell (my great uncle flew them over China), it would be too big for 28mm wargaming.  Since they were escorted by P-40s, I thought that would make a suitable alternative.

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E 23rd Fighter Group, China, 1942

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E 23rd Fighter Group, China, 1942

This particular kit was a P-40E produced by Hasegawa. It came with the options for the 23rd Fighter Group based in China and the 49th Fighter Group based in Australia. The kit did not include a pilot and was only configured for the landing gear to be down.

Hasegawa 1/48 P40-E

Since it would look odd to have a flying plane without a pilot, I had to locate a separate pilot kit. Unfortunately, it proved fairly difficult to find options in 1/48; I only found a single 1/48 American Army pilot, which was produced by PJ Productions out of Belgium.  My order was not large enough for them to sell it to me direct, so I was forced to use eBay to locate one.  The final price and shipping was more than I wanted to pay, but what are you going to do.

1/48 PJ Productions Belgium USAF Pilot WW2 #481103

The figure was displaying a thumbs up sign, which made him challenging to fit in the cockpit, as I had to make sure his arm could clear the side of the cockpit. I ended up having to glue him up off the seat bottom to get the needed clearance, and also had to cut out part of the control panel to make space  for the legs. He was well cast, with only a couple of small bubbles on the visible areas of the figure.

1/48 PJ Productions Belgium USAF Pilot WW2 #481103

Even though the plane was in the wheels down configuration, I wanted to be able to fit it to a flight stand for gaming purposes. I normally like to drill a hole for the stand somewhere under the front of the wings, but the position of the bomb rack did not allow for this. As such, I drilled out a space behind the cockpit.

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Flight Stand for Bolt Action

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of not checking the inside of the fuselage when drilling my hole, and ended up going through a space that was not flat underneath. A second hole was drilled, and a section of tubing was glued in to guide the rod  through the undercarriage into the upper hole.

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Flight Stand for Bolt Action

The final construction ended up fairly sturdy, and not too detrimental to the visual appeal of the underside.

 Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E 23rd Fighter Group, China, 1942

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Flight Stand for Bolt Action

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Flight Stand for Bolt Action

The last part that gave me some difficulty was attaching the canopy components. The front canopy was not able to clear the cockpit's control panel, so I had to try and shave the panel down in situ without breaking anything. Luckily, I was successful and I don't think it's obvious.

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Cockpit Details

The top canopy had to be glued on in the open position to accommodate the pilot, which really limited the contact points with the plane. It broke off shortly after the initial attachment, but seemed to do better after attempt two.

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Cockpit Details

Overall, I am very happy with the Hasegawa kit and give it a thumbs up.  The molding was good, assembly fairly easy, and the price and detailing level work for wargaming.