Monday, April 5, 2021

28mm Chinese Ruins for Bolt Action

 I needed a bit of a break from the Burma project, so decided to return to my slowly developing Chinese urban project for WW2 and Back of Beyond gaming. 
 28mm 4Ground Chinese Building Ruins for Bolt Action

This block of terrain is a set of ruins built from some of the 4Ground Stalingrad modular ruins range. While the kits can be built without any further painting, I opted to make a fair amount of modifications to up the visual appeal and have the finished product better blend in with my other Chinese buildings.  

28mm 4Ground Chinese Building Ruins for Bolt Action

To give the flooring a more damaged look, I opted to cover it with sections of distressed balsa wood. These were painted a medium brown to mimic stained wood and further emphasize the damaged portions.   The flooring and interior walls were also hit with some drybrushing and washes to further add to the worn look of the ruins. At this time the modular sections were also glued together, as I wanted a unified exterior to the building and planned to fill the interior with rubble. 

28mm 4Ground Chinese Building Ruins for Bolt Action

This kits come with an outer layer of grey card that I assume is to mimic the look of concrete, but I opted to cover these with my standard Scalescenes OO model railroad brick scaled to 120%.  I left a fair amount of overhang on the paper so it could be wrapped the edges of the completed walls (already underpainted with an appropriate brick color).

28mm 4Ground Chinese Building Ruins for Bolt Action

28mm 4Ground Chinese Building Ruins for Bolt Action

For ease of play, I opted to have standing walls on only 2 of the 4 sides, and to fill the rest with rubble. I thought a nest in the rubble to use as a base or artillery position would be fun, so built a loop of sandbags out of the Renedra kit. They weren't as easy to use as I had hoped, with some poor fits that needed to be trimmed or filled with putty, and repetitive bag patterns. I did my best to hide most of the sins on the outside as I new that would be covered by the rubble.

28mm Renedra Sandbags

With the building and sandbags glued to an appropriate base, I started to build the rubble piles out of carved sheets of foam. 

28mm 4Ground Chinese Building Ruins for Bolt Action

These were given a coat of appropriately colored paint, and pieces of brick paper were glued in irregular orientations. While not critical to have the paper covering every part, I find it particularly useful on steep sides where the debris may not stick as densely. The debris itself is a mix of various rock sizes and colors, along with some 1:48 bricks from Juweela, glued down with a thick coat of white school glue.

28mm 4Ground Chinese Building Ruins for Bolt Action

Here is the wall side of the kit. Various dirty washes have been run over the brick paper (previously sealed with matte enamel varnish to help prevent warping) and the billboard for insect spray. To add further wear to the billboard, I rubbed a wet finger over some sections to rub off the image and expose the white underneath. The door that leads to the sandbag emplacement has been fortified with additional sandbags.

28mm 4Ground Chinese Building Ruins for Bolt Action

And here is the collapsed side with the built in sandbag nest. It's large enough that it can house a complete squad, medium tank, or artillery emplacement. The perimeter has been edged with two layers of weathered GaleForce Nine barbed wire for additional security. Lastly, I've also created some independent rubble elements to allow the destruction to spill off the base and into the street.

28mm 4Ground Chinese Building Ruins for Bolt Action


Sunday, February 28, 2021

Bolt Action Chindits

Work on my British force for Burma is in the home stretch with the addition of some Long Range Penetration Groups, better known as Chindits

Bolt Action 28mm Chindits Warlord Games and The Assault Group (TAG)

The bulk of these figures come from Warlord's Chindit Section box, with additions of the character and close quarter fighter blisters, some converted Warlord plastics, and a few TAG Chindit NCOs.

Bolt Action 28mm Chindits Warlord Games and The Assault Group (TAG)

To enhance the units ragtag look, I've gone with a mix of faded green-gray and newer green-blue uniform colors, along with a few brown angora shirts and and one old faded khaki shirt. Webbing is predominately khaki, but with some jungle green kit as well.

Bolt Action 28mm Chindits Warlord Games and The Assault Group (TAG)

The Warlord metal figures are well sculpted, but run on the thinner side when compared to TAG and Warlord plastics. In the below photo, the center figure is from TAG, while the rest are Warlord metal.  The height can vary a bit between figures when you look at them side by side, but that disappears when you have them en mass. The one bit I found somewhat challenging when painting the metal Warlord figures was the eyes, as the sockets are deeply set on many figures.  Perhaps they expect most painters to use a wash rather than actually paint in the eyes. 

Bolt Action 28mm Chindits Warlord Games and The Assault Group (TAG)

In this last photo, you can see two Warlord metal figures, a TAG, then two converted Warlord plastics figures to again show you a bit of the size difference. 

Bolt Action 28mm Chindits Warlord Games and The Assault Group (TAG)

Overall, I am quite pleased with the final results. Still pending are command, a couple of heavy weapons, and a few vehicles, but it's a good feeling to be within reach of a completed force.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Early War Sikhs for Burma

The Burma project continues with the addition of a Sikh infantry section and some support units.

28mm Warlord Miniature Sikhs in Burma for Bolt Action WW2 Gaming

As with the majority of this project, the figures are from the Warlord plastic kit, with the addition of an officer from Artizan. The warlord kit is pretty limited on accessories, so the binoculars for the anti-tank gun spotter had to be pulled from the bits box. The 2-inch mortar arms seem to only work with the prone body, and the arm of the ammo carrier won't fit on the kneeling body, so you are limited with pose variety here. It's a great shame when compared to the knee mortar options available in the plastic Japanese kit.

28mm Warlord Miniature Sikhs in Burma for Bolt Action WW2 Gaming

The infantry section is built straight from the box without modifications, and as with the previous builds, looks reasonable enough for a cost effective option.

28mm Warlord Miniature Sikhs in Burma for Bolt Action WW2 Gaming


Saturday, January 9, 2021

A Detour Through Ethiopia

 My tropical British force for Bolt Action will primarily be used in Burma and associated areas, but I wanted the option to use them in Africa against some of the other armies in my gaming group.  To help with that, I've added some troops specific for the Ethiopia/East Africa campaign.

28mm  WW2 Ethiopian forces for Bolt Action

First up are some some local Ethiopian/Abyssinian resistance fighters, produced by Empress miniatures.  The Ethiopian army was poorly equipped when Italy attacked, so most fighting was done by local tribesmen equipped with 19th century rifles, swords, and spears.

28mm  WW2 Ethiopian resistance fighters for Bolt Action (Empress)

These figures were really well cast and sculpted, with a lot of character in each face. I highly recommend them.

28mm  WW2 Ethiopian resistance fighters for Bolt Action (Empress)

Next up is another group of the 81st West African Division. The bulk of the troops are the Warlord plastics, with two white NCOs created from The Assault Group (TAG) Chindits.  The figures are close enough in style that they blend in well.

28mm  WW2 81st West African in Ethiopia for Bolt Action (Warlord, TAG)

The A12 Matilda MkII is the plastic kit produced by Warlord. You get parts for 3 variants, and I've gone with the African version (minus a spotlight I lost cutting parts off the sprue). It's a really well made kit and includes decals and other support items.  The white and red markings associated with Africa were not in use by the 4th Royal Tank Regiment (4 RTR) in East Africa, so I have left them off. The dark tones in the African camouflage pattern seemed to vary between chocolate brown, a slate gray, or a dark green, and I've selected brown for this tank.

28mm  WW2 Matilda MkII Tank in Ethiopia for Bolt Action (Warlord)

28mm  WW2 Matilda MkII Tank in Ethiopia for Bolt Action (Warlord)

Finally, I have a South African produced Marmon Herrington MkII armoured car from Company B. Now I'm not sure if the MkII was used in Ethiopia or only the MkI, but since nobody makes a MkI, Company B's is the only option.  Sadly, it is not a very good one.  The completed vehicle seen here has been heavily modified by me to get it looking decent for the table.  The images of what you have to start with follow after.

28mm  WW2 Marmon Herrington MkII Armoured Car in Ethiopia for Bolt Action (Modified Company B)

28mm  WW2 Marmon Herrington MkII Armoured Car in Ethiopia for Bolt Action (Modified Company B)

What you start with is one of the roughest castings I have every purchased.  The resin portion was highly pitted, with unacceptable levels of resin build up in areas such as the spare tire. Details, such as door hinges,handles, and appropriate rivet marks, were also lacking The metal wheels and pintle machine guns (not used by me) were cast well enough, but one of the wheel axles was missing its end, and as you can see below, the Boys AT rifle and Bren gun in the turret were nothing more than twisted bits of white metal with no details. Who at Company B thinks this is an acceptable product in this day and age ?!?

28mm  WW2 Marmon Herrington MkII Armoured Car by Company B- Badly Cast

First up in trying to salvage this monstrosity was about 3 hours of filling and sanding to deal with the rough resin texture. For some reason Company B provided 6 wheels instead of the needed 4, so I was fortunate to be able to saw off the resin spare and replace it with a metal one.

28mm  WW2 Marmon Herrington MkII Armoured Car by Company B- Badly Cast

Trying to add the appropriate rivets over the car would have been a nightmare, so I skipped that and only added equipment hooks on the sides. Bits of card and wire were used to add in additional missing details. The final items of equipment hanging from the sides and the commander came from the bits box. As nothing could be salvaged from the turret guns, these were cut off and replaced with plastic barrels from the Warlord Commonwealth infantry sprues. There is also no pivot point for the turret, so you are forced to glue it in a static position.

28mm  WW2 Marmon Herrington MkII Armoured Car by Company B- Badly Cast

The wheels were also a poor fit, with the front axle needing new posts drilled into it due to the miscasting, and the back wheels unable to fit in the rear wheel wells without padding between the axle and car body.

28mm  WW2 Marmon Herrington MkII Armoured Car by Company B- Badly Cast

Final judgement is that the Empress, Warlord, and TAG products covered here are worth your money and time, but steer clear of this shoddy Company B product unless you are desperate and have the patience and spare bits to make it look presentable. 




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