Arnhem battlefield construction

Arnhem battlefield construction

Work continues on my table for the next engagement at Arnhem.  Here is the basic layout on a grid of 11 x 9 hexagons on a 4ft x 3ft board.

There is a lot of built-up area here.  The city hexagons are plain Kallistra tiles, most of which are sprayed with a stone effect aerosol paint.  Some are my previous method of covering with printed adhesive  paper or vinyl labels.

The roads are Noch Z scale self-adhesive cobbled road, except in the country where I generally use painted glass paper cut to fit.  They represent the major thoroughfares shown on the master campaign map.  When gaming the player can use the city roads for faster movement by sacrificing the protection offered by city areas.

Railway lines are from Leven Miniatures, cut and shaped to fit the hexagons.  They are made from very brittle resin, so a great deal of swearing goes on during the cutting/shattering process.

The three swamp hexagons represent flooded polder.  One is a home-made effect, the other two are as bought from Kallistra, but with the blue plastic painted dark muddy blue and covered in diluted PVA glue.

All the grey tiles, including the four inverted blue tiles currently sitting in for more stone-painted tiles drying in the shed, must be covered in “6mm” buildings and ruins.  All of the green area to the right of the railway will be heavily wooded.  While writing I noticed two more tiles are needed at the far right side of the board.

Watch this space for progress. Continue reading Arnhem battlefield construction

Market Garden terrain building

Setting up the latest scenario for Operation Market Garden.

As usual, despite owning several hundred Kallistra hexagon tiles, some of those required for this battle are not yet in the collection.

This scenario, set within Arnhem and to the north of the road bridge, requires more city hexagons than I have used in any previous game, so I had to buy a new can of “stone” spray paint from B&Q.

The chances of spray painting the tiles today are slim as we are currently experiencing the first decent rain for about six months.

However, I have been able to start work on the railroad crossing.  My other crossings are all in the wrong direction!.

Rail crossing hex in preparation

Railway sections from Leven Miniatures are glued to a Kallistra flocked hexagon tile, after wetting and scraping away the central section for the road bed.

The ends will be carefully sawed off, and then a Noch roadway applied across the appropriate diagonal.

Then the tile will be painted and detailed, maybe with fences and gates -we shall see what develops.

A busy man

Winston Churchill once said: “If you want something done, ask a busy man.”  Clearly this did not involve blogging. (A noticeable exception to the blogging rule is Neil Shuck of Meeples and Miniatures fame. He manages to keep up a daily blog, a weekly podcast and who knows what else in addition to a full time job, a family, a hobby and recently a broken wrist)

Anyway, back to me.  I have not posted for 6 weeks.  I have had plenty to do, but little time at the “real” computer, having spent a lot of time on the iPad and iPhone simply catching up.

So what have I been up to?

I will try to cover these activities in detail later with photographs, but meanwhile, here is the boring stuff.

I have been vainly trying to progress my “Operation Sealion” PBEM campaign, which is stagnating mainly due to the fact that I want to get all my models looking as good as possible on the table (shades of Peter Stringfellow?).

The next battle is the German assault on Brighton, which calls for a lot of railway track.  My blog followers will know that I normally use Hexon tiles for my gaming area, but extensively remodelled by me.  Well, this time I tried to mount the railway track by Irregular Miniatures and Leven Miniatures onto the raised rubber-ish roads produced by Total Battle Miniatures.  This was not successful because everything delaminated, and I am now remodelling all the railway hexagons, and, having spotted it while ordering more track I have a new railway station from Leven to paint.  I should mention that Leven have taken the trouble when asked to cast in resin a new 4-piece set of double rail track that will make a 60 degree curve specifically to fit a 10cm hexagon tile (2 inner curves, 2 outer curves).  I hope to see it on the website for general order soon.

In addition, this battle – without giving away too much to my German commander – needs a lot of British transport.  I have loads of 6mm trucks and lorries for 1944, but I want to get it right, so several packs of GHQ vehicles were ordered from Magister Militum, my UK supplier.

All of this stuff needs painting.

A failure to paint in time resulted in me not taking my semi-portable in-period wargame to the (bizarrely) 217th anniversary of the Battle of Marengo.  For wargamers, I am building armies from the Commission Figurines MDF range, but my figures are glued together in blocks for small people’s fingers to handle.  The project to create, initially French and Austrian,  armies for the French Revolutionary Wars is ongoing.

The trip to Marengo occupied much of my time, including all the necessary requirements of taking my dog camping in Europe and bringing him home again without quarantine. Superb driving over the Alps, including the St. Bernard Pass, last visited in 1989 in full Napoleonic kit for a reconstructed crossing by Napoleon in 1800.

Additional problems are having my car fixed after a sunroof motor failure (luckily it was a heatwave with the roof jammed open) and some kind individual ramming the rear end of my car in the Marengo car park.

We took our new caravan (collected the day after my return from Italy) to Wales for an English Civil War re-enactment weekend, and I am still resolving, and paying for, the failures of the vehicle.

I have also been instructed by my GP to have certain areas of my body checked for issues that affect gentlemen of my age, culminating – I hope – in an hour of MRI scanning this morning.

And so I am returned to the “real world” of painting, modelling, and hopefully actually playing some wargames, with a resolve to post more frequently in future.

 

 

Always something else to prepare…

I want to know why it is that, with a former “walk-in” wardrobe and half a loft full of wargaming impedimenta, every time I want to play a game I have to prepare some new models?

For my next game I have already painted up some GHQ A13 and Mark VIb tanks for the British, not to mention several Adler Vickers MG teams marching and firing and about a dozen new trucks and lorries.  The Germans needed cyclists and new MG34 teams, as well as more infantry and a captured truck with hastily applied white crosses.

As for the terrain (I use Kallistra hexagons, pre-flocked and then customised) I have to make some more embanked railway lines and three level crossings which must involve ramped roadways.  Alternatively I may make road bridges across the railway, but that will be even more work!

To help this game along I have just received the first consignment of double curved railway track from Leven Miniatures, designed to my specifications so that four pieces  – two inner curve and two outer curve – will exactly fit a 10cm hexagon with a 60 degree curve.  I urge all gamers of late C19th onwards to buy some of these if only to repay Mick for his development time!

In addition, and very oddly, I needed to model an ancient British hill fort that would meet the requirements of the ground scale (10cm hexagon = 250 metres side-to-side) and also accommodate bases of at least 15mm x 20mm.   Pictures will no doubt be forthcoming in the battle report when I finally get around to playing the game.

New Rail track in 6mm

A thank you to Leven Miniatures for producing for me – and no doubt for you too – some new 6mm railway track.
I was struggling with creating curved railways – specifically twin-track – for my Hexxon II tiles and asked Mick if he could design a double track curved railway, compatible with his (and other) 6mm railway systems.
I have received these samples. Four pieces designed specifically to fit 10cm hexagons, and useful for any double track railway.
Well done Mick. I will be placing an order as soon as they are on the http://www.levenminiatures.co.uk/ website.