Sunday, August 23, 2015

Some more Italian armour

I had intended to get stuck into my Bavarians and actually made a good start even finishing a small unit of jaeger but my Warlords order for my Bersaglieri army came in and I felt drawn to finishing my WWII Italians or the armour at least. The Warlord offer was too good to refuse - UK$75 for an entire army (4 x 10 man sections i.e. a full platoon plus command) including a support weapon and two armoured vehicles delivered - normally nearly UK$ 100 plus delivery. The order took a little over two weeks to arrive and Warlord very kindly put in a Sahariana AC instead of the Semovente (which I already had). The pack includes a set of Bersaglieri heads which are enough to make up nearly two platoons so I'm able to convert some figures I had to give the Bersa's a mortar as well as the MMG they came with. Naturally I had to make up the figures and vehicles as soon as I got them.  Very impressive they are too. Nicely caste figures with minimal flash (unlike the Perrys I have to say) and great detail. The AVs are resin and do have a bit of flash and crap to clean off (no different to the Perrys 'Blitzkrieg' armour) and the usual collection of fiddly metal bits that do require some patience in cleaning up and attaching with Superglue.

The M13/40 (closest) is the Perrys 'Blitzkrieg' vehicle, behind are the Warlord Autoblinda Lince and the Sahariana that came with their Italian army deal.

The awesome Sahariana - what a beast it is! The little Lince is the Italian version of the Brit's Daimler 'Dingo' scout/command vehicle. Warlord send you the buttoned down version to differentiate as otherwise they're almost exactly the same.
I've added a few bits and bobs to the vehicles including sandbags, Jerrycan rack and spare track for the M13/40 tank, a second Breda MMG, pickaxe and some packs etc for the Sahariana and an aerial for the Lince - which I think I've managed to snap off about four times so far! Also arriving about a week or so later were my three L3/35 tankettes from 'shapeways' in New York. Shapeways are a 3D printer mob who do a nice line of armoured vehicles. The finish is a bit rough but as the models are so small in 1/56 - 28mm its not that noticeable and at just under $AU 19 each not that expensive.  It cost me about $75 AUS to buy three and have them shipped halfway 'round the planet in about two weeks. Not bad at all.  I have to say they have an amazing range of 28mm AVs with dozens of variations to each model available. I settled for the L3/35 with the twin Breda MMGs and one with a Solothurn AT. Warning though - they are made in a  very lightweight hard plastic and are hollow and very light. In fact there's virtually no weight to them at all which led me to glue a couple of coins underneath and mount them on magnetic bases just to give them a bit more heft for the game table.

L3/35 next to the tiny Autoblinda Lince - its actually bigger (but only just) and must have been very cosy for the two crew!
The Italian AV production line - ready for finishing paint etc. Note box of neglected Bavarians behind them.
Finished Autoblinda 'Lince' (Lynx) with Breda M38 MG, also lighter armour than the Dingo hence the 'open top' vehicle rule applies in BA games.
The M13/40 with extras such as fuel can rack, sandbags and extra track piled on the front armour for added protection. Dunno how much protection it provided but the extra weight apparently played havoc with the engines which had a tendency to overheat as a result.

Of the models I've now completed I have to say the Sahariana is the one that appeals the most. I didn't realize they were so big - very wide chassis and huge tyres made them perfect for off-road desert ops to counter the LRDG in North Africa (dunno if they did ever encounter one another historically but that would make for an interesting game scenario!) because of their construction they came with a wide range of armament options such as the one  fitted with a 37mm Ack-Ack belonging to one of my wargaming companions that I posted on previously. Jason's Sahariana inspired me to acquire one and I decided to give mine the extra Breda MG it usually came with. Supposed to have a four man crew but usually 2-3, it could also transport six fully armed men. Luckily for the Allies the Italians only made about 100 of them as they are widely agreed to be the best vehicle of their type in the war - forerunner of the modern SUV? Its a huge AV - bigger than the M13/40.

The other Breda MG is a Battle Honours one and a fair bit cruder version that the one the model came with - could pass for a heavier caliber MG I guess - mounted on a bit of brass rod.  I like the NCO seated in the back clutching his bottle of vino!
The M13/40s and Semovente AG behind them are all Perry's 'Blitzkrieg' line, the three L3 tankettes are Shapeways (worth checking out through the linked text) and the remaining Sahariana and Autoblinda ACs are Warlords.
That's finished all my armour for the Italians - I now have to do just a platoon of Bersaglieri and one of parachustisti which I intend to turn into the famous Folgore who fought so gallantly at Alamein - another 60-70 figures with support weapons teams. Before I get to them I have to return to my Napoleonic Bavarians and finish that lot off and by then it'll probably be time for the 'Little Wars' con in October.

Doc's Italian armour - Avanti Savoia! They go nicely with my dismounted/surrendering/running away Italian tank crews!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Break out from el Alamein: Bolt Action @ Jost Games - part 2

In addition to my own photos Andrew kindly sent me shots he and others had taken of the other games at Jost.  Featured are those superb French Foreign Legion as well as some very nice (and I'm told very successful) DAK, 8th Army and of course the Italians.  The end result of the ten(?) games played that day reflected history with heavy Allied losses but an overall victory (points around 39 to 47?) The DAK won several of their encounters but I think the Italians lost all of theirs - albeit very narrowly. Anyway, an enjoyable day's gaming at an excellent venue. Enjoy the extra photos.

DAK assault on town held by Free French
Afrika Korps close in on Foreign Legion defenders
Legion Armoured Car in middle of town comes under direct assault from bold DAK

2nd turn for my 2nd game - note Italian Solothurn AT team skulking in the rocks to the right - they put a lot of holes in my Stuart (just racing past the lumbering Cruiser) 

Wasn't aware there were any ancient monuments near Alamein (otherwise an isolated crumbling railway halt) but magnificent scenery nonetheless through which a squadron of British Cruisers (or is it Crusaders?) drive & fan out.
Italian 13/40 brews on Crusader up while a Semovente looks like its about to cop it in the side as British armour seizes their objective

8th Army attack Italian strongpoint
Yours Truely under the watchful gaze of BA Rules Guru Andrew contemplating just how many of my exposed Aussies are likely to survive long enough to assault the town... while my opponent dices to see how many he shoots down this time 'round. His para's Elefantino AT put holes in both my armour and my men to equal effect!
Italians versus French Foreign Legionaires (I think) - dunno the outcome of this one but the French looked debonair as usual (see previous post for some close-ups)
Thanks for looking. Off painting Napoleonic Bavarians for some odd reason - just tidying up my Bavarian Brigade when I 'discovered' I had enough unpainted figures for three more battalions! Clearly some painting has to be done.