Monday 8 February 2021

Quiet here but busy in the workshop

Just realised that it's been over a month since I posted anything. Given it's been summer here in Australia I have a perfect excuse to have done very little, but I've actually been fairly busy. We have a beach house a few hours south of Sydney in an idyllic spot and while we spent most of January down there I have a little corner in a quiet room where I can paint and model. However there are distractions....

Pleasant distractions aside, I've continued working on my First World War project, finishing off my remaining British platoon with a machine gun team, additional riflemen, a Lewis gunner and a couple more leaders. As previously all figures are 28mm from Great War Miniatures.

I started on the Germans and have now finished the first ten figures and a couple of leaders. I have used the larger bases for the leaders to add terrain to signify their level of leadership for when playing Through the Mud & Blood but I've done it in a way that makes it rules agnostic, so what is meaningful for one set of rules is simply a themed base for another.

Our next Chain of Command campaign will be Bloody Bucket and I've worked on adding a few pieces that I need. These include an M16 with 50 cal quad and a Bofors 40mm AA gun (both of which were used historically to engage ground targets during the fighting covered by the campaign).

After playing I Ain't Been Shot Mum last year I was keen to build a force for company/battalion level Second World War games. I considered 15mm but it really isn't that different to 20mm and it seemed like a lot of repetition. So I looked at a smaller scale. 6mm was one to consider, but I've found it too small and after much thought finally settled on 10/12mm after seeing the new range in plastic from Victrix Games. I've never painted in a scale this small and so it's been an interesting journey. It certainly calls for a more stylised approach to figure painting to make the figures pop from a distance.

So it's been quite a contrast to flip from painting in 28mm to doing so in only 12mm, but I'm happy with the result for now.

So far I've painted some of the German infantry figures and British armour - although the keen eyed of you may notice that the Shermans are M4A3, which were not made available to the British as part of lend lease. The armour is not finished yet but coming along nicely.

At least storage won't be an issue - you can fit a lot of 12mm armour into the same space taken by a 20mm vehicle.

Given Victrix have only released British and German infantry and the other tanks available are Cromwells and Sherman Fireflies it seems a bit odd that the Shermans are the M4A3 model. It's a small scale and I'm not going to lose any sleep - mine are marked for 11th Armoured Division, while the Cromwells for 7th Armoured.

Not a lot of gaming during January but I did manage one of Chain of Command by participating in Virtual Lard 4. As the name suggests this is the fourth virtual day for Too Fat Lardies games and in all 23 games were run involving 90 gamers. This was my second Virtual Lard and once again I played a game hosted in Europe with gamers from the UK, Australia, the US and Germany. We used Google Meet this time (previously we used Zoom) and while not ideal everyone enters with the right spirit and attitude and a good time was had by all. I'd certainly join in again.

I managed a face to face game playing Sword & Spear in 15mm. Ancients is not a period I have played and not an area about which I am very knowledgeable. However I was in good hands with two experienced players and it was an enjoyable game. There was much to like about the system, although as to how well it represent warfare in the period requires a more qualified judge than myself.

As I said, quiet but busy. Oh and I did read an excellent book, one that makes you reconsider much of what you thought you knew about how the Second World War was fought and won. The author presents a compelling case back with considerable scholarship to argue despite the attention given to land campaigns and battles the decision points were ultimately those that took place in the air and at sea. 

One example of his approach is to look at German tank losses at Kursk. These were approximately 350 tanks, representing about 0.5% of German armament production in 1943. While the Germans did not win at Kursk, nor were they destroyed. The author looks at overall German tank losses by looking at the losses across several levels. Firstly, those lost pre-production and during production, by looking at targets set for the year based on production capacity, access to raw materials, budgets etc and then measuring this against what was actually produced. In other words how much did Allied bombing, naval blockade, destruction of raw material supply and the dispersion of factories due to the impact of bombing effect what was actually produced (as opposed to what was planned). 

If the Germans had capacity and budget to produce say 10,000 tanks per year and they set that as their target but only produced say 6,000 for the reasons stated, then it could be argued the air and sea war contributed towards the 'loss' of 4,000 German tanks that year. He also looks at those lost in the process of deployment. The Germans may have made a certain number of vehicles or aircraft but how many actually then made it to front line units to serve in combat. Losses due to the destruction of transport facilities like railways, bridges and other infrastructure as well as actual destruction in transit was considerable. I haven't really done his argument justice but I think you get where he is coming from and much like Adam Tooze's The Wages of Destruction it makes you reconsider much about the war. 


  1. Excellent stuff! Particularly like those WW1 figures!

  2. Some particularly fine output there Mark, I am really looking forward to following your next campaign, your reports make for some great reading.
    That book looks rather interesting, I am currently reading James Holland's Sicily book which highlights the vital role of the Navy and Air Force both directly and indirectly in the invasion and how the troops on the ground often felt let down by the lack of direct support, I suppose as landlubber gamers we tend to focus on the land aspect at the "sharp end"

    1. I actually heard the author talking on James Holland's podcast (we have ways), that's how I knew about the book. A very interesting read.

  3. Great stuff - I have put that book on my to read list - it's an interesting topic.. recently a friend asked (as you do) what did I think was the most important battle of WWII. Without hesitation I said the Battle of the Atlantic, which was not an answer he was expecting! The reason being because the Atlantic was where all the supplies came from the fuel the war effort for the Allies.

    1. Thanks. If that's the case then I think you'll find the book very interesting, providing lots of evidence to use to back up your argument on the importance of the Atlantic. He would certainly agree with you.

  4. Fabulous work all round. Can't wait to see your WW1 stuff featuring in one of your AARs soonish.