Thursday, 30 October 2014

Markers for table top Napoleonic games

Since I have been working on some new types of markers ready to use with March Attack rules, I though I would share the various approaches I have tried over the years.

I don't like my games to be cluttered with things on the table so I tend to use roster sheets. Easy these days to design them on the computer, print off and laminate at home so they can be reused. If any interest I can always dig out some of my old ones (haven't designed any for March Attack yet) and do a future post - let me know.

My first set of markers I did for In the Grand Manner rules. I made up a grid of the different marker text in Word using coloured text and printed off on pastel shade paper. I then had it laminated and cut the markers out with a sharp knife. This was back in the days when you had to get laminating done at a printers (wasn't expensive) and the laminate sticks to the paper when cut. It seems to be a bit more hit and miss with home laminating if the plastic sticks after you cut a sheet up.

An unformed marker next to a battalion:

A selection of other markers (please excuse the photo quality, I had a heck of a time getting a photo without too much glare on the plastic!):

Some close ups of the two British battalions while I'm at it:

When playing General De Brigade I printed off the pdf of markers you can get from the website and then essentially based them - stuck on small bases and glued some sand around the edges and painted and added static grass. Helps to blend the marker in on the table. The test cases I did where mostly the order makers for generals but you get the idea hopefully.

I also did some directional arrows, again based like my figures, to indicate which direction a battalion was facing in a built up area (as it is not always possible to orientate the figures in the buildings plus a pain to move them about). I also did some double arrows to allow units to partly face in two directions.

And my newest markers are for March Attack to indicate a charging unit and to show casualties received in the current turn. I decided to do these with figures to further cut down on things that should not be on the battlefield.

For the charge markers I used spare infantry - and doing some with cavalry too (a single figure on the small round base). These will be put next to any battalions that are going to charge in the coming turn. The examples are a couple of French and a Wurttemberg marker. I don't intend to do all the smaller nations and will do something like Russians, Prussians, Austrians, British and French (and their allies; to be used as generic French markers).

Casualties received in the current turn need to be marked for various checks and I decided to do some bases with the Adler casualty figures. My first two are Austrians - a single and a double casualty marker:

Markers shown in use with an Austrian unit taking 3 casualties (which is a lot for a turn in March Attack as that is 3 CV [combat value] and many battalions are around 6 or 7 CV in strength; which does mean I don't need huge numbers of these things and ones and twos are going to be fine with the bulk probably needing to be single casualty markers).

I haven't decided on the more general markers yet but if I need anything with words on then I expect I will do versions like the General De Brigade examples above.

[the round bases are 1.5mm ply from Fenris Games - one of their standard items, 20mm diameter]

T26, T28, T35 and BT7 (work in progress)

Again as part of my preparations for some Barbarossa era armies I have got a handful of these early Russian tanks. Now the FOW Barbarossa book is just released I will add to these to field some full units.

The T26s are Arrowhead and I have a few of these as still available for use with the FOW mid-war forces. I made one with the early turret for some variety.

T28 is Miniature Figurines (Minifigs). One of the few minifigs tanks I have kept hold of - like almost all their models it is a pain to clean up of flash etc. but looks nice when done. I will get some more once I work out how many I need.

T35 is a Panzer Depot model. One of their early ones so the paint job is not bad, although I gave it a weathering wash and some mud effect. If I need more of these I am not sure if I will go for Panzer Deport or Minfigs (much cheaper going the Minifigs route!).

Finally the BT7 is a pithead model.

Lend-lease Matilda II

I am starting to build up my Russians for Barbarossa (most of my stuff so far is late war). The Matilda II was used during 1942 and some took part in the battle for Moscow. The main reason though for having these is that I have always loved this tank since I made the Airfix model when I was a kid. I have no intention to do the desert war or France 1940 so lend-lease in Russia is the only excuse I can have for getting this tank. The vehicles are Arrowhead models and it is a multi-part kit that I think really looks the part.

At some point I also fancy getting a handful of lend-lease Valentine tanks. Probably Pithead models and I will do them in the British brown rather than paint in Russian green (Russians often used them as delivered).

Tiger 1 company, winter cammo (Wittmann)

I managed to get hold of a job lot of the Takara case special Wittmann in S04, so I decided to do a whole FOW Tiger 1 company. I did in the end use some other vehicles rather than just the same version for a bit of variety as described below. In all there are:

  • Command and 2iC tanks;
  • 3 platoons each of 4 tanks

The first two platoons are the Wittmann case special (shown at the back, some close ups coming below). 

While Takara are very nice models the painting is good but not great - Can Do models are on the whole much better painted (although as an aside, I think the Takara Tiger 1 looks much more the part as the hull of the Can Do one seems too low). I repainted all the equipment on the tank - the cables, the tools etc. as they tend to be a bit messy in the out-of-the-box paint job. I tidied up the tracks too as they are not properly painted on the model. I also painted over the S04 decals on the turret side and rear to allow unique tank markings to be added. The only decals I added where the turret number on the rear of the turret bin (100, 101, 102, 103 for first platoon and 200, 201, 202, 203 for second platoon). Numbers are red with white outline - and are shown in the third platoon pictures. You can see more on decals in an earlier post.

I used the spare bits that come in the Takara versus sets to add bits of track - the model came with some track on the sides of the turret but on a few I added some more pieces; I also added a piece of track on the front of the hull on some tanks and some pieces on the turret roof (I saw this on a model on the internet and thought it looked good!).

For the third platoon I decided to just use the winter white Takara Tiger 1 from series 5. Mainly for variety. Again I needed to do a bit of repainting but I also applied a weathering wash of GW Agrax Earthshade. The original model had no decals so I added German crosses to the sides of the hull and turret and the divisional marking at the front (I decided to use the black version with white key as it stands out better and it was a version I found on many Wittmann models online). Turret numbers of 300, 301, 302 and 303 for this platoon.

For Wittmann's tank I actually did not use the Takara case special Wittmann S04! I bought a while ago a Takara tank game with 8 unpainted tanks (two each of Pz IV, Tiger 1, Sherman M4A1 and T34/85; one set in grey plastic and one in sand coloured plastic). No interest in the game but the tanks worked out very cheap. I really liked the Tiger 1s and decided to paint them up for Wittmann's tank and the 2iC tank. Painted as a winter cammo and the decals added. It came with a plastic crew figure but instead I used an Arrowhead German tank crew figure for Wittmann himself.

The 2iC I again used an Arrowhead crew figure and decided to number the tank 002.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Late T34/ 76 with added cupola

I have quite a lot of T34s - will post the other units when I get a chance. This is a late war T34/76 battalion (two companies of 10 and a command tank). It uses the Takara T34/76 with the green/ brown cammo and hexagonal turret. I added a cupola to each tank for a late war unit and I gave the vehicles a brown wash, matt varnish and mud on the wheels. I also added turret numbers - see my other post on decals.

The cupola I made with green stuff and a mold using Plastic Clay (search on ebay, or the link takes you to where I got it).

And here is the command tank (skulking behind the village) and a T34 recovery tank in the village. I converted the recovery tank from a normal Takara T34/76, the command figure is by Pithead.