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Thread: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    Hey guys, this is a painting log about some of my own miniatures for a change. As often with those projects I usually tend to do something very different from my commission work and this one came surprising even for myself: I'm going 20mm (1/72th [rougly at least]) early to mid-1980s British Army of the Rhine!

    The ruleset I'm looking at of course is Ambush Alley/Osprey's Force on Force and its Cold War Gone Hot supplement book.


    Yeah, I'm not a huge fan of the cover art either.

    This probably explains the rather large scale I chose for miniatures. Cold War, due to scope and focus on mobile warfare, very often is played at small scales, focus on vehicles, helicopters and all of that. With Force on Force, games usually take place at platoon level though and I like it that way. I just like infantry and things that have a face and which I can feel sympathetic for. Apart from that, a surprising number of people around here already have 20mm Cold War stuffs so that's rather cool. So I went with my currently preferred modus operandi when getting into a new period: Gathered info on what armies are present already, avoid the overrepresented ones. Then I check if there were outstanding uniforms around at the time or overlooked armies/formations with characteristic quirks (you know, funny hats, beards, colourful uniforms or camo patterns, very individual vehicles or gear, etc.). In this regard I was let down a little to be honest because at the time we were going for (1980s), basically all western armies present looked alike already. Boo.

    So I thought I'd just go with the British army. IIRC, just one other guy in the area got them (along with much other stuff) and on top of that, I already have a WW2 British army that ties in rather well with this new one. And not any British army but the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR):


    BAOR HQ badge

    The British Army of the Rhine was formed as the British occupying force stationed in Germany after the end of World War 2. Its first commander (and administrator of the British occupied zone) was field marshal Montgomery of desert fame. Over time the army changed from administrating and occupying the zone to security force and when Cold War came in full swing and Soviet attack through Germany became a distinct possibility BAOR became somewhat of a first line of defence. In the case of war BAOR's general would become NATO's Northern Army Group (NORTHAG).

    Formations were stationed across the North German Plains (including the famous Fulda Gap) which was the most likely area for Soviet attack. Battle in these regions often were the go-to scenario for NATO armies and had a clear impact on the development of tactical nuclear weapons and other systems such as the A-10 Warthog.


    Probable axes of Soviet attack

    Despite varying numbers over its almost 50 years of existance, BAOR numbered around 50,000 to 55,000 servicemen on average (plus many families brought over, civilian personel, etc.). Defence aspects aside, BAOR played a significant role in improving German-British relations after the end of WW2 including an annual festival open to the public and a general sensibility for West Germans of not getting given up on in case of war. Militarily, the strategic value of BAOR was sometimes critisized by US command as, in the case of the war going "hot", being a waste of precious manpower in a futile attempt to stop an all-out Red Army assault.

    After the end of the Cold War and budget cuts, BAOR was disbanded and reorganized into British Forces Germany. Permanent stationing of British troops in Germany is planned to end in 2019.

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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    Hi Sigur,
    I am new to this warseer, but I see that BAOR seems to be a popular choice around for the period you chose (maybe it depends also on the weight of British wargaming community). what figures do you think to use and how many? a platoon or larger? then I have a different type of question, if you had the chance to study the subject: according to theis areas of deployment were the BAOR supposed to face only Soviet troops or also DDR ones?
    thanks

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    Chapter Master Caiphas Cain's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    Oh, yeah!
    Quote Originally Posted by Litcheur View Post
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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    @mihrdad: Hi, welcome to Warseer and thanks for your comment! I wasn't aware of the popularity of the BAOR but it kind of makes sense given the huge thing that is the British Wargaming community compared to the rest of Europe, as you said. For Infantry I'm using Elhiem miniatures and a few Britannia models. For vehicles I got a bunch of resin and metal ones from Britannia models. Unfortunately I don't have too much time (and Force on Force works best at that level I think) so I'll just do a mechanized platoon along with some add-ons. I'll give a more detailled overview of the models in a bit. I only got a rough overview of the subject so far really; little more than in my summary above but from what I learned, in the case of a Soviet assault the BAOR would first face 3rd "Red Banner" Combined Arms Army (formerly 3rd Soviet Shock Army), which mainly consisted of guard formations. But I'm sure they'd come with NPA units.

    @mrtn: Thanks for the comment and suggestion. Actually, I thought of maybe going at this from a popcultural angle mostly, with lots of music and such but I ended up with the dry history of things once again. I'll do my best to get something 80s into the army somehow.

    Alright, so much for the fluff of things. Let's proceed to the miniatures!

    First, infantry of course.



    Here's my platoon. As per the ORBAT for mechanized rifle platoon of the time, there are three infantry sections and a command section. Infantry sections consist of nine men (including the driver, so only eight guys are around on foot), platoon HQ (51mm light mortar with HE, smoke and illumination rounds, a Signaller, a Runner, a Platoon Sergeant and a Platoon Commander). I also got a Blowpipe SAM team, two GPMG teams deployed as heavy machineguns and two additional guys to use as artillery spotters, sniper team or to vehicle crews outside of their vehicles and so on. It's always handy to have additional minis around just in case. I also got a pack of four casualties (it will be too few) and two vehicle crew.

    Here's a size comparison just so you get an impression of the scale:


    It's a rather eclectic mix to say the least but anyway. From left to right: Irregular Miniatures 10mm miniature, Battlefront 15mm miniature, Elhiem 20mm miniature, Wargames Factory 28mm miniature.

    Then there's the vehicles:


    These are from Britannia miniatures. The vehicles all come as one big chunk of resin, possibly with some metal hatches and crew and resin turret with metal guns. There are four FV432, one for each rifle section and the platoon HQ section (in the latter there is additional space for transporting snipers, GPMG sections and so on),...



    ...a FV107 Scimitar reconnaissance vehicle (a light tank armed with a 30mm auto cannon and a coax MG)...


    ... and, just for good measure, a Chieftain main battle tank.



    At introduction it was one of the most advanced battle tanks in the world, sporting an unmatched 120mm rifled main gun and highly innovative and more than state of the art armour. Problem is that it was introduced in 1966 and by the 1980s the Chieftain was beginning to show its age. It remained in service until the mid-1990s and beyond but eventually was replaced by the Challenger I and II main battle tanks. The Challenger I was introduced in the mid-1980s but I wanted to be on the save side with the main battle tank. I think there were like 11 Marks of the Chieftain in service and I'll see what I can do to make the model to match the look of some of the latest Marks.

    Guess what, I got some freebies along with the vehicles from Britannia miniatures which was an immensely nice surprise (along with the hand written letter). So I got five more BAOR riflemen from Britannia's range (not listed on their website but they exist!). Pretty cool and thanks to Grubby from Britannia Miniatures!


    Now, let's proceed right on to the first update right away! Cleaned everything up and based the infantry on pennies:



    Haven't based the additional Britannia infantry miniatures yet (they arrived just today after I had based the other guys), neither the heavy GPMG sections for which I'll need to get some larger round flat bases. The vehicles I won't base.

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    Chapter Master kublai's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    That is an interesting setting for wargaming ! And scale. I will follow this one closely

    What are your opponents playing ? Which armies / nations are represented in that book ? And why 1985 ? Something special about that year military wise ?

    I always wonder why people use coins as their bases. I get the positives such as weight and size. But I assume the chipping on the edges is pure horror.

    Best regards

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    Chapter Master Caiphas Cain's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    I think 20mm is a very good scale. Hell, all scales are good when used properly!

    Anyways, looks like a good variety of minis and armor. My only criticism of Elheim is that so few ranges are even approaching completion, but it looks like you chose a good range! How much infantry did you need to buy from Britannia?
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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    @kublai: Thanks and good having you on board once more. IIRC there are at least one Soviet around, more likely two, one NPA (that's the English version of NVA. Had to look it up even though I could have thought of that myself probably ), two US armies and a Western German one. Not quite sure why they chose 1985 exactly. Maybe because Gorbachev came to power and with him some more "younger" members of the Politbüro, destabilizing the Soviet Union with reforms and all of that, Reagan going hard-line and confrontational and so on? But I'm not sure. I actually don't have the book yet (ordered it though), I just borrowed it a while ago. I mostly base figures on coins because they're readily available (especially those darned 1, 2 and 5 Euro cent pieces and UK pennies and such), small enough for 15mm or 20mm figures to single base and, as you said, add weight too. Haven't had problems with shipping so far. I can see rubbing off as a bit of a problem but if you give it a varnish it should work well. In case of doubt, roughen up the side of the coin with a file or something like that. I do give the coins a good wash though before mounting the models on them.

    @Caiphas Cain: I fully agree. For single-basing 20mm is rather handy and especially when it comes to availability of vehicles (which Cold War is big on), 1/72th scale of course is hard to beat. (Unless you're looking for BMP-IIs. A friend of mine is going crazy looking for these things at the scale ). Yeah, Elhiem minis' ranges are a bit all over the place but I'm not especially fussed with that. I chose a rather complete one, didn't plan to order any infantry from anywhere else at all really. Britannia I only went to for the vehicles. They don't even have their BAOR infantry listed on the online store, they just threw in a pack of five with the vehicles (maybe because the order took about a month to arrive, maybe because I'm such a nice person ).


    Vehicles built and ready for having stowage added!





    Also based the five Britannia guys, four casualties figures from Elhiem.

    Those vehicles are pretty nice. It's impressive how much you can cast in just one piece. Even the drivers on the FV432s are cast onto the chassis. Some bubbles to fill, holes for gun barrels had to be drilled out properly and stuff like that. Cleaning too of course.

    On two of the FV432s, the driver's head was snapped off, one of the heads had even vanished. That was kind of bad but luckily I had ordered two vehicle crew from Elhiem as well so I could replace that. One of the FV432s has the top hatch open. I ordered that one just for variety. Very pretty, but I'm glad I went for three closed top ones and only one open topped.

    Overall detail is nice. As I said, I'll see that I can add some stowage to the things to make them all look a bit more in-action like.

    By the way, remember that guy from around the time THQ released Dawn of War 2?



    That's a converted FV432 too.

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    Chapter Master Caiphas Cain's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    Yes, I know just how hard it is to get 1/72 BMP2s. I had a conversation about that a while back with Ash in his Rhodesian log.

    Anyways, you're a machine! How many projects do you have going on at once!

    Good looking tanks, I must remember to pick some up from them.

    Had a quick look around for BMP2s and I found this: http://sandsmodelsshop.com/product/bmp-2d-apc/
    They also have another variant of BMP2s.
    So yay!
    Last edited by Caiphas Cain; 28-08-2013 at 01:32.
    Quote Originally Posted by Litcheur View Post
    Note to 40k players : switching to historicals will get you laid.
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    Please visit my random project log!

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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by sigur View Post
    Not quite sure why they chose 1985 exactly.
    Since I helped creating that book and know most of its contributers...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn
    Very scientifically - it was the one the more memorable years I was in the Air Force.

    It's also right at the cusp where western tech was starting to take off, so we could do games with older NATO gear if we wanted, but we could also use the newer stuff as well - both were in the field at the time.

    We didn't stick too slavishly to the year, either, as you may have noticed.

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    Chapter Master kublai's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    @sigur: Sounds like you have a nice differs group of people and armies. Good for you

    @veritas /aequitas: Thanks for clearing that up

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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    Great start to the project. Cold War gone Hot is a topic I have always been interested in, I keep planning on doing a West German army mainly as I love the Leopard Tank and the colour scheme.

    Good luck with the rest of the project.
    AKA Ben from Breakthrough Assault - http://breakthroughassault.co.uk/

    Currently working on:-
    * Early War Soviets
    * Late War Soviets
    * Early War Gebirgsjäger
    * Late War Gebirgsjäger

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    @Caiphas Cain: Yeah, S&S models have them but their website is so archaic that my friend is on the fence about shopping there. It's the only place that really have BMP2s so I guess he will have to order there sooner or later. Tons of projects, all at once, never ever is any project finished (need to do more early Saxon warriors for Dux Britanniarum, finally get a camp for my DBA Greeks, got about five reviews lined up, need to get stuff painted to display at shows and such (which might lure me into doing something WW2 28mm squad level), prepare other stuff to, make terrain and that's technically all stuff I shouldn't have time for due to commission work! Planned other things to do: little stuffs such as ACW and Napoleonics So yeah, I don't get bored.)

    @VERITAS/AEQUITAS: Thanks for the comment! Interesting stuff.

    @kublai: Yeah, originally I had planned to do something more "exotic" and go Belgian or something but as I said, I realized that mostly everything looks the same and given the availability of models for British troops of the time... actually, this plog should tie in with that one plog I always planned to do but never actually got started: My Western Desert Force WW2 Brits in 15mm (having shared some units with the BAOR and so on it would have been just nice. Could have had fictional characters be in one army, their sons in the next and so on...) And before I could write up a nice thread the project was done. Once again, time constraints forced me to do those desert Brits (and Commonwealth troops) quickly. So it's a bit with the Chuck Norris Missing in Action films: the sequel gets released as the first one, the actual first one might follow as a prequel or something if I ever add much to the Brits.

    @Chaplin Davius: I have to admit that I got more invested in the period than I thought I would get. A 1/72nd Leopard actually was the first tank model I ever built when I was a wee lad.


    Hey people, this update should have been up nine hours ago but my internet crapped out so that's why there's a bit of a delay there.

    After the vehicles were built, I started adding stowage. Of course not having any 1/72th 1980s tank stowage lying around I'll have to scratchbuild mostly:



    I'll add some more stuff and as you can see, the Scimitar recce vehicle is still missing from the picture as there's no stowage on that fella yet at all.


    At this point I should mention the amazing Cold War Gamer blog which is a great resource for 20mm Cold War stuff, especially British and Soviet.

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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    You are aware, that by clicking shop on S&S models homepage will direct you to their brandnew and shiny fully working webshop, do you? Shaun and Stewart have invested in one. ;-)

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    @VERITAS/AEQUITAS: Alright, thanks for the info. Don't really check their webstore, I got what I need for now.

    Update on the vehicles:




    I guess I can slowly proceed to painting things now.

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    Chapter Master kublai's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    Much better with all the stuff on. How did you make those nets ?

    Sorry for my ignorance, but isn't 1:72 the scale that offers most in terms of plastic kits for tanks and infantry ? Now, I don't like the classic soft plastic 1:72 figure either. I prefer chubby guys Like your metal Brits. But what about vehicles ? Are yours too niche even in 1:72 ? Or do you prefer resin over plastic ?

    Can't wait to see your stuff painted by the way ! I hope, since these are your personal minis, that you will paint them to a insane high standard

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    @kublai: Thanks. The nexts are just the usual old gauze bandage soaked with a little PVA and water. I got some werd bandage though. I mean it's amazing actually because it somehow sticks together like Velcro (Klettverschluss). It's weird but very impressive. Anyway, regular old bandage would have worked better I think. Still worked rather okay. Oh yes, 1:72's host of various vehicles is one of the scale's assets (some might say the only one). However, these models by Britannia are rather pretty and most of all rather inexpensive. I would have preferred to get regular model kits but a.) FV432s are rather hard to come by (yes, they exist but aren't too common) and b.) I was afraid of not having the time to put together six highly detailled model kits even though it would have been great to do that again after all those years. So I opted to go for Britannia models after reading a few reviews and such. The order took about a month to arrive and there are air bubbles of course but that's resin for you and hardly any asssembly is required and those models are sturdy as heck. No insanely high painting standard I'm afraid. I'll try to make them look nice of course.

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    Chapter Master Caiphas Cain's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    Nice work on all the stowage. Will you be basing your tanks?
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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    Usually I'd say no but i'm abit on the fence on the issue really after I've seen some based 20mm scale vehicles today. Still, I think I won't base them. What's your opinion on basing vehicles at that scale?

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    Chapter Master Caiphas Cain's Avatar
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    Re: ...in which Sigur goes back to the 80s and becomes a Cold Warrior

    Well, I think that basing vehicles is nice for two reasons.

    1. It makes the vehicles on the same height level as the infantry after their bases. If the tanks aren't on bases and the infantry are, you have that extra 1mm from the pennies. This doesn't seem like much, but with 20mm figures this amounts to a 5% height difference, which isn't insignificant.

    2. It gives you some room to add cool things to your bases that wouldn't fit on pennies like fences, rubble, casualties, etc.

    The only con I see is that it takes more time!
    Quote Originally Posted by Litcheur View Post
    Note to 40k players : switching to historicals will get you laid.
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