Saturday 20 April 2024

A Tale of Two Tracks - The Heller AMX-30/105 Kit

Several years ago I purchased three 1/72 scale Heller AMX-30/105 kits. At the time I was unaware of any issues with the kit and they joined the mountain of kits that have yet to be built.

A couple of years ago I did start making the kits and soon discovered the main issue with the kit is the vinyl tracks. I found them difficult to work with and lacking in detail.

The best fit I achieved on three tanks.

A typical section of broken track complete with evidence of repair efforts.

The tracks were difficult to fit and soon split - often in multiple places - and soon defeated all my usual repair techniques.

This was the more typical fit achieved - complete with post fit rip.

A brief survey of online reviews showed that I was not alone with having these track issues. The AMX-30/105 Construction review by Stephen 'Tank Whisperer' Brezinski is quite balanced with its comments, whereas the review by Scott Van Aken describes the tracks as being 'a joke'. He concludes with the remark 'Shame on Heller for foisting those things on us.'

AMX-30 served on a bed of split and broken tracks.

However I was not going to let issues with tracks prevent the construction of these tanks. My first thought was to use the strapping tape track replacement system I have used previously  

However, I wanted to see if I could print a replacement track system. First I needed to get files for a suitable track, so I purchased from Wargames 3D the files for printing an AMX-30 by VJM787.

A set of FDM printed tracks. the tabs on the side will be eliminated.

The advantage of purchasing the files is that it will allow me to print more AMX-30s without going back to the Heller kit. There is a different in the placement of the road wheels between the two models, however the issue can easliy be ignored as it 

Clipping off the old road wheels.

The suspension is left for the new tracks and road wheels.

Removing the road wheels was my least favourite of the process as the Heller road wheels are rather nice and had assembled with very few issues.

The new tracks complete with road wheels.

Another view of the refitting..

A better view of the road wheels.

All three AMX-30s fitted out with new tracks and road wheels ready for the paint shop.

I am happy with the way this turned out and all that is left is for these tanks to receive a paint job. 

Tuesday 15 August 2023

Event Cards for Mike Kirby's Guide to The SYW in India

Mike Kirby's The Campaigns in India during the Seven Years War 1756-1764 is both a useful wargaming resource for gaming the Seven Years War (SYW) in India, and is a resource book for V&B players wanting to game the period.

The  Boardgame Geek overview provides a very detailed summary of the publication that is no doubt already well known to a number of V&B players.

In the book Mr Kirby suggests the use of Chance Cards to capture the flavour of the period and provides details for some. I have taken these suggestions and used a Card Generator program to generate the cards.

The artwork used is either photos of my own figures, or artwork that I believe to be in the public domain. Working is largely that used by Mr Kirby.

Most of the cards are fairly straight  forward in their meaning but the card Failure of Iqbal is not that straight forward. My own clumsy research as to what the failure of Iqbal was has yielded little in the way of results.

Kirby also suggests that blank cards could be added to the pack in order to aid with the use of event cards.

I plan to print these cards out and use them for a play test. If They work well I will consider expanding the set and revisiting the art work.

Friday 30 December 2022

Imagi-Nations WIP or What I Have Been Doing Since October

Recently I obtained from Glenn, a great deal of painted Airfix figures. Some of these figures will be able to be used for the V&B Waterloo project. The rest will be used for my Duke, Elector, King (DEK) project that I have set in the nations of the known world in the D&D setting of Mystera.

More Klantyre Highlanders.

Why? Because the known world allows for a range of both European and Non-European forces, and the nations have a wealth of background material. Of course by advancing the time line by 700 years and eliminating the high magic of the setting, allows for a great deal of flexibility in ignoring items that I dislike, or won't work for a DEK campaign. (More details are located here).

In a previous post  I detailed how I intended to use painted Highlanders surplus to Napoleonic gaming. As such the forces of Klantrye in Glantri have gained another two stands of infantry. 

Yet more Highlanders. Klantrye now has a sizable infantry force.

Included in the figures from Glenn was a collection of Airfix French Artillery that at some stage had been converted with a great deal of imagination to French Imperial Guard Foot Artillery with the addition of material to the Shako in order to make bearskins.  Given that I already have plenty of purpose built figures for that unit, I decided to do something very different.

Big headgear, bright colours, and a dedicated gun! 

I decided to model an elite unite of Himaya (warriors) from the Mumlyket of  Kadesh. Kadesh has a long traditional of military excellence, so it makes sense for them to adopt the latest military systems and equipment into their army.

The gun was produced by Plastic Soldier as a game component for their remake of 'Hold the Line'.

Both units would be rated as having shock, but the dedicated gun probably gives the Kadesh troops the edge. 

I purchased years ago a set of  German G.M. 0024"British Army in Egypt: Madras Regt". PSR reviews a similar set of figures here, and their comments about the material the figures are made from is rather generous. The material crumbles easily and should not be used to make figures!

Not all modern troops in the Sind region are in the employ of the local rulers!

.These figures (and the other two stands I hope to make from the set) I plan to use both as East Indian Company Sepoys and as Sepoys of the Minroth East Sindindian Company stationed in Sambay, Mumlyket of Jalawar.

Thyatis is the major military power of the background, and I have arbitrarily decided to give the majority of their infantry white coats. This is largely due the fact that I like the look of Ancien RĂ©gime troops in white coats!

Airfix British Hussars in use as Thyatian Light Horse face some WIP Shire militia.

WIP stand of Thyatian infantry.

While Thyatis is a major military power with all the trimmings, The Five Shires are not. They are a smaller power that doesn't have a large standing army. Rather they rely on trained bands and militias raised as required. Also, they are a nation of Halflings who call themselves the Hin.

WIP FDM 3d Printed Hin troops.

Same from the rear. 

Despite being classed as militia, many of the Shire Regiments do not suffer from being treated as militia as per the V&B rules. Rather they are often treated the same as regular linear infantry. 

A Regiment of Shire troops

Glantri and the Shires enjoy less than cordial relations.

DEK has provision for naval forces, so naturally I decided I needed ships. Rather then get ships in a sensible scale, I decided to make a cartoon scale navy using a mishmash of scales unrelated to either my figure or ground scale. This has frigates in 1/144 scale, 1st Rates at 1/180ish scale, and other ships at box scale.

A 3D printed 1/181 1st Rate Ship of the Line

A rather nice view of the stern

This is not a clever approach, but it is a fun one! I have been enjoying enlarging 1/700 scale STLs to larger sizes as I have always wanted big ship models!

The Mayflower under new management!

I am still figuring out exactly what ships go where, but I am definitely enjoying myself! The Mayflower was apparently a Fluyt design, so I am planning on using her as a generic vessel of the class.

1/83 Scale Revell Mayflower next to 1/144 scale HMS Southhampton

And since I have so many ships, I clearly need a Pirate Fortress. Below are my WIP planning photos for remodeling a rather broken and gutted Tracey Island Kat purchased for me.

A toy pirate ship which could be a ketch with asperations to greatness!

The island can host multiple V&B urban areas. 

It will need defenses to cover that nice beach...

Thank you for looking, and hopefully I will have some finished items soon to post on the blog!

Sunday 23 October 2022

Airfix Imagi-Nation Highlanders

 One of the side effects of playing Volley and Bayonet (V&B) with 20mm plastic figures is the accumulation of certain types figures in excess of what you can use. A classic example is that of Scottish Highlanders in British Napoleonic forces. 

Command stand for a Klantyre force

Given the scale of the standard game, it is extremely unlikely that you would need more than two brigade stands of Highland infantry, and even then, the Highlanders would typically only represent one of the battalions in each brigade.

Klantrye has a proud military tradition

Over the past twenty five  years  I have acquired a number of painted and unpainted sets of Airfix (and other brands too) Waterloo Highlanders (Click here for the PSR review) in excess of my requirements. Naturally I have hoarded these figures as they might be useful one day.

As I have been building forces for use with my Duke, Elector, King (DEK) 18th century imagi-nation campaign, I have been trawling through my collection of painted and partially painted figures looking for something suitable. Upon discovery of these painted Highlanders, I was struck by the thought that they could be used as well, despite being technically the wrong period.

The original painter's attempt at a tartan pattern is very subdued in these photos 

Indeed, one of the advantages of DEK is being able gloss over imperfections in uniforms as long as it has the right vibe. And since I have recently decided on the campaign background for my DEK campaign, these figures will work perfectly, and in numbers in excess of those normally needed for games of V&B in the Napoleonic era.

A proud regiment of Klantrye: The Glenmoorloch Borderers

The original painter made quite a nice impression of a tartan on these figures

And while perfectly nice sets of 18th century Highlanders exist, these figures have the advantage of me already having them, having a good range of poses that work well for making V&B stands of regular infantry, and of being quite forgiving of my restoration techniques.