Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Modern Combat - Painting US Marines

When I first did my USMC, it was for a game based in Somalia and as such was a mix of the 3 colour desert camouflage uniform. Since researching Ambush Alley and more Operations in the Contemporary Operating Environment ld me to look again at digital uniforms.
First project was for MARPAT (MARine PATtern). Not having a piece of material to hand and trying to remember back what the MEF wore linked to some browsing pages on the net (where colour depth is always a problem) I came up with this page to try different methods until I can find something That Looks About Right (those of you who browse my pages will find that a common phrase. At this scale the best I can hope for is the look of the camouflage, it won't be right because of the figure and the size and shape of my paint brush).

Undercoated and read to start.

Version 0.A
First up on my batch of 7 specimen models. There appear to 4 shades of colour on MARPAT (Which characterise it).

  • The base layer very very light tan/brown
  • Intermediate layer of very light brown
  • Medium brown
  • Darker Brown
With a white undercoat that will be washed I came up with the idea of:

  • using white as the base layer - It will pick up the pigment of the wash
  • Gray as the intermediate layer - Again it will take some pigment and show up darker than the base layer
  • Medium brown. Very light colour probably have to be something like Calthan Brown from GW
  • Dark brown. Probably take the Vallejo choclate brown
So first figure then. Painting sequence will be:

  • Hands and Face (as all my figures the first thing that happens).
  • Weapon in black
  • boots and web gear in Tau Sept Ochre
  • Light Grey in big splodges
  • Calthan brown small patches
  • Choclate brown very small patches (almost dots)
  • Sepia Wash to blend it all together
  • Orange optics (if needed).
  • Gloss Varnish
  • Decals (not too sure at this scale but will give it a go (I like a challenge). Stars n Bars on the Right shoulder (I need to do some research about unit markings).
  • Possible second coat of varnish (if decals are used)
  • Dullcote
Results 0.A. Took two figures and just washed them over. As a result I will used the Mud wash, the sepia was too yellow and I needed a gray/brown. Secondly my first go through used Tau Ochre for the boots and gear. This is two orange even with the wash so will go down to Yellow/Middlestone for the next run.
 Version 0.B (Lessons Learned) From the first run through keep everything the same except the pieces in BOLD. Painting sequence will be:

  • Hands and Face (as all my figures the first thing that happens).
  • Weapon in graphite
  • boots and web gear in Middlestone
  • Light Grey in big splodges
  • Calthan brown small patches
  • Choclate brown very small patches (almost dots)
  • Devlan Mud to blend it all together
  • Orange optics (if needed).
  • Gloss Varnish
  • Dullcote
Go back and add the green equipment, and do the optics properly. Also need to do the googles and strap in black; and finally do some research on smoke grenades and these models should be finished to game with.

Okay then happy with Version 0.B. Need a bit of feedback from the Ambush Alley professionals and go from there.

The intermediate colour does look a bit too gray so will have a look, but I am happy with these. The problem with modern camouflage is that it is designed to make you blend in, we as gamers like our figures on the table to look at. So a balance has to be struck. These will be based before I go to work this morning (one benefit of having a dog that needs to go outside at 0630).

While I might be happy to start with, some of those who populate the ambush alley site put my efforts to shame. The shots here of the ACU scheme are fantastic. So I am going back to revisit this!!!!!!! (I AM happy with the silfor though).

Monday, 21 September 2009

Modern Combat - QRF Stryker

I loved the look of the Stryker and was overjoyed when QRF released one.  It took me a while to actually get around to buying one though.  It is a lovely model.  Painting not brilliant but fine for a gaming model.  If only someone would do a slat armour set for it.......Oh well another project.

Modern Combat - Opposing Forces

I updated a large portion of my US Marines and Insurgent forces.  All figures are by PP from their AK47 range.

Modern Combat - Op Certain Death

This is the article I submitted for the Ambush Alley Games "Raid" Contest back in 2009.  I has been updated by Donogh on his excellent blog Land War in Asia.  Osprey kindly sent me a selection of their new Raid Series publications as a result which was excellent.

On 10 September 2000 a UK Special Forces operation rescued 6 captured British Soldiers and their Sierra Leone Army advisor from the West Side Boys (WSB) milita in Sierra Leone, in what was nicknamed ìOperation Certain Deathî by those tasked with its undertaking. The Soldiers had been a party of 11 British soldiers along with their 3 WMIK Landrovers that been captured by the WSB on 25 September 2000, their comrades having been released earlier in exchange for a Satellite phone (used by the SF to pin point the hostages location).

The events and timelines have been condensed slightly in order to bring this onto the AA table. This scenario covers the actions of the combined SAS/SBS rescue team in the Northern Village of Geberi Bana.

300m away, across the Rokel Creek, were two other villages where units from 1st Battalion Parachute Battalion were engaged after landing from 2 other Chinooks from 7 Squadron. Here were the bulk of the West Side Boys militia and also where the 3 captured WMIK Landrovers and their mounted .50 Cal HMGs had been taken.

At 0640 as part of force of 3 Chinook and 2 Lynx helicopters, A Special Forces Chinook arrives at the LZ and the combined rescue team fast rope down into the village to begin the rescue mission of 7 Hostages held by the West Side Boys. The extraction helicopter would return in 20 minutes to the LZ to evacuate the party to the safety of the waiting rescue ship.

REGULAR MISSION OBJECTIVEThe regular plays the part of the SF element formed from joint SAS and SBS personnel on Op Barras charged with 3 Missions
    Rescue the 7 Hostages and evacuate them to the LZ
    Capture or Kill the West Side Boy Leader Foday Kallay
    Recover or destroy any of 3 lost Heavy Weapons taken from the WMIKs
All SF troops must be at the LZ by the end of Turn 8 when the Helo arrives.

They enter from the West Board edge having been recently deployed by Chinook. (OPTIONAL RULE 1 and OPTIONAL RULE 3)

The rescue team comprises:

    12 SF Troopers. They may draw weapons from the following:
    0-5 Minimi Light SW
    0-3 GPMG Medium SW
    0-1 Sniper Rifle
These may be organised as required by the Regular player but must be grouped into "correct" teams to receive any special team bonuses.

They are NOT equipped with Body Armour.
Troop Quality D12, Morale D10.

To rescue the hostages an SF figure must move into base contact. 1 SF Figure is required to escort 4 Hostages. While escorting the SF unit counts as having dependants as normal.
Regular player cannot abandon casualties or dependants in this scenario.
Regular forces cannot enter buildings unless cleared or by an assault.

The insurgent player controls the West Side Militia elements inside Geberi Bana, and has the following missions:

Keep the hostages secure
Defeat the rescue force

Starting Forces are located at the following points

    1 Insurgent Security Patrol. 1 x Leader, 4 x Insurgents w/small arms
    2 Insurgent Security Patrol. 1 x Leader 4 x Insurgents w/small arms
    3 Insurgent Security Patrol. 1 x Leader 4 x Insurgents w/small arms
    4 3 x Leaders
    5 5 x Insurgents w/small arms, 1 w/LSW, 1 w/RPG
    6 5 x Insurgents w/small arms, 1 w/LSW, 1 w/RPG
    W West Side Boy leader Foday Kallay
    H Building Containing Hostages
Units 5 and 6 are roused by the arrival of the British from a Drug and Alcohol induced sleep and MUST pass a TQ check to be able to attempt to activate in the remaining moves phase. If joined by a leader they add +2 to the roll.

Foday Kallay may not move from the target building but may be protected by one insurgent unit.


The Insurgency level is 3 for this scenario and 5 hotspots are deployed as normal. They cannot be located within 6" of the hostage location

    2 1D6+2 Insurgents w/small arms, 1 RPG, 1 MSW and Leader
    3 1D6+2 Insurgents w/small arms and Leader and roll again
    4 1D6+1 Insurgents w/small arms and Leader OPTIONAL RULE 2
    5 1D6 Insurgents w/small arms
    6 1D6 Insurgents w/small arms, 1 LSW
    7 1D6+2 Insurgent w/small arms, 1 LSW
    8 1D6 Insurgents w/small arms, 1 RPG
    9 1D6 Insurgents w/small arms OPTIONAL RULE 2
    10 1D6+1 Insurgents w/small arms, 1 RPG and Leader
    11 2D6 Insurgents w/small arms and leader
    12 1D6 Insurgents w/small arms and .50 Cal (HSW) taken from one of the captured WMIKs w/2 crew. This unit must enter from the Southern Map edge and the insurgent does NOT have to roll for the entry hotspot

All WSB units are troop quality D6 and Morale D10

The South edge of the board is Rokal Creek. Troops must make a TQ check for each 3" of movement they wish to make while inside it's boundary. Troops engaged while in it receive +2 FP dice modifier rather than the normal +1 for being in the open.

Draw 1 FOW Card at the beginning of the game. Other FOW cards are drawn as a result of reaction tests as normal

Regular Victory Points
No SF Casualties/POW - 5 Pts
Each hostage rescued - 1 Pt
Foday Kallay Captured - 3 Pts

Insurgent Victory Points
Each SF Wounded/Killed - 1 Pt
Each hostage retained - 2 Pts
Any SF POW - 3 Pts

Option 1 Use the Fast Rope special rules from DOTR for entering the UK element on table. The marker may be placed at any point as long as it more that 6" from a WSB unit.
Option 2 Use the Drug effect rule for theses WSB units. They do not have to take a Quality check to interrupt if without a leader and do not suffer from shrinkage
Option 3 Allow one UK elements (3-4 man team with up to 1 Minimi from the force total) to enter from the South Table edge. Reports mention an SBS team emerging from the creek at the same time that the main assault force struck.

The UK element split into three elements; one securing the LZ, one rescuing the hostages the other capturing the West Side Boy leader. This was all achieved in 20 minutes and at 0700 hrs the assault force was extracted, sadly with the loss of Tpr Tinnion who died from wounds received during the ingress.

Modern Gaming - US Forces - Dog Team

I wanted something a little different for my US Forces for Ambush Alley and Force and Force, so I tried out the idea of a Dog Team.  Both models are PP and "just" needed to be posed.  The dog lead was added from a piece of thread painted black and then highlighted with GW chainmail.