New gaming project 2017: Russian Civil War

21 January 2017

Found me some French FT-17 tanks today — six to be precise. I am pleased about that. Also going to be playing a game of Canvas Eagles soon. Love me some aerial shenanigans, I do.  Now for some armoured cars, trains and tchankas.


17 January 2017

After the initial enthusiasm begun around Christmas time of last year, things have slowed down to their normal snail’s pace. Which is to be expected. Taking stock, therefore, I am now at the following place:

  • I have enough planes to actually start a foray into WW1 airwargaming. Canvas Eagles, a free set of rules that caters to 1/72 scale as well as a couple of others, now covers that area of interest for me.
  • I certainly have enough infantry to start up two opposing lists. Determining who will represent those lists as the main faction has proven to be the problem. I’ve settled on the Czech Legion because of their remarkable and fairly well-documented history. They will represent the “White” side, but I expect I will also have others. As for the Reds, I’ve decided on just a generic Bolshevik listing.
  • Painting the accumulated figures will take some time. And any real gaming won’t take place until this major task is completed. Red Actions! provides cut out sheets of units that can act as proxy until the tabletop units are assembled. That might suffice for the time being.
  • I still need to acquire more artillery, MGs and armour. The few elements I do have should suffice for now but I lack a couple of armoured cars, maybe one or two trains, and several tchankas (horse-drawn HMG carriages).
  • I now have two rulesets to cover the period: Red Actions! and Red and White. I like both for different reasons and will hopefully game with both once I’ve completed assembling my lists. The former ruleset deals with platoon-level and company-level actions while the latter deals quite easily with brigade-level and even divisional-level games.
  • I still have to fully print out all the chits or counters for various rulesets.
  • I have more than enough terrain to easily cover the period. However, I still lack a decent number of rail lines.

As stated, any gaming won’t see daylight until all the painting and assembling of both lists is completed.


Update 8 January 2017

Just discovered another RCW ruleset among the free downloads from the Pygmy Wars website which looks to be more my kind of historical rules, and which is probably I’ll use for the first game once the painting is done. I especially like variable dice roll to reflect movement between individual units. For me this is a fine way of simulating the oft variable distances travelled by units that reflect on training, morale, leadership, and terrain. Should be fun comparing both rules and seeing which will sustain the campaign planned for this period later this year. Red Actions! or Red and White? I can’t wait.


8 January 2017

It’s been a frustrating search for any military organisation or uniform information on units that fought in the Russian Civil Wars. It’s fortunate that there are a few who have already “done the hard yards” previously and have kindly placed the information they’ve gathered for those who are following and are new to the period, such as myself. So, a big thanks to the guy(s) behind the Pygmy Wars website.

Used the list generator they’ve provided to finally settle on two opposing forces for Red Actions!

Early Soviets:

  • 1 regiment of Red Guards (2 battalions of 3 stands each) + 2 MGs + 1 field gun
  • 1 regiment of Veterans (3 battalions of 3 stands each) +2 MGs + 1 field gun
  • 3 units of Red Conscripts (4 stands each)

KOMUCH (Socialists):

  • 1 Officers regiment (3 battalions of 4 stands each)
  • 6th Rifle Regiment Czech Legion (4 battalions of 4 stands each) + 1 MG + 1 Cossack sqn (3 stands)

Now that it’s settled, I can concentrate on finishing the painting up. Cheers.


6 January 2017

Couldn’t help myself: I bought a few more model planes, among other things to go with the new project. There does appear to be variance between manufacturers within the scale I’ve chosen, which isn’t really all that surprising; it’s a common enough occurrence among the various manufacturers of foot and horse figures. For instance, the Revell SPAD version is so much larger than the Academy (Korean) SPAD version by a considerable difference that it’s easy enough to think they aren’t the same plane. The parts are identical in every way although the Academy version is missing its pilot. Cost-wise, the Academy is also much, much cheaper than the German brand .

new-planes-1

Assembly proved to be a bit more frustrating. One reviewer of the Revell Nieuport claimed it was one of the more frustrating builds he’s had to deal with. I found it no different to the earlier models I put together. I do admit that it’s for gaming and not display; the struts between the wings has been my failing. I still need to find a decent way of aligning them so they find snugly. The instructions, to me, proved to be more of a hindrance than help: I’ve skipped a few steps or reversed them in the earlier builds. This was much the same this time round.

new-planes-painted-part-1

Painting proved to be the fun part and what I was looking forward to after the build. The bottom left one is the Nieuport of American ace Eddie Rickenbacker. I merely used the painting guide that came with the assembly instructions. The top right plane is the SPAD XIII and is a based on a sketch I found online of a unique colour scheme of an American flyer, a Major Kelly, who fought for the French. His plane had the clover leaf pattern in a very simple colour scheme – dark green on white. The online sketch only had a profile (port side) only so I had to speculate the rest from the faint clues provided by the sketch. I like the result nonetheless.

new-planes-painted-part-4

Not finished on Major Kelly’s “Irish” plane; still some work to be done. Lieutenant Rickenbacker’s Nieuport though is finished and looks very nice with the decals on.

tanks-and-planes-1

A group portrait of what I’ve started. I managed to discover an interesting overseas website (US) that makes a wider range of 1/72 planes from this period. It’s not extensive because 1/72 is generally not a popular scale for anything really. But this niche site does include others, such as the Gotha bomber and like, that Revell or Airfix just aren’t able to provide.

I’m planning to buy as much of these other planes in a few months. I can sense the Wings of War are swirling in my head. But first I have to finish this project and then enjoy the campaign (or two) before focussing on airwargaming in that early period of flight warfare. Looking forward to it though.

At the moment I’m sorting out the Czech unit I’m painting — the 6th Czech Rifle Regiment which was part of the Czech Legion that initially fought with the Russians against the Germans in World War One but who then became anti-Bolshevik after a falling out with their Russian masters. The 6th, I believe, served in the West before joining their brothers securing a reasonable length of the Trans-Siberian railway that enabled them to reach their goal of departing the new Bolshevik landscape at Vladivostok.

I’ve settled on a fairly generic “summer” colour look. For this, I’m using the French WW1 figures with the French helmet. The Czechs were among the most organised and well-armed foreign units fighting in the Russian Civil War, which makes it relatively easy to maintain a force of consistently uniformed figures.

Among the other “toys” bought, I got some artillery and a couple of Zvezda WW1 German infantry with the pickelhaube (mainly). They should make good enough for Bolsheviks. I can mix them in with the other Airfix WW1 Germans that are wearing the cap.


2 January 2017

Happy New Yawn! Hope the year leads to many good things.

Started on a portion of the 500+ infantry figures. I am going with the French as they’re the most numerous (six boxes), roughly 280+ figures. They even have cyclists, which is a surprise. Anyway, I’ve gone with building a Czech Legion unit, a revision after initialling opting to go Polish. But I’ve since learned the Czech, who have well over 170,000 Czech and Slovaks (yes, I learned they were distinctly different ethnicities) in Russian all-up, were very well supplied and one of the better organised opponents of the Bolsheviks, not to mention very good fighters. This choice  was made after initial online research led me to go with them rather than the Poles. Besides, it intrigues me that these displaced Europeans chose to take the “long way” home. But then the situation in the West probably forced them to take this route.

I have also used one of the many wargaming scenarios (or historical events) freely available online to ‘build’ my list for a proposed game between Bolshevik (Siberian Cossacks) and anti-Bolshevik (Czech) forces, adapting it for my needs from the original Baltic origins. Currently, I am basing enough for one regiment of the famed legion (6th Rifle Regiment) who are riding the Trans-Siberian to Vladivostok using the modified scenario listing, so this is not a literal historical re-enactment but a “creative interpretation” of a historical event. Historically, from what I have gleaned, the Siberian Cossacks decided to bar the Czechs transit to their eventual destination of Vladivostok without payment of sorts. The Czechs refused and after a delay the Czechs broke through the stout defences of the supremely confident Cossacks with ease.

Anyway, thus far, I’ve based (using the 3-fig standard for inf and 2-fig for light & cav):

  • one battalion of two companies (3 bases each),
  • one battalion of almost two companies (3 bases each – one company on cycles)
  • one battalion of two companies (3 bases each – one company on cycles)
  • one MG company (2 bases)
  • one company light mortars (2 bases)

I still have to go:

  • one company of rifles (3 bases)
  • two MG companies (3 bases each)
  • one Engineer platoon
  • one Signals platoon
  • one Uhlan squadron (2 bases)
  • one Artillery Battalion HQ (two bases – 1 HQ + 1 MG)
  • one 77mm gun battery (two gun bases + 1 MG base [protection only])
  • two 105mm howitzer batteries (1 bases each)

The Siberian Cossack will be mostly cavalry and a small infantry force. This shouldn’t take long to assemble; to paint, though, is a different story. 🙂


31 December 2016

A couple of things that struck as odd while assembling the planes and tanks, and then applying the transfers.is worth pointing out:

  1. Why do they create small tiny parts when it’s simple to mould the entire piece whole? Example, the male Mk Is have a cannon which is comprised of the gun barrel and two tiny adjuncts that fit either side of the barrel about where there are two projections. These need to be applied for the cannon to fit snugly into the turret. The instructions do not make it clear enough as to where precisely the small components fit in relation to the barrel apart from an arrow indicating the area. In casting the entire piece whole it may need re-designing but at least it’ll be a lot easier for the assembly process. Anything to make my life easier given what I’m paying.
  2. The roundels on the airplane came without the red dots in the centre. It’s a mystery to me because it seems silly to include a piece no bigger than a beauty spot (remember those?). It can be frustrating to someone not adept with transfers. Maybe the printer forgot or the technology for three-colour printing wasn’t available then (a silly projection but it’s not as farcical as providing a three-colour roundel without the third colour. The tail fins came in three colour, so why not the roundels?

Update:

Finally finished assembling all four Mark I tanks – two male and two female. Had a few assembly problems but lucky I had enough spares to finish the job. This morning I began priming the infantry figures – French, English, German and Americans.

four-mark-ones-built

I will be using the two transfers for two of the tanks. I will do a bit of research for the other two and see what I can drum up.

Primed infantry drying in the very warm sun. Weather forecast state 34 degrees. Can attest it felt like that, so much so I went for a dip in the pool. Lovely swim to cool down. Fish and chips for dinner. Another late night swim to bring in the New Year. Lovely!

Anyway, will spend tomorrow painting up these lovelies, along with several others, to build a Red and White and Polish list for my first game. Cheers.

Second update:

Painted up the tanks and applied camouflage. For now they’ll suffice as both Mark Is and IVs. Dispensed with the rear wheel carriage. Still to do the tracks (may leave them as-is for now) and the exhausts. The MGs were coated in Gun Metal while the cannons were camouflaged.

Camouflage colours: (all Vallejo): Base coat – Dead Flesh. Dark colour – Cayman Green. Highlight colour – Bone White or Uniform Green.  The photo does not do the colours any favours (got a crappy Samsung Tablet and enhanced the picture using a generic MS one – both elements are crap!). For instance, the Cayman Green looks more brown than the very mattey-looking muddy green that it’s supposed to present. And you can barely distinguish between the Bone White and Dead Flesh on the other three tanks. The green camo pattern, though, does remind me of the old DPM gear I used to wear.

tanks-painted


30 December 2016

Two more sleeps before the New Year and a lot of broken promises made. Lol. Update on my new gaming project.

Just finished adding the transfers to all five planes: Albatross D III, Fokker E III, Fokker D VII, Sopwith Triplane, and S.E.5a. Painting them was fun; I used the Revell painting guide but referred a great deal to the painting covers on the boxes, plus a bit of personal conjecture, and ended up with these:

painted-up

I probably should have researched it via the internet and Revell’s own website but that would have meant delays and unnecessary distractions (trying to curtail my internet time these days). For some reason, I couldn’t really tell that much difference between bronze grey, anthracite grey, mouse grey, green grey, light green grey and any other grey. I understand the German were precise in their colouring. Fortunately, I’m not so dedicated; after all, these models are for gaming and not display. Plus, I’m hand-painting these instead of airbrushing them as hard core modellers tend to go these days with such models.

Anyway, once the painting was done, I began on adding the various transfers. For some reason, I really enjoy this part even though it can get quite frustrating. I had some problems with a few of the more fiddly ones (the Sopwith Triplane  and monoplane Fokker E III proved to be the most involved to complete).

group-shot-1-all-five

I have to confess I did enjoy the Albatross D III because it was one of the more colourful of the German planes, something they were known for in that early times of flying fighting machines. The British tended to be more practical but the Germans loved to show off their planes in the more visible manner.

two-germans

The underside of the Fokker D VII had a unique disruptive camo pattern that came as a transfer. Unfortunately, I ignored this as my focus was on the colour scheme of leaf green/ochre/flesh/green grey. Instead, I came up with this which, for the purposes required, will do. Besides, I can’t delay too long as I have other figures and vehicles to paint up.

underside-of-fokker-d-vii

Apart from the undersides of the British planes requiring paint and transfers, all that’s left to do are the pilots themselves. Now it’s onto the tanks and the first of the Polish and French infantry. See you lot on the other side of 2017 if I don’t post any further updates or writings. Cheers.


28 December 2016

Final hour of today. New day is minutes away. I managed to finish assembling all five planes — two British and three German. I would love to augment these lovely pieces with other nationalities.

A couple of points to note while assembling these lovelies:

  • the struts on those biplane and tri-wing planes aren’t easy to put together unless you have a plan. Had to reverse assemble one plane after I had trouble figuring the angle of lean to fit the next wing. It did get slightly more comfortable once I decided to use the instruction sheet as a reference guide rather than adhere strictly to their rules. I did miss one piece on the Albatross, a conduit that extends from the front of the engine up into the upper wing. It’s really not that critical given the game is mostly land-based with the planes adding that extra element of “fun”.
  • I will, in the future, add the riverine craft into the game. Should be a hoot seeing my Insect-class boats pounding away in fire support between Whites and Reds.
  • they could at least modify some of their castings, which seem to me to be wasteful. There are a lot of fiddly tiny bits while led to some frustrating moments of construction. Example of where one casting would have saved time is in the wheel assembly. The outer hub is separate from the inner wheel which requires careful application of glue and assembly. Why bother when you just mould one wheel complete. It’s not confined to the planes; I’m also finding it with the Mk I tanks too especially in their sponsons. The male version has a cannon that fits through a turret. But instead of casting the entire gun and attachments in one piece, they come in three separate pieces – the barrel and chamber with two tiny “block” pieces that attach to the side. The entire piece, once assembled, then slots into the turret in a snug fit.

planes-ww1-resized
Left to right (top row first): S.E. 5a, Sopwith triplane; (bottom row): Fokker D VII, Fokker E III, Albatross D III

I am looking forward to painting these up. WWI saw some really colourful planes (before it got totally serious).

Starting the Mark I tanks – both male and female versions. Noticed that the female versions also have the male components, which is handy and convenient. Now I can have two of each. I was planning to finish all four tanks tonight but I got messy with superglue and had to stop.

I tend to be fairly “traditional” in that (a) I’m cheap, and (b) once I like something, I tend to stay with it for as long as possible. Hence why I still game and model in 20mm (1/72). With the wide range and high quality available in the increasing scale range, why stick with something that’s so outdated? Nostalgia, I guess. Too many wonderful memories gaming on my own with my 20mm figures, be it Napoleonic or American Civil War or World War 2. You can be spoiled for choice at times, and while my time may seem precious to me, it’s not really. I just find the whole process of gathering all the pieces and setting it up so much fun; the game is almost an afterthought. If it’s the game, then it’s usually something as quick and as convenient as the age we live in.

Cheers.


27 December 2016

Year is almost done. The recent deaths of both George Michael and Carrie Fisher has pretty much defined the year for me in terms of how I will remember it. It would be hard to find highpoints to offset the feeling this year’s end can’t happen soon enough for me. Here’s hoping 2017 is an improvement.

To help me set the tone, I’m starting a new gaming project, one that’s been uppermost in my mind for some time. I’ve delayed starting it for varying reasons. But now seems a good enough time. Yesterday I went to a local toystore and came away with enough to make a start (see photos below).

french-inf-cropped-and-resized

Last night I started on a couple of the airplanes — a Fokker E III and a British S.E.5a (see below). Apart from a few fiddly bits and having to take a reverse assembly approach, it was enjoyable build. Of course, as per usual, I managed to accumulate more super glue on my fingers in the process, but it was worth the discomfort.

2-planes-resized-and-cropped

other-nations-cropped-and-resized

I hope to finish the remaining three planes today and then make a start on the four Mk I tanks (three female and one male). I was able to research a couple of retailers that stock the Mk IIIs and IVs, as well as the Ford MG car, the Austin (several Mks), the Whippet tank, the French Renault F-17 (both cannon and MG versions). I’ve to locate other period armoured cars but it’s not critical right now; it’s enough to know they stock the essentials for this little-known period. I can also proxy if I have to.

tanks-mk1s-resized-and-cropped

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m doing the Russian Civil War.

After the vehicles are done, it’s time to make a start on the numerous infantry boxes! There are over five hundred figures in total so it should be full few days painting a basing. There will be conversions for sure. For example, I have Russian Cossacks and militia, Polish lancers from the Napoleonic era that can be easily adapted. Likewise, there are several manufacturers of colonial-era figures that can be used. It should be too hard to cover most of the nations that took part: the major players.

Rules? I am using the tried but non-mainstream RED ACTION by a favourite producer of wargame rules. Before my purchase yesterday, I spent two days printing and producing the card-backed counters. These are due for laminating (if the publishers have gone to great effort to produce a colourful and professional-looking set of rules, the least I can do is to output them to a similar standard). Among the purchases yesterday were assorted laminating pouches.

redactions-rules-cropped-and-resized

I’ve read through the rules several times to familiarise myself with the game mechanics and to find any difficult parts – which there aren’t. It does come with revised table along with additional and updated cards. The appeal is that it looks both straightforward and uncomplicated. Although designed for 15mm, it’s simple enough to modify to suit my favoured 20mm. The only challenge for me will be applying solo gaming conditons.

Not sure when I will get a game in with the preparations and outside life commitments, so I won’t commit to anything forseeable. I am having fun putting everything together right now and hope it translate to the eventual tabletop. Will update this posts regularly until I return to work. Cheers.

Author: b20f08

I enjoy solo wargaming and writing. The first caters to the boy that never grew up; the latter satisfies a deep desire to communicate. Cheers.

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