Monday, December 31, 2012

Matilda in High Heels

Warlord Games introduced a model of the British Infantry Tank A12 Matilda II earlier in 2012. Their choice of the British Expeditionary Force variant in preference to the more traditional Queen of the Desert allows the building of BEF armies (hopefully supported in the March 2013 release of the Bolt Action supplement for British and Commonwealth forces).

So, having ordered one, what does it look like?

The first thing you notice is the exposed bogies, they look really odd (hence the High Heels in the title). Anyone used to the Airfix or Tamiya versions would be mildly disturbed and be wondering why it looks so odd. This would be because the BEF in their wisdom decided that the Matilda as built might have ground clearance problems. So they jacked the suspension (Pimp My Tank?). This gave better ground clearance but left the bogies more exposed and put the suspension under a lot of strain.

For a photograph see page 11 of New Vanguard 8: Matilda Tank, there is a colour plate of page 26 (plate B1). Another concern was the trench crossing ability (trenches still being foremost in the mind at that point). To improve trench crossing, a bustle was added at the back over the exhaust silencer (plate B1 again).
The other feature was the exhaust layout. Early A12 Matildas had a lower exhaust path on the right hand side rather than the later models whose exhausts are on the top.
The other feature is the Coaxial machine gun, a water cooled Vickers rather than the air cooled Besa.
There were a few minor problems with the build, the tracks had some slight misalignment where the mould came together, the resin needing to be filed down to flatten the tread (you can see the results below), there is a promient seam under the nose which I have still failed to correct and the tread unit to body join needed filling (the most difficult part being the sides where there is a prominent row of rivets adjacent to the join, meaning I could not file down the join without having to add the rivets again).
The turret looks a bit small but reference to pictures and drawings shows it matches up with other hull features. The layout on the top of the turret is different to examples in the New Vanguard book and  the Osprey Modelling: Modelling the Matilda Infantry Tank, but then different modellers in the book have different interpretaions. I did relocate the headlights and added towing shackles on the front.

Overall it looks like a Matilda, and even for someone as hamfisted as me it goes together pretty well. I will probably get another one of the BEF ones, and hope they have the later (desert) version ready for when the Perry Miniatures Eighth Army figures are released.

The Tank Commander above is a Crooked Dice Minion with pistol, Fighting Man head and the pistol from The Man From 3000. The plan is to build a full Tank Crew sourced from Crooked Dice Minions for skirmish actions inspired by Colin Forbes' Tramp In Armour novel about a BEF Matilda Tank caught behind enemy lines. The book does not contain any usable scenarios, a one sided fight with a truck is about the only time the tank fires its main gun, so the scenarios will be created from whole cloth.
Finally, two pictures of the Matilda supporting a BEF section (more Warlord games figures) advancing through a ruined hamlet (Warlord Games plastic buildings)..

I do have a 1/48th scale Tamiya model of a Matilda, it will be interesting to compare them. Of course, when I build it is another matter...

Operation Squad: Modern War

Operation Squad: Modern War is an update of the Operation Squad World War two skirmish rules from Massimo Torriani.

The basic squad size is eight regulars, with various additional sections (HMG, sniper etc). The rules have army lists for Royal Marines, SAS, US Marines, US Delta force, Italian Bersaglier, Iraqi regulars and Insurgents. Additional lists are available for various periods on the web site. There are currently no rules for vehicles (there is a HMMWV on the website) but you could use the Operation Squad vehicle rules.

So here are some figures.

Empress Miniatures' Royal Marines advance supported by a Scimitar (Imprint vehicles).

The Squad Sergeant directs his fire team.
While the Corporal sets up fire support from cover.
Well equipped mercenaries with their "Technical" support (Empress US Marines).

Compare The Dalek

The latest (28th of December) copy of Doctor Who Adventures (thanks to the denizens of the Crooked Dice Forum for pointing it out) has five iDaleks and six RTD era Daleks.

The above shows them, with a comparison for size with a Harlequin (BTD) Dalek on the left and a Tweedy Mattison on the right.

As you can see they are both tall, the iDalek is possibly about the right size, the  RTD one (designed to be eye height on Billi Piper) is rather tall.

They will both need dismantling and the front plate glued in properly.

The Hobbit: Goblins

I did wait until I had seen the film before opening the Hobbit Box set from Games Workshop, but so far I have not started on any of the figures.

However I did also buy the paint set and have 'completed' the five goblins that are part of the package.

So to show Daniel, the new local purveyor of plastic and resin, here are the first pictures of my Misty Mountain Goblins.

They mainly follow the instructions, except I used Scorched brown for the shafts and whips (that sounds bad) and used white paint on the eyeballs before using the crimson ink.

Now I just have to finish the rest from the box...

Work In Glacial Progress

Actually, glaciers are a bit hasty...

So, to show that it takes me awhile to complete anything, here is my Vanilla Womble army.
The second row are built from Wombles from the Third Edition 40K box (with additional RTB-01 heads - my Vanilla Wombles all have Womble - Mk6 - helmets).

The top five on the left are Forgeworld Mk6 and the two bottom right are converted RTB-01 (RTB-01 torsos on the plastic legs of the kits with the fixed helmets that came out after RTB-01 but before third edition).

Not shown are the terminators, I got some of them free when Games Workshop opened their hundredth shop and had a lot of special offers and giveaways. Those were the days...

The others are from second edition Space Hulk and the Fifth Edition 40K box.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Have yourself a Merry Old Christmas

While looking for something else (the story of my life) I found an ancient Citadel Space Santa, a limited edition from the late 'eighties. As I thought it was appropriate for this time of year, I thought I would share it.

I would like to hope that I did not get round to finishing painting it before it got put away. Here it is in its 'as found' condition.
 I think that over the years my skills improved, here are some not so festive Snowmen from a few years ago.
Copplestone Castings Evil Snowman and henchpenguin.