'Nam project - VC markers

I knocked up something fairly simple this time - VC markers that I can use as 'blinds' during a game.



Rather than place figures on the table I will place one of these flags and when they are within spotting range I will determine what they are. The marker could be a lone VC, an RPG team, a whole section, or nothing at all.

Each one will move as if it is an actual VC until such time as they are spotted.

I can also use them as VC objective markers if the need should arise.

I was able to avail upon the use of a colour printer to help with this little build, and I cut cocktail sticks in half and glued them to bases I had made out of card board.

A bit of sand, paint and flock later and they were ready.

I have some NVA markers to make as well, but they will come later.

'Nam project - a rice paddy

This time I have a rice paddy to share.  It has taken the best part of four and a half days to finish, mainly because there were many things involved that needed to dry before I could go on to the next step.


First of all I cut a piece of MDF in to the size I wanted and glued foam card along the centre and the edges to form the walls for the rice paddy:


Next I used polly filler to fill in the gaps on the foam card (on top and on the sides) as well as slope the insides of the field so that it wasn't square:


 After leaving it to dry over night I gave it a quick paint and cut some sections of synthetic turf into strips to see if it would do the job that I wanted:


Having decided I was 'on to a winner' with the synthetic turf I went ahead an marked out 1 cm spacings for the turf and proceeded to painstakingly cut out the turf strips and then trim them to the required size. This took a bit of time - the good part of a whole day (of spare time) to finish:


Once the glue had dried I painted the edges of the turf strips to reduce the amount of black that would show and then squeezed wood glue around each strip. When the glue dried it has a bit of a sheen to it that would help give it a 'water' look.

I applied several layers of the glue, and it took a fair while to dry, thus the main reason this build took so long:


Once it was dry I applied sand to the 'dry ground' parts on top and on the sides to give it an earthy look:


And finally I added some grass flock over parts of the sane to give it a bit more of a country feel to it:


Here is the finished product with my LRRPs on it to give an indication of size. The really good thing about the synthetic turf is that I can place my figures on to of the 'rice' and it wont get damaged:



I am happy with the results, and it will make a useful addition to my 'Nam wargame.  Now I just need a village to go around it!

My wargaming buddy suggested I should make scenery to sell, but a) I can't see anyone wanting to buy the things I make, and 2) the time this one took would make it expensive to sell.

But hopefully my photos will give an idea to others of how to make their own rice paddy.

 One thing I did learn while researching what rice paddies look like is that they come in many shapes, sizes and level of growing.  The field can be mostly water just before planting, small stalks after planting, long stalks towards harvest time, and dry empty fields before the next planting happens.

'Nam project - a bomb crater

As I have mentioned in two previous posts I have been wanting to make a bomb crater for my LRRPs to visit as part of a BDA (Bomb Damage Assessment) Mission.

 Last night I started to make the crater, and I finished it this afternoon.



 And to give it some perspective as to its actual size I took a photo with the 28mm figures in and around the crater:



 I tried to highlight and shade the crater to give it more dimension, but I am thinking of reducing the shading, at least a little.

I am toying with the idea of making a rice paddy next.

'Nam scenic traps - to build

I am already planning my next trap build, only I have to wait for some parts before I can go ahead.

I have two mortar bomb traps planned - one is a dropping mortar round, and the other is a trip wire connected to a mortar round, as seen below:





Thanks to a reply to a question I asked on TMP I was able to locate some mortar rounds so I could make my traps.

GW makes a sprue of parts for their 40K game, and I was able to locate the sprue going cheat on ebay:


 I ordered two sprues of them, and when they arrive I can start work on the traps.

In the mean time, I bought some cheap MDF sheets (two 60 x 60 cm and one 60 x 120 cm) that I can use for basing bigger pieces of scenery on, and or even make roads or rivers with.

'Nam traps part 2

I was going to make a totally different Vietnam war 'scenic trap' to the one seen here, but as you can tell, my creativeness went is a different direction.





 I have absolutely no idea how big I should make this trap as all the reference I had was a drawing and an explanation of how the trap worked. I didn't have dimensions to work with, so I guessed it all.



I decided to hide the bamboo poles in long grass, and I will surround this trap with other long grass so it wont look so obvious.

 I actually made the grass myself using an idea I came up with, and I am very happy with how it worked.

I bought a cheap paintbrush for $1 and used it to brush the colour I wanted the grass to be through out the brush. I didn't wash it and let it dry.

 Once it had dried I cut the bristles to the desired length and glued them to the base.

 The type of brush is a wide one like you would use around the house to paint walls etc, and I bought one with light coloured bristles so the colour I wanted will stand out.

 I am thinking of getting another brush and using dark brown on it to make grass covered roof huts.

Bolt Action WW2 Soviet Reinforcements

Huzzar!

 Warlord Games have released their WW2 Bolt Action Soviets as single figures again, meaning I can complete my WW2 Russian army!

Soviet Reinforcements

Huzzar!

I might have to wait a while now seeing as I have a few other projects on the go.

'Nam traps

I wanted to make some scenery for my 'Nam game and thought some traps might make for some interesting pieces of scenery.

 The first one I made was a punji pit trap. I actually raised the trap up above 'ground level' so that I could add the stakes into the pit.

 I think it worked out rather nicely, and when you look at it from above the games table it looks ok.



 Next I went on to bigger things.

 While the punji trap probably took 10 or 15 mins to make, excluding drying time, the next one took a bit longer.

 I used an old CD as a base, covered it with masking tape so it would take paint easier, and then made some trees and strung 'grenades in tin cans' trap between two of the trees.



 Initially I only made the two trees, but Mrs Shelldrake said it didn't look very much like a jungle, so I added four extra trees. The grass, fern and rocks were added in the original build, and I positioned the new trees around them.





 All in all, I am very happy with what I have built, and if readers think it worth while I might even post a tutorial on how I made the traps.


Clicking on the images should offer a bigger view for those wanting to take a closer look at what I have made.

Oh, as as you can see, I finished basing the LRRPs too.

I won something!

I was visiting The Miniatures Page this morning and noticed that I have until Monday the 9th of Jan to send a PM to the editor to claim a prize for voting on a poll there.

 I only vote in the polls that have some meaning for me, and only comment on them very occasionally.

But my luck was in, as I was able to claim a $10USD voucher from The Assault Group - what perfect timing, as I wanted to order some VC.

 I might have to hold off the order until the voucher process is set up, but that is ok, as I just spent a small fortune on Doctors bills, x-rays and medication. It seems I have arthritis in my neck :-(

 Besides, the little wait gives me time to work out exactly what minis I want to order.

Vietnam War Project - planning the enemy troops Part 3

So what does all this mean?

 Initially I want to build up a VC Local/Main force enemy up to the size of platoon. Any bigger than that and my LRRPs will need reinforcements, which isn't off the cards.

 I would like a hamlet sized village guerrilla force, but as LRRPs don't go and search hamlets and villages, I would mostly use these VC as random encounters, or as part of a scenario where they might be needed.

 I also want an NVA force up to platoon strength, but that can take second place as I want the NVA involvement to be part of a tactical build up in the campaign.


Campaign system and Rules

For the campaign I will be running my LRRP team and sending them on mission types determined by dice rolls.

 The level and type of enemy activity will be random, with modifiers based on how active the LRRPs are and the tempo of the game.

 No matter what rule system I use for the game I intend to use a card activation system for initiative which will allow me to include random events and other interesting encounters.

 I am interested in THW's FNG rules, but need to wait for the second edition to be released; plus I would like some more info on the rules first.

 Iron Ivan have a Vietnam war supplement, but I don't own the rules the supplement is intended for, but I do own other rule sets by Iron Ivan, so I could just tinker with the ones I have and see how it goes.

What Next?

I need to make up some scenery, my game cards, draw up my charts, and of course buy my enemy forces.

Vietnam War Project - planning the enemy troops Part 2

The NVA

 The North Vietnamese Army, or NVA, were the regular troops from North Vietnam that infiltrated into South Vietnam from 1965 on wards.

 Lacking exact information of the ORBAT for NVA troops I will go with what could be a gross error and follow the guide lines as for the Main Force Troops mentioned in part 1.

The following are TAG NVA figures:

RPD LMG

AK 47 w/ folding stock

MAT 49 SMG

Dragunov sniper rifle

RPG-7s

AK 47s

.30 cal MG

60mm (?) Mortar

Baker Company also make some NVA that will be useful additions to these figures.

Vietnam War Project - planning the enemy troops Part 1

Back in the mid 1990's I found a gem in a second hand book shop - an actual military pamphlet on the Enemy forces of the Vietnam War printed in 1970. This book lists the equipment, tactics and orbats for VC and NVA troops, although the majority of the NVA is to be found in part two, which I don't have.

Basically I can break my enemy troops down into three groups: the Village Guerrillas, VC Local Main Force Troops/Main Force Troops and NVA.

 These troops are trained and equipped at levels according to the order they are listed: Village Guerrillas are the poorest equipped and trained, with the NVA having the best training and equipment.

 The photos below are from links on the TAG web site. I do not own the photos and have not saved them on my PC - they come from the URL for the photos on the TAG web site.

Village Guerrilla

     Basically farmers by day and VC by night, the Village Guerrilla forces will have older weapons and they could  have an LMG or a single Mortar to play with.

 Generally organised in village or hamlet forces, with a number of hamlets being able to form in to a Village Platoon if the need arises.

 Hamlets seemed to have troop strengths between 10 to 15 in number, with up to four Hamlets forming the Village Platoon.

  At the Hamlet level you could find VC armed with Rifles or Carbines, but once you gather the VC into a Village Platoon you might expect to find up to 3 SMGs, 2 LMGs and 1 Mortar.

old French MAT 49 SMGs
old French MAS-36 bolt action rifles
Chinese type 56 carbine
VC Local Force Troops/Main Force Troops

- full time VC troops organised into district platoons/companies, or provincial companies/battalions. Local Force troops are better equipped and trained than the Village Guerrillas, but have a lower standard to the VC Main force troops.
 Local Force troops will operate within the confines of their own districts or province, where as the VC Main force troops are used through out the country.
 VC Main Force Troops are also used for the principal task of mounting a counter offensive. VC Main force troops are usually trained and supplied in friendly populated areas, and can be expected to be found near neighbouring Communist countries whilst being formed and trained.

 PPSh SMGs
Type 56 RPD LMGs. 
RPG-2 grenade launchers. 
Captured US weapons 

AK 47 Assault Rifle

LMGs and RPGs

Mortar

30 cal MG

M16 Assault rifles
A typical ORBAT for a VC Local Force squad is one of 7 men equipped with  1 x LMG, 1 x SMG, 4 x older rifles/carbines and 1 x RPG-2.

A typical ORBAT for a VC Main Forces squad is one of 8 men equipped with 1 x LMG, 2 x AK 47, 1 x RPG 2 and 4 x older rifles/carbines. 

Three such squads made a platoon within their own force type.

A Heavy Weapons platoon for both type of forces consisted of the following:

1 x 7.62 mm HMG, 2 x RPG-7, 2 x 60mm Mortar.

LRRPs

I started out painting my 1:600 planes, and my gold fish like mind ended up doing something totally different, and something I have struggled with for a long time.

 I started experimenting with cammo uniforms on a LRRP figure that I had no intention of actually using. I have eight LRRP figures, and only want six to make my LRRP team.

 After trying a few different colours and persevering with the trial despite my initial thoughts I ended up with some thing that was acceptable.

 I didn't paint their faces in cam, as this looked totally naff but I am very happy with the results, and I am encouraged as this should help when it comes to the modern African imagi-nation when it comes to painting British uniforms.

Left to right: Assistant team leader, JNR RTO, Team Leader, SNR RTO, SNR Scout, JNR Scout.

Rear shot of the team - not the different coloured smoke grenades on the SNR RTO

 Some references show LRRPs in Tiger Stripe cams, but I intend to leave that uniform to SEALS should I ever built a SEAL Team.

 I did want to add an antenna to the SNR RTO, but feared damaging the figure. That and I didn't have any suitable wire with which to make it.

Next is to base the figures.

I also found a few of the Eureka minis VC, but they are too small to use with the TAG minis.  Even though the Vietnamese were small against the Western troops, the difference is like using 20mm figures with 28mm figures.

 So, I will start to get some TAG VC and NVA, and use some other ranges that I understand are compatible.

Oh, and I have almost finished my jets too.

Vallejo paints...

.. do you use them?

 If so, do you have a good method for storing them so that they don't settle and thus making them a pain to mix up again for use?

 I have tried storing the pots (?) on their side, or even upside down, but I still can't seem to get a good mix of the liquids inside when I shake them up with some of my paints.

 I have heard of some people putting small ball bearings inside. Does this work?

Has anyone got any tips or advice on getting the full potential of these paints - i.e. to be able to mix them thoroughly?