This Year We’re off to Sunny Spain…Again

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No Costa Brava planes involved as, through the miracle of Lard technology, we can whisk you to the Spanish Civil War with just one single download!

Last Christmas Rolf and Jim provided the superb Spanish Civil War lists for Chain of Command. We have now wrapped all of those individual lists up in one big bundle so you can keep all of that great information in one piece. Once again this is free to download and contains all you need to build your faction, select your support options and get playing. Once again, this is a free download, as are all of the standard army lists for Chain of Command. You can get your copy of Espana! right here: espana

And don’t forget, we have a whole bundle of free WWII lists on the TooFatLardies Forum here: http://toofatlardies.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=228

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A Special Summer Special Arrives

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In the spring of 2004 the success of I Ain’t Been Shot Mum was such that people were crying out for scenarios and expansions. As a stop-gap we decided to produce a Summer Special e-magazine packed with all sorts of goodies to titillate the gaming palette. It was an immediate hit. The special format allowed us to go further in exploring ideas than a magazine article limited to a few pages, but it didn’t demand a whole book on each and every subject covered. As a result its been a fantastic vehicle for presenting “big ideas” such as comprehensive mini-supplement and expansions to open up new periods. Funnily enough, that very first special included a Spanish Civil War expansion for I Ain’t Been Shot; our last supplement back at Christmas last year did the same thing for Chain of Command with results that can be seen strewn across the web as Chain of Command seems to have become the “go to” rules for the conflict. So it is that the Special format keeps on coming up trumps.

Of course a ten year anniversary is a big deal for anyone, and we wanted to make this one a Special Special. Thanks to a wide range of enthusiastic contributors it really has hit that bench mark and even exceeded it. Amongst the glittering jewels you’ll find some real classics. Our great friends Dix Bax and Therry van der Burgt from the Netherlands have produced a superb translation of Dux Britianiarum for Samurai warfare in the 15th to 17th centuries which had me reaching for my credit card and tying “28mm Samurai” into my browser. Tom McKinney’s Dyle Line campaign is a wondrous piece which combines all I love about historical research and wargaming. Tom’s use of sources really sets the scene for what is a superb looking campaign. The same can be said for Pat G’s Home Guard campaign, again researched using the Nottinghamshire Home Guard records and period maps. What’s more, there is an interesting tie-in with Kelham Hall – the spiritual home of wargaming and host to Partizan!

But it is unfair to pick on just a few pieces that have caught my own eye. The range and variety means that there must surely be something in here for everyone. Let’s take a look at the contents:

Introduction. Nick says hello.
Westwind. A complete Chain of Command mini-campaign set in East Prussia 1945
Seven Spears. A truly magical conversion for using Samurai with Dux Britanniarum.
Do Some Dinging C Company. A Charlie Don’t Surf scenario from Operation Colorado in 1966.
Robin Hood’s Black Gold Home Guard versus Fallschirmjager mini campaign for Chain of Command based on original defence plans for Nottinghamshire.
The Siege of Augusta. A multi-player scenario for Sharp Practice in the American War of Independence.
Big CoC in Africa. A fantastic report of a post-colonial Africa adaptation for Chain of Command which has been impressing the Australian show circuit.
Carribean Broadsides. A squadron action for Kiss Me Hardy.
It’s the Chindits! A great new list for Chain of Command with several Chindit force options and three distinct support lists for the varying operations undertaken. There’s a smashing little scenario added on to give them a run out too.
Hurricanes over Hal Far. Bag the Hun looks at the siege of Malta and presents three scenarios for air war over the Med.
Circle the Wagons. A Chain of Command scenario for fighting in Benouville in June 1944. A 70th anniversary scenario.
The Roundwood Report. Blogimpressario Sidney Roundwood chats to Big Rich about how he writes rules. So top tips for would be rule designers.
Strawberries for Elephants. A spectacular full campaign for Chain of Command set on the Dyle Line in 1940. A great example of gaming interwoven with superb historical research.
Giarabub. In the deserts of North Africa the Australians face the Italians in the aftermath of Operation Compass. A scenario for IABSM
Sawrms for Q13. A look at using swarm type forces for our popular Sci-fi rules.
OML2. A report from a great Lardy Games day in the West Country. With cakes!
Vacquevill. A second 70th anniversary game, this time for IABSM as the Yanks fight their way inland from Omaha beach.

It’s 139 pages in total and each one packed with goodies. Not a single page of adverts to be seen. My only warning would be that this Special will surely have you reaching for your credit card and buying figures for new projects. It certainly lightened my bank account!

Interestingly the march of technology over the past ten years means that the Special in its electronic format appears even more ever-green. The e-format makes reading on the train to work on your tablet or iPad a real perfect combination. So, here’s to the next ten years!

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“Bashnya or Bust” Arrives

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Excitement abounds on Lard Island as we publish another scenario pack for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum from Robert Avery! This time Robert turns his attentions to the late war Eastern Front with Bashnya or Bust!

Like its predecessors, Vyama or Bust! and Blenneville or Bust!, Bashnya is a collection of fictional scenarios set up in a five-step pyramid campaign, so Scenario 1 leads to either Scenario 2A or 2B; the result of this second game leads to one of Scenarios 3A, 3B, 3C or 3D; and so on until Scenarios 5A to 5P. It’s another whopper as well, consisting of thirty-one unique scenarios weighing in at 340 pages and just under 90,000 words.

Despite his hectic schedule, I managed to catch a few words with the author…

Clarkie: So, Robert, let’s once again start with the basics. What is Bashnya or Bust! and how does it differ from your other scenario packs?

RA: Bashnya or Bust! is a collection of fictional scenarios for IABSM set on the late war Eastern Front as part of the Kaunas Offensive. Soviet forces are attempting to drive through German defences in the Chera valley in order to break through into Germany itself, the Germans are trying to stop them.

The format is the same as Blenneville in that, as you said in your introduction, Bashnya contains thirty-one different scenarios linked in a pyramid structure but that can also be played as individual games. Once again, it’s deliberately designed to give those players who don’t have enough time to write their own scenarios a huge number of games that they can play with little or no preparation at all. All they need to do is print out the three briefings, set up the table according to the map, make up the deck from the list of required cards, break out the figures and dice, and start the first turn.

Clarkie: So it’s Blenneville in the east?

RA: Well in format terms, yes; but in content terms, no, it’s very different.
Blenneville encapsulates what the fighting was like in Normandy immediately after D-Day: bocage, large numbers of Shermans versus smaller numbers of much better German tanks, more bocage, little towns of stone houses on either side of a main road, even more bocage, well balanced forces on both sides etc.

Bashnya, on the other hand, is much more extreme. The terrain is generally flatter and much more open. Few towns, villages that are collections of wooden huts, rivers that dictate tactics and strategy…and everything is bigger, bolder, more anarchic.
There are tank versus tank engagements with hardly an infantryman in sight. A company-sized raid on divisional artillery that has let itself get too far forward. Infantry attacking tanks in laager. Tigers, Panthers, Joe Stalins, flamethrower platoons, tank-riders, panzer grenadiers with all their half-tracks. The list goes on!

Clarkie: But what about figures? One of the good things about Blenneville is the fact that all the OBs are based on Battle for Liberation. Are all these extremes going to mean I have to buy more figures to play a game?

RA: No, no: the OBs for Bashnya are based on Vpered Na Berlin so, just like Blenneville, anyone who has a company-sized force of late war Germans and Soviets should be able to play any of the scenarios. I think that all I had to buy to complete the roster were a couple of King Tigers and a Wirbelwind.

Clarkie: One thing I liked about Blenneville were the fact that all the troops came from the same fictional units. Have you done the same in Bashnya?

RA: Yes, absolutely. The Soviets are Bykovski’s Infantry Battalion and Dushkin’s Tanks; and the Germans are the same units and Big Men, although organised differently and with slightly different equipment, as from Blenneville. They were obviously sent to the Eastern Front after their performance in Normandy! I’ve also refreshed the unit badges and Blinds.

Clarkie: So, to summarize, Bashnya or Bust!, whilst being the same format as Blenneville, is very different in terms of the games themselves. It still gives you thirty-one contextual, late war, scenarios that can be played individually or as part of a campaign, but it’s eastern front in theme, feel, ethos, units and gameplay. Each scenario is designed to mimic a typical club-night pick-up game, and the whole pack is intended to make having a battle as easy as possible – just print out the briefings, sort out the figures and off you go.

RA: I wish I’d said that!

Clarkie: You will Robert, you will.

Bashnya or Bust! is now available in PDF format, along with Robert’s other scenario packs, listed below:

The Defence of Calais The events of 23rd to 26th May 1940, as 30th Infantry Brigade and 3RTR attempt to defend Calais against two panzer divisions.
Operation Compass The Italian invasion of Egypt in December 1940, and the British response, the “five-day raid” named Operation Compass.
Vyazma or Bust! (F) A fictional campaign set on the eastern front in late 1941.
Fall of the Lion Gate The fall of Malaya and Singapore, December 1941 to February 1942.
Bloody Burma The Japanese invasion of Burma, December 1941 to May 1942.
Sicilian Weekend The first two days of Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, 10th and 11th July 1943.
Anzio, Wildcat to Whale The first part of Operation Shingle: from the Allied landing at Anzio to the end of Operation Fischfang. January to February 1944.
Blenneville or Bust! (F) A fictional campaign set in Normandy shortly after D-Day. You can read more about Blenneville in our previous Lard Island News entry at: http://toofatlardies.co.uk/blog/?p=1147

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So I lied…

Yes, I know I said no more brewery until I get back from Scotland, but I lied. The chimney I’d been waiting for arrived in the post and I decided to open the box, which, of course, was fatal. Within ten minutes I’d assembled it, then I based it, undercoated it, and it was clear I wasn’t going to get much else done today.

The kit was a simple Faller kit and like all of their models it went together very easily and with no issues. I undercoated this in sand colour, dry brushed on the red leather, washed it in ink and then more dry brushing to finish it off. Anyway, here it is.

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I added the name of the brewery in the same font as I used on the signage.
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And I reckon that’s it. I need some fencing to create a yard, but that’s off the peg stuff. You can look out for the finished brewery in a game coming soon.

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Die Kronen Brauerei – Sorry if I’m Boring you!

I know, I know, another post about this bloody brewery. Apologies if its getting boring, but we’re nearly there.

This time we move on to the main brew house and the offices. This model was assembled as normal but with plans of a new roof, as we saw with the Malthouse. Again I used the Warbases roof tiles. I thought I should show you what they look like as quite a few emails have come in asking, so here we go. Voila:
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It’s a sheet of A4 card which has been zapped with the Warbases magic laser. This sheet is scalloped, but they have a number of different designs to choose from.

Here’s a snap of them being put in place. It’s VERY easy, as you can see. This whole roof took me about half an hour.
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The rest of the build was dead simple, so no need to dwell on that. Here’s some snaps of the finished building.
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This is the detail on the main brew house.
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I bought some nice barrels from Colonel Bill at Partizan to populate the barrel store. I’m thinking about building a stillage for the barrels on the right; a bit unnecessary, but as an ex-publican I like to keep a tidy cellar.
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And finally, some evil Nazi draymen off to deliver as toxic brew of Nationalism and Socialism. Eurgh! What a terrible blend!
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I’m now waiting for the chimney to arrive to complete the ensemble. I was originally intending to attach the chimney to the main brewhouse, but on reflection this will make it a bugger to transport, so it will now be a separate piece.

And now the good news! I’m off to bonny Scotland tomorrow for the Deep Fried Lard II “Batter Together” Games Day, a fantastic blend of Lardy games and Scots hospitality. As a result you won’t have to look at any more posts about breweries for the next few days! Stand easy.

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Finishing the Malthouse

As we saw last time, the roof has been replaced with one of artists mounting board. It was not a particularly tough job, just a bit tedious. The next step would, I presumed be the really boring bit: tiling the roof. But I was wrong. I had shove the computer onto the BBC iplayer thingy and put on an episode of “In Our Time” and then whipped out the roof tile sheets from Warbases which I’d picked up at Partizan. In a moment I had the first one applied and was on my way. Well, let me tell you, I like companies who innovate and Warbases keep having great ideas (you can tell they are great as others then copy them!). Warbases were the first company to produce laser cut root tiles and I have to say that they are simply brilliant. Just snip to length and then stick on with PVA. No waste at all as you then start the next line of tiles with whatever is left from the first row. A fantastic idea. In less then an hour I had completed the roofs. And here they are.

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I am EXTREMELY pleased with these tiles. Well done to Martin for such an innovative product.

Now, each sheet of tiles does come with a row of ridge tiles, but I decided that I was going to finish my roof off with a Milliput ridge. You can see it, made by simply rolling a blob of the stuff out with my hand and then marking the tiles with a craft knife, here. You’ll also note the lead flashing done in paper.
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With that done I was back to the pithy question of “the gap”. As I had replaced the roof there was a small gap at the top of the walls. To be honest it was a bit daft worrying about it; you’d have to be 2’6″ tall to notice it. However, there is the risk that the circus is in town when we run a demo somewhere, so I decided to try to fix it. I sinmply built up wht wall height with some 3mm wide strips of mounting board. I wasn’t going to be able to etch on the brickwork pattern, but then again it was not going to be immediately noticeable, so I could live with that.
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I then added the interior partition wall with foam board and painted that in tile grout and PVA. That then was allowed to dry in a warm oven.
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Next I undercoated the interior and the base in black. I’m not sure why, but I habitually paint the interiors of my buildings black. I may add more detail later when I put the barrels in, but for now black would do. The next stage was to spray the brickwork with a sand colour…
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…and the roof with black.
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And then I was on to the painting stage. I dry-brushed on Vallejo Red Leather which is great for bricks. With that dry I then used black inks to add some general impression of the damp that one gets with old brickwork. This focused on the base of the model and areas around the roof where there was potential for water ingress. Then it was a case of dry brushing up the brickwork and touching in the odd brick in a variety of individual colours.

The roof I dry brushed up in a variety of greys before finally picking out the odd individual tile in a very light grey. There’s nothing clever about my painting, so no need to endless snaps of my brush. I added some posters when it was complete and the signs I printed off my computer with suitably Germanic fonts. I normally paint my own signs, but for some reason I wasn’t in the zone today, so I cheated. I think the end result is nice.
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From the starting point of a very nice MDF building I have now got something which fits my bill precisely. A little effort has really paid off in making the kit a unique model. Now I just need that chimney to arrive in the post so that I can get the main building done. When I consider that I only ordered this from Leon at Minibits a week ago this is a project that has gone swimmingly well.

You can find the model and others like it at Minibits, here: http://www.minibits.net/
And the tiles, which come in several varieties, at Warbases, here: http://war-bases.co.uk/

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Raising the Roof

Well, Monday is here, Partizan has come and gone. A quick word on that first: I LOVED the tent. Better lighting, when the flaps were opened up the through breeze kept the temperature down and the whole show was far more navigable than ever before Kelham Hall is a bit like Hogwarts in that the staircases change and you can never be sure you’ve seen everything in a normal Partizan; this was much better.

Equally importantly, Partizan gave me the opportunity to purchase some brewery associated bits, like roof tiles from Warbases and some barrels from Colonel Bill. So now I could set to building my roof. First things first though. On Friday I had done a bit of additional work. I’d added the now usual mix of tile grout and PVA to the loading back to strengthen that up and smooth down corners.

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And I’d also added an internal ramp up which the beer barrels could be rolled up to be collected. You’ll note that the original window over which the new doors were added is still there. Maybe I should have cut this out, but I’ll paint it as metal bars which would not be an unusual security feature for a beer storage. Not anywhere near I live anyway. You’ll note that I have added a different surface to part of the floor. I intend to put up an internal wall between the two areas before I’m finished, just to add some variety.

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Then on to the roof. The first part was simple, just cutting the four sections for the main roof.
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After that I cut some card to fit snugly in the end gable section.
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And then marked that so that it would fit and match the roof line.
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I cut that to shape, then marked the roof sections where the glue should go and tacked them in position with a tiny touch of hot glue.
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Once I knew that fitted I gunned in plenty of hot glue and added a strip along the side where the two roof sections are seperated.
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Then again I added plenty of hot glue. I like this stuff as it can add a robustness to an otherwise flimsy model. Even when making off the peg model buildings I will often strengthen the structure with this stuff. But be warned, it is damnably hot and it burns like buggery! As I again found out today.
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Now I added the secondary roof section, following precisely the same method. I used the original mdf roof sections to provide a template for the angles here.
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Once again I gunned this full of hot glue along the joints for the sake of robustness.
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I have to say that whilst it fits generally there are one or two bits that are not perfect. Here the side wall is slightly lower than the end wall.
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And where my two roof sections join we get the same small gap. Se we’ll have to see what happens when we add the tiles. If the worst comes to the worst I’ll mask the gap by adding guttering.
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Next time we’ll be on to the tiling.

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Into the Inferno

So this was it, the enemy’s main defensive line. It was not what we had expected. The Germans were clearly in a state of disorder as their positions were hastily occupied and as yet they had not been able to bring forward much in the way of support to prop up their crumbling front. Prisoners had confirmed that the troops in the pocket were only fighting on to give the civilians time to be evacuated from the coastal strip which was still in German hands. Everywhere the roads showed signs of a civilian population fleeing, with abandoned carts and luggage and corpses where our air force had been able to shoot down the fascists.

Our Politruk had confirmed that our objective was to be the first unit to break through to the sea between the town of Brandenburg and the small fishing port of Heide Waldburg from where, it was believed, the Kriegsmarine were still running shuttles to remove the German civilians. After the misery and suffering these people brought to the Motherland they flee the rightful retribution of the Red Army. All fascists must die!

And talking of fascists, here’s Fat Nick, the Lord of the Pies, surveying the table and attempting to do a better job of the Patrol Phase than the last game.
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This was our third game of the day and we were obliged to set to it with a will as the the beer in the local pub was already singing its siren song so, sadly, this game will be picture light. Nick had set up the terrain while I went through the campaign set up and we were ready to roll. Here’s how the patrol phase ended, effectively putting two of my jump-off points in the central wood and a third on the hedgerow at the bottom of the picture.

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Nick’s jump-off points were in the ruined farm and the wood close by with a third off on the far flank by a small orchard.

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Before the game began I had called for my one allotment of replacements to join my force. My CO was in relatively good mood so I did well, the platoon was now down to 19 men, only two short of full strength. The Germans had got their men back from hospital so were just four men down. They fielded one full strength squad and two with eight men in all. I rolled for support and got a healthy roll allowing me to select the Maxim and, somewhat excitingly, a T34-85. Nick had chosen two minefields which he placed out on his right which blocked my route around the left of the barn. This was unfortunate as it was precisely there where I had planned to launch my main attack, so it was a wise choice by him.

The game began with my deploying the Maxim and one squad in the wood. Immediately they came under a crossfire from the Germans who deployed a squad in the ruined farm and entrenched in the small wood nearby. The Maxim took the brunt of this, but it was able to keep up a decent bit of returned fire and chip away at the German squad under Osterman. The Germans deployed another of their support options, a 5cm mortar which someone had got out of stores. This proved to be an irritant as it obliged the Maxim with withdraw due to shock.
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However, with the Maxim gone I was able to replace it by bringing forward my T34. You can also see here my second squad under Sergei Gostravnikov setting off on a flank march under cover of the ridge which ran around the flank of the table.
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The Germans in the farm maintained their fire under the supervision of Feldwebel Mann who was busy keeping the German firepower as effective as possible. The Panzerschreck had attempted to ambush the Soviet behemoth but missed badly. Now, in the heat of battle, Feldwebel Mann couldn’t locate the weapon he most needed. with no way of countering the lumbering monster the men in the farm fell back under its fire.
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With the Germans in the house dropping back I switched the tank fire to the Germans dug into the wood. Under the cover of their fire my first and third squads began to work round through the barn ready to assault their foe.

Meanwhile on the right Gostravnikov had seized a German jump-off point. Mann had attempted to deploy his third squad to block the move, but with him already on the table the squad failed to get his order and the flankw as under pressure. Immediately my squad began working through the orchard.

Then, on my left, Leytenant Timorenko led a violent charge with two squads into the wood. Their PP-Sh 41 SMGs spitting death they hurled themselves forward in the selfless heroism of true Soviet warriors fighting the fascist beast, and the Germans fled. At least those who remained alive did so.
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In the farm Feldwebel Mann waved his arm to signal a general retreat and, in a moment, all was still.

A rapid game which we cracked out in about an hour. The tank was a real blessing. Nick used a Chain of Command dice to try to ambush the tank. He hit is but a truly terrible roll saw no penetration; clearly some poor slave labourer had sabotaged this batch of rockets. After that he had no trouble rolling 1′s but the Panzershcrek team steadfastly refused to deploy onto the table. I kept far enough away to mean that the Panzerfausts were just out of range.

A few 85mm shells to pin the Germans in the wood and a resolute charge well led by three Leaders and a whole bunch of SMG troops simply walked into the German positions, scattering the Landser before them. It was the platoon’s moment of glory, doing what they were designed to do and I rather enjoyed it! As stated before, the SMG platoon is good at what it is good at and just about bugger all else. This was our first opportunity to really see them work with their tanks and the combination was nice to see. Of course I was damnably lucky that Panzerschreck team were hiding in the outside toilet!

And thus the fourth game ends. The Soviets list a grand total of NOBODY, but the fascist invaders lost five men dead and three in hospital for the next game. That’s ice dead in total, so twelve men down for the next game which is a fighting withdrawal. I am looking forward to that one tomorrow.

In campaign turns my CO is happy with me, my men are equally happy and Boris Timorenko is beginning to think he is a great leader of men We’ll see how long he keeps that impression as we check to see his outlook after the next game. On the German side things are not so hot. Feldwebel Mann’s battalion commander is unimpressed and his men are unhappy. Their force morale is now affected when they roll at the start of each game, as we’ll see tomorrow. Mann himself is unfortunately retreating into his shell. Officially his status is “Thoughtful”, but his distant attitude sees a further reduction to the force morale; a double whammy.

To make matters worse, Mann has just been told that the delaying action he and his men will be fighting tomorrow is covering the withdrawal of a column of civilians who have escaped the Hell that is Konigsberg and are now using the coast road to get to Brandenburg where a Strength Through Joy Cruise Liner has been sent to evacuate them. Their survival will depend on Mann’s ability to hold out. A terrible responsibility indeed and failure is beyond contemplation. Fortunately his force is being reinforced with some of the elderly men from the evacuee column who have been sworn into the Volksturm by the local SA commander. Volk ans Gewehr indeed.
Volksturm

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The Brewery takes shape

So, having planned that out I decided to leap straight in. I was originally going to build the loading bay from mounting board, but I soon realised that blue polystyrene would be easier. A few slices with the kitchen knife and we had the basic structure ready.

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I then used a 4.5″ boning knife to cut the steps. You don’t need any special tools for these jobs, just make sure the wife isn’t looking!
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Next I cut up a cornflake packet and made some bricks which I then applied with PVA. I went for a slightly longer brick than those on the building. I wanted to get the look of a blue Engineering brick which would be used where heavy load bearing ramps were being built. It also meant that they were easier and quicker to stick on. This is never going to look pretty; I am not a bricklayer and cardboard bricks are buggers to get straight, but the important thing to remember that it is an overall effect we’re looking at. You’re not competing for the “Golden Trowel”!

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With that done I added some signage, again in artists mounting board. You can use cornflake packets for this, but I prefer a heavier look to industrial signs. In the picture above, you can also see the loading bay doors I am making from cornflake packet. You’ll also note that on the single story building I have removed the lugs which held on the roof. We have crossed the roof Rubicon, there is no going back!
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For the main brewery building I am planning a corporate logo of large crown above the name of the brewery.
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Next I got out the hot glue gun and added an MDF base, a top to the loading bay, the doors to the loading bay and a set of pretty gates. The brewery is a modular set up, so the gates can but up against anything we fancy in future. As you can see, the draymen are at work already. It’s not breakfast time yet and my thoughts are already turning to beer. And the wife is out all day…

Eagle eyed readers will notice that the gate is a Warbases puiece which had previously graced the entrance to the churchyard at Le Port. Bloody Nazi’s will nick anything!
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And finally, here’s a view of what my brain is seeing when the whole thing is complete. There’ll be a bloody great chimney at the back of the main building and me rolling past on top of my T34-85. Up the workers, the bar is open!
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Right, time for some egg and bacon to celebrate a good day’s work before breakfast…

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Die Kronen-Brauerei Arrives

For a while now I have been looking for a suitable industrial building, or buildings, to represent a East Prussian brewery for our Chain of Command campaign. What better thing could there be to fight for than a brewery! I had a chat with the nice chaps at 4Ground and they had nothing immediately available, so my thoughts turned to model railway kit, but the scale was not quite right and the price was sky high. So, in time honoured style, I sat and twiddled my thumbs and did nothing about it.

Then, earlier this week a news item appeared on TMP which caught my eye. “Minibits Now Stocking MDF Buildings From Impudent Mortal” the headline read, and there was an image of a laser cut building of an industrial nature. So off I went to the Minibits web site and there were several more such buildings waiting there and waving at me enticingly. So I bought two.

Now if I am honest, I had never heard of Minibits, but looking at the address and getting an automated response from some bloke called Leon I realised that it was none other than Leon of Pendraken Miniatures (and Werthers Original advert) fame. This was reassuring as I know what jolly decent chaps the Pendraken lads are, and sure enough a parcel arrived today with the buildings in. Great service. What made it even better was the fact that I had a filthy hangover and was generally doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself, so here was a project I could dive into with gusto.
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With one bound I had the industrial container of PVA ready. I unwrapped the first package to reveal a two storied industrial building which was going too be the main brewhouse and offices. I made sure to collect and keep the little wooden bits which were in the windows as these make great bricks for rubble. The model was remarkably straight-forward, which is handy as I am a halfwit at the best of times.
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A quick bad of PVA here, a dot there and suddenly I was halfway through. After one minute!
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And then a minute later I WAS finished. At least the walls and internal floors were done. A few elastic bands were applied to hold the whole thing in place while it dries.
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Then on to the next one. A single story building which is the barrel store and malthouse.
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Even simpler this one as it’s just one storey. So again the whole thing was done in a few moments and more elastic bands applied.
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And here they are with their lids on.
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Now, I absolutely love the buildings, the build time is fantastic as they literally just fit together like a dream. I personally feel that MDF buildings have their limitations. They are absolutely perfect for some things – wooden buildings for example – but they can’t do everything absolutely perfectly. The roofs on these buildings, and indeed any MDF buildings, leave me a bit cold. I am always reminded of the lugs on the Airfix Waterloo farmhouse kit which stood out like a sore thumb. I am considering cutting off the lugs on the model and making a removable roof in artists mounting board which will fit nice and flushly. That will involve some tedious tiling work, but it may well be worth the effort. We shall see. I’ll certainly be adding stuff like signage and general bric-a-brac to give the model some individuality.

As it is I now have two absolutely fantastic models which will, I trust, look great once painted up and based. These are very highly reccomended, especially when combined with the great service one can expect from Minibits. You can find them and many other smashing items here: http://www.minibits.net/

One minor gripe: I can confirm that they do NOT cure hangovers.

Postscript
Right, a decision has been made on this. I am going to make the roofs myself and am picking up some laser curt roof tiles at Partizan on Sunday. I’ve also decided to do a small addition to the beer store area, adding a loading bay. This mean that I’ll have to create not just the raised area but also replace one of the large windows with a set of doors, as shown below in my planning diagram.
Conversion
I have ordered a large chimney from a model railway supplier on EBay which will be added at the back of the main brewery building and I am looking to get hold of a set of 4Ground stairs to add to the interior of that building. Ideally I’d like to find something to represent large brewers copper vats for the interior to really complete the brewery look. A selection of barrels will be pretty simple, Renedra do a nice set. I’ve already acquired a diecast brewery delivery lorry made by Lldeo. All in all this is turning into a fun project and, remarkably, the hangover has gone!

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