EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Boats: Denoument

The last stand of Lion Commando's close assaults the Centurion with bazookas.

Late this morning I managed to sneak away to my games room to squueze in anther couple of turns. The Naryatrians drew a so-so hand, shuffled a few units and took a medium range pot shot with a mortar at the battered remnants of the Mechanized Infantry of the Newpore Lancers who were supporting the Centurion of the West Hantz Horse.  2 dice, 2 hits and another unit gone. 

I drew the Finest Hour card and decided to chance it. I rolled my 4 dice and was able to activate an infantry unit, 2 artillery units and a unit of my choice. I moved an infantry unit forward into command range of the right hand commander so I could use the right sector cards that were filling my hand and then opened fire with the Centurion on the mortar scoring 1 hit and finishing it off. A mortar and the recoilless rifle opened on a damaged Naryatrian infantry unit that had snuck back into the central village. With bonus dice from the card, and no terrain penalties for artillery fire, I had a total of 6 dice with a 50% chance of hitting on each one. I got 1 hit. sighhh

The Naryatrians then launched 2 damaged infantry platoons against the Centurion. The Lions rolled first, 3 dice with a 1/3rd chance of hitting, 2 hits. Game over. 

What? Wait a minute! I want a recount or a rematch or or ...rats!  That was it for Day Two, 3 cards, 10 minutes and the game was over. I lost! Again! Arrghhh!

So what did I do during family time last night? Sit on the couch piled with hounds while I searched the net for T55 and M47 models and browsed Plastic Soldier Review and Hotz mats sites. Oh yeah! 

Overview of the bridgehead at the end of the game.

This is the 3rd solo Roscian game that I've played. The first was with Bob Cordery's Mobat rules, the second was with basic Memoir when I was fairly new to it. Both of those games were enjoyable but each case the armies went away for 6 to 18 months and no work was done on them in between actions. This game had the best feel yet as a solo game and I can see it becoming a regular feature and have an urge to resume work on the armies.

The combination of the movement and ranges vs table size vs scenario layout felt good but I find it hard sometimes to remember that a tank model is a unit, not a model and some of the terrain and models didn't fit well on the 3" hexes. The look of the thing can be improved then.

I had two diverging thoughts on this, the first and less likely was that a Hotz mat with 5" hexes would give me 9 x 13 hexes thus resembling the original board (which may not be a co-incidence). This would allow me to fit 1/72nd compatible terrain into the hex grid more easily and would let me fit 4 infantry stands, 2 guns with crew or 2 tanks into a hex thus  looking more like "units".  I could then go back to the original movement and ranges with a similar effect vs the size of the terrain features and the scenario map. For example on my 3" hexes with doubled hexes a tank can move 18" and fire 18". On a 5" grid and original measurements it would be able to move 15" and shoot 15". Close enough.

The second and more obvious came when the only M47's I could find were 1/87 Roco minitanks which are small enough that 2 would fit in an existing hex but of course to get a consistent look I would want to ditch my 1/72 vehicles and comb the internet looking for bargains on mini-tanks. It was a short leap to thinking about N/10mm/12mm and 15mm figures and armour which would fit even better. If I were starting from scratch I would probably go there but I like my 1/72nd, don't want to start over and I want to maximize the multi-purpose nature of my terrain items so 1/72 is here to stay. Maybe a 5" hex map is in the future or maybe I'll adapt the game to the 4" square grid I'm going to use with the Square Brigadier, or just keep plugging as is.

In any event, I'm at a stage where I want to re-assess the organization  and equipment of my fictional Mid-20thC armies to suit the games I'll be playing. For example my Roscians are organized into 3 stand companies but I'll be using them as 2 stand units + a casualty marker and it'll help to be able to ID stands which are removed.  I also need to make command stands more easily distinguished from combat units. And I need more troops, the Roscians had trouble scraping up enough infantry and the Naryatrian guns were manned by infantry. A good excuse to finally buy some of the Call To Arms re-releases of the old Lilliput version of the Herald Khaki Infantry amongst other things. 

Oh and I need more casualty markers and black smoke for the tanks!

That leaves 3 questions:

A. Why are figures and models for the Cold War era including the Korean, Viet Nam, Indo-Pakistan and other wars so rare in 1/72nd scale???

B. Why are MRC's pre-built T55's $5 more than their JS3's and T34/85's?  

C. Given that I don't like (to be kind) building/painting plastic models, am I really so cheap that I'll buy old Airfix  JS3 tank kits rather than coughing up 2x the money for pre-assembled ones or 3x the money for T55's?  (The only T55 kits I've found are about the same price as pre-assembled ones. Hmmm Downgrading all the way to T34/85 or JS2 quick build kits is another effective cost and labour saving option.

This re-arming defence acquisition plan may well be decided by budget constraints rather than by the army's wish list!


  1. Ross Mac,

    I have really enjoyed this three-part battle report ... and it exactly the sort of battle I enjoy fighting myself.

    The use of imagi-nations is a great way to use all sorts of bits and pieces that one collects and then never quite gets around to using. I have quite a few 1:72nd/1:76th/1:87th-scale vehicles and figures that do not fit in with my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project and a 1950s/1960s pair of imagi-nations would be a great way to find a use for them.

    All the best,


    1. Its amazing how long some of the Russian and US WWII equipment stayed in service with various countries

  2. That was great fun. I really enjoyed that Ross. Pondering your questions.

    A. There is quite a bit available in resin and I would keep an eye on thehobbyden.com (for resin) and S models recent output for easy to assemble kits.

    B. Who can say - though Britannia do an excellent resin T-62 for less than a tenner. They also do M48s, Sheridans and other post war stuff in resin.

    C. Pegasus do some quick builds that would be of use, if you're willing to downgrade. Armourfast, S Models and some of the Italeri quick build kits would repay study.

    I shall look forward to seeing how you get along with these chaps.

    1. Thanks for the tips. This year's money is all spent now (as of about supper time last night) but I had a quick peek at the resin stuff (my very limited experience so far is that it is worse than plastic to work with for those who are not of a fiddly disposition) and not much cheaper than prebuilts but worth keeping an eye on ). (Sheridans? Much too modern!)

      Stay tuned!

    2. Speaking as someone with a trio of Airfix M113 ACAVs in a box, the mention of Britannia's M-48s is dangerously tempting.

      Great report Ross, I've enjoyed following it.


  3. Hi Ross,
    Good battle report; looked like a lot more fun than mine turned out. I guess I should also replace the boats with bridges so I can get more than just infantry across.

    Putting you on the spot: which do you prefer, Hats of Tin or modified Memoir 44?
    Thanks and regards,

    1. John I wish you had asked me that 2 hours ago before I packed up the troops and battlefield!

      Hats of Tin was written off the cuff and tested in 1 or 2 small 54mm games. It would be interesting to try a full size game with the 1/72nd stuff. I would expect the over all feel to be similar despite the different mechanisms. One of my goals was to keep playing the same game as my friend Ron that I play against but I'll try it this winter.

  4. Quite exciting stuff. In my mind 4" hexes seem to hold dominance, but I have no real reason for that prejudice. Until I can get myself more organized to play out some games I am living vicariously through your efforts.

  5. Great minds think alike: http://macslittlefriends.blogspot.com/2013/11/memoir-74-in-africa.html