Sunday, 11 December 2016

Fiddly Effin' Firepower

Another rare update, and finally some guns for the Japanese. A 105mm Howitzer, 45mm A/T gun, and a 70mm light battalion gun (more like a wheeled mortar).  All in various stages of completion, but all within sight of the finish line.
Lots of other stuff being cleaned up for an outdoor priming session, including another squad's worth of infantry and a mule team.  

I also had some chance to work on basing more jungle terrain and a bunker.  I'll need a number of barbed wire emplacements, bunkers, pillboxes and gunpits for our "not Kokoda" campaign.

Up until now, my Japanese have been mostly an infantry force, along with some limited tank support- which usually dies extremely quickly in the games when up against my regular plate-armoured nemesis, Matt's M-3 Grant. Having to rely on Seishin and on suicide tank squads really is the last refuge of the desperate.
Detroit Dreadnaught, and Crusher of Imperial Japanese Dreams...
The howitzer will largely serve as a game objective, the 70mm is really more of nuisance value, but the 45mm should give me at least a fighting chance against Allied armour.  

Direct and short-range fire with artillery pieces was common in the Pacific.  Interestingly, I was reading of the Aoba Detachment's role in the Battle of Guadalcanal, where Maj. Masao Tamura led his battalion of the 4th (Sendai) Regiment against the Leathernecks on Edson's Ridge.  At one point they managed to drag up a 75mm Regimental gun to a position where it could fire directly and at short range into the American lines.  

It could have changed the outcome of the battle, had it not been for a faulty firing pin.  Shikisho... 

Wartime Miniatures in Oz apparently do a model of the 75mm, so I see an order coming on.  

One thing to add to the list of unpleasant wargaming tasks is putting together split-trail artillery pieces. I had put off working on them because I knew full well just how much of a hassle it would be trying to get the pieces to fit. Plastic models for me are seldom a problem; but with metal kits, and given the often rudimentary- or in this case, nonexistent- instructions, it's a different story.  

The joints between the gun shields, trails and the axles are always weak, and there is never that much surface area to work with; and as these are often points which take the stress of bearing the weight of the model, it's always a real bugger to work with. During construction, the model has to be handled carefully, without inadvertently bending or breaking other those parts that have already been assembled. 

Lots of foul language went into putting these together, believe me. 

The air was turned an especially vivid shade of blue as I struggled with the 105mm.  Although it's a really nice model when made up,
due to the weight of the barrel and gun shield it was a beast to balance on its trails while the glue set.  It took a bit of fancy work with a drill and lengths of paperclip wire to try to make the joints a little stronger, and wads of Post-it wall-tack putty really help here to bear the weight while the glue sets.

I have one more of these to do, and the prospect of doing all that cleaning and assembling one more time does not exactly fill me with joy.

Once painted, the bases will feature quite a bit of foliage, especially for the 45mm piece. Not just for appearance's sake, but also so that the guns themselves don't have to be handled directly, as I don't have much faith in how much they would stand to a lot of handling on the gaming table.

But regardless of all this, I do like the way they look once assembled. The 45mm gun and crew are from Company B via Brigade Games, and while the gun is very nice (if another real pain to put together), I found the crew figures themselves rather woodenly posed and roughcast with a fair amount of flash. Out came the files, pin vice and drill bits again, and I replaced two of the heads with some extras from Warlord so that they look much nicer now.

I've also been working on some Warlord/ TAG US Marines, as we may need a few squads for the Buna/ Gona scenarios in our campaign.  Strictly speaking the scenario calls for army units, but nobody seems to do much in the way of US Army troops for the Pacific Theatre, which is too bad.  All I know of are the Merril's Marauder box by Warlord Games, and that's it. 

1 comment:

Phil said...

Excellent and impressive job, love the bunker!