Monday, 25 July 2011

WW2 Australian/Commonwealth/Brits

Towards the end of 2010, I cracked out most of my WW2 Japanese army. Although I have plenty of US troops painted up, including some marines, although there is not actually much difference, I really wanted to get them up against some British/Commonwealth opponents. I was inspired both by a Rapid Fire scenario that I found based on a battle by Australian troops to defend the Kokoda trail in New Guinea (which can be found here -see 'Isurava' under 1942 scenarios and follow up scenario here- ) and the exploits of the Chindits, a force in which my wife's uncle, a colourful chap, was a captain. So in February my birthday order from Model Hobbies included a couple of boxes of Airfix Australians, and Hat's WW1 Anzac heavy weapons set, to supply HMGs and mortars and crews otherwise lacking. Having got to see the Ozzie film 'Kokoda', I also plan to use some Aifix 8th army figures too, as some troops clearly wore helmets and shorts, too.

As far as I can tell at this scale the Chindit uniform was identical to the Australian, and I also have 3/4 of a box of Gurka's for a Chindit force. Caesar Miniatures not long ago brought out some Chinese troops for WW2, who aided the Chindits and also fought the Japanese in Burma. Not a priority purchase, but could be a set with a lot of potential.

I've tried to find out what uniforms I'd need for the attack on Malaya and Singapore, and the retreat into Burma. Most units were drawn from the Indian army, so I could use my Colonial Sikhs and the WW1 Indian Infantry that are in the pipeline from Hat, plus 8th Army and ordinary WW2 British infantry (as long trousers and khaki certainly seems to have been normal in Burma), and possibly my recnetly acquired late WW1 British, once painted, too. Although I've found references to some unit dying their uniforms green for jungle fighting prior to the issue of 'jungle greens'-and some pictures on the Singapore wargaming clubs site, and they are the people most likely to know, seems to bear it out-, as far as I can see the basic uniform was 'khaki drill', ie. same as Eighth Army. I'm not planning on doing armies for North Africa, but if I invested at some stage in a unit or two of Eighth Army in 'Khaki Drill', I could also use them for places like Crete.

I cracked out most of the Australian infantry over a weekend back in March, while working on other things. I've got the heavy weapons and some figures lying down left to do, plus the 8th Army & Gurka figs, but its not a big job. One of the main things holding me up, though, is lack of storage boxes.

As the pics how, I've for basing I followed what I tried out on the Japanese. I have really carried to extremes testing the view, that especially where 20mm plastics are concerned, the basing is more important than the painting. The figures I've based up so far I've done 3 to a base, with some sprigs of 'fish tank' plastic foliage added as well. This base would look good for 'Crossfire', not my intended main ruleset for these figures, but a ruleset which works well at simulating 'company' level infantry fighting on a tabletop covered in terrain. And you don't get denser terrain than in jungle-fighting! I'll also be basing some up in pairs and singly for both 'brigade level' Rapid Fire, and 'platoon level' Disposable Heroes.

This shows the three bases I have done so far.

An the final pic shows all the figures so far painted, plus the storage problem of the relative space taken up by the 9 figs on fancy bases taking up a quarter of the box, and the other 60 fitting happily in the remaining space!

I've been putting off ordering new storage boxes, but with other things spilling over I'll have to soon. This will also hopefully mean I'll have somewhere to store the jungle terrain I plan to knock up for these guys, the Japs, Vietnam and Darkest Africa.

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