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20Apr/180

Salute 2018 – Part 1

Salute began early for us, after the day-trip to Nottingham, we we're ready and waiting at 7 a.m. at Cambridge Station.

South London Warlords - Salute 2018

Taking the Great Northern towards London, we had some time on our hand. It takes roughly an hour and gets you to Kings Cross without a stop. Spending that time on going through our "what-to-see", "what-to-try" and "what-to-buy" lists again and playing a match of Condottiere. Perfect size for the train.

South London Warlords - Salute 2018 South London Warlords - Salute 2018 South London Warlords - Salute 2018

17Apr/180

Intro to Salute

Last thursday, on April 12th, Operation Sealion 2018 started. We went to Cologne Bonn Konrad Adenauer Airport, for our four day trip to the UK for Salute and a brief day trip to the Leadbelt.

There are a couple of ways to get to London. Two years ago and before that, we did the Salute as a day trip, grabbing a flight from Cologne to Stansted or Frankfurt to Heathrow. Flying from Germany takes roughly 1 to 1,5 hrs and sets you back between 70 - 150 Euro, depending on who you fly with. Just for Salute a rental car would only make sense, if the group is bigger than two people, as the London Underground is superb and reasonably priced. Only the shuttles ex-airport are sometimes a bit expensive. As we headed north to Nottingham, that question was already solved. Rentals are quite cheap in the UK, you can get cars for around 30 Euro per day. We paid just over 90 Euro for the prolonged weekend incl. unlimited miles. For rental cars I usually go with Budget, a daughter company of Avis. They offer good and uncomplicated service at reasonable quotes. The Honda Jazz was brand new, but not that much fun to drive and had a unpleasant driver seat.

Ryanair changed a lot in the last few months, along with strict limitations on the cabin luggage and checkin in. If you book all the excluded things to get back to a regular ticket, you end up with a price around the area of a Lufthansa ticket from FRA to LHR. Our flight was delayed by almost two hours due to mist, and on arrival we met quite a different weather compared to Spain two weeks ago.

Sealion 2018 - Intro to Salute 2018 Sealion 2018 - Intro to Salute 2018 Sealion 2018 - Intro to Salute 2018

10Apr/180

More from the Balearic Island of Mallorca

On friday, March 30th, our exploring journey of the island continued. We set for the southern part and made several stops along the coast, beginning with Cala Figuera. We had great luck with the weather, it was bright and sunny, and just look at these blues of sky and sea.

Cala Figuera Cala Figuera Cala Figuera

The second row shows the weathered stone ground along the coast line. With the smaller puddles it looks so outlandish, I thought this could be an interesting idea for an alien planet, using lava stones and such to recreate the surface. As a basing design for sci-fi settings like Gates of Antares or maybe a Necron or Mechanicus army project.

Cala Figuera Cala Figuera Cala Figuera

9Apr/180

Vacation on the Balearic Islands, Mallorca

On March 26 we said goodbye 3° and !Hola! 20°, as we were on a Easter vacation to Mallorca. The flight was taken care of by Condor and it was such a positive start into the week off, to exit the airport and to be welcomed by this warm breeze and sunshine (especially after having to scrape ice of your windscreen).

Most Germans associate Mallorca with the Ballermann and heavy drinking. Our quarter was at the other end of the island, far away from all that trouble and noise.

Laudamotion Airport Palma de Mallorca Cala Millor

24Mar/180

Aviators, get your engines running!

I got my hands on a Airfix Dogfight Doubles set back in 2016, and build the Messerschmitt Bf109 and a Spitfire MkVb right away. Now I found some more 1:48 scale kits, that could be used as terrain. So I bought a Junkers Ju-88 by Revell and a Ju-87 by Italeri.

About the scale, that is a longer discussion. The proper scale would be 1:56, but there is currently only one kit availabe of a Stuka in that scale by Blitzkrieg Miniatures. And to be honest, 40 GBP ist in my opinion to much for a "stand-in". I got a Junkers Ju-88 A-4 by Revell for 30 Euros, quite a lot of plane for that money, as you can see from the pictures below. It works quite well scalewise as you can see from the comparison with the Fallschirmjäger.

Revell - Ju-88 A-4 Revell - Ju-88 A-4

The wingspan is amazing and overall it was an okay-ish fit. Some parts were rather annoying to assemble, like adding the engines to the wings. I'll paint the windows of the cockpit in a light blue and saved myself the trouble of building the interior. And some other parts were even more fun, like the 0,5mm thick struts that frame the bomb wings.

Revell - Ju-88 A-4 Revell - Ju-88 A-4 Revell - Ju-88 A-4

10Mar/180

Bolt Action M3 Lee medium tank

This is a M3 review double feature, as I'll show you today the M3 Lee and the M3 Grant (with track guards). The M3 Lee kit is a regular shelf product, that comes in a boxed set. Warlord offers the Grant as a made-to-order / direct order product.

Bolt Action - M3 Lee Bolt Action - M3 Lee

The M3 medium tank (not to be confused with the M3 Stuart / M3A1), was an American medium tank, that was supplied to other allied forces, like the British, Australian or Soviets during World War II. The differentiation between Lee and Grant, was done by the turret. The American issued turret (like in this kit) was called Lee, after the Confederate General Lee, the British issued turret after the Union General Grant.

10Mar/180

Bolt Action M3 Grant medium tank with track guard

In addition to the M3 Lee review, this article will cover the british Grant variant of the M3 with track guards.

Bolt Action - M3 Grant with track guards

Unlike the M3 Lee, this kit is only available as made-to-order and therefore comes without a box in a simple bubble wrap bag.

As the M3 is already introduced in the other article, I'll focus here on the M3 Grant. Of the more than 6,000 Units the Americans build of the M3 Lee, 2,855 units were handed over to the British, who supplied them within the Commonwealth. The British had added modifications to their order, a different turret was designed with thicker armor plate, more space to house radio equipment and the machine gun cupola to be replaced with a simple hatch. The later was even done to some of the M3 Lee turrets in use by the British in China, Burma and India. And some of the M3 that were to be deployed in North Africa received sand guards, as this kit has as well.

7Mar/180

Bolt Action Campaign New Guinea

After Empire in Flames, Bolt Action revisites the far east with the supplement Campaign New Guinea.

Bolt Action - Campaign New Guinea Bolt Action - Campaign New Guinea

With 132 pages, Campaign New Guinea set a short new high score for page load, trumping Battle of the Bulge and Duel in the Sun (both 124 pages), only second to the recently released The Road to Berlin (148 pages). This campaign supplement covers the part of the pacific wars on the planets second largest island, between the Japanese Empire and the Allied Forces (Australian and US American). The price tag on this book reads 19,99 GBP or 30 USD, which translates roughly into 25 EUR. I want to start this review with the comparison of the the final cover (left) and the early cover (right), presented by Osprey in one of their product catalogues. Nothing unusual, we already saw different covers circulating early among others for Duel in the Sun as well.

6Mar/180

Bolt Action Universal Carrier Wasp Mk II

Along with the previous introduced Chindits, there is need for suiting vehicular support. In Burma they used the nimble bren carriers to transport soldiers and goods, some of the universal carriers were fitted with a flamethrower and called Wasp, which I want to introduce in this review.

Bolt Action - British Wasp Flamethrower Carrier

Of the more than 110,000 units that were build of the universal carrier, roughly 1,000 units were manufactured as the wasp. The wasp carried the Ronson flamethrower system, with the Mark I having it fixed in the front and the Mk II the projector on the co-driver's position. Both had two fuel tanks with a capacity of 100 gallons. The canadians developed the Mk IIC with a single 75 gallon fuel tank. As you can see from the product image, this is the Mark II of the wasp.

5Mar/180

An army with an exotic theme – Chindits for Bolt Action

I have this lot of chindits lying around for quite some time now, and I want to explain why I chose these and what is the motivation behind it.

First of all, why a themed army? I always liked from background to my projects, wether it is sourced ficitional or historical. I like to have a proper base to start from. A source to begin with, a common thread that combines the miniatures. And it doesn't matter, if it is sci-fi, fantasy or historical. Simply painting your marines blue like on the box, is less interesting to me, than to read the books and see for something that catches my eye. I have to go back in my arguments, back when I started wargaming, I played Warhammer Fantasy and 40k, like many others do or used to do. A regular army project was already an invest and a themed army would easily be something that would drive up the costs by at least 50%, as you had to gather specific bits and pieces for conversions etc. But historical wargaming is usually much cheaper, as there are more companies offering the same ranges.  Exotic or themed armies can still be difficult or more costly, as in some cases only one or a few companies are covering specific nations or conflicts.

In this case, as we're talking Bolt Action, we're talking World War II. The conflict is rather Euro-centric and most go for the elite or well known armies, US Airborne, Afrikakorps or something similar. You have battles between Americans, British or Russians on one side and Germans on the other. There is often not that much variation, as you more or less see the same armies. As with the armies I already have, different German forces, US American and British late war western front forces, those have broad vehicle pools, only a few limitations. So I looked for something far from home. I could have gone with the blue division (spanish volunteers on the eastern front), but that is more or less a regular german army with a minor different paint job. Along the campaign supplements for Bolt Action "Empire in Flames" was a very interesting read for me, as it showed that there many conflicts that lead to a global war scenario, beside the tension after World War 1, but I don't want to go into detail on that, I'll pick up the conflict in the pacific in the upcoming review on the Campaign: New Guinea. More interesting was for me this specific special army of the British in Burma. Warlord has these in their Bolt Action range and they were sculpted by the talented hands of Paul Hicks, so the miniatures had it easy to "lure" me in.

As the chindit range is entirely metal, it is spread across a couple of blister codes and a single larger box, with lots of different poses. I went more or less with ordering one of everything, as you can see below. And as we're talking Bolt Action, around 1,000 pts should be enough and not to costly.

Bolt Action - Chindits