Monday, 5 August 2013

First pics of a new project

Many readers will recall I decided to sell all my 20mm World War Two figures, vehicles and terrain before Christmas as part of the massive downsize pending renovating the newly acquired house, and building a wargames room/art studio. As things stand it will be next Summer before it's all ready.
I'm getting by without having anywhere to stage games but I can't keep the old urges at bay for that long so have started a new project in a smaller scale.
I was fascinated by Stalingrad when I first read about it in the 1960s. But it was such a big affair- hundreds of thousands of soldiers involved and a ruined city over 20 miles long. It has always seemed beyond reach for wargaming as the odd unconnected skirmish level games didn't do it for me. Now I have transitioned to realising something more representative of that great, war changing, struggle might be possible, yet still keeping the character of individual figures and street fighting.  I played WW2 with "Rapid Fire!" rules for over 15 years and always admired the concept of a game size (brigade level and above) that gives a sense of history based on real battle reports. Also the generally "old school" rule mechanisms can be easily understood and quickly applied.
With 20mm figures my 9 feet x 5 feet table often did not seem big enough though - isn't it always the case for us wargamers! Added to which having a good selection of troops and vehicles and terrain was a big investment in money and space.  So, late in life, I've been casting round and discovered 1:144 scale, N gauge, or 12mm figure size, call it what you will. I find there is a reasonable range of models from Miniature Figurines, via Caliver Books, from Pendraken, and some from Wargames South . Inevitably, price, size and quality varies so I'm still experimenting. So I'm planning to use "Rapid Fire!" with modifications to suit Stalingrad and my own local group's preferences, but halving all the distances should work with 1:144 being half the usual 1:72 scale which RF was designed for.
I very much like the MiniFigs range as they are slim and elegant and good value. So far I've just painted and based some Germans, mainly infantry and I've got many more vehicles, and of course Russians still to come.
First here is a selection largely taken from the pack of "German personalities" which features Generals and staff around a couple of tables with a squad of infantry in suitable guard positions. There is also a motorcycle dispatch rider. In the foreground are two infantry guns with crews.
This one shows the basic infantry which come in a selection of advancing and firing positions with rifles and sub-machine guns. They are supported in this photo by an MG mounted in a rather fine SdKfz 251 half track.
A support weapons pack comes well equipped with LMGs, MMGs and mortars with crews. Above from right to left - MMG crew kneeling, LMG team lying firing and a couple I've converted to an OP team with radio.
I've  taken a selection from the support teams to put together a company of engineers or pioneers, and added sundry bits of metal and plastic to represent explosives, mines or ammunition boxes. The pack has several flamethrowers which will be very useful for Stalingrad where German pioneer battalions were always in the front line.
I'll finish for the moment with another look at those infantry guns. I'm using limbers from the Pendraken range but I suspect there is scope for acquiring limbers and wagons from a variety of other 12mm ranges. I think the Pendraken are a large 10mm and  so far I only have vehicles, but I've ordered some infantry and will see how they fit in. 

If anyone has experience of using "Rapid Fire!" with 1:144 scale, or any other suggestions on this kind of project while I'm starting out please let me know - either comment here or email me - Chris Gregg

In the next posting I'll explain more about my scratch built ruins.


  1. Looks good Chris, you can never have too many ruins to cover the table for Stalingrad. Will you be having a part of the Volga on table? - gives you scope for modelling the Russian gunboats and/or Russian landings to reinforce the defenders.
    Of course you also need a 12mm Rachel Weisz figure for the Russians!

    On Rapid Fire - many moon ago I played a lot of the first edition rules with 6mm Irregular figures by substituting cm for " which worked well so I think your halving all distances should work for 12mm.
    With N gauge you could also pick up some civilian vehicles and figures from Model Railway sources.

    look forward to seeing more


  2. Ian, Thanks for your thoughts. the posting on ruins outlines my initial aim but I hope the Volga will feature in later scenarios. The modelling opportunities are good but the bombing of ferries as depicted in "Enemy at the Gates" is apparently not accurate.
    Here's a link to the movie trailer
    And I think I will leave Rachel as inspiration for your Constance character in "Tales of the Golden Head" rather than sow dissaffection via her sexual alure on my wargames table! Jude Law and Ed Harris may feature if I can work out how to make snipers fit sensibly in the RF scale game. Yes, centimetres for inches is a good idea but I thought it might make ranges a bit too short (48cms is a fair bit shorter than 24 inches), we'll see....