Tuesday, 28 February 2012

What about powered armour?

I thought I'd look at some of the more unusual bits and bobs I am planning to add to the army today.

I am a bit of an eclectic collector and have bought all sorts of interesting miniatures that I think may fit in with the Grymn; whether in this army or other ones and that includes some powered armour.

I originally bought a set of five 'Russian heavy combat armour' troops from Micropanzer but had always had it in mind to send one of them to a mate...so I was left with four (obviously). Now five would have been awkward but four makes a perfect little building block for the Urban Army...but where to fit them? I decided that they would make a good army HQ squad so that is where they are likely to go. My reasoning is this:

1. They are twice the height of a Grymn so wouldn't mix well in a Grymn squad.
2. There will only ever be four of them.
3. They look expensive so only the most important Grymn would get one.
4. They are imposing miniatures so would be easy to see for 'command' purposes.
5. I can have them individualised a little.

I am still open to suggestions but feel that they would be good for the top job.

Alternatively, I plan on adding a bunch of these to my army (once they get released):

Maybe I should keep the powered armour to act as a command group for those?

Either way, they will be sat for a while because my focus is on getting my platoon finished and that means finishing the transports, varnishing them, adding decals to everything in the platoon and then matt varnishing everything!

...but it doesn't stop the cogs turning.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The production-line continues

I have been busy working on the first platoon's transport this week and after assembly, filling and a spray under-coat on the four armoured vehicles, I began painting them. Unfortunately, life got in the way of as much progress as I would have liked but I managed to get one finished. It also meant that the colour-scheme had chosen itself:

In addition to painting the command transport, I also managed to put together an updated markings picture and an idea of how it would look on the troops:

Now that I have a set idea of what I want to achieve, I will finish off the vehicles and gloss varnish them. After that I'll have a 'decal day' and mark the whole platoon up at once. I have now got all of the decals I need for this job (with more on the way for additional platoons) so there will be no excuse not to finish them.

The slow conversion job on the four recon-bikes continues...

Thursday, 23 February 2012

A bit of re-evaluation.

I have been thinking a lot about how much information needs to be displayed on a trooper's uniform and it has led to a re-evaluation of ideas.

I have been surfing the net to find out about unit markings for British soldiers and there is nothing below the company level (apart from rank/trade). That made me think about why I need to be quite specific about how I mark my troops and to be honest, it is just so that I know which miniatures should be in which section/fire-team.

With that in mind...

I received my order of transfers from Dom's Decals today and have discovered that some of the decals will be too big for my purposes. That is what you get for 'trial and error' ordering and is no way a reflection of the excellent decals that Dom's Decals have supplied. The particular decals in question are the geometric shapes that I was going to use to designate section status (command, support, troops)...but why do I need to do that? The British army don't have that level of insignia on their troops so why should I?

So...until I come up with a new picture to show off what I am planning, here is what will be on the helmets of the troops:
1. Regiment symbol (RH side)
2. Platoon number (on top of regiment symbol on RH side)
3. Section number (on LH side)
The section number will only be on troop sections and will be white for the 'charlie' fire-team and black for the 'delta' fire-team.

Only three decals per helmet now.

Flexibility is the key to success.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Vehicle assembly line.

I just thought I'd post pix of the assembled vehicles for the first platoon. I still need to tidy them up and fill the joints a bit (if I'd used super-glue there would be no gaps...I just used epoxy and that doesn't compress as nicely). So here are three Glaive APCs and a Slingshot AFV:

They are lovely vehicles that are beautifully cast. Here are a few pix with some miniatures to compare them against:

Over the next couple of days, I hope to get them cleaned, filled and ready for paint at the weekend.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

After the troops.

I have now finished gloss varnishing the troops for the first platoon. All they need is decals and a matt varnish and they will be finished but until I get some decals, I will start putting together the transport for the platoon. Here are the four vehicles now that they have been washed:

They are drying nicely as we speak and the picture shows 3 Glaive APCs, a Slingshot AFV and 3 mini turrets to go with the Glaives. The bag has the metal barrels and hatches for the kits in it. The kits are from Old Crow and they are immaculately cast and even came sanded flat so that they fit together nicely. I have put together Old Crow kits before and they really are excellent value for money. Each of the Glaives will hold 8 troops and will house the infantry sections. The Slingshot will hold 4 troops will house the command section. I don't want to add stowage to the vehicles because I prefer clean, uncluttered lines and there is plenty of room inside the vehicles for extra equipment.

Lots to be getting on with.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

First platoon painted.

The first platoon for the new model army is now fully painted and waiting for the next step:

The next stage in the process will be to apply a coat of gloss varnish. That will provide a protective coating and will make applying decals easier, helping them to blend in better. I will varnish these before I start the vehicles so that I get the boring bit out of the way and have a 'prize' when I am finished (vehicles to sort out).

Speaking of decals, I am still waiting for most of them to arrive so I will continue to paint the troops and vehicles until I am in a position to add markings.

I have been looking through my boxes of miniatures and have found a bunch of snipers that would make a cracking recon platoon. I was thinking that I would have 4 sections (a command section and three troop sections) with each one having four troops in it. I haven't decided on vehicles yet but am veering towards the Old Crow GECKO PICK-UP with some seating and covers fitted to the rear. I am also planning on adding a bike to each of the sections and after a good search, I found these bikes and a few riders ready for a bit of conversion:

I think that the addition of a bit of stowage, comms equipment and an SMG would make these perfect out-riders for the recon sections. The bikes are from Eureka Miniatures 'Boilersuit Apes' range and the riders are   from Hasslefree's Grymn range and are GUSTAV without his rail-gun. Obviously, I have a lot of work to do on these but I think the end product will justify the effort.

The recon platoon will form part of a support company along side formations like heavy infantry and air assault units.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Army painting update.

To follow on from the structure post this morning, I continue with a little progress on the army painting front. This week, I have managed to paint a further twelve troops and re-arrange the support section to fit in with the rest of the basic units (because I won't be using support sections as part of a platoon any more).

Here is the first platoon as it stands (all nicely grouped onto GW's Lord of the Rings movement trays):

I still need to add a further eight troops and the vehicles but I am getting there. While on the subject of vehicles, I decided to unpack some vehicles from storage and here is a picture of the vehicles for this platoon:

From left to right are three Glaives and a Slingshot. The turrets are neatly tucked underneath for storage so can't be seen. I have a further three Glaives and three Slingshots so a purchase of three further Glaives would complete the vehicle selection for the entire company.

I hope to have the last section ready by next Sunday so I will be able to show off the first platoon with finished paint. Hopefully, some decals will start showing up soon and then I can worry about adding some insignia and markings to them. With that in mind, once the final section is painted, the platoon will receive a coat of GLOSS varnish. This will help with adding the decals and will give them a nice elastic varnish coating to protect them. Once the decals have been added they will all get a MATT varnish to take away the shine.

You see? Everything is planned!

It's all about the structure.

Every army needs a structure and a strong chain of command spreads out the leadership to properly control the  discipline of the army. The Grymn urban army is no exception so I needed to take stock of the situation and put together a strong chain of command to lead it.

The Chain of command

The rank structure and chain of command was a pretty easy thing to put together because I just shamelessly stole it from the British army; with the minor exception of calling a Staff Sergeant a Master Sergeant instead (that ties in to some writing I am working on). I could include all of the ranks but the higher echelon officers would rarely visit the battlefield so I am sticking to those who would logically form part of the army. Here is the army rank structure that contains all of the ranks I am going to use in the unit roles that I have chosen for them:

Army Rank Structure

Army HQ
Lieutenant Colonel – I/C
Major – 2nd I/C
Warrant Officer 1 – Senior Advisor (AKA Regimental Sergeant Major)
2nd Lieutenant – Adjutant / Communications Officer

Company HQ
Captain – I/C
Lieutenant – 2nd I/C
Warrant Officer 2 – Senior Advisor (AKA Company Sergeant Major)
Master Sergeant - Adjutant / Communications Officer

Platoon HQ
Lieutenant or 2nd Lieutenant – I/C
Sergeant – 2nd I/C
Corporal – Communications Officer
Corporal – Adjutant

Section 1st Fire Team
Corporal – Section I/C

Section 2nd Fire Team
Lance Corporal – Section 2nd I/C

As you can see, it is all pretty basic and all of the blocks of troops are put together into groups of four.

The Platoon HQ leads three Sections of two Fire Teams.
The Company HQ leads three Platoons.
The Army HQ Leads three Companies.

...and three companies are enough for any table-top.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

To re-cap...

Just to emphasise the change in platoon structure, I thought I'd post the updated platoon organisation.

This is the old version (with support squads):

Command Section: 1xCommander, 1xComms and 2xLight Infantry - Slingshot IFV.
Support Section: 1xLeader, 1xRocket Launcher, 2xLMG - Slingshot IFV.
Section1: 2 Fireteams with: 1xLeader, 1xRocket Launcher, 1xLight Infantry, 1xLMG - Glaive APC.
Section2: 2 Fireteams with: 1xLeader, 1xRocket Launcher, 1xLight Infantry, 1xLMG - Glaive APC.
Section3: 2 Fireteams with: 1xLeader, 1xRocket Launcher, 1xLight Infantry, 1xLMG - Glaive APC.

As you can see, it consisted of 32 troops and 5 vehicles. With each of the basic fire-teams having a LMG and a rocket launcher (single-shot for anti-tank actions), I thought that having a support squad was taking things a little far, especially with all of the vehicles having a heavy weapon (the Slingshot has a cannon and the Glaive has a mini-gun turret) so I decided to drop it with the added bonus that it lines things up more closely with the British organisation I am basing things on (loosely...but not TOO loosely).

This is the new version:

Command Section: 1xCommander, 1xComms and 2xLight Infantry - Slingshot IFV.
Section1: 2 Fireteams with: 1xLeader, 1xRocket Launcher, 1xLight Infantry, 1xLMG - Glaive APC.
Section2: 2 Fireteams with: 1xLeader, 1xRocket Launcher, 1xLight Infantry, 1xLMG - Glaive APC.
Section3: 2 Fireteams with: 1xLeader, 1xRocket Launcher, 1xLight Infantry, 1xLMG - Glaive APC.

Without a support squad and its associated vehicle, we have 28 troops and 4 vehicles. That makes things easier for the platoon commander to handle and means that the vehicles will be an easier fit for a platoon specific drop-ship. It also ties things in nicely with the British Army because a platoon commander is supposed to be in charge of up to 30 troops.

My basic idea for an infantry company is a block of 3 platoons under the overall command of a Company command section of 4 personnel, with one of them being a fairly senior officer (more about the rank structure later).

As for the painted support section...it has now been divided between an infantry section and lessens the painting load for a complete platoon so nothing has been wasted. I have also decided to have a slight variation in colours for the first platoon in order to tie the test troopers in properly.

My current thinking is all about how the support units will be made up. I already have some heavy infantry, snipers and heavy weapons with the intention of adding some medical, comms and engineering/sapper units at a later date so I am investigating how these fit into the British Army to get an idea of how I will fit them into my army.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Flexibility is the key to success.

I have been doing a bit of reading today and have had a bit of a rethink about the organisation of the basic platoons.

I have decided, after a bit of soul searching, to remove the support sections from the platoons for a number of reasons:

1. The basic British infantry platoon doesn't have a support section as standard.
2. The British platoon commander is responsible for up to 30 troops.
3. The command section is in an IFV so their vehicle has a support role.
4. All of the infantry section APCs have support turrets.
5. 4 vehicles make a nice block...5 don't.

I have also been looking into the rank structures and will be posting that once I have put it down in print.

The good news is that the troops I've already painted don't have unit markings so they can be re-distributed if I need to and it also means that I am a little closer to having enough troops for that elusive third infantry platoon.

I am planning to put together a mechanised infantry company with three platoons with a company command section to act as the bulk of the army and will have more information about the organisation very soon.

What this all shows is that it is possible to make changes at an early stage and that those changes will have a noticeable impact on the army as a whole. The building block approach to the British Army is quite handy at times.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Having an Identity..

One of the important parts of being in the military is a sense of belonging and the best way to belong is to build up a unit identity. The Grymn Urban Army is no exception and must have an identity so in a bid to get the ball rolling, I have started to think about how the platoons of the army will be marked up. Here is what I have come up with so far:

There are a number of reasons that I have chosen the system above but the most important one is availability of decals. The yellow markings are the same as WWII British armour markings and the the regiment markings are the same as those on Royal Air Force aircraft. The beauty of choosing these is that they are available in a range of scales so I can choose the right decals for both marking up they helmets and the various other bits of kit for the army.

As a result, I have just ordered a selection from Dom's Decals so when they arrive, I will be able to review them. I still need to source some numbers but I can do that at a later date (because I may need to make further orders to get exactly the right sizes).

Thinking of platoon markings has kept me busy in between putting together the units. I have been building units in line with an earlier POST that details the break-down of each section in to its component parts.

Here is the Command Section for the first platoon (the first platoon in build, not necessarily the actual platoon number):

It consists of the Platoon Commander, a Communications Officer and a couple of light infantry troops that will have leader ranks (a Staff Sergeant and Sergeant...probably). I am yet to decide upon a set rank structure at the moment so I will be using a few army ranks to represent the ones I haven't thought of a name for at the moment.

To follow, here is the Support Section for the same platoon:

It consists of a Sergeant, a light infantry soldier with a one-shot rocket launcher and a pair of light machine gun (LMG) gunners. This unit is designed to work in unison with the Command Section and act as the second fire-team if required. Although there is a one-shot rocket-launcher in the team, for game purposes the support section's weapon will have unlimited shots because they will have extra loads aboard their transport and would be aided by the Command section when reloads are required.

As you can see, I have not added markings (they haven't arrived yet) but the army is well and truly started. I have two more fire-teams on the table (for the first infantry section) and in the process of paint. I will be using the test models as part of the teams so I only need to paint six troopers to finish the section. Remember that an infantry section has eight members (two fire-teams of four) instead of the four members that the Command and Support sections have.

I will be trying to decide upon rank structure next.