Friday, February 6, 2015

Things that go "BOOM!" in the night: Artillery battery and more...

The battery is previous edition Battlefront from about 2005 or so.  At the time, they were between runs of Italians, and the many cool items that we have now just weren't available, so you had to make do with whatever you could scrounge of the remaining Italians or use another company's figs.  The below set is from a blister pack of three 75/18 howitzers, and during a Peter Pig order I got a French 75 to represent the many guns given to the Italians after the French collapse.  This completed the battery.  Why there were three-gun blisters for a four-gun battery is a mystery that makes sense to Battlefront!

Anyway, I like to give my Units some history, drama and color.  I use pictures from Google.images, where you can easily find lots of great pics, many of which have tons of period flavor.  This helps make a boring old HQ or Staff team a bit more fun.

Below is the four gun stands, the HQ and Forward Observer in the middle, and the Staff team to the right.  The models were a bit soft and I had to get a pack of Peter Pig gunners as well, of course.  I mixed them all up and spent a lot of time cleaning up the soft BF models and cleaning mold lines and flack.  The Peter Pig items were much cleaner and needed very little work.  As always, I highly recommend The Pig - More Oink, please!

Close up of French gun, with mix of PP and BF gunners.  The bases were spray painted with this odd textured paint which makes a great "frame" for the base.  I leave it visible around the beveled edge of the BF base.  The ground is Elmer's wood fill with play sand, kitty litter rocks, and foam bushes, probably model railroad ones.  I imitated pics I saw of the desert, where little clumps of stuff seemed to cling together anywhere there wasn't just soft sand such as dunes.  The helmets have a hand-drawn imitation of the artillery stencil that was spray-painted on, I used a micron pen and hand drew them.  One member of the HQ has his fascist black shirt.  He could be a die-hard fascist, or he could've won the spare shirt in a card game - you decide!

Staff team and BF gun closeup.  The odd-looking hoop is the radio's antennae.  I like that it is so visible and that they match.  Little oddities like that give the figs character.  The radio I found a pic of on line, so the black face with silver / white dials is accurate.  The map I drew by hand with micron pens.  Later, a friend showed me real maps he'd reduced to 1/100.  They were amazing!  Still, it is sometimes more fun to draw and make it yourself.
Italian artillery is quite decent, and provides essential fire support for the light tanks.  As a light company, a Carri unit is quite dangerous to infantry and other light armored companies, but struggles against any medium tanks.  Fortunately, the British don't have any!  At least not until Mid-War.  Then the American Lend-Lease gear arrives.  While I'd still say the Italians are a viable force in MW, they definitely need some support from long-range guns that hit hard.  I do not glue my guns onto the bases, and I have replacement guns for the stands, including the 100/17 which are great for blasting infantry out of foxholes and any hard cover.  If you can hit, of course.  Also, the artillery are often rated Confident Veteran, which makes them stick around for a long time.  

Don't leave home without them!  With their [usually] good morale and plenty of guns, they really help what is a pretty dangerous light armored company in Early or Mid War.

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