Sunday, 21 September 2014

SCW Project: May Have Cracked It (Or: How to have your cake and eat it)

September has me ruminating on the Spanish Civil War project once again. Despite the sage views of those much more expert than I (with particular thanks to Curt, Arlequin/Jim Anibal Invictus and Juan), I hadn't really settled on a platoon and was in fact left with four equally tempting options: The Carabineros, Republican Army, Carlist Requetes and the Italian Corpo Truppo Voluntario.

So, thinks I, why not collect them all? Nay, not a sudden worsening of Wargamer's Shiney-itis, but a reasoned reassessment of the project.

My first thought was that I should collect two platoons, so I can host a complete game. Too many projects of mine are just one side or t'other and that's a habit I'm working to break. This would mean more initial outlay and doing so should leave me enough lead to paint for a good couple of years. After all, I've already got loads of Spanish themed terrain from the Peninsular War project.

The brainwave came when I stopped thinking about whole Platoons of a particular type and focused instead on Sections. Almost all of the Chain of Command SCW lists have two large sections, usually around 18 men each, possibly with few extra troops in the command or mortar sections. Also, the official lists note the frequency that fighting formations were cobbled together from different units in Brigadas Mixtas. Rather than doing this using a 'paper strength' core platoon with support choices from other units, I'll use two different sections fighting together with supports taken from a relevant list. Also, some time along the line, I was reading about the Basque Army (or 'Euzko Gudarostea'), and though they'd be an interesting take instead of a mainstream Republican Army unit. Being cut off in the north, supply problems meant the had a more rag-tag look, with a mixture of available uniforms and civilian clothing.

Basques dated 1936 - mostly civilian clothing. Image credit

And from 1937 - more uniform. I'll probably do a section combining both. Image credit

So looking at my options:
1). CTV can be taken using the small RRS scout platoon (a 22 man motorcycle scout section), which can be supported by a Nationalist Army unit using the Requetes miniatures
2). The Requetes, supported by Carabineros can be used with a Traditionalist Militia list.
3). The Basque Army supported by Carabineros can use the Republican army EPR list
4). Finally, Carabineros supported by militia (either the Requetes or Basques) can fight for either side using the early war Security Services list

With careful planning, I should have the troops to match the structure of the list and have one full section and the command elements be from the relevant list, supported by a secondary section. I'd then get a small spread of support options for each side, without going overboard. Which should give me a good range of early- and mid-war lists which cover both Nationalists and Republicans.

So the next thought was whether all these units would ever grace the same field in Spain. Happily, I believe so: the Northern front until the capitulation of the Basque Army in 1937 saw all of these in action (well, I'm less certain about the Carabineros, though one of the pre-war commands was based at San Sebastián so I expect it to be plausible).

As well as appealing to my indecisive nature, it means I can build up a broader collection of miniatures, around 20 of each from four different types, rather than painting a large number of the same packs or mixing manufacturers. Finally if offers good game potential with a mix of troops that fought in the Spanish Civil War: well-equipped mechanised infantry (CTV RRS), trained but poorly supported Spanish army and security units (Basque Army/Carabineros) and die-hard religious militiamen (Requetes).

Is is quite a mound of lead, being my miniatures budget for many months and the affordability may depend on whether we get a bulk buy discount by doing a large Wyvern club order. Otherwise, I'd probably drop out the CTV.  Now to ensure I don't go overboard on armoured vehicles and support options...

Sunday, 7 September 2014

A Few More Converted Mahdists

Well I said I was a couple short, so out came the remnants of the Mahdist boxed set. Three more conversions to add to the horde:

One chap hurling a throwing stick (I couldn't resist!) and two with arm swaps with Warlord Games Zulus for variety. I'm looking to get these finished as well as a load of other bits and pieces in time for the next Sudan game later this month - British infantry, Mahdist horse and other odds and sods. I've just finished a batch of Mahdist rifles, though I'm a bit unbalanced and should really be focusing on more spear. I usually finish and varnish up in small groups but as time is quite tight and with a holiday approaching, I think I'll save everything up and do it all together. You probably won't see any painted minis from me for a couple of weeks - sorry! 

I've also been working on actually having two forces for other projects, including 15mm CoC. While the German platoon hasn't arrived yet, I did hunt out some terrain. I was really keen for low effort and prepainted if possible, as I've too much terrain for too many projects just sitting around unpainted. 4Ground got my money - by no means cheap but they look like they'll build up really well. I bought three of the Normany farmhouse buildings as they're now selling them individually. 

I've a box of supplies to make a tonne of hedging and bocage, but that'll have to wait until the Sudan bits are finished off.

So yes, I am still about and chipping away at things, slowly!