Variations on a Whippet

Whippet

As part of their releases for Flames of War The Great War, Battlefront have released a 15mm scale Whippet tank.

Though originally envisioned with a rotating turret, the production model had an armoured housing for three to four 303 Hotchkiss machine guns, which could be relocated between four gun ports. Approved in June 1917, roughly 200 vehicles were produced starting in October 1917.

Unlike the large crew of the Mark IV, the Whippet managed with a standard crew of three: a commander, driver and gunner. Given the gunner was responsible for manning both machineguns (which could point forward, left, right and rear), sometimes a second gunner was squeezed in.

It looks like a very nice model and well sculptured. Lots of detail and a good casting.

I do think that this model would make for a great base for vehicles for an alternative Great War. It could be converted into a turreted tank, or a self propelled gun. One other idea is to use the models for A Very British Civil War background. There are quite a few models in the Flames of War range that could be used for a 1920s or 1930s civil war within the United Kingdom.

Dominion – Book Choice

I saw this book in my local branch of WHSmiths.

Dominion

1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk. As the long German war against Russia rages on in the east, the British people find themselves under dark authoritarian rule: the press, radio and television are controlled; the streets patrolled by violent auxiliary police and British Jews face ever greater constraints. There are terrible rumours too about what is happening in the basement of the German Embassy at Senate House. Defiance, though, is growing. In Britain, Winston Churchill’s Resistance organization is increasingly a thorn in the government’s side. And in a Birmingham mental hospital an incarcerated scientist, Frank Muncaster, may hold a secret that could change the balance of the world struggle for ever. Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, secretly acting as a spy for the Resistance, is given the mission by them to rescue his old friend Frank and get him out of the country. Before long he, together with a disparate group of Resistance activists, will find themselves fugitives in the midst of London’s Great Smog; as David’s wife Sarah finds herself drawn into a world more terrifying than she ever could have imagined. And hard on their heels is Gestapo Sturmbannfuhrer Gunther Hoth, brilliant, implacable hunter of men . . . At once a vivid, haunting reimagining of 1950s Britain, a gripping, humane spy thriller and a poignant love story, with DOMINION C. J. Sansom once again asserts himself as the master of the historical novel.

I’ve always had a soft spot for this kind of alternate history novel. I’ve not yet had a chance to read it, but the blurb sounds good.

Buy Dominion from Amazon.co.uk

Basecoating the Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

The Tank, Heavy, TOG 2 was a prototype British super-heavy tank design produced in the early part of the Second World War in case the battlefields of northern France turned into a morass of mud, trenches and craters as had happened during the First World War. In the end it never went into production, but as part of the Flames of War Mid-War Monsters range you can buy it and use it in alternate history games.

I was going to (as I have done with other models) give the TOG2 tanks a spray from underneath of a Humbrol Dark Green, however I ran out of paint after doing one. So in the end I gave all three models a basecoat of Warpaint British Armour.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

The command tank has the commander sticking himself out of the turret…

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

The three TOGs.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

See the workbench feature on these huge tanks.

Undercoating the Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

The Tank, Heavy, TOG 2 was a prototype British super-heavy tank design produced in the early part of the Second World War in case the battlefields of northern France turned into a morass of mud, trenches and craters as had happened during the First World War. In the end it never went into production, but as part of the Flames of War Mid-War Monsters range you can buy it and use it in alternate history games.

After constructing these big tanks I gave the models a white undercoat.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

The command tank has the commander sticking himself out of the turret…

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

The three TOG2 together

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

See the workbench feature on these huge tanks.

Track problems with the Flames of War TOG2

The Tank, Heavy, TOG 2 was a prototype British super-heavy tank design produced in the early part of the Second World War in case the battlefields of northern France turned into a morass of mud, trenches and craters as had happened during the First World War. In the end it never went into production, but as part of the Flames of War Mid-War Monsters range you can buy it and use it in alternate history games.

Having constructed the models I have noticed that despite careful filing there are gaps with the back track part. Both where the track meets the front track and where the track enters the hull.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

I used some putty (green stuff) to fill these gaps.

Flames of War TOG2

Flames of War TOG2

The next stage will be a white undercoat.

See the workbench feature on these huge tanks.

Building the Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

The Tank, Heavy, TOG 2 was a prototype British super-heavy tank design produced in the early part of the Second World War in case the battlefields of northern France turned into a morass of mud, trenches and craters as had happened during the First World War. In the end it never went into production, but as part of the Flames of War Mid-War Monsters range you can buy it and use it in alternate history games.

The Flames of War boxed set contains three of these monsters. The hulls are quite plain in comparison to other tanks in the FoW range, however that is much more down to the actual design of the tank.

The tracks are two metal castings for each side. The turret is the same one that was eventually used on the Challenger A30, it was from a design perspective easier to use what was developed for the TOG2 then design a completely new turret for the Challenger in the time they had available and with limited resources.

Having cleaned up the castings I glued the models together. There aren’t too many parts so they went together quite easily.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

There is very little extra stuff on these models, and unlike other Flames of War boxed sets these are three identical castings and not individual ones as say you find with the Panther boxed set.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

One of the models I built with the commander out of his hatch.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

Here are the three models built.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

These are very BIG tanks and will look very impressive on the battlefield.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

I do hope that we see future “monsters” for Flames of War, there are some nice concepts and ideas out there for both Early-War and Late-War, though I have a hunch that these did not sell as well as expected.

See the workbench feature on these huge tanks.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

The Tank, Heavy, TOG 2 was a prototype British super-heavy tank design produced in the early part of the Second World War in case the battlefields of northern France turned into a morass of mud, trenches and craters as had happened during the First World War.

In the end it never went into production, but as part of the Flames of War Mid-War Monsters range you can buy it and use it in alternate history games. I liked the concept and the model on the Flames of War website is quite inspiring.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

The Flames of War boxed set contains three of these monsters.

The hulls are quite plain in comparison to other tanks in the FoW range, however that is much more down to the actual design of the tank.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

The tracks are two metal castings for each side. The turret is the same one that was eventually used on the Challenger A30, it was from a design perspective easier to use what was developed for the TOG2 then design a completely new turret for the Challenger in the time they had available and with limited resources.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

However this is a different casting to the one found on the Challenger model. It looks like it should be pretty simple to put together, but first to clean up the metal and resin castings.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

I do hope that we see future “monsters” for Flames of War, there are some nice concepts and ideas out there for both Early-War and Late-War, though I have a hunch that these did not sell as well as expected.

See the workbench feature on these huge tanks.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

The Tank, Heavy, TOG 2 was a prototype British super-heavy tank design produced in the early part of the Second World War in case the battlefields of northern France turned into a morass of mud, trenches and craters as had happened during the First World War.

In the end it never went into production, but as part of the Flames of War Mid-War Monsters range you can buy it and use it in alternate history games. I liked the concept and the model on the Flames of War website is quite inspiring.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

The Flames of War boxed set contains three of these monsters.

Flames of War TOG2 Mid-War Monster

I do hope that we see future “monsters” for Flames of War, there are some nice concepts and ideas out there for both Early-War and Late-War, though I have a hunch that these did not sell as well as expected.

See the workbench feature on these huge tanks.

The War That Came Early: West and East

One of my Christmas presents was the next in the alternate World War Two series, by Harry Turtledove in which the war starts early, The War That Came Early: West and East.

westandeast

In 1938, two men held history in their hands. One was Adolf Hitler. The other was British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, who, determined to avoid war at any cost, came to be known as “the great appeaser.” But Harry Turtledove, the unrivaled master of alternate history, has launched a gripping saga that springboards from a different fateful act: What if Chamberlain had stood up to Hitler? What would the Nazis’ next move have been? And how would the war—which Hitler had always regretted waiting eleven months to start—have unfolded and changed our world?

Here, Turtledove takes us across a panorama of conflict fueled by ideology and demagoguery. Nations are pitted against nations, alliances are forged between old enemies, ordinary men and women are hurled into extraordinary life-and-death situations. In Japanese-controlled Singapore, an American marine falls in love with a Russian dance hall hostess, while around him are heard the first explosions of Chinese guerilla resistance. On the frontlines of war-ravaged rural France, a weary soldier perfects the art of using an enormous anti-tank gun as a sniper’s tool—while from Germany a killer is sent to hunt him down. And in the icy North Atlantic, a U-boat bearing an experimental device wreaks havoc on British shipping, setting the stage for a Nazi ground invasion of Denmark.

From an American woman trapped in Germany who receives safe passage from Hitler himself to a Jewish family steeped in German culture and facing the hatred rising around them, from Japanese soldiers on the remote edge of Siberia to American volunteers in Spain, West and East is the story of a world held hostage by tyrants—Stalin, Hitler, Sanjuro—each holding on to power through lies and terror even in the face of treacherous plots from within.

As armies clash, and as the brave, foolish, and true believers choose sides, new weapons are added to already deadly arsenals and new strategies are plotted to break a growing stalemate. But one question looms over the conflict from West to East: What will it take to bring America into this war?

I did buy and read the first book in this new alternate history series, Hitler’s War. Though I liked the premise, the book was well written; I did not enjoy it as much as other Turtledove novels. I think the main reasons was that there was no satisfying ending, always an issue with a series of books, and a usual trait of Turtledove a wealth of characters that can at times get confusing.

Now we have the Early War period for Flames of War, there are plenty of miniatures that could be used to recreate battles from both books. You could quite easily create a 1938 era Czechoslovakian army to fight an Early War German force. Likewise there are plenty of French and British tanks too.

I have read the first couple of chapters of this book and I am really quite enjoying it. I think having read the Blitzkrieg Flames of War sourcebook I am more intrigued by this era and the story in the book.

After America

In my e-mail box this morning came a recommendation from Amazon, After America by John Birmingham.

afteramerica

March 14, 2003, was the day the world changed forever. A wave of energy slammed into North America and devastated the continent. The U.S. military, poised to invade Baghdad, was left without a commander in chief. Global order spiraled into chaos. Now, three years later, a skeleton U.S. government headquartered in Seattle directs the reconstruction of an entire nation—and the battle for New York City has begun.

Pirates and foreign militias are swarming the East Coast, taking everything they can. The president comes to the Declared Security Zone of New York and barely survives the visit. The enemy—whoever they are—controls Manhattan’s concrete canyons and the abandoned flatlands of Long Island. The U.S. military, struggling with sketchy communications and a lack of supplies, is mired in a nightmare of urban combat.

Caught up in the violence is a Polish-born sergeant who watches the carnage through the eyes of an intellectual and with the heart of a warrior. Two smugglers, the highborn Lady Julianne Balwyn and her brawny partner Rhino, search for a treasure whose key lies inside an Upper East Side Manhattan apartment. Thousands of miles away, a rogue general leads the secession of Texas and a brutal campaign against immigrants, while Miguel Pieraro, a Mexican-born rancher, fights back. And in England, a U.S. special ops agent is called into a violent shadow war against an enemy that has come after her and her family.

The president is a stranger to the military mindset, but now this mild-mannered city engineer from the Pacific Northwest needs to make a soldier’s choice. With New York clutched in the grip of thousands of heavily armed predators, is an all-out attack on the city the only way to save it?

From the geopolitics of post-American dominance to the fallout of Israel’s nuclear strike, After America provides a gripping, intelligent, and harrowing chronicle of a world in the maw of chaos—and lives lived in the dangerous dawn of a strange new future.

I quite enjoyed the first book in this series, Without Warning that though has a strange premise about an energy wave, is an enjoyable novel about a world without America.

Reading the synopsis above I now have a better understanding of why certain characters were introduced in the first book.

You can pre-order After America from Amazon.