Bolt Action Home Guard Mark IV (male) World War One Tank

Having started on the Bolt Action Home Guard Mark IV (male) World War One Tank. The first stage was to clean the resin and metal pieces and then wash the resin pieces in warm soapy water to remove any residue from the casting process.

The parts were quite easy to clean and they fit together quite nicely and easily. Here are the resin pieces.

They comprise the hull, the two track units and two sponsons.

Here are the metal castings.

As well as the fascine rails, you also have metal main weapons and secondary weapons, exhausts and other hull fittings.

Washing the Bolt Action Home Guard Mark IV (male) World War One Tank

Bolt Action Mark IV Male Tanks

Having started on the Bolt Action Home Guard Mark IV (male) World War One Tank. The first stage was to clean the resin and metal pieces and then wash the resin pieces in warm soapy water to remove any residue from the casting process.

The parts were quite easy to clean and they fit together quite nicely and easily. Looking at the pictures of HMS Excellent in 1940 I will be leaving some parts off, notably the top fascine rails.

Bolt Action Home Guard Mark IV (male) World War One Tank

I got this Warlord Games Bolt Action Mark IV (male) British WWI tank model for Christmas.

Bolt Action Mark IV Male Tanks

It consists of mainly resin parts with some metal components.

I have a 15mm Home Guard Mark IV Male, but as I am in the process of building a Bolt Action 28mm Home Guard force, I did want to add some armour to them with a Mark IV Male World War One tank put into service, even if it was merely as a mobile pillbox.

I mentioned this idea in an article I wrote on a French themed Operation Sealion, Otaire de Vigneur.

To add a bit of diversity to my games, I also have one of Minifigs’ World War One British tanks, for use by a Home Guard unit (stolen from a local museum no doubt).

Now when I wrote that article and bought the miniature it was only an assumption and what I thought would be a nice idea, and probably had no basis in truth….

Well just shows a little historical research never hurt anyone, as the Bovington Tank Museum has on display a Mark IV Male tank that was used just in this way. It was used in World War One and then presented to the Navy. When war broke out in September 1939, the Tank Mark IV (Male) number 2324 was refurbished for Home Guard duties; according to the Bovington Tank Museum website.

Our exhibit, a male tank, was presented to the Royal Navy’s Gunnery School, HMS Excellent after the war to commemorate their help training Tank Corps gunners and it was temporarily refurbished for Home Guard duties in 1940. (Believed to have been achieved by removed parts from another tank possibly on Southsea Common.)

This photograph is from HMS Excellent in 1940.

Mark IV at HMS Excellent
Mark IV at HMS Excellent

One thing clear from this photograph is the disruptive camouflage they have used on the tank.

Another view of the Mark IV at speed.

So though I thought my idea was probably if Operation Sealion had happened, I didn’t think and didn’t realise that it had in fact happened despite the fact that the Germans hadn’t invaded.

So as I also have the Royal Navy Section this gives me an excuse to use this model.

So onto building the model.

The first step will be to give the resin parts a wash in soapy water and clean up the metal components.

Home Guard Thornycroft Bison

The Bison was an extemporised armoured fighting vehicle frequently characterised as a mobile pillbox. Bisons were produced in Britain during the invasion crisis of 1940-1941. Based on a number of different lorry chassis, it featured a fighting compartment protected by a layer of concrete. Bisons were used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) to protect aerodromes and by the Home Guard. They acquired the generic name “Bison” from their main manufacturer.

This Home Guard Thornycroft Bison was on display at Bovington.

It’s a good illustration of the desperate state of the defence of the United Kingsom in 1940. Take a lorry and add some concrete to turn it into an armoured vehicle. They were really no more than mobile pillboxes.

I have been thinking about converting a lorry for my Home Guard forces.

Armadillo Improvised Armoured Vehicle

The Armadillo was an armoured fighting vehicle produced in Britain during the invasion crisis of 1940-1941. Based on a number of standard lorry chassis, it comprised a wooden fighting compartment protected by a layer of gravel filling the walls of the ‘fort’ and a driver’s cab protected by mild steel plates.

Armadillo mark I with RAF crew

I had already constructed the model and given it a base coat of British Armour Green.

The wheels were painted with Vallejo 70.862 Black Grey.

I am still thinking I might need to add a disruptive pattern to the model.

See the workbench feature on the Armadillo Improvised Armoured Vehicle.

Call out the Home Guard

As I start to reflect on possible forces for Operation Sea Lion games I have been looking around to see what is available, there have been some useful articles in the mainstream wargaming press on this subject too.
In a previous blog post I discussed my new Royal Navy Section which I will be using for Operation Sealion games. I already have on the workbench some Bolt Action partisans, which though designed for the Eastern Front will work just as well for games of Operation Sea Lion. I also have the Dad’s Army boxed set, which means I have some Home Guard already and extra civilians.

I had expressed how I liked the British LDV Section from Warlord Games and was pleased to pick up a box on discount from Firestorm Games on a recent visit.
British LDV Section from Warlord Games

On 14 May 1940, Britain’s Secretary of State for War Anthony Eden made a broadcast calling for men between the ages of 17 and 65 to enrol in a new force, the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV) to defend the country against the expected German invasion of Britain. By July, nearly 1.5 million men had enrolled – far outreaching the 150,000 the Government expected to volunteer.

Beginning life as a rag-tag militia, the LDV initially had to make do without uniforms, wearing a simple armband bearing the organisations initials. The LDV similarly struggled for modern weaponry – shotguns and improvised weapons such as golf clubs, crowbars and industrial tools were not uncommon. The LDV evolved into the Home Guard, becoming a well-equipped and well-drilled force.

Disparagingly referred to as ‘Look, Duck & Vanish’, the LDV were renamed to the more inspiring Home Guard. Although the German invasion of their country didn’t materialise this proud people’s army – the original ‘Dad’s Army’ continued to stand until it was disbanded in late 1945.

The box set contains a ten man section equipped with various improvised weaponry, with additional firearms and Molotov cocktails.
British LDV Section from Warlord Games
This is the rear view of the models.
British LDV Section from Warlord Games
There has been lots of discussion about how effective the LDV would be against elite German Fallschirmjäger or even regular Wehrmacht forces. Trained soldiers generally will easily overcome irregulars in a straight firefight, one question though would British LDVs become the resistance?
These models could also be used as British Auxiliaries which were trained in irregular combat and were expected to fight on after invasion and occupation.

Of course, these models will also be suitable (as will my other Sea Lion British forces) for games set in the realm of the Very British Civil War.
So what units are you mustering to defeat the Germans as launch Operation Sea Lion?

Dad’s Army hits the big screen

Dad's Army on the big screen

So the first trailer for the reboot of Dad’s Army is out.

It hits the big screens in 2016. It has Toby Jones as Captain Mainwaring, Michael Gambon as Prviate Godfrey, Bill Nighy as Sergeant Wilson, Tom Courtenay as Lance-Corporal Jack Jones, Bill Paterson as Private Fraser and Daniel Mays as Private Joe Walker. And Catherine Zeta-Jones will set pulses racing in her role as visiting journalist Rose Winters

Any reboot is always a challenge, however I am quite looking forward to watching this when it comes out. The characters are not quite the same as the long running TV series. Bill Nighy though makes the role of Sergeant Wilson his own.

Dad's Army on the big screen

Though Tom Courtenay makes a cracking Corporal Jones.

Dad's Army on the big screen

Who do you think you are kidding…

Probably my favourite demonstration game at Bristol’s Reveille 2014 was the Dad’s Army 28mm using the Pulp Alley rules.

The players were in charge of Walmington on Sea’s finest as they hunt for a bailed out German aircrew, the problem is there’s also a German uboat crew searching for them as well…

The scenery looked great.

As well as the Home Guard there was also a lovely model of Jones’ Butcher’s Van.

"You know, when I was in the Sudan…"

I’ve always had a bit of an affinity with the Home Guard, though surprising I never really use to watch Dad’s Army very much. I have probably seen more episodes in the last five years than I have in the thirty before then! It is a classic British comedy set during the dark days of World War Two focusing on the (mis)adventures of a Local Defence Volunteer platoon as they prepare for what back then was seemed an inevitable German invasion.

Dad's Army

Of course the LDV became known as the Home Guard, but referred to by many as Dad’s Army, hence the name given to the sit-com. It ran to eighty episodes from 1968 to 1977 and as well as the TV shows, there was a film, radio shows and a stage play.

There have been quite a few unofficial versions of the Dad’s Army platoon including this one for Flames of War that I mentioned back in 2008. I have also been painting some 15mm Home Guard miniatures for Flames of War using some old metal models I bought many years ago.

In some ways it’s nice to see that Warlord Games are going to release a licensed version of the Walmington-on-Sea platoon for Bolt Action.

Warlord Games' Dad’s Army Home Guard Platoon Boxed Set

We’re delighted to be able to show off our officially licenced Dad’s Army Home Guard platoon boxed set. Based on the long-running TV series, these superb miniatures are now available to pre-order!

During the dark days of 1940, Britain was under dire threat of Nazi invasion. A massive citizen army, the Local Defence Volunteers, was raised to defend their families and homes. Although armed with old or ad hoc weapons and equipment the Home Guard, as it became known, was a vital part of the defence of British shores. Based on these proud defenders of the realm, the classic TV series, Dad’s Army produced some of television’s most enduring catchphrases and characters as it followed the adventures of Walmington-on-Sea’s Home Guard platoon.

There are 18 models in the box, consisting of the platoon in both civilian clothes and in battledress. Along with the verger, the vicar and ARP Warden Hodges.

They do look very good and very much have caught the character of the actors who played the parts in the sit-com.

Will I get a box? Well you never know.

Dad's Army

15mm British Vickers Dutchman

I have had this tank for sometime. Don’t remember the manufacturer. It actually took me a while to work out which tank this was exactly… I used this site as a reference.

Mechanically similar to the Mark IV, though armament and other features were like the Mark II, the “Dutchmen” were a 1936 commercial version. 40 vehicles were sold to the Netherlands. All 40 were taken over by the War Office in 1939 before export. All vehicles were used for training only by the British Army. The term “Dutchmen” or “Dutchman” was an unofficial moniker.

Though never used in service, in the event of a German invasion (Operation Sealion) they probably would have been used to help defend the country.

After a bit of internet research I believe it is an old SDD miniature. Not convinced totally, but other miniatures in the box it was in carry SDD codes.

After giving the model a white undercoat, the next stage was a basecoat of Brown Violet (887).

As you can see it will need a second coat.