29 Jun 2014

More zombies!


I got another four zombies to show today. The photos are a bit dark because the weather is bad, but I did made a step forward and used a white background this time!

There's 4 zombies, two from the Wargames factory female range and two from Studio miniatures plastic range.

Not much to say about them, really. I was mixing some paints to get the green blue colour and slapped it on. I went with "rotten flesh" look for their skin, which probably wasn't the best choice as they are not too decayed looking. I might mention the second female is heart breaking skinny, but I really like the broken ankle and the huge tight wound of the first one!

I only have 9 zombies to paint now, 3 of which are WW2 and 1 isn't really a zombie as it's a set of Mantic legs with a spine. Once I get those done, I believe a "horde" (group?) shot is in order.

Also, a quick shot of the special zombies with TCR. I know some times less is more, but when it comes to zombies more seems to be more and if it were for me, I would just slap TCR all over them!

That's it for today and I think I'll be back to modern gaming with my next post!

Thanks for looking,

25 Jun 2014

Ten-day war

Hey guys,

On 25th June 1991, Slovenia (and Croatia) formally declared it's independence from Yugoslavia. In spirit of anniversary, I figured I could write up a post about it. If you wish to read about the day-by-day happenings, jump to Wikipedia link HERE.
Long story short, independence was voted for legally in December 1990. After 6 months, it was formally declared a day earlier, to outsmart the Yugoslav People's Army, as military intervention was expected. What is considered as a war lasted for 10 days, but it all ended only in 26th October 1991, when last soldier of YPA left the country. Strictly speaking, this war was not a "war" by most of modern definitions (there's tonnes of them) and it certainly wasn't a war for independence as we like to call it, as Slovenia was already an independent country on 25th, while war started the next day.

Yugoslavia ("The country of South Slavs") was a federal country. It's army YPA thus conscripted from all over the country. My dad, for example, served at Belgrade and his brother served somewhere in Macedonia. Slovenes always wanted to serve in Slovenia, but conscription far from home helped in strengthening the idea of "fraternity and unity of fraternal nations".  In YPA units, fighting in Slovenia were Slovene conscripts, as well. In 1968, Soviet Union made a military intervention in Prague (Prague Spring). This lead Yugoslav officials to believe, Yugoslavia might be next. To better prepare for possible Warsaw pact attack on Yugoslavia, each federal state formed Territorial defence units. The purpose of those units was to aid YPA in defence of the country in their local territory and to keep carrying out guerilla actions against the enemy in case parts of the country would be occupied (so, WW2 all over again).
Slovenian Territorial defence was one of the better equipped. Firstly, Slovenes always wanted their own army (had it briefly in 1918 and then during WW2), Slovenia was considered to be too hard to defend in case of an all out attack by either Warsaw or NATO pact, Slovenia as a state was pretty well developed and could afford to equip it's units with better weaponry.  This weapons were mostly confiscated by YPA in May 1990, so Slovenes had to resort to importing weapons from Singapore and Israel. Those arrived few days before the war, so some units went to battle armed with original WWII MG42s (not the modernised copies) and an assortment of old bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles. There was an ever present lack of anti-tank weaponry and needless to say, TD had no aircraft or armoured vehicles of their own at the start of the war.

Fighting in Ten-day war. You can see most of the fighting was done on the borders. .

After the independence was declared, YPA's war plans were simple. Use the troops stationed in Slovenia and near-by Croatia to take control of border crossings, main international airport and capture political leaders. If YPA would control the border passes, it could declare the fight for independence an "internal affair". Slovene TD and police (at that time called "milica", which translates into militia, but they were an actual police) had an even simpler plan - prevent YPA units from carrying out their plan.  If we greatly simplify it, the whole war was about fighting for border passes and blocking YPA units in their barracks in Slovenia. Where YPA armoured columns left their barracks already (or they  started in Croatia), those columns were to be prevented from reaching their  goal by blocking and, if necessary, destroying blocked units. Some air support and helicopter assaults were involved, but this is the general idea. War itself was very clean, nobody wanted to fire first, those that even realised this was an actual war and it could last for years were rare. People are forgetting, however, how easily things could get much worse. Slovene TD had plans set up to attack some of YPA barracks in Slovenia and in some instances YPA was threatening with attacking civlian apartment blocks. In my home town, Vrhinka, two airplanes were attacking the petrol station and a near-by barricade. They missed the station, either intentionally or by accident, but if they would blew it up, damage would be immense. And things like that wouldn't be forgotten.

In most parts of Slovenia, fighting was over by 2nd of July. Generally accepted date of an end of a war is 7th July, when a cease fire was signed. The fighting was expected to erupt again, even if YPA announced a withdrawal of its forces on 18th June. In August, they still formed a list of planned air strike targets in case of continuation of hostilities.

Overall, 62 people were killed (44 YPA, 4 Slovene TD, 4 Slovene police, rest were civilians). Over 4,500 YPA soldiers and 252 federal police officers were captured, which is a nice indication of their morale. As an interesting note, some of YPA soldiers that were sent to western border (with Italy) were told Italians are attacking and borders have to be protected. In general, soldiers on both sides were reluctant to fire on each other. Worst war crime that I know about was YPA using their red-cross marked vehicles and helicopters to transport troops and ammunition. Every now and then someone mentiones a video showing "Slovene TD shooting at YPA soldiers that are surrendering", but multiple researches and studies keep showing this is not true. I'll explain more about this eventually, as I would like to write a separate post about that battle at a later date (yes, I am making all sorts of plans to replay the battle on the board :P).

I'll just leave you with some random photos I found on the internet now:

Slovene TD member at the barricade in Ljubljana (sign behind is a mine warning). He is dressed in Yugoslav uniform, but carries a mountain cap with a new, Slovene badge. Mountain caps were mostly only used by Slovene TD in war.

Slovene TD members standing at captured T-55 tanks.

YPA soldiers at one of the border crossings. Their task was to prevent Yugosalv tables (SFR Jugoslavija SR (Socialist republic) Slovenija) with new "Republika Slovenija" ones.

YPA sniper with M76 sniper rifle (Yugoslav Dragunov)

YPA M36 Jackson - Influenced by lack of weapons during WW2, Yugoslavia had huge reserves of outdated equipment in its warehouses (including gas masks for horses).

Slovene police officer (left, mountain cap) talking to YPA soldiers. Negotiations represented a large part of the conflict.

Some random signs. First one is saying "Out with occupying JLA". JLA is a Slovene abbreviation for YPA (JNA is Serbian).
The blue one is saying "Long live free and independent Slovenia".

Foreign truck drivers provoking Slovenian TO soldiers (those have camouflage uniforms already). Some truck drivers refused to leave their trucks in the barricades and some died when YPA air force was attacking the barricades to help tanks pass.

One of the barricades, some were quite simple with a single truck or even a car parked across the road, while others were kilometers long and next to impassable.

A destroyed T-55 on one of the border passes.

And again, with another one next to it.

Slovene soldiers resting. You can see Armbrust anti-tank weapon on the left. YPA tank crews were horrified if they saw one of those as they were believed to be really effective. The practice showed they weren't all that good after all.

YPA T-55 tank column.

A destroyed M84 (Yugoslav T-72).

Slovene TD soldiers confronting YPA armoured column that came from Croatia. This column was attacked here, but YPA air support forced TD to withdraw. Column had to leave its soft skins behind, but advanced further into Slovenia. It was stopped at the next barricade, where forests offered TD forces some protection from air strikes. The column was attacked again, suffered some losses and the commander decided to abandon the remaining vehicles and return to Croatia on foot.
Close to where previous photo was taken is now one of the vehicles that YPA left behind. Lightly armoured vehicles had three barrels each.

To forces on a position in a forest. Judging by their pants, I think they belong to Alpine reconnaissance platoon.

Two military policemen and two police officers, probably protecting political leadership somewhere in Ljubljana.

Members of Police special forces resting in one of the border crossings.

Military policeman from a MORIS special brigade and a female soldier.

What looks like a WW2 German recon armoured car, captured by TD forces.

Slovene TD soldier with M57 AT weapon (remember the insurgents?)
And lastly, a couple of photos from 26th October, 1991. Last of the YPA soldiers leaving the country. They departed by ship to avoid intensified combat in Croatia. The last YPA unit to leave the country was tank brigade from Vrhnika (my home town) - their commander had some ideas of fighting his way to Croatia, as he refused to leave tanks there.

I figured a post on a tad more modern history would be a welcome change and a great introduction to planned posts about modern Slovenian army. If nothing else, it shows that wars in Yugoslavia were not all about ethnic cleansing and war crimes.

Thanks for looking,

22 Jun 2014

Special zombies!

Panic! Panic! Panic!

I have been painting zombies again! Not just that, I have finally decided to paint some more Mantic plastic zombies conversion. Most of them were done back in the early days of this blog, but as I had no real use for them, they were never painted. Until now!

I used NMRIH book for them as it has those profiles available, but I'm not sure if I'll ever play game using those rules again. The rules really got a lot of stuff covered, but they just don't appeal to me for some reason. I might mention I took photos before I remembered they need some TCR, so that's what's missing!

From left to right we got:
Tongue guy, Howler guy, Bloater guy, Batman guy (not a special zombie :D)

 I have decided to go with pale skin with some purple washes. It's more suitable for vampires than zombies, as it's not rotten, but I really like the effect. To be perfectly honest, I did start by painting rotten flesh on them first, but it got all covered up. As mantic zombies are made for fantasy games, they are all in rags. I decided to go with orange for all of them, saves me trouble of deciding which paint to use and as they are clearly mutated they just might be some unfortunate prisoners, victims of some madman's tests?
 The Tongue was pretty straight forward, I stuck a wire in his mouth, coated it and resculpted lower jaw. I am sure I could do something a tad more elaborate if I would do it again. I'd prefer a more dynamic and a longer tongue, but this works fine for a miniature that's not going out of a drawer anytime soon :D.
Howler's abdominal area was cut and reversed to make him stand upright instead of crouching forward. Back then, I figured his hands look like he is struggling and his muscles are tense - his howls must be very loud!

 Bloater is not at all what I was going for, but he is a bit larger than the others, so I suppose it works. I build it from legs up, so for an early effort it might not even be that bad. I was really reluctant to paint it but it came out okay I suppose.
Batman was the latest conversion of the group, and I really like it. Not much else to say, he is clearly not a real Batman, or he has...err...left himself go somewhat.
 See, had a pint or a cracker too many:

I have to say I quite enjoyed painting those after such a long break from them. I'm now painting another batch while I'm waiting for the guns to arrive before I start proper work on the soldiers.

Thanks for looking,

15 Jun 2014

Slowly creeping forward...

Hello guys,

In past few weeks, I came to a conclusion that sculpting my own Slovenian soldiers would take too long - assuming I could even keep the motivation going for so long! This doesn't mean I wouldn't want to have some miniatures representing them, however. I've looked through my options and decided to convert Empress US infantry to represent Slovenes. Converting instead of sculpting should let me build a sizeable force much faster once I get the guns duplicated and as I only have to swap the weapons, they will hopefully still look superb once painted. I'm a bit reluctant to think I'd have to cut those lovely miniatures, but I hope the end result will be worth it.

Miniatures would need weapons swapped (obviously), and vests are all wrong, but helmet's shape seems fitting. I plan to add some more straps to the helmets (to stuck foliage in), fill the tiny holes in the helmet covers and perhaps add a pouch or two to the vests - but other wise keep them as they are. I am trying to find the right balance between the right looking equipment and keeping my sanity.

Below are some random pics I snatch from the internet to give you an idea of what I'm after.

Patrol in Afghanistan (our troops are all over the world, but in low numbers). They got custom vests (government issued are not particularly admired :P) and wear old pattern desert camo. Mind the translator!
The one below is from training with 8x8 Svarun (Patria AMV, huge problems with those because of high-ranking officials corruption):
And some other random photos of the old camo:

 There's alos one with new camo. It's a variant of multicam, Slocam. This is the first photo I've seen so far that is actually using the helmet cover in the same pattern.

 And below are the Empress miniatures I got so far. I actually haven't yet bought a normal fire team as I'd like to buy them in a bundle, but not before I have those ready. From left to right are two British helicopter pilots (to become Slovene pilots or even an APC crewmen); EOD disposal team. I don't really need the suit, but it's by far my favorite miniature. So cool.  I'll probably do some filing on his helmet to make it more similar to what we're using, but might as well keep it as it is. And then there's support team with a sniper, AT4 and M240 machine gun. The idea is to use 4 guys with rifles and make a fire team of them. I'll keep M240 as it is, but I had some ideas of cutting off the barrel and swapping it for a normal one. We use FN MAG which is essentially the same MG, but without protection sleeve above the barrel. I will not be using this sniper, as I plan to buy a pack with another one, but I could use a fireteam - can never have too many of those.

 Below is a close up on M240. So what bothers me is that perforated metal sheet thingie above the first half of the barrel. I am not sure it bothers me enough to make it worth ruining the machine gun, though.
 Light anti tank weapon we're using is RGW90. Below is my sculpt compared to AT4. It needs some redoing, as they should be the same size. I think their AT4 is tad too short, but mine is still too long. I'll probably shorten it a bit and then attach it to one some of the soldiers.
 Below is a bad photo of my sniper. I think I am making it too large now, so I have to rethink it a bit. It certainly needs to be polished, I'm not at all happy with the magazine.
 Lastly, a comparison between Empress US soldier and my sculpts, based on EBob armature (with EBob Chinese head blutacked). After I've decided to use Empress miniatures for basis of my conversions, I had 4 half done bodies left over. I will be using them for something, so they don't go to waste.
This one will be a translator. I wanted to make him look chilled out, with arms tucked in his armour, but it didn't quite want to work that way, so I had to adjust a bit. I'll give him an AK eventually. He is a bit bulky, but shouldn't be too bad.
And to show I was really working on thing in the past week, here are Warlord games USMC converted to Evergreen army fire team and two to insurgents' support. I also built WW2 Germans, but those are straight from the box so I didn't take any photos.
Evergreen seems to be an underdeveloped country (Evergreen Fields in my zombie games is a paradise island resort, so shouldn't be poor!). Their soldiers are still using old steel helmets (sort of like India and Pakistan). They were supplied by US, hence the M16s. One guy in  the team is armed with an LMG - Yugoslav M53, based on good old M42. Germans are (were until lately?) still using them, so they have to be good :D. Lastly, inspired by Brummie suggestion, I've decided to give bombardier an M79 grenade launcher. I would prefer something modern, but the idea with using shotgun was really so fantastic I just went with it. As you can see, he is just reloading his weapon for another shot.

To end with today's post, insurgents WIP:

As usual, thanks for looking!