The ‘Nostalgia’ Project revisited … in passing

My wife and I have spent most of today visiting my father-in-law in Herne Bay, Kent. We did his shopping for him, helped sort out (and pay) his bills, and confirmed with him that he definitely wanted to move to the flat we had found for him in wardened accommodation in the centre of the town.

After a short break for lunch, we then visited the estate agent through whom we are buying the flat on behalf of my father-in-law. The vendors have accepted the off we made for the flat, and we managed to sort out what steps we now have to take to purchase it. It was too late in the day to visit a local solicitor to arrange for them to act for us, but we have the name of a highly recommended one whom we shall contact early next week.

As a result of all of the above, I have not had a great deal of time to even think about wargaming. Once thing I did do, however, was to look through and begin sorting my archive of photographs of Swedish Armoured Fighting Vehicles … and as I did so I was struck by an idea.

Years ago I had an imagi-nation called Opeland. It was very similar in many ways to Sweden, and the tanks that I built for its ‘army’ were loosely based on various Swedish tank designs. I have wanted to resurrect this imagi-nation – and its archrival Upsland – for some time, and I named this my ‘Nostalgia’ Project. It has been on the backburner for some time, but today, when looking at the following photograph, I thought that this particular design looked like an amalgam of two other tank designs … a Pzkpfw III hull with a T34/76 turret atop it.

I very quickly used my image manipulation computer programs to add a drawing of a T34/76 turret to that of the hull of a Pzkpfw III … et voila!

I then realised that I had 1:100th-scale models of both a Pzkpfw III and a T34/76 to hand (both are from the range of Axis & Allies Miniatures) and it was a matter of a few seconds work to put the T34/76 turret onto the Pzkpfw hull.

The resulting design is not exactly like its Swedish original … but it is not that different.

Food for thought, I think … especially as Zvezda make very reasonably priced 1:100th-scale models of both the Pzkpfw II and T34/76.

PS. The Swedish tank is a Stridsvagn m/42.

Model bargains

The past few days have been a bit hectic. Work and other commitments have rather eaten into my time for wargaming and blogging. I have, however, managed to fit in a bit of shopping into my busy schedule.

Last night my wife and I visited our local, large shopping centre to do the weekly food shopping. As usual we also made sure that we set aside a bit of time for ourselves whilst we were there, and I spent mine visiting a branch of Modelzone.

They are currently having a sale of plastic kits, and these included several models manufactured by Pegasus Hobbies. The one that caught my eye was the ‘Jaguarundi’, which was a projected design by Porsche for a small tank to be built for the Wehrmacht in 1946. The project was also known as ‘P245-010’, and the hull and turret look more akin to a 1930s Science Fiction concept for a tank than a serious design developed as a result of six years of combat experience.

That said, the turret looked like it had been taken from an 19th century ironclad, and therefore has potential modelling uses. As there were two models in each box, and Modelzone were selling them for £2.99 per box, I bought three.

On getting them home I discovered that the trackwork and chassis of the ‘Jaguarundi’ tanks will be useful when I get round to building armoured vehicles for one of my 1930s and 1940s imagi-nations, and that the turrets will be ideal for small ironclads and/or gunboats.

The ‘Nostalgia’ Project

I have the good fortune to live less than 15 minutes drive from a very good second-hand bookshop – Falconwood Transport & Military Bookshop – that (as the name implies) specialises in military and transport books. As I had to drive past the shop on my way to do some of my regular weekend chores, and stopped off for a quick look round … and I am very glad that I did!

In amongst the large collection of military books on the shelves I found a 1964 copy of DAS KLEINE PANZERBUCH by Dr F M von Senger und Etterlin. Amongst the vehicles featured in the Swedish section were:

  • The Strv 74 tank
  • The Pvkv 71 self-propelled gun
  • The Ikv 103 assault gun

These vehicles are the going to be the designs upon which the AFVs used by Opeland will be based (see my previous blog entry on 13th August 2009), so having both data and – more importantly – scale line drawings is going to be of great help when I finally get this project underway. In the meantime, here are some images of some of the line drawings I will be using:

The ‘Nostalgia’ Project – my decision … sort of!

Having spent some time thinking about what to do next about my ‘Nostalgia’ project.

Firstly I have decided to continue with the ‘Nostalgia’ project, but over a longer timescale. I will continue to collect the necessary models and figures, and may even make some prototype vehicles and ships. I will not, however, start serious work on the project for at least several months.

Secondly I have decided to finish the back-history of Laurania that I started some time ago. This also includes a guide to the Latinate language of Laurania. I will also draw up an outline of the Lauranian armed forces during the 1930s for future reference, as they may well make a good enemy – or ally – for the Opelanders at some time in the future.

All I have to do now is stick to my decisions!

The ‘Nostalgia’ Project – my wife speaks!

I was word-processing some ideas about this project when my wife looked over my shoulder and asked me why I was creating yet another imagi-nation when I had not finished using the all the stuff I had done on Laurania. She further added that she had assumed that all the pre-painted 1:300th model buildings I had been buying recently had been for that project and not a new one.

Now I have to admit that she is right. I have not yet exploited the potential of Laurania anywhere near as much as I should or could, and the model buildings are very suitable for it. In fact, they are – with the exception of the ones bought in Copenhagen – all from Adriatic region, which is roughly where Laurania is situated.

My wife’s interjection has left me in somewhat of a quandary. Do I persist with creating a back-history and wargames army for Opeland or do I complete the already extensive back-history of Laurania – and finish off their nascent armed forces – before embarking on a ‘new’ project?

Time to do some serious thinking, I suspect.

The ‘Nostalgia’ Project – my most recent thoughts

I am now firmly convinced that my Opelandic Army will be a quasi-Swedish force, with Finnish and German influences. My plan is to create an army that is organised into brigades along the following lines:

Armoured Brigades:

  • An Armoured Battalion
  • Two Motorised Infantry Battalions
  • A Motorised Artillery Battalion
  • A Motorised Assault Engineer Company
  • A Motorised Reconnaissance Battalion
  • A Self-propelled Anti-tank Gun Company
  • A Self-propelled or Motorised Anti-aircraft Company
  • A Brigade HQ Company

Infantry Brigades:

  • Three Infantry Battalions
  • An Artillery Battalion
  • An Assault Engineer Company
  • A Motorised or Bicycle Reconnaissance Battalion
  • An Anti-tank Gun Company
  • An Anti-aircraft Company
  • A Brigade HQ Company

I also intend that the Opelandic Army will be supported by an Air Force equipped with Fighters, Fighter-Bombers/Ground Attack Aircraft, Bombers, Reconnaissance Aircraft, and Transport Aircraft, and a Navy that has at least two (or possibly three) frontline Coastal Defence Battleships, Destroyers, and Torpedo Boats.

This may well be a bit over ambitious, but I won’t find out if it is until I start!

Swedish inspiration for the ‘Nostalgia’ Project

When I visited Sweden last year I managed to prevail upon my wife to go to the Swedish Army Museum in Stockholm. One of the things that I bought at the museum’s shop was a short booklet entitled SVENSKA ARMENS PANSAR – DEN SVENSKA STRIDSVAGNSMATERIELENS HISTORIA. This is an illustrated guide to the armoured vehicles used by the Swedish Army since 1920.

This is one of the books that I have been looking at for inspiration for my ‘Nostalgia’ project, and I am slowly coming to the conclusion that the Swedish Army will make an excellent basis for the army of my vaguely Northern European/Baltic States/Eastern European imagi-nation, Opeland.

The reasoning behind this is that the equipment used by the Swedes looks similar to, but not the same as, that used by Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s. For example, the Stridsvagn m/37 looks similar to the PzKpfw I

… and the Stridsvagn m/38 is about the same size as a PzKpfw II but is armed with a 37mm gun.

The Stridsvagn m/42 has a 75mm gun, and is about the same size as the later model PzKpfw III.

The Swedes even used the chassis of the Stridsvagn m/42 as the basis of a self-propelled gun, just like the Germans used the chassis of the PzKpfw III as a basis for the StuG III.

If I do use the Swedish Army of the late 1930s and early 1940s as the basis on my Opelandic Army, I will need to acquire quite a few ROCO PzKpfw IIIs and/or StuG IIIs as well as some other bits and pieces.

It all gone a bit quiet …

For reasons that will be come apparent later this month, I have not been able to make any blog entries until today. This does not mean that I have given up blogging … far from it! … due to technical reasons it has just been difficult to get Internet access.

I have managed to do some work on WHEN EMPIRES CLASH!, and the rules for using aircraft are nearing completion; they just need a bit of tidying up.

I have also been giving my ‘Nostalgia’ project some thought, and it is probably going to be set in the late 1930s/early 1940s and have a vaguely Scandinavian/Eastern European feel. There will be opportunities for me to use all sorts of different tanks and vehicles, and the uniforms are quite easy to paint.

Is it me … or do they look very similar?

I had to visit the bank this morning, and on the way back to he car I happened to pass a branch of MODELZONE … as a result of which I bought some more kits for my ‘Nostalgia’ project.

One of the kits was of the AIRFIX Vickers Light Tank Mk.VI. Whilst unpacking my latest acquisitions, I put the box on my modelling table next to a book about modern armour. The book just happened to be open at the section that covers modern German armour, and I noticed that the German Wiesel 1 airportable armoured vehicle seems to bear a passing resemblance to the Vickers Light Tank Mk.VI.

The Vickers Light Tank Mk.VI.

The Wiesel 1 Airportable Armoured Vehicle.

The Vickers Light Tank is longer (4.04m vs. 3.26m), wider (2.08m vs. 1.8m), higher (2.26m vs. 1.9m), and heavier (5.2 tons vs. 2.8 tons); the Wiesel 1 is faster (85 km/h vs. 54 km/h), has a longer range (300 km vs. 200km), and is better armed (20mm cannon vs. 12.7mm or 15mm machine gun).

Now I know that when Northrop began design work on the B-2 bomber, they were able to draw on earlier designs such as the Northrop XB-35, YB-35 and YB-49. They also looked at the Horten Ho229 jet fighter that is in storage at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. I wonder … did any of the Wiesel 1’s designers at Porsche ever get any inspiration from looking at a picture of a Vickers Light Tank Mk.VI?

We shall probably never know … but it is an interesting question nonetheless.

The ‘Nostalgia’ Project

I have mentioned my so-called AIRFIX Project a couple of times, and several of you have asked for more details … so here goes.

Firstly – and most importantly – I have renamed it the ‘Nostalgia’ Project for reasons that will become apparent.

Secondly, this project is a product of my age. As I grow older I look back to my earlier wargaming exploits for inspiration … and because they were FUN! That is not to say that my current wargaming is not fun; it is just that, with hindsight, the wargames of my youth have acquired a probably totally unjustified sense of importance in my mind. They now seem to have been epic struggles that lasted for days, whereas the truth is that they probably lasted a couple of hours and had to be packed away in time for the family’s evening meal.

Thirdly, it is a reaction against the seemingly endless progression of new ranges of new figures in a variety of scales – 6mm, 10mm, 12mm, 15mm, 20mm, 28mm … and more! My boyhood wargames were fought with a very restricted range of 20mm/1:87th scale figures and models – almost all came from AIRFIX and ROCO Minitanks, with the occasional Matchbox vehicle thrown in for good measure. The models were basic – and there was not a lot of choice – and the figures were small and the detail was minimal. Oddly enough, this made them easier to paint using what was then the ‘standard’ method of painting – blocks of colour with no shading.

So I am planning to indulge myself by creating a series of 20th century imagi-nations (just like the two I had as a boy: Opeland and Upsland) that will be ‘armed’ by AIRFIX, ROCO, and any other manufacturer of ‘proper’ 20mm/1:87th scale models. They will recruit their ‘armies’ from suitably sized 20mm/1:87th scale figures, and the uniforms will be generic.

Interestingly I know that I am not alone in going down this path. Chris Kemp outlines on his NQM (Not Quite Mechanised) website how he ran a Summer Holiday Toy Soldier Campaign in his youth, and lays down some very helpful rules for doing the same thing now.

Ross Macfarlane has done something similar, and has recently added a battle report to his website With Macduff on the Web.

I am currently acquiring suitable models and figures (including raiding the boxes of models I found in the garden shed), and hope to begin work on this project when my enthusiasm for developing WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! begins to lag somewhat (I find that it is always a good idea to have several projects on the go at the same time just in case).

So the ‘Nostalgia’ project is now officially underway … but don’t expect too much to happen in the near future.