Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Imjin at Partizan

Partizan at the Newark Showground was the first wargame show I was able to take my River Imjin board to. It’s a show I am pretty familiar with as it’s the same location for Hammerhead and the Other Partizan. The building used is a large and airy hall with plenty of natural and artificial light. It’s very professionally run by the Newark Irregulars who do an outstanding job. It’s also just over two hours drive for me so it was up very early to be there to set up.

I brought my two boys with me partly for company, partly to get them into the hobby and partly to act as assistants with the game. A quick stop at MacDonalds half a mile from the show set us up for the day. The kids were brilliant in helping carry all the gear and boards into the show and helping me set it all up. About 9:30 I was all set up and took the opportunity to wander the hall to look at all the other games and traders as I don’t usually have any time when running a game.

There were some absolutely fantastic games at the show. In particular I loved the small scale Medway Anglo-Dutch naval board for a superb recreation of the Dutch raid. The Cold War Commanders had a fabulous river crossing game allowing players to attempt a 1985 river crossing in a Cold War gone hot game. It was another 6mm game and had some amazing scenery including a very long bridge.

I was able to say hi to some people and met Leon from Adler for the first time. I’ve been buying his figures for 30 years so it was something of a personal pilgrimage.

At 10am the doors opened and people began flooding in. Before long I was chatting to a man whose father had fought at Imjin. It was emotional for us both.

It was not long before I persuaded somebody to give the game a go and the dice were rolling as British artillery took an appalling toll on Chinese troops crossing the Imjin. There then followed more and more players, some staying for a few turns, others for several hours as the Chinese surged forward. The game stayed on track and progressed very quickly. I had hoped to get through 12 turns - essentially 24 hours of game time but we were able to complete 19 turns despite no-one ever having played the rules before. I had a great time and I think all my players did too.

I was alert enough to spot Mel Bose, the Terrain Tutor, as he explored the show and grabbed the chance to say hello and get a photo! He made some very kind comments about my board on his fantastic Partizan show YouTube video.

To cap and outstanding day I was absolutely delighted to be given the award for best participation game by the judges including the editor of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. It’s going to take pride of place on my modelling desk and will be a reminder of a fantastic day at Partizan.

I will be taking the game to the following shows over the next year or so. Please pop over and say hello and maybe give the game a go.

Phalanx in St Helens. 18th June

Joy of Six in Sheffield. 3rd July 

The Other Partizan in Newark     10th October 

Fiasco in Leeds 27th October 

Warfare in Reading 12th and 13th November 

Keep the dice rolling!

Charles the Modeller 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Imjin River - the figures, vehicles and aircraft


Chinese troops ford the River Imjin 

Having completed the build of the Imjin model I switched into figure painting mode and have feverishly been painting away. I have now completed the painting of all the elements I need for the full refight.

For the Chinese I have used Adler’s WW2 6mm Russian range, predominantly S4 Soviet infantry in winter jacket and SS11 Soviet infantry winter jacket LMG. These troops all wear the quilted suit and the trapper style hat and are armed with a mix of rifles and burp SMGs. I’ve painted them in a mustardy yellow and I think they are perfect for this purpose.

The mortar and HMG teams are regular soviet figures as Adler doesn’t do a winter range. They still look the part though!

Chinese mortar team centre foreground 
I’ve had to paint a whole host of Chinese for the game. However the Chinese have so many troops that each stand gets recycled 3 or 4 times across the 3 days and 4 nights of the battle!
130 stands of Chinese, or what the Glosters have to go through each day!

For the Glosters I went with Adler’s WW2 6mm B4 British Royal Marines and BS4A Marine Bren Teams. I was hoping some of these figures would be depicted with the wool comforter hat but alas this was not to be. However they did all come with berets so I could paint the famous Black Gloster beret. I placed the Glosters in trenches using AKs light earth basing texture. Finally I used a different basing scheme to allow for easy visual differentiation between the Glosters and Chinese. 

Chinese on the left and bottom on dull green bases, Glosters on the upper right on brighter green bases.
Glosters based individually for a mini game segment of the battle

Again mortar, HMG and gun crews are from a mixture of the 8th Army and regular British army codes.

The soldiers of the Filipino 10th Infantry Combat Team are Adler WW2 US infantry.

The vehicles are by GHQ and are 1:285 scale. Again some proxies are required.

Firstly we have a Centurion Mk5 masquerading as a Centurion Mk3.

Next are some T16 universal carriers depicting the Oxford universal carrier.

The 25pdr guns of 45 Regt RA are actually 25pdr guns.

The M24 Chaffee is also an actual Chaffee.

And lastly the aircraft. Here I have used 1:600 aircraft from Tumbling Dice.

Firstly the F80 Shooting Stars.

The L4 Stinson Sentinel.

A single C119 Flying Boxcar

And finishing everything off are a couple of OH13 Sioux helicopters from Oddzial Osmy.

Next time I hope to be able to start presenting some AARs from the refight. If you want to look at or even game on this board it will be at Partizan in Newark on the 22nd May, Phalanx in St Helen’s on th 18th June and at the Joy of Six on the 3rd July.

Until then keep your dice rolling!

Charles the Modeller 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Imjin River board - Complete!

This week I was able to commandeer the dining room and with a few hours work I was able to finish my River Imjin Korean War board. I had been able to complete almost everything on the individual boards but I just needed all 3 of them together the make sure some roads across joins were married up properly, and a village or two required adding. I have covered the details of the build in earlier posts of the blog and won’t talk about that here.

I am really pleased with the result. I have applied to show the board at the Joy of Six in July and intend to run it as a participation game. I’m on with painting the miniatures already and I will post on them shortly.

Today’s post though is just going to be pictures of the board.

Gloster Crossing looking south with Gloster Hill in the centre back

The flat expanse Lt. Guy Temple and his patrol escaped across after engaging the initial Chinese attempts to cross the Imjin

The hills in the centre of the photo were held by the Glosters on the first night of the battle. A co on the right on hill 148, D co in the centre on hill 182 and B on the left on hill 144.

Gloster Hill, Hill 235 where the Glosters fought their last stand. 

Gloster Hill looking west from Kamaksan. Seolma-ri, a small village, can be seen in the mid left of the picture.

The slopes of Kamaksan can be seen behind of Gloster Hill looking east.

Route 5Y, or 5 Yankee heading south through Choksong and passing below and then to the east of Gloster Hill. This was a strategic route to Seoul. The Glosters prevented this route being used by the Chinese for 3 crucial days.

Route 5Y then heads south down a long narrow valley. The UN tried to push reinforcements down this route. 

I am planning a pre show game and hope to be able to share an AAR. With the way the dates have fallen I hope to be fighting the battle on the weekend of the 23rd and 24th April, which by a curious coincidence is the 71st anniversary the battle.

Keep the dice rolling!

Charles the Modeller 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Imjin Board - Creating the River Imjin

2 of the 3 boards together. Villages tbc on the one on the right.

So I am almost done with building the Imjin river board. You can find out more about the various elements of the build starting here along with some background on the battle here. I didn’t quite manage to finish up before Christmas and have been distracted by painting a pile of Great War British troops for use in playtesting an upcoming WW1 version of All Hell Let Loose. So I have only a small update on progress. However it is the River Imjin itself.

A modern photograph of the river at the location of Gloster Crossing 

The section of the river Imjin that flows through the battlefield is a wide and moderate flowing body of water. It’s over a hundred meters wide and fairly shallow. There are places where mud has accumulated and low islands appear depending on the season and depth of water. The bridges had all been destroyed with the Belgians guarding a Bailey bridge a mile to the east of the edge of my board. Several ferry points existed prior to the war but these were no longer functioning. The U.N. forces were aware of one crossing point, later nicknamed Gloster Crossing. This was a fordable crossing about a meter or so deep, helpfully marked by partially submerged oil drums, and was used by the British when exploring the north bank. British scouting in this sector failed to identify several additional fordable crossing points. 

A photo taken in 1951. The Imjin can be seen towards the top left of the image. Note the sudden rise of the hills and the scrub covering them.

The battle began with the Chinese attempting to push a company of infantry across Gloster Crossing about  22:00 on the 22nd April 1951. Guy Temple, a young lieutenant, was in command of a small patrol of Glosters waiting in trenches on the south bank. He had orders to grab an enemy for interrogation following intel suggesting the Chinese would be attempting to cross that night. Temple had a funny feeling as he was being briefed and took it upon himself to take down a larger party than normal for a snatch operation, grabbed every Bren gun he could find and as much ammo as his men could carry. 

Chinese soldiers crossing a river in daylight. Later in the battle the Chinese were forced to cross during daylight risking artillery and air strikes.

The Chinese making the crossing were heard before they were seen. Even in the dark it was clear that this was not a small patrol or raiding party. Temple’s men readied themselves and a Very light was fired. The British could see about a hundred men wading across the river below them with the closest troops less than a hundred meters away. They opened up with every weapon they had. The Chinese had no chance, caught in the open in waist deep water. 

British 25pdrs of 45 regiment RA firing during the Imjin battle.

Shortly after the remnants of the Chinese had retreated to the north bank sounds of crossing were heard again. The Very flare revealed another attempt at crossing. The British opened up again and this time Temple remembered that he had artillery he could call upon. Artillery shells landed on the north bank and then in the river. Another crossing party were eliminated.

More voices were heard. This time the Very light revealed hundreds of Chinese crossing with more moving forward on the bank waiting to cross. The Chinese commander was determined to cross. The British fired into the crowds of Chinese in the river. Temple called in a Mike Target artillery barrage with every available gun co-ordinating their fire to arrive at the same moment. The river erupted in great geysers as the 24 guns of 45 field regiment all fired at the crossing point. The Glosters continued to pour fire into the river. However it was soon apparent that some Chinese had made the crossing and with barrels hot and ammo running low Temple wisely decided that the patrol’s job was done. The British departed, running to meet the two Oxford carriers that carried then the best part of two miles back to their company on hill 235. Not one of the patrol was lost or killed.

The Chinese though were crossing in great strength.

I want to start the battle with that crossing attempt and the Imjin will remain a constraint on Chinese movement all through the game. To model it I used the lowest level of foam board as the river bed and a 3mm deep board to create the banks.

I used a thin layer of sculptamold to create a proper bed using a brush to make sure it was thin. The islands were created out of the 3mm foam board and were located based off the 1951 map although it’s not clear they were there during the battle.

Once all the flocking and terrain had been added to the board I painted the river bed in various layers and colours starting off light and using inks and then browns deepened the colour until I was happy. I then used a light coloured fine grit added these to the islands and river banks with a soft tone inkwash. A lighter desert yellow paint was then applied to the river bed closest to the banks to give the illusion of shallow water.

I also dry brushed the desert yellow in a few places on the river to mark my intended fording points.

Initially I intended to use yacht varnish to make the river but I decided, instead, to do my first ever resin pour. I watched a number of YouTube videos and psyched myself up. If it went wrong I was going to ruin the board. 

I followed the instructions very carefully, bought a kitchen butane torch and mixed the resin. I taped the edges of the board and sealed it PVA. I poured the resin and used a cocktail stick to work it into the river. I went over it with the butane torch to pop any bubbles.

24 hours later I was very relieved and happy with my pour. The river was done!

Hopefully I will soon complete the whole board and then I can begin the painting of all the troops for the battle.

Keep your dice rolling!

Charles the Modeller

Imjin at Partizan

Partizan at the Newark Showground was the first wargame show I was able to take my River Imjin board to. It’s a show I am pretty familiar wi...