Sunday, July 19, 2015

So You Want To Play 28mm Modern?

This is a long post ... but lots of cover ... hopefully you all find it interesting if not straight out helpful in some way :-)

Note:  I'll be following up with another post to cover rule sets (Force-on-Force, Some Corner of a Foreign Field, Skirmish Sangin and such) - this post is focused on figures, vehicles and terrain.

Ahhh modern.  Or as I've seen in recent years modern and ultra modern --- what's the difference you ask?  Well, when I was growing up there was just modern which was really anything post-Vietnam to me as the Korean War and Vietnam have generally been given there own space in history.  Others I've seen draw the line as any conflict post-WW2 ... you choose what it means to you.  Now there is ultra modern, which I guess is anything 2001 and later ... or to some maybe even later than that but to me it is anything from that fateful day in September, 2001 and later.

An inspiring image of what a well executed
modern game (20mm) and setup can look like.
Image: Small Scale Operations Wargame Blog

Certainly there is an abundance of micro armour, 15mm and 20mm (or 1/72) out there for modern wars, but 28mm is what I've standardized on for my wargaming so is what I'll play.  I've dabbled over the years with 28mm modern primarily because of Empress Miniatures and there beautiful range of miniatures.  That being said, I always encountered some challenge with sourcing a vehicle or miniatures for a specific type of troop, but no longer.

A stunning game and setup for 28mm Afghanistan.
Image:  Musings from the warp blog

Now, for me I was specifically looking to do the second Iraq war (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and specifically the push to Baghdad and the key battles in the "early years" of the war such as Fallujah and Ramadi.  I'll expand on this below, but I figured I'd share my "finds" for miniatures and vehicles that I've discovered along the way.

A recent game I played - 28mm Afghanistan
with my gaming buddy Dan Kerrick.
You can see the full battle report here.

Before I get into the specifics around my acquisition of models for Operation Iraqi Freedom, I'd like to quickly list the companies in one place that I've sourced 28mm models from (figures and vehicles) as they generally have much more than what I've just touched on below:

  • Empress Miniatures - A large range of both figures and vehicles for "ultra modern" conflicts covering Afghanistan, Iraq and any Russia versus NATO or Russian minor conflicts (such as Chechnya or Georgia - I'd list the Ukraine but apparently the Russians are not there ... tisk tisk).
  • Eureka Miniatures - An impressive range covering Afghanistan, some "classic Cold War" periods, African bush wars and ultra modern French Foreign Legion, Germans and USMC.
  • Spectre Miniatures - A newer company that has a great range covering Africa, middle east and special operations forces.  They also have there own rules available for use with their figures.
  • Sloppy Jalopy - A large range of vehicles covering "classic Cold War" Russian, NATO and Israeli vehicles.
  • Chieftain Models - A range of vehicles covering "classic Cold War" and NATO (including Israeli vehicles).
  • Ebay - There are lots of great finds on Ebay for die cast models in the 28mm compatible range.  I've used this for the T-55 tank (link), AH-1Z Viper (Cobra) helicopter (link) and so on.

For terrain there are many options.  This year saw Crescent Root Studio release their Series 1 update that is perfect for portraying a middle eastern city setup.  I've order a large amount of buildings (they should be arriving in the next week or two), enough to cover a 4x4 foot table.  I'll be doing a separate post on that setup once everything arrives.

Prepainted buildings for the middle east and north Africa.
Crescent Root Studio, 28mm Series 1

I'm supplementing the city type terrain I'm getting with desert kits from Architects of War.  Specifically from their middle eastern range:

UPDATE:  Sadly, Architects of War has gone out of business.  Another casualty of the Kickstarter system.


Desert well
Image:  Architects of War

Oasis
Image:  Architects of War

Palm tree plates
Image:  Architects of War

I already have these kits so just need to paint them up and get them on the table.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

This is what I'm focusing on, but one of my largest road blocks in the past was really finding good miniatures that could represent Iraqi regular army or Republican Guard.  Well, I resolved that issue as you'll see below.

Okay, so you've seen the list above of the companies I've ordered from, but what miniatures and vehicles did I use for which purposes?

Iraqi Regular Army & Republican Guard


For Iraqi Army and Republican Guard fighting against the coalition forces early in the war (prior to the formations being destroyed or scattering into irregular units), I used the Soviet Mechanized Infantry in helmets (not ultra modern, equipment around the 80's and 90's).  I pulled together 2 x six man sections and a leader using the following:


Mechanized Infantry in helmets.
Image: Eureka Miniatures

Mechanized Infantry in helmets.
Image: Eureka Miniatures

Mechanized Infantry in helmets.
Image: Eureka Miniatures

For Iraqi Army that are reformed and fighting with the coalition forces I decided that the Afghan National Police in helmets from Eureka Miniatures.  Picture below.

Afghan National Police in helmets but
they also work well for reformed Iraqi
Army fighting with the coalition forces.
Image:  Eureka Miniatures

Next up is vehicles.  Specifically I wanted to track down three tanks the Iraqi's used, the T-72, T-62 and T-55.  It seemed reasonable I could track these down, but it was a little harder than I thought.  For the T-72 I used the one available from Empress Miniatures (link).  For the T-62 I've looked to Chieftain Models (link).  Lastly, I went to Ebay for the T-55 based on some forum recommendations to get a 1/43 die cast model that everyone indicates is actually 1/50 in size (link).

T-72 from Empress Miniatures.


T-62 from Chieftain Models.

T-55 from Ebay.

UPDATED:  Thanks to a comment posted below I was put on to HLBS (link) which has a great range of Russian cold war vehicles that are more compatible size-wise with the Empress and other 1/50th vehicles I have.  I've just ordered the vehicles I was going to get from Sloppy Jalopy from HLBS (along with an MTLB ... awesome!).

BRDM 2
(Image: HLBS)

BTR 70
(Image: HLBS)

BMP-1
(Image: HLBS)

BMP-2
(Image: HLBS)

You can get a number of other Russian "cold war" vehicles appropriate for the Iraq conflict from Sloppy Jalopy (link) - notably a BMP-1, BMP-2, BTR 70, BTR 60, BRDM and Gaz 66.  Currently I only have my Empress Miniatures vehicles but I've ordered vehicles from Chieftain Models and Sloppy Jalopy that I'm waiting to get.  Once all the vehicles are in I'll post some size comparisons but note that Sloppy Jalopy will be smaller as they are 1/56th scale whereas Empress and others are 1/50th scale - but if you keep them separated things should be ok (fingers crossed). 

BMP-2
Image:  Sloppy Jalopy

BRDM 2
Image:  Sloppy Jalopy

BTR 70
Image: Sloppy Jalopy

Iraqi Insurgents & Fedayeen Fighters

Iraqi insurgents and Fedayeen fighters have a distinctly different look about them as compared to say the Taliban or insurgents in Afghanistan.  Certainly in some cases they look similar, but when looking around for miniatures you'll find a lot of options for Taliban/Afghanistan.  I've leverage some of those options, but there are also less Taliban/Afghanistan looking insurgents that are available on the market today.

I sourced miniatures from three companies for my insurgents:  Empress Miniatures, Eureka and Spectre Miniatures.  From Empress Miniatures I order all of there core packs from their insurgent range (link):

Insurgents
Image:  Empress Miniatures

Insurgents with support weapons.
Image:  Empress Miniatures

Insurgent characters
Image:  Empress Miniatures

Insurgent characters and support weapons.
Image:  Empress Miniatures

Insurgents
Image:  Empress Miniatures

From Spectre Miniatures I ordered from their Insurgents and Middle East/North Africa Militia ranges as well (link and link).  This is an impressive range of options for bad guys here and I highly recommend you check it out (all images are sourced from Spectre Miniatures):














For technicals I'm using the vehicles available from Empress Miniatures (link).

Technical with ZU-23 AA gun.
Image:  Empress Miniatures

United States Marine Corps

I've used Empress Miniatures and Eureka to fill out my USMC figures.  One slight issue I had was that with the Empress Miniatures packs they are more geared for later Afghanistan as each fire team has an M27 infantry automatic rifle instead of the classic M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW) which was used in Iraq.  The good news in that Empress Miniatures has a pack with an M249 SAW so it was a matter of getting three of them to cover the three fire teams in the squad.  For the Eureka USMC squad, all fire teams are using M249's so no issue for me there.  I decided to do a squad from Empress Miniatures and a squad from Eureka.  I was also able to get a SMAW team from Eureka as you can see below.  Eureka Miniatures packs:

USMC Squad Deal
Image:  Eureka Miniatures

USMC SMAW Team
Image: Eureka Miniatures

For Empress Miniatures I ordered nearly all the packs from their USMC range (link).

USMC fire team.
Image: Empress Miniatures

USMC fire team.
Image:  Empress Miniatures

USMC fire team.
Image:  Empress Miniatures

USMC support weapons.
Image:  Empress Miniatures

USMC command.
Image:  Empress Miniatures

I also ordered a fire team of SEAL/DEVGRU figures ...

SEAL/DEVGRU fire team.
Image:  Empress Miniatures

For USMC vehicles I looked to get the following from Empress Miniatures (link):

  • 2 x M1A2 Abrams
  • 1 x HUMVEE with TOW
  • 1 x HUMVEE with Mk19 Grenade Launcher
  • 1 x HUMVEE with .50 cal HMG
  • 1 x HUMVEE with .50 cal HMG Weapons Station
  • 2 x AAVP-7A1
  • 2 x Bradley M2/M3

AAVP-7A1
Image:  Empress Miniatures

Bradley M2/M3
Image:  Empress Miniatures

HUMVEEs - from front to back: TOW, Mk19 grenade
launcher and .50 cal HMG.
Image:  Empress Miniatures

M1A2 Abrams
Image:  Empress Miniatures

HUMVEE with .50 cal HMG weapons station
Image:  Empress Miniatures

There you have it ... another project on my plate but all very doable even with everything else going on.  I hope this has been helpful in some way ... even if not for Iraq for some other modern conflict.

Next Saturday I'm play testing the Hell's Highway scenario I'll be running at the Pacificon Game Expo in September (pictures will be taken and a post to follow).

16 comments:

  1. Some comments here:

    I wouldn't go for the Sloppy Jaloppy models here. They are noticeably too small next to the Empress ones. Take a look at HLBS instread. They scale up for better and are almost as good as the Empress/ Imprint ones (with the exception of the BRDM-2).
    Also take another look at the Eureka ANP minis. They are wearing PASGT helmets. The Iraqi Police and Army only introduced them with the post invasion governing.
    Devil Dog Designs had some really nice Iraqis as well, but they are long OOP, so you will have to take a look on eBay.

    On a personal note... I have both Eureka and Empress USMC. I personally prefer the Eureka ones. They are both correct equipment wise, but if you look at photos of Marines in the field, their equipment gets rougher and includes more self purchased items. That is the look the Eureka ones have, while the Empress ones look more like 29 Palms, Camp Lejeune, etc..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip on the vehicles. I did purchase the ANP to portray post-invasion Iraqi's ;-)

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    2. Glad I could be of help regarding the HLBS vehicles!

      And sorry about the ANP minis... That is what one gets for reading posts so late.... You end up over reading thre nuances! ;-)

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    3. Lol, no prob, I kinda figured it may be confusing adding them under that same section. HLBS ordered, many thanks for that :-)

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  2. Looks great...how much have you spent on all that stuff

    Personally I would not touch the real modern period, too fresh in people's minds and a bit of a turkey shoot. However the idea of running a fictitious campaign in some unknown desert would be ok
    As I said it looks fabulous

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks sir!! I hear you ... I figure the early part of Operation Iraqi Freedom is "old" enough to get away with it :-) I've always had a "cold war gone hot" inclination ... perhaps one day.

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    2. Oh, and for spending, it is bonus time at work ;-) lol

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  3. I can't believe that you are taking on another time period!?
    You are going to love the Cresent Root buildings, I have series 1 and they are absolutely fantastic, highly recommended.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol ... gotta live up to the blog name ... it has to be "madness" :-) In all seriousness, I do try to get one or two "small scale" periods put into the queue each year. With this, those Crescent Root buildings save me a ton of time working on terrain ... I can't wait to get my order in ... excited.

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  4. A small consideration, USMC does not use the Bradley IFV. For OP Enduring Freedom, you could consider using the LAV-25's from Empress instead.

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    Replies
    1. Correction: OP Iraqi Freedom.

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    2. Indeed you are correct sir, I actually just picked those up as there are some scenarios that have them in use and I have some US Army I'll add later on ... just piled them in with my Empress order ;-)

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  5. Great post. I'm late to your blog but did you follow up with a 2nd entry showing the rules etc?
    I'm currently building up my stuff to do this, albeit on a more SF/CIA level

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, I have posted the rules. Army lists are here: http://jayswargamingmadness.blogspot.com/2015/12/bolt-action-modern-army-lists.html ... and the rules are here: http://jayswargamingmadness.blogspot.com/2015/12/bolt-action-modern-rules-update-13.html ... enjoy :-)

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  6. So here I sit scouring the internet for modern combat wargaming layouts and what happens? I'm sent here again from Google. Great layouts, scenerio pictures and in general thank you also for all the images and links to all the modern soldiers and tanks. Thanks for doing the Modern Combat rules obviously too. :)

    ReplyDelete