It’s to difficult to judge just what makes wargamers gravitate to some periods and shun others? Gamers will quite happily walk through Berlin airport with Nazi emblazoned models ( Shaun😚), and yet think that World War One or the Gulf Wars are unplayable. I must own up to some partiality myself here. I can remember refusing to play the Spanish Civil War because the “good guys”, i.e. the Reds, could have come off worse. My political views changed when I read more into the conflict. Those loveable old comrades of the International Brigades, so loved by the media, may well have contained heroes like George Orwell but they were there at the behest of the arch-criminal Stalin.
I think Vietnam for some gamers suffers from this syndrome. The technologically superior “Imperialist” Americans are there just to slaughter the patriotic underdogs of the workers’ paradise. Of course in Britain in the late Sixties, these views were held by many clueless brats who demonstrated against American involvement ( including a one time head of MI6 would you believe). You may have picked up my own bias in the above but isn’t that the great thing about our hobby. Now I see the Vietnamese as the dupes of the warped minds that would lead to the slavery and misery of Communism.You can take your pick of course but I really hope the period grows in popularity amongst gamers.
Strangely then I found myself in possession of a North Vietnamese battalion! The reason was of course defence cuts, by which I mean I thought I could save money by recycling my Soviet tank horde. But, if you are going to invade the South in a World War Two tank then you have to look to the skies…..
The answer to the Free World’s airpower was the Thiet Giap Anti-Air Company. For 305 points in Flames of War you can get four of the Gerry Anderson style vehicles.
Now they do say pride comes before a fall. The keen eyed amongst you will have noted that the battalion strength of my NVA infantry is much reduced. The storage box that I carried them in got dropped twice and repairs are still yet to be made. Similarly , the four model ZSUs had been in a state of half completion for over a year. The reason was that both units had been damaged in that manoeuvre that all gamers dread, when die Fuhrer tells you it’s time to move house. I had stuck those long barrels on at least three times and had given up hope of ever getting around to finish them. I do believe they even posed as Syrians, in the last Fate of a Nation competition, without their barrels. Hope springs eternal and I bought the strongest superglue I could and this Friday they were fixed.
But, things never go that easy in the Ferres household. In order to make the paintwork more “realistic” , I decided on an all-over wash of GW Devlan mud. I had forgotten that years ago I had inked in the models with a drawing pen. The result was that where the ink had been, the paint had vanished? Friday night painting and a liberal application of weathering powders put that right. I even remembered to cake on the powders as matt varnish tends to wash it away. This was turning into a Chemistry lesson and I always hated Chemistry!
The next disaster was entirely down to my own vanity. In common with many wargamers I suspect, our hobby/lifestyle choice is not for public broadcast. My neighbours were under the impression that DIY is the reason I’m always back and fore the garage. So, when my delightful young neighbour asked what I was photographing on the garden table I did what every true gamer would have done. There was a mad charge to get everything cleared away before her head popped up over the fence, as this little part of Vietnam was off the table and in the hallway within seconds! Seb Blatter would have been proud of my abilities to remove the evidence, anything rather than my neighbour starting to suspect that I’m not a fast-jet pilot! The result was eight sorry looking barrels, once again separate from the vehicles.
Feel free to stop reading now…..what follows is a modelling tip…..
I found that making a pool of superglue and then dipping the parts in was more effective than dropping glue from the dispenser.Apologies to my readership if anyone found the thought of yours truly advising anyone how to construct kits! I’m a gamer before a modeller I’m afraid!
So there you have it. The kits are finally done and RobJ is already planning a competition here in Cardiff! Thanks for reading and let’s not ever tell the neighbours just what we do!