Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summer Solo Project - Update 1: The Tanks

As mention in my previous post, I’m working on a Summer Solo Project this year. In the summertime I typically don’t have a lot of extra time for gaming or projects (my wife keeps me busy on the yard!). But I usually have a few hours to myself on the weekends, which is enough for some quick games. Since that time isn’t consistent, it is difficult to get together with anyone else. So I decided to try a solo project.

My project choice was to play tank actions from the World War 2 Western Desert Campaign using the Hell Hath No Fury rules from Two Hour Wargames. I chose the rules because they play well solitaire and because I wanted to keep the project fairly small and cheap, I decided to go with 1/285th scale tanks.

The Western Desert Campaign has always interested me for many reasons - there are lots of back and forth battles with opportunities for each side to be on the offensive and defensive, there are a number of different tanks used (especially on the British side), and it takes place in a relatively short period of time. From a gaming aspect, it is rife with possibilities (unless you want to play urban assaults). With that in mind, I pulled out a few references to figure out what tanks to include in my first stab at the project. I wanted to make sure that the tanks I got would cover a large part of the campaign and check with what was available in my chosen scale.

For the Germans, the choices were pretty easy. I started off with Panzer IIIs. These are GHQ Panzer III F/Gs, but will work for the E and H model too. The German tanks were all done up in German Green Brown (Grun Braun) with a dark wash and highlighting.
Panzer III F/G
Next I went with a Panzer II F for the recon/light tank.
Panzer II Fs, something early-war British tanks can easily take on
Finally, I chose the Panzer IV E/F1 to round out the Germans. At this scale the E model and F1 look pretty much the same.
GHQ Panzer IV F1
That should give me pretty good coverage of German tanks for the campaign.
Panzer forces organized and ready for action
On the British side, I decided to start my focus on the battles of Operation Battleaxe and later. So, for the most part really early war tanks were out and, since I’m focusing on tank vs. tank action, I left out the Matildas and Valentines. My first choice was the Crusader tank, since it fits right in with that period. GHQ makes a Crusader I and Crusader III. I opted for the Crusader I and expect it to do double duty as a Crusader II. The Crusader was painted up in nice tan color with brown and black washes.
GHQ Crusader Is
Next up was the M3 General Stuart, AKA ‘Honey’ tank. I always liked this tank and always thought the nickname was interesting. Although I recently heard a talk from the Flying Heritage Museum where the presenter said that the British never nicknamed the M3 ‘Honey’, which would seem to contradict just about every book I’ve ever read on these tanks. You can see the whole talk on YouTube. For the paint job, I went with a Caunter paint scheme I’ve seen in several places on the internet. It is a tan base, with a stone/blue, and green for the top layer. It turned out okay, but these (or any of my other tanks) won’t win any painting awards.
M3 'Honey' (or maybe just the General Stuart)
For my final batch of British tanks I went with the M3 General Grant. It was sort of a late-comer to the desert battles, but I got it to cover the Gazala and later battles. The paint job on these is a fairly simple tan with some green disruptive colors and a wash.
The large multi-gunned General Grant tanks
I could have selected several other British tank types, but these are good to get me started.
British armour ready to roll
If the playing turns out well, I will probably expand my groups to include some Italians, along with some tank destroyers/anti-tank guns. I might even get some Matilda and Valentine tanks. Next up though is actually playing a game. I also need to put up a post about the rules and my work to come up with ratings for the tanks.


  1. Looking forward to seeing the next post.. Good choice of Allied tanks though..