Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

I had decided awhile ago that I was going to do 15mm Vietnam, even before Shawn Carpenter told me that we’d be redoing Ambush Valley. I was intrigued by the Flashpoint releases, promising a full range of figures including civilians, free world forces and special forces. Then Battlefront released their own 15mm models based around the Ia Drang Valley in 1965, offering more options and vehicles. I purchased a lot of figures from both lines and they sat on my workbench for months. With the release of the new Ambush Valley, I’ve been inspired to pick up the paint brush and get to work, if for no other reason than to pay homage to the excellent work done by Piers and Joe in putting the book together.

My first project is getting Viet Cong painted. I want to run games involving smaller forces on “sweep and clear” type missions, so my NVA will have to wait for awhile. Since Battlefront has yet to release VC figures, my only option was Flashpoint, but the company offers Local and Main Force Viet Cong, as well as support weapons and civilians.

First efforts at painting Flashpoint VC

The models are on .75 inch bases (penny-sized) which I built up with Vallejo Dark Earth paste. The grass and flower tufts are from three different sets of Army Painter base tufts, including the new flower set. I wanted the VC to look like they were in the middle of cover, not standing on a golf course. For uniforms, I wanted a mix of the classic “black pajama” look with some mix of Main Force uniforms. The black uniforms are a thinned down Vallejo German Gray, highlighted with the same color mixed with Vallejo Ivory. The straw hats are Vallejo Beige, then washed with Vallejo Sepia Wash. Flesh is Vallejo Sunny Skintone washed with Flesh Wash. The Flashpoint figures have deep detail which lends itself to washes and stains.

A closer look

Some of the more "Main Force" uniforms

I also tacked a few civilian figures to mix into my village and rice paddy settings.

A close up of a Vietnamese civilian.

Another civilian model.

I’m quite pleased with how these are turning out. The figures have “personality,” allow for quick painting and fit the look I am trying to achieve. My only real complaint about the models is the percentage that have miscasts, forcing quite a bit of file and knife work to fix. Still, I recommend Flashpoint’s models, especially their civilians. Next time, I’ll show what I’m doing with some of the village buildings.


In preparation for the upcoming Legends in the Fall, I am running an Ambush Valley scenario of my own devising this Sunday. The scenario will feature two squads of US infantry attempting to sweep and clear a village that has been known to harbor both Local and Main Force Viet Cong elements. The US players will have to be careful not to alienate the local civilians while they search for weapon caches, tunnel entrances and signs of the elusive VC. Game time as always is 1 PM at Unique Gifts and Games in Grayslake, IL.

Both Ambush Valley and Tomorrow’s War have been released, and quite honestly, I need to run something other than Tomorrow’s War for a change of pace. You can purchase both through Ken at Unique Gifts and Games, or you can buy the PDF  directly from us at I have to say that Ambush Valley is about the most comprehensive sourcebook for Vietnam that I have ever seen. Piers and Joe have outdone themselves on this one.

I am hoping to have my 15mm Vietnam figures mostly painted by Sunday, but we’ll see. If not, I’ll borrow some of Skip’s 20mm FAA figures for the game. I am using a mix of Flames of War and Flashpoint figures, with buildings by TimeCast. For tunnel markers, I am using some of Khurasan’s mine shaft entrances (with some green stuff/modifications). Hope to see all of you on Sunday.

Mark will be running Ambush Sunday this week as I will be at Indiana University visiting my son Will this weekend (it’s the Illinois-Indiana football game at Indiana, so I’ll be wearing my orange and blue and cheering for the visiting team). Mark is planning on running a Tomorrow’s War scenario of his own design, so come on out and support Mark at 1 PM on Sunday at Unique Gifts and Games in Grayslake, IL.

My projects at the moment? In no particular order…

  1. Shawn Carpenter has asked me to wrestle the  Tomorrow’s War point system to the ground, so I’ll be playing with my spreadsheet over the next few weeks and then submitting my draft for review by the Ambush Alley Games play testers. As we’ve said many times, we’re looking to put together a system that helps people write and balance scenarios, not a comprehensive system for tournament play. Ken G. and I already have a good start on things, so I’m hoping to have a draft by the end of the month.
  2. Skip Peterson is starting to get things going for the upcoming Legends in the Fall game convention and I’ll be helping him organize the event and some of the festivities. I will be attending as a vendor this year, representing Ambush Alley Games. I will be running games at our booth, most likely Cold War Gone Hot scenarios and Tomorrow’s War stuff. I do know of two games being run for sure. First, my son Will is running a Tomorrow’s War game set in his alternate Fallout timeline. Second, the Roots’ family tradition of running Starship Troopers will continue. My two sons (Will and Steve) will be running the game this year. Again, we’ll be using Tomorrow’s War as the rules system.
  3. I’ve put together the planned scenario list for next year’s  Force on Force expansion Contra! Wars of the Americas and have started writing. As I’ve mentioned before, the time frame will cover Bay of Pigs (1961) to present day operations.
  4. On the painting table, I’m working on two projects. The first is my 15mm Neo-Soviet VDV platoon for Tomorrow’s War. I’m nearly finished. The figures are Micropanzer’s SAS troops, which I’m painting in a summer Russian VDV camo pattern. As a tip to “fashion,” I’m giving them the dark aqua berets. The second project is a 15mm US rifle platoon and about 50 main force Viet Cong for the release of Ambush Valley. I’m using a mix of Flashpoint and Battlefront figures for the forces. For the most part, the figures are good; there are a few sculpts that need some work, particularly the Flashpoint VC RPG figure and a few of the Battlefront US riflemen (legs too skinny and prone to snapping).

I’ve been writing day and night the past few weeks. I’m just getting around to finishing the last scenario drafts for the upcoming Cold War Gone Hot supplement for Force on Force. I am learning a lot about small unit organizations during the Cold War, that’s for sure. Most of my Cold War gaming experience falls into two categories: microarmor games and my involvement with GDWs Assault/Boots & Saddles games from the 1980s. My library is full of Cold War books. And yet I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the material that I’ve played or been exposed to has been at the battalion level and above. Tracking down accurate squad level TO&Es during the 1980s, particularly for Warsaw Pact forces, is challenging, but I want to thank the team of folks I’m working with, particularly Piers Brand and Jim Wonacott, who have been very helpful in keeping me accurate and true to the sources we do have.

Painting is on a back burner right now until the first draft manuscript is done for Cold War Gone Hot.  Then it’s get ready for Historicon and a full weekend of Ambush Alley Games demos. It’s been awhile since I’ve painted 20mm, so this should be fun working in a larger scale again. We’re planning on two different demo tables; one in 20mm and one in 15mm. Once the Historicon program listing is finalized, I’ll share what we’re doing, but I can tell you that one is going to be a combined arms game and one is a vehicle heavy game (you can guess which one is in 15mm).

The next project is one for me and me alone. It’s Vietnam in 15mm. With the upcoming Ambush Valley for Force on Force, I’ve decided to take the plunge and get back into Southeast Asia. My last tour of duty was Charlie Company, a great set of rules by John Reeves that I play tested years ago and enjoyed tremendously. Piers and Joe have done a fabulous job on the new Ambush Alley.  I also love the new 15mm miniatures coming out from Battlefront; coupled with some great QRF and Flashpoint stuff and some Timecast hooches, I want to do some actions involving the Blackhorse regiment.

I’m also continuing to paint up modern stuff. I just received a shipment of Hummer’s and Bradleys from the incomparable Irish Serb. The castings are crisp and being made of resin makes them a quicker assembly than metal vehicles.

This Sunday’s Ambush Alley game will be a playtest of a scenario from the upcoming Ambush Valley 2 expansion. Skip Peterson has once again graciously volunteered the use of his extensive collection of 20mm Vietnam figures. We will be arriving at 12 PM, but game time is 1 PM at Unique Gifts and Games on Sunday, March 27.

I had my stitches removed from my hand this morning and things are slowly returning to normal. I actually painted two 28mm figures this past weekend and plan to get back to painting in a serious way since my left hand will be fully usable again. Yea! My first big project will be the beginnings of the AAG terrain boards for Historicon.

Two weeks from this Sunday will be the debut of playing Warhammer 40K using Tomorrow’s War rules and GW figures. Please note that this is not anything for publication or of an official nature. We are just trying out some stats and force ORBATs that Will put together to see how far we can stretch the Tomorrow’s War rules. So far, I particularly like his treatment of the Tyrannids (think hot spots and AAG insurgent mechanics) and what he’s done regarding vehicles. So plan to bring your 40K forces on Sunday, April 10, if you want to try out our concoction (which we jokingly refer to as ‘Warhammer Special K’).

Tonight we ran our first game of Ambush Valley, the Vietnam rules from Ambush Alley Games, and it was a wild one. We ran a slightly modified version of the first scenario, a sweep and clear operation featuring a platoon of US Army troops moving on a suspected weapons cache hidden in a village. Harry, Ken, Jon and I were the US players. Opposing us were a number of Viet Cong guerillas with the benefit of tunnels. This group was played by Will, Mitch and Clayton. The terrain was from my collection of The Terrain Guy EZ-Lock mats and Battlefield Architect jungle terrain. The 20mm figures were from the collection of Skip Peterson.

Looking over the rice paddies to the VC-occupied village.


Another view of the VC-occupied village

 From the get-go, things did not work well for the US players. An untimely morale check and a “1” caused a Fog of War (FOG) card to be drawn, which resulted in “The Colonel said what?”, pinning the US players in place for two turns. VC reinforcements and tunnel movement soon had the US players surrounded.

US 20mm troops from the collection of Skip Peterson

 The US right flank was ambushed by several MG teams and hit hard. The left flank faired better, but with mounting casualties, the US players were forced to beat a retreat, having never even reached the village. VC casualties were very heavy, too, but they achieved their scenario objective of moving supplies off the opposite board edge without loss, so the final victory tally was quite embarassing.

Charlie can't surf, but this one sure stood his ground, even after the rest of his unit added to the bodycount.

 Everyone enjoyed learning the nuances of  Ambush Valley. It was fun to see the VC get to pull off ambushes without return fire. We also learned the devastating effects of a claymore blast when Charlie tried to close with a pinned US fire team. We’re looking forward to our next game.