Monday, August 8, 2016

New Project! Sicily 1943!

      It has barely been a month after Historicon 2016 for me to get that itch. The itch I am talking about is planning for my next year's Historicon. I know it seems a little early, but I had to think about a couple of factors before choosing, and since I am now an owner of a house. I figured that I would have to plan things out a little bit further than seven months based on the possible random house
projects. In fact, I was ahead of schedule for my Historicon project this year, until we bought a house right before the event. That month ahead fell like a Tiger Tank through ice! So, it is better to come up with a project now than to scramble it together in the last minute. That is the problem with working by yourself on major projects.
    Since this year's Historicon project was a roaring success for at least me, I wanted to pick something more challenging. I had several ideas floating around. Game conventions do not help with taming the idea beast. One option was to due a Pacific Theater WW2 game. If I was going to pick a battle in particular, it was going to be the Battle of Peleliu. I have not seen anyone play that particular battle in wargaming, and a white sand, coral-based island would be interesting to do.

A photo of Marines during the Battle of  Peleliu. *

    Another option was to do a North Africian Desert in 1942. We already have most of the troops for this if we are talking about using the British 8th Army versus German DAK armies. I still have 11 Panzer III G's that I have yet to build. It would be fairly easy to make a board for that and would surely draw a crowd. The only thing is that there is always something desert warfare related for WW2 at every convention. And it would not be as much of a challenge.

A nice set up for a desert game!*
One of our past simple desert boards.

   A third option was to do an Eastern Front game versus the Russians. I felt if I did go this way, I would have to pick a nation that people do not know to fight them. I was thinking of the Romanians, since Gothic Line Miniatures recently came out with them. The whole area during 1944 was quite chaotic, and I have not found too many detailed resources on the subject of Romanians vs. Russians. I might still get forces for that idea anyway. Who am I kidding?
   Then, there is the last option;The "soft underbelly" of the Axis, Italy. The irony of Churchill calling it that is still amazing! Which brings me to Operation Husky. There are not too many games I have seen of this theater of the war. At least, I have not seen it in person yet. I think with both Sicily and Italy, they are not wargamed as often based on the hills and rock areas. That, and it is a mid-war period. It seems that mid-war tends to cover Eastern Front more than anywhere else. And since I love the movie Patton, it seems like a logical start for me. So Sicily is the plan!

One the few pictures I found of a Sicily game provided it was not mislabeled. *
      I picked Sicily based on the fact in would be cool to do this subject in 28 mm. Also, I does help that I bought a bunch of 28 mm Italian-style buildings from Company B. I will also be able to profect some techniques with mat making at a new level, since Sicily has grass and rocks in the rolling terrain. Like the picture above, but with more details. The only question that remains is what the scenario will be and what forces (Italian, British, German, and American). I will just have to do some major research to find out a more detail account of the campaign.
    However, for a start, I did manage to test out some terrain techniques I wish to try on a leftover piece of teddy bear fur for color. Since most of the campaign took place in July of 43, I looked on Google maps to find a ground reference in Sicily labeled July or August. Both would have about the same look based on season. Therefore, I could get the colors I want. Here are some examples.

Though there are a lot of browns in the distance, that does not mean there is no diversity in colors in the grass. For some reason, no one wants to photo the grass at their feet.  *

I might not build a full town such as this, but the countryside looks cool none the less. *

I like this as a reference, since it shows some different color possibilities and a random dead tree. *

The bridge it an idea to think about. *
      Unfortunately, the references I like to use from Google Maps at the road level do not let me copy and paste for reference. Just links are available. But it is easy to look up. The key is that there are tons of natural colors going on. Below is my partial test run piece.

This is just put down on you basic concrete outside.

      For a test, this is reference for colors I might want to use as well as this is just the natural landscape with out the leafy shrubs and cacti that are in the area. Unlike most of the pictures I have found online, Sicily is more cultivated than it was during WW2, so I am sure that the strait brown colors of the plowed open fields were not as common. Plus, I had not added the different dirt tones. All I know, is that this will be an interesting project.

    * Since I do not own these pictures and you are the owner, please contact me for removal if it is a problem.

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